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He is not my President but he is an inspiring man and I wish him a very happy birthday today. For my 50th birthday I got my first grandson. He is fourteen now and entering high school in September. Time flies.
For his 50th, the President got more grief than he needed from a congress in America which seems to want contention more than it wants to continue its role as a world leader.
If the TEA Party really wanted to bring change to Washington, they should be working with the President. He is the real agent of change. Siding with the establishment has produced a stalemate of world crisis proportions and stalled any hope of recovery. Too bad..
In any case, I wish all the best to Mr. Obama and hope he will continue to try in the face of irrevent opposition.
BTW…I love Bill Maher but he was a real downer on The Ed Show. If you want magic then try to understand the role of POTUS. He does not have absolute control. He works with Congress not in his own sphere of law making and cheque signing at will. You can’t compromise with uncompromising people no matter how hard you try but you do have to try because he is the president of all America not just democrats. Now I see why you were never married Bill Maher.

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I wrote here extensively earlier this year when I was deeply disappointed in our national airline for failing to meet what i thought was the simple task of getting my luggage from the point of departure to the point of destination.  I received a heartfelt apology from the airline and of course some minor compensation was offered.  To be honest, I didn’t think I would ever use a discount because I hadn’t planned to travel but sometimes life surprises.

Indeed my recent trip to Hollywood was an unexpected bonus and the apology discount saved me a little bit.  Apart from the activities I needed to work on in Hollywood, I actually looked forward to experiencing a five hour flight.  I must say that the seats are far more comfortable on the wide body plane.  My long legs usually touch the chair in front of me and make for quite an uncomfortable and stiff ride.  I had a little more leg room.  Peoplke were helpful and friendly.  I was not entirely happy however.  It isn’t that I am picky.  I have been flying since 1949.  My first really conscious flight was in 1961 and my longest in 1966.  I am not a frequent flyer but longevity has given me some entitlement to speak on the subject of comfort flying.

I miss the food.  As a diabetic, I need to eat when I take insulin.  I don’t want to eat but the needs of my body overtake the needs of my circumstance and my desires.  I can eat all I want before beoarding but if my inner workings say I need food then please present me with meal options.  What happened to the days when you could get a hot meal.  I am not a sandwich eater, nor am I a lover of the meat wrap.  Nuts are good protein but hardly filling and chips are a no-no.  I smelled hot food on the plane and hunger for something substantial tore at my insides but there was nothing.

My latest complaint…we all pay for food.  Let one of the options be a hot meal for those who need it.  A five hour flight goes well beyond my time even if I stuff myself with a hearty breakfast but in this day and age, much preboarding time is spent taking off shoes and walking through metal detectors to make sure that there are no concealed weapons on your person.

I wonder if they consider a hot meal a weapon.  Next time I will get to the airport another hour earlier in order to eat and buy food. Or, I will save and save so that i can afford that delightfully expensive upgrade which gives a perfect bathroom, a seat that looks like the pod in a spaceship and leg room to not only stretch out but also elevate aching legs, and superservice which will include hot food.

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To the young man who I met on the shuttle bus, I wish you well.

Sitting next to me on the shuttle bus was a young man with ‘locks’, Jamaican style.  He listened to the adults speaking before tentatively asking some interesting questions of his own.  He told me a little about his background in Louisiana and what he hoped for his future.  He was just seventeen, three years older than my grandson but so poised and informed.  I was surprised that he was travelling across the country to attend basketball camp all by himself.  I thought he was pretty courageous and told him so.  He talked about his mother and what he hoped to do with his life.  I found him engaging and interesting, able to hold a conversation and be most amenable.  He asked a few quesitons about Canada.  I was able to show him how alike we are in both places and what makes us different.  His mother should be proud of him.

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Today as I walked around the boxes which contain artifacts and treasures from the past ten years of my life, I reflected on the sadness which loss always brings, even as I look with anticipation towards the future.
I have never been one to dwell on negatives but I often think about the difference between losing a loved one and losing a dream.
Our family and close friends are tied into the plans we make for our future but a dream is born of ourselves and represents the creative forces which drive our soul forward to its life lessons.
Women have traditionally had this creative force  realized with the conception and birth of a child. What of women who never conceive?  What do they have to drive their lives forward?  It has always been a question in my head and a reason why I celebrate all women on Mother’s day.  I was once told that the ability to create is not confined to procreation but all things which are born of our desire.

I have been lucky to have children and a strong creative drive. I thank my teachers past and present for their input.

Many years ago, I realized a dream to become an interfaith minister.  My hope was to establish and operate a small church or sanctuary which would be the home base of  services geared towards women affected by a challenging history.  The Sanctuary at Hestia’s Hearth became a reality. The loss of my business partner and best friend just after our opening didn’t derail the program and services,  but the energy needed to sustain it.
Five years after her death, I finally acknowledged the realization that the dream was not to be fulfilled in the way it was first envisioned. With a few prayers, I found a loving couple, or rather they found me and chose to live in the home attached to the Sanctuary.

As I survey the boxes  filled with treasures and collectables which had been chosen to grace the walls and tables and corners of the sanctuary, I have come to understand that they represent nothing unless I choose to make them the symbols of a failed enterprise.  They are not the dream nor are they  attached to the dream.  The dream is with me and dies when I die unless I allow it fall by the wayside of self defeat.

So I have said my goodbye to the dear friend who taught me much about life.  I will say my goodbyes to the building, the things, the space and even the person I was ten years ago and move on to a future whose enterprise is yet to be realized but whose dream is alive and well.

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Art by PCS

For the past three years, our organization has hosted a women’s group called the Wise Women’s Circle. It is an opportunity for women of all ages, from the community, to gather and talk and learn. The goal is to help each other open up to new possibilities. The group is small but faithful to the process.
Last year, as I noted here, we worked on the idea of a vision board which would detail any aspect of our lives that we wanted to highlight. The project was meant to open a personal door and capturing unfulfilled goals or finding new ones. The six month long project was a fun exercise in learning more about our strengths.
We have also spent a good deal of time studying the art and beauty contained in Tarot cards as well as the healing aspects of music and aromatherapy scents.  The art work is a drawing by Pamela Coleman Smith the illustrator of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck.
As a group leader, it fills my need to find a creative self as well as  supporting the efforts of women who walk the path of  wise elders who came before us.
I cherish this aspect of my community life and look forward to participating in this years activities.
Note to self: Never ask anyone else to do something which you wouldn’t do.

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Valentino’s day entreaty

I am not overly excited about the ‘lovers’ day. Anyone who reads my stories will know,  in each chapter, love is the overriding theme.  Each story contains many moments of intimacy. Loving is an everyday thing. Who cares if you buy me flowers today and ignore my needs for the other 364?  Remember to show me that you love me everyday just as I will show you. Are you are happy to see me when I come home or happy to hear from me when I call?  If you fail to appreciate me everyday, one day is not going to make our love real.
Take me out to dinner once a week so we can talk or be my date even if we are just going to the supermaket.   Be my kind and gentle lover or my passionate partner depending on what we both need.
One day? No everyday! be my my velentino or valentina. If we remember and honour everyday why we fell in love and decided to be together it will give us the strength to face those times when our relationship is challenged.

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Last night, when I really wanted to be asleep, I stayed up to watch the Daily Show. Why not? He’s pretty funny and I have found it better to go to sleep after a good laugh than to sleep after some intense crime drama.
I didn’t know it but my current hero was the guest.  Although he had a brutal throat, just as I did last week, he was there to shine and plug his new movie, The King’s Speech.
Jon Stewart was also suitably impressed.  In the introduction, he spoke highly of Colin Firth and the progress he has made as an actor. Stewart said this is Firth’s best movie yet and indeed it is.
It’s good to know that I am thinking like the big guys, at least on this one day.

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For a movie lover, I am stunned to think about how long it has been since my last trip to an actual cinema. I have been content to sit and wait until a new release comes out on DVD.  Perhaps, in my mind not much has been worth the time and effort and money.  I suppose a willing companion would have been helpful but not necessary.
My hubby and I often sit and watch movies marathon fashion over a  weekend if I am not working. We used to rent three or four and spread them out over the two days.  I had a Blockbuster Gold CArd.  Even though I don’t want to give a plug to Rogers communications, they do make it easy to download and watch movies at my own convenience.  Bell, not so much.
So. my last cinema movie was X.  Yes indeed the biopic of Malcolm X starring Denzil Washington. The story and the lead actor were worth the effort. What would draw me to another show after all these years?
It can’t just be the actor. The movie itself has to contain an element of history which is meaningful to me. Colin Firth starring in the King’s Speech was more than worth it.  I have seen most of his movies.  He really engaged my heart while speaking Portuguese in Love, actually.
His role in the King’s Speech engaged my heart once again.  I have grown up with the story of Queen Elizabeth. I was a little girl when she was crowned queen. She has been a role model of sorts but her father’s story was so much more compelling. We can assume that divine right gives royals special powers but that simply isn’t true. They are lucky or unlucky (fated) enough to be born into a family line which carries immense history. Bertie was not meant to be King but his fated royal birth took him in another direction. (Losing the right of free will is distinctly unlucky

Watching Firth negotiate the painful passage was worth every minute of the movie. No wonder Elizabeth is such a great feminine role model for the world. The constraints of her office might make her seem distant but her parents gave her such a model of strength to use in the discharge of her duties.
The saddest thing I have observed in the story of George V!, is the day he went to the airport to say goodbye to his daughter as she travelled to Kenya. His face spoke volumes. There was a sad and worried quality about it. I always think that he knew it would be the last time he would see her and regret for the awful burden he would place on her young shoulders with his death.
A great movie…go see it!

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Day 5

You guessed it. We are still without luggage on day five.  I have been in touch with so many people in the region that it is getting ridiculous.  I will say that all have been respectful and as helpful as they can be considering that we are all at the mercy of space.  The situation is a failure to plan efficiently.  Just ensuing adequate room for all the luggage or conversely restricting travellers to an amount commensurate with the size of the plane would have solved the problem.  Neither were done by the carrier.  I am sure the long term consequences of a this failure will not bring about any resolution.  The regional director informs me by email that all too often his employees have to endure the abuse of irate clients.  what a sad indictment for a company of that size. 

No wonder that ‘Jetblue’ employee, Steve pulled the string on his career.  Failure to plan effectively has got to be the single biggest cause of the demise of large corporation.

So I wait for the delivery of a suitcase which was taken to the airport at 5:15 am on monday morning.  Today is Friday.  As a labour and delivery nurse, I can say almost unequivocally that this has been the longest wait for the arrival of anything in my life.

So?

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For the first time in a long time, we travelled to Jamaica via Air Canada. The service personnel were respectful and kind to us. My husband needs wheelchair assistance and this was provided adequately.   I can’t say with conviction that anyone who transported him around Pearson had anything near the sense of humour evident in Jamaica.  However I have a lingering complaint to get off my chest.
Over the years, as we have travelled back and forth to Jamaica, we have heard numerous complaints about the service, the lateness, the luggage hassles, ad nauseum, but the truth is that in all those years I found their service exemplary.
Last year when my husband was barely recovered from his accident, we travelled down for a funeral and the help and support was outstanding. They have never lost our luggage, nor been anything less than respectful.
Yesterday, we arrived early for our flight. Forget delays due to weather.  We slept close to the airport to avoid the possibility of being caught by slippery, snowy roads.  What was the point of getting there early, only to have one suitcase left behind? In my opinion customers arriving late to the airport should have to wait for their luggage not those who get there early.

The flight was crowded.  I was surprised because it seemed so early in the season for a lot of Christmas travellers.  Everything had to be paid for by credit card.  When did cash get to be a dirty word?  Suppose you don’t have a credit card?  Much of the travelling public is woefully uninformed about modern travel.  Diabetics were fainting by the end of the flight.  Be at the airport by 5am, landing at 1.30 p.m.  Seems that even a sandwich could be included in the cost of the flight. 

The double dip landing was uncomfortable but there was a wicked wind out there. (Did you know that Jamaicans always applaud the pilot when he or she lands the plane? No standing ovation for this guy though) After long lineups for immigration things got ugly when we realized that our luggage did not arrive.

After checking in at Toronto, no luggage tags were placed on our boarding pass, so when I went to fill out the forms I had no numbers to guide the attendant. So Air Canada, not only left luggage behind for the passengers who arrived the earliest but failed to ensure that if luggage was lost, it would be twice as difficult to find the missing suitcases.

Jamaica was mercifully cooler than on my last visit.  Cooler heads also prevailed at lost luggage counter at the airport.  The tedious process of filling out the forms manually was done by a young man who kept his own cool in the face of some very angry passengers, many of them wheelchair bound and some semi-literate or unable to see.  He asked me why I didn’t complain.  We don’t.  We wait our turn in line expecting to be served in order of arrival, where I come from.  My disappointment was not directed at him or anything in the Kingston Port authority.  They screwed up in Toronto.  Maybe when the pilot had to make the turn to land, more than once, our luggage fell out. 

After three hours waiting in a wheel chair, his gluts numb from sitting, my husband and I were finally sprung from the airport.  The young lady who was assigned to push my husband was a lovely girl, who hugged us, an unusual circumstance for staff at the airport but she was fun and helpful.  She delivered us safely into the hands of our brother in law.

So we are now waiting the arrival of luggage left behind.  Am I seeing the ghost of Christmas future?  I hope not but Air Jamaica is no more.

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