Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 18, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

 

Scarfing one down

“The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

Blowin’ in the Wind. Bob Dylan

“If you’re going to look like a dork, I’m not walking with you.”

This is hardly the stuff one might expect to find in a Hallmark card on the cusp of Valentine’s Day.

Some of you might recall that a week ago Sunday, we had extremely high winds and bitter temperatures. After a long day indoors, my wife and I decided to brave the elements and go for a short walk. I can’t remember it being this cold in a very long time so I decided to layer up and this included a rarity for me – a scarf.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve worn one. Come to think of it, I’m not certain that I’ve ever worn one. I poked around the closet and found one that was very plain. No fashion statement with this one. I wrapped it around my neck and tied it in a knot. This “tying the knot” (not to be confused with one’s wedding day) rendered one end of the scarf long and the other quite short. This is when my wife delivered her verdict on my appearance. With the temperature hovering around -25, I wasn’t expecting the sidewalks to be crowded with fashionistas.

I was asked to remove the offending object and this time, she tied it to make me look less dorky. She commented much later that I actually cut a dashing figure as we exited our apartment to face Mother Nature’s fury.

It was brutal outside and it was hard to keep one’s head up. About 1.5 kilometres into the walk, we turned the corner heading up Brookland Street. We were now feeling the total brunt of the wind causing eyes to water. I grabbed for my scarf to pull it up over my face only to find it no longer around my neck. I turned around and it was nowhere to be seen. We may have been inclined to turn back anyways but this gave us a convenient excuse to re-trace out footsteps. We walked slowly back home looking carefully in all directions. The scarf had vanished.

As mentioned earlier, the streets weren’t crowded. Actually, we didn’t meet a single soul on the outward journey and one lone college student on the trip back home.

I was more puzzled than anything so I decided to go back over the route one more time, checking both sides of the streets on which we had trod. I looked in bushes and trees and even under vehicles. If anyone had been watching they may have wondered if I had misplaced the crown jewels.

The good news in all of this is that the scarf did not come from Mills Bros. in Halifax. In fact, I was told that it was purchased at Value Village for $2.00.

I also coined a new word last week. I have serious issues with weather forecasting. Actually, it’s not so much the accuracy and veracity of forecasting that irks me but the hype by the media when bad weather hearkens. Any hint of foul weather (can you say winter?), brings out a litany of messages designed to increase engagement at media outlets. “Huge system coming our way”, “Blast of winter to hit the Maritimes”, or “Major winter storm to wallop the region” are all catch phrases (Thanks GMD) which encourage people to tune in to their favourite television or radio station.

Whenever I hear these dire warnings, I want to scream “Flake News.™

Have a great week.

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Faces in the Crowd – Writing Her Own Script

Posted on February 14, 2019 under Faces in the Crowd with no comments yet

Looking to the Future

 

“I am a creative person. I have  asked many questions and have experienced a lot of life. I want to keep writing stories that create dynamic roles for Black women.”

Meet Tara Lee Reddick.

Tara grew up in Antigonish, the youngest of four children. She had an imagination, was independent minded and always wanted to travel. While many have hazy recollections of their childhood, Tara can remember vividly small details of her youth from a very young age.

After completing grade 11 in the local school system, Tara decided to do her final year of high school in Halifax. “I wanted a different and more diverse experience. I had never been taught by a Black educator and wanted to spend time with classmates who were like me.” Living and going to school in Halifax was a great education. There were plusses and minuses. “I realized that you choose friends by their character and not the color of their skin.”

The next four years of Tara’s life were very demanding. She moved to Toronto, had a child and worked at several jobs. “I went from a small town, to a larger city (Halifax) and then to a big city (Toronto). I was so busy raising a child and working that I felt I never had time to really think about my future.” She moved back to Antigonish as a single mother seeking family support which was not available in Toronto.

Tara was always writing. No scrap of paper in the household was safe when she got an idea. She was also intrigued with acting. One day, unannounced, she wandered into Filmworks in Halifax inquiring about acting opportunities. She auditioned for the CBC mini -series “North, South” and got a small role. Realizing that she needed more professional credentials she took Neptune Theatre’s Pre-Professional Theatre Program. This nine month intensive course focused on such things as acting, musical theatre and script analysis.

In 2007, she was a stand-in for the movie “Poor Boy’s Game”. She became intrigued with the process of filmmaking and watched how all the pieces in a production fit together. She decided that writing scripts was what she wanted to do. Around this time she met Ann Verrall, an independent filmmaker who was doing a lot of work with indigenous groups. They wrote some scripts together.

A turning point for Tara was when she played the role of Tituba in Two Planks and a Passion’s play “The Crucible”. “Do I want to create dynamic roles for Black women or be the token Black woman often portrayed on stage and in film?” She co-wrote and co-produced “Stroll” which was shown at the Atlantic Film Festival.

A chance meeting with Emmy Alcorn in Halifax was another game changer for Tara. Emmy was the artistic director at Mulgrave Road Theatre and asked Tara if she would like to write a play. She was asked to write about a play about a woman from Lincolnville who ends up working for the family of the legendary, Ed Sullivan, host of a very popular variety show.  While the story line was compelling, Tara wanted to write her own story about the unique richness of the Black people of rural Nova Scotia. The result was “The West Woods”, a critically acclaimed work. Not only did Tara write the script but she also acted in the production. According to Alcorn, “Tara had a big vision and she was committed to doing the work to realize her vision. She has a lot of courage and is not afraid to take on projects that require her to get outside her comfort zone. She’s very professional and she has a big heart full of generosity.”

To say that Tara leads a full and busy life would be an understatement. She is the mother of four children and continues to live and work in Antigonish. She is involved with many worthy organizations and is a gifted communicator and facilitator. She is in her third year at St.F.X and it should surprise no one that her field of studies includes Sociology and Gender Studies. She realizes that a good education is very important.

Tara has a keen sense of self and a good sense of humour.

But make no mistake, she’s writing her own script. This independent thinker is a game changer for our community.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 11, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

Our just desserts?

There’s an old expression I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. The recent changes and updates to the Canada Food Guide have me and many other Canadians thinking about what we eat. Although Christmas is now a distant memory, I’m reasonably sure that most people have dialed back their excessive holiday eating. Not surprisingly, more gym appearances are made in January than any other month of the year. In other words, we’re trying to get our act together… again.

“You are what you eat.”

Surprisingly, the Canada Food Guide does not have a category dedicated to sugar. I don’t think I’m the only confessed sugar addict. Back in the early 80s, sugar was often referred to as “cancer crystals”. Besides desserts, most processed foods contain traces of sugar and some of them, including fast foods, are absolutely loaded with it.

I have been repeatedly told by family and friends that sweets are ok in moderation. Unfortunately, I did not inherit the moderation gene.  When I smoked, I smoked close to two packs a day. Good thing I quit cold turkey when I did about 40 years ago. I am healthier because of this choice and I have saved myself a bundle of money. Two packs a day these days will set you back about $1,200 a month. You could afford a very nice home in Nova Scotia for that price or a one bedroom apartment in Vancouver.

Like most self -respecting Maritimers, I drank my share of alcohol. I decided on January 1st of the year I turned 60 (eight years ago), that I would put a cork in the booze bottle for good. I felt that sleeping better was a sensible trade- off for the momentary high of a glass or two of wine.

In the not too distant past I ran marathons and biked like a mad man. My neck and back now hate me for this excessive behaviour. There is nothing wrong with running or biking. Just do them in moderation!

You get my drift.

If you are what you eat, then what are you?

I am apple pie, crème brule, strawberry shortcake, coconut cream pie, oatmeal cookies, date squares, apple turnovers, Timbits, crullers and donuts.

I am mom’s pineapple squares, Evelyn’s lemon tarts, Effie’s chocolate squares, Nora’s fudge, Mrs. A.B.’s butterscotch pie, and Violet’s blueberry grunt. (A tip of the hat to old neighbors and friends).

I am profiteroles, Budapest roll, chocolate chip cookies, peek freans, cherry pie, muffins.

I am chocolate. I am death by chocolate. I am Peace by Chocolate!

I am jelly beans, hard candy, Oh Henry bars, coconut bar, crispy crunch, cherry blossom, caramel cake and Jos.Louis. I am plum pudding, fruit cake, cinnamon rolls, tomato cake, banana bread, cheese cake.

I am Nanaimo bars, rice krispy squares, butter tarts, lemon loaf, parfaits, trifle and sweet cereals.

Have I missed any? Please do tell.

I don’t have the nerve or resolve (yet) to kick the sugar habit but I’m working at it. I am fairly certain that sugar is my number one enemy and will eventually do me in if I’m not careful.

Valentine’s Day is lurking which usually means chocolate.

Maybe you can surprise your special person by purchasing them a lentil burger on Cupid’s big day.

Have a great week.

 

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