A Money Coach in Canada

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
I’m not sure the best things in life are free, but a lot sure is. These are the trees in my yard (make that garden for my English friends).

Autumn Tree
A Vagabond Song – Bliss Carman
THERE is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.


I don’t remember a season of such unrest as this one. Debt Ceiling Crisis in the States. Riots in the UK. Greece on.the.brink. The stock market plummeting and rising and plummeting. And that’s just in the western world.

If ever I’ve been grateful to be Canadian – land of “socialism” to some, where we riot about silliness like hockey outcomes (I’m not making light of it, just grateful it wasn’t about regimes), land of regulated banks and a good, strong dollar, land of one of the lowest debt-to-gdp ratios – if ever I’ve been grateful, I am now.

And I’m grateful too for our political tenor. Our talk is far from ideal, to be sure, and often very bitter, but so far on the whole we stop short of the vitriol I see in other countries. And we should. If my brief stint in the heart of politics up here taught me anything, it’s that politicians, even those whose approaches are angering, are trying their best to create a system that (in their opinion) will be good for the city, territory, province or Canada.

Which brings me to Jack Layton. I’m no NDP-er (I’m Green, and far too capitalist). But Jack Layton by all accounts was a thoroughly decent person. And we said that about him before he died! He was somewhat of a Canadian-style Obama. Talked sincerely about hope, but without excess charisma. Was passionate about social justice … yet comfortable with something as ordinary as “Orange Crush” (Orange Crush?!?) as a de facto campaign slogan. No celebrities made amazing mashups and sang songs for him, but his mustache sure made the rounds. All so Canadian.

And finally to send us all a simple letter, written to be published after his death, not filled with polished rhetoric, yet closing with these simple, straight-up words:

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

Damn. I’m content to be Canadian.
RIP Mr. Layton.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Trinidad

And just like that, summer was gone.
One day we were still in the high-twenties and I was debating another swim like this; the next morning I sipped my coffee inside and mourned the passing of summer that shockingly occurred overnight.

It’s improbable that summer will return up here. There’s a cool in the air that bodes: winter is coming.

Thank goodness, then, for vestiges of summer. Peaches. Pears. Plums. I’m not yet ready for wintery fare of baked goods, that’s for sure. A few more juicy bites are called for and, thankfully, still available.


ps. I found this poem, called Plums:

They’re Santa Rosas, crimson, touched by blue,
with slightly mottled skin and amber flesh,
transparently proposing by their hue
the splendor of an August morning, fresh

but ruddy, ripening toward fall.—”So sweet,
so cold,” the poet said; but this one’s tart,
its sunny glow perfected in deceit,
as emulation of a cunning heart.

I eat it anyway, until the pit
alone remains, with scattered drops of juice,
such sour trophies proving nature’s wit:
appearances and real in fragile truce.

-Catherine Savage Brosman

For me, it’s a start.
I delight in my little baker’s rack garden.

Herbs: Rosemary | Sage | Dill | Oregano | Mint | Basil

Lettuce: All kinds, thanks to a wonderful friend who got them started for me and then donated them.

Flowers (you can’t see them, but they’re on the top): Johnny Jump-ups (what delightful little flowers!)

In the mornings, I make my latte and the daschunds and I sit on my steps and quietly enjoy the sunshine drenching the green, green leaves.


Herb Garden Summer 2011

I’m ashamed to admit it, but this money coach has been known to purchase mint water. Profligate.  A silly way to spend money.  And contravenes my commitment to a bottled-water-free life.

I’ve mended my ways!

When I saw a baby mint plant at the local nursery (yes, we have one in Yellowknife) I knew I should probably buy it to regain my  self respect.

The northern light has nurtured it over the months.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

And does this not look refreshing?   Score one for the money coach; begone expensive bottled water!  And if anyone else has ideas or recipes (beyond Mojitos) for mint, I think I have more mint than I can handle if I use it for water alone).

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