I Like That

I Like That
See, hear, taste, touch and inhale the wonders of the world.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spiritual Café as Diverse as Coffee Selection

Twenty-one diverse people gathered at Serious Coffee in Courtenay on Sunday, March 27 to discuss the topic, “The Nature of True Religion”. The open forum began with all of us sitting in a large circle group, each of us sipping or holding a cup of our favourite beverage. The icebreaker began with our telling of our religious experience and how it affected our life. There was talk of Abrahamic religions including Baha’i faith, Christianity, and Gnosticism, Indian religions including Buddism and Hinduism, East Indian religion including Confucianism, and Aethism.
            The larger group broke into smaller groups of four and sat at round tables to encourage participation, eye contact, active listening, and a sense of community. The questions at each table were “What is true religion?” and, “How can we know?” The lively discussion brought out the best in each of us. I witnessed hope, love, curiosity and respect. Even when the moderator suggested we take a short break, no one moved from his or her chair and the discussions continued. At the end of the first session, two participants from each table moved to another.
            The question at the last session was, “How is humanity influenced by true religion?” Once again the members opened up their minds and hearts and expressed themselves eloquently in light of the spiritual environment.
            At the end of the two-hour gathering, we locked our new friends in hugs and handshakes and wished them well until we saw them again.

Spiritual cafe theme is unity and harmony.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sixty minutes of Earth Hour

Our humble contribution at our home in Campbell River is to light up our bees wax candles and enjoy the serenity. There are more elaborate celebrations going on around the world.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Litter doesn’t impress newcomer

Friday, March 25, 2011 –Campbell River Mirror -- 

Kristen Douglas, Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River has fallen into an “unfortunate state of neglect” because of all the “hooligans” who leave their trash along the side of the road, says one fed up resident.
Susan Black is sick and tired of having to navigate around all the garbage she sees on a daily basis, comparing Campbell River to India.
“When I leave my property I’m always stepping over chip bags, working my way around cigarette butts and banana peels,” says Black. “What comes to mind is my trip to India which is one of the dirtiest continents in the world. But when I saw the condition of the streets here I thought ‘oh I’m back in Delhi.’”
Black, who is a resident manager at The Madison apartment complex on Dogwood Street moved to Campbell River about seven months ago and told city council Tuesday night so far she is not impressed.
“It (the littering) gives you a sense that you don’t belong, that the city belongs to those who want to ruin it,” says Black. “I want to be proud of this city but when I walk outside I’m not proud anymore.”
Black presented council with a slideshow of the garbage she sees on her one-kilometre trek each day from her home to Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex.
“I’d like you to consider where this might be,” she told council as she flipped through slides depicting pop cans, water bottles, rotten food and even graffiti.
“These hooligans who litter should have to clean it up – it builds a sense of community,” says Black.
She also suggested the city adopt a program similar to one she saw work successfully in China while teaching English.
“If you give yourselves the chance to brainstorm on a solution, you may find you don’t have to spend money, it can be solved with community credits,” says Black. “In China, high school students are given credit for supporting the community by cleaning their school grounds and the surrounding area.” Rewards could include free movie vouchers or swim or skate passes.
Black, who lives directly across the street from Carihi, says she approached the school in an attempt to engage its students in a similar program but there was no interest.
Mayor Charlie Cornfield said it was “too bad” she did not get a favourable response from Carihi but recommended Black contact the Christian School, which has, in the past, sent out students to clean up the block around the school.
Black also suggested block by block competitions to encourage residents to pick up litter on and around their own properties.
Coun. Roy Grant suggested Black join the city’s Community Advisory Commission which makes recommendations to council on community beautification.
“While I don’t agree we’re in a dilapidated state, there are parts of town that need sprucing up,” he said. “I think the committee needs someone as enthusiastic as yourself.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Case with Campbell River City Council

On February 28, 2011, I posted a story on this blog titled, “How I Walk the Dogwood Gauntlet”, and on March 4, I followed up with a letter to the Campbell River City Mayor and Council members to bring the issue of trash on the city’s streets, sidewalks and boulevards to their attention. On Tuesday, March 22, I presented my case in Council Chambers.
            I began with a slideshow of photographs I’d taken on my one kilometre trek from my home on the 300 block of Dogwood Street to the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Centre. I described the impact of the trash strewn on the sidewalks and boulevards and the poor impression it leaves on the citizens and visitors of Campbell River. I explained that left alone, the trash gives the impression that we don’t care about the city when in fact we do care a great deal and that’s why we live here. I want to take the city back from the hooligans who tag property and the inconsiderates who just drop garbage in our tracks.
            One of the proposals I presented was to introduce a Citizen of the Streets program to the schools that would encourage students to clean up the perimeter of their school property and extend the generous action to the entire block. Another solution was to take advantage of the John Howard Society Restorative Justice Program and have the offenders clean up the streets as reconciliation to the city’s citizens.
            I’ve been brainstorming on other ideas and am soliciting your help. If you have clean up programs where you live, it would be my needful pleasure to hear about them. Thanks.

Things have got to change.

You can make a difference as part of a clean up crew.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Naw-Ruz Revisted

On Monday, March 21, a group of Baha’is and their like-minded guests gathered at the Dove Creek Community Centre to celebrate Naw-Ruz. The new year celebration marks the beginning of 168 BE which represents the one hundred and sixty-eight years of Baha’i era. The evening was filled with good food, instrumental music, songs and up-beat conversation.
            Here’s a chorus from one of the many songs from that evening.
            “Unity brings peace, unity brings harmony, unity is powerful, it creates unity from diversity.”
            We were surrounded by a fellowship of ages, personalities and cultures. The positive power of the gathering brought about by smiles and delightful chatter contributed greatly to the atmosphere of spirituality. We made attempts to harmonize our singing and encouraged participation from the group. It was a peaceful evening.
            We hope you can join us next year.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Andree: What's in a Name?

Andree\an-dree\ as a girl's name is a variant of Andrea (Greek), and the meaning of Andree is "manly, virile".

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, wrote William Shakespeare. This is a true statement about my sister Andree. For years, her five sisters and one brother called her Andy. It was only last year, when I had the privilege of visiting her after nearly seventeen years of never seeming to find the time to go to her, that she asked me sweetly to address her as Andree. I felt honoured.

Andree is a shoot-from-the-hip rancher. She is honest and gets straight to the point in all her conversations. She lives with her partner and little dog on a manicured property just outside Victor, Montana. I can hear her inherited Canadian accent on some occasions but I found that Montana and its cowboy lilt has worked its way into her vocal cords.

She fed me, housed me and entertained me the entire time I was a guest in her warm house. We laughed and cried and fell in love with each other all over again.

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~ Marion C. Garretty

Welcome to Montana

Susan and Andree at Mono Creek homestead

Chico - "Boo"

Victor Mercantile

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Exercise is an Adventure

I LIKE THAT I exercise for one hour and fifty minutes three times a week. My routine begins by stuffing my backpack with a towel and bathing suit twice a week and workout shoes once a week. I walk the one kilometre trek from my home to the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Centre and join the rest of my group either in the pool or in front of the mirrors in the studio. When I’m done, I walk home.
When I started in January 2011, my waist measurement was forty-one inches, and now, sixteen days later, I’ve lost one and a half inches. I’ve also lost four and a half inches off my umbilicus measurement. You’ve got one too – it’s your bellybutton. A tape is wrapped around your body at that level and the tester records your size.
Other improvements include my balance, my stand to sit repetitions, my reach, and wall squat, where in the beginning, I could only stand at a one hundred and twenty degree angle, I can now squat at a ninety-degree angle for thirty seconds.
I feel proud and enthusiastic about my new passion for exercise.
           The group as a whole is very encouraging and present themselves with smiles at every gathering. We’ve developed a comradeship with each other and the personal trainers. Everyone involved is excited about being the best they can be. What an adventure!

Equipment adds variety

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Nightingales Sing for Seniors

“May they break all bonds of limitation, so that they can observe from the height the lordly processions of infinite creatures; they will see the blue heavens studded with luminous stars, rivers flowing with salubrious water, gardens bedecked with fragrant flowers, trees adorned with blossoms and fruits, birds singing songs of light, humanity ever striving forward, every atom of existence breathing life and force - the universe of God a wonderful theatre upon the stage of which every created thing plays its part.”

            (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 138)

The Nightingales is a happy diverse group of singers who chant with the seniors at various centres and the hospital. They croon familiar favourite tunes and with the help of songbooks, encourage the audience to sing, whistle, hum or tap along to the music. The leader plays the piano and the rest of the group walks around singing or join a few seniors at a table and sing from that place.

     The smiles on the faces of the participants are what breathe life and force into the entire event. 

The Nightingales sing for seniors

Frank and Rose Rita sing for seniors
Anne, Mike, Susan, Rose Rita, Nancy and Frank sing for seniors