If We Were Having Coffee Guest Post– Jan.04/2015

Foggy Thoughts

“Hedgehog in the Fog”

From a Russian fable directed by Yuri Norstein Hedgehog and Bear Cub having tea and counting stars “Isn’t it wonderful that we are together again?” “Oh, who other than you knows how to count the stars?”

Paul your Barista

Paul your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. This week Willow has returned from traveling over the holidays and we’ll be meeting once again at her home. Please come in and make yourself comfortable. Willow has plumped the cushions and started a cozy fire so we can warm ourselves while we have a cuppa and chat. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been? Personally, my holidays have been quiet and I have gotten a lot of reading and writing done, By Friday, I realized that I had lost track of what day of the week it was, with so many holidays and a modified schedule. My dialysis appointments were all changed to accommodate the holidays, although they all went well. It is interesting how life seems to be organized by recurring circumstances like weekends or, in my case, appointments. Changing those leaves me a bit confused and I have to think about what day of the week it is. It has been very quiet here in my neighborhood as most of the university students are gone for the holidays. It seems so strange to walk out the door and see an empty street with no cars and no people. How has your world changed over the holidays? Will you be glad when your schedule returns to normal or will you be sad to say good-bye to the holiday celebrations?

The weather here in Ottawa has been very unusual for the time of year. It was above freezing most of last week and the bit of snow we had received has all melted – in contrast to last year when we had snow piled up from November. Towards the end of the week, it got very cold (it’s currently -20 C – about -4 F) and now we are expecting a snowstorm this afternoon changing to freezing rain with temperatures rising to well above freezing. Weather warnings have been issued and drivers have been asked not to travel unless necessary. Typically this time of year it is just plain cold without a lot of precipitation. Has your weather been unusual this year? Granted “usual” is hard to define but there is still a sense of “This doesn’t happen this time of year.”

Would you like another cuppa and a sweet while we chat? I don’t normally talk much about the weather – it is what it is – unless there is a major change. However, I seem to be sensitized after the last few years of climate change talk – waiting and watching for the other shoe to drop; a sort of nervous tension that asks if each slight difference is the beginning of a large change. Do you find yourself pondering any small change in the weather.

Anyway, enough of that, it doesn’t help to focus on it. On a national scene we had a domestic tragedy here in Edmonton western Canada this week when there was a mass murder of a family by the father – including 5 adults and 2 children. The man, Phu Lam, had a serious history of violence and troubles with the law. He had assaulted his wife and threatened to kill his family some years ago but his wife refused to press charges and had dropped all legal action. He also had a gambling problem that left him deep in debt. When he declared bankruptcy, the court decided that Mr. Phu had deliberately overspent with no intention of ever repaying the monies and consequently charged him with “Abuse of credit.” Ha! I didn’t realize such a law existed in Canada but apparently spending and then trying to renege on payment by declaring bankruptcy is against the law. You have to intend to repay any debts in order for bankruptcy to apply.

Over a period of a few days Mr. Phu shot and killed his family at 3 separate residences before he was caught. It seems so senseless that such a person who was known to have murderous tendencies and who had mental issues should be wandering around free to kill as he pleased. The news was in the media but there is not a lot of call for any reform or investigation because it was a family tragedy – no randomness to threaten anyone non- family. In other words, the rest of us feel pretty safe so no one bothers to question how this could have happened. And as much as I hate to admit it, the idea that the Phu’s are immigrants also seems to play some role in the lack of interest. The dirty little thought that, after all, they brought their problems with them to Canada. No one will admit this – it is politically incorrect – but you can feel it in the air along with a sigh of relief; see, there’s nothing wrong here that needs to be fixed. A lie we tell ourselves to make us feel better and sweep the problem under the rug. Do you see similar reactions in your country? – That those who are new citizens are somehow not as important as those who are born in your country? That their problems are not our problems?

That’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and watch the fire. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for tea again.

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE: I would ask you if you would  like another  cuppa, or  another cake . !   If we were having Coffee  Original idea  from  http://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/ 

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paul
    Jan 04, 2015 @ 01:33:47

    Thank you Willow for this opportunity to post here with you. Oh, Welcome Back from the holidays! I hope that you got rested up and that things get better. Who other than you knows how to count the stars?


    • willowdot21
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 09:32:12

      Hi Paul it is good to be back and have our coffee mornings up on Tandem !! As always your post is delightful, informative in equal parts. I love the cartoon. So sad about the Phu Family especially as it could of been avoided if someone in the medical or law enforcement had had their eye on the ball.
      Your posts are always a pleasure . xxx


  2. tesscol
    Jan 04, 2015 @ 10:12:20

    Good day Paul….nice to see you back
    . Cappuccino for me please…….cakes I would love but after the excesses of the Christmas period I will forgo any!
    We had a happy family meal after Church on Christmas Day.
    The following Sunday a few of us went to the Cinema…(movies) to see the final instalment of The Hobbit. A great story but I felt the battle of the five armies a bit OTT
    I have now got the book on my kindle and am thoroughly enjoying reading it. Tolkien was an amazing storyteller. I recall my Dad reading it to us as we sat round the fire in our childhood.
    Between Christmas and New Year I had a visit to Hospital for a cardio angiogram the result of which may mean a small op to fit a ‘stent’ in one of the arteries to my heart. Hopefully this will improve things for me…..currently any strenuous activity is rather challenging.

    Your news about the murders in Edmonton was very sad. We have the same thing among immigrant families in the UK. It seems that life is pretty cheap in some cultures. There is often news of so called ‘honour’ killings too.
    As a race Humanity is deeply flawed.

    One of the gifts I received from my eldest Grand daughter is a journal which she has asked me to complete with my family history and return it to her at the end of the year. I make Scrapbooks for each of my Grandchildren as they reach their 18th Birthday, and my children when they reach their 50th. Currently I am working on a Guitar shaped one for our youngest son who is a musician……but my mind is also busy thinking of ideas for ‘the journal’!

    You mentioned the weather…here it has been very mild compared to last year when we froze for days and days.

    Well coffee finished I must away to do some chores.
    Great to chat Paul……see you soon


    • willowdot21
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 10:17:17

      Thanks for sharing your lovely news Paul is on his way. Remember the cakes are calorie free 🙂 ❤


    • Paul
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 13:04:39

      Good morning Tesscol! So glad you dropped by for a chat. On cappucino coming up! Wow, sounds like you had a real family Christmas. Tolkein is an amazing author. I’ve read a numer of his books, including The Hobbit, but i haven’t seen any of the movies. Russians are such an enigma to me. I actually have a guest post coming up next week on another blog whose main character is an amazing elderly Russian woman that I met. They (Russians) can have such a huge range of emotions in such a short period of time. They are either ecstatic or morose and sometimes both at the same time. And a very smart people who have endured a violent history of government. Their writers and artists are amongst the best and most expressive. The fable that I chose above won a number of international awards in the late 1970’s. I chose it because I found the fog in the piece to be resonant with a lot of the uncertainty in life today (weather change, domestic homicides, changed routines around the holidays, etc) and because they are having tea and are expressive of some of the gathering together and enjoying each other that we share here. And they are cute. There is a large statue of this hedgehog in a square in Kiev, in memory of the fable.

      Anyway, I’m glad you got your heart checked and can have your quality of life improved with a stent insertion. I hope all goes well with that, and my prayers are with you.

      We have our share of honor killings within the immigrant community as well, but they usually target an individual – this one was even more terrible, killing women, children and elderly and so many. It is a problem when so many are aware of the threat and no monitoring is done and no alarm bells rung.

      Sounds like you are the famiy scribe Tesscol. That is amazing that you are doing the scrapbooks for each member plus a journal for the family. Wow, a lot of work. It will be greatly cherished by those who get a chance to read it.

      Thanks again for dropping by Tesscol, we are honored by your visit. Have a great week!


  3. 1jaded1
    Jan 04, 2015 @ 11:18:17

    Hi Paul…good to see you back. Glad your holidays were good. Mine were interesting. Regarding the weather, it really isn’t something we can control. Environmentalists say we could have at some point, but now it is too late. Really, who knows? Chicago had a green Christmas and is expected to enjoy winter this week.

    Regarding the Phu family, I had no idea. So tragic all the way around. I can’t imagine what thoughts were happening in his mind.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 11:44:45

      Hi 1jaded1 Paul is on his way. Thanks for stopping by you are always welcome. 🙂


    • Paul
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 13:17:14

      Hi 1J1! It is great to see you here. I haven’t seen you around the blogosphere much lately, I hope eveything is OK. My holidays were very restful, thank you. I trust you had a relaxing time as well.

      It seems that many locations are having unusually warm winters so far. I doubt that the climate change has progressed too far for us to affect it positively with change. Our media has established a culture of fear that they use to sell their words. They sensationalize everything and look for the worst. Personally, i am sure we are changing the climate and we need to make some hard choices but I do not think it is too late yet to at least slow down the change. We won’t get it back where it was 100 yeras ago – for instance a great deal of the polar ice is going or gone and we will likely have to live with that. But posive change is still possible.

      Yes, the Phu muders were horrific and I can’t help but look at our police and family services and mental health system and wonder why this slipped past when there were so, so many warning bells.

      Thanks so much for the visit 1J1 and I hope your week goes well. Please dop by net week, you are always welcome here.


  4. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jan 04, 2015 @ 13:16:45

    Happy New Year, Paul. Quiet time in this busy season isn’t bad. I like quiet time anytime. Ottawa’s had more snow than we have although ice pellets and weather warnings were lifted yesterday. It all turned to slush and probably froze last night. Ugh.
    People do terrible things to each other. I hate to hear innocents are murdered. Terrible anytime, but what a way to start the year. Keep warm and see you next time.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 13:23:59



    • Paul
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 13:31:27

      Hi LCTC! Great to have you drop by. Please pull up a chair by the fire and have a cuppa to warm you up. There is a vast selection of sweeets as well, so please try some. Yes, humanity’s inhumanity shows through sometimes doesn’t it? The worst thing, from my perspective, is that with a modicum of intervention this could have been predicted and avoided.

      I hope your holidays were relaxing and filled with happiness. Take care and have a great week.


  5. Exile on Pain Street
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 11:30:37

    Don’t feel bad about the confusion. We are all creatures of habit and a little thing like a holiday can throw our clocks out of whack. I can’t believe I’m about to go into my office for a full week of work. It’s such a disappointment. I might call in sick tomorrow just to soften the blow. I, for one, love the holidays and am sad to see them end. Only 11 months ’til Christmas!


    • willowdot21
      Jan 05, 2015 @ 19:39:54

      I do hope you can get through the week!! Be big and brave I hope you survive the next 11 months!! 😉


    • Paul
      Jan 05, 2015 @ 19:55:29

      Hi Mark! Thanks for dropping by. I too enjoy the Christmas lights and music and am sad to see them go. I do like summer though, so I’m not counting days to Xmas just yet – that’ll come around August. This time of the year can be a bummer with the weather and no holidays in sight and the short days. But we’ll make it through.

      Thanks for the visit Mark, please feel free to drop by agaon.


  6. ~ Sadie ~
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 00:49:30

    Loved the video, Paul!! I saved it to watch with the grandbabies, as they are old enough to enjoy it and its beauty! The family tragedy is horrible, and yes, I often notice the same attitudes here in the U.S.
    (I think I’m all caught up now on your posts 🙂 )


    • Paul
      Mar 01, 2015 @ 06:31:38

      Hi Sadie! Great to see you coming to visit. I am honored that you are reading back posts. Yes, the little movie is really neat isn’t it? As a break form having pictures of different afternoon teas in various places, i decided to try out animals having tea. This animated film short went really well with a general celebration of tea (and jam) – and its fame made it easier for readers to relate to. I hadn’t thought about children watching it but it would be a good watch for them – it appeals to audiences of all ages.

      We consider ourselves civilized but we often have a long way to go. It’s bad scenes like the multiple murder that point out quite clearly how far. \

      I am so pleased that you enjoyed the post Sadie and i hope you’ll continue to come back to visit..


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