The Rob Log

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Back in the Saddle 

I've only ridden a horse once in my life so don't really know what getting back in the saddle feels like, but Back on the Blog sounds less dramatic.

I haven't been completely idle. I write and play music almost daily, work on starting a podcast this fall and dabble in cartooning - more about that in future posts. Since my last blog post in May, I've filled two handwritten journals with thoughts and ideas. Keeping a handwritten journal is cathartic if nothing else and a better accounting of my life than…

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Thoughts of Dad 

My father, David Franklin Witherspoon passed away on April 25th. I did write a post previously about his life and what he meant to me called  I am my Father's Son in 2017. This is the text of a more detailed tribute to Dad given at his Celebration of Life on May 18, 2019.

We asked Dad how he wanted us to celebrate his life after he was gone. He answered, “I don’t care, I won’t be there.” So let’s just wrap this up and head over to the Curling Club - drinks on Dave! 

Seriously, if Dad were still with is…

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Crackers 

What's a cracker? Christmas crackers aside, the crackers I'm referring to are basically just twice baked bread. Surprisingly enough, American's claim that crackers were invented in 1792 in New England primarily for the purpose of having a bread-like food that could survive long periods at sea, or in your kitchen cupboard. Eventually the National Biscuit Company was formed which we now know as Nabisco - I'm more partial to their Shreddies than their crackers.

I suspect the concept of drying bread into a…

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Transitions 

Transitions are times of great danger. The disruption brought on by transitions leaves us vulnerable and exposed. We may fear what lies beyond the transition. Long held routines are torn away leaving us seemingly stranded in an unfamiliar world. We must be cautious with our thoughts, words and actions. 

Transitions involve an element of loss or an ending.  It takes time to process this, to grieve and accept what is no longer here. It is a very personal process and each of us responds differently. There is…

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Cultivating Compassion 

 

It is difficult to find compassion in the world. Anger and hatred are everywhere. Compassion does appear in simple gestures, a stranger pausing to allow you into a line of cars or holding the door for you. A smile or wave.

We have evolved to be physically and emotionally protective of ourselves making it difficult to find and express compassion. We are immediately responsive to threats while less aware of opportunities to express compassion to others. Politics and social media are full of the chronically…

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The Joy of Impermanence 

Nothing is permanent. A permanent hairdo,  a perm, is not permanent. It only adds or removes curls for a few weeks before you have to get a new one. Perhaps that's why the perm has fallen out of favour, it's not really permanent.

There are many things we consider permanent. The constant state of frozen ground in the north known as permafrost appears to be not so permanent in the face of climate change. The builders who constructed the roof and spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris likely thought it would…

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Hot Cross Buns 

Food has always been an important part of family celebrations. Each holiday had it's traditional foods that have their origin partly in my Scottish heritage but perhaps even more strongly in my mother's Mennonite background since she did all of the cooking in our house. Food was such a central part of family life that even the threat of punishment for childhood misdeeds was to be swatted with a wooden spoon.

The kitchen was the centre of my childhood home and where my mother, a university trained chemist…

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Understanding Ethics 

I'm working on a project exploring professional ethics and hope you'll come along for the journey. It will be helpful for my thought process to share ideas in the  supportive environment of my blog community. I would welcome your thoughts in the form of comments below or if you would prefer anonymity, reply to the email I send out with my blog content and your comments will come directly to me.

What exactly is ethics? According to the English Oxford Dictionary, ethics is the "moral principles that govern a…

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Dyngus Day 

Chocolate Babka

 

For several years now a small group of friends and neighbours have celebrated Dyngus Day.

It began when my wife and I were in Buffalo and saw a poster at our hotel promoting Dyngus Day celebrations. Further investigation revealed that Buffalo hosts the largest Dyngus Day outside of Poland. I mentioned it to a good friend and it turns out he had a Polish grandmother and her pierogy recipe. In the 1980's my parents helped a group of five Polish dancers defect to Canada who I refer to as my…

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Political Theatre 

That's really all politics is... theatre, and bad theatre at that. The actors vie for our emotional engagement, rarely appealing to any intellectual or rational reasoning. They bombard us with scripted dialogue designed to arouse our most base emotions. Truth is buried under steaming piles of ideology and outright lies. Social media undermines thoughtful analysis and media outlets only amplify political messaging. Small screen conditioned attention spans prevent in depth analysis.

Politics has become a bad…

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