Act 179

Pitch in for gas.

In the Shuswap, where I live, many families own a boat. And a boat is fun. From May to September that is. But a boat is a year long expense, especially if you financed it.

And people who have boats are very generous in that they invite people who don’t have boats to join them for a day on the lake.

Recognize that boat ownership is an expensive proposition. So pitch in for gas. It’s the right thing to do. Just because you don’t have a boat, doesn’t mean you can recognize the expense of having one. If their expense if your opportunity, pay your fair share. And, while we’re at it, wear a life jacket.

Safe boating!

Act 177

If you can, keep your grad out of debt

It’s Grad Day here in Salmon Arm. My facebook feed is filled with proud parents and happy young adults in fancy grown up dress.

We need to protect them from student debt. When I went away to school, we had two options. Pay for it or get an OSAP grant. Very few of us graduated with debt. Thank goodness because we graduated at the onset of an Ontario recession. Hence my life in BC – when we all went west to get away.

There were bursaries and scholarships, part time jobs that paid pretty well. We eeked out a living wage while still getting a decent education. We were lucky, as it turns out.

These days, we graduate post secondary students with record debt into a labour market with record high youth unemployment.

Education is not just a personal investment, it’s a community investment as well. An important one. More important (and affordable) than fighter jets and prisons. And that’s not a matter of opinion, as much as a matter of fact.

So protect them if you can. And give them a fighting chance. We’ll need them more than we know so let’s try and be there when they need us.


Act 176

Write a thank you note.

Tomorrow is the last day of school. How time flies.

Teacher’s get a fair share of loot at the end of the school year. Gift cards, movie tickets, candles, chocolate, coffee. And so they should. Most important job in the world if you ask me.

But there isn’t money in my budget for that this year. So I’ll opt for hand written thank you notes – for the teachers, the principals and the secretaries. It really is the thought that counts.

We live in a society where gratitude often has to come wrapped as a present. But that’s not what gratitude is at its core. If you have someone for whom you a grateful, write them a note and tell them so. That’s the most important part.

Act 175

Sign up for Netflix

It’s a rainy night in the Shuswap. Summer vacation looms. Two more sleeps.

For some calm before the storm, consider a quiet evening watching Netflix. $8 plus tax a month. At that price, you can afford to try a new movie, a new documentary, a new comedy. Cause let’s face it, it’s not like there’s very much innovative programming on network TV these days, is there? And a night out at the movies is a risky and fairly expensive proposition too.

Having said that, some stories are best told on the big screen. You just have to be selective.  If you live in these parts, consider the Starlight Drive In too. Now that’s a real big screen experience – complete with the dancing hot dogs at intermission.

Do you remember the dancing hot dogs? Maybe they should add it to Netflix as well to enhance the home viewing experience.

But back to Netflix as a debt defying option. It’s the future, if you ask me. The sharing economy. Well actually, the library is the future – it’s just that the rest of the world is catching up.

So I’ll enjoy my home library of movies – and happily pay my monthly share. Learn a little along the way and enjoy home made popcorn and the comfort of my couch.

So visit your refreshment centre now, the show starts again in 10 minutes!

Act 174

Be prepared.

The devastating floods in Alberta are tragic reminders that the worst can happen when we least expect  it. So it pays to be prepared, just in case.

Some thoughts that come to mind? Prepare a box with food, water, basic medicine and first aid, flash light, radio, batteries, a hard drive of documents and photographs, photocopies of important papers like birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, an extra set of keys. And possibly a bag with a change of clothes, footwear and basic toiletries. And cash. Cold hard cash.

Sending thoughts and best wishes for the flooding victims. I married an Albertan – you’re good people – you’ll get the job done – you’re proving it every day.

Act 173

There’s no place like home.

A weekend away is great. Inspiring. Revealing. Enlightening. For many reasons. The most important of which is the realization that that there is no place like home, no matter how far you roam.

Vancouver is a vibrant, innovative community. And every time I go, I learn something new. Great conference with the Arts Alliance Society. Wonderful show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Fantastic food. Most importantly, meaningful company.

But the trip home and the arrival reminds me that money matters but not as much being home with your partner, your kids, your neighbours, your hood. We are where we live. And we leave to visit places to help us to be better at the place where we live. I hope we can be better. I know we can.

Act 172

Allow events to change you

When I’m on a mission (like I am with this blog) or my destination is set (like the demise of my debt), sometimes I resist the opportunity to discover something new.

Today, at the conference I attended, the key note speaker was Richard Evans, a leading thinker and innovation advocate for the arts.

His presentation was transformative. And as a result, I am transformed. He spoke to many things, the most impactful for me was the idea that we are in a time of interdependence and as such, must, as Charlie Leadbeater states, focus on moving from a to & for model to a by & with model. These are indeed exciting times for social change and the proper attitude shift can improve the ability to deal with complex change.

He ended his presentation with Wendell Berry’s poem entitled The Real Work. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again. The real work begins.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Act 170

Pack a snack

If you’re headed on a road trip, as I am (or a work sleep over as my kids like to call it) pack a snack. It’ll save you money along the way and during your stay.

Consider bringing some basics from home. A cutting board, a pairing knife, a fork and spoon, a ziploc bag or two in order to shop at the grocery stores rather than opt for more boring, overpriced options. This way, you spend more time enjoying the trip, and less time eating dull overpriced food. And you can keep your food budget for something more exciting and memorable.

Bon voyage et bon appetit!