Sunday, October 19, 2014



Color me bisque and verdigris, vermilion and puce, titian and jasper.  Watching the brown and yellow and orange fall of leaves from the trees, watching them spinning and swirling in the breeze, listening to them crepitate beneath my feet, reminds me that I, too, am Autumn.   

Accordingly, this metaphor is not so abstruse considering the baseball stats clearly show that women in America live an average of 82 years, and men an average of 78 years.  This simple seasonal metaphor has me in the autumn of my life.

Hmmm …

I really do not mind being in the autumn of my life, save for the fact that I’ve limited years yet to linger on this planet.  Fifteen years to be precise.  Yikes.

The entire yesterday I hummed about thinking of a blog topic, to begin, of course, with a snappy title.  And when I woke up this morning … eureka!  I knew I would be writing about autumn expressions.

Atop this blog entry is a picture expressing one of my favorite places in Saskatchewan, WASCANA PARK.  However, any expressions I have to offer anyone would not be in pictures!  I am a dreadful photographer. 

Factoid:  Every picture I take now is with my IPhone.  It’s just that simple.

Factoid:  My writing is better than my picture taking.

Here are some pithy expressions that I have, personally, coined over the years.  These are my AUTUMN MUSINGS for today:

  • A team is only as strong as the season is long.

I used to coach lots of soccer, so much that I am a certified Level Three (theoretical, technical, and practical credentials) soccer coach.  AEK, Athlitiki Enosis Konstantinoupoleos, named after a Greek association football club based in Athens, was the last team in the men’s premiere league that I coached.

But I did not start there.  My coaching started with a boys’ under-eight city league team, the Devil Hawks, then an under-twelve team, the CLASSICS (our sponsor was Coca-Cola), then RTO CRUNCH, and RTO X (both sponsored by RENT-TO-OWN, at the time under the management of my very, very close friend, Gary).  Our teams always had really good runs (pun intended).  Our teams made it to the provincial finals every year, winning at best, the Silver Medal for second place.  Alas, we never did win the Gold.  But I am shaggy-dogging it.

Over those soccer years I came to understand that first, parents only care about their children’s playing time.  Of course, the more one plays the better one gets, especially on elite city soccer teams such as the ones I was coaching.  However, once a player has developee the elite skill sets, that player’s parents, in their selfish nature, are in search of a better soccer team.  For the record, most parents can be appeased with 50-50 seasons.  Win at least half your games and you’ll keep most of your players.  However, there are always parents who believe that 50-50 seasons are not good enough for their highly-skilled child, and therefore they are forever seeking for this child, a spot on the roster of teams with better records.  Since this was generally the case, each season began with the coach’s solicitation of player gaps to fill.  

  • It’s always easier not to (fill in the blank).

When I was researching and writing my Master’s Thesis, I was assigned to a Young Offender facility for boys 15 to 21 years of age.  The program that I designed and delivered for those boys was a simple one:  You must run three miles every day before I teach you either English or Art.  These students at the time were not in school – they were in jail.  Under the Canadian laws with regard to Young Offenders, our court system insisted that all disenfranchised youth assigned to jails had to be offered school credits, but only within their captive environments.  They were not allowed to mingle with those masses not in jail.

I soon realized that, indeed, these some of these young offenders wanted to learn, and some really just to exit the confinement of their rooms, and were willing to run only to a point.  These types would come up with the silliest of excuses not to run, most of which I referred to in my thesis as the sore-toe syndrome.

After my teaching in the prison system, I’ve since had the notion that it’s always easier not to … not to attend a certain function, not to confront a colleague, not to go for a workout, not to write a thank-you note, not to do a particular chore …  for example, for example, for example. 

  • Before the game it’s only a game; after the game it’s only a game; during the game it’s life and death.

Ha!  This one I applied, yes to those players in my charge on the soccer pitch, and also to any sport in which I’ve been a player -- the first coming to mind being hockey!  I began playing ice hockey at eight years of age.  As an adolescent I always brag that I played in the NHL, and then later with the Swift Current Indians. As a middle-aged adult I played several years for the Icemen, and eventually hung up my hockey skates in my mid-fifties.  Now I play floor hockey.

Any game I remember playing, I always played to win.  Not so strangely, it really doesn’t matter to me if I’m on the winning team or the losing team.  It only matters that I always play to win.

(And by the way, the NHL to which I referred stands not for the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, but for the NOTEKEU HOCKEY LEAGUE, in which I played for the VANGUARD EAGLES.  GO EAGLES!)

  • The pencil never lies.

When I am without with my twelve-string guitar and harmonica, I busk with my sketchbook and pencil.  Before I put my pencil to paper in preparation for any portraiture, I always tell the consumer that the pencil never lies.  This is my standard joke.

  • I fooled them another day.

This is what I typically say to my colleagues at the end of each working day, of which there are 200 each year.  Them, of course, refers to my employer.

  • I laughed so hard I forgot to feed the cat.

I love this line and I use it often.  I must confess, thought, that I stole it from somewhere. I don’t know where.

And these next ones, I wish were mine, but they’re not:

  • If you can’t laugh at your clients, what fun are they.

I employ this phrase sparingly (for obvious reasons) and only in the presence of those close to me.  I heard on an episode of the television sitcom, Frazier. 

  • The notes are for those who don’t know the tune.

Since I do not read music, this line best describes how I tackle the singing of any song.  My band mate, Ray, coined this line years ago, when we were both members of the band, SHARIE AND THE SHADES.

  • Never sneak into a song.

This was another of Ray’s gems, urging all singers to start strong on every song.

  • It only takes one punch.

This one belongs to my present PHANTOM TIDE band mate, Darren.  I’ve taken Judo, Karate, and Muay Thai, and NEVER has the skinny of martial arts in my experiences, been better expressed!

Autumn leaves must fall, and so to close my blog today, here are some pictures (from my IPhone) taken during my morning run around Wascana Lake.

Autumn, to me now, is rather Aesopian in nature, for I am now Autumn. 

  • Where you are is where it’s at (another stolen phrase) …


Today the temperature is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F). 
Within the hour I shall be guitar busking at VALUE VILLAGE!

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