The book, Hurry Up and Wait, is a collaboration between Maira Kalman, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and the New York Museum of Modern Art. Described as an “anti-productivity manifesto,” the book combines paintings by Kalman, insightful words by Handler and photographs from the museum.
“You’re supposed to stop and smell the roses, but truth be told it doesn’t take that long to smell them. You hardly have to stop. You can smell the roses, and still have time to run all those errands before the sun goes down and it’s dinner time.”
I say, stop and read this book. Truth be told, it doesn’t take long. You hardly have to stop. You can read it and still have time to run all your errands before the sun goes down.
My favourite passage is this one:
“I’m just standing still, and then suddenly I think I am waiting for something. Once I’ve decided I’m waiting it’s like I’m not standing still anymore.”
The idea of idling transformed into action by mere choice appeals to me.
You know those times when you feel stuck? You know when you don’t know what’s coming next or what you’re supposed to do with your life?
No worries. You’re not standing still. You’re actively waiting.
So, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and wait, already.
“We need to accept that what hurts one of us hurts all of us.”
Have a look at this video from theguardian.com featuring Marlon James. A short video to provoke thoughts.
Are you non-racist or anti-racist? As in, are you opposed to the idea in principle, but co-exist with it without much thought, or do you actually do something about it?
The question might make us squirm a little. It’s Black History Month, so it’s a timely question for now, but I like that this video steps beyond racism to ask the same question of other marginalized groups.
The ones facing persecution aren’t the ones that need to be brave.
How did I not know about Elsie MacGill?
There we were on Parliament Hill last September for the commemoration of the Battle of Britain. As if to belie the horrors of war and the sorrow of lives lost, brilliant sun shone down on Ottawa, Canada that day. Gentle breezes rippled the Governor General’s standard flying from the Peace Tower.
Vintage aircraft, including a Lancaster Bomber,thundered overhead.
The Snowbirds flew in missing man formation. Chills.
And then we strolled by the Hawker Hurricane aircraft on display on the vast lawn and read this sign.
Elsie MacGill, a Canadian, was the world’s first female aeronautical engineer, and a woman who supervised Hurricane production in the 1940s. How did I not know about her?
I did more research. As a child growing up in Vancouver, Elsie took drawing lessons from Emily Carr. Talk about inspiration. Elsie earned degrees from the University of Toronto, the University of Michigan and MIT. In fact, she was the first woman in North America to earn a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering.
Before her graduation, she contracted polio and was told she would never walk again. She was determined though, and she learned to walk with the help of two metal canes.
While using those canes, she went on to become the world’s first female aircraft designer. She co-authored the report from the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. She became a member of the Order of Canada.
How did I not know about Elsie MacGill? Somehow she managed to fly under the radar.
I imagine her in the Canadian Car and Foundry factory in Thunder Bay (then Fort William) surrounded by metallic clanging, blazes of welding and the haze of smoke that hung in offices in her day. I picture her making her way to meetings with the help of two canes, somehow managing to command respect despite her gender and a physical challenge. I cannot help but feel awe and respect for doing what she did at the time she did it.
She wasn’t on the curriculum when I went to school. She needs to be. She’s my new Canadian hero.
If you want to spend your day in despair over the state of humanity, the fastest route to that sentiment is through the comments section on YouTube or any other internet site.
Comments sections put the meanness, pettiness, ignorance, judgment and narrow thinking of some members of our society on full display. I simply cannot read them, or I have to spend time after giving myself a chin-up pep talk.
Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggest we might be able to enhance our tendency toward kindness. All it takes is some meditation, some training and some practice.
Participants in a study worked at building their compassion “muscle.” Those who did responded to others in need with caring and a desire to help. They became more altruistic.
Goodness knows we need more people like that.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is not the first to propose physical, spiritual, mental and emotional benefits of meditation; it has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase serotonin levels, reduce pain, and increase creativity and mental sharpness. Their study adds another motivational level to begin the practice.
Okay everyone? Let’s change some brains.
I hear different opinions about my home city of Ottawa, Canada.
Green space, natural environment and waterfront access usually make the list.
Galleries, national museums, and historic buildings rate a mention too.
Since Ottawa is the capital of Canada, Canadians from other parts of the country often (mistakenly) confuse the federal government with the municipality. I don’t know why, but it seems that the people who do so are the ones that hold a negative view of the actions of parliament, so the name of my beautiful home city sometimes elicits strong negative reactions from people who don’t know better.
But most often we residents hear about Ottawa’s lack of party life. “Ottawa, where the streets roll up at 9:00,” we hear, or “Ottawa, where fun goes to die.”
I think the people who say so aren’t trying hard enough. Elgin Street and the Byward Market provided enough entertainment for me when I was looking for such things, and our culinary masters make international headlines, so gourmet food is accessible, if that’s your thing.
And we do have a sense of humour. Would a dour city have a sign like this one at a crosswalk on the Sparks Street Mall?
The Canadian federal government doesn’t have a Ministry of Silly Walks, but Sparks Street does.