Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Behind the Clouds is a Clear Sky - A Sub-zero Cold Front!

All the Kings Men - Tom Cochrane

Sometimes even I need someone to be there for me. I struggle to muster the courage and ask...once. I find it very hard to do that, ask for help. Most people don't think twice about it. They have an ask and you shall receive mentality. It isn't that I haven't had the need to ask but it is unfamiliar territory. Think about it. If you need help, who do you turn to first? Family! So many people get annoyed when I do things by myself that with help would be easier, quicker or safer. Are you one of these people? Consider a time when this happened? Did I really not ask for help? Maybe in shyness...I hinted. Maybe you didn't pick up on my round-about request? Maybe I did ask and you didn't respond in the affirmative? Rejection is a very difficult pill to swallow. Why would I want to stand up so you can reject my pleas a second time? 

Ah but dare I say it, fool that I am when it comes to the corporate machine I get sucked in again and again. I beg and I plead my case, repeatedly and I am always rejected. I tried not to have a lot of hope even though a lot of promises were thrown my way. "They can't say no, it's a shoe-in, don't worry." Outwardly, I tried not to worry - but physically the stress was/is taking a toll, my health was/is deteriorating. The unexplained headaches that don't ever seem to end, the dizziness, the elevated blood pressure, the aches and pains that don't go away, and a blip in my heart and breathing when I am in panic. But it is hard to to pinpoint a definitive cause. Is it stress? Is it lack of food/protein? Or a combination? I can't make the stress go away - I can meditate and take deep breaths til the next leap year and it is not going to change the fact that there is no income and the creditors will call again. And of course without the income the food option isn't going to change anytime soon. What difference does it make if I have food to cook if the street corner I am living on doesn't have a stove? 

If there is a crack in the system, I will fall through it. I won't admit to holding out much hope, because I have fallen so far and so hard when the rug of hope that I perch on was pulled out from under me. It is very hard to stand tall and proud when the earth is crumbling around you. Behind every cloud is a clear sky - although it may be a sub-zero cold front. This morning after yet another crash and burn I stopped eating my oatmeal. I couldn't stomach another bite and then the reason came to me like a slap in the face - I don't deserve it! I don't deserve the food or the nourishment that it brings. Finally an answer to the question so often asked by the health professionals lately - why aren't you hungry? Why don't you eat? Because I am not worthy. Right now thinking and talking about eating, I am nauseous but all I feel is the acid rising in my body. 

Work, through their bullying behaviour taught me that I wasn't good enough. That belief is now ruling my life. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Few Trips Around the Sun with Mother Earth

Changing the Weather - Crash Parallel

Southern Ontario has dodged another bullet weather-wise! Being left more than a little embarrassed in the past, the meteorologists were reluctant to say definitively that we would receive a specified amount of snow. Instead of screaming Snow-maggedon again, they tentatively predicted 15-20 cm of snow that could easily turn to rain. This evening on the news they blamed the slight rise in temperature combined with the still warm ground that the snow was falling on to explain the lack of accumulation. And that is how this whole "winter" has been. I rushed to replace my shovel in October before the supplies were depleted and I was left clearing the driveway with a garden trowel! Since then, I have used it twice. Even today with the Winter Storm Warning in effect, the driveway was barely slushy. I'm not really complaining but I am concerned. This is not normal weather. I am worried that this mild winter will impact the spring and summer season soon upon us. 

Alaska is not a stranger to the winter storm and frigidly cold temperatures, but by mid January of this year over 200" of snowfall had been recorded. That's more than 16 FEET! No wonder house roofs were collapsing under the weight of it all. That is more than double the seasonal average and the temperatures have been so cold that none of it has had the opportunity to melt. This is causing major disruption in the flow of traffic and supplies, not to mention the risk of avalanches. But for the continental United States, it is quite a different story. One report claims that as of January of this year a mere 14% of the country was covered in snow compared to 60% at this time last year. That is significant and troublesome. 

Then you have Europe. In a two-week period beginning towards the end of January, more than 650 people have died due to record-breaking cold weather and snow fall in places that are unaccustomed to such phenomenon. Thousands of people are stranded in their homes behind walls of snow 13 feet deep, often with no electricity. Boats are trapped on rivers that froze over during the blizzards, cars are abandoned all over the roads, one airplane skidding into a pile of snow while attempting to take-off. I don't know what the norm is for winter weather conditions in this part of the world, but I would suggest this isn't it, if every other newspaper has a story on the devastating toll the snow is taking on the citizens. 

I am going to stick my neck right out there to be lopped off and say that I have to laugh at the weather-related stories that I have heard lately coming from neighbours to the south. I laugh at the ignorance when Canada is blamed for all the cold weather affecting the United States, and the perception is related that all of Canada is snow-bound. Just as an aside - I had to spend several months 4 hours south of my hometown of Thunder Bay in Duluth, Minnesota. I was often asked if we lived in igloos and if we had a summer at all. Reality was that the weather was almost identical, but this was before the world-wide exchange of information that we can access these days. Regardless, even today with the expanse of the globe compressed into a few strokes of the keyboard, there is rampant misinformation being shared by supposed professionals. Consider British Columbia. Larger than Washington, Oregon and California combined, the coast is unlikely to see snow in the average winter. But a short drive to the central and northern parts of the province with take you closer to the Rockies with an abundance of snow and great skiing conditions. Toronto, Ontario is on the same latitude as Cannes in the Riviera and just to the south is Windsor on the same plane as Northern California. It is a serious mis-judgement to lump all of Canada into one similar package when from sea to sea, north to south there is enough variety in landscape and weather to please anyone and to compare to anyplace. 

I feel sorry for meteorologists and weather forecasters, no matter what they say there are gonna be people hating on them. Rain is a blessing for the farmer and a curse for the construction worker, and so it goes. I wonder what the suicide rate is for the profession. No matter what the weather, people hate you and blame you. I would think they are just below lawyers in the people we love to hate. But they are the ones who spend the hot days of the summer wising it was cooler and the cold days of the winter wishing it was warmer. Wouldn't it be nice if we could appreciate what we had when we had it - including the weather?


This most recent storm that we were expecting was not coming from the Northern Territories at all but from the southern United States. Yes this storm that barely created a rain fall let alone a snow event, created havoc in several southern states with extensive snow and high winds. But beyond being a competition, we should be very concerned about the trends we are experiencing. Toronto citizens are beginning to refer to the 2011-2012 winter season as the Winter That Never Was, it took until mid-February to declare a winner in the contest predicting the first day that 5 cm of snow would fall at one time. Typically, we would see closer to 65cm falling during the winter season. Behind the people celebrating the best winter ever, there are people who are seriously worried. 

What does this all mean and why is it happening? This mild weather that we are experiencing now could potentially impact spring and summer to come. In the mild days of January, critters were active beneath the garden soil that had still not frozen, flowers were beginning to bloom. And then you have a couple of days of cold. Will the flowers come back or has the cycle been broken. Have we altered the life cycle of the critters. Has the migratory pattern of the birds been affected. I am not exactly Methuselah but I have lived through a few trips around the sun. There was a time when fall was a distinct season with a predictableness to it. The changing of all the leaves, the gradually dropping of the mercury and the flight of the geese heading south. The flocks in a "V" were unmistakable. The formation is not so regimented anymore, and the time frame for the flight is vague. Geese, even in smaller numbers can be seen throughout the winter months now. Not good. 

Global Warming. I'm not a fan of that term, I would prefer something that encompasses the notion of the change in the weather and weather patterns. Indian summer (abnormal warmth during the fall months) is more an expected occurrence than a rarity. The freak snowfall on April Fools Day or later is not fooling anyone in its regularity. There have been many Christmas' of late that jackets are optional. And it isn't just in southern Ontario. My own hometown of Thunder Bay could count on winter hitting with a vengeance and sticking around. By my birthday at the end of November we were skiing regularly at one of 7 ski hills and going until at least the beginning of March. Now, most of the ski hills have closed because of the unpredictable weather. There are regular melts and rainfall instead of snow. Snowmobilers don't want to put money down on trail passes when there is a good chance that the trails may only be operational for 1 or 2 weekends. 

It's time to open our eyes and be concerned about what we are experiencing with the Changing Weather and start to make some serious changes in our callous treatment of Mother Earth. Awareness is the first step.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Little Gratitude and Steak to go!

You Run Away - Barenaked Ladies

I would like to thank all of those people who have spoken or written to me to tell me that they feel inspired and moved by what I have lived and what I write about. I have not in my life been complimented very often and I have been told I don't accept gratitude very well. Well, maybe I don't where you can see and I don't openly acknowledge but each kind word touches me deeply and stays with me. 

Not that I am dead yet, but I have never been exposed to so many people knowing about my life and feeling compelled to respond. I never thought of it as anything special but instead abnormal, because that is what I was told I was. A kid believes what they are told. As a grown up, adults can cement the negative thoughts that were planted so young. Bottom line for me was without choice, I was forced to deal with a lot of pain. Here is a little insight on how I did it - 12 years old, I figured you had two choices. Live or die. I chose life. What happened sucked but it could have been worse. And it was with that childlike innocence and nativity that I was asked by the nurses to speak with other patients in the burn unit. There were the parents of an infant who was badly scalded by the babysitter who learned to forgive because hate got you no where and she would have her own burdens to shoulder and their baby was still alive. There was the 20 year old woman who lost her sister in a house fire, but found solace in her parents and brother once she let go of the self-pity. There was the young man who burned his leg on a hot motorcycle pipe and decided he had been living his life too superficially, that beauty was found much deeper within. 

In the hospital, with everyone dealing with the same life changing occurrences once we were rolled into that ward - we would never again be the people we were before. We would all bear the scars of our experiences. It was when I re-entered the 'normal' world some 2 months later that I developed another strategy to cope with my new reality. I didn't look like you - people stared and pointed and commented. I didn't have a family to go home to. I cried alone. I developed a shell to protect me and a wall to hide behind. No doubt, there was anger but mostly it was a hurt and scared little girl. Without purposeful intention, I began to display a facade of happiness to the outside world while within the four walls of my solitude, I pushed any pain that came my way deep into the far recesses of my mind. When it got to be too much of a burden, I ran. It was my problems to deal with and I wasn't very comfortable sharing and asking for the help that in hindsight would have been very beneficial. Some people did see the misery and tried to intervene. They were swiftly alienated by people who had their own agenda. 

I learned that asking for help did not often end well. Indeed, even when I left to run and hide on my own, reaching out was not a successful venture for me. People had their families to tend to, to be with, to help. They couldn't over-extend to me. Granted not everyone falls into that category, but one does tend to get a little gun-shy when you stick your neck out and your face gets slapped (so to speak) too often. Out of sight - out of mind. It was easy to forget that a had asked for a favour.  

It's okay though, I did it on my own and most of the time I really didn't need help. It doesn't make me strong, it makes me stubborn. It also makes me an avoider, because I run when pain becomes to much to handle. Here or there, wherever I may be or end up, I always open my arms to help others. I hope that in this forum I may help someone too or at least offer a little entertainment. 

When you want a steak and you get a hamburger, close your eyes and pretend that the ketchup and mustard dripping down your chin is the juices of a perfectly cooked, grade A, 3/4 inch steak! If that doesn't work, pack up and run like hell to the place where you can get you what you want and deserve! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waste Not Want Not

Fall On Me - R.E.M.

It has been said that the 400 series of highways in the Greater Toronto area are the busiest in North America and includes the 400, 401, 427, 410 and 417.  The 401 alone is busier than the Santa Monica Freeway, interstates in Houston and Atlanta and between Detroit and Ontario, it is the busiest trucking route. So, it is no wonder that so many accidents occur on its congested tarmac. And while it has been stated that approximately 3% of all accidents actually involve transport trucks, when one is involved in a collision, the back up of traffic can be a nightmare costing millions of dollars in lost revenue for business counting on the movement of traffic and of course employees making it to their destination.

In July of 2007, in a span of a week on the exact same stretch of highway two 18-wheelers were involved in rollovers. One truck was carrying hot tar, the other liquid sugar. Both created a traffic and cleanup nightmares. But thinking about it in the context of waste and the state of our garbage dumps put a more comical picture to the mess. 

Rats are not the cutest furry creature and the thought of them roaming the garbage and sewers can actually be quite repulsive. Unless you picture Templeton - the sarcastic rodent from Charlotte's Web voiced by Paul Lynde. Hundreds of Templeton's all pumped up on a massive sugar high, because the truck that rolled over was carrying granular sugar! Scooped up off the road, it end up in the dump with the un-recyclable twisted truck parts. A veritable feast for the sweet-toothed rats, they scurry around like frantic bees looking for more in the mounds of trash we discard. 

On a more serious note, we have to put more thought into the waste we create. It seems that we have taken some serious steps backwards in our environmental efforts. Yes, we do recycle a lot more than we used to but what about the other 2 R's. Reduce and Reuse? The almighty marketing machine has done a wonderful job in making us so paranoid about catching diseases that we bought disposable cutting boards just for our chicken. Soap isn't enough, now we have to fill our homes with separate containers of hand sanitizer. The broom and dustpan that don't need replacing for years, now shares duty with the Swiffer and it's one use cloths. I say share duty because you still need the dustpan to pick up the bits the Swiffer has amassed but not picked up. Then there is the fancy new coffee makers that in packaging and product used and thrown out for one cup of special coffee is mind blowing. However, I think that the innovation of products to clean the bathroom is the worst of offenders. Once upon a time you could use one cloth to clean all the surfaces, start with the mirror, then the sink and shower and end with the toilet. Now, you have one kind of disposable cloth that cleans the mirror, another for the sink. There is an automatic sprayer that drenches the shower, and the toilet brush is discarded in the toilet when you are done.  

It is simply too many chemicals and garbage that we are producing and for the most part, they are unnecessary. The disinfected and overly sanitized homes that we are living in are in large part a contributing factor to the increase in maladies that we are seeing. From the common cold to the more serious cancer and Alzheimers, we are not allowing our bodies do what they were intended to do - produce natural immunity to fight off germs. Couple that with the chemicals that we are exposed to while we tackle the invisible killers and we don't really have a chance. There are plenty of people who are healthy and alive today that grew up in home that was chemically-free cleaned. The exertion from a little hard word didn't hurt either. Even Templeton is suffering the ill-effect from the toxic effects of our waste. 

I'm not saying don't use the products of convenience and pleasure, just be aware that their are alternatives. We should be looking at some of these innovations as conveniences and not necessities. 

Consider that the baby boomer generation and predecessors grew up in families of 6 or more in homes that were much smaller than the children of today expect. It was the norm to have to share a room with at least one sibling. Hand me downs were the rule not the exception. There was one car for the family, not one car per family member! Today, the square footage of the family home is double or triple in living area for a family that has shrunk in size. The ironic thing is that the houses are so crammed with consumer goods that storage has become the issue. Where do you put it all? A new growth industry has blossomed, and what community doesn't have a block of self-storage units? If you can lock it up in a storage unit, maybe you don't really need it? Out of sight, out of mind...go buy another one, because it is easier and quicker than looking for it in the clutter at home or going through the piles in the storage unit. Great for the consumer-driven marketplace, not so great for the environment. Each product you purchase has impacted the environment in production, transportation and eventual disposal. Think about it before you bring it home. 

Templeton and I will both be grateful. And so will the generations to come.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dear God, It's Just me...Can We Talk?

One Of Us - Joan Osborne

Disclaimer - This blog is about God. It is not a sermon, it is not about the institution of religion, it is not intended to change or question your beliefs. I have faith and conviction in my beliefs but not so much in organized religion whatever the name that is attached to it (I have been jaded of late). 

If I could ask God just one question, what would it be? You know after getting over the shock of seeing him here in front of me while I am still of this earthly world. I think I would have to wonder what he thought of the actions of humanity in the past few centuries. Lot of good things have been accomplished but a lot of deplorable ones too. What would he have to say about the wars and deaths that have occurred in his name?  

If I thought I could ask "Why?" and get the hundreds of thoughts that beg that question answered in one fell swoop that would be the one question I would pose. But it is vague and the answers varied. My "Why's" are very different from yours. For me, it has been so long wondering and trying to answer that question myself that I might just as well wait - for it won't be that much longer before I don't need to know the answers. I will have my peace and leave others wondering the same question. I've spent more than half my lifetime undone - indeed proportionately more time than I have left to leave my footprints in the sand. 

Maybe I could ask one specific question that could be answered in a lot of different ways but still end up at the same point. I would start off reminding God that all my life I have heard that we are never asked to carry any more than our shoulders can handle. I really think that I want to know when my load can be lightened so that I can begin to dance again instead of crawling under the weight of too many burdens and rejections and pain. I used to smile a lot but I forget how sometimes. I want my old self back. I guess I just feel like it is getting to be too much. Someone I see fairly frequently always starts our visits off with her standard "How you been?", after hearing my standard response of "good and bad". We both wait for the day when that will change to just good or Great! It's tough to handle sometimes, the lack of hope or perhaps better put - the fear of hope. The one thing I always used to say I had was hope...

Hope that it would get better, easier, more comfortable. 
Hope that I would understand, learn to cope, forgive. 
Hope that I would be loved, rewarded, appreciated.
Hope that at least Karma would come out to play her game.

...but hope became like a false friend that I would cling to until they let me go - to fall further down into the dark abyss. And each time I would fall a little farther, land a little harder. The bruises and pain took a little longer to recover from and each disappointment was a notch in the noose around my neck that threatened to make the next fall the last one. 

It's Just Me - Blue October

It just seems to me that some people seem to have things come so easily to them, while others struggles for the smallest reward: jobs, life, love, health, friendships. Those people who we say comes up smelling like roses and can dodge every bullet. The lucky ones, the fortunate ones. 

On behalf of all the people struggling to stay afloat, who can't see past their tears - I would ask God...Can you please lighten the weight on our shoulder for at least awhile - until we can smile easily and get stronger? 

I am not alone. It is not Just Me. It may be someone you know. Maybe until the time comes for God to answer, you can help someone with the burden they are carrying...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dying with Peace not a Mouse

In The End - Linkin Park

What can I say, I really tried to let these thoughts go but no matter how many diversionary tactics I try, they boil back up to the forefront of my mind. This evening on the news a man was interviewed who was given a death sentence of 12-18 months about a year ago. He will die from a form of cancer that is causing him increased pain throughout his body as the days go by. That is incredibly sad on its' own but what I can't let go of is his attitude. 

He has started a blog called Digital Dying to chronicle what he is experiencing because he felt that there wasn't any information on the internet about the subject. Maybe there isn't a lot of personal experience accounts on the internet because when people get a time sensitive death sentence they try to get in all the living that they can so they can go on to the great beyond without regrets? And that is where my beef lies, he knows or has an idea of how long he has left, he spoke of wishing he spent more time with family and friends. Well, go do it. Have you any idea how many people don't have the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones before they are taken? 

I will admit that it is a sore spot with me having lost all 5 immediate family members before I was 23 years of age, with my mom having lived the longest reaching 33 years. I never had a chance to say goodbye. They never had the opportunity to make a video for their niece and nephew and grandchildren. They have never reached out to me via letter or recording of any kind from beyond the grave. They were snatched from their place on this earth to move on to the next realm without a moments notice. My brother died of illness instead of an accident and he did have some warning. I am thrilled that he made the most of the time he had left by travelling to Hawaii and New York City and fulfilled his dreams by buying a motorcycle and spending time with me before he went. And that last year is the memories I cherish the most and remember in the most detail. I don't need the latest technology to view what he had to say, it is locked away in my mind. I wonder how this fellow is planning to preserve his final conversations for his family? Has he considered that the advancements in technology could mean that his yet unborn grandchildren will never really hear or see him. In the span of a decade or so we have seen the demise of the Beta, VHS, the floppy drive, the diskette, photographic film, slides, vinyl albums, CD's. What would I do today if I were left recordings on reel-to-reel, or cassettes, or micro-cassettes? I would mourn all over again, every time I thought about it. 

We would all love to leave a legacy for our families and the generations to come, but rather than trying to create one, maybe we should concentrate on living it while we can. For tomorrow, we could head for work and never make it there. Tomorrow this fellow sitting pretty thinking he knows when he is going to die could get hit by a bus. There are no guarantees and we need to be grateful for the time we have and make the most of it. Don't tell the reporter you regret not seeing your family, invite them over instead of the media! He has a lot of options for life and saying good bye to loved ones, there are many people coping with sudden death at all ages who don't have choices. I for one would trade a year of my life for the opportunity for one last "I love you", one more embrace, one more look into their eyes, one more moment in time. 

I'm not ready to die tomorrow, I still have things to do but I do try to live without regrets, although I may have to live to 150 to get everything on my bucket list done :) That is stuff...not time with people! 

Hold Me...Don't Leave Me Hanging!

Awake the Giant - Gowan

It seems the faster we want to speed through life, the more that we are held back by the conveniences of modern society. Many times it has been brought up for debate how the appliances that we fill our homes with to make light of everyday chores actually makes more work and often take up more time. Consider the food processor - by the time you take it out of the cupboard, plug it in, cut the food into pieces that will fit into the feeder tube, turn it on, get a spatula to scrap the food out of the receptacle, dismantle and wash the pieces, I could have taken out a knife and cutting board, cut up the food, scraped off the board with the same knife and be done 10 times over! No I didn't forget about washing the knife and cutting board, because you had to do that too with your task! Not that I would be willing to go back to the days of yore when we didn't have to clean the 2 or 3 toilets in the average house in favour of an outhouse. Some conveniences are worth the trouble! 

But the one technological advancement that I would have no problem leaving behind is the "Hold" button. While I do believe there is a time and a place where it can be useful and even helpful, it's purpose has been abused and it has become a scourge of society. There is one business that I call on a fairly often that is answered by a live person saying "Can you hold please?" and then putting you on hold before you can answer! I hate not being given the choice? Then there is another well known national company that I feel the need to call but I have to set aside a few hours for the process because of the amount of time I know I will be on hold and transferred about to different departments. I've been meaning to call for the past month but just haven't had a big enough block of time to do so. How stupid is that! And you have to be home to call companies like this because most of us are minutes restricted on our cell phones. You could use up a months worth of air time on one call just being on hold. It's time to literally wake up the giants to the ways of modern society. We don't have the time to be put on "ignore"!

Maybe it is just me, but I always worry about putting the phone on speaker, because I am afraid that when I pick up, I will accidentally cut them off and then have to start the whole process again. Back of the line...grrr. So you hold the handset to your ear - but don't move, because your chin can inadvertently hang up the phone. Another modern day convenience that can work against up - the cordless handset. You gotta admit that hanging up the old phones by mistake was a lot harder than it is today, although you were tethered to the wall. Once, in a fit of desperation I put the handset on the corner of the bathroom counter and crooked my neck so I could still hear while I did my business. Guys wouldn't understand, they can take care of things with one hand. 

One of the things I hate the most about being on hold is the muzak that offends my ears. I get that a major benefit of this is that we know that we haven't been cut off - has that ever happened to you...thinking you are on hold, only to realize that you were cut off long ago? But if I have to be subjected to music that is not necessarily to my liking, it should not be so loud as to further offend, or I should be able to turn it down. Background noise only please, because your crap is competing with my beautiful noise. And while I am at it, if you are going to interrupt to tell me how much you appreciate my patience...please don't yell it at me. If you really valued my business or me you would not abuse my time so freely. 

The thing is, that there is a better system available. You call the business, if they can't take your call at that time you are invited to leave your contact information and they give you a time frame of when you can expect a call back - usually 15-20 minutes. And they usually do - quicker than the original estimate. That technology should be made mandatory especially for our government offices who are probably the worst offenders for putting people on hold for interminably long times. In the time that it took for me to write, edit and post this blog, my friend has been on hold with our civil servants. Someone needs to go relieve him...his shift is over soon lol! 

And while we are on phone etiquette and wasting of my time at your convenience, can we please ban automatic dialers. I have way better things to do than stop what I am doing to answer a phone only to find no one there.  If you hear an ear piercing whistle because you have not answered me promptly enough don't call again :) I'm not interested in whatever you are offering. 

I have no grass that needs weeding - just weeds that need grass.
I have no ducts that need cleaning - just geese that need plucking.
I have no need for new windows and doors, I live in a tent.
If you haven't been paid and I'm late, it's because I don't have the money. Phoning me at 8am on Saturday is not going to change that! Duh!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thank you My Love - a

I And Love And You - The Avett Brothers

Another Valentines Day is upon us a time for those who profess it to go out and prove it. And they do in droves. The one day where men out-shop the women by a margin of 2:1 and the American Greeting Card Industry claims that one quarter of all cards sent are Valentines Day Cards and second only to Christmas in consumerism (money spent). But I would suggest that that is because of the high ticket items that those poor men have been convinced that they have to spend. Once upon a time, a quick trip to the flower store followed by a stop to pick up a card and maybe some chocolates was all it took to make you "Man of the Year". But in the 1980's the diamond and jewelry industry got interested in taking a cut of the love pie, followed by the travel industry and you better have deep pockets. 

But this celebration of love initially started as a sort of free for all sex-fest. Girls would put there name in a jar, the boy who picked their name would be with them for an entire year. Sort of like a trial run before the commitment of marriage, the Catholic church however wasn't too excited and set out to involve the church into it. After 800 years of fun, they wanted both sexes to draw names of Saints that they would emulate for the following 365 days. It wasn't a big hit - no surprises there :)

Today while the Iraq capital of Baghdad has for a day holstered the weapons and hung up the uzi's having embraced the lace and satin teddy bears and nighties while conservative Muslims sit on the opposite street corner frowning at the growing popularity of the pagan festival. Meanwhile, in Indonesia there is push on by Muslim clerics to ban all Valentine Day celebrations. All right, as long as we can revert back to the days of yore...put my name in the pot :)

Croatia has a facility for all the lonely hearts to go an mourn and shed a few tears over the love that was. Along with the wedding dress that was shredded after the divorce, the teddy bear that had his legs ripped off in a fit of anger the axe that assisted in the division of marital property, you can also find other symbol of love gone wrong at this specialized museum. 

Although most people recognize Valentine's Day as just another marketing sham that they feel they are pushed into partaking, it is a good time to evaluate the relationship and perhaps infuse some spice to re-kindle the romance. It can't hurt to have some help remember why you are with your "other" and if it's really where you want to be. Although, I would suggest that Valentines Day is not the best time to break up! You may be giving up your last opportunity in a while for passionate loving. Valentine's Day sex like Birthday sex should be the only mandatory thing about the festivites. 

I wonder though, how long into the relationship should you be before you celebrate Valentines Day as a couple. That could put a lot of pressure on where it may not be ready to hold it. I was talking to one lady who started dating her husband early in the year and expected and got a token of love in February...and every year since for the past 40. She however has never reciprocated because her getting him flowers and chocolate would be redundant. It seems they save the real celebration of love for their anniversary. Aww...

NEWS BULLETIN: It seems that people in love will live longer than those of us happy in singledom. Scientists have found a hormone that helps us to form bonds of love, friendship and trust called Oxytocin is much more prevalent in couples. Oxytocin also gives us the courage to get out there and build social networks that beyond our partner will support us and help us cope with stress. As an added bonus it gets the male all fired up to conquer and plant his seed. Oxytocin should not be confused with the highly addictive and possibly deadly pain reliever OxyContin. Although, to be fair being in a relationship has been proven deadly for some. Think Betty Broderick and OJ Simpson. Maybe unattached and happy can prolong your life? Or someone needs to invent a definitive test to weed out the whack-o's.

If you do find yourself alone and lonely today, head for the nearest big city. It seems that is where you will find the higher concentration of single people. One can speculate that there is so much to do to satisfy the social need that does not necessitate partners, and once attached they head for the burbs to begin procreating. Above all you need to remember that you are no different and no less a person today that you were yesterday or a week ago. It is consumerism that has you feeling down. Consider that all the love that kids feel on this day is mandated. Parents are given a class list - all kids get a Valentine or no one does. I would rather get none than get false hope and fake love. 

What ever stage of life you find yourself in right now, I hope you are happy. Before you can find true love with another you must first truly love yourself. Personally speaking - single and happy beats the crap out of attached and miserable..."Better to have loved and lost then be stuck with a jerk". I remember my girlfriend telling me that more than I remember his hollow I Love You's. 

For the lovers:
Happy Valentines Day! get busy! 

For the cynics:
Happy unimaginative, consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary, manipulative and shallow interpretation of romance day! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Facebook - Where I Can Talk To a Wall and Not Look Like an Idiot!

Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses

Facebook is like a jail. You sit around wasting time, have a profile picture, write on walls and get poked by people you barely know.

It's funny, this facebook phenomenon. Facebooking has become a verb in modern vernacular - and I have been doing it since May 1st, 2007. I had been banned from it previously by my kids because I was too old, but my son had his heart set on attending university in the fall on the east coast and we thought it would be a good and cheap way for us to stay in touch and I could keep an eye on him too. He set me up in May so I could have a few months training under my belt, besides it was better than finding him on MySpace. People my age were starting to invade Facebook anyways :)

Yes, the Baby Boomers invaded and soon took over. For me it was a tremendous tool to know how my son was faring a thousand miles from home and I missed him a little less when I saw pictures that were posted and made myself privvy to his "wall" conversation without saying a word. I felt like a spy lol! But it didn't take long for me to figure out that if I looked for them I would find friends I had lost touch with over the years of moving back and forth across the eastern half of Canada. School mates from Thunder Bay, friends from my college years and neighbours I left behind on the East Coast and missed terribly. The miles and the years melted away with each new friend I found. But you have to keep looking because for many years, people who swore they would never be a part of it are now embracing the social experience that is Facebook. But us old fogey's have learned to share with the young and the seniors alike. These days, my favourite part of facebooking is finding people I grew up with and re-connecting with them even if we just laugh at a few old pictures together or exchange a few messages. It's nice to know we all survived those awkward high school days and to mourn together the once who have left us too early. For me there is a great group that shares pictures from days gone by so we can all privately or publicly reminisce.

I have met some great new friends as well and keeping more recent friendships alive. It seems to me though that some people are more interested in upping their friend count then actually being a friend. I would like to have a connection with the people I add although I am guilty of adding people from a sense of social responsibility and guilt rather than actual friendship. I suppose it is probably some celebrity that count their friend among the tens of thousands, but I doubt that your average person would know that many people to call friends. Hard core facebook gamers often have very high numbers of friends because they add people who share their interest in the game. Some like MafiaWars and Farmville, require that you make requests of your neighbours in the game to move you along. Our old school chums and work colleagues are not necessarily the ones who are playing. I've had my crack at the games and find the requests and time too extensive myself, so I shy away from most. But to each his own. I can still limit how much is cluttering my home page. Well it was easier before the creative minds instituted that annoying "ticker tape" of events scrolling past. I still feel that addition is a intrusion of privacy and surprised that there wasn't more of a revolt!

And really, nobody likes to have drastic change thrust upon them just when they were starting to feel comfortable with the current layout. And who is this young hot-head Mark Zuckerberg to think that he knows what changes we would like, what changes would make our life easier and better. Lord knows you hear enough grumbling and complaining when the hint of change is in the air. Take the latest and greatest innovation - the timeline. Some people embraced the new look immediately, I sat back and hoped that I might be forgotten in the shuffle...but no...I got the notice the other day that I might a well get used to it, because the format would be permanent later this week. Argh! It really isn't the look that I object to so much although I do find it to be too cluttered and unorganized, but what concerns me more is that with each new change I worry about the less control and security that I have. That silly paradox of mine where I pour my soul and life into a blog and web page but want to control what I share in the world of Facebook. lol! But let's be real, I don't know anyone who would be willing to abandon facebook regardless of the changes that irritate us and make us feel powerless and Mark Zuckerberg knows it. 

The funny thing about facebook status is that you can write something about one person and 20 others, think it is about them. There are "applications" that will make up funny status' for you when you feel brain-dead or have nothing to say. Researching a facebook related topic on Google, I came across pages and pages of sites devoted to nothing but how to write effective status' for facebook! My status' are typically very meaningful to me but cryptically so -you know me and you understand. The very obscure are often titles of blogs. Or thoughts from the deep recesses of the differently thinking mind :)

I have some "friends" on the site who clutter my view with their incessant postings of their mundane daily activities 
7:30 - good morning
7:35 - first coffee done
7:40 - first job of the day is finished
7:42 - getting dressed to go do errands
8:00 - in the line up at Tim Hortons
and on and on until finally
11:50 pm - good night 
- followed up a half hour later with another update clearly negating the notion that the person has gone to bed after a long day of updating the virtual world of their every move! I want to high five the faces of the people who comment like a mindless cheering section encouraging the insanity.  

or the real stupid status postings like
- oh wow
- I didn't see that coming
- do you believe it
(all from the same person in the space of an hour - leads you to realize that they are watching a television show and instead of talking with the humans around them, they are commenting to people who for the most part have no idea what show she is even watching. Nor do they 

I would suggest that there may need to be an intervention there! But it won't be me hosting it. Those people have been regulated to "Only important" updates. does facebook even determine what is an important update? 

For the most part we are all a lot more virtually connected with the prevalence of wireless connections and Wi-Fi, most of us now compute with laptops, netbooks and tablets. Not to mention our smart phones. It is much easier to give the illusion of sitting at the computer on facebook all day long. Where once logging on in the workplace was strictly forbidden, now we are likely to find our employers have set up their own facebook page. With the demographic population now looking to facebook for not just some social chit chat but for games, news updates, discussion and dating opportunities as well as for consumer shopping, recalls and deals. There isn't too much that you cannot research or find on facebook, and there is a group for just about every interest going. A saavy business will embrace all that facebook has to offer and exploit it not forbid it. 

But you know the attitude towards facebook and the influence on all of society is cemented when we are told that potential employers look to our profile pages to gauge what type of an employee we might be and the police are using it as another tool in their crime-fighting arsenal. Although to be fair the moron who posted pictures of himself rioting and looting during the Vancouver riots or the burglar who seeing a computer logged on to facebook to update his status to let his friends know which house he was robbing and then forgot to log off. There is no cure for stupid!

I suppose what bothers me the most about facebook is that people take it too seriously. Two many times I have read news stories about people who have been killed or injured because they have been "Un-friended" on facebook. Exploring the site years ago as another option to the dating scene, I became afraid of deleting a person from my phone contact for fear that there could be retaliation. I barely knew this person and there are some pretty unstable fakers out there. My home phone number was visible for years with no abuse - I reasoned that if you had my last name from the site, you could use the same internet connection to look up the number on Bell's virtual phone book. 

There have been countless report of assault, threats and worse when someone feels slighted because they have been "un-friended" on facebook. The underlying issues that these people have saddens me as I snicker at the absurdity of it all. People have publicized feats of criminality like a banner of pride. The very forum can be an incredibly easy way to bully and de-grade people, but there is also a support group for every difference between us. The latest insanity I read about just today is the father who found out that his teenage daughter posted a letter full of profanity and anger directed at her parents who she thought were cruel. In retaliation, and to show her that what is put forward for the public to see may adversely affect the rest of her life, because it never really goes away. To emphasize the seriousness of his lecture, he videotaped himself shooting her laptop with a pistol and posted it to YouTube for the world to see. I think we can forgive the youth for some indiscretions for we have all made mistakes, but dear old dad should have known better. I think there are better ways to discuss issues before pulling out a weapon and video camera.  


WELCOME TO FACEBOOK...The place where people add you as a friend and walk past you in the street. Where relationships are perfect, affairs are started and you look way too busy to have time to sit on facebook. It's the place where your enemies are your friends, but your friends and family block you because there are some things they don't want to know about you. It is the place where you feel the closest with people you have never met and probably never will. Better than a death in the family to get all the relations you didn't know even existed to come out of cyber space. Even though you write what you are really thinking, someone always takes it the wrong way, and people always think your status is about them. It is the place where liars can tell more lies, weak people portray themselves as gangsters, the biggest bitches and drama queens use their status to hate on bitches and drama queens (someone get a mirror quick) and loners are never alone. And for every one looking for their 5 minutes of fame, dying prematurely for any reason will get a "R.I.P." page set up for you before you are barely cold and stiff with more friends than you had alive. And no one will have the courage to unfriend you or have your account deleted. You'll live in forever in a world that isn't even real. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Machine of My Dreams

I'm in Love with My Car - Queen

I don't own the machine of my dreams. I had it once in the early 1980's but I haven't really seen it up close and personally since. It is funny how some people really appreciate the old classics and others don't even bat an eye to appreciate all the TLC and hard work that went into creating the final product. I have to admit that like much of today's society, I also appreciate the sleek lines as opposed to the the rounded fenders and quarter panels jutting out. But you don't always get what you want and you need to learn to appreciate beauty in all forms. 

The finish for example. On a brand new model it glistens and shines. Water beads off like we have just spent hours waxing and buffing. Decades later despite some dimples and ripples water still has the opportunity to bead off and protect the interior. Sure the colour may have faded somewhat and lost its initial glow, but we can bring the illusion of some of that back. If we have the money and inclination we can even remove some of the imperfections and essentially turn back the hands of time.

Today the fuel to make the machines go has undergone a lot of changes. Today you almost need a degree in chemistry to understand the composition of gas so that you can make the right choices. There are different needs for different engines and if you don't make the right decision you can end up with a lot of backfires, poor performance or engine failures. It seems that with a world of advancements, we sometimes just create more sensitivities. Personally, it boggles my mind to wonder what has happened that we must pussyfoot around our choices to satisfy society and not just ourselves. There are petitions asking us to avoid this company, the environmentalists telling us to consider this option, the professionals telling us to try this product to see if the knocking stops. 

The industry is always making improvements on specific parts that they think we should consider replacing and spend a tremendous amount of advertising dollars convincing us. Take headlights for example. After years of continuous use, even though it is for the intended purpose, headlights will dim and be in need of a realignment. But it is a relatively gradual process and we often don't notice it because if is often utilized in the dark. But making improvements will definitely enhance the aesthetic appearance of the whole package and rarely goes unnoticed. But getting the best doesn't come cheap and once started, the upkeep on the rest of the chassis must be maintained or the sparkling new headlights will look grossly out of place.

It's a money pit really. Just when we think we have it all figured out, we notice that the seat is beginning to sag, the seams are stretched to the limit and there is stuffing sticking out where we never realized it before. It's going to take a lot of hard work and sweat to get it back to where it once was and then it still won't be the same. The original design and comfort of the seat is forever gone. And before we know it, while we are trying to fix the seat, the shock absorbers go. Yes, they can be replaced but the parts will be inferior to the original and once we start replacing parts, it never ends. Next thing we know it is the electrical system that needs attention, and then the ventilation. A little extra lube here and there to make sure things doesn't squeak and creak too much. With the right fuel additive, you can even add a little more power in your stick shift. 

So maybe it is true that the old classics don't have the speed of the newer models, they don't go as far on a tank of gas, need more rest breaks and maintenance costs are increased but the ride can still be enjoyable. It only takes the right connoisseur to appreciate the beauty within. Given the right TLC the old machine can still purr like a kitten and keep you satisfied while you ride with the wind blowing what is left of your hair. 

with the Car of my Dreams - 1982 Datsun 280zx 

There are many things from your past that you cannot get back. There are some things from your past that you don't want back. There are some things that you can and do want back. For me, it is the Datsun pictured above. I may not look like the same person on the hood of that car, but inside I am.  The car will one day be parked again in my driveway, but I will never see her in the mirror again. I will see a wiser, more mature and older version of her though - and I still like her. Even though the time and cost of maintenance has increased, I'm worth it :)

After you have gone back and re-read this post because you have just realized that I wasn't talking about a car at all, jump in the shower and watch how the water really does bead off your skin like a freshly waxed car and marvel at the perfection that is the mechanics of the human body! ;)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Life in the pantry

Walk Away - Barlow

That is one deep song, it is a real shame that more people don't know it. I will agree that maybe I can relate to it more than your average person. Maybe there is a little Christine and Malcom in someone we know. 

It has been officially diagnosed as Eating Disorder - undefined. I have developed an unhealthy relationship with food but lately something very bizarre has been happening. First of all, a little about this relationship that cannot be defined. The thing is that professionals classify food disorders into one of two major categories - anorexia or bulimia. I have no symptoms or characteristics of either one of those. Throughout my life it has been my habit to file unpleasantness into a folder in the deep recesses of my mind where I can easily disregard it and forget it. I have done that with the feeling of hunger and that is the disorder - essentially I choose not to be hungry or eat. 

Around this time last year after a month of daily one hour plus sessions of exercise and watching what I ate, I lost a total of 0 (zero) pounds. I cut out all carbs and most fruits from my diet. No change. I increased the intensity of the work out. Nothing. I recorded everything that went into my mouth and after two weeks brought it to the doctor - he said calories in equals calories out. I went home and calculated the average calories of those two weeks. It was 700 - so I cut it in half. Nothing. Well, no weight loss but I did begin suffering from severe muscle and back pain from working out but not feeding the muscles. It seems that you can eat satisfying meals while not consuming a significant number of calories if you eliminate carbs and most protein. I was promptly shipped off to visit a nutritionist who helped me to learn to mechanically eat, stop counting every calorie and stop stepping on the scale. I was also threatened with hospitalization unless I changed my ways. I became more away of my bodies reaction to food including the uncomfortable bloating I feel when I consume refined carbs like white bread and pasta. I could probably count on one hand how many times I have felt hunger in the past year and I know that I abhor the feeling of fullness. All I can tell you today is that I am nowhere near the 1500-1800 calories a day that it has been said that the average woman should eat. To lose weight you should consume 300-500 calories less per day. Suffice to say, I would probably be back where I was a year ago if I did that. 

The funny thing is that I know what a balanced diet consists of. I know what I should and shouldn't eat. I am not a fan of fried foods, fast foods, or restaurant fare in general. I don't enjoy processed food or carbs and I do enjoy all types of vegetables, fish and chicken. In the last month or so, I have come to another one of those life changing times and have had to learn to adapt once again. Financially things have been strained for the past 6 months or so but have now come to a head. Struggling to keep the creditors at bay, the last priority on the budget has been food. So my diet of fresh vegetables and salad has been put on the back burner and the pantry has become the "go to" for meals. Pasta, soup, oatmeal have become the norm. I am beyond being too proud to go to the food bank but the thing is that I will not get anything there that isn't already in the pantry - carbs and processed food that I don't like. So I will leave the offering of the food bank for those who would be happy to eat it. I feel like it would be wasted on me. I don't want to appear a snob, but I would really rather not eat than have to eat a white pasta supper or canned and processed food. Besides I already have that in my own pantry.

Last fall I heard about a program that supports local farmers while providing a variety of fresh produce through a sort of co-operative. For $13 (single) $18 (family size) you can pick up a large assortment of seasonal produce. If anyone lives in my area and would like to take advantage, I would be happy to provide you with the contact information. Wherever you live, you should check to see if there is a similar program offered in your area or start one up. It is win/win. 

Believe it or not, I find that the food goes bad before I can eat it. Sounds ridiculous I know, but it is one of those weird tricks that my mind is playing with me. Have you ever heard stories about how during the depression food and money were so scarce that after the drought was over, many people began to hoard in a fear that the well might soon dry up again - so to speak. Well, it seems I am going through the same phenomenon and even though I recognize it and know it is happening, I can't stop it. I bought some perishables early last month. The full carton of yogurt was nearing it's due date when I finally finished it by eating it for supper two days in a row. The eggs had to get hard boiled before the expiry date and the last one is still sitting there. I enjoy a glass of orange juice in the morning but I threw the last quarter of a carton out because it was well beyond it's best before date. Now it isn't like the fridge is so full that the food is lost in the back recesses - no it is right in front of me. Fried or poached eggs or even an omelet would be a great supper alternative with ample protein - so tell me what am I saving them for? I can ill afford to waste money by throwing away food. So now the only thing I buy at the grocery store is milk. I know it isn't a healthy diet and could very well be why during this unseasonably warm winter I am always cold and tired. 

One day I hope I will return to normal and not view food as a mortal enemy that is to be avoided but maybe even enjoyed once in awhile. I just don't know when that might happen. Meanwhile I believe that the 100 calorie cup of soup is calling my name - may even warm me up a little bit.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I want to come home to you!

Last Kiss - Pearl Jam

It's not that there has been a lot of deadly car accidents of late but there have been a few that have received significant news coverage and got me wondering. The images stick in my head - not of the victims or the survivors but of the wreckage. This evening someone spoke to the media to complain that most of the crowd at the accident site was talking pictures and videos with their cell phones instead of calling 911 or reaching out to comfort the dying or seriously injured as the wait for emergency personnel continued. I would like to think I could be the one who holds the hand of someone taking their last breaths instead of making a permanent record of the carnage but I honestly don't know. Hopefully continue on my way before I become a hindrance to the emergency personnel. I regret that I have seen the mangled metal that was once a vehicle I could have been a passenger in, so I doubt I would appoint myself photographer.

This past Monday (February 6) in the middle of the morning, two 23 year old women were killed in a head on collision on the 401 not far from Belleville Ontario. For reasons unknown, one of the women entered the highway going in the wrong direction and collided head on with another vehicle which instantly killed that 23 year old woman. Also unknown is how long she was travelling westbound in the eastbound lanes before the crash. One woman has come forward to say that she swerved out of the way to avoid the small red car going the wrong way, but there is no information to say if she called to alert authorities. I'm not on the highways everyday, but I can tell you that anytime I have been in that vicinity there has been a fair number of cars. She must have been seen by cars having to avoid her or cars travelling in the adjacent westbound lanes. If the accident had occurred on the weekend instead of a Monday morning, the first assumption would have been alcohol related causes. But nothing has been said about a possible cause. Not of sound mind for sure - alcohol, drugs, sleeping or distracted? Yes, distracted - depending on how long she had been going the wrong way. 

Anyone familiar with the highway system around the Greater Toronto area will have a story or two to tell about the driver who's head just popped up as they were drifting into another lane having bent down to retrieve something, or the driver averting their eyes to reach for their coffee, smokes, cell phone. Drivers changing the CD, radio station or cabin comfort controls. The drivers reading a book or a map. The drivers applying makeup, shaving, combing hair, primping. Or the drivers who very nearly cause a collision because they spill food or coffee on their laps! I used to regale the children with stories of how in the days before coffee holders in vehicles were the norm, I would balance a coffee on my knee or with three fingers of the left hand while the ring and pinkie gripped the steering wheel, while I reached for the cigarettes and lit myself a cigarette. Plus, with a coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other, the window and the radio had to be manually operated. Now that was distracted driving! But there was not the volume of traffic then either. 

Yesterday, February 7th, 11 people were killed when a truck collided with a 15 passenger van. The preliminary investigation concluded that the van had gone through a stop sign and t-boned by a truck and then pushed some 50 metres to rest alongside a house. The truck was attempting to avoid the van when it swerved and rolled over, killing the driver. The driver, who seems to be largely ignored by the media is the only true victim here. The media seems to be focusing on the 10 migrant workers from Peru who were killed and the families they left behind. But as sad as that is, the 38 year old truck driver who also left family behind should not be neglected after all, he was on his way home to celebrate a wedding anniversary. It is a tragedy all around for sure. 

Questions have arisen regarding the suitability and qualifications of the van driver and the van itself. It turns out that the driver did not possess the required class of licence to be operating a 15 passenger van, despite friends and people who knew him claimed that he was a conscientious and careful driver. The issue of using a van to carry so many people has come into question once again. Indeed, in January of 2008 7 teenage members of a basketball team and the coaches wife were killed when they were travelling to a tournament in a 15 passenger van near Bathurst New Brunswick. One of the boys mother has been lobbying to have the vans banned from passenger transportation. 

I am not going to pass judgement on the young lady who took the wrong turn and cut her own life sort along with a strangers. There will be enough blame laid on the driver of the van without me adding to it or questioning his driving abilities. What I am going to question is the issue of distraction. Most provinces in Canada now have some form of distracted driving legislation in place, I wonder if it is enough? The problem is not the device but the fact that the drivers attention is removed from the task of driving. I would suggest that movies playing in the back of my head rest can be distracting, so can using the vehicle as a mobile restaurant. Whether I have one hand holding a phone to my ear, or holding a cigarette (no, I do not smoke any longer), reaching for a stick of gum or changing the radio station, song on the iPod or switching out the CD. It is all distraction. So is the four or five lanes of traffic whizzing by in the same direction as me while I try to locate the one sign that will tell me I am going the right way. We cannot stop distracted driving. Dare I say that whether I am having a conversation on a phone (hands free, hand held, or speaker) I can be distracted. If it is an intense or emotional conversation, by reaction will be the same. The only benefit to having such a conversation with a passenger is that they may be able to act as an additional pair of eyes to watch the road. But then maybe having 14 mouths and 28 eyes is too much. I have driven with two kids in the car and been distracted - especially as a new mom with a fussy baby in a car seat. At least I could comfort my baby at a stop sign/light, now babies are forced into the back seat - that is a distraction! So lets put ourselves back into this van. 13 people who have just finished a days work, they all have stories to tell and the enthusiasm and clamour distract the driver for just a moment. And a moment is all it takes to shatter the lives of so many in so short a time. Maybe the 15 passenger van should be banned because there is no greater distraction than our fellow man. Maybe we can focus on teaching drivers how to deal with distractions. Either that or ban all drive-thrus and electronic gadgets for the car. We need to stop believing that the lowly cell-phone is the only distraction to drivers. Have you ever seen the driver seemingly arguing with themselves while they have a growth coming out of their ear - an enraged driver for sure!  

It is not just two young ladies, ten migrant workers and a truck driver - families, friends, loved ones, co-workers the circle of those affected is much greater! Even I have been affected and I don't have any association with any of the victims - but I have been there.