Friday, March 27, 2015

Animal Abuse and Human Abuse: Partners in Crime!

When raising my family, we lived in a townhouse complex. A couple of my son's friends, Ross and Robin were outside playing one evening.  Checking on them, I noticed Ross had picked up a cat and began swinging it by the tail around and around many times...the cat with loud “MEOWS.”  Politely I requested he stop this cruelty to someone's pet. Reluctantly he did so and ran home.  In a few minutes his father appeared at my door reprimanding me for interfering with his son's behaviour. 

Acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications
of a minor 'personality flaw' in the abuser.
They are symptoms of a deep mental disorder.

Research and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals, don't stop there: many of them move on to their fellow humans.  “Murderers...very often start by killing and torturing animals as kids,” says Robert K. Ressler who developed profiles  of serial killers for the FBI.  Studies have shown that violent and aggressive criminals are more likely to have abused animals as children.  Psychiatric patients who repeatedly tortured dogs and cats  found that all of them had high levels of aggression toward people.  The deadly violence that has shattered schools in recent years, has in most cases, begun with cruelty to animals.
Because ABUSERS target the powerless,  crimes against
animals, spouses, children and the elderly...go hand in hand.
Children may be repeating a lesson learned at home;
like their parents, they are reacting to anger or frustration.
Research is clear that there are connections between
animal abuse...a domestic abuse...and child abuse.

ABUSE is any behaviour used to gain and/or maintain power/control over another person...usually intentionally, even unintentionally if done habitually. Abuse is never the fault of the victim!

Emotional Abuse:  Violent outbursts of anger, put-downs/bullying, sarcasm, blame, threats (defined as 'Verbal Abuse' );  the silent treatment...forcing of degrading acts...controlling...isolation from family and friends...belittlement of character...threats of killing self, partner or children...are also indicators.

Physical Abuse:  Pushing, shoving, punching, choking, pinching, biting, spitting, striking, threatening with weapons, cutting, restraining, burning, pulling hair, with-holding medical treatment, etc.

Financial Abuse:  Allowing no access to money, running up bills, with-holding financial information, taking it/or belittling your financial contribution, threatening no financial support if you leave.

Sexual Abuse:  Forcing or coercing sex (rape), insisting on specified sexual acts, accusing partner of unfaithfulness, assaulting breasts or genitals.

Relationship Abuse is a pattern of abuse  and coercive behaviour
used to maintain power and control over a former or current partner...
can also be emotional, financial, sexual or physical
and can include threats, isolation and intimidation.
Relationship Abuse is caused by: Sense of Entitlement...A Belief They should have Power and Control Over Their Partner...Belief They Can Get Away With It...Learned Experience that Being Abusive Gets Them What They Want...Belief that Their Lives Should Take Priority!
The foregoing is currently referred to as 
(Reread my email introductory quote on this topic.)

Defined by the Mayo Clinic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental disorder in persons who inflated sense of their own importance...a deep need for admiration and adoration...and a lack of empathy for others. Narcissists project illusions of themselves to control the other's perception of them.

Deep scars from Narcissistic Personality Disorder can cause hurt for years...even the rest of one's life!
The Narcissist, himself/herself may be unaware of the damage caused because it is (or has become) a natural habit for self-satisfaction.

School Abuse:  From my viewpoint, as a retired teacher, it is fully enlightening that 'the powers who be' are getting a positive handle on the bullying actions of students and taking action to lessen these abusive problems! 

Family Abuse:  Yes, this goes on at home and parents usually don't define it as abuse;  they call it discipline!  It is so easy to say to a child...”Don't do this...or Don;t do that!”  This being a 'negative' approach should be exchanged for a 'positive' statement  (e.g. Do This…or Do That) with supporting reasons to affect better and more desirable behaviour.

Child Abuse...Unrecognized in Our Era

Sherrie once wrote me:  At my  hair-cutting school, I witnessed mothers bringing in their daughters (who were not advised ahead of time) to have their hair shorn off and the little girls screamed  and cried their eyes out.  Most of us left the room and cried ourselves.  A Woman's Hair is Her Pride!

Yes, I went to a Catholic Private School...
my Mom cut all my hair off before attending...
traumatizing  for a Mom to do so!  Now you know why I treasure my long hair.

I replied to her:  I had a similar sister and I had long hair.  My scalp seemed sensitive to pain which I always experienced when Mom daily braided my hair.  One day she sent me to a small salon in the village (unknown to me) to have my hair cut!!!!!  I was mortified!  Then when I sadly returned  home in tears to the farm, feeling very hairless, I was doing my portion of cutting the grass (for which my sister and I were weekly responsible). While pushing this lawn-mower...a bird pooped on my head! I WAS TOTALLY UPSET!

Sherrie and I now reflect and agree...these were forms of  Child Abuse.
Parents should discuss matters like this with their children.

In Junior Grade School, my son was late returning home one afternoon. He was in tears due to having 'been strapped' on bare hands by the Principal.  For a couple or three years, he had to wear corrective glasses. Whether it was because of his glasses or classified as an “Advanced Student” (whatever the reason, I didn't know), boys were teasing him and after school dismissal, were throwing stones at him.  This continued for a few days...finally he retaliated and threw stones at them. These bullies reported him to the Principal.

Merle Baird-Kerr...March 16, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

 While it may have originated as a holiday commemorating 'the arrival of Christianity' in Ireland, it's now commonly observed as a 'celebration of Irish culture'...and the Irish are famed for their luck.

My Nephew, Jimmy: March 17th was my birthday ~ my mantra as a Senior Citizen is:  I'm not old...I've just been young a long time.  My day began with numerous congratulatory from my nephew in California whom I've known since he was 5 years old. (That event was when visiting Chile, having my 4-year-old son with me. Next time I met him was autumn 1992.  Jimmy spent 6 months visiting his Aunt Alice in Montreal and us in Burlington...conveniently here for my son's wedding. Upon his return to Chile, he married...then a little later moved to a computer job in California. Such a   a joy for me to meet him and his wife a few times while my son was on work assignment there also!  Communicating frequently, we keep well-family-oriented!  This morning he sent me Birthday Greetings including a family photo with his wife and two boys...who had prepared posters honouring my Birthday.  I share his words with you, dear readers, as they are the most precious any nephew can write to his favoured aunt:
Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday!
To my dear Tia Merle...the great, unique and favourite aunt.  I wish you, dear Tia, the happiest birthday ever.  I will never ever forget the great expectation when I was a child, of your coveted birthday card with one Canadian dollar enclosed for me...which would come every single year for a time remembered as a true lifetime.  I even get emotional when I think of nice of you, dear Tia!  Thank you for being so cool...always there...present and ready to read and advise.  Thank  you, thank you, thank you dear Tia.  These colourful flowers I send represent my truly deep feelings for you, Dear Tia Merle.  I send you a big hug and best sentiments from Marcela and boys.
(This message and flowers brought tears to my eyes.)

My Son's Wife called at 10:30 to wish me Birthday Greetings...along with their children whoexpressed congratulations and chatted about University and High School. They plan to meet next week with a commitment time convenient for all. In early April my son will be home for medical appointments.

Lunch with Friends at the RBG:  It was 'Spring Break' ...the Royal Botanical Gardens was packed with families galore visiting exhibits and participating in structured activities...and The Frog Show  was on display…featuring 17 species from around the world. At 11:30 I met with long-time friends for lunch at The Garden Cafe...the food delicious and the ambiance superb!  These ladies have been friends over many, many always a pleasure when we get together!

A Little Boy Made My Day:  In honour of St. Patrick's Day, I was dressed in a gauzy forest green dress threaded with fine silver striping...wore long green-stone dangling ear rings and green hand- jewellery. At the table behind me, sat a mother with two small blond-haired boys.  Mommy rose, leaned over my shoulder and said, “My younger son commented to me about you and said, 'She's Beautiful!'.  I glanced at this little boy who appeared to be 3 or 4 years old...and motioned for him to come to me.  Very shy, he was reluctant to do so.  I went to him...hugged him...and with a kiss on his cheek, said,
“Your words were very sweet!”  Quietly he murmured, “Thank you.”

The Coffee Club is a group of about a dozen or more women from my seniors' complex who socially meet every Tuesday afternoon from 1:45 to 3 pm for social friendship, coffee, tea and light snacks. A birthday cake with candles celebrates those whose birthday falls within the month.  Each person also presents a Birthday card to the honouree(s). Jeanne and I blew out the two candle flames making a wish.  One of the attendees, Jane had asked me to show her a photo of me in younger days. My wish was to look like this black leathered motorcycle gal complete with black helmet...a photo from 1993. (in those days I was a “Harley Honey”…as females were called). I read all the card messages and exchanged so all could view.  A card from Barbara ~ depicts a tropical rain forest  'scape' of a series of tumbling waterfalls. On the left inner side, a Biblical quote from Genesis 1:27:  So God created people in his own image;  God patterned them after himself. The card further reads “and the world needs you just the way you are.”  
 With her signature, she writes,“Enjoy Your Day...Happy Birthday, Merle.”

The Mailbox:  A birthday card from my son arrived...postmarked from New York City...with his usual humour to MOM.  I don't have the inspiration to write poetry like you do.  But I know you would be thrilled with a birthday card...and further adds...I know to you, 'Age is just a number” you can privately enjoy your special age!

Back to St. Patrick: Returning to my apartment, I'm was in receipt of an email from my son who forwarded the following from an article by Ted Olsen...The Real St. Patrick:

'Tis the season for parades, green beer, shamrocks...and articles talking about why St. Patrick's Day isn't all about parades, green beer and shamrocks.

First, a few misconceptions about Patrick:  Having never been officially canonized by Rome, Patrick isn't really a Saint.  And Patrick couldn't have driven the snakes out of Ireland because there were never any snakes there to begin with.  He wasn't even the first evangelist to Ireland.  (Palladius  had been sent in 431, about 5 years before Patrick went.)  Patrick isn't even Irish.  He's from what's now Dumbarton, Scotland (just northwest of Glasgow).

Patrick was 16 years old in about the year 405, when he was captured in a raid and became a slave in what was still radically pagan Ireland.  Far from home, he clung to the religion he had ignored as a teenager.  Even though his grandfather had been a priest...and his father a town councillor, Patrick 'knew not the true God'.  But forced to tend his master's sheep in Ireland, he spent his 6 years of bondage mainly in prayer.  He escaped at the suggestion of a dream and returned home.

Patrick was in his mid-40's when he returned to Ireland. Palladius had not been very successful in his mission...and the returning former slave replaced him.  Intimately familiar with the Irish clan system (his former master, Michu, had been a chieftan), Patrick's strategy was to convert chiefs first...would then convert their clans through their influence.  Reportedly, Michu was one of his early converts.

Though he was not solely responsible for converting the island, Patrick was quite successful.  He made missionary journeys all over Ireland...and it soon became known as 'one of Europe's Christian centres.'
This, of course, was very important to fifth-century Christians...
for whom Ireland was one of the ...'ends of the earth.'

Audrey Hepburn said, “If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, the excitements and worth-whileness I have been lucky enough to have had ~ not the sadness...nor miscarriages...nor my father leaving home...but the Joy of Everything Else.”

We're lucky to be exactly where we are...with or without the 'pot of gold'. 
Let's make everyday a “Green Day” for the environment!

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 18, 2015
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring! A Time of Renewal...A Time of Hope

 Mutts Cartoon: a long-tailed male birdie perched on an extended branch,
serenades his intended mate in a nearby tree:
“Sweet as sweetest Grecian honey will my song be when I sing,
O Beloved…in the season of the Spring!”
(written by Ruben Dario)

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz;
I wonder where the flowers is.
Although originally  credited to Ogden Nash ~ an American poet (1902-1971) writing pithy and funny verse, the author is in fact...the very famous poet...'Anonymous' ...according to one writer. There are various versions.  The Brooklyn version and by many considered the borough's National Anthem reads:
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz;
I wonder where the boidie is.
The boid is on the wing, but that's absoid
From what I'm told...the wing is on the boid.

          Other Versions:  Spring has sprung and the grass is riz;  I wonder where the daisies is.
                                                      The birdies are chirping in the trees;
                                                       The wind is blowing as it please.
                                                       Everyone's as happy as can be
                                                       'Cause winter's gone as my eye sees.

“The More Snow, the Better” writes Kathy Renwald.  “Fluffy snow is good for the garden, and we got gobs of it this winter.  Light feathery snow insulates your precious plants like a goose down comforter.  Fluffy snow has lots of air in it...and that keeps the temperature warmer at ground level around the base of plants. When the air temperature was -25C degrees, it was -2C under the snow at ground level where the plants reside.  The bonus is that when the snow melts, it waters the plants. That phenomena, called the freeze-thaw cycle is the worst thing for our gardens...often pushing the plants out of the ground exposing their roots to the elements.”

By the reaction of the returning song birds, they all appear to be wondering just why they flew back so soon.  A few...dared even to spend the winter here...grateful for the humans who kept their 'feeding stations' operating. Spring now invites us to consider gardens with a view of protecting butterflies.

Ancaster's 'Butterfly Family' dedicated to preserving threatened species...written by David Churchill ~ The Hamilton Spectator.  Devin Melanson stated, “It just happened.  It started when we decided to go 'pesticide-free' and plant some native species.  Five years ago, the garden included milkweed plants attracting plenty of butterflies.  After a trip to Cambridge's Butterfly Conservatory, it's been a journey of discovery, commitment and love for the entire family...with my wife Sunila and boys now 10 and12.  We raise the butterflies from eggs and then we release them.” Their backyard operation  has expanded beyond native plants.  Our outdoor 'dining tent' has become a summer  home for dozens of butterflies.  Eggs are nurtured and caterpillars are fed  in the 'caterpillar crib'.  The boys help keep a daily watch on the operation and educate neighbours and friends.

Some might only see milkweed as an invasive species and a bit of a nuisance...but it's a source of life for Monarch Butterflies...and being THE ONLY PLANT THE CATERPILLARS EAT.

Last summer the family successfully raised more than 150 Monarchs and gave away another 100 or more eggs for others to look after.  Devin states, “You don't need a big yard and the job's not difficult.”.
Sean, their 10-year old calls the Monarchs...beautiful,
and says he likes how they feel when they land on his hand.

Buy a Toque...Help the Monarchs:  Francois Simard is developing a new line of textiles with a secret ingredient...MILKWEED.  Even someone who's followed the story even slightly knows this much:
The decline in the Monarch Butterfly population ~ 90% over the past 20 years (by some estimates) is the result of the loss of milkweed.  Milkweed is disappearing...largely due to agricultural herbicides used in critical Monarch breeding regions.

Francois says that during his textile work on hemp and flax, someone pointed out to me, “Here's another fiber...milkweed.”  We tried something and it worked.  Encore 3 is now launching its first milkweed absorbent textile kit for Parks Canada to clean up oil and fuel spills.  Milkweed can also be used for cold weather clothing.  Francois Simard plans to launch a garment line in 2016 with a Chicoutami, Quebec-based manufacturer and in transportation as a base material for light-weight thermo-formed panels. It can be blended with other fibers to make textiles for clothing, too.
“Plant a Wild Flower Garden to save the butterflies!”

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud…commonly known as ‘Daffodils’
is a  lyric poem of four verses by William Wordsworth.
The inspiration for the poem came from a walk with his sister
in England’s Lake District

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills;
When all at once I saw a crowd…
A host of golden daffodils..
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And tumble in the milky way ~
They stretched in a never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

Merle Baird-Kerr…compiled March 10, 2015
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Snowflake Creation

  “The first fall of snow is not only an event ~ it's a magical event! You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different...and if this is not 'enchantment' , where is it to be found?”
~ J. B. Priestly ~

I'm a delicate little snowflake
who over the long...frigid Canadian winter,
many humans abused my presence.
And to you I address my message:
You drive too fast with no regard,
smashed your cars or slid in the ditch.
You cursed me 'cause you had to shovel
and accused me for your windshield ice.
My advice:
When it snows, you have two choices
shovel or make snow angels!

But if you understand my creation
you may agree with someone who said,
“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake,
it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”

When an extremely cold water droplet freezes,
I begin to form on a pollen or particle of dust
to become an ice crystal in the sky so high.
As I now fall toward ground, water vapour freezes
onto my primary crystal...building new ones
becoming the six arms of my merging snowflake.
Under a microscope, each of us is...
a lacy white 6-sided crystal (a myriad of different shapes).
Super beauty, I've become ~ created by Mother Nature.

And now, you may ask, “How do I become Snow?”
When temperatures are low and there is moisture,
tiny icy crystals  in the atmosphere form.
When these tiny ice crystals collide,
they stick together in 'clouds'
to become the snowflakes you see floating down.
If enough crystals stick together,
they'll become heavy enough to fall to the ground.

I'm Falling, Falling, Falling...
Softly falling, blanketing the countryside
like an 'eider-down' on the cold barren earth.
With wind and multiple flakes, a brutal blizzard ensues...
turning a 'dreamy winter wonderland'
into a nightmare for humans and cities.
Civilizations, our strength can virtually shut down!

As a snowflake, I'll become white stuff
from beautiful white powder to roadside brownish slush.
If you tary with me, I'll show you many benefits.
You'll praise my attributes in lieu of steady complaints.

I bring you snow at Christmas (if Mother Nature permits)
lading evergreen branches so lovely.
Children make snowballs they joyfully toss;
Dads can help build snow-forts in which to play.
To nearby  hills, take the sled or toboggan
and slide to the bottom with laughterous glee.

After your work week of days and hours,
catch the fresh air to downhill ski
or don your snowshoes to trail quiet forests.
Maybe with family you'll have a sleigh ride
pulled by black horses with bells on harness.

Some people have become ingenious
(like the Eskimos or Inuits e'en today)
to build an 'ice house' like Rory and Jean
in their backyard on Hamilton Mountain.
 Thanks, Mother Nature and Father Winter,
it's 20 feet long and 12 feet wide...
complete with snow shelves, benches, tables and chairs.
For Jean's birthday on February 16,
Rory and neighbours (about 20 or more)
celebrated with music, lights... and of course, cold beer!

After numerous hours of scooping and carving,
says he, “It's the beauty of the snow...
it's great building material...
it insulates...and it's very soundproof!”

Just remember, Dear Humans:
Snow's an important ingredient
for the Olympics and Canada's Winter Games.

I’m honoured by novelists and poets ~
Here are a few cudos they  have writ:

Mehmet Murat ildan:  Snowing is an attempt of God to make the dirty world clean.
Nikki Giovannia:  I love you because no two  snowflakes are alike ~ you are unique.
Aberjhani: In your hands, winter is a book with cloud pages…that snow “pearls of love.”
Mary Oliver:  Snow was falling so much like stars filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine its reason for being…was nothing more than prettiness.

William Hamilton Gibson:  Silent like thoughts that come and go, snowflakes fall, each a gem.
Edmund Hillary:  Despite all I have seen and experienced, I still get the same simple thrill, glimpsing a tiny patch of snow in a high mountain gully…and feel the same urge to climb toward it.
Vista M. Kelly:  Snowflakes are one of Nature’s most fragile things:  just look what they can do when they stick together.

Jared Kintz: We should model the English language after the Inuits who have 52 words for snow.
William Sharp:  There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.  It is still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig…is clad with radiance.
Lama Willa Miller: The snow is sparkling like a million little suns.
Snowflakes are Kisses from Heaven.  (Unknown Author)

Neither 'flake' nor 'fluke' am I ~
I'm a crystal-wrapped Gift from Nature.

Created by Merle Baird-Kerr…March 12, 2015
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Simple Guidelines for Picking House Colours

(excerpts from Vicki Payne's article ~ The Charlotte Observer)
Colour can evoke a visceral response, whether for interior decorating, clothes, makeup or cars.  It makes a first impression...accentuates attributes...and softens flaws...and offers a glimpse into your personality.  The colours you choose can also be influenced by many sources:  friends and neighbours, magazine photos, designs on TV shows...or by experts who annually select what the 'big colours'  will be in home décor, fashion and graphic and industrial design.  However, what's hot today usually has a short lifespan.  Rather than chasing trends, you can be sure you'll be happy for  years to come, by following a few guidelines on choosing exterior colours for your home...whether 'new' or 'rehab'.

Deciding between bright and cheerful colours or deep, rich earth tones
will influence all other decisions.

You don't have to be a colour expert, but you should take a little time to learn how colours work together...or find someone who does.

You'll want to make your home distinctive, but for the sake of your neighbours, be considerate of your selections and surroundings.

Ensure that your choices in siding and trim don't clash with materials  you are not planning to replace such as roof shingles, brick, stone and tile.

The size and lot location of your house matters.  Light colours can make a house look bigger...and dark colours can make it look smaller.  If the house is set back in the lot, a lighter colour can also make it look closer to the street.

Landscaping will continue to grow and change colours as the seasons trees, shrubs, and flowering gardens need to be considered.

Use neutral colours to de-emphasize things such as air conditioning units or gutters and downspouts; use contrasting or accent colours to highlight such things as architectural detailing, porch railings, windows and front doors.

Once you have selected your colour  palette...ensure the quality (and warranties if applicable) of your product purchases...this is conducive to the homeowner's 'peace of mind.'

Keeping your home's exterior looking fresh and timely
doesn't have to be challenging!

New Home Construction
For several years I represented builders as a Sales Person...often assisting the home-buyers with their detailed purchase options...both exterior and interior decisions...from choices of brick, siding, shingles and paint trim to cupboards and flooring, etc. In a sizeable North Burlington survey, I purchased one of the builder's designs; he advised me that my choice of lot would be the last one to be purchased (since construction vehicles needed this lot to reach the rear of other homes under construction). 

Many customers selected brick of standard tones...Burlington Beige (as we called it), brick reds, browns and ivories with siding on the upper levels and shingles to co-ordinate.  My choice of brick was a silver-gray with charcoal roofing.  Although the builder included 'shutters' on the front windows, he was amazed that I requested them on all windows...why not?  I'd be utilizing my back yard more than the front!  These he painted an 'indigo blue' ...very attractive!  Then I added a front yard 'lantern-style lamp post' from which I could hang exterior colourful wreaths with ribbons as seasonal accents. 

For the interior, although 2 or 3 carpet colour selections were available, I chose a light gray marble-patterned ceramic flooring for the service areas and a silver-gray carpet to run living and dining rooms, the staircase runner, upper hallway and all bedrooms. This neutral colour-scape allowed personal selections by each family member...navies, wedgewood blues, pinks or rose...even tangerine for décor accents. Such a 'joy' to create a colour scheme for both exterior and interior!

My front gardens flowered with delphinium, larkspurs, blue lobelia and rosebushes...accented with miniature evergreens (dwarf conifers) e.g. mugo pines. The backyard housed a deck, utility shed (with shutters, of course) with attached doghouse. Gardens of annuals and perennials were my 'pride and joy'.

When my builder began a new survey in Walker's Heights,
I fell in love with a specific design ~ considering it a good investment,
I started all over again...with a lot across from a parkette of trees and stream.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written March 10, 2015
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Friday, March 6, 2015

Toothbrush Saga

Look back and Smile on Perils Past!
(Walter Scott)

I'm an adult toothbrush, well designed of blue, white and red.
My name is “Colgate”  because I came with the paste.
Mistress uses me twice daily, her ivories and gums to clean,
 places me on a shelf over the body-waste-fixture.

It may have been January end...or perhaps  early Feb.
She flushed the toilet...its contents to rid.
Her hand caught my handle ~ I flipped to swirly waters.
She tried to catch me...but it was in vain!

Down the drain I caught in the “elbow”, wedged like a canyon rock.
“Please! Someone Rescue Me from This Terrible Ordeal.”
I fear I'm trapped tightly...either up or down, I cannot move!
The water comes and the water goes...and I'm still here,
existing in a space of rushing stagnant water...
I want to breathe air and I want to feel needed.

Mike, the Service-man from our building came
to my apartment to have a look.
He replaced a contraption in the holding tank
and hoped, with a few more flushes
my “being” would downward go.
“No Such Luck!  I Was Stuck!”
Mike told Mistress he'd return another day;
“To reach the pipe bend would be a Big Job.
Several hours it'd be to take toilet apart.
Or hire a plumber and pay three hundred bucks.”

Mistress was vary careful to cause no more disaster.
She didn't want an overflow on the washroom floor.
February passed...and so did March
and Mike? He  never did appear
(due to a job transfer)!

My life may not continue if not rescued soon:
My skin rubs the pipe sides ev'ry time the water's flushed;
I'm smelling like h__, withering and losing my slender shape.

A new Service-man came and Mistress relayed our dreadful plight.
Other emergencies of greater importance...he'd have to tend to them first!

Because my edges have become well-smoothened;
a little bit now, some movement I can sense.
Every time the water swirlingly comes,
I have high hopes I'll be rescued soon.

What is my choice?
To go through the lengthy pipe-line
or return to my worrying Mistress?
'Tis said “Good Things Come to They Who Wait!”
So, here I wait.

April, May and June are now long gone and we're into July.
I MUST Help Myself...if I possibly can!
Keep moving a bit with each water flush...
and maybe, just maybe...I'll be released.

Well, when the water slowly swirled,
I was able to float and swim to the top,
Mistress saw me...tried grabbing my bristles.
My body was so slippery, she lost her grasp.
And, once again I sank to the elbow
in very deep depression.

It was July it's Now or Never!
A New Day Tomorrow...and a New Month!
To the surface I must bust
with energy bursts determined.
“If at first, you don't succeed
you must try again...and again..”

Mistress saw me at the water's edge .
She tried to grasp, yet again I slid.
She reached past “the point of no return”
and there she felt my slippery self.
Holding tightly, she slowly inched me
past this “point” ... and from the water,
Thoroughly she rinsed me under the tap
and with paper towel, I was quickly dried.
And now the ‘body-waste-fixture’
is full-flush operational.

Mistress showed me Mint, her new “green and white”
and promised me a better life.
With a special prayer, I was sent  to “Toothbrush Heaven”.

  Colgate's Final Words were,
 “Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you.”

 “Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence.
The extra energy required to make another effort
or try a another approach ~  is the secret of winning.”
(Denis Waitley of the National Council of Self Esteem)

Merle Baird-Kerr...this true incident written August 3, 2014
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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Salute to March 2015

Winter Fancy
(composed by Kate-Lynn Reavley, a Grade 9 student at Delta Secondary School)

Today is the day...I can feel it so sound;
It's like happy little birds prancing on the ground
covered in a thin sheet of plastic.
The day is divine.  No need to be drastic!
The trees are bare, stripped of their leaves.
The air has been chilled, as the town's people breathe.
The snow has been falling for days upon days.
It's harder to see from winter's white glaze;
But no matter the weather, the day is still sound.
Those birds are still prancing
On the cold winter's ground.

Winter Fire Safety: (from Hamilton's Fire Department)
Burn dry, well-seasoned wood in fireplaces and wood stoves to reduce risks of excessive creosote. Allow ashes from your wood stove or fireplace to cool before emptying into a metal container with a tight fitting lid.  Keep the container outside.
Don't warm up a car or a snow blower by letting the engine run
in an attached garage, due to carbon monoxide levels .
Only use portable generators outdoors and place it where fumes will not enter the building. Keep space heaters at least one metre away from anything that can burn. Replace worn or damaged electrical wires and connections on vehicles and extension cords...and use the proper gauge extension cord for vehicle block heaters.

Health is Wealth:  (Nuts in moderation)  Even though nutrition experts say, “It's a good idea to eat nuts to keep your heart healthy,” only 1 in 4 adults eat nuts on any given day...and more women than men consume nuts.  Packed with nutrients high in protein, their consumption shows reduced incidences of heart disease in both men and women. About a handful of nuts is the daily amount (between 240 & 280 calories) depending on the type of nut.

Milking the Cow to Testing the Milk:  Yes, I was raised on a farm ~ and milked Jersey, a few Guernsey and Holstein cows twice daily.  The milkings were placed (in large milk cans) at the roadside and taken to a dairy to be pasteurized.  TODAY, Milk Truck Drivers, who are licensed specialists, take a sample of the milk on each farm they visit. The milk samples are then sent to the University of Guelph  laboratory where they undergo several 'quality assurance tests'.
From a rural public school autograph book:
They wandered down the lonely lane…
No love was on their brow
For he was the farmer’s hired man
And she was the Jersey cow.

Nature's Riches:  Mother Nature was having a good day when she came up with the frog design!  What a plan for a species ~ starts as an egg ~ lives like a fish for a while ~ then crawls onto land to spend the rest of its life jumping like a kangaroo. If that wasn't good enough, the creature was outfitted with a lightning-fast-tongue that lets it grab insects out of the air without moving the rest of its body.  And then, there is the 'ribbit' thing.  No identity crisis with this amphibian.

Coyotes in Distress:  They are just trying to survive!  Residential areas are becoming inundated with coyotes.  They are not the 'Big Bad Wolf'!  They have the same right to share this earth as we do. According to Tina Dior, a letter writer to the Spectator, “It is human greed and destruction that pushed coyotes out of their space...and brings them closer to us.  Surviving in a changing world is making it hard for all animals and humans alike. Don't put negative spins on animals!”

Bizarre Amazing Fact:  (True)  In 1140 when Wiebertreu Castle was defeated by King Konrad III, the women of the castle were granted 'free departure' and allowed to take what they could carry.  Thinking quickly, the women carried the men on their backs.  The King kept his word...and let the men live!

Best Sermons are Lived:  Today, in the cutest voice, my 8-year old daughter asked me to start recycling.  I chuckled and asked, “Why?”  She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.”  I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?”  She said, “Because that's where I keep all my stuff!”  (Courtesy of a collection from Carolyn).

Medical Advice:  Dr. Oz had a show on 'the fastest growing cancer in women...thyroid cancer!'  The increase could possibly be related to the use of dental X-rays and mammograms.  He demonstrated that on the apron the dentist puts on you for your dental X-rays, there is a small flap that can be lifted up and wrapped around your neck.  Many dentists don't bother to use it.  Also, there is something called a 'thyroid guard' for use during mammograms.  A patient states that she felt a little silly, yet asked about 'the guard' ...and sure enough, the technician had one in a drawer. She asked why it wasn't routinely used.  Answer?  “I don't know.  You have to ask for it.”
We need to pass the foregoing on to our family females and friends!

MBK's NewsBits:  “First Mustangs for China are on the way,” Ford says its first shipment of around 100 Mustangs has left Portland, Oregon and is headed to China.  Shipments to Europe will begin later this year.  The 2015 Mustang, which is made in Michigan, will be available in more than 100 markets.

“Good Samaritans”: A resident of the YWCA named Jojo took extra scarves donated to the Y and wrapped them around a tree in Hamilton’s Gore Park with a sign offering them to people in need.

At LaSalle Park in Burlington, Barbara Canney distributes dried corn and peas to the trumpeter swans, ducks and geese.  With the weather so cold, the water near the boat ramp (where they feed) is frozen.  “Friends of the Trumpeter Swans” keep about 140 swans fed throughout the year.

Notable Dates
                       March 8 (Sunday) ~ Daylight Saving Time Begins (except Sask.)
                                              March 9 (Monday) ~ International Women’s Day
                                              March 16 (Monday) ~ International Brain Awareness Day
                                              March 17 (Tuesday) ~ St. Patrick’s Day
                                              March 18 (Wednesday) ~ Ash Wednesday
                                              March 20 (Friday) ~ First Day of Spring
                                              March 29 (Sunday) ~ Palm Sunday

Irish Mothers Chat:  Kate and Lorna, two Irish mothers were talking about their sons. Kate says, “My son, Patrick is such a saint.  He works hard, doesn’t smoke, hasn’t looked at a woman in over 2 years.” Laura responds, “Well, my Francis is also a saint! Not only hasn’t he looked at a woman in over 3 years, he hasn’t touched liquor in all that time! I’m going to throw him a big party when he’s paroled!”

Merle Baird-Kerr…compiled February 17, 2015
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