Saturday 28 June 2008

Colours of our lives

I heard a grad speech to some students. The person giving the speech pointed out that it is all in how we frame things. Our attitude - half full or half empty - governs our lives.

How we colour our thoughts colours our lives. At my mother's memorial service I said that her cancer framed her life for the last 5 years. Cancer painted our attitudes. She never came to terms with what was happening. I never had a chance to talk to her honestly, as I did with my dad when HE was dying.

I know that depression is inheritable. My son feels some of the same things I do: low self-esteem, feeling that no one cares. I am trying to help him colour his life: his whole life before him. He can do anything he sets his mind to. He just doesn't know what he wants to do with it! (Large glitch!)

I realized that how we frame a situation colours not only our peace of mind, but our minute-to-minute, our daily lives and our sense of the future.
I created a page to demonstrate this for my peers - as I take my course.

Each picture gives a different feel to it.

These are my musings, I hope they help.

Cottage reading

There are books about on interesting characters, including Rene Caisse, and Muskoka II (1998; prolific author/photographer: Ross & de Visser) tell many stories of Muskoka, (Ross & de Visser, 1989).

The Cottage BibleThe Cottage Bible is a great example of 'everything you need to know' about the lake, water, safety, weather, in cottage country.

You can find books on the Ditchburn boats. Those beautiful crafts in which people dressed up and cruised gracefully around Muskoka Lakes. Grace and Speed, the Gravenhurst museum, has many different books. Local book stores have a lot of coffee table books that provide many hours of enjoyment.

Murder in Muskoka coverOne of my favourite Muskoka reads is a set called Muskoka Mystery, written by a man in his senior years. Based in Gravenhurst, it is a great, light summer read that won't frighten you out of your visit.

A Paddler's Guide to Ontario's Cottage Country At the Cottage Cottage Life's More Summer Weekends Cookbook: A Whole New Collection of Relaxing Recipes, Great Tips, and Entertaining IdeasSaving the Family Cottage: A Guide to Succession Planning for Your Cottage, Cabin, Camp or Vacation Home Cottage Essentials: The Everything Guide for Your Cottage, Cabin or Camp The Cottage

The libraries are full of local books, as well. Many retirees have worked at writing the history of a small town or region. Our local Native Band has published a great history of the Wahta Reserve.

What to bring

  1. LIFEJACKETS are a must. Label yours as the wind can pick them up and take them down wind!
  2. CLOTHING: Ensure that you bring clothes to allow for every weather condition. Life by the water can be cool in the night while hot in the day. We are often 5 degrees cooler than, for example, Toronto only a couple of hours to the south. Several sets of clothes are wise for kids. I know mine always had a 'soaker' within the first hour of their visit. Long sleeves are important -again- just in case! Boots, extra shoes, hats, rain gear, warm sweaters.
  3. PHARMACEUTICALS: Be prepared with toiletries that include sun lotion, bug spray, and moisturizer for those inevitable dry skin or sun burn episodes. Band-aids and a First Aid kit are important tools. If you have allergies, bring antihistamines. Remember tylenol and other medications, just in case. Get regular Rx refilled, too. We take handkerchiefs, so as not to add to our garbage.
  4. ENTERTAINMENT: I firmly believe that 'when in Rome do as the Romans do' - cottage life means Scrabble, Monopoly, Backgammon, Sorry, card games, activity books (Soduko or crosswords!) NOT computers and computer games. Writing and drawing pads. This is a great time to do a BIG puzzle - set it up out of the way and work on it when you feel like it.
  5. READING MATERIALS: Visit the (local?) library and find some books. I save my magazines to read by the lake. There are many good books on Cottage Life that include information on wild life, crafts for kids, for example. If you visit a small, local book store you will find books by local authors.
  6. FOOD: I used to bring peanut butter, jam, and other necessities in a cooler, which is always handy. Power outages can happen, especially in isolated cottages. If you rent ensure that you have flour, sugar, spices, etc. as well as tissues & toilet paper.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

CBC Radio

I think I am getting old. I used to be a devoted listener to CBC Radio. As I wrote it would be on in the background. I podcast many shows. These days I find that I am behind the times.

DNTO was interviewing some dude from Facebook fame, now a musician, who was regaling us with horror stories about setting off firecrackers and running from the police. Who really cares? Or does everyone else? Another topic: proms? Why do we care? Those who had fun have good memories, those that did not do not and we need to revisit that annual event with the vandalism that often occurs afterwards. Graduations are another issue: it doesn't mean much anymore. The young middle school kids are over dressed, some would say looking like sluts, and it diminishes their real graduation from college or university.

Q ("Your daily dose of arts, culture and entertainment") is interviewing pop culture stars whom I have never heard of and who tend to have coarse language. Why is my morning going to be filled with arts stories? What happened to our hard-hitting political news, clever repartee, interesting people who have accomplished something more than lots of sales of hip hop music? "Moby Uncut: Hear the raw interview with outspoken electronica superstar Moby. " I don't think so. Articificial, highly marketed 'stars' who often have not earned their claim to fame.

I am an avid techie, with blogs that allow me to practice my writing craft, but I question some of the interviews that seem pleurile and down right flaky. I am happy to learn about young people today, but is this the forum?

I miss the hard-hitting interviews reserved for other shows.
I miss Peter Gzowski. With him I felt like I knew Canada a little more intimately.

A walk on Torrance Barrens in Muskoka

We went for a long walk to Torrance Barrens in 2008. What a terrific place. It is located in The Land Between. We passed the "no daytime burning" signs on the way. The forest is so fragile and the air pollution such a terrible thing. What a glorious spot it is. You can see how interdependent the ecosystem is with the bog, water, insects, wildlife all intertwined in this one spot.
The huge, flat Precambrian Shield bears silent witness to the paw, pads and feet that made their way around the water and the bog. I feel connected to the earth on its pink, gray, white, black surface.