A photo taken 33 years ago in Manila reminds me how sad and brave my grandmothers were as they bid us farewell for our journey to Vancouver. After final blessings, embraces, and tears, we boarded the plane with suitcases crammed full of everything we could bring from our old life. Everything except my cherished umbrella which we had somehow neglected to pack. I loved that umbrella the way other four-year-olds treasure dolls or teddy bears. My new friends were mystified by my broken spirit and broken English. I did not know the word for umbrella. “My payong, my payong.” I repeated woefully. I wanted the umbrella that had sheltered me from the hot sun.
I wanted to escape this strange place where umbrellas held the wind and rain at bay. As I got older the memory of my umbrella drizzled away. I planned my getaway: Paris, Tel Aviv, New Delhi … even Toronto. Anywhere but rainy, boring Vancouver. Like my parents, I sought a better life elsewhere. Unlike them, elsewhere left me disappointed. I yearned for the seawall and for Granville Island and salad rolls. In my homesick mind, I heard the seagulls at Kits Beach, and breathed in the deep green peace of a day spent at UBC. I longed to smell the cedar tree in the backyard of my childhood in Marpole, and to taste the vegetables my parents tend there. I ached for Vancouver.
Today, I show the photo, taken all those years and countless lost umbrellas ago, to my husband and children. I will leave umbrellas behind, but I don’t forget where I have been or how far I traveled to get here. Once it was a distant destination promised in a photograph. Now it is the place I love and call home. ~ Bernadette Gonzales McGrath
The story of Bernadette is in two places. One in Marpole, close to where she used to live, attached to a lamp-post. The second is a monumental rock where each word is cast in stone, at Queen Elizabeth Park, a forever chiseled story cast in stone. A masterpiece.
One of the common tools in reaching out to instigate a change in the society is a petition. It’s a movement to voice out growing concerns, challenge the law and hope for the best.
This is A Public Service Announcement
Bonnie J. Fraser Henry OBC FRCPC is a Canadian physician who is the Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, the first woman in this position. Henry is also a clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia. She was a family doctor and is a specialist in public health and preventive medicine.
Bonnie is loved by many ever since Covid came to play. She mentioned that “this virus has shown us that there are inequities in our society that has been exacerbated by this pandemic. And is there no way that we will recommended inequities be increased by use of vaccine passport … ” excerpt from this news three months ago,
Bonnie announced recently that covid passport will roll out effective September 13, 2021. John Horgan and Adrian Dix, premier and health minister of BC respectively, support this mandate.
Whether vaccinated or not, medical segregation should cause concern for every individual in British Columbia. It’s a clear violation of human rights and once we lose these rights it will be very difficult to get them back.
I am for Immunization but not the vaccine passport.
Should you wish to support abolishing the vaccine passport, please visit change.org or click on this link.
Reading memes, one-liner jokes and satire are tricky. There are a few abrasive ones that made me squirm. But satire won’t always make us comfortable, or even always make us laugh.
These two made me laugh and smile.
“Watching fully vaccinated people scared of unvaccinated people is today’s comedy show”
“Why call it a vaccine passport when you can just call it a covID”
Meanwhile is Canada was once to be a funny site filled with memes and jokes. It can be political and shares its meme with the news. But it went overboard and some readers where aghast.
“this page used to have funny memes. Now it’s just pushing vaccine propaganda and shaming the anti vaccers. It’s terrible. I can follow local news to hear this.”
“This page is quickly becoming political and basically Covid Only content.. we hear and see enough of this on the news, social media, etc. If you aren’t a professional, don’t speak on it like you are.”
“A lot of interesting comments indeed but I do miss the lighthearted/comedic commentary that this group generated. Shout out from Sweden 🇸🇪 ”
“Imagine using your very well known page to spout off on your personal agenda because you know better, even though it should be a personal choice.”
“Meanwhile in Canada again keep your own opinion out of this… ”
It used to bring a smile on my face unfortunately it became a site of hubris.
I made a comment on this post “Meanwhile in Canada About page is “Looking at the lighter side of life in Canada and Canadian politics. Hope you “like”. It! Satire (including comments). Nothing to like here.”
Thank you Meanwhile of Canada for deleting my comment and blocking me. Now I can only share a comment elsewhere. So, I’m sharing.
in year 2009, I bought a BC Magazine to celebrate its 50 years featuring a list of what to do in the province I live for the past 45 years. Here I will remain for the rest of my life.
We call this province beautiful British Columbia!
The list could go on. These are just a teaser.
A bird on guard for thee.
HIKE the West Coast Trail
DIVE the Emerald Sea
HUNT for mythical monsters
CYCLE the Trans Canada Trail
BE ALONE with nature
MOTORCYCLE through the Kootenays
HURL YOURSELF from a great height
SURF a West Coast wave
BACKPACK the Chilkoot Trail
SET FOOT on every Gulf Island
SAUNTER along the Seawall
GLIMPSE BC’s wild horses
DANCE at a powwow
GO TUBING in the Okanagan
GAWK at Squamish eagles
PADDLE the Bowron Lakes
PHOTOGRAPH a wild bear
BARE IT ALL on Wreck Beach
MOSEY through hoodoo country
SUMMIT a mountain
Walking towards the lake to check it out.
TOUR the Duffrey Lake loop
DRIVE BC”s Alaska Highway
WHALE WATCH at Telegraph Cove
RIDE the Seven Summits Trail
WITNESS the northern lights
SOAK in a natural hot spring
DISCOVER ancient petroglyphs
BOAT up Bute Inlet
GET GOBSMACKED by mountain light
BOARD a BC ferry
View from higher grounds. Beyond is the frozen lake
SKI into O’Hara Lodge
RUN a wild river
VISIT a volcano
DEVOUR BC at Feast of Fields
FOLLOW dinosaur footprints
FLY A KITE on Wickaninnish Beach
WALK BAREFOOT in the forest
BOUNCE through Barkerville
BITE into a BC apple
TAKE the road less travelled
41. REVEL in a wildflower meadow
42. SCALE THE Stawamus Chief
43. MAKE A 50-YEAR PLAN to visit every BC Park
44. SAIL through Haida Gwaii
45. WAKE UP some place wonderful
46. PLAY HOMAGE to the Cheewhat Giant
47. ZIP across the sky
48. HEAR THE ROAR of a mighty waterfall
49. DO some good
50. RAISE A GLASS of BC wine
Well, I’ve only done half of this. If I was born here, probably, I would have done most on this list tripping along the back country roads with a bumper sticker “Get those rocks off my road!”
Happy Canada Day!. I am celebrating indoors. Allow me to repost how wonderful it is for me to live in Canada. Today, on July 1st, I have to go to the big city … downtown Vancouver. My goal is to … Continue reading →
Skinny or narrow homes are now back in style and in demand. The land is getting expensive, population booming, the rate of single dwellers are some of the changes in the real estate market. Gone are the days of mega … Continue reading →
I would like to think that Vancouver, BC, Canada is the capital of British Columbia since this is the city with the major airport hub for international flights. Also, in 2010, the Olympics was held here. This larger than life … Continue reading →
Mark your calendar, February 5 is Chinese New Year. Red lanterns will be floating all over the place, red packet of envelopes, red dress, red dragons, anything, and everything red. 2019 is the year of the Pig. I did find some … Continue reading →
Every time I look at the moon, it reminds me of a conversation with a Thai lady that I lived with in Chiang Rai. We were sitting in the dark, looking at the full moon and she asked: “Can you … Continue reading →
Some people left their heart in San Francisco as the song goes; in Vancouver, the city is the heart. To see the beauty, from a distance, a lazy chair is available to sit, relax and admire the beauty of Science … Continue reading →
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 →
With all that hype on Canada being the second country legalizing Cannabis, not much happened concerning people going on a rampage. Cannabis is no comparison to losing a significant hockey game. So, much ado about nothing. On that day, Oct … Continue reading →
Effective today, Canada is now officially has gone to pot. We are now legally on business and on the market to sell and purchase Cannabis. No more prohibition. You may smoke a fag just like cigarettes in public. How will … Continue reading →
Can anyone please stop talking about the weather? It seems that it’s a favorite pastime among Canadians to discuss the weather. How’s the weather down there? It’s going to rain. It’s hot. Too much rain. Time to go home, it’s … Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
In the middle of an atrium of Pacific Centre, I looked up to see how it feels good just to be. There were people watching people. A mother nursing a child, couples having coffee, people swirling around me as they … Continue reading →
Just for today, I’ll do something I’ve been putting off for a long time. I’ll finally write that letter, make that phone call, clean that closet or straighten out those dresser drawers. A year in review of photos with … Continue reading →
Just for today, I will be happy. Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” He was right. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. I will chase … Continue reading →
i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am … Continue reading →
Hounding maybe a dogs’ business, so do cats. They will never stop until such time they get what they want. A bark here and a meow there. Incessantly. Finally, we give in because we love them not because we want … Continue reading →
Today, July 1st, I have to go to the big city … downtown Vancouver. My goal is to purchase another bag with wheels for daily use at main department store, Hudson Bay. Across The Bay, I met Steve. A man … Continue reading →
Nymeria, the cat that suffered a catastrophe in 2013 and had a purr-fect day with Mr. Frenchie and Akeyla is alive and well. Soon after the incident, Mr. Frenchie decided to go home to France with his cats. He was not so lucky as … Continue reading →
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 →
The view from the balcony of the hotel I stayed at in Nanaimo, BC was spectacular on a fall day. Here I could see the bursting of colors and any floating vessels that enters the water between the two islands. During the … Continue reading →
For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home. ~ Simon Van Booy Many times I stood beside the Crossing waiting for CN Rail to come by filled with travelers from different parts of the … Continue reading →
Tell me a story. It’s not a question, more of a request I asked the apple of my eyes , Mike, about the time he disappeared. Of course, it’s hard to get stories from him, instead I hear bits and pieces of … Continue reading →
You have made this day a national holiday named after him. A good man. A great man. A righteous man. The question remains: Where do you go from here? Chaos or community? Love, a concerned citizen of Canada.
Yes, Canada! Come and visit us this year. According to New York Times 52 places to visit in 2017, we are No. 1 on the list. Three good reasons: Canada celebrates 150 years as a nation, a year-long event. Free admission to … Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
This is tiny. This is the video taken from the ferry. And a still shot from iPad. Very tiny when viewing it from the cold water of Nanaimo, BC. This whale is alone and will move to warm water of … Continue reading →
Nothing can dampen our enthusiasm even an overcast day as we waited in anticipation what the sky has to offer us. Would it be rain or Air show? It was the best time to be had with the children. On … Continue reading →
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 →
I no longer listen to the weather forecast. Instead, I allow the stick to do the talking and I listen to it. The stick is up, a sign of dry weather. This is a Canadian Weatherstick that predicts the weather for … Continue reading →
Love means never having to say you’re sorry according to Love Story movie. Well excuse me for I totally disagree. I’m sorry for saying this but this is a dumb statement. I am a Canadian and we Canadians love to … Continue reading →
I am a landed immigrant from Mexico. I moved to the False Creek are in 1995. Since then I have felt comfortable with this community. I believe that the people who come to the False Creek Community Centre and live … Continue reading →
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)
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
As for the bear, I am deeply saddened by the news yesterday that a West Coast express train hit a bear.
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 →
Surviving the war must be harder than those who have died in combat. The heroes are mostly those that died during the war. I am saying this because of a chance encounter with someone who was willing enough to share … Continue reading →
Belgian boy salutes Canadian troops, gets recognition in return As they march together, soldiers use the command “Eyes Right!” to salute a foreign dignitary or a leader as a mark of respect. The U.S. Military has the following procedure … Continue reading →
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 →
“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 throughout 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.”
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 →
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
We were young and restless.
We had lots of energy.
We were invincible.
We were on top of the world.
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.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 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
Finally, someone took pity on him and gave him a Hug for Hunger.
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:
So, what’s next? Let’s see what will be the talk at the office at the water cooler, this will be interesting.
Canadian Women Rally to Beat U.S. in Overtime for Hockey Gold
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.
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?
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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)
“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.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Song: Oh Little Town of Bethlehem)It is difficult to express the absolute bliss that I felt during this unique spiritual adventure. As I literally followed the footsteps of Jesus, the journey … Continue reading →
Little Girl, Rise! Talitha Koum is a Spiritual House of Healing for women in conflict with Society who are recovering from alcohol and drug addictions.
Starr Peardon has since retired and a new star takes over. Meet Kimmie Jensen, the new Mother of Talitha Koum. Kimmie and I met at the church and heard her story.
This is part of her story.
I have struggled with addiction since the age of 6. For many years my family and the people I love became victims to my drug addiction. Although I am not able to change the past, the regrets that I have around the people I love and society as a whole, I am making positive changes in my life so that I can be someone my children will be proud of and a positive influence in the community and society at large.
While in prison, Talitha Koum was available to me. I had heard of this house that will take women who are falling through the cracks when no one else would. I was willing to do what I had to, to change my life. I made a call and took the direction given to me over the phone by Starr. I called her for about 2 months straight and on the day I was to appear in court to get out on bail, she was there to support me. I arrived at Talitha Koum in January 2007 from Surrey Pre-trial and my journey began.
I came into the house broken spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. I had lost any kind of beliefs or values I had. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t trust anyone, especially myself. I didn’t believe that I deserved to have a good life because of the damage I had done through the years. I simply existed, not living life. I didn’t think that the walls I had put up would ever come down. I recognize that the walls were shame, guilt, anger, fear, low self-esteem, abandonment, judgment and control. I had no clue what the walls were; I just knew that I was a mistake.
I can remember the first time I walked through the doors of Talitha Koum; I felt peace wash over me and something I had never felt before. And for the first time in my life I thought everything would be OK. I know that what I had felt was the love of Starr and of all the people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself (that is God’s love).
Even the dog and cat at Talitha Koum showed me unconditional love.
Although I am not a religious person, I do go to Church to learn discipline and obedience to God. I have a belief that religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell, and spirituality is for people who have been there (Hell) and I don’t want to go back! The opportunity to search out various Churches, I have since found a church community who holds the same beliefs of the Beatitude’s spiritual principles.
I am blessed to be a part of something so amazing. I wouldn’t have taken the risk had it not been for the program at Talitha Koum. I have received so many gifts in my recovery and I have God, Talitha Koum and the program of Beatitudes to thank for this, for the women God has brought into my life and never giving up on me. Even when I went astray God accepted me back by placing people in my path to help me and teach me forgiveness and love.
I have the honor and the opportunity to continue the vision that Starr has started. To freely give back what was given to me, love, compassion, empathy, structure and a new way of life. To be given this privilege to believe in a woman until she can believe in herself. To see life come back in these women and reunite them with family and their children is the most ultimate fulfillment. To walk this journey with them and truly understand where they came from is a gift for us all. Every time I share my experience, strength and hope with another woman, God’s presence and healing.
I believe in Talitha Koum and all that it stands for. I believe what the founder Starr Peardon has begun and vision she sees.
Today, I received a gift. For me, it’s nothing special. From the giver, it’s a very special gift. And the gift is one Mango.
This is a very special mango brought by the three special stooges (my nephews) all the way from Palawan, Philippines. Men think differently when it comes to buying gifts. I wonder what they were thinking in choosing a Mango for a gift? Maybe they though this is a perfect gift? Maybe they thought I want a mango? Maybe they thought of surprising me. Maybe they were not thinking at all? Maybe I will surprise them by returning the gift!
I am happy to receive the gift and happier even more that these young men came home safely. That is the most important part. As for the gift, it’s the thought that counts. It’s a gift from God to bring them back to us, mango included.
Now, allow me to ask these questions. Indulge me, please participate, especially the men. The questions are:
What if you bought the perfect gift for someone you love and they wouldn’t open it?
Would you leave it with them so they could think about it and maybe open it later?
What do you think God does when His gift is not accepted?
If you do not believe in God, think of your higher power or think up of anything. Your comment awaits. Thank you.
Not that I get to celebrate Thanksgiving in October the Canadian Way, I am celebrating the American and the Jewish tradition as well.
HAPPY MENURKEY DAY !!!!
Holy One of Blessing, may all the different peoples, cultures, traditions and lifestyles that constitute America work together to share what we have with those in need. – Rabbi Laura Geller
We celebrate this day as a nation of people who have been blessed more than any other people on the face of the earth and at any time. We acknowledge you as the giver of the good we so easily take for granted. Forgive us as we are a forgetful people. Grant us on thisThanksgiving Day, the time to reflect on all the ways you have blessed each of us who has gathered. Increase our understanding of your ways, defeat us when we use our blessings for selfish gain, and remind us to love one another. ~ Christian Blessings
Coming from the Philippines, we do not have such thing as Thanksgiving Day for we give thanks every moment and every day.
It has been over 70,000 years since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlapped and today is the gravy for the celebration. Don’t know when the next time it will happen again and I will make sure I will live it up, today!
Yesterday’s event section at Metro News: Hilary Clinton headed to Vancouver as a keynote speaker on March 5, 2014 for an event on Women’s Leadership Circle. Expected cost $600 a ticket.
As much as I want to see Hilary, $600 dollars will go a long way not for me but to the needy.
The purpose of this post is to challenge the Vancouverites instead of spending it for the Leadership Circle to hear Hilary, donate this money to the needy in Vancouver. Or better yet, send it to the Philippines for emergency relief. Canada will match your dollar.
Memories came flooding in, seeping out of my memory bank. The earthquake, the storm, death, then calm.
Being born in the Philippines Mother nature rules. Nature does not discriminate, from the young and old, from the poor and rich, from the ordinary to famous folks; we are all affected. One of the saving graces, I now live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Hardly any storm but plenty of rain and cloudy days.From what I can remember, Father was swept away by the sea, never to be found. Was there a storm at the time that caused ragging waves? I still have yet to know. Mother had a nervous breakdown when Father died. Was it his death or the thought of having to care for 13 children, the youngest four months old. I was only four years old. Most of my memory is vague maybe it was buried with Father in the sea.
Flying debris, the tin roof blown by the mighty wind, trees falling down, roaring of the wind, torrential rain and flooding are the effects of nature passing through.
Then came Ruby Tower crashing down. It was intensity 7.7 in the Richter scale. People rushing out of their homes. Me standing by the canal, the water creating a whirlpool and saw a huge rock emerged from the ground.
We were spared from these disasters except Father.
The Voice of God in a Great StormA Psalm of David. (Psalm 29)
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy array.
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, upon many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful,
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sir′ion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness,
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forests bare;
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
When we forgive, we have to let go of our own feelings, our own ego, our own offended identity, and find our identity at a completely different level—the divine level. I even wonder if it is possible to know God at all—outside of the mystery of forgiveness. ~ Mystery of Forgiveness
Source: CNS photo by Art Babych
The Archdiocese of Vancouver, Archbishop Miller addressed former residential school students on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event. He acknowledged the role the Church played in “implementing the Canadian government’s policy which involved forcibly separating children from their parents.”
Distinguished members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Venerable Elders, Survivors of the Indian Residential Schools, First Nations Brothers and Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Speaking on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, I am here with you today to acknowledge the role we played in implementing the Canadian government’s policy which involved forcibly separating children from their parents and families and placing them in Indian Residential Schools. through generations, this deeply flawed policy has led to unbearable pain and suffering.
At the five residential schools which existed within the boundaries of the Archdiocese, we were entrusted with safeguarding the children and young people under our care. However, we failed to live up to the trust placed in us. Over the century of their existence, tragic incidents of cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse took place at these schools. We hold in high esteem those survivors who have had the courage to tell the truth about their harrowing experiences….
Semper Fidelis is Latin for “Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal.” This is the motto of the United States Marine Corps. It is a useful slogan not just for the Corps but as well as to our country and to humanity.
I have taken the liberty of posting war stories. A proper theme for the day. This is a Remembrance Day story that I am proud to share about my Uncle during his younger days and his brother Moises Gonzalez, who lost his life in 1944 who were faithful to humanity during the war.
The Gonzales brothers saved the life of James Carrington. James was a World War II veteran reunited with Uncle who aided his escape from Japanese after 64 years and died shortly after the reunion.
Both men cried with joy when they met. Carrington was thankful that if it were not for the courage of the Gonzalez, he would not be here.
You may want to read the rest of the story by clicking on the picture or here. A YouTube is also available here.
I am happy for them. I wish I could make Uncle happier if I could help him find out what really happened to his brother. I posted a story about it in Love and Valor.
Take time to remember. Let us together as a nation to honour and remember the Veterans, war dead and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf in times of war, armed conflict and peace. There are many ways to remember and actively participate to honour those who served our country. For one, do not hesitate to discuss this with your family and friends. It’s important to remember so that we don’t repeat the past.
Nathaniel ~ US Marine
Let us honor the valiant who sacrificed their lives for your safety. Let us salute our nation’s heroes. Let us remind our friends and dear ones about the patriots who lost everything in battle. Let our silent prayers be a tribute to them.
Whether we live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.
She came to Canada by steamship as a young woman in 1958 with a four-day train ride from Halifax to Vancouver as her introduction to Canada. Vancouver offered the beauty of the ocean, along with the comfort of the mountains that reminder her of her home in Italy. She married, raised a family, and lived in Kitsilano where she was known for her garden and flowers, which she carefully tended until just weeks before her passing.
Gina Antonioni July 26, 1936 to October 30, 2013
She was a supporter, a volunteer, and active participant at the Italian Cultural Centre and Villa Carital until her illness would no longer allow her to help. Through her work, at Arbutus Manor for many years, and involvement in various clubs and groups, including Catholic League of Women (CWL) and the Circolo Trentino, she had built a large and varied group of friends.
Catholic League of Women
The Easter candle is lit at baptism and lighted again upon death. “In dying we are born to eternal life.”
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. ~ Romans 14
Leaving work mid-morning, my commitment was at 11 a.m. It’s close by to work, walking distance but I haven’t been to this place. Plenty of time to walk the inside streets, enjoy the beauty of the autumn day and the rain stopped.
This is the west side of Vancouver, a beautiful neighbourhood that takes pride of their surroundings. The environment is warm and welcoming. Homes are old, mostly heritage, painted houses in living colours and well-kept. Luscious garden, recycled items, ornamental trees and chair to sit around.
There’s nobody around and understandably so, it was work week and the children were at school. I found myself alone in sweet serenity to commune with nature.
I reached my destination.
St. Augustine Church. This is the first time for me to visit the church. As mentioned in my previous post, Candle in Spain, I say the same prayer when I visit a church the first time hoping my wishes will be granted. I did not because I was there for my friend to attend a Mass of Christian Burial of her mother.
Spain is filled with churches and we tried to stopped by in most of them, time permitting. When I enter a new church, they say make a wish and your wish will be granted. I have three wishes and I pray it all … Continue reading →
Do you ever read the “referrers” in your Stat section? I do. Do you click on the link should you see an unfamiliar link? I do. When I did visit the link of the referrers, my heart skipped a beat … Continue reading →
Somehow this cloud does not look promising on the first morning of staying in Bilbao, Spain. The sun was struggling to break through the thick clouds.
It’s rather a warm day, the sun won, the rain lost, the clouds remained in the horizon giving a soft white fluffy cottony texture,
I found a corner bar that is open first thing in the morning. It is actually a coffee bar by morning and serves stronger beverage by night, if you get my drift. Here I decided to have my morning Java and a simple breakfast.
Ah coffee. Coffee tastes much better in Spain than Starbucks in Canada.
In the background, I could hear music playing to the tune of “It’s a Wonderful World. It seemed to me that it was coming from across the water,
After coffee, I decided to follow the music and crossed the bridge. At the other of the bridge, I found the lone player and people were passing, in a rush, and continued walking.
Well, I have all mornIng and now he has an audience of one, me. I requested if he could play the “It’s A Wonderful World” again. And he did. What a beautiful way to start a day. Of course, he deserves a good tip for making my morning memorable,
I walked away and he was playing the classical hymn “Ave Maria.”
The month of October is big in our family, too many birthday celebrations. By the end of the month, there goes my savings. Mother and Father must have been so busy just after Christmas and New Year’s. Did I count the gestational months correctly? Nine months of incubation, right?
The first three consecutive days of October 1-2-3 followed by October 10, 17, 28, 30 are the days of birth. I know I’ve missed some dates.
To top this, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day the second Monday of October the same as USofA. Thank goodness, we abolished adult birthday celebrations and gift giving except for children.
We celebrate Thanksgiving Day instead to be thankful for the gift of family. There is just too much love going around, can’t get enough of it, not to mention food.
This year there will be an extra celebration because my niece will be graduating from University.
Celebration might be postponed at the later part of month due to absences of a few people going on vacations.
Married siblings are doing the Love boat style, cruising, and home away from home. We just waved goodbye to them recently. The three stooges, nephews of the same age who grew up closely, will be visiting the Philippines to meet older cousin. And I will be away to do the annual pilgrimage walking the earth for 15 days.
Time for another foot spa.
There will be plenty of stories to go around when we meet on Thanksgiving Day whatever date will that be.
Can one get any wetter? Wet is wet. That’s it. These were my thoughts as I was feeding the ducks at Stanley Park and another thought pop up. Do ducks get wet? Or does water just roll down on their backs?
What an introspective mind I had that afternoon for a simple activity of feeding the ducks when I can just easily enjoy the moment. And I did.
These ducks are smart when they see humans. They very well know that we can’t resist feeding them even when there is a sign “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS.” Ignoring the sign, I have half a loaf of baguette that I do not want to waste.
Papa Raccoon across the lagoon
Papa Raccoon swam on my side of the lagoon
On the other side of the bank, I saw a racoon. Go away, bandit, you are not invited. Do you think the bandit understands? Of course, not! Bandit had his eyes on the bread.
What happened next, bandit went for a swim across the bank, on my side of the lagoon. Then bandit started calling his family: “Come and follow” in bandit’s purring sound. A Mama and a baby raccoon heeded his call.
Mama and baby raccoon
Swimming across the lagoon
Now what? How am I going to get out of this situation? The exit is where the raccoons are.
Please note that this may sound like slow motion but this incident happened in a flash.
Panic set in. I started to sweat and wanted to shout “Go away”. Too late, they came charging towards me and all I can do is jump on the bench.
Quickly jump on the bench
Safe. I am off the ground.
Help ~ thieves ~ bandits; these raccoons are stealing the bread. I threw the bread to the other side of the lagoon, they run after it. I quickly jump out of the bench and ran out faster than a speeding bullet.
Bread or your life?
Yum, yum, yum
Sweating with fear during this incident, wet and saturated with my perspiration. I am safe and sound.
An African tribe does the most beautiful thing.
When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him.
For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done….
The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as Good, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness.
But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help.
They band together for the sake of their fellow man to hold him up, to reconnect him with his true Nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth from which he’d temporarily been disconnected:
“I AM GOOD.”
This is a brilliant idea, in my opinion, if I can bring this In Canadian / Filipino culture. Maybe not, I think I will be the person in the middle.
The gathering of Truth and Reconciliation Commission ended with the walk in solidarity with the aboriginals and non-aboriginals. Thousands braved the day in a wet, wild, and wonderful walk.
We were banging drums, singing traditional songs, wearing button blankets and hats as we marched along the Georgia Street.
The stories told were very horrific and sad about the treatment the aboriginals received from the white people especially at the residential schools. These are the survivors who came to have their stories documented for the history books.
As horrific as it was, the gathering will be the beginning of a journey toward reconciliation. Canada is stepping forward to share the pain it created. From here, we can move towards healing.
The keynote speaker for this event was Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.
One day, you’ll be able to join hands together and say in the words of my father and it will be a truth in this nation. Free at last, free at last, and thank God almighty we are free at last.”
May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.
Chief Dan George
The day before the school starts, on a Monday, we celebrate Labour Day in Canada. It is one good way to end summer.
The Labour Party throws a festivity the whole afternoon at Trout Lake. It is a gathering of people mostly working for the government in a unionized environment like me. We invited the family of the workers as well. The more the merrier, the more we can educate people to work in a fair, safe and equitable working situation.
I could hear from the distance the live band was playing Blues and Jazz. Rows and rows of colourful tents are becoming visible as I arrive Trout Lake.
The first thing I noticed was a couple of older folks gyrating to the live rock music on a hot sunny day. They must be the alumni and a die-hard union couple.
One can help but enjoy the festivity starting from eating the union staple food: hotdogs and buttered corn. Family brought their children and dogs, adults blowing bubbles, green headed clown doing his balloon tricks, take as much buttons if you want to put on your shirt and hats; and much more.
What a cutie
Who would think that there is a labour strife looming in the horizon when we are having so much fun?
People are wearing their best union shirts to show off their solidarity. The best one is a shirt of Jack Layton, a remarkable man who led the National Democratic Party. This was a man full of wisdom and a great leader. We will miss him.
The whole the afternoon was pure entertainment for me and I was good in avoiding talking shop. In the meantime, people were staring at my shirt and not saying a word. I wonder if I was wearing the food on my shirt, ketchup, a good symbol of unionized condiment.
I left the party and the couple was still dancing to the tune of “Together Again.”
When I came home, I immediately checked my shirt to see if there were stains. I realized the logo on my shirt is the symbol of Jerusalem Cross, symbol of my faith.
There are so many activities that are worthwhile today. Which walk should I attend?When I started planning today’s walk, the first option I chose was AIDs walk. I have supported this walk since I have I know people who have this disease. Now, it’s just another illness like a common cold. The only thing is there is no cure, only prevention. It is a good cause.Suddenly, invitations to go out for walk came up such as:
These walks are about Reconciliation. I think it will be a gathering of all Nations to walk towards reconciliation. Reconciliation is a good thing in order to have peace and unity.
It will be a very interesting day.Not only I will be with esteemed leaders such as Suzuki and the Elders, Dr. Bernice A. King, a Baptist minister and the youngest child of iconic U.S. civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will deliver the keynote address at the start of Canada’s first-ever Walk for Reconciliation.Sorry, Aid Walk Vancouver some other day. I have a better offer.