Beggar Charlie

Monday, February 23, 2015

Breast Cancer Screening

So I haven't written much today because I had an appointment with the Ontario Breast Screening Program. It's something the Ontario government has set up for the women of Ontario. Like all health care in Canada, it's free. It was also easy. The last mammogram I had was very painful and intrusive, although all medical tests are intrusive. It took about four or five minutes to do. I was in and out, done the whole, filling out forms etc in less the twenty minutes. I wait longer at my general practitioner's office. Anyway, I just want to encourage all women to get a breast cancer test. I know I'm not a doctor or anything but I think it is important to have a test. I'll be going back in two years unless they find something. David drove me. Funny though, I thought since yesterday was so mild, today would be, too, but no, it's cold today. Cancer is getting more and more common, I think. My mom died of lymphoma and my step-mom died of breast cancer. In fact she had two types of cancer. I think that the reason more people die of cancer these days is because there's not much left to die of. They've conquered smallpox and cholera, bubonic plague and have done away with polio in the western world. Well, there is malaria and bilharzia in Africa, but for us, most of the worse things are gone. So in steps cancer. By the way, men can get breast cancer. Cancer can strike anyone. Remember on the right side of my blog there's a contest. One winner 53 e-books. Beggar Charlie is one of them.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Terror 'Education'

This has been a tragic last few months. We had the guy in Ottawa shoot a soldier to death at our war memorial and who was in turn killed. Then there was Paris. I don't think I'll ever forget these two incidents. Now we have Copenhagen. Just pure terror. The immediate impulse is to say (and I have) shoot them, they're our enemies. On a second thought, though, maybe it would be better to fight right to the source, which I think is the 'education' they're giving their recruits to make them radicals. When I was a child there were predators in cars that would try to get children into their cars. We were street-proofed, even though I grew up in a small city. Now we have online predators and people are warning their kids. Police, parents and children who have been victims of these kinds of people are getting the word out. What does this have to do with terror? Well, aren't terrorists predators? Maybe. And aren't they after young people? Definitely. So it makes me wonder if the correct way to deal with the problem, along with the ways that are being done, is to put some of our own education in place in the schools. I think some undercover work about the methods used by ISIS and Al Queda might shed some light on how they are appealing to young people. In our own school system, we could have discussions with young students about the reasons they are being recruited, which is to fodder for a political system of hate that has little to do with religion. Another way could be to get immigrants out into the wilderness and show them how to utilize the parts of our country that they have no experience with. Is it naive to think that after they know of the possibilities of our country and other countries, they will think less of wanting to hurt us? Well, that may be naive but I still think one way to fight terror organizations is to show them up as the cowardly fools and predators that they are. We may save a lot of children that way.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


For some reason, this past night I dreamed of Stanley Park. It's situated on the western tip of Vancouver and is a favorite place for people to stroll and jog. Homeless people have been known to camp there. I used to love Stanley Park when I was living in BC. There is a zoo, of sorts, in Stanley Park. The monkey cage was my favorite. One day, my school went there on a day trip. My friends and I went to see the monkeys. It was surreal. A great crowd of people stood around the enclosure which was shaped like a horseshoe and hooted at the monkeys who sat quietly watching the crowd. I felt a bit ashamed at these people's behavior. Aren't we humans supposed to be more intelligent than them? But I guess silliness might just be a trait of intelligence, representing, as it does, free will. My entire favorite place was the marine park. The belugas would come over to the glass and look at me and I always felt that they liked me. I have since read that others feel the same. We may not be wrong although why a mammal taken from it's natural environment and trapped in a tank would like us, I can't figure. But Skana was the queen of the park. Skana was a killer whale. A beautiful mammal all black and white. People loved Skana. Imagine my surprise one day in the nineties when I picked up a newspaper just to read that Skana had blasted through the glass in her tank and had cut herself so badly she had died. I just couldn't believe it. Not Skana! I don't know if they ever figured out why she rammed through the window. They know it was deliberate. Was she frustrated? angry? sick and tired of captivity? We'll never know and I'll never feel anything but sorrow for the beautiful marine creature that just couldn't take any more.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dickens And Other Children

I remember reading an interview with an author who likened writing books to having children. Publishing those books was, to him, the same as having children go out into the world. I have heard this before, when I was in painting. People insisted that creating was like having children. I have to say I disagree with this entirely. To me, you don't write a story to make a whole different entity with it's own personality but you write to clarify who you yourself are. I don't think I'm being selfish here although some might accuse me of that. Now, when you have a child and someone doesn't like that child, the main response on the part of the parent is dislike to the person speaking. When someone doesn't like you story, you think about it, does that person have a point and if it's too hurtful, you just suck it up, shrug your shoulders and move on. Now when you die, the 'child' advocates say, your child is known to the world. Me, I write so that when I die, something of myself will be left behind. We don't read Charles Dickens and say, "I really like his grandchildren" which is what you say if your one hundred years later than the date of his death and have met his grandchildren who may be much different than he was. When we read Charles Dickens, we say, "I like Dickens." Unless you don't like his book then you say, "I don't like Dickens" To me, that's because Dicken's books are parts of who he was and are not separate entities at all. They ARE him. It's what I want for myself even though people may not even read me one hundred years after I'm dead. Still, it's motivation and that's what I need for right now. Don't forget on the right side of this blog you can enter the contest perhaps to win 53 ebooks. There's still time.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Weighty Read

About two years ago, I started a weight-loss program at a hospital in Ottawa. I worked as I lost 30 pounds. Unfortunately my weight has begun to creep back up. But I'm not giving up. I go once a month to a support and information group to get further info on nutrition. Next time I go, I'm going to mention a book I just read. It's called Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. It has a lot of good tips. Like using a shrimp fork for meals so that you don't take as much on your fork and into your mouth. My group had never mentioned that. Smaller plates I already knew about. There's also much about exercise in this book and that interested me although I admit I'm not really an exerciser. The only way to get me to exercise is to take me out in the woods where you have to walk to a toilet and go up and down rises to wash your dishes and yourself. To me, I don't want to walk unless there's something to look at. Like trees, lakes and animals. Nature. I love nature. In the city I do walk but I find myself stopping to look in stores. I'm really interested in window shopping. So A.J. Jacobs solution to city life was to run his errands. He also did things like squat to wait as bus stops and talk to children. I might try to incorporate some of these tips since it doesn't seem like I'll be going out to the woods anytime soon. So if your like me and you need a boost for motivation, just remember there's all sorts of sites on the internet and a lot of wonderful books. I'm not plugging the book I mentioned but it is good, if your interested. Don't forget to take a look at the contest on the right side of my blog.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bonding Exercises

It's nice to share with someone you're close to. But sometimes what you want to be close about doesn't mesh with the other person.

For a long while I wanted to do 'bonding exercises' with David. I would set up two pieces of paper with two pens. Then I would say, "you write down ten things..." that was as far as I would go when David would say. "I'm not doing that."

So I gave up on that. But I did have another idea. I would make tuna fish sandwiches and buy cookies and we would drive to a place where ducks and geese congregate and eat them looking out at the Ottawa River.

No way, he said.

But then one day we got a message from our landlord's. They were cleaning out the parking garage and needed all the cars out by seven AM. Here was my chance.

The day before, I made the tuna fish sandwiches and bought cookies, four of them from the bakery. I put everything in the fridge to wait.

David was not happy about having to by up by seven but he did agree to go to the DesChenes Rapids which is where the ducks are.

So we get there. David is in a bad mood. He never gets up so early.

I hand him a tuna fish. "I'm not hungry."

So I ate mine and asked again. "I don't want it."

So I ate it. Then I brought out the cookies. Two over to David.

"I'm not hungry. I don't want them."

So I ate them. Along with mine. We sat for minutes in silence.

"This isn't as much fun as I thought it would be." I said. He looked at me like I was crazy. In a few minutes he spoke.

"I'll have my sandwich now."

"I ate it."

"Can I have my cookies, then?"

"I ate them, too."

He settled back. I could almost hear his brain ticking. At eight he announced he was going to visit his friends who own a garage.

"I'll drive you home."

He dropped me off and then went off. Hungry, I suppose, and a bit angry. I think there is no real moral to this story except, don't eat the tuna fish.

I've given up my 'bonding exercises'. I guess since we stayed together after that, we're good and bonded.

Now, my ebook, Beggar Charlie is on a giveaway. 53 Books, 1 winner

It's on Rainy is the Dark Blog 

The HTML code is down below.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Two-way Street Is Really An Avenue

One of the problems immigrants to Canada have is Canadian attitude towards old age. The older people themselves don't feel respected like they did when they lived in whatever country they came from.

I have to say, I don't feel that much sympathy for them. Let me explain before you all think I hate old people.

Now, one of the things I don't like about Western culture is the idea that to show intelligence, one needs to get away with things. Thinking that if someone's word is not taken as valuable it is okay to commit crimes on them because they're stupid.

Well, I find that idea alive in old folks in Canada. Along with use what you've got to get what you want idea that also I find a pain to deal with.

This just means that an old person who feels that way will pretend to be a feeble person or innocent because they're old after they've done something like harass you. It bothers me. I remember one old teacher at an art school I went to. His 'persona' was that of a sweet old man. Yet he would sexually harass women whom he felt were beneath him.

I know that's a strong statement, even an accusation, but it's true. That's why I didn't mention the school or the teacher's name.

Now that they've passed elder abuse laws it can be even worse with old people being rude, knowing they can always call the cops and say you're abusing them.

I don't mean to suggest that all Canadians are like that but it happens more than you'd like to admit. It's annoying and disgraceful that perfectly strong elders are pretending they're in the category of feeble or sick and weak old folks that actually do need the law to protect them.

Now I do want to say, I do believe in respect, but of they type I've noticed in good Native families. With Natives they listen to what their elders say and treat them well but old people do not take advantage of this privilege. They in turn love and respect the young ones. They don't humiliate the young like I've seen some Western people do, and they think about what comes out of their mouth so they don't hurt the little ones.

I think good Euro-centric thinkers do that, too, but still there's so much abuse of the system. I just try to remember that not only is respect a two-way street, it's an avenue to show love.