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.