Thursday, December 31, 2015

Water over the dam

Year's end and I think about events of the year, accomplishments, failures, happy times, family, and friends. I guess it's all considered just so much 'water over the dam', a phrase that apparently means the same thing as 'water under the bridge'. Though in this case, it's water over the falls.

Of all the definitions, Google's is the closest to what I am thinking about tonight. They suggest that those past events going over the dam are simply that -- the past -- so, "consequently, no longer regarded as important or as a source of concern."

But concern is exactly what I am feeling tonight -- that unfinished tasks from 2015 might be abandoned if we don't keep them in focus.

I have a list of them, and it's hard to arrange them into any firm priority. So, randomly, a year-end list of questions and causes that need some attention.

Why do the BC Ferries charge a reservation fee? The Washington State Ferries reservation only costs if you fail to show up when you said you would. Face it, it's a convenience for the company to know how many to expect. Maybe people showing up should pay an inconvenience fee for throwing out the count. And really, a higher rate if it's a last-minute reservation? I am shaking my head.

How does Christy Clark get away with acting so bossy? Does she think she is the Queen? Why did BC's taxpayers have to pay administration costs for a referendum with results that were a foregone conclusion (despite the $7 million campaign put up by the 'Yes' side). Why doesn't she have to have a referendum before she can commit ten billion (plus, you can bet) dollars of our money on the Site C Project. And how can she declare BC as not willing to participate in the strategy proposed towards repairing the Senate -- I'd think, where that's a federal proposal, she wouldn't have the authority to make such a decision.

But my last question is the saddest of all -- and the most important. Why has Rodney Watson still not been accepted as a refugee? He's been living in sanctuary since 2009 -- for a crime that should not have been considered a crime: leaving the US Army because he didn't want to kill. I don't want him going over the waterfall. I want our new federal government to recognize him as a seeker of refuge in Canada, to renew the promise of what our country stands for.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Once upon a time, I believed

Once upon a time, Christmas Eve was the day my dad would go shopping for gifts. My sister and I often got to go along on these last-minute excursions. It was lucky for us, as we usually wouldn't have bought anything for our mother by then either.

He'd give us each a dollar. That narrowed it down, didn't it.

One of the best-ever (I thought) gifts was a cookbook I bought her -- and yes, that faded brown thing in the photo is it. I was surprised, and a little bit hurt, that she didn't seem very thrilled by it.

Looking back, I can see that she might have taken it as an insult to her cooking. That wasn't the intent, though I suppose she could have used some help in that department, or at least encouragement. Weirdly, I still make several recipes from it -- it's the best for basics like pancakes or biscuits -- and the best-ever barbecue ribs come from it as well.

But the thing was, it fit the bill -- literally -- as it cost a dollar.

A baster is there too (not that it's the original) as it was another one of my 'inspired' one-dollar gifts for her. And this probably came about because one of my dad's favourite stores for his last-minute shopping was not a dress shop or a jeweller's, but a place he was likely more familiar with, the hardware store. There was something about going there with him that will always make visiting a hardware store feel a lot like Christmas to me.

Best cheers, however you celebrate, to all!

Monday, December 21, 2015

New light

Contrary to what a number of sources are reporting, this is the day when Solstice occurs in most of North America. Quick reads may suggest otherwise, as most of them seem to be citing the 22nd without noting that as a Greenwich Mean Time (okay, UTC) -- in other words, when it occurs in western Europe.

Whenever it might occur, the light won't be sudden, as we gain only seconds each day as the earth turns us toward the next seasonal marker, the Vernal or Spring Equinox.

Still, the change in light will start being noticeable soon, for sure by the time the new year arrives.

But even beyond the hours and minutes of sunlight, I am grateful for the other new light that feels as though it's shining on us -- the light of welcome being shone on the refugees arriving from Sudan, the light being cast on the Inquiry that will finally be held for Canada's lost and missing women, the light of scientific knowledge being uncloistered.

Let it shine!

Friday, December 11, 2015


It's still ten days until the arrival of Solstice, but this morning's sky looked wintry. Not in a bad way, it just had that look that comes with this time of year. As if it were quietly waiting -- maybe for Santa. 

The celebrations have begun too. Last night was the annual gathering of BC Publishers, always a good party, with tons of great food and friends. After that, a fundraiser event with poets reading from the fine new anthology, The Revolving City. More good friends, more good times. 

And I suppose the calendar, along with all this celebrating also means it’s just about time for the baking and treat-making to begin in earnest here at home. So, what am I doing, typing here in my room?!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

This was the night

... when we used to hang our stockings by the fireplace, as tomorrow is the feast of Saint Nicholas. I'm pretty sure you were actually supposed to put out shoes rather than stockings and I'm pretty sure that might have been what we did the first time or two. But somehow that tradition didn't last, and we switched to the more conventional stocking.

If memory serves, I was the one who came up with the suggestion for our family to do this -- mainly because I felt my sisters and I were getting ripped off (as if, eh). You see, our parents didn't believe in Christmas stockings. A hideous thought, I realize, and one that must contribute to who I am today.

Anyway, I read a story in some book about how Dutch kids put their shoes out and had them filled with gifts and candies and thought that we deserved to do the same. Maybe it's just because I've always had big feet that this tradition didn't last long, as we were persuaded to use the more modest stocking from the mantle, a tradition we still follow today.

And I realize the stocking in the image isn't the kind that Santa or St,Nicholas or anyone else fills, but it's the prettiest stocking I own, as it was a gift from my loving sister, Lisa.

Happy Feast of St.Nicholas!