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!


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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. 🙂

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

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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.  

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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! 


Thursday, 15 March 2012

The LLONNGG And short Of It


Today being the Ides of March, I come bearing news of a hair-raising experience. Well, a lot of hair was involved and there was some gladness raised somewhere. That’s not what ‘hair raising’ means? Oh.  *shrug* Could you please read my story anyway? You might just about change your mind.  

Hair Today

Shorn Tomorrow

Ta da! I loved my new hair style!

When I chop ‘em tresses all off, I get a lot of “I didn’t recognise you!” and “You look wild!”. My favourite is a visiting cousin’s declaration once, “You look like a punk!” Truth is – I felt wild and I felt like, um, a punk? Alright, enough narcissism.

Three years is the usual time frame for me to lop it all off and donate it. I first heard about donating hair in Canada and I decided to do it the very first time I read about it.   

In my mid 20s, I had pledged my body for donation after I flat line, but it’s kind of a drag that I have to wait patiently to do something that I strongly believe in. Donating my hair every 3 years has helped assuage that restlessness. (I’ve looked into live skin donation, too, but sadly, the success rate for this isn’t encouraging.)

I followed in the footsteps of Daddy, Mummy and my older siblings, and became a regular blood donor from the age of 18. It helped that I am  B-ve  because it is not a terribly common blood group. That is not good enough today because I am not allowed to donate blood anymore. Over the past decade or so, organisations have became stringent about body weight, among other things. We have to weigh 52 kgs, at least. I’ve never ever touched 50 kgs in my life. So my blue blood now courses solely through my veins. 😦

A little side story. I have instructed my family (and my closest friends around me when I am away from home) that upon my death, I want whatever parts of me – all organs, of course, but also skin, bones, hair, nails, whatever – that can be used for others in need to be taken from me, and the, um, scraps to be handed over to the students at the local med school. But Big Bro vows to follow through with his plan. Um, what plan?

This one – he says he’ll douse my, um, “carcass” with ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel AKA jet fuel) and toss a lit matchstick to ensure I turn to absolute cinders. No, no, Big Bro is not heartless. He says it’s bad enough there’s one of me on the loose now. If anyone gets bits and pieces of me, he’s afraid they’ll morph into clones of me. Forget December 21, 2012, he frets, the day I die and re-incarnate via others through my donated organs; that day will be the true end of the world, he claims. Aren’t big brothers the best?

Back to me and my tail tale. 

I donated my hair twice in Canada. The first time I was told that it would wind up at Sick Kids (the children’s hospital in Toronto). The second time my hair went to some theatre group in TO (Toronto in local speak). 

The last two times I donated my hair were during visits to Kathmandu, Nepal and Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. In both cities, I did not find hospitals or organisations that accepted hair donations, so the salon folks kept it each time. I told the people I knew who asked about “all that hair” that I had donated it to the salon. I got mostly positive responses, but two people I know argued that I should not have given it to the salon because they would make money off it. Hair stylists are rich enough already, they thundered, and clients have to pay a pretty packet for a hair piece. Well, I countered, that’s even better than I expected because now two people would be happy – the client, of course, who would have flaunted my, ahem, luscious locks AND the stylist who would earn from it. I had not factored the latter.

I also added that it is not for me to judge who is rich and who is not; and only those who can afford to splurge on a wig or extensions would do it. (Not quite true, I know, but that’s a whole different story.)  If I could make yet another person happy in the bargain, “Go, Me!” I say!

So please feel free to voice your different points of view at any time, all ye detractors. I welcome those because one way or the other, I can learn something else via the argy-bargy.

For any of you considering donating your hair, here are some tips give the best you can. Before that, I want to brag about this – I had no split ends. w00t w00t!


i. Minimise styling: This includes colouring, changing the texture (straightening/perming) and blow drying. Ideally, doing none of all that is best. Yes, it is possible. Mine was virgin hair. No, I did not make that up. It is a technical term for hair that has not been chemically treated at all. 


ii. Minimise use of chemicals: Those used on a daily basis e.g. styling products, perfumes.  


iii. Tie it up: (When possible.) It reduces the impact of pollution on the strands.  


iv. Cover up: The same reasons as above. When in the sun, of course, but also from wind. 


v. Lifestyle: Hair is yet another part of us that mirrors our lifestyle. Our diet, exercise regime, sleep patterns and stress levels all play a role in the quality of our hair. 

Oh, look at all of you! In awe of me for bragging telling you about being a serial donor. I did not donate blood every six months (a long time ago) and I do not donate my hair every three years now because I care about some poor person in need. 

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Dr. Howard Thurman (American philosopher and educator. 1899-1981) 

So you see, this is why I am generous with bits and pieces of my being. I do not just want to ensure I live on after my mortal demise, I’m so .. so… full of myself, I want to share while I’m alive!  

You still don’t buy that I’m egotistic, do you? Oh, I know. I’ll tell you what I do when I miss my hair after I donate it. I go for one of these options that always work – beg, borrow or steal.

Borrowed Tresses




:::  :: ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     READER  REQUEST      ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  :::


One of my blog buddies is MJ. MJ is fun and a good sport. Most of all, I like that he is generous with his time and encouragement with all those who visit his blog and leave a message. That, and he is just plain nice. 

MJ made this request via a comment in my earlier post titled ‘Giving Up. And Taking On.


>Do give an update on how the lenten activities are going when you get some time.

– I promised to update you in my next post only (meaning, this one), MJ, because I would have had some more time with my challenges and I would have a better picture of how I am faring now. (And more time to get my, um, act together for the “report”.)

About the things I’ve given up. Giving up all the food was easy. I’ve got a few years of practice under my belt, so it’s no biggie today. As a matter of fact, I am pleased that I do not crave my meat, fish and all things sweet. I don’t fantasise about them either. I don’t even feel sorry for myself for abstaining! A far cry from not too many years ago.

Refraining from checking out new articles online is much harder. I try to stick to health related articles, but have caved in and read non-health related articles like:


Sara Blakely: How one woman made a billion from big pants–how-one-woman-made-a-billion-from-big-pants.html


5-Week-Old App Draw Something Hits 20 Million Downloads And Generates 6-Figures Per Day 


Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

Headlines like these grab me. I remember my vow, hesitate, then cave in. I do not feel too bad about breaking my Lenten decision to refrain from mainstream news online because these kinds of stories (which to me, are more about the human spirit than the dosh) feed my soul. I learn about their doggedness and I learn from their doggedness. Now, using that same doggedness with my struggle to pray and reflect is a whole different story. 😉

I still read three (hardcopy) newspapers a day, so it’s not like I’ve given up on news entirely. That would be very hard. So I won’t even go there, except when I’m on holiday. Then, I truly do not care about what happens in the big, wide world. 😉  

About the things I’ve taken on.

Not going to mince words – I did a lousy job the first week in. Just could not focus on prayer or the Scripture readings. Today, I am more settled in that groove, but I’m still not groovin’. Know what I’m sayin’?  I wish I would look forward to that hour of prayer and reflection, but I don’t. I even feel a little relieved when I finish. Relieved, as in, ‘Done! Let me check this off my list’. I am disappointed with myself about this because I know how good I feel when I pray, I know how good it is for me, but I just do not seem to put in the effort required for me to reap bigger rewards that I (also) know are so easily within my reach.

I don’t beat myself up though. I also enjoy being human. 🙂  

Thank you for asking, MJ. Knowing that someone (in this case, you) asked that, made me a little more, uh, accountable. I am quite confident I would have been lackadaisical a little longer had you not asked for feedback. So ‘Ouch!’ (initially) and ‘Thanks’, too, MJ!


Thank you, misslisted, Cheerful Monk, The Book of Terrible ,ElvieRose,  orples and  mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible and orples 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! 


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