Favourite Books

  • The Green Mile
  • Animal Farm
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Lord of the Rings
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Ruffle Some Feathers

So, Today, because I heard something recently from my friend, I decided I am going to jump into the toilet (so to speak) and touch on something that is sure to ruffle a whole whack of feathers.
  I have mentioned, before, that my Honey is younger than me. Yes, I was(am) a Cougar. He was just legal age, when I hauled him kicking and screaming into my lair. Poor guy never even had a chance, instantly responsible to help raise my child, along with 2 of his younger siblings. I think because he was likely in shock the first few years, he just didn't have the energy to attempt running away, so I have managed to keep him all these years.
  However, his age was not the only issue. My honey is also Aboriginal, his mother was First Nations, and although their father is white, each and every child has taken on the physical characteristics of their mother. They do not go out in public with a notice saying they are 1/2 Native, and, of course, why should they? However, the white side of the spectrum (O.K. the spectrum excluding First Nations)views them as Native. Our relationship was filled with discrimination on both sides, for many years. Those who knew us then, can attempt to dispute this, however, we lived it, and we were the ones who dealt with it.
  Funny, all along, the ones who accepted us fully, were the Elders. Those folks who had suffered the past, and knew discrimination at it's worst. They welcomed me, no word of my skin colour, no word of my culture, the name  they gave  me, was Chuck's Umshewa, which simply meant, I was his "White Person". Hey, it was not spoken with malice, or disrespect, it was just a fact.
  The hardness came from those our age, and a few years older. Those who had not struggled, those who had decided that all others were less. No different than white supremacists, they were closed to accepting outside their own. Again, I realize some will argue, go right ahead. The discrimination my family has suffered, is not the fault, simply of the government, it is also the fault of racism within the Aboriginal communities.
  Now, because my mother was raised in a different time, she would, perhaps sound a tad racist. She used to always tell me that couples should not marry outside their own race. Even back them, I remember looking at her, and saying that was not a nice fact to state. She  told me, "They must think of the children". She wasn't against mixed marriage, she was against what grief would follow with the children.
  Well, I thought my mother was wrong! I would see mixed couples, and their children, and think, wow, all that mixture of culture and physical characteristics, how beautiful!!How lucky those children were to grow up in a world, not limited to one set of traditions, but celebrating two different ethnics. Our children were going to enjoy a life filled with both our cultures.
  Boy, that was wrong!! I wonder now, if those children suffered the same separation. The reality, because our children, unlike my husband, take their characteristics from me, they look "White". My husband's grandfather calls them his "white Indians" and that is who they are!!Problem is, again, the Elders accept, and they are all departing, the remainder, chose to ignore all that do not conform to their expectations.
  In the First Nations world, we have been involved with, there is a clear caste system. Go ahead, tell me I am wrong!!! There are those who live "on-reserve" and the majority that lives "off-reserve". Two completely different people, designed by our government. Those "on-reserve" live within the government tape. They are governed by the "Band Council" who are in truth, the notorious "Indian Agent". The "Indian Agents" get a set amount of money from the government to pay for everything on the reserve from Social Assistance to Housing, and roads. Have you noticed most reserves have horrid roads? Well, they have to ensure the clump of money they receive can go towards all other stuff, and along with a million things, some suffer.
  Now, here is when I give my side of the proof that there is rampant discrimination within First Nations. When my Honey's sister called her band, seeking medical assistance for her young son, (they do belong to a band, because they became recognized First Nation when the government had to rescind the removal of status to First Nations people who lost it through marriage to a white person, and apparently other things, which would take far too long to go into now) , she was astounded by the answer she got to her request. They told her that they simply could not, and would not help. The reason they gave," because her son did not live on the Reserve, and he was not learning the culture and stories from the Elders", so they were not entitled to help!!
  When we moved to the community next to my Honey's Band, we were in desperate straits. With the help of his employer, we purchased the oldest ugliest house, kitty corner to a reserve. It was bad, winter came, and the bathtub would be coated in a layer of ice, every morning, because it was poorly insulated. The ice would form in all the corners of the dining room and turn into puddles when the wood stove heated things up during the day. Hey, someone told us there was help for folks living "Off-Reserve", thank goodness, the banks certainly wouldn't lend us money, maybe we could get a little loan? Hah!! Those loans were only available to folks who didn't work!! If we had one more child, we would be entitled to help, but, because we made enough money to scrape by, and realized another child would put us on welfare, no help!
  Even though his band and his government refused to acknowledge our children, we made a decision they would learn their culture and traditions. We found an Elder who took the time to tell us, and our children the stories. She taught us how to collect the "old way" medicine, she welcomed us into the Feast Hall.
  My Honey went into the Feast Hall, and I could see how proud he was to be a part of his people. He worked hard, he was given 2 great names, and he paid for them. By paying, I do not mean simply money, and gifts, he served many feasts, he listened to his Chiefs and his Wing Chiefs. However, as I said, the Elders are leaving, and now, those who are left, do NOT follow traditions, and the Feast Hall, which is the purest form of government I can imagine, has been tarnished.
  Our children, and myself were accepted into the Elders Clan. She is a Chief, and she sat us in the Feast Hall at her table for the people to see, we were her family. We were so proud, it was a great honour, and now our children belonged.
  How easily forgotten! Colour overrides all! The moment  I decided that I  could no longer be a part of this side of my children's heritage, was one of those times you must watch your child suffer, without the ability to protect them. I, like my mother insinuated, was strong enough to overcome, because, I was an adult. My child, however, suffered, because she is a product of two cultures.
  It was at the Feast for her great Grandmother. We had been to the funeral, but, because my honey had to work, it was just myself and my daughter at the feast. Tradition has it, that the whole family is invited up to walk the hall. We were seated beside my daughter's Aunt, Uncle and cousins. We sat while they were invited up, we waited, all the other family was invited up, we waited. My daughter kept looking at me, we knew we could not simply get up on our own, we had to respect the "Old ways". There we sat, as the whole "family" walked the hall, they were the family of the woman remembered in the Feast Hall. All of them walked past where we sat, not a single one stopped to tell us to walk with them, because my daughter WAS family. That single moment, to watch my child feel unaccepted, was so painful. It showed that, although through birth, my child belonged, in truth, we were not recognized at such an important time, and in the ultimate place of culture and tradition, the Feast Hall.
  So, when I hear that one feels discrimination, this is not something "White". It is not solving anything to turn the tables and perpetrate the wrong.
  I am thankful I did not listen to my Mother, back then. I have found the man I love, and the fact that he tans much faster than I do, and likes a whole whack of food that I can't bring myself to eat, are the only things I notice about our different heritage. I do, however, wish that my children did not have to suffer, like she warned. I want them to be accepted , and to feel they belong in both worlds. I suppose, it is just like all families, someone has to be the Black Sheep (oops is that racist?).

Friday, 26 July 2013

Fast Forward Summer

For those who have not reached the ripe age of 50 plus, you likely will not understand. Those of you in my shoes will definitely know what I speak of. Summer has been on fast forward. I spent all winter planning the wonderful things I was going to do once that season ended. My buddy and I chatted daily, we spoke how we are not going to waste the up coming warmth on work. We toil daily, with the plan to cut back once we get into "old people" weather. Weather the aged spend outdoors, because we realize our time is limited. We will camp, all the time. We will only show up at the job 3 days a week. We will devote more time to our homes and our loved ones. Our furry friends will have all our time, they deserve it, they suffered, shut in the house all winter. Our homes will sparkle, and we will be basking in the sunshine, eating fruit, and drinking margaritas.We firmly convince each other that this time, we will not devote every single waking moment to our job! Ahhhh...the time arrives, the geese return, the snow melts, the yard work commences. WTF!!! The yard work is limited to the usual few days off every week or so. The housework is slap dabbed after a long day of cleaning up after others. Once again, we have flushed our plans down the toilet, and spend the lion's share of the summer trudging in to work.
  In fact, this summer, I have spent far more time working than I did in the frigging winter!! Now I stumble out the door hours before I used to go in, because we have shift workers. I have worked on average 9 days in a row, and then had 3 days to clean the house, mow the lawn, and....relax?????
  Neither one of us has had the opportunity to drive off hauling our trailers behind, to the peace of the wilds. Not once have I woke up to the stillness of a lakeside, clock, TV and phone free. The margaritas have become Grandkid slushies. The dog remains stuck in the house day after day, while twice a month I attempt to convince him, I need to spend all this time working, so he can enjoy his meals.
  My car has not been washed once, by the garden hose. Each day is the same hamster treadmill. Each morning begins with a check of the schedule at work. What days are convenient to take off? How many will be in? When is crew change, who is going to come back at night to do those guys who sleep all day? Holy Crap, July is almost over!!!
 I know, the weather is hot, there is a whole other month to summer, but....somehow, already, we know that is going to pass just as quickly.
  My honey is on a shift job, he works 12 days and gets 6 off. The plan was, I would work 10 of his days, and then take the whole 6 he is home off. Hah!!! I think that has happened once!! Then I was down to 5, then 4 and now it is 3. How does a person stop? Sure the pay checks are fine, but, they disappear just as quickly, and really, what is a person left with? Nothing but regrets, as they climb back on the wheel. Away goes my beloved for another 12 days, and back to the grind I go.
  All the big plans of quality time together, dog devoted days, gleaming floors, and me time, never materialized. I feel ripped off when the 6 days are over, and 1/2 of them were spent working. I tell myself that next time, work can stick it. Oh, but then suddenly something comes up, and I commit to covering. I see my buddy doing the same thing, and she is older!
  Problem is, we were raised in a time when ethics were expected. We are not stupid enough to think that is still the case. Cripes, we see the lack of ethics on a daily basis. What do our ethics get us? A tiny bit bigger pay check, and a loss of home life! Will we be rewarded for giving up summer, after summer? Yeah, not likely! When the snow flies, will we sit back and tell each other that we feel it was all worth it? No, been there, done that, and the sad fact of the matter is, once again, we will know, we wasted yet another summer, and those are running out.
  I just recently was told that I had to step up to the plate and do my share at work! Helloooo...This was apparently something Nurse Rachet came up with. The nurse apparently did not realize that for weeks, I had, in fact BEEN stepping up to the plate. I had been heading in, long before anyone else, to cover the rooms that guys were in during regular hours. Hey, I was awake, and it had to be done. So, did I get a prize for that? Nope, instead in the midst of a heat wave, I went in early, worked, and then had to return at night, to do my share!!!If the nurse had taken a moment to check the time clock, she would have seen this, but, instead, I was singled out, and gave up even more of my time for my job.
  The world will not stop turning, if I do not work 12 of the 14 days. I realize my job will never make me wealthy, so putting in the extra days may allow me to buy the dog a couple of bags of jerky, but, he would likely rather have me home, and suffer without the treats. I understand, if I don't work days that my honey is home, the job may be short handed. Well, because Nurse Ratchet thought nothing of my work ethics, and decided I was NOT doing my share, when I had given up 1/2 of my summer for my job, I am now about to commence battle. The battle will be with those ethics that have been with me a lifetime. I have to fight them, and take back the remainder of the summer. I have to accept that smaller pay, for the better life. I have to decide that, if I am once again told that I need to do my share, I will simply explain the share has gotten smaller with age, and commitments.
  Wish me luck, been there said that, at least a hundred times before. I am going to attempt to make the best of August. The grand kids will lose the margarator, the weeds will disappear in the flower beds, the house will gleam from top to bottom,the dog will be thrilled, and when the snow flies, I will not be filled with regrets that another summer has been fast forwarded!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Very Unpeaceful Peace

I have about 10 uncompleted blogs sitting, obviously ones that I didn't feel the usual rant for, so they will just wait. One day, whatever they were about will hit me again, and I will get back to them in full force.
  This time I have decided I must try and tell you why Hydro has become such a thorn in my side, and why I am continually spitting venom about them.
  See, last night I wasn't feeling too chipper. The heat at work must have got to me, and I hit the hay without supper, just dead tired. We have been having thunder storms for days. I love them, and will sit out and enjoy the light show, and even the torrential down pours, rain is a blessing....But, again, along with the flashing and booming, comes the oppressive heat, and this old bag does not enjoy extremes.
  I slept and sweated, and about 11 PM, I must have needed to replenish my fluids, so up I get. The first thing I do is look out the window, just to try and figure out if it is morning or night. OMG...the incredible picture out my window was one that should be on inspirational cards. The moon was almost full, and shining on the slow flowing Peace river which is my treasure, and reason for staying in this town. It is my backyard!! I am so very lucky to have this as my very own...What I saw, as I gazed out the window was nothing less than jaw dropping. The moon lit up the water which shimmered. There was a low layer of fog sitting just above the water. This scene is something I have enjoyed for almost 8 years, yet, it never gets old. It is what I call a religious experience. One that makes a person forget the pressures of life, and realize peace and beauty are possible, and if you are as lucky as me,available right outside your bedroom window.
  I remember the first time I viewed my backyard with the fog above the river. I sat on the steps and watched it lift. How very beautiful, and relaxing. It allowed me to be in the moment. Because it is such a huge thing, and it is... Those who have seen the Grand Canyon will understand, those who have seen Mount Everest, and an erupting Volcano, and a massive Glacier, will understand, the reason I say huge. It is bigger than your worries and pains, it is a gift of nature. This gift is something that is my treasure. It is what I can go to, when life is weighing heavy.
  I, apparently have always needed this gift of nature. When I was a teenager, I had an on-off road motorcycle. I would ride my bike to the edge of town, where the mountains started right along the river, and met the ocean,  there I would park and sit, sucking in the silence and extreme beauty. Just a 1/2 hour there, would allow the problems I was dealing with to fade. They would stay, but, they would be so much smaller, because I had spent my time with greatness.
  I miss my mountains. In my world, they truly are the epitome of Huge, however, life brought me here, to a place where mountains are not close.  For the first year, I could not find the beauty of the Peace, everyone spoke of. Oh, it was there, but nothing compared to my mountains. I was lost, I could not find that place that allowed me to see greatness and to make my personal problems shrink.
  This changed the moment we bought our home. There it was, right out the back door, the massive, intense Huge Peace River. Each moment of that river is amazing. There is the mist on early mornings, behind the hills. The loons crying to each other, the geese honking as they land and take off. The Eagles, American and Golden, fishing and catching the wind drafts. The little white caps on a windy day, mesmerizing a person, and allowing them to enter that moment in time, and forget all the rest of the world. Watching the deer swim from one side to the other, stopping on the little island for a rest. Watching the tree across, change with the seasons. My backyard is my home. The house is just a place to cook and clean, and sleep. It is simply what came with the view. I would be just as happy to have my travel trailer parked under the big tree, and live in that. What I have managed to acquire is a place of greatness, one I do not have to travel to. A tiny piece of the  mighty Peace River belongs to me!!
  The rest of the Peace apparently belong to B.C. Hydro! Already they turn it up and down. I can wake up and the island below me is large, the trees are no longer at the edge of the island, it will have a big gravel area reaching to the edge of the river. I can look out a few hours later, and they have turned the river up, the trees are surrounded by water. A person can see the water coming, signs are placed out in the middle of nowhere, warning folks that sudden rises in water level can happen.
  Because I am new to the area, I cannot remember the Peace before the two dams. I cannot remember the land lost to others. I can, however, commiserate with some of what they felt. The gem of Hydro's alphabet Dam's (A, B, C,) destroyed far more than what I am faced with Site C. The massive footprint those 2 previous beauties made, is beyond comprehension. Oh, we were left with the largest man-made lake in B.C. (in fact THE largest lake, period) and the 7th largest reservoir in the world! The left over land is handicapped. The banks of this lake slough steady. I know folks who had to sell their property to Hydro, after purchasing it decades after the Dam was running, when weather and other conditions caused acres to fall into the lake. It doesn't take a scientist to clue in, Hydro did not study the effects of Williston Lake too far into the future.The displacement of communities, and farms, and families was enormous in the construction of WAC Bennett Dam. The effect of this Dam and the "Lake" continue, drastically, year after year, and Hydro simply shrugs their shoulders, offers some pittance to shut the landowners up, folks who really have no other choice but to accept the offers, or live in danger. Can't sell your problems to other citizens, that's illegal, so Hydro is your only option, and they know it.
  When this new Dam was added to the alphabet back when the Wacky Bennett and the Peace Canyon Dam were constructed, it became blatantly obvious to the folks back in the 60's to build the third was not possible. The environmental challenges and risks were far too great. It was shelved for a myriad of reasons. Suddenly, someone decides to haul it back off the shelf. Nothing has changed, the risks are still as great, but apparently, according to our present Government and Hydro, we will overlook what those in 1964 recognized as insurmountable, and fix it so that Hydro does not have to even consider any of the steps every other company attempting to do business that effects nature, must go through. They fast tracked it, cancelling the Utility Commission. and various other government safety guards, just rubber stamp it, because the people of British Columbia don't need to know all the nasty facts. They just need to be told by Christy Clark, we will all be in the dark, if it is not built.
  I know folks living beyond the Peace, have their own little "Greatness" maybe it is the shopping Malls, or the fancy new buildings, or the museums. Small town does not have this. Small towns have their own natural Greatness, gifts that must be cared for, gifts that man did not make, and gifts that will remain if treasured.
  I will rant, and spew about Hydro, because they see this new letter of the alphabet, as the way to employ more, to ensure they increase rates, to call out every single Union worker in Vancouver, so they can make their fortune, and then leave. They willfully haul truck loads of our money to pay for "studies" and lawyers, and yes men. They spin boldfaced lies, to the public, and have a professional teaching them how to answer, without saying anything.
  Truth is, they are working very hard to take my greatness away from me, and I am not going to sit back and let them destroy something as Great and as Huge, as the Mighty Peace River, that happens to be my backyard!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Little Hugs

Today is a big day in my house, my youngest is coming home for a visit. I also have all my grand children here, while my oldest gets things in order for her big move, into their new home. I have spent the past day thinking about family, and how it suddenly has become so important. 
  See. I grew up in my small town. I did leave for a little while, but, back I went. I had all my children while living in my "hometown". My parents lived blocks away from me, my brother and his family, just down the road. When my honey and I got together, both of us had our families within walking distance.
  Our first move, took us a few hours from family. We could still travel back and forth in a day, and have a visit. Even then, we had extended family in town, so, there was always someone visiting.
  This last move took us far from extended family. Oh, we were lucky, my oldest and her family made the trip along with us, and have set up their home just an hour away. I have the ability to visit my Grand kids easily, and will have the pleasure of my grand-daughter spending a month with me. But....there comes a time in life when Family becomes far more dear than it was. When you begin to lose pieces of those who have been a part of your being, you begin to realize, you need to find your way back.
  I have a wonderful Aunt. She has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I have pictures of her , when it was just me and my parents. Now she is the only one left, that I enjoyed a relationship with. To say she is precious, is an understatement. I seldom get to visit her, but, I have come to the point in my life , telling her that I love her, flows easily. Telling someone besides my beloved and my kids (even that does not often come naturally, just assume they know it)is not an easy thing for me. I don't think my parents ever told me that they loved me. Just wasn't necessary, guess we figured it was a given, because they put up with us. Love is a word that is bandied about without thought. To get to the point in life that I am able to express this word to certain folks, has taken me a 1/2 century, and when I say it, I do mean it. I love my Aunt, because she and I both realize, time often moves too quickly, and if we don't let each other know that we are important to each other, we may one day regret it. I am satisfied she knows she has a place in my heart.
  I love my honey, and my children and Grand children, this is a given, and perhaps I don't say the words often, but, I do say them! However, those who are not close, and I seldom get the chance to speak to, perhaps do not know that their Aunty, sister, sister-in-law, and cousin, loves them, as well. They are all in my heart. They are all a part of my being, a part of who I was, and who I became. They are the ones that are pieces of my life.
  Last night, I got a phone call. Granted I was a tad messed up, got two nephews with the same name, and because I had spoke on the phone with them, a total of maybe twice, I was confused. I blame it on old age....However, he took the time to call me, to tell me about an important milestone in his life! I was blown away. To think that he thought  me, his aunty, who, if we are lucky, he sees once a year, was a person who deserved to be given a personal call, probably meant far more than he imagined. Now he will know, because, it was like a hug from afar. I often feel apart from those beyond my own small family.I don't think I realized all those years, visits to my sister-in-laws, and nephews at my house, and insults and jokes passed between the brother-in-law, and my brother , would end. I imagined that my life would continue surrounded by family, and they would always be close by.
  That has not been so, for more years than it was. Our children have all grown, most have left home, and started on their own lives, beyond their family. The ability to consider these people just know I love them, because.....has long passed.
  So, since I have the pleasure of sending my thoughts out to the world, with the push of my "publish" button, and I can rant away, and tell everyone how I feel, today I will use this button to tell ALL my family, I love them. Some, maybe far away, and I have not spent more than a few days, or hours with, in my lifetime, don't think that you do not hold a piece of my heart. I think of each one of you, and because you are the children of my parent's siblings, or the addition through marriage, or the children of my sibling, or my honey's siblings, you are family!We have the same roots, and no matter how different we appear, somewhere deep down, we have a tiny bit of sameness, or our children have that sameness.
  So, to my nephew, I thank you for giving your poor old aunty a nice warm hug, with your phone call, and for reminding me that I have not said I love you, to those I no longer get to see with a quick walk down the road. To make me take this moment to say I love you to my cousins, who, perhaps do not realize they are in my thoughts.  So, now that I have spewed this to the world, I can go back to the jokes and insults. Family are the ties that bind, sometimes they may get knots in them,and sometimes they break, but, you can always find a way to put them back together, even if they don't look quite as pretty.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Canadian, Eh?

WTF? I watched a story on the news the other night, that just made me shake my head. Apparently 3 immigrants, decided they wanted to become Canadians. Hey, that's awesome, it says they have chosen our country to be theirs. I know quite a few folks who immigrated to my country, and chose to stay as landed immigrants. I understand that as well...They live here, follow the rules, work, pay taxes, but keep their country of origin as their citizenship. Hey, I understand pride, and I understand folks want to be African, Indonesian, Scottish, that's all fine and good. They are allowed by the government to do so. Not sure what paperwork they have to deal with, but they do, and their status remains as "landed immigrant".
  However, 3 folks have come up with this bizarre complaint, that has somehow hit the media, and, worse, they are apparently getting some consideration. See, they apparently gave things some thought (not a lot of thought, in my eyes) and figured they would actually become Canadian citizens. The problem is, there is something in the Canadian citizenship oath of allegiance, that rubs them the wrong way.Hellllooooo.. really??? It seems they don't want to pledge allegiance to the Queen!!F#ck, what next?
  I am sorry, yes, I grew up, standing every morning in school, saying the Lord's Prayer, singing Oh Canada, and having Elizabeth the 2nd. hanging on the wall, biggest picture  in every classroom. I grew up with the Union Jack flying at parades, and in the school yard. I AM Canadian!!I spent years learning my history. Yes, there is crap in the past, yes, the monarchy did things that were wrong, but....it is there, and, it was there when these folks decided to take the next step.
  If I was to move to another country, I would spend a fair chunk of time reading the history, and the culture, and exactly what was expected of me, to be welcome. I certainly would not decide to start picking things apart to suit me!!!
  When did it become acceptable to go into another country, likely because it offered you something you were not getting in your own, and then start to make demands, so you could become a citizen? I heard one woman say she was Rastafarian, and the Crown was a part of slavery in the past, and she was not about to pledge allegiance to something that condoned slavery. Helllloooo...is she nuts? Perhaps she is smoking just a tad too much. What year are we living in? Really Honey, get a grip, the United States condoned slavery. If she wanted to go way back, she would have issues with many Aboriginal groups,they were always stealing folks to make slaves. Slavery is a huge thing, it is not simply black, slavery ran rampant in history.
 The question today is, "Does the Queen condone Slavery"? Perhaps some of her staff may think so, but, I can state without much fear, I highly doubt she is about to write a Crown Statement that will cause any Canadian citizen to suddenly become slaves (we are simply slaves to the government of Canada, not Lizzie).
 I am aware that not near as many folks feel anything positive towards the Monarchy, hey, that's fine. I understand at this time, with all the troubles the Aboriginals are trying to fix, the Queen is not a figure of regard. However, because I was a child of the 50's and 60's, I grew up with the Queen. She never showed up in my town, in fact the only time I ever caught a glimpse of her was on a trip to see Buckingham Castle. But, she and her ancestors are the reason I AM Canadian. Me, Debbie.....I would not exist as the outspoken person I have become, if not for the Queen!
  I went down this road when I was in Grade 10. Got into an awful lot of trouble in class with a teacher who immigrated from India. I sat at my desk, and was told how evil the Queen was, and I listened to this teacher call the monarchy down. Even back then, my mouth engaged before my brain. I told this teacher if it wasn't for the Queen he wouldn't be standing in my school teaching. Got sent to the office, and instead, grabbed my coat, and went home. Just after I explained to my Mother why I was home, the phone rings, it is the teacher, telling my Mom that I was very rude to him in class. I remember the shock when my Mother told him she agreed with what I said, and that I had every right to stand up for my opinion.
 So, if you want to become a citizen of a country, study up! Sadly, I feel because these 3 have garnered the attention of media and government, some bleeding heart will decide we must consider their grievance.Personally, I find it repulsive, that 3 immigrants feel they have the right to question an oath that has been acceptable to generations of folks who chose to make this country their home. Folks who took pride in being a part of the realm. Again, I know there are mistakes, and terrible wrongdoings, but....those wrongdoings will not be fixed by 3 people who feel their rights are beyond that of the citizens of the country.
  I expect, perhaps in my lifetime, the monarchy may fade into the past, however, I will consider immigration myself, if my government takes heed of these twits, and starts to change the wording of oaths of allegiance, simply because dimwits didn't do enough studying on the connection with the Monarchy, before figuring they wanted to live in Canada.
  BTW..I did some checking Rastafarians believe in the religious use of the Holy Herb, Pot, and it is used in their communal ceremonies. Well, sweetie, not that I am against Pot, I do know it is still illegal in Canada, perhaps you are willing to give that up, to follow the law of the country? Folks, before you go off on your high horses, make sure you are not opening your mouth to pretend you are holier than thou. Don't like the Queen? Well, she kind of ,sort of...is a part of the Jamaican government too, and...if I caught the accent of one of the other complainers correctly, much as they don't like it, Lizzie holds some sway in Ireland!
  Get real folks!! If you don't like the rules, find another country!!!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Is There Edible Food Left?

I started down the twisty path of horror, awhile back. First it was imported stuff. Well, my common sense told me,  importing food from a country that already feeds 1,354,040,000 people, has to be a tad dangerous. If, in our relatively regulated country, we are been told we simply do not have enough folks to ensure our own food is safe for consumption, how the heck would the Chinese? Simple fact is, they don't!!They do everything in bulk, and by bulk, I doubt we could grasp the enormity of production.
  Our system fails on a steady basis. You are always hearing about salmonella, and other nasty little bits that somehow made their way into the factory, some as simple as a worker not washing their hands.Hello folks, we are tadpoles in the pool of sharks. Our country has handed our food over to all sorts of offshore countries. Our government apparently washed their hands of safety, and just opened the doors to shipping crap to our cupboards.
  I truly do not care if one country does not feel food should be deemed safe for human consumption, those people in those countries have accepted this fact, they have to fight for their rights, if they so chose. However, we are Canadians! We have an agreement to pay our government to inspect and ensure quality control of our food. They take our tax dollars with the promise to check stuff and make sure we are not all going to croak simply because we ate a fish fillet, every Friday, that came from chicken shit fed fish farms in another country!
  I won't even go into GMO's, not sure exactly what that is all about, however, it is beginning to scare the crap out of me , as well. That, sadly is something OUR country is at the root of, well, perhaps the USA, but close enough, Canadians always seem to follow like lemmings, if the price is right, and we get a handshake.
  I think back , just one generation. My Mom didn't bring home anything to eat from China, except...mandarin oranges!All our food was from Canada or the States. Cripes, we had it all here, Fish galore between B.C. and Newfoundland, beef from Alberta, corn, flour from Saskatchewan. O.K. sugar came from Cuba (or somewhere toasty warm) Pineapples came from Hawaii. But everything that was imported, was pricey, and you knew it came from someplace very far from North America.Charlie the Tuna came from someplace Charlie was a common name, not Cho Tuna!!
  We used to get angry with the Chinese, fishing off shore, sucking back all our fish, and the Japanese. I remember all the complaints that they were stealing our fish. Well, guess they were smart, must have stole all our fish, and now they are selling us theirs!!Our fish is priced out of reach, so our choice is simply to buy theirs.
  I hate shopping now. I head off to the canned fruit section, hey, fruit is grown in my country! Well, not sure where it is sold, because every single can comes from China, Taiwan, or Indonesia!! Even pineapples don't come from Hawaii anymore!!Just do it once, folks, each can, or container you pick up in the store, check out the label a bit more than usual, on almost every thing, you will see imported. Something is very wrong!
  I know I have gone on about this before, but, it is beyond belief! Now, with the GMO scare, what the heck can we safely consume?
  Years back, we decided to buy a freezer order. We had done this a few times, just made life easier, price was good, and we were on a tight budget. Order was delivered to our door, I packed it  into the freezer, all excited. My favourite meat was in abundance. I love ground beef! I could make every single meal from that, if I was allowed.
  I pulled a pack of it out, and proceeded to make my family's supper. As I was frying the meat, my super nose started to wrinkle. Something just did not smell right. I asked my honey to smell the dish as it was cooking, he said it smelled fine. Remember, I have amazing nostril power....Honestly, my stomach was turning as I cooked, but, hey, he said it smelled fine, I was just being my ordinary over the top self. I could not bring myself to eat my beloved ground beef, but put it on their plates, since he claimed it smelled perfectly fine. They took one mouthful, and spit it out!! It tasted awful!!
  I then dug another package out, tried that, same stink. So, because I am who I am, I picked up the phone, and called the company I had brought the order from. You will not believe what I was told!! Apparently I was to throw all the ground beef out. I was NOT to even feed it to my dogs. It seems that my batch had way too much formaldehyde mixed into it, and it would make us ill. Hellooooo...did you know they mixed that into your food to make it look more appealing? Keep in mind, this was about 15 years ago, and I was eating stuff they inject into dead people!!! My super nose could smell this shit, because it was unnatural. Yes, I still buy ground beef, however, I can start to cook, and if that scent of formaldehyde starts to fill my nose, it goes directly into the garbage.
  I can smell plastic garbage bags. Yes, they give off a nasty odor, long before they are used. Plastic utensils, same thing, really can't use them, because the stink overpowers the food. I am not a vegan, or a health food fanatic, I spend my days pouring caustic chemicals into toilets, and spraying simpleton into bathtubs, but, I am not purposefully coating my food in this stuff!
  Why, suddenly, after being able to eat food that, perhaps does not last 4 years on a shelf, do we have to start coating our staples with chemicals? What scientist has decided that a specific amount of the same stuff that was used to preserve dead people, should be injected into beef? Yes, I have to assume it is to make the meat look nicer for a longer period. Hello..it is frozen, should that not do the trick? Would I not prefer the colour was not blood red, but a little grey, with the natural flavour?
  I expect if someone was to go to the countries all the food we now eat, comes from, someone who is trained in food safety, they would be shocked to see what we are importing and filling our store shelves with. Our government is turning a blind eye to what they cannot possible be unaware of. They know damn well the standards are not even close to being met by what are becoming our greatest food suppliers. No Recalls , because everything happens in a country coated with secrecy. 1000 Chinese die from eating tainted canned fruit, drop in the bucket, with a population of 1,354,040,000. 200 die in India from eating raisins contaminated with mouse droppings, with a population of 1,210,193,422. Do you really think their governments are going to notify folks?
  So, we go to our stores, buy our food, and take our lives into our hands by feeding ourselves and our families. Our government smiles, because they are managing good relations with countries they feel they will profit from. Hey, they told these folks our regulations, and agreements were made. We don't have enough food safety folks to check on stuff, but...fingers crossed, what we are eating is not killing us!
  Who knows, I may become a skinny person after all.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Tad Nervous

Well, I suppose it goes without saying, yesterday was a hard day, in my world. I got to thinking......Yes, that again! Thinking is often not a good thing. I remember having my teacher tell me to put my "Thinking Cap" on, really, where was the damn thing, I could never find it!! I honestly believe someone else in the class, stole mine. Now, all those who spent their school years along side me, and received all those years of A's and B's, you know you had two damn caps!!! One of them was mine!!!Because I couldn't find it, I had to settle for the C's, some C-'s, some C's, and if I was really lucky, that awesome C+!! Whoever had my cap, should have been getting a couple of those C's, and I really could have used the odd A, because I was told I might get a buck, if I brought one home...I was always broke, as well as thoughtless....
  Somehow, over time, the cap must have got pretty small, and that thief must have sent it my way. Now it sits on my head whenever it chooses, and because it is tight, my thinking goes wacky. It starts, and will not stop, until so many thoughts start smashing into one another, I can't concentrate on a single one, and crapola starts pouring out, always stuff that drives me mad!
  Yesterday, I realized I am past the 1/2 way mark in life. Wow, that is so sad. So, as I am thinking, I wondered, WTF have I done that makes me feel satisfied, and ready to go, with, if I am very lucky 25 more years. What on earth do I see fantabulous happening to this decrepit old body at this stage of my life? If I haven't managed to get to the place that I am brimming with pride for who and where I am, how the heck will I get there now?
  Really, people, over 1/2 way!! Now I am fixating on the "average" lifespan, of about 80, I know, high hopes. Why do I think 80, well...I look like my Dad, I have the same short stubby fingers and toes, I have the same pi$$ poor eyes, the same arthritis, the same lily white skin, so........I am hoping I follow the paternal lines, and that side has a tendency to last into the 80's and some the 90's.O.K. I am not a scientist, I told you the damn cap was tight, this is what happens between my ears. I'm just giving you what my brain sends me.
  So, right now, I am scrubbing toilets as my profession. Wow! Rewind to 1974, big graduation, a million plans, and I can assure you, not one of those plans included a toilet bowl brush! Frigging thinking cap!! Imagine if I had that thing, back in the day....I would likely be running the whole damn country!!!Now it is too small, definitely missing the A mode, and now I am left a tad nervous.
  Yes, I have kept children alive from birth to adulthood. I expect they will inform the world I screwed up plenty, while going through that process. I have not broken any bones.....I kept a pretty decent clump of friends. But, I didn't get the Nobel prize, in fact, I don't think I ever got a trophy! Hola!!!Not a single trophy!!!Never good at sports, trying to think of a sport I like,,ummmmmmm....none!! Student of the year..ooops, nope again!!(no cap). Baking?????Yeah, that will never happen. Geez, now I want a trophy!! It is just getting worse.Hey, told you, I am just putting down what that pressure bandaid of a cap is squeezing out.
  All of this brought on by the loss of a High school friend! I realize this friend had more than his share of health issues. I have been pretty lucky, not sure why, do everything possible wrong. I hoark back chips, I eat chocolate like it is going out of style, I am one of those horrible smokers, and I certainly do NOT exercise (see reference to Sports). I am the epitome of non healthy, but, somehow I keep squeaking along. I think my cap has put the spotlight on all the wrong stuff I have done, and continue to do, and, now I am fearful I won't make the 80's.
  So....Now I am feeling the overwhelming urge to  find the fantabulous! I am quickly running out of time to get my trophy! Soon all that will be left, is scrabble, and who the heck wants a trophy for that? Lord love us, getting old really sucks!!The worst part, I want to get old, I want to last! I want to be the Great Grandmother, maybe the Great Great Grandmother! I want family to come from all parts of the country to celebrate my centennial (at which I am in complete control of all my faculties). I have so much more left to do!!
  That is what the loss of someone you have grown up with does. It shoves mortality right in your face. It is time to figure out how to live life to the fullest. Time to attempt to enjoy more, and work less. Time to start enjoying the tree lined pathway, and walk it slowly. I am not in a rush to get to the end, even if there is a huge trophy waiting.
  I am thinking......if I have any luck at all, it is not being used in the lotto, so perhaps....I have the best 1/2 ahead?

Friday, 5 July 2013

Good-Bye is Not Forever

So, today, I felt the need to speak of some of my beliefs. I suppose some may for some reason, find them a little off the wall, but, I need to come clean. I have kept pretty conservative on religious views, because they tend to be such a hot topic, and sure to stir up emotions. Growing up, it didn't take long to realize, two topics that were sure to cause verbal altercations, politics, and religion. I have spewed a fair chunk on politics, today I must put down some words, on my religious convictions.
  Am I Christian? Yep, not a very good one, but, it is the core of my being, and although I do not wish to force my personal belief on others, those who have popped in for a read, are about to understand how I manage to get through the loss of friends and family. I survive saying goodbye, because, deep down inside, I truly believe, one day, I will see those who have left, again.
  I simply cannot imagine a life that when a loved one departs, that is it, over and done, all that they were, is finished. If some come into the world, for only moments, touch the hearts of others, and then pass away, to think that soul (yes, I believe we all have souls) is forever extinguished, is unacceptable.
  Oh, I am sure non-believers will ask the same questions I have often asked, do babies remain babies, do old people stay the same? I have never studied theology, perhaps those questions have answers, but, to me that is unimportant. When you fall in love with a human,  you were first attracted to them by their physical appearance, however, if you truly love them, time can change their looks. Accidents happen, faces are scarred, limbs may be lost, weight is gained or lost, hair falls out, parts sag, and yet, the love remains. That is because you love the engine, and not the chassis.
  So, who is to say, the physical part remains, upon death? I expect the fact that bodies decompose, kind of makes that a moot point, right? To remember those who have passed, we see their faces, but, more so, we remember the warmth, and love that we felt, when we were with them.
  To those who have not watched death occur, perhaps you find it harder to consider a life after. I have told some, of my experience, those who I felt needed some reassurance, but today I will tell you the moment I realized all the Sunday school stories I had grown up hearing, had foundation. This was both a terrible, and wonderful moment in my life, and not an easy one to put down in words.
  I have eluded to the fact that my Mother passed away from Cancer, over 30 years ago. She stayed at home for the last 6 months of her illness, and my Father, sister-in-law and myself, cared for her. She suffered greatly, beyond anything I could imagine. I also became a believer in voluntary euthanasia, but did not have the strength to allow my Mother that dignity. She could not eat, she could not sleep without drug inducement, she simply continued breathing and suffering, far too long.
  The night before she left, she talked an awful lot. She told me she had a visit from her Mother, and some others who had long since passed. She told me she had been so happy to see them, but they told her it wasn't quite time, and she had to stay. I felt the hairs on my arms stand up. She seemed almost relieved, and was smiling, and happier than I had seen her in months, she talked for a very long time, telling me things I never knew before.
  The next morning, she was almost serene. The pain did not seem to over power every moment. She laid on the couch, I sat on the edge, as she napped. The moment of her passing, came with a struggle to catch her breath, I held her, trying to help, but helpless, the time had come. It was so very fast, as some know, you think you are ready, but, the loss is always a shock.
  I thought about our talk of the visit, some may say it was drug related, she was on a pretty heavy dose of morphine. But, at the same time she told me of the visit, she told me other things, that she had kept secret for years, so how muddled were her thoughts? I believe to this day, she had a visit to let her know, her suffering was almost over.
  Fast forward, decades. My cousin calls me, out of the blue. Lives almost on the opposite side of the country. He tells me that his Father (my Mom's brother) has passed away. I did not know my uncle well, but knew my Mom thought of world of him, and the time I had spent with him, I understood why she loved him so much. I told my cousin how sorry I was, and that was when he said he had called, because he needed to pass something important on to me. Moments before my uncle died, he told my aunt that Theresa was there. Theresa was my Mother.She was the visit my uncle got. Those were the last words he spoke.
  So, today, I lost a friend. Many are suffering the loss of a wonderful giant of a man, who we grew up with. A person with a heart as big as a house. A friend who cared deeply about all of those who were lucky enough to know Herbie. He touched so many lives, and became the one who watched over us, he cared for each and every girl and guy in town. He would show up, and we would all feel safe. He took care of each one of us, like a big brother.
  I am not sure who made the visit to Herb to take him onto the next life, but it is a comfort to me, to believe, we will meet again.
  Until then Herbie, you will be missed!