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On my list of authors that “I have to read one day” has been Urusula K. Le Guin. Having just finished Changing Planes, I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I found myself effortlessly carried away into the story.

Keeping with my book review style, I’m not going to go into any detail about the book’s content. I found her concept creative and her storytelling suberb. She has won herself another fan.

Of course, I’m not a great writer or critic, so if you need a more qualified endorsement, the back cover of the book has a quote from another author I admire. Marageret Atwood writes:

“All Le Guin’s stories are… metaphors for the human story; all her fantastic planets are this one. Le Guin is a quintessentially American writer, of the sort for whom the quest for the Peaceable Kingdom is ongoing.”

Title: Changing Planes
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
Illustrator: Eric Beddows
Publisher: Harcourt Inc.
Copyright: 2003
ISBN: 0-15-100971-6
Website: http://www.HarcourtBooks.com

Author’s Website: http://www.ursulakleguin.com/

 

My first post back from my sabbatical pretty much reflected my attitude after seeing some bad human behaviour.  This post, on the other hand, gives me a chance to pay tribute to some excellent human beings.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the event that allowed these people to shine was a negative one.

A week ago today, my mother became very ill.  I was with her in dowtown Toronto, just about to drive her home when she felt weak.  She sat down and I ran to get the car (to either take her home or to a hospital).  Just as I returned, she fainted, hitting her head on the pavement.  And that is when some strangers and health professionals stepped up and made a great impression on me and my mother.

Except for the doctor and a nurse at the hospital, I don’t know the names of these people, but I would like to thank them nonetheless. So a big thank you to:
– the woman who offered a granola bar when my mom was feeling weak.
– the woman who called 911 for me, allowing me to comfort my mother.
– the pysiotherapist (ex-paramedic) who remembered his paramedic training and even put his coat under my mother so she wouldn’t be cold.
– the med student who came to help (I’m sure you will be compassionate health practitioner when you graduate).
– the fire fighters who were at the scene quickly.
– the paramedics who were also at the scene quickly, who hadn’t had lunch (it was 4:30pm) and wouldn’t be able to eat for another hour.  Thank you also for your positive attitude and professionalism.
– the staff in the parking garage for their compassion.
– the hospital staff and especially the doctor and the nurses who were thorough, calm and caring.
Bless you all for what you did and who you are.  My family will always be grateful.

There were times it seemed like my mother would die that day. She is better now, although she is still a little weak. These kind of events have the power to refocus you.  It did with me — I continue to appreciate good people more and do what I can to be one of them.

Thank you for dropping by. I wish you good health and happiness.

When I decided to take a hiatus from my blog, it was primarily so I could make progress on a number of projects that I had begun but I was having trouble finishing. I made some progress on all them.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the last two and half months have been wasted dealing with someone that I shouldn’t even have to speak to.  The positive result of this misadventure is that I have become more grateful for the good things and the good people in my life.

I thought about writing about what happened, but I’ve come to the conlusion that the specifics don’t matter much.  Everyone has a story about a person, or people, that have made their lives difficult. I’m grateful that this person isn’t part of my circle of friends or family. People who have to deal with a terrible family member have it worse than me. I’m also grateful that there may be a solution soon.

Besides being thankful, I’ve become more practical when it comes to dealing with other people.  To those who have good hearts and are trying to do their best, I’ve become even nicer.  So, if you are a bank teller, a service associate, or a coworker, I’m even more likely to mention your good work to your boss or on a survey.  (I did that before, but I’m doing it even more now.)

If you are a sneaky, greedy person, I have no respect for you.  I may chose to leave you to God, Karma or whatever system will apply justice or I may excercise my right to prevent you from screwing over an innocent person.  Too many good people have been bullied for too long.  And, if you do get ahead, I have seen many instances when those victories are short-lived or balanced with negative events, so there is no need for stress.

It sounds simple, but I know it isn’t.  People are often complicated and irrational.  That’s OK.  I’ve also learned (or relearned) to be humble in my expectations.  Like I said before, I’m grateful for the good things and the good people in my life.  Thank you for stopping by.

Imagine you own a humble shop in a big city.  What product or service you sell isn’t important.  The point is that it is your shop, you run it your way and it keeps you happy.  You don’t have a lot of customers, but that’s OK.  You don’t have high expectations for your shop and your customers probably don’t have high expectations either.

One day, you can’t open the shop because you need to do some work on your car.  The next day, your sister needs a hand.  After that, there is that course you should have taken when you were much younger.  Opportunities and challenges are multiplying.  You get through a bunch of them and then head back to your shop.  And that’s when you think, “I should have put an ‘On Vacation’ sign up!”  Your palm hits your forehead, but you aren’t any smarter for it.

I hate the expression, “Do less to do more”, but that’s where I am right now. I’m not complaining, I’m fortunate to be where I am.  Until I can get through a few more projects this summer and fall, I won’t be able to operate my humble blog the way I would like.  I’m going to try to make some time to read other blogs (something I also enjoy) and I might get in a few quick posts, but nowhere near all the ideas I have.

Have a great summer (or winter) and thanks for dropping by!

I’m not a technophobe, but I have been slow to get into e-books.  No particular reason, mostly because I still find a lot to read in traditionally printed books, especially the non-fiction I have had to read recently.  So, for various reasons, my first e-book purchase was the children’s book “Doug the Dung Beetle: The Long Roll Home” by Martina Zeitler.

This book is a fun way to introduce a child to dung beetles — not in a stale, factual way, but through a story. The full colour illustrations are wonderful and the text is delightful.  While some may be squeamish when it comes to why dung beetles are called dung beetles, to most it will be interesting and to all it will be memorable!

By the way, if you want more from the talented Martina Zeitler, check out her website: http://justoutsidetheboxcartoon.com/ .

Title: Doug the Dung Beetle: The Long Roll Home
Author and Illustrator: Martina Zeitler
Imprint: Smashwords Edition
Copyright: 2013
ISBN: 9781301773398
Website:http://justoutsidetheboxcartoon.com/ .
Kobo Link: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/doug-the-dung-beetle-the-long-roll-home

PS I purchased the book through Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA  The experience was excellent. I had no problems at all; everything was simple and straightforward.  I would recommend using Kobo, too.

I drove by a school this evening and I noticed a new inspirational message.  On the flip side of a sign that mentioned parent teacher meetings and exam dates were the words, “SUCCESS IS THE ONLY OPTION.”  At first, I just sighed and wondered if there was only one option, doesn’t that mean there are no options.  And, did the person who put this message up think of these kind of things.  Then, I realized it was possible, as long as the students gave 110% of their total abilities.  Well, no need to worry about the future, everything is going to be fine.

I know it isn’t news now, but since I have been busy recently, I’m only now coming around to discussing the Scottish independence vote. Of course, since it has been two weeks no one will take me serious. Therefore, I’m not going to be serious.

Many people around the world watched the vote, but those who have their own separatist agenda were undoubtedly more interested. One such group was the Quebec Sovereigntists.

That got me thinking. Perhaps, the mistake the Scots made is that they didn’t team up with Quebec. Maybe if they joined to form their own country, Scotland-Quebec (or Quebec-Scotland, their choice of course) they could have had success. Scots and Quebecers working together isn’t that far fetched. Consider the contributions of Scottish immigrants to Quebec (see this Wikipedia article on Scots-Quebecer). Have you ever wondered why Montreal’s most famous university has a Scottish name? It is named after James McGill, who was originally from Glasgow.

If these countries do join together, I would like to propose a flag. First, consider the flag of Scotland.

1000px-Flag_of_Scotland_svg

Now, look at the flag of Quebec.

Flag_of_Quebec_svg

Finally, my design. I think you will agree that my design is very logical, combining elements of both flags.

The Flag of SQ

I will leave it to someone else to find a way to combine poutine and haggis.

(The first two flags are from Wikipedia, the last one I created using CorelDraw.)

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