Beggar Charlie

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cold Nights

Finally, winter is over. The nights in Ottawa are very cold this year. When I went out shopping today, it was only 8 degrees. I was wanting to wear my flip flops but it was not possible. So I wore my leopard shoes. The streets were not heavy with pedestrians so it was quite pleasant walking to Sparks Street Mall to buy a couple of dolls. I purchased one princess and one Lucy-from-peanuts doll. Only seven dollars each. I was pleasantly surprised to see the jigsaw puzzles. For a long while the pictures to put together have been drawings, not photos. So when I looked at the puzzles and saw a whole bunch of photos - and nice ones, too - I was happy. I also notice how many businesses are closing down. Of course Zellars is gone and also one restaurant is gone and has been replaced by another. I can't figure out why some restaurants succeed and some fail. They all seem to be about the same. I wandered over to the book store and bought a couple of kiddie books and then over to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy some milk for David. So a good day with lots of walking but not too much, my flip-flops are better for walking than my leopard shoes and hopefully next time I go out, I can wear them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Past and Future

So much changes from when a person is a child to when they are older. There's the obvious change for me, at least, to living near a beach - so much fun to spend summers on the beach - to now, when I live in a land-locked province. We do have lakes and then there's the Ottawa River. Some sections have been made into beaches. Unfortunately, they are not near the downtown. Yet, there's other, social changes. Remember standing up in the car when you were little? Life before seat belts. No one was afraid to die but my father, in the mid-sixties, had seat belts put in. He made us use them. In some way, I suspect to get us to stop horsing around in the back. We never got into an accident so we never had to see if they worked but at my age, I'm grateful he took the time to care. Related to summer, I wanted to go to the beach by myself when I was four. No way, my mother was adamant, not until you're in school. Six. Now, I just want to say, my mother wasn't an awful woman but there are a lot of people who may not agree with letting a six year old go on her own to the beach or anywhere not under adult supervision. But like I said, it was a different age. There was not much said about people who kill children, in fact, there weren't many people who did that kind of thing. Nobody thought some man in a car would bother me. And I never did get bothered. And then there's what you might call generation changes. The sixties when I grew up began to get fearful after drugs came around. People warned us that we would think we were birds and jump out a window if we took LSD and other such things. Come to think of it, it was all different after kids began taking drugs. The generation gap began but for kids my age, who were being told by teenagers not to trust anyone over thirty and people over thirty telling us not to trust teenagers, it was all very confusing. I think that's where kids began to think they had to do everything themselves. They had to learn all they could, not from their parents, but from their peers and life. So now we're in a very distrustful age, where hockey coaches molest children and nobody looks up to anyone except celebrities anymore. I think that's because celebrities don't mind saying that they're screwed up whereas 'respectable' people who molest kids will lie about who they really are. That being said, I'm glad I made it through to this time of life, just to see all the changes, especially the ones I never knew were coming. I don't know what young people will make of the future but I expect that it will be a complete surprise to them. Just like it is for me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Librairies

So I'm going to have a children's picture book published. It's supposed to come out in September. I'm extremely excited because it's very difficult to break into that market. Even though I have years of drawing experience, I'm not doing the illustrations. I'll let a professional do them. It's going to be with Nocturnal Press Publications. It reminds me how much I loved books as a child. The drawings and paintings in my books were entrancing and the poems were great. Just turning the pages gave me a thrill. Of course as I grew my tastes changed. Nancy Drew was a great favorite and they still had drawings in them. Horse stories were another favorite. I had my own library card and used to go with my mom and get books. I suppose all kids know of that experience. Libraries in those days were silent. No talking allowed. It's so much different in Ottawa's libraries. They have a space set aside with easy chairs for people to sit in and chat. It's right next to the computers so it isn't likely to disturb any reading. Honestly, there is not much reading done in the library downtown. Mostly it's used as a drop-in center for poor people who have no place else to be. There, they can use the computers all they want. They wouldn't be able to afford computers and internet on their own. So it's good all around. There are some complaints from some, better? people who don't like the smell of them. But that's life in the downtown core. Aside from this complaint, the libraries are still a place where you can see mothers and kids looking for appropriate books. In my teens I was all about science fiction. Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and the usual 'gods' of the genre. Then I moved on to art books. Biographies about Van Gough and others. Now, my favorite is historical fiction although I'm open to read other things. Anyway, when my cover comes out, I'll try and post it here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Worm In The System

My mother didn't believe in doctors so I'll never know if I had any allergies when I was a child. After I moved to Ottawa, everyone I met told me that people in Ottawa had a tendency to develop allergies. So I had myself tested and found that I was allergic to maple trees and dust mites. I received a shot of something each week and after a while was cured of my allergy to maple trees. I am still allergic to dust mites. A lot of people are. So I was listening when on one of David's crazy science shows, they mentioned a new theory of allergies. It seems more kids these days have allergies. It also seems that farm kids have a lesser tendency to allergies. So what gives? The new theory is that city kids are too clean. Yes, they say, kids need to play in the mud and cavort with animals. They must play with dogs and cats and make mud pies and parents have to stop wiping and spraying their counters with anti-bacterial cleaners. Disinfecting is killing our kids. Oh, and one more thing. We need to swallow worms. They've found that there is a certain worm present in pigs, in fact, that can cure the allergy to dust mites. Yes, for two whole months you swallow one worm egg a day and your allergy will go away. They swear it works and that human resistance to allergies can be found in worms. We need worms to protect us. Ugh. That's what I'm thinking, too. I have to admit I'm intrigued by this finding but also that I'm hesitant to swallow pig worm eggs. Maybe after they've proven it, either yes or no, definitively.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Broke

There never was any March Break when I went to school. Well, there may have been at the end but when I was in elementary school, I attended all of March. It just seems there's so many ways to feel cheated when you're my age. What about all the cool technology that kids have? I never had that and also there was the parenting thing where we had to stay out of our parents way. And stick up for ourselves to bullies. Now, that I found impossible. Bullies seemed to me like they knew who they were, although, they really don't. They're really lost people who try to diminish others to their level. Nowadays, you just report them and someone does something. We had to find ways to deal with them. Bullies could really ruin your school life. But of course, there are advantages to being raised such a long time ago. We had to write down notes and put the subject into our own words. That I find helped me develop my own opinions and mind about things, something I don't think young people do with all their 'copy' and 'paste' of school work. Some of my writer friends who teach say young people will often highlight bit swathes of someone else's book and copy it to their own. It's a problem that they don't know about plagarism. Maybe they don't teach any law in school now-a-days? So even though I missed out on some things, I did benefit in independence of thought and other such things. So I guess even though I'm getting old, I'm ahead on points.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Is Coming

Things are so different in Ontario than where I grew up. In White Rock about now, there's probably flowers, if not blooming, then coming out of the ground. Ottawa today is sunny, bright and melting but still no sign of plant life. Trees are still bare and gardens piled up with last year's dead growth. It took me some time to deal with the difference. My first summer in Ottawa, I had to suppress my urge to go back to BC. I wanted to swim in the ocean so bad. But now I'm used to it here, so sometimes, when I meet someone from a hot country who's having trouble adjusting, I tell them a bit of my story. Not to bore them, just to show them that anyone can adjust. In 1980, the winter was cold. -20 from October to April. Global warming has solved that problem for the people of Ottawa. (It isn't unusual for an Ottawan to remark, "If this is global warming, I like it.")When October is still warm, as it is now. Still, we don't have to worry about crocodiles yet. I wore a scarf that October. The people where I worked laughed at me. "What are you going to do when winter gets here?" They asked. I wondered what they meant. It was -20, there was snow, wasn't it here? They assured me it was not, that January and February would be much worse. They were, in fact, pretty bad. So I guess it only proves that the human body is adaptable in wonderful ways. Maybe I won't have to go back to BC when I get old (to avoid the ice)and can stay in this apartment downtown. Still, I'm glad spring is almost here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Star Is Not Born

I think that some people are born for the stage. Not me. When I was in grade two, my class put on a play for the whole school. It was about a princess who was sick and would die unless someone in the kingdom found a cure for her. I was the doctor. I had an Abe Lincoln stovepipe hat made out of colored paper and my line was 'The princess is sick' then I had to deliver the news that someone had to find a cure. I was so nervous. I practiced my lines until my mother told me to stop it. The big night arrived. I went on stage, so afraid. "The princess is not sick." Oops. Did I really just say that? Now the rest of the play doesn't make any sense. I quickly recovered. "I mean, the princess is sick." The audience laughed and laughed. A star is not born. But there was a guy who although he also was not a star, was perhaps the most bloody-minded child ever. I guess it would be grade three. Every Canadian child learns the Huron Christmas Carol at some point. Our grade was slated to do it at our Christmas pageant for the parents. We all dressed up like what we thought Indians looked like, which was not Huron Indians but some sort of Hollywood plains Indians. The buckskin, the feather, you know. I think his name was Dale. He was going to play the beat and then when we switched to our other song after the carol, he would play that beat. Well, he had an idea. He would play the 'Indian beat' and then go Da da-da Da Da, Da Da. Our teacher, Mrs. Petersen didn't want him to. Never mind that, just switch beats. In our practice we witness a might tense stand-off between the two as he would go ahead and play his version. She would stop the rehearsal. "Never mind." She would say. "Just switch beats." But then he would do it again. Night of the pageant. Would he do it his way or her way. No bets were taken at that age but everyone wanted to know. Would he crumble? He didn't. Right on stage, in his Indian costume, he played Da da-da Da Da, Da Da. He had won. And I might add, Mrs. Petersen was behind the curtain. "Just switch." No use. Sheer bloody-mindedness.