Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Long time comin'

Finally. After waiting for too many years -- at least since 1972, when the LeDain Commission recommended it -- marijuana has been made legal in Canada.

The move is certainly not without problems, and is already starting to create some new ones without even trying. Distribution is one of the biggest, especially here in BC where there is currently only one official store. It's in Kamloops, about a four-hour drive for most of us who live in the Lower Mainland. The government has established an online supply source, though I don't understand how deliveries will be made, as the government liquor stores don't deliver, but clearly this 'store' must.

Differences in how the law is being interpreted in various provinces present yet another set of complications. While most of us will be allowed to grow four plants per household (poor timing though, as this isn't exactly the season for throwing seeds into the ground), some provinces have banned the practice.

So even though I'm not about to run out into the street to smoke a big fat joint, I am going to breathe more easily, firm in the belief that as a society we've taken a step towards becoming more grown-up and civilized. As for what comes next, we'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Road from Paris to London

...But maybe not the road you were expecting.

We've been spending the last while tucked away on the family farm, nestled along the highway between Paris and London, but it's Paris and London, Ontario.

A great place for observing Thanksgiving, especially with so many family members coming from near and far to celebrate. And all of it has been enhanced by the brights colours coming out in the trees and the wonderfully blue skies.

Last night things took a bit of change, as it was the book launch for my newest book of poems, Practical Anxiety.

The Hamilton bookstore where the event took place, Epic Books, proved to indeed be epic. Friends and family filled the place, along with a number of new friends. We even had a musician to set the mood for listening.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

A positive approach

For all the grumbling people often do about transit, ours seems to be doing a few things right. Considering the infrastructure (or lack thereof) they're up against, they've done a good job of getting me where I need to be, without my needing to fight traffic to get there.

Lately, our local transit provider, Translink, has taken some interesting steps towards making the ride even smoother for riders.

Getting people to behave better on trains and buses has come a long way. For a number of weeks we've had Seth Rogen as the voice of reminders (along the lines of the one in the photo above) to help people remember their manners. His 'presence' even gave me an easy option for dealing with a guy whose backpack was taking up the seat next to him, when the train was standing-room only. All I had to do was smile and say, "Seth Rogen says, carry your pack on your lap so others can sit." No fuss, no crabbiness -- and it worked!

This week, Translink is celebrating "I Love Transit" Week. As part of this, kids in Grades K-12 ride free through Friday, October 5th. And they're even having a colouring contest -- for 'kids' of all ages. One category is for kids 15 and under, with another for those of us 16 and over. The prizes -- what else, transit passes.

PS The images used in the campaign program are based on art created by students at Vancouver's Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECCAD). Credit for the one at the top goes to S.Wilson.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Shifting gears

Yesterday was one of the most beautiful days ever. The sky was blue, the temp was warm enough for shorts and T-shirts, the breeze was gentle and sweet. Only the long shadows served to remind that the days are getting shorter.

Good thing I got out and into it, as today's skies have taken on a change.

Cloudy and grey, with occasional gusts of wind, it seems as if the weather is telling us it's time for a new month, one that's well and truly autumn.

The dry bits of keys from the cedar trees have even started to fall, the equivalent here, I suppose, of leaves to be raked. For now, they can stay a while, golden in the yard.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Getting set for this year's equinox

Seeing the moon half full (I'd never think of it as half-empty) the other night reminded me it's just about time for this autumn's equinox, the date when both sides of our twenty-four hours are equal.

I'd somehow thought it would be September 21st, but no -- it's the 22nd, and apparently nearly always is. Readers of this blog will know that I nearly always observe the solstices and equinoxes, with small, personal rituals. Mine aren't necessarily the usual ones people follow; most of mine have to do with various sorts of maintenance.

One that goes along with the autumn one is the pruning of the hibiscus trees which have grown too big to come back into the house, where they'll be safe from the weather over the winter. That pile of greenery above is from just one of them, and now that it's inside I can see that I still need to do some more trimming.

We also had the arborist come in to prune some of our big trees -- the spruce and the cedars out front, the ones that help us pretend we live in a little forest.

Weirdly, I suppose, the equinoxes (and solstices) are also when I change the filters on our water dispenser. Reminders from the sun seem less disciplinarian than other kinds might feel.

And maybe the strangest one of all is the fact that even I had a 'pruning' of sorts with a comfy new haircut that feels fresh and ready for a season of new beginnings.

So, maybe a little bit early, but happy autumn. May it bring a harvest of happy things.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A day for brown

With all the worries about Hurricane Florence and impending power outages, I came across the word 'brownout' -- a term describing those moments when the power fades, sometimes going in and out, a sign that's often a precursor to a true power-out event -- vaguely the opposite of a power surge.

Yet with all the current worries about the storm, which I suspect will be ongoing, I managed to find a small piece of good news for today. Who would have thought there'd be a day to celebrate the glories of chocolate! But yes,there is such a date and this is it. If you want to learn more about chocolate, the Smithsonian takes this treat seriously enough to have an extensive article on its history.

Hoping you'll find a way to taste some today, though probably any other day it will be just as yummy. (Oh, and as for those googly eyes, they're a pair of early Halloween treats looking up at you.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The scents of summer's end

There's something special about the light this time of year -- slanting and more golden than at summer's peak. Along with that light comes the many scents that signal the changing season.

The scent of apples and other fruits ready for harvest (all those juicy prunes, the last of the berries) tells me it's September.

Technically, I guess the tomatoes are actually fruits, even though I still think of them as vegetables and oh my, they have a scent that's all their own (a little bit metallic, strongly 'green' -- so hard to describe).

The other time of year when I'm most attentive to scent are those early mornings in June. There's a freshness in the air that's different from any other time of year (at least in my mind).

Considering these two seasons when my nose tells me so much makes me realize these scents might all be related to school -- the one when school is going back and the other when freedom is imminent.

And this now leads me to wonder where 'an apple for the teacher' got its beginnings. And regardless of that, I'm heading outside to pick some more berries and choose a few of those reddening tomatoes for tonight's salad.