Spring Gillard

Petal Pusher

291729_255546924574983_329613111_nThese pretty petals were being pushed around on Facebook this week. No idea of the original source of the photo, but it’s a lovely quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 – 1955), a French philosopher and Jesuit priest. Many of his writings were censored by the Catholic church during his lifetime. He wrote The Phenomenon of Man and The Divine Milieu, a synthesis of theology and science. He was also trained as a paleontologist and geologist and joined the Peking Man excavations in 1926. This quote feels very relevant for our times. You can read more about this fascinating man here.

November Crawl

ukiehall-640x480-0-img179The Eastside Culture Crawl is upon us again. I’m heading out with some colleagues after work tonight. We’ll cover the Strathcona art studios and likely pop into the Wilder Snail for some food and shelter from the wind and rain that is forecast. Unfortunately, the Ukranian Hall isn’t open on Friday night, but they will have their usual spread (borscht, perogies, sauerkraut, etc) on Saturday and Sunday. Looks like a great line-up of arts and crafts again this year with over 450 artists. Will hit some of my faves (like brilliant furniture sculptor Arnt Arntzen) and discover some new artists as well.

Festive Sushi

fetivsushiNow that the seasonal potlucks and parties are beginning, I’ve pulled out a few of my favourite holiday recipes. Love this festive sushi. It’s just mashed yams or sweet potatoes and a layer of cranberries spread onto seaweed sheets. Roll them up and then cut into bite-sized “maki.” You can spice up the yams if you like with a dash of chili powder.

Spirit World Speaks

DSCN5346_3Prompted by a curiosity I had about 20 year cycles, I have been rereading my journals from 1994. During that year I was in Tofino doing some film work and quite serendipitously connected with some relatives I didn’t know I had. They are connected to the Cree bloodline that runs through my Dad’s side of the family. In honour of my new found family, a childhood friend gave me a beautiful print that year by Lee Claremont, a First Nations artist who lived in Kelowna. It was called Spirit World Speaks and it spoke to me immediately. Despite the fact that I loved it then and love it still, it has taken me twenty years to have it framed. When I found myself reliving the meeting with my Tofino cousins in the pages of my journal, I decided that it was high time. My cash birthday gift from my parents helped pay for the framing. I hung the print yesterday. It looks as if it has always been there. It’s as if I matched my furniture to it. I have lived in my place for 11 years now and that wall above my dining room table has always been empty. Now it dances with colour and yes, joyful spirit.

Vote Quotes

Just listening to CBC’s Early Edition. Two guest bloggers talking about why we should get out and vote. One of the bloggers admitted she gets kind of weepy every time she casts a vote. Me too. I am always struck by the privilege of it. Get out and vote in your civic election tomorrow. Here are some inspiring quotes to motivate you.

To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain. – Louis L’Amour

Bad politicians are sent to Washington [or insert your town] by good people who don’t vote. – William E. Simon


ventsFrom my bus window. Granville Street. Downtown Vancouver.

Best Breakfast Ever

yolksrstI went to Yolk’s for breakfast this week with my work gang to mark the end of our 15th Anniversary celebrations. Best breakfast ever – outside of my parents place that is. I had two eggs with Portobello mushroom, aioli and fresh arugula on English muffins, dusted with white cheddar. I split a side of the truffle-lemon hashbrowns with my neighbour. Every bite was an OMG. Perfect coffee was from 49th Parallel. A colleague ordered the hot chocolate, made with real Callebaut chocolate. To die for, according to her. There’s waffles and pancakes and Manmosa’s (beer & OJ). Seriously, I’m a breakfast person, why have I never heard of this place? The sunny little spot lights up no man’s land at Clark & Hastings, and is well worth a trip from Kits. They have a food cart and a food truck too. Hopefully they park on the west side occasionally.



I just read a book co-authored by John McKnight called Abundant Community. Community developers will probably be familiar with his work. I loved his description of generosity and I share the excerpt with you here.

Generosity goes beyond kindness. It is the alternative to the world of barter. Generosity is to make an offer for its own sake, not is exchange value. Generosity comes from the Latin generosus, which means “of noble birth.” It conveys a sense of the bountiful, lavish, copious, and abundant. Generosity clearly has its roots outside the market, not explained by barter or one to one exchange.

As we have stated too many times, systems and the marketplace are based on a context of scarcity. Generosity emerges from the ground of abundance. Systems treat generosity as naïve. The system or consumer world counterfeits generosity by offering something as a bargain, a sale, a good deal, a loss leader. It is like the cartoon of a father standing outside his store that has a large “going out of business” sign, saying to his child, “Someday, my child, this business will be yours.”

In the system world of philanthropy, generosity is sometimes called “charity,” which is really an unstable and false generosity because it is oriented around the needs and deficiencies of just one party in the transaction. Charity is demeaning in this way. As if you need me, and you have nothing but gratitude to offer in return. Charity says, “You have not earned this; I am giving it to you because you have so few gifts.”

A context of scarcity makes generosity and artificial act. It can be called currying favor. You go to an elder in a culture of generosity, and it is considered respectful. You go to a supervisor in business, and they think you must want something. Generosity is viewed in a context of scarcity as self-serving. Here we consider it community -serving. Community competence depends on generosity. It creates a context for generosity. – John McKnight & Peter Block

New Immigrant

versacepicLook who’s moved into Gastown. Versace has opened a flagship “home” store at 310 West Cordova in the old deLuxe Junk location. The opulent new retailer seems all the more flagrant when butted up against its poor and homeless neighbours in the downtown eastside.

Loyal Friends

prayerflagsA quote from Eknath Easwaran. A picture of Ganesh wrapped in silk prayer flags made by a dear friend. Cozy combo for a rainy Sunday.

Loyalty is the quintessence of love. When two people tell each other, “As long as you do what I like, I’ll stay with you, but as soon as you start doing things I don’t like, I’m packing my bags” – that is not love; that’s convenience. Loving somebody means that even when they trouble you, you don’t let yourself be shaken. Even when they are harsh to you, you don’t move away. Even when they make a mistake that hurts you, you don’t go off and make the same kind of mistake to hurt them.

All of us are so liable to human error that unless we have some capacity to bear with the errors of others, we will not be able to maintain a lasting relationship, which is the tragic situation that many people find themselves in today. We should never settle for this unhappy state of affairs. – Eknath Easwaran, Thought for the Day