F 1 D 0 -- 2001 11 21 at 10 35 am

Monday Night.

I've made up a batch of business
cards before I went to bed.

I needed these because I'm really
out of things to give away for
business purposes.  

My cards have always been a bit
of a problem for me.  I want something
memorable, pretty, cute even.

Have a look.






I missed attending the BNI
Canada launch.  They were opening
a new chapter, and wanted lots of
people to attend their breakfast.

I would have liked that. It is an
opportunity to see other people who
can use help.

But staying up until 330am to make
these cards was a bad decision. To
get to this on time, I would have 
had to leave the house, fully dressed
and appropriate, at 530am, perhaps
545am the latest.   No, I was still
so very dead.  

Oh, I really could have risen, but
I would have looked and felt like
the corpse I was.

So why did I bother making all of
these cards for this event, but
in the process, ruin the opportunity?

I cannot say.  It happens all too often.

This just in. Shania, the white American
Eskimo dog here, is barking.  She only
seems to bark when someone comes in.

That makes her a bad watchdog, but I
like her enthusiasm.  If someone were
to ring the bell, it would not be as
lively.


I went to see the new Harry 
Potter movie!

Originally my plans were to use up 
some passes I've gotten from friends
and customers over the last few months.

It dawned on me that they don't last
forever, and I had a look.  I had one 
which stale dates November. So I only
have ten days to use it.

I tried.  Popular movies won't be 
bought for such a pass.  I'll figure
it out, but I'd better figure it out
SOON.

Here we have a deal each Tuesday. All
of the cinemas reduce their prices to
about half.  While I may not want to
spend 10.50, nor 12.50, I could spend
6.50, and so I called Timmy.  He's
my youngest!  

He was lacklustre about seeing Harry
Potter, hoping for Lord of the Rings.
But that doesn't happen around here
until December 19.  But he likes it 
when we can do things together.

What is it with McDonalds?  That is my 
dad's favourite place.  Also Timmy's.
You can take these folk to other places,
but if you want them to be at home, the
place to go is the golden arches.

And both Tim and Dad like the current
special: 2 Macs for 2.00.  Fine.  

This particular one has a Starbucks next
door, and that is good for me.  I'm fond
of their coffee.

So we head to Varsity Cinema.

Without a lot of figuring, we got to 
front row centre.  This particular place
has a stage.  I liked that.  I meant the
facility could be used for other things.

Harry Potter.  The movie stayed very close
to the book. Yes, I've read all four of them.

I will have to re-read them, as I don't remember
all of the details.  But I found the characters
believeable.  

Oh, I do have some complaints.  You don't get to
see what the good guys are really like. You get 
lots of glimpses into the personality of bad guys.

I wanted to hear more humour from Professors Dumbledore
and McGonnagal.  The film was so intent on going
from one event to the next that it missed an opportunity
to make the people more three dimensional.

I walked away from the film Satisfied.  That is
a good thing.

Tim wanted lots from me yesterday.
He wanted 60.00 to handle some spending
he'd done earlier, and for some money
he fronted for his sister, Jennifer.

But he was in a mood to coax me to do a 
lot of spending, for its own sake. Nope,
wrong guy.

When he figured that out, we went back
to McDonalds for more lunch.  Fine.

Then he was hoping I'd be happy to
join him so 'we' could go buy some
collectible Magic the Gathering stuff.

"You go on without me this time."  I
don't really enjoy the card and comics
shop experience.  I'll go next time, though.
Don't tell him, lest he brings a huge shopping
list that day.

His mom phoned me in a panic that
he had not come home yet, at 800pm.
But I got another call, around 815pm,
with a cancel-the-panic message.

I need a bit of time to recover from
visits with Tim.  This visit was very
good, and didn't require much decompression.

Right next to the subway entrance is
a small audio-celphone-camera place.
I think they call themselves Batteries
Plus.  I was happy to see that they had
four different models of CD MP3 players.

I spent some time looking at one for
130.00 - it had an alphabetic display
for showing the song information. It
also had a remote which connects between
the player and the headphones.

I'm seriously looking into this toy.
It was simple.  I like that.

There are a series of buried shopping
centres here.  They are underneath the
office towers.  This one was below the
Hudsons Bay Centre.

Normally, I find nothing of value in a
store which has a high priced rent. Today
was an exception.  I saw the MP3 players
above, and here at the next store, they
had an assortment of Lava Lamps for only
29.99 - and they weren't low end.  Lots
and lots to choose from.

I usually have a backpack and today this was
true as well.  So I don't like going into 
shops which have mountains of delicate displays
where I can make a mess.  I didn't tour this
shop, but I'm certain I would have found
nice gift items here.  It was claustrophobic,
but tidy.  Certainly NOT a dollar store, nor
a bargain basement.

I wandered some more to find the obligatory
food court.  Here I wanted something. Not
sure what.  I didn't find it, after wandering
the circle of shops.  

These places need more customers. The servers
at each one look at me with pleading eyes, hoping
I'll buy in, and get their special for 4.39 plus
tax.  But nothing seemed right.

I went next door and got a coffee, and found
my way to the gym.

Yesterday's experience at the gym made me
so upset.  It takes some effort to get to
these places, now that I'm not living nearby.
So when I'm there, I want to be able to get
a favourite class without a hitch.

They've been removing these favourites. The
new deal at my club (Bally Fitness) are pay
extra classes.  Normally, someone like me buys
a passport, with ten wrist bands. These are 
black.  I do not put them onto my wrist.
Instead I take them to the front desk or the
juice bar, where they exchange the black one
for a neon one (the colour of the day).  THIS
one gets put onto my wrist, and admits me.

Monday they had a brilliant idea. They would 
charge only 10.00, and let people attend three
classes.  The first was Boot Camp, then Kwando,
then Yoga.

Boot camp was included in my membership last
week. You can see why I'm upset.

And Yoga was included in my membership four 
months ago.

Kwando was included six months ago. They called
it Thai Box.  They stole the idea from Billy
Blanks, this tough black guy who looks like
he'd be a good martial arts actor.  Maybe he is.

I thought maybe I'd attend anyway. So I waited
until the room was opened, and set up a place.
In this case, it meant setting up a step, getting
a couple of 10 pound weights, and waiting for the
fearless leader, Geoff, to rewind his music.

Half the class has bands, half does not.  When he
announces that bands are required, I decided, Fine.
I'll go ask.  I was the only one.  They were serious
about this.  The girl at the juice bar seemed so
clueless, but this protects her against upset
members I suppose.

I was close. I would have taken the class
had she written my name down, and let me pay
afterwards.  Nope.

So I dressed and gave it up.

So Tuesday, when I went, I really wanted a good
experience.  

Amy had taught yesterday.  Her step class is very
weak.  It lacks variety and she lacks conviction.
The two combine.

She lit up when I came in. Most participants
are invisible. I'm rarely that way, and do
what I can to interract.

She was insecure again.  But as soon as
she started the music, it all changed.
It was a pleasant surprise when she lead
the class. This was billed a low impact class.
That really doesn't describe it.

It was a floor class. No steps, no toys
required.  Nowadays that is a novel approach.

She started us on a warm up routine, stretched
us, and then gave us choreography which got
longer with each additional section.

I take these classes because I like the
routine. The choreography.  I don't want
to just do punching for 16, then punching
the other way for 16, then start again. I
want a real series of things I have to do.

Amy did well.  She is a physiotherapist
who visits people in their homes. Teaching
at health clubs for her is a good change.
The hardest part is starting.  Tuesday she
was replacing a big name ticket: Bruce, a
tall man who almost represents Reebok around
here.  His classes draw a hundred participants.

When the people realized it wasn't Bruce, but
Amy, most left.  We were down to ten. When
she got in motion, we had about twenty four.
Like I said, she did well.


I tend to pick Nathan up at his
place, but tonight he met me at
Bally Fitness.

Nathan wanted to meet earlier than usual.
Normally, because of all of the dance and
exercise I do, someone cannot meet with 
me between 700pm and 1030pm.  If it isn't
English, it's Irish. There's always some
thing.


Tuesdays at 730pm I usually do English Country
Dance.  We have a small group, and the absence
of even one regular can hurt the evening. I
never miss this.  Christine has been leading
us in mostly modern English dances for perhaps
three years now. 

We don't get access to the church on the 
third Tuesday of each month.  On these dates,
we connect with another group, who do
Italian Rennaissance dance.  I missed it,
again.  I'm starting to get used to the
routine.  It is much older than other forms
of dance.  Vivian, the leader of the group,
does this entirely without cost.  She too
has a very small group of participants.

But here, our usual event didn't happen, and
Vivian, while needing dancers, doesn't rely
on my coming.  I like the whole thing too,
but I suppose for me, I can skip the event
when needed.  Too bad I skip it so often.


Nathan was in a strange mood.  Even though
he'd not had anything to eat yet, he over
ate the day before, and wasn't eager to 
repeat that.  So coffee was all we needed.

Where to go for coffee is an interesting
problem that he and I handle differently.

I'm happy sitting in a Starbucks.  Nathan
would just as soon sit in a Burger King.
He hates the experience.  He might be happier
just sitting on the steps of the Library.

He really doesn't like the downtown at all.
There is nothing for him, and it muddles 
his thinking.  

I say this because the downtown is close to
so many things that I like, his reaction is
strange.  But this wasn't new to me, and I
was ready.

We were on the corner of Bloor and Bay, and
we have a favourite Eritrean place, Selam.
That is at the corner of Bloor and Ossington,
only two miles away.

He said if we want Ethiopian, we could go
south a few blocks.  But for me, as long as
we were close to the subway, Selam would be
as good a choice.  They really appreciated
our visits, and for me that makes a world 
of difference.

We walked to Bloor and Yonge, where he could
use a banking machine, and we went below.

I don't remember actually having taken a
subway with him.  Even though he lives next
to a station, he loathes using it.  When
I get him, most visits he will hail a taxi,
or we will walk all the way from his place
downtown.  A two mile walk is normal for us.
It doesn't take long.

Tuesday was different.  We took the subway
from Yonge to Ossington stations.  I saw
someone intensely uncomfortable.  

There were so many of us on the train. It
was not rush hour.  And we were able to get
seats.  But all of the seats were taken
by the time the doors closed, and the people
who boarded at Bay and following stations had
to remain as standees.

He was silent, with wide eyes during the trip.
He spoke once we were settled inside Selam.

My cel phone gets email, and I got a friendly
message from Lynn, a friend in Ohio.  She was
wondering about preparations for her visiting
family.  This set the tone of what Nathan and
I would discuss for the rest of the evening.

We talked about how important it is that guests
be gracious.  This isn't trivial, but is very
important.   

Lynn was getting prodded because she didn't
have special china to use for Thanksgiving by
one of her family.  Her solution was to have
these guests the following day.  But Nathan
got upset!  

When a guest is invited for this kind of sharing,
it is a spiritual event.  To spoil it is wrong, 
and is rude.  The discussion moved to our own
families and friends, where we talked about
people whom we can get "good guest" from, and
those we cannot.

The spiritual connection came as a surprise
to me.  You see, if I'm invited to be with 
someone, it makes little difference whether
they say, "Hey Dave, let's go for a walk" or
"Dave, come on over.  I'm making something
and feel like opening a bottle of wine."

But there is a difference.  The food seems
to be part of a ceremony.

I can have this ceremony with my parents
at McDonalds.  Nathan can't.  He hates it
too much.

After talking a while, it seemed like pizza
was a sharing thing, and it was very different
then the single serving foods.  As much as
it was part of a fast food culture, it is
broken and shared, something like breaking
bread.

Beyond the food, the people we are with have
to be able to talk and listen.  If they talk
too little, something is wrong.  If they talk
too much, something is wrong.

And beyond the talk, there is a need for a
better connection still.  It is nice when
we do this if we don't have to explain the
foundations of what we are talking about.
Oh, we do explain.  But it is better if we
can skip this step, and just get into what
we have in mind.

Perhaps it is futile that we want to have
good guest from our parents. I want that, 
and get it.  I will have to write back to
my friend, and find out how her Thanksgiving
went to see if she got it.

My friend Ann in Thunder Bay wrote to tell
me about how satisfied her Thanksgiving went.
She only had to provide salad dressing, and
the right karma.  

Perhaps one of the spiritual things we get
from such a gathering is the comfort.  There
were three young boys at her event, and they
snuck off to a room where they could watch
television.  One of the kids fell asleep
in front the set.  The other two made Certain
that nobody found out.  Why?  That would be a
signal to the parents that their night should
end, and all would be taken home.

Their suspicions were correct: eventually they
were discovered, the boy found asleep, and all
of the parents with children decided the boys
should all go to bed, and this ended up being
a signal to the whole group that maybe their
dinner was over for the night.

But there was a spiritual comfort. The boys were
at home upstairs.  The adults downstairs found a
connection too, and Ann was just delighted to
have made it all happen this year.

I spent a lot of time thinking about being
a good host, and a good guest.  It is something
I always try to do well, but had not considered
it a spiritual journey until last night.

That's all I know.