Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pi day

So here's a picture of part of a pie my friend made for me. Not the mathematical pi, I know. Still, it isn't every day you get blackberry pie with your initial on it. (Does it help to know that he's an engineer -- so he must be good at math?)

In one of those unusual quirks that I can never ignore, it must have been pretty close to being pi day when one of the greatest mathematical minds of our time, Stephen Hawking, departed the Earth. His prognosis certainly never made it seem that he would live to such an age.

So now, he is off to the Universe and the endlessly repeating miracle of pi. And -- if there's such a thing as Big Brain Heaven, he's having a good laugh with Albert Einstein, whose birthday it is today.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Hard to balance

It's a balancing act. Life, that is. Still, it bothers me that so many aspects of life can feel so out of balance.

While it shouldn't have come as a surprise, last week's tree-cutting in White Rock, came as a shock to many. Apparently, it had been part of the ever-shifting Official Community Plan, a document that too often has seemed to have been amended behind closed doors. This time, there was some sense to the act, as it was meant primarily to address the unsafe interlock-block sidewalk that had been shifting and rising over the years. Nonetheless, seeing stumps the breadth of these takes my breath away. I know, silly tree-hugger me. And if it weren't that the city has already cleared so many other tracts of trees, it might not seem as harsh as it does. Somehow, replacing a tree with a high-rise isn't an equation that seems very balanced to me.

But trees aren't the only out-of-balance item of late. Sunday's Academy Awards were certainly another indication of that. Among comments made by Frances McDormand (brave soul that she is) was the observation that, of Oscars presented, 33 went to men while only 6 went to women. That stat becomes even grimmer when you remove the two that could only be awarded to women (Best Actress and Supporting Role) and the two given only to men (Best Actor and Supporting Role). Then the imbalance becomes even clearer: 4 to 31.

And no, I'm not going to go into detail about the ongoing matter of wage inequity or lack of representation in board rooms (the glaring exception here is the status of volunteer-based organizations -- if there's no pay, women are given the jobs).

Today, International Women's Day, is a day for awareness, yes. But I wonder, just how many years is it going to take for equality to be a fact, and not a dream.

Friday, March 02, 2018

What's the difference between a saying and a proverb?

Or, for that matter, between tradition and folklore?

Of this new month, March, it's been said that if it comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb, a saying that has a number of possible origins (all of which may well be a kind of folklore all their own). 

And I suppose the converse might be considered true when it comes in the way this one has -- sweet and mild as our city-bred visions of what a lamb must be like (even though wobbly little lambs can be pretty feisty, ready to nip at fingers, hoping they might work the same way teats do).

So, does that mean our Easter weekend will be wild and blustery? Who knows. We've got the rest of the month to find out.

Monday, February 26, 2018

A little bit grumpy, a little bit seasonal

So, what's wrong with this picture? Besides the obvious -- that the focus is ridiculous and that the snowman's carrot-nose is sticking up from his head? For me, it's the fact that there's a snowman at all in a yard where a palm tree is growing. Bottom line is, I'm not used to the amount of snow we had this winter -- and definitely not this late in the season. Grumpy about that? You bet.

And I'm not the only one who thinks there's something funny about what's going on with the seasons.

The Christmas cactus has decided (because of all the snow?) that it's time to bloom again. Lovely, but the wrong flower for this time of year. I'm wanting all those brave little daffodils and tulips out front to put their heads back into the light and come into bloom.

Yesterday was better, waving goodbye to another Olympics. My only complaint there was that they didn't choose the athlete(s) who seemed the obvious choice as flag-bearers on the way out, Kaitlyn Lawes and John
Morris. After all, they not only won gold, but did so in a sport that was new to the Olympics, mixed doubles curling. Canada had a pair of athletes as flag-bearers for the Opening Ceremonies, so another duo for the Closingg would have made nice bookends to that.

But enough grumpy opinions, today's looking good. This morning, the birds were singing their heads off -- LOUDLY, it seemed. As if to say they're ready for a change too and announcing the end of winter for all to hear and rejoice.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Ruled by the moon

So many people, so many different places on Earth, observe a calendar based on the moon. The Asian calendar, with its welcome this weekend to the Year of the Dog, is one of those.

We celebrated in our own small way by cooking up some delicious (store-bought, frozen) siu mai (shumai) to go with the rest of our decidedly western supper (spaghetti -- though, wait a minute, weren't noodles invented in China?). If you look carefully, you'll see that there's a traditional red envelope in view, though ours didn't contain money, but a couple of lottery tickets.

It wasn't long ago that I learned a bit about a First Nations tradition called Hoobiyee, a celebration that marks the new year according to the moon. It was also linked to the return of the oolichan to the river, an important event marked by the Nisga'a.

I wasn't able to see the moon last time it was 'new' (February 15th), but I'm hoping its shape was more of an upturned crescent than a downturned one. My reason goes back to one of the concepts I learned about Hoobiyee: the first new moon after the new year indicates what kind of harvests there will be. An upturned one (cup-like) indicates bounty, while a downturned one, the opposite. Especially where I've just pruned our berry bushes, I am already looking for a good harvest later this summer.

And after our yummy sampling last night, I suspect, before the week is out, I am going to want to go to a restaurant for a celebratory feast of more dim sum.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

P.S. to the previous post

Yep, looks like spring is 'off' again.

Hoping this lacy white stuff only lasts through Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

On again off again spring

This past week has seen temps going up and down, from T-shirt afternoons to bundled-up as if ready for snow mornings.

The sun has meant I've managed to get myself outside more. I've pruned a friend's blackberries, trimmed some butterfly bushes and rhododendrons, and hacked the dead bits off of some of our roses too.

While the snowdrops are to be expected this time of year (and are out, in their usual proliferation), the daffs and tulips are up a good hand span, looking green and fresh -- a welcome sight. And the little treasure above (a cyclamen, something I generally overwater and kill) said hello to me from a friend's garden patch -- a friend who, unlike me, was a dedicated and skilled gardener.

Sadly, the meaning of the cyclamen is resignation and goodbye.

Even though that gardener friend has been gone a couple of years now, I don't suppose I'll ever be quite ready for a final goodbye -- especially when I see such lovely signs of life from her.