Looking for a Hornet’s Nest!

Like most of you, I love to read.  A holiday break is always the perfect time to indulge in this favourite past time.  So far I’ve managed to devour 5 novels.  Novels of varying value and literary skill.  Two gems surfaced. 

TWO LEGS OF THE LITERARY JOURNEY

Stieg Larsson wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire.  They are part of the trilogy which included The Girl Who Kicked the Hornest Nest.  The books are fast paced, contain well developed characters and suprise you with new levels of intrigue every step of  the way.  They are the kind of books that you hate to finish.

Stieg Larson lived in Sweden and was the editor in chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations.  He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for the three books.  21 million of his books have been sold world-wide. 

Somewhere, out there, some one has that third book…and I want it.  It will be a hornet under my saddle until I can find it and complete the read. 

If you haven’t read them … do so.  They are graphic, disturbing at times, but they will galvanize you page by page.

A Secret Society

Throughout Haliburton County we find every shape and size of Inukshuk.  It’s something people do when they find a pile of rocks, begging to be born as a voice in the wild.  We know people have been at the location and that they have had a special, creative moment.

When you discover an Inukshuk in places other than Canada, there is a different and secret message.  For example, this assembly of broken coral, stone and shells is speaking two messages.   First, it signals to Canuks walking the sands that WE ARE HERE and WE KNOW YOU KNOW.  There is a comfort finding that there are compatriots who understand this secret message.  In the second place, it says, to those who do not know, that this “funny little creature” is simply an adornment on the beach.  Those people will look at it and wonder, “hmmmm, is there some symbolic meaning?”   Heh, heh, heh.  Isn’t it wonderful to know something that most of the world doesn’t know!   The third message is quite simply …. JANE WAS HERE.

Dangerous Downtime

Taking a holiday break is something you do at your peril.  A number of things happen (and you’re probably guilty of some of them).

Get Control.  Early into your vacation you talk about how good it is to be able to be together and do things as a couple.  This invariably leads to conversations and commitments to get life under control when you get back home.  Be careful.  Some of the passion of this discussion can lead to massive changes and revolution … cut back on work, cut back on volunteering, cut back on vehicles, cut back on … hold it!  Next thing you know we’ll be cutting back on cigars. 

How things should be.  Another danger is that, as the days go by your better half thinks the lifestyle of the rich and famous is what the norm should be.  No cooking, no cleaning, no laundry.  The worry is not that this is considered “real” but rather that the re-entry can be extremely difficult and create disharmony and outlandish expectations of your role, once back at the homestead.

You’re old.  All-inclusive locales attract an amazing cross section of people, from all over the world.  The honeymooners and the young exhuberants stand out from the crowd.  You admire their sweet faces and proportioned body forms, and all is good…until you stand in front of a mirror and realize that time is taking its toll on your physiogamy and various parts of your body.  When did that happen?   Must have been in the past few days!  I’m sure I wasn’t that deformed a few days ago. 

So, beware.  There are huge consequences of having too much time to contemplate, to savour the delights and see yourself in mirrors.  I’m thinking of wearing a shroud.

The Sun Sinks in the West

At this time of year, as we approach our shortest day of the year, the sun is much lower on the horizon.  No doubt you’ve noticed that by the shadows on your favourite spots in the garden, on the deck or on your favourite walk.

A blessed view!

A couple of evenings ago I looked out over Eagle Lake and I was mesmerized by the beauty of the Indian Summer scene.  The sun was very low on the horizon but it cast an amazing warmth over the hills on the other side of the lake.  Just another moment to be savoured and enjoyed. 

It hardly feels like November.

Today, Sophie and I took a walk up to the top of the hills above Sir Sam’s Ski area and we came across Margaret Turney and her mom walking their dogs.  It was the kind of day made for walking, for soaking in the sun and the quiet of the hills.  The only tear in the quiet was the sound of the hounds and the occasional gun report as the boys in orange kill their quarry.  Just a couple more days and then all will be serene once again.  A quiet walk is fun enough for me.

Last morning on Canoe FM tomorrow … and then a break away for a couple of weeks.  We’re quite ready for it.  Colin and Rebecca (and Liam) are house sitting and dog sitting while we are away.  We appreciate their “gift”.

A Life Lesson

We said goodbye to a dear friend on the weekend.  The hundreds of people that came to the church last Saturday was testament to the love that all these people had for this very special lady.

I’ve been thinking about how all those people fit.  I would guess that most of us performed small’ish parts in her life.  Though we have been loving friends for more than fifty years, it is true that we were but “bit” players in the life that she and her family made together.  The times that we spent together, and even when we weren’t close at hand, held special memories for us all.  We knew that.   But in spite of the fact that these gatherings were just small “parts”, there is a truth that I have discovered from the past two weeks.

The limited time that you might spend with one another is no measure of the impact that you have in another person’s life. 

Over the past ten days, within our family, we have shared the legacy that our dear friend left with us.  She was the epitome of gentle kindness, of a loving heart, of caring for others.  Her smile told it all . 

I felt the impact in these past few days and have felt a sadness that was ever so deep.  Saturday, I found myself among a throng of people who shared that same impact from her life.  We are richer for it and we will keep it with us.

Health, and who to believe?

Here in Haliburton County, a healthy lifestyle and healthy living are key components of our “society”.  We’re all concerned about taking care of ourselves, without giving up some of life’s “sweet treats”.  Not enough of us take any lesson from the old saying, “if I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself!”

 On the subject of healthy living, I came across a list of musings, somewhat tongue-in-cheek by a media writer, regarding 8 insights that our food industry would prefer you not know:

1. The nutrition information on food labels is regulated by Health Canada but other phrases like “made with real fruit” are not, and they have found there may be very little real fruit.

So, you have to ask yourself should a few dried seeds or a piece of rind from fruit actually count as containing real fruit!

2. The word’s low in fat and low in calories does not always mean healthy, in fact foods that are “low in fat” will, often, have only 11 fewer calories because the fat that was removed was replaced by sugar.

As bad as that may be, you can’t believe how bad it would have tasted if they hadn’t done that!

3. The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Health Check Label” which is found on the front of many food packages confirms the food inside can be part of a healthy diet, however, this “Health Check Label” can often appear on foods with refined flours, red meats and high levels of sodium and sugar.  All factors that can contribute to a number of diseases. 

Maybe the foundation needs to have A, B and C categories so we can tell how healthy, healthy is.

4. Canada’s Food Guide doesn’t always reflect everything we know about the problems associated with some foods, for instance, it doesn’t take into account the potential health problems that stem from consuming too much red meat.

It would seem that, since Canada is the third largest beef producer in the world, the government didn’t feel it would be a good idea to signal this to the rest of the world.

5. Some consumer advocacy defending the right of consumers to make their own food choices are actually funded by the food industry.

You may be in shock and disbelief at this news.  But, hold on.  No, of course you aren’t.   

6. Despite some efforts by the food industry with regard to how it advertises products to young people 90% of the food commercials in children’s programming still tout unhealthy products.

The other 10% touting healthy products are mostly ignored by the kids

7. Government agencies that are suppose to keep an eye on our food industry are also advocates for the interest of government and the industry itself. They’re in a constant conflict of interest which makes it very difficult for them to do their job properly….

It’s worth noting that they don’t find if difficult  when it comes to picking up a pay cheque. 

8. Studies show that when research is sponsored by a company with a financial stake in the result, the results often favour the company.

Consumer advocacy groups (often funded by the food industry) may be straining to show shock and dismay at this idea.

 What to believe?  Who to believe?  It’s difficult to know in this age of chemicalized & manufactured foodstuffs. 

Maybe, just maybe, we just need to pause and consider Mark Twain’s warning on the issue, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”