Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The other night, The Mister watched Cinderella Man and mentioned that it was filmed in Toronto.
I thought I had read something about the use of Sully's Gym on Queen Street West, and The Mister and I had a conversation about Sully.
I remember him when I was a young girl.
I remember him being a fixture at the Northgate Restaurant counter at Lansdowne and Queen.
I remember him being a kind man.
Us kids used to joke around with him and he used to tell us to "stay outta trouble!".
He was a character.
A larger than life old school boxer with a squished nose, large sunglasses with a pinkish tone, lots of bling and advice.

He was the chain smokin' King of Queen Street.

And when we saw him, he'd always say "how's it goin? Stayin' outta trouble?"
My Sully story happened when I was in ninth grade, and it is great in the sense of stories of neighbourhood legends that are true.
It was always said that Sully looked tough, but he had a big soft heart, and it was true.

One Saturday, I was having french fries and gravy with my friend Patty, nursing my coke as we did back then, alternating between hanging at the Northgate or the Skyline restaurant.
Sully was sitting in his spot at the counter drinking coffee and talking to the owner.
I was telling my friend about how it was my mothers birthday, and how I didn't have any money to buy her a gift.
Sully overheard me and called me over.
He shoved a twenty in my hand and told me to buy something nice for my "Ma", and told me not to argue with him.
Just like that.
Twenty bucks back then was a lot of money.
Sully was a lot of man.

This story, and a hundred others is why I've got a soft spot for Parkdale.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tell Me Quando, Quando, Quando

Last weekend, The Mister and I had dinner with Mr and Mrs Mystic.
Mr. Mystic presented me with a few CD's and one of them was a compilation of the music my mother loved as a young woman.
Listening to this CD sent me looking for Warwick/Bacharach, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink songs.
The funny thing about this music is that if you gave me a title, I would be lost on the lyrics...But, put the tune on and I'll sing along like a fucking savant.
I downloaded some Jones/Humperdink, and while I was listening to "Please Release Me" and "Quando, Quando, Quando".
In my minds eye, I saw my beautiful young mother, and my exotic Tetka Milena together in our apartment on Spencer Avenue, both with a cigarette in one hand and a Czechoslovakian cut crystal tumbler in the other, singing at the top of their lungs and laughing.

It's funny how a couple of songs can start a black and white 8mm film to start in my head.
I've been playing Mystics CD, and the one I compiled. Listening to them in my car and reliving my mothers' youth.

Do you associate your mothers youth (and your own childhood) with music?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pestilence: The Third Horseman of The Apocalypse.
I'm seeing more and more very young children with their hair dyed, and piercings.
This concerns me, even though it's none of my business.
Partially because it tells me that parents are either overcompensating by giving their children any and every whim that farts into their kids heads, or many of todays parents are so young themselves that they don't know what the fuck they're doing.

Firstly, just in the area of health..I don't agree with a growing child chemically altering anything on their bodies. I know we take this for granted because we are so bloated with our own importance and what we think looks cute, that we don't consider that dyeing hair is chemically altering the natural elements that maintain lustre and elasticity of the hair. I don't agree with allowing your child to fuck up their hair.
When they grow up, they can feel free to do it if they like.
If you want to be responsible for one more item on that list of "How my parents fucked me up" that was avoidable, this would be one of them.

On the other hand, whatever happened to looking forward to something?
"Oh, when I'm 16, I'm going to..."
Everything seems to be immediate for kids these days. If they want it, it's theirs and then we wonder why they're bored and angry or sometimes suicidal by the time they're 16 or 17.
There's nothing to look forward to.

Do you remember that old Twilight Zone episode where the main character is a gambler who is being granted everything he wants in "Heaven"?
Later when he's bored and going out of his mind with it, he inquires of his manservant, "What kind of Heaven is this?" and his manservant replies, "What made you think this is Heaven?"

We're putting this generation in the Twilight Zone of life, giving them everything and not teaching them to deal with disappointment, or having to hear "no" on occasion and sticking to it...and then when they grow up to be young adults, they can't cope because the world is full of disappointments and "no's".
I know this sounds simplistic, and I know that children are dealing with different issues nowadays, but I also know that many parents are afraid to disappoint their children and think that it's better to be thought of as "cool" than it is to help build character in.
Children are allowed to make adult decisions before they are fully aware of what they are deciding.
I don't think that an eight year old should be allowed to decide about getting his/her hair dyed or nose pierced.
I think that a parent who allows it, whether they are living an alternative lifestyle or not is being irresponsible.

That's all for now....

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Boys Without Dads
Illustration: Daniel Ferguson

I've been hearing the fuss about Maverick Moms by Peggy Drexler.
Lesbian and single moms who are raising boys with no male in the house.

What Drexler aims to prove in her book is quite provocative.

I've no doubt that children raised by gay couples are no less fucked up than children raised by heterosexuals.
For the simple reason that gay people have issues just like straight people do.

Children raised without a father (yin/yang if you like) in my experience have multiple issues. Maybe that's because of society's portrayal of the nuclear family.
Maybe it's to do with the religious right.
Maybe it has to do with potatoes in Poland...

Whatever the reasons, I think that the idea of "Maverick Moms" is an interesting one, since all moms are forced by their circumstances to be mavericks in one way or another.
My mom was a maverick too, only not in the way that Drexler describes.
What immigrant woman in the early 1970's leaves a man who treated her like shit, goes back to school, and raises a child with no support or welfare, or child tax benefit?
I think that single moms have always been mavericks, be they lesbian or not.

For Drexler to say:
"Yes, lesbians and single mothers can raise boys without a man in the house, and by doing so, these women are breeding a new kind of adult man sensible to family values and open to differences"

...is to suggest that it's almost better to do it without a man.
That men raised with men in the house, are not "sensible to family values and open to differences". Because what she says is that this "new kind of man" is better.
Not like the old one raised by both a mother and father in the house.
Which is pretty explosive, because it doesn't matter how hard you try to exclude the "father figure" (and child custody laws, and the legal system has), it's still fundamentally necessary for a boy to identify with his father.

Ask any boy raised without one.
Hell, ask any girl.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I Don't Like Teenagers. Who knew?

This is a terrible thing to say since I too was once a teen.
But, I don't remember swarming strip malls, and acting like a jackass for fun.
I understand that they are all going through Erickson's Adolescent Stage, but Holy Mother of Pearl, do they need to be such assholes?!?

Let me elaborate: Today I stopped by a 7/11 in a local strip mall. It's located accross the street from a high school. In this strip mall is a 7/11, a pizza place and a fast food burger joint. From my car, looking through the glass of the fast food place, I could see kids throwing things at each other, pushing each other around...and when I got out of my car, I could hear them through the glass.
It was like watching a pack of untrained, unleashed animals.

I ventured into the 7/11 and there were swarms of them in there as well.
The poor guy behind the counter could barely focus on what he was doing for watching the packs of kids pushing each other up and down the isles, surely watching for theft.
They were cruising the isles "fuckin'" this and "muthafuckin'" that, and being really loud and obnoxious.
What a crappy way for this poor man behind the counter to make a living.
Not to mention that some of these kids will stab each other for a slanty look, much less him for a chocolate bar.

What a shitty way to earn your Employment Canada enforced minimum wage.
You couldn't pay me enough to live through that shit every day between 11:30am and 2pm.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Click Around

Years ago, when I was a young and romantic girl, I used to love the art of Arthur Rackham, it appealed to my whimsical personality at that time. While I am certainly less whimsical these days, I still like his art.
I found this little site that shows the illustrations of Alice in Wonderland done by Rackham.

While we're on the topic of art, Diana Pakkala aka Mrs. Mystic is participating in The Gallery at World of Picture Frames on Tuesday December 6, 2005 from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. It's at 133 Cartwright Avenue, (West off Dufferin Street, opposite Yorkdale Mall. Call 416-783-1896 for more info on that.

While looking around, I also ran into exactitudes photography done by Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek photographing the striking dress codes of various social groups in different cultures and countries.
While we're on stereotypes of sorts, I link again to Eric Myers stereotypes a very cool interactive photography thing.
Another good link is A Picture History. It's an interesting place to go if you like history and pictures(duh...).
Flickr recently put together a tag related search which is kind of interesting if you've got an interest in other people's amateur photos.
Speaking of nosy like looking in to other people's lives, how about looking at other people's nasty houses in this link that I found over at Krysss.com
That site certainly makes my neglect to pick up and put away shoes in the foyer, paltry by comparison.

If you like taking tests, BBC Science and Nature has a bunch of interesting little tests to take.
Then, there is the New York Public Library Digital Gallery which is way cool.

That's all for today...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Young girls regularly talk about guys and how it’s hard to find a good one that doesn’t lie, or cheat, and is responsible and good.

I was talking to a guy the other day who is currently playing push me/pull you with a woman he’s in love with who is batshit crazy.
She jerks him around, and he breaks up with her, and then she weasels her way back in somehow.

Now, I’m not talking about a guy who’s not “with it”.
I’m talking about a guy who makes a good living and is in charge of bossing people around in his job.
A guy who's outwardly, "together".

While he was relaying his latest drama of Greek tragedy proportions about his ex/current/soon to be ex again…and it suddenly dawned on me:

This is where the decent single guys are.
Wrapped up in fucked up chicks…just like decent girls are wrapped up in fucked up guys.

But, then…when you say that out loud…who’s really the fucked up one?

Just food for thought.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Social Cripple Enabling

A while ago I was visiting Orinthology for Beginners and ran across Dorothy's Rant on Salon.com took me over there.
I've never been all that interested in Salon, but on occasion I would find myself there through some link or another.
Well, since Dorothy mentioned this article on men who purchase and love their "real dolls", I went over to read it.

Well, call me naive.

I know that all kinds of crazy shit goes on in this world, and I know that the internet has helped freaks find other freaks who are into the same freaky things...and then freaky things get normalized to a certain extent, and magazines like Salon interview the freaky people who participate in these freaky "lifestyles", and allow the freaky deakies to try to justify their bizarre lifestyle choices to the general public.

But, it doesn't make them less freaky deaky.

It just means that they've spent too much time locked up in their parents basement in front of a computer, sharing photos and stories about their plastic girlfriends.
When I read the article, I thought..."Oh gimme a break!"
The article says that there are scores of guys who "have no interest in "organic" women", but I have a feeling that organic women would have no interest in them either.

I'm not sure if this is the ultimate "the end" of the unattainable models body for the socially disabled, or what...but I must say that it's really, really funny.
And I don't mean in a "ha ha" way.
I mean peculiar. Flaky. Outré to the extreme.
No amount of rationalizing or pruning the story is going to make a fantasy relationship with a piece of plastic normal.

As I was reading, I was thinking...this is ridiculous...so I went on a little search.

It appears to be a huge business.
There is a Real Doll Doctor.
You can buy real doll parts on e-bay.
There are message boards and websites used by these guys to give each other "tips" on caring for and dressing their girlfriends, so that they can post pictures of themselves and their "girlfriends" watching TV together, or playing video games together.

I. Kid. You. Not.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Click Around
This photo is from this cool site called Grapefruit Moon Gallery. There is some really nice vintage ad art there.

While on the topic of ad art, I found Advertising/Design Goodness through J-Walk Blog. There is some very clever ad work there.
While we're on the topic of photography, there are so many great photographers out there. Check out this Scott Stulberg on Southeast Asia Site.
Also, just by chance I found this Areal view of Niagara Falls. Being a Torontonian of Serbian descent, Niagara Falls...is like the Mecca for all Slavic relatives who visit.

You can also check out International Webcams.
Now, a Security Guard's life is available to you.
You too can look at empty rooms and hallways to your hearts content.

Is your life boring? Not getting enough attention? Why don't you make up a story about yourself, and let By Accident help you fabricate a more interesting life by making shit up about yourself.
That's right, you can stress yourself out for life, trying to keep a gigantic lie straight!

This is an interesting art project. It's called Look at a Book.
Scrapbooking always looks more interesting when Artists do it.

Ever wonder how long stuff in your fridge will last, and can't be bothered finding the "Best Before Date" on the product, or perhaps it's been rubbed or torn off..or worse, put in a stupid place by the company so that it gets torn off when you open the product...Check out the Table of Condiments.

Like taking tests? Here's the site for you. Or maybe this is the site for you.

That's all.

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 you...no 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 these...how 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 channels...channel 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 ken...an 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 dis..an 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?


Monday, September 19, 2005

"I Can't Take This Shit Anymore!"
He Said Mistakenly.

When I was twenty, I couldn't imagine myself as fourty.
Frankly, I didn't think I'd live this long.
Fourty was old.

Now, I see things differently.
I wouldn't be twenty now for all the kobasa in Poland.
For truly, youth is wasted on the young.
The pain of youth molds our character and Mama used to say that the face you have at fourty, is the face you've earned.

There are older people who look bitter and then there are those who look sweet.
I imagine it depends on your outlook on life.
Are you a fixer or destroyer?
I've said before here that I believe that people, through their personal pain become either "fixers" who work to make their lives and the lives of others better.
Or, they become "destroyers" who are so bitter and angry with their own lot, that they work to make others miserable to prove their personal points...intentionally, or unintentionally.

In the end, it doesn't really matter does it?
We perceive what we perceive, and we do what we do.
"INAT", a word that doesn't exist in English, meaning:
"Whatever the consequences" is something that most of us subscribe to.

Who said that courage is not being fearless, but acting in the face of fear?
But, what is the act, but what we perceive to be right?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Adventures of Woolgatherers

On occasion, The Mister will lure me into one of those mens shops.
You know the kind...technical gadgets, stereo systems, invisible speaker systems, big screen TVs and the like.
I walk around behind him while he oohs and ahhs, and he asks me things like: "Do you hear the difference?" from one speaker to the next.
I nod appreciatively, but truth be told...as long as I hear something with no crackling or interference, I'm ok with it.
The Mister obviously has hearing like a Gambian Epauleted Fruit Bat, and can hear sounds, and hisses that I am totally oblivious to.

We were walking through one of these stores, him walking ahead...and me doing an imitation of him in a Nine West Outlet, when the salesman walks over and asks if he can help us obviously thinking we're considering a big screen TV.
The Mister says, "Oh, we're just looking.." and I say, "It's not happening".

As we're walking out of the store, we hear him say...
"Oh..it will. It will..."

That made me laugh.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me...When I'm 64?

This morning at the coffee shop, I was stood behind a woman and her very elderly mother.
They ordered, collected their coffee and cinnamon twists, and the daughter gently and lovingly helped her mother to a table.
They sat and the daugther dotingly prepared everything for the elderly lady. Opening her cup for her, unwrapping her pastry...it was lovely to watch.
Recently, someone asked me how I was going to manage getting older with no biological children of my own.

This is a good question, I guess.
A question that came to my mind as I watched this woman and her mother this morning.
But then, there is no guarantee that a child will take care of an aged parent anymore, is there?
Through programs that I have participated in, I have seen enough of the aged who have plenty of children, yet are still virtually abandoned in Seniors Homes, with only little children involved in intergenerational programs visiting them regularly.

It's sad and heartbreaking.

Parental abuse is on the rise, I hear.
This is something I cannot get my head around.
Regardless of how angry and hurt you are about your childhood, could you beat your parent?
How could you?

When you get old, can you give up?
Just give up life?

I think you can.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Reci: "Zbogom"
Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
What feels like a hundred years ago, I left Toronto to pursue some sort of fantasy art life in NYC.
Everything was going swimmingly for the first little while.
My friends over there were spending time and taking me out...I had a sublet on E14th and 1st, on the top floor of a five flight walk up.
But then, eventually...my friends went back to their normal lives and I was left to fend for myself for company.
For anyone who has moved away from home, you know that making friends can sometimes be difficult. Especially when you're not really working anywhere, per se.

One day, I was wandering around alone getting my bearings, I was homesick and lonely. For many years while growing up in Toronto, I went to great lengths to be Canadian.
I didn't like my mother speaking Serbian in public to me, I refused to listen to traditional music and made fun of it.
But, when I passed The Dubrovnik Restaurant at W20th and Avenue of the Americas, I couldn't resist the pull of something familiar.
I went in and sat at the bar and ordered a Turska Kafa.
I sat and listened to people talking and joking in a language that was familiar and was overwhelmed with a feeling of comfort.
Like home.
The lady behind the bar came over and started to chat with me.
Sanka and I talked for a long time.
Turns out that she was the wife of the owner "Ziggy".
Sanka offered me a job waitressing on weekends, and I took it.

Ziggy was a character if there ever was one.
Vitalis smeared hair, a gold eye tooth, a horseshoe pinky ring, and a suit...always a suit with pointy shoes.
Pravi "fraijer".
Above one of the booth seats was a painting of Ziggy, sitting in a boat off the coast of Dubrovnik, on the waves of the Adriatic with a fanned out deck of cards in one hand, and a pair of dice in the other.

This may sound like I'm making fun of Ziggy, but I'm not.
He and his wife were two of the kindest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
He was a proud American with a thick accent.
He often challenged us with questions like:
"Eef da Amerika hev da var veet YU, an vitch side yu gonna fight?"
And then we would all laugh at what a ridiculous idea that was!


Ziggy called me "Mala" (little one) the whole time I worked there.
Perhaps he just couldn't remember my name, but it was sweet just the same.

The Dubrovnik Restaurant was as diverse as the former YU was.
Employed at that restaurant there were Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Italians, and Puerto Ricans.
I used to sit sometimes in the dark booth at the back with all the other waiters, and they would talk about "back home", and politics..often shouting at each other one minute and hugging each other the next.
The Dubrovnik is where Guido, the maitre d' introduced me to Espresso with lemon peel around the rim and then dropped into the cup...trying to convince me that this was better than Turska Kafa.

My time at The Dubrovnik taught me a lot about myself.
It's not there anymore, and hasn' t been there for a long time.
But, I think about Sanka and Ziggy from time to time.

No matter how far you run....there you are.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mama's Take on Football

"Eh, I don no vai dey hev to fight for van ball...da CFL hev enough maney to buy everybady a ball!"

You have to love her.
Really, you do.

Monday, September 05, 2005

So, The Mister and I spent the weekend in the Poconos.
(Yes Kat, I too was surprised that there was NO "K" in Poconos)
It’s a beautiful place.
While we’re talking, I’d like to point out some differences between PA and Ontario.
You can smoke in places that you haven’t been able to smoke in Ontario for over a decade.


I was shocked to see cigarettes being sold in Pharmacies!
Not happening here in Ontario.
In fact, pretty soon it'll be illegal to smoke in your own home or car here in Ontario.
I imagine that eventually there will be Tobacco houses where smokers will have to go if they want to smoke.
Like the Opium Dens of days gone by, in the basements of shady establishments...anyhow, that's another post.

Also, we saw a lot of couples with small children who looked very close together in age (the children, I mean...not the adults).
Every couple seemed to have a minimum of 3 children.
The parents were looking perpetually pissed off, and the children were perpetually running wild.
It was actually kind of entertaining.

We stayed at The Shawnee Inn. Looks nice, huh?

The Mister booked a room on the net.
No fears of this since we found a fab bed and breakfast in Montreal this way a few years ago.
Well, we stayed in a room like the one pictured.
A real throwback to the 1970’s with the décor, no?

Now, The Mister is a little quirky when it comes to things, and he didn’t imagine Lucy and Ricky beds when he was booking the room.

This pissed him off.
The fact that this room wasn’t located in the main building pissed him off too.
See, the website is misleading.
When they do the bookings, they don’t tell you that there’s “The Big House” (as we got to calling it) and then there’s the “Slave Quarters” which is a little motel like structure far, far away from “The Big House”, named The Delaware somethingerother that smelled like a $65CD Bobcageon Motel room for $160AD.
Here’s the kicker…it cost just as much to stay in “The Big House”
This mightily pissed off The Mister, who was already pissed off.

So, we took the looooong walk up to “The Big House” to speak with the Manager on Duty.
Who was very apologetic and nice and suggested we speak with the Grand Fromage the next day.
The Shawnee Inn is a beautiful old building that has been in operation as a golf resort since 1912.
It's really pretty impressive.

There was a beautiful old elevator obviously from the 1920’s or so with a brass grill.

The view from The Big House was breathtakingly beautiful.

The view from The Slave Quarters, was not worth photographing.
It overlooked the 14th hole.

We took a drive over to Bushkill Falls where we took a steep hike to see the falls.

Very beautiful.

On the way back, while driving through Lackawanna or Cheektowaga, we passed a replica of the famous photo of workmen eating lunch on a beam during the construction of Rockefeller Center in NYC Remember that photo by Lewis Wickes Hine?

The hotel it was in front of was a little cheesy and overdone, but I really liked how they did that though.

Well, a grand time was had by all...school tomorrow, and I'm off to bed...