Monday, October 31, 2005

Tales of the Daft.

Today I spent four hours in emergency with a child whose parents could not be contacted. The injury wasn’t severe, but I took her there to be on the safe side.
The emergency triage, in da hood, on Halloween.

Need I say more?

We were next door to a seventeen year old who swallowed a bullet “on a dare”.
I found out from his father who was chatting with me while we waited for the Doctor.
Dad said that he thought that bullet swallower was probably going to get x-rays, but what Dad was really hoping for was a complete colonic enema. "That ought to make him think twice" says Dad.
From the bullet swallower to the drunk guy with the gash on his forehead, escorted by police who whined on at 11 decibels about how uncomfortable his shoes were, and how long he would have to wait.
“Whhhyyyy can’t they see me nooooooow? Owwww, owwww…my feet are killing me….Hooooow muuuuch looooooonger?”

I struck up conversation with an EMS guy who was behind me in line while I was waiting to register.
He was escorting someone who seemed to be agitated and passively crazy.
I asked EMS Guy if he was looking forward to tonight, and he said, “HA! I’m off at 7. Besides, tonight’s not that bad. It’s the Saturday night before Halloween that people get drunk and kick the crap out of each other”.
He had just told me that, when his charge (a skinny, dirty guy who looked like a walking, talking cadaver) snuck up to him and announced, “I’ve got to get the shit out of my pants. I’m going to the bathroom”.
“Sure”, says the EMS Guy, as though he had said, "I'm going for a coffee".

About 2 seconds after cadaver had walked down the hall toward the bathroom, EMS Guy says, “I’m going to give him another ten seconds and then I’m going to follow him to make sure he doesn’t get on the streetcar.” I asked EMS Guy if that happened a lot and he said that it did. He said that some people use ambulances like taxis. I asked him who paid for that, and he said, “You and I do”.


While watching the nurses, and other employees in the triage…especially Charles, who tried to direct people, and calm people down, and get them coffee or water or juice while they were waiting.
I couldn’t help but admire their patience.
In the four hours that I was in the triage waiting, I saw Charles verbally abused a number of times, and he continued to smile and be pleasant.
He ran to get a wheelchair and pillow for a guy who continuously called him a “fucking asshole”.

How do they do it?

Oh yes…you have to be a special person to work in the emergency triage in the hood.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

On Beauty
Listening to CBC's Writers & Company this afternoon, and I was lucky enough to catch Zadie Smith interviewed.

I am in love with her.
I now have to find both White Teeth and On Beauty.

She made some very interesting and true observations about life, family, and marriage.
Commenting on marriage, she stated that often people perceive love as something, at the end. Like it's a prize.
A windfall.
We search and search for it, and once we've found it... it's as though people see it in the same way as purchasing an appliance.
That it'll just work for you after you've got it.
When in reality, love is just the beginning of another long and hard road.
That it's hard work, not the "now everything will be just fine" idea that so many people have about it.
That marriage is a "leap of faith" and love being a "life long project".
It's true enough that sometimes love just isn't enough to stay and work at it...especially if you're the only one who's working.
"Rowing the boat with one oar, will find you going in circles", as they say.

Her whole comparison of people seeing others as minor characters in a personal movie, while in reality, we're all minor characters in someone else's movie...amused me.
Her remark about being brought to tears upon seeing beauty in the interactions of people, made me nod my head.
When she said that, I thought about how witnessing strangers connected by beauty restores my faith in the human spirit and condition.
It's those moments that to others mean nothing, but to you are profound.
For me, seeing a father interacting with and loving his child...restores my faith.
It's about personal experience, and how we connect the actions of others to ourselves.
It's about what keeps us going from day to day.

She talked about race, and how she has been ludicrously described as "too white" by many.
She remarked that it was a misguided insult that black people give to each other by equating "educated" with "white". That it was the wrong way for black people to differentiate themselves from white people.

I love her.

Here's a little taste of her on Gordon Coale Weblog...BTW, Zadie is a big fan of blogs too!

In other news,

I rented Born into Brothels, a documentary about the children of Calcutta's red light district.

So sad, but beautiful.
The children amazing, and old in spirit.

Seeing this documentary makes me want to go out and smack spoiled yuppie children more than I already do...and that is saying a lot.

If you're a suck like me, go out and get it.

That's all for now...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday cLiCk Around
Mystic has started a meme and I couldn't resist.
For all of you who ask I will put a movie character or star to your personality as I see it.
Go ahead, put your name in my comments and see what I come up with.

I've posted the link to Found Photos before, but it's worth posting again. Whoever runs it doesn't update as often as they used to, but it's still a great site. Every photo has some strange little quirk in it.

For those of you who have been reading me for a long time, you know that I have this irrational dislike of tacky, pretentious, ego maniac, Puffy/P Diddy/Puff Daddy Combs and Snarkywood has done this hilarious cut up of him.

A Picture's Worth is a collection of photos with personal stories attached. The webmaster approached me last year and asked me to submit a photo and story. I did, but then I hung around and read some of the others and it's really a nice site. I'm glad that my story and photo were accepted and posted. Can you find my story?

Song Facts is a site that tells you little true facts about some of your favourite songs. Careful though, you can easily get stuck there for a long time.

For those of you who live in Toronto, and hate shopping as much as I do....this website will tell you about current sales in and around the city. It's come in pretty handy since I hate shopping, and this site helps cut down on the legwork on getting a deal.

chromasia is the site of David J. Nightingale. Another great photographer.

Retro Blog feeds my love of old photos and pictures from days gone by. Dream Moods helps to make me even more paranoid about my fucked up re-occurring dreams of losing/having my car stolen.

Since I'm thinking about changing our bedroom decor, Glidden has a colour visualizer, so that you don't have to stand around at Home Depot or Rona's paint section for hours.

Beware the lure of TETRIS

That's all for now, kids...

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Feminist Lie
I was reading the paper this morning while waiting for my car to be serviced, and in the business section there was an article (that is not on the Stars' website) about a British ad agency exec who has resigned after some comments made at a conference here in Toronto.
He was responding to a question regarding why women weren't more represented in the ad industry, he made some sort of comment referring to women taking time off to "suckle an infant" or something to that effect.
Everyone was outraged.
Shocked and appalled.

But, really...just because people don't say it, doesn't mean they don't think it.
The great thing about the feminist movement is that it gave women a choice.
You can be a stay at home mom, or you can compete in the business world.
The lie is that they told us we could do both, or rather, we should do both.

It's not humanly possible.
You cannot be a good mother and be the CEO of some huge corporation.
There aren't enough hours in the day.
There isn't enough energy in the universe.
It's not possible to spread yourself that thin.

Everyone works with someone who is absent often because of her kids.
Or needs to leave early because of her kids.
Truth of the matter is... no matter what the human rights commission tells you.
No matter what feminists tell corporation wants an unreliable person in charge.
They want someone who will devote their time and life to the job.
Women with children can't do that.
Not unless you're running a business in an industry that caters to children, where bosses are likely to be more tolerant and flexible. But, unfortunately...if you're in a field that employs predominantly women, you won't be paid as well.

That's a fact.

So let's not drop our briefcases and get our baby wipes in a knot.
Just because no one will say it out loud, doesn't mean that the Grand Fromages of business don't prefer childless women.

Let's not react like this kind of thinking is absurd and unheard of.
Let's be kinder to ourselves and choose one or the other.
Because honey... you can't be perfect at both.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Do Anything for Love…

I know I’m behind the times in talking about Pam Coburn, and her “soulmate” romance with Joseph Carnavale, an employee who reported directly to her at the city of Toronto’s municipal and licensing standards department.

"office romances are an increasing fact of life in the tweny first century, with women increasingly in senior positions in the work force, and with people working long hours."
Says Pam in her official statement to the press.( Read the whole thing here, if you’re so inclined)
Pam…I think I can call her that now that I know personal and intimate details of her life…who is divorced, was defending her decision to cavort with the married Carnavale in her statement.
The reason I bring this up now is because I saw her interviewed on CBC Newsworld on Sunday and I saw in her face, her body language, and in her responses how much she regretted her stupid actions in the name of some office dick.
She says they never had sex, but do you believe her?

I don’t.

I wonder what drives people who have worked hard to get into their positions of power to do stupid things to sabotage themselves.
I mean, it’s not like she lost a job at a McDonald’s drive through.

Have women finally made it so far up the corporate ladder that they have earned that midlife crisis that corporate men are so famous for?
Or do they get so comfortable in their positions that they feel that the rules and protocols of their jobs don’t apply to them?
Especially when you have a job that could land you on the front pages of the newspaper if you fuck up.
And what about Joseph?
How about his wife?
His children?
How about Pam’s kids?
When people do these things, they just don’t think about how they affect others.
Poor kids and wife, bitch slapped by the actions of a self-serving and weak husband or mother.

I don’t feel sorry for Pam or Joseph.
I feel sorry for the people who love them.

P.S., Thanks to all of you for your good wishes yesterday...I really appreciate it...still walkin' the line with you...tanks Got.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday Click Around

The image is from The Labelman. Vintage crate labels. Very nice. It's too bad that most companies don't bother with lovely labels anymore.

Are you like me and wonder how Michael Jackson ended up with white kids? I think we can safely say that Mike has a number of issues. Not living in the same world as the rest of us is only one of them.

I saw a Special K commercial featuring Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. Remember him? I always thought his voice sounded like he sang from his sinuses, but hey...he was wildly popular.
Ever wonder what happened to him?
Wonder no more.
While we're on the topic of 80's balladeers, Check out Paul Young.

While clicking around, I found Boogie: A Photographer. He's amazing, and disturbing, and wonderful. He's got a great section on Balkan Gypsies.
While we're on the Balkans, I see through peoples personal photographs that democracy is finally reaching Balkan partiers. This bunch could have been hanging out with the editors of Vice Magazine.

I love Swapatorium. I admire the industriousness of people who will get up early to go to estate sales and garage sales to find wonderful things.
I also admire the sprawling space they must have to store these items.

I, at times get this wacky idea that I would like to start checking out estate sales, and garage sales...and then I realize that I'd have to get up at the crack of dawn, and probably have to drive really far, and then I am inclined to go on you say?...military shake downs.. GI Parties, if you will, which involves going through every closet and crawl space in the house, and throwing lots of shit out.
Mind you, about six months later...I go looking for that thing that sat in the crawlspace for a decade unused and unneeded, until I threw it out.
So clearly, estate sales and garage sales as a hobby is out of the question for me.

And, last but not least...I think that CBC Sunday programming for television was better while they were on strike.
What does that say?
I wouldn't miss it if CBC television went off the air. I would miss CBC radio though...a lot.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Great Thing About Skipping Thanksgiving...

Is that you get to go away.
The Mister and I skipped the stress of Thanksgiving this year and went to Montreal and Quebec City. We stayed at La vie de château in Montreal, and then did a day trip to Quebec City.

This was our room.
Apparently, every room has a theme. Our room's theme was "Afro-Carib".
The painting above the bed is of a woman from Martinique.

Breakfast in the beautiful dining room was included, and it was a lovely spread of fruit, croissants, various breads, ham, cheese, coffee and orange juice, along with fresh crêpes prepared by our host. A wonderful atmosphere with 1930's and 1940's jazz playing to compliment the Art Deco feel of the decor.
If you look carefully, you can see him in the mirror of the dining room.

Our host Jogues was charismatic, and jovial.
He willingly gave us the history of the house.
It being the house of Mdme Voyer a work shoe tycoon, and society woman.
The house was built at the turn of the century to be a smaller replica of The Canadian Club on Ste Catherines Street of which Mdme Voyer was a member. Jogues and his wife Domenique bought it and restored in in 1998.
They did a great job.
When I took this shot, I said: "Say cheese!" and Jogues said, "SEX!" instead...oh, those Frenchmen!

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we drove up to Quebec City.
Pictured on the hill is Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. A high falutin' hotel overlooking the St. Lawrence.

Here's the route we took to get there...and the view when we got there:

We went to Le musée de la civilisation and The Mister was roughed up by Sherlock Holmes and Detective Columbo who were there to promote the Autopsy Exhibit.

I had dragged The Mister in soley to see "Concours Vie de tsar". Because the giant Babushka nesting egg in front of the museum drew me to it like a 'ho to shiny things.
You gotta love them Russians. Always tellin' you what to do.
Uja's Quick Russian Joke:
"In Russia, there are two 1 which plays propoganda, and channel 2, which shows a guy telling you to turn back to channel 1"
Badda Bum.

Quebec City is very beautiful, and old.
Everyone there is friendly, and thinks they are a comediens, or Canadians oui? ...although, that guy is probably from Ontario.

On the way out of Quebec City, a nice person who was sent by God, told us that we had a bubble in our tire, just before we got on the highway to go back to Montreal. We spent an hour and a half at Canadian Tire getting it fixed.
It's amazing that I can stop a non-English speaker, and simply say "Canadian Tire", and they start with the pointing and giving of directions. We found one very quickly.
We were back on the road in no time.

The Mister and I had a great time doing a lot of other great things while we were in Quebec. Too many things to bore you with here.
But, I'm glad we gave the stress of Thanksgiving a miss this year and did something for ourselves.
Just the two of us.
For a change.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

OK, Mama. I've been 'let go' from three jobs in the past three months. I'm a good worker, I play nice with others, and no one who's fired me has ever been able to give me a good reason for kicking my ass to the curb. Am I chronically unemployable? Am I just bad at picking places to work? Or, is everyone who chooses to employ me a jackass?

Eh, samtimes dees tinks heppen. Mebee, iz yu no choozink da rite place. Mebee yu in too mach rash to fine da jab an nat lookink aroun to see if yu gonna like vorking der.
I don no.
Is nat easy vorkink mid da people. Yu gonna fin sametink. Don vorry.

GravatarCanadian Mark asked:
Hi Mama. I have to quit smoking, but my will power seems to be lacking. I don't do chewing gum, and most pharmeceutical aids cost as much, if not more than the smokes themselves do. Since one of my reasons for quitting is "unaffordability", that option is out for me as well.

What could you suggest that might help me quit this filthy, disgusting, and way too expensive habit?

I read dis artikle an dey sey smokink iz vorse den da heroin to kvit. I use to smoke, bah I stap. I jas decide, an I stap. Mebee yu need to go to da Doktor. Or jas decide slowly to kvit. Tell yuself yu jas gonna kvit for van manths. Tek da maney every day yu vas gonna spen an da tsigarets an put it in da Teem Hortons see hou mach yu gonna save. An den ven yu tek da tsigaret to smoke, yu gonna see hou YAK tis taste. Mebee yu no gonna vanna any more.

Gravatar Hi, Mama,
What are the most important things to teach little girls as they grow up?
My goddaughters are 10 and 12 and I'll be visiting them shortly. Since you did a pretty good job with Radmila, I thought I'd ask you this...

Teach dem da respect. Mek shur dey no dey no cheap. Mek shur dey undestend dat ven da voman mek da decision for hair life, sametimes yu kent chenge den yu life iz mizerable. Men, dey gadda 9 lives, like da kets. If dey decide to go...dey ken make a hole nu life mid da nu family and don look bek. Da voman, she kent do dis. Tis is vai da voman hes to tink harder vadda dey gonna do. Dey heva da bebies...tis is da most important jab.
Dey hev to mek shur. Da voman, she tek ker of da life. Tis is big responsebility.
Very valuable. Tis is vai, da voman mast respect herself...from da beginning.

Hey Mama,

I own a few guns, I used to compete with them but since the birth of our daughter I rarely have time to visit the range these days.

Recently a few family members have made suggestions that it's time to get rid of the guns altogether, implying that our daughter may find them and play with them resulting in a tragic accident.

I take firearms safety very seriously, they are well locked up and I think a burglar would have difficulty getting to them (in fact that's what the locks are designed to prevent), not to mention an infant.

Am I wrong?

Eh, da life is alveys changink.
Vee alveys giving ap tinks ven odde tinks bekam more important. I don like da gans. Bah yu mast no vat yu doink. Vat yu vife sai?

GravatarKatja says:
Mama, I want to know how you stay so GLAMOUROUS! you look divino!

Hahahahah. Ja, she tol me I'm da Zsa Zsa...Hahahah. Tis is ok. Ve from Vojvodina.

Hi Mama.
Long time reader, 1st time asking question. Have really enjoyed this site.
I am 3rd generation Serbian women wishing to salvage some of her heritage. I keep getting dead ends.
Any advice?
Thank you. Amanda Marie

Ah...turd generashon? Hou det heppen? Jao, hou da time go! Ven vee kam, dey was nat too many Serbian peopl here. I tink nou yu ken tek da course in da Serbian. Do det, an den yu gonna meet nu friends hoo are Serbian too.
Bah, yu are Kanadian. Hou you mean da "dead ends?"

There she is folks.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Straight Jacket.

Today I am wearing a jacket that The Mister hates.
He didn't want me to buy it, and this morning I heard endlessly about how ugly it is, and how it'll be out of style in 5 minutes, and how it's hideous, and "how can you wear that thing?".
I like this jacket.
Help me out here people...

On another note...
On this miserable and wet day, I went about running errands this morning and as I was unloading my car from the passenger side, a middle aged Rastafarian man passed, and smiled.

I smiled back and said "Good morning...Oh, I mean afternoon".
He stopped, and turned around to face me and said:
"It doesn't matter whether you say morning or afternoon, it matters that we graciously greet one another. Have a wonderful day!".

He smiled and continued on his way.

I like that.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bias Anti Bias
I’ve been in this field for a long time.

I’ve seen educational fads come and go.
Terms change.
I've been around long enough to see labels be re-labeled..and syndromes pulled out of a hat, only to be stuffed back in and pulled back out later called something completely different.

LD was evolved into Global Developmental Delay, and now that label is changing as well.

“Crippled” went from “handicapped”, to “disabled”, to “people with exceptionalities”, to “special needs”, to “differently abled”.

My point is that things are always changing according to the perceptions and the linguistics of people who have the power to change things.
Sometimes I feel as though the Grand Poobahs of Social Service are constantly struggling to find new "initiatives" to justify thier jobs and create new ones so that they can appoint steering committees while they fly by the seats of their pants straight to the public trough.
I know it sounds cynical, but where there are new and well intended intiatives, there are those all too ready to find a way to take advantage (and not in a good way).
Often, those who stand to benefit most from these programs don't qualify.

In my previous post when I said that we had human rights'ed and politically corrected ourselves into a corner, one of the things I was referring to was that often human rights are, in peoples minds confused with individual preferences.
For example, while I have no right to present Christianity to students, I have free reign to present other religions or alternative lifestyles to them.
That's hypocrisy.
I know some of you are saying "well, there are Catholic schools.."..well, not all Christians are Catholic... I advocate equal time for all faiths in the public school system.
Not the exclusion of one simply because Catholics are representn' in a big way.

I once went to an Anti-Bias Workshop that focused so much on the differences between people of other cultures and traditions that it served to separate and compartmentalize rather than bring people together.
More focus was put on semantics than on the greater problems that separate people.
Spending hours concentrating on minute things like the importance of multicultural paint in the classroom, and the difference between referring to traditional clothing as "dress" instead of "costume", seemed silly and trite to me.

When The Misters family and mine met, it was a grand effort in finding the similarities in our cultures that brought them together, not the seeking out of the differences.
Is the stress on differences bringing us together?
Or is it separating us?

I'm a firm believer in multiculturalism.
But, can we look at positive similarities to bring us together instead of simply focusing on language and overpriced educational products labelled "multicultural", pushed by intellectuals who have in many cases never been front line workers during their entire careers?