Glasgow Cathedral and Legos

Glasgow Cathedral and Legos

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Glasgow Cathedral is one of the check box tourist spots in Glasgow. It’s certainly a beautiful old gothic cathedral and the history contained within is very interesting, but it’s not a long stop, however it is free.

For some reason the church was holding an exhibit the day I was there of a famous Lego artist from Scotland. No idea why and not knowing ahead of time, it was a truly bizarre experience and made for some interesting juxtapositions in the photos.

Glad for it all, have a happy day my friends. – Rev Kane

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Day 1 – Hiking the West Highland Way

Day 1 – Hiking the West Highland Way

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Day 1 saw me leaving Glasgow for Milngavie (pronounced Mull-guy) and hitting the trail. I was excited to get hiking and got to the train early. Arriving in Milngavie early paid off, the luggage transfer folks were early and so I hit the trail by 8:30, well sort of. I dawdled around in town and then at a local community center looking for a restroom, but by 9, I was on my way.

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It was a beautiful day for hiking, the temperature was around 60F all day with clouds and sun and a little breeze. Which meant no midges! It’s still early but some blackberries had even started to ripen so I ate my first and thankfully supersweet trail berries of the year.

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Critter count for today, 8 domesticated dog only 2 on leash, 2 slugs, a duo of ducks, some swans, 1 crow, a ton of titmouses and other LBBs, countless coos, a shitload of sheep, a bevy of butterflies and one lone beetle.

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Not much to say on this front other than the flowers have been lovely.

Got to eat my first trail berries for rhe year and they were super sweet and awesome.

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The trail also overlaps with the newly developed John Muir Trail.

It wouldn’t be a Scottish hike without a whiskey distillery on the trail.

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On the way onto Drymman someone left up a gift for us Tolkein fans.

I hit Drymen about 2:15 which once my stops were factored out meant i was hiking about 2.7 mph today.  This made me super happy as I’ve been working on improving my speed on flat sections. I normally hike 2.4 mph regardless of slope. This is fine going up or down but I needed to move faster on the flats, so today was a success on a mostly flat 12 mile section.

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It feels great being back on the trail. Initially I encountered a string of less than friendly hikers but it improved as the day went along. I’m missing the type of instant community that forms on less supported hikes but I also realize all community takes time to form. I did meet a lovely young hiker from Germany though, her name is Ella and she was very nice.

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I am returning to my 3 questions for the hike.

What was the most beautiful thing I encountered today and that would be all the flowers. These were my favorite.

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What made me happy today? Quite simply a beautiful walking day in the Scottish countryside.

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What did i learn today? That my training to increase my pace has been at least somewhat successful.  Also that deepfried Mars bars are a thing in Scotland and not just a county fairs.

A tradition for me hiking in Scotland,  my end of the hike Magnum Icecream bar.

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Have a happy day my friends. – Rev Kane 

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Saint Mungo’s Museum

Saint Mungo’s Museum

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Today I visited my two favorite places in Glasgow. When I was here 13 years ago I fell in love with Saint Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art.  Also, if you read this blog you know that I love photographing cemeteries and Glasgow has a spectacular one called the Necropolis.

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Tonight some photos from St. Mungos and tomorrow longer posts on the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis.

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Saint Mungos is a wonderful place, great exhibits on religious life from all religions.  And always really great special exhibits. Enjoy the photos and have a happy day my friends. – Rev Kane

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Walking Glasgow

Walking Glasgow

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Spent all of today walking Glasgow while doing errands.  There was a dual purpose to my wanderings. First I had errands to run, I needed to pick up a few things for the trail. Second, I wanted to walk for at least 5 miles today, I’ll try to do 8 tomorrow as a warm up for starting the West Highland Way on Thursday.

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A mosaic at central station

I also needed to find the train station where I’ll be leaving from on Thursday morning.

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The streets were lively today and I saw someone taking the art of the one-man, pan flute band to new heights. Not just a pan flute rendition of Funky Town, not just the standard one man band, not just an ankle tambourine, not just a guitar, not just a prop Lama but all that plus three synchronized marionettes.

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Again the subtle differences slip in.

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Did you spot it?

First full day in the UK so fish and chips with mushy peas were an absolute must. I’m always amazed at how good the fish always is in the UK and Ireland.

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Saw some great architecture including this giant metal peacock, sorry it’s a bit hard to make out.

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And to be sure, there’s a little weird in Glasgow.

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One of the things that has made me happy has been the little punk edges in town. Seems punk is alive and kicking in Glasgow, lot’s of piercing, punk tees, doc martins and a little bit of attitude.

Off to Thai food, have a happy day my friends. – Rev Kane

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Finally in Scotland

Finally in Scotland

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The view from my room

So I finally arrived in Glasgow on a cloudy but nice evening.  Currently the European sporting championships are in town, my hotel is full of track cyclists.  I think the mascot is an Otter.

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I grabbed a taxi from the airport, nice guy, good information, that is of course what I could understand. I love Scotland but it always takes a few days to start try to cleary cut through the accent. Scotland, like most of the UK is a lot like America, but there are subtle differences everywhere, like standing instead of walking people on the crossing lights.

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After a very long night’s sleep, today will be spent exploring and running errands. Although on my walk last night I did find something interesting, those if you with young kids will likely be familiar. My 4 year-old nephew kept trying to explain this characters name to me and I just couldn’t get it, now I do.

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Off to explore, have a happy day my friends. –Rev Kane

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In First Class and out if place – part 2

In First Class and out if place – part 2

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My pod on the plane

If you missed part 1 of this post you can find it here.

I wanted to just follow on last nights post with my experience on the plane. My personal pod was fabulous, watched Black Panther then laid flat and passed out for 6 hours. Dinner was fabulous.

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You get gifts in international business class, too bad you don’t get to keep the headphones. Noise canceling headphones on an airplane are heaven.

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Customs was a breeze, got a really friendly and chatty clerk who was interested in my hike and asked a lot of friendly, curious questions.

Wandered through terminal 5 at Heathrow until I landed at the British Airways first class lounge. Not quite as nice as JFK, but couches, wifi, buffet who could complain, certainly not the Minister of Happiness.

 

 

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In First Class and Out of Place

In First Class and Out of Place

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I’m a blue collar kid, and although at this point in my life I’ve built a white collar life I often find myself in positions where i feel utterly out of place.

Growing up I had a friend Peter who cane from a wealthy family. The first time I ate dinner at his house was a revelation. The confusion on my face must have shown and his mom asked me to help in the kitchen.  Away from everyone else she did a quick place settng and explained fancy eating to me.  A lesson that still serves me well, she was a truly kind and wonderful woman.

Kicking off my adventure today has been wild and fun.  Got lost on the way to JFK and two other guys made the same mistake I did. One was from UC Davis and we have mutual Sierra College friends.  I met a beautiful Brazillian woman at the airport with her service dog Pandora, she took quite a liking to me, the dog, not the girl although the girl was very nice. I got to speak Portuguese twice tonight and then after security got my real treat.

You see I cashed in all of my air miles for this trip so I could fly international business class to Scotland. This means I have access in the US to the executive lounge.  I’d been in an Admiral’s Club at the airport before but it’s been years. I expected some free snacks and newspaper, free drinks but i should have known better. This is rich people land and the more you pay the better the freebies.

There is a full free buffet, free top shelf drinks and super comfy chairs.  So for dinner I had seared tenderloin, miso glazed salmon, pork tenderloin, cauliflower with wild mushrooms, waldorf salad and a New York standard, a black and white cookie for dessert.

Of course as a blue collar kid and proud hiker-trash I feel completely out of place, but I’m here and happy. I earned my ticket and place at this table, but I still feel out of place. Maybe a wee bit of Makers Mark will help me relax. – Rev Kane

 

 

 

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So it begins…Adventure 2018

So it begins…Adventure 2018

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Rev Kane at Grand Central

So I’m finally on the road spending my first night in New York with my little nephews my brother and sister-in-law. So much fun playing with the munchkins. I brought them a jug of sea creature toys and little Yogi set up an aquarium on the rug.

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I also of course, had a little pizza.

So while I’m on the road for the next couple of months my posting schedule will be a bit sporadic, and posts will be shorter since I’ll be posting from my phone, so please excuse my poor thumb typing and any mistakes because of it.

Posts from Scotland should be more frequent, but Spain, Portugal and Morocco likely not so much. I’ll do my best to bring you along and hopefully we’ll all have happy days. – Rev Kane

 

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Happiness and Hitting Reset

Happiness and Hitting Reset

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What’s so fascinating and frustrating and great about life is that you’re constantly starting over, all the time, and I love that. ~ Billy Crystal

Occasionally, even if things are going ok you can end up out of sync.  That’s where I found myself this past week.  My new job had started out insanely busy but I’d finally got into a routine and was feeling comfortable.  My fitness goals were moving in a positive direction, I’ve recently lost 17 pounds although I’m still nursing a fairly serious shoulder injury.  My blood pressure is pack into an acceptable range and my blood sugar is improving, I’ve even gotten a little hiking in over the last two weeks.  So all in all things were good.

Last week I was out for a conference and out of my routines.  I found a decent pizza place and since there is no good pizza where I live I indulged two nights while away.  Sleep is always iffy in a hotel and there was a lot of learning at the conference.  The conference was informative but was also an opportunity for me to reconnect with some old colleagues as well as reconnecting with a few I didn’t expect to see.  There was also some bad news, a person I really liked passed away last week.  We’d worked together for a few years, he was one of my favorite adjunct faculty and I have missed his smile, his greetings and our conversations.

So I found myself at the end of the week feeling disconnected.  The weekend was hectic with a college event on Friday night and a Relay for Life Event, I typically do a late night slot for my hour walk and this year was no exception.

01So with my eating and sleep patterns wrecked and feeling just a bit out of sorts I decided to hit the reset button.  I slept in a bit, did my Sunday chores around the house, took a little walk and completed a little DIY home project to take care of a problem with my hot water.  My favorite football team won big tonight, I’ve written down some goals I needed to solidify and I sit here at the end of the weekend and am appropriately tired, my chores are done and I’m ready to get rolling again.  Back to it on Monday morning, keep moving forward, keep making things better, keep trying to be a happier person and always remembering to have a little fun and happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

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Sometimes Happiness is hard…

Sometimes Happiness is hard…

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You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

This is not my normal type of post for the Ministry of Happiness, but these my friends are not normal times, or maybe they are, and if so, then I’m really sad.

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning.  It started with the fact that I’ve tweaked some muscles in my neck and it eases up during the day but stiffens overnight.  So raising my head this morning to get up was a painful proposition.  So I laid back down and got lazy and grabbed my phone and procrastinated getting out of bed.  I quickly encountered the news about the officers who were shot in Dallas, there was information about a black man found hung in Piedmont Park in Atlanta.  It was quickly deemed a suicide, too quickly some believe and no autopsy is too be performed.  It’s hard right now to simply just trust the authorities after the recent news about the deaths of more black men being shot on traffic stops or while selling CD’s in front of a store.  I don’t want to have that distrust but these days it is pretty hard not to.

The news hit me harder than I expected, I laid in bed for a while feeling what I can only describe as despair.  Sure, I got up, I went to work and while engaged in all of the busyness of my job I was distracted and felt ok.  But once that ended it was back, throughout the day via Facebook I saw posts that made me hopeful, posts about hope and unity going forward.  But I also saw far too much hate in the responses of people to the events that have happened and it filled me with despair.

I’m a lucky man, I have friends of all types scattered all over the world (I wish they were nearer).  My selected family is composed of a wonderfully diverse set of humans and this set includes conservatives, deeply religious Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, flaming liberals, libertarians and people who really don’t care at all about politics.  I have gay, straight, bi and trans friends, I have monogamous happily married friends, swinger friends, even polyamorous friends.  These friends come in every shade of human and within all of those sets and there are some combinations of descriptors that make for some seriously lovely and unique humans.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of the communities my friends exist in get attacked, from Orlando to Minnesota, from Baton Rouge to Dallas, yes I have family and friends who are cops as well.  I’m sick of it, I’m tired of the hate, the ignorance, the political polarization, the myth of an exceptional America.  An exceptional country does not harbor the levels of disrespect, hate and racism that exist in this country.

We have to change, for the savior of our country and our very souls we have to do better.  These issues are not the fault of liberals or conservatives, the media is not the problem, President Obama did not cause this.  We are the cause of all of it and that is both the good and the bad news.  The good news being that if we caused it, we can fix it.

unityWe have to get off of the stereotypes, but we also have to correct the problems of bias and racism that are cooked into the very structure of our society.  Let me tell you how I learned about white privilege in fourth grade.  In our elementary school locker room we had baskets we left our clothes in when we changed for gym class.  Some idiot flipped a bunch of baskets over while we were in class and our clothes were jumbled.  No big deal, there were three of us and there were three pair of underwear.  One generic pair that were pretty ratty, and two pair of Fruit of the Looms, one pristine, one in good shape but with a little split near the tag.  The three of us, one white, one black, and one brown.  Now two of us were middle class, one was very poor and as such he immediately and accurately was given the non-Fruit of the Loom pair.  That left two of us and I honestly believed that my underwear had no damage.  My friend Joe, also believed the same thing.  The gym teacher came in, heard the claim and without blinking gave the split pair to the black kid and gave me the pristine pair.  I felt vindicated until walking down the hall a little while later I remembered, mine did have a split.  For a long-time I didn’t understand why I was automatically given the best pair.  It took me being older and reflecting on it to realize it had simply been the color of my skin.

The way people look should not be how we determine how to treat them, but it is.  We treat white, black and brown people different.  Beautiful people are treated better, I get far better treatment in my work clothes than I do on the weekend in a pair of jeans.  If we determine someone looks gay, whatever the hell that is supposed to look like, we treat them differently.  Dressed like a hippie, have a big beard, be anything but 1950’s normal white in this country and you are treated differently.

I saw a post from someone today about how they were incorrectly pulled over and they listened to the cop and nothing bad happened.  The person that wrote it was white and the implication was clear, that if black people just behaved themselves they wouldn’t have any problems, wouldn’t get shot.  The post made me incredibly angry, this person’s world view is myopic and bigoted whether they realize it or not.  It made me sick that people liked the post.  I don’t fit the 1950’s stereotype of white America, I have been pulled over for driving while looking like a hippie, this past year a cop admitted that the way I looked was the reason for the stop.  I have had cops try to do illegal searches on these stops, I’ve been roughed up, I once had my driver’s license whipped into my eye.  Black and brown drivers have it way worse than I do.  So no, just obeying the law and doing what your told sometimes isn’t protection against harm, and when it happens often enough to a person, they understandably get frustrated and angry.  None of this justifies being unjustly shot by a cop and as horrible as the ingrained racism in our society is, the reaction can’t be to start shooting cops that’s equally unjust.

stewartI’m afraid for my country tonight, a hot summer Friday night with passions running high and protests in many, many places.  We may be seeing a return to the type of violence and upheaval we saw in the late sixties.  I would have hoped we could have gotten to the kind of positive change we saw after that period, without the violence, but it doesn’t look like that will be our path.

What can we do?  You’re one person, you can’t fix society, end institutional racism, de-polarize America’s politics by yourself, and you’re right.  But there are things we can do, simple things that may seem silly but may have more of an impact than you imagine.  First, smile at people, especially people who don’t look like you, especially people who are likely on the margins of society, hell go crazy and say hello or have a nice day for no damn reason, hold the door open for them, thank them if they hold a door for you.

Call out the bullshit in your world, if your friend or family member expresses an idea that is bigoted call them out.  Ok, you’re 90 year-old grandma gets a pass, but no one else. There is no need to do it publicly and start a fight, delete the comment, message them directly and have a conversation friend to friend without name calling or anger, the purpose is for everyone to understand each other, to understand the impact that our words have.  If someone can’t do that, do you really want them as a friend on your social media account?  I realize confrontation sucks, but allowing bigoted remarks to stand on your page is tacit approval of what’s being said.

Watch your assumptions.  I see people jumping on each other because they assume intent that may not be there.  Not every black person hates white people, not all whites are racist.  Just because someone supports Black Lives Matters it doesn’t mean they don’t think other lives don’t, don’t assume they do.  Equally, don’t assume that whites who feel frustrated or feel under attack are racists, you can feel the pressure of change, you can feel embattled and not turn to hateful thoughts.  We all must find a way to put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

Actually talk to people.  We have to talk to each other about these issues, not on social media, not in sound bites, but face to face.  We have to have discussions about the issues in this country, those conversations can be uncomfortable as hell.  But if they are done with open hearts and open minds, if we are respectful of one another’s feelings, we can do it and foster understanding and empathy.

My friends we have to try an understand each other, we have to care about each other regardless of whether or not we share a religion, a skin color, a sexual orientation or a political party.  Almost every person I know has either a religious belief or a philosophy that they adhere to in life.  I’ve made a point in life to be familiar with most of these and from Islam to Christianity to Taoism, to agnostic ideas of right and wrong none of these philosophies espouse hate as a way to a better life.  Sure, none of them are perfect, they can be interpreted in ways to create the “other” or outsiders.  However the core message that Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mother Teresa, Khalil Gibran or any of the other philosophers of life we read espoused was simple, love one another, be good to each other, don’t kill each other.  If we could just do that, we’d all have happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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