Saturday, March 28, 2009

Most Saturday mornings I'm up early to accompany my younger daughter to the stable where she volunteers.
This morning I was up at six to drive my older daughter to the current site of Habitat for Humanity where she volunteers. We headed east on Lawrence and drove until we damn near fell off the map before we finally reached her destination. Then we parked and she gave me a bit of a guided tour around the site, pointing out some aspects of construction to me - from weeping tiles to party walls - explaining things as we went. Red-winged blackbirds and big machines played counterpoint to each other in an early morning symphony that provided a background for out roundabout.
She introduced me to people already there and I was able to put some faces to names I have heard repeatedly in her stories of the work site. There is a camaraderie there that you can feel right away; a fellowship that I think is probably there to a degree you might never get in an office setting. Maybe it's the physical aspect of the work. I don't know why exactly but I felt I could, in small part, get an understanding of why she likes so much to be a part of that world.
I was pleased to have her show me around. I came away feeling privileged to have had that time with her, and happy that she wanted to share a bit of her "world" with me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Plastic Bottles Begone!

The University of Winnipeg has taken a stand against the proliferation of landfill in the form of plastic water bottles by banning bottled water sales on campus. Last week's referendum showed three-quarters of the student body to be in favour of the ban in order to stop the flow of the 38,000 bottles sold on campus annually.
Each time there is a move to ban the sale of commodified water, the bottled water industry replies with the specious claim that -gasp!- such a ban will force people to buy unhealthy bottled beverages. Poppycock. People who have decided to buy a bottle of coke or whatever other less-than-healthy offering will do so. Water's presence nearby has little to do with such decisions. Similarly, those who have decided their craving is for the thirst-quenching, binary covalent compound will seek it out, or do without if all else fails. What makes the supposed pundits at the water bottling factories so sure that the rest of us have little to no functioning intellect? What convinces them that we have no ability to withstand the power of suggestion posed by the closeness of coke et alii when we find bottled water lacking? Get a grip, people. Actually, get a grip on the tap. Turn it and watch the water pour forth. Direct it into your ever-handy refillable water bottle like so many of us already do. That enables us to saunter right by your vending machines as though they never even existed. That enables us to keep in our pockets the money you would demand for a liquid that should be regarded as a free, basic right.
Tap water in the western world is just fine, thank you very much. Just think drinking water in so many locations in the developing world and you can see how ours is safe, safe, safe. Corporations who undermine public confidence in tap water need to be challenged. They need to be pressured to "Think Outside the Bottle". Our tap water is tested regularly, whereas many bottle water plants are tested infrequently, at best. Of course, there is the potential for deadly human error, as in Walkerton, Ontario, to come at us from our taps, but when you know the startling stats on how shaky the safety standards are for bottled water, you also know it's a case of six of one, half dozen of the other. That leads us back to the issues of the landfill, and the fact that water should be free.
To ensure the move to ban bottled water sales on campus has substance, every first year student at the University of Winnipeg will be given a free, reusable water bottle when they begin classes in the fall, and the university is going to install more water fountains and conduct audits of the water system to ensure its safety.
Since we can't all be first year students at the U of W, the rest of us can make a one-time investment in a reusable bottle, and then fill it at the tap each morning before we leave on our appointed rounds for the day. The price of the bottle will be recouped in no time, compared to the endless outlay of coinage needed to buy from vending machines. At the same time, our beleaguered planet will be saved from some of the deadly tonnes of needless garbage dumped on it each year.
You do have to wonder just how stupid and short-sighted these water vendors are, actually. Do they really not realize that they live on the same planet as the rest of us do? Do they really fail to grasp the reality that poisoning that planet with plastic refuse that could be avoided is a senseless act that will come back to haunt them as well as us?
Kudos to the University of Winnipeg and every other like-minded institution and public place. Honour and acclaim to the ordinary, average Joe who understands that bottled water is nothing more than a grab at our money. Criticism and complaint heaped in profusion on the multi-billion dollar industry that seeks to profit from creating fear around tap water and commodifying what should be free to all of us.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Idiot Alert Members Circle the Wagons

There are times when you just have to set standards and stick to them. Last week provided one of those times for the members of the Idiot Alert Files. Like honour being maintained among thieves, limits to idiocy must be set or else brain-dead will become the norm.
A Saudi judge last week passed a sentence that clearly demonstrated he is several cards short of a full deck. This guy's elevator screeches to a halt one floor short of the top. His mental faculties are clearly one brick shy of a full load. Somebody help me stop! It's hard not to feel total contempt for this moron; hard not to let this entry descend into a morass of four-letter words, but I shall do my best.
Seems this idiot felt obliged to sentence a 75-year-old widow, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, to four months in jail, AND forty lashes for her flagrant moral turpitude. Let's be clear about the term, first. Moral turpitude means conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, and good morals. OK, now are you ready to hear the horrendous details of this woman's sin? She invited two young men into her house; one of them being the nephew of her departed spouse. The two men had gone to buy some bread for her, and were bringing it by her home.
Can you imagine? Can you just imagine? This fucking idiot actually had an old lady subjected to a lashing for inviting her nephew into her home. You can bet, in a society that sanctions such idiocy, they'll be sure to have someone really enthusiastic about laying on the lash to do the job, even if he is slicing up the back of an elderly woman.
Now you can see why the members of the Idiot Alert Files have closed their ranks and circled the wagons to prevent the admission of this imbecilic Saudi halfwit into their number.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Combining Eco-Friendly with Eco-Chic

Eco-Handbags.ca prides itself on coming up with that combination, by saving reusable products from the landfill, and transforming them into renewable consumer products. The list of products their designers work with includes items such as: candy wrappers, 35mm slides, truck tire & bicycle tire inner tubes, sailboat sails, newspaper, juice boxed, zippers, and more. Based in Montreal, Eco-Handbags.ca makes every kind of bag you can imagine. They list their products as including "handbags, totes, purses, cosmetic bags, gym bags, yoga mat bags, men's shaving kit bag, wine bags and any other type of bag you would ever need to carry your things in."
One of the extra-cool things about this company is that they are a member of 1% For the Planet, an alliance currently of 1,112 small businesses that pay a voluntary earth tax and donate 1% of their sales to a network of 1,724 non-profit, non-governmental environmental organizations, worldwide.
If you're interested in making your own eco-fashion statement or making a gift that will help someone else get into the eco-mood, make a visit to Eco-Handbags.ca. They'd like to meet you, whether as a consumer, or as an eco-designer who might want to sell your own handbag creations on the site. What's to lose, when you're "helping the environment, one handbag at a time"?
Did you know that March 22 is International World Water Day? An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. Following this link will let you see a listing of the themes each year, back to '93. It will also give you a chance to get involved, if you feel so inclined. You can check out the list of planned events for WWD, in places from the Netherlands to Calgary; Alaska to Finland. Even if there isn't one close and handy for you this year, you just might get an idea or two for staging an event of your own next year.
This year, WWD is calling attention to the world's 263 transboundary lake and river basins, and the hope that cooperation rather than conflict will remain the response to transboundary water management issues. The site phrases it well when it states, "Whether we live upstream or downstream, we are all in the same boat." A little food for thought, or should I say, a little libation?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anti-Aging Bunk

Olay total effects 7-in-1 ANTI-AGING CLEANSER claims for itself the distinction of being a "nourishing cream cleanser". Says so right on its label. Goes on to hype itself as a "moisture rich cleanser for clean, visibly younger looking skin". My god, who wouldn't want to use it, especially if you're even a day over the age of the already young looking models who flog anti-aging products in TV and mag ads.
If you flip the tube over and do a little inspection of its backside, you'll find yourself first reading more assurances of the miracles this product is going to work for you, among which you'll find "gentle purification" and "radiance enhancement". It just keeps on sounding better all the time, doesn't it?
Keep reading, however, and you will finally make it down to the ingredient list. First up is water. Doesn't seem too bad, right? Keep going. Right after the water, the list heads into multi-syllable territory, where pronunciation of the ingredients you're slathering on your face becomes as difficult as does understanding what they each do. One of the goodies listed is Disodium EDTA. The Material Safety Data Sheet published by Mallinckrodt CHEMICALS informs the reader that this "anti-aging" agent is a salt that is a mild irritant whose symptoms may include reddening or inflammation. Really? So this "anti-aging" miracle is actually having its users smear a salty paste all over their faces? Methylchloroisothiazolinone is on the list, too. After you try pronouncing that one, google it. You'll find that it's listed as a preservative, with with antibacterial and antifungal effects. It is also a carcinogen, and an allergen. In cosmetics, it is used in combination with alcohols (also listed on the label) and we all know how totally moisturizing they are, don't we? Because it is a skin and membrane irritant, methylchloroisothiazolinone has been removed from most cosmetic products except for those with only short duration skin contact, such as rinse-offs. The question is, why would you want this garbage on your face for even a short time, if the good folks at OLAY were right up front and honest with you before you bought the product? My personal favourite in this list of anti-aging miracles is garage floor cleaner. Oops, I meant to say, http://blog.aka-alias.net/2009/01/breakfast-with-side-order-of-soapsuds.html. Use as a degreaser for garage floors was why this compound was originated. Now really, ladies, who wouldn't want to spread a little commercial strength degreaser on their face? Maybe this specific ingredient is the one that achieves the promised "radiance enhancement". I get an image of a cartoon character glowing green after a chemical spill, don't you?
Well, anyway, now that you know a little more about this cleansing miracle, who wants to be first up to the counter to buy some? Ladies, if you find your skin is becoming a little more dry and itchy than usual it could be just the dry air of winter and its furnaces. Of course, it could also be the Olay product you're using. Either way, not to worry. It just so happens that they also have a whole range of moisturizers to sell you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friendly to Kids and the Environment

After blogging about the alarming number of chemicals making their way into newborns via the umbilical cord, I came across the site, www.healthyenvironmentforkids.ca, a site just loaded with info you can make good use of, if you are considering parenthood; if you are already a parent; or if you care about children. Although the site is Canadian-based, it has info that is relevant worldwide, as well as info specific to Canucks. While you're there, for instance, you can download the whole PDF "Child Health and the Environment: A Primer" or just read a chapter or two, like Chapter 6, which will give you the "Environmental Childproofing Top Ten List". There's all kinds of reading available, actually, like all the latest regarding calls to rid baby bottles of suspect chemicals; phthalates in children's products, and chemicals in household products.
If you are concerned about making your home both more kid-friendly and environmentally friendly, you might want to consider making a change or two to the products you use in cleaning, among other things. Did you know, for example, that Benefect, an all-natural thyme-based disinfectant is the only one given the OK for use in daycares and hospitals by Health Canada? The product is as effective as traditional disinfectants, killing 99.99% of bacteria, but less toxic than vinegar, and arose out of a belief that disinfectants do not need to be poisonous to be effective. Other products are available, and the site will give you a list of places where they can be purchased, locally in the States, Canada and Europe. Of course, you can shop online as well.
I've said this many a time before. If you're interested, visit the site, but be prepared. There is so much to see there, so much to learn, you'd be well advised to make a cup of coffee before you start. You can enjoy it as you read.

Springtide Signs

Toronto is currently enjoying a sunny Sunday that is treating everyone to a balmy five degrees Celsius. I headed out for a walk to celebrate, to look for signs of spring making a return.
As I strode along the sidewalk, bareheaded, my pace and the sun soon conspired to have me loosening my jacket at the throat. That was the first sign, since winter weather around here generally has people turning up collars and huddling 'neath fur lined hoods. The leftover sand used to give better footing in the winter still has the sidewalks feeling gritty under each footfall, and little patches of icy snow hang on grimly, hiding in the shade and fearing for their lives as the sun hunts them out. The earth seems bound and determined to usher in the new season.
During my perambulation, I passed others of my own species five times. Each and every time, the others averted their eyes as we drew near. The first two times, I called out "good morning", nevertheless. Neither person responded, so the next three times, we passed each other in total silence. How sad that seemed to me. Just after I passed the last uncommunicative human, I rounded a bend and came upon a robin, standing to my right, regarding me with its head cocked to one side. It stayed its ground, and I halted my progress, to return its look. Immediately I came to a stop, it opened its beak and greeted me with a bright, trilling greeting that seemed to say "ignore the humans - simply be happy". I returned its greeting with a "good morning" wishing my english utterance could come with a much more mellifluous deliverance to match its own. Still, I was glad to have shared a greeting with someone. Shortly after, my steps took me to a point on my route where the sidewalk is closest to an adjoining ravine. There, a whole cadre of cardinals were laying down a veritable blanket of song, covering everything near them with their glad notes. I stopped again, just to listen. As I stood, transfixed by the glorious paean, I realized I was just across the street from a most interesting triad of trees. Two evergreens flank a deciduous tree there. The firs were resplendent in their robes of olive and jade, while the deciduous looked so forlorn between them, bare branches stretching up to the overturned bowl of the sky that arched its brilliant blue above them. Each branch of the middle tree was a gnarled limb lifted in supplication to its creator, beseeching her to swell its buds again and clothe it once more in verdant glory, so it could feel equal to its lordly neighbours.
I returned home from my walk this morning, my mind filled with images of the promise of a season about to burst upon us with warmth and new life. As much as I have loved the winter while it graced us with its presence, may the spring be here soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mind-Numbing Numbers - Literally?

Here's a number or two you might not have been aware of. They are staggering in the their implications and you just might want to know about them, especially if you're pregnant or considering a pregnancy.
In August and September of 2004, the Environmental Working Group conducted a study in which the umbilical cord blood of ten babies born in U.S. hospitals was examined. The study found a total 287 different industrial chemicals circulating through the bodies of the newborns. The babies carried an average of 200 chemicals, including mercury, fire retardants, and pesticides. The report stated that of the 287 chemicals found, 180 are known to be carcinogens, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 are associated with birth defects.
If there was ever a good time for someone to rethink their approach to going green, the nine months of pregnancy might be one of the very best times there is. The next generation desperately needs this one to realize there is no such thing as "away". Our little green planet is just not big enough for us to keep indulging in such head-in-the-sand nonsense as thinking that we can throw something away and be finished with it. There is no line of demarcation between the environment and us. We are our environment. If we don't smarten up, soon, the numbers found by studies such as the one conducted by the EWG are going to grow more and more frightening.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Hope Ganesh Is Pleased

Most weeks, Thursday night is "date night" for hubby and me, and on most of those date night, we end up at the Bombay Bhel restaurant, enjoying our favourite Indian dishes. The staff there are some of the friendliest waiters and waitresses you could ever hope to have waiting on your table. They make you feel as though they are genuinely pleased to see you and not just to see your wallet. They smile and take a moment here and there to chat, to ask how you are, and that most Canadian of topics, to comment on the weather. Although the food is indeed special there, it is the combination of food and familiar, friendly faces that draws us back there so often.
Not so long ago, someone on staff set up a small shrine to the Lord Ganesh. It sits in the small foyer, nestled between the parking lot door and the door that opens into the seating area. There is generally some incense burning, making the place redolent with the scent of sandalwood. There is also an offering of food, perhaps a piece or two of fruit placed there. The statuette of Ganesh stands guard beside these items, and greets each patron with a gentle, beneficent smile. The final touch at the shrine is floral. On some days, there are simply flower petals scattered about the table the shrine calls home. On other days, there may be a potted plant or some cut flowers. Several weeks ago, I bought a bouquet to take there. It was the first time that I had done so, and my husband made sure I understood the need to have avoided the handling of any meat through the day, before I handled the flowers I intended to bring there. Knowing the particulars to be aware of, I stopped today at the store across the street and bought a bouquet again, to take with us tonight and present for inclusion at the shrine. It's a pre-packaged bouquet that includes daisies, carnations and eucalyptus branches. It's wrapped about in cellophane across which varying bright tones of pink have arranged themselves in graceful swirls, so it is already bright. Nestled inside the cello-wrap is the real eye-candy, however. I decided to carry the bouquet back without having any added packaging wrapped about it. Although the temperature at the moment is hovering at minus three degrees, most florists tend to set their storage refrigerators just below zero to minimize the respiratory activity of cut flowers and increase their longevity, so I was confident that my newly acquired beauties would not expire during their short trek across the street. As I walked, I was aware of incredible sensations being offered by the blossoms. First was the visual treat of seeing bright yellow daisies grinning up at me, like my own personal little suns shining on me. Surrounding the carnations, some of salmon pink and others of magenta- and amethyst-edged white winked up at me each time I peeked in at them. The other treat offered to me by these beauteous blooms was for my olfactory sense. The heady fragrance that the eucalyptus especially wafted up to me was not to be believed, particularly on a day still very much locked in the cold of a Canadian winter. Each time I inhaled, I buried my nose in the flowers, and the reality of the intersection receded. Each time I breathed in, I took the deepest breath I possibly could. Each time I smelled the heady perfume, I did my best to store away in my mind the exact notes of the spicy redolence nature was gifting me with at that moment. I still have the smile that the bouquet presented me with as I made my way across the street.
I hope tonight, when the flowers are placed in front of the Lord Ganesh, that my offering will please him as much as it pleased me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Little Look at Time Changes

We Canucks set our clocks ahead one hour last Saturday night, in the annual ritual of Daylight Saving Time. "We" means most of Canada, with a few exceptions. Most of Saskatchewan stays on Central Standard Time year round; some areas in Ontario and British Columbia, and areas of Quebec east of 63 degrees west longitude do not change their clocks, but the rest of us dutifully deprive ourselves of an hour of sleep each spring. Although the time change is touted as an energy saver, it does come with a downside. Night owls seem to have the worst problem with the spring forward, tending to feel sleep-deprived for weeks. Heart attacks peak in the week following the spring forward, especially the first three days of the week. If you can hang in there, and survive the spring change, you can look forward to the fall-back in autumn when we recoup the missing hour of sleep. A study of twenty years of records show that heart attacks dip on the Monday following the autumn setting back of clocks.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wanna' Feel Good?

I've written before about Kiva, the organization founded "to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty". For just $25. you can climb aboard this bandwagon and start changing the world for better. Even in the current difficult financial times, the caring and generous givers of Kiva sent over three million dollars to entrepreneurs around the world, in February of this year. Pretty amazing figure! Maybe it is precisely because of the current widespread economic problems that so many people have come up with that $25. It's one way to feel good, to feel that there is still something that an individual can do to affect a change for the better. In fact, FYI, the top 5 givers right now (by number of loaners) are in order: Indiana, Denmark, Scotland, Team New England, and Michigan.
Nothing is ever truly foolproof, but Kiva does damn good at coming close, with a 97% repayment rate. Enough people have felt safe to reach out to others through Kiva, that during 2008, a loan was made on Kiva.org every 31 seconds.
If you have a few minutes to spare, watch the video below and you'll meet Rita Bashnet, from Bhatkepati, a town in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, where this Kiva Entrepreneur runs her dairy business with cows she bought with Kiva loans. It's simply incredible what a difference the loans have made, and it really is a feel-good video, from a feel-good organization.


Kiva in Nepal: A Field Visit from Chris Baker on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

WWF-Canada has the following presentation on their site, to bring people up-to-date on Earth Hour. No-one could say it any better, so I've borrowed it and brought it here for you to read. I hope you'll join the rest of us on March 28, at 8:30 when we turn off the lights. More than that, I hope you'll consider adding into your lifestyle a couple of the changes suggested by the WWF to make every hour Earth Hour.

"Earth Hour is a symbolic event. Turning off our lights for an hour won’t stop climate change but it does demonstrate that our individual action is important and adds up to make a big difference. More importantly, it sends a very powerful message to government and world leaders that people want policies and regulations put in place that can achieve meaningful emission reduction to help fight climate change."


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

We Need the Bed - Get Lost !

I've been sitting on this one for a week, but I just can't do it anymore. I have to let off a little steam about St. Michael's Hospital in downtown Toronto. I was there all day last Thursday, Feb. 26, and then again on the morning of Friday Feb. 27. The reason for my being there was the fact that the visually impaired student with whom I work was there to have an eye eviscerated. This meant the removal of the eye's contents to reduce the pain he had been so often experiencing.
When we saw the doctor who would be doing the surgery, just before the procedure was done, he startled me by telling his patient that he could expect to be discharged the next morning. At that point, I thought it seemed really too fast a pace to move at, but I also thought, "they must know what they're doing."
After the young man had been brought to a room following his hour in recovery, I sat by his bedside, ready to greet him when he came to, as I had promised I would. He began after a time to moan, and when the frequency of the moans kept increasing, I contacted the nurses' station to let them know what was happening. A young nurse came bustling into the room in short order, with two Tylenol 3 tablets in a little paper cup. She handed them to me and instructed me to administer them. A little taken aback, I asked if they might present any choking hazard since he was lying down. She said a short and simple no and bustled away. OK. So I lost a whole lot of my confidence in them at that point, but I made sure he got the pills down and left shortly after, when his sister arrived from work.
The next morning, my daughter and I arrived at 11:00 intending to visit. We found him instead, in the midst of being shown the door. The doctor had apparently come in earlier and left orders for his discharge. The way in which the doc's instructions were carried out swept away any vestige of respect I might have had left for St. Michael's Hospital, any feeling that they cared about what they were doing.
The man was told the bed was needed and that if no-one was able to come to take him home, he was welcome to sit in the lounge at the end of the hall until someone did arrive.
Let me offer a few details here, just to make sure you understand the whole situation. First of all, someone might, I suppose, question why this individual would not simply call a cab, if there was no family member available to give him a ride. The answer is limited funds. A disability pension is not enough to fund the luxury of cab rides. Second, this individual is blind. Take him down the hall to the lounge and leave him there, and you might as well be abandoning him in a foreign country. He would have just as much chance at finding his way around, finding the bathroom, for instance, or a place to get a drink during the long hours of waiting.
The nurse who began the pre-discharge interview with him treated it like nothing more than a formality which had no meaning to her, other than to cover her ass, "in case".
The man was still flat on his back in the hospital bed when she began. She asked him questions like, "Can you go to the bathroom by yourself?" and, "Can you walk without feeling dizzy?" She did not at any time make it clear to him that she meant to ask him if he was able to do these things as part of him caring for himself, AFTER the operation. I know, because I stood there through the whole thing. After a few of these questions, I asked him if he had even been up and walking around yet. He said he had not. None deterred, she continued with the questions as if I and my concerns were no more than fly specks on the wall. She asked him if he could wash himself. He replied he could, not understanding that she meant to ascertain whether or not any postoperative queasiness or dizziness was interfering. The questions were all ridiculous, every single one of them, because she never did offer any explanation to him, nor did she acknowledge the fact that because he had not yet done any of those things for himself since the surgery, she was really getting non-answers, inaccurate responses that she was clearly pushing for, the only ones she wanted to hear.
When she was finished her farce of an interview, she walked out into the hall, where another nurse challenged her on his discharge, within our hearing. The first thing out of her mouth was, "That's the way the cookie crumbles." She also repeated to the second nurse that she kept getting calls for beds.
At this point, my daughter and I found ourselves left alone with the young man again. He clearly needed assistance with dressing and we were obviously expected to take up the slack for him. I went out into the hall and cornered a nurse standing out there. She had been in and out of the room while the aforementioned farce was playing out. I told her he needed help and she asked why I couldn't do it. I told her I worked with him at the college. I am not family. I told her I thought a nurse doing the job would leave him with a little more feeling of dignity than having his reader/scribe do it. The look on her face made it clear that she was pissed with having to help.
Once he was back in his street clothes, my daughter and I took the young man downstairs to the in-hospital Tim Horton's where we bought him the sweetened coffee he requested, the only thing he said he could stomach at that point. WE waited with him until his sister arrived - I had phoned her and asked her to come. Once we had seen him safely into her car, we walked away, both of us shaking our heads in disbelief at the totally uncaring pre-discharge farce we had just witnessed. We walked away, both of us disgusted with the unfeeling nurse who had make it clear to him that he was nothing more than a delay in her quest for an empty bed for the next patient.
I know very well that she is only one of the many on staff there, but she is the one who dealt with us that morning. She is the one who left the three of us with a jaundiced view of the "angels of mercy" of St. Michael's Hospital. She is the one who represented that institution for us at that point, the one who made sure it is not a hospital to which any of us would give good word-of-mouth.

International Women's Day

The day is almost here - March 8, International Women's Day. There are, of course, those who hold fast to their belief that you have to be anti-man in order to be pro-woman. Hopefully this year a few more of them will finally leave that behind and move to join the ranks of those who seek to advance the cause of the female half of our species. If such an altering of belief could be achieved each year on March 8th, it would be the small steps needed to help all of us in climbing the mountain of inequality.
There are those, of course, who believe that the cause if gender equality is one that has been fairly dealt with here in Canada. They think that if any woman still needs help with issues of gender equality, she is a nameless foreign woman who lives far away from here, in some poverty-ridden land. These people, too, need to be more aware; they need to change their way of thinking as much as do those who believe feminists are all slightly mad. All these people need to do is a little reading. They would learn about the difference between "female dollars and male dollars".They will learn that as of 2008, right here in Canada, women could expect to be paid an average of only 72 cents for every dollar that a man is paid. Since the unequal pay if being given for work of equal value, it would indeed seem that the issue sill exists even here in our own backyard.
I would like to wish a Happy International Women's Day to all of my sister, worldwide. I would like to wish the same to all of my brothers, as well. Every one of us had a mother. Every one of us owes respect to every one else. What a world we could all live in if only we could lay to rest the issues of gender inequality.