050: I am grateful for Oscar

Tonight we are concerned about our little man, Oscar. He’s just coming out of emergency surgery at the Coquitlam Central Emergency Clinic.

Oscar somehow got hold of a ball of yarn, and as cats are know to do, he ate a good portion of it. Yarns and cats do not mix. This morning we were awakened by a violently ill cat. Our house looked like a vomitorium. As today was Remembrance Day here in Canada (Veterans Day in the U.S.) his regular veterinarians were not available. So we called the emergency clinic and they suggested we bring him in.

What is Oscar?

No Linux nerds, I am not talking about Open Source Cluster Application Resources or OSCAR. I am talking about our kitty. Oscar is a 1 year 3 month old, domestic short-haired cat, black in color, focused in play and rather snobby in disposition, but snuggles when he wants to. If he could speak he would sound either like someone’s butler or Higgins from Magnum P.I. I’m sure if he had the dough he would belong to a snooty country club where he would chat about real estate all evening.

I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult.  It’s not.  Mine had me trained in two days.  ~ Bill Dana

Oscar is the first cat that Carol has ever had and the 4th for me. He actually looks exactly like the black cat I had in my teens, named Popeye, right down to the little white sprigs of hair on his chest.

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049: I am grateful for humor

I know that we spell humour with a u in Canada, but to really get the search engine traffic one must spell American. So humor me Canadian friends.

Laughing makes me feel good. I do it a lot. I like to help other people do it too… laugh I mean. I am so grateful I was born with a sense of humor.

What is humor?

Humor or humour “is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. Many theories exist about what humour is and what social function it serves. People of all ages and cultures respond to humour. The majority of people are able to be amused, to laugh or smile at something funny and thus they are considered to have a ‘sense of humour’.” [source]

“Humor is reason gone mad.” ~ Groucho Marx

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048: I am grateful for books

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I love crawling into bed with a good book.

Books have been around for a long time. I don’t see them going away soon. Books started out on clay in Mesopotamia and have been printed on everything from wax, papyrus, linen and parchment; even on human skin. Today books are printed mostly on paper but, since the advent of the internet books are easily shared via digital files that are readable on a personal computer, mobile phone or other hand-held device.

I love the feel of a book in my hands, paper under my fingers, the mysteries contained on the pages within and even the smell of them. Books are a good thing. I hope they never go away completely. I have tried to read electronically, I have books on my iPhone in case of book-less emergency, but I continually come back to the real thing.

I do my writing with a pen and paper too. I prefer a hard cover moleskine for taking notes. I need a new one. Ahem… Christmas.

What are books?

Books are “written or printed works of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers; a number of sheets of blank or ruled paper bound together for writing, recording business transactions, etc.”

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047: I am grateful for generosity

Today I got two more donations for my Movember efforts. One was from someone I know well and the other was from someone I just met. Both were generous.

Some people give because they are taught that it is the right thing to do and think no more about it. Others give to a particular cause because they relate to it in some way. Still others are generous because it makes them feel good. No matter what the motives, generosity is a good thing.

What is generosity?

Generosity is “liberality in giving or willingness to give; freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character; nobility of thought or behavior; magnanimity” [source]

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046: I am grateful for music

Last week when Carol and I were in Seattle we went to Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. The photo above is of the amazing guitar sculpture inside empsfm. The extensive  and carefully crafted exhibits were nothing short of amazing. We were completely blown away by the Jimi Hendrix exhibit and Guitar Gallery: The Quest for Volume. It’s not every day you get to see Hendrix’s smashed and burned guitars and the Fender that Eric Clapton played Layla on.

I love music; almost all kinds. You name it, from blues to classical, grunge to pop, ambient down-tempo to heavy metal, punk rock to holiday classics, I listen to almost all of it. Yes, I even like twangy, yodelly, old cowboy country and western music, but I tend to draw the line at “new country” (whatever the heck that means).

Thanks to a few pieces of software I can keep at least a partial record of the music I listen to over the last few years via last.fm. Here’s my library at the site.

What is music?

Music is “an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color; the tones or sounds employed, occurring in single line (melody) or multiple lines (harmony), and sounded or to be sounded by one or more voices or instruments, or both.” [source]

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045: I am grateful for photos

Every post on this blog starts out with a photo. Some of my favorite people on the planet are avid photographers.

Here’s a picture that means a lot to me.


Photo by me.

I took this photo of our Springer Spaniel, Moosh, in our backyard when we lived in Maple Ridge. By the time this photo was taken our girl was getting on in years, but as you can see, she was very happy. The perfect moment…

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” ~ Ansel Adams

I love it that a photograph captures a moment in time to be enjoyed, or not, over again and again later on. I’m not sure how zen that is as it implies attachment and sentimentality, but, I like photos anyway.

What is a photo?

A photo, picture or photograph is “an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene’s visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of what the human eye would see. The process and practice of creating photographs is called photography. The word “photograph” was coined in 1839 by Sir John Herschel and is based on the Greek phos ‘light’ and (graphê) ‘representation by means of lines’ or ‘drawing’, together meaning ‘drawing with light’.” [source]

There’s a great History of Photography Time Line on the National Geographic site. That magazine introduced me to photography as an art form and also, helped me travel from my room in Nova Scotia instantly through times long gone and across the globe to Egypt, Japan and the jungles of the Amazon where I came face to face with interesting people and dangerous and exotic creatures.

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044: I am grateful for coffee

Come on. If you know me, you knew this was coming. I love a good, steaming hot cup of coffee. Ahh!


Photo by Julius Schorzman.

Coffee is my go juice. I am not myself in the morning until I have had a cup. This makes me an addict, I know, but compared to other things I have had dalliances with this is as mild as they get.

My name is Mike and I am a coffee-holic…

What is coffee?

Coffee is “a beverage consisting of a decoction or infusion of the roasted ground or crushed seeds (coffee beans) of the two-seeded fruit (coffee berry) of certain coffee trees.” [source]

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043: I am grateful for pie

As she had a staff team building function at her boss’s place today that finished up early Carol came home and made me a great dinner. We had a hearty chicken pot pie for the main course and for dessert, a flat apple pie, that used The Pioneer Woman‘s recipe for apple pie filling from her fabulous new hardcover cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Both were divine!


Photo and the actual pie that we ate both by Carol Browne.

Pie this good reminds me of home, my mother and my grandmother. All things I am grateful to be reminded of.

What is pie?

A pie “is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough shell that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients. Pies can be either ‘filled’, where a dish is covered by pastry and the filling is placed on top of that, ‘top-crust,’ where the filling is placed in a dish and covered with a pastry/potato mash top before baking, or ‘two-crust,’ with the filling completely enclosed in the pastry shell. Pies can be a variety of sizes, ranging from bite-size to ones designed for multiple servings.” [source]
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042: I am grateful for #Movember

I am growing a Mo (moustache) for the month of Movember to help raise awareness, and maybe even some money, to aid in finding a cure for prostate cancer.


Photo by me in my office.

Clearly that isn’t my real mo, but an artist’s rendition of what my mo could look like in the very near future. If you want to follow the progress of my mo you can do so on my other blog.

What is Movember?

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The guys behind it joked about 80s fashion and decided it was time to bring the moustache back. In order to justify their Mos (Australian slang for moustache), they used their new looks to raise money for prostate cancer research… never dreaming that facial hair would ultimately lead to a global movement that would get men talking about a taboo subject – their health.

A Mo Bro starts Movember – the month formerly known as November – clean shaven, and grows a moustache all month long, garnering support from friends and family in the form of donations. What’s more, a Mo Bro is a walking billboard for the cause as his new look opens the door for him to talk about prostate cancer – making the moustache a symbol, much like the pink ribbon is for breast cancer. Each Movember culminates in a Gala Partè in major cities around the globe where Mo Bros dress up to match their Mo, channeling the likes of Tom Selleck, Ghandi and Ron Burgundy, vying for the ultimate accolade: Man of Movember. [source]

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer to afflict Canadian men and 4400 will die of the disease this year. At least one in six men is diagnosed with prostate cancer. I have already watched a friend of mine go through the removal of his prostate due to the disease. It was a close call for him but thanks to early diagnosis and fast, but brutal treatment, he was able to pull through.
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041: I am grateful for pasta

Tonight we had sacchettini pasta stuffed with chicken and bacon with a creamy bolognese sauce. It was yummy!


Photo by Adam Fagen on Flickr

When I was eating low-carb, pasta was one of the things I missed the most. I am glad I came to my senses.

What is pasta?

Pasta (paste) is “any of various flour-and-egg food preparations of Italian origin, made of thin, unleavened dough and produced in a variety of forms, usually served with a sauce and sometimes stuffed.” [source]

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