Beggar Charlie

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Randy Peterson

Every class needs a Randy Peterson. Before we began grade one, he was a friend of mine. We played together frequently. One day we went down into the ravine close to my house. The ravine was very quiet because all the sound waves went over it, not down into it.

We found a toilet seat. Randy thought we ought to make ourselves a bathroom. We put up bush walls and dug a hole and promised not to look at each other when we used the toilet we had built.

When we finished down in the ravine we went to his house and he gave me a dead mouse. My father threw it out.

But the reason I say that every class needs a Randy Peterson was the fact that whenever our science experiments went wrong, he was the one designated to kill it.

Our seventh grade teacher decided to bring in an incubator and get some fertilized chicken eggs. At certain points in their development he would break open the egg and we would study the fetus.

When we finished the learning, there were some eggs left over, so we let them hatch. One of the chicks got it's leg caught in the wire of the incubator and crippled it's leg. Call Randy Peterson. He took the chick and came back about five minutes later telling the bird was dead and had been disposed of.

He was the only one able to kill an animal. It sounds cruel but the chick would have been at the mercy of the other chicks who were picking and pecking at it. When we sent all the chicks to the farmer, it would have died then from a chicken coop predator.

I've always thought well of Randy that he could take that little task in hand.R

Friday, July 18, 2014

Let's Not Tolerate Intolerance

I know I've ranted about this before but it seems to me all to prevalent to ignore. I'm talking about people who seem to think the way to solve social problems is to deny the 'trouble-people' their rights.

I hear this most frequently about welfare people and petty criminals. Now I don't have any sympathy for criminals but when people talk about 'making them give to society' by forcing them to labor for free on farms, I have to protest.

Why not give good people jobs on farms? Why do they want Canada to be a country where there is slave labour. You can't convince these people that their thoughts are misapplied, they think they'd be benefiting society.

Now as for welfare people, there's always complaints. But it is a RIGHT in Canada to be on welfare if you need it. Let's take a look at a couple of the complaints.

One. "I don't mind paying my taxes for someone who works." Do these people really want a country where people only pay for what they want to? Suppose I don't want to pay for smokers? Don't these people see that any of their arguments could be turned against them? We all pay for each other so no one bears the brunt of the whole bill.

Two. Some of these people are able bodied, why aren't they working. Why should I support them? Well, some people run into trouble and need to be on welfare for a couple of months. And the truth is, a lot of people hate being on welfare and can hardly wait until they get a paying job and don't have to live in poverty anymore.

That's just a couple of rants and I'm glad I could get it off my chest. I just want to say further that the more we accept people even if they're sick, like fetal alcohol syndrome, or just psychologically unable to fend for themselves, the easier it would be to see that they're people, not garbage, and let them have the space to recover from whatever ails them.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mr. Stewart

It's nice to remember the past sometimes. I am and always have been, terrible at math. Never enjoyed the classes, never particularly liked the teachers. Then I got Mr. Stewart.

He was a not too tall man with a beard and a balding head. He was known for having built a treehouse in his classroom. I took math with him when he had the treehouse. The one thing I really liked about him was he was interested in all his students.

Once when I couldn't get something, he came over and asked me why. No teacher had ever cared before, just assuming that because I did so well at everything else I just wasn't trying. He explained where I was going wrong and to my surprise, I understood him.

He explained negative numbers thus... you have no money, that's zero, your aunt gives you ten dollars... that's plus ten, she takes twenty... that's negative ten.

I found that when I could picture the math, I could understand it. He also put happy face posters on the wall and bubblehead drawings. Later, he put a boat in his class.

My mother always said everyone comes across one great teacher. I'm not sure that he was my great teacher but he was something special.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weight Loss Clinic

It's hot in Ottawa today. I was at my weight loss clinic at the hospital earlier. David drove me so I wasn't exposed to the blistering heat but coming home I stood outside to wait for him. There's lots of trees at the hospital so I had some shade.

At the clinic, we studied portion sizes. How much to put on your plate that will make you healthier and lose weight. One-fourth protein, one-fourth starch and the rest vegetables. In truth, I find it hard to stick to that. I've given up chip, nachos, popcorn and all sorts of things that make the calories stick to me.

Two and one-half ounces of protein per meal. Sounds tiny. But I think if I'm clever and take less for one meal, I can take more for the next.

But I'm going to try my best. When I began my weight loss journey (as it's called so many times) I was 289 pounds. Now I'm 257 pounds. So it is working and all it will take is a little effort and I should be able to lose all I want.

If any of you is thinking of losing weight, I really recommend doing it in a group of people. I find my fellow journeyers to be fun and wonderful people, good to talk to.

So this month I'm going to work on my portions.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Walmart Photography

I'm waiting for my photos. Soon, I should get a call from Walmarts that my photo is in. I use the singular because I bought the least expensive package, which is $13.99. You only get prints of one pose.

That's fine by me. There was only one good photo anyway, and that's not the photographers fault. I'm not photogenic.

You can see it in all my school photos. Bleah. I look awful while everyone else looks so cute, so adorable. Now I do like my baby pictures but anything after that, no.

But I did get one good shot from Walmarts and I'm going to use it at Author Shout which is a site for authors to promote their books. I'm looking forward to trying this site and hope it works better than the more than dozen others, who claim their site is free and then try to charge you money if you actually want to promote. (buying ads or such)

These sites just let you sign up for free and list your book. Sure thing that nobody will see it in all the other hundreds of books. Therefore, you have to pay to get special attention. Some authors do, I don't know how it works for them. It doesn't work for me.

But Author Shout wants a professional headshot, if you don't have one, they won't let you on. So I'm hoping that means they're a little more serious about promoting authors. You can't necessarily draw this conclusion but I'll give it a shot. (Didn't I already say that?)

It was supposed to take two weeks and now it's two weeks and one day. So maybe today my phone will ring.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Walking And Other Exercises

Walking. I've been doing a lot of that lately. My need to stay in some sort of healthy shape drives me, that, and my sister gave me an earful when I told her I'd not done any for awhile.

So I cave in to pressure. Anyway, it's been doing me a lot of good. My blood pressure is doing so well that my doctor told me to stop taking one of the pills he'd prescribed for me. That makes me feel good, thinking that maybe I can do without other pills, too.

But all this had me thinking of those people who, when young, know they  need to eat right and exercise in order to be in shape when they're old. I compare them with old people who are stiff and can't do things they like, camping or hiking, because they're 'too old'.

It was starting to look like I'd be one of those people with aches and pains that can't be explained and it all started with my damaged left knee. There is no bone setting for my patella anymore, it's all worn away and my kneecap just sort of  'floats' under my skin.

This means I can't ride a bike, I never learned anyway but could have when I was grown, so there's no riding along the bicycle path for me. It runs along the Ottawa river and is really a nice place to be. It goes to Remic Rapids and the beach at Westboro. It also goes out to Britannia Beach.

I had a friend who biked this path regularly and he once had to walk miles because his bike wheel busted open. Oh, well, it's all exercise, isn't it?

And there are things to see in downtown Ottawa. I go down to Sparks Street Mall and today they had a car show on. All classic cars, a Triumph and a 57' Belair. Nice to look at. Out of my price range but nice anyway. You could win the Belair in a raffle if you were lucky.

So I'm going to stick with my walking. Maybe go on the bicycle path by the Rideau Canal. I could walk for a couple of miles down to Dows Lake and get a little boat to rent. Now that would be great exercise.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My First Art Lesson

In ancient times, meaning BC, or, before computers, I went to art school. I had drawn since my childhood but had reached a point where I didn't know where I was going with 'my art'.

So I decided to go to an art school in Ottawa and take what my art needed from the lessons. The girls who signed me up for a course agreed with my plan and so I paid the sixty dollars and showed up on a Monday night.

The teacher was an old man, a very good artist who is still alive, so I won't mention his name. He told us all that he had studied with the second-best artist in the world. A lot of people wondered about this statement. How does one judge what is best in art?

He had some strange habits. One was to tell the same three jokes over and over again. Now, he was over sixty in the eighties and so we all thought he was senile. We were nice because we thought he would die soon.

He's still painting, still teaching, and if I'm correct, still telling the same three  jokes. In fact, those were old Groucho Marx jokes so he may well have been telling these jokes his whole life.

And he would tell us stories. One of which went ... I was in the army, there were lots of girls around, and it's none of your business what I was doing with them... I always wondered why he mentioned it at all. What part of the story did he want us to take in? I found this puzzling.

He would also stick his tongue out at his less favorite students. Some poor guy who had an attitude would look up to see his teacher's tongue directed at him in an obvious insult.

Sadly, although he was a colorful character, I didn't learn much from him. Later I met another artist and when I saw his work, I knew where I wanted to go.

So I didn't need to spend that sixty dollars but maybe it was worth it for the experience.

By the way, my new e-book, Beggar Charlie, will be released in June. Here's the cover.
and the buy link