Sun Shine Blogger Award=2

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“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Thankyou sadje for nominating me for the Sunshine Bloggers Award. I have blogged previously of my feelings on this subject but I will spread the blogging sunshine by participating fully this time. Once again I fail to follow the rules as I am technologically illiterate and so unable to use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on this post. I am unable to copy any photos into my blog other than those under free photo library on WordPress. Oh well.

The Rules:
1.Thank the blogger/s who nominated you.
2.Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post and list the rules.
3.Answer the 11 questions the selector asks of you.
4.Nominate 11 bloggers you want to give the award to.
Ask the bloggers 11 questions of your own.

Questions Sadje asked:

  1. Why did you start blogging?

In March of this year I was reading a blog by Prof. Jordon Peterson and was intrigued by the WordPress icon. I had never heard of WordPress and so clicked on the icon to the WordPress site and signed up for the cheapest option on a whim. I completed the whole process including naming my blog in about 30 seconds.

2. Do your friends and family support you in blogging ( or any other passion of yours)?

Yes. They have been very supportive and follow my blogs.

3.Which is your favorite flavor, in ice cream?

Mint chocolate chip by a mile.

4. What would be your dream job?

I have been retired for 13 years mainly looking after my grandchildren full time for 11 of those years. I am actively looking for a 20 hour a week job. I wish there were more book stores around as I would probably apply for that position. I have my name in at online job sites for non profit organizations. I don’t really have a dream job. I prefer to read books and drink vodka.

5. Who is your favorite actor, or author ( if you don’t watch movies)?

My favourite actors are all in the past John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Peter O’Toole, Michael Cane. My wife and I rarely go to movies these days because there is nothing we like, so I am out of touch with modern actors. Though I am looking forward to seeing the second installment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

6. What do you do first thing after waking up ( and not what you do in your bathroom, please)?

I make myself a pot of green tea and read the news on my iPad. Reuters , BBC etc.

7. Are you a morning person?

We change over time to adapt to life. Before I was married, every Friday night I would stop at the book store and buy three books. I would get home ( I had my own apartment) put a chicken pot pie in the oven for supper and settle down with a book till about five in the morning. I would get up around noon or 1:00 p.m. When I dated my wife she used to get up at 6:00 a.m. and go to bed at 10:00 p.m. so something had to shift. I am not a morning person by design but I am usually up around 8:00 a.m.

8.What are your ambitions for the coming year?

My ambitions for the coming year is to find a job at a non profit corporation and contribute in a meaningful way. Also to try and improve upon my blogging skills.

9.How do you think the world is going to cope with environmental challenges?

I think environmental challenges are highly politicized and its all about rhetoric rather than any meaningful action. I could go into a rant about banning plastic straws, as if this will save the world, while not banning plastic water bottles or methods to reduce packaging. I believe this is called virtue signalling. I think environmental challenges will mainly be met with technological advances over time including the introduction of micro biology for waste disposal and other issues.

10. What would be your ideal holiday vacation?

Somewhere in the desert where I had a view of the night sky in all its brilliance.

11.How many of Harry Potter movies have you watched and which one is your favorite ( or books, if you haven’t seen any of the movies) ?

I have read all the Harry Potter books and seen all the movies. I do not have a favourite. My daughter who is a school teacher introduced me to Harry Potter. A while ago she asked if I would buy some books to help her in setting up a class library. She was teaching grade 6. I asked her what books children read at that age and she mentioned Harry Potter among others. Rowling had written three of the books at the time and I purchased all three in a boxed set. Out of curiosity I started reading the books before I passed them on to my daughter and was instantly hooked.

I will mention again that I am technology challenged. I copied the following eleven bloggers I nominate for the award from my followers list but have not made it user friendly. I thought an icon would appear which you could push but it didn’t happen.

http://shithappens927.wordpress.com/

http://allinadaysbreath.wordpress.com/

http://gcdiaries.wordpress.com/

Pankanzy
@pankaz91

http://shoumikpinto.wordpress.com/

throughrosetintedglasses54
@throughrosetintedglasses54

Stephanie Raffelock
@stephanie4152

rothpoetry
@rothpoetry

http://pvcann.wordpress.com/

http://amazingtangledgrace.wordpress.com/

https://driftyness.com/

If you should accept the challenge my eleven questions are:

–  What country would you like to live in

–  Do you like the turbulence of the sea or the peace of the desert

–  What is your favourite colour

–  What is your favourite TV program

–  Are you a fan of social media

–  Are you a passable cook

–  What genre of books do you read

–  Do you follow sports. If so what team.

–  Do you follow astrology. If so what sign are you.

–  What do you think needs changing in society

–  How do you see the evolutionary progress of the human race 500 hundred years from now

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Day, 2018

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“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”
― Herbert Hoover

Poetry from soldiers written in the first world war. This is the 100th anniversary of the wars end.

Leaving for the Front

Before I die I must just find this rhyme.
Be quiet, my friends, and do not waste my time.

We’re marching off in company with death.
I only wish my girl would hold her breath.

There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m glad to leave
Now mothers crying too, there’s no reprieve

And now look how the suns begun to set.
A nice mass grave is all that I shall get’

Once more the good old sunsets glowing red.
In thirteen days I’ll probably be dead.

Alfred Lichtenstein


Instinct

Before the attack, he didn’t have a clue
Though often he’d imagined it with dread-that tragic time
When he would join the fray, led there by fate and driven by
The innate enmity of man.

He doubted he’d turn out to be a hero.
He’s always been a softish sort of chap, kind natured too
But when the ordeal came it was sublime! He saw, exulting
That his hands as if in witness to his courage,
Streamed with blood.

At first pure instinct made him swell with pride, but soon
A shadow fell, eclipsing self acclaim, and all at once
A gush of shame welled up within his heart and spread
As noxious as poison through his veins. A sobbing sound
Then, like a river running red with blood , remorse
Consumed his soul

Lucien Linais


A whole night long

Crouched close
To one of our men
Butchered
With his clenched
Mouth
Grinning at the full moon
With the congestion
Of his hands
Thrust right
Into my silence
I’ve written
Letters filled with love
I have never been
So
Coupled to life

Giuseppe Ungaretti


 

 

Contrast

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“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

The bell hop placed the luggage by the bed and turned towards the door, hesitating a little in his stride. I reached for my wallet and looking inside seeing that I only had $50 bills, I thought, why not, and handed one to him. He looked at me with an ecstatic smile  and thanked me profusely. I waved my hand in a self depreciating manner and saw him to the door. I turned and surveyed the large, magnificent hotel room and sighed contentedly. I reached for the champagne bottle and poured a glass. I then transferred some of the chocolate covered strawberries onto a smaller plate and carried both the champagne and the strawberries into the bathroom. I ran the whirl pool bath to exactly the right temperature. Ten minutes later I was immersed in the bath, my body relaxed, my eyes closed, sipping champagne. This was the life.

A hand gently shook my sleeping form , ” You’ll have to move on, the store opens in half an hour”. I slid out of my sleeping bag and proceeded to roll it up and place it in my back pack. I paused for a minute in the stores entrance, sheltered from the wind and rain. Exhaling sharply I stepped out onto the sidewalk and rushed the one hundred yards towards the MacDonald’s restaurant to use their toilet facilities. After relieving my bladder, I approached the sink and splashed water on my face, rubbing vigorously. Staring at myself in the mirror I tried to plan the day. I had five dollars in my pocket to buy myself coffee and a breakfast biscuit. I could linger over that for a couple of hours and then I’ll head over to St. Mathews for lunch, and the city shelter for supper. I just had to struggle through the day seeing to the needs of my body knowing that twelve hours from now, when I slept, I would once again be enfolded in luxury.

I’ve been reading about the tent cities in California and watching some videos on YouTube. I couldn’t help making the contrast between the $millions made by the Hollywood film stars and the lives of these tent people.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the migrant caravans moving through Mexico towards the U.S. wondering about the motivations and dreams of these migrants. The conditions they are enduring and the logistics of sleeping, eating and waste disposal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saints and Solzhenitsyn

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“[Saint Anthony] said, in his solitude, he sometimes encountered devils who looked like angels, and other times he found angels who looked like devils. When asked how he could tell the difference, the saint said that you can only tell which is which by the way you feel after the creature has left your company.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I have just celebrated my birthday, November 1, All Saints day. Shortly after awakening I gave my halo a quick polish, it sometimes gets a little tarnished as I wrestle with life’s problems. Growing up November 1 was a good day to be born, as it was a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics and Catholic schools were closed. I was guaranteed a holiday from school on my birthday, what can be better than that. So I’ve now turned 71 and still trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I envy people who can plan there life, I am not one of them. I’ve known a few saints in my life and have found them to be unremarkable people. They just go about their daily life, offering an encouraging word when needed, giving a smile to brighten someone’s day and lending a listening ear to someone in pain. May we all aspire to become saints.

 

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“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I’ve read many articles and watched YouTube videos on the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn but never actually read the book. So as a birthday present to myself I purchased the abridged version, with a forward by Jordan Peterson, that was released November 1, 2018. The original version was a three volume text written between 1958-1968 and published in 1973. The three volume text has around 1,600 pages compared to 500 pages for the abridged version. Gulag is the term given to the soviet forced labour camp system created under Lenin ,reaching its peak during Stalin’s rule from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. I was reading reviews of the book  and would like to share one of my favourites as follows:

I’ve worked at a lot of jobs over the course of my short life. Everything from bookstore clerk, supermarket stock room, painting designs on plates, etc. Many of these jobs have brought me into contact with the public-at-large. I’ve heard a lot of complaints over the years–All of these are delivered in a tone of incredulous indignation. As if I’d failed these people on some fundamental, spiritual level and they are appalled, just appalled, that there is no Twining’s tea on the shelves. Well, whenever I’ve encountered one of these random bastards I’ve always wished I had a copy of this, the unabridged version of Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece, handy, so I could bash them over the head with it while screaming ‘You think you’ve got problems!? Try a week in the isolation chamber covered in your own excrement! Try being randomly shot just to fill someone’s quota!’ People think they have problems. People think they know suffering. People don’t know jack.

Lets try to hang onto freedom and democracy for as long as we can. The alternative won’t be pretty.

 

 

 

 

Trying to let go.

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“I don’t suppose you have to believe in ghosts to know that we are all haunted, all of us, by things we can see and feel and guess at, and many more things that we can’t.”
― Beth Gutcheon, More Than You Know

It’s three in the morning and I’m restless, my mind going over the previous days blog. It’s done and published, I tell myself, don’t keep tormenting yourself, let it go and move on.  I turn and lay on my back, in the corpse position, willing my mind to relax. I try to project my mind outside of my body, to observe myself laying in bed. I’m a big believer in the conscious mind being separate from the body and on occasion I’ve had fleeting images of my consciousness speeding through the universe. I slow my breathing, concentrate on my breath and try to capture an image of my body. I’m not sure how long I was in this entranced state but I was suddenly aware that I was outside of myself. My conscious mind was hovering about two feet atop my body, outside of space and time. I viewed my corporal form laying there, arms folded on chest, breathing slowly and deeply. It was a fascinating experience, and I tried to become aware of existence outside of my body, but my soul seemed to be attached to the confines of my body, not wanting to leave. After an indeterminate time I thought, well that was different, and decided it was time to re-enter my body.

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“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
― Mark Twain

Try as I might I could not will myself back into my body. I felt like an observer, like a botanist studying an insect, strangely curious about this new discovery.

I saw my wife awake and leave the bedroom.

I saw my wife return and give my shoulder a shake.

I saw ambulance men putting me on a stretcher.

I saw myself laying in a hospital bed.

I heard the doctor say, ” There’s nothing physically wrong, he seems to be in a catatonic state, he may or may not awake”

I heard my wife say ” He believes in a natural death. He made me promise that he wouldn’t be hooked to life support to prolong his life”.

I heard the doctor say ” we can feed him intravenously, and take care of toilet issues, and the rest is up to him”

I heard my wife say ” doctor it’s been four years and he’s still in a coma, I think it’s time to let go”.

I witnessed my embalming.

I witnessed myself being placed in the coffin.

I witnessed the kissing of my lifeless form.

I witnessed my coffin being lowered into the earth.

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“For the first forty days a child
is given dreams of previous lives. Journeys, winding paths,
a hundred small lessons
and then the past is erased.”
― Michael Ondaatje, Handwriting

I stared at the body before me, buried six feet under the ground. Just a shell remained.  No life. No soul……. and yet I could not let go. My body started to decay before my eyes until only the bones remained. I felt a stirring, a restless pull. Time to leave, time to move on. I reluctantly let go of my attachment to my body and became aware. I was encompassed by light. I looked and observed a round,pulsating energy mass and knew that I was viewing the universe, of all that had been, and will be. My soul existed outside of space and time and so I was aware of all time from beginning to end.

I was then aware of another pull on my soul. The universe was attracting me like a giant magnet pulling me into its embrace. I rushed by colliding stars and whirling galaxies. I felt myself in the grip of a tornado like current carrying me violently forward……and then there was calm. I was happy, I was content. My soul echoed to the beat of a steady ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum. After a while I was again violently pushed forward down a dark tunnel, struggling to reach the light at the end. I finally emerged into the light, exhausted, and felt a hand hitting my back. I gave a wailing cry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……. and the award goes to…..

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“If your dream is all about winning an ‪#oscar‬, a ‪‎grammy‬, an ‪#emmy‬, or another award, give up and quit now!
Why dream for accolades, awards, recognition or celebrity status?
Dream to learn, achieve, grow, sustain and succeed.
You will be a happier person in life over trying to define your success or your dream by what others think of you.”
― Loren Weisman

Crushedcaramel  mentioned me on her site as one of eleven bloggers she has nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Having a curious nature, I typed the name of this award into the search engine, and the only results that came up were the sites of other bloggers that had been nominated. There was no origin story or actual winners of this award, although there were some variations on the number of bloggers to be nominated. So I will assume that it was originated by a creative blogger (or WordPress) as a means of bloggers getting to know each other. Which is a good thing.

Perhaps it’s my conservative nature but I see a nomination process that is not targeted towards an actual winner as a phantom process.

I feel like a ghost, where my spirit is attached to this earthly plane and unable to move on until I am freed by a final vote for a winner for this award.

I feel like I am in purgatory, existing with years of torment and suffering, not knowing who actually won the award and so being omitted from bloggers heaven.

I feel like the Phantom of the Oscar, to sit eternally in my seat while the celebrity reads from the card and repeats over and over ” and the winner is ” , but no final name is spoken.

In order to exorcise these demons and as a courtesy to crushedcaramel, I will just answer the questions she has set for her nominees. I will not nominate eleven other bloggers as I do not wish them to share my haunted feeling .

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“Linguists tell us that we actually have not had a thought until we can articulate it through in writing. Therefore, the more we put our thoughts down on paper, the more firmly they are formed in our minds.”
― Jonathan Hayashi

  1. DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED ABOUT BLOGGING? WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED?

I’ve only been at this since March and so far have never been discouraged. Sometimes I have an idea, sit down to type on my laptop, and then my fingers fly in a different direction on the keyboard and something unexpected develops. Other times I have no idea of what I am going to write and something just appears. It’s magic once you actually sit down and decide to write.

2.    WHAT IS YOUR OWN FAVOURITE POST FROM YOUR SITE OR THE ONE YOU WOULD RECOMMEND READERS CHECK OUT FIRST?

I have no favourites.

3.    DO YOU ENJOY CAMPING OUT IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS?

I used to, but those days are gone. I was in the boy scout movement for six years where I did a lot of camping and overnight hikes. When my children were young we enjoyed camping. I also took part in ” an all boys” camping weekend once a year consisting of family members.

4.     DO YOU ENJOY PLAYING OR WATCHING SPORT? IF SO, WHICH SPORTS?

My passion is soccer ( I still hate using that word, I prefer football). I watch the English Premier League and am a life long supporter of Tottenham Hotspur. I stopped playing at 50 because of back problems. I made my come back at 69, with indoor 6 a side co-ed soccer, but I was playing mostly against people under 30 and so gave up after a couple of months. I then tried over 55 walking soccer. We started a club with a pool of about 14 players, who after an initial spell of getting fit and rediscovering lost skills, ignored the basic rules and moved forward at the speed we chose. Over time we had more people join who complained that we were running. These new entrants were more interested in using the venue for social chats, rather than playing the game. Oh well. Nothing lasts forever and I am still very competitive.

5.         DO YOUR FRIENDS KNOW ABOUT YOUR BLOG SITE?

Yes. I post on Facebook and I used to post on Twitter before I left that particular medium. I’ve had some family members say that they have read my blogs out at the supper table at family gatherings. My grandkids get a real kick out of reading them, which leads to discussions on my past and the views I hold.

6.        WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MEMORY OR EXPERIENCE?

I’ve had many embarrassing moments. I remember when I first came to Canada, and for my first job I had to take a regional bus into Montreal and then change to a city bus. While standing at the city bus stop in the pouring rain I decided to take a taxi. A car with a fare meter on its dashboard stopped by the bus stop and I opened the door, got in and directed 410 St. Nicholas Street. The driver just stared at me and said “It so happens that I’m going that way if you need a ride”. He was not a taxi he had some device on his dashboard but it wasn’t a fare meter. I apologized and said I would get out. But he replied that he didn’t mind driving me.

7.    WHICH SONGS WOULD YOU SING IN THE SHOWER WHEN YOU THINK NOBODY CAN HEAR?

That’s an easy one. I have a terrible voice, I don’t sing out loud. All the music goes on in my head.

8.        IS ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR FAMILY A BLOGGER OR VLOGGER?

No. Unfortunately.

9.     IF YOU WERE BEING A TOURIST FOR A DAY IN LONDON – WHERE WOULD YOU VISIT?

Speakers corner, Hyde Park. Just to get a flavour of the nature of London to-day. I used to love going there when I lived in London. Speakers would just turn up with a newspaper in their hands and starting reading the headlines and shouting their opinions. I also went to the speakers corner at Tower Hill, though I don’t know if it’s still there.

10.     COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM CAKE?

A chocolate cake with cherry syrup and chocolate drizzle throughout heaped with dark chocolate shavings. Like a black forest cake, but richer and without the cream. I love dark chocolate. I have two squares of 90% Lindt dark chocolate after lunch every day.

11.       DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TV DETECTIVE?

Helen Mirren as Inspector Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect.

Well, this is my half hearted attempt at responding to the Sunshine Bloggers Award. Thanks for the nomination crushedcaramel.

 

 

Moving Mountains

 

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“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Soren Kierkegaard

Come down from your lofty peak and walk a while amongst us simple humans. Try a little empathy, withhold your judgement for a while. I know that I am not perfect but I do try. One step forward and two steps back to-day. But perhaps tomorrow it will be two steps forward and one step back. Though I arrive at the same place as two days ago, the momentum is forward.

Don’t isolate yourself from people atop your mountain of certainty and vanity. You who know what is in everyone’s best interests. Over the years you have added layers of pride,smugness, sarcasm, gossip and built your mountain. It’s time to move that mountain. To remove all the layers you have so painstakingly built to defend your ego in this world.  Cast off your mask and let your true self come forward. Embrace it and show it to the world. No more hiding in the shadows. No more pronouncements from high on your mountain. Move that mountain.

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So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact.

And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)

Kid, you’ll move mountains.

Dr. Seuss

I sat down to write something completely different but this is what came out of my mind. I’m not sure but I think it could be in response to social media. Most social media types seem to have a view and be an expert on everything under the sun. So quick to condemn and judge other peoples opinions. The trial and persecution of people through social media is also a little disheartening.

Cannabis, weed, pot has become legal in Canada today. All of a sudden, the sky is bluer, the grass (no pun intended) is greener, the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing, butterflies are drifting lazily along on the mild Autumn air and there’s a smile on everyone’s face.