Rise Up, Canada!

Hello there,

President Donald Trump recently said he likes Canada, but we’ve outsmarted the American government for far too long.


That statement is so fascinating on so many levels.

Firstly, does the President really think that Canadian politicians can outsmart American politicians, who have graduated from such colleges like, Harvard, Princeton and Yale?  Now, don’t get me wrong. We have our Ivy League schools as well, such as, McGill, Queens and Dalhousie.  We have some pretty smart people running this country.

If this assertion were true, I’d say Canada can feel pretty-darn-smug about its history of pulling one over and over and over the Americans.  Yep, we should be having a really good guffaw right about now.  But, it’s not true.

Politics is complicated. Trade Agreements. Treaties.  All very complicated things.  I am sure there are good things and not so good things for both sides of the Treaty.  (Which is why the current President was grumbling about how difficult the job is!)

What’s particularly funny to me is the rhetoric I am hearing from Canadian politicians. It goes something like this:  The new American government does not come from a political background, so its view is from the outside. Once we explain it to the new American Government, they’ll understand.   Don’t worry, Canada. Everything will be alright.

Okay. Sounds good to me.

But, I can’t help but think that I’m not a politician, and yet, somehow, I understand that these issues are complex.  Sometimes it feels like Canada is the one getting screwed over by these trade agreements. e.g. The Dairy Farmers of Canada and the TPP.  (But, I say that as an outsider looking in!)

To the rhetoric, our government adds:  We’ll also explain to the new American government, that Canada is an independent Nation, with the prerogative to implement our own foreign policy.  WTF?

I know, new American government. That notion must sound completely bonkers to you!  What does Canada mean by implementing foreign policies that do not benefit the United States of America?  But, alas, it is the truth.

Hmm?  Maybe I need to put this in terms of alternative truth / facts?  How does one go about doing that?

Here goes:

Marriage – Canada and U.S. relations is like a marriage.  Both sides feel like they’re giving 187% in the relationship, and that the other is only giving 14%. And, that 14% is a generous number.  We both feel like we’re getting a pretty crappy deal, but this is only our perspective. Our own limited, human, frail, insecure, fearful, anxious, perspective.  We don’t think we’re getting what we need out of the relationship, like our partner is taking advantage of us.  And, we’re both right.  But, like a marriage we’re in this – for better or for worse.  I don’t think I did such a good job of speaking in alternative truth / facts.

Now, Canada – I have something to say to you.  Americans, you can go watch another mindless program of Big Brother (Canada – stay with me here – go PVR the damn episode, and come right back!)  Are you back?  Good.

So, here’s the new game plan.  If ever there was a period in history that Canada could take advantage of the U.S., it is now.  Now is our time to screw over our neighbour / our partner.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, only to sit down and wake up to a splash.  Dammit!  They’ve been leaving the toilet seat up long enough, I say.

And, to my American friends, who may still be reading this even though I told you not to – I say to you now – Can you blame us?

But, don’t worry.  When you regain your senses in about four years, things will return to normal – the balance will return.  So long as you don’t f…it up, America!



Forever Young

Hi there,

I wonder if our fascination with Twilight and vampires has anything to do with us not wanting to get old.

I was recently in a salon, where I was ‘promised’ that I could stay looking exactly as I do today if I started facial treatments.  The procedure now involves laser technology – I don’t even need to have some awful steroids or hormones, via Botox, syringed into my wrinkles. (Is “syringed” a word?)

You get the terrible picture.

When I was telling my mom, she said he was talking to the wrong person, that he should be talking to her, because she’s “vain”.

I must be vain too because I confess it’s a temptation for me.  I mean, who wants to get old and wrinkled?

Question:  Are we okay with getting old, but not okay getting wrinkles and looking old?

Is it mere vanity?  Or, is it something else?

Getting old isn’t any fun.  Things start to hurt, wear down, slow down.  It’s like your mind is off to the races, but your body doesn’t want to participate.

Sometimes, you get grumpy as you age and end up looking like this guy:

Image result for the seven dwarfs grumpy

There are so many negative images associated with getting old.

No one ever thinks about what the aging population has to offer society – years of wisdom, expertise and lessons learned.  It would be my guess that those who are getting older still loved to be challenged, and would love to learn something new.

My grandfather used to do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper every week.  He wanted to keep his brain sharp.  That said, he wanted nothing to do with getting a debit card.

I think the issue isn’t getting older.  The real issue is death.  Or rather, the fear of death.   I’ve already put in my request to have an aneurysm in my sleep.  How many of you have put in your requests as well?

Or, maybe that’s not even the real issue.  Maybe the real issue is vanity?  We all want to look young.

When I find myself worrying about my wrinkles and graying hair, I just think about my grandmothers.  I can honestly say that I think they were two of the most beautiful women I knew.

They were both very different. One was quite fashionable. She got her hair permed, wore wigs, make-up, dressed “fashionably” (for her time), while my other grandmother was more of your typical “grandma”, with knee-high stockings and floral cotton dresses.

They had such kindness and love in their eyes when they looked at me – and joy when they saw me.  They had inner beauty that shone through!

I want to be okay with getting older.  I want to continue to say that that line between my brow has character, that it took a lot of worry and furrowing of that brow over the years to get it “just-so”.

Pray for me!  I’ve already succumbed to the highlights to cover the gray, and I feel my knees bowing to the pressure, and the promise to remain forever young!



Hello there,

I was having a conversation with a friend today about evangelicalism.

On a side note, I once had a lively discussion with someone, where I maintained that all “isms” were of man.   We went through quite a few “isms”, some Christian, others not, and finally he said, “Christianity”.  I said, “That’s not an “ism” – Christianity – “Show me the “ism”!” He couldn’t.   I love it when I win an argument. Is there anything better?


So, back to the reason why I felt the need to blog today.  My friend sent me a NY Times article, entitled, The Evangelicalism of Old White Men is Dead.  (The link to the article is below.) Essentially,  there were issues with the Christian-image or perception, so some geniuses (I use the word lightly) came up with the term “Fundamentalism”.

When the s-hit the fan, those same geniuses decided to come up with a friendlier term, “Evangelicalism”.

Well, given Donald Trump’s presidential victory to the South of us, now those same same geniuses are thinking that Christianity needs a new brand.

They’re trying to come up with another “ism”.   (Can you hear me SCREAMING??)

Haven’t they learned their lesson?  I mean, if the re-branding has failed twice, what makes them think, oh right, “Third time’s a charm”.

Okay, let’s just go with it for a minute.

I think we should start with something most people like, something that makes people feel homey, warm, fuzzy inside.  Something like Banana-Bread-Christianity.

It’s catchy. I like it. I am open to suggestions.

Banana-Nut-Bread-Christianity.  I think I like this better.  I’ve been to church – there are a lot of nuts sitting in churches.   At least half.  Statistically, there are same number of adulterers sitting in church as in Starbucks.  Just saying.  Could we just say it out loud instead of making lame excuses?

I think people would respond in a more positive way to us Christians if we just spoke the truth.  If we were real.

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise being put in a box?  When I outed myself as a Christian at work, the reaction was, “As long as you don’t try and convert me.”  I wondered if this person even knew any Christians. I mean real Christians. Not stereotypical-on-the-news-Christians.  Or Fundamentalist Christians. Or Evangelical Christians.

But, real Christians.  Chocolate-Banana-Bread-Christians.

If we have to re-brand ourselves, we should offer up some truth for a change. One of my favourite priests said, “There are good people and there are bad people sitting in the church because the doors are open to everyone.”  Amen Father!

My current pastor said that church people are the worst people, and she’d take a room full of sinners any day.

I sure hope I don’t fall into the “church people” category.

Here’s something revolutionary – Maybe we could try something like humility?  Wouldn’t that be a shocker?  Or simply say, “We’re followers of Jesus.” Plain and simple. I follow the Teacher.

Well, I gotta go now and start sinning…



Link to NY Times article:



The Trump Effect

Hi there,

A couple weeks ago, I found out that someone had painted offensive graffiti (hate) on a Rabbi’s door.  This happened in my church’s neighbourhood.

The community of churches in the neighbourhood gathered to hear from the Rabbi to show our support and love.  It was a great meeting, but also highly emotional.

She believes that the election of Donald Trump has “emboldened” others to speak hate into the lives of Jews, the LGBTQ community, women, etc.

I agree.  When I heard about this terrible act, I immediately thought of the election results to the South.

I also thought about an incident between 15 to 16 years ago.   A coworker and I were passing through the park on our lunch break.  Littered everywhere on the ground were pieces of square paper, with the words, “No Mongrels”.  The perpetrator of this message was the Heritage Front.

I confess I had to go home and look up the word. When I saw it, I wondered if I myself would fit into that category.

The incident also made me think about Canada.   It is easy for us to look to the United States, and feel pretty smug about how much better we are, how much more tolerant we are than our neighbours to the South.  But, are we?

While reading a book on World War II by Tim Cook, I discovered that we used to have “Gentile Only” signs plastered on our public spaces.  We separated White girls from Chinese boys were a bad influence on White girls.  (The more likely story is that they didn’t want any dating between the two races – It has kind of a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?
“No Mongrels”)

The Book of Negroes gives us a glimpse into the history of Blacks in Nova Scotia. The picture of a Black man hanging from a tree, having been beaten beyond recognition.

Or Thomas King.  A short story which includes an Indigenous man, as represented by an eagle, tied to a fence, also beaten, because the man might steal something that belongs to the White man or sleep with his wife.   These writers did not make up these stories. They are fictional, but they are certainly not fiction.

I think it’s important for Canadians to not only recognize what we have done in the past, but also recognize that these things, this kind of hatred still exists.  I do not know the full extent of it, but it exists.

I recently saw a young White man with the words “White” tattooed on one leg, and I believe the word, “Power” tattooed on the other leg.

A man at the neighbourhood gathering reminded me that Rob Ford, infamous mayor of Toronto, had 30% support.  Toronto prides itself on being multi-cultural and tolerant.   If Toronto had 30% of its population in support or Rob Ford, what percentage of Canadians across the country also supported him?

As a side-note, I just have to say I really despise the word tolerant. Tolerance is a temporary state, in my opinion.  I will tolerate you until I decide not to tolerate you anymore.

Love – this is something that endures. Not tolerance.  We need to love one another.

i was amazed at the feeling of love in the room.  People were brought together, who would not otherwise come together.  A lady from the community would like the larger community included in the meetings, not just the churches.

And, this is where I feel hopeful.  Maybe the thing Trump has done is to get us talking about racial and religious hate in our country, north of the border.  He is bringing Christians, Jews, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, those from non-faith communities.  This is an amazing outcome!!

He has opened up conversations of love.   There was talk of Restorative Justice for the juvenile, who committed this hate crime. The Rabbi does not want revenge. She wants to talk to him, to reach him.

She wants to offer him the love of God, grace and mercy.  And, this is the theme that echoed throughout the room that night.  Love, grace, mercy, forgiveness.  There was also unity and togetherness. I felt that we were of one accord, of one mind.

We will not be made to feel ashamed or afraid.  I stand with the Jewish community.  It was heartbreaking to hear that due to the Holocaust, there are those, who wanted the Rabbi to remain quiet, who believe that whenever the Jewish people speak up, it is worse for them.

I cannot understand their depth of pain, of the feeling that they, as a People, are unwanted, despised, unloved.  (As a Christian in Canada, I feel like people just think I’m annoying.  Nothing too serious, yet.)

What I would like to say to the Jewish people is that you are loved.  You are God’s chosen people and have nothing to feel ashamed about. Psalm 122 says:

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet have been standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
    that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
There thrones for judgment were set,
    the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
    “May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
    and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
    I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your good.

 Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and I had the privilege of lighting the first purple candle, the candle of hope.    On that note, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).  Amen!
Love and blessings,
P.S.   This Hour Has 22 Minutes did a really funny sketch on “How has the US Election affected Canadians?”  Check it out at:  http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/videos/clips-season-24/how-has-the-us-election-affected-canadians


The Trumpster

Hi there,

When Donald Trump, let’s call him, the Trumpster, becomes President of the United States of America, the first thing he’s going to do with all that power is to get rid of all the Mexicans, annex Puerto Rico, then deport all the Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. back to their sovereign nation, (you’re welcome Puerto Ricans), and then dump the Cubans off in the shark-infested coast of, well, Cuba or thereabouts.  President Trumpster doesn’t really care so long as there are sharks to eat all the Cubans…

So, when Hispanic Canadians are contemplating making October national Hispanic month, they’re probably looking ahead to the future, the near future, like two weeks into the future, when President Trumpster begins the Great Deportation, (as it will fondly be looked upon by historians when America is actually great again – as in the day when he moves out of the White House).

‘Cos you know, (insert Hitler salute), that it won’t stop there. Next, the Trumpster will have to rid America of the “miscreants” (a word I love! and coined by Major Duncanson in his infamous order of the Massacre of Glencoe, Scotland 1692), also known as the Hispanic population.  But where will all these miscreants go? you ask.

Cana-duh of course!

After all, don’t we have a wonderful history of taking in people America no longer wants, or who no longer want America?

  • Africans – Those enslaved by, hmm….how would I describe the slave owners, miscreants sounds like a decent word.
  • The Loyalists.  Those bloody miscreants, who wanted to remain loyal to Britain, and not rebel in the American Revolution.
  • The Hispanics (Coming soon to a township in Canada near you.)

Oh Canada!

  • Of course, that land stolen from the Indigenous peoples, promised by the British government to the Africans for their support, fell through.
  • Not for the White Loyalists though.  They got their land. And, good land.  Isn’t it wonderful to be White…It’s like a Winter Wonderland throughout all of history.

I’m getting side-tracked.  Back to the Trumpster.

The Trumpster will have to keep going. Next up on the Trumpster’s list – Canadians.

And, I don’t mean Canadians living in America (sing along!), I mean Canada.  the Trumpster is going to annihilate us.

Annihilate:   “to destroy (something or someone) completely” (Merriam-Webster).

But, for what? you ask.

For taking in all those miscreants I was talking about earlier, that’s for what.

So, since we’re all doomed anyway, I figure we should go out dancing and singing and shaking our bodies to the Conga!

Take it away, Gloria!







Wonder Woman for President

Hi there,

Did you hear? The United Nations has named Wonder Woman as an ambassador for women.  There’s been some uproar over this and criticism of the UN.  I am not going to criticize the UN, as I thought I could use my time more wisely.

Here’s a list of women who I think are pretty terrific.  I am sure some of my choices (or at least one) will be controversial.  (But, hey you need at least one, right?)

1)  Maya Angelou – she’s written a wonderful poem called Phenomenal Woman.  A verse from the poem reads,

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.

Read the full poem here:

2) Dr. Roberta Bondar –   Canada’s first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space. This woman has more letters after her name than anyone I’ve ever known –

3) Mother Teresa – need I say more? Maybe I should.  I would encourage us to read,
No Greater Love.  Women’s Magazine said, “No Greater Love is a passionate testament to Mother Teresa’s deep hope and abiding faith in God and the world….Through her own words, this book celebrates the life and work of one of the great humanitarians of our time.”

4) Buffy St. Marie – I recently had the opportunity to see her perform.  Born February 20, 1941, she’s 75 and still  going strong, speaking out on what she believes in.  Take a listen to her song,  Universal Soldier, here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYEsFQ_gt7c

5) Madonna – I warned you! I have loved Madonna since I was in Grade 3. One verse of Holiday, and I was hooked.  She’s strong, smart and seems to be very much in control of her own career.  With all the pressure and negative things the media ALWAYS says about her, she has stayed the course.  The woman is disciplined, and I think must be a woman of strong faith.

See the official video for Holiday, here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rswx2Z7SDw

6) Audrey Hepburn – I was going to write a blog about her alone, but decided she needed to be on this list.  I recently read a quote by Ms. Hepburn that exemplifies why she’s terrific! She said, “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.”  Don’t you just love this woman to bits???

7) Mrs. Balderston – My grade 8 teacher. When Mrs. Balderston learned that I wanted to be a director, she gave me the opportunity to direct a school play. I even got to leave class to go to rehearsal.  (I didn’t become a director (at least not yet), but she helped and encouraged me.)  And for that I am thankful and believe she gets to be on the list.

8) Mrs. El-Y-Ari (really not spelling that one right) – She was the school receptionist/secretary/assistant, who let a couple of us girls go into the office in the morning and answer the phones. FUN!  By grade three we were pretty proficient at using the PA System, taking messages, forwarding calls.  Loved Mrs. El-Y-Ari!!

9) And, no list would be complete without my Mom!  The woman gave birth to me and has loved me unconditionally ever since. She’s always proud of me and cheers me on, telling me I can do anything I set my mind to.  She tells me I’m smart, beautiful and a wonderful daughter. Sometimes, I do not feel so worthy of all this praise.  I know I’m blessed to have a good mom.

10) I also have to mention to my grandmothers, Audrey and Rose.  Two very different woman, who also had a great influence on my character and development. I’m cheeky like Audrey and gentle like Rose.  🙂  These women had such a strong faith in God, that they surely passed that faith onto me.

I would love for you to share your stories of women who have made a difference in your life, professionally, personally, spiritually.  – For real – That’s why it’s in bold!

And, don’t forget to thank a Phenomenal Woman in your life today.



Ellie’s Near Encounter with…

Hi there,

Today’s blog is proudly sponsored by the letter “C” for “Crazy”.   Crazy, for those days when you wonder where your brain’s got to.  (No kidding, I first spelled “suspense” wrong, and then spelled “your” “you’re.)

I am not actually sure if this blog has anything to do with crazy. I just finished reading Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy.  She battles mental illness. I was relating a story I had read in her book to a co-worker, which I had found hilarious, so hilarious I had laughed so hard I cried, but for some strange reason, my co-worker didn’t.

I wondered if you have to be a bit crazy yourself to appreciate crazy.  (By the way, Lawson uses this word to describe herself and people around her do take shake their heads at her, and tell her not to say that, but heck, it’s better than calling oneself a lunatic – You’ll have to get the book to read what I am referencing here…You’re welcome, Jenny Lawson!  And, since my own mother battles mental illness, I figure I’ve earned my stripes.)

Furiously Happy  inspired me to tell my own crazy and fantastical story. Those of you who know me are already in the know.

Here are Ellie’s Top 3 Too-Close-for-Comfort Encounters with Mad-Squirrels Stories:

# 3.   One morning I was walking to work and saw a grey squirrel. Now it’s usually the black squirrels I have issues with, so I thought nothing of this particular squirrel. But, you know that feeling you get when you think someone is staring at you?  Well, I had just that feeling. When I turned around, the grey squirrel was chasing after me.  I gasped and when I did this, my handbag fell from my shoulder to my arm, startling the unexpected squirrel.  He took off in another direction.  He thought he’d just sneak up from behind me and attack. That little…

# 2.  I was coming home one day, and you know how they say accidents happen when you’re closest to home. They’re right!  I was just about a block and a half away from home, when a mad-squirrel blocked my path. He was guarding the side-walk like he owned it. (You’d think he was a European-Colonizer or something.)   At any rate, he dug his little sharp-squirrel-nails into the concrete and guarded his territory like a mad-badger. (Badgers might be getting a bad rap here – I’ve actually never met a badger.)  So, I had to walk out onto the road to get around this bloody squirrel, and as I walked AROUND him, he kept moving his chubby rodent-like body toward me to make sure I wasn’t invading his space.

# 1.  And, finally the top prize for mad-squirrel disease goes to Chester. (I just made that name up – It does sound like a crazy-person’s name though, doesn’t it?)  Chester takes the cake.  I was going to church one Sunday morning (important detail because it implies there weren’t a lot of people out and about*), and Chester was on the OTHER side of the street, but when Crazy-Chester saw me, he darted across the street and charged at me. (I’m not even exaggerating here!!)  I lowered my bag to guard my lower extremities, in case Crazy-Chester decided to leap at me, and yelled at him to go away.  He wouldn’t budge. I looked at his mouth to see if it was foaming, but it was as dry as Arizona.  I yelled more. Nothing. I thought about giving him a good whack with my bag, but felt the odds were in his favour. After all, I’m not what the medical community would classify as a demented lunatic.  I finally saw a truck slowly making its way down the street, and I thought to myself, ‘Why are you driving so slowly? Hurry up and run this crazy-ass squirrel over, already!’  It dawned on me quite some time later what I must have looked like to this driver.   A demented lunatic on the sidewalk yelling and waving her arms madly at…a squirrel?

The moral of the story – Squirrels are evil bastards!

Stay safe. Stay alert. Stay off the sidewalks.**



*Canadians don’t actually say “out and about”, but I thought I’d throw it in for the Americans who might be reading this blog. I know how disappointed and upset you get when we don’t fit the stereotype.

**In fact, don’t walk at all. This blog is actually a paid advertisement for the auto industry…I think Dow Honda owes me a car.


“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.”  George MacDonald

Hi there,

Do you think you’re precious?  Unique? Beautiful?

If you’re like me, when you look in the mirror, you see flaws.  You look down at your body and see lumps and curves, or maybe you see flatness.  Whatever it is, you know you’re not perfect.

Nobody is though!  Heidi Klum’s response to Donald Trump’s comment about how she is no longer a 10 was, well, first she was rather confused. She had no idea why he was even talking about her, but most importantly, she said, “Nobody’s a 10.”   Heidi Klum, people! Heidi Klum said, “Nobody’s a 10!”

George MacDonald’s quote runs deeper than the skin.

How do you feel about your gifts and talents?  Do you think you have something to offer the world? Do you look at others and think they have something more to give, something special to contribute?

Comparison is a killer.  It will destroy our sense of self and paralyze us. We will not reach our full potential if we constantly compare ourselves to others.

I just don’t think it’s possible to reach for the stars if we are constantly comparing our gifts, talents and abilities to others’.   We will always come up short, thinking and believing that someone is better, smarter, stronger than us.

And from this place, the thought, ‘Let somebody else deal with the issues and problems of the world. Someone who has more power, money, fame…’  will naturally flow out of us.

I get trapped into this way of thinking myself. I’m small.  I have no power.  I grew up in relative poverty (by the West’s standards).

And yet, I know that it is this way of thinking that keeps me small and powerless.  It is my own making (with help from the media/world).

I love being reminded of how I was uniquely created by God, with His own hands.  That if I do not do what God has put me here to do (in this time), then it will not get done. It’s a sad thought, but it also means that I have purpose, I am not a mistake and that everything I have gone through, who I am, can be used for the greater good.

I think a lot of times, we don’t see the impact we make on others.  I’ve learned even a simple smile can go a long way in making an impact in another person’s life.

Emmanuel Jal, former child-soldier, now speaker and musician, was a guest at our church. He challenged us to be thinkers and problem-solvers. That’s not an easy challenge. It’s much easier to choose the status-quo and watch mindless TV after a hard day’s work, but it is a challenge worthy of my time and effort. (www.emmanueljal.com)

Step 1 – I heard that listening to Baroque or Classical music makes you smarter, so I ‘ve put in a few CD’s and have been feeding my brain.  (It’s only been about a week and a half, so I’m guessing it may take some time…)

I encourage you to throw on some Classical music and feed your brain too! If nothing else, we’ll be pretty mellow and relaxed. Not necessarily a bad outcome, I’d say.





Rainy Days

Hi there,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written.   Apologies for that.

I’ve been reading quite a bit though, Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese, The Little Paris Bookshop by whom I cannot remember, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and since it’s been raining all day,  I dug back into and finished reading The Girl on the Train.

All very good.

I confess I’m not a huge fan of Hemingway. I love the portrayal of him in Midnight in Paris.  He’s a drinker, wearing a wedding band, with no sign of Hadley, and flirting with women galore.

I will grant him his talent though.  There’s only been two writers who have moved me emotionally – one was an excerpt from Hemingway’s, In Our Time, the other, Audrey Lorde’s poem, Power.

Hemingway also talks about writing in  A Moveable Feast, which is why I think I like it.  He wrote a story where the weather was overcast and dreary because the weather was overcast and dreary that day.

He also speaks about truth and determining to write a story for each thing that he knows well.  With that philosophy by own body of work may be short.  🙂

Hemingway’s love of Paris seems to stem from the fact that you can be poor and still live well in Paris. It’s the 20’s after all – a roaring time, if you believe the Historians.

And, yet there was still longing, pain, boredom, death.  These things are universal.  There are some parts in the book where I do feel an underlying sadness in Hemingway. Regret in his failed marriage, which he blames entirely on himself – an affair.

Given the rainy day, I’ve been reading some quotes on rain.

Thick Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, said,  “If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.”

It sounds like a nice way to live, connected. Grateful. Happy.

I grew up on a farm and like to go to the Market to buy fresh produce.  It helps me feel connected to those who are growing our food, to those who depend on measured amounts of sunshine and rain to make their crops healthy and abundant.

Next week, I must remember to thank the farmers at the Market.  I know from first-hand experience, okay from second-hand experience (smile) that it is hard work.

To be thankful, something I need to work on.  Will you join me?





The Past

Hi there,

“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure” (Pride & Prejudice, Chapter LVIII, Jane Austen).

This is from the cheesy scene where Mr. Darcy reveals his undying love for Lizzy and Lizzy is telling Mr. Darcy how very different she feels about him now.  (It’s the scene where I was sure the writers had made up for a Hollywood-type audience.  So, I went straight to my bookshelf and pulled out the novel and found the exact scene.  I was dismayed to find the words were literally lifted off the pages. Boy, was I disappointed in Jane!)

Anyway, the reason why this quote stood out is because on the surface it looks simple enough.

She’s telling Mr. Darcy that he should only think about good memories.

It’s her words that precede though, “You must learn some of my philosophy,”  that indicate there may be a deeper meaning.  Given that we are dealing with Jane Austen here, I really don’t think the meaning is trite.

For starters, Austen sets up women’s role in her 19th Century society to knock it down.   Women are expected to ‘play and sing all the day long’.   Not to mention, women must marry (as shown by the mother’s incessant desire to match-make her five daughters throughout the novel).

And finally, Jane Austen makes her hero a supporter of women’s education.

Accomplishment, according to Caroline Bingley, involves the following: “A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved” (Chapter VIII).

Mr Darcy responds by saying, “All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

The way is already paved for the smart-talking and bold Lizzy to come in and steal Darcy’s heart.  (I use the word “steal” on purpose – just think of poor Ms. Caroline Bingley’s crush on Mr. Darcy.)

Through Elizabeth, the reader knows that she believes she can teach this Mr. Darcy – a man from the Aristocratic class – a thing or two.

It is a bold statement by a woman at any period of history.  And, the thing all the ladies love about Mr. Darcy is that he gratefully accepts her teaching, instruction and reproof.  He does learn something from Elizabeth Bennett.

I know feminists hate this novel. I believe Margaret Atwood dissed Mr. Darcy as an arrogant, pompous ass, but I wonder if she’s really read it. I mean REALLY read it.  I think if Jane Austen was creating a character, who was just a pompous, arrogant, ass, he would never be interested or drawn to Lizzy.

It would just not happen!!  (This is what I tell my single-self – I just haven’t met a man who appreciates my sass…)

His assertion that women must read and improve their minds shows that underneath his surface is a man with a kind heart.  The younger sister affirms how wonderful her elder brother is, and Jane Austen even goes so far as having the servant offer words of praise for her “Master”.   People from all classes affirm Darcy’s worth.

So I would argue that Jane’s words, “You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure,” have more to do with women’s abilities and what we have to offer the world, rather than some trite advice on thinking about the good times.

No, Ms. Austen definitely wants us to know that we women are capable of more!  I agree!