Book Hippo

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dead Loss

I was never good at gym in school. When I was born, one of my feet was turned in and I had to wear shoes with a metal bar screwed on the bottom to correct it. Actually, I learned how to walk in them quite well and it never stopped me from doing anything.

Also, and I didn't find this out until I was in my forties, my feet, tested on a computer thingy used for foot health, are so unusual, that I'm the only one who has a gait like I do. This means, when you see one of those foot commercials which tell you your number so you can buy a insole, my number isn't there, it's totally unique.

There are a lot of people these days who want to be unique but in my case, my uniqueness has caused me quite a bit of trouble.

One thing, I couldn't run in gym. And I couldn't breath either because I had allergies which caused me pain. The one reason I couldn't stand gym was because exercise people always push you beyond what you can do. It was torture. I was in pain every minute of running with the gym teacher yelling, "get your second wind." It never happened.

Another thing. I didn't like games too much. In soccer, someone would kick a ball to you. Suddenly, all the attention was on you. I wasn't one for liking attention so I would kick the ball in the ditch.

You've heard of musicians and artists complaining that they were always picked last for a team. So was I, but I understood the reason. No one wants a team member who deliberately throws the game in order to stop the ball from coming at them. So I've never complained about it, in my case.

The one time I did like gym was when they decided to teach us a couple of folk dances. I'd never danced until then and found that I actually like it. We learned the Hora? I don't know the spelling. I think it's a Jewish dance but I'm not sure.

Then there was the Dance Of The Seven Veils. Really? No breasts, no hips children? The strangest part was that the boys used to sneak into the gym to watch us dance this. As if we were anything to see with our bulky gym shorts and sweaty t-shirts along with our sneakers. Boys will be boys, I guess.

My favorite day in school was the day I was able to quit gym. I think I had to take it until grade ten and then it was an elective, so I have never again gone to gym.

I still don't like exercise, it's the same old thing, the yelling coach pushing you, plus, for me, the pain in my feet, but I do like to walk and swim so I'm not a complete loss, but I do wish, for other kids like me, that they could change how physical education.

If they could teach them how their body works when it's exercising or have other things like yoga, so that they could find for themselves what is good for them, I think it would benefit society.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


It's funny what you don't notice as a child. I never knew my father didn't like Kitty or that Kitty didn't like him back. After I was grown and long after Kitty was no more, my father told me of how Kitty liked to dig his claws into my Dad's hand, just for fun, it seems.

Well, I loved Kitty. To this day, my heart has a special place for Orange tabbies. I liked when I was a child to come home and see Kitty sleeping under his favorite rose bush. It had about an inch worth of cat hair as a nest because he'd been using it forever.

I always considered him a clever cat because he knew how to get inside, his method was to leap up and hook his claws into the bottom of the window pane on the door. Whenever I heard a bang, I knew Kitty wanted to come in and I would see his face in the glass. Then I'd open the door and unhook him and bring him in.

We had him neutered because our previous cat had died from fighting, we think. He came in one day, all torn up and bleeding, then curled up and before we knew it, had bleed to death of an internal hemorrhage. Looking back, I don't think it could have been caused by another cat, maybe he was kicked, but it must have been for his propensity to look for fights. So we un-maled Kitty.

He never held it against us, (except Dad, maybe) and was a loving cat and loved to play with butterflies by batting at them with his paws.

It was sad at the end, though, when he couldn't hold his bathroom and kept defecating in our downstairs shower. And he needed lots of love then. He would come up to me and want to be held and stroked. He wanted our company.

His only downside was that now the dog could 'get' him, meaning he wasn't fast enough to run away. When we first brought our puppy dog home, she wanted to play with Kitty but he scratched her and from then on, it was war.

So the dog, who was getting old, too, and had kidney problems caught him a couple of times. That's when my mom decided to have them put down. She thought that they wouldn't really enjoy life anymore and also thought that since they'd always been fighting, they should be put down together. It would be strange to have one and not the other.

So one day in 1978, they were taken to the vets and helped into the afterlife.
R.I.P. Kitty.  R.I.P. Cindy. I hope they rest easy now and are waiting for me when I die. I don't mean to be morbid here but I would like to see them again. Someday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cold Days

It's brrrrry outside, so cold that my room mate won't let me walk anywhere but drives me. I don't mind, there is a lot of ice on the sidewalk and I don't like the idea of falling. About ten years ago, I fell and fractured my leg so I'm not an enthusiastic walker in winter ice conditions.

On the other hand, in about two weeks, on Groundhog's Day, I'm having my fifty-fifth birthday. I can hardly believe that I'm the same person who lived by the Pacific Ocean and spent my free time turning over rocks to find the baby crabs.

Because of my diet, I'm not going to have a cake or pie but I might buy one single blackberry tart that they sell in the grocery store we shop at. David, my room mate, will buy a big cupcake as he doesn't like fruit. So we will have a celebration, we just have to something other than our birthday Chinese meal.

For years every birthday for both of us we've gotten Chinese food for our birthday meals. I need something different this time, something healthy and weight efficient, so I'm doing a lot of thinking about what to have. I don't know if anybody else has had this problem of needing to find a special diet-friendly celebration supper but I guess it's probably common.

The problem with dieting for people in the city is that their isn't anything to do that's beautiful. There's no walk to the waterfall, something that would interest a person. For me, gyms are boring, so there is virtually nothing to do for exercise.

When I was young and went to Algonquin Park, I found walking half-a-kilometer to a designated toilet and washing my laundry in the lake or just walking up and down to get water to cook, great exercise. Exercise without thinking about it.

I'll just get it done with the food thing and then, after that, I'll be happy to wait for spring and look forward to the melt and all the fun things that come with sunshine.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Strange Canadian Prime Ministers

It's funny, but I find young Canadians don't know anything about their own Prime Ministers. They may know that John A. McDonald was the founder of Canada but they don't know much about the man.

He had a drinking problem and would sometimes sleep off his drunks when Parliament was in full session but all of his party and even of the opposition party considered him a great guy. He was really concerned about them and would ask after their health.

Strange as it may seem, many in this country don't know but I've met some Americans who do. I don't think that's typical but it does show that he's interesting to others, too.

My all time favorite Canadian Prime Minister is William Lyon McKenzie King. He was a very unusual man who never cut the apron strings and always asked his mother's advice on everything, even after she was dead.

Yes, he had seances to call his beloved mother back to talk to him. His dog attended the seances, too. He was quite attached to Pat, the dog, and also prayed with his dog every night, holding his little paw in his hand.

It is thought that William Lyon McKenzie King never had sex at all. Odd.

I'm sure that other countries have had their fair share of unusual characters in their highest office. I just wanted to write a bit about these two, who never cease to fascinate me. Leave a comment if you like and tell me about your favorite public leader who is a bit odd.

I've written a short story called Nealla's Dream. You can read it at Front Row Lit

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dionne Quntuplets

I wonder how it is that so much that appears to be happy is anything but. So easy to mistake what people do to survive as a positive.

This brings me to a photo, any photo, that I've seen of the Dionne Quintuplets. They were born in Callander, Ontario sometime in the nineteen thirties. There was no fertility drugs back then, they were natural quints.

In fact, there were six of them, three sets of twins, but the mother passed one of the babies while it was still a fetus. So she 'only' had five baby girls. They were a French-Canadian Catholic family at a time when most Canadians viewed them with suspicion.

Once it hit the newspapers that quints had been born, people started demanding that the 'special' babies be taken away from their disgusting parents. After all, they already had six children and what kind of animal was Mr. Dionne to keep getting his wife with child?

The Ontario government bent to the pressure and removed them. Built a whole hospital for them where they were cared for to the exact specifications of 'experts' who said they must be kept thin and never let outside. Very contrary to the Dionne parents who wanted chubby, active kids. But never mind, they didn't have any control over their girls.

And they were put on view. Every day hundreds of people came to Callander to see the babies. They filed by and interest never abated. As toddlers they were finally let outside to play. People watched from behind a screen, thinking the girls couldn't know they were there.

Later, when the girls grew, they wrote a book and said, they did know people were there.

But the girls grew out of cuddly toddler stage and the Dionne parents became the focus of French-Canadian interest to help them fight the prejudice against them. The parents finally got their girls back.

But by then, the quints had nothing in common with the rest of the family and as they grew up, found that because they'd been so isolated, they had no idea how to cope with simple things like money.

Then one died and it came out that all of them were epileptic but it had been kept quiet due to shame of the condition then. Another died...alone. They didn't know how to make friends, only had each other.

The last three won a four million dollar settlement but soon another one died. And then another. There's only one left now. And thank goodness it's the one who has children so she has someone for her.

It's a tragic story but what is the real tragedy? Is it that I feel joy whenever I see the photos of those sweet, magic little girls? I just don't know