In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and nothing free either.
After love, all we are left with is grief, but that love is always there.
Then there are those dreaded taxes. I consider myself lucky that my sister works at a tax office. She is learning the ropes. It’s nice to have that in the family because I am absolute rubbish with numbers.
So this time is a tense one, for many people and reasons, full of stress. April is tax time and time for bloggers to decide on whether or not to tackle doing the dreaded A to Z thing. It’s a lot of work and I haven’t even arrived at the hardest letters of the alphabet yet. Oh boy.
I’m tempted to keep this post light, but talk of grief is on my mind, as it is impossible to escape forever. Love and loss are wrapped up in one another. It’s inevitable. I may keep my distance, afraid of loss and getting hurt, but love is still the best thing I know. I can’t close myself off from it, simply because one day it will end in heartbreak.
I’m facing down thoughts of death all the while, I’m leaving the tax part in my sister’s more capable hands.
Finding Ninee’s perspective is an interesting one: nothing to lose and everything to lose, all at the same time. Check it out.
***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.
“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”
Think this quote has been taken to mean “taxes” more recently, but I like to take the entire quote at its original wording.
Okay, so it’s more snow than rain around here at the moment. Lousy April Fools’ joke if you ask me. That was two days ago you know!
I don’t have a lamb or a lion, but Lumos is still a feline. I’d hoped to have a humorous shot of him to include here, but I seem to have misplaced it.
From the sounds of things around here this week, lots of regulars with the TToT are having trouble coming up with 10 T’s. Mine are to follow, minus any photos this week I’m afraid. Ooh, except for one…because we were celebrating him this week. It was taken back at Christmas, but you get the idea.
As for the TToT, some are borrowing thankfuls from other members. I am scrambling, somewhat and after a week of feeling sick, for mine, but here goes nothing.
She died this week, but she is remembered, for me, as Helen Keller, plus all her work as a mental illness advocate.
For my younger brother’s existence, while celebrating his birthday.
He’s the best brother anyone could ask for, one hell of a musician, and the strongest person I’ve ever known.
Can’t believe this is the final year of his twenties. Due to some extremely unforeseen events since his previous birthday, we came close to losing him, or at least the “him” we’ve become so accustomed to.
On this birthday of his in particular, I am thankful for the brother I know, better than nearly anyone else.
For organ donation and the newest friend to receive a new lease on life.
My brother has had this gift given and is making the most of it for the last three years now, but now it’s been another person’s turn.
My family have known her and hers since she was only a few years old and since I was first diagnosed with kidney disease. It’s been twenty years, in fact, since our families met.
She has gone through more than many people, a lot in her life, and she is finally free after years of endless dialysis treatments.
The whole organ donation thing is, I fully acknowledge, a touchy subject. If you’ve never known someone who was truly in need, you can’t possibly understand what it means to be free of machines and fatigue and fear.
I struggle because it means someone lost their life. I don’t celebrate that. I only see the good that can come from something so awful. I will forever be torn, even though my brother and myself have and will probably benefit from organ donation more in the years to come, barring major medical advancements.
For a lovely walk, fresh air, after being sick and cooped up for what felt like days.
It was growing dark and all it was was a short walk down the block in my parent’s neighbourhood. My nephew loved tossing stones into the water that had accumulated there.
The wind was biting, but it was also refreshing. I needed the air to flood my recently so stuffy lungs.
For not being sick anymore.
I was sick and tired of all the aches, coughing, and the monster.
Ozzy Osbourne sings a line in one of his songs that I love about “being sick and tired of being sick and tired” and this is not totally gone away from my life, but after a bad cold finally vacates my body, I am often able to realize how happy I am to have one less thing to deal with.
For the return of my normal voice.
It sounded, for a few days there, as if a monster had taken over my body, specifically my vocal cords.
I hope to finally have another violin lesson. Unforeseen events, my feeling unwell, these have resulted in me only getting one lesson this past month or so. Not cool.
For old memories, nostalgia, and endless laughter.
My brother and I listened to old tapes he is digitalizing. All the laughter was hard on my body, after the cold, but it also felt nice, like shaking off cobwebs in the corners of a room that has been shut up to the open for too many consecutive days.
For the passing of yet another April Fools’ Day, for another year.
I am the first one to advocate for more humour in the world, as was one of my 10 from last week, but the day set aside for jokes and pranks is more of a nuisance than a laugh for me now.
I am highly gullible. Although a lot of the jokes played by and on me in person were a thing of my youth, now it’s all on Facebook. So much so, that I may stay off of Facebook entirely next April 1st.
For baseball starting up for the 2016 season.
Today was the first season game and Toronto won!!! Keep that up boys.
I often feel like these last twenty-two years have all been a dream, that I’ll still suddenly wake up and be back in the fourth grade, that ten-year-old little girl who has no idea what lies in store for her: both good and bad.
But that’s a story for another time.
IF I could travel in time, it’s the 80s I would return to.
Not only is it my favourite decade, for the music alone, it is the one me and all three of my siblings were born in. It was when we were young and we didn’t have to worry about filing taxes, basement flooding, and the future quite so much.
Both Duran Duran and Back to the Future mark the 80s, in both music and film, better than almost anything else, in my opinion.
Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s DeLorean are giving me a ride and we’re traveling to the date…well, I don’t know because it all depends on my mood, sometimes from moment to moment: 1982, 1992.
I really liked Back to the Future, but only the first and third, as I thought the second one jumped around too much. It couldn’t make up its mind, thinking the future would be so much better, re-writing things too much, but I guess I am not recalling it very well.
I liked BTTF because the star of the film, Michael J. Fox, he’s Canadian and I always thought he was cute, sweet, different than all the other actors in Hollywood, starting from the eighties onward.
Well, music changed, Duran Duran, once it hit the 90s
“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast.
I love October. I love the cool scent in the air, one that brings me back to a different time – fall recesses in the school’s playground.
I love Halloween, despite all my comments to the contrary.
I know the month is usually associated with colours such as black and orange, but today I am talking more about blue and red.
I love colours that I begin to forget. I always will, no matter how vague their shades become to my mind, but I don’t like when a colour is associated with a political party. I love blue: blue skies, water, even and especially I love blue Powerade.
I love red. I would say red is my favourite colour. I love its connotations. I love its fiery, passionate, brilliance.
Blue can be associated with sadness. I can relate to that too. Red is the colour of my favourite literary character’s hair and the colour of hearts and love.
Now I’m supposed to give over my favourite colours to Conservatives or Liberals? No no no!
This October is becoming a mixture of excitement and tension, at least around here in Canada, for the hope that our Toronto Blue Jays will defy all odds and make it to the World Series and then there was our big election.
People in Toronto are dressed in the team colours. Our Boys in Blue. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are blue.
Blue and red.
The Jays play the Kansas City Royals again on Friday and all our hopes rest on this game, again, and I can’t really stand to watch the whole way through. It’s like when my brother or someone else I care about happens to be performing. My heart beats in anticipation for their success and I can hardly stand it.
As for our Canadian election: blue is out. Red is in.
Isn’t red associated with Communism? What?
Why do we ruin our beautiful colours, all of you forgetting how lucky you are to see them, with these differing affiliations?
No! I will not give up my precious colours to any one group of people or one set of beliefs.
I was not alive when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister of Canada, but I hear it was quite the time. Scandal of the day. His son Justin was born into this circus.
It’s strange to think that our Prime Minister is only a little more than a decade older than I am. This leaves him up for a lot of criticism because some say he is too young, unexperienced, as the attack ads always claimed.
Sure, eleven weeks for a political race may sound laughable to the US, for instance, but it was eleven weeks too long for me, with all those “he’s just not ready” attack ads.
Others say he is the fresh, new, younger leader this country needs. The world is moving forward, progress and all that, and I tend to agree.
As I’ve said before, who would want the job anyway? He’s got to be a little crazy, but he must have his reasons. Maybe he really does feel like he can make a difference. Running a country, even Canada for whatever that’s worth, must not be easy.
The fear mongering continues. Justin will raise taxes. People don’t feel safe anymore, within the first few days since the election took place. What are they afraid of? Should I be afraid too?
I wrote a blog post, pre-election, about the question of voting: who should I vote fore, should I give into the fears being raised, and how do I really and truly know who I believe can run this country?
Was our prime minister racist? Was he xenophobic? I hate to think it.
I probably should have stayed away, but I have been reading the Facebook comments on two posts in particular, both reflecting and looking back, with sadness to one year ago today and the death of Corporal Nathan Zirillo.
Stephen Harper, still technically in charge of Canada and Justin Trudeau, soon to be – come together to place a wreath for the dead. They both make use of social media, a sign of the times, but today they were, the two of them, offering their sincerest condolences for the loved ones affected in the tragedy of exactly one year ago.
I visited that spot, on Parliament Hill, last winter. It was a cold and grey day, but it was quiet, people milling about, with no sign that just four months earlier, on October 22nd, there would have been fear and panic of the unknown.
Of course, it should be all about the tragedy, the sacrifice, the bravery and remembering those we lost. Harper’s words were about remembering, but quickly things moved into comments about how people loved how safe they felt with Harper in charge and how afraid they are now that Trudeau is at the helm.
The Trudeau posts’ comments were full of people who are looking forward to a future with a new leader for Canada. Then, more back-and-forth.
I understand. These men aren’t responsible for what some commenter writes, but if I were Harper, all this time, I would be horrified that people are making such drastic statements in the name of Conservatism.
I could stay off places like Facebook, the comments, but it’s out there and I don’t want to close my eyes to it either.
There’s a page on Facebook, with 5641 likes, called Ban Islam In Canada:
“Islam is the world’s leading death cult! Please keep in mind we do not insult other religious beliefs here – IF YOU DO YOUR COMMENTS WILL BE DELETED! This page is about the dangers of Islam – so please respect other viewpoints about God.”
Excuse me! What did you just state?
What do I do when I realize this nonsense exists? I want to cry at the awfulness. I want to get angry at the ignorance. I want to make people understand, make them stop spreading such poison. If I were Harper, I would be horrified that anything like this uses Conservative politics on its page to help deliver its message. Canada is better than that.
I do get that There are going to be sides, but I don’t like it. I’ve said all this before. I hate it, in fact, but my mom always told me not to use that word unless you really meant it. She’s always right. I…um…dislike that.
I simply couldn’t believe some of the racist, sexist, awful comments made by my fellow Canadians. One man even went so far as to use the word “vaginas” when exclaiming he thought Canada will now sit on the side lines of fights he evidently believes canada should remain in. Really? I kind of wish I wasn’t sharing a country with that, um, farthest thing from a gentleman I can think of.
People are not wanting other groups, ethnicities, races in Canada. They tie them up, immediately, as being Muslim, AKA terrorists. No distinction. No difference to them.
Anytime a white man commits murder, we don’t start blaming all white people. This prejudice that has taken hold of our world, not just Canada, it must stop.
Yes, it was a horrible crime that was perpetrated on October 22nd, 2014 in Ottawa and with the death of Patrice Vincent in Quebec.
Zirillo was on duty. He wasn’t in a coffee shop or church. He knew the risks in such a job, as remote as they were. That doesn’t make it any less tragic for his family, for his child, but there it is.
I don’t know where it was proven the one responsible was a terrorist. If it was, correct me. It was one lone extremist, a radical.
Was he mentally ill or did he know exactly what he was doing? This debate will continue. More attention on mental health? Always.
Did our prime minister use those things to push his agenda? Would someone do such a thing? Did he truly believe Canada was being attacked, because the guy attacked where and who he did? The perpetrator didn’t just attack someone in a cafe or on the street, but terrorists do that as well.
Should I be more afraid than I am about Canada being attacked, being in the wrong place at the wrong time myself one time?
This happened while Harper was in charge. What if it happened when Trudeau was? People would blame him for being soft on terrorism. What do people think of the fact that it ended up happening on Harper’s watch?
It’s all perception really. Facts and events are concrete, but the way they are perceived is an entirely different story.
George Bush was in charge during 9/11 and not Obama. Did Bush make things safer so something like that did not happen for Obama?
I am proud to be Canadian. I feel for the family. It affects me when something like that happens, in the capital of my country or anywhere else.
I choose not to follow the line of fear so many do. I choose to believe that most people who want to come to Canada want to come for the best reasons, reasons having nothing to do with terrorism.
If they choose to follow more of the Canadian traditions and beliefs or if they intend to remain immersed in whatever religion or culture they came from. As long as we are good to one another, what does it matter?
What will that do to Canada? Oh please!
It was said Harper’s campaign failed because he was running on a message of fear. People got sick of it. I only know that I felt it and I was sick of it.
Now, will Justin magically fix all the problems going on in our world today and in Canada? Of course not. No politician can, does, or ever will.
I do happen to like a younger and fresh take on things. He has been in politics, surrounded in it all his life, which you could argue gives him the ultimate dose of experience, as he’s seen firsthand what the job is like.
I’ve learned Justin Trudeau was/is a teacher. He seems to have a more stable family life, compared to his parents. Let’s hope the stresses of his new job don’t damage that.
I hear that Pierre Trudeau was known as a brilliant man, an intellectual, but people are saying Justin has an emotional intelligence and sensitivity that I would like for Canada’s PM.
How is Margaret Trudeau feeling about her son taking on the position? She knows what it’s like and only wants the best for her child and his family.
It’s the dynasty, the Trudeau family. I don’t know much about that, but as I am now an adult and observant of things, even as I try to resist it, it shall be interesting to see how those who keep pushing the fear tactic will handle whatever happens.
I can’t see Justin and his apparent good looks. That’s certainly not why I would have voted for him, as so many are claiming was done. Really? Does anyone really believe another would vote for a guy to run the country, on his appearance? Do sighted people do such a ridiculous thing as this, ever?
So the “Blue” Jays go on to fight another day.
And the red Liberals have the majority.
I choose to go with sunny yellow. Hope, bright times ahead, sunny skies and green lights for Toronto, Ottawa, and the rest of Canada.
“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
From Harper Lee to Stephen Harper.
Another one of these “In The News” posts, two weeks in a row, but this one is a special edition, not my favourite topics, but definitely in the news here.
I read so many awful, nasty comments in the Facebook post from a local college. The question of refugees, Syrian and other, was being debated. It was shockingly sad to hear some of the statements people were making.
What would I do if I had a home no more and had to leave? What would I want?
I did one project, in high school, about the immigration process. I have no clue, being born a Canadian, what it takes to become one.
Is Stephen Harper pushing a cynical agenda, a lot of prejudice against any specific group of people? Could anybody be so wrong as to vilify any whole group of people for the actions of the few? Are there those living here who don’t feel safe, feel wanted, feel accepted?
I knew very little about much when 9/11 happened. I don’t see how bad it’s said to have gotten since. That’s not my experience, but I know how important it is to feel like a part of one’s country, society, treated like a real person who matters.
“It was great to be in London with hundreds of enthusiastic Conservatives last night. People here want lower taxes, balanced budgets, and more good Canadian jobs. They’re voting Conservative on October 19th. Will you be doing the same?”
Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been leading Canada for, what seems like forever to me now.
Does that mean it is time for a change?
Research. Educate. Check the facts. Pay attention to your gut. What are the facts anyway?
I have felt an unease, a slide, a nagging in the pit of my stomach these last few years. I don’t think I like what’s happened to my country, the direction we’ve been led in, but perhaps I wouldn’t have been happy before that and I just wasn’t paying much attention.
I’m told Harper looks so staged when he speaks. He won’t allow for questions. He won’t answer, won’t address.
What’s going on with the environment? What is our stance on military issues, fighting, peace?
Harper’s talk is always about budgets and other boring things. Okay, so they are necessary for the running of any country, but I know very little about them. I try to educate myself, watch the news, but read a lot, honestly, on Facebook. Articles are posted there and I read about how other Canadians live and the concerns they’re having.
His threats are all fear based. I hate that. The other guys, Trudeau or Mulcair, they will screw our country up, Harper and all Conservatives keep saying.
Vote for him or they will raise taxes. Vote for him or spending will become out of control. We wouldn’t want that, right? What sane person would want that? Of course. No brainer?
I hear this again and again. I never hear him talk about the health of the environment. I never hear any feeling in his voice. Do I truly believe that he cares at all? Would anyone else, anyone, do a worse job than he’s done? Could it get any worse? How bad is it really?
Promises. Promises. Promises. I am tired of broken promises. I don’t want to feel invisible anymore.
The US has the Americans With Disabilities Act. Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but I am looking or feeling for more of this. It is a big concern for me, even if many Canadians are more worried about taxes.
The rich, middle-class, poor. Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green Party…so much to keep up with and keep track of.
Who do I want to run Canada? Who do I vote for and do I only feel as strongly as I do because that is how I was raised? Hmmm.
How do people pick up their beliefs? I wonder all of this as the next federal election is coming in a few short days. I want to vote, make the right choice, and see it make a difference. Is this all possible?
These are some of the questions I have been pondering lately, in the run-up to October 19th.
Re-elect Stephen Harper? Vote Liberal and Justin Trudeau or NDP and Tom Mulcair?
I voted, for the first time, back in the last election. I have done it a few times only. I didn’t exercise my right to vote, as a Canadian citizen, up until recently.
I know why I didn’t vote before that. It’s the same reason many people don’t.
Oh, I can’t possibly make the slightest bit of difference. I hate politics. I don’t know who to vote fore, so why bother, casting a vote for someone I don’t even really like?
I said all of these to myself. It is true that I hate politics.
It’s rhetoric. It’s attack ads. It’s making false promises, only to not come through with them after being elected. I loath it all.
I guess I wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but there are worse things, like not having the ability to vote at all. I tell myself this now, in moments of pure annoyance, and I say to myself that I’m damn lucky to live in Canada, even with the parts I dislike. I should be grateful and thankful and I should vote, just because I can.
So that old question, that I’ve struggled with, has been resolved in my mind. The next question, after the why, is the whom?
“Nice hair though.”
This has been a favourite line of Conservative attack ads against Justin Trudeau, along with the pronouncement that he’s just not ready yet.
I don’t know how anybody could be ready to run a country.
Do I vote for the liberals? NDP?
I ask my dad what he thinks. He tries to explain about the local politician in our area, which has been Conservative for a while. I grow weary of politics, but I must become more informed.
Minority government. Majority government. And my mind begins to drift. Blah blah blah.
I wish I had more interest in these things, but I honestly begin to doze. Politics, I can’t grow up and get away from the feeling of boredom I have always felt at thinking about government and all of its proceedings.
But then I listen to my father’s passion when he speaks of the country his parents came to, all those years ago, to start a new life. They gave him one, made one for him and his brothers. I truly believe hearing the passionate tone of my father, to understand what he cares about seeing for Canada, has been good for me. It’s taught me to figure out what I feel strongly and passionately about too. He’s shown me the importance of paying attention to how I feel and what my heart tells me is right.
I wonder how much family has influenced my thinking, but at some point we must all decide for ourselves what we believe.
I know what I truly think and feel, somewhere deep down, in my gut, I know. So why then do I still question it?
I know I want protection of our resources, our wild life, our oceans. Just the word “oil” has begun to leave a bad, you might even say an oily taste in my mouth.
I know I want freedom, to remain the welcoming people we Canadians like to think we are…to feel like we are accepting of all races, cultures, and religions.
People are going on about their discomfort with the niqab. It doesn’t affect me. I wonder what it matters to anyone else. I can’t see the coverings Muslims wear. Why do we fear this? We do not understand. It’s a sign of oppression, as we’ve been told, hear about in extreme cases that make the news.
Can we sit down and talk to those people, those women, to find out if they are happy. Do they have good lives? Are they afraid?
Islam and the Muslim religion are the targets in our world today, not only here in Canada, as we all know.
Culture and belief systems are powerful things. I don’t see to judge. Being blind helps me with that.
“This is Canada. If they don’t like it, they can go back to where they came from.”
This is something said repeatedly, at nauseam. I want us all to live our lives how we want, as long as that doesn’t include harming others. Why is that so complicated?
Instead, again there’s only more separation, more division, more one side against another. I want to feel like this isn’t always the case in Canada.
Fear of terrorism is real, but how much? How afraid should I really be that my safe home could ever see the kind of danger other parts of the world see? Do I fear or do I remain rational, find compassion, believing in a just and peaceful world?
Most people are good, only want to be left alone, to live their lives. Why must we make it more than that?
Okay, so after talking about all these things, what answers have I really found? What conclusions have I actually reached? Where do I stand?
I must go now and stop reading the upsetting things being said, the nasty back-and-forth comments on Facebook posts about who should run Canada after Monday, and move no to more important things, things that feel hopeful and positive. This afternoon’s game, the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers. It’s all up to Toronto now.
Not such a big deal. He didn’t know. He didn’t know I spent more time, as a child, not playing baseball because of my visual impairment, but playing around a baseball diamond. My sister, my brother, my parents all played. He didn’t know. Made a silly comment and suddenly Twitter was buzzing.
I focus on the positivity I get from my mom. They can win this. It’s possible.
As Scarlet O’Hara mused, in Gone with the Wind: I will go back to thinking about politics and the important issues of the day, in the news, tomorrow.
Indeed Sheryl, indeed.
Oh no! Will she sue me for using this song in my post, if she doesn’t agree with my political views? Hope she doesn’t see this.