Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Ringing

December has arrived, and with it both dread and anticipation for the Yuletide.

Dread, as this is the 3rd year since my Grand-Dad’s death on December 12th and the sadness it brings both my Mom and my grandfather’s second wife (common law) Noreen, who’s still reeling months later from being moved into a semi-autonomous nursing home.

An addendum to this is that her home was finally put on the market last month and sold a day later to a police office officer and his family. Noreen is absolutely miserable about this, as she has lived in that house for over 40 years, but is resigned. My parents are just waiting for the papers to be signed so that they can get this difficult period done and over with.

This is also a bad time for me as well, as this month usually heralds the onset of my seasonal depression. For a change however, I’ve remembered and have done my best to try to counter it by not only doubling on my meds (Effexor SR 75mg*2), which is ironic, as a couple of years ago I was dead set against taking them at all. The doubling up doesn’t include my Ritalin SR 25mg by the way. I’ve also purchased these new natural daylight bulbs, which according to various medical articles are helpful in improving mental attitude during the long winter months.

When I called my parents on an especially dark feeling evening at the beginning of the month, mostly to try and clear it up, they were kind enough to call me back a few hours later and invite me to come and stay with them in Ste Lazare a few weeks ahead of time. I immediately accepted, which is where I’m typing this now, with Corky the wonder-pom curled up underneath Mom’s computer desk. We’ll be here until after New Year 2006.

It was a good decision. I love it out here in horse country, far away from the hustle and bustle of Toronto, and Corky has never had so much fun dancing in and out of the snow banks. It’s nice to know there’s one dog in this family that isn’t a complete baby with it’s own snowsuit. Don’t get me wrong, I also love the city, but at this time of year, despite all the festivities and good cheer, it makes me feel rather small and insignificant. I’m not the only one that feels that way, and that troubles me that such a happy time of the year is the one where the most suicides occur. Wish it were otherwise and that I could make that happen, but I think it would be cheaper if I just bought each and every person a Coke instead.

I’ve just looked at the calendar, and realized it’s now been a year since I was checked out of detox at 501 Queen Street, which incidentally will be closed next year, as CAMH makes it move to centralize all it’s services at it’s 1001 Queen West locale, site of the old Ontario Lunatic Asylum (brrrrrr). This will include the Donwood eventually, and I personally feel this is a horrible idea, as the Queen West site is far too situated inside the City for any person to feel safe as they wean themselves off whatever personal vices.

We set up the Christmas tree yesterday. Mom invested in these new Noma LED lights that have just come on the market. They use 80-90% less electricity than traditional ones, which in our case comes out to about 8w, but Noma will have to do something about the brightness. I’m all for cutting back on our electricity, but Christmas doesn’t seem the same when you can’t see your @!#$##% tree from the kitchen 12 feet away!!!

Aside from what has already been said, there’s not much else. One of the street kids that lived with me briefly still hasn’t returned my stuff, although he keeps popping up online or calling, saying he wants to get this resolved. Pamela, my friend & co-worker at my buildings volunteer library/clothing bank  is still having problems with Windows XP on my old computer. My sister Laura and her husband Jon will be leaving for Ireland on the 23rd for the Holidays, and my parents will making another trip to the GTA sometime next week to drop Noreen off in Scarborough with her older sister Helen and her family. My friend Derek  just started a new job with the City of Toronto.

Happy Holidays everyone, no matter what you celebrate, and please don’t drink and drive. I’d like to see you all again next year.

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Remembrance Day (Thank You For Your Sacrifice)

I just got into a minor argument with one of my friends when 11h00 came around. He’s been sporting the word “Remember” for the past couple of weeks in regards to Remembrance Day, but when it finally came time to honour it, he was more interested in cozying up with his latest MSN  floozy, who may or may not be a really nice guy, so no offence to him personally.

My point is, and this was validated on CP24 www.cp24.com is that most Canadians no longer even take the 2 minutes out of their schedule today at the designated time to honour those that fought to protect our future.

I remember this day back when I was in Valois Park Elementary School. Our teacher would walk us down the street to the Valois United Church and we would attend a service specifically for that day, then called Veterans Day. I guess this is why I and hopefully others in my class were so impressed on the importance of this day.

Regretfully, this isn’t done much these days in school, in part due to the separation of Church and State, and the 2 minutes is only paid lip service by overpaid administrators that can’t be bothered to put this on the school’s agenda to be discussed between students and teachers as to what this day truly signifies to their charges.

My grandfather, Samuel Arthur King wanted to serve his country during WWII, and it was only due to his poor knees that he was not permitted, so he did the next best thing he could and helped build aircraft that went overseas. You could tell, even years later how that had disappointed him though. But many of his friends, people that he had grown up with, did go over to Europe to fight, and die, protecting us from tyranny. 

Thank you for your sacrifice. I, at least, will not forget. For everyone else….if you happen to see a Veteran today, even if you only recognize this day as a historical footnote, please thank them.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.