After the War: Remember The Living

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To see these boys together as responsible young men celebrating a baptism is worth remembering to tell a story down the road for Greg’s firstborn son initiation into Christianity. They grew up together, some studied at the same school, prayed … Continue reading

Find your place on Earth and Dance!

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Quezon City, Philippines is where I grew up. Now I live in Vancouver, beautiful British Columbia, Canada. And where are you from?

I could dance with Matt to this beautiful music of Garry Schyman feat. Alicia Lemke – Trip the Light, fell the joy of being alive and remember that we are all the same.

If all the days come to pass
Are behind these walls
I’ll be left at the end of things
In a world kept small

Travel far from what I know
I’ll be swept away
I need to know I can be lost
And not afraid

Viola Desmond’s Place in History.

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I love her face the first time I saw her. It was a week-long education series for The Voice of Our Members that Viola Desmond was introduced to us. Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. An African-Canadian woman. The … Continue reading

The Voice of Our Members

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February is Black History Month By Warren Williams, President CUPE Local 15 Sisters and Brothers, I like the sound of that. It makes me feel like I’m a part of something special. This month is Black History Month which is a time … Continue reading

This is my home. Proud to be Canadian.

 

“Ito ang bahay ko” Filipino translation for “This is my home.”

It’s a land of hope, a land of peace
It’s a place where people can be free
I proudly call this land my own
Oh Canada! This is my home.

To Earth, with gratitude

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Earth We belong to Earth, Take care of it. We must! Meanwhile, somewhere in Canada, in Burnaby to be precise, we are celebrating. I contributed some of the photos I shared in WP taken in my backyard. The small space … Continue reading

A Star is Born

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Barbara Streisand is not the only star born as Jewish. There are many Jewish Canadian Stars such as Joanna Gleason, William Shatner, and Lorne Green. Allow me to introduce a new budding star with the same heritage, Ben, the big … Continue reading

In Search of Advent at the Quay

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The parade just started when I got off the SkyTrain station at the Quay. Motorcades with signs ‘Season’s Greetings’, ‘Dream, Live, Celebrate’, ‘Merry Xmas’, ‘Only Santa delivers more’ drove carrying Gingerbread Man, Frosty the Snow Man, Rudolph the Red Nose … Continue reading

Road Sign: Beaver in Utero Just Ahead

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An American traveled to Canada and had difficulty understanding our road signs. He came up with a name for this sign. ‘Beaver in utero just ahead.‘ Actual meaning of the sign: Parks Canada The more he traveled in our country, the weirder … Continue reading

Everything is going to be alright

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alright

This public gesture coming from the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (known as one of the poorest postal codes in Canada) celebrates optimism amidst the pervasive – and often exaggerated – negativity found within many of the messages we routinely encounter, offering hope for the future. (Martin Creed Work No. 851)

And my creed is “All shall be well” ~ Julian of Norwich

The Sacred Journey of Salmon, Bald Eagles and A Bear


Salute to the Sockeye “Song for the Salmon” ~ Salmon Society

Photo by: Fred Zhang published by National Geographic October 23, 2014 Daily Dozen

Photo by: Fred Zhang published by National Geographic October 23, 2014 Daily Dozen

“Sockeye salmon is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. This species is a Pacific salmon that is primarily red in hue during spawning. Juveniles remain in freshwater until they are ready to migrate to the ocean, over distances of up to 1,600 km. Their diet consists primarily of zooplankton. Sockeye salmon are semelparous, dying after they spawn. Photo location: Sorrento, BC, Canada”

One of my co-workers went to a salmon festival last month to witness the famous salmon run. The rain was shining (raining hard) and the temperature was above normal (balmy). Needless to say, there wasn’t much to see and she came home disappointed.

For salmon’s survival, the water temperature has to be between 3 to 15 Celsius and it influences the incubation rate of the eggs and the time they hatch.

And here comes November, a perfect weather. The salmon braved swimming upstream, spawned and stop eating. They are just too tired from the ordeal of migrating to fresh water, have no more energy and died.

With an abundance of salmon along the river, this is a perfect season for the bald eagles and the bears to feed on them. What better way to have a Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival but watch out for the bears!

Photographer: Danny Chan ~ 1st Place Winner

Photographer: Danny Chan ~ 1st Place Winner

As for the bear, I am deeply saddened by the news yesterday that a West Coast express train hit a bear.

Wait for me Daddy

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A photo of a boy ran from his mother’s grasp to reach his father’s outstretched hand. The photo became known as Wait for Me Daddy and is one of the iconic Canadian images of WWII.  This is Warren “Whitey” Bernard, … Continue reading

Bennettville: A Vancouver Story

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Today, looking southwest from the dock of Bridges Restaurant, you see commercial wharves, and office and residential buildings. Sixty-three years ago, this area was a tidal flat rising to an elevation of 20 feet at the railway tracks, which were … Continue reading

The time when the real action starts

Nightime is when the real action starts wrote Ben Huberman. He’s right but not the night when it was a snowing heavily and I was the only person walking the street.nightime

Burnaby Public Library turned into a winter wonderland.
nightime

I could hear Pat Boone singing:
nightime

When it snows, ain’t it thrillin’?
Tho’ your nose, gets a chillin’
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.

A post dedicated to a person who cannot wait for snow. I promised Joanne of Mum how much longer that I will send her a snow flake in the mail.

 

My Immigration Story

 

False Creek July 2014

False Creek July 2014

“My mother and I left the Ukraine on August 8th, 1991, when Ukraine was still part of the USSR. At that time, there was great political unrest My Immigration Storythroughout the Soviet Union. Communism was on the decline, and the power of the Mafia was increasing with an astonishing rate. Ukraine was in political and economic chaos. Organized crime bosses were graining political power; corruption was present at all levels of politics; and the Mafia was buying out high-level authority figures and gaining easy access to the purchase of weapons leading to gang warfare and uncontrollable violence against civilians.

My mother stood for over five days in a line-up in Moscow for the opportunity to get two international visas, one for her and one for me. Luck was on our side, for we were granted two one-month visas to Canada. On June 27, 1993, we boarded a flight to Vancouver. I was scared and eager at the same time. It was incredibly hard to leave my friends behind but I was excited for the adventure that moving great distances provided. We left with barely any belongings and a mere $250 in Canadian cash. Little did I know that our one-month trip would turn into me becoming a Canadian citizen.

For the first month my mother and I lived in Burnaby. After extensive house hunting she found a place she liked and we re-packed for the short move to False Creek. On July 1st, 1995, we received our Canadian citizenship after a mere four years in this wonderful country. I have now lived 6 years in Vancouver and am glad we chose this city over any other on the planet.”

by: Sergie Doubkov
Source: A Vancouver Story #5

Priceless

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Photographer’s Note: ‘Cayenne’ in the back, six months old 🙂 one of the twelve puppies we fostered for the BCSPCA animal shelter in Squamish, British Columbia Canada…’Raine’ in the front, also a rescued dog….almost two years old…we love them both! Cayenne is … Continue reading

Making the most out of it.

Morning Story and Dilbert

“Life will only come once, so make the most out of it.”  via Words to Live By.

Suffer?  I refuse.

Being out of job for the past few days due to teachers’ job action, I am enjoying the four hours of being in the public supporting the teachers during their strike.  Meeting people on the street, getting to know teachers and peers, more time to exchange words , playing with dogs at the park, watching all the feathered creatures and enjoying the garden across the office are just a few pleasures that embrace during this tumultuous period.

As part of being in a unionized job, we respect the picket line.  We do not cross the line to support the teachers in solidarity.

I have so much respect and admiration for the teachers. They are like the second parent of the child.  As a matter of fact, most children spend more time at school than spending time with their parents.

It appears school ended prematurely for the children but the graduating class are still required to take their final exams with or without the teachers.

In the meantime, I will continue to count my steps as I pound the sidewalk walking side by side with the teachers and still have a few laughs along the way.

And it’s not all that bad, actually.  The professional staffs are still working to step on the plate that we left behind at the office.  On top of that, they come out to converse with us bringing  a  box of donuts and muffins to fuel our energy.

Grade 5 Music Composition

Musical composition by Annelise Yates (Grade 5)

Musical composition by Annelise Yates (Grade 5)

The Impossible Adventure

Took a swim through the sea
In search of what could not be
Yet there within the waves
A whale with a friendly gaze

Chorus:
How does one chase a dream?
It’s not an easy as it seems
Keep your eyes on the prize
Relax and enjoy the ride

I felt a long pull
To go where the whale might go
Followed it in a haze
And if I should fall behind
I focus right and fix my stride
After a while the going gets rough
As I try to keep my head above
My lungs on fire, my legs grow weak
Just as my chances are looking bleak
The waves turn grey like the sky
I know that I’m going to cry

Chorus:
My eyes well up
And through the tears
I see the whale crystal clear
And in the distance I see a shore
It seems like something I’ve seen before
Then and there I realize
The beach before my very eyes
Is the one I left behind

 

Background:
There are several exhibits (again) on display at work created by the students. Of all the exhibits, I admire this musical composition. Making a mental note, I must take a photo for show and tell. Of course, I know very well not to rely on my memory; it likes to procrastinate.

Yesterday afternoon, when I returned from my break, I was ready to take a picture but when I arrived the board was empty. I was so disappointed and I was muttering to myself. A couple of men and a girl must have heard me and they turned around. Told them my disappointment that the song I was admiring is gone!

“Are you looking for this?” One of the men said.

“OMG! That’s it! Do you mind if I take a photo and share it in my blog?” I was so ecstatic that all is well.

Forgetting my manners dues to excitement, I really should be speaking to the girl because it’s her composition. Regaining my composure, I addressed the man and the young lady at the same time, if it’s alright.

“Of course.” They gladly allowed me to take some shots.

Filled with gratitude with their kindness, I promised that I will send them a link of this post.

What an Impossible Adventure I had.  I am pretty sure as Annelies matures, there will be room for improvement in her creative mind.

Fasten your seatbelts.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
This is week two of the Teacher’s rotating strike in British Columbia, Canada.
Friday is Vancouver’s turn.

Better make the best of it and go for a joy ride.

 

Source: MBRANSONS

On the home front

 

strike2
When April comes, rest assure that it will be a bumpy ride.  Budget season falls in April and all school districts have to balance their books.  It’s never been easy to balance the books when the funds are coming from the Provincial Government.  When there is no funds; programs are cut, head rolls and the students suffer.

A particular program was under threat, Strings program, an instrumental music program that is an international language for all students.  One doesn’t have to speak their native tongue in order to be part of this and children have an ingrained talent to play a music instrument.

Needless to say, there were so many heartbroken teachers, parents and students. The sound of violin death score is playing in the air.

Some psychology and gifted-education program were also in the chopping board.  This is another very important program for students that are “challenged”.

The public has spoken to express their concerns about the effect of these cuts to their children.

Music aids the cognitive development of a child.  According to scientific study that exposure to music makes kids of all ages smarter in math especially classical music. The practice lessons are helpful for the students to have structured time rather than face time. Further musical training enhances the brain structure of the child in language and reasoning.

As for therapy sessions, parents need help how to educate a child with behavior, speech, attention deficit or high functioning. Without these vital resources, it’s impossible for the child to learn and fit into the norm of school structure.

The month of April is over and these services are spared for now. Problem solved?  Not really.

May is a power struggle between the Teachers and BC Public School Employers. The teachers are on a rotating strike this week and will continue until next week should there be no resolution in terms of bargaining on class sizes and remuneration.

Field trips, camping trips, sports practice and others are cancelled.  Graduation is coming and will the teachers be there for the graduating class?

Dear Parents,

As you are aware, the BCTF is now in phase 2 of job action, as well as an imposed partial lock-out by BCPSEA. This directly impacts the level in which teachers are able to be involved in field trips, including our regional track meet.

And while we exercised every reasonable option to carry on with this event, unfortunately, we have had to make the decision to cancel our District Zone Track and Field meet that was scheduled for May 30th. We realize this is very disappointing for the students who have been working very hard in their gym classes to qualify for the events at the Track meet as well as parents who enjoy being a part of the day.

We encourage the children to continue with their personal fitness training to support their future endeavors in track and field events.

This is a challenging time for all those involved in BC schools. Thank you for your understanding and support in this matter. Please contact the school if you have any questions.

Yours truly,

The Administrators 

On a personal level, Lucy my niece is in three of these events and she is really looking forward to it. It’s a very sad time for Lucy and my family.

My feelings are split between the teachers, education, children, parents, the whole British Columbia, my colleagues, and me. Of course, the bottom line for most is no ticky, no laundry. Meaning, no pay.

The children, have mercy on these children.  They are the one’s suffering.

Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Weapon?  Heaven forbid, not at the cost of the children.

Power Nap and Pwer Struggle: A Child uses a strike sign for shade while her mom walks a picket line outside school in Vancouver. Photo credit Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via Vancouver Metro

Power Nap and Pwer Struggle: A Child uses a strike sign for shade while her mom walks a picket line outside school in Vancouver. Photo credit Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via Vancouver Metro

Presumed Heterosexual

Look at it at the point of view when a child is born.  

May 17there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.“ ~ Pierre Elliot Trudeau

“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Those unforgettable words made famous by Pierre Trudeau in 1967 caused a tidal wave of controversy that rippled across the entire nation. Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill brought issues like abortion, homosexuality and divorce law to the forefront for the first time, changing the political and social landscape in Canada forever.”

Awareness day: May 17 is National Day Against Homophobia.

Public school system in British Columbia is gradually adopting a strict policy on anti-homophobia in order to create a safe structured learning environment for the children and it’s employees. 

These posters are educational materials used in an ongoing staff development that I attended.

Do you know that homophobia is one of the major causes of drugs, alcoholism and suicide on children?  So think twice or more before acting negatively, it can have a devastating effect.

Say it with flowers

Joanne

What a beautiful thing, a bouquet of tulips for me.  Thank you.

Knowing that Mum, how much longer will be in town for a couple of days in Vancouver waiting for the cruise ship to take her and her family to Alaska, I immediately said: Coffee is on me!  The last time she was here, we didn’t even know that we were in the same place when there was free hugs for hunger.

When meeting someone for the first time, we gave each other a clue so we can find one another.

Mum said that she will be the person with two heavy bags under her eyes on the hotel lobby waiting. Me, I will be that silver fox with  long hair. Well, I did not see any woman with heavy bags.  Mum found me first.  It’s so easy to spot a long silver hair but not the fox. Who am I kidding.

It was a real pleasure to meet a blogger in person.

We chatted animatedly as if we were long-lost friend over coffee and dinner by the Waterfront of Vancouver.  Thank goodness, the weather cooperated and not a drop of precipitation.

Mum and family must be in the middle of the ocean by now and have passed the narrow inside passage of Vancouver Island.

Thank you again for the flowers, Mum, and for taking the time to meet with me.  Safe journey.

Sakura for Jae

Here’s something to look forward to when you visit Canada in spring.  I kid you not, Sakura is all over the place in Canada.

This is just one tree.  Imagine walking underneath the boulevard all lined up with Sakura, it’s snowing pink petals.
sakura jae

“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.” 
― Kobayashi IssaPoems

This is nothing in comparison to my fascination with this yellow flower when I first arrived here in Canada. I just love these Lions of the Spring. One cannot appreciate the beauty of Cherry blossoms without having to fall for these beast.
Lions of the Spring

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring.

May Day

scream

Can you hear me scream?
Can you hear them scream?
Can you hear the whole Canada scream?

It’s tax time.
It’s time to cram and fill in the forms.
It’s time to file personal income tax return.

I’ve lost my tax receipt?
How fast can you provide a duplicate?
What do you mean it takes that long?

Have a heart so it won’t bleed.

Revenue Canada was hit by bleeding heart.
For five days the system was down to protect us.
We still have five more days to file our return.

Relax and stop screaming.

P.S.
I think I’ll apply for a one way ticket to Mars.
Mars is starting to look good the way taxes are soaring.
The amount of taxes I paid to the government is enough
to pay for two cats to keep me company in the red planet.

Photo Credit: Thank you, Carl D’Agostino

The man gave up his shoes

VANCOUVER — A bus driver has had his faith in people restored after witnessing a rider wearing plastic bags instead of shoes given a surprising gift this holiday weekend — a stranger’s own shoes and socks.

shoes

The “soul-touching” interaction Saturday on the No. 341 route,  a Coast Mountain Bus Co. driver of 16 years who was off-duty at the time while returning from Surrey B.C.’s Vaisakhi parade.

“It made my heart melt,”  “He just took his shoes and socks off and said, ‘You can take these, don’t worry about me — I live close by and can walk.’

“People usually don’t care or even look at other people on the bus, they didn’t even want to sit beside this guy because of how he was dressed.”

The recipient was “shocked” by the gift and afterwards remarked, “What a nice guy… Did that really happen?”

 

Source: Toronto Sun

On Top of the World

We were young and restless.
We had lots of energy.
We were invincible.
We were on top of the world.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

One man and six women went on a trip of a lifetime.  The man was on top of the world, singing you are my sunshine as he drove Highway Zero.  He was surrounded by women from different parts of the world:  Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Jewish, Canadian and a Flip (that’s me).  The man was the leader of the pack to take these women for a week of wilderness: hiking and camping.

Lake Louise is the best place in Canadian Rockies and the best way to be on top of the Rockies is to hike.  Was it hard?  You bet, it was! But once you are on top of the mountain looking at the glaciers and the crystal clear lake, you will forget the aches and pains that you endured.  It’s breathtaking.

Balu Pass

Balu Pass

Do you think we had enough of Lake Louise?  Nope.  There are more mountains to hike and climb.  What do you think of 6,000 feet above sea level?  Balu Pass Trail is another one.  Balu is derived from an Indian name “baloo” meaning bear.  We forgot that this is bear country but we were very brave to hike and reach the summit.  We were surrounded by glaciers and alpine vegetation.

Orit in living colour

Orit in living colour

Orit is a fun Jewish young lady. I have fond memories of her when it comes to meal time.  We took turns cooking. When it comes to cooking, of course, we have to think what to cook and shop for the ingredients. I happened to like meat especially pork and that’s what I cooked for dinner. I didn’t know at the time that Jews do not eat pork. She did not mind at all and ate the pork with gusto in order not to offend anybody in the group.  That for me, she came on top for being a good sports.

Life on the street where I live

After a long wet coast winter weather, the street life in Vancouver springs into action.  Yes, spring is definitely in the air, and we celebrated it with a hug with the resident Vancouver’s critters. There were five of them, and I met four cute, soft and furry critters that came out of their hibernation giving out hugs.

This is Duh Bear, not a grizzly bear but a gentle softie softer than toilet paper.  He definitely dislikes any hunting trophy.

A reluctant hugger

A reluctant hugger

Hugs for Hunger is a fundraising event to welcome spring.  1 Hug = $1 donated by the sponsor to help the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.  All we have to do is give the critters a hug.

A Bear Hug

A Bear Hug

I hug all four of them, and $4 was donated to the Food Bank.  What a lovely way to spend the day watching passersby giving hugs.  It was definitely a joyful and happy day.

A bunny hug with pink ears.  This one left me hopping for more hug and, of course, he accepts a bribe of carrot sticks for more squeezes.

Bunny Hug

Bunny Hug

To hug and Bee hug has a positive effect on one’s well-being.  If you get stung, you will feel this tingly butterfly feeling in your chest and tummy.  Oh, what a lovely feeling sweeter than honey.

Bee Hug

Bee Hug

And here’s the Raccoon coming towards me ready to steal my heart away or maybe the garbage that I carry.

I'm coming to get you.

I’m coming to get you.

I think the Raccoon has already been to the garbage since I don’t see any takers from him.  Just take a look at this one running away from him.  Pepe le phew!

No, no, no, Mr. Stinker

No, no, no, Mr. Stinker

Finally, someone took pity on him and gave him a Hug for Hunger.

All Good.

All Good.

It was a very successful day.

“The magic of the street is the mingling of the errand and the epiphany.”  ― Rebecca SolnitWanderlust: A History of Walking

Dream of a life time.

For ten days, the Sochi 2014 connected me with the whole world  and it was relatively exciting time of sportsmanship.  I was even surprised to see in Facebook that the Philippines joined in figure skating even if a medal is not in the plan, to be part of it is an honor.

I did not really watch any of the games, however, I kept my ears open to the daily news, the cheering of colleagues and poking my head in the office cafeteria to see who is watching the Olympics game.  I’ve read some controversies about gay right activist to animal lovers.  Olympics is such a political event no matter how they put it. We had our fair share in Vancouver 2010.

The Washington Post wrote a good article about this:

“In the end, it was the right thing for the Olympics to come to Sochi, for all the wrong reasons. If the Winter Games had been staged somewhere else, then we never would have seen this still-rising emblem of the “new Russia” — so visually spectacular yet suggestive of a vast chasm between potential and reality. Here’s hoping that the promise of Sochi will be real.”

The top ten:
top 10

So, what’s next?  Let’s see what will be the talk at the office at the water cooler, this will be interesting.

 

SPORTS ALERT Thursday, February 20, 2014 3:14 PM EST

Canadian Women Rally to Beat U.S. in Overtime for Hockey Gold

Hockey

The women’s gold-medal hockey game on Thursday night between the United States and Canada followed an eerily familiar script. Four years after the men’s teams from the two countries played a riveting Olympic final that was decided in overtime, the women did the same.

This time, as in Vancouver in 2010, Canada came out on top when the forward Marie-Philip Poulin beat the American goaltender, Jessie Vetter, with a shot from the left circle with 11:50 remaining in overtime. Poulin, 22, also scored the goal that sent the game into overtime.

What a moment!  Exciting!  We are so proud of you and congratulations, Canada.

READ MORE »

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/sports/olympics/canadian-women-rally-to-beat-us-in-overtime-for-gold-medal.html?emc=edit_na_20140220

Myths about slavery in Canada

Since February is black history month, I am sharing this interesting piece of article I read at our local newspaper, Metro News.

Slavery never existed in Canada, right? 
 


black-history-month

Portrait of a Negro slave

FACT: Many Canadians are under the assumption that slavery never existed in Canada (or not at the same levels found in the U.S.), which is false. The first recorded slave to arrive in Canada was a six-year-old boy named Olivier le Jeune from Madagascar in 1628. Most slaves were imported from other British colonies and the Americas.

Was Canada the first country to abolish slavery before other parts of the world followed suit?

FACT: Although slavery in Canada was officially abolished in 1833 politicians enacted legislation in 1793 that would set limitations on slavery in the country. The bill meant slaves would secure their freedom at 25 if born a slave, which was no help to most since the average lifespan of a slave was 20 to 25 years.

Weren’t all black slaves who escaped to Canada from the U.S. afforded all the civil liberties enjoyed by other European Canadians?

FACT: Despite the warm and fuzzy images and scenes displayed in most current-day slave narratives, black slaves who escaped to Canada faced discrimination, violence and segregation. Unlike racist laws that were found in the U.S. (think: Jim Crow), Canada had largely unwritten racist codes, which many could argue made it more difficult for black people in Canada.

Slaves who escaped north lived out the rest of their lives in Canada

FACT: Some former slaves left Canada for the U.S. once slavery was abolished in America to escape difficulties in Canada and for chances at upward mobility afforded to them by moving to cities with higher black populations. Entire generations of black Canadians were completely lost to Canadian history by moving to the U.S.

Source By Takara SmallMetro

To read the whole article, click on the image.

Winter Olympics Rewind

canada-hockey-2010-vs-1924

To this date, I can still remember where I was, what I did, what happened next and who I was with when Canada won the Ice Hockey in 2010 Olympics.  It was a monumental time for me and I don’t even like sports.

“Ice hockey was actually first introduced in 1920 at the Summer Olympics. Unsurprisingly, Canada has withheld its reputation in the sport, having won the very first match at the 1924 Winter Olympics, as well as the last in 2010.”

Source:  Mashable.com:  Winter Olympics now and then

A sign of recovery

Video

Riding the BC Ferries from one island to another is always an exciting trip for me especially when El Capitan will announce that there is a pod of whales ahead.

A rare sighting happened on Monday, February 3 when there were two pods in sight off the coast of the harbour in Nanaimo, BC.  The pod of orcas hunted the pod of dolphins and ended up killing two of them in full view of the ferry passengers.

Orcas is also known as the killer whales.  They are the wolves of the sea.  This is a transient group that hunts for  mammals including seals.  The resident Orcas eat salmon only in this area.

With the return of the dolphins and the boom on harbour seals, it’s indicative that the water is recovering  This means that there will be more interaction such as this in the future.

This is the nature of things as  David Suzuki will say.

Source: The Province

The object of raising the roof

There are a couple of bus boards that caught my attention in the lower mainland.  Simple photographs of men before; as a child, and now: as an adult.

Blake and Dave as children grew up from normal childhood with normal lives.  Happy as can they be.

These ads attracted a lot of attention.  I could see people standing and looking at them for the longest time.  I wonder what were they thinking and what emotions do the pictures evoke from them.

These are their photos as an adult.

It is difficult for me to be objective looking at these subjects.  Humans are not subjects nor objects.  These simple photos brought out the big question: “what happened?”  Good question.

Bus boards captions:
Now you know where homeless adults came from ~ Blake
People from normal childhoods with normal lives don’t  end up homeless. ~ Dave disagrees.

This photo campaign is from Raising the Roof that provides objective facts about what and who are the homeless.  Reading about it gave me a better understanding of the goal of the photo campaign. Blake and Dave are no longer strangers to me.

Bus boards photo credits: Raising the Roof

“if you’re happy in your head then solitude is blessed and alone is okay.”

How to be alone  by Tanya Davis

(For Sound, click on this.)

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.

We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.

There’s also the gym. If you’re shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in.

And there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there’s prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you’re hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles.

The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they — like you — will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You’re no less intriguing a person when you’re eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching…because, they’re probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.

Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there are always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might’ve never happened had you not been there by yourself

Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.

You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one’s in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.

Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school’s groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay. Cuz if you’re happy in your head then solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

It’s okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relieved, keeps things interesting life is magic things in reach.

And it doesn’t mean you’re not connected, that communities’ not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. Take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn’t get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.

You could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it

If your heart is bleeding make the best of it

There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

(Note: the italics and bold are emphasis that I want to remember and meaningful to me)

“I am only a man, just like you.”

Andre Bessette

Trait D’espirit / Drawn by the Spirit

“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures,” said St. André Bessette.

He is just another man, a real person that I would have very much wanted to meet personally.  Unfortunately, he was born way ahead of me and died 20 years before I was born.  If you ask him who he is, the response was “I am only a man, just like you.”

André Bessette is a native of Canada born frail in a poor family in Quebec.  He became an orphan at the age of 12 and had hardly any education at all.  In his early twenties, he entered the Holy Cross congregation in Montreal.  Nobody wanted him.  The main task given to him was menial as a porter, someone who opens the door and greets people who come to visit the Oratory.  Yet he did his duty for 40 years accepting the little he had and turning it into a holy act.

One would not think that he lacks formal education when he is an effective teacher of faith by his action, love, kindness, and example.  He used the simplest means.  It is his complete trust with divine providence is what made him an exceptional person.

His dream was to build a church devoted to St. Joseph.  He trusted that if he is really doing the Lord’s will the Lord would bring it to fruition.  And it did happen.

How I would have wanted to see him open the door for me when I visited the Oratory in Mount Royal.   I felt small as an ant standing at the first rung of the steps looking up at the Oratory.

In a world filled with educated minds and an era of countless celebrity, glitz, and glamour, I am amazed at what a simple man can do.

Brother André is what I call him and has left me a legacy to place my trust in Jesus.