Mixed bag of musings

We just got back from a visit to my family, down in the Niagara Peninsula. It's always lovely down there, but spring is one of the best times. As with so much of the rest of the province, spring has been very hasty this year, so flowers, shrubs and fruit trees have all bloomed in a short space of time. Most people seem to find the time to do a little gardening, and the whole area was in bloom. Lovely. Lately though, it seems there's always a diseased branch on that blooming shrub. Sometimes more than one.

While I'm a dedicated wine lover, and always enjoy visiting wineries & sampling their produce, I do miss the orchards that used to line the QEW from just past Stoney Creek right through to the Falls. These days, fruit trees are a liability, it seems, and have been yanked out in favour of lakeside condominium developments, strip malls, and vineyards. Ironically, the vineyards can go on much poorer soil than fruit trees require, but the saddest thing is that most of the prime agricultural land in that very special region has been lost to housing and industrial development. If urban planners had the foresight they claim, development below the Niagara Escarpment would have been forbidden, and the greater part of the development would have been on the top, in the southern part of the Peninsula. Now, every time we make that drive, there are more strip malls & less agricultural land. What a waste.

Much of the development is driven out of Toronto. When I was growing up, we thought of Toronto as "our" big city, and it was even known as "Toronto the Good". Even today, when it's more commonly known as Canada's 1st American city (Calgary's hard on its heels), you can find pockets of greenery and relative peace in unexpected corners of the city. We were there just last weekend, and enjoyed a ferry ride out to the Toronto Islands, where there is a small residential area among the parklands. A welcome relief from the downtown fug, and still within the means of most. There are only a few emergency vehicles allowed, so it's all walking or cycling. We went to a shapenote sing in an old wood-panelled church, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. It took some of the bad taste of the last few weeks' political events out of our mouths.

Provincial politics in Ontario are currently focused on a new amalgamation of federal & provincial sales taxes, which is going to result in an increase in the cost of many essentials for people at all income levels. Not a popular move. However, it's one we can & will have to bear. Less easy to bear is some of the posturing at the federal level. Those who follow G8 and G20 news may have heard of the maternal health care initiative. Our Harpocritical minority Prime Minister and his vegetative colleagues only reluctantly agreed to entertain the issue of birth control as an essential component of the health of women & children, provided that abortion was "off the table". This thinly veiled push to impose their own narrow views on other countries when Canada is a country where a woman's right to choose has been well established has encouraged anti-abortion fanatics here to demonstrate to challenge Canadian women's right to choose. Many of our aid organizations who assist women have had their funding withdrawn, & those remaining appear to have been successfully intimidated into believing that if they speak out theirs will be cut too. I find this both sickening and unnerving. We have had numerous indications, including a wall of silence from the minority regime, that their political tastes are of the totalitarian kind. This should be a wake-up call for Canadians to put pressure on (a) the current regime for maintenance of our right to choose and (b) the other parties who must find some working coalition to depose these petty tyrants at the next opportunity. And some leadership that will have the balls to call for a vote of non-confidence to force an election before the current gang of thugs does any more damage to our culture.

And what am I doing, you may ask? At the moment, a lot of letter writing. Drafting petitions. Talking to people about the situation. Exercising my rights of free speech & choice, and my responsibility to speak out about issues that concern all of us. And, if it comes to it, my marching legs aren't what they used to be, but if necessary I'll rent a scooter!

I suppose our political affairs here don't seem like much with the lunatic fringe holding "tea parties" south of the border, the usual market paranoia in full swing, and most of the Gulf under a film of oil. They're pretty dang serious for us, though.


Is it really THAT long ago?

I didn't realize that my last post here was actually LAST YEAR!

Well, there are some good reasons for that.

1. Spent 65 days travelling in New Zealand (will try to post some pics, sometime, don't hold your breath)

2. Got talked into a couple of consulting contracts that took more of my time than anticipated.

3. Tax season (yuck)

4. Starting my indoor garden so I'll have stuff to transplant outside later this month

5. General procrastination

All of the above, in effect! I simply haven't been doing much in the way of writing, other than keeping a trip journal, which I did the old-fashioned way, with pen & paper. Really haven't been on-line as much, either. However, I'm back now & plan to post semi-regularly, when I have something to say.

Missed the chatter here, but it's impossible to catch up nearly 5 months, so I'll just have to start fresh.