Sunday, February 28, 2016

WHERE DOES INSPIRATION COME FROM?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. And most always when you least expect it. It can come from a rainbow after a rain shower or from a leaf falling gently upon a fall forest floor. It can come from a place you visit, an event you attend, or something you see or read about in a newspaper. For me, it came from a person I met briefly yesterday, while taking a walk around Professor’s Lake.

I had been at the lab for bloodwork. After two months of feeling like I’d been run over by a train every morning, and after trying to work out the pain and stiffness with exercise to no avail, I decided that it was time to seek medical attention, and, as you all know, the first step in resolving any malaise is the dreaded needle in the arm to withdraw blood. (I swear the gauge of the needle gets bigger every time.)

When I came out of the lab, the clouds had dissipated somewhat and the sun was shining. I got into the car and drove to Tim Horton’s. I was going to go back home, but decided that a walk would do me some good, so I drove to Professor’s Lake.

I parked in the parking lot of the recreation center, and started walking west. I wasn’t walking for more than a minute when I see an elderly gentleman trekking my way.  He was using a walking stick; he had a slight limp. He wore a fur hat and mittens and a thick bomber jacket, and carried a pack on his back. The sight of him immediately warmed my heart, like when I see a child reading a book; it’s just one of those things.

He smiled and stopped. I followed suit.

“How ya doin’? I say.

“Pretty good,” he replies.

We speak of the weather, the frozen lake, and the cold wind. He says that I should’ve worn mittens and I tell him that I hadn’t planned on coming for a walk. He asks if I live in the area and I tell him where I drove from. He says, “Maybe you’ll win another car.” I look down at my cup, it’s Roll up the Rim to Win time at Tim’s. We laugh, say a few more words, and then part ways.

Suddenly, my pain leaves my body. My spine elongates, my shoulders drop, and I start to take longer strides. I’m strutting. The wind is in my face, but it’s not too cold, and my hands are warmed by my hot coffee. Light conversation with that man has inspired me to stop feeling so damn bad about my situation and to change my perspective. I mean, here he is using a walking stick and still smiling, still up for a challenge. And for two months I have been letting muscle stiffness get the better of me. (Well, the CBC the doctor ordered might tell that it’s something more, but still.)

I continue on and I am feeling better. The air I’m breathing feels fresher and I am more appreciative of nature. I have made the first turn around the lake and am now heading east. Up ahead there is a man taking photos. My curiosity is satisfied when I see what he is taking photos of. The water at the east end of the lake hasn’t frozen over and there is a mix of ducks, geese, and gulls congregating at the edge of the ice. It’s a great sight. He’s bound to get some good shots. I pass a few more souls, smile and say hello. The gesture is returned. I didn’t win anything from my rim. I make the turn around the lake and am heading west again to the parking lot. The wind has picked up.

When I see the elderly man with the walking stick, I am happy. I walk toward him.

“Muh man.” I say.

He laughs.

We stop for a few minutes and have another chat. He asks if I’m from Newfoundland.

“How did you know?” I ask.

“Because you’re so friendly,” he replies, laughing.

Then he tells me about the time that he and his wife visited Newfoundland. So it goes that his wife wanted to go on a cruise for their 25th anniversary. He told her that if she could handle a ferry to Newfoundland then she could handle a cruise. So they both go on this trip and visit all of Atlantic Canada. On the way back, they decide that they would go on a cruise, but, unfortunately, when they got back to the city, the factory where he worked closed down and they never made it.

I ask him if he will ever go and he tells me that within the next five years, at his 50th anniversary, they plan to go, if they can save enough. He says he buys lottery tickets, hoping to win. We say a few more words and I wish him luck with his plans.

By the time I got back to the car I was chilled. I turned the ignition and set the heat to high. I just sat there thinking about my life and all the times I felt like giving up. And that man, who could barely walk, was still thinking about taking a cruise with his wife after all those years. I realize that the soreness and stiffness I had been feeling is small stuff and that what matters most is that I do not give up.

Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time.


I changed the gear to drive and went home, all the while thinking that if I had the money I would send him and his wife on a cruise. 



P.S. I went back today and got some pictures.




 

 




Saturday, February 20, 2016

THE UNITED CANADA PARTY











Autobiography

            I was born in Mississauga, to Newfoundlander parents. When I was born, I was immediately taken back to our home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I returned to Ontario when I was three years old, because my parents had better job opportunities in Ontario. I grew up in Brampton, attended high school there, and after I went to the University of Toronto to study. Before politics I was a pharmacist, although I was very interested in politics as a young adult. I was part of the NDP party before branching off and creating my own political party, which I am running for now.


Why Canada needs a democratic government

            Democratic governments allow the public to become involved in politics, and have their own say in political matters. Usually in non-democratic countries, people are unhappy with the government and governmental policies but cannot change them because of the lack of democracy. In Canada, we value the ability to vote for our government and issues. And if we dislike the current government, we can call for an election and replace them with a better party. Sure, some people will not be happy with the government and the issues, but at least the majority of people will be happy and feel good about the government. Democracy is one of the oldest, and yet greatest forms of government, and is just what Canada needs.


My Political Party

            The United Canada Party branched off from the NDP party, thus many ideas are similar. The United Canada Party’s main platform is the de-centralization of Canada as well as the promotion of Canadian media and arts. We would like to raise the minimum wage to fifteen dollars a day, make childcare much more affordable, lower drug costs, improving the healthcare system, and cleaning the environment. We believe in supporting and promotions of the Canadian film and arts, and we would create a new censorship board. When a new film, television series, or any form of entertainment is released in another country, it will have to be approved by the censorship board to make sure that it fits in with Canadians. Blatantly patriotic forms of entertainment will be unapproved, and many American-based forms of entertainment will usually be disapproved as well, to try and stop the Americanization of Canada, and help with Canadian entertainment industry. We believe that this will help strengthen ties amongst the provinces and territories, which is another one of our party’s goals. Many Canadians feel alienated; a farmer living in Alberta will not know much about a fisherman in Nova Scotia, who will not know much about a city-goer in Ontario, who will not know much about an Inuit in Nunavut. We want to bridge the gap between the provinces and territories, and help Canadians understand the true beauty and magnificence of the country we live in.

  
Global and Canadian Issues

            The environment is important to us. A global climate crisis has been declared, and Canada needs to do its part to help stop climate change. Canada has one of the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world. We want to stop the use of non-renewable energy, and switch to green energy such as: hydro, wind, solar, and tidal. It is time we stop using diesel and coal, and make an educated switch to fuels that will help save not only our environment, but the planet as well.
            We want to improve Canada as a whole, not just Quebec and Ontario. These two provinces make up over 60% of the total population of Canada. This can be problematic, because politics then becomes rather centralised in nature. This means that issues in Central Canada are taken into account more than the issues in the other provinces and territories. Many people immigrate to Central Canada because of the lack of jobs in their home provinces or territories, which can cause declining population in their home-province/territory. This can be hard on the immigrant too, as they have to leave the place where they grew up in order to sustain themselves. We want to create more jobs, improve education, and improve healthcare in these provinces, to support the populations of these provinces and territories as well discourage emigration.
            We also want to improve living conditions in Northern Canada. The price of food is ridiculously high, and Nutrition North does not seem to be functioning to its full extent. We want to try and lower food costs, as well as create more jobs in this area. We would also like to build mental health institutions, as the suicide rate in Northern Canada is higher than the rest of Canada.


Why vote for me?

          I care about all Canadians, and all of Canada, not just a certain area. I will be a caring and respectable Prime Minister who respects all, and I will do my absolute best to improve Canada as a whole. Unlike some candidates, I promise to tell Canadians the truth. I will discuss problems and laws instead of trying to sweep them under the rug, and I will encourage my fellow Canadians to become more involved in politics as well. If elected, I promise to stick to my changes, and work my hardest to make sure Canada becomes the country Canadians dream of.


Views of  a 15 year old.

                                                                                         

Monday, February 8, 2016

DEATH

Death
Is there at the moment of conception

As a child you may be unaware of Its existence
Until the loss of a loved one

Then you begin to question
What is Death?
Who does it take? When? Why?

It becomes a game of Dare
Life in the Fast Lane
How far can you go? How fast?
Will It catch you?

You may feel that you’ve cheated It
You settle into comfort, friends, family

But, one day you notice time going by so fast
And you feel Its icy grip
There in the shadows, waiting
Until the day you close your eyes
And take your last breath









Wednesday, February 3, 2016

JESSIE TEMPLAR - THE MAN IN THE ALLEY

Jessie parked her car in the usual space and walked down the alley to the flower shop back door, just to see if the man in the alley was still there. He had taken up residence in the alley just before Christmas and was making himself at home.  The other shopkeepers didn’t seem to mind and the owner of the Thai restaurant across the street was feeding him dinner almost every night. He hadn’t done any harm and bothered no one, so no one felt the need to hustle him on his way to another part of town. Patrons of Coffee Culture would stop by and have a chat with him and offer coffee and muffins.

The shops weren’t open past nine, so no one really knew if he slept there, even though he did have a rolled up sleeping bag tied to his duffle bag, and the winter was quite mild this year with little to no snow. One of the shopkeepers had heard that he was eating at the Knights Table, Peel’s community soup kitchen, and sleeping at the Salvation Army’s men’s shelter on Wilkinson Road.

Jessie didn’t like it. Every time she saw him she felt anxious. There was something about him that she didn’t like, but she couldn’t put a finger on it. He just seemed suspicious, like an undercover cop. He didn’t look like your average homeless person, not that she was stereotyping.

As she turned around to unlock the door, she could feel his eyes upon her and the hair at the back of her neck stood on end. She stepped into the shop and quickly locked the door behind her, shaking off a cold shiver that went up her spine. She went to her office, slung her bag on a chair, and hung her jacket. She still had half an hour before opening the shop so she took the opportunity make a pot of coffee using the fresh roasted beans that Eli had bought for her and to catch up on some paperwork.

Denise and Rose had the week off. Jessie and Eli had gone on a trip to the Caribbean over Christmas and they took care of business while she was away; now it was their turn to take some time off. This time of year was always slow anyway.

Jessie spent much of the morning doing paperwork and getting ready for income tax season. It was a very good year for the shop and she was pleased. She thought about her friend and mentor, Oscar Herrman, and hoped that he’d be proud of her for making such a success of his business. She stood up and bopped her coffee cup against a picture of him she had hung on the wall of her office. It was an old black and white photo and it showed Oscar in the alley with a few other shopkeepers. She stared at the picture and imagined what it would be like to live in that time. Oscar was a sharp-dressed man and a handsome one at that. As she stared at the picture an odd feeling came upon her and that anxious feeling came over her again. The coffee cup slipped from her hand and fell to the floor. Standing behind Oscar, in what looked to be the same style of clothes, was the man from the alley.

“No, way, that can’t be,” she said to herself, staring at the image. She took the picture down and rummaged the drawers for a magnifying glass.

The man in the picture did resemble the man from the alley, down to the army style boots and beret. It was truly uncanny, but logic told Jessie that it just couldn’t be. Just then, the front door chimes signaled a customer. She quickly hung the picture on the nail and went to the front.
When she came back the picture had fallen to the floor and a chunk of plaster had popped out of the wall. “Goddamn it!” she said.

She picked up the picture, happy that it wasn’t broken, and inspected the wall. She did have some supplies in the storage room and went to fetch some plaster and a trowel. Jessie was a Jill-of-all-trades and never procrastinated, if she could help it. She found the plaster and patched up the wall in no time at all. She cleaned up the spilled coffee, but there was no fixing the cup, it was a broken beyond repair.

When she was done with the paperwork she went to the storage room once again to fetch some decorations for Valentine’s Day. As she hunted for paper hearts and garland, she recalled last year’s party at her place and thought about how different her life was then.

The girls each had a satisfying and healthy relationship with very mature and good-natured men. The more she thought about it the more she realized that that Eli, Alex, and Randall had become quite good friends, as if they’d known each other all their lives. It was a little unnerving at times, but Jessie concluded that that’s just how some men got along.

She found all the decorations and put them aside, it was still too early to put them up and it was something that the girls did together. Just then, the front door chimed again.

After a late lunch of peanut butter and jam on rye, Jessie once again started thinking about the picture on the wall and headed back to the office. She stared at the man, until her eyes watered. It sure did look like the man in the alley; it was beginning to creep her out. The plaster looked like it had dried so she put the picture back on the nail then left the office.


She spent the rest of the afternoon, cleaning, serving customers, and taking customer phone-in orders. Pretty soon it was closing time and she was glad. Working alone wasn’t any fun, but she did get a lot of things done. She locked the front door and took a look around to make sure everything was in place for the next morning. She took the cash from the register and put it in the deposit bag for the next day, put on her coat and grabbed her bag, and then she was on her way. She slammed the back door shut and locked it up, unaware that the bang had knocked the picture off the wall again, and along with it a bigger chunk of plaster. She looked around and saw no sign of the alley man; she was glad. She rushed to her car and sped home. Back at the alley, behind the dumpster, the alley man grew restless.