NASA Image of the Day

Friday, August 31, 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

PRIORITIES - the how, when's and why's.......

Well, a few of you might be thinking....."Dawn, I have not seen your campaign signs up yet."

To be quite honest, before what I am about to tell you, I thought long and hard about the usefulness, viability, and appropriateness, green-wise, of signs. I wasn't totally convinced I was going to get any, and, if so, only a select number of them, and then..............a test of priorities:

1. As often happens just after you commit to something financially and timewise.....my car suddenly threatened to explode on my way home from picking up a new computer for work, in order to replace the harddrive that was, as one gentleman I work with described with gentle pith, "totally fried." In case you did not know, I work fulltime from home, on quite a complicated computer program, as a Customer Care Specialist, booking hotel rooms worldwide, for Marriott Hotels. I have been with the company - an amazing, inspiring, pioneering "helps me make miracles happen" kind of company - since 2005. As part of a pioneer project which I can only describe as my childhood dream of living with the Jetson Family (and no, not necessarily Rosie the robot maid...wink...or Astro the dog), they made the dream of living in a rural area and making a living happen, for me, for the last three years. It has not been without its hiccups - we are still going through technological stepping stones, in the midst of the biggest ever merger with Starwood Hotels - but after my husband broke his back two years ago, had it not been for them and the ability to work swing shifts as well as caring for my spouse and two dogs, I would probably have either lost my house, or my husband - or both, with the kind of schedule I had to keep in order to meet my responsibilities and have him at home. I cannot describe to you what it is to feel like you are in space, running up and down the stairs to your office, only escaping for needed supplies once every few weeks, struggling to encourage yourself, make all of those payments......and work just one more hour of overtime to make that payment. I should state upfront that I do not intend to leave my position with Marriott, only offset my total focus and dedication, by including my community in my normal hours of work, as I did in a volunteer capacity, and have done, since my early 20's. I am able to work between 20 and 80 hours a week, depending upon available shifts, at my position, and this flexibility, along with the encouragement from my employer, means changing things for the better in one's community is a huge part of "Spirit to Serve" - our company ethos. Company ethos? you say....you bet. I work for a company who really believes it - and who inspires us to do the same, top to bottom. This is what they call "empowerment."It works....and so do I. Ask them for a little record of that, if you would like some stats. I'm quite sure they will be only too willing to share those numbers with you.   My average work week is 65 hours, week in, week out. 

Expense total: just shy of $2,000.00 However, it should last me another ten years, what with the almost total rebuild, counting this repair. Thank you, in retrospect, to the deer I hit which caused the intial damage to my car. I think we now have pretty much rebuilt the Eggmobile. I trust you will all excuse the personal artistic license, paint job wise, which is more a relief than anything else, to be quite honest....plus, you know it's me. Isn't that comforting? "The Bird in the Eggmobile." Seems appropriate.

2. Over six months, starting last October, we paid off a brand new roof.....to the tune of (deep intake of breath, here)....$10,000.00. And yes, I worked double shifts for the last three months so we could hand him one last cheque for $3,000.00...no plastic for these jobs. I remember I slept for two solid days afterwards, and did not answer the phone at all.  But....I did it.

3. Brand new furnace. This one's hubby's baby, but....it just shows, along with our paid-off mortgage, somewhat of a sense of community, investment-wise, along with the approximately $30,000 I have spent in phone bills since moving to Inwood in 1995, and becoming a member of the Co-op, even while I was in Korea....

And my car might not be brand-new, but, just like my hub's....it's mine.

But....I have said all that, to say all this: I had to make a choice:

1. Fix my car, so I could ensure mobility- Egg mobility.
2. Pay our property taxes before engaging in anything "extra."
3. Order signs.

So, what did I do?

1. Fixed the car.
2. Paid the property taxes for the whole term, not just August, just in case. We are paid up till January, and I have an opportunity to work some serious overtime between now and Christmas...but the important things are paid.

...and....lastly.....yesterday I caved, and ordered some signs....and some other neat stuff I am going to enjoy giving to people, frankly.......so....

.......what was important? You. Your kids. My responsibilities.

Get the picture?

Pretty pictures aside......I'm thinking this might bode well for the future...what do you think?

Chances are, if I feel this way NOW.....I'll feel this way TWO MONTHS FROM NOW.

Stay tuned: this week it's "Part 2: Getting to know your Mayoral Candidate."

I want you to know more about me. Saves time, when you talk about things that are important. And clearly there are much important things than telling you about me....but you should know it all beforehand, anyway. So....let's have a little fun doing that, shall we? 

Later, y'all!

...and don't forget to practice the "Chickeneers" Song, whenever you feel a little blue....grin. It worked for me!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Thought for the Day - "What are you Looking for?'

The extent of suspicion rampant, regarding local, and politics in general, really drew me up short the other day, when a woman walked past me, muttering, "You're not a farmer." I looked around. She could only have meant me.

I didn't get a chance to respond, earnestly, and with intent, to that surly mutter, so here goes:

You're not looking for a farmer. You're looking for a Mayor. That would be me.

....although I do know where you can find yourself some mighty fine farmers, if you need any....I'm thinking the mayor might do well to be able to listen to their thoughts and considerations, problems and ideas.....just like you do, day in, and day out......don't think I haven't been paying attention. 

...ah....kind of perfect, wouldn't you say? Wink. 

Hopefully we'll do more than grab at each other's words, flung into space, next time.

In fact, I've  done my best to set some wheels in motion that way, just today....tune in for more, in the very near future!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Thoughts on Pots - and "The Experience of Life"

GOD.   ....No, don't stop reading. Be Brave. Keep going. I believe we are given opportunities, every day, for renewal, growth, and reconsideration in our lives. Some call it a Second Chance. Some call it Thoughtful Thinking. I call it giving in to the Spirit of Hope and Possibility, despite all odds, and all agendas happy and complacent with the idea of our demise. And I have never been more serious about that last word...demise.

You have just rejected the idea that Divinity has forgotten us. This makes you different. It means you want to live.

Read on.....

We are, in this country, at the brink of a very brave reclamation of life called the Greening of a Nation.It is going to open doors in many areas, and it will shake the sensibilities of the status quo. But if we are brave, the immediate effects will be seen, with effort, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial spirit, in the following areas:

1. Environmental Impact
2. The Real Birth of Green Industry as vital and sustaining
3.The reclamation of the Auto Industry
4.The true return to the focus on the Health of a Nation and its People
5. The economic Stabilization of national health, social and educational infrastructures. 

How will all of this happen?

Environmental Impact

Apart from the sin tax industry everyone normally associates with the hemp/cannabis production, we will be replanting the lungs of the planet. In the face of the horrific destruction taking place on California's coastal forest regions, and the seemingly insurmountable environmental damage caused by chemical, industry and fossil fuel mismanagement, this is, as Einstein would say, the equal and opposite, focused and determined, effort to reclaim the wilds needed to sustain us. This is, literally, grabbing hold of the rope hauling us back to perspective, sanity, reflection, and sober second thought.

There are many people who think that ignoring the reality of environmental degradation will simply make it go away; that by restoring the status quo in existing industries, we will somewhow reclaim the lost exuberance and spirit of industry that made North America the envy of nations. That is not so. With this, literal "Second Chance", there comes a very serious warning to heed the ethos of conscience-driven industry: we must, by default, include the forgotten, dispossessed, exploited and undeveloped areas of the world in the progress of our species, and the Greening of our Lives.

There are immediate and obvious effects of this shift in focus: it will stabilize the planet, geopolitically.

This scares some people, because it does not feed into the politics of war, or the concept of repetitive arms proliferation as a balancing mechanism. It will not feed the war machine, create paranoia or discord needed to sustain it, or have, at its focus, death as the solution to economic disparity. It will open the door to what man has the capacity to do: Heal his World, and Himself.

I'll give you one small example: pressboard/particle board made from hemp fibres are among the strongest and most reasonably priced in the world. Treated for mold and insects, it could erase homelessness and make rebuilding after devastation a reality for the world's poorest. It is "healthy building made real" - particularly in very warm climates where building material scarcity and the reality of building costs make simple shelter impossible. Hemp solves this problem. Period. There is simply no excuse for homelessness except the neglect of nations, and their inability to be moved to solve it.

Milk made from hemp seeds is a nutritious and sustaining product that could ease third world hunger.

People cannot help themselves when they are starving. They simply die.

An immediate availability of it, in conjunction with a "hands-on" 2-litre plastic pop bottle rooftop- sunlight-water-baking could turn guinea-worm ridden drinking water sources into a powdered milk reality, and a literal "birth of bread and roses."  ...within a year. Granted, the technology isn't perfect, and residual trace amounts of leeching are a valid concern, .....but hemp coffee filters, distributed,  could strain that trace water baked on rooftops and make it cleaner by up to SEVENTY PERCENT. And seventy percent is life...and life means POTENTIAL REALIZED. Imagine: the LEAGUE OF EARTH NATIONS, if you will. We must first understand the terms "third world", Keynesian economics, and newly required selfrestraint with new eyes - before we erase ourselves, for all time. 

2. The Real Birth of Green Industry

When I talk about the "Real Birth of Green Industry", I think of it as the renewal of ones that we have eroded and/or destroyed, with a combination of human rights abuses, replacement of inferior substitutes, and a misunderstanding of what might be at "risk" when they - green industries - are born.

Let's start with the textile industry. A return to the availability of textiles and the textile industry will, by default, immediately result in all of the creative impulse that comes with it: the ways, means, and craftsmanship by which we cloth, cover, and create the places where we live, work, and play - along with ourselves. We relearn our sense of traditional design, learn new skills, create new traditions, and rediscover that creativity is a million-dollar offshoot business.

Not only that: studies have shown that, like cotton, hemp is healthy. Ask any dermatologist, and they will tell you that cheaply produced synthetic based clothing does two things: it inhibits you from sweating properly, and actually traps moisture and bacteria against the skin. Simply put, this makes you, your skin, and your body encased in an impenetrable non-porous item, sick. You develop irritations, allergies, sensitivities, infections, and skin conditions which never existed, before you covered yourself in something that does not allow your body, and you, to breathe. And when your body cannot sweat and breathe properly when you work - you smell funny! You are a bacteria incubator. Do you want to be an incubator - for anything besides a rebirth of yourself, and Hope?Maybe it's about time you started to believe you were worth it. Look at yourself again - you still have dreams....they're not quite bullied, stomped, beaten down, or mocked out of you yet, are they?

And did I mention Hemp paper? Durable, more resistant to moisture and mold damage, when treated, it is an old Technology, reborn, for when "plugged in" might wish a quiet page flip, and words leaping off the page again, newly understood.

Hemp production must bring with it deep lessons from the Deep South cotton industry, and a developed sense of developed potential, too - not a repeat of the abuse of the most vulnerable sector of society. We must create jobs associated with this industry, working in tandem - but not as a replacement for - human beings, when we put technology to work in the boom of agribusiness which will make "joyful offshoots" of entrepreneurship possible, along with dreams of a Better Life - literally.

3. The Reclamation of the Auto Industry 

After public bailouts in the billions of dollars, I sincerely believe that the Auto Industry has a debt to pay: they must realize that, though they are of continued, and vital importance, in the New World, they have become complacent. The reality of a 2008 PT Cruiser running on biohemp fuel is simply possible, with a few simple changes in combustion engines, and focused research, investment, and self-sustaining industrial automaking which has, at its core, the idea of hemp fuel, and the determined effort to bring back, not destroy, our world as a very real, very possible, and very doable part of business success. You owe us - and you owe yourselves and your children to make this happen. Look at what you have achieve in 20 years in automaking? Stop considering Heaven's Hemp as your Competitor: you were born for this - just DO IT. Even the tanks are there. When that diesel smell is the hemp oil fuel of tomorrow because of your effort - while you drive towards the destination you have preserved, there will be no more room for "at odds with the industry" in your vocabulary. You will, once again, be Leading its Creatvity, and progress....and exuberance and success.
But you need to make this happen - no one else can. And you have the tools. The shift can be yours, along with the success, and rest assured....we are gonna love that sweet new ride, my friend. Driving the green, making the green.....life in motion. Sounds like poetry, doesn't it?

4. The return of the Health of a Nation and its People

So....we're clothed, and fed with nutritious hemp based food, and seedpod milk which eases the strain on traditional sustainable beef and meat industries, while creating another complementary agribusiness alongside of it, and replanting the lungs of the world, while we begin to allow Nature to slowly, but inexorably, begin to heal and free itself of the poisons we have inflicted upon it, and upon ourselves, with our lack of vision, and our refusal to enter into the "start to end" concept of industry. Where does your old computer, microwave, electrical appliance go, anyway? Does the industry care that made millions off of it? Have they recontributed to the rebuilding of the grid system upon which it relies, without water diversion, damaging ecosystem, and an inability to build into grid strengthening buildings which self-generate electricity in their designs? Steve Jobs knew: we need to "Think Different." We need to think differently, too. New architectural and industrial design must begin to include, by default, these types of considerations in their blueprints: the solar roof, the living walls.....the idea that we are "part of" the landscape - not is replacement.

What else can hemp do? It can ease pain management in cream, lozenge, capsule, and ..yes....a little smoke. Welcome pharmaceutical, cosmetic and naturopathic subindustries. We have only just begun to get you unhooked from oxycontin. You are not on the precipice, chained. You can manage this again!

5. A Return to Stability 

Healthy people are hopeful people. How can they not be, when jobs, wellbeing, creativity and freedom are re-embraced as the Conscience of a Nation?When government budgets can meet the needs of its people without huge tax burdens, and the theft of livelihoods as the result of unbalanced politics, excesses of greed, and the crushing of the success that should come after hard work, with absences of Conscience? 

As we reach out with Canadarm into the Great Beyond, let's show the wider universe, and ourselves, another Can Do. The other one might take us into Space - but this one might mean we still have something to which hearts will return to, in their most cherished moments: the inexpressable joy at the sight of the Garden of Home.

There's still time......and God is watching, as we stumble, and persist, and wait for The Miracle.


.

 



  




All Along The Watchtower-Stonefree Experience

The Chautauqua Movement - What is it?

http://www.chautauquatrail.com/the-chautauqua-movement

Election UpDate: "What would you like to accomplish as Mayor?"


n 8/14/2018 9:56 AM, melanie derochie wrote:
Dawn,
What are you looking to do if you were elected mayor what changes should be made which should be kept the saying thank you ,
Melanie

Sent from my iPhone 

Reply from me:


Hi Melanie. Thanks for your message. Here is a list of some of my ideas:


1.Seek input from the public about what they would like to see as 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals, acquisitions, developments and community building moves and ideas.

2. Establish a regular Mayor/Public interaction once monthly, online, for "open chat". I think we would get a lot done, amazingly quickly - and get to know each other! These days, this is wonderfully possible in a unique way, and makes even remote members of the community "accessible".

3. Work on attracting industry and job-creation in the county, and help existing ones prosper, expand and provide more jobs locally!

4. Identify immediate areas of concern locally where we can work in tandem with provincial and federal funding to make both 1. and 3. really happen, as well as bolstering the immediate agricultural concerns and areas of funding challenge for local farmers, on a short term, medium, and long term basis. This approach really promotes "generations planning", which is very important for the longevity of agriculture in the province, and in the country.

5. Create regular "community happenings" where we can solicit local community talent to hold "skills building workshops" in informal settings, which enhance, bolster, and make more possible the  informal "know hows" which help make rural life more independent, interesting, and possible again. There is a huge amount of experience and talent (from making pickles properly to properly seeding a realistic vegetable garden you can maintain, even while working fulltime, to learning how to knit your own Christmas presents again, to how to build a vegetable storage container from scrap wood...just a few simple ideas! It's amazing what we can learn, and how we can help, each other.)

We need to bring back the "folk tradition" - including revolving house concerts with minimum donations ($5 - 10) and a 20-40 seat limit, alcohol free, and overnight accomodation for musicians in house), which made things like The Chautauqua Movement a welcome part of harvest time, live entertainment a reality for rural people, and the opportunity to see live folk musicians play, learn new skills,  and earn a living as artists a reality. It is no good to complain about "the terrible state of poisoned minds"....we have to encourage and promote healthy, family-friendly arts activities in dance, music, and art which enhance and celebrate rural life. (** Skills workshops need to be accessible, period: carpentry, masonry, basic how-to's, as well as the foundations and oral presentation opportunities to discuss developments in science and technology, in order to ensure that ethics keep pace with capability. Are we using our technological advancements in ways that benefit society? What can we do to encourage and promote what Einstein said were the "moral responsibilities of progressive thought" to ensure good advancements are not twisted for damaging purposes as the primary reason for their existence? Chautauqua was also a forum for discussion of ideas - and an important one. Attending speaking engagements is not simply an important forum for those whose lives include university esoterics. Inventions and patents and dancing classes came from Chautauqua, too. **)

6. I would like to establish a rural art cooperative for county residents, manned by volunteer staff as part of a mandatory 4 hour a month stint on the sales floor for every contributing artist.

7. I would like to establish a wholly rural "Empty Space" Theatre or which would also serve as space for 5 and 6. This could ideally be an existing space. It could also provide for extra income for crafters and artists on commission to make money with square foot space booths of items which are tagged and marked. These artists might just be "stay at home", but they want a market and opportunity to make a little extra income, with their own creations, by making them available for sale in a central cooperative. St. Jacob's huge outdoor/indoor building is a testament to busy hands and "nowhere else in the world" items, and we could do it, too!  I was actually involved in several activities like this, and was one of the committee members who started the Sarnia Lambton Artists Cooperative, which has a permanent spot in the downtown Bay Side Center, and has been in existence, albeit in a smaller format, these days, since the late '80's.

8. I would like to see a drive in theatre and a repertory cinema house situated in the county. Both are inexpensive ways to "get out once in a while for something special", for relatively inexpensive amounts of money, without disrupting the "green ideal", as well as providing old-fashioned, family-possible opportunities for arts interests and development in the rural community, and just a "fun night out", apart from the usual community fairs and agricultural displays - rather a "complement" to them.

9. This might sound really funny......but I would like to look into the possibility of the local arena being outfitted for roller skating - with recorded music as accompaniment. If there is interest, we might be able to attract modest investment for a permanent, small facility to bring back a really fun tradition that is great exercise, and a great "seasonal strength builder" for off-season figure skating champions and hockey player stars of tomorrow - all year long, and without the expense of ice management, after the initial floor outlay.! Way fun....

Well, you picked my brain for some thoughts....these are just a few rolling around in there. Smile. Keep in touch.....and please share with your friends!

God Bless.

Dawn M. Nevills

N.B. ** this section was added for the purpose of expanding on what, exactly I meant by the The Chautauqua concept of the social and intellectual exchange of ideas and possibility.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Getting to Know Dawn M. Nevills - Part 1

It's an interesting thing, coming to know a person - and often challenging, in combination with proximity, opportunity, and the inevitable enemy - shyness.

The average person fears public speaking, for instance, more than Death - a true fact often discussed in theatre and public speaking circles like Toastmasters - but inexplicably addressed or properly overcome in public life, beyond the inevitable assumptions about being tongue-tied, imaginative suggestions of fear and leprosy, and the agonizing position of not being able to think of a thing to say, within the prescribed and usual, allotted time of fifteen seconds, other than a wish for good weather, a lack of bunions, and genuine good health. Frankly, a decent sense of humour often saves the day, and a flaming pair of cheeks.

To alleviate this, (the fear of public speaking, since I must leave the bunions, and onions, to your own good governance) it has been suggested, for instance, that you should pick a spot on a back wall, and imagine everyone in their underwear, so as to place one's self in the relaxed position of a "reverse Emperor's clothes" juxtaposition.....but perhaps, beyond the idea of gentle humour and overcoming fear...I shall simply ….tell you about myself.

Public service is, and should be, approached with the goal of success in genuine intent, and mine, as you shall discover, is very genuine, indeed. "Service", and its place in my life, has taken many forms.

"Wherever did you come from?" said one lady, at church, one day, making me feel a little like an alien. I suspect the practicality of my somewhat traditional Inuit-style haircut precipitated a gently veiled fear of an emerging Marine within me, molting out like a military butterfly - but, alas, this has been entirely more practical than a preoccupation with a desire to resemble a confused owl, a shorn eagle, or a stern Sergeant-at-Arms. I've effected the dangly earrings as a reassurance, to be honest; a nod to the constant, inner war with my innate sense of the hippy in us all, and a throwback to the days as a three year old when my mother scotch-taped bows to my head, so people would know I was not a boy, (oh, to have had Velcro) but I confess, it is entirely time-driven. I work a lot. I appreciate the "odd bird" nomenclature, somewhat unworriedly, as it usually seems to be with a guarded affection.....but I digress.

I am, as they say, of solid blue collar stock, (with a few delights thrown in for good measure, as well as more than a few smiles), and a good deal of fruit picking in my youth, during which I received sun stroke, first time out - as a future warning -  after lending a black girl with whom I had set about picking strawberries one morning at 5:30 am, my practical straw hat, since she didn't have one. I was infuriated that I had to spend two hours in the afternoon recovering from sunburn, and sunstroke, as a result, and she was just as determined that she was going to split her earnings with me, having been given the hat which probably would have been better had it been traded back and forth sporadically, in retrospect - but we were kids, and I hadn't thought that one through very well at the time, to be honest. Surrounded by a steelworker father, three very large uncles, and a towering Irish grandfather who taught gunnery practice during the Second World War, I was old hat at faking impenetrability.

The women were tougher - all of them. It was simply Expected. Still is. More than likely that's probably why I chose to live here in 1994. I knew they would approve, and it was just about as unpretentious as where I grew up - a quality I like very much.

 My four and half foot great- grandmother Chrysler had had 16 children, and a meeting at the long table in the dining room, seating 20, was like a United Nations summit of Pennsylvania Dutch, Irish, German and assorted anomalies. Into this, came my father, the product of a fiercely independent Mother and Dorset/England Toronto Nana who smoked, drove her own Buick, worked in the women's auxiliary, wore lipstick which matched her C of E suits like a military uniform, and sister to an Aunt and Uncle who owned a travel agency, well travelled and used to being in places like Cuba, working in a hotel, and Singapore during a yellow fever epidemic, during which she refused to stay on ship, wanting to help, and bribed a naval officer to get off and help in the hospital. She also refused to marry my Boppa Nevills, despite determinedly wanting to woo her, until well into her forties - a single mother in a time single mothers were suspected of many things, but certainly not rescuing all of the neighbourhood children from abusive husbands, and the best-laden tea trolley of treats in the Gage Park District - all of  which I clearly remember from my childhood. I recall this park as an oasis of running through fountains, picnics, and walking to the Big Top Restaurant, the Becker's store (which housed the magical popsicles my grandfather Nevills handed out to all of the neighbourhood children) and back home to the little war-time house we lived in on Holton Avenue South, in the city of Hamilton, where I lived on the second floor with my parents in the upstairs apartment. I often walked the four blocks to meet my mother after work, too, who worked as an X-ray technician at the clinic around the corner.  It was strange, listening to her memorize pictures of bones and connections, while twist-dancing to "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" by Jerry Lee Lewis in the living room, but life gives us unique gifts - and my family is my most Precious. I have shadowed memories of great uncles in suit jackets and dress hats, all discussing politics and smoking on the porch of rare Sunday afternoon visits to see my great-grandmother Chrysler - the "mini whirlwind" who knew every single name of every family member, and, incredulously, never mixed mine up - unlike my Aunts, who often chorused "Harry, Sam, George", when they mixed up a name, on occasion, laughing - even when it was one of the girls. I preferred to park myself with my ice cream-in-a- cup with a wooden spoon, like a female garden gnome, steadfastly observing, and carefully listening to them discuss work and family life.

Their take on Spirituality was self-imposed, practical, and surprisingly humble, and often laced with humour and gratitude. These Hamilton men were earnest, intent - and hardworking. They still are. These were the Peach Kings, travelling from the orchards and farmlands of grape-growing country of Southwestern Ontario, still amongst the most richly fertile arctic glacier deposit soil in the Nation,  into the steel mills and industrial hub of Dofasco, Stelco, and Westinghouse: the steellunchbox men of proud hearts and bigger smiles, amidst the grit of work-a-days. God and their families were implicit, and included, in all of their dreams for betterment. They still are. They were fishers of Men and farmers of sustenance, wherever the work presented itself and was reliable - and the dirt, and heat, and the danger was no deterrent to a day's pay: the Grit hearts of John Munro, pre-airport, John Diefenbaker, Six Nations savvy and black-satin dress-glove proud, on occasions when the black and white service dress skirts and blouses were laid aside from the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club banquet tray-holding hands, and family celebrations gave way to baby laughter, earnest study, and the discipline of applied hard work. "Our Product is Steel - our strength is People." The words echo in my mind to this day.

 Just beyond the outskirts of the bustling city, the quieter Town of Stoney Creek, in its earlier days, had a pride of its own: Flag Day Parades, a High School with the ancient gunnery target shooting area used during the Second World War, and a Saracen Spirit from Saltfleet High School, with deep, lasting connections which reached far beyond religion, race or anything except the fierce and lasting bonds of Friendship are maintained to this day - a treasure retained from my somewhat unorthodox entry and term as Class President during my last year, having skipped Grade Three and Grade 13, anxious to get on with life, and the care of People. At 16, I was an anomaly, too. Keen on politics like both of my parents, I wrote a 12-page paper on the Douma  in my last year, as a lasting reminder of changing times and my interest in Civics, in the midst of the heady hope and earnest striving of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau years, John Munro, and the industrious and earnest age of Hamilton Mayor Vic Copps and his daughter, Sheila.

Having sustained a head injury in my youth, (I tripped on an upturned and broken concrete sidewalk while running down the street one day, flew up into the air, and landed directly onto my face and forehead against an upturned shard, splitting open my skull until my head swelled up and my eyes went black, while I practiced my interpretation of a human egg with bug eyes. I overcame the indicators of anomaly and dyslexia by intensely focusing my mind on starwatching - I still have a secret passion for Astronomy to this day - and/or closing my eyes, in order to refocus, when dealing with stress and the onset of a headache - a technique I use to this day to relax - including on boats, where I take mental  snapshots,  for the rare opportunities when I am able to paint or draw, as a remembrance of those moments.  

The summer I turned 14, I admit to having left the age blank on my work application the February previously, because I had not yet reached the required age to work scooping rock hard ice cream at The Stoney Creek Dairy, at application time, after generations of my family - including my maternal grandmother - had worked there, but it's where we all honed our steel, rock-hard bloody knuckles, we girls - like many kids who grew up there huddling in a sitting position against the wall in our polyester uniforms, congregating around the punch clock like a gaggle of plastic-shoed nursing shoe cheerleaders in zip up boxing uniforms, intent on "keep the cool" on the lid of the universe, with our shared smokes and our wry jokes. I also learned how to make change - which I also had an opportunity to practice while working for a Chinese man and his family as a manually operated cashier at the local I.G.A. (he used an abacus with a dexterity that would frighten many a present day student, struggling to tally sums with a basic calculator, while simply not being able, reasonably, to subtract amounts in their head in columns), which proved to be a useful, somewhat practical skill, later in life - banking, for instance. On weekends we piled into the Dairy truck, a troupe of super scoopers, ready to pick peaches and serve them up in carefully crafted creations deftly presented to hordes of families, who lined up around the block for the results of our bloody knuckles and our artistry with frozen milk blocks: unending stomach mandelas that cooled the tongues and brought smiles on a Sunday afternoon, after church, purchased with quarters and dollars saved carefully for the oohs and awes of the mini-mountains perched like sculptures, on the yellow plastic trays. The long-handled plastic spoons stuck out like the victory flags of Mount Everest, tantalizing and inviting.  

After early entrance following the now-defunct Grade 12 Summer Program at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, during which I had to complete the equivalent of 3 university credits in 8 weeks (an academic intensity of study and research which has stayed with me to this day), I achieved early entrance to an undergraduate program which I completed at just 20:the first university graduate in my family. One of my courses of study was Geology, the closest I could get, at that point, to one of my other interests, which combined both my interests in languages, and communication, with all things old and rocky:Archeology.

In the midst of it, and having applied for ROTP Airforce at just 18, I was told to come back when I had managed to get my degree, after coming back from near-death, following a first year during which I worked three part-time jobs while maintaining a full course load, having been refused a student loan, until my kidneys produced three large stone testaments to 'unending and unrelenting  business", much to my self-disgust, and I was forced to have them removed, temporarily sidelining my eagerness to "get on with life". Smarting from a disappointing show of academic military support which indicated the attitude towards women in the military at the time, but one which came with surprising changes in attitude and enlightened affection, as the years went on, I waded through the hurdles and weathered the realities of life, undeterred and refusing to wallow in disappointment. I applied later, and was successful in passing the exam for Air Traffic Controller, but other demands took precedence, and Navy Service would not come until other Public Service experience provided a foundation for socio-economic dynamics education, and the basics of government service.

But always, there were The Arts, and Volunteering as panacea, and expression : music, dance, visual and theatre - providing impetus, stimulus, and outlet, along with writing, for a mind alight with the possibilities of Life and Challenge - and there was God, St. Alban's, Church of the Redeemer, and a St. Andrew's College Man to challenge my father's discerning gaze and the phalanx of St. Eugene's eye-boring sessions from my Grandfather and Uncles (much to my delight and mischievious adoration), a combination which brought me back from the brink, following the kidney stone incident, his face asleep on my hand at the hospital bed, upon waking, reminding me that a mind was loved genuinely, when shared by its other half. This brought much comfort later, in the days when the St. Andrew's Man went to work with NASA, at the University of Irvine, California, on a special Ozone depletion atmospheric project, while I had to stay behind and assume responsibilities of government service, with Canada Immigration. The gentle reminders of those twinkling eyes continued in my artist's mind's eye, watching over me as stars in God's sky, after he was killed in a car accident, and my "unlikely wine pairing" - solid as a rock and defiant - ended with his Death.

The banquet serving and hospitality-savvy service continued, as I worked my way from line server to Headwaitress at Saga Foods, Brock University, throughout my undergraduate days, and I earned my "other practicum degree" in the hospitality industry - running with my apron strings trailing behind me from class to class, intent on "getting to the line" to have it set up, before many of the classmates with whom I had just been debating slid their trays through. Many were quite astonished, when, looking up, they saw my face, serving them breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the same time, I served as an usher at the University theatre complex, part-time, worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Mary Jane Miller, for her book on Canadian Radio and Television Drama, and ran a "sub shop" on the weekends in the main Residence Hall kitchen, alone, at night. During spare time I served as a late-night D.J. for an Alternative Music and Talk Show for CFBU RadioBrock, Campus Radio, where the St. Andrews College man was also Station Manager at Scollay House, a building (now torn down) which was set well back within the mysterious outer reaches of punk,new wave, jazz, and alternative music trees and wildly flowering plants, near Lake Gibson, on Brock University's Campus: a sort of "cool dude hangout" for nerds and electrogeeks riding the wave of emerging electronic music, house music, and  musical and performance art. I explored movement classes and saw my first Eddy Toussaint ballet performance, enthralled. I also wrote the occasional album review, critique of Student Productions, and live music event reviews of local and visiting bands, for the school newspaper, within the CFBU Campus Radio contributory journalism slot, and continued live performance myself, singing in a relaxed band we called S.T.I.R.R. ("S.o T.his i.s R.ock and R.oll" - a nod to the hilarious fact that I was the only one not old enough to legally drink). We played in the campus pub, Alphie's Trough - named after General Sir Isaac Brock's horse - (among other venues), where I also worked occasionally cleaning up, nights and weekends, since I wasn't old enough to actually imbibe myself, until my last year, much to the amusement of my classmates.

The summer of 1983 I was part of a team working on behalf of P.A.L.S. (The Preservation of Agricultural Land Society) studying the shrinking land base in the Niagara Peninsula, where I got my first introduction, as Government Policy Researcher, to such stimulating reading as the GATT agreement on Trades and Tariffs, and the finer aspects of trying to maintain a viable fruit and vegetable industry while dealing with the increasing pressures of the "megalopolis on the march" real estate push creeping around the Golden Horseshoe regions's finest soil, from the City of Toronto. We called it the "Lake Edge Land Creep", edging ever closer, to ultimately close the gap forever, on some of the finest grape growing soil in the world, nestled within the glacial lake soil deposits forming the Lake Ontario shoreline below the Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce Peninsula. We worried that one unending concrete lakeshore skyline would erase the burgeoning grape growing industry thriving in the greater surroundings of Niagara on the Lake, and the long tradition of Winona Peach Kings, and the fine fare which still makes the E.D. Smith company's jams, jellies and preserves a scent ushering in late autumn, in the outer regions of Saltfleet Township, Winona, and Fruitland, to this day. I still remember the smell of chili sauce wafting for miles in late September, as the bountiful harvest of tomatoes, and plentiful orchards meant a steady unending pickling line and much work for locals - including my mother and neighbours - working on the preserve line.  I even did a survey, and a live Television spot highlighting our workm with Local Television Station CHCH T.V.'s Jennifer Mossop, and Dan Rather, as we canvassed local people about how, why and if, they felt supporting local agriculture was an important aspect of their lives, overcoming excruciating fear of public speaking to earnestly talk about "the Green of Greenery" in a concrete and glass world. I also met Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser, while completing our project, who were deeply supportive of our efforts, and, as pioneers in the huge replanting and vinifera specific growth goals which removed labrusca concord jam grapes and supplanted fine wine viniferas in their place, they ushered in, along with grape growers in the region, the painstaking development of today's Ice Wine and world class Merlots and Chardonnays. Indeed, "Foxy" heralded "Moxy", sparking my deep respect, support, and interest in the Canadian wine industry - one which continues to this day, within the largest context of my work in the hospitality industry. I also began working part-time for T.G. Bright and Co. - Brights Wines - at a little wine store in St. Catharines.

I also typed papers for other students for extra money - including the St. Andrew's college man's, who provided a kind of alternate course of study for me in his disciplines: Geography, Social Sciences and Environmental Studies, since I typed and edited most of his papers. I began a serious interest in all things environmental:one which has extended to interests, through the years, in related activities within the Sierra Club, the Empire Club, the I.O.D.E., (where I have been a volunteer for 31 years), the Trans-Canada Trail Project (now complete), and continued when I worked in Security within the chemical Valley in Sarnia, Ontario, having completed both explosives training from the Texas site-specifics group for Imperial Oil, and Accident Investigations training specific to the Oil Industry, as well as two college diplomas in related studies - an unlikely but intriguing path for a kid who started out studying Theatre Arts at Brock:typically nontraditional, and undeterred, like the Sacred Signal Light, beckoning onward, and skyward East, promising.

My last year at Brock I decided to complete my final undergraduate course at the University of Warwick, in Coventry, England, on a letter of Permission from Brock University, during the summer of 1984, focusing on Shakespearean Performance Traditions, with specific research complementing my undergraduate studies, (including costume work, Jacobean Theatre, The Chester Mystery Cycle, the Chataqua Festival, and Aeschylus and Euripides, amongst other jewels of Dramatic Literature), within the context of productions at the Barbican, in London, and studies and field trips to the Dulwich Gallery, and other sites, including the original Globe Theatre, and various performances by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company. I visited Warwick Castle, home of the original Kingmakers, discovered Ronnie Scott's jazz club, where I had a riotously good time dancing to wicked good Jazz with some crazy cool employees at the BBC who talked me into singing with the band before we left at 3 in the morning, mindfull of the fact that I had to be on a train to to Dover at 7 am., from Victoria station, where I arrived on time, still slightly pickled, as I recall, but smiling with great unregret. and a slight headache, along with blisters from dancing all night. I was mesmerized, a little later on, by a special 350th anniversary performance of Christ's Passion in the Black Forest Region of Oberammergau, Germany, (something which occurs once every ten years, normally)experienced the delight of a pigeon pooping on my shoulder in San Marcos Plaza, in Venice, Italy, sang with a merry group of female impersonators after a performance in Pigalle, France, before I realized they were all men (much to their affectionate delight), had an eight dollar glass of milk and meticulously sliced and presented apple at Maxim's, in Paris, served with a flourish as if to the Grand Duchess Herself (dear, dear Man), took the train to Versailles after only getting lost once within the labyrinth of nine subway lines and my halting French, and where I hoped fervently I hadn't accidentally asked the way to the washroom again, instead of the subway. I ate strudel in Lichtenstein, explored a miniature clock shop high in the reaches of Titisee, Switzerland, bought an exquisite pair of stitched dress leather dress gloves, in Vitipeno, Italy, and careened down the sides of the Swiss Mountains in a magic bus that I hoped would never stop taking me to places to which I ardently hoped to return, one day, culminating in a singsong version of "We've Only just Begun" by the Carpenters, and enjoyed mightily by all of the gondoliers around our gondola in Venice, (who joined in, in Italian), and the Australian family with whom I made fast friends, on our bus trip, after perhaps a little too much wine, one joyful and happy evening, before we all fell fast asleep, dreaming, after walking back to our hotel, arm in arm, like the Munchkin guards in the Wizard of Oz, singing. I can see their faces in front of me to this day, shocked that gondoliers saluted, (which seemed odd to me, at the time), but, I understand, was only because they weren't allowed to hug. Terrible shame, that last...but such a lovely, wonderful gesture, considering the St. Andrew's man had proposed, and I was going home to be....engaged!

Upon graduation I began work on an eight month project for the Lincoln County Board of Education, creating, as part of a team, the very first Educational Resources Catalogue available for phone in and pickup (like a drive-through restaurant, pre MP download) which formed a huge compilation of cataloguing, data base creation, and computer entry of hundreds of educational films, aids, toys, maps, puppets, machines, music collections, instruments, and all manner of classroom aids to be used by area teachers, and which still forms the basis of their Resource collection to this day. I also had an opportunity to practice a course I had taken in American Sign Language, since I worked side-by-side with our deaf cataloguing assistant, Sheilagh Elliott, a brilliant, hilarious lady with whom I formed a warm friendship, and from whom I learned much about challenge, change and heart, in the face of adversity. I have never seen anyone type that quickly in my life, to this day.

After this intense and arduous project, I began work with the Canada Employment Center, in St. Catharines, fulltime, as well as continuing my part time job at Brights Wines, my first fulltime government job as a claims intake clerk, after many months of pursuing employment there, following the completion of our catalogue. I went back every Wednesday at 1 pm to ask for a job, like clockwork, for six month - until they finally gave me a job. We had to wear four pound lead aprons while working on the huge green lit computers, to avoid radiation and possible breast and ovarian cancer from the screens, in those days, a fact which still surprises many when speaking of the wonders of technology.

....some of which you'll get to know more about, in "Part 2"! Till then........











 












     

















Sunday, August 12, 2018

22 Minutes: Garlic Milk

Angry Air Traffic Controllers and Pilots -Funny Live ATC recordings

Best TV News Bloopers Fails 2018

Best TV News Bloopers Fails #1

Best TV News Bloopers Fails #3

Best TV News Bloopers Fails #2

Best TV News Bloopers Fails #4

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush CRUSHES Donald Trump In A Long Interview...

Trump calls to obama pt 2

Trump calls to Obama pt 3 (the inaugural anniversary)

22 Minutes: Mulcair Pep Talk

101 Facts About Canada

Canada. History of Canada in a Nutshell.

10 Incredible Things You Didn't Know Aboot Canada!

Tensions rise in Canada-Saudi dispute

Canada appears to stand alone in feud with Saudi Arabia

Canada's Ambassador to the United States isn't Drake? | 22 Minutes

George W. Bush BRILLIANTLY Destroy Donald Trump For His 'SHAMEFUL' Views...

Bruce Cockburn - No Footprints

Van Morrison - Hymns to the Silence - original

Chariots of Fire - Michael Allen Harrison

Chariots of Fire Theme Song

Chariots of Fire - Finale

... Vangelis - Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire - Vangelis (Live in Athens - Greece)

Chariots of Fire: Jerusalem

Chariots of Fire trailer

Eric Liddell Reads Isaiah