Archive for July, 2013

July 31, 2013

Observed on the street: One for the money, two for the show

This scene caught my eye in downtown Victoria, British Columbia:


Woman's feet wearing blue suede high heels visible under the billboard on the side of a bus shelter.


Check out those blue suede heels poking out from under the bus shelter.  Classic!

July 24, 2013

Choose wisely, and choose with all your heart

I have always liked this lyric from the song “Free” by First Time Fallen:

Guaranteed to live and die,
Our choice is what we do in between.

So many of us fritter away that time in between, afraid to do or try the things that really speak to us, really matter to us.

Don’t be one of those people. What speaks to you? What matters to you? Do it. Do it now. There is absolutely no better time than right now. Trust me. Waiting until you have more money or a better job or a (different) partner or a house or more free time won’t make things any easier for you, and it won’t improve your chances of success one bit. It really won’t. Now is the time. Start. Just take one step. You can do it. You absolutely can. I believe in you.

July 23, 2013

What have you decided?

From Deepak Chopra’s novel Soulmate:

I decided . . . never to wait by the door for the world to bring me answers. [I decided] not [to] cling to the past. I got rid of expectations; I gave up foolish hopes; I lost my fear of the unknown. But none of that is extraordinary.

Or is it?

Take a look at your own life. Where do you stand?

July 19, 2013

Put some spark in your parenting!

Excellent parenting advice from children’s author Roald Dahl, as printed at the end of his book Danny the Champion of the World:

to children who have read this book

When you grow up
and have children of your own,
do please remember something important.

A stodgy parent is no fun at all!

What a child wants
is a parent who is


July 16, 2013

Surround yourself with eye-smilers

In Roald Dahl’s children’s book Danny the Champion of the World, five-year old Danny describes his father, stern and serious-looking on the outside, as an “eye-smiler” — a very desirable quality, in Danny’s opinion:

[My father] never smiled with his mouth . . . . He did it all with his eyes. . . . When he thought of something funny, his eyes would flash and, if you looked carefully, you could actually see a tiny little golden spark dancing in the middle of each eye. But the mouth never moved.

I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile because it’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself. A mouth-smile is different. You can fake a mouth-smile any time you want, simply by moving your lips. I’ve also learned that a real mouth-smile always has an eye-smile to go with it. So watch out, I say, when someone smiles at you with his mouth but his eyes stay the same. It’s sure to be a phony.

Good advice for life, I’d say. Avoid phony people and treasure those who are genuine in their interactions with others. Surround yourself with eye-smilers, and I’ll bet your eyes will smile, too.

July 14, 2013

In every crisis lies an opportunity

An encouraging quote from Canadian journalist Jan Wong:

In Chinese, the word for crisis is wei ji, composed of the character wei, which means danger, and ji, which means opportunity.

Danger and opportunity: joined hand-in-hand, one beside the other, in every crisis you face.

The next time you find yourself in a tough spot, remember that the potential for growth lies somewhere within the mess before you. Big or small, the opening is there. Look for it. Then grasp it tight and follow it home.

July 9, 2013

Why I love (northern) B.C. – Compelling highway signs

In northern British Columbia, road signs like this actually exist — and for a reason, too!


July 3, 2013

Be a gatherer (and keep climbing)

I came across these two anonymous quotes on the cover of a small notebook in my favourite local bookstore:

She climbed until she saw.

She is a gatherer: moonlight, found wishes, moments of gratitude.


July 3, 2013

Book recommendation: “Love and Friendship” by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, this ain’t. Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship and Other Early Works is a light-hearted, 120-page collection of the author’s early works — most of them short novels written in letter format. It is a gleeful romp through the literary and social mores of the time, irreverent, witty, tongue-in-cheek and immensely fun to read. Austen’s absurd plots had me laughing out loud and turning the pages eager for more. Highly recommended.

Cover of the book "Love and Friendship and Other Early Works" by Jane Austen

“Love and Friendship” by Jane Austen

July 2, 2013

How gathering mussels on a beach can fill you up inside

I like this quote from poet Susan Musgrave about the enigmatic lure of life on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), a wild and sparsely populated archipelago off the northern coast of British Columbia. Musgrave has been a part-time resident of Haida Gwaii since 1972 . Like many local residents, she built her own home, forages for food, and lives according to the rhythms of the land and sea around her. This quote appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of British Columbia Magazine.

If you spend the whole day getting mussels off the beach and you come home and cook them up with some snow peas from the garden, and you’re tired and wet, it’s more fulfilling than buying them in [a grocery chain like] Thrifty’s, because you actually had to participate in the process of your life as opposed to just being a consumer. Haida Gwaii does that for people; it allows them to go back to a time when they were more involved with their own lives, as opposed to when they were just watching or being led.

Would that we all had the opportunity to exist, at least for a time, in such an elemental state of engagement and harmony.