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white snow on rooftops
red tulips on southern slopes
oh, #MyCanada

❄️

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Adulting is Hard

Brave Sir Tintin (1999–2017)

Tintin was an excellent cat. Orphaned on the frigid November streets of Ottawa at the tender age of six months, he nevertheless established a loving home complete with devoted human servants. Well-traveled and handsome to a fault, he remained a homebody who adored a good cuddle by the fire. He was sprightly enough to catch mice despite having no front claws, but never missed an opportunity to lounge in a sunbeam.

Tintin passed away following complications from lymphoma which, according to his vet, would have felled a lesser cat long ago.

He was loved, and he will be sorely missed.

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Because we all deserve healthcare. Check out HealthCare.gov for more information on 2017 open enrollment. Even better, eight out of ten people who enroll through HC.gov get financial help!

The Affordable Care Act protects people with pre-existing conditions, covers adult children on their parents’ plans until age 26, provides access to preventative care coverage, and more. It covers aging joints and catastrophic illness if you’re older, and if you’re young an healthy and devil-may-care, well… Obamacare would also cover you if you’re just riding your motorcycle down the street and get T-boned by a car. Just saying:p

Because a great country protects its people.

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Winter Has Arrived

So, this is what my Saturday looked like…saturday

…and this was Sunday:

sunday

That optimistic little violet is now located under several centimeters of snow. Winter has arrived!

What good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?
― John Steinbeck

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Time to write the next chapter. Vote!

“Chapter 45” by Drew Davies

“Chapter 45” by Drew Davies

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My goal for today was to write an inspiring piece about the democratic process and the powerful privilege U.S. citizens have to, in the face of most of human history, be governed by the people, for the people.

No, it’s not perfect (“more perfect union” remember?:). And I’m so ready for this election to be over. I spend a significant amount of my day-job online, and the onslaught of election-related crazy takes a toll. It’s also cutting into my writing time (and I’m not the only one).

So, no deep-think piece about the historical moment in which we find ourselves, or my hope that we the people will remember that the tides of change can move backward as well as forward.

Just freaking vote.

We don’t have to agree on specific candidates or issues to share the belief that democracy is a good and precious thing. Voting is always, always, always important, and not just at the executive level.

Want a place to start to learn more about specific issues? Need help voting? Need information on where to vote?

Or perhaps you need more inspiration, possibly in the form of humor and high-profile actors? (In the midst of this nutzo election? Yes, please!)

Check out this new video by Joss Whedon’s Save the Day get-out-the-vote campaign. Their latest short stars Chris Pine as Congress, you know, If Congress Was Your Co-Worker.

 

Enjoy, and for the next week remember the best advice ever given to any hitchhiker from Planet Earth:
Don’t Panic!

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Every so often I am struck with the realization that I live in what is, to me, a foreign country. How cool is that?

There I was, about to start up the old treadmill desk and get to work when I looked out the window and had one of those moments. You may know the kind I mean (at least I hope you do), where suddenly everything you see shines with crystal clarity.

Oh, you may think, I hadn’t realized that the neighbor’s maple was quite so magnificent this Fall, and every leaf stands out. I think of it as seeing with a child’s eyes, before “this thing” and “that thing” become a group of “the usual things” that can be ignored without conscious attention.

Do we see each blade of grass when we walk past the lawn? I don’t. In fact, it would be an almost impossible way to live, I think, and I say that with the full knowledge that I am the sort of person who pays attention to the curbs when in Athens. (What? They’re made of marble. And oh yes, The Parthenon;)

I like the everyday, appreciate the curbs and libraries and sidewalk trees that we interact with on a daily basis. The common shapes our daily experience, even as it remains largely invisible. Even so…

I live in a foreign country! Part of my realization was the sudden understanding that I’ve accomplished one of the goals I set when I was a child.

I might have been twelve years old, the details are a bit fuzzy now. There was a group of friends in the room, all of us paging through an atlas (oversized, hardcover, with glossy paper). We argued over where to go, calculated the costs, plotted impossible strategies to get there.

Living in another country seemed the height of adventure. And now here I am.

Canada is lovely and wild, with an often thin edge of civilization anchoring this vast swath of often frigid territory. Approximately 75% of the population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border, and the continent looks very different up here at night.

North America at night

That mostly dark bit mostly north of the U.S.? Yeah, not water. I’m waving!

Canadian history is much different than the version I grew up with. It captures an ongoing friction between very different cultures and the relatively peaceable integration of those worlds into a single entity. No flashy Revolution here. There are reasons for signs that list both French and English versions of the word “street.” There are reasons for the populations’ deep-seated love of Tim Horton’s coffee, and gravy-drenched poutine. This country has its own twists, its own heroes, its own storied and shadowed chapters.

It’s true that I can shop for groceries in my native language, read most of the signage and do not need a plane ticket to visit my parents, but I no longer live in the place I was born. It’s also true that even Canadians can be crotchety, the bread often has too much flour in it, and there really is only one road connecting the East and West halves of the country. (And they still won’t shut up about that time they burned down The White House…;) But for me, here and now, it’s all a bit magical.

Pay attention, I remind myself. You just might find that the world is a far more beautiful and astonishing place than you remember. You might also realize that in spite of the knowledge that there is always more to do, if you work hard* and you keep moving even when it feels as though you’re going in circles, dreams can come true.

How cool is that?

. . . . . . . . . . .

* Need some motivation? I recommend the PBS Great Performances documentary Hamilton’s America. Both Alexander Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda are inspirational as heck. It’s available online for U.S. viewers. The rest of us may be lucky enough to catch it on our PBS stations. (See? Not the 51st state after all;)

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