Wednesday, November 15, 2006

late harvest

I was eight years old the first time I smoked a cigarette, but it was not the store bought variety. We were a little more creative in the seventies.

It was the early seventies when I developed a curiosity for things that were typically taboo around home like swearing, nudey magazines, smoking, and parting my feathered hair down the middle. Afterall, Darryl, Edwin, Alvin, and Kelvin were all doing it, why shouldn't I?

Autumn was a time when young lads could easily find themselves tempted to be boys. The rotting leftover garden produce was a tempting harvest for the late evening. We would wait in the shadows alongside highway 32, waiting for unsuspecting travellers whom we could pelt with what we gleaned from our neighbour's backyards. It was always more exciting when they would screach to a halt, turn around, swerving from gravelled shoulder to gravelled shoulder, and begin the chase. We would run like the devil, thinking that we would be killed if caught. We never did end up dying.

Harvest time was usually better for hanging out late. At least it felt like it was late because it would get dark sooner. The harvest moons made the evenings seem mysterious. Late harvest was always a little better. Late harvest meant corn harvesting time. This was the time that the little tufts of hair protruding out from the tops of the ears of corn would be nice and sugary brown and thoroughly dried out. I'm not sure who was the first one to figure this out, but someone decided to take some of this prairie weed, roll it in zigzag paper, and light it up. Oh how sweet it was. We smoked a whole bunch of this stuff. We were cool. The sweet taste on the lips lingered until hours later. When it was time to go home I remember wishing that I didn't still taste it because surely mom would smell it. I can't recall that she ever did.

Last week, as I was driving home, and my hair not really parted at all any longer, I noticed a corn harvester pulling off a crop from a field to the south of the road. As I drove and looked left towards the field, I had a slight craving for that same sweet taste. I thought about my youth and retraced my curiosity.

My oldest son is eight years old. I wonder what he is curious about.

Canadian Blog Awards

Voting has begun and I have been nominated in the category for best personal blog, as has my wife at Chronicles of Blunderview. I personally think her blog is a whole lot better than mine, so vote for her. But if you still want to vote for me then just click on the maple leaf link in my sidebar and it will take you to the voting page. Just scroll down to the appropriate category.

While you're there, check out some of the other great stuff you might find. Look for the names colouring outside the lines, Homo Escapeons and Snippets from Spaceship Orion.

You are allowed one vote per day, so happy voting.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Carla Kurt

Christmas came a little early at the Hildebrand's today.

Instead of shopping for days and days with a gigantic list, my parents usually tell us to go out and buy ourselves something nice and they'll pay for it.

In February of this year, a blog aquaintance of mine via another blog aquaintance (I love how everything is connected in blogworld) posted a multimedia picture she had created. I had been watching her blog for a while but had not yet commented. I think we've all done that...lingered for a while and then when something stikes us (ouch) we finally take the step to make a comment.

When Carla posted this picture, I couldn't resist commenting. I also said that if she would ever consider selling the original, I would like her to remember me.

Last week she did just that. She was packing up several of her pieces and bringing them away to a special show. But she remembered my comment and wanted to give me a chance to buy it before she submitted it. I received a special delivery this afternoon.

I would probably do her work a great injustice if I attempted to describe it, so I will simply show you some of my favourites.

So thanks mom and dad for the gift...and thanks Carla.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Have you ever wondered at the extent to which you are willing to be taught by another human being. I mean, what is it, or what will it take for you to put your mind in the hands of another flawed human and be willing to accept, on a grand scale, their teaching.

I used to be quite enthralled and vehement in my study of the book of (eating too many funny leaves) or Revelations. I was VERY excited whenever the next book in the Left Behind series was released. I would gobble up every word in a day and a half and then settle in for another eight months of waiting for the next in the twelve book series to be released. I was quite saddend when it finally ended.

That was several years ago.

As life moves on and situations become more wonderfully diverse, minds also expand. The school of life is every bit as wonderful as eight years of formal post secondary education. I would argue that it has a lot more to offer. Especially when one puts their mind into the hands of someone honest to the realities of the world.

That may seem a bit ambiguous, and it would be correct; it is ambiguous. And it is entirely local.

I had a conversation with a relatively sane adult about the concept of truth. A statement he said has been with me for over a year; and that is, "Truth is local and (?) is universal." I can't recall what he said was universal. I'm looking forward to the next time we have dinner together so I can ask him. I want to learn from him.

This is what I think it means. People will believe what they want to believe, even if it is contrary to the stream, as long as there are enough "credible" people (i.e. people in their "locale") that believe the same thing. Or it may mean that something may be true for a time, like the Germans are consumed with world domination. That may have been true for a hundred years or more, but if you speak to a German today, that would not ring true.

I say all of this simply to bring up the issue of running out of fish. Yes, that's right. Fish. The CBC has recently issued an article online commenting that if current sea harvesting practices remain constant, scientists have warned that fish stocks throughout the world could be wiped out by 2048. We all know what that would mean for the rest of global life, don't we? So is this really the end times? Will it end this way? Consuming?

But is this really true? How do I know that this is not simply a local truth and not a (?).

I used to be consoled with the local truth that I would be rescued from one particular end result, but this one is quite different. On one hand, do I really believe it? And on the other, what does it mean for me and my four children who will be adults with young families during the crunch time of this outpouring of consequence. Makes me want to move to Wolseley, hug a tree, and protest malathion spraying. I think this sort of reaction is ingrained into all of us.

We really just don't want to be left behind.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

the gods must be crazy

It was a Saturday. 39 years ago. There was a flash in the sky and a star took its turn to fall to earth and begin a new life. The star was given to a family already filled with stars; they were in need of another one. This one added uniquely to the kaleidoscope.

The star was fed and it grew and went to several different star schools, becoming brighter as time passed. The star spent plenty of time dating other stars, all in hopes of finding the just so combination of wavelengths.

The final prism to bend the star's backlighting, was dating a dimlit from the other side of the spectrum. The interplay of light and shadow often created an unfocussed image, but with both deciding to remain on the same palette, an agreeable hue formed.

There were times when one wanted to throw the other back into the sky and shout at the darkness; asking the artist if there couldn't have been a set of instructions, or angrily asking if they really knew what they were doing, sending bright objects into such dark places.

It's been 39 years and the darkness has not won. The star has only become more radiant in spite of it. The day of your birth is a day to celebrate light.

It was a Saturday.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I promised

In early October I wrote a post about an art project I was doing with my grade 5/6 students. At the time, we were studying about the first Canadians and one particular artform: painting on cedar planks. Michele reminded me that I promised to post a group shot of the student's work when it was all done. These were "sticky tacked" to a wall just outside my classroom for the whole junior high wing to enjoy. Only one fell off the wall and split in two. Tiffany said she liked hers better that way anyways. She's such a sweet kid.

We are currently studying about Canadian Explorers. Any art ideas for me, Jacques Cartier?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

20 years ago

This is a photo of me on the trampoline at my neighbour's house when I was approximately 20 years old. That would put my current age at approximately 40...but not quite. I still have a little over a month to go.

What I like about this photo is the "cut" of my jib . I think I see a developing six pack there in amongst the soap suds. The closest thing I have to a six pack these days I have to pay for in the "specialty isle" at the local Bigway store.

Other than that, I pretty much look like a f*cking dork.

This post was inspired bt Andrea.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

morning after pill

The day after a party is usually spent playing a type of catch up. The day begins normally with me getting to look at this beautiful face and then having some really great coffee.

You feel the need to spend some extra time with the kids doing whatever they feel like doing because you mostly ignored them the night before.
There isn't much food left in the house because you virtually emptied the cupboards to prepare and extravagant spread for your good friends. The result is that all there is left to eat is tuna; and that had to be stolen from the legs of the couch and replaced with whatever was left in dry storage.
Friday night, family night, was stolen so it had to be replaced. Thousands of beads. Becomes an instant family activity.

And now we're ready for the upcoming season of Christmas parties. I like this new commitment to celebrate more often.

This day has not been hard to swallow.


You'll find it in all the magazines. Suggestions, lists, results of surveys, ancient energy techniques, and expert opinions, from both a queer or straight perspective, on what makes a home comfortable.

I have long loved to look through "home" type magazines. There is a certain appeal in seeing what people who can afford all the right stuff do with all of the right stuff. Leather couches, hand-crafted lamps, recessed lighting, real wood mouldings, and every variety of built-ins. Sometimes it's enough to make a man give in to envy and self-pity.

Most of the time, however, I use the time looking as an opportunity to be inspired. There are so many wonderful ideas out there and so many things to consider that I just would not have thought of. Some are very complex and required gobs of money or great skill. Luckily there are also those more simple ideas. The kind that we can all afford. Like the idea of inviting just the right combination of people over for a dinner. Having the lights turned down just so. A hard-drive loaded with just the right music set to continuous play. A few of everyones favourite drinks. All the kids playing outside in the snow and when they come in, their skin has that fresh smell of cold and outside.

The less I have to spend on the items on my list, the cozier I feel, 'cause there's nothing quite like the worry of a mountain of debt to rob me of that relaxed feeling. You never know if you'll have to give it all back one day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


She's done it again. My second born child has come home from school with something that stirrs a feeling within me befitting the word pride.

When I was in university studying for my education degree, there was a seemingly endless barrage of group projects to be done. In a third-year English Language Arts class I was grouped with a couple of much younger students than myself. We became good friends. Two of my favourites were Natasha and Jane. They were both very interesting in their own ways. Natasha was tall, elegant, and had the most wonderful thick dark brown hair. Jane was cute, fun and, artistic, with a sensitive edge.

During this time, Joyce and I were expecting our second child. We were not the type of parents who chose to pre-know the sex of their children, so we needed to come up with name options for both. My groupmates both said that if we had a girl, we should use their names.

We discussed several options, but when the day finally came, Jane was the obvious choice. Ten years later, our admiration of her is ever increasing. She is definately a Jane...and definately not a Natasha.