Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Mirror Reflects the Soul and Heart

That I Would Be Good by Alanis Morissette

You can't teach an old dog new tricks. 
A leopard can't change his spots. 
Past performance is usually a pretty good indicator of future behaviour.

Have you ever stewed over something you wish you had said or done? It has been said that hindsight has 20/20 vision, you can't see the forest for the trees and sometime the sunshine is hidden by the clouds. All sorts of proverbial catch phrases to illustrate the position that I am in right now and what I find most interesting is the realization that this is a pattern in my character. Consider the fact that if I had the kahunas (balls) to stand up to the person at work who didn't like my voice, I might have put them in their place. I should have stood up to the supervisor who, before we began our working relationship when she got promoted that she "never liked me from the first time she met me." How much would things have been different if I had stood up for myself. The bullies would have moved on to find someone weaker. But no, I wouldn't wish that abuse on anyone. I survived, but just barely. Someone less stubborn may not have.

The point of this story, is that someone has recently re-entered my life and although it was brief, I realize that my relationship with him is toxic. He is a dominant who makes me feel insignificant. He is the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board in sheeps clothing. Nothing I did was right, none of my ideas or opinions had any merit and every decision I made today and in the past was the wrong one. He is not my lover or even my boyfriend but was annoyed when I didn't want him to touch me in what I felt was an intimate way. Maybe for someone else it wouldn't be deemed intimate, but it is the way I felt - dammit! Even now thinking about it I get tears in my eyes. Not because it happened but because I let him belittle me and suggest that I don't know what it feels like to have a man love me and touch me. A man who claims to respect a woman does not go around calling them nasty names. And a man who wants to touch me respects me first. 

We've all been hurt by the opposite sex, by family members - but at some point we need to let it go. I won't forget the past because I would prefer not to repeat it, but a lifetime of anger over something that occurred in the past and out of your control cannot be healthy. You can release the anger to the wind and still not forgive or forget. You don't ever have to see that person again if you don't want to but please...let the anger go. It is eating you up and clouding your view on society and the people left in your life. 

We all make mistakes, but we are not necessarily evil. My ex was no good for me (and he was a despicable father to my children) but he may be perfectly matched for someone else - and they can keep him lol! Point is, just because someone did wrong by you in your eyes, maybe it wasn't an intentional slight. And what if it really was intentional behaviour meant to hurt you. Do you really think that they give a shit that you are stewing about it decades later? They probably don't even know how much anger you hold toward them. Ask yourself if their life is impacted by your venomous words - when they are not in the vicinity to hear them. This is another character trait I see in myself, that opened the door for the abusers at DPCDSB to continually berate me. The belief that there is good in everyone and there is not always evil intent. Except I let the anger go. I will never forgive, or forget but I will also not give them the power to control my life anymore. I write people off who I deem not worthy to be a part of my life. They become nothing.

My daughter may get annoyed at me for sharing this, but truth is that most girls go through phases like the one I am going to share. I did it myself! In a nutshell for whatever the reason, we seem to go through a phase where we chose the absolutely wrong person to have a relationship with. Spreading our wings, a little rebellion, the reason doesn't matter. From the perspective of a parent, I think that you have to express your displeasure and then let the child go forth and learn for themselves. And be there to pick them up and comfort them if they are hurt (and no I am not talking about a physically or other type of abusive relationship - for there is no question that immediate intervention is required in those circumstances). But you have to understand why you believe that the relationship is wrong for your child in order to have a valid opinion. Just because you don't think that they are good enough for your baby is not valid. My grandmother thought that way about my father and she didn't know any thing about him but his line of work. She felt my mother should marry a doctor - but that's another story! With my daughter, the boy made some mistakes that although they didn't thrill me I could accept that mistakes happen. What I didn't like was his disrespect for the mother of his girlfriend. As a potential "in-law" you don't have to like me but you do have to respect me. I said my peace and then trusting that I raised her right, I let her go to make her own decisions. It wasn't easy and it was a tough time for our relationship but it worked out in the end. A relationship built on love, trust and mutual respect will weather all storms. Some parents need to recognize that they may be alienating their child and forcing them to be deceitful in there personal relationships because the criticism about their partner is not something they want to hear. As a parent, you could be missing the best years of your childs' life. I hope that you have time to open your eyes and your heart before it is too late. 

Just because I can now, with the advantage of wisdom and hindsight, see the personality traits that allowed the DPCDSB and others take advantage of me does not mean that I have any intention of changing myself to become cynical or wary of people. For if in order to survive in this world I have to change who I am, I don't want to be here anymore. So take a shot on that target you see on my back because you will not leave scars of shame on me and with time the wounds will heal. But not one day will pass when I will be ashamed of my behaviour. The mirror will always be a friend that I can look at with pride. Can you? For in the end I know that it's not me that isn't good is you that isn't good enough for me. I just have to work on remembering that!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Close Encouter of the Cuddy Kind :)

My Son's a Queer/I Got a Girl - Devin Cuddy Band

Continuing the love affair with great Canadian music I bring you the up and coming Devin Cuddy. Okay, he is the son of Blue Rodeo front man Jim Cuddy but father and son are like night and day in song styles, although the name association isn't likely to wane anytime soon. But there is no riding on the coat-tails for this son of a star, Devin seems to have taken a u-turn from the modern era and ended up in the 50's - long before my time :) and a far cry from the equally unique style of Blue Rodeo. Devin has paved his own road beautifully even though it is a road less travelled in 2013. Already sounding the seasoned pro it's hard to believe he is but 25. His words and music suggest a much older soul.

Music - great music is not bound by generations. That is why disco died. It was faddish - the Devin Cuddy Band plays the tunes that make you feel like you have been transported to another era. An era when it was fun to kick up your heels and dance and sing along. Devin is a masterful writer from the comical My Son's a Queer to the Louisiana Blues style of Sidewalk in the South each one makes you feel like you are part of the song/story. 

I first heard Devin and his band when they opened for Blue Rodeo at a gig in May of this year. I was so impressed with the brief set that after the concert I made my way to the merchandise table so I could snag a CD. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with both Devon Richardson (bass player) and Zach "The Animal" Sutton (drums). I felt a bit like a teenage groupie, but I got them both to sign the CD. But the two other members of the quartet were not to be found. So when I heard that Devin was doing a summer set at the Cameron House in downtown Toronto, I knew I had to go. 

We didn't know what time the set started so we were a bit early and took the opportunity to wander the neighbourhood. Queen Street is an exciting place. Wonderful old architecture melded with modern and one of a kind shops. But even more thrilling for me was to see places like the Horseshoe Tavern and the Rivoli. Iconic bars where many of the Canadian musical artist I love so much now once got their start in the biz. People who live in the city may take these things for granted but I felt like a wide-eyed child at Christmas. And then back to the Cameron House. It's much smaller than I expected for all the big names that have passed through those rickety old doors. The floors are worn bare in parts and look original to the structure. The art on the wall is a stark contrast. I struggle with words to describe it...punkish, like something from a drug-induced trip. I don't know. I liked what I saw, the colours the subject matter, the scale but not something I would want on the walls in my home. With the skeletons and the bugs I was intrigued enough to ask the bartender with the amazing smile the significance of the bugs decorating the walls of the historic building.  Much bigger than any species I have ever seen, they are in fact - ants. The story is entertaining and so I must share. According to the one with the engaging eyes, since the inception of the Cameron House as a venue for the struggling musician, many of the performers had rooms on the upper floor of the house. But zoning by-laws prohibited tenants, so if any city official came by and asked they would honestly say that they did indeed have ten ants living upstairs. Ten ants now decorate the main level of the building...I love it!

Anxious to catch him with my signature request I interrupted Devin Cuddy as he was discussing the set list with his band. Sorry but I was afraid to miss the opportunity. He was very gracious and accommodating and I thank him for that. More so I thank him for the music and the memories. 

In one magical and exciting night, I had the opportunity for a second live experience with the Devin Cuddy band, I met some really great people including my fellow countryman with a swagger and a twinkle in his eye, the wild rocker who partied with a member of the Mothers of Invention in his youth and spent a few hours listening to the up and comers at the Cameron House and Rivoli. Samantha, who caught my eye wearing a dress I bought at Forever 21 in Times Square and showed me why it's good that I gave it away. Samantha who knew all the words to Devin's songs and was so enthusiastic about the music you couldn't help but join her in the dance! And of course a special nod to DG my friend and comrade in arms to all things music. I thank you all. 

There was one other special guest that arrived and caused a bit of a buzz with his appearance. None other than Jim Cuddy showed up to support his son. It's great to see him sing and clap along as part of the audience instead of on stage. Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn't star struck at seeing one of my musical idols sitting at a bar not 10 feet away from me. I wanted to go up to him and just express my admiration and say hi. But it wasn't the place or time and I think you have to respect the man's space. For me, Jim's presence there was a bonus and I for one wasn't going to be the one to interrupt his or my enjoyment of the music we all came to enjoy - the Devin Cuddy Band. Admittedly I did try for a couple of pictures though and when Jim got up to leave, I took a picture for someone who asked and I did shake his hand. 

If you get a chance to experience Devin Cuddy's musical talents - do it!  

Some more pics from that night - serious camera fail (sorry)

Two-Ants on either side of the sign

A sample of the wall artists work

Hello Mr. Cuddy

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Call me Maybe...No Really That IS My Name!

The Simple Truth - Chris De Burgh

The simple truth is that when a child is born, life is forever changed. And the love you thought was over the moon for your partner goes gallactic when your eyes first behold your child. As a mother as soon as you here those words "It's positive" you go maternal and a little hormonal - sometimes a lot haha! It is different for daddy dearest because he doesn't have the constant daily reminder. For mom, every look in the mirror every belt that is loosened, every extra trip to the bathroom or strange food craving reminds you that you are not alone and never will be again. I know it doesn't apply to most men, we are just built differently and respond differently. It's not bad, it's just the way it is. I sometimes feel bad for the male species that they miss out on the physical pregnancy part of childbirth. It's wonderful. But then you have people who want to but are unable to have children and my heart aches. It is incedible that some people are so selfless that they can bear a child and then allow it to have a most spectacular chance at love with another family. And then there are people like the sperm donor of my children (I spent 20 years biting my tongue and not badmouthing him - there is nothing left to hide anymore). I will never understand how a person can father a child and grow to love them for 8 years and then just walk away and out of their lives. I guess in some way it is like giving your child up for adoption - except that in that case you are doing it out of love for your child. To give him/her a better life, not to get them out of your life. Either way, that is enough energy wasted on the likes of him. 

It seems that it is not only love that causes the miracle of life to take hold of that uterian wall and prosper. Sometimes it is boredom, poor television programming, the written word (wait til your finished gets good :) or separation. A significant baby boom came about after a prolonged period of male absence due to World War II. Those boomers (I'm one on the tail end) include anyone born from 1946-1964). There have been many other instances of mini baby booms. Some make sense, some not so much. There was an echo baby boom when the children of the WWII boomers began to procreate. Nine months after a November 1965 New York City black out birth rates in the city spiked. It's dark, you might as well do something :) Logically speaking, baby booms have been caused by bans on abortion and contraception leading to more live births. In the beginning of 2012, the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy of erotic story-telling was released in Canada. At least one city experienced a 30 per cent spike in birth rates 10 months later (people  needed time to read and process the explicit sex scenarios). Certainly polls at the time suggested that baby or not there was increased bedroom activity much to the pleasure of the male populus who began to encourage their female companians to read. ;)

But at some point the mating process has been successful and the zygote hangs on for the insanely rapid changes to come. Going back to high school biology, I remember thinking that the cells dividing during the creation process was an awful lot like the struggle between the sexes. From the very beginning, the first cell division to our last dying breath, x and y, yin and yang  complete opposites and contrary to each other. Yet somehow connected and unable to be independent of one another. To function properly the middle ground must prevail and egos put in check. Give and take. But understand that I am not in anyway suggesting that this theory negates the validity of homosexual relationships. It's something I don't understand too well, not having lived it. Akin to asking me what life is like as a male? Ain't been there, ain't done that. But I digress.

Onto the joy that your child can bring to your life. It euphoric, the highest high and it never seems to end. It changes with the passing of time without a doubt. They depend solely on you, they screech and challenge everything you say, they love to be with you (so you can buy them stuff), they are embarassed of you, they hate/ignore you, they love your bank account, you cramp their style and then they move out. That's birth to age 20 in a nutshell! 
This morning, I heard on the radio that the listening audience should be prepared to be on Royal baby watch. Prince William and Kate are expecting an hier to be born and day now. Technically the due date is this weekend and typically the first can be later rather than early but still, more than just Granny Queenie Elizabeth is waiting with bated breath. It's a grand time and there is nothing like new life to renew hope and spirits of all...just like spring.

When You Call My Name - Paul Brandt

But here is the thing and the point of this musing. Names. The gambling world  is taking bets on the sex and side bets on the name of this royal babe. The only name that is probably ruled out is Elizabeth being as there has already been two Queen Elizabeths in England in the last century. Diana will probably be recognized in one of the 4 or more official names as a nod to Prince Williams late mom, Princess Diana. The suggested names are decidedly boring - for a boy: Philip, Henry, James, John, Michael - for a girl: Alexandra, Victoria, Anne, Mary, Charlotte. But it would be a little ridiculous to have a Queen Peaches running the Commonwealth. 
And this is the exact conversation that I had with my kids when we discussed how I had come to chosing their names. For the record she is Lydia (a combinational nod to my mom Livia and sister Linda), Monica (after her paternal grandmother). He is Christopher (after the singer Chris DeBurgh) and James  (after my brothers best friend and by osmosis I think of one of the lead singers of Blue Rodeo). 

And the next trend is calling a baby "What"
Bestowing a name on someone is not a process which should be taken lightly. There are so many things to take into consideration. Personal preferences, potential nicknames, initials, past boy/girl frends, family wishes and people you offend by leaving them out. Their entire future is at stake. 
Then there is the initial issue. There are times when you are required to initial official documents, it could be embarrassing to scribble "BS" all over the place. or "BJ" or "FU" HA!
I know people who are very anal when it comes to nicknamesI tried to chose name that if they were shortened, I could live with them. Ironically I am known by one of two nicknames - but only because I can't stand my full formal and stuffy! Also, I personal don't like boys names that can be shortened in anything ending in a "y". Jimmy, Johnny, Danny - all rejected even though I really loved the name Daniel.
Our past experiences with people also influence our naming choices. I don't care if your fathers name was Richard, that boy broke my heart and that's what I think of. This category would include controversial historical figures as well, there aren't a lot of Adolf's, or Judas' running around. 
Working with children, there were certain names I stayed away from because if there was a "problem" child at school I could almost guarantee they were either a Michael or Brandon, Sarah or Jessica. But that is like the chicken and egg scenario. Which came first, the child's unique personality that drew you to him or from past experience did you brand this child. One teacher was brave enough to tell me that when she looked at her class list and saw a Michael she prepared for battle. Knowing that and acknowleging it, she could restrain her judgemental behaviour. How many of us haven't come to the realization that we judge people based on their names.  I was very young and very naive when I was told about my friends child that she had named Jackson - I automatically assumed it was a family name and the father was african-american. Right or wrong, that was my experience that I drew on. 
Then there is the future. My arguement has always been that in some way, the name makes the person. Cookie may be an absolutely wonderful person with the intelligence of Einstien but I don't think she will ever be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company - unless it's Nabisco lol! It's just history suggests that she is a bit flaky and more likely to be a prostitute. Would Donald Trump be as successful as he was if he was Donny?
The popularity contest. There is some evidence that the level of popularity in high school at least in some part contributed to the level of income after graduation. Is that due to the popularity or the confidence of that adoration that enabled the persistence to not settle for any less than their percieved value? Chicken and the egg again :) Regardless, these popular people are more likely than not saddled with such names as Jennifer or Brittany. I dare you not to picture cheerleaders or girls bouncing down the hallowed halls with an entourage of hangers-on. Same goes for John and Brad - the jocks. 
Not convinced? What comes to mind when you think of Bertha, Hilda, Ernest and Cornelius walking those same halls? My son vehemently disagreed with me when we had a similar conversation when he was about 10 years old. He believed that who he was and his personality would be the same whether he was Chris or Edgar. Call him stubborn, there was no convincing him otherwise. Ahhh but with the passage of time and patience on my side I won! Leap forward 6 or 7 years and during a conversation about friends and relationships comes this startling statement from the mouth of the boy. "If I had a son I would call him Lance." Tongue-in-cheek, smirk barely concealed, "Why?" "Because how can you not be popular in high school with a name like Lance. He sounds like a jock and football player". How indeed :)
Celebrity insanity craze. I swear it is like a spitting contest with the winner deserving a permanent residency in the rubber hotel. Who can be the wildest and craziest and most willing to capture the headlines? I didn't think that anyone could ever top Frank Zappa's Moon Unit and Dweezil offspring until Frank Zappa himself did it with Diva Thin Muffin. No kidding! But even that is mild compared to Moxie Crimefighter (that's a girl), Pirate and Pilot Inspektor. People, those are jobs not names. I just hope Pilot doesn't get a job in the airline industry because that will just be silly. He'd have a better chance of normalcy being called Boob Inspektor. At least more fun than inspecting pilots. Getting off the professions and into wildlife you have Speck Wildhorse. How about Banjo, Denim, Camera, Seven, Free, Apple and Audio Science? Not a word search list but the name of some very unfortunate children.  
Double Blue, because it is just too funny. Soon to become the mascot of the Toronto Argonauts football team, The Edge's offspring Blue Angel will unite with Beyonce's Blue Ivy and they won't clash. Hey, did you hear that Beyonce has trademarked the name Blue Ivy in case you get any ideas. lol! 
Speaking of Angels, there is one in every family. Not angels but outside the box thinkers. A relative had four children and called each one of them some variation on the name Angel with a suffix. This is when my annoyance with names was born as I distinctly remember my brother telling him that he wasn't his name sake but a devil instead. 
But celebrities got nothing on the everyday wacko's out there. Here listed are just a few of the most bizarre I found:
- Cougar, Fox, Bear
- Tank, Jeep, BMW
- Notorious
- Tonto
- Spanky
- Rib Eye
- Octopussy
- Tu Morrow, Evening, Future, Destiny
- Tequila, Abeer, Chardonnay
- Jennyb (silent b)
- Madison, Brooklyn, Bronx, Chicago, Syria, Egypt, Graceland
- Thinn, Yoga
- Burger, Pickles
- Espn

I can only assure you of one thing - we aren't talking about future world leaders here - unless we make a trip to the name changing court first. Some of these people have done exactly that. I can understand with the ballooning population the rooster of names is wearing thin, but there has to be a line of decency drawn here. Imagination is best left to be displayed on a canvas or with pen and ink (old school but you get the point). Abeer will make a great bartender or comedian if he makes it through public schools unbroken. Nevaeh is a name that always rubbed me the wrong way in it's stupidity and then I came across Rehtaeh. So I thought why not Kgehknifberb. (K's and B's are silent). And you ask me how to spell Liz. Really.

Laugh if you will at the comic, but folks this is actually a sad commentary on society. Crossing the line of paying homage to relative or friend or even a fictitious character on a TV show, last year some no-life named their child Like - to make sure everyone knows they like Facebook more than their child. Worse still is poor baby Hashtag. Oh the humanity! It seems that little Hastag has skipped the perimeters of age restrictions on Facebook (and presumably Twitter) to have her...yes her...own facebook page where people enjoy sharing their opinion on the cruelty of her parents. Even going so far as to threatening to call child welfare. That may be going a bit too far but when Hashtag gets a little older and goes all Lizzie Borden on her parents at least we won't all be sitting back and scratching our heads in wonderment. 

Personally I am waiting for the media reports that someone has gone ahead and taken the suggestion of the wise and comedic Barney Stinson and actually saddled a child with the middle name "Waitforit". It's stupid but funny. But How I Met Your Mother is a fictitious TV show...not real and not a model for life.

It's interesting how people fit their names. When you look at name meanings sometimes it all makes sense. But like some of the example above sometimes  people are named wrong. I think I was, people have always told me "I look like a Debbie." Personally I like Monknee :)  

This was kind of fun. Like the zodiac analysis for my birth month this is a pretty decent character anaylsis, except maybe the keeping promises - I think I am pretty good at keeping my word.

Kabalarian Philosophy Your First Name of: Liz
Below is a brief analysis of the first name only.
  • Your name of Liz creates a passive, friendly, easy-going nature, but your desire for sociability and the pleasant things in life makes you too easily influenced through your associations.
  • You are too generous and if appealed to will give all you have because you find it difficult to say "no" and mean it.
  • You do not like to create tension or friction and will try various means to avoid such situations.
  • You are very idealistic.
  • You have imagination and many ideas but lack the ambition and drive necessary to accomplish your undertakings.
  • Many times you dream about the things you desire in life, but when it comes down to putting forth the necessary effort and accomplishing your goals, you do not have the strength and initiative.
  • This name does not allow you the system and order your life requires to run in a smooth, efficient way, and if possible you will avoid having to make decisions because you feel much more secure when you can lean on others.
  • Many times you make promises you do not keep, although your intentions are always good.
  • Any weakness in your health would cause you to suffer through either kidney trouble, female problems, or varicose veins.
  • Due to a sensitivity in your nervous system, you could experience nervous disorders.

Name Game by Shirly Ellis feat. the Banana Splits
 Anyone old enough (like me) to remember the Banana Splits? 

Look for an update upon news of the royal birth and for more entertaining name lists check out the link below. Like link leads to another and another until hours have passed and your cheeks are sore from all the guffaws and chortles and snickers. Now there are three GREAT names. My next kid is Snickers :)

Monday, July 01, 2013

Made in Canada eh!

Canada Day Up Canada Way - Stompin' Tom Connors

Canada is 146 years young. Think about's nothing! People have lived nearly that long. But we have an awful lot to be proud of in this great land. We are a smart, funny, polite nation. Lovers not fighters, I am proud to say that on a world stage our army is a joke. Preserve life and make it better not storm in and take it from others. But that philosophy is only relevant for war. Dying with dignity and abortion are both rights I believe we should have. Sidebar: abortions have been available for a very long time. Like anything illegal or band, where there is a will there is a way. Make it safe and make it a choice. Given the information, people will often make the choice that is right for themselves. Back to the pride of Canada. Consider these: 

Marvels of the Canadian imagination:

  1. zipper - or all pants would be elastic waist 
  2. wonderbra - every girl loves this support
  3. insulin - keeping diabetics kicking
  4. standard time - so we know how late the trains are
  5. ski-doo - because you can't walk in waist deep snow
  6. basketball - we invented it but don't play it so well ;)
  7. explosive vapour detector - canaries worldwide are grateful
  8. paint roller - spreading beauty one stroke at a time
  9. Robertson Screw - have you ever striped a star screw, slipped with a slot? I'll never understand why they are still sold. Trust me...try it!
  10. retractable beer case handles - cuz we drink and like our 2-4's they are big enough to accomodate winter mitts  
A tickle to the funny bone or a belly laugh:

  1. SCTV - from 1976 to 1983, this little TV show launched the careers of Eugene Levy, John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis and Martin Short who all performed, created characters and wrote skits for the show
  2. John Candy - SCTV, SNL, Uncle Buck, Planes Trains and Automobiles
  3. Dan Aykroyd - SCTV, SNL, Blues Brothers, Trading Places
  4. Seth Rogen - 40 Year Old Virgin, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up
  5. This Hour Has 22 Minutes and The Kids In the Hall - ensemble TV cast
  6. Lorne Michaels - stand up, writer for Laugh-In, producer Saturday Night Live
  7. Jim Carrey - rubber faced man starring in Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, Ace Ventura
  8. Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas - SCTV, Bob and Doug McKenzie (not the Wendy's burger chain founder)  
  9. Mike Myers - SCTV, SNL, Wayne's World, Austin Powers, Shrek
  10. Leslie Nielsen - understated, subtle comedy that when it hits you you guffaw. Real knee slappers...Airplane, Police Squad, Naked Gun

Medical Marvels:
  1. Pablum - original developed as a prevention and treatment of rickets in children
  2. T-cell receptor genes - the understanding of T-cells will help in the development of drugs to combat infection, cancer, and transpant rejection
  3. Cobalt Bomb - allowing deep tissue cancer radiation treatment
  4. Insulin - saving the prolonging the lives of 250 million people (and growing) worldwide who suffer from Diabetes
  5. Artificial kidney machine, knee joint, heart - developed in Canada
  6. First deep brain stimulation for depression leading to remission
  7. Toronto Heart Valve - used world wide to replace aortic heart valves
  8. Worlds first pacemaker defibrillator is implanted
  9. Discovery of gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis, also genes associated with Lou Gehrig's disease, Muscular Dystrophy
  10. Elimination of Polio with the Jonas Salk polio vaccine
  11. Universal Health Care - because sickness doesn't discriminate

Yummy Food:
  1. Tim Hortons - we didn't invent coffee but we made it better!
  2. Poutine
  3. Bloody Caesars
  4. Beer - we didn't invent it but we made it good! 
  5. Ketchup chips
  6. Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp (when Tims is not in hand)
  7. Beaver tails
  8. Montreal smoked meat
  9. Nanimo bars, date squares and butter tarts
  10. Newfie Screech :)
Other things to be proud of:
  1. The acceptance of medical grade marijuana. Back in the early 1980's it was prescribed for my brother suffering from cancer but the pharmacy was the street.
  2. The acceptance of gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual rights including marriage. Gay marriage rights since 2005
  3. Sing it loud, Sing it proud - Our national anthem is a true reflection of the people - true, strong and brave
  4. Our Civil War was basically a bar fight that was led by a drunken and possilby insane W.L. McKenzie and lasted less than an hour. Lovin' last longer than fightin'
  5. Our music and musicians may not always dominate on the world stage but the best sometimes stay here and enjoy the prosperity and fame of their country. BLUE RODEO! I've spoken many times of my love of Canadian music that comes from the heart and soul instead of manufactured by electronics and the driven by the $ 
So much more can be added to anyone of these lists. I encourage you to see what else you can find. If you don't agree, I will personally take you on a tour of my small part of Canada and prove it to you. Not that your country isn't good as well ;) but CANADA ROCKS!

Canada's Really Big - Arrogant Worms

But nothing is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Having just come back from a quick sight-seeing tour of New York City, I have a few observations. I was quite surprised to notice while shopping that card-chip technology for credit and debit cards was not widely available in the shops we visited. Albeit, it wasn't national chains that we frequented nor was it shops that were readily found in Canada. Speaking to one cashier, she said that many of the smaller retailers had imposed other security measures instead - like matching photo id to credit cards. It may be a few years for 
But I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite the congestion of bumper to bumper traffic there was still room to carve out dedicated bike lanes. The lanes were already there, it just took a commitment and some paint. Bike sharing seems to be growing in popularity since my last visit several years ago. I shake my head in disgust every time the subject is brought up for the city of Toronto. In 2009, Jarvis Street got dedicated bike lanes and they were well travelled. Then people complained that their commute home took 2 minutes longer and they were removed. The costs involved would blow your mind. Another Rob Ford blunder! 

Like it or not, a large percentage of our consumer goods in Canada are at least in part manufactured overseas where labour is cheaper. At the cost of lost jobs, we are able to pay less for products. In the interest of environmental health I am opposed to the uncalculated cost to the health of the planet, shipping consumables from so far away. If I had the financial ability, I would likely shop with more consideration for the labels and country of origin. But of course that poses a whole new problem since often times Made in Canada does not necessary mean exactly that. Several years ago, consumer affairs show Marketplace brought this issue as a a concern to the government. There have been changes made to put some teeth in the legislation. 

Product of Canada label will mean that 98% is domestic product and processing and labour are completed nationally as well. So for at least food products we can feel secure.

Made in Canada means that a major transformation to the product was done on Canadian soil. So coconut oil could be made in Canada, even though you won't find coconuts growing in any maple trees in your backyard. 

Then we can extend our notion of national pride to our backyard and neighbours with confidence while we ensure the security of jobs. 

Immigration is a hot topic for most people but it is very in-your-face in southern Ontario. This area is growing in leaps and bounds and it is disgusting. Green space is gone to new housing developments. From one month to another - a farmers field is plowed over and the corn stalks give way to the billboards touting a new subdivision. Where are all these people coming from? Not other parts of Canada, for the most part. Our borders are wide open and the people paying the price are the hard-working immigrants of a generation ago. Let's face it, all but the native American Indian are immigrants to Canada. But things have changed in the process of immigration. Canada is a big country and we have lots of room for immigration but this area is being raped and razed while our communities are dying a slow death. Like a viscious circle that needs to be broken - more people mean more jobs, more jobs mean more people. The population booms and the working class is not working enough to pay the taxes required to sustain the population in infrastructure, public transit or health care. Just my opinion - don't shoot me. I  would like to see other parts of Canada enjoy some of the benefits of immigration. 

"I am Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. The heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind" - John G. Diefenbaker (13th prime minister of Canada)