Eve of Tuesday 2015

This is the 9th annual Labour Day post.

New seasons are upon us on this Eve of Tuesday. Fall in the North, spring in the South, are almost here, and a new season of school starts up in many places around the world. More locally, hockey season cannot be far from many people’s minds – getting on the ice more is in my list of resolutions. Also forefront in the consciousness of Canada is election season.

While the other seasons turn with more regularity, the opportunity to influence the direction of our nation comes around more slowly. No matter how frustrated we may be with our own democracy’s level of efficiency and priorities at times, or how removed we may feel from the actual decision making processes – the importance of participating as an informed voter cannot be overstated. I am hoping particular election season allows me to continue building on three areas that I’ve been working on within myself lately, as an informed citizen, and a reflective professional: breadth of perspective, questioning, and Reconciliation.

Often we fill our social media feeds, our news feeds, and our daily conversations with writers, speakers, videos, friends, and colleagues that share similar perspectives to the ones we already hold. Seeking out opinions and information that one does not agree with can be challenging. Yet, attempting to understand other perspectives and the role they have in our communities and country is important to our future. This season I’ll continue trying to broaden the media, opinions, and beliefs I encounter.

Linked with breadth of perspective is the importance of asking questions. While it may be easier to direct difficult questions to people one disagrees with, it is just as important to make challenging inquiries of those that are like-minded. In turn, this can broaden perspectives, strengthen ideas, and help make communities stronger. Growth cannot occur without difficult questions.

Finally, as a new school year starts, and with an election only weeks away, Reconciliation is also at the front of my mind. While it does not appear as often as the economy, jobs, or foreign affairs in election coverage, I feel Reconciliation is a crucial topic, and have been trying to be more aware of it in my professional work. Hopefully I can continue to build on this in the months to come. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission held its closing events in Ottawa this year, May 31-June 3. Many years of hearings and testimony around Canada’s residential school system resulted in 94 recommendations. For more information on the Commission’s work you may want to visit the TRC website, or read, listen and watch media reports on the Closing Event (I recommend this one, both article and sound files, from As It Happens).

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is almost upon us, but October 19 will be forty days away – plenty of time to broaden perspectives, ask questions, and consider Reconciliation. Wherever you find yourself on Tuesday, or in the weeks and months ahead I hope you are able to try new things, and build on areas you also feel are important. All the best in the seasons ahead – be sure to vote!

Thank you – merci.
Take care,
À bientôt,

Previous Labour Day Posts: (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Eve of Tuesday 2014

This is the 8th annual post for this time of year, and the most direct.

To begin, I am incredibly thankful for a wonderful summer. It was filled with a momentous birthday, an engagement, nuptials, new babies, and plenty of adventure. There is a great deal of caring in our world and I was fortunate to be connected to a lot of it this summer.

The Tuesday after Labour Day is often a time of new beginnings, and fresh starts. This will not be the case for many people in British Columbia tomorrow. There are important issues being discussed, debated, and questioned with regards to the education system in our province. Thus, my message in this year’s annual post is simple, and direct: ask questions, and critique responses.

Please ask those in power to detail their vision of public education. Ask them to also explain their intentions and decisions. Do not accept responses that are lacking in meaning and substance.

Please ask yourself what type of education system is important for an inspiring, responsible, respectful and caring community. Share your thoughts with others, and let’s find our common ground to move forward, together. Let this be our new beginning.

Thank you – merci.
Take care,
à bientôt,

Previous Labour Day Posts: (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)

My Grandmother: 100 Years

On Friday June 26 1914, my grandmother, Margaret Thomson Barr (née McGowan) was born. In the hundred years that have gone by, she has brought alive core values that have inspired and led those around her. I am so incredibly fortunate to share her as a grandmother, and as she becomes a centenarian tomorrow, I am overjoyed to be celebrating her.

My grandmother lives in Kimberley B.C., her home for most of her 100 years, and I always look forward to each opportunity I have to visit, speak with her on the phone or see her via FaceTime. Our conversations usually focus on politics, hockey, family, and to affirm the Canadian nature of it all – the weather. We compare precipitation levels, we discuss the state of goaltending around the NHL – usually that of the Canucks – and she explains with vigour what provincial and federal politicians have been up to lately and how they should be held more accountable. Having been alive longer than the NHL has existed, and having lived out the terms of 15 different prime minsters it is well within her expertise to appraise positions on the ice and in the parliament. That being said the greatest joys in our conversations are when she relates stories of her incredible experiences and when we talk of our family, which owes so much to her values and her leadership.

 Commitment, determination and work ethic are strong characteristics of my grandmother. There are numerous stories from her time as a nurse, beginning in the 1930s, that have her meeting challenges, and serving others. From overcoming a very valid fear of bears lurking on the trail while walking to the hospital, to fighting for rights at work, to nursing in Bermuda during the war – she has never been one to back away from a challenge. When she has a goal or task in mind, she is tireless in its completion.

As the second oldest among seven siblings, she grew up helping to take care of others. Caring for others, expression of kindness, being selfless, and prioritizing family are the values she has lived, passed on, and continues to focus on to this day. From my very first summer, to those in to my teenage years, I spent my formative Julys and Augusts on her Lake Windermere property and witnessed how she was incredibly welcoming to all visitors and so selfless in everything she did. As I grew older and took in more and more stories of everything she had done for her siblings, for her own children – my mother and aunt – and how she has continually watched over her four grandchildren, and now two great-grandchildren I am continually astounded with her kindness. She worries – for others and never for herself. She goes out of her way to think of others’ needs and experiences.

Out of my teens, into my twenties, and now beyond, I cherish everything I have learned, and continue to learn from the most amazing woman I have ever known. She laid the foundation for a strong and loving family that takes care of each other. She inspired me to experience a full life. Some of my happiest moments are sharing my experiences and photos from adventures with my grandmother. Her keenness, encouragement, and unwavering support of every risk I have taken and every challenge I have accepted – has given and still gives me strength on a daily basis. As someone who knows the effort needed to take on goals, and to overcome fears, it is incredibly powerful to have her unwavering support and love.

My grandmother turns 100, and I simply do not have the words to express how much I love her, and how much her love means to me, and how much I know it means to our entire family. I am such a better person because of her love.

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Grandma and John Calgary 1914



Scrapbook Page 15 1930s_2


Lake - Grandma, Ian, Megan 1983 1


Happy Christmas 2013

Peace, Hope, Joy, Love… Redemption.

Hopefully you find yourself surrounded by these values, and ready to pass them along this season, and in the year ahead.

In thoughts, or in person, may you be with those you love and care about, and celebrate that which is important to you.

Krismasi Njema – Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas – 즐거운 성탄


IR’s 2013 Christmas Playlist: Get Christmasy

In just under the wire this year is the 2013 version of the Christmas playlist. As in previous years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), the criteria for a song to be considered:

– Is tied to a memorable event from the past year.
– Is musically meaningful to someone, or a group of people I care about, and/or have interacted with lately.
-Has been a popular song in the preceding year.
-Could be allowing me to send a message – but not always what appears to be the obvious one.
-Is a Christmas song.
-Is by an artist I think you should hear more of.
-A hands down cool song.

You’ll notice some artists who had new albums get a bit more playtime, and you’ll also notice some ties to Iceland – for good reason. There are also the same Christmas tunes that keep showing up, but we’ve tried for a different selection of artists for Silent Night, and Hark!

What songs were important to you this past year?

Hope you are able to enjoy the preparation, and start of Christmas tomorrow, surrounded by plenty of music, and plenty of friends and family. Be sure to Get Christmasy.

Get Christmasy

1 – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Choir of King’s College
2 – Take a Walk – Passion Pit
3 – Inner Ninja  – Classified, featuring David Myles
4 – Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg
5 – Young Boys – Sin Fang
6 – Christmas in L.A. – The Killers, featuring Dawes
7 – I Need My Girl – The National
8 – Mountain Sound – Of Monsters and Men
9 – You Already Know – Arcade Fire
10 – Get Lucky – Daft Punk, featuring Pharrel Williams
11 – Let Go – RAC, featuring Kele & MNDR
12 – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Musical Christmas
13 – Pompeii – Bastille
14 – Back in Black  – AC/DC
15 – Pink Rabbits – The National
16 – Time to Run – Lord Huron
17 – New York Groove – Kiss & Ace Frehley
18 – Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men
19 – Changing of the Guards – Bob Dylan
20 – Silent Night – Michael Bublé
21 – Christmas Time is Here – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Eve of Tuesday 2013

This is the 7th annual post for this time of year.

Admittedly, this space has been rather reticent in the past year. While there has not been much new writing there has been plenty of life going on, and plenty of stories being lived out, and shared. I have had many ideas for posts, and a few were even started in the past 12 months, but it seemed as if the next challenge, adventure, or a different potential post kept creeping up to prevent any writing from actually getting completed. I have not felt any discontent, as I continue to feel this space has a worthwhile existence. Thus, writing here has only taken a brief hiatus, and with the start of a new year – the day after Labour Day – I have hopes that the break is ending.

Those familiar with previous Labour Day posts (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) know that tomorrow typically marks the beginning of a new cycle in my life, as it does in many of yours. In reflecting on this past year, it seemed that story telling played a prominent role. This realization reminded me of Thomas King’s words: “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are”.

When I first read his phrase some years ago it struck a chord that continues to resonate to this day, and since that time I feel as though how I interpret, take in, share, and participate in stories has been evolving with much deeper meaning. Stories are multi-sided. Stories have conflict. Stories have hope. Stories have tragedy. Stories have redemption. Stories have love. We live stories. We are stories.

I am appreciative of the amazing storytellers I have in my family and as friends They are continually contributing to, and improving on, how I tell stories, and how I help others share, interpret and take-in stories. This is of no small importance, as stories fuel our inspirations, teach us lessons, build a sense of connection and belonging, and at the same time provide opportunities for creativity and individually. I am excited about how my growth with regards to stories will continue in the year to come.

As is typical, I will take this Labour Day post to encourage you to look around at those in your life, and be ready to offer them support as we take on new challenges, or expand on old ones in the year ahead. In other words, consider what type of character you will play in the stories being lived out right now. Even periphery characters can offer positive values, and support to a story. What type of character will you be in the stories being lived alongside and among your own personal story?

This year we will have the Counting Crows take us in to the Tuesday. In just over a week it will be the 20th anniversary of the stand-out album that featured this memorable song. The storytelling aspect of the tune was also mentioned in a previous post, I Was Down at the New Amsterdam.

Take care,
Peace and love – à bientôt,
IR :-)