ODDS & ENDS

Duece

I can’t believe how taking just a few days off can result in being so far behind with my everyday routine. It’s raining off and on here today so I can settle in with the laptop and get a little caught up with some writing. I need to get back on track with the sequel to “White Wolf Moon”. I finally have a working title: “Of Old Men…(and Wolves)”. I’m still not sure about it but as the sequel is basically responding to requests from readers who wanted more about the personal relationships of the characters and especially more details on Ginn, the title seems to fit. I’ve also decided to write a short story about wolves for a fund-raising anthology so I have that wandering around in my head as well. I also fell heir to a 2007 Focus. After spending a bit of money on new tires, tune-up, and diagnostic check I discovered it was in perfect mechanical shape so I’ve spent the last couple of days steam cleaning upholstery/carpets, detailing the interior, repairing some paint chips and giving it a power wax. I now have a gleaming metallic red reliable vehicle at my disposal. My wife, a Realtor, has always had the family car and with her job it’s pretty much in use all the time. I haven’t had my own car since about 1990 so that pretty little Focus means freedom to me.

While I’m up to my elbows in catch-up I also appreciate how much good taking that time off has brought. I am somewhat rejuvenated and anxious to finish this blog and settle in with some old semi-fictional friends and a cup of coffee. It’s important with everything in life to be able to step back and view it all from a critical distance, to review your perspective and assess your decisions. It’s so easy to forsake other elements in life and bury yourself in one particular issue but every so often you have to free your mind and recharge before having at it again. I end this with a bit of philosophy by Evan Morris from “Of Old Men…”:

“Nobody is born bad. When you arrive on this earth it’s a clean slate. Babies just appreciate life itself…they have no reference as to whether it’s good or bad only that it is. They rejoice in simply being part of it. People are products of their environment but there are many environments. For a child the outside world is a selected passive environment while the parents in the home provide the active environment. This is where you develop your early attitudes but they are not necessarily your attitudes are they? They are the attitudes you have absorbed from this environment. Your true personality is still within you and you will eventually use whatever your senses have gathered to shape you into a unique individual. You take what you want from your surroundings and mix it with what you need. Later on in life you might realize that your parents steered you one way and now you are being pulled in a different direction. It isn’t necessarily that they were wrong but times change and what was considered right back then isn’t quite as right today. It sometimes takes a lot of determination to put aside whatever attitudes you have learned from your parents in order to stand as a distinct being. A new life is eager to learn but as time goes by it must be unafraid to rethink and perhaps change what it has learned…to make decisions based on the results of these thoughts and to believe in the decisions made. Very simply you are responsible for your thoughts, words, and actions…nobody else.”

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Just Me and Roo Kid….

babyroo

There’s just something about having a baby kangaroo curled up on your lap that makes you forget all the trials and tribulations life tosses your way. I’m not sure what it is but a few minutes of smooching from that furry li’l critter snuggled up against you…so trusting and accepting…makes you appreciate the moment and disregard the rest of the world. In that moment you are the only thing in this cool little animal’s life and he is the only thing in yours. Even surrounded by so many other people and kangaroos this is an individual experience and, as he nuzzled into my hand and licked my fingers, I felt a warm kind of closeness. Okay, I do tend to over-think things but I didn’t this time. I just let the moment happen and it was one of the most wonderful experiences of a few days off.

My daughter arranged a much needed getaway as a forty-third anniversary present for my wife and I including a trip to Kelowna, a stay at “A Vista Villa”, and a couple of tour days through “Heart & Sol Tours”. Yes, I am giving these folks a plug because the whole experience was so great, they deserve it.

It was a chance to put blogs and books aside for a few days…to just relax and unwind and let someone else do all the driving and thinking and to let my characters Evan and Danny look after themselves for a few days although I fear they got into a little mischief while I was gone. Funny thing about ol’ hippie-types.

train

I also got to spend some up close and personal time with 3716, a wonderful old refurbished 2-8-0 steam engine that pulls the Kettle Valley Railway cars. The trip through the countryside with all the sounds and smells of a bygone era is something I have wanted to do since I moved to this part of the country. I’ve waited fifteen years to ride those rails and it was worth it. It won’t be another fifteen before I do it again.

We toured vineyards and sampled their wines (and brought a few bottles home with us). We sampled fresh jams from orchards (again, brought a few jars home), picked peaches, and met some of the nicest people I’ve ever run into. Not just the people that took the tours with us but the many people who run and work in the orchards and vineyards. Real down-home folks.

So accept this entry for what it is…the reason I haven’t been on this blog for a while. I needed a change and this was it. Kangaroos, trains, wine, fine dining, 3-D art, and sweet stuff…the perfect break.

If you’re heading to (or through) Kelowna I recommend you check out these folks. The link below is my way of thanking Sherry and Bruce for a helluva good time and we’ll certainly see you again!

http://www.kelowna-okanagan-bc-tours.com/index.html

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STUCK IN THE SIXTIES….

Peace00

I have often been accused of being stuck in the sixties and usually it’s meant as a bit of an insult. I don’t take it that way at all. For me it is a time to look back on with a smile but no, I’m not stuck there. I have managed to hang onto some of what it was all about, the attitude and gentle thoughts…the friends. Yes a few of them are still around, in fact three of them are facebook friends. But does this sixties psyche have any place in 2013?

Honestly I think it’s more important now than any time over the past 40 years. I see nothing wrong with brandishing a little “love and understanding” these days but we no longer seem to live a world that that favors the “whole” over the “one”. This attitude started at the end of the “love generation” when, as Evan Morris put it in White Wolf Moon:“ The ‘we’ generation was evolving into the ‘me’ generation and I didn’t think that was what it was all about.”

We have recently gone through times that were the polar opposite of the sixties and to an extent some people still live in those “less than lovin'”times. Recently though I’ve noticed that most of the people my age (and a few years younger) that I know have managed to find a way to balance their old ideals and this hectic, hi-tech, and oft times inexplicable world. Let’s try to bring back some of those basic ideals that anchored that generation so long ago. It won’t be a wholesale re-birth (with all the changes since then that would be impossible) but rather a melding of then and now. You say nobody would be interested? Guess what…they are. You tell me it’ll never work? Guess what…it is.

Fortunately there has been a bit of an uprising of sort recently. A lot of young people today seem more environmentally aware for the first time in decades. They are speaking out against anything that needs speaking out against and showing a growing humanity for others that has been mostly lacking since those “shaggy 60s summers”. There seems to be an increasing awareness and concern for the world around us…the air, water, trees, plants, animals, and each other. Sound familiar? This is the new generation and Lord love them. I only hope that they can one day look back on these days the way Danny Mann does in the sequel to White Wolf Moon:

“He closed his eyes and remembered the warmth of the Alberta sun tempered by a whispering breeze up at the cabin. It was a far gentler day back then. Nothing was hurried, nothing was worth sweating over. It was wine cooling in the stream at the bottom of the clearing. It was bread bought fresh and warm from the bakery on the way to the country and obscenely large chunks of homemade cheddar right off the barrel-top from some general store at the last turn off the highway. It was music, laughter, and open caring for each other, a time of genuine love and understanding. There was no rush to enter the adult world even though they had already crossed the border. They wanted to wring every last drop out of this life they had stumbled into before getting washed away in a world of children, bills, and mortgages. He remembered Evan telling them to appreciate what they now had for soon it would be gone. And soon it was.”