Friday, August 31, 2007


So I've been listening to the radio drama Afghanada on the CBC every morning at 11:30 (shhhh... don't tell my boss), and it has drawn me in completely. Two grunts and their sergeant, delivering aid, having cultural clashes, getting into fire fights, as part of the Canadian peace keeping mission in Afghanistan. The back drop of Canadians in Afghanistan is interesting enough, but it's the human drama that really grabs me. This ain't Melrose Place, folks. This is a drama about people with actual real world problems, people who get themselves stuck in very bad situations over and over again because it's their job, and not a job that they can quit. People who have to deal with their own personal shit and can't let it control them because there are much bigger issues at stake. It's been making me feel a bit better about my own crap. It's refreshing to see that someone else understands that sometimes you're in a bad situation, you can't get out of it, can't really make it much better, just have to get through it as well as you can, trying not to harm anyone else. Check it out!

I noticed that in the tag line for this blog, I mentioned dining, though I haven't actually followed up on that and written anything on that subject. Well... I like food! How's that for a solid start? I don't actually have much to say about dining. I have a CSA share which has been providing me with ridiculous amounts of produce for the past few months; that's been great. I love the idea (and the act) of getting food from local sources; knowing the people who grew it, the land it was grown on, others in the community eating from the same crops. I love the fact that buying a CSA share stems the tide of unsustainable development, and keeps farmers on their land. Also, the food is amazing, and I've been eating things that I'd never heard of before, can't pronounce, and/or would never have thought to buy, otherwise. Huguenot Street Farms

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sat guru. Sat dumbass.

...but uh, mostly dumbass.

I don't think this entry is going to make any sense to anyone but me, but since no one knows about the existence of this blog, that might not matter.

I was browsing through old emails this morning. I came across one to my friend Byron in which I described one of my recurring day dreams - kayaking or dogsledding though the arctic from village to village, teaching yoga; sort of a wandering samurai yoga teacher. I concluded the description of my fantasy with the words "Have mat, will travel." So therein lies the origin of the title of this blog.

Byron died last Labour Day, after a long struggle with lymphoma. He left a wonderful wife and beautiful little girl behind. I still really haven't made any sense of this, or peace with it. I still find myself angry, sad, resistant to accept his passing. I had a hunch when Byron was still alive that he and I shared a lot of similarities, in the way we were raised and in the way that we viewed the world around us. Conversations with his wife in the past few months strengthened this belief in me. But I never talked to him about it. Now I'm angry at myself. Why did I squander my friendship with him? Why the hell did I hold myself back? There isn't a damned thing I can do about it now, and my fumblings to cope over the past year have benefited me not a whit; they just kept me from dealing with losing him. Is it selfish of me to think this? To judge my actions solely in the light of what gains I personally have gleaned from them? There's a subtext here that I can't discuss, even in a blog that no one knows about.

I've made some new friends over the past few months, with whom I passed a thoroughly enjoyable evening on Tuesday. As a getting-to-know-each-other sort of exercise, one of them asked me what I would like to be able to do better. I declined to answer the question aloud, but the answer was clear to me. I wish I was better at holding on when I need to hold on, and letting go when I need to let go.

Like now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"...there's nothing uglier than a man hitting his stride..."

Excerpted from last night's journal entry, written over a steaming mug of chamomile at the Muddy Cup, in between furtive glances at the cute girl sitting opposite me:

Since qualifying for long distance swimming in Lake Minnewaska two months ago, I have made very poor use of my privileges there; until today, I had only once been there to swim this summer. I broke my dry spell tonight after work. I also acheived my goal for this summer: I swam a mile. This brought up a sea of thoughts and memories for me, and one or two feelings as welll. I swam a mile once before, long ago. I was at Scout camp, and I think it was 1987 or 1988. I was by far the last of all the swimmers to finish. I remember how proud my father was of me; not so much immediately afterwards, but in the next year or two. ... I've never liked the focus of attention to be on me...

I also remember the time that my father swam a mile. It was 1999, I think, one of the last times (if not the last time) that I was at the island with him. He went out for a swim before I woke up one morning, and he came back beaming with pride at his accomplishment. So swimming a mile today links me back to all of these memories.

When I'd finished swimming today - even before I'd finished, actually - I thought about the artificiality of this goal, and how meaningless it was for me to set myself this task, and to strive towards accomplishing it. Not even had the beautiful new building been completed, and I had already begun tearing it down. Maybe that has to do with not wanting the focus of attention to be on me; even when it is my own attention. Distrusting a sense of accomplishment and self-pride.