Autumn Leaves, Favourite Memories, and Water Balloons

I have a nephew who this fall is beginning his university education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  I took classes at Queen’s University in 1996 and 1997.  We were reflecting this afternoon on Mack’s decision to move to Kingston for the university, me along with my parents, and with my brother’s wife, my nephew’s mother.

 

These days I have an occasional interest in photography and I take photos at the cemetery where I help tend the grounds.  You can find the website for our cemetery here.  It can be a quiet spectacle.  If I stand in the right spot, I can see the lay of the land, the stones jutting out of the ground beneath the colorful treetops.  When the Fall is here, though, we won’t have much time, because as the temperature drops we spend less and less time taking care of the outdoors, and we move inside the church on the property.

 

Louth United Church (disbanded 2006)
October 9, 2013

When I was a Queen’s University Freshman in the Fall of 1996, the students were told to represent their divisions, whether it was Arts & Science, where I was allotted, or Commerce, or Fine Arts, and so on.  One September day during Frosh Week the students were given balloons.  The balloons got to be filled with water, and soon we were in a game of water balloons, instructed to take on our rivals with a sneak attack, and threw water balloon after water balloon onto the other team.

 

While it wasn’t businesslike, it didn’t strike me as strange after the days of parading and getting to know the campus of the school.  What was a bit nonsensical, and I know I’m honestly a bit nonsensical myself, is that after the water balloon launch, my team were sat down in a lecture hall and admonished for doing such a lowly thing!  A girl, more experienced, took the podium and told us how far we’d sunk for interfering with the flow of the Frosh Week.  Novice though I was, I was astonished at the lesson we were being given.

 

My pride was injured.  I felt the sting of rebuke as I sat and heard the bad of what we had done.  As we took off after the lecture, most of us probably indifferent to the foolishness that had come down on us, I personally was a little more stiff with anger, and also on a path to greater rebelliousness.  It didn’t seem like irony to me that we had played this prank, and been caught.  It had been part of the fun, and it was wrongful.

 

I don’t reflect on this much, although I think now it was a lesson in doing the right thing and in showing respect.  Perhaps it wasn’t; I should have asked if the girl who handed down to us the words of shame was taking advantage of an opportunity, and what was behind her stern talk.  Nowadays, I snap photos and write and blog and participate in social media.  I’ve mostly forgotten about what happened with me and the other Arts & Science Frosh and the water balloons.

 

Maple Lawn Cemetery
October 9, 2013

The leaves at the cemetery change color, of course, and it is a passing joy to capture the image.  Even without a photographic record, it is a calming presence at the cemetery as the green disappears.  The days cool off slowly, and we take our time keeping the grounds in order.  Fall is a lovely season and a favorite time of year for me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Like Sunshine the Future is Welcome

WordPress provides a series of supportive prompts, including Daily Prompts which these days are typically one word, designed to get participating bloggers writing about similar themes at the same time (often unbeknownst to one another).  I check the Daily Prompt when I think of writing a blog post, and today’s prompt is the word, “glaring,” which interests me because I immediately think of what is glaring that is obvious.  I relate the word glaring to the phrase glaringly obvious.  The prompt is here:  glaring

 

I think some about video, which is an extraordinary innovation in 2017, and which is provided for consumers at many levels, both amateur and professional (and in between).  The word video, as I understand it, typically refers to video content, which is videos that are assembled in relative entirety, or in sequential formats, possibly to inform, and often to entertain.  For example, the king of social media, Facebook, is debuting today original video inside the “Watch” tab on your Facebook account.  I presume this debut is coming across the U.S., but I think I have to wait to teach myself the “Watch” tab rather than seek out too much additional instruction (and thus feel the element of surprise), as I am at home in Canada.  You can learn a little more about the “Watch” tab on Facebook in the U.S. here:  https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/09/facebook-watch/

 

00001. While the news doesn’t make the same waves in Canada, it is just one more aspect of video in 2017 that indicates that if you are marketing content for business purposes, you need to be afield in video content.  Personally, I help operate a not-for-profit with a small following on Facebook, and while we’re short of the mark where the potential to show video content exists, at least we are somewhat informed as to what is happening with small business and the Internet and we are persisting with some hopes for video in the future.  Visit us here:  

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

A summer funeral
Peter checks that the cemetery plot is complete the day of the funeral.

You are welcome to network with us by clicking what WordPress, like Facebook, calls, “like,” if you have an interest in what I am posting.  You can also click, “follow,” on my blog, if you want more content along the lines what I am writing, and you can also leave a comment.

A Partnership in Operations, in the Real World and also on WordPress

My father Peter and I look after operations at Maple Lawn Cemetery, a little graveyard where families continue to lay their loved ones to rest.  I’m not entirely sure between the two of us who thought we should involve our efforts with social media, with https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited … but we do, and I know from the Internet that blogging is an important component of branding businesses of all sizes.  I had the idea to tailor a blog to activities both inside and outside of the cemetery, and I am only these days beginning to narrow its focus so that it is both a heart on the sleeve and also offering some acumen of what we get up to as a two-partner not-for-profit http://maplelawncemetery.org/

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Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word partner… https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/partner/ …and my dad and I have been restructuring the work we do lately in order to accommodate changing experiences we’re encountering as we continue to maintain the cemetery (we began in 2013).  Dad worked for the municipality for many years and much of that time was spent in the office of the municipal cemetery where he played the role of a boss.  Similarly, at Maple Lawn, Peter functions in the role of a boss as we both look after operations which from my point of view chiefly include summertime caretaking and some duties in the disbanded church, Louth United, which is on the street running in front of the cemetery we look after.  What we’re really doing at the present is weighing how effectively we are carrying out duties caretaking the cemetery, and we do that without the benefit of the guidance of a Board of Directors or anyone else evaluating what we’re about, but not without the input of my mother and Peter’s wife Linda, who listens a little to what we have to say about what we’re getting done at the graveyard.

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For about the last three years, I’ve been blogging with relative frequency, and although the theme of the blog probably seems a little unclear, it is like that primarily because I don’t have much partnership to draw upon when I am thinking about what to say for the blog.  I found myself settling upon drawing on the WordPress Daily Prompts and Weekly Photo Challenges for ideas what to say because that other bloggers use the WordPress prompts will be similarly finding themselves challenged to write posts with the spark of inspiration engendered by those prompts.  Ultimately I have found myself beginning to face the need to rewrite earlier posts I have put together so that they remain relevant and with the most direct aspects of the prompts written out as the specific prompts in question have fallen by the wayside.  I think what I have is a blog that resembles an eBook written at random and gradually entering the phase of its life in a state of the “second draft,” which is what I am doing now.

 

If you can relate to what I have on the go here, feel free to “like,” “comment,” and/or “follow.”  I am open to the possibility of looking on at your own blog, and if you do respond I can look at an example of one of your blog posts so I can relate to you.  Above all else, my blogging efforts are fun and are really only useful from the point of view of experimenting with a blog while keeping it grounded in my real world activities of working and learning.  Thank you for reading, and all the best to you.

 

A Reflection of Where I am with this Blog

I have decided to begin curating blog posts which I wrote in the past, starting with this first entry originally published July 10, 2014.

 

Blogs are commonplace for many.  Mine has provided a good deal of insight for me as people have seen and reacted to it.  If you do any writing, a blog is a very helpful way to establish one’s name as a writer.  Sometimes it goes with a change of direction.  For example, a fact may have come to light of which you were unaware.  If you have fears about becoming known to the public, a blog may not be the best way to talk on the Internet.  Or, perhaps, if you have run out of time, and have new responsibilities emerging in your life, or simply new interests being cultivated, making a blog has become less of a priority than you thought it would be.  However, the decision to blog is a significant one, and making the choice to blog from a unique angle may work in your favor as you develop your blog for the Internet, and get you the result you desire.

 

My head these days is busy, all the more so what with social media.  There is a wealth of information on the social media phenomenon, long in the running and with little sign of stopping.  Although blogging is a popular hobby, trying to inject for yourself your entry to the mix while remaining professional (and therefore detached).

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/category/daily-prompts/

For quite some time now, I have been taking advantage of the prompts WordPress offers, both their daily prompts and their weekly photo challenges.  The Internet is a wonder of our time, and it would be amiss not to present a helping hand to others.  It is often a normal part of day-to-day living, and taking a look into the realm of digital communications pays off in various ways, which I will leave to your imagination.  At the very least, the activity of writing in this blog is a soothing balm for me, when I write for this blog.  I hope that you will give me the benefit of the doubt.  If you enjoyed this post, feel free to, “like,” comment, and/or follow my blog.  All the best to you.

August 7, 2013
Disbanded in 2006, Louth United Church stands in front of Maple Lawn Cemetery, the not-for-profit we maintain

For Art’s Sake a Collage

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue blogging.

 

To circumvent certain difficulties I refer to the WordPress Daily Prompts and the Weekly Photo Challenges when I am thinking of blogging.  I feel this way I am on the same level as other participants in these WordPress suggestions for blog entries.  The Daily Prompts typically refer to a specific word of the day as a launching point to write a blog post, and the Weekly Photo Challenges are essays which inspire blog posts with photography in mind.

 

This week’s Photo Challenge is to a prepare a photo collage for your blog.  This is fun.  It is artistic and it requires a little bit of work to put together something with quality.  I took four photos I took recently and reassembled them into a collage which I am including for you here.  I will take a moment now to explain what the photos mean and if they amount to anything as a whole.  A collage is what has been assembled.

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The photo on the top left shows a tree at the cemetery where I work.  I co-direct operations at this little out of the way cemetery in my town (and you can visit it on the Internet at http://maplelawncemeteryorg.ipage.com/oldchurchcemetery/ which is the website).  The tree stands on the side of the driveway around the church which divides the cemetery from the church proper (the congregation disbanded in 2006).  The tree represents for me a point of interest because it is elevated above the shed where we keep the riding mower I utilize the cut the cemetery grass.  It is a dividing point on the property and it means to me a focus or orientation, which serves as a subtle boundary.  The focus is important to me as without the power to focus, and this is something which for me is a personal struggle, I would be far less productive as an individual and therefore mired.

 

The photo to the right of that is the image of a claw which is dismantling a closed-up building unit which for some time in the past comprised a bar.  It isn’t far from where I live and the construction activity depicted occurred most recently.  For me, the opposite of boundaries is destruction, which is what I think I fear and what it is possible many individuals fear.  The contrast between the stability of the tree overlooking the cemetery shed and the breakdown of urban sprawl lends itself to art, as in opposites side by side illustrating change.

 

The third photo, to the left and beneath the image of the tree, is a local high school in the evening with a magnificent sky overlooking it.  Where the illustration of the difference between peace and destruction is on display at the top, the photo of the high school is an institution of human development which is quite far intellectually from the depicted notions of security and of destruction.  It helps to reflect on the student body which occupies the school three-quarters of the year and to think about how it is they relate to the images of change which are above the photo.  Whereas specifics of change are illustrated in the top two photos, the high school helps reflect a flow of ongoing change.

 

Lastly, the fourth photo shows a bonfire, which is literally being employed to burn branches at our cemetery, and which helps illustrate the notion of spiritual, I think, because what isn’t necessary to the cemetery is destroyed.  The photo collage tries to capture both positive changes, in the images of the tree and of the school, and likewise negative withdrawal, where the claw and the fire show what is symbolic of being taken down.  A straightforward contrast such as this helps fulfill its necessity as art.

 

If you enjoyed what I shared, feel free to, “like,” “follow,” and/or “subscribe” to my blog.  I hope to continue, and if you are moved by this entry, I welcome your input and perhaps I will even go so far as to visit your own blog myself.  All the best to you!

Planets Mercury Mars Venus and Earth blank

What Might Have Been Adventure Can Show the Rust

The illusion of progress is revealed to be one-dimensional if the necessary steps to proceed are taken in an incorrect order.  Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word, “illusion,” and it’s a word that’s interesting because it reminds me of fantasy themes where magic illusions sometimes enter the conversation.  Unfortunately, a more telling example of illusion, in the real world, is when what’s holding together the bigger picture becomes illusory and therefore is fragile.  Like when your nine-to-five gig, whatever’s paying the bills, turns out to be a little more illusory than you would have liked and pretty soon you are out of work, owing to shortcomings which turned up at a time which proves inopportune (the illusion is no more).

If you have an applicable skill set, you probably wouldn’t find yourself holding the reins and coming untethered, but the odd time, I think it’s probably happened to most, you wind up out of luck and what was an illusion of success is revealed to be bogus, which is when you’re back on the streets.  This week’s WordPress photo challenge is an essay on transience, which, if adversity prevails and you can’t master holding down a job or otherwise making ends meet, is where you find yourself if ultimately you meet your doom.  I’ve toyed with transience in my lifetime and it can feel like a bleak spot to live in, but fortunately I’ve remained afield of the game by taking a role in operations at a not-for-profit which entails caretaking the grounds in good weather, and also maintaining on the internet a digital experience, chiefly with Facebook.  You can find Maple Lawn Cemetery, our not-for-profit, on Facebook here:  

www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

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Despite my position in the not-for-profit, at times I still feel the grip of transience, the hold it sometimes seems to want, and it is with some pleasure that I express the aptitude for transience I gleaned from this week’s photography essay.  The concept that an illusory sphere around me, which guides my hand in this lifetime, I am relating today because you can feel sometimes, I think, how the illusion could come apart and leave you in the lurch, with plans for the future cast into disarray and a scramble ensuing to pick up the pieces of a work culture about who you tiptoe.  I am certain that without initiative, in addition to persistence and ability, it wouldn’t take a lot to hit the skids and see chaos prevail.

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Dedication to making any kind of living requires some hard work.  It’s a little not-for-profit, which refines some expertise and adds some structure to the big picture.  I’m not sure it would come apart if it wasn’t in place, but it provides some community building and in general, it’s a wholesome pastime, however tidy it comes together.  The feedback about the cemetery is upbeat.  I thought I would show a couple of photos today, as well as inviting you to, “like,” “comment,” and/or “subscribe” to this blog.  We proceed as a transparent not-for-profit, although we’re not held particularly accountable, as long as we heed some rules and regulations which are important to the operation of a cemetery.  There wouldn’t be much care given to such a spot if we weren’t handling it.  We’ve been doing it four years, and we don’t anticipate much change or much trouble as we keep on going down this road.  We’ll see how our future turns out, but in the meantime, it is not just an “illusion,” that we’re exploring, it’s a reality.

If You No Longer Need Your Depression Meds, Here’s a Common Strategy to Leave Them Behind You

Consider that a guideline for reducing psychiatric drugs you take, according to http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/ the website which informs of such a guideline, encourages users of psychiatric drugs to effect a ten percent rule.  The rule is to reduce a dependence on psychiatric drugs by ten percent per month, which is sometimes known as tapering off, to avoid withdrawal, as in feeling adverse consequences from no longer taking the psychiatric drug.  The site I’m referencing is detailing Prozac, which is the oldest antidepressant available, having been prescribed to patients who need it since 1987.

 

The WordPress Daily Prompt for today is the word, “taper,” and that is why I have looked up the definition of withdrawal referred to by the expression, “to taper,” or, “tapering off.”  I don’t take Prozac, but I have occasionally in my adult life been prescribed antidepressants, usually because work type stressors were bothering me and I needed some extra strength.

 

Friday afternoon a friend of mine of about twenty years gave me a phone call, and in the course of the conversation, he mentioned that depression concerns are overwhelmingly detrimental to members of the workforce, who run afoul of them constantly.  I had some idea already this is true.  I’m not on medication for depression and at the present I don’t suffer much depression, but my friend does, and he’s been with the same employer for what I think he said is twenty-nine years, and for several months now he’s been avoiding working owing to his problem with depression, and being paid seventy percent of the wages he would get if he wasn’t bringing up his depression to his bosses and continuing to work.  He said the situation is tolerable.

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He doesn’t blog, but he takes an interest in both Facebook and in Instagram.  I’m not on Instagram, but the gentleman and I share our friendship together on Facebook, and he is an unabashed anti-social, which leaves me feeling that he is more interested in toying with Facebook than he is in any sustained effort at a BFF kind of relationship (“best friends forever”).  He’s a lot older than me, and that’s fine.  We’re just not having a bromance together.

 

I feel a little bad for him, that he’s kind of tanking, but at least he’s bringing home most of his wages, and he’s responsible and doesn’t waste his money or other resources.  He’s a gentleman with a dog, who I suspect is his true best friend.  Dogs are lovely animals, and sometimes fill the role of a guardian, and I know his dog is dear to him.  I wouldn’t tax him to give me more of his energy, particularly as he is telling me when he does talk about his depression, and I respect his right to manage his life the best he can without unduly aggravating his state of mind.  For everyone, life’s a hard journey.

 

I don’t particularly want to go down the same route in life as he has gone.  I try to work smart, and I use medication to better my performance, rather than to make work bearable.  I enjoy working, I’m “Type A.”  I just feel that pacing yourself is a better strategy than struggling day after day with an enormous workload that results in ailments such as depression, and other kinds, too.

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I just thought I’d bring all this up when I saw what today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is.  All I’m doing here is posting an example of what I am encountering in my day-to-day life and I am not offering advice or recommending you change, even though I suspect if you are on psychiatric medication and you want to stop taking it, you should use a guideline, not unlike the ten percent reduction rate.  If you feel some comfort in reading this post, feel free to, “like,” “comment,” and/or, “follow,” so I know you’re out there.  I wish you well, and if you are suffering from a psychiatric malady, good luck with your recovery and with a better future.