Happy 2015

January 15, 2015.

Here we are – 2 weeks into the new year and 2 months following my retirement from the public health care system. So – Happy New Year, friends! I hope 2015 will bring all of us happy adventures and good health, and spiritual strength. I’ve seen a post circulating on Facebook which I just love and am inspired to reference here. To paraphrase, it says: “I hope that in the year to come, you make mistakes – because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world.” I’m going to try to remember this the next time I have a culinary failure.

I’m loving retirement! I wake up each morning thinking “What shall I do today? The possibilities are infinite.” One thing I’m really enjoying is listening to CBC Radio. Despite the Harper government’s attempts to decimate our national public broadcaster, and the scandals with which it has been beset in the past few months, there is still a lot of good programming. Earlier this week, on the “Behind the Design” segment, the topic was Velcro and how that ubiquitous product came to be. It was the brainchild of a Swiss engineer who, in 1941, came in from a trek through the woods with his dog and was curious about the sticking power of burrs in the dog’s fur. He did some observation and analysis of the structure of the burrs and – voilà! – came up with Velcro. This whole discussion was making me a bit squirmy and I couldn’t quite figure out why. Then I remembered.

As a child, I was quite intrepid when it came to snakes and spiders, bats and bugs. I once found a nest of baby snakes in my outdoor sandbox and happily let them slither over my bare legs. When a bat flew into our house, prompting my mother to stand on a chair swinging a broom, I was rooting for the bat.

While most children feared the monster in the closet or the boogeyman under the bed, I had an irrational fear of burrs. I grew up in a rural area, surrounded by woods. I spent many happy hours tramping through the thick underbrush. It was pretty much impossible to avoid contact with burdock bushes. If I found a burr on my clothing or in our dog’s fur, I became hysterical. “Get it off!” I would scream. I’m not sure what the source of the fear was, but I think I thought they were little live creatures, maybe in the same category as leeches, which would bite me and suck my blood. I no longer go into hysterics, but I find it really off-putting to have to comb burrs out of our dogs’ ears and tails. They just feel icky on my fingers and I can’t get past the feeling that if I leave them too long, they really will start to suck my blood. I wonder if I need therapy….



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