My grandmother with a photo of my siblings and me - Christmas 1980

My grandmother’s cake

Food is a powerful force in our lives. We have to eat frequently or suffer. We gather over meals. We use meals to celebrate. We have consumed so many meals in our lives that it is no wonder we develop strong associations both good and ill with many foods. Food remains a central part of hospitality.

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Living life and respecting limits

abilityI have been disabled for four weeks. I was hit hard by the flu and a series of opportunistic infections that followed it. This is likely a temporary situation, but one that has made me reflect on my life, and how I attach value to it. My disability is minor compared to the challenges of some friends and acquaintances, but the reality of it has been sobering for me. I am not able to do any serious physical tasks. Sweeping and washing the kitchen floor wore me out for the day. I am bored in ways I am unused to. My house is a mess that I don't like. Most of the things I do for fun or money, I can't do. These things have defined my image of myself. I have had to rethink that. Age and a supportive family have made it easier to adjust, but it has not been fun.

A Canoe for my Daughter

There is an ornament in my living room that visitors to our house notice right away. It rather dominates the room. My daughter's first canoe hangs over the couch. I built that canoe for her in August and September of 2003. It is 10' long and modelled on a very popular 15' canoe by the world famous Chesnut Canoe Campany called the Ranger. I called it a Junior Ranger. For months I had searched the Internet and asked friends about a canoe that might be suitable for my daughter. I found nothing. Five years earlier, I had built a Chestnut Ranger for myself with Peter Gould and Kim Pressnail through a Toronto School Board course. I have found it to be a versatile boat and it seemed like a great fit for a kid if only the size could be reduced.