The Nation published a great article on climate change this week. Written by Naomi Klein (No Logo, The Shock Doctrine), its premise is that, "the climate crisis has such bad timing, confronting it not only requires a new economy but a new way of thinking." We human beings have some hard truths to face, but there's no denying that they are just that: truths.
It's Friday again and you know what that means. It's time for my contribution to the Scattered Life Collective.
Current time: 3:42 a.m.
Out the window: Rain, glorious rain - i.e. precipitation that isn't snow. The crocuses are blooming.
On the menu: I have nothing planned, so it will probably be takeout pizza.
Reading: Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott. I've mentioned before that I love books about writing, and this one is no exception. I love Lamott's cheeky, no nonsense approach to advice. From the introduction: "Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do - the actual act of writing - turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward."
Watching: The BBC crime drama, Luther, starring the incomparable Idris Elba. Elba plays John Luther, a "near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can't always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions." This one isn't for the faint of heart - it's dark and grim and features some seriously twisted characters. But oh my, Elba is worth it.
Listening: The Divine Comedy, a "chamber pop" band from Northern Ireland. Although the band was formed way back in 1989, I was just introduced to them this past week by my Irish friend Roisin. Frontman Neil Hannon has been the only constant in the line-up, with various musicians coming and going over the years. I love it when bands experiment with instruments besides the standard guitar, bass and drums, and as you'll see in this video, they certainly don't disappoint on that front. Their sound may be considered an acquired taste, but I can't get enough of the horns, strings, and Hannon's distinctive voice.
Out and About:
A dear old friend of mine whom I haven't seen in more than 15 years contacted me recently after she discovered this blog. She and I met when we were both students in a communications course in Toronto. Shortly after our course was finished, I moved back to Winnipeg, and eventually, after a few years of sporadic contact, we lost touch.
When she reached out to me this time around, I was delighted. I eagerly responded to her email message and she then replied with the lowdown on what she's been doing since we last met. And then it was my turn. And something odd happened. I found that I didn't know what to say. I, the word nerd who enjoys nothing more than communicating with others, fell silent. I hemmed and hawed and started writing in my head, but still I left her hanging.
So I asked myself why. And after much thought, I discovered that I was embarrassed. Because on paper, my life sounds inconsequential. I don't have big milestones and events to talk about. I've never married nor had kids. I haven't travelled much in recent years. I've never published a book or run a marathon or accomplished some other great feat. I've lived a small, simple life without much grandeur or excitement.
And yet, what I've come to realize, and want to express to my friend, is that I have also lived a life that is big and full, and in its own way, exciting to me. Some hard knocks have held me back along the way, but looking back, I now see that
there is reason to celebrate the mundane and cheer for the everyday. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, fulfilment is in the heart of the individual. I can be satisfied in knowing that:
I have lived. And that is all that matters.
“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha.”
This is Jasper and his rescue dog, Zoey. Jasper's mom is a professional lifestyle photographer who decided to have some fun by taking photos of him and his dog dressed in matching outfits. You can see the rest of the photos here, and you should definitely go take a look, because one is more adorable than the next. If you do not feel at least the flicker of a smile coming on when you see the series, you have a heart of stone. Just sayin'.
Well here it is Friday again, and not only that, it's Good Friday. I don't really celebrate Easter, though, so I have nothing in particular to say on that subject. (Although I must admit that I have never met a chocolate Easter egg I didn't like.)
To those of you who do celebrate, may you have a fulfilling weekend of observances, and to the rest of you... I'll see you in the candy aisle.
And now for my weekly contribution to the Scattered Life Collective.
Current time: 4:18 a.m. Another early one for me.
Out the window: The snow is almost all gone, and the precipitation in the forecast is of the rainfall variety. Hallelujah.
On the menu: On Sunday I will be celebrating my birthday (a few days early, so don't tell anyone) with dinner at my parents' house, and I've heard a rumour there might be lobster and lemon meringue pie involved. Oh my.
Reading: Back to a mystery this week, and since I like to read series in order, that means the second book in Ann Cleeves' Shetland series, White Nights. The sense of place plays a large role in this series, so I wanted to learn a bit more about the Shetland islands. A quick search done, I now know that the Shetlands comprise an archipelago that is twelve hours by ferry from mainland Scotland. With a population of only 23,000 people in a 600 square mile area, and a windswept, subarctic climate, these remote islands provide the perfect setting for moody, broody murder. Love it.
Listening: "Green Garden," by British singer/songwriter Laura Mvula. Marvelous.
Watching: This video of two Dutch women flying for the very first time is equal parts hilarious and touching. One of them could not be more excited, and the other is terrified. The result is heartwarming.
Around and About:
That's all for this week.
I mentioned this video in yesterday's Friday Footnotes, but it's so good I decided to feature it again today. In a small town in Norway, there is a pedestrian crossing where people are encouraged by a street sign to do a Monty Python-style silly walk as they cross. My favourite part: since the sign is technically illegal, they asked the mayor what she thinks of it. Her response? "You can't just be square, right?" Right.
If you are viewing this post via email, click here to see the video.
It's Friday, and you know the drill. Time for another contribution to the Scattered Life Collective.
Current time: 5:36 a.m.
Out the window: Someone said on Twitter the other day that Winnipeg is currently in the "awkward puberty stage" of the spring melt, and I concur. Puddles, potholes and dirt dominate the landscape.
On the menu: Yet another slow cooker recipe from The Food Network's Making it Easy cookbook. This one is for Chinese slow-cooked pork shoulder. The flavour comes from five-spice powder, ginger, garlic, scallions, broth and soy sauce. I've tried this one before and it is delish.
Reading: I'm just about finished the third book in the Flavia de Luce series, which I talked about here. This one is called A Red Herring Without Mustard, and the story unfolds after Flavia enlists a Gypsy woman at the fair to tell her her fortune. My favourite passage so far: "It always surprises me after a family row to find that the world outdoors has remained the same. While the passions and feelings that accumulate like noxious gases inside a house seem to condense and cling to the walls and ceilings like old smoke, the out-of-doors is different. The landscape seems incapable of accumulating human radiation. Perhaps the wind blows anger away."
Listening: I had never heard of Elliott Smith until recently, and now I'm addicted to this song. Sadly, I also learned that Smith died in October of last year of stab wounds that were suspected to be self-inflicted. We lose so much talent to early death, it's a shame.
Watching: I needed a giggle this week, so I've been rewatching episodes of another English favourite of mine, the IT Crowd. It's set in the London offices of a fictional corporate giant and the stories revolve around the lives of the three staff members of the company's IT department, including a department head who doesn't even know what IT stands for. One of my favourite "bits": They often answer the phone with, "Hello, IT department. Have you tried turning it off and back on again?"
Out and About:
That's all for this week.