Book Hippo

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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Toronto Zoo

Always around this time, when Christmas is just around the corner, I think of something: the Toronto Zoo is open every day except Christmas.

I don't know why I think of that except that I used to go there every two years or so. It's quite a trip from Ottawa. The six hour bus ride to Toronto, then, once in Toronto, a couple of hours ride on another bus to the zoo.

I always caught the Voyager bus in Ottawa at 11:00 PM. I figured I could sleep all  night and wake up refreshed at my destination. One year I got on the bus and a little, slim drunk got on behind me.

"Let's get rolling. I want to go to Toronto." He chirped happily. Then he said it again two minutes later and a couple of minutes after that, too. In fact he kept on all the way to Kingston, Ontario, merrily calling out, "Let's get rolling. I want to go to Toronto."

At Kingston, there is a stop at an overnight diner where passengers can get something to eat and drink. Most people got off to get something. The little man did, too. He got a pie and headed back to the bus with his plate and pie.

I was sitting there when another passenger came up to complain about him, then another man came up.

"People like that need their own bus. They need their own bus company and their own bus." This man looked like a nice man, a decent hard-working man, but he was very angry. We all got back on the bus.

The little man was still eating his pie when the bus pulled out. I wondered if he knew that he wasn't supposed to eat on the bus or take the plate with him. When he finished he lay the plate on the seat next to him and went to sleep.

I couldn't sleep right away and didn't get to sleep until 3:00 AM. I woke up as the bus parked in Toronto. I waited for the man to start cheering or something but he just got off and walked away. I drifted over to the all-night cafe. It was 5:00 AM. I never saw the little man again. He was not on the bus home.

I went the zoo and took photos of the animals. I was into painting then and wanted to have some of my own photos to work from instead of getting a magazine.

But I'll never forget  my bus ride to Toronto that December.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ferguson Falls

In watching the marches about Ferguson I began to realize that I don't really know much about racism in America. They say stop shooting black men. So are they saying that the authorities are terrrorizing black men or are they saying that they are so afraid of black men that their first response is to shoot them?

The first one is unacceptable. So is the second one but in that case, maybe you can change attitudes. It's been done before. I think in America, the fear is based on the fact that everyone has a gun and can use it.

We see that is true in all the mass shootings, even though black men do not seem to be doing these shootings. All the culprits I remember are white. But I think that is still the fear.

In Canada, blacks claim to be discriminated against, too. I always say that I don't see it and they laugh at me. But I've changed my mind about that and now think they're right.

Up in the Great White North, however, I believe racism is based on cultural reasons. Most of the early Canadians were from England or Scotland and these ethnic cultures were considered 'Canadian'.

The Irish, the Quebecois and everyone who came after has felt the sting of not 'being Canadian' because of their culture.

Take Sikhs for instance, they wanted to wear their turbans and carry their ceremonial knives when they became cops. They weren't allowed. Not Canadian. Not turbans certainly. That's foreign. So they took it to court and won. Now Sikh mounties wear their turbans with a yellow band around it to designate who they are.

I passed one on the street and noticed his ceremonial knife and warrior-caste certainty that anyone who made trouble would find himself in a bad place. They are such good cops that it makes me glad such a small thing was solved.

As far as blacks are concerned, the main problem seems to stem from the fact that they still think about slavery. I've met many people upset about that and I never took it as racism before. But then I thought about the saying, 'those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it' and thought, well they're saying that it's not going to happen again and they're remembering history, right? That's what we're told we should be doing, right.

So that's what it's like to remember, to be angry and aware. Is that a bad thing?

But I do know that there are many people who are not racist, who love black people as they love East Indians and all others. And I'm glad to say a lot of those work in book stores. I love people into books and non-racists, too.

I'm just hoping that this ethnic idea of Canada falls, that other cultures dances and such will be seen as Canadian, too. I mean, Vietnamese love Canada as  much as the next person so shouldn't their culture be considered 'Canadian', too?  I think so.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Wrong Convictions

Detective Nicholas Power. Wait...who?

He was once known as the Sherlock Holmes of the maritimes and had a %100 case solved rate. Fantastic, right?

Well. A researcher has gone in and looked at all his cases and researched his life. Remember Princess Diana? How she had to read all the newspapers for what they said about her and was affected if it was bad?

That was the same state of mind of Detective Nicholas Power. And he must have been severely flawed because he would do anything to get those good press stories about himself.

I'll explain. His method of crime solving was to look at the evidence, such as it could be collected in the late 1800's, then think about who had done it. Once he decided a certain person was guilty, he happily suppressed contrary evidence that proved innocence and coerced witnesses to lie.

He would do anything to support his decision of who the guilty party was. A good book written about this is The Lynching Of Peter Wheeler. He was accused by Powers of murdering a girl. He had been to see her the night before, in the morning when he went back, Peter found her murdered.

The problem is, she was seen alive after he left her and his whereabouts are definitively known from that time on. He went home and everybody saw him there. There's no way he could have killed the girl. But he hung based on what Nicholas Power said and did.

Did I mention that all the people hung because of Detective Power were dark-skinned?

This cop had a definite Jim-Crow darkness inside of him.

It's not that we can bring them back or change history in any way but I do think that it is time to have a good look at these old cases. It is thought now that not one of Power's suspects was guilty. He made the whole thing up.

The sad thing is, these men are still considered guilty, their cases still on the books at the National Archives. It really is time to change history.

I would feel a lot better if history could give these men back their good names.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Domestic Violence

While watching a television show I'd never seen before, a lady guest came on who said she had started a movement to end domestic violence and the blaming of victims.
Sounds good, right?

Well, I have to say, I don't believe the gallant solution will work, ever. I mean, there are  just some people who have problems who stay in dysfunctional relationships. Men, too, stay when they shouldn't. After all, why would anyone want to live a life where you have to hit another person to get them to do what you want?

And there's another reason why the law can't start making things safe for only women. You shouldn't hit a woman, right? But how about women who think it's cute and funny to smash a fist into their boyfriend's face just because he spoke to another girl.

You can't ever dismiss the reality that people will take advantage of any law that favors them. How about a jealous girlfriend who deletes her boyfriend's computer work? Is that to be condoned? It may not sound like domestic violence but it is an assault on personal property and intellectual property.

I'm just saying that as long as society 'gets away with what it can' there isn't going to be any solution to any problem because as soon as you make a law, people will twist it.

Canadians should remember the days when anyone under fourteen could not be charges with a crime. The law was to prevent older people using kids for crime purposes. Instead you have ten year olds stealing cars and such.

So to me, no gallant solution, 'never hit a woman' will get rid of domestic violence. We just somehow have to accept that a lot of people are dysfunctional and address the roots of the family problem that creates abusers and victims.

Captivating Tales is available for download now,

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Post-Halloween, Pre-Christmas

November. I can't remember much going on for this month. Lately, there's been Movember where men grow moustaches, but of course, I can't do that.

I try to think back to when I was a kid to remember what I thought about November then. After Halloween, Thanksgiving (Canadian) and my brother's birthday in October, there's not much. I just had to last until December when the really good stuff begins.

Ten days off from school, prezzies, the tree and lights and dinner with grandma and grandpa and any other family present in White Rock for the season.

So what's to look forward to in November for Canadians who don't have Thanksgiving that month?

Well, there's the weather. It's not too cold. It's not too snowy. Just enough to get kids going with the snowplay. For winter athletes it's a great time, skating, skiing, snowmobiling.

I never did any of those when I was a kid. But there was the fun of going to the beach. Okay it was cold. But the waves were much bigger in winter and it could be lots of fun.

I guess I see November as a preparation month. Preparing for winter play, preparing for a great holiday. All the same, I'm glad it's almost over for another year.

Oh, and one last thing, Captivating Tales is a 6-in-1 tween/Young Adult book package of over 1000 pages for $1.99 for Black Friday until December 2nd. So that's one good thing for me this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Upper Roper Millionaire

So I was finished my writing for the day a few days ago, and I thought I'd type in my old address in White Rock, just to see the photos of it.

We lived on Upper Roper Ave. in an old house with a post coming up through the floor. Dad got a loan from the bank and he built, or had built, a house in the backyard. We then pulled down the house we were in and moved back.

It had four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It had a fireplace.

I remember it as a nice house, one that was well heated, unlike our old one, and big enough to move around in a bit.

Dad built it for $10,000 dollars. When I last checked it in the summer, it had sold for $780,000 dollars. From such humble beginnings.

But I enjoyed looking at the photos to see what had changed and what others had added so I brought it up again.

It seems the guy who bought it in April had flipped it. He had re-done so much that it was listed as being built in 2014. I don't know how much work it takes to make something forty years old be listed as new but I know it now has six bedrooms and two kitchens. It has a basement now, something we never had at all.

It's price is over $3,000,000 dollars. Wow. I don't know if Dad is looking down from beyond at his old house. I don't know if spirits care about such things. But if he were alive I'd tell him just to get his reaction.

Just as an aside. We have bundles from MuseItUp Publishing. My story, Beggar Charlie is bundled with five others and the whole package of over 1000 pages is only $1.99. Here's the link if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I watched the Remembrance Day service on TV today. It made me think of my grandfather, who fought in the British army. He was in Salonika which never gets any airtime, even in shows about WWI.

The one thing I think is that although for the rest of us, the war ended on such and such a date, for the soldiers, it never ends. My grandfather couldn't stand to kill anything after he came to Canada, even when he had to put meat on the table.

They lived in the woods so they had to get their own meat. Grandpa had others shoot his game for him.

Another thing, he hated mules. They had a mule train in Salonika and he claimed the officers treated the mules better than the enlisted men. So a perfectly harmless animal became his bug-a-boo. Also, he was bitten by a mosquitoe and came down with malaria. This weakened his heart which was the reason he came to Canada.

He was also in France, almost killed, he was only saved because he had swapped belt buckles with an Australian. At one time he was reported killed and a note sent to my grandma, but it was another Albert Edward Smith who had been killed.

I don't want to go on and on, it's just that we should remember all those who can't sleep at night or other symptoms of war shock, etc, all the time, not just on one day. I often think of my grandfather and what he went through and am very grateful for his sacrafice of his mental health for us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Purity Movements

Because I don't think like other people on certain issues, I've learned to keep my mouth shut a lot. But I have an interest that I can't keep quiet about because I'm not sure of the answer.

You see, humans seem to have always had a belief that they can purify themselves and I wonder what it is they're feeling when they think they're pure.

For instance, Native Americans used to burn tobacco to purify. Tobacco? The cancer-causing plant? Pure? They're not the only ones. Think of today's vegetarians. They firmly believe they can purify their bodies by abstaining from meat and processed foods.

While I think they do have a healthy diet. I just don't see how they can feel they are pure. In fact, what is purity anyway? Humans are secretions, oils, waste and dead skin. How can any living human be pure?

I say I keep my mouth shut. Mostly because people are offended by what they consider purity. As the religious sex taboos. They think I'm talking Victorian morality here and though that is also a purity movement, I don't understand why they assume I agree with purity movements when I say I'm fascinated by the idea of them but that's how people take it.

They think I agree that someone who sins and then confesses and does penance can somehow be made pure. My thought is, I don't understand what they suppose purity is but somehow, every human civilization has this concept. It goes around and around and around.

Like the temperance movement of the nineteenth century. Leeching or letting out bad blood in medicine.

I'll have to do some more thinking about this to figure it out but until I do, I'll just keep my lips zipped.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


It's old age, or older age. What I'm talking about is those days when I wake up with a headache because sometime during the  night my spine twisted on my pillow.

It happens when you get older that things don't hold together as well as before. Now as far as my spine is concerned, I've always had problems with a twisted spine. But when I was young,  my body compensated for it. I did have problems with walking sometimes but not all the time.

Most often, I was well and able to do what I wanted. My chiropractor fixed the whole thing but now, because I'm older, it doesn't take much to push it out of wack and give me grief.

There are a lot of other things that go wrong when you're older, too. Your eyesight, for one. I used to be able to read the bus numbers even when the bus was five blocks away. No more. Now I have trouble focusing on anything near and far. I have to take my glasses off the read the small print on medicine bottles and the like. You know that small print.

It takes me back to the days my grandmother would ask me to read the small print on her labels. I felt handy doing it but wasn't quite convinced that old age would ruin your eyes. I determined that wouldn't happen to me.

And then there's skin things. Little white patches of dead skin that appear on your legs and other places. Skin tags and brown blotches along with little burst blood vessels.

No, old age is no place for beauty. Beauty is definitely a young person's game, sometimes it's the only thing they've got because they haven't lived enough to have anything else.

I'll just mention one more thing about old age. Arthritis. Well, you can have that when you're young but mostly it's for old people. I have in in my knee and hands and when I'm really old, I doubt whether I'll be able to pick up my coffee cup or type.

So I guess old age  is the time for memories, of remembering all the fun and wonderful parts of your life. That's the one thing I can look forward to.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

People's Couch

I think I would agree that Canadian television has improved. When I was a child, all we really had was Hockey Night In Canada and Wayne And Shuster specials. Both were awful.

Now, there's Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys. One, about a small town in Saskatchewan and the other, a trailer park in Nova Scotia. Okay, they're silly but better than Wayne and Shuster.

But far and away the best show is People's Couch. This little show from Toronto has cameras set up in people's home and taped them watching television. Yes. A show about watching television.

So why do I like this show? It taught me something.

I remember a movie, the monster tears open the side of a building and there's a family watching television, they're so glued to the tv that they don't notice the monster or the hero fighting it.

And that was my view of myself. A slightly vacant, staring with dead eyes at the screen, person who should be doing something.

So what does People's Couch teach? That people are engaged while watching tv. Their eyes are full of twinkling interest as they lean forward, they laugh, they smile. They engage with each other. And forget the idea that they're not aware of their surroundings.

Also, one older lady and her husband were watching a show where a gay guy tries to commit suicide after not being able to change, like his psychiatrist wanted him to. The lady comments that gays are the bravest people because everyone was against them. Now where, if not television, would she have got that information?

So knowing now that my idea of myself was skewed, that I'm not a blob in front of the tv makes me feel better and I wonder how I missed it. Now I'm a proud couch potato.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Syndrome Syndrome

I've had a joke for many years. Whenever I'm asked about something that went on that for some reason I didn't know about, I say I don't know because I have Schultz Syndrome. You remember Sargeant Schultz, don't you? He was a character on Hogan's Heroes and whenever Hogan or one of his boys did something that would embarrass the Germans if they knew about it, Schultz would say, in his guilt. "I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing." Thereby he wasn't responsible for what went on.

So I'm joking right. But I'm finding that young people have no idea who Schultz is. They take it seriously. 'Really, I've never heard of that. Is it like ADD?" Or some such comment. Then others accuse me of being an idiot when I explain it, it seems I have to also explain it's a joke.

I mean, there is a Peter Pan Syndrome, right? For real. Thought up by a genuine psychologist. In fact, these days, there's a syndrome for everything.

My sister isn't fooled. Once someone asked if her grandson had a reading syndrome because he never reads books. A reading syndrome? No, he's just a kid who doesn't like to read. There have no doubt been thousands of kids throughout history who didn't like to read. A lot who didn't like school, too, without having a syndrome.

Back to my joke. It's also a statement about how so many normal things are considered syndromes now-a-days. So I've thought up a new syndrome, called Syndrome Syndrome, it's the need for people to find and explain everything by way of a syndrome.

Or, the inability to see one's annoying behaviour as an extension of their annoying personality. And I think we all have it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Enjoy Yourself

I love it when it's early in the morning. The first light is coming up. People are starting to stir outside. However, I also like the night and used to refer to myself as a night owl.

As a child, I was often awake far into the night, watching the trees across the street sway in the wind. I thought it was great to be awake when everyone else was asleep. My parents didn't.

And then, the daytime is a great time, too. It's time to go out and about and get some things done, like shopping for food or any other chore you need to do. And chores needn't be onerous. They are great ways to get out and maybe take a break in a cafe.

So my problem is I don't really want to sleep because I like all parts of the day. But then, I like to sleep when I have to.

This is not really as confusing as it sounds and I bet there are a lot of people like me out there.

So I'm meandering again. I'm looking forward to this day, it's going to be a nice one. Sunny, like my favorite days in White Rock were. But then, I like snow, too and it's getting close to the time when snow is going to be coming down.

It's funny how location can change your mind. I White Rock, BC, I loved the snow coming down. It was so beautiful. In Ottawa, people gripe about the snow and the trouble it causes. But when I visit Smith Falls in winter, everything is like it was in White Rock. The same feelings are there about winter's beauty.

That's because all is slower paced in Smith Falls.

So as long as I enjoy everything right now, I may as well get to it. Cheers. You guys enjoy yourselves, too.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Shopping Adventure

I love 'mini-adventures' as much as I love 'mini-vacations'. When I was young, I used to read all about trekking and canoeing and such and plan to go 'someday'. I never went on a big adventure although I did go up to Algonquin Park for a couple of months in the eighties.

I enjoyed these times but because of my knee, I won't be able to go again.

So I do like going about Ottawa to different places and seeing what I can see.

Today I thought I would go up to Parliament Hill but then decided to go in the opposite direction. I rarely go that way and thought I would like to go to the health food store and see if I could find Garden Burgers, which are supposed to be healthy and  low calorie.

I found all kinds of amazing foods. Pancake mixes that were quite inexpensive, and muffin mixes that were low calorie. But the best thing I found was their meat section. They had bison steaks and bison burgers. Yum. Yum. I love bison meat. And it's not any more expensive than at the meat market.

I'm definitely going back to buy some bison meat when I get my next cheque and maybe some pancake mix, too. Now if I could only get low-calorie syrup.

I can't wait for my next adventure.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inaptitude Test

When I was in my last year of high school, the powers that be decided all the students should take and aptitude test. To see what profession we would find success in and I'm guessing, be happy in.

Imagine my surprise when my aptitude came back for music. I never played an instrument except for a recorder in elementary school. But the results were clear. I should become a musician.

Now, sometimes I'm not too quick on the uptake, so I didn't realize that aptitude tests are largely unreliable. I set out to buy and learn how to play guitar. How exciting. Surely I would be discovered in two weeks and become a millionaire in about a month.


What I found was... I'm not the least interested in music. I couldn't stop yawning as my teacher explained sevenths. I'm still not sure what they are. And practice? Why on earth would I do that?

In fact, I learned really quick that it's very hard to play well and if you do want to be good at it, you have to dedicate your life and time to it. There's no such thing as a part-time guitar player.

You have to train your ears so you know what note is being played when you hear a song. Sounds obvious, right? Well, I had thought so little of anything to do with music that I hadn't even considered how much time it takes to be at a professional level.

But it took me years to decide I shouldn't play at all. I sold my guitar here in Ottawa and I hope the person who got it enjoyed it. It's been through a lot.

Advice: don't listen to aptitude tests.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Birthday Trick

A lot of people will tell you that playing tricks on children by adults is cruel. But I also know a  lot of mothers, rather than argue, will tell a lie to their children to make things go smoother.

Once, my brother caught a frog. I wanted to keep it in my room and my mother agreed. I was ecstatic. We got a big metal box and put plastic over it with a rubber band to keep it tight. When I woke up, the frog was gone. For years I wondered how it got away until I figured out that my mother knew I was a heavy sleeper and let me have it in my room so she could come it and take it out and let it go.

When I was a girl in the sixties, my birthday was coming up one year. In a store at the bottom of the hill was a doll. About eighteen inches tall. She was dressed as a cowgirl with a fringed skirt and plastic cowboy boots.

I fell in love with this doll at first sight. I asked my mom to buy it for me. No, she said it cost too much. For my birthday? No, too expensive.

One day I walked by the store and it wasn't in the window anymore. I was heartbroken. I had planned to save the money for her. I told my mom. Someone must have bought it. she said.

On my birthday I was handed a box about eighteen inches long. In it was the doll. My mother had bought it for  me after all. I was ecstatic, thank you, thank you. We never said I love you in my family but thank you was okay.

Now some people I tell have said my mother was cruel to play that kind of trick. I don't know, I remember that birthday above all others.

Friday, August 22, 2014

George Harry Michael McLaughlin

I've always admired my Dad. He had a hard childhood because his mother was very sick and could not take care of him properly and his father drank. On the good side, his father had many sisters (there were thirteen children in his family) and they filled in the gaps.

When my father, Harry, was sixteen, his mother died. He signed up with the Royal Canadian Air Force and went overseas where he met my mother, also in the RCAF.
They married in France and my sister was born there. She is still a dual citizen because once you're born in France, you never lose your citizenship.

At the time, there was much discrimination against women so my mother was discharged from the RCAF. In 1961, my father resigned from military life and we moved to BC. We had come back from France. My brother was born in Ottawa, ON and I was born in Thunder Bay, ON.

In BC Dad began work for Customs and Immigration and worked at Pacific Highway and Douglas Border Crossing. I can still remember his black pants and white shirt that was the uniform of a customs officer at the time. Now it's blue.

He was a great manager and was soon supervisor. I think he liked that as he could put his foot down when people grew unruly.

Take Bill Cosby. A great comedian, we had all his records. But apparently, he's not such a nice guy. Miserable, is what my father said. He met a lot of celebrities when they came through the border to do a gig.

There was one form to sign. Dad went to Bill Cosby. Just sign here and you'll be on your way, he told him. A signature was needed.

My agent signs for me, was the answer.

This went on until Bill Cosby pulled himself up. Do you know who I am? He asked.

I don't care if you're God almighty, you're not going through until you sign this form.

Bill Cosby signed. It's good to have power. Some people can be difficult, not just celebrities. One hippie guy in the sixties took his clothes off and climbed up a tree. He was on LSD. There was no way to get  him down. The officers called and negotiated but to no avail. He wanted to stay up in the tree with his pregnant girlfriend sitting right under him.

Finally the firemen were called and with their ladders, removed him. He was sent back to the USA.

So, my point is, with all the trauma my father suffered, he still became a capable and good man. He always came home. He took us places and let us experience the world.

I've always been happy to know that just because you start out in life in a bad place doesn't mean you have to stay there.

RIP George Harry Michael McLaughlin

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sitting In The Rain

Rain, rain, rain. Then more rain. All this week it's going to be raining, lots of drops pouring down. Truly, I don't mind. It's nice to stroll in the rain, watch the clouds rush by way up high in the sky. And sit outside my favourite cafe, La Prep.

I've been going there for years, from before it was owned by the present guy. Just to skip subjects for a moment. I watch movies sometimes when I'm at home and finished my writing stint for the day.

I especially like what they used to call B movies or TV movies. A lot of these are filmed in Ottawa and one, called, Do You Know Me? was filmed partly in White Rock, BC where I grew up.

One day I watched The Boy I Met Online. Part of it was filmed in La Prep. I recognized the old interior that was there when the previous owner had it and excitedly waited for the credits. I wasn't disappointed. They thanked Javid by name.

It's a nice place now but Javid had a few extras. Like a shelf with books you could take home and keep if you wanted and if you wanted to give a book away, you just put it on the shelf and someone would take it and read it. I loved that.

So today, I went there in the rain and sat outside watching it come down. People passed, all in their own heads tucked under their umbrellas. Some wheelchair people scooting past. It's a great way to pass the time for a writer, I can make up stories about the people who pass, guess what their jobs are and what their lives are like.

I just hope that anyone who wants to enjoy a day, has a place like La Prep to sit at and visit.

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mall Music

This might just be a terrible confession, the kind to turn all against me, but I have to say it. I hate songs. Not all the times. I realize there are many great songs and lyrics but I mean, I hate going into a mall or restaurant and hearing some pop song. It's like being tortured.

Anyone who worked during the eighties should remember when they pumped musack throughout the workspace and how everyone suffered, not being able to shut it off.

That's how I feel when I go to the mall and hear Joe Popstar being blared at me.

Now before you think I'm anti-music, I will say that I would love to hear any kind of music, no lyrics, when I'm sitting there or shopping. For some reason, taking away the lyrics decreases the songs power to annoy (for me).

But one place I do love music is on television. Especially background music. Scene: two male guppies pressing their mouths together, spinning around and around. Music: thumping, heart-beating war music.

It's great. Otherwise, it would just be two tiny fish and, so what that they fight. The music makes all the difference. Music is such a mood lifter that I'm happy to watch tv and feel whatever the music wants me to feel. It just adds so much to any program.

Now if malls and shops would only switch over to instrumentals I would be really happy at the mall.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Folk Remedies

On a day not so long ago, I was making stew. Some of it splashed out and burned my finger. Wow, did it hurt. I was watching carefully to see if I would need medical care for it and I couldn't help thinking of, first, my mother and second, my late landlady.

Before I was born, when my brother was just crawling, my mother was cooking something in her deep-fry pot. This was a large steel pot with a mesh steel strainer. You could put your potatoes in the mesh strainer and lower them into the spitting, hot oil. It had an electric cord attached because you had to plug it in.

I think you know where I'm going. My brother sat on the floor, and interested in the wire, pulled the whole bubbling, spitting oil down on himself.

My mother picked up a sack of flour and dumped the whole thing on his head. He only had a scar on his chin. He grew up with no disfigurement at all. That was my first lesson in 'folk' medicine.

Years later in Ottawa I lived on a street named James Street. A girl named Karen  lived there also. She had a cup of tea and spilled the whole thing in her lap. She let out a yell and went running to our landlady who hurriedly cut some raw potatoes and put them on the burns.

Later, Karen went to the hospital where they diagnosed third-degree burns. The end of this tale is, when she healed, there were no scars. Was it the potatoes? Another 'folk' remedy.

I don't really know if these remedies work, I only know that if I had had raw potatoes when my stew slopped over, I would have used them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cold Ottawa

It's cold in Ottawa. Well, not too cold. I wore a dress out today with no coat, but the wind was blowing and some people were chilled. I'm only saying this because we haven't had much luck with our weather this spring. Lots of rain (all this week) and lots of cold.

On this last weekend, I was in Smith's Falls visiting a friend of mine. We went out to Perth to take a look at the Maple Festival they have there. I enjoyed it, but it rained and was so cold. My sweater-coat was soaked. Thankfully, the skies quit spitting at us and the last part of the festival was nice.

There was lots of maple syrup there. In big $65.00 jugs and small pints. I didn't buy any. I bought a homemade whole wheat bread to support Perth's library and some cookies. All the booths were interesting and some farm brought two alpacas with them. So cute.

The best part was when I came home and looked up my stats (ranking) on amazon. I had gone up. This is due to a site named goodkindles, I'm including a link at the bottom for you to look at if you wish.

It only goes to show that when you stay home all the time, things don't happen, you have to get out and walk around and relax. At least, I'll treat that like it's true from  now on.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Between Tweens - Middle-Grade Author Suzanne de Montigny

This is the last interview in the Between Tween mini blog hop. This week I've interviewed Suzanne de Montigny. I must apologize first because our internet is down, I'll put on bio at a later date. Thanks

1. Please give us an idea of what your story is about from your main character's perspective.
A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.
Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young, clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change to their world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. But nothing compares to the danger when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley, and their leader discovers the healing power in the unicorns’ horns. Greedy and ruthless, Ishmael will stop at nothing in his pursuit of wealth – even the complete extinction of the herd. Azaria must find a way to outsmart Ishmael before it’s too late.
2. How long was the process for this book, like how long from idea to finish did it take?
In all honesty, about forty years if you take into account that the story is based on a novella I wrote when I was in grade six. But once I began writing it again, it took me about four years before it was published. That’s because I was learning to write properly. Now it doesn’t take me anywhere near as long to finish a book.
3. Do you write in the mornings or evenings or whenever you like?
I write in the morning when my mind is fresh as a daisy. If I write continuously until my boys come home, I’m usually pretty exhausted and can’t think anymore. That’s when I take a nap.

4. Do you have an ambition to write a paper novel some day?
Absolutely! It’s challenging selling ebooks to middle grade kids. They still like paperbacks.

5. What do you like about MuseItUp Publishing?
All the care and attention I get from other authors. They’ve been such a great help. It’s so nice to be part of such a large family of authors.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Between Tweens - Middle Grade Author Sandy Carlson

This is the second week of Between Tweens. If you read the last week, you'll be familiar with the questions. These are Sandy's answers.

S.L. Carlson is a former elementary teacher, singer, and adventurer. She's been a member of SCBWI since 2009. Her first MG fantasy, Star Opening, came out last fall. Her tween fantasy, War Unicorn, is set to be released this summer with Muse It Young.

 1. Please give us an idea of what your story is about from your main character's perspective. I found a stupid ring buried in the ground and now this rude unicorn feels like she’s the boss of me. Take her to the king? Well, which king? There are many. (from Reginald in War Unicorn)
2. How long was the process for this book, like how long from idea to finish did it take? From writing the first sentence(which changed a few times) to sending back the editor’s revision notes, War Unicorn has taken about five years in the making.
3. Do you write in the mornings or evenings or whenever you like? I never get to write whenever I like. I write when our one and only computer is free and when I’m doing the gazillion things I’ve committed to.
4. Do you have an ambition to write a paper novel some day? I sure do. And I have done so. I've published 4 books with The Merry Viking Publishing House, and someday hope to have War Unicorn also in print.
5. What do you like about MuseItUp Publishing? Hands down, the answer to that question has to be the people. From the editors to the fellow authors. There is much encouragement and cheering on. I’m delighted to be part of the family.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Between Tweens - Middle-Grade Author Heather Fraser Brainerd

Hi all. This week, and the next two weeks following, I will be posting interviews in a series called Between Tween. There are four of us, myself, Heather Brainerd, Sandy Carlson And Suzanne De Montigny. My upcoming ebook in a tween adventure and the other three are middle-grade authors. In this series we discuss our books and writing experiences.

The Between Tweens concept is that each of us come up with five interview questions, each week we post the answers of one of us until all have been interviewed by the others. The links to the other blog is posted at the bottom. 

Heather Fraser Brainerd has been writing since she was a child. After careers in both the insurance industry and early childhood education, she began writing again. Her published works include the YA paranormal romance Dream Shade and the first two books in the José Picada, PI series, Deception Al Dente and The Sound of Sirens. The José series, which is paranormal mystery for grown-ups, is co-written by Heather's brother, David Fraser. Heather and David's first MG novel, Shadows of New York, will be released in 2014.

Here's the interview

Please give us an idea of what your story is about from your main character's perspective.
In Shadows of New York, Josh Cooper is tired of getting new nannies all the time. His mom is pretty picky, though, so he doesn’t really have a choice. This time something is different: the new nanny is a dude. This surprise, however, pales in comparison to the supernatural secret that the male nanny – or “manny” – shares with Josh.

Press ? for keyboard shortcuts.

How long was the process for this book, like how long from idea to finish did it take?
Oh my gosh, that’s a good question! I think it took a couple of years. My brother David Fraser and I co-wrote Shadows of New York. During the process, we published two other books together, Dave published a short story, I published a novel, Dave started writing a novel that’s almost done, and we wrote another novel together. So it’s been a busy couple of years.

Do you write in the mornings or evenings or whenever you like?
I write whenever I can find time, which usually tends to be mid-day.

Do you have an ambition to write a paper novel some day?
Actually, I think that Shadows of New York would be great in print.

What do you like about MuseItUp Publishing?
 I love the people! It’s such a supportive, creative environment. When I signed on with MIU, I had no idea that it would lead to friendships all over the world. What a blessing that has been!

Here are some links you can find Heather's books at.