Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Who They Used to Be

As many of you already know, my mum recently passed away...less than 3 weeks ago in fact.  She spent the 2 months before her death back and forth between hospitals and convalescence homes.  The original reason she landed there in the
first place, was a simple broken arm.  An injury that would've seen a younger, healthier person, in and out of the hospital the same day.  
That was not the case for my mum, who at 80 years old had a whole load of health problems including diabetes, stage 4 congestive heart failure and she was a dialysis patient for the past 5 years.

Although her body was worn out, her mind was still very sharp.
During the course of her hospital stay, my mum picked up a virus, later to be confirmed as C difficile.  One of the affects this had on my mum was hallucinations and then, temporarily losing her ability to speak. 
Though I've had to watch my mum deal with so many health issues over the years, this was the strangest to witness.

She was sent from our local hospital to Surrey Memorial, where she'd be able to receive her dialysis treatments right at her bed, instead of having to be transferred back and forth 3 times a week, which was hard to do in her condition.
The first nurse that I spoke to once she was transferred there, was giving me a run down of the care they'd be giving my mum, rehab for her arm, dialysis times etc.
She was a lovely person and made me feel happy that my mum was now in a place where I could see she'd be getting better care. 
I asked the nurse when my mum's confusion would clear up and when would she start talking again.
She kind of looked puzzled at me, I think the assumption was, that's just how my mum already was. 
She tried to ask my mum a few questions, 'did she know she was in Surrey now?', my mum nodded yes. 
Then she said, 'your daughter is here, do you know her name?', my mum mumbled my name...which to the nurse, sounded like gibberish, but I smiled at the nurse and said, 'she got it right, my name is Melanie.'  I could tell my mum's 3 distinct syllable gibberish was her attempt to say my name.
The nurse, looking happy said, 'oh that's good, she knows your name.'  I could tell she thought she was delivering some great news to me, like it was a break through.  I explained to her, that's not normal for my mum.  'Oh, it's not?!' she replied. 
I said, 'no, my mum normally reads at least a novel a week, writes 30-60 letters a month and yaps to everyone.
She looked shocked at me, and I could tell, that she just assumed, that here comes another 'old and confused' lady, and I'm certainly not blaming her for that assumption.  
I'm sure week in and week out, she deals with many elderly people in that very state.
It's most likely an assumption we've all made at times.  We look at old people and define them in their current condition, because let's face it, that's usually all we have to go on.
It really reminded me, to sometimes look at elderly people and think, 'I wonder who they used to be?'

I first had that thought years ago when working at a lottery booth that had many seniors as customers.  I was serving a regular customer and we got chatting, she happened to ask where I lived.  When I told her, her face lit up and she said to me, 'oh I used to go dancing at the hall there all the time in the 30's, I have so many wonderful memories from that time.
Instantly it made me view her differently, she wasn't just the sweet, white-haired old lady that came to buy scratch tickets from me, she was a woman who used to get dressed up in her finest and go to the dance hall with her friends every Friday night.  

When I've glance through obituaries in my local paper, especially of men and women who've served in the military, I am also transported to who they 'were', I no longer just view them as 'old people' but I become intrigued by the lives they used to live.
I look at deep into the eyes of the photo and imagine what they looked like when they were young....in the trenches, flying a plane, fighting on the front-lines.

The day before my mum passed away, she was transferred to the emergency department and for the most part she just slept. So while sitting beside her bed, I would often pass the hours by looking around at the other elderly people there and try to imagine who they used to be.  
In my own silly way, I felt like it was giving these people back a little of the dignity we all lose when in those situations.  While lying in beds, wearing those gowns that let's face it, flatter no one, with only a curtain to give you privacy from your neighbours and feeling at our most vulnerable. 
I think many older people just feel forgotten there.

Nobody wants their worst moments to define who they are.
I think too often, we as a society just write off older people as just that, old, forgetting they too were once young, full of life, not confused, able to think quickly, move quickly and had no need for help with any tasks, especially the little things like opening a door.  We all see ourselves as we are/were in our prime even if the body no longer represents that.  

It has to be a very frustrating transition, but maybe if we try to imagine them as who they used to be, we might all be a little more considerate with our time and understanding.
Perhaps that old man in the wheelchair, used to be a strong firefighter that others use to depend on and in his mind, he still views himself that way.

One day when I was picking my mum up from dialysis, I watched from a distance an old frail man getting on the scale as they all have to do after their treatment. 
I remember thinking, he looked like a pretty cool old dude, he was wearing jeans and a black t.shirt...as he got off of the scale, and grabbed his walker, I notice that on the back of his t.shirt it said, 'Old Guys Rock!'.
Ha, that absolutely made my day!
There was no doubt in my mind, that who he was, was still who he is!
Great lesson there.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Have a Theory

The other morning while making sandwiches for school lunches, the same frustrating thing happened to me...I temporarily lost track of where the bread clip was.  You know, that little plastic square that keeps the bag closed.  For some reason when it's time to close the bag up, it's nowhere to be found.  I mean, it doesn't just happen once or twice, it seems to be a pretty regular occurrence.  This got me wondering, 'where does it go?'

It's like at Christmas, when I make a serious commitment to get a whole lotta present wrapping done it one session.....I know I'm going to spend a decent chunk of time on the activity, so I take all of the required supplies in the room with me, gift, wrapping paper, tags, pen, scissors and tape all within easy reaching distance to me.  I throw on some music to add a little zen like calmness to the affair and I'm ready to begin.  Present one....done, present two done....present three....almost done...where's the tape gone??  Lift up paper, move presents....where is the tape??!!  I haven't moved...it can't be far...move, shift...it was here two seconds ago!!  Eventually, after much frustration I give up...stomp back to the kitchen, muttering curse words and search out another roll of tape.  I return to the scene of the crime and try to rekindle the zen like moment.  Which inevitably is ruined 10 minutes later when I can no longer find the scissors!!  But on a positive note, the search for the scissors usually results in the location of the first roll of tape...which somehow magically appears in a spot that I'm sure I already looked at many times - it's all very David Copperfield!

Any way, I digress - back to my original mystery....
Bread clip missing - again.  First off, it would be nice if the manufacturers of such pieces could make them in colours other than white and beige, which just so happens to be the colour of many kitchen counters.  True they sometimes come in hospital blue or a sickly pink colour, but for the most part they're pretty neutral.  Once again though, I try to be logical about the situation.  I've only just dabbed it down, how far away could it be?  So I move the bread, plate and anything else in the vicinity and the visual search begins.  Looking for the neutral clip against my neutral counters, I'm starting to feel like I'm in one of those wildlife shows!  I can hear David Attenborough's voice in my head....'and here we see the human searching for the elusive bread clip, notice how the bread clip blends in with it's surroundings.'  Notice?...notice?....if I could notice it, I wouldn't be looking!  Advantage you Mr. Attenborough, because I can't see the bloody thing!
Once again though, some magic seems to happen as at some point later in the day, the clip almost always reappears.  Very curious I thought.  That is until I put 2 and 2 together and got my version of 4.  I am a Secret Agent after all and this was a mystery that needed to be solved.  Though I can't confirm my findings, I do have a theory.

I mean tape and scissors seem to go missing only around Christmas, a petty crime in the whole scheme of things but bread clips and socks go missing all the time,   That's right people I said socks!!  They are the missing piece in this puzzle, I believe they are the pull that persuades good bread clips to go bad.  Now I'm a bit sketchy on how they pull it off, but I'm guessing teleportation is involved!  Although they may seem like an incredibly mismatched pair, I'm thinking this is a classic case of 'opposites attract'!  I'm not sure if a bread clip is the true opposite to a sock, but work with me.
I don't know why my visuals go straight to this, call it a gut feeling I guess, but I think the bread clips meet up with the socks in some kind of nightclub similar to Studio 54.  I have no idea what they do there and maybe it's best that I don't know!  I think, the bread clips somehow teleport themselves to this forbidden disco meet up with the mismatched socks of the world, have a grand ol' time and at some point become so consumed with guilt that they teleport themselves back to my kitchen counter before I have a chance to figure out what's going on.  Well no more you floozie bread clips, the jig is up!!  The smell of smoke on your clothes, the smeared lipstick, the torn nylons, it all reeks of a tawdry night on the town!
We all know socks are rebellious, but I have to admit that I was shocked to discover that bread clips could be so easily pulled over to the dark side - even with it's ever so tempting promise of cookies!  If we could catch the socks when they are young before they rebel, try to keep them in pairs as they were intended to be....I mean, bread clips could even help keep them together - both figuratively and literally!  Alas I fear it may be too late for the socks, but maybe, just maybe we can save the bread clips.  So next time you remove them from the bag, put them in your pocket...keep them in your hand...just don't take your eyes off of them!  Let's work as a community and solve this issue.  Socks, enjoy your partying, lounge away in a velvet booth, dance around in glitter until 5am, drink your fancy schmancy drinks all you want but please hook up with your own kind and leave the clips alone!

Of course, I could be completely wrong, but why else would this visual be so vivid in my head?  I haven't heard any other explanations for these missing clips.  I'm going to trust my gut, but hey - it's just my theory.

Friday, November 9, 2012

War Child

Growing up in Canada,  I have been very fortunate to not have to had experience war on my home soil, though to think that I've never been affected by war would be an incorrect assumption.
Not for a moment am I trying to compare myself to those children who have had the horrific experience of growing up in a war zone, thankfully, my experience is far from that.
However, because of the experiences of my parents and grandparents I've always been acutely aware of what life was like during the war years for them.

My brothers and I are all first generation Canadians, with the rest of my family all hailing from Britain.
Both of my parents grew up during World War II, so for them to recall almost any childhood memory without making some reference to the war is nearly impossible.

The now famous phrase from the 1939 war poster that read, Keep Calm and Carry On, though not that well known at the time,  was very much the sentiment of how my family members lived.  Their phrase was more, 'we just got on with it', and I guess when you live through a 6 year war, that's what you need to do.  World War II was from 1939-1945 and as my father was born in 1932 and my mum in 1933, they were both old enough to remember and be affected by many of the concessions imposed by the war.

Probably one of the biggest adjustments for my father was being sent away from his parents.  He grew up in Greater London, one of ten children.  As London was obviously one of the main bombing targets, it was deemed safer for children to be sent to live with families in what was considered safer areas.   Not all of the children went, but apparently my father had an extra hard time adjusting to the chaos that became common in London, so he was sent to Wales.  In a different country, away from his parents and siblings, it had to be a difficult trade off.

My mum, her brother and parents all immigrated to Canada in 1953 so I grew up hearing more stories about the war from the Welsh perspective rather than the English experience.
Rationing was imposed in 1939 and wasn't completely lifted until 1954, well after the war had ended, so this aspect of the war was a constant in the family conversations.  Although, the odd time it was discussed as a 'lesson' for us, more often than not it was just brought up as part of regular reminiscing of times gone by.  I was always a pretty quiet kid, but I took in all of the information as I listened to their stories.  '2 ounces of butter for a week, not much you can do with that, you had to get creative'....things that we take for granted today, like the simple ability to make your child a birthday cake, just wasn't a possibility.  Aside from food rations, there were also rations on clothing, soap, petrol, paper and many household goods were simply not available.  This alone changed the way everyone had to live.  The stories that I heard made me aware that this war was not just fought on the front lines, each and every citizen had a part to play in the war effort.
Although Wales was a somewhat safer place to be, it certainly did not go untouched.  My mum tells the story of how her family and a group of friends were at the cinema in Cardiff watching Humpty Dumpty when the cinema was bombed.  My grandfather wanted to stay in the theatre feeling that it was safer than heading out of the building, but soldiers forced everyone out and into a street shelter, which my mum describes as a concrete room underground that was so cold that many of the people fainted.

Seemingly straight out of a movie, they also had a spy living next door!  My mum recalls him as a 'nosey old bugger, who seemed a bit odd', while they were in their bomb shelter worried, he, his wife and brother in-law were in the adjacent shelter calmly eating bread and cheese and enjoying a beer!  He ran a radio shop in town and always asked a lot of questions, eventually he was arrested and my mum and her friends watched him being taken away in handcuffs - exciting stuff for kids!! Equally fun for the kids, was the activity of collecting shrapnel after a bombing.  She admits, 'we didn't really think about the fact that people were possibly killed as a result of these bombings, for us kids, it was just a game'.

The air raid sirens, bombings, rations, blackouts, giving up spare pots and pans, iron gates and other spare metal to make ammunition, evacuations, all just part of everyday life during this time.  Which in comparison to those actually fighting the war, was just a small sacrifice, but it did make it a war that all people dealt with.  Every time my nan would ask me to pick up an elastic band she'd spot on the ground, I knew it was a throw back to the war, she'd say, 'you never know when that will come in handy'....when she would keep the styrofoam trays that meat came on, that she'd wash and use to put under house plants, I knew it also was a result of the war.  If it was usable, it was simply not wasted.  The war, although terrible, taught them some valuable life lessons.....you don't waste things, you don't take anything for granted, when bad times hit you deal with it, and when there's a breather from the chaos, you take that time to enjoy life.  You can't live in the sorrow, deal with the sadness and keep going.

All of these stories and lessons have greatly influenced my life and for that, I am grateful.  I never forget the men and women who sacrificed their lives, so that my family would have freedom.  I never feel a sense of entitlement, I know in many ways, I live the life I do, because others have given me the opportunity to do so.  My very humble way of saying thank you to those who made things so much easier for me, is to never forget.  World War II has never seemed like ancient history to me, it has always been a part of my life and part of my history, even though I was born 22 years after it ended.
This is my ode to all of those men and women who have served in the military and who have worked so hard to ensure our freedom.  It is also an ode to the wives and husbands of those service people who held down the fort on the home front and lastly to all of the civilians who've contributed whatever they could to ensure the war effort had a successful outcome.  I think in many ways the war was won by spirit and determination, the knowledge that losing, was simply not an option.

Churchill said it best -

We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Close Encounters in the Wild Kingdom

When I came home from work today I headed straight to the bedroom to throw off my clothes, well, not really 'throw', it wasn't like I'd had some violent stripper routine going, but there was a certain vigour to it - I was just happy to be home early and wanted to slip into something more comfortable, as the saying goes.

I was already planning out what I'd do with my 2 whole hours of free time, subtracting lunch time it still left me with a decent chunk of freedom, enough time to let my mind wander to whatever inspiration may come my way.

And then it happened....

Once again I found myself face to face with a creature from the wild kingdom, and right away my mood changed, my 'I'm home from work early' bliss is now temporarily on hold.
I must give myself credit, I am getting better at dealing with these creatures, but I wouldn't exactly call myself brave just yet.  Though my initial *gasp* is soon replaced with problem solving thoughts, not continued terror - see progress!
OK, I have to admit this is in large part due to the fact that the creature isn't a spider, but yet again, some beetle-y thing, so not quite as scary to me.

There he is, on the wall near the vent and he's just staring at me, I stare back at him.  Neither of us break our glance, so I finally decide to try and break the ice and I say to him, 'hi Paul'....he gives me an eye roll!!  Can you believe it, an eye roll?!!  I was trying to be friendly!  He says, 'my name's not Paul'.  I said, it was a joke, ya know, you're some kind of beetle type of thing, and Paul was a famous Beatle, get it?'  Apparently he's heard this one way too many times and as it turns out, he's not a fan of the band anyway, he's into early jazz.  How am I to know?!  He also informs me that he has a weakness for death metal, now that really surprised me!  I personally can't stomach the stuff, but to each his own I always say.
Speaking of death, my thoughts are turned to what to do with this creature, who has entered my home, uninvited I might add.  We continue to stare at one another, but then he gives me the ol' once over.   It's then that I realize that I'm just wearing me smalls - though I am thankful that I've chosen matching bra and panties today, that'll show him that I'm an 'in charge' kinda gal and that the ball is in my court.  Plus, it's not like he's wearing clothes, so on that score we're on a level playing field really.

So I consider my options, which really are few.  I could suck that baby up in my vacuum, it would be a case of 'out of sight, out of mind', and I wouldn't have to stress over where he is.  Then I consider that option further, I mean, it's really dusty in there and I have no way of knowing if he has any allergies.  If he did have asthma or some other like ailment, it's obvious that he doesn't have an inhaler on him - no clothes, no pockets.  I could ask him, but after my botched attempt at a joke with him earlier, I fear he wouldn't take kindly to me asking him if he had any 'health issues'. The world has gone so politically correct that you have to be so careful, one misstep and that bug could sue me and end up owning my place!..then he'd be looking at ways to evict me instead of the other way around!  I'm not taking any chances.
I could let him have a quick meeting with Mr. Shoe...but then that would leave me with Mr. Guts on the Wall - not nice, plus I can't bear that crunching sound, blaaah!!
I could try to get him on a piece of paper and set him outside, but then I take the risk of having a mild heart attack.  Sometimes these, sons ma bitches have hidden wings tucked in their shells and then can flick those babies out and take flight in a split second!  That would definitely scare the Bee Gee's outta me, not a gamble I'm willing to take!

Last option is to just back away and pretend I didn't see him.  Sure this has the great disadvantage of later having to wonder where's he lurking, but I was dealing with the present situation, not later.  I mean, he was right by the vent, so I'm assuming that's the way he came in and if I spare his life, surely he will be so incredibly grateful that he will turn his little hard backside right around and go back the same way he came in.  Plus, I'm pretty sure when I first saw him, he was holding a tiny sign that said, 'Chilliwack or bust', so he wasn't quite at his final destination anyway.  He probably had a big family reunion to go to, or perhaps a wedding. Yes, I bet that's it, he had a wedding to go to, because although he wasn't wearing any clothes, I did notice a blue velvet bow tie around his neck...so why else would he be wearing that?  A magician?  I don't think so, there was no sparkly vest anywhere in sight.  Nope, he was obviously headed to a wedding and just took a wrong turn.  I certainly couldn't end his life now, he was expected to be somewhere today...if he didn't show up, surely there would be questions.  Sure at first the questions would be along the lines of 'how dare he not make an effort to get to his third cousins wedding?'....'how could he be so selfish?'
But come Christmas time when no one received cards from him, it would become clear that he had met with foul play that fateful fall day.  20/20 or Dateline would eventually do a special about it and  somehow they'd trace his last known location to my home, and the whispers would begin.
I couldn't have that weighing on my conscience, so I decided to give him the wonderful gift of life, which of course is much more generous than the juicer that I'm sure he bought for the wedding. It seems even the bug community is on a health kick - the worms only protein diet was all the rage!

So today my friends, I stand tall...ish....like 5' 1/2", I could have taken a life but I chose not to.  I am proud of my new level of bravery, maturity and my great contribution to the world at large.  Please feel free to nominate me for one some kind of humanitarian award or whatever the bug saving equivalent is, I do believe I've earned it.

And Paul, enjoy the wedding.

*Note to the wedding DJ - NO Beatles music!!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cormac O Caomih - A New Season for Love

Cormac O Caomih is an Irish singer/songwriter and it's serendipity that brought me to his music.  As many of you may know, I have a 'Secret Agent Mel', YouTube channel that I use to post Ron Sexsmith 'tribute' videos, well Cormac is one of my channel subscribers.
One day I was looking through my subscribers list to see if there were any musicians.  I'm always looking to discover 'new to me' music and the assumption was, if they've subscribed to my page because they are Ron fans, there's a good chance they will also make music that I would enjoy.
I clicked on Cormac's channel (formerly The Citadels channel) and started the journey of discovery.
I played the song, 'Counting the Raindrops' and absolutely fell in love with it, it was truly one of the prettiest songs that I had heard in a very long time.
Next thing, I searched on Facebook to see if he was there (almost everyone seems to be) and sure enough he was.  I sent him a message, explaining that it was 'Secret Agent Mel' from YouTube and then told him that I was happy to have found his music.
We sent a few emails back and forth and at some point, I sent him a link to the blog that I had written about Ron Sexsmith.  Cormac was generous enough to send me a copy of his new album, 'A New Season for Love', so I share with you a introduction to that album and in turn a small way to say, 'thank you' to Cormac for his gift.
When my CD arrived from Ireland, I took it with me to keep me company on my commute.  Usually the longest block of alone time that I have is during my work day, and a I spend most of my work day driving around it's the best time for me to enjoy music.  I've had the CD in my possession for a few months now and when I first started listening to it, we were having what seemed to be never ending grey, cold weather.  As I played this album, the main thought that kept coming to mind was, how warming it was.  It may sound strange, but I heard this album as a colour as I listened to it over and over again - I thought, this album is like a rich mahogany, warm and beautiful.  I continued to feel like I was being transported to a room filled with candles, tapestries, and warm woods....and me curled up on a velvet couch, sipping a cuppa - a comforting feeling.
I would call this a 'listening album', meaning if you're looking for those kind of songs that quickly grab your attention through simple lyrics or catchy hooks, this may not be the album for you.  However, if you give the album the attention that I think it deserves, I believe it has a lot to offer.  My favourite song is 'Counting the Raindrops', the song that I first fell in love with, it continues to be a stand out for me, but with each listen of this album new songs emerge as strong contenders.  The songs, 'And the Rain Falls' and 'Remember When We Didn't Kiss' are also some of my top picks.  The album is filled with songs beautiful in their instrumentation, layered and lush.
I'll leave you with a link to Cormac's Facebook page, if you like what you hear, please 'like' his page, I'm sure it would be much appreciated.  You'll also be able to get his YouTube and album info there.   Lastly I'll add a link to a video for 'Counting the Raindrops'....the song that grabbed my heart.  Enjoy!!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rant n' Roll

OK, ages ago I started doing a feature called Boeuf of the Week.  The title made me laugh as people who know me well, know I don't really have that many boeufs, so the idea of doing it weekly was a bit of a joke.  I mean, it's not like nothing bothers me, I am human after all, but I tend to get over such things pretty quickly.  I'm forever reminding my mother to 'just let it go', as she'll hold on to her annoyances well past their sell by date.  I try to live in a more zen like way, I figure there's enough big problems that will be thrown your way over the course of your life, save your energy for those!  For the smaller stuff, I think it's just best to rant n' roll - have your say to get it off your chest and then move on.  So that will be the new title of such blog postings and I kick it off with something that has been getting on my wick for some time now, I've been wanting to write about it for ages.  Strap yourselves in, it's rant n' roll time - let's go!

So my first victim in this new format is...drum roll please.......street sweepers!!!
Now this may seem like a strange thing for me to complain about, especially considering I really like clean things, and the fact the I also love my environment to be aesthetically pleasing and I'd even go as far to say that, I teeter over the line of being a germaphobe.
However, with my love of cleanliness now stated, I got to tell you, every time I see one of these 'outdoor Zambonis' I find myself annoyed.  Don't get me wrong, I think Zamboni are great, I'm a fairly straight up, common sense kinda girl....I find watching the Zamboni quite relaxing and the best part, I completely understand what it does.  I mean, even if you don't know the mechanics of  it's job, you can see that it has a purpose, ice shavings gone, grooves filled in, shiny smooth ice surface renewed - magic!!
I'm afraid, it's older cousin, the street sweeper, doesn't quite leave me with that same sense of wonderment.  I mean, hey, I'm sure he has his moments, like cleaning up debris from the roads in a construction area or maybe cleaning up the bulk of the mess left on the streets after a parade or the like, trouble is, I've only seen them performing this type of job once and that was years back when we moved into a townhouse complex that still had phases under construction, and as I recall, we got to enjoy the sound of that beast of a vehicle on our street over a period of several hours, which lets face it, probably meant it went up and down the block once, not exactly a speedy ride.
What does baffle me is what purpose is it achieving the rest of the times I see it, aside from annoying me.  I've been noticing them more frequently over the past year and each and every time I look at the road, that the vehicle has yet to sweep, it's completely clean!  I've even spotted them on several walks, so I've been able to confirm the cleanliness of the street up close and personal.  I watch these monstrous machines slowly making their way up and down roads, blocking traffic along the way, brushes spinning to pick up...umm, not much and sometimes they even give off the added bonus of hosing the street down first, so as to keep the dust (that I can't even see) down.  I've even watched as they've sprayed streets that are already wet from the rain!
I've read, (straight from Wiki) that 'street sweeping can be an effective measure in reducing pollutants in stormwater runoff.', which I'm sure is absolutely true in cases where you can at least see the pollutants!  My thought is, if this is for the good of the environment, wouldn't it be better to use these machines only when really needed - when the naked eye can actually detect this street debris, because I'm thinking, the cost to purchase, run, man and maintain these big boys must be pretty high, not to mention the toll that all of that has on the environment.  I think there must be better ways to use taxpayers money and surely better ways to protect the environment, than cleaning already clean streets.

In conclusion I say, 'street sweepers, meh'.  I'm sure when they first hit the scene back in the mid 1800's they were a welcomed addition to the streets of jolly ol' England, the industrial revolution surely got the streets a little grimy at times.  And I can only imagine that late at night, villages would be strewn with drunken men, stumbling from taverns and eventually vomiting in the streets and the morning would be no better as the likes of Oliver Twist and his pals, would beg for breakfast only to spew the nasty gruel into the streets once it hit their tastebuds (only Oliver would ask for more, but he always had a taste for the 'exotic').  So understandable back then, with all of that ugliness lurking on the streets, you'd want to wash it away - got it.
Fast forward to modern day and I think we'd do fine to have one kept in service for the rare occasion when they're actually needed to clean dirty streets and I'm thinking so all is not wasted, we convert the rest into Zamboni's....I mean we live in Canada, we'll always have ice to clean, so we can never have too many Zamboni's!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hope She Gets the Message

Spotted this bench on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, and it touched my squishy heart.  I thought this scene was quite romantic - it's not what most might think of as a 'Hallmark' apology, but I think it's very sweet all the same.  I've always been more impressed by these sorts of gestures than your standard run-of-the-mill ones.  The main message says, 'I loved you Briana - I'm sorry.
One can only assume, or hope that Briana perhaps waits on this bench for a bus or takes a work break here or walks by it on a regular basis...any which way, I hope she sees it.