Sunday, August 26, 2012

How like a summer's day

Pandora’s Collective has done it again – pulled off an amazing day of poetry in the park. This year’s Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival was held at Vancouver’s John Hendry Park at Trout Lake, and even the weather was perfect.

There were way too many performers (three stages, simultaneous events) to list, so I offer you a photo of the highly entertaining Al Mader. Pictured with one of his personalized, sort-of-musical musical instruments (another was a piece of driftwood that looked and ‘played’ like a saxophone), he’s entertaining us with his particular variety of spoken word.

Among his most memorable pieces was “Dead Man’s Pants” – about the treasures one can find at second-hand shops. Or, the one so many of us went away humming (it shared its tune with “Old Man River”), “Old Men’s Eyebrows” which yep, as you might have guessed, just keep on growin’…

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer happens

Too many lazy days this month, too many days with inconvenient or nonexistent online access. But hey, who needs an excuse to take a holiday?

Maybe now that the temps have started to cool, I'll be back where I belong, out on the big limb...

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Infamy does not equal fame

I’m tired of news stories telling me about guys who’ve gone amok and shot up a crowd of people they don’t even know. Even more so, I’m tired of hearing their names, seeing their faces.

I can’t help but think that too many commit their horrid crimes strictly for some sick chance at instant fame.

It used to be that fame required a certain amount of talent and took a number of years to achieve. Fame sometimes came only after one’s death – Emily Dickinson, Vincent Van Gogh.

But now, in our age of instant-everything, the opportunity for immediate fame seems to lie only a few rounds of ammo away.

Today, the 67th anniversary of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, seems a good day to remember victims. Simon Partington, Sarah de Vries, Jessica Ghawi – those names are more important to remember than the names of their murderers.

Maybe if we’d stop naming the perpetrators of crimes, not splashing their images all over the Internet, tv and print publications – maybe some of them wouldn’t bother taking their pathetic shots at unearned, ugly kinds of fame. Who knows, they might even decide to do something positive.

So, why the nasturtium as image for this particular rant? Ironically, in the language of flower-meanings, the nasturtium is symbol of victory in battle. But maybe remembering victims instead of perpetrators of crime would be a kind of victory.

The reds in this plant on my deck are so doggone wildly red, and their randomness amongst the paler blooms and greenery is not unlike the negative lottery that seems to determine today’s unsuspecting victims. And its straggly legs seem a good reminder of our interconnectedness with each other. If we take the time to look for it, even the simplest, most easy-to-grow summer flower can offer a kind of lesson worth considering.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Kitchen Olympics

Aside from hefting jugs of olive oil or the occasional bag of flour or rice, there isn't any weightlifting around here. As for any running records that might be getting broken, the aisles of the supermarket provide about the only track I'm seen racing around these days.

But Friday was another marathon of berry picking. A few errant raspberries made for an interesting warm-up pick -- more walking and looking than actual plucking. Still, I ended with a few pounds of fruit, enough to fill a 3-litre ice cream bucket.

The day's real bonanza was our beautiful BC blueberries. Big and fat and sweet, they rolled off the branch, plunking into the bucket like soft machine-gun rat-a-tats.

But then, what to do with them all? This is where the Olympian efforts kick in.

Freezing on trays is easy, not strenuous at all. Plenty are now in bags in the freezer for the winter. A sweatier endeavour turned out a batch of 25 blueberry tarts -- treats to take to a Saturday night party. The ones that wouldn't fit on the plate will make a nice dessert for Sunday's supper.

As for those Olympic rings, they and more of their buddies contributed their efforts to produce 10 jars of jam -- a nifty combination of blueberries and raspberries.

No medals awarded, but plenty of satisfaction, and even some Christmas gifts now ready for December.