Monday, March 28, 2011

A beautiful universe

Despite what you might think from the title of this blog, I am not a religious person.Apart from anything else, it always amuses me when people say that the only possible explanation for our amazing universe is to invoke an almighty creator. To me, that explains nothing. All it does is push the whole problem of existence up to a new level.

Nonetheless, I am repeatedly awed and blessed that we live in such a stunningly beautiful universe.

Picture from NASA's "Astronomy picture of the day"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Springtime again

Sitting in warm sunshine in the seclusion of my front yard, with a book to read. It feels so long since I've felt that kind of warmth on my skin, but so well worth the wait.

Friday, March 25, 2011


This has always been my favourite time of year, when the days lengthen and the air warms. These days it is blessed by the abundance of cherry and plum blossom gracing the streets and parks of Victoria and surroundings.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The edge of civilisation

We live in a very civilised part of the world. But, as I was reminded last weekend when we went camping to celebrate my son's birthday (his idea!), we can very quickly drive to small communities living right on the edge of civilisation. There, you can get a small sense of what the world used to be like before people came along. I find it a humbling experience to see just how thin is this veneer that we call "civilisation".

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thoughts of those less fortunate

This could easily come across as rather bandwagoney, but it's not meant to be.

The news right now is full of the devastation in Japan. Before that, it was New Zealand. Before that, you can count back a series of earthquakes, mudslides, floods, name it.

The world is a dangerous place. Security is an illusion. The Universe doesn't owe you a living and disaster can strike at any moment. For many people it already has.

While your thoughts and prayers go to those who are suffering today, be thankful for every day that passes without the hand of Fate pointing it's scrawny finger at you.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Another reminder from the blogoverse. Someone I follow posted an honest account of her struggles with her writing at the moment. She described writing as a gift from God. Something that needs to be expressed. To abandon it, to doubt it, would be stupidity.

Now, the bit about God I will leave for others to believe in, but the bit about gifts struck home.

I am also struggling with writing right now, after a brief explosion of creativity that it's become an effort to sustain. But she's right. What I've unearthed is indeed a gift, and one which I should feel blessed with. And, when I think about it, I have many other gifts too, that I use to greater or lesser effect. Rather than complain about the effort, I should be overwhelmingly thankful that I can write, and paint, and build outdoor play equipment for the kids, and cook, and many more things.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The blogging community

I have another blog, where I talk (amongst other things) about my life as a wannabe science-fiction writer. Yesterday I posted a mild lament about the looming takeover of e-books threatening my dream of seeing my work in print, and being able to hold a real copy of my own book.

I got such an amazingly positive and supportive response from blogger friends in the writing world. I am touched by the spirit and community of this ethereal world.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A quiet life

I just read a post by a fellow blogger who I feel I've got to know quite well over the past year or so. In this post he describes an incident many years ago growing up in a rough part of New York. At the age of twelve, his life was very seriously threatened when he and his brother went to the public pool.

Realising the conditions that many people are compelled to regard as "normal", I am unbelievably thankful that I was able to grow up in a safe environment, and that we have such a safe and welcoming place to bring up our children.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Family days

I missed a day yesterday. First time since starting this blog...ooh, let's see...all of two weeks ago :)

But this weekend we had no Girl Guide or Cub Scout commitments. No camps, no sleepovers, no fundraisers.

It was a bit of a family day yesterday. Sitting on the front steps in the sunshine, with my wife, drinking coffee. A family swim at the local rec. centre, playing "tag" in the lazy river. Playing daft board games with the kids after dinner.

I'm lucky to have a family to share these things with.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Service with a smile

When I do the grocery shopping each week, I am blessed that the friendly staff at the local Thrifty Foods make it such an enjoyable experience.

I've experienced many years of supermarket hell, with overcrowded aisles, long lines at the checkout, and staff who acknowledge you only enough to take your money while they chatter to each other about how drunk they got last night and who shagged who.

But the last few years have been a consistently pleasant experience. The lady today surprised me by suddenly saying "Thank you for making my day."

Why? She'd just scanned a box of Nanaimo bars, and it reminded her how she once asked her grandmother, "Have you ever tried Nanaimo bars?"

"Yes," her grandmother replied. "All of them!"

She lived in Nanaimo at the time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

I heard today that we finally got the go-ahead to recruit a new member of staff to help out a particularly stretched team. This is just one of many that we should have had on our payroll before the financial crunch wiped out all the vacancies we were in the process of filling, but it is a start.

Common sense is starting to shine through. Thank goodness for that.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A quiet home

When the frantic bustle of another work day is over, and the runs to music (my son) and Sparks (my wife is a leader, daughter a helper) are over, dinner cooked and eaten, I am so thankful to be able to curl up for an hour of "down time" and let the cares of the day wash away.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Even when things are hectic to the point of insanity at work, I can still rely on my colleagues to bring a dose of proportion to the day. Someone this morning showed me a series of slides that proposed an important principle...

10% of life is made up of what happens to you … 
90% of life is decided by how you react …

The slides walked through an example of how a tiny accident at the breakfast table could totally ruin your day.

Or not.

The accident (the 10%) was outside your control. The rest was determined by how you chose to react.

The scenario was totally believable. I could see myself in it. Especially when I'm as tired and pressured as I am at the moment, which is what made it so powerful for me. The point is that how you react is a choice.

Thank you for reminding me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our daily bread

Every weekend I make a batch of bread to see us through the week. Thanks goodness for breadmakers. Whatever we don't need right away goes into the freezer as soon as it's cool, so when it comes out it's the next best thing to fresh. There is just no comparison with your average shop-bought loaf.

I've got used to taking it for granted now, but for some reason, cutting into a new loaf this morning, I thought how lucky I am that I can do this.