Tuesday, April 24, 2007

June Callwood and other less important thoughts

June Callwood died a few days ago. That is, her body left this earth, but the life she led and the way she changed the lives others will be remembered. I know how much difference she made to the lives of women and I'm glad we had her with us for a while. She chose to die at Casey House, the hospice she founded for people dying with AIDS. It was the first hospice of its kind and when she conceived the idea there was a lot of opposition to it. But she prevailed. She was also a compelling writer who used her words to promote social justice causes. I'll miss her, a lot. She is one of those who inspired me to try to do things that would make the world a better place for those people who lack power in at least some small way.

Sometimes I have trouble deciding what my priorities should be, but things work out most of the time. For example; today I went for a wander through the shops in uptown Waterloo. It would be good, I thought to find a summer skirt, or a decent pair of summer shorts. But the price tags were shocking. Then, I popped into Wordsworth's Books Store, one of the last independent bookstores, and found a couple of things. A paperback version of The Paris Review book of People with Problems (a fiction anthology) was on sale for $5.99. How could I resist that? Then I picked up the current issue of The New Yorker magazine because there's an article titled "The truth about aging." The cover blurb about the article says - The ranks of the elderly are growing. Why has the medical profession turned its back on them? Atul Gawande on a coming crisis. I have to read that, I mean, it's research isn't it? So, I ended up spending about $13.00 and not buying any clothes. I think June would understand.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Paranoid - Who me?

There's been nothing in my mailbox for ages and ages, but I don't think the mail carrier is holding anything back. He's a nice guy, everyone in the building says so. But he was on vacation so maybe the substitute carrier can't read addresses properly, or maybe no one wants to tell me anything. All right, I can live with that for a little while longer.

But other things are making me a bit crazy. Secret things. Like the meeting that's scheduled for April 27th in Alberta.

This was posted on the Council for Canadians website:

"The leaked document of a prominent Washington-based think tank obtained by the Council of Canadians reveals that government officials and business leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States are scheduled to discuss bulk water exports in a closed-door meeting at the end of the month as part of a larger discussion on North American integration.
Titled the “
North American Future 2025 Project,” the initiative being led by the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Conference Board of Canada and the Mexican Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas calls for a series of “closed-door meetings” on North American integration dealing with a number of highly contentious issues including bulk water exports, a joint security perimeter and a continental resource pact.
According to the document, a roundtable on the “Future of the North American Environment,” is planned for Friday April 27 in Calgary, and will discuss “water consumption, water transfers and artificial diversions of bulk water” with the aim of achieving “joint optimum utilization of the available water.”
"This is just the latest in a series of closed-door meetings that grant the business sector privileged access while shutting out the public,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “The document is damning not just because it outlines a process that lacks transparency and accountability,” says Barlow, “but also because of what is being discussed by governments and so-called corporate stakeholders.”
The document also reveals that “trilateral coordination of energy policy” and the development of “North American security architecture” are being discussed by high-level government officials from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico."

Almost all the experts who are contributing their thoughts are American. That's the thing that begins to make me paranoid. They, the Americans and others have already got their mitts on a lot of our natural resources. Now, they're eyeing our water and I'm angry. I hope a lot of other people will get angry about this too. But will it be too late? Will there be more than just 'discussion'? Will an agreement take place behind closed doors that we have no say in. Just wondering. And that phrase "North American integration" gives me the full-blown heebie jeebies.

There was even paranoia on the screen this weekend. Hoax, the movie about Clifford Irving (starring Gere, yum) shows not only Howard Hughes' paranoia, but Irving's as well. It's good though.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hogde Podge - Middle of the Night Musings

Yes, it's 3:30 in the morning and I am wide awake. Boy I hate that! It's become more common as I get older and older and older. (No snide comments, please.) You'd think I'd be able to sleep, since D. was here earlier and we had a lovely time, but no. Maybe tomorrow night. So, I might as well put some thoughts here. Fair warning: they won't be in any particular order.

The Media: Canada's women's hockey team has won gold at the World's. I'm very pleased about that, but I couldn't see the game, since I live in a one-channel universe. The information appeared on the CBC website, for a few hours. If it had been a Canadian (men's) hockey team winning the Stanley Cup, I'm sure that information would have been prominent on the website for much longer. Discrimination, yup. I sure think so.

The Bank: A couple of weeks ago, I took $70.00 in quarters to my local bank branch. I asked the teller to deposit them to my chequing acount. Today, I received my Line-of-Credit statment in the mail - and there was the $70.00 added to my credit balance. What was it I said to the teller? I'm starting to wonder. Thanks to on-line banking I soon fixed the mistake, but I'm not going to visit the same teller the next time I have coins to deposit. The ATM is very reliable, but one cannot deposit coins in it. Maybe soon.

Belinda S: Belinda Stronach is/ will be leaving politics (for now). OOOooh shocking - not! Maybe Magna will buy out Chrysler Daimler and rescue Windsor in the process. I was looking at real estate prices in Windsor, my home town, and they are so low it's incredible. If I wasn't so attached here, I'd consider moving, if I could find the right condo. But Kitchener-Waterloo is now considered to be the Calgary of Ontario, or so CKCO, the local CTV station says,

Afghanistan and all that: It's more than painful, it's heart-wrenching to hear about the increasing numbers of Canadian troops dying in Afghanistan. Should they be there? Truly, I'm not sure. If they can help bring stability - yes, perhaps, but that goal seems so terribly unlikely. Our troops are supposed to be peacekeepers, that doesn't mean they won't have to kill (when it's an absolute necessity), and I resent the commentators who don't understand that, but we seem to be taking a more aggressive role and I can't find that acceptable.

I came, I saw, I filed: I came to the conclusion that I needed a filing cabinet. We shopped (the Viking loves the challenge of finding a bargain). I saw the wood, well parts of it are wood, filing cabinet I wanted. I purchased it. Then, after D (my Viking) had assembled it for me,I filed all my documents. Bliss ensued. Then I realized that a number of my short stories were languishing in said filing cabinet. Another project looms, but I must try to get at least a little sleep.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Travels and travails in the Big Smoke and Other Short Adventures

Late Wednesday evening, (technically, it was Thursday but only by an hour or so) I received an e-mail from a dear friend in Toronto. Her mother had died that night. On Thursday morning, my friend's cousin called and told me the service would be on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. and gave me the name of the funeral home.

So, I took the bus to Toronto and then the subway up to Steeles and Yonge. The information on the Chapel's website indicated that it was 'a couple of blocks west of Yonge', so I decided to walk. It was a good thing I'd given myself plenty of time as the Chapel was about a quarter of a mile away and on the other side of the very busy road. I had to backtrack to the stoplight; however, I did arrive in time.

The rabbi who spoke about my friend's mother had a tendency to repeat her name and then say '____ is here.' I began to wonder if she was going to rise and appear before us. Fortunately, the friends of the almost-departed who spoke when the rabbi was finished were generous in their praise of her and gave us loving anecdotes that I'm sure my friend will cherish.

It was a rather long day for me, but I did manage to visit The World's Biggest Boookstore before taking the bus home. Friday night is not the best night to be on the bus. It was full and I ended up in a seat that slanted sharply toward the floor. But at least I got on. Some folk were not so fortunate and had to wait for the next one.

D. and I had a relaxing weekend and watched Marie Antoinette (the Coppola version) on pay-per-view. It was vacuous. Marie has almost nothing to say, and neither does the Dauphin (Louis), but the costumes and settings were eye-catching. I'd give it maybe two stars, just for the visuals, certainly none for the dialogue. Now I'll have to go and find out who the screen writer was. Damn curiosity. [Edit: it was Sofia Coppola.]

Sunday, we went shopping for a filing cabinet. The box containing the parts is now sitting on my living room floor and the pieces will be assembled sometime this week, when D. is available. I could do it, at least I'm pretty sure I could -- but he has much more fun doing that sort of thing that I do, and I hate deciphering those strange nonsensical diagrams manufacturers of furniture-in-a-box provide. It will be great and maybe even motivating, to have all my stacks of paper neatly filed in one place. I tried to make an appointment with the file fairy, but she stated that she is busy with other more urgent requests until 2010. Even minor deities have their priorities. I suppose it will take me about half a day to get everything filed, counting my personal financial stuff which is already in a small plastic file box, my stories and other writing, and my miscellaneous collection of stuff I might need/want to look at sometime. But I don't have to do that until the cabinet is assembled. Once it is, it will no doubt nag me to fill it.

The short adventure occurred yesterday(Monday). I decided to get my hair trimmed. It was just a little too long at the back and wouldn't curl under for me. My hairdresser's shop is only a few blocks away, so I went in on the off-chance that she could give me a cut. She could. I discussed, or tried to discuss, what I wanted. If I was smart, I'd have said - a little off the top, the back and the sides - isn't that what men tell their barbers. But I said shorter... I don't think I said bald, but I feel kind of bald now. My hair is shorter than many a man's. It won't require much care, so I suppose that's an advantage, and a woman on the elevator told me she liked my new haircut. But maybe she said that because she has very short hair, too. One thing's for sure, it won't be as easily snarled during certain, um, activities.

I'm a woman and I can change, if I have to, I guess. (apologies to Red Green for changing the gender in his slogan)