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Showing posts from July, 2012

training myself

I usually try to write something here on Fridays, but this past week I had houseguests and it was my pleasure to spend Friday at the beach with them instead of pecking away at my computer.  Thus, the Monday blog instead of the Friday blog. 

One of the television shows I have watched a few times this summer is Dogs in the City.  The idea is that a dog trainer named Justin roams around New York city offering his help to dog owners who are having problems with their canines.  There are interesting cases like the blind dog, the pampered dog in a pink dress, the barking dog who can't get adopted from a shelter, and lots of aggressive and socially challenged animals.  What I find most fascinating is seeing the dog trainer use a bit of magic and voila!  The dog is changed!  Okay, it's not really magic and the dog doesn't really change as much as become a better version of him or herself, but this guy has an uncanny ability to adjust a dog's behavour as well as the dynamic be…

3 funerals and a book

Dean and I attended another funeral this week.  This has been the third one in three months, all of them colleagues of his at work who succumbed to some form of cancer.  At the same time, I have been reading a book by Kathleen Norris and a few days ago, I read the chapter in which she describes the prolonged illness and subsequent death of her husband.  In addition, for the past month or so I have been reading a chapter from Job every morning.  While this may all sound a bit depressing, I don't find it so.  In fact, I find it grounding.

Though I don't believe we should be fixated on pain, suffering, and death, I do think that acknowledging it as a part of life is necessary for mental and spiritual health.  Our contemporary western culture subtly tries to remove all trace of discomfort from our everyday lives.  Pain can easily be remedied by any number of pain relievers; sickness and death for the most part are relegated to the controlled and sanitized environment of a health …

trajectories

I don't throw very well.  In fact, I don't even throw as well as a girl.  When aiming for a target straight ahead, I have been known to toss a projectile straight up, backwards, towards my feet, and in a different direction altogether.  We are attending a charity soft ball tournament tomorrow and for the safety of everyone, I hope I don't have to throw anything.

The path that an object in motion follows is called a trajectory.  It is usually fairly predictable.  If you watch a stream of water flying through the air, you can tell where it is headed.  If a hockey puck is coming at a goalie, he knows where to place his body in order to stop it.  An object in motion stays in motion, unless a force acts upon it, Newton observed.  Our lives are always moving (objects in motion, if you will); we can't stop time or the turning of the earth or the progressions of life in and around us.  In a way, all of life is ripe for transformation, but it depends on my trajectory, on what …

it's for a good cause...

As I was walking down the street in downtown Montreal this week, I was approached by quite a few people who wanted my support for some cause or another.  The Red Cross guy was friendly and direct, giving us a pleasant "Have a good day!" even though we didn't stop to talk to him.  The Animal Rights girl was a little more aggressive in her questions and implied that because we didn't stop and sign her petition, we were in favour of animal cruelty.  Getting behind a cause is a trendy thing to do and charity is tacked onto any number of activities these days: everything from wearing ribbons to running 5 kilometers to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to buying a piece of art at an auction to going to a gala.   And this trend makes me a bit sad. 
When I look at what is done in the name of charity, it seems odd to me that the actions are often very far removed from the cause they are supposedly supporting.  In fact, events are usually organised in such a way as to draw people in…