For You, Daddy!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Canada!




This image is from

I was not born in Canada. I was not raised in Canada. I grew up in Canada.

Now that you are sufficiently confused, let’s carry on.

I immigrated to Canada as an adult. I have lived there long enough to feel like I belong.

In Canada, I learned to follow my heart through the hardest detour in my life. I’ve almost always done what my heart told me, but until then, most had been fairly easy decisions.

Then I came to a particular juncture.

One path gleamed with the career and life I was happy with.

The other was not resplendent in comparison, but it led back to something that was/is the dearest to me in the big wide world.

But it was not an easy decision to make.

In my late teens, I had left the nest and spread my wings.

By my late 20s, I had flown much further and much wider than I had planned or even imagined.

In my mid 30s, with focus, hard work and perseverance, I achieved whatever little goals I had gunned for.

And then it hit me.

Despite all the external embellishments, I was not happy.

I thought things over. I prayed. I talked to a few people.

I had to make a choice.  

A career with the trappings that the world worships?


An incomparably less glamourous vocation that would allow me to wake up with a feeling of contentment every day?

Again, not an easy decision to make.

After all, how many just chuck their glowing careers and globetrotting ways to baby-sit ageing parents?

If I had to listen to Daddy and Mummy, and dance to their “You can’t live with your parents just because you want to be with them in their old age” tune, I would have still been in Canada.

But I listened to Canada instead.

I had read about people who had made similarly tough decisions to simplify their lives by tuning out the world and listening inwards to what their hearts told them.

Some made choices that involved reducing frivolous expenses, some chose smaller living spaces, some chose to give up their private vehicles and rough it out with public transport. And some gave up blazing careers.

I met very few of these people, but mostly, I read about them. With each one I met, and with each article I read, my resolve to return to my roots grew stronger.

And now I’m back in the country of my birth. With those who gave me birth. Not Daddy, of course. He’s off on a jaunt somewhere.  😉  Took off five months before I planned to return. Hmph.

I’ve been back with Mummy for a few years now. And I’m happy. Poorer, no longer hip, definitely not happening. But happy.

Oh yes, I am at peace. Finally.

This home I grew up in is where I belong. Unless Mummy decides to beat me to it and join Daddy wherever he is. Then, I will take off again. Most probably.

I do not have links to the exact articles that inspired me years ago. This article (with its accompanying URL below) is a very good example of some of those I had read.

Here are some pictures of my time in my adopted home nation.

On the GO!

GO Transit is the province wide, rail and bus transit system in Ontario. Another FYI snippet. Canada has provinces, not states.

This normally busy station is deserted because it was one of the last trains I took back to Streetsville in Mississauga, where I lived. I had wound up that particular Canada Day at the Exhibition Place, downtown Toronto.




                                                          HTH                                  Me

The lady in the red jacket is Hazel McCallion. I’ve given her the faux title royale HTH, which I’ve coined for ‘Hazel The Hurricane’.  Hurricane Hazel as she is fondly known, is the feisty and fiery mayor of the city of Mississauga in Ontario.

Hazel McCallion is 91 now (I know!) and has been our mayor in Missisauga for the past … wait for it … 33 years. Yes, Thirty. Three. Years. Whoa!

When I lived in Canada, I used to volunteer at (the) City Centre in Mississauga, among other places. After my stint at City Centre in the morning one Canada Day, I spent the evening (this photograph was taken) in my neighbourhood in Streetsville. Hazel McCallion lives in Streetsville as well.

 Kate Spade Girl                                                  Me                            BFF Two

Kate Spade Girl is my nickname for my Jamaican-Canadian friend who is fond of that designer.

Kate Spade Girl visited me when I lived in China. Kate Spade Girl will spend Christmas this year with my family at home. Yaay!

BFF Two joined us for dinner one night (in China).

The little shout out, rather scribble out, in my hand is to my other dear Canadian friend, who I call affectionately call ‘Tinamisu’. Tina is of Italian origin. I like Tina and tiramisu. 🙂

Kate Spade Girl and Tinamisu are my closest Canadian friends.

Being a lover of nature and the simple life, it was only natural for me to be drawn to our Native Indian heritage in Canada. I enjoyed spending time at Crawford Lake in the Halton Region of Ontario.


I’m dreaming of (my birth) home …. no more. 🙂

This image is from

A dream catcher is a Native Indian item made with a willow hoop and a sinew net or web. It is hung above the bed or at the window. It is believed to filter out bad dreams and only let good dreams pass through. I like that idea.  

This next shot is not very clear.


Reaching for my dreams



Thank you, O Canada, for giving me the strength

to go after my most important dream,

which I am now blessed to live.


Red, White and Proud!

This image is from



Happy Canada Day, Hook and family, and my other Canadian readers!


::   ::  ::   ::   ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     EXTRA!  EXTRA!  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

My Canadian blog bud, Hook, released his book recently. If you’ve had enough reality TV and would like to switch gears to reality reading, Hook’s book is for you!

His book is called ‘The Bellman Chronicles’. (

You can find out more on his site, The Book of Terrible. (

Although I haven’t read it, I like his blog posts. Oh, and this daddy’s girl is mighty pleased that the cover of his book has been designed by his 14-year old daughter, Sarah. 🙂

::  ::  :: 

I’d also like to send some Canada Day love to another blog buddy who is south of the 49th parallel.

::  ::  ::   

Marcy King or Orples’ Brain Mama  as I call her (as opposed to ‘birth mother’) has some entertaining and endearing Orples tales to tell.

Orples what? Orples who?

Stop by at her site, Orples, ( to find out more.  

::  ::  :: 

Hook and Marcy, wish you both the luck of the Four Leaf Clover Eleven Point Maple Leaf in your literary ventures!


Thank you, mj monaghan and The Book of Terrible, for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 



  1. I can’t thank you enough for the shout-out, Kate!
    I can’t believe you met “Witch Hazel”, as they call her in her neck of the woods! Great, moving post, as always; I liked this look into your past.
    Take care of yourself, Kate…. You’re one of the good ones.


    Comment by The Hook — Sunday, 1 July 2012 @ 11:44 am |Reply

    • >I can’t thank you enough for the shout-out, Kate!
      – Just once is enough, Hook! 😉 And only because thanking people is the polite thing to do; not because I would like my gesture to be acknowledged. After all,

      The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” ~ Nelson Henderson

      >I can’t believe you met “Witch Hazel”, as they call her in her neck of the woods!
      – Aye, she has her fans. 😉

      Well, it’s not like we hung out and threw back a few on Saturday nights. Ha ha! We lived in the same nook of Mississauga, so I saw her or bumped into her often. The same during my volunteer hours at City Centre.

      >Great, moving post, as always;
      – Thank you. My intention was also to fortify someone who is struggling with similar issues to “give it all up”. It’s not about ‘giving it all up’ at all. And that is a post for another day.

      >I liked this look into your past.
      – It’s that part of my past that is dictating my present. As for the future? Let it do its thang.

      >Take care of yourself, Kate….
      – Um, that’s Mum’s job. I keep teasing her that I may be a grown a…dult woman, but I still need me mummy.

      When I was a smart-a$$ed, know-it-all teen, I resented Mum calling me ‘Baby’ in public. At those times, Daddy said this, “No matter how old you grow, you will always be a baby to Mummy and me.” So I’m just letting Mum do her, um, mother hen job.

      >You’re one of the good ones.
      – I’ll grab this! Because I really do try to be good. And it’s bloody hard!

      Again, I didn’t tack on that extra about your book at the end of my post only because I like your posts, etc., Hook.

      When planning the theme of my blog before I began, I decided that I would personalise it as much as I could. I throw in shout-outs in my newsletters and I gossip gab about things that inspire me in my face-to-face interactions. I decided to extend the same personal touch to my posts herer as well. I think it makes for a pleasant change in pace amid the ‘I, Me, Myself’ rumpus. 🙂



      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Monday, 2 July 2012 @ 12:23 am |Reply

  2. As you no doubt know, I decided at an early age that I wasn’t interested in worldly success. For me it was a no-brainer, not a hard decision. I ended up more comfortable than I expected, a most pleasant surprise. 🙂


    Comment by Cheerful Monk — Monday, 2 July 2012 @ 12:15 am |Reply

    • >As you no doubt know, I decided at an early age that I wasn’t interested in worldly success.
      – Nope. Did not know that bit about you, Jean. I haven’t been following you for very long.

      >For me it was a no-brainer, not a hard decision.
      – Oh no, not for me!

      Shortly after I began my first job, I was swept away with my earnings and the jet set I was surrounded by at work; that then became part of my ‘at play’ group as well. Part of the challenge for me was matching my parents’ social status, if you will, and financial security, on my own merit. I am pleased that I achieved that with my morals and integrity intact because there were ethically bankrupt options galore to get to my goals faster and more easily.

      I lived that swish life for 15 years. I began to feel the first rumblings of discontent within two years or so, but I stifled them and allowed myself to be sheeple-d along the next decade.

      It’s reading articles like the one I quoted in my post, watching people voice similar opinions on TV, and interacting with my clients during my stint as a volunteer at the local food bank, that made me grow a spine.

      I do not regret taking the longer route getting to where I am today. It was part of my growth curve.

      >I ended up more comfortable than I expected, a most pleasant surprise. 🙂
      – And this is something people like me doubt(ed). Simply because we had never dealt with so little whatever-it-may-be before. ‘Less is more’ certainly rings true in the slower lane for me, but it does have its occasional stinging moments.



      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Monday, 2 July 2012 @ 12:45 am |Reply

  3. Wow, I’m so far behind on comments that your next post will be coming out soon.

    Sorry, Canada, I missed your birthday!

    Okay, now my commentary/interrogation questions:

    1) Love the color-coordinated “eye covers” over your pics. Very nice job matching the yellow on Kate Spade Girl!
    2) Will have to see a list of countries/cities you’ve lived in.
    3) Do you go back to Canada often?
    4) What do you consider a non-jet setting lifestyle? Please, inquiring minds want details.
    5) I can’t remember, do your older sis and God-child live near you? If not, do you get to see them often? If so, I bet that is a treat? Yes or no?

    I think that’s it for now. Why do my replies to Kate take over an hour to carefully craft?

    All the best to you and your fab fam,


    Comment by mj monaghan — Tuesday, 10 July 2012 @ 7:39 pm |Reply

    • >Wow, I’m so far behind on comments
      – It’s hard being a nice guy, MJ. You don’t have to worry about your image getting tarnished, or in this case, rusted due to non-usage. Silence still speaks. On my blog, that is. Just don’t go silent on us on your blog!

      >that your next post will be coming out soon.
      – Got that right! Ha ha!

      >Sorry, Canada, I missed your birthday!
      – No worries, Southern Neighbour. I’ll have a bash again next year. Same time, same place. 🙂

      >Okay, now my commentary/interrogation questions:
      – You left out ‘inquisition’, MJ! 😉

      >1) Love the color-coordinated “eye covers” over your pics. Very nice job matching the yellow on Kate Spade Girl!
      – Thank you! I’m not good with artwork and such. I decided to do that for Kate Spade Girl because she is quite the fashion maven. If she got to see that, she’d be pleased, I know. But I was pretty chuffed meself when I first thought of it and when I saw what I had, ahem, accomplished.

      >2) Will have to see a list of countries/cities you’ve lived in.
      – This will have to wait. Hmm. What have we got so far? China and Canada, yes? Not many more to go.

      >3) Do you go back to Canada often?
      – Not any more. Travelling anywhere is not a priority for me anymore because of Mum and my new ‘mission’ in life.

      I now use my time off to be of use to the people I love as opposed to those I don’t know at all. So I travel every 3 months at least, when a relative or friend, or a relative or friend of a relative or friend 😉 , needs help. I call these ‘my assignments’.

      My assignments have primarily involved:
      – Checking in and checking out with the patient and 24/7 presence when folk I know have been hospitalised
      – Being a Woman Friday to the incapacitated at home
      – Helping people move homes
      – Spending time with those who are lonely and grieving in some way.

      It’s hard work, physically and emotionally, but that has nothing on the high I get knowing I made a difference to the ones I love.

      >4) What do you consider a non-jet setting lifestyle?
      – * Not travelling to other cities and countries
      * Not staying up nights to video conference with associates in other parts of the world
      * Not working 16 hour days on average
      * Not working 2-3 days straight with snatches of sleep when dealing with a project
      * Not flying First Class
      * Not unwinding at luxury hotels

      Oh, and
      * Not eating at high end restaurants routinely
      * Not attending expensive leisurely diversions after work
      * Not going on exotic holidays

      It was good while it lasted though. A decade and half almost.

      Since I made the switch:
      * I do not fly.
      * I endure long distance train rides. This is more to keep my carbon footprint in check.
      * On the train, I do not travel First Class. Travelling Second Class keeps me grounded and reminds me that I still have so much to be grateful for.
      * I rarely use cabs. I travel on public buses and I walk every opportunity I get.
      * With the money I save skimping on travel, I indulge in my other favourite activity – surprising strangers in the hospitality industry with an unexpected or extra generous tip.

      I get a massive kick every time I see the look of confusion –> surprise –> disbelief –> gratitude.

      >Please, inquiring minds want details.
      – Oh, bragging mouths don’t mind sharing these deets at all. 🙂

      >5) I can’t remember, do your older sis and God-child live near you?
      – No, they don’t. They live in the neighbouring state.

      >If not, do you get to see them often?
      – Yes, I do! Our families meet at least every two months. Their home or ours.

      >If so, I bet that is a treat? Yes or no?
      – Oh yeah! ❤ There is such a song and dance before each arrival, and such a sob and sad-sack-show with each departure. 😦

      When I first returned, God Baby laid down this rule – Auntie Kate, you have to spend 15 days with Nana (her grandmother; my mother) and 15 days with us every month.

      The first two years, I kinda did that. Now with Mum being 81, I travel for shorter periods every 4 months or so.

      >I think that’s it for now.
      – Really? I thought you wouldn’t stop! I KID. I kid. :-p

      >Why do my replies to Kate take over an hour to carefully craft?
      – When you deal with the crafty, you gotta hone your craft, amigo. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

      >All the best to you and your fab fam,
      – Thank you, MJ!

      I was thrilled to know that you and Cate were together over the weekend. Someone up there hasn’t fallen asleep. Will prod Him further to make that permanent for you and YLB soon. 🙂



      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Tuesday, 10 July 2012 @ 11:06 pm |Reply

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