I don’t know about you, but I could use some chuckles today

I had another post in mind, but I find myself in the need of a few laughs rather than serious thinking. So let’s save the serious thinking for another day. Instead I’m pulling out some cartoons from my stash of goodies saved from my social media feeds (mostly thanks to Marilyn). I hope some of them do the trick for you as well. You know what they say about laughter and good medicine! 🙂

Humour-SenseOfTaste

Humour-DevilTape

Humour-psychotherapist1

Humour-Walruses

Humour-CopCheck2

Humour-Airplane

I’m including this last one to show what a good sport I can be! 😉
Humour-FemaleIntuition

Enjoy!!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Words of wisdom from sidewalk signs

TT-Sign1

TT-Sign2

TT-Sign3x

TT-Sign4

TT-Sign5

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Lifelong friendships, multigenerational friendships, and International Friendship Day

Thanks to fellow blogger Natalie at The Hot Goddess, I recently learned that July 30 is International Friendship Day this year.  That was yesterday! International Friendship Day is designated by the UN General Assembly as a day to celebrate those friendships that we hold close and to give thanks for these relationships that are so important in our lives, which bring happiness and comfort.  With that special date in mind, if there had to be a funeral of a very close, very long-time friend, it certainly was fitting that it took place on International Friendship Day.

IntlFriendshipDay

My husband and I – and our friends – have reached the age where these sad events are inevitable; they come with increasing frequency. Comfort does come with remembering the contributions a departed friend has made to your life and to the life of others, it really does. A life well lived. That was certainly the case with the dear friend whose life we’ve mourned and celebrated the past few days. Those remembrances of fun times, of shared times, and of so many acts of kindness are a tonic to our sadness.

This friend we’ve just lost has been a permanent fixture in our lives for a little more than 50 years.  We met as new Moms when our firstborns were 6 months old.  They’re older now! And their brothers, who were born 3 years later, have been friends since birth. The remarkable thing is that although none of those boys (all right, men) stayed in their home town after graduation, they’ve remained close friends throughout. Very close. Friends for life.  And the younger sons live in the same town, so their children also know each other well.  Three generations of friendships.

As I sat in the church pew yesterday – on International Friendship Day – I spent a lot of time thinking about this long history of close, close bonds between and among the three generations of our families. I watched the family, seated in the front pew a few rows ahead of us, as they comforted and supported each other in their grief, and thought of all those years of shared experiences, shared concerns, shared sorrows, and shared celebrations – of weddings, of new babies and grandbabies, of new jobs, of shared holidays and travels. I thought of other families sitting nearby with whom we’ve also been close friends for decades. All there to honour the life of our friend. There with their kids, who we’ve known throughout their lives, many of whom are greying now and have brought their own kids.  The strength of all those bonds of friendship, in our case over a very long time, has brought a richness to all our lives. It strikes me that this is the very essence of what International Friendship Day is meant to be about.

One of the activities recommended to do with kids on International Friendship Day is to discuss what makes a friend. What a great activity. I’m going to give it a try from my perspective as an old person; my guess is that the answers are pretty well the same regardless of age.

  • A friend is someone you can count on, someone you can trust. They’re always there for you.
  • A friend is someone who understands you and respects that you don’t always have to agree or always like the same thing.
  • A friend is someone you really like doing things with. Sometimes just talking. Or just listening.
  • A friend is someone you can fight with sometimes but you always make up.
  • A friend is someone who’ll stick up for you.
  • Friendships grow stronger and stronger from shared experiences, in both good times and bad.

Did I miss anything?

There is little in life more important to our emotional well-being that having a friend. Reach out to someone with the hand of friendship; that’s what Louise would do.

RIP-Louise

RIP, Louise.

Posted in Life stories, Odds and Ends | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Gurdeep of the Yukon: Dancing to spread joy, hope, and positivity

I’m pretty darn sure that you can’t watch Gurdeep Pandher do his Punjabi Bhangra dance without a smile of pure delight crossing your face. Bhangra dancing was originally developed for that exact reason, to spread joy.  That’s why he keeps dancing.  And that’s why he’s currently engaged in a cross-Canada tour, doing all he can to spread joy from coast to coast to coast.

I’ll be honest, the first few times I watched YouTube clips on FaceBook of Gurdeep dancing or on the news, I thought he lived in Nova Scotia and this was something regional. That this lovely man was telling Nova Scotians how much he liked being there.  Well, I may have been correct about the message he was trying to convey, but not that he lived there. In fact, I’ve just come to realize that he lives, of all surprising places, in a cabin in the northerly Yukon! And during the pandemic he’s been posting daily YouTube videos of himself doing Bhangra dancing outside his remote cabin (in some extremely cold weather!), in an effort to spread joy, hope, and positivity. Joy and positivity can have no better ambassador.

Gurdeep Pandher dancing at Inverness, Cape Breton, right near where my husband’s parents lived in retirement. Joy abounds.Gurdeep-Inverness

As I said, he has now moved from spreading joy by video and the Internet to undertaking an in-person cross-Canada tour, hoping to bring joy, hope and diversity to even more people. He acquired a van, equipped it with solar panels and a bed, and hit the road.  Surely there can be no more welcome activity than watching someone perform a dance of joy, or even better, joining in yourself.  Especially in beautiful locations throughout Canada. And he’s been finding many beautiful and varied dance spots. Continue reading

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Map Monday: what is there to do and see in the world?

Recently, a fellow blogger who also happens to be an experienced climber sent me a link to a map that she thought was pretty awesome: Awesome Maps’ complete guide to rock climbing opportunities around the world, all in one handy-dandy map. [Click for more details.]

AwesomeMaps-Climbing

I will admit that this map did not spark my interest in rock climbing enough to take it up as a new activity, but it did spark my interest as to what other maps like this might be floating out there.  It turns out that there are many.

As you can see above, the Awesome Maps are extremely detailed, perhaps more detailed than a casual viewer might be interested in (at least me), but if you google Awesome Maps and your activity of choice, you should find just what you’re looking for.

Just to give you a few ideas, let’s look at some less detailed maps of places to go and things to do.

How about surfing?!

Surfing

Not every website has the same top 10 choices, but this will give you the idea. If you click on the map, you’ll be able to find the pros and cons of each of the top 10 surfing spots.  Some of the cons are pretty scary! Continue reading

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Living and dying … and living on in those we’ve touched

We all know that dying is an inevitable part of living.  Knowing it doesn’t mean we are ever ready to lose a loved one; even though we know it’s one of the few constants in life, knowing it doesn’t make it any easier.  We’re told that those people who have made a difference in our lives – in whatever way – will live on in us even when they are no longer here.  Their spirit and their kindness to us has become a part of who we are.  We know this and we experience it, but it doesn’t make the physical loss any easier.

My husband and I are now of an age where we’re reminded of the dying-is-part-of-living reality entirely too often; it goes with the territory of having had the privilege of living a very full (long) life.  Eventually full lives come to an end … and sometimes they end earlier than they should. This week, family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of my sister-in-law, a total force of nature who passed away unexpectedly – shockingly – just before her 70th birthday. The remembrances voiced by family, friends and also friends of her children at this event spoke to the ways in which she had impacted their lives.  What stood out for each of them were the many and various kindnesses she had shown them throughout the years, going out of her way to make things easier, better, or more fun for them.

And that’s the lesson we need to keep being reminded of, over and over again: we don’t find happiness in how much money we accumulate or how much we own, we find happiness in having warm and meaningful interactions with others. And being generous in spirit and generous of our time are such powerful (and free) ways by which we can have a positive impact on others and also find inner happiness.

Memory

Each of her four grown children spoke at my sister-in-law’s celebration of life. One of my nieces, Clare Currie (my Mom’s namesake), told me ahead of time that she hadn’t known know what to say, and her husband had advised her to just write whatever came to her mind. She told me she had ended up writing a poem, which she had never done before. I’ll be honest, I was blown away by how impactful I found this poem. I hope it’s not Clare’s last writing effort. It’s very much her heartfelt words about her relationship with her mother, but I think it speaks to anyone who’s lost anyone near and dear to them.  I’m sharing Clare’s poem with her permission. I hope you will find in it the same outpouring of love – and expression of the strong continuing “presence” of those close to us who are no longer physically present – that I did. Thank you, Clare. ❤ Continue reading

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Big city living vs small city living, similarities and differences

I grew up – a very long time ago – 38 miles from New York City.  My Dad and all the others dads left the suburbs by carpool or train every morning and commuted into the “City” to work, every weekday. The moms and the kids sometimes went into the City for special occasions, like Broadway shows, Radio City Music Hall, Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, and shopping expeditions for things that the suburban malls of those early years might not have.  Or just because a trip to the fancy stores on 5th Avenue was a very special mother-daughter bonding experience. For me, a big city meant the Big Apple. How was I to know that NYC wasn’t just any old big American city, it was a very big, very special world city.

Because I loved NYC and my young, idealistic vision of what a big city was (compared to suburban living), I chose to go to university in a big city.  And since I loved cold weather, too, I made an unusual choice as far as everyone was concerned at the time; I chose to attend McGill University in Montreal. In another country! I embraced Montreal just as I had embraced NYC.  I loved its mountain, historic Old Montreal, and its charm and bilingualism.  I loved just walking its streets.  When my husband and I moved to London for 2 years after various graduations, before settling back in Canada, we embraced everything about that big world city: its history, its amazing cultural offerings, and its parks. And we fully expected to come back to live in Montreal, or at least Toronto. What else would one expect? We were big city people.

But, as we all know, life has a funny way of changing your plans and expectations.  Instead, much to our astonishment, we found ourselves in the small, tucked-away city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. In 1970. 52 years ago. And, after initially expecting to move back to a “city” within a few years, we found ourselves thriving in this much smaller place. Thriving in a way I’m not sure we would have done had we moved back to a bigger place. We would have been perfectly happy, for sure, but we would have missed a lot.  We wouldn’t have spent 9 years farming, only a 15-minute drive from town and work, for one thing. We would have missed the incredibly strong sense of community one gets when living in a smaller place. We would have missed feeling part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are grateful for every day that we live here.

And now it turns out that others are recognizing the specialness of Fredericton as well. Drumroll, please.  Vancouver’s Resonance Consulting has just announced their rankings of the 10 best small cities in Canada for 2022, and look who’s #9! Continue reading

Posted in History and Politics, Life stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

After a challenging 4th of July, let’s hope some humo(u)r can moderate the gloom

It was already a challenging Independence Day in the U.S. before the terrible, terrible mass shooting in Highland Park turned a happy community parade into everyone’s worst nightmare.  This latest heartbreaking and senseless loss of life served as a dramatic reminder of one of the several issues that have brought one of the most successful and influential countries the world has known to question its path forward.  These are difficult times, for Americans and for the world.

Social media has been full of heartfelt opinion pieces and blog posts by Americans who are alarmed and saddened by the current state of the country they love, struggling with what to to celebrate on July 4th.  Hate and violence should not be winning.  Among many shorter posts recently, two stood out to me as refreshingly reasonable approaches to two major issues that politicians continue to struggle with.  I was especially pleased to see that they were both ascribed to men.  See what you think. Continue reading

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