Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter in Canada

This was the results of a 3-day blizzard from a few years ago.
Buffalo has taken the hit for us this winter :)
Apparently winter has decided to strike early this year. MAN, it is cold out there! A mere week ago it was 14C, but this week the temperature dipped to -18C (with the wind chill, but still). What is up with that?! Time to put another log on the fire apparently.

As any good Canadian is wont to do, we face the ravages of Mother Nature in stride though. Today I face it with humour, with the help of an email from a friend. If we can't get warm, we just put on an extra pair of socks and laugh about it...

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Canadians, during a recent appearance at Caesars in Windsor: 

  • If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, You may live in Canada ... (had that happen to me)
  • If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, You may live in Canada ... (never, I hate seeing people in shorts or sandals when they should be wearing parkas!
  • If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, You may live in Canada ... (Yup)
  • If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of Detroit for the weekend, You may live in Canada ... (Yup)
  • If you measure distance in hours, You may live in Canada ... (Yup again)
  • If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, You may live in Canada ...
  • If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, You may live in Canada ... (I might have - once...)
  • If you can drive 90 km/hr through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, You may live in Canada ... (definitely)
  • If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, You may live in Canada .
  • If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, You may live in Canada ... (I proudly boosted a stranded nurse last winter across the street from my house with my MALE neighbour watching on)
  • If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, You may live in Canada ... (Yup)
  • If the speed limit on the highway is 80 km -- you're going 95 and everybody is passing you, You may live in Canada ... (lol, doesn't everyone do that?)
  • If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, You may live in Canada ... (sad, but true)
  • If you know all 4 seasons: Almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, You may live in Canada ... (DEFINITELY sad, but true)
  • If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, You may live in Canada ... (my neighbour that blows out the entire neighbourhood does)
  • If you find -2 degrees 'a little chilly', You may live in Canada ... (it's not really that cold)

If you actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your friends,
you definitely are Canadian and proud to be.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

Their uniforms crisp
Roles serious and dedicated
Their missive- our Freedom 

Marching, they came towards us
Strict row upon row to Serve
Silent we stood waiting

   Ready for them

On this day to honour
All the sacrifices made
And all those whom have never come back

Tears glistened in eyes
Hands trembled on canes
The bugle sounded our cries

   The Last Post...

We always rise again
Hands to heart
Eyes to sky

We stand on guard
Two minutes offered
Silent in humble thought

   Our gift of Remembrance

To men and women
Brave, noble and bold
Will our thanks ever be enough?

Poppies pinned to chests
Salutes raised to the dead
We will Never forget

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nail in the Wall

Unpacking pictures 
old photos of days gone by
memories long spent
moments no longer relived
not worth the nail in the wall

Friday, October 31, 2014

What's Not Okay

Oh Canada; proud, strong and free
It has been a tough couple of weeks to be a Canadian. Last week, in two separate incidents, Canadian military members were killed; both random acts of violence, but both meant to be strikes against our country. The deaths rocked us as a nation. And with good reason. Despite the violence, we banded together and swore to remain united in our peace, honesty and trustful natures.

And then on Sunday, a well-loved and respected radio host from our public broadcaster was fired from a post that he helped to create. The media was set ablaze by a Facebook post he published outlining some of the details. He warned that more details would come from people intent on smearing him and his career. Well, those details have come forth and they are worse than ugly. As far as his career is concerned, it may or may not be salvageable. Certainly, his private life has been made public in such a way that the world seems to have been given a seat in his bedroom. Without benefit of trial, he has been condemned to the full extent that the media can punish him. And I struggle to look away.

I love Canada. It is my home and native land. I am proud to recognize myself as a native and yet ashamed that as a nation we apparently have been duped by a charming individual intent on his own self-fulfillment and satisfaction. I have read the stories and am aghast at every new piece of the plot. Women have come forth, both anonymously and now using their own faces and names, to share their stories. Have we harboured a criminal amongst us? Have we given a wolf sheep's clothing and begged him to lead us? It is not for me to decide and for that I am thankful. But the number of women who have shared stories too similar and too awful is enough to cause doubt in the most ardent supporters and fans. Those fans have dropped rapidly over the last week.

So why do I let the story of a celebrity who has fallen from grace affect me so? As Canadians, we are supposed to be good, honest people. We are supposed to put forth the best qualities that we can and emulate the unwavering faith in our country and humanity, like Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent did. Sure they weren't perfect, but they died in the line of duty, their lives taken as they represented all that is good, nay Great on Canadian soil. And now we are sullied by an individual that appears to have taken his self-serving needs much too far in their satisfaction. I don't need to name this individual for my fellow Canadians. His face has been splashed across the media this week, even while the CBC has ripped it off of any piece of their property. And if the reports are true, then so they should.

For the story is ultimately about women. The story is about respect or a lack thereof. The tales that are spewing forth tell of violence masked in consensual BDSM. The problem lies in the lack of consent, hence we speak of abuse. They say he hit them. Nine women claim this now. Who knows if more will come forth, others will keep their secrets to themselves, or some will recant these vicious images that us dismayed Canadians are being forced to witness. Regardless of how this story plays out, I suspect that the conversation about abuse will be a little louder now.

You see abuse doesn't always happen to the other woman. It doesn't always end up being meted out to the sluts or girls that 'wanted' it to happen. The women that are sharing these stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds and education levels. None of them seemed to ask to be hit. None of them seemed to enjoy being called names or being made to feel like it was a normal part of life. They all pushed the abuse into "the past" to try to move beyond it and try to forget how it made them feel. But today, they realized that for the actions they allowed to be Okay, by not standing up against the abuse, those actions continued and touched too many other people. And it was NOT ok.

It is NOT okay for someone to make you feel stupid, worthy of abuse, or like you asked for it. It is NOT okay for someone to hit you, choke you, or rape you. It is also not okay for someone to isolate you from friends, family or society, question your integrity, nor turn the blame back on yourself for actions they have taken. Too many women face some form of abuse in their lifetimes, whether it be physical and/or emotional, by the hands of strangers, casual acquaintances or those that we are supposed to love and trust. Because once that trust is damaged, the world becomes a more difficult place to negotiate.

I know this has become another rant and for that I am sorry. I struggle to come to grips with this breach of trust, this shattered faith in humanity that I hold so dear. I do believe that people are inherently good, but am sad to acknowledge that I feel akin to these women right now. I have never met any CBC personalities, but I knew someone who made me feel like it was my fault that he felt compelled to search my body, clothes and home for evidence of my misdeeds. Like I deserved to be cast as a disreputable woman because his insecurities and jealousy made him look for my guilt. He never found it, but left behind my shattered innocence in the wake of his accusations. He will never admit to his lies or improprieties, so I must move forward and attempt to find faith in humanity knowing that not everyone that smiles is a friend, and not everything that seems a gift is always so.

But this lesson is valuable nonetheless. And I refuse to let the small minority of people that do not understand how their actions affect others rule my world. For I am Canadian, proud, strong and free. I live in a place where men and women give their lives to protect mine. I prefer to see people who take up the cause to make the world a better place and refuse to be bullied by power-hungry individuals who can't see beyond their own noses and backyards. And I rally around women strong enough to stand up and say what is acceptable and what is Not. May you find peace in your release of those ugly memories that should no longer own you.

I am working on mine.

*If you are interested in more of the story that inspired this post, you can read more here...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Door Knockers & Palm Crossers

local politics
edge of your seat evening
election results
in four years to cut mustard
or shatter beliefs once more

Bye, bye incumbents
hello to new councillors
fresh blood, young faces
may you be the infusion
that London needs to shine bright

London's newest mayor on election night - Matt Brown


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