Saturday, November 28, 2015
Monday, November 23, 2015
Monday, November 16, 2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015
I was woken up this morning by the thump thump thump of one of my neighbours walking around.
How is it possible to make that much noise on floors with a base of poured concrete?
How can it not hurt their ankles and knees?
I live on the top floor.
What must it be like for the poor people who live underneath them?
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015
I was craving pizza so decided to pick one up for lunch. It was only 11:30 so I figured I had time before the local high school kids got out and took over the local lunch spots. But no such luck - the places were full of the obnoxious creatures.
( They're so brave and confrontational and rude when they're in groups. It's a different story when they're alone. )
Sometimes when I have to deal with these horrible beings (or with the horrible rude adults who run around this city looking miserable and put upon) I do start do wonder why I bother with recycling or saving energy etc.
I'm doing it to make the future better for them?
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Chinese Hammer Torture?
Someone has been hammering in this building all day today.
It started early.
Every few minutes one, two or three hammer bangs. Then silence for one minute, five minutes, 10 minutes, 30 seconds....
Hours of this.
I'd love to say I'm moving but I've moved so many times and I always end up somehow being tortured by human created noise. Even when I owned property in the country.
I can understand why people decide to live in a van.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
People with long loose hair who lean back in the elevator to look at the numbers and push their hair into your face.
People with long loose hair who flick it sideways into your face.
People with long loose hair who let it fall over the back of their seat so that it touches you.
People with long loose hair who bend over so that it trails across you desk (or worse, across your food).
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
One of the best pieces of advice my parents ever gave me was to live below my means.
I didn't always do that but for the most part I did.
I consider that policy the main reason I was able to retire early.
I would add now, as far below your means as possible.
Not to make your life miserable but to really consider on what you spend your money. I do wish that minimalism had come into my life long before it did and I had become less focused on things long before I did.
Someone once told me their definition of "rich" was being able to lose your job and not have to change one single thing about your lifestyle even if you never found work again.
Monday, September 14, 2015
I'm an introvert.
All my working life I was uncomfortable because while I didn't want to be in charge of anyone else I really did not want anyone directly in charge of me.
That's a tough compromise to work out.
I've been retired for six years now and I'm almost always aware of and grateful for the sense, finally, of not having to answer to anyone, of being my own boss.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Dinner out with a friend and a friend of his who is a former teacher.
Who is obviously used to having the final say in the classroom and having his opinion be the "right" one.
Having this kind of attitude will make people be really really really glad when dinner is finally over and they can get away from you.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
I get very tired of being cut off in conversation.
I'm an introvert. Most of my friends seem to be extroverts.
It happens a lot.
I do take a certain satisfaction, when they cut me off from saying something that would be useful to them, in deciding never to tell them what I was going to say.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Getting your own way can be a dangerous thing.
Even though the person who gave in may accept and forgive now such incidents can keep coming to their mind and can fester over time.
And someday what seems like a very minor thing can connect with a long train of other small things and lead to unexpected consequences that you may never explain or understand.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Saturday, July 11, 2015
I really do not approve of the tactic of asking people for a donation for some charity when they are checking out of a store, particularly a grocery store.
It can be very hard to say no.
It is designed to shame people into donating and I think that is reprehensible.
There was a time in my life when funds were really tight. I had $30 a week to spend on food. I took a calculator to the store with me and added up each item as I put it in my cart, then if there were things I needed more I would put things back on the shelf and subtract that amount, on like this until I had as much food as I could get for my $30 but no more.
To then be embarrassed at check-out being asked for money that simply was not there is cruel.
I feel the same way about charity drives in the workplace when someone gets self-righteous about it. I remember hearing the line, "But it's for charity," so often. It's not up to other people to decide how much money someone has or how they should spend it or what charity they might choose to donate to. Even if you know someone's salary you don't know what obligations (medical expenses, loans, support for someone else, legal problems) that they might be coping with and how harmful donating even a small amount might be at that particular time.
I'm not saying I don't approve of charities, I do. But I do believe that donating is a personal choice and should never be a matter of coercion or shaming.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Monday, June 22, 2015
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Monday, June 15, 2015
Monday, June 1, 2015
Privacy and Separateness
Recently there was a news item about girls in a high school protesting because some of the clothing they wore was considered by the school staff to be too revealing.
This started me thinking about how different standards of clothing are now from what they were for my generation and I am wondering if it is related to the vastly different view young people have now of privacy and the self.
I grew up in a small Ontario town in the 1950's and certainly many of the outfits I see women wearing on the streets now (and it still seems to be women's clothing that people fuss about, not men's, even 60 years later) would have resulted in social ostracism if not actual charges for indecency. Seriously, the world has changed that much.
But I've been wondering if in this new world of texting and constant contact with others via the internet and cell phones people's sense of themselves as separate from others hasn't fundamentally changed. Certainly people share thoughts and plans and photos with vast numbers of friends and strangers that my generation might, might, have shared with one very close friend or family member.
And I wonder if at least part of the reason people are comfortable revealing so much more of their body (whether it be exposed flesh or just form-fitting clothing) is that they just don't have the same sense of separateness from others and the same desire for privacy in their day to day life.
Friday, May 29, 2015
In Canada cars drive on the right hand side of the road.
All of them.
Think of the chaos if some people drove on the right and some people drove on the left.
Yet there are so many people who insist on walking on the left hand side of the sidewalk.
It's the same logic as driving.
If we all follow the same simple traffic rules things move along (more) smoothly.
It's not a difficult concept and most people do walk to the right.
But there is that small percentage who insist on walking on the left.
Is it that they are that detached from the world that they just don't notice?
Is it that they are just that stupid?
Or is it some sad passive-aggressive thing where this is how they draw attention to themselves or how they attempt to exercise some power in the world?
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
I do get the whole bicycle movement. It's good exercise, it's good for the environment etc. I understand.
(I don't ride a bike - downtown Toronto for me is just too busy - I'm kept busy trying to be aware of everything going on around me just walking.)
I hear a lot from bicycle activists (on TV, magazine articles) about unsafe conditions for riding and how dangerous car drivers can be for bicyclists.
But I'm a senior citizen and a pedestrian and there are many times when I feel really threatened by bicycle riders.
They ride on the sidewalks (even in places where there are bicycle lanes on the road).
They come to a corner at a light and then cut you off making a sharp turn into the pedestrian crossing which somehow suddenly is a "bicycle lane". And then give you a dirty look for being in THEIR way!
They make a turns right in front of you.
I've heard bicycle riders say, "I know what I'm doing and I'm in control of my bike so pedestrians don't have to worry". That seriously is not a lot of comfort and it certainly doesn't feel like I'm safe when they go barreling down a crowded sidewalk or fly out of an alleyway without appearing to look anywhere but straight ahead.
I don't drive in the city anymore but people I know who do find some of the stunts bicyclist pull on the road totally incomprehensible.
And yes, I have seen pedestrians do some pretty dumb things on the street as well.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
One thing (of the many) that bothers me about air travel is the head rests.
They no longer put a fresh towel type thing on them for each flight.
I can't avoid touching it for the whole flight, and as I give in and put my head back I can't help thinking about whose greasy hair and dirty skin have been touching it before me and what I might be transferring to myself.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Low-rise pants for men.
What are people thinking?
The only people they look halfway decent on are those who have an absolutely flat stomach and abdomen.
For the rest (majority?) of us who weigh more than the ideal there's no way to wear these pants without them riding low down on the gut and making it look even bigger than it is.
The most flattering look for a rounded figure is for the waist of the pants to ride around the largest part of the bulge, above the hip bone. It's never going to make a gut look flat but it accentuates it the least.
This is one of my many grievances with the fashion industry. The dominance of "The Look" over what looks good on a real human.
Another reaction I have to low-rise pants is that when I see someone wearing them (especially skinny jeans) I can't help but think of Mr. Potato Head with the huge head and body and these little stick legs poking out of the bottom.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Pizza used to be a luscious thing with lots of sauce and covered with toppings.
Now we have thin crust pizza with "gourmet" toppings.
A thin coating of tomato sauce and a tiny sprinkling of toppings usually dumped toward the centre with nothing but bare crust around the outside.
For which they charge a small fortune.
Plus a significant amount of cash for a tablespoon or so of additional toppings.
We really are suckers to fall for this scam.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Why is acceptable for dog owners to use the entire world as their animals' bathroom?
Sidewalks, lampposts, mail boxes, parks, lawns, gardens, roads, pathways....
They're coated with dog piss.
And even if people follow poop and scoop rules and even if it looks clean afterwards there is still some residue of dog shit left behind.
If you stop and think about it, it's quite disgusting.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Saturday, April 4, 2015
I kept a journal for years, hundreds and hundreds of pages written by hand.
I mostly enjoyed doing it but I began to be really uncomfortable with the thought that someone else might read it - by finding it - or after my death, even if I left specific instructions for it to be destroyed unread - and I knew I did not want that. That also began to inhibit my writing because I was always conscious of that "someone" who might someday read it.
So about ten years ago I stopped, re-read ALL those pages and then shredded everything.
The great thing about writing a journal is expressing what you truly think and feel at that moment.
For me it is that expression that is so valuable.
I don't think there is ever anyone in our lives that we can tell everything to. We may think there is but I know from bitter experience that that is never true. Not spouses, or parents or siblings or best friends.
And sometimes the things I'm struggling with, that I want/need to open up about and consider, are things that anyone else is going to find boring and stupid.
Sometimes just writing it down is a way of letting go of it.
So I have started what I think of as temporary journaling. I sit down with a pen and paper and write whatever I want. Then I read it over. Then I shred it.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Friday, March 13, 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
When I was in kindergarten I did a painting that I was really proud of.
It won a prize.
But I didn't get my painting back.
When I was a little older I did a painting at home that my father really liked.
He took it and kept it.
If you do something good it will be taken away from you.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Sunday, February 1, 2015
I have such contempt for the fashion industry.
Like so many others its main purpose is to convince people to buy more and new and discard the old.
What is wrong with wearing clothes out?
Wouldn't that be better for the environment?
Why should it be considered some horrible faux pas to wear last year's fashion.
(Why is there even such a thing as "last year's fashion"?)
Why can't I find a colour of sweater to match the panst/shirt I bought last year?
With all the "choice" that the fashion industry claims they offer why is it so hard, or even impossible, for me to find the simple classic clothing that I like?
What the hell real difference can it possibly make what width your tie is?
If fashion really is about expressing yourself then having people wear many different widths of tie should be a desirable thing.
The sad thing is that trying to be "in" and "fashionable" is one of the biggest acts of conformity that one can commit.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
How close to other humans you are comfortable being.
I have lived in downtown Toronto for more than forty years but lately I have often felt very bothered with how close to me other people stand and walk.
My guess is that part of this is just that the city is so much more crowded in recent years that there just isn't enough space for people to stay farther away.
Also, in a city full of people from different cultures around the planet many of them come from places where the boundaries of personal space are smaller.
And maybe just being an old person makes me less tolerant of others.
I'm not saying that anyone is "wrong".
I'm just observing one way that the world has changed.
And that it is a way that leaves me even less comfortable functioning in it.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Everyone should have money available to them, in the own name, that no one else can touch.
Many see money in terms of things it can buy for them.
I see it as freedom.
To have enough money that you don't need to rely on anyone else for support, or need to work, is to me freedom.
No matter what your standard of living.
I wish I had learned this sooner than I did.
But I did learn it.
And in time.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I suppose every family or group has at least one.
The sort of person who can't rest if someone has something they don't.
Who has to somehow get part (or most or all) of what someone else has.
Who will manipulate and scheme and plan and plot and whine and hint until they get their share.
Who has this sense of entitlement to what others have achieved or earned.
For whom a fair share or an equal part is never enough.
Who will never rest until they get what they "deserve".
Who totally and utterly believe they are entitled to whatever it is.
Who will happily see their target left with just enough.
Or even not enough.
And who often,
after they get "it",
will just waste it.