Another day, another diet

I just read the updated FB page of one of my cousins, as she feels wonderful having just completed her first week of yet another diet. I know exactly what she’s going through as my first diet was when I was 6 months (yes, you read correctly) of age. My paediatrician told my mother I was too chubby and put me on skim milk. I doubt he realized how much he would be affecting the whole of my life thereafter.

I was on a diet of some type all throughout my childhood, the worst being when my mother took me to the neighbourhood diet doctor. He was treating all the women and subsequently their children by doling out diuretics to help get rid of excess water and amphetamines to curb the appetite. The problems were obvious to anyone who had any sense, as first, you don’t give drugs of this nature to kids, second, once the drugs are no more, the weight loss is no more, and third, he did nothing to address the real issues of why people were overweight in the first place. He didn’t go into any details about making good food choices, nor approximately how many calories we should take in, nor any thoughts about exercise or at the very least, walking. Another mortifying experience was my being about 10 and the only kid at the weekly Weight Watchers meetings.

The worst thing about all this was that once my mother no longer felt like being on a weight loss regime, it was over for us both. So though I was starting to lose some weight and feel a little healthier, truth be told I was a child and had no say. Of course, I could have chosen not to eat all the junk food my mom stocked the fridge and cupboards with or the doughnuts and cakes my grandparents brought each Friday. But I was led into temptation and that far “outweighed” the good feeling I got from the odd compliment I was paid or the fact my clothing was starting to feel loose.

As time marched on, I went from one diet to the next, from those which supplied the food and vitamins to ones which doled out drugs, to ones where I had to show up weekly, some daily, and others which I did on my own. I’ve gone to a hypnotist, to psychiatrists, psychologists, M.D.’s, groups, Overeaters Anonymous where everyone replaced their urge to eat with coffee and cigarettes; you name it, I’ve tried it. Sadly, I’ve lost more money and self-esteem which were permanent losses than permanent weight over the years than I can add up. One therapist (when broken into two syllables, the words read The Rapist) asked why I was there. I said I wanted help with issues I was having a hard time dealing with. He went to his book shelf and began taking books and placing them on his scale. After about 12 or so, he weighed them, and said “you see how many books it takes to weight only a few pounds? You know how many it would take to weigh what you weigh? Go on a diet, you won’t have any problems.”

Another quack was prompting me to do something extremely illegal and unethical, and when I reported him, I was told he was not someone who dealt in the legal system, thus didn’t know what he was telling me to do was illegal. Really? Telling someone to steal isn’t something a university educated man would be aware is illegal and immoral? Wow, talk about getting away with…I won’t say how much latitude so-called professionals are given, but it does boggle the mind. Another quack was enormous and had the same salad on his desk every week when I went to see him. He said he was among the few who were not able to take the drugs he was prescribing, thus he too struggled with weight. Well, if he actually ate the salad he kept on his desk instead of whatever he was obviously eating, he might not have been tipping the scales at 300, and would have set a much better example. Then came the day when those pills were no longer legal, and he prescribed something which was useless, and it wasn’t long till he was completely off the radar. While taking the pills he prescribed, I did lose a lot of weight, but as my then co-worker asked, what happens when there aren’t any more pills? What she fully expected; the weight came back and then some.

Well, one day I was at the closet, crying at the beautiful, small sized clothing I feared I’d never again be able to wear, and not just due to my size but much was no longer age-appropriate for me. I was crying as I put the clothing into garbage bags to be donated, when my husband came to enquire why I was balling my eyes out. I told him and said he had to send me somewhere, like the Radar Institute as I can’t get a handle on my weight. He asked if I wanted his help and I said fine, you feel you can help, I’ll trust you and if (when? I wasn’t very confident) this fails you will then send me to the States.

So I asked what now, and he said another diet will not work…diets don’t work, full stop. He said I must make a lifestyle change and realize I didn’t gain the weight overnight, so it’s fool hardy to expect to lose it overnight. He said not to make any changes, but to write down EVERYTHING I eat for the next week. Well, right there my eyes were opened as I truly hadn’t any idea all which I was eating in a given day.

So after a week, he said he didn’t want to read diary, but I should look for one thing I could change, maybe substitute with something similar but healthier. He also made me realize that it’s not the size of the clothing, or even the number on the scale. It’s my health which is at risk, especially as I was 54 and both my parents were dead at 56. I already had Hypoglycemia, a precursor to Diabetes.
I love cheese, so I began with buying a light cheese, which had much less fat. Well, long story short, it’s now over five years since that day and I’ve maintained my weight and in fact, my goal was 135, but I went down to 113. I found that was too low and I was getting sick a lot, even having passed out twice. So now keep my weight down, and when it starts to escalate, I simply cut back, reduce my portions, but I never kid myself that I’ll again never eat the foods I love. I am not on a diet, I am eating more healthfully and when I want, really want a treat, I have it and just ensure I don’t make it a daily thing.

FYI, I called W.W. and asked them about their recidivism rate, and they said it was 95%. This goes for most people who lose weight; 95% put it back on, and most gain more than they originally lost. It’s crucial that even when I’m eating less healthfully, I still write everything down, as well as my weight, so I can keep things under control.
It’s a life style change, not a diet…diets don’t work. Well, just ask yourself, what happens when you do get to your goal weight? You can’t keep dieting, so what do you do then? You know as well as I do, you start down that rabbit hole again, and yo-yo dieting is very unhealthy. Don’t forget, when you lose weight, you also lose muscle and the one muscle you don’t want to keep making larger and smaller is your heart.

P.S. It also helps to make a list of why you want to lose weight…and why you don’t. There are reasons people feel more comfortable being overweight, so write down everything, and if you truly want to lose weight and keep it off, pin your reasons on the fridge and read it…often!

P.S. I have written a book entitled This Is Not A Diet Book, which I will be offering soon as an e-book. This tells of my journey to my optimal weight, how I’ve kept off over 100 pounds for nearly six years, and much, much more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Planned Obsolescence

This is a rather recent term used to describe why your appliances no longer boast of lasting for many years.

When I was a kid, all the appliance manufacturers bragged that their machines, whether for dishes, clothes both washing and drying, etc. were built to last. Remember the ad with Jesse White where he was the lonely Maytag repairman? He was called so infrequently he was lonesome.

This may be the way it is again, but for different reasons. Years ago, if an appliance needed repairs, a repairman would come to your home with the parts necessary to get your machine working. Today, everything is made to stop working within the first few years, and when one part goes, it’s usually connected to the other parts so everything must be replaced. Not only is that ridiculous, but here’s a good example of how I was taken advantage of.

I had purchased a dishwasher, and was encouraged to get a warranty. I did so, but of course, had to pay every year to ensure my dishwasher was covered. Well, after a few years, the day came when I needed repairs to be effected to said machine.
The repairman came and said the company no longer made those parts. I asked why I wasn’t alerted rather than the company continuing to deceive me while happily taking my money. Of course, he had no answer. So that meant that while my dishwasher may have only needed a couple of parts to ensure it lasted a few more years, I had to instead purchase a new one. Did I get a warranty? Helllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, No!!!!!!

We watched an episode of, I believe, Marketplace and they told how salesman make a lot of money selling these (rather useless) warranties. The truth is, if anything is going to go wrong, it will in the first year. I just read, however, that now these machines are made to need repairs in the 4th or 5th year. Well, if you have a five year warranty, and it breaks down in year four, no problem. But if it breaks down just after the warranty expires, you’ve been duped and ripped off. Besides, say it does break down in year four; how likely in this day of continual upgrading, that there will be parts for your now deemed old machine? And if there aren’t any, what do you do then? They of course want you to get rid of it (in which case it ends up in the land fill) and purchase another machine from the same manufacturer and the same store from which you purchased your original machine.

When my husband and I moved into our home 22 years ago, there was a washing machine and dryer. They both worked well, and I’d say 22 years is a whole lot longer than had they been built today. Now we’re left wondering if the manufacturer’s warranty of 1 year, which we’ve doubled using a particular credit card, is enough. Of course, the salesman said better safe than sorry, but then, what does he really care about; the customer being satisfied, the money he gets from selling a likely useless warranty or the knowledge that these machines won’t be repairable in five years, so he’s made a handsome profit on having sold us an unnecessary warranty and by blaming the manufacturer, he hopes we’ll come back to his place of business when these machines are ready for the used appliance grave yard.
Of course, I’m expected to believe this salesman had only my husband’s and my best interests at heart. That’s hard to believe when the store ad boasted of better in-store savings, which in our case worked out to (ready?) $8.00, that being $4.00 on the washing machine and $4.00 on the dryer. Wow, that should cover the time and petrol it took to drive across the city, eh? Heck, that won’t even buy two regular priced meals at Burger King. We were at a disadvantage as we have little space in the doorway which leads to our basement, so we were forced to find small enough machines to fit. Not that a salesman would ever exploit that…much!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Does it ever occur to you that in a day and age when there are more modes of communication than ever before that we as a society communicate less than ever before?

When I call a business, it rings and rings, then is answered by an automated message which says they are too busy to answer my call. Then I get options, such as hold indefinitely, which often winds up with either my hanging up or them disconnecting me. Or, I am asked to call back when they are less busy; the funny thing with this is, I can call 311 at 3 a.m., and still receive the same message that they are receiving higher than normal calls, and I should call back at a time when it is less likely to be so busy. Really?
And how often have you been put on hold, only to then hear a dial tone? And that after waiting for over ten minutes in the first place? Not to mention the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing, so they must continually transfer the call to someone else who doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on or how to help you.

Have you ever been in a restaurant where you see two people on a date, but one is on their cell phone the whole time? But don’t blame cell phones; years ago I was at someone’s apt. and he had a crush on me, so this was his chance to get to know me, maybe get a little closer, when his phone rang and he not only answered it, but chatted for over ten minutes before then going to his bedroom to talk more privately. I was a mope, who did like him, but after yet another 15 minutes with no indication he was returning any time soon, I left. About an hour later, he came knocking on my door (as we lived down the hall from each other) and apologized. Well, sorry, Charlie, the boat has left the harbour and you are no longer a passenger.

I walk my dogs and pass numerous people whom I’d like to say hello to, just as a friendly gesture, but of course, most don ear buds so my greeting would fall on deaf ears, as they are either on a phone call or listening to very loud music. Most times, they are looking straight ahead, thus ensuring nobody tries to initiate any kind of communication.
Then there’s call waiting, where my call must be put on hold so the other person can find out who else they could be speaking with, who might be more interesting than I. Of course, I understand when the person with whom I’m speaking is expecting a call, as I’ve had to put people on hold, but I don’t keep them there for extended periods of time. If it’s something important and will take time, I go back to the first person and explain and ask if I may call them back. That way they’re not waiting and waiting. On the other side of the coin, I’ve told people I’d just be a few seconds, and am true to my word only to return to said person to find they’ve hung up. Impatient much are we?

Then there’s the internet which seems to have taken over common sense altogether. We used to get actual invitations in the mail (that’s right, the word is invitation, as the word invite is a verb and invitation is a noun, so please don’t be so lazy as to drop the mere two extra syllables.) We actually received an invitation to a wedding, and a thank-you, also via e-mail. HOW RUDE!!! Maybe this is the wave of the future, but it’s a future of which I want no part. The only reason I can see for sending Christmas/birthday, etc. types of cards via e-mail is if the people to whom these are being sent are not close to you, and/or you don’t have their address.
In conclusion, I wonder if all the cell phones were suddenly gone, and the call waiting and the internet, if we might not just begin to again communicate in earnest with one another, you know, maybe even face-to-face. Even Skype, is at least that is face-to-face and great for instances where people are distant, this is a better way of communicate. I feel this is especially great when it comes to world leaders who wish to discuss climate change and pollution, but do so by taking a car to the airport, a plane to the city where the talks will take place, a car from the airport, and the reverse after all the blustering is done. Isn’t that a little like serving booze at an AA meeting or junk food at a diet club meeting?

I don’t know what this world is coming to, but it seems we keep taking one step forward and two steps back; as J.B. Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful wrote, it’s a crazy dance.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Should we or shouldn’t we; that is the question

There are many concerns with respect to bringing refugees into our country/province/city. Of course, everyone is terror-fied about the possibility/probability that some who enter will be members of ISIS or Al Queda, but there are more concerns abound.
My husband and I live in Toronto, and our crumbling infrastructure will not support 10,000 more people, regardless of from where they stem. I am also wondering if these people are being questioned as to what their prior lifestyle was, to find out if living in a big city will be best for them, or if they will be most uncomfortable and would prefer somewhere more rural. Many may have been farmers and would prefer living where they could farm, raise animals, be somewhere more in keeping with the lifestyle which they had back home. To assume everyone wants to live in a big city is wrong.

I also fear for many who will not be welcomed, as they have forgotten the adage, there but for the grace of God go I. And if you don’t believe specifically in “God” feel free to substitute whichever deity in which/whom you believe.

Something else to consider is how many terrorists are already living in our neighbourhoods. We cannot assume everyone living in Canada is a good person, is someone happy with the adage live and let live. Many use religion as an excuse to hate others, and sometimes, hurt or kill others. I also like the saying; I don’t agree with your way of thinking/believing, but I’ll fight to the death your right to believe. Well, I won’t fight to the death, but I do respect the rights of others to believe differently, to pray differently. I only ask that it not be taken to extremes, which means don’t deface temples, churches or mosques or fear that which is different so much you feel you must destroy that which stands as a representation of other people’s belief systems.

The problem is, past governments have encouraged people who emigrated here to keep their lifestyles and customs, rather than encouraging them to fit in, you know, like the old proverb; when in Rome, do as the Romans. Often people want to become acclimatized, but for a few s-disturbers who expect, nay, demand that Canada change her customs to suit them. Hence, for the past few years, we were forbidden to say Merry Christmas for fear we’d be seen as racist but that’s no longer the case. I told Walmart at that time that if they can have a sign reading Happy Diwali, and are more than happy to take my money for Christmas gifts, then they should respect those who celebrate Christmas. There is nothing wrong with saying Merry Christmas, and anyone who could ever possibly be offended by being wished a Happy anything has a problem; just stop trying to make it an issue of racism. Canada is a Christian-based country which welcomes all other cultures and religions, but when these refugees are brought in, I can only hope they will love Canada, appreciate that we rescued them, and adapt to our way of life, including the use of soap, anti-per spirant, mouthwash or at the very least, breath mints. And regardless of what your custom is for dressing, it’s only common sense that in winter, people wear winter coats, boots, etc. To continue to wear thinly made clothes and sandals or flip-flops is just plain idiocy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


In this day and age, with so much knowledge and ability to garner knowledge, there is no excuse to hate anyone just because you don’t understand why they are/pray/look the way they do. I have always felt that hate stems from ignorance, and that doesn’t mean someone is stupid, but doesn’t have enough facts for an informed opinion. There are also those who have incorrect information and choose to believe it as it supports their already skewed belief system.
A great example is how many religious zealots truly believe that homosexuality is a disease which can be cured with prayer. I always ask people to put that to a test. I close my eyes, and when picturing someone to whom I sexually attracted, realize if I picture someone of the opposite sex, I’m heterosexual, and if I picture and get aroused by someone of the same sex, all the prayer or beatings in the world won’t change that; it’ll merely be prudent to say what someone who is beating me wishes to hear. The same goes for those who are uncomfortable in the gendered body in which they were born. I again close my eyes and if I feel feminine, then great, as I was born female. But if I were to feel with every fibre of my being that I was masculine, then there would be a very large problem. Now some people may be content to dress as the opposite sex, but many such as Renee Richardson, suffered too greatly to continue to be trapped in the wrong body.

Still, many don’t believe this and as such, hate anyone who doesn’t live according to their belief system; those are the people for whom I have great pity. I have a hard enough time living up to my idea of how a good and decent person should behave, let alone demanding others live up to that expectation. We are none of us perfect, and as such, need to accept people (and ourselves*) for whom and how they are. Of course, there are exceptions, such as paedophiles, rapists, murderers, thieves, drunk drivers, etc., but I digress. I understand many have problems with limiting their intake of alcohol, and while I disagree that this is inherent, or a disease, I do believe these people should be allowed to just go off and get as drunk as they want. That said, there are many problems which arise when someone is an alcoholic; many have a very bad temper when drunk, I being one of those people. I luckily got very bored with getting drunk on a daily basis, and thankfully gave it up, and never had a license during that time. This is a good thing as driving while drunk was once considered cool; that is until someone got hurt or killed. While I was nasty when drunk, and said some mean things to people, thankfully I stopped before I really hurt anyone. I am not one given to violence, therefore I was not likely to physically injure anyone, but that isn’t true of many others who have issues with booze. I have a relative whose grandfather was an alcoholic and her mother, his daughter slept with a knife under her pillow, for fear of what he might do while intoxicated. Sadly, and I feel this goes more to learned behaviour than alcoholism being either a disease or inherited, my relative’s mother became an alcoholic as well. While her mother wasn’t predisposed to violence, she wasn’t pleasant to be around, and ruined many family gatherings. And as I said regarding learned behaviour, my relative also grew up to have a drinking problem, and married someone who was more than happy to join in on the drinking. Said husband did not have anyone in the family who drank; overate, certainly, but as Manischewitz wine was what was served during holidays, it was much too sweet to ever turn anyone into an alcoholic, thus confirming, at least in this instance that alcoholism is a learned behaviour.

Thankfully, this couple doesn’t drive when inebriated, but their tempers do flare up, that’s for sure. In instances such as these, yes, it is wise to try and have people change or at the very least, alter their behaviour. The same is true with respect to overeating, and both these behaviours have things important in common, such as the effect of these “habits” on family, friends and careers. How, you might ask? Well, someone who destroys their liver as is the case with many alcoholics, as well as someone who becomes diabetic and has other health issues as is true of many who are obese becomes a burden on the health care system. A case in point is a chap with whom I worked many years ago. He drank, ate and smoked to excess, then needed by-pass surgery. His physician refused to treat him unless he got all his habits under control, and lost weight as well. This man did as his doctor demanded, had the surgery and within mere weeks, was back to all three habits. My question is; what happened thereafter, and if he again needed medical care, did his doctor refuse him, or did he make the same demands, knowing that once the treatment was over, so would this man’s control? Soon after this man’s return to work and his bad habits, my assignment at our place of work ceased, so I’ll never know, nor will I ever know if he lived long enough to require further medical attention. But medical requirements aside, there are the effects on these people’s families as they watch their loved ones drink/eat/smoke themselves to death.
I have maintained a weight loss of over 100 pounds, and realize how much of a burden I was to my husband. As I was so obese, I couldn’t do many things, which meant my husband had to pick up the slack, such as having to do all the snow shovelling, heavy housework; and when we were on vacation, there were many things I wasn’t able to do, and as such, my husband either lost out or did them alone. I also felt embarrassed for him when he introduced me to friends or co-workers, and was often taken to be his mother. You can imagine what went through people’s minds when they saw us kissing, and many admitted they thought my husband and I were very sick, not to mention shameless for kissing in public.

This leads into the habit of smoking and why it is so bad for everyone. First, the impact on the health care system, next the impact on loved ones who are around them, and that includes pets who are at the level where the smoke is directed right at them when smokers are seated, or in an enclosed vehicle. Next is having to endure the smoker’s endless coughing when those who are heavy smokers. I know of people who smoke though they have Asthma, and when they waken, spend several minutes hacking up what sounds like a lung. And what do you suppose they do in between coughing jags? Yup, light up another cigarette. Then there’s the cost of higher insurance premiums, and the risk of these people falling asleep while smoking and setting their homes ablaze. I was friends with one such person, and he not only killed himself, but his sweet little innocent, helpless and defenceless dog.

The problem lies in trying to get someone to change where there is no desire. I have a relative who was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I too was diagnosed with that when I was seriously overweight, and that was one of the factors I took into account when I decided I had to make changes in my life. I staved off the disease which follows; Diabetes. Sadly, my relative did not, and became diabetic, and had to take pills. Well, many, as did she, feel that as long as they can take a pill, why not stay on the same path. The problem is, it doesn’t (and didn’t) end there. The next problem is when she had to start injecting herself with insulin. At first, it was once a day, and then became several times a day. Now a few years later, still refusing to change her diet, this woman is blind in one eye and has a large blood clot in one leg leaving her unable to walk and she is now in a wheelchair, can no longer get in and out of a tub so has to take showers, and has a devil of a time doing the crafts she used to enjoy. Worse than that, she is in danger of losing her leg, as was the case with the late and beloved comedienne Totie Fields, who eventually succumbed to her illness. My relative has to have a nurse come in to tend to her, is often taken to hospital as her health is steadily declining, but still, she will not eat healthfully. Truly, there is nothing anyone can do if someone won’t help themselves, but the fact that some people’s habits effect so many in so many ways makes it difficult to just say live and let….

Where it is best to accept others for being different is when it comes to religion, politics and other belief systems, but again, only if they don’t try to proselytize others, or kill in the name of their belief. I just read of a young woman living in Afghanistan who was found guilty (was there any evidence?) of adultery and literally stoned to death. First, no-one should die for this so-called crime, second, as I wrote, was there any evidence? In countries such as this, often all one needs do is point a finger, much like the Salem witch trials, and they are found guilty and murdered. And third, what happens to the man in these instances? And let’s be honest, if she was guilty, was it not because women are forced into loveless and often violent marriages? Then you have government sanctioned and likely ordered atrocities being perpetrated against gay men in Russia. I learned that what they do is set up a date with someone and when the person arrives, they are beaten, often to death by a group of those who hate gay people. The saying which comes to mind in these instances is; Me Thinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much.” Who are gay people hurting, other than those who pretend to be straight and then, after years of marital hell, finally admit the truth. I understand how hard it must be in many instances to confess to being gay, but in this day and age, at least in North America and some other continents, being gay is no longer the big deal it once was. And in many instances, some who are gay and think they are in the closet are more like ostriches, as they think no-one knows they are gay, but EVERYONE knows. An example is, Danny Pintauro of Who’s the Boss. From the first time he spoke, I knew he was gay, and everyone knew with people such as Ellen Degeneres, Jane Lynch and Rosie O’Donnell. Now yes, there are those who shocked many, though some say they knew, I was surprised when Meredith Baxter told of being a lesbian. But I ask you; in what way does that have any effect on anyone but her immediate family? And who are any of us to judge? If it truly offends you, I have an idea…don’t watch any shows she is, was or will be in. As someone once said with respect to movie stars, just because you pay $12 to see their movies doesn’t mean you have ANY right to judge them or tell them how to live.

To wrap this up, we are all just people trying to survive in a dog-eat-dog world, and most of us do our best to live and let live, and accept each other as we are. But those who don’t, won’t or for some reason can’t, I suggest you remember these words; judge not lest ye be judged, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and my favourite, there but by the grace of God goes I. In other words, each of us has something about us, or something we do, or believe in of which many disapprove, so before we go casting aspersions upon others, we’d do well to remember that it could be any of us that someone deems wrong and decides to take action. Are you prepared for the wrath of others? I know I’m not. Think about it. If you believe in a deity, isn’t it for them to decide what action, if any, must be taken? Are we not all created in his/her image? If you want to rail against some, choose those who are actually harming people by their actions, and try not to cause harm to anyone while trying to change them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The best way to run a campaign

Well, our (Canadian) Federal election is all over, and I hope that those in other countries who are plotting their election strategies will learn from this election. The funny thing is, a few years ago Rob Ford (yes, THAT Rob Ford) was running for mayor of Toronto. As we would drive around our city, we saw many signs defaming Mr. Ford, everything from attacks on his history as a councillor to making fun of his girth. Now Mr. Ford had two options; he could have gotten down in the mud with his opponents, and slagged them off, siting their time as councillors, or whatever. But he took the honourable route and instead only told of that which was wrong at City Hall, (but not naming names) and that which he planned to do in order to make Toronto a better, more economically balanced, responsible and accountable metropolis.

Mr. Ford chose the latter and it was exactly the right strategy. People are all too aware of that which is wrong in government, and don’t need to be reminded. What people want is to know what those vying for that position will do differently. Well, it worked and Mr. Ford became our new mayor, winning by a landslide. Of course, that which went awry came later, and has nothing to do with my point, which is running a clean campaign.
This was the case with our new Prime Minister, Mr. Justin Trudeau. He could have slung mud with the best of them; goodness knows there was much at which he could point his finger. But instead of looking at the past, P.M. Trudeau focused on the future, and what his vision for Canada’s future was.

There are those who remember his father, the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, some with fondness, others not so much. Of course, now people are going to compare Justin to his father, and there will be many who think he can’t measure up, others who think he’ll surpass his late father’s record, and those who will simply treat Justin as his own person. I personally choose the latter. I know I wouldn’t wish to be compared to a famous parent, or sibling, or any relative. I wouldn’t wish to be seen as merely a younger, latter day version of anyone. I mention this as this will surely be the case when Hilary Clinton is running, and she will of course be likened to her husband, former president Bill Clinton. I’m certain she has learned much from his days as president, but I also think she has much to bring to the table of which she learned when Senator of New York.

Naturally as the U.S. is a much more densely populated country than Canada, there are more issues, more people to please, more opponents who will want to, shall we say, mud wrestle. I can only hope Mrs. Clinton will rise above all of that and focus on the job for which she is a contender; that of getting the U.S. out of debt, out of combat and into a more peaceful and economically profitable future. I dare say, there is much ammunition should she decide to go the other route. I mean really; Donald Trump??? That in Canada would be the equivalent to having Don Cherry run for the office of Prime Minister. Both are good for a laugh, but hardly credible as the leader of a world power.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If you want to get totally frustrated, try dealing w/ the government and/or Amazon

As I have written, had illustrated and published the first in my children’s book series, I thought the best way to try and market it would be on Amazon. They have an American site as well as a Canadian site. I wondered why I wasn’t selling any books, and upon going to my listing, found that it was inactive, and showed that there were no books available and won’t be for the foreseeable. I was nonplussed, as I have over 400 copies sitting in my basement. I tried getting an answer from someone at Amazon, but received two totally different reasons for my site being closed down. The first reason was that as my book wasn’t selling, they closed it due to inactivity. I told them, it’s like trying to win the lottery without buying a ticket…not going to happen.

Then I learned they wanted my Social Security Number. I told them I am Canadian and don’t have a Social Security Number, but rather a Social Insurance Number. As well, I am selling on, not, and lastly, I am selling as a business, not as an individual. After much haranguing, back and forth, getting angry at their lunacy and lack of ability to comprehend, I found that they said they must pay taxes on my account. I told them I will collect and pay the taxes, they are not responsible, but they said they must pay on all those who have products on their site. Regardless, they don’t need my SIN, so I tried to get verification of this by contacting Revenue Canada.

Well, that’s when the frustration began. I called the first number, and the person referred me to another number. That person referred me to yet another number, who referred me back to the first number. I called seven different numbers in total, and not one of them could give me a straight answer. Is it any wonder people were recently messed up by having been given erroneous information when filing their income tax return? The left hand hasn’t got a clue what the right hand is doing, and truth be told, I don’t think the right hand knows what the right hand is doing, and the same for the left hand.
So I have now written again to Amazon, after finding on their site the following information:
Amazon is required to file Form 1099-K in U.S. dollars (USD) for U.S. taxpayer sellers who meet the following thresholds in a calendar year:
• More than USD $20,000 in unadjusted gross sales, and
• More than 200 transactions.

So I’m now waiting to hear from them as I’ve sold only two books, and as such, am so far from having sold 200 books, or having made (laughing) $20,000 worth of sales, it’s ridiculous. I asked them, how the *(&) am I supposed to sell anything WHEN YOU’VE CLOSED MY ACCOUNT????? I’m sorry, but between the no-minds of our revenue agency and the idiots at Amazon I’m about ready to call it a day. I really hope I get someone with at least an IQ over 35 when they finally respond to my query, but one thing is certain; they are never, EVER getting my SIN, and will never convince me they need it. Personal information such as someone’s SSN or SIN has nothing to do with a company doing business, period, end of discussion. Oh, and did you notice the words U.S. TAXPAYER SELLERS? It’s rather obvious they didn’t, as I’ve told them over and over ad nauseam that I am Canadian, selling on, the ca being Canadian, and am selling in Canada. I mean, do they even bother to read their own terms & conditions?

I used to think highly of Amazon, but now….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Planetarium

I live in Toronto, Ontario, which tries to pass itself off as a world class city. In some instances, I suppose it is, as we boast a large museum, large art gallery, opera house, and many theatres which offer Broadway and off-Broadway shows. We’ve recently put in a huge aquarium and have a zoo which offers the animals large, more natural enclosures rather than old-style cages.

That said, when I first came to Canada, back in June, 1973, one place I loved to visit over and over was the Planetarium, which was attached to the Royal Ontario Museum. For one ticket, I got to see either a laser rock show, which was a spectacular light show to bands such as Pink Floyd, or a lecture which told of the stars and planets in our galaxy, as well as giving access to the museum.

As is the case with all structures, the Planetarium was in need of maintenance which of course costs a fair amount of money. Those in charge had two options: come up with the money, or close. Sadly, they chose the latter.

So now, we tell the world how impressive the Canadarm is, which was used in many space missions, of our heroic astronaut Chris Hadfield, and expect students to strive for such achievements and hopefully either make it into outer space or design/help develop more initiatives such as the Canadarm. That said, wouldn’t it be worth the investment to re-open the Planetarium, which still has the enormous telescope with which to view the heavens, and pique the interest of those whose futures are as yet defined?

With today’s technology, I’m sure the laser shows would be even more spectacular, and as there are more bands today, light shows could be set against bands which appeal to both today’s youth as well as boomers, and even those who enjoy classical music. This would attract not only those living in Toronto, but tourists as well, especially those living in places which do not have anything like our spectacular Planetarium. It would bring much needed money to our city, and give the perfect venue for lectures by Mr. Hadfield. Schools used to and could again, organize field trips for students to learn about astronomy and perhaps follow in Mr. Hadfield’s footsteps and become tomorrow’s number one astronaut.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When so-called seasonal items are no longer available

Did you ever try to find something which is ridiculously considered season, but truly is something which, in this instance, is something which may be eaten year round?

There is an iced cream store, which though a bit pricey, gives huge scoops and has an awesome selection of flavours from which to choose. This store, however, closes for the winter. As well, Dairy Queen also closes many of its locations for winter. So if we were to examine this policy more closely, what is being presumed here is that barely anybody eats iced cream in winter, and by that logic, all the Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, Second Cup stores, etc. should close for the summer, as obviously nobody drinks anything hot in summer. Of course, they could remain open and only sell iced coffee, iced tea and the like.

What got me started on this path of insanity is that all our corn boats have broken, and danged if I could find any in any of the stores, as this is considered only for summer. I was told in one store to return in spring. I guess people won’t find any propane for their barbeques either, as of course, no one would ever dare to use their barbeque in winter, regardless of how warm a day or evening it might be.
I also had a problem one year, when my husband Greg and I were going away for a week, to a warm, sunny locale. I, however, having lost a lot of weight, needed a bathing suit, but again, that is only for summer. Does that mean not only does everyone remain all winter in the cold climes, but they don’t even go to indoor pools?

When it comes to foods and/or clothing being seasonal, I wonder then, why I can still get Cadbury Easter eggs all year long. Boggles the mind, wouldn’t you agree?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Integrity, or the lack thereof

Is it I or have people stopped having integrity when doing business? My husband and I were selling a 1996 SVU and when we posted it on Craig’s list and a couple of other places, the responses, such as they were, came from those wishing to get almost literally, something for nothing. There wasn’t that much which needed repairs, and for maybe $1,500 or $2,000, this could have run another few years. But instead, we had to call a scraper, and wow, I swear they are in cahoots. How else can one explain that on the one hand, they say they only want the metal, of which there is much when speaking of an SUV, but on the other hand, they want all the parts. I asked why they care about parts if they are only going to use the metal? I got varying answers, and one guy even came out, all ready to give me the money, but then lay on the ground, and complained that he thought the catalytic converter wasn’t original. Huh?

Who the heck cares, you’re only going to crush the car and recycle the metal…or is that just what these companies all say, in order to buy a good vehicle and either repair it and sell it for a lot more than what they paid, or sell off the parts. Either way, integrity is sorely lacking, as one person had the nerve (get this) to say though he’d offered me $400 last Thursday, now on Monday, the price of metal has drastically come down and he can only give me $350. You needn’t ask what my response was, but there were some choice words, like thief, arshole, etc. And then I slammed down the phone and I hope I hurt his eardrum. I had called another place, and he didn’t answer, nor was there a way of leaving a message, so I hung up. Within two minutes he called back and I told him what I wanted. He then asked what the best price I’d gotten was, as he was offering the same as the last three places I’d called. He said he’d add $10 if I let him do the job. I said fine, he could come the next day. Well, the next day came, and was starting to go, so I called and asked what was happening. He said he’d come after 5. So again, I waited and waited, and the day ended, the next day came and went as did the following day. So on Monday, I left a message that I was very annoyed that he practically begged that I use his service, and now he can’t be reached and didn’t even have the decency and respect to let me know what was happening. So today, Tuesday, as I’d been forced to make arrangements with another company which I’d contacted, but was paying less, were due to come yesterday, and again, nobody showed up and though I’d called thrice, nobody let me know they weren’t coming.

So today I called and I was hoppin’ and what did this creep say? First he said he’d forgotten, which is total b.s. as no-one could forget when they’d been called thrice. Then he said his guys couldn’t pick up the car in the rain. Really? Tell that to all the towing companies which come out in all weather and tow vehicles from wherever they’ve broken down. Finally he said he’d send someone, and when someone called, I thought it was from the first company and when offered the lower amount, I was upset and said no. So now the second company was ½ hour late, and when I called, he said I’d told his guy not to come. Never did the man with whom I was dealing say that he’d contract out the job and that person would call to arrange his coming. Well, I said to send the guy, and thankfully he came soon after I’d called, and though we had some problems getting our Alex out of the driveway, as Alex was facing forward and he needed to be in front of the vehicle in order to tow him, we managed to get Alex across the street, and he paid what I was promised. I thought he was going to say after all the agro, he was going to pay me less, as that was what had happened the weekend prior, when we’d been offered $375 for our Trans Am, and they knew when we’d called that they’d need a winch and flatbed truck, but when they came and had some difficulty, suddenly we could only be paid $100. Really? What a scam! Did this moron really think I’d believe that after one weekend, the price dropped so dramatically that he had to give me $50 less than promised? I guess as he’d never seen me, he assumed there was a giant S on my forehead.

What is the bottom line? Integrity is too often a thing of the past. Sad, isn’t it? If only these people would put themselves in the place of those whom they are screwing, perhaps they might think twice before treating people like they were nothing more than rubes. I’m only glad we don’t have any more cars for these rotten businessmen to screw us out of.

Oh, and one last example of screwing potential customers. We have a Ford, and it has a few things which need to be diagnosed so we can see if a) they are serious, like lights coming on indicating there is either a serious problem or an electrical/wiring problem, and b) how much it would cost to affect repairs. I called the local dealership and trying to get anyone on the line was neigh onto impossible. Finally when we’d decided to go elsewhere, someone called and left a message. When I returned his call the next day, he quoted me so much for just the diagnostics, we were disgusted. He said it would cost upwards of $500, just for the diagnostics, and get this; he said they had to charge that as those doing the diagnostics had to get paid for their time and effort. Did he really expect me to believe these guys don’t get paid unless they are working on a car? So their secretary comes to work and if there aren’t any phones to answer or any correspondence to type, she doesn’t get paid? Does this guy really think I just fell off the Ford turnip truck? Needless to say, we will simply continue to ignore the lights and have a friend who works on cars do what diagnostics he can. As for ever, EVER buying another Ford? About as likely as our buying a Ford Edsel!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment