Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Recommended Read

I do a fair bit of reading, both fiction and non-fiction.  I just finished reading Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston by Ernest Callenbach.  I should have read it years ago.

It was written in the 70's and found a place amongst the green movement and the hearts of young Pacific Northwest Coast romantics of the 80's(and even now), who dream of a new nation called "Cascadia.".   The yearning to form a new country, stretching from Northern California to Alaska (essentially along the North Cascades cordilleran), is spawned from feelings of western alienation in both Canada and the USA, a common Pacific Northwest culture, and a strong regional pride.  I am one of those who found the idea appealing but I am now old enough to realize that it is a nice but unrealistic fantasy.  Now I realize that people enjoy higher standards of living by being part of a collective where they can be more productive through collaboration rather than splitting into smaller divisive self-interest groups...this includes nations. The more inclusive one is, the stronger one becomes.   An example of my viewpoint is where countries such as Greece do much better economically as part of a larger European Union than independently.   This doesn't mean I have lost my regional pride and feeling of unity and comfort while living and traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest...on the contrary, when my favorite soccer team, the Vancouver Whitecaps plays one of our Cascadia Cup rivals (Seattle or Portland), I am happy to wear the colors of our region(blue, white, & green)

Make no mistake, Ecotopia is a fantasy but it is also  a thought provoking novel which does strike a chord with regional pride and our modern eco-friendly values.  I am still not sure if Ernest Callenbach is ridiculing (or not) all  the interesting ideas he brings up in this book because he does tend to portrait them as radical and extreme.  I have chosen not to take offense if he is lampooning the sentiments that I hold dear and still recommend this book as a good read.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Times of Chaos

I haven't done a blog entry in a while because there has been so much happening in my personal life.  I'm still dealing with my Dad's alzheimer's and it looks like he's going to be placed in long term care soon.  This  places a burden on me of dealing with the family home, it's contents, and all sorts of other financial and emotional issues.  Last month I was with him when he turned in his driving license and I was very conflicted with both being proud of him and heartbroken at the same time.

My mom, who is already in a care home, had a small stroke about a month and a half ago.  It was initially missed by the nurses so it could have been much worse!  She has recovered but remains at high risk for another one.

 My inlaws, in Edmonton, are not getting younger and have continuous and ongoing health problems.  We haven't visited them in two years and will go up there this year to see if there is anything we can do to help and just spend some quality time with them.  I wish they lived closer so we could see them more often.

My beloved wife and  my rock, Teresa,  also had some ongoing health issues the past several months including some surgery.  We spent some time irrationally worried about her problem possibly being cancer although it was a low probability.  She has been cleared of that for now so we are much relieved.  I don't know how I would have handled it otherwise which wouldn't have been very helpful for her.  She has always been (sometimes fearfully) more pragmatic than I.

On our employment front, while I have been pretty stable, Teresa has decided to take on a promotion.  It means more responsibility for her so I am both worried and happy for her at the same time.  She has quite the challenge ahead of her being the chief technologist of two labs. It is very hard to supervise large numbers of people who aren't invested in their jobs(as is the case for workers in all professions and fields these days).   There is the possibility of a major strike looming in the future which could effect us financially too.

At home, we have a son struggling with some of his academics, although he is very gifted in the trades.  He's in the wrong high school to develop and nurture his interests so it has been hard on him and consequently us too.  My daughter is far away in university and we agonize with her as she struggles with day to day life and school.  She is doing very well but it's our prerogative to worry just the same.

I plan on working on four more knives and I'm waiting for the supplies to come in.  Knife making temporarily takes my mind away from some of the stressful issues I have ongoing.  It is good to have a hobby.

We are hoping to have some time to ourselves to take a few small trips this year.  I'm getting tired of keeping our plans to ourselves in fear that we may be perceived as being selfish or negligent.

...anyway, that is my update for anyone who has been curious.  Stay tuned for some more adventurous or interesting content to come.