Friday, March 30, 2018

Getting ready for Easter

Once upon a time I would have spent too much of this afternoon on my knees, singing sad songs in a choir and overall, feeling guilty and shamed. Why? Because today is Good Friday.

I no longer hold to those traditions, although there are many who still commemorate those origins of the day, including some who take the observance to extremes, allowing themselves to be crucified. That's not for me. The breast-beating I did as a child managed to thump any such self-sacrificing notions out of my system.

Yet despite the baggage linked to this weekend (which I remember and probably still cart around), I've learned to make more positive traditions to mark the occasion.

I still colour eggs because I like how pretty they look (besides, who can say no to egg salad sandwiches or devilled eggs?). I hard-boiled a batch this morning and plan to dye them tonight. And I still enjoy finding ways of sharing them, along with chocolates and jelly beans.

One tradition that came as a surprise to me this year -- and for all I know this has been going on for decades -- was a line-up at a nearby mall where kids were getting their picture taken, sitting on the lap of the Easter Bunny. Was this like going to Santa, where children are expected to tell the list of goods they expect to receive on Christmas? I wasn't sure, and only ventured close enough to snap a photo of the creature (whom I found somewhat scary-looking -- "Bunny, please don't show me a mouthful of big teeth.").

Later, I learned that this same Bunny (or at least an underachieving colleague from Alberta wearing an identical suit) was shilling this same gig at at least one other other site, specifically, the famous West Edmonton Mall.

And no, I didn't line up to tell him (her?) what I wanted, as I've already got enough of a treat in store for that day. For the first time in over half a century, my birthday arrives (along with the Bunny?) on Easter. And no, I'm not foolin'.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fleeting glimpses

Where the Vernal Equinox was yesterday, today is the first full day of spring -- and it feels like it. It's bright and sunny, and there's a light breeze that carries the sweet scent of blossoms. It's even quite warm outside (as long as you're in the sun).

But it's a day that brings a small chill along with it, as it marks one month since the death of a friend who lived in the neighbourhood.

She'd always seemed frail, but maybe in the way that thin, pretty blonde women can appear to me. She embodied that lovely fragility we once associated with old-fashioned china dolls.

There hasn't been a service -- not even an announcement -- so I suppose I have some unresolved feelings surrounding her death, especially as I was the one on the phone with the 9-1-1 person.

I probably won't forget what it was like to be standing in the road when the firetruck, lights flashing,  sirened its way to a stop in front of me. Nor will I forget the confusion of several conversations going on at once, as the struggle to get her to treatment went on.

There's more that I remember, but that's something I still need to hold in my heart, a heart that still gets a knot when I think of her. It feels something like that heart of knotty tree roots enclosing the batch of crocuses in the photo.

Someone too young, someone to remember.

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.