February 25, 2022

Simplus Manus

Simplus manus is curious and playful.

Here is Simplus manus. He can be found in and around his home, from which he rarely strays. Like his neighbours, the groundhogs, he prefers to stick close to the safety of his comfy burrow.

Simplus manus shies away from those that would hunt him down for personal gain and attempt to keep him dependent and in chains. 

He keeps far, far away from the tentacled reach of the official representatives of the Domestication Industrial Complex, and reacts badly to their mouthpiece the mainstream media.

Given the choice, he would rather sleep on a cardboard mattress while free, than a feather bed in captivity.

This rare type is fiercely independent and rebellious by nature. Like a grizzly bear, he prefers to be left to his own devices, and requires very little to maintain a contented state.

Tending toward natural spaces in which to roam unfettered, he can often be found in the wilderness. 

Another favourite haunt of Simplus manus is in the garden.

He survives on rice and beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and green stuff. While omnivorous by nature, the preference is to eat low on the food chain.

He is mostly a solitary creature, although can sometimes be found with others of his kind. 

However, Simplus shuns large crowds, and never, ever lines up for anything. A line or cue is just a systematic structured arrangement of a crowd, and what could possibly be worth that?

Like his feathered friends in the corvid family, Simplus manus pair bonds for life and is deeply devoted to his mate. 

If this resonates, you might be a Simplus manus (or womanus). 

My prediction is that there will be more of us in the future, and I believe the world will be a better place for it.

February 22, 2022

The Net Of Indra Joins All

Remember "We are all in this together?" What happened to that? 

Now it is "you are either with us, or you are a terrorist".

Thing is, we ARE all in this together, whether we like it or not, or whether we acknowledge it or not. 

This is The Net of Indra, which connects all of us and everything in a holographic Universe.

"There is a net of three dimensions, vast and wide stretching in all four directions throughout the universe. 

At each point that a string meets another point of the net there is a jewel, and this jewel reflects in it all the other jewels of the entire net, and further that reflection too is reflected in all the facets of all the other jewels.

No single part of the net can be independent of the rest; a single movement of the net in one place will affect, in some way, the most distant part of the net or universe.


The all is reflected in the one, the one in the all.

- The Avatamsaka Sutra

The destruction of social cohesion, and the fragmentation of life into smaller and smaller separate, more controllable units is unnatural and will not end well.

Humans have possessed this knowledge for thousands of years, and yet today few  live by it.

What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. 

What we do to the other, we do to ourselves. 

We will succeed together, or we will fail together. The choice is ours to make.

February 18, 2022

Laptop Book/Magazine Holder

What good is my laptop during another power outage? Well, it makes a great book/magazine stand.

The power was out again last night and this morning for a few hours. I have lost track of how many times this has happened this year, but I think this is number 5, easily the stormiest winter since moving here in 2014.

Luckily this time it is a warm storm (about plus 11C), but winds are still blowing from the south up to 110 km/hr.

We could lose power again today, for number 6.

That's alright. At least I know where my magazine will sit in that event.

February 16, 2022

The Green Pill

The Blue Pill

Take the blue pill if you don't want to wake up, don't want to know, and are happy to carry on as if nothing is wrong.

The Red Pill

Take the red pill if you want to descend into the rabbit hole, discover the truth, and potentially become angry and bitter about it all.

What if I told you there was a third option?

The Green Pill

Take it and know the truth, but live happily anyway. You will believe that the sacredness of nature is the only way, that living simply is the answer, and that greed, power and force must be countered by love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.

There is a fourth choice, but for me it is not an option at all.

The Black Pill

Take the black pill, abandon all hope and give up entirely on knowing AND not knowing. Take it and you won't care either way, won't think it matters, and will come to the conclusion that nothing will ever change anyway no matter what you do. Or do not.

Me, I have been green-pilled, and I am content with my choice. At first it made me angry, but then I came to accept what is, and recovered my positive outlook. 

The green pill is the one that set me free. 

February 13, 2022

Not Buying Any Donuts

Just before Lent, the store where we buy a lot of our food brings in a special Polish donut. They are decadent and super yummy. 

These donuts, meant to use up all luxurious ingredients in the kitchen, are filled with a variety of fillings. When we have had them in the past, the one we like best was Boston cream. 

I salivate at the thought.

Today we were making up a grocery list online and thought we might order a 4 pack of these beauties as a rare indulgence. 

But first I thought we might take a look at the ingredient list (shown above).

What a killjoy am I, never mind that these treats come in hard shell plastic that we normally refuse to buy regardless of what's inside.

My favourite from the extensive hard to pronounce  ingredient list was titanium dioxide. Ooh, that sounds delicious. 

This is what I found on wiki about this food additive:

In 2021, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ruled that as a consequence of new understandings of nanoparticles, titanium dioxide could "no longer be considered safe as a food additive", and the EU health commissioner announced plans to ban its use across the EU, with discussions beginning in June 2021. 
EFSA concluded that genotoxicity—which could lead to carcinogenic effects—could not be ruled out, and that a "safe level for daily intake of the food additive could not be established".

Mmm, nanoparticles. Is it still a "treat" if it harms you?

And who doesn't want to ingest a little propylene glycol mono fatty acid esters with their dessert? I'm pretty sure that wasn't in grannies donuts.

That ingredient list doesn't sound so good, although I know all that stuff tastes great when in a donut. Indeed, that is why a lot of this stuff is in processed foods - to make them taste less like cardboard.

I am sure that eating one or two of these tainted donuts won't kill you, but one would certainly be healthier without them.

I miss my grandma's donuts, which by the way also weren't the healthiest things she made. But I guarantee they DID NOT have nanoparticles in them. Or car engine coolant.

Grannies donuts tasted like the main ingredient was love.

We decided that we are not buying any donuts this time around. Or probably ever again.

Take away: always read the ingredient list before buying any processed food. It will probably change your mind, and possibly encourage you to stock your kitchen with nothing but basic whole food ingredients.

Food should be medicine, not poison.

February 10, 2022

A Different (More Compassionate) Space

I made the mistake today, after a several day break, of going to our national broadcaster's web site. 

It made me sad.

I should know better. The reason I quit visiting there is because the news is never good, and the comments on the bad news are even worse.

I needed an antidote, and fast. 

Suburbs of Goa is an internet radio station I listen to when I need a calming influence.

Once there, I listened to "A Different Space" by Bob Holroyd. 

I invite you to take a listen above, and enjoy a space which is very different from anything any mainstream news has to offer.

"A Different Space" by Bob Holroyd


Buddha of compassion All Buddhas of the past, present and future Bodhisattvas, an ocean of measureless qualities Please hear my anguished words of truth Karma, in an ocean of joy Let the might of your compassion arise to bring a quick end, to the flowing stream of the blood and tears. They are drunk with demonic delusions What is right and what is wrong Our most cherished and long felt desire.

This beautiful song made me feel better about everything.

Rather than denounce worldly things entirely, or try to bang my head against the wall and think that I can change them, I will sit back, view the world dispassionately, and laugh joyfully along with it all.

We hope you are well.

Please know that we love you, regardless of who you are, how you think, or what your status is.

May we laugh and enjoy life together.

February 8, 2022

Ice Storm

Waking up to the sun rising over a crystallized world.

It's as beautiful as it is destructive. It's an ice storm, and we just lived through our very first one.

We have never experienced a freezing rain event... until a few days ago. It is just ending today in The Big Melt.

As we were going through 24 hours of icicle development, I wondered, "How does this happen?" because I didn't know. 

Once we got our power back two days later, I sated my curiosity and found out.

Freezing rain starts off as snow at altitude. When this snow falls through a warm layer, it melts into rain. 

When that rain passes through a thin cold layer of air just above the ground, it does not have time to refreeze into snow or sleet, and falls as super cooled liquid drops.

This rain then lands on things at ground level that are in the cold layer and are at or below freezing. The result is that the super-cooled rain freezes on contact with cold surfaces such as trees, power lines, roads, and everything else. 

I half expected to see the neighbour's dog out in the yard with one leg lifted and encased in a few centimetres of clear ice because it didn't pee fast enough.

While I did not see that, I did see things I have never seen before, like every surface (including blades of grass) encased in thick, clear ice.

Something we have already seen three times already this winter are power outages that lasted for many hours.

This time we had two days of living in the 1800s. I had to hand crank Linda's hospital bed, and do bed panning by candle light. 

We cooked meals on a single burner white gas camp stove, and flushed toilets with a bucket filled with water stored in our bathtub before the storm started.

It was below zero and got quite cold in the house. We wore all our warm weather gear, and covered ourselves with our down sleeping bags. 

Turns out being in bed at night was the most comfortable place to be.

The heroes from the electric utility came by our house the next afternoon and restrung lines that snapped under the weight of all that thick ice. 

We felt like running out and hugging them, and would have done so if it weren't still so cold out. The power came back on shortly after they left. 

It has taken a few days to get out house back up to a comfortable temperature because everything in it was about 10 degrees Celsius. 

Our heat pump looked like an ice cube, and was entirely coated in ice. It took an hour and a half and about 40 L of hot water poured over it before I got all the ice off and the unit working again.

After the power came back on and we had a moment, we had a chance to explore the icy world outside. 

It was amazingly beautiful, and something I may not ever witness again as long as I live. Our 65 year old neighbour who has lived here all his life had never seen anything like it before.

As difficult as it was, we are glad we had a chance to see this rare and wonderful display of nature.

The trees were especially hard hit, and some may never recover, but most of them showed an amazing resilience and went from doubled over to standing tall once the melt happened.

We can now say, "We lived through the Ice Storm of 2022", and figure we are tougher for having done so.

The trees aren't the only resilient things around here.

February 3, 2022

When I Am Among The Trees

Trees save me daily, 

and this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver 

reminds me of their importance in my life.

I thank Mary, and I thank the trees

for saving me today.

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.” 

February 1, 2022

It's Official - I'm An Old Fogey

It's official - I'm an old fogey. 

I just checked my bank account and saw that I received my very first deposit for my government old age pension. 

I have reached old fogey status. That kind of snuck up on me.

It's strange. I don't feel much older than usual. I just got back from an extensive snowshoe hike into the valley behind our home, and it felt as good as it always has.

However, I can report that sitting down nowadays feels more blissful than it ever has. Taking a load off has never been so good. I guess that indicates something.

Plus, when I sit for longer than a while I tend to fall asleep. Hmmm.

I applied for my teacher pension as soon as I could. Five years ago, to be exact. And then I also applied for my government old age pension as early as I could, which was the end of 2021.

Therefore, I am not yet an old, old fogey, but rather a fogey in training, or beginner fogey. More fogey-ish than full fogey.

Hey, old fogeydom happens (if one is lucky), and nothing can be done about it. Best to accept it with equanimity and grace, which is exactly what I plan on doing.

Now I will be doing it with a little bit more cash with which to buy my adult diapers if ever necessary.

Fun Fact: in some places diaper manufacturers sell more adult diapers than baby diapers.

I guess as an new old fogey I am hardly unique or alone. That is somewhat comforting. I am in the club now.

Fogeys unite! After a nap.