Prompt; My Favourite Possesion

That would have to be my house. I wouldn’t say I was really proud of it; it’s a rather modest vinyl-sided cottage built over a trailer but it has a big yard that is nestled into the woods.  I did have large amounts of joy when I first moved in but the work and expense that goes into it has toned that down to a happy security. Almost everyday I think, “Thank God I have this place! I love it here so much!”

Every since I was young it was very important to me to have my own home. When I was 10 years old we moved from a house in a small town to an apartment in Toronto.  I’m sure that’s where it started; listening to my mom lament how much she wanted a yard and garden. We looked down from our balcony onto houses with back yards.

I just deleted hundreds of words about the places I lived that just made me want my own place all the more.  Boyfriends, crazy landlords, no privacy, I’m sure you’ve all been there.  I even owned a place with my husband; ‘the love of my life and our dream home’ for over 25 year but it’s all over now.

(Anyone following Alice Keys blog? She sure makes me remember how much I longed for a home…..  I hope your family finds a place, Alice!)   http://alicekeysmd.wordpress.com/

I ended up in my sister’s guest room at 55 years old.  My niece lived nearby with her husband and they were selling their house just as my settlement was coming in. This area is much cheaper than where my ex-husband still lives so I was able to buy it outright. I knew this place was  just right for me: backed into the woods, it has a wood burning stove and its very private. It just felt like it was meant for me.

There is a path alongside it that runs through the woods to the subdivision where my sister used to live. I remember one day we took a walk from her house, winding through the woods and ending up beside a back yard still 200 feet from the road. I said, “Would it ever be great to have a house like that.”

My sister said, “That’s your house”.

That feeling is still there. That feeling of happiness, relief and security. I could not have landed in a better spot for me. I feel so lucky and I’m so grateful to have this house!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pride-and-joy/

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Waste and Gluttony (a rant)

I don’t usually write to air my views or pet peeves but something has been on my mind lately that I need to get off my chest….. I got sumpin’ to say! It’s about our culture of excess and gluttony and the waste that follows. It’s about the ‘haves and the have-nots’ and the ever-widening gap between them. The rich get richer and the poor work their asses off for a pittance.

trickle down

On the ‘other side’ of my family is a man who has retired and done very well for himself. I don’t begrudge him this or anyone who has done well. He worked hard, invested his savings and made lots of money. It’s his attitude about it that I take issue with.

John likes to complain about paying taxes and having to support all the lazy people who are “just sucking the system dry”. He bragged he made $48,000 in interest on his stocks this year but was angry he had to pay taxes on it.

I wouldn’t know where to begin to tell him why this is so offensive to me….. but I can lay out my thoughts and write in my blog. It’s been bugging me for a long time that corporations have taken over so much of our everyday life and those corporations answer to the stock holders. The prime target is profits and more specifically, profits to the stock holders. These are people with more money than they need so they can invest it in corporations that will make their money grow fatter faster than it could in a bank. They don’t work for the company or enhance it; they skim money from the profits. It’s the people who are employed by the corporation that do the work and its the people doing the lowest jobs, the physical labour, who are barely making enough money to pay their bills.

But that’s not my whole beef, (although beef plays a huge part in this beef)

Working in a grocery store, in the bakery, I see so much waste. In the winter I would go through the cakes on display, check the dates and throw many out into the garbage; they can’t be marked down or sent to the poor. They are thrown out along with their plastic containers. Two shopping carts of breads and rolls would be thrown out in one day. From what I’ve been told you can’t give away food that has “expired”.  But it all has to be made to be displayed, it all has to be there in case someone wants that particular product. And, for sure, what isn’t there will be the thing someone wants. They would be mad that thing they wanted wasn’t available that day, right now.

My store doesn’t have a place for overripe fruits and vegetables…. they are composted, at least, and not thrown in the garbage but I can’t get bag of marked down limes. It’s the policy of the corporation I work for. We can’t take home anything that has expired that is still good….. even if it’s out of the freezer. We can’t even get it marked down….. it’s going in the garbage. It has to be counted as ‘a loss’.

Food waste collected by Bio Collectors

We are just one fairly small grocery store. This is going on every day on a massive scale; tons of food being thrown out. And now the corporations of hardware stores, car supply stores and drug stores are all expanding to sell food so you can make them your ‘one stop place to shop’.  I go into Canadian TIre or Shoppers’ Drug Mart and they have long aisles of food but empty of customers. Walls lined with refrigerators filled with milk and juices and lots of other perishables but hardly anyone shopping for food there.  The dates expire before it goes bad and fresh items are re-stocked so it always looks full. People are paid wages to stock and re-stock the shelves.

Just take milk as one example; tons and tons of milk, cheese, yogurt in these fridges, stocked then thrown out. The millions of cows, kept pregnant and given steroids to make them produce even more milk, pumping out millions of vats of milk a day. Then it’s driven in trucks to distributors who put it in containers and truck it out to stores.  The truck drivers, the people who make containers, the employees that stock the shelves, all these people earn wages getting that product to us.

Think about orange juice; all those orchards keeping up production, the farm workers, people who ship the product, people who work at squeezing and packaging the product. And we complain about the price!

There are so many people employed in bringing us that product. All those people being paid for producing and moving these items, all the items that are thrown out can be ‘written off’ as a ‘loss’…. everyone gets a little piece of the pie; including the stock holders.  How can this be sustainable?

This brings me to my complaint about John. How dare he make enough money off the backs of others and then bitch that he has to pitch in for health care, roads and other government services?  All I can think is, “You greedy bastard! You are the one sucking the system dry!”

My last piece of this beef is beef.  There is a commercial on TV advertising a burger that is going for $1.49.  Are you kidding me? One dollar and forty-nine cents for beef?  I’m a vegetarian; even if I could find a restaurant to buy a plate of rice and beans would cost over $10. What’s wrong with this picture? Producing beef requires vast amounts of grain, beans ,water, and the health care of cows.  In a book “The Value of Nothing” by Raj Patel, he figured out the true cost of a hamburger is about $148. That’s when you include feed, care, water and ecological costs.  Interestingly, 10 times the price you are paying!  How can that be?  Because of government farm subsidies and the lobbying of corporations for tax breaks: they can supply you with a burger cheaper than you could make one when you consider all the ingredients, energy costs and time making it. Millions of burgers are sold every minute; profits are made and the wheels keep turning.

burger

It all sickens me. It’s insanity!  I can’t see how it can be sustainable. It’s like a giant Ponzi scheme with all the money on top but no strong foundation to keep it stable. It just has to change or it will topple over.

I met a man in Alabama, a poor and uneducated man, who summed it all up succinctly,       “You can’t put five pounds of shit in a two pound bag!”

waste

’nuff said!

 

 

 

 

Fallen Angels

If there is one thing I’ve learned by living as I get older is that you can’t stereotype. We are all guilty of it. You look at someone and size them up by what they are wearing, their looks and their general attitude. I used to think I was really good at first impressions but over the years I’ve been proven wrong time and time again. Those people I thought were obviously gay who weren’t and a few I never imagined would be gay, were. People who have had a hard life and have built up a “get her before she gets me” attitude, I see in a softer light now. Those women with the ‘nicest husband in the world’ who are nervous wrecks because of what they endure behind closed doors. We are too quick to pass judgement before we know the whole story.

Everyone wants love, Everyone has had pain in their lives, but some so much more that others. The examples of ‘expectations’ like getting out of our comfy beds, being healthy, having a fresh cup of coffee at hand and a secure place to drink it got me thinking how much we take these things for granted until we don’t have them. And we take for granted that everyone’s lives are like ours and judge them because they aren’t living up to our expectations. They should be working, they should fix up their house, they shouldn’t eat, drink, smoke so much, they should smile at me and be nice. But, unfortunately many of them have already learned to expect scorn, derision and dirty looks.

My best lesson on this came a few years ago;  I was working in a convenience store that was on a road bordering a First Nation’s Reserve. We had your basic grocery needs, and an LCBO (liquor, for you non-Canadians) so we had many customers who couldn’t always get to town shop there. Some of the hard luck cases on the reserve frequented the store so I got to know them and then hear the gossip about them after they left. Crystal was a young girl who didn’t look native and took that further by bleaching her hair blond. It was the poor women’s blonde; yellowed and dried out.  She always had on lots of bright blue eye shadow and wore tube tops. I don’t  think she had a secure family to go home to but places she could stay. She would take a bus to Toronto and hook for a few weeks then come home and treat her friends until her money was gone.

Dudley (not his real name) was a local good-natured drunk who was always pleasant and seemed cheerful. Some days he would show up with his clothes all rumpled, his long hair in knots but always acted as if everything was just fine. He rode to the store on his rusty old bike and bought two one-litre , gut-rot beers, get two bags and hang one from each handle bar then slowly bike away for his afternoon drinking session.

One day I was coming back from town and saw Crystal and Dudley hitch-hiking. They were walking with some grocery bags, talking and turning to stick out their thumbs when someone drove by. I passed them, pulled over on the shoulder and looked in my rear view. They hadn’t realized someone had stopped yet, they were so used to no one stopping. I started to back up when they noticed me and started running. They got in the car breathless and so happy. Crystal got in the back seat and Dudley sat in the passenger seat. “oh thank you, thanks so much!”  They were so appreciative I was embarrassed.  When we got back on the road, Dudley said,” Oh, you’re the lady from the store!, I’m sorry, I don’t know your name”

I said, “it’s Monica” and they both went “Oohh…..Monica!”.  Dudley said, “Like the angel in “Touched by an Angel”….. I LOVED that show!”

“Oh, me, too!” Crystal repeated, “I loved that show, I wish it was still on” They went on to talk about it while my head spun a bit.

For anyone who doesn’t remember the show, “Touched by an Angel” , it was a sickly sweet , sentimental TV show about an angel here on earth who passed for a mortal but secretly went around performing small miracles to help those having a hard time. It  had always been laughable to me but I wasn’t laughing now. Something about that moment really touched me. These two were so used to being vilified and were so put down for their lifestyles but they loved this show of redemption and forgiveness. They just wanted what they rest of us take for granted. They didn’t have expectations, and when something good came along they appreciated it and were happy. They just wanted to have hope.

 

Compliments

Re-blogging means ‘I wish I’d said that!’

notquiteold

One of the rules I try to live by is to pay lots of compliments.

I don’t mean smarmy false flattery.

I mean the real thing.

I believe there is at least one occasion EVERY DAY to pay someone a sincere compliment.

Just look around you. You are surrounded by people looking nice, doing great work, trying their best. Tell them so.

It makes them – and you –  feel really good.

To help you get started with daily compliments, here are a few suggestions:

1. When you are in a restaurant, and the kids at the next table are being well-behaved, go up to the table and tell the parents so. Lots of kids are great in restaurants. But parents only seem to hear about the times their kids aren’t so great.

2. At work, when someone says something really smart in a meeting, say, “What a good idea”…

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Daily Post; why can’t we be friends?

Do you find it easy to make new friends? Tell us how you’ve mastered the art of befriending a new person.

I’m going to have to link to this prompt so I can get some pointers on how to make friends. I’m not very good at it.

This is something that comes easily to young people but gets harder as you get older. I moved into a new area 7 years ago and still haven’t made a close friend. Oh, I have 65 friends on Facebook, friends that live somewhere else, and acquaintances that I run into. I have friends at Zumba but no one to just hang with, like ‘hey, do you want to go to WalMart’ or the movies?’

The reason why it’s so hard as you get older is because your life gets filled up with family and friends. By the time you reach your 50’s you are trying to cut back and get some down time. Then the grandchildren start coming and your life is full enough.

My husband was my best friend.  That was a huge mistake. We didn’t have children; we had our business and we caved; No, I don’t mean our business failed; he still has that along with all ‘our’ market and caving friends. I mean we travelled to West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama several times a year to go spelunking. So I had friends at work and caving friends but my husband was who I hung out with.  At 55 years old I was pushed out of it all and ended up starting all over in a new area.

Another problem is that I moved into a beach/party community of pig roasts and kegs of beer. I’m a vegetarian and don’t drink. They wave politely. I feel compelled to say, “but I smoke pot……”  but I could get in trouble for that soo…. NO I DON’T.

And then there is the hermit factor. Hard to make new friends when you just want stay home as much as possible. (Hmm, maybe there’s a correlation there somewhere.)

Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading some tips tomorrow on how to make new friends. How do you do it?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/prompt-cant-we-be-friends/

I’m still here!

I’ve been treading the waters of mediocrity; working to stay in the same place just to keep from sinking. I just haven’t felt like writing.

Maybe it’s because I have to talk so much on cash. I’m a hermit, by nature, and don’t like the chit chat. However, my job on cash is to connect to each customer and talk to them. Five hours of line-ups with a 15 minute break; phew! that’s a lot of talking.  When I’m in the bakery it feels so good to not have to talk while I work.

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I really like the bakery work. I’m still not fast enough for my boss but I’m trying to work as fast and as best as I can.  It is just not easy at 61 years old. My brain lets me down and then I get mad at it. I still feel I have to prove myself worthy of this job.

On Sunday I had four on-the-spot birthday cakes to write on so I was glad I took the time to practice at home;

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Today I’m off and spring is finally starting to happen.  Keep your head above water!