Harold Brown died early this year at the age of 94. This is one of his proteges playing at his memorial service today.

I was raised Unitarian. I often joke to people, “It’s a lentil-based faith”, but the term ‘faith’ is too tidy, really. Unitarians can be Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian. Anything. Growing up, this was both confusing and delightful to me.

With my church-that-was-not-exactly-a-church, Harold Brown’s piano playing sounded like real church music. Sure, we had orange vinyl padding on our Scandinavian-minimalist pews. We had those wall hangings at the front of the sanctuary with the sewn-on things I am still sure are marrow bones. We had Conference, where, twice a year, teenagers gathered to change the world. Hippies, yes. But Harold Brown’s music made services in the sanctuary holy for me. His weekly playing (I think Debussy was a favourite) made valid my faith and my credo.

Thank you, Harold. You were a kind, funny, gentle genius in life. I hope that wherever you are now has a perfectly tuned piano, beautiful acoustics, and a cozy, well-lit place for you to read. We will miss you.


Hello. You know how I said I was going to take more time for myself? Not in January.

Briefly, I thought I had been decommissioned by the Co-Op, which was fine, because I am teaching an ESL class in the morning throughout January, as well as my afternoon classes. Then I would have found something else. But it turns out New Boss just forgot to send out the list of cars. Cheers, New Boss.

So now I am waking early, jockeying, teaching, jockeying, and then teaching again. And then finishing up any leftover cars. I think I’ll have time to go pee sometime after January 28.

Also, it’s the fourth year for me of Photo-a-day, and this year (get me!) I’m a moderator in the group. Seeing that funny little M beside my avatar sort of brought home for me the fact that I have had a LOT of practice taking photos. That’s what has made it so easy to make the jump to the DSLR. I was worried that I’d have a hard time adjusting, but I already think that I’m taking better photos than I was with the P&S. I know the composition I want. Now I have better control over depth of focus.

Four years ago, I couldn’t have written that last sentence, because I didn’t know what it meant. Now, I do. See?

And We’re Done.

I am declaring the holiday season officially over around here. It’s kind of a relief. No, it is a tremendous relief. Although I am not the Grinch, Christmas and New Year put me wrong-footed most of the time. I am much better when they’re over, and we’re climbing up again towards the apex of the year.

There’s so much I wanted to do that didn’t happen, as well: See Gen, visit my aunt, hang with my brother. A lot of it is that I’m busier teaching when school’s out, a fact that surprises some people. “But then when do you get a holiday?” they ask, aghast, as though Christmas and summertime are the only times sanctioned to take holidays, and the Holiday Police are coming to get me.

However, the timing of Christmas this year was a challenge, as well. I get weekends off. Christmas was a weekend in Regina. New Years is a weekend. Weekends are my time for me, so I haven’t really had much. Tomorrow is all about prepping for an ESL intensive class I’m teaching through January. Today has mostly been about the couch.

So, although I seldom make resolutions, here are some intentions:

Write here more (I don’t know what I mean by more. Every day seems a bit much, with other commitments, but I’m not going to be such a stranger.)

Write in general more. I still have no material for the writer’s group I’m going to be a part of. So unless they want to read a recycled story about some amateur male strippers, I’d better get writing.

See my friends more. I like them. That’s why they’re my friends. If I can have more hangout time, I may develop a less jaundiced view of humanity.

Learn not to be a complete buffoon with my new camera. Yes. Dad bought me more camera than I know what to do with (Canon Rebel T1i) and I’d better get comfortable with it. Already I’m noticing it is so much more capable than my P&S, and I am determined to feel as comfortable with it as with my P&S.

Anyone else got any New years intentions?

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