The strength of distant ties

We’re always trawling for connections to make Jim’s life full and interesting. Sometimes I feel like a stalker when I notice someone making a genuine gesture of interest in him (not that “awww, isn’t he special? kind) but authentic ones that might have something lasting lurking behind them. Rick and I often bemoan the fact that so many bright lights in Jim’s life life far away. He’s got family and friends who have a genuine realtionship with him who live in Australia, New Zealand, the UAE, the States, throughout Canada. If there was some way to make all those people come to their senses and move to Saskatoon, preferably within walking distance of our house, think of the barbeques and movie nights Jim could throw?

But instead of thinking of those far away connections with regret, maybe there’s a way to perceive them differently. A colleague of Rick’s just marked his 50th birthday and in an amazing collaboration of friendship, people from all over the world who know and love Dean banded together through the miracle of social networks and helped him celebrate. Read about it here and have a look at the article Dean linked to about the strength of weak ties. It’s a bit academicky, but the title got me thinking about how we can celebrate all those satellites who orbit around Jim, which is fitting since he often considers himself the centre of the universe 🙂 Maybe the trick is to keep a line attached to those who are distant and just reel them in from time to time to make Jim’s life richer. Those connections are not weak in the sense of loose and flabby, but weak only in terms of physical distance. It’s our job, and Jim’s, to keep them strong.

And, come to think of it, Jim does need new socks.

 

Advertisements

Natural Saskatoon, mark your calendars!

Saskatoon’s Candace Savage, nature advocate and author, invited me to help out a bit with the NatureCity Festival coming up in May, a week-long celebration of all the natural spaces, places and things in Saskatoon that make this city the best place to live. There’s a full slate of fascinating sessions, speakers, a fantastic warmup day at the Farmer’s Market, and prizes to be had. Go to the website and check out the growing list of mostly free activities and help celebrate what is wild about Saskatoon.

banner 2

Mad Men Ben

Well, this doesn’t happen every day. Our youngest, Ben, is a musician. He and his pals Josh, Derek and Nate have long been The Park working out of San Francisco. They often back UK soul singer Alice Russell, a lovely person who loves our boys! She calls them her “musical angels of the Americas!” For those of you who are AMC’s Mad Men addicts, check out the soundtrack in the trailer for the upcoming season. That’s Ben on keys with The Park, Alice and the late funk and soul singer Darondo. We just wish they made longer trailers! Yay, Ben 🙂

ImageImage

Make your day

My husband Rick sent these to me this afternoon. One is about 11-year-old Logan, who one day after school finds out some big news, and the other is about Lola, a little girl’s best friend. He said, “If these don’t make your day, you’re not trying!” I’m not a big social media user, but look at the stuff you can find. I’m all warm and fuzzy and need kleenex.

 

Compassion shouldn’t feel sticky sweet

True compassion is something that shores the other person up, makes them stronger and feel welcomed. When ‘compassion’ is a rip-off, people with disabilities feel diminished, cheated, and the rest of us are left with a bad taste in our mouths. My advocacy hero, Robert Perske, always says if he had to pick between ‘special’ and ‘ordinary’, he’d pick the latter every time. Get a feel for what the cloying variety of compassion does for this 13-year-old teenager with autism.

Books available in alternative formats

Several of my books, including the one I co-authored with my pal sexuality consultant Dave Hingsburger (you’ll get hooked on his blog), had great runs with the original publishers. The one with Dave got translated into German, then Italian, and we hear rumours of a Korean version. We found the cover on line, but sadly, couldn’t figure out how to order it! I still get requests for books and because the rights have come back to the author(s), even ones out of print, we are making them available as PDFs on DVDs, including Sexuality. Here’s a list; if you’d like to order–or if you know people who might–please get in touch with me and share this flier. Thanks!

 

 

Being present

Image

I’m the worst (just ask my son-in-law) for wanting to soak up as much as I can with my camera. So it was with no small twinge that agreed to my pal Heather Fritz’s request to tweak her first posting for her Stuff in my Head blog. As a wedding photographer (the best one I know!), she’s had her share of competition with guests for the shots she’s been hired to get. In September, our youngest son Ben was married on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. Ben and Julia’s friend and officiant Andi invited everyone to join her in “the mystical ritual of silencing and turning off cell phones and cameras” so that we could all be with Ben and Julia and this once-in-a-lifetime assembly. After I got over my initial moment of panic to be without a camera, I felt I could take a deep breath and take in the moments with such clarity. As Nate played guitar and Ragan sang a beautiful, original piece of music, some sort of large sea bird circled lazily over the gathering, gliding up and around on thermals while he, too, kept an eye on what was happening before us. Thanks, Heather, for the reminder to be with the people we love, not just their pixels.

IMG_0769IMG_0875