Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Liberals Spanked and Conservatives Tolerated, For Now.

This morning I have a political hang-over. I didn't know that imbibing too much political coverage would give me a headache, but it did. And I didn't even have the pleasure of enjoying a drink before the hang-over arrived. I'll know better next time. Next time there's an election, I won't stay up so late, I'll have a glass of wine and go to bed instead.

The Liberals have been spanked, but not with a 2" by 4" and they haven't been locked in the shed, just banished to the back yard to sort things out. Paul Martin made the right decision when he chose to give up leadership now, and he did so with some humour, and a lot of grace. He's saving his party from a lot more grief and his father would have applauded his decision. Martin always says that his father was the major influence in his life and I believe that. I remember his father, Paul senior, who was the M.P. for Windsor Walkerville. He was often referred to as Oom Paul because he was like an uncle to his constituents. He knew how to work the locals and how to keep them happy, but he never achieved his desire, which was to become Prime Minister. His son has had his happy moments on the national stage and his far less than glorious ones too. Now he can anticipate going back to C.S.L. after the next election and can probably look forward to numerous offers to be on boards. Not a bad life

As for Mr. Harper, I'm quite sure he will find life on the government side to be more challenging than he expects. He hasn't got a majority (thank God for small mercies and for the ultimate wisdom of the Canadian voters) and he will have to keep to a middle course in order to keep power. Will he put Stockwell Day in the cabinet. Probably he'll be obliged to give him something, maybe it'll be something minor. Can he keep the hard right-wingers in his party from upsetting his apple-cart? If he can't he'll find out just how hard it really is to be Prime Minister.

So, we can all look forward to a GST cut. Wow! That'll save me about fifty cents every month. Gee, thanks eh! Meanwhile, once the Cons are in, they'll more than likely revoke the one percent cut in the income tax rate that the Liberals gave to people in the lowest taxable income bracket. It'll be easy to do that - they don't need to bring it to a vote, just make an Order in Council and poof - the tax rate cut is gone. Guess those of us who haven't quite made it to the middle class, or have fallen out of it for various reasons are not all that worthy of the Conservatives attention.

The New Democrats picked up some seats, not as many as I'd hoped they would but at least they will be a significant influence in Parliament. And, one third of their elected members are women so that could be a help. Smilin' Jack will be pleased and he'll have Olivia with him in Ottawa to keep him sorted out.

I suspect all the newly elected members are going to have to behave themselves and the members who have been re-elected will have to take some cooperation lessons.

Let there be peace in the valley, at least for a while.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Is That in Your Job description?

Last night, I chatted on-line with my friend Dorothy. I wanted to know if she had finished plastering the holes in the walls and then completed painting them. That might not appear to be an unusual question until I give you the context. Dorothy is a social worker for a small community service agency and I was referring to the work she did to make her office space at least marginally habitable.

Dorothy and I used to work together and one of our enduring, ironic catch phrases was, "Is that in your job description?" We laughed about all the things we had to do that had little or no connection to our 'real' jobs.

It reminded me of all the times I've done ridiculous and sometimes dangerous things, all for the sake of keeping my employment.

Once upon a time, I was the office manager for one of the Federal Law Reform Commissions. Remember those? A lot of lawyers spent a lot of time proposing changes to the law and they required reams and reams of typing, they also required numerous meetings to argue the changes. My boss, who was in charge of the project, was brilliant and very absent-minded. He was also almost entirely unaware of how he looked. However, he did notice when the sole of his shoe came adrift just before one of those endless meetings. He came to my desk, presented me with the shoe and demanded I fix it. Thank goodness for Elmer's glue and a heavy duty stapler!

I've carried long and heavy pieces of lumber down steep stairs into a hospital basement workshop. Why? Because the delivery was dropped off at the wrong place and the Veterans who used the workshop wanted to work. Or maybe the answer to why is - because I've always been more than a little crazy. I still have a scar from that episode because the person at the other end of the lumber let go too soon.

When I worked at the Community Centre, I often became the maintenance guy because the building Seniors' Services occupied did not have its own maintenance staff. I've bailed out grease traps, cleaned up messy toilets (frequently) mopped up floods, often moved furniture and so forth. And of course, there were risks attached to my 'real' job at the time - like the distinct possibility of bringing home bugs from the homes of the seniors I visited, or the possibility of being attacked in one of the most dangerous apartment buildings in Scarborough. But I loved what I was doing.

I guess that's why I did so many things that weren't in my job description.

My job description these days is simpler - write, revise, revise, revise, research as necessary, and send my work out. It's good thing I'm my own boss most of the time, because there are lots of days when I don't do any of those things.

I should start revising a short story now, but first I'll check the mail. Maybe there will be something in the mail that will help me procrastinate a bit longer. Perhaps I should add creative procrastination to my job description.

Is it in yours?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

There are Strange things Done in the Midnight Sun

It's still not January 23rd, and now the men who moil for the gold of our votes are at it again. We are being subjected to very nasty attack ads from the LIberals and from the Conservatives. I'm beginning to think the NDP needs a giant sized boot. I was watching CBC Newsworld when they showed part of the Liberal attack ad that has now been pulled from the airwaves. I didn't see all of the ad because the cable signal died in the middle of it. I wonder if there is some way they (those cable guys) could make that happen whenever a noxious political ad starts. They should come with a warning - Caution! Negative ad pothole ahead, switch lane/channel now.

Maybe publisher's information should come with a warning too. My friend Lori, whose ms has been under consideration at a small non-profit Alberta publishing house for quite some time, wondered when the publisher would make a decision. When she got in touch with the publisher, she was told they were going to close up shop. That's a rum do if ever there was one, and if I'd been the one receiving the news I'd probably be out buying some rum.

I am sitting on, or rather in a lot of money according the people who decide on property tax ratess. The request for reconsideration of my tax rate failed. But hey, if I sold my apartment, I'd have tons of lovely lolly and could buy a really nice tent.

There is some good nows though, my GST tax credit finally made it to my bank account and I promptly went out and indulged in a haircut and a perm. The cost of my very slow dial-up internet service actually went down and I'm so grateful I may not change my service provider for a while. And, Nancy, my dear best and only daughter, has been asked by the Regional government to give a presentation on -How to Choose a Lawn Care Company - at the local library. She'll get an excellent honorarium for being a speaker.

I suppose I might as well get to work and stop being cranky.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Could We Skip January This Year?

Why couldn't we just skip January altogether and go straight into February? Then we would be a whole month closer to spring and certain obligations and political terrors would have passed.

I always find January to be a bit stressful because it's the beginning of a new year and somehow its arrival implies that I should change something, or even many things. But, it's a rainy miserable day and there will be more rain and probably ice tomorrow and instead of making my usual list of things to do in 2006, I've been thinking about things I've done in past Januarys.

One January, I was working in the basement of G-Wing at Sunnybrook hospital because that's where my desk was located, in one corner of the cement blocked Arts & Crafts room. The weather was much like today's weather and it had been that way for several days. The Veterans seemed to all want to stay upstairs, preferably in bed, and so the room was much quieter than usual.

I'm not good at drawing. In fact, I failed art in elementary school, back in the evil old days when one was given a pass or fail, even in a subject like art. But I had a small inspiration that day and since there were plenty of art supplies, I could put my idea on paper. I took a large piece of craft paper and drew a huge and rather misproportioned running shoe with a very thick sole and then I printed a saying under the sole of the shoe in squished letters - Help Stamp Out January. (There is no font available here to illustrate this, but perhaps my description is sufficient.)

The drawing received howls of laughter, and that pleased me. It was my first and last attempt at visual art to date.

But who knows what the rain of this January will bring.