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Thanks for this

(this post is written on my ipad, so is likely festooned with typos. Sorry. When I make my million I shall buy a Macbook like all the cool kids.)

(it deserves pictures and links too.  That will need better than this iPad!)

We left the frozen prairies yesterday and flew to the Shangri-la that is Victoria BC. We almost didn't make it; the fog was so thick and so low that the pilot didn't think we would be able to land. But we landed OK (I saw the ground 5 seconds before we touched down) and before we were in the city the fog had burned off.

The rest of the day was spent walking around one of the truly beautiful Canadian cities in brilliant sunshine and +8C weather. I kept muttering, then saying, then shouting "It's the freaking 8th of January!!" It was glorious. I don't know why I put up with -30C weather in Saskatchewan every winter.

The 10 day blogger challenge had a rest day yesterday - no posts required, but we were all asked to meditate on the things for which we were grateful. I think the point is that we'll be better writers if we write from a more generous and grateful posture. No complaints there.

It's tough to meditate when you're walking and gawking and staring into the sun though. But by the evening I had some time to sit and think and make a list. I decided to post it anyway. Here we go, in a rather jumbled order, but I want to let it flow and not get into ranking things.

- Independent Food Purveyors. I admit it. I am a first world, city dwelling, North American man. I have first world problems. I can eat anything and go anywhere. But I have a big problem with the pervasive sameness of chain stores and chain restaurants. I'm so sick of the Walmarts and Costcos and "Original Joe's" of the world. So here's a shout out to Willies and Big Wheel Burgers and Fry's Bakery, three must eat places in Victoria. When I think of this city I think of you first.

- Farmers, Gardeners, Growers and Millers. You folks care so much and work so hard to take care of the land and make us the best food. Nobody knows you. Nobody gives you the credit you deserve. But without you we're nothing.

- Mother Earth. Gaea. Nature. The Land. Call it what you will but please don't call it "the environment". You are beautiful. You are majestic. You are comforting. You are formidable. You are nourishing to body, mind and soul. I may be a city dweller but I feel a deep, deep connection to the land.

- My parents and sister. From my earliest memory, my mom thought I was brilliant and smart and could do anything. I've been driven my whole life to make her proud. I miss her so much. My dad teaches me acceptance every day. To accept people as they are and not as you want them to be. That everyone has their own definition of happiness and contentment. And my sister reminds me that relationships change and morph and grow over a lifetime and are worth working on.

- My heros and mentors. I've been so lucky to have met and been touched by amazing people. In this internet world, I've not even met them all face to face, but that's OK (for now.)

Some are bakers (thank you Tracey and Nancy and Yvan and Michel and Didier and Eric and Fran and Amy and Leslie and Trent and Craig) some are former co-workers at SaskTel (that's a whole other post), some are local business owners (hi Rod, hi Aimee.) Bob and Neil just inspire me to keep things weird.

But two people stand out. Seth's writing and speaking has influenced me more than anyone; he's pushed me to make a difference in the world every day for over 10 years now. And Bernadette inspires me to think deeply about the people I serve and to make a deeper, meaningful connection with them. They are as important to what the bakery has become as any baker or miller.

- My friends. I'm come to terms with the fact that I enjoy the company of many, many people, but I don't have many friends. If it comes right down to it, I have three, but they are lifetime friends. When you get to the point in your life where you've been with some of these people for over 30 years, you know there's something special there. So thank you Kirby, Renee, and Curt. I'm so glad our lives have been intertwined like this.

- My family. Oh my God how I love my family. To connect with another person the way I have with Cindy is the most amazing thing in my life. To say she makes me complete sounds so corny, but it's true. She's my rock when I am drifting. She'll give space to figure things out but will also give the the kick in the pants I need to keep moving. She's forced me out of my comfort zone so many times and out of my head when I'm too deep in my thoughts.

I cherish the relationship with my kids so much. I see so much of Cindy in them, and myself, but they are their own unique people too. It's a miracle really. I love every day with them, good, bad and neutral and have at every stage of their lives.

Hmm...if the point of this exercise is to make my heart bigger, it's worked. My chest is full to bursting. Now I'm off to enjoy another sunny, warm, 'winter' day!