Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009......Hello 2010

Well, I'm ringing out the old year somewhat under the weather. My nose is running like Niagara Falls. I have a concussion from the sneezing. My body aches all over, my head is pounding and even my eyes hurt! This was not exactly how I wanted to spend my time off. Nor is it the way I would like to be ringing in the New Year. Oh well; such is life. All I can hope for is that this is not an omen of things to come in 2010. Needless to say, seeing 2009 fall by the wayside won't be that hard to do. Not that it was a difficult year, (I've had worse), but, when evaluating the past 365 days, I can see room for improvement.

From a health standpoint, now that I have hit the big Five-O, I have to pay closer attention to my diet. Diet meaning more along the lines of what and how much I am eating as opposed to going on a diet. Diet's are good for some, I suppose, but if you want to constantly fail, I wouldn't recommend it. Especially for me. For one, I like to cook. And two, I like to eat what I cook. Part of the problem this past year has been injuries to my old body which has slowed my recovery period. I usually play sports all year long. Pick a season and I will tell you the sport. And this past year, I have added bike trekking to the list. And when I am injured and can't get out there doing what keeps the flab off, well let's just say, it ain't pretty. When I look down at my feet, I can still see my toes........barely. I'm still a couple of weeks away from my knee injury to completely heal and then, with any luck, I can get back out and play the rest of my hockey season. Fingers crossed!

Another way I wanted to make a change for 2010 was in donating to worthy causes. One in my backyard and one in somebody else' to speak. On Christmas morning, while sitting back having my coffee, there was a program put on by The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation. With every gut-wrenching story, my heart went on a roller coaster ride which did not always end happily. To say that I had leaky eyes would have been an understatement extraordinaire. Recognizing that every little bit helps, I made a monthly pledge that, based on what I heard, would help to generate enough money to continue to further the research in children's illnesses and find the cures or at best, assist in the treatment. I have no doubt that if you saw the little one's that I saw, your heart would melt too!

Now, earlier this year while I was getting ready for work, I was watching one of those Breakfast Television shows that we all have. My favourite is Breakfast Television which broadcasts out of Toronto. The upbeat atmosphere of this particular morning crew always ensures that I leave for work in good spirits. Earlier this year, Jennifer Valentyne, who does the Live Eye segment of the show, traveled to Rwanda with The Courage Brothers and World Vision to witness some to the water projects that this group has devoted part of their life to. Tomorrow, at 2pm sharp, they will be conducting their Polar Bear Dip 2010. You can read up on it here. Needless to say, it is a chilly affair, well worth the cause and generates money for creating clean water for those communities that so desperately need it. This is one of the options that I am thinking about.

A second option is to sponsor a child from one of these countries in need. Hopefully, whereby the money is more focused on the individual child. Decisions, decisions.

Okay, before I go any further, I need to say this. As a general and personal rule when it comes to charities and donations, I never and I mean ever divulge any of my actions or intentions. The reason being is that I think broadcasting it takes away a certain part of the action itself. To me it should be selfless and humble. But I think, once in a Blue Moon, if you tell people what you are doing, it may generate some action within them as well. If possible that is. Dropping money into somebody's hand is a different matter because to me, it helps an individual with a face immediately. What they choose to do with that money, I have no control over. Money handed over to the likes of World Vision where they seek out the best possible way to spend and distribute that money well, I will leave that up to their expertise. Personally, I used to hate such organizations because the feedback coming back was that executives were lining their pockets with the donations. Or, that corruption within those countries in need was always front page news and didn't seem worthy. Now my thoughts have changed based on the hands on actions such as The Courage Brothers and Jennifer Valentyne.

I took a bit of a pause here because I did make up my mind and chose to do both. Tomorrow, I will donate to the Polar Bear Dip. I'm not that brave (or stupid) to plunge into freezing cold water (not intentionally at any rate). Let's face it, my heart would probably stop. What I did just finish doing was to sponsor a child. Her name is Fatimata, she is six years old and comes from Mauritania. I'm supposed to receive an information package withing the next couple of weeks and will post more information and possibly a photo of her. I know you will love her. She's a cutie.

So, where am I going with all of this. A new year is upon us. Everyday we have our own personal struggles that life tries to trip us up with. But, compared to some others, we live a life that is fairly safe and somewhat secure. It's pretty safe to say that we do not expect to be overrun by a bunch of fanatics hellbent on trying to murder us in your sleep. And it's also pretty safe to say that if you are thirsty, all you have to do is to turn the tap on in your kitchen and fill a glass of fresh clean water without any side effects. For literally the price of a coffee a day, we as individuals, can make quite a difference in a child's life either in our own backyard or the backyard of one of our World communities. Open up an atlas, close your eyes, and randomly pick spot and I am pretty sure that somebody there could use your help. On the World Vision web page I was on, there were another 2011 names waiting for a heart like yours.

So, as I sniffle my way out of this year, I would like to convey the very best wishes of a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all of my Blogger Friends and their families out there. I know that in some cases life has presented many obstacles for you. It tested your patience, your understanding, compassion and empathy. But you survived the year so don't lose focus on the pluses. Remember every time you needed to go to the well, “just one more time” and remember not just the journey but the experience. It may come in handy some time soon if not for yourself, then maybe for one of your neighbours.

I will leave you with this little poem by William Arthur Ward:

“Another fresh new year is here...
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest...
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to write some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”

Happy New Year Everybody

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas.....gone to the Dogs!

In case you haven' t figured it out yet, I have a soft spot for a couple of little furballs by the name of Daisy and Jake whom I paid a little Christmas visit. This is Daisy's second Christmas and Jake's first. Jake is still a baby although he has kind of outgrown Daisy already. Needless to say, they provided me with a couple of happy memories when I watched them tackle their loot from Santa Paws! Daisy, with the better sniffer and a little more experience, led the way. Jake didn't seem to mind. Spoiled just a bit or what. But what they give back in love and affection is priceless. My friend is lucky to have these two and I don't mind making them happy too!

From my trip through Blogland, I know you all had your own very special Christmas memories and what memories they are. I just thought I would share a couple of mine with you all. Enjoy!

Well...can we open 'em up or you gonna make us suffer all day?

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!

Ya got enough tape on here bub?

Help me out here, will ya Jake.

That'a boy! Your not as dumb as you look!

Okay, okay I got it. You can go now!

See how easy that was.


Tum de dum de dum! Snacks for my tummy tum tum!

We hit it big Jake! Not sure how that happened!

A regular Smorgasbord!

Did we both get the same?

Hey! A toy too!

Let's have some of these first.

Not done figurin' all this paper stuff yet.

Hey Daisy, whatcha got there?'s mine...had my name on it!

I need a little snoozer. Wake me in a few will ya?

Never mind...I'll (zzzzzzz) catch (zzzzzzz) ya later.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Oh Holy Night

Joyeux Noël tout le monde! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

It's done! It's over! The hustle and bustle; the second guessing and the fine tuning of the menu. Now we can all sit back. Take it all in and enjoy the coming hours in whatever fashion that has become our tradition. That is, if you have not left anything to the bitter end, like gift wrapping for instance. And of course, right to the end, I was reminded of how fortunate of a life I have. In my final dash to pick up some last minute items, a solitary figure sat on the ice cold ground in front of a local shopping mall. He was rhythmically strumming his guitar to sheet music which lay in front of him and singing, with a very fine voice, Christmas Carols. In front of him, a red box to collect whatever offering passersby could spare. I went in the store and as quickly as possible, grabbed the last of my necessaries and exited along the outside of this man so I could intentionally pass in front of him. I stopped and dropped in some folding money alongside the cold coins that sat at the bottom of his box. I was rewarded with a wide toothed grin and a thank you. As I walked away, he continued to sing, in tune and with grace.

To me, this man was not begging. He was earning what little people paid to hear him sing, if only for a few brief moments. I'm quite pissed at myself right now because, although I did have the time, I did not stop to talk with this fellow. Yes, I may have dropped in some cash, but I could have been more charitable and found out what his story was instead of trying to guess while I journeyed home. On my way home, my brain ran crazy with questions as to what could this man, at this late moment be trying to accomplish that he was not able to do earlier. Or perhaps that was just me trying to appease myself for not stepping up to the plate. In my mind and in my heart, I have failed.

Now, as I sit and reflect of the things that I could have done, it does me no good. The moment was there, and I blew it. To me, the money that I dropped in his box, is meaningless. To this man, later on it may have been helpful toward whatever it was he was trying to accomplish. But I forgot a very valuable lesson. That this man , this fellow human being, was humbling himself at this special time of the year to make a little Christmas for himself and perhaps others in his life. I will never know. Although I never wish to ever have to encounter this kind of situation again, I know I will. Maybe there is hope that the next time, I will slow down a little and get it right.

And now, tonight as we get in our comfy's and settle in to enjoy the Christmastide with our families and friends, I do not want to forget my blogger friends out there. We all come from different backgrounds and celebrate Christmas in many ways. Some of us may have had to tighten our belts a little and be grateful for our circumstances such as they are. In true Christmas Spirit, we provide merriment regardless of those circumstances and have the memories in our hearts and photo albums as proof. Tonight I am taking this time to write this little blurb as not only a reminder to myself for my earlier transgression, but also to remember all of you.

From Mr. Beaks, Mr. Belvedere, (my Budgie boys) and myself, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you all enjoy a safe and happy holiday season filled with many happy and treasured memories. Wherever you are and whatever your traditions. Keep the Spirit of Christmas forever in your hearts and remember this, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Book and The Ballad of Befana

Well, the days are tumbling off of the calendar faster than the rising anticipation in a child's eyes. Crowds still are hurrying and scurrying trying to get in the last of their shopping done. Most everything I needed to do at this point, is done. Save for the food items which I will get in the next couple of days. The shopping malls, as far as I was concerned, did not appear as chaotic as I had expected. Either people are a little more organized with their shopping or have scaled it down some. I did hear some crying though and saw a few rivers of tears flowing. Some of it was even coming from children. But all in all, I didn't think it was that bad. Maybe I'm just looking only for the good.

About an hour or so ago, I did go out and be a kid for a little while. Sorry no pics....forgot my camera but I will take some next time. Anyways, in the city where I live, we have a skating rink in front of our City Hall. So, our neighbouring city decided that they too, wanted to do something similar for their fair citizens. I live right on the cusp of the two, so I get to share in everything. They installed it in front of one of the shopping plazas and today was the “Grand Opening” for the rink. Needless to say, I needed to get out and give it a spin, wonky knee and all. It was fun just to skate around weaving in and out of the parents holding onto their children as well as some of the adults who were just learning how to skate. Let's just say that there were a few snowy bottoms. I didn't want to overdo it because I want to get back to hockey in the coming year but, I still had fun. There is just something captivating about a crowd of smiling happy faces enjoying the winter this close to Christmas.

Anyways, as of noon on Christmas Eve, I will be off of work until the New Year and I am looking forward to that break more than I thought I would. It's been a busy year with a lot of change and now I can take some much needed time to rest and reflect. My plan is to not try and visit everybody in one day. Santa, it seems has that job pretty well covered so I will leave that miracle to him. I plan on spreading it out a bit, stretching it out as long as I can. Less stress that way I figure. I'm guessing that many of you are in the same boat and are just trying to survive the next few days before enjoying your time with family and friends. Just take it easy and enjoy the time. There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas at least not counting the first one. And with that, I will leave you with this poem that I dug out of my favourite Christmas book called, appropriately enough, 'The Book of Christmas'. The title of the poem is , 'The Ballad of Befana (An Epiphany Legend)' and was written by Phyllis McGinley. Enjoy!

The Ballad of Befana
(An Epiphany Legend)

Befana the Housewife, scrubbing her pane,
Saw three old sages ride down the lane,
Saw three gray travelers pass her door -
Gaspar, Balthazar, Melchior.

"Where journey you, sirs?" she asked of them.
Balthazar answered, "To Bethlehem,

For we have news of a marvelous thing.
Born in a stable is Christ the King."

"Give Him my welcome!"
Then Gaspar smiled,
"Come with us, mistress, to greet the Child."

"Oh, happily, happily would I fare,
Were my dusting through and I'd polished the stair."

Old Melchior leaned on his saddle horn.
"Then send but a gift to the small Newborn."

"Oh, gladly, gladly I'd send Him one,
Were the hearthstone swept and my weaving done.

"As soon as ever I've baked my bread,
I'll fetch Him a pillow for His head,
And a coverlet too," Befana said.

"When the rooms are aired and the linen dry,
I'll look at the Babe."
But the Three rode by.

She worked for a day and a night and a day,
Then, gifts in her hands, took up her way.
But she never could find where the Christ Child lay.

And still she wanders at Christmastide,
Houseless, whose house was all her pride,

Whose heart was tardy, whose gifts were late;
Wanders, and knocks at every gate,
Crying, "Good people, the bells begin!
Put off your toiling and let love in."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Where I Live

Well, as you will see, winter is here even before it officially starts. On the week end, before the rains made things a bit of a mess, I had an opportunity to walk around one of our local parks. Earlier this summer, this was the same sight of our Rib n'Beer fest and our Multi-Cultural Event. Back then, crowds of people covered this particular area, basking in the blue skies and sunshine. As you will see, it is now covered mostly by snow but the sun was still shining. Fortunately, yes, I said fortunately, more snow came along to "clean" things up a bit. Consider it a little bit of a Winter Maintenance Program in preparation for the visit of St. Nick himself. It just kinda makes it easier for him to land his sleigh. Sandy beaches kinda dulls out the runners....if you know what I mean! I took the night pics last evening as the snow fell, silently blanketing the neighbourhood. However, the festive lights put quite a sparkle on the area. So, to my friends Down Under and to those whose back yards resemble more sand dune than snow hill, here is the pleasantry that I get to enjoy at this time of the year. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Christmas Fun

Nancy of LIFE IN THE SECOND HALF, has invited us to all have a little Christmas fun. She joined in the fun via the Good Cook's blog and so it goes... So if you would like to play along, please do. Here are the instructions:

If you're reading this post, then you must:

(a) leave a comment and answer the below 25 questions that Mandy made up,

(b) write the answers to the questions below in your own blog post, if you have a blog, that is.

or (c) call yourself a scrooge in the comment below and refuse to answer them.

I hope you choose (A) or (B) but if you choose (C) then I'll just let the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future deal with you. If you do decide to write your own blog post about it, please mention Mandy since she is the author of these important questions. (Writers credit and all that jazz - thanks!)

(1) What is your favorite Christmas movie?
The Bishop's Wife (with Carey Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven)

(2) What is your LEAST favorite Christmas movie?
The Santa Claus 2

(3) What is your favorite Christmas song?
The Kid by Clint Black

(4) What Christmas song(s) drives you crazy?
Blue Christmas by anybody!

(5) What is your favorite Christmas drink? (i.e. egg nog, hot chocolate)
Hot Apple Cider with Cranberry and Cinnamon.

(6) What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Christmas as a child with my mother.

(7) What is the best toy/gift you've received on Christmas?
See #6

(8) What is the worst toy/gift you've received on Christmas?
No such thing.

(9) What do you LOVE about the holidays?
Watching the kids, anybody's kids, meeting Santa in the malls.

(10) What annoys you about the holidays?
Hearing people say, “I want.....”.

(11) Do you prefer star or angel on top of a Christmas tree? Or something else?

(12) What is your family favorite recipe at Christmas?
Beef Wellington for two!

(13) Are you a Grinch or a Who at Christmastime?

(14) Christmas light displays - Love them or Hate them?
Love them! Well worth wasting gas to see.

(15) Santa's at the mall - Fun times or Creepy?
It all depends on how “into it” the person is getting. If he can engage the kids, all the better.

(16) Christmas cards - do you send them, yes or no?
Yes. Where I used to work, I would personally deliver them along with a Candy Cane.

(17) What is the best thing about Christmas, in your opinion?
Still seeing the magic in the eyes of some of the seniors. There is an uncanny glow about them when you talk to them about Christmas.

(18) What is the worst thing about Christmas?
Those who forget that it isn't all about Santa.

(19) When do you put the tree up and take it down?
Depends on how busy I am but it does come down the first week of the new year.

(20) Out of the 12 days of Christmas, which day and item would you want your true love to give to you?
First I need a 'True Love'.

(21) Why do you think that Grandma got run over by a reindeer?
Too much spiked Egg Nog!

(22) Who is your favorite reindeer?
Rudolph naturally. I didn't see any other reindeer with their name in lights.

(23) Do you believe in Santa Claus?

(24) What is your favorite smell at Christmastime?
A simmering pot of Cinnamon and Cloves.

(25) What would make you happy at Christmas this year?
Just knowing that I have made somebody's day. Anybody really.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Bug Bites

Well, I've just been sittin' around kinda sorta pleased with myself as I look at a few of the Christmas packages resting at my feet. Up until last weekend, I had yet to be bitten by the Christmas bug. Not deeply at any rate. A couple of Saturdays ago, I had time to kill while waiting to see a friend of mine performing in a Christmas show in Burlington. So I decided to do an errand at the city mall where I just so happened to turn in. My first thought, as I heard the first strains of Christmas music filtering through the speakers strategically placed throughout the mall, was of feeling sorry for the many clerks having to hear 'that Christmas' music day in and day out. Bah Humbug, I thought momentarily. Who am I to talk? I actually have a collection of around 20+ Christmas CD's and realized I should just shut those stupid thoughts. After all, I was on my way to listen to some of those Carols later that evening.

I quietly shuffled around the mall looking at all of the displays in the windows, taking in the colorful and sparkling decorations and inhaled the unmistakable smell of gingerbread cookies. Off in the distance I could hear the rhythmic jingling of a bell and the muffled but distinct sound of somebody's jolly Ho Ho Ho's. Stopping briefly to get a cuppa, I then walked around the corner and came smack dab into an endless line up of children anxiously waiting their turn to have a chat with the jolly ol' elf. That was when I could feel the first nibbling at my butt. As I walked around the display where they had Santa holding court, I smiled as I saw on the back of the shack the feed buckets of Mr. Claus' Reindeer. One each with their names proudly displayed, there was Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and of course one for Rudolph. A lot of creativity went into that particular setting, I thought with a grin.

The parents couldn't take enough pictures as they patiently posed their children all around the display. Naturally, this put a smile in my heart as I began looking a little more seriously at some of the merchandise and began making a mental list. It didn't take me long as began picking up this and that and realized that maybe the bite went a little deeper than I had originally thought.

Tonight as I began typing my thoughts, I dug out the buried Christmas CD collection and popped one in. I have many favorites and not just the usual round of suspects. The first compilation I stuck in was an old collection of Country Christmas Classics which includes Let it Snow by Lorrie Morgan, The Kid by Clint Black and Christmas in Dixie by Alabama. But, I have to say, one of my all time favourite Christmas songs is one by Clint Black called Slow as Christmas. (Sorry I couldn't find a clip to include here but I will include the lyrics.) To me, the lyrics kind of epitomizes the agony a child goes through in the weeks leading up to Christmas fearful of missing it. But as an adult, I look at this and think how precious little time we have to actually sit back and enjoy it.

If we aren't busy working, we are out fighting in the malls. Planning and scheduling this and that. Taking care of family matters which appear to become exacerbated at this time of the year. There are just so many things our brains are capable of juggling. And now, more than any other time of the year, people become more aware of the stresses which surround them. Not just their own but by those who are close to them as well. Every nerve ending appears to become that much more sensitive triggering uncontrollable emotions. Our inner strength, which generally motivates us throughout the year, seems to fail some of us as the Festive Season draws closer. Scar tissues seems to suddenly become a little more tender. Old memories which were safely tucked away at other parts of the year, suddenly and painfully are brought to mind, yet again. There is nothing we can really do about that. It happens.

What we can do is to keep in mind that we have the capacity to create new, fresher and longer lasting memories. Memories worth remembering don't just create themselves. Every day something special happens either around us or because of us. We should be at the forefront ensuring that what we do today becomes somebody's memory tomorrow. Christmas is not just a's a Season. And a very special season. There is the religious aspect of the season, which of course, we should never forget. Generated by the humble beginnings of the Christ Child. Then there is the Christmas as seen through the eyes of a child. And seeing as how we are all God's children, I don't see the harm in trying to be one, for just a little while.

What is the harm in forgetting that you are an adult for a few moments at a time. Life is short......precious......but short. If you don't have fond memories of Christmas as a child, create some. When the snow flies, build a snowman or a snow fort. Take the kids up a snow covered hill and fly down on a toboggan with them. If somebody you know would never expect you to wing'em with a snowball, fall behind them and gather some in your mittens. And then, when the time presents itself, (insert mischievous grin and giggle here), let 'em have it! I guarantee that you will get a reaction.........and a memory. As the cold north winds blow and the snows begin to fall, bundle everybody up and take a stroll in your neighbourhood. Enjoy the many brightly decorated houses which are normally just a passing blur as you are rushing to get home from somewhere.

Not everything has to have an adult theme to it. Like cocktail parties and adult only dinners where alcohol and sob stories abound. Invite your friends over but have them bring their skates with them. Go skating on the ice in front of City Hall. (Okay, I'm lucky. This year I will have two to choose from). Have a festive pot luck afterwards and watch Christmas movies or a Christmas Carol sing along. These things cost but a pittance when you think of the priceless memories you will get in return. And take pictures.........lot's of pictures. These will add to future celebrations.

As I said somewhere up above. I was just sitting around, kinda sorta pleased with myself. Knowing that I have already put into gear, memories that I know have not happened yet, but will. My heart has swelled up just a little bit more today and that's okay. I will just eat a few more hor d'oeuvres and make some room. As the upcoming days tumble off the calendar and we get a little closer to Christmas Day itself, take time for an occasional pause. When somebody wishes you a Merry Christmas, don't just say, “you too”. Look them in the eyes and say it from your heart. When somebody offers you their hand, hold it a little tighter. And when somebody gives you a hug, hold them a little longer. Remember, todays treasures are tomorrow's memories. Enjoy the Christmas Season and as Tiny Tim would say, “God Bless us.....everyone.”

Slow As Christmas

(Clint Black/Hayden Nicholas)

You're as slow as Christmas, I was up before the dawn
Up so fast I missed it or was that old saying wrong
Every Christmas day makes every other day seem long
what seemed would never get here
Has so quickly come and gone

(Verse one)
I've heard old sayings, old cliches and
Most of them make sense
But we're wiser in our younger days not easily convinced
There's no way to look ahead with the wool over your eyes
And it seems that Santa's sled isn't the only thing that flies

(repeat chorus)

(Verse two)
We're bringing in another year let's throw that old one back
With my new train I'll be the engineer
And hurry down the track
While I know that time is standing still
I hear that old cliche
And I'm more convinced it does until......
that one December day

(Chorus two)

When I'm as slow as Christmas
I'll be up before the dawn
I'm not gonna miss this
I know that old saying's wrong
Every Christmas day makes other day seem long
what seemed would never get here
Has so quickly come and gone,
Come and gone.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 be the Judge!

As I begin my graceful aging process (cough, hack, choke), I realize how much more reflective I have become. And, how acutely aware I am of some of the crap that comes out of the mouths of some individuals. What I believe has happened in this particular growth stage of mine, is that I no longer find any of this mindless gutter tripe humorous any more. Not that I ever really did. I just basically ignored it, associating it with the brains that spawned it. Even as I sit here thinking about what is on my mind, I think about the hypocrisy behind my own thoughts. Here I am, knowingly thinking about the ignorance of certain people, but in a way, being just as ignorant. How can you really put an end to it?

Today I was in a meeting where a good chunk of the time was spent by some of these individuals making comments about, well, pick something and I'm sure they covered it. As our time for the meeting was coming towards a close and were waiting for somebody to return, one of those in attendance asked me what I thought about the meeting. And, as is known to happen from time to time, I said aloud what I was thinking. What I said was, “I think we would get a lot more accomplished if we spent less time taking peoples inventory.” Needless to say, it did not illicit any laughs. Not that I was looking for any.

But it did weigh heavy on my mind for the rest of the day. When you work in a small office environment, things between people are a lot tighter. Especially when you are a relative newbie, like me. Although I have been around some of these folk for many years, it has only been about a year since I have been kinda sorta full time around them. A couple of the people I work with are younger and I guess, you expect certain things from them. Except, these are educated people who should know better. At least I think they should. See what I mean... judgmental or what? But when I see them taking on the characteristics of older, set in their ways kind of people, it scares the hell out of me. The more they act this way, the more everybody believes it is the norm.

It kind of makes me wonder, “what gives them the right to make such comments about people they have never even met?” To even talk about people as though they have walked in their shoes. Hardly! To be honest, what gives any of us the right to talk about anybody as though we were so superior to them. I think some of the most courageous people I have ever met are the ones that say the least. They wear their skin on the outside and their pride on the inside. They are the ones that become oblivious to the ill spoken rantings of ignorance and yet feel more empathy towards those who spew such ignorant venom. Sometimes, you can tell who they are. They are the people who smile at you with their eyes and hide the pain in their hearts.

I have heard things said of clients, colleagues and people who actually pay our bills. The things said and sometimes, the violence in which it is stated, even in jest, is a scary testament towards the society in which I now find myself living. How do we know that these people may have other things on their mind. Perhaps they are worrying about a loved one who is terminally ill. Or perhaps they are even ill themselves and are going through their own personal nightmares. When I sit back and reflect upon what I witness, I wonder if these individuals are just projecting their own insecurities upon those who don't even know they are being maligned. I guess to them, it is easier to cast the first stone. Maybe they should be worrying about why their own reflections are covered in muck so foul that they can no longer see the stairway to their souls.

In a few short weeks, we will be celebrating yet another Christmas, each in our own special way. Some of us will be fighting crowds of people looking for that must have gift for that special someone. Our tempers may be a tad on the short end and our thoughts may not exactly be reflective of the season. We may be fighting a mild illness as we become drawn into close quarters with thousands of others out there looking out for their own interests. I figure, if we give those around us the benefit of the doubt, perhaps too, they may be charitable with us as well. As I think about all that I have witnessed and basically ignored for so long, I wonder which of us is the worst example to our neighbour. Those who find it necessary to speak ill of them, or me, for not being courageous enough to stand up for those who are not there to represent themselves. I'll tell ya' be the Judge!