Saturday, January 25, 2014


Voluptuous … was the zaftig beauty with the kinky hazel hair and jasper eyes, who approached me whilst busking in front of SHOPPERS on Broad.  Even though she was under a thick orange construction parka, I could tell she was voluptuous.  (As lecherous as this seems, I am simply describing a consumer who chose to chat with me in the minus 10 degree weather.)

You want to know what I dream.  She said, not in the form of a question.

Sure, I replied.

I dream about you, she said.

Ha! I replied.  And what do you really dream about?  I asked.

Lots of things actually, she responded.  And I see that you are a BUSKOLOGIST (not that I know what that is) but … does a buskologist interpret dreams?

Yes, a buskologist can interpret dreams.

Yes, a buskologist can interpret dreams.  Anyone can interpret dreams.  However, anyone is not likely to have such an authoritative critique as would a certified buskologist such as myself (this is supposed to be a wry wit, dear reader).

This buskologist began interpreting dreams when he studied Freud.  Of course I studied Freud, in Psychology.  Who doesn’t?  I digress.  Sigmund Freud strongly believed that the content of dreams was related to the wish fulfillment of the dreamer, which the imagery and events in one’s dreams, served to disguise the latent content and unconscious wishes of the dreamer.

Carl Jung believed dreams to be more than Freud’s notion of repressed wishes.  Jung believed a person’s dreams to be a revealing of both the dreamer’s personal and collective unconscious (archetypes), serving to compensate for the parts of our psyche that are underdeveloped in our waking life.

And Calvin Hall believed the traits that people exhibit by day, are the same as those expressed in dreams at night.  And being a fan of Projective Psychology, I quite agree with Calvin Hall.

Projective Psychology is a technique for revealing the hidden motives or underlying personality structures of an individual by the use of ambiguous or unstructured materials, such as ink blots, cloud pictures, or cartoons that encourage spontaneous responses. I shall now create a syllogism ... and suggest then, that dreams, too, for a projective psychologist (and buskologist), are simply spontaneous sleepy-time responses and adventures that reflect  to day-to-day routines and frustrations.

Like I said, anyone can interpret dreams.  Google the internet you’ll gain a wealth of  the purblind and groundling examples from those peddling their books, videos, and workshops.  However, reading further in this particular blog post, you’ll gain a sample of my vade mecum direct from the pages of my personal wetware (brain).  My writing about night watch interpretations I hope is sophisticated, not just scribbles of idle day-dreaming woolgathering.

Well then, here are a couple of my dreams, stated the zaftig one.

I am riding an asteroid through downtown traffic … just me and a pit bull … the pit bull is wearing shades and a tutu. What do you make of this one?

Hmmm, I replied.  An asteroid obviously represents something out of this world, heavenly perhaps.  And you’re with a pit bull … meaning you’re likely fond of dogs.  The pit bull definitely represents someone significant in your life, and that someone is really not open to the world (the shades screening the sunshine) and the tutu represents a feminine side, be it either a male or female.  Since you both are riding this asteroid in downtown traffic suggests that you want this relationship to be very public, so public that you dare to show the world that you are in heaven (metaphorically) with this significant person strongly represented by the pitbull.  And that’s that.

Actually, sounds like it could be true, what you just said, she said.  Here’s my recurring dream.

I’ll be on a playground or in a park about seven or eight years old.  I’m always by the swings.  And I look up in the sky and then I jump straight up and I probably go a few hundred feet up and I’m just stuck up there kinda floating like eventually I do come down but it’s very sudden and frightening.

Any book on dreams will suggest that flying represents a desire to rise above a difficult circumstance.  I tend to agree with this notion and so … here is the meaning of your dream, according to me.

You are longing for the past.  You remember, though your memory may be hazed through romantic nostalgia, that when you were age seven or eight, life was good.  When you were seven or eight you loved to play, and preferably you loved to play at a public playground.  This suggests that you were a gregarious kid, liking very much to be around others.  Could it be that you wanted to be gregarious?  But were too shy to mingle?  And every time you walked over to the playground you were attempting to find some other children to play with but were too shy to express that invitation to anyone?  And could it be that you would stand in the middle then, and pretend to shoot straight up, flying high and looking at the children having fun below.  And could it also be that as soon as your daydream ended, you would be somewhat startled and upset that still, everyone was having fun, everyone except you.
My question to you then is, Why are you longing for the past?  I’m thinking it is that you are longing for an opportunity to redeem yourself, change your nature of the past so you can be that gregarious person now, right in this present adult state.

How’s that? I asked.  Too thick perhaps, I suggested.

No, not too thick, she answered.  Too true perhaps, she said.

The meanings of dreams are certainly abstruse and laden with complexity, though dreaming, itself, is simply one of those universal activities in which all of us may participate.  And I remind you, dear reader ...  
Those selfie-videos you watch in your sleep are those same antics you would do while awake ... provided the consequences were tolerable!

Pictured here are Darren, Ray, and Whitney, of the folk band, PHANTOM TIDE.  These are the characters who marched in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this past week.  These pictures were taken during our weekly rehearsal.
Darren and Ray

Sunday, January 19, 2014



PHANTOM TIDE is a band created for a one-night gig (March 5th, 2014) at the BUSHWAKKER BREWPUB in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  We (Darren, Whitney, and self) have had several practices to date, getting 31 original songs tight and together for our 90 minute debut at BUSHWAAKERS.  And just yesterday, we added a bass player, Ray, to our trio of four.

The name, PHANTOM TIDE, was coined by our friend, Greg, a high school English teacher.  Knowing Darren's songs were mostly about past loves (PHANTOM) and mine about summer beaches (TIDE), Greg, in a few short minutes, came up with our band name.

AN ECLECTIC FOLK TRIO HAVING A PERVASIVE MARITIME SWAY OF ORIGINAL SONGS – MIXING THEMES OF LOST LOVES AND OPEN ROADS is the band bio we sent to Grant, manager of BUSHWAKKERS.  He needed such for posters to advertise our performance.  This descriptor was mostly determined because our songs have a strong Canadian East Coast flavor (Darren wails from Cape Breton, and when he sings his accent is clearly North Atlantic), along with a noted open-road lyrics (myself having worked for years on survey crews in the Western provinces and North West Territories – meeting different characters in different diners and road houses the whole time).

Darren sings like a saltwater sailor, and his songs really do have a pervasive Maritime sway, not unlike the sway of a boat at sea.

And I am but a buskeroo, a busker who just happens to fancy himself as a real cowboy (see my profile).

I don’t know Darren’s childhood, but I do know mine, and I do know why I liked traveling across the west.  Whitney, lead vocalist of Phantom Tide, has stated that my songs have the theme of open-roads.  If this is true, then it is because of television, 60’s television to be specific.  What Whitney said about my songs got me thinking of my favorite televisions shows, shows that I absolutely loved as an impressionable adolescent:


Richard Boone played Paladin, an aristocratic mercenary, a gentleman gunfighter so to speak.  Paladin resided at the posh Hotel Carlton in cultural San Francisco, but in each episode ventured into the lawless western wilderness, as a hard-living, dressed-in-black, gunslinger.

This western series starred Henry Fonda as Marshal Simon Fry, and Allen Case as Deputy Clay McCord.  Clay McCord was an ordinary storekeeper, who with great reluctance, packed a gun.  Clay was an expert gunman, the only reason Marshal Fry recruited him weekly.

Two restless young men, Martin Milner as Tod, and George Maharas as Buzz, drive the open road (Route 66) in a Chevrolet Corvette convertible, searching for the meaning of life, while working a variety of menial part-time jobs on their journey.

Ben Gazzara starred as lawyer, Paul Bryan, who has only a short time to live.  Paul Bryan gives up his law practice and hits the open road, encountering new people in new situations on an episodic basis.  Ironically, Paul Bryan eventually becomes a man with little fear of death, with only a fear of time.

These were my favorite television programs.  I’ve not seen any of them for over thirty years, but the memories of these characters are still very clear in my mind, influencing the imaginary characters in my songs, I guess.

Other than the open road themes of a stranger-comes-to-town (The Deputy, Have Gun Will Travel) and that of Carpe Diem (Route 66, Run For Your Life), these television characters had other things in common -- they all were tall, dark, and handsome, save for Paladin who had craggy features and Tod who was blonde-haired.

Upon reflection, these television shows were rather Aesopian and a startling cathexis, in regard to my future self at that time.

These open-road notions have been to me, amaranthine, sticking still introspectively in my mind, more so than when I was an agog adolescent.  

My yesteryear longings are showing up in the songs that I am writing today.  Here are three perfect examples:
D         A         Em       [intro]

Em               C               Am             Em                  D             A               Em
Hey hey I'm going, I'm going somewhere                  I           don't know where
Em                 C                  Am           Em
I'm not going back, no I'm not going there

D   A   Em
Never again                 [X2]   
Em                   C               Am            Em                   D         A                 Em
Hey hey I'm going, I'm going somewhere                  I           don't know where
Em               C                         Am         Em
I've been in arms, I've been a soldier in war

D   A   Em
Never again                 [X2]

Em                   C                Am            Em                  D         A               Em
Hey hey I'm going, I'm going somewhere                  I           don't know where
Em                C                       Am           Em
I've been in chains … I've served my time

D   A   Em
Never again                 [X2]                                       

[instrumental and humming]
Em       C         Am       Em                               D         A                 Em
                                                                        I        don't know where

Em       C         Am       Em                               D         A                 Em
                                                                        I        don't know where
D   A    Em
Never again                 [X2]                           
Em                   C               Am             Em                  D         A                Em
Hey hey I'm going, I'm going somewhere                  I           don't know where
Em              C                   Am                 Em             
I've been in love, had my heart broke enough
D   A   Em
Never again                 [X2 & FADE]
[C Am F G (x3) then C vamp]
        C                          Am       F-     G
I am dreaming we are driving away, away
       C                          Am       F-     G
I am dreaming we are driving away, away
       C                           Am      F -      G
I am dreaming we are driving away, away
C         Am F        G        C
In my ’58 Chevrolet Del Ray
C                     Am     F              G                   
My tractor tire do in Brylcream blue
C                    Am                     F       G
My cool white shades and my faded jeans
C              Am       F                             G         
Black Cat smokes tucked in my t-shirt sleeve
C                         Am            F          G
The top rolled down, just feel the breeze.
          C                Am                      F                     G
We’ll drive to the beach buy some fries and some shakes
          C                          Am               F               G     
We’ll stretch out on the sand for that California bake
          C                 Am              F         G         
We’ll turn up the tunes on my car radio
          C                         Am                F                  G  
We’ll twist under the moonbeams until it’s time to go
        C                          Am            F                       G              
I am back to pumping gas … and dreaming every day
        C                           Am      F-     G
I am dreaming we are driving away, away
        C                           Am      F-     G
I am dreaming we are driving away away
C         Am F        G        C
In my ’58 Chevrolet Del Ray              
[X 2]
[C Am F G (x3) then    C vamp]

C                     Em       F           G
Thumbing my way to Vatican City
C        Em        F               G
Going there to search my soul
C                     Em       F           G
Thumbing my way to Vatican City

     Em             F
To search my soul
     Em             F
To search my soul
Em             F
Search my soul
   D7                     G
I lost in Monte Carlo.

C         Em     F               G
Monte Carlo, sandcastle beaches
C        Em       F             G
Punto Banco, too many martinis
C                     Em      F            G
Thumbing my way to Vatican City

Em    F
Holy See
Em    F
Holy See
Em                F
The splendor there
    D7             G
In St. Peter’s Square
[repeat entire song with a strum and finally a vamped C]

I have always found these themes of Open – RoadCarpe DiemA Stranger Comes to Town … to be so, so inviting.

The older I get, the closer I get to Nempnett Thrubwell (see The Book of Liff), to my will-o-the-wisp dreams of venturing that open-road. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014


Zeroth degrees.  Windless.

In our Canadian Winter, this is a balmy day!  Finally I am out on a very short busk on Broadway Avenue, my brutto tempo persona kicking it for just fifteen minutes of thrumming.  And on this busk, I was thinking about my buddy, Robin, who suggested that I write about dogs today.  Robin is a true dog lover, and the picture on this blog header is Max, her dog that was stolen out of her back yard the day before her birthday last year. With this tribute to Max, I’ve decided to write about pets in general, including, of course, dogs, and specifically, certain pets that have had me on the run over the years (not any of these years being lately).

According to the world of Psychology, people reading other people’s stories, really are reading about themselves.  Perhaps this will be true with you!

Being at the top of the food chain, humans have had a variety of pets for a variety of reasons. From dogs and cats; rabbits, hamsters, and white rats; to bowls of fish and birds of prey, we lord over these creatures and make them our pets. 

And why is this so? 

It could be for reasons of utility.  Dogs are used by police for sniffing drugs, by mountaineers for search-and-rescue, by ranchers for herding livestock, by hunters for point and retrieve, by the blind for seeing-eyes.  And cats are noted for their prowess of catching and killing mice.

Other reasons we have pets is for the purpose of sociability.  There is the unconditional love, no matter how ugly or miserable you may be, that wagging-tail-welcome your dog will give every time you walk through that door.

Sociability also includes that companionship and antidote for loneliness that lots of pets provide for their humans. We know where all the lonely people are -- they are mollycoddling their pets.

Walk any path or public lane and you’ll notice that campy cool look some pet owners insist upon. There is nothing like dressing to the nines for walking with the canines!  This, too, is a sociability of sorts.

And some pets are simply there as ornaments. Really, is there any other purpose for a goldfish!
Aesthetics, too, come into play when it comes to pet ownership.  Nothing demonstrates more the grandee than a Cheshire cat sprawled and stretching along a couch, confirming my belief that cats do not have owners—cats have staff!

Then there are the benefic medical reasons for having pets, which include: mood enhancement, blood pressure control, forced source of exercise and therefore longer life, as well as safety and personal protection.

My personal history of having pets begins with Lady.  When I was six years old Grandma and Sid were visiting my Great Uncle, Byron.  It was on the farm and every time we went to see Uncle Byron and Aunt Millie, the evening always ended with Byron on the fiddle and Millie on the piano.  In the morning when we left, the very last time I was ever on that farm, Aunt Millie handed me a kitten.

It’s a Persian, she said.

It was a truly a graymalkin, and I named her Lady.  Lady lived a long life of chasing birds and catching mice on our farm in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, and later moving with us into a house in the Village of Vanguard, Saskatchewan.

Lady begat Bubba, a short-haired vertical grey and white stripe.  Bubba was a hunter.  Bubba would leave our home and be gone for days at a time, returning always with a dead bird or a dead mouse, and one time, a dead gopher.

Bubba begat Charky, a fluffy black with patches of white.  Charky was the typical lay-around-and-do-absolutely nothing kind of feline.  All I remember about Charky is that she slept and stretched.

At age forty or so, my wife and children wanted a cat.  We were living in Cottage Country, a house on high in Regina Beach, a resort town situated along the southern shore of Last Mountain Lake.  I was at a Reality Therapy workshop in Saskatoon and the presenter’s cat, by chance, had just produced a litter of kittens, and she offered me one of them.  A month later, Tikky arrived, and her very first act was to pounce down into our heat register and hide for an hour or so.  We all panicked for naught, for Tikky pranced out safe and sound.

Our yard at the beach was a forest, a hunting haven for Tikky.  Tikky, like Lady and Bubba, was always hunting birds and mice.  Alas, my boys were both allergic to Tikky.  Baron sneezed and coughed and Trav’s skin would redden and bumple.  We gave Tikky to our Christian neighbor who quickly re-named him in evangelical fashion, Samson.

Residing back to Regina, as the boys grew older they wanted a dog.  Here was my deal.  If we got a smaller pet, and if they looked after this smaller pet in every regard, we would, indeed, get a dog.  We bought Chico at a pet shop. Chico was a budgie and I had read that budgies, being of the parrot family, could mimic all kinds of sounds, from ringing telephones to the voices of humans.

As the weeks rolled by, the boys grew less and less enamored with letting Chico go for his morning fly around the house, enamored less about cleaning Chico’s cage, and enamored less making sure Chico had fresh water and seed.  Chico had become my responsibility.

And I took this responsibility seriously.  I let him have his exercise fly; I cleaned his cage; I filled his bowls with fresh water and seeds; and … I taught him to talk!

Every morning I would say to Chico, before I left for work, Hello, my name is Chico, who are you? After this routine over a couple months we were stunned one evening to hear, Hello, my name is Chico, who are you, in MY VOICE!

And this line became Chico’s mantra.

A family we were close to, had their budgie die, and they really liked Chico.  Sadly, the boys agreed to give him away.  Whenever any of those receiving family members see me their greeting is always, Hello, my name is Chico, who are you.

My topic for this blog was confirmed by the only person who marched in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week.

A lady (noticeably chunky) and with a Chihuahua hands me a fin, whilst busking for my fifteen minutes on Broadway.  She comments on my FREE COUNSELING sign on display in my guitar case and mentions that she wished she’d met me years ago because of the money she has spent on counseling and workshops and retreats over the years.

I used to weigh over 500 pounds, she said. 

Really?  I said.

From when I was 23 years up until three years ago.  Now I’m 45.  Even when I was 12 I used to go home for lunch, eat an extra-large pizza and drink 4 Big Gulps, followed by a plate of Kraft Dinner.  Then after school I’d deliver papers and go to a friend’s house and tell her parents I didn’t eat yet that day (we were poor and everyone knew it) and they’d feed me supper.  And then I’d go home and eat supper with my family!

It took me over twenty years to get back to less than 200 pounds.  Because of my first husband I was emotionally stressed, sexually abused, and physically abused.  He even physically abused our sons.   

My oldest son was his, my youngest son was not.  My husband had an affair and then so did I.  But he doesn’t know this.

Now I’m married to his used-to-be best friend.  My sons are 21 and 23 and each weigh 140 pounds.  I’ve had a Learner’s license all my life and with my husband’s and sons’ support I am going to have my Driver’s license this spring. 

I’m writing a book that I hope will be out in five years.  The title is going to be Life Challenges and I’m hoping I can help others and that they will be inspired.

And then she scooped up her Chihuahua, leeming (from The Meaning of Liff) and giving him hugs and kisses saying over and over again, Oh Beano Beano Beano, I love you love you love you!


Sunday, January 5, 2014


Sundogs.  So no, dear readers, there will be no busking today.  I am not about to don my Black Sheep toque and black Tommy Hilfiger leather winter coat and lined Wind River blue jeans and Columbia winter hiking boots.  It is minus 51 degrees with the windchill.  It is just too damned cold! 

(Not yet am I that brutto tempo busker that I long to be!)

And yes, dear readers, there will be a belated blog on a New Year’s resolution!

As a counselor I have spent years studying the behaviors of clients.  I have come to the point in my career where I can distinguish between embellishers and liars, bullies from victims, the maudlin from the drama major, and the sincere from the deceitful.

As a counselor I have spent years convincing clients that I am an intrinsic formalist – simply put, I try to stay within their stories.  Even though I know that all of their stories are not true, I do believe the solutions to all of their issues are contained within their personal stories.

Everyone has a story to tell, and hopefully, once the therapy begins, the stories my clients tell are really the beginnings to solving their problems.

At certain points in life, we need new beginnings.  This does not mean recouping from failure; it means recouping from complacency.  Moving through life is like climbing staircase upon staircase.  You get to a certain floor and you level off.  You climb to another floor and level off again.  Some of us get a floor or two up and our lives are level forever.  Lingering too long on any particular floor makes for a mundane life, a conservative and boring existence.

Climbing stairs is not a metaphor for climbing in your career; nor, is it a metaphor for climbing in sociability.  Climbing stairs is meant to serve as a metaphor for rising to new adventures, be it changing careers, changing habits, changing stages or venues.

Life only gets boring when people get boring.  If you are bored, it means that you are boring.  And if you are boring, you have leveled off.  You need to connect with new things, and doing so will connect you to a new life adventure.

People who are constantly searching for more stairs to climb are people striving for constant zest.
Leaving one stage to rise to another is a good thing.  Every stage attained will add life to your years.  Every new stage gained is certainly a celebration.  And your celebrations in life should end only when you end.

Your future need not be determined by your past.  You need not be the prisoner of your experiences.  Rather, you need to be the product of your experiences.  Where you are is where it’s at.  No matter what has happened, right now you are here, and the next staircase is close by. You need to be curious and take the first step up again.

You need to stop your bad habits. (My bad habit is procrastination when it concerns anything to be written, mainly my songs and books.  I can rationalize by telling myself that I am creatively procrastinating … and it works!) 

You need to get active, and this is not about joining a gym, though it is about physical exercise.  You need to go for a walk, go for a run, go for a bike ride, get dancing.

Starting up another staircase is about striving for real happiness.  You are worth it and you deserve to be happy.  Investing in yourself pays rich dividends not only to selfish you, but to those around you.  And please remember that during your life the stair cases to climb are interminable.  They will only end when you end.

Enough of this abstract.  Allow me to put into concrete an example of which I’ve written above.
If you want a resolution, this is your solution.

As a faux busker I know that I am suffering from BRECKLES, a disease of artificial plants (THE BOOK OF LIFF).  If artificial plants can be diseased then so can faux buskers be diseased.  And here is what the self-medicating medico has ordered for curing my disease of complacency -- the enterprising pursuit of being a social entrepreneur.

My biggest goal for 2014 is to re-create my long-time notion of being a busking social entrepreneur.  I do believe my existential calling to be that of a social entrepreneur whilst busking.  And to do this, I need to step up.  I need to leave my present stage.  I need to behave in the way that I continuously purport myself to be – a BUSKOLOGIST (one who studies people and their behaviors while busking). 

The first rule of social entrepreneurship is to identify a social problem.  Anyone who busks for a living knows that one not need look far to identify some glaring social issues.  One that keeps shouting at me on every downtown street corner is the need for street people to blurt out their issues … whilst they pan for spare change, of course. 
I have decided for this new busking season to provide not only spare change for coffee but … to provide free counseling services for anyone on the street seeking such.

The second rule to successful entrepreneurship is to sign with some strategic partners.  In this department I am so far, so good.  I have over the past few years established informal partnerships with the CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION (CMHA) and the SCHIZOPHRENIA SOCIETY OF SASKATCHEWAN (SSS).  Fact:  I have signs for each that I proudly display in my guitar case whenever I busk, and both signs were created by these agencies for just such a purpose!  Wherever I busk, my consumers know my purpose.

The third rule is to run your emprise as a business.  I cannot imagine going busking without my signs, because busking for the CMHA and the SSS is my summer business.  It keeps me in strings and American decafs, and generally, in good company.  My new sign, STREET COUNSELOR -- FREE COUNSELING SERVICES is currently being manufactured.

Make it fun is the fourth rule of social entrepreneurship.  On my recreational time, if I’m not having fun, I don’t go.  This is true for my behaviors in the Grand Trunk Troubadours (our community service band), playing floor hockey (I am, you must remember, a former NHL’er from the Notekeu Hockey League), long-distance running (everyday there is no snow I run around Wascana Lake), and in the weight room (I lift five times a week).  In any of the above activities, if it’s not fun for me, it stops for me.

The last rule for social entrepreneurship is to stay committed.  For a busker, this is difficult because of the weather.  Real buskers need to strum every day.  Faux buskers should strum whenever the sun is shining.  This seems simple but it’s not.  In my thesis I created the theory that whatever a person desires to do, it is always easier not to.

As a buskologist I’m interested not in mimesis -- I’m interested only in social entrepreneurship.

Remember this: 

IT'S ALWAYS EASIER NOT TO (just fill in this blank)!