I want to do something valuable with my time and my life and my professional training. I've been thinking about some schools for students who are blind overseas which would like volunteers. I would love to be able to see another part of the world and how things work there - I just feel very ignorant about the whole thing. And the last thing on earth I would want to do is to think that I somehow have all of this magic information that is better than anything they have. I have to give it lots of thought and figure out how I would really like to go about things. I suppose that realizing my ignorance is a good first step.

I've heard it many times: "Oh, you teach blind kids... that's nice. Must be very rewarding." And it is, but they're still kids. They can still drive you crazy, and there aren't a whole lot of days when I feel as though I'm changing the world. Especially today, I guess. Not that I think going somewhere else will change the world, but it will change the way I see it.

from the end of chapter 34, East of Eden

"We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is."

East of Eden

I was sitting on the couch with the cat purring at my shoulder and occasionally twitching his whiskers in his sleep as I continued reading in John Steinbeck's East of Eden just now. I haven't finished the book yet, but am so overwhelmed by the magnitude of it and a sense of not having all the knowledge to be able to understand it or wrap my mind around it that I had to write something. There are only a few things that have given me the same sense of going beyond the temporal (these are the ones that sort of fit in this group):

- Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) by the Arcade Fire
- (possibly)) Your Ex-Lover is Dead by Stars, (click on 'Set Yourself on Fire' and 'Your Ex-lover is Dead'). I actually thought I was sick of the song after only hearing part of it several times. And that was only this afternoon. It's been in my thoughts ever since.
- Douglas Coupland - Girlfriend in a Coma and Generation X in particular
- New Year's Eve 2006
- Instances where Ernest Buckler and/or John Steinbeck capture something so exactly that it makes you draw your breath sharply and read it over and over and wonder how it was possible to put that in those particular and perfect words.

I think what makes these things so... big, is that they encompass so much of what it is to be human and to love and suffer and wonder about life and death and it's expressed beautifully and, well, perfectly. Perhaps a sense of knowing that I'll probably never be able to express things in such a clear, concise, and exact way is what makes them so... big. These things give me the sense that everything fits together in the grand scheme and for that brief moment it almost makes sense.



I've always been interested in barnacles. Maybe because they look so alien. They feel like shell, and the little bits in the middle move. They appear under boats, on rocks, sometimes on lobsters and other sea creatures.

Happy husband

A happy (and freezing!) husband.

Weird wharf

This is one of the strangest things in Yarmouth, I'm pretty sure. We didn't even know it was here until Melissa brought it to our attention! So we went out today in the freezing bitter wind to take some pictures. Apparently, it is what it looks like - a big section of boat hull with a wharf built through it. Odd, yet interesting!

Tear's whiskers

It's all about the cat

Beth, I thought you would like this mid-air shot of Virgil catching the string!



As I was sharing a lovely meal with a friend this evening (thanks for supper, Christine!), we got to looking at and sharing recipes and talking about food. I really like food; not only because it sustains my existence, but because it brings people together. Or, I think it should. Recipes are very organic things - they are modifiable and sharable and adaptable to a person's taste. (Check out www.allrecipes.com for an amazing recipe site that brings people together in a less direct way.) People eat together at all sorts of important occasions - birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, any kind of celebration. We take those occasions to sit down together and share (hopefully) good food and company - that should happen more often, if not at every meal (which I realize just isn't possible). Recipes are passed down and written on and memories are built around them. The more splotches of ingredients on them, the better as far as I'm concerned.

We are all connected by food, and I think that for the most part we have a very unhealthy attitude toward it. If we're not eating to comfort ourselves, wishing we were thinner or dieting and counting carbs and calories, we're using food as a reward or a punishment. Quite awhile ago, I read a book about slow food... I think that the slow food movement makes lots of sense. (It's funny - the slow food site loads slowly. :))


"Not feeling well how?"

As I was working with a student and his program support assistant this morning trying to figure out why this cursed computer program would not work properly on the machine in the classroom, the student, a boy in grade 4, says to his PSA and I,
"I'm not feeling well."
Having found myself thinking about how warm it was in the classroom and wondering whether the heat was up even though the temperature has been around 9 degrees celsius, I asked the student,
"Not feeling well how?"
There was considerable splashage as he promptly threw up all over the floor.


Favourite position

This is how Virgil can often be found sleeping. Rather scandalous, I think. OK, OK, enough of the cat pictures. But I don't think I'm as dedicated as some of the people who have set up websites for their cats on catster.com. There's also dogster.com. The really strange thing is that as you randomly skim through the pages, many of the pets that have pages are dead. Hmm.

Kitchen repainted

For those who may be interested, this is a truer picture of what the kitchen looks like than the one previously posted.

Moi et mon gros chat


Bonne Fête, Louis Braille

Since I teach braille, I feel it would be untoward not to acknowledge the birthday of its inventor, Louis Braille. A pretty ingenious guy - worth reading about. Bonne fête, Louis!


Happy New Year!

We had a fun, engaging, and enlightening New Year's celebration with some wonderful friends. I had the chance to try out my new camera's "fireworks" setting, which worked out rather nicely, I think.