Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sail Away

Do you ever read biographies or autobiographies - stories of people who have accomplished big dreams or overcome insurrmountable odds? As a child and young adult I devoured biographies. Now, I still enjoy a good biography but often find myself with time constraints that only allow the blip of time offered on the biography channel.

What draws us to the lives of extraordinary people?

I think it's about hope and possibilities. While we rush to get supper on the table, pack lunches or mow the lawn, we can consider that our lives too, have the potential to soar above the ordinary.

The courage of someone who overcomes staggering odds or the chutzpah of a rock star who takes no guff from anyone - do they give us courage? Inspiration?

I think it's inspiration. We can see the potential if we just push forward.

The lives of extraordinary people reminds us that the world is full of possibilities. And they give us hope that one day, we will trade our row boat in for a boat in full sail.

Whether you want to paint landscapes or sail
away to the far corners of the world.
What inspires you?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Limits of the Mind

Today was storm clean up - get the tree off the roof. It would have been sooner but apparently sawing down even part of an elm tree is not a straight forward event. Anyway, I knew help was needed. This wasn't a one person job. And that thought started it all!

So the ladder is in place and one man is on the roof. And I? It was definitely an OMG moment. I clung to that ladder for a long time. A considerably long time, minutes will not be factored in this post.

I have to admit, me and heights do not equal happiness. I'm terrified of heights. So storm cleanup - It may seem like a small feat for those of you not height challenged, but for me, getting on that ladder and inching my way to the roof - it was a huge deal.

Getting on the roof - well we don't have a long enough blog post for that. Let's just say that I got there. And once there, for a time I only inched my way along as if somehow my foot would slip and I'd go tumbling down. Illogical, but what can I say.

The tree is now gone. I worked very slowly and carefully to dump branches off the roof and even held the remaining tree trunk as the chain saw buzzed through. Let's just say that in that instance my yoga training came in handy. Keep butt down as firmly to roof as possible thereby grounding ones self in case of a tumble. Keep balance. Breathe.

In the end, no matter how long it took, I did it!

What have you done today that fell out of your realm of comfort?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sometimes there's a tree in the Path

I had a goal, a deadline, a target and then the tree fell on the house! Literally!

There is always something that makes us change our path, or reassess our
journey. Today's obstacle was unexpected. But maybe that's what obstacles are all about.

I've been working hard the last little while on revisions to my current story. A deadline is looming and I was determined that I would be done early.

This evening a storm appeared in a sky that had been consistently thick and soupy all day. At first it looked like an ordinary thunder storm, one of many so common to the prairies. But it wasn't common. The lightening was sharper and the thunder snapped like it hadn't in a long time. Maybe it was a plow wind, maybe lightening, but whatever it was, there is now a full size tree decorating the roof of the house.

Now, I am thanking the Girl Guides and my father. Why you ask? Well the Girl Guides taught me their famous motto - Be Prepared and my father taught me to be early. In fact my father's determination to be early allowed me to be seconder at Girl Guides year one. Another story - something about an incentive so that the early bird sets up the chairs. Oh well, I digress. The point of my story, that while I didn't factor a tree, I was prepared for road blocks by having a bit of extra time. Fortunately, my real deadline is August 1 and my self-imposed deadline is July 23. And without that wiggle room that tree would have been as problematic as if it had arrived in my living room instead of my roof.

Are you prepared for the occasional tree?


Friday, July 11, 2008

Saskatchewan's Summer Pow Wows

I have to admit that I've seen a few Pow Wows as a child but not many as an adult. Yet summer in Saskatchewan means a smorgasboard of Pow Wows throughout the province. I'd forgotten how rich an experience one of these native festivals can be. At a recent course I was reminded of this by one man who stated that he organized his summer vacations according to the Pow Wow schedule. Well, I was intrigued. And as luck would have it a Pow Wow was held in nearby Sakimay First Nation, just south of Crooked Lake in Saskatchewan. There were raffles, food - plenty of food, singing, chanting, dancing and judges - and drumming. It's the drumming that many of us, especially those of us unfamiliar with the cultural nuances, associate with Pow Wows. Dancing, drumming, singing and costumes were judged throughout the day. The costumes were amazing, intricately sewed leather with fringes, beads, bells, embroidery, feathers, tiny details that were impossible to fathom as they swept by in a whirl of color and motion.

The best description I have of a Pow Wow is that it is a native get together highlighted by traditional song and dance.
But there's an added benefit, Pow Wows are a fantastic opportunity to see Saskatchewan. You
can literally spend your summer going from one community to another. And for some native families that's what they do.

So what is a Pow Wow really? Check it out, read for yourself, some of the culture of the earliest settlers of North America:

Pow Wows Explained

Pow wows are a big thing and a lot of fun even for the casual observer.

New experiences are sometimes right on your doorstep.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Trip of a Musical Sort

"Without music life would be a mistake." ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

That quote pretty much sums up how I feel about music. Music is what inspires me to write. Music meshes with past experiences and is the trigger for so many memories. Music lead me through teenage angst, music marks all the milestones in my life, good and bad, and it is the catalyst to make me dance around the kitchen for no reason other than that it's just that kind of song.

Music is important to me in many ways but today, on a road trip alone, I discovered how much fun it can be or how varied the music becomes when you're an audience of one. Today, as Three Day's Grace follows Aerosmith who follows Paint, I'm in musical heaven.

There is no one to argue about channels, gripe about genres or share a favourite song with. I am truly alone. As I sing through the Hair Musical, "Let the Sun Shine In" - my voice rusty. I don't sing much. Okay, okay, I just can't sing and I have consideration for others. Seriously, it's embarrassing - it's that bad. So alone, I indulge in the pleasure of belting out a song for which, not only can I not hold the melody, I don't know the words. But that doesn't stop me. As I flip channels and jump from ACDC's "Hells Bells" to a Tchaikovsky piano solo, that mercifully has no words, I'm having a blast. Sometimes road trips, even the same old road to the same old destination - can be fun!

Make a routine fun today - shake it up, just a little - I dare you!

"All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls!"

Thomas Carlyle


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canada Day - back to the Edwardians

Yesterday, July 1 was Canada's birthday, 140 years - and we celebrated. On the front lawn of the historic Government House in Regina, Saskatchewan, time stood still. Actually, time went backwards. A beautiful well-orchestrated time warp that took us back to the Edwardian days with parasols, and long gowns and a carousel. There was free old time stick candy and candy floss for the children, a old-time band, a military fly over, horse drawn landau carriage and, of course, the national anthem.

And to end a perfect day, as the evening cooled, back home on our deck there was beer, simmered beans and pulled pork sandwiches - the meat smoked for an amazing 10 hours, and last but definitely best - the company of friends.

Hope your Canada Day was every bit as good!

"A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and w
oods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle." George William Curtis