I’m training myself to ask questions that buck the norm. To see the world from a different perspective. To challenge my current ways of viewing things.
For instance, What if there really is no God and we are actually part of someone’s dream? A bad dream, at that.
What if the government is really a force for good and has only our best interests at heart?
Today, when I stopped into a hair salon I had never visited before, I had already decided to take whatever I got with grace and good humor and learn from the experience.
That isn’t to say I wasn’t a little nervous when I first saw my stylist.
He was a young fellow who looked like he’d be better off skateboarding in Millennium Park. He had a black T-shirt on over jeans. He washed and conditioned my hair in record time and I thought, There is no way he could possibly have rinsed all the soap out.
But he did.
As he worked, he was at first very quiet and his snip-snip-snips seemed tentative. I observed calmly, noting to myself that he was perhaps new in the trade and a little unsure.
Oh well, I thought. If I get a crappy cut I just won’t come back again.
But as he progressed his movements became more sure and the scissors began to glide.
“I haven’t heard that song in ages,” I mentioned as Boney M’s Rasputin came on the radio.
“No kidding,” he replied, and the conversation took off from there.
New haircut and new silky nighty.
As my young stylist performed his magic I learned that he had worked out really hard yesterday and was a little stiff, which is why his first snips were so labored. I loved his pleasant, respectful tone with me and I detected a sweet, gentle soul beneath that black T-shirt.
I was out of there in record time but the cut really didn’t turn out half bad. I took his card when I left and he bid me a cheery goodbye.
I walked away amazed at how far off my first notions were. You really can’t tell a book by its cover.
Oh! And the bonus of the day was stumbling upon a quaint little boutique with silky oriental nighties on sale for $20. I bought three, all in bright colors. I am a happy camper today! :)
The hills were silent again except for one birdsong, and it cheered me slightly. See? If there were no other proof of the existence of a bigger reality than birds, they would do it for me.
~ Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
Life is an adventure
Before I start my new reading adventures, I’d like to finish up a couple of books I am already reading.
One book is Anne Lamott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith and the other is Hugh A. Dempsey’s Always an Adventure.
I have very eclectic tastes – what can I say? And normally I prefer non-fiction, which is why King and Tan are such departures from the norm for me.
Annie never disappoints. Her books are filled with humor and wisdom and nitty-gritty life experience. I actually met her once – we have a mutual friend in the Bay Area. Her observations on everything, from raising her son Sam to overcoming addiction, are always very thought-provoking and – well – human.
Hugh Dempsey’s book is a fun read for a different reason. That is, if you’re a nerdy historian adventurer-type person. A local figure, Hugh was instrumental in building the first historical collections of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. He married a Blood woman from the Cardston area and traveled, explored and archived his heart out, writing about his journeys as he went. My dream!
I met Hugh, too, during a reading he gave a year or so ago. I had never heard of him before (a fact I’m a little embarrassed about) and immediately snapped up four of his books – all of which he signed for me while politely inquiring about my interest. Such a kind, knowledgeable gentleman.
People like Anne Lamott and Hugh Dempsey are the people that have helped shape my life and my self over the years. They have helped me define who I am and what is important to me – and even, sometimes, how to deal with life’s ups and downs.
Okay. Well, that title sounds a little cliche but I don’t know how to say it better.
Celebrate life! :)
I’ve been away for awhile doing other things. But now I am coming close to finishing up some big projects and my calendar is finally starting to clear a bit and I’m thinking, What next?
I don’t know, but I have a lot of ideas jangling around in my head. I want to try some new things, for one. For instance, I have never read a Stephen King novel. Seriously! And me wanting to be a writer.
So I’m thinking this blog, besides being about family research, could morph into a tale of my own journey. I want to try new adventures, read literature I’ve never tried before, travel, write, and dream. In that spirit, I picked up a couple of books at Chapters tonight – one a Stephen King novel and the other Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.
I’m going to challenge myself to write (almost) every day and make every day count. One day you may read about horseback riding adventures and another you may learn something new that I’m reading about.
I want to learn to grab joy from every minute. From every experience.
I was digging through my gravestone images looking for a particular one for a distant cousin. She has a Kirkpatrick in her tree that married a Hunter and she was wondering if I had anything I could share. Turns out I don’t (yet) but I thought I’d share this headstone anyway. The more information we get out there, the more we help each other, right?
Thomas Kirkpatrick, Robert Kirkpatrick, Catherine Hunter (click image to view larger)
The stone reads:
In Memory of
who died at Closeburn Village 13th Dec’r 1873,
aged 84 years. Also
ROBERT KIRKPATRICK his son who died
at Cottage Closeburn 29 Dec’r 1863
aged 5 years & 4 months.
Also CATHERINE HUNTER, wife of
the above THOMAS KIRKPATRICK,
who died at 1 Gordon St. Dumfries,
27th March 1892, aged 72 years.
CATHERINE JOHNSTONE KIRKPATRICK,
daughter of the above THOMAS
KIRKPATRICK, who died at
1 Gordon St. Dumfries,
on 3rd March 1927, aged 65 years.
I am so lucky that Tom and I can work from home. It gives me a lot of extra time to figure out other things!
One of the “other things” I am working on is charting an education course for myself. This education will be free (or really cheap) and tailored to my own needs because I will be educating myself.
Some of the topics I want to study are politics, journalism, anthro/archaeo, film making and editing, and languages. This is why I need to do it myself. No University offers a degree in such a wide range of subject matter!
But first things first. I figured it would make sense to improve my memory so that I can retain everything better. That is why the very first book I am going to study is called Mega Memory by Kevin Trudeau.
The second subject I want to tackle, because it too will aid my studies, is speed reading. And not just speed reading, but speed reading with comprehension! For that I dug out a book I’ve had for years called Speed-Reading The Easy Way.
And don’t forget to keep an eye on my new blog about another very important facet of my life right now: Grandparents of Children With Autism. I thought I’d make that a blog of its own because it is so specialized and I have a ton of ideas for articles for it.
When we were in Scotland I took a lot of pictures of cemetery headstones, especially in Closeburn and Dumfries.
Most of the images I got were of Kirkpatrick family members’ stones, but occasionally I found ones that stirred my imagination. Some even moved me to tears, such as this poignant story.
You can’t read it all, but here is what it says:
In Memory of
Bridget, wife of Thomas Wilkin,
Surgeon, who died on the 12th December 1840
aged 40 years
Also Robert their son, who died
21st February 1831 aged 1 year and 4 months
Also James Pennington their son,
who died 24th October 1839 aged 1 year
Also Mary their daughter, who died
1st February 1833 aged 9 days
Also Catherine Mary their daughter, who died
at Kendal 20th July 1854 aged 20 years
And Amy their eldest daughter,
wife of Henry F. Bainbridge,
who died in Liverpool 27th September 1871
aged 46 years
Also the above Thomas Wilkin,
who died in Suffolk 16th February 1873
aged 72 years
“Looking unto Jesus”
Imagine the heartache this family must have endured…
When I was growing up in northern British Columbia, meteorology was actually one of the “Nature Girl” type interests I held. I paid attention to weather patterns and cloud formations and tried to learn how to predict what the weather was going to do.
I wasn’t terribly good at it, but I did learn a lot.
Recent flooding in northern BC and Alberta, including my hometown of Dawson Creek, and enduring a very long, cool, wet spring in Calgary got me wondering if La Niña was at work. Sure enough, a quick Google search (gotta love modern technology!) showed she was.
The La Niña weather pattern starts when colder than normal water pools along the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Effects are felt in a shifting jet stream and changing high/low pressure areas. She can create cooler than normal winters with lots of snow along the west coast, higher tornado and hurricane counts, and hot, dry temps in the southern United States.
La Niña is probably responsible for all the freakish weather we’ve had this year. Thankfully, she doesn’t usually last more than a couple of years, although there have been longer episodes.
This video explains a little more about La Niña and is worth watching for the quaint hillbilly accent of the narrator alone! :)