Book Hippo

Friday, December 28, 2012

Monkey Love

I've always loved monkeys. I used to badger my mom to let me keep a pet monkey but she wouldn't budge. "Monkeys are meant to be in trees. They'll destroy a house." She was so right but of course as a small child, I didn't realize it.

I watch every tv show about monkeys and apes and for a while when I was in painting, my main subject was monkeys. Monkeys were so cool that I would get mad when people would make the comment that monkeys are a dirty animal.

I would argue with all the force of a child, that monkeys live in trees and all their feces therefore drops to the ground, so they don't really have to think about cleanliness. It's good for the forest, too.

A woman in White Rock had a squirrel  monkey and I used to go to see it. She kept it on a line in her backyard but one day it ran away. I was sad for that.

At the time, I didn't know anything about their behavior nor did others as I have read. In one book, a man explained that in the sixties he'd walked into a room with cages full of male monkeys. They'd all turned their bums to him.

Being a worldly man, he assumed that all those monkeys were gay. No one knew then that monkeys show their submissiveness by turning their bottoms to the person who dominates them.

And the job (if you choose to accept it) is to reach out and touch the bottom of the monkey so he knows that you accept him as a submissive and won't attack him.

So if you do end up keeping a monkey, you will be facing lots of hard work and will have to know how to behave towards one.

It reminds me of a neighbour of mine in Ottawa, she was a diplomat's wife and at one time they lived in Africa. She had a baby chimpanzee and it slept with her baby boy. She raised them together but after a few years, it became dangerous and was a lot stronger than the boy who was about five or six. So they gave it to a zoo.

She seemed to think this was a good solution and didn't see anything wrong with what she had done. But I wonder how the chimp is doing coping with other chimps after having been raised next to a human. Her son, a teenager when I knew them, seemed normal, eating junk food and not helping her about the house, so he didn't suffer. But this brought home to me how smart my mother was.

Her simple "Monkey's belong in trees." was good advice and now I agree that wild animals should be left where they can be able to live how they are supposed to.

I can always get a sock monkey.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Music

I love Christmas carols. But I find I have what might be a strange predilection, and that is, I don't like music from known singers. No Celine Dion sings O Holy Night. I don't like knowing who the singers are and I like choirs.

I don't know when this trait developed. As a child, my mother had A Christmas Sing With Bing and I often listened to the legendary Bing Crosby croon his Christmas spirit in music. Mom would always tell us the story of when she worked at the Hotel Vancouver and Bing Crosby, who liked to fish in BC walked in looking like something dragged in by the cat.

The clerk politely informed the 'bum' that there were no rooms available. He left. Someone came up to the clerk. "Do you know who that is?" Well, the clerk went running after him, apologized and Bing laughed at the situation. Mom liked Bing Crosby.

Anyway, rock n' roll Christmas music I used to love but now it's too loud, too cute. Ah, what a disorder. The only exception is Elvis's Blue Christmas which I do still love.

But now I just buy the choir music, which is nice and relax, no dancing to Christmas, just hearing the thoughts of composers about Jesus, God and how we all need to have the Christmas spirit.

I hope I never lose the ability to enjoy choir music. It's beautiful and peaceful, like I think Christmas should be and it helps me celebrate the season in my own way. But of course, those who like famous singers will love to hear their voices and I respect their choice.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Learned Helplessness

It's strange but I never fixed anything when I was a girl. I didn't know how and nobody taught me. I just assumed that when something stopped working, you threw it out and I kept that attitude long after I grew up.

I wouldn't even sew buttons on, out to the trash went the shirt, or whatever it was, that was no good.

Then I found myself working among some immigrants from Poland and Romania. They were my first indication that the world was not necessarily how I saw it, that there were different ways to see the world. It was quite shocking to find, for instance, that the inspiration for Dracula, Vlad Dracule the Impaler was considered a hero to those people. The earth moved.

So one day I'm washing out a fridge and I took the vegetable bin out and couldn't figure out how to put it back. Oh, no, I thought, what do I do now? Well, one of the Romanians came along and I told her my problem. She put the fridge back together in one minute.

You've done that before, I said. But she insisted she hadn't and told me that all you had to do was look and you could figure out how to put something together. So easy. A rod fits into a hole. Once she pointed it out to me I wondered how I'd never known that before.

I'd always known there were men who could fix things but I never could. She was the first woman I met who wasn't afraid to be able to do something. She could see this trait in all Canadian girls and it was frustrating to her that we couldn't figure out how to do anything for ourselves.

I saw the trait again in a Japanese girl who lived next to me in a house. She ordered an Ikea bed. Ikea is the pet peeve of many Canadian girls who can never figure out how to put any of it together.

My neighbour had it together, the mattress on and bed made within twenty minutes. Another lesson for me. It's good I live in a culturally diverse place or I would never learn that these things are possible, only accept that what I saw around me. ie. that girls can't put together Ikea, was truth. It isn't. It's cultural. Learned helplessness.

So it's taken me a while to learn that I actually can do things. It just took a little push. This is how it's done and  now I can jumpstart my own thinking processes about these kind of things.

Better late than never.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Today's Women

How much easier technology has made life. Even if I don't understand it. That goes for young people, too, who let loose a string of tech-words that I can't follow. It's like an older cousin of mine once said, "They forget that older people have no idea what they're talking about." She was buying her first cell phone at 77 years young.

And it's funny how sexist they show you to be. When I was buying a cell phone charger meant to be used in the car cigarette lighter, I found myself disappointed that there was no man on duty in the store.

When I was younger, it was, 'ask a man' because they knew and women, in general, didn't know. Anyway, a girl it was and I went up reluctantly to ask my question. Well, she knew so much it left my gasping. Of course, I didn't understand one thing she said. Something about Nokia. What's that?

Anyway, I got my charger. It was a Christmas present for my room mate. He still uses it. And I make sure I don't underestimate women anymore.

It's so easy to do, right? Because when I was young, because I went out to work as a gardener, or non-traditional job, some people considered me extraordinary. Older women who had always worked and had given up the chance to marry and have children would say to me, "It's great you do this, most girls are too lazy."

In the old days, there was a definite anti-woman bias in everyone's mind and mouth. I know some say that hip-hop culture is anti-woman with it's 'bros before hoes' attitude, but the young women have so much confidence they don't really need to foster any through 'sisterhood'. They're doing well, thank you very much.

I like the way they get respect for themselves instead of through their men, even if I don't like the ignorance most women have about what our system is all about. They're too willing to listen to show-biz media and 'learn' from special people to understand common life. In my opinion.

But it will work itself out and when they're my age, they'll be looking at a whole new game that's come after them. I do wonder what it will be and what will they think of it?

By the way, I have a Facebook author page, you can visit by going here

And The Mountain City Bronzes is now 59 cents at Coffeetime Romance

Sunday, December 2, 2012

At Last, December

Here it is at last. December. My favorite month. The happiest time of year for me with so many good memories of Christmases past and everybody being nice to each other.

We did have snow for December 1st but now it's only rain and the temperature is rising to about +10 by tomorrow. The only sad thing is that there is sickness in my house. I caught a cold at the end of November by not being properly dressed for the cold. Bad me.

I brought the sore throat and coughing that my room mate caught and for him it's now become a real serious throat ailment. For some reason, whenever I bring some sickness in, he gets it worse. About four years ago, I got pink eye. He caught it from me but in both eyes.

Anyway, I'm hoping that by the time Santa comes all will be well in the health department. I'm thinking this year of going all out and decorating my apartment in a big way, even though we've decided not to have a tree.

Another thing for this goodies. My weight ballooned up to 290 lbs and so I'm keeping all sugar and sweets, except for fruits out of my diet. I've already lost five pounds by doing this so am encouraged. And in January, I enter a weight-loss program run by the hospital, so I'm serious this time.

But I don't think that will ruin my Christmas. I love buying my room mate presents. I've sent a couple of presents to my year old grand nephew and to my step-mom, and I love hearing back whether they like their presents.

We're going to have a proper turkey and dressing and a calm day. So even though things are different this year for us, the spirit is still going to be the same. I'm really going to enjoy it.