Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Disc Golf: A new, faster, funner way to play

Disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in North America.
A pair of facilities in at the Moosomin Regional Park and at the
Rocanville Cross-Country Ski Club are bringing this simple, fun,
relaxing activity to this area. (Above picture taken at the Rocanville
Cross-Country Ski Club facility)

Are you tired of spending hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars on equipment and membership fees to play the game of golf?

Are you frustrated with the amount of time it consumes; the packed courses; the less-than-courteous actions of some players; the lack of facility availability?

With the establishment of one course at the Rocanville Cross-Country Ski Club just south of Rocanville, and the scheduled development of another this spring at the Moosomin Regional Park (MRP), disc golf will be quickly catching the imagination of residents in the area.

Both facilities have been designed by members of the Parkland Association of Disc Golf, of which I am a founding member and participating course designer. Constructed in the late-summer of 2015, the facility near Rocanville includes 18 tonal-target holes running along a portion of the ski/hiking trails. Outside of purchasing your own discs - specially designed "frisbees" used for the sport that travel further and straighter than regular discs - and participating in tournaments, there few other costs associated with the sport.

Specifically, there are no green fees. You simply walk up to the first tee and throw. About an hour and half later, you can either head home or begin again. The game is short, simple and delightful as you meander through the naturally forested area or near the lake. The walk through the bush or along the water is itself beneficial to the mind, body and spirit.

Like ball golf, the disc version of the sport has tees and "holes." Starting at the tee-off area, players throw discs until they have hit that hole's target; either a basket with momentum-killing chains or, as in Rocanville and the MRP's case, tonal targets. Each corresponding shot is taken from the location of the previous throw's landing site and is counted as one stroke. The player with the least number of throws at the end of a nine or 18-hole round wins the game.

And, like ball golf, success in the sport is determined by smooth, efficient muscular mechanics and a calm, clear mindset. Clinics on how to play and rules of the sport can be scheduled through myself or through the Parkland Association of Disc Golf.

I will also, in the near future, be providing information regarding a once-per-week league night for Rocanville, Moosomin or a combination of both. You can also contact me through the link above to see how you can get involved.

Disc golf is a great way for the family to participate in a physical
activity together, everyone on equal footing in competition
regardless of age. On any one hole, my 14-year-old daughter or
11-year-old son can out-shoot their 42-year-old father. However,
a fun day outdoors is the primary goal of the sport. (Above
picture taken at Carleton Trail Regional Park's facility)

Disc Golf on the Prairie

The sport of disc golf has seen a dramatic increase in participation through the past 10 years. While there was one disc course in Saskatchewan in 2000, today, that number has grown to more than 20. The Parkland Association of Disc Golf has 14 facilities either in place or under development. They include:

Patrick Park Disc Golf Course (Yorkton)
Kemoca Regional Parr Course (Montmartre)
Shaker City Disc Golf (Benito, MB) 
Springside Disc Golf Course
Carlton Trail Regional Park Disc Golf
Fort Qu'Appelle Disc Golf Course
SandyBeach at Good Spirit Lake Disc Golf Course
Lemberg Disc Golf Course
Rocanville Disc Golf Course
Melville Disc Golf Course
Asessippi Resort (MB) (under development)
North Ridge Disc Golf Course (Birtle, MB) (under development)
Stockholm, SK (under development)
Ituna Regional Park (under development)

Outside of the province, there are more than 100 courses dotting Western Canada and six more in the Yukon Territory.

There are many reasons why participation in the sport is exploding. As previously mentioned, the cost of playing (memberships and equipment) are low. In fact, most courses are located in public parks and there is no charge to play. It's also a fun way to get exercise in a natural setting, and people of any age and ability can learn the game quickly and participate immediately.

The courses at MRP and Rocanville are open anytime, and I am available to help you get started if we coordinate a date.\

Fun, non-competitive tournaments are being planned at both facilities this summer. In late June, the Rocanville Disc Golf Club will host its inaugural event, a doubles competition that is similar to a Texas Scramble in ball-golf.

In conclusion, the question is, "Are you ready to try something new?"

Members of the Parkland Association of Disc Golf are currently developing a community of people with a long-time interest in the sport or with an ambition to get into it. Check out their Facebook page or contact me for more information about disc golf and the various facilities in place and in development.

There's not better way to spend an afternoon than walking through
the trails, tossing discs and enjoying our natural surroundings.
(Above picture taken on the No. 8 fairway of the Rocanville Cross-
Country Ski Club facility.)
(Written with notes from Calvin Daniels)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Minimalism: Committing to the essentials

For the past five to six years, a movement has been afoot to consider having less to gain more in life.

Fronted by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (among others), "minimalism" is about decluttering one's life to the essence of who one is instead of what you think you are and what you think you need. It's about removing the possessions, habits and activities that do not add value to your life so you can focus on what does and, ultimately, garner a greater sense of physical, spiritual and mental well-being. Finally - and most challenging of all - it's about stepping out of the commercial jet-stream that North American society has become.

It was coincidental that I read the Fields Millburn/Nicodemus book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life just before disastrous flooding hit our area of Saskatchewan in 2014. While the floods affected almost everyone in our community, personally, the water washed out our business and damaged the basement of our home. A year and a half later, we are still recovering from it. The basement remains cleaned, but not repaired, and we have just purchased a property to renovate into a new location for our athletic therapy clinic. Those renovations began just recently.

During the summer of 2014, just months after reading about minimalism, my wife and I had the opportunity to fulfill some of the suggestions provided by the philosophy. At home, we emptied our basement, filling the garage with its contents. From there, we determined what was and was not worth keeping; both from a redeemable/repairable standpoint, but mostly from a needs standpoint.

This is our post-cleanup basement following the flooding of 2014.
Our home was not hit as hard as our business, which was a total
write-off and torn down.
In the end, we filled our half-ton truck twice with the "stuff" we deemed unnecessary in our home and lives. For me, the function was freeing. A load was lifted from my shoulders; the load being the unsightly condition of a basement full of things we rarely if ever used yet thought we should keep "just in case" we decided to (exercise equipment, kids' toys, entertainment equipment, wood trim and other household renovation materials). All were things that just took up space; things we were constantly walking around and cleaning around.

We did the same thing to the paraphernalia in our garage, leaving us with enough room after for me to install a heated music studio to rehearse in.

"But if you are adopting minimalism, why add more to your life, like build another room in your garage to fill with 'stuff'?"

This may be a valid question - one which I've had to answer several times after purchasing things that may be seem to only add to a lifestyle I have deemed "minimalistic."

The truth is, minimalism isn't about ridding yourself of absolutely everything. It's prioritizing your life around the people and activities that mean the most to you. Singing/songwriting is my part-time career. My wife was tired of having my band rehearse in our living room. A studio was a relatively inexpensive investment.

Otherwise, friends who do not understand minimalism have attempted to call me a hypocrite based the purchases of hiking equipment, fishing equipment, disc golf equipment, tools, and other items.

The fact is this "stuff" adds value to my life. I love the outdoors. I love to be able to do my own home repairs. I love to simply walk out to my garage, flick a switch and begin rehearsing with privacy and a full sound system.

Alternately, satellite and cable television does not add value to our lives. We do not own a subscription. A jacuzzi on our deck is not important to us. It remains empty and unused, relieving me of the maintenance associated with it.

Nevertheless, there are still things (possessions and activities) I need to re-assess. I golf, at most, twice a year. Do I need those clubs sitting in the corner of the shed when I can simply rent a set? I have gone downhill skiing three times in the past five years. Are those skis and boots downstairs really necessary? Can I sell them and bank the money for something more important?

And there's more. It will take a day - a warm one in the spring - to go through everything and determine what I really deem valuable and what I truly use regularly. Those things that are not important can be gifted to benefit someone else, sold for a bit of pocket cash or just trashed. It's out of my life and my mind.

Trust me, the process of simplifying is not a simple one. I freely admit there are things that one has emotional ties to but have no true value. However, I have come to believe that those things - most of which sit in an empty bedroom in the basement - are never seen or talked of, let alone pondered. It may be I only think they have emotional value, when they are really just material evidence of memories I already hold inside of me and are therefore unneeded.

At its core, minimalism is living in the present. I know I love hiking, fishing, disc golfing, playing music and writing. Those things associated with those activities that bring me joy - or tools that make my life easier (a snowblower or lawnmower, for example) - can remain a priority. Everything else is unnecessary clutter. Getting rid of it is freeing and leaves me feeling enlightened.

Minimizing has been extremely beneficial in my life. It may (or may not) be in yours. All I know is that from past experience, the less "stuff" I have had, the more I can focus on what is truly important to me.

Minimalism, however deeply I take it, can free my heart, soul and mind for what is useful and meaningful. It opens a spiritual space inside of me that puts people over possessions, love over greed and family-time over meaningless pastimes.

Judge me for being a hypocrite. I don't care. I have been and continue to determine what is important in my life and will scale down to the bare essence of it all instead of continually adding things thinking the next one will make me happy.

I already know what makes me happy. It's not "stuff."

Monday, January 11, 2016

A little honesty for my return to This Attempted Life

This is me on New Year's Eve, 2015;
the night I believe (and pray) the
tide in my life turned.
The term "funk" (as in "a dejected mood") is how I describe my life through the past several months. During that time, I attempted and failed to develop a commercial online publication; returned to casual employment that I do not find fulfilling; and garnered then lost momentum in a music career I thought was finally on the upswing.

Nevertheless, it appears the depression is subsiding. Hence, here I am, back at the keyboard submitting a post to a blog I have ignored for eight months. The fog seems to be lifting and my mind is, once again, beginning to arrive at ideas for my creative self to entertain.

I think the turn-around began on New Year's Eve, when my cover band played a party in a nearby community. The following day, my wife said it had been a long time since she had seen me smile and laugh as much as I did that night. I was in my zone, playing music with a great group of guys who take the business seriously, but maintain a loose, "good-time" attitude through it all.

I have generally been feeling better physically and emotionally since then. I pray I have turned the corner after three years of heartache due to serious health issues, emotional instability due to the experience, and the mental strain related to natural disasters that struck our region of the Prairies in 2014, which included another near-death experience and what I believe is PTSD following it.

But enough with the past. It's time to move on. I need to plan for the future, but focus on the present.

Generally, I seek to love more, do more, be more, meditate more, pray more and find more bliss. I will create and play more music. I will write for the sake of my natural ability to do so. I will spend more time in the wild, where I have over the past year reacquainted my association with what I believe to be God. I will set aside more quality time with the people I love most in this world; primarily my wife and children then my extended family and true friends.

And I will share more; here on this blog, through another online publication I am associated with, through my music and in my long-form writing projects.

This post, in essence, is the tip of the sword I hope to push through the demon that has ridden my back the past few years. My family has suffered enough. I have suffered enough. It's time to get up out of the dirt, brush myself off and be the warrior I have, in the past, touted myself to be; the man who has survived Crohn's Disease and two separate brain tumours.

Therefore, I scan the horizon before me and consider what is in my view right now.

At the moment, my wife and I are renovating a commercial property to replace our business, which was wiped out in the flooding of 2014. This has required a lot of patience and some effort, but it is a blessing to see this plan come to fruition. I am doing what I can to help with the project, first completing the demolition and preparation phase, then aiding our contractor where I can be of service.

Over the next five months, there will be bumps along the path we are walking, but I will meet them with a positive outlook instead of the immediate, negative, judgemental, angry reactionary means I have fallen to until recently. I must find my flow and remain steadfast in the knowledge that what happens to us from here on is neither good or bad. It just is.

In February, I will return to my guitar for the purposes of writing a solid batch of new songs for a new CD by The Old 21. This will require being productive daily, non-self critical and open-spirited; traits I haven't held in quite some time. Nevertheless, I look forward to the challenge and I am excited by the prospects of what will come out of the effort.

In the meantime, I will follow through on the creative writing ideas rolling around in my head. I am not comfortable with revealing what these are at this time, but I have two or three of them; one of which is further along its path to creation than the other two. I will chase them all and work with those ideas that seem to fit my mood and mindset when I sit down to research and write - again, on a daily basis.

On the whole, I am seeking an overhaul of my waking, walking, talking life. I understand the universal size of the task at hand, but wallowing in my past or worrying about my future doesn't do me or those around me any good.

I only have now. I only have this very moment; this instant where my consciousness meets what my human brain considers reality.

Shall I focus on that, I will conquer the anxiety, anger, apprehensiveness, self-loathing and self-pity that has boiled within me for some time now.

To those who I have wronged, I ask forgiveness; but in the end and above all, I must forgive myself in order to move on to this last half of my life in a loving, positive, productive, joyous way.

I thank you, dear readers, for your patience and hope you will continue to follow my trek in this world; through my music and through my writing.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

A novel, an EP and now a new start-up

My novel, "Paco's Provision," was released in late November of 2014. About a week later, the first
shipment of "A Pretty Good Shot," The Old 21's debut EP, arrived.

While I have sold a few ebooks, The Old 21's CD has sold briskly, giving us the motivation to put together another recording sometime this year. This requires some focussed songwriting time and further development of my recording capabilities in my home studio.

In the meantime, I have launched a new publication surrounding an interest I have had since I was 12, but have stepped away from due to work, family and ill health. Now that my body is back on track - there have been no further seizures related to the brain tumour found in my skull in 2013 - I have sought to immerse myself in the phyiscal, mental and spiritual elevation provided by the natural surroundings of Canada's wilderness.

As a youth, I hunted the Whitewood, Sask. area with friends, walking miles and miles of trails leading to surrounding fields, meadows and forests containing grouse, ducks and geese. On many occasions, we trekked up to 10 miles in an afternoon in search of game. I loved it.

When I left my hometown to attend university in Winnipeg, outdoorsmanship took a backseat to studying, partying and - in the summer months - work. Then I began my journalism career, moved back to Winnipeg to be with my new wife, and soon returned to Saskatchewan to start a business and a family. Getting out of town and into the bush had totally fallen off my radar.

However, after my meningioma diagnosis almost two years ago, I knew things would change. It was the third experience with a life-threatening health issue and I began to seek a new lease on life. After months of reading, praying, meditation and study, I was led back to my roots; back to the wild.

I am no longer a hunter, but have taken a great interest in other aspects of a life outside. The one aspect of that life I have held on to is fishing, which continues to be a pastime I participate in as often as possible. But in recent months, I have taken a particular interest in hiking and backpacking, something I have been motivated to do since reading "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer about 10 years ago.

There is little chance I will be mountain climbing any time soon, but I have to admit the book moved me to do something in our natural wonderland. This idea perculated in me for quite some time, finally blossoming into a real desire to long-distance hike.

In January, while purchasing a wood stove for a fishing shack, I impulsively threw a set of new snowshoes in the shopping cart. I have put more than 50 kilometres on them in the past month and a half. The longest was a ten-mile route to the Pipestone Valley above Moosomin Lake south of Moosomin, Sask.

Last month, my wife and I visited Maui, where we walked three to four miles along the beaches of Kihei almost every morning, climbed five miles up a small mountain ridge and traversed a challenging, six-mile path on a lava field called The King's Road.

It was all so exhilerating.

Upon my return home, the idea struck me; why do I not combine my writing and journalistic skills with this new (old) passion for sportsmanship and wilderness adventure.

The West-Can Trailsman - west-cantrailsman.blogspot.ca - was born about two weeks later. The blog/e-zine features articles, anecdotes and photographs of rural Western Canada and the activities that drive us to enter it. It covers everything from hiking, backpacking and kayaking to snowmobiling, hunting and fishing. I am in discussions with two contributors from British Columbia and hope to bring more on board from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in the coming months.

Meanwhile, I am seeking ways of monetizing the site in order to derive an income outside of my work with The Old 21. It will be a challenge, but I have the time and enginuity to make it work, I'm sure.

Please wander over to the The West-Can Trailsman and tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing ideas on how I can improve it, further tailoring the blog to the likings of the contemporary outdoorsmen and women I know are out there in droves.

Otherwise, read it as motivation to get outside yourself. Being there has been instrumental in my rehabilitation from the tumour and a near-tragedy I was involved in during the flooding of the Qu'Appelle Valley in 2014.

Thanks for your continued interest in This Attempted Life and I hope you continue to follow the sporadic posts I have been publishing.

Friday, December 05, 2014

The Old 21's debut EP available today

The first run of A Pretty Good Shot, The Old 21's debut EP,
arrived on December 5, 2014.
This day - a day drummer Lorne Frape and I have been waiting years for - has finally arrived.
I have in my possession the opening run of The Old 21's debut EP, A Pretty Good Shot. A second run of about 80 more CDs will be available next week.
The arrival of the CD is the culmination of work that has spanned the last five years. Besides collaborating with a friend in high school, I (Christopher L. Istace, singer/songwriter, guitar) began writing songs of my own about a year after the formation of The Old 21. At that time, the band contained five members (vocals/guitar, drums, lead guitar, bass and keyboards) that played cabarets, bars and dances in the Moosomin, SK area. Many experiences since then have been mistaken for setbacks. They have turned out to be blessings. Today, the "group" is a duo that has played shows in Regina, throughout Southeast Saskatchewan and into Manitoba.
We had a hiccup with a CD recorded earlier this year, but with the extensive help of recording engineer Larry Gabrielle and artist/recording engineer/advisor Ross Cashman, Lorne and I hit the studio again early this fall. A Pretty Good Shot is the result.
The CD includes six tracks, including the first song I wrote performed with the original Old 21 formation; "Rock in The Distance."
The premier track on the CD, "Forgive Me One More Time," was written in February 2014 in the midst of a flurry of songwriting. The song portrays the redemption I sought from people close to me following a troubling year that had me in turmoil mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
The remaining tracks include "Break In," "Trouble Inside," the title-track "A Pretty Good Shot," and "Back For More." The latter is a rock-a-billy, break-up tune written by Trevor Doroshenko, who has graciously allowed us to perform and record it.
Although there are small tweaks we will make for our next CD - we plan to begin work on an LP sometime in 2015 - Lorne and I are proud of what we have accomplished with A Pretty Good Shot. We both hope those who have followed our work enjoy it and share it with others.
Lorne and I would like to say a special "thank you" to our wives, Angi Frape and Coral Istace. Without their patience and support over the past few years, we would never have come to this point.
A Pretty Good Shot is currently available for $15 through our Facebook page, myself at christace@icloud.com, or comment below and we will find a way to get one to you.

Friday, November 28, 2014

"Paco's Provision" on sale today

My debut novel, Paco's Provision, is available now available online
via most major ebook retailers.

For Mike Massey, his dream of owning and operating a bar and restaurant is supposed to come easy. After purchasing The Boony in Woodbine, Saskatchewan, he seems to be on his way to successfully claiming that dream... and more.

Paco, a mysterious old man who lives and works in the historic hotel, seems to epitomize the soul of the place. His simple lifestyle and fearless demeanour teaches Mike there is more to life than the financial bottom-line.

Meanwhile, Mike discover's there is more to Paco - and his association with the old hotel - then the old man lets on. Mike's world begins to collapse with Paco's violent death. Then, the implementation of new government regulations cripples The Boony's business. Mike - a man who has previously had business success come easy to him - finds failure unbearable. His dream is becoming a living nightmare.

A promising relationship with his first real girlfriend ends, The Boony is on the verge of closure, and he sees no way out but through the bottom of a liquor bottle. But even after his death, Paco's spirit of survival lives on.

It's here! It's finally here!

I have accomplished the dream I have held since I was 13 years old. It took me almost 30 years, but I have published a novel. As of Friday, November 28, 2014, Paco's Provision is available for sale as an ebook at:

and other major online retailers. It will be available through Amazon for Kindle users and iBook in the near future.

I wrote Paco's Provision in 2007 in between jobs as a full-time print journalist. The book is a fictionalized story about the life of a man who used to live in Whitewood, Sask. Pancho lived and worked in what was known in my youth as The Hard Times bar and cafe. I worked there for a summer and came to enjoy his company, sharing a drink and a cigarette with him after a shift once in a while.

The story described in Paco's Provision, however, is totally the product of my imagination. Although it describes a family's immigration to Canada in the early 20th Century, that family is purely fictional. I simply thought of Pancho and made up the story of how he may have arrived in Saskatchewan. 

The first draft of the story was spellchecked, printed into a hard copy then set in a drawer for five years. I had every intention of moving forward not the project, but family and employment obligations put any further work it on the back burner. At one point, I only remembered writing it when asked if I had ever contemplated writing a book. By then, I was a freelance writer working for several publications in Southeast Saskatchewan.

In 2012, I finally pulled it out and began an thorough edit. It was a mess, but the characters, plot and solid story arch were all there. Midway through a second look at the book, a serious health issue knocked me on my heels. As I recovered, I jumped back into the world I created, giving the book a two re-writes before handing it off for editing. I poured through the book again this summer and autumn, finally sending it off to BookBaby for publication in early this month.

Paco's Provision is the first book of many I plan to publish. I have the first draft of a second novel completed and a non-fiction book about my experiences with serious health issues through the past two decades is almost finished.

My next publication, however, will be Blizzard, a compilation of short fiction about life on the Canadian Prairies following an outdoor-recreation theme; stories about hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and other activities. The first draft should be completed in December, with a planned release date in the Spring of 2015.

In the meantime, please consider purchasing Paco's Provision, and if your inclined, passing a review on to the retailer where you purchased the book (Goodreads, iBook, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Putting a challenging summer behind us

It has been some time since I have posted to This Attempted Life and I apologize, to those who enjoy my writing. I hope to return to a weekly habit of posting updates on my music career and samples of my writing projects in the coming weeks.

The summer of 2014 has been a challenge, to say the least. Flooding in Southeast Saskatchewan has hit my family on three fronts; my mother and father's home was nearly lost to the deluge of water at Round Lake in early July, and our home and business were hit with flooding on July 10.

Round Lake reached levels of historic proportions as the summer season began. After holding back the water around my parents' home for a week with multiple pumps and thousands of pounds of sandbags, the flood overtook us and the house, filling the basement after a wall collapse. My father and I were in the basement managing pumps at the time of the collapse and it is only by the grace of God - along with the heroic efforts of my son and my mother - that my father and I survived physically unscathed.

Both of us were roughly three feet from the wall when it gave in. My father clung to the stairwell as the mud and water entered the basement, but I was pushed about 15 feet into the cavernous darkness. My first thought was literally, "This is where I die." But after finding some footing, my mind went numb and my subconscious took over. I scrambled through the incoming water and reached my father, who - also heroically - helped push me onto the home's main floor before my mother and I pulled him up.

Months later, I am still emotional about the experience.

The following week, Moosomin was hit with about 5 inches of water falling in roughly 45 minutes. Our sewer system held the rancid water out, but fresh water began seeping through the walls within a half hour. Mentally and emotionally, I was still reeling from my experience in the basement of my parents' home. I began to hallucinate as the carpets became saturated. The walls of the basement of my own home seemed, in my eyes, to tremble on the verge of giving in.

The vision was all in my mind, of course. After about an hour of focussed meditation and some fresh air, I was back downstairs helping vacuum water and manage a pair of sump pumps on each end of our house.

Considering the incredible amount of water - it flowed like a two-foot river down our street in a rushing current - I walked uptown to check on my wife's athletic therapy clinic. Water splashed four feet up the exterior walls as cars drove through a huge pool on the street corner the office is located on. Inside, the crawlspace was completely full and it was about a foot deep on the main level. I opened the office's back entrance and immediately saw water gushing up from the heat-vents. There was little we could do there, so I returned home to focus on our living accommodations.

In the months following, it has been determined that the clinic is virtually beyond saving. It is set for demolition early this winter, with plans to rebuild another facility beginning next spring.

Today, our home continues to dry out. I removed two feet of drywall along the floor of the entire basement through August and we are now waiting on the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program to determine if there is anything they can do for us monetarily.

Although our trial continues, the stress, sadness, anger and questions have began to wane. We are now focussed on moving forward on the rebuilds knowing that there was little we could do to stem the tide of material loss in this corner of the province.

Paco's Provision and The Old 21

On other fronts, I will soon be delving into final edits on my debut novel, "Paco's Provision," which I hope to have released as an ebook by mid-December at the latest. I wrote the book in 2008 and let it simmer for about four years before finally putting it through two re-writes through the past year and a half. I am proud of the accomplishment, but look forward to its publication as I would like to move on to another book of fiction I have begun.

"Blizzard" will be a book of short stories about hunting, fishing and the outdoors on the Canadian Prairies. The brunt of the rough draft for that project will be written through the month of November. There is no timeline for it's release, but should I stay disciplined, I would like to have it available in the spring of 2015.

Meanwhile, my music duo, The Old 21, is about 70 per cent finished our debut EP. We laid the final tracks on the CD last week and it is now in the hands of the producer for mixing and mastering.

The work includes all original songs written and arranged by myself with the exception of one written by Trevor Doroshenko; a phenomenally talented songwriter from Regina who has added to our repertoire on several occasions.

The CD should also be available by early December if plans do not go awry.

Beyond the books and the CD, I also would like to put out some recordings of my own - just me and my guitar plucking through some folk-pop songs I plan to write through the next few months. These may be made available through iTunes should the recordings - which I plan to do myself - meet the standards I have in mind.

All in all, I count my blessings. In 2013, I suffered two life-threatening seizures that were caused by a brain tumour, 90 per cent of which was surgically removed a year and a half ago. What remains of the tumour is swollen due to Gamma Knife Radiation treatment I underwent in January of this year. Then, I nearly became one of the few human casualties of the Biblical flooding of Southeast Saskatchewan in July of 2014.

The entire experience has sent me on an intellectual and spiritual journey since late last year. I have been deeply investigating - in a stimulating and emotionally healthy way - Christianity, God, consciousness, Buddhism, meditation, and ancient wisdom (specifically, Mayan and Eastern religious teachings). It's an interesting topic I may broach in future posts.

Regardless, I am extremely grateful for remaining on the right side of the grass and I am learning to appreciate every breath on a moment-by-moment basis.

This life thing; it's certainly worth living.