23 June, 2007

Hiatus


Dear Readers,

I have a few story ideas percolating around in my head. Unfortunately, every time I resolve to get them out of my head, I'm almost instantly distracted by all manner of possible Internet diversions.
Don't write that down...you could fire off a blog entry, hell, even two, in half the time it'll take you to dig that story out of your cranium. Then you'll feel like you've accomplished something today.
Go play Peggle instead...you've only got two levels left before you're a Grand Master, after all.
Look at that blogroll. I wonder who wrote what today.

So I'm going to try something radical, at least by my standards. I'm not going to blog for the next month. I know myself well enough to go I can't go cold turkey, at least not without really irritating my wife. Accordingly, I've decided on a couple of rules.

1) I can still read other people's blog entries, but will refrain from commenting on same. Reason being those comments often turn into their own blog entries, and I'd rather keep my mind focused if at all possible.
2) In the event of anything sufficiently serious occurring--by which I mean the sort of thing that makes front page news worldwide--I hereby release myself from all blogging constraints.

If I ever want to get something even a little closer to publication, I'm going to have to learn to devote some time to the process.

I'll miss you, folks. But I'm doing this for my own good.

19 June, 2007

The Beddy-Blog

Let me first tell you this: we love our Georgia Peach.
That's her name, usually, Georgia Peach, or just Peach or Peaches. But in the manner of parents everywhere, we reserve the right to call her by her proper name when she's in trouble.
We love our Georgia, yes we do. But love is not wholly incompatible with feeling like you want to reach out and strangle the damned dog.
Take the time I woke up to an odd crunching noise, just forward of my ear. Georgia was merrily munching away on...a stick?
Where the hell did she get a stick?
I reached out and inserted a couple of fingers into our puppy's enormously cavernous jowls. Rooting around for a while, becoming positively beslimed, I eventually dug out a four-inch length of white wire I couldn't immediately identify.
Until I noticed a wire-shaped hole in the electric blanket. Which, by the way, was plugged in. How the lights didn't go out in Georgia I have no idea.

I got a belt last month. A nice wide one, a belt which actually seems to do an adequate job of keeping my pants from shimmying down my legs. (Georgia may be a peach: I'm a pear, myself.)
Said pear foolishly left his belt where the peach could get at it, and found it in pieces. Our Georgia's what the puppy toy industry refers to as a "power chewer". Actually, more than once we've brought home something with the word "durable" written seventeen times on the packaging, only to have her chew right through it in five minutes flat.

I won't mention the four pairs of slippers. Oh, I just did. Okay, I really won't talk about her predilection for Eva's lacy underthings. Or the fan cord she ripped through. Or...or...or...

We love our Georgia.

The worst thing she got into? One morning Eva got out of the shower and entered the bedroom to find our puppy chewing her way down through the top of our mattress. Stuffing had spilled out everywhere. Tux was cowering by the foot of the bed, as if to say Mommy, that's not me. I'm not doing that. Just so you know. My sister's being a BAD DOG.

No kidding.

When I first moved in with Eva, she slept on a narrow futon that made old pull-out sofa beds seem cloud-soft by comparison. After two nights on that thing, I informed her that we were going to go out and buy a new bed. Today. Now. (How many couples do you know who were out buying a bed together two days after their third date?) Anyway, we got ourselves a very thick King Koil that was guaranteeed for twenty five years.
It lasted four...and the last six months were sheer agony for Eva and not far off that for me.
Nonplussed, we found ourselves in Sleep Country one day. We were just scoping out prices, trying to determine how many banks we'd have to rob to get a quality mattress. Honestly, we had no intention of buying a bed that day.
The Sleep Country girl explained to us that no mattress is meant to last a quarter century: the working life of a good mattress is seven or eight years, and the fine print of any warrantee of longer duration would prove that. Just try to return a bed after more than five years. If it's not in mint condition, so solly, Cholly.
Okay, said my wife, but I'm fat. I need a good mattress, and I'd like it to last at least a little while.
Invariably, whenever Eva comes right out and says she's fat, people are taken aback. I've never quite understood that, because unless you're blind it's pretty obvious she's telling the truth. And not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm not exactly skin and bones myself. When it comes to mattresses, that quite simply means that the $199 special won't cut it.
We bought a bed that day, of course. They get you to lay down, you've lost: wave the white pillowcase and reach for the wallet. We selected a top-of-the-line Simmons BeautyRest. The mattress itself is two feet thick, the foundation that again, and it all rests on a wooden frame Eva fashioned out of two-by-sixes, putting the whole thing that much higher still. Lovely durable construction, that bedframe, all the better to drop on your bare foot.
That bed's served us well for...about as long as the last one did. Now, of course, it's got a Georgia-divot in her side and the top is wearing right out. That's it: next bed's made out of something more permanent. Like diamonds. Or taxes.
So once again we sallied forth into Sleep Country, once again with no intention of buying a bed today.
We are the proud owners of a Sleep Number bed, arriving our home next month. (We got a great deal on one that's currently in an Ottawa warehouse.) I'll be happy if this lasts even close to half the eighteen years it's rated for. (The 'Sleep Expert' explained in great detail how this bed differs from everything else in the industry: it is, essentially, a very high-tech airbed, adjustable to recreate anything from a feather-bed to concrete...and while you can wear out springs and coils, it's kind of hard to wear out air.)
I'm a 65; Eva's a 50, maybe a titch lower. She reported, after five minutes of laying on the bed, that her back pain had almost entirely abated. That made it a no-brainer as far as I was concerned. It was only a little pricier than the last bed we bought, and they assure us this bed will last longer. It is, apparently, designed with heavy people in mind.

More care will be taken with this bed, in the hopes it'll pay us back. We got a mattress pad this time, and I will be making sure the bed's made...it was the exposed, worn out, hanging-together-by-a-thread mattress top that so tempted our Peach to go digging.

Oh, yeah, and it's a king size...which means there'll be room for everyone.

Including Georgia.

15 June, 2007

Uh, um, aahh...oh, yeah! Piss Off!

Avid readers: do you ever survey your library in search of something to curl up with and think nah, I just read all this?
Well, right now I'm thinking, nah, I just wrote all that.
Seriously. Oh, there are lots of things I could write about, but the frame of mind I'm in right now, they'd all come out either depressingly boring or boringly depressing.
Take Jim Balsillie's upcoming battle royale with the National Hockey League, for example. As a hockey fan who is sick to death of 40 years of Maple Leaf mismanagement, I'd love to write about what will soon be the Hamilton Predators. But the NHL's management makes Toronto's look like, well, RIM's. I highly doubt there will be a team in Hamilton, or anywhere else north of 49, any time soon. Gary Bettman would rather have a failing American team than a successful Canadian team.
Depressing. And, if you're not a hockey fan, boring.
I asked my wife for a blog topic. She thought for a second and then said "Is Canada's greatest natural resource now water?"
Yike. Research required there, not to mention where the hell does she get these thoughts?
(If it isn't yet, it will be: you'll see water wars waged worldwide within a few decades.)
Depressing. Boring.
I could write about how I've discovered Facebook--how three people from various points in my past all nudged me (same week) into joining, and how I've since discovered and reconnected with people I haven't seen in years. But since it seems like everyone else is joining either Facebook or Myspace, my story's boring in the extreme, right?
I could wax political, but I've been there and done that; I could tell you about my work, but (a) it's boring, (b) it's depressing as hell and (c) I don't want to be fired.

I know! I haven't excoriated the CBC lately.

In the wake of the gang raid that 'took down' the Driftwood Crips street gang, the CBC television reporters showed their typical colours. Every question was directed against the police: either questioning why so many had been arrested, wondering about the racial makeup of the officers ("why were there so many white officers arresting black suspects?"), even at one point asking the chief to tell them about the "terrified children" who watched the raids net parents and siblings.
Yeah. Because living under perpetual threat of gang warfare isn't in the least terrifying. It's only really scary when the police come.
As my longtime readers know, I am the son of a career peace officer, now, thankfully, retired. My dad never fired his weapon in all his years on the force, a fact he and I both take pride in. Of course, he spent the majority of his time far removed from the mean streets of Toronto (when he worked those streets, they were nowhere near as mean).
My dad's choice of career colours my thinking, as my more perceptive readers may have noticed. I don't like criminals. Even moreso I hate people who seem as if they do like criminals. Such people include the majority of the Canadian media and practically every member of what we call our justice system. (That street gang? They weren't 'taken down' at all. At most, eleven months and countless person-hours bought the Jane-Finch ghetto maybe a week of comparative peace.)
When my father was my age, he'd already been on the O.P.P for fifteen years. I can assure you I wouldn't have lasted half that, had I followed in his footsteps. I probably would have killed myself by now. I mean, here's a job that, to my mind, is noble and distinguished (and monstrously underpaid, but that's another post...) But it seems these days as if everybody's on the I-hate-cops bandwagon. Most of the teenagers I work with think police are something less than vermin. The Toronto Star is forever suggesting that cops ought to be teddy bears/social workers/anything but what they are, people charged with 'Maintaining the Right', as the RCMP's motto goes. I admire the hell out of anybody who can keep themselves centered in the face of such blatant and ridiculous opposition.
And the CBC? It can take its agenda and shove it. Sideways.
Incidentally, here's another example of CBC doctrine at work. "Happiness is paying your taxes, study suggests", goes the headline. Well, now, I had to read that, because nobody I know enjoys paying tax.
The study they cite had absolutely nothing to do with taxation. It monitored brain response to charitable giving--which is a red-headed Swede if ever I saw one, a Norse of a different colour. Participants knew their 'money' was going towards a food bank. A food bank. That's a wee mite different from a bloated government bureaucracy, no?
But according to the CBC, happiness is paying taxes. It is, of course, un-Canadian to wish for lower taxes; to do so is greedy and selfish and...naughty! You are Canadian, you will bend over and YOU WILL LIKE IT!

I guess I had something to write about after all.

13 June, 2007

Quickblog

Our air conditioner is making our bedroom a livable place. In fact, it's kind of hard to leave it.
You know what I don't get? Government agencies telling me to set my a/c at 26 degrees. Now what, I ask you, is the point of that? Ours is set at 20 degrees--68 Fahrenheit--you know, room temperature. 26? That's almost as hot as our room gets. If you're supposed to keep your a/c at 26 degrees, you might as well just buy a dehumidifier instead.
There are certain things I'm willing to pay for. Willing to pay a lot for. And very high on the list is a good night's sleep. If I could, I'd get a couple of industrial air conditioners and set the temp at about 12 in there. Then I'd really sleep well.
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It's been a week here in the Breadbin. My mother-in-law underwent exploratory heart surgery yesterday. Nothing like that to ratchet up the stress...and it certainly didn't help that she's deathly allergic to the dye they had to use. Nor did it help that, despite being scheduled for 9:00 a.m., she didn't get into surgery until after 2:00 p.m. Emergency cases kept coming in and getting slotted ahead of her...you'd really think there'd be a separate stream for things like that, but...oh, yeah, this is Canada, eh?
Anyway, the good news is only one artery's blocked. The bad news is the muscle underneath it is dead. So there's not much they can do. It's a good thing my wife's family has a habit of outliving people's expectations.
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Last Friday, when I got home from the last night shift I'm going to work until September (yes, we'll have a night crew again, as soon as we can find and train some honest people!), I made a deal with myself that I could go to bed as soon as I finished moving the bedroom around. There was a little more work than I'd bargained on, but what really slowed me down was dropping the damn bed on my foot. Entirely new curse words were invented and strung together at high volume. For the better part of a day walking was beyond me; the only reason I'm semi-ambulatory now has something to do with a whole lot of ice.
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I hope something happens outside this house soon so I can blog about it!

09 June, 2007

Consequence free?

In my early childhood, at least, I was raised according to the "that'll learn ya" school of parenting. Touch a hot stove --> get burned --> "That'll learn ya not to touch hot stoves". This accomplished a couple of things. One, it made me extremely sensitive to cause-effect relationships. "Consequence" was not a concept that needed explaining in my house. Two, it initiated a loop that eventually made me into something of a bubble boy. I was cursed with a vivid imagination, and it imaginated all sorts of outcomes to the simplest of actions. If, for instance, I should dare to climb a tree, well, than certainly I will fall out of the tree and suffer pain unendurable. This equation was of the 2+2 variety in my mind: axiomatic, unquestionable. The fact the equation would have been valid a great deal of the time, due to my absentminded fogbound dreamy nature, simply reinforced my own perceptions and the perceptions others had of me. I was not a child who tested his limits.
Such tests were forced upon me from time to time. Yet even when I passed them, the dominant emotion I felt was rarely any species of triumph or pride: instead, I usually felt a sort of giddy relief that that nightmare was over. I can tell you right now that even if I had ever climbed a tree and made it back to terra firma intact, I would have never climbed another. Why should I? There are so many safer ways to get a nice view. Tempt fate twice?

There are all sorts of things I've never done in my life because my resident risk analyst deems them either dangerous, or simply not worth it. Incidentally, I've been drunk all of once, and the first order effect of drunkenness, for me, was to take that risk analyst, gag and bind him, and shut him away up in some corner of my brain where I couldn't even hear his screams. I found myself in a situation I wouldn't have ever considered were I sober, and since then I've treated alcohol like old nitroglycerin.

There remained lessons to be learned, of course. One comes to mind from fifth grade. My teacher that year was Mr. Sackville--probably the best teacher of my elementary school career, not least because he wasn't afraid to put me in my place.
I don't remember what the project was, but I dilly-dallied about it. The Monday deadline came and went, and Mr. Sackville threatened me with a zero if I didn't turn the thing in. My mother freaked. I still remember her French-Canadian accent, which only came out when she was angry: "If something is due on a certain due-DATE, you will hand it in on that due-DATE." Despite her anger, it was all I could do not to laugh. Hey, Mom, you got the emPHAsis on the wrong syllAble, there...
Thus chastised, I set to work with a will. It was a large project and it took me three nights to finish it. Paging through the completed project Thursday morning before placing it on Mr. Sackville's desk, I admired my writing--some of the best stuff I'd ever done, in my not so humble opinion. That'll show him, I thought to myself. A-plus for sure.
It wasn't until the next Monday that I got my project back. The teacher had written words of high praise on the cover sheet and there was a nice big circled "96%". Beneath that, in smaller handwriting, was another line: "-15% x 4 days late = 36%."

I cried.

Now, Mr. Sackville saw to it that my intransigence didn't jeopardize my final grade that year. But that's not the point. I didn't know that until I got that final grade. And believe you me, I never turned another assignment in so much as a minute late...not even in university, after I had fallen out of love with the classroom.

I said all that as preamble. What you see up there is an anachronism. Sometimes I feel like the last of a breed.

Did you know that in Ontario classrooms, tardiness in turning in assignments is not to be penalized? This goes hand in hand with the prevailing educational attitude that no student must ever fail, at anything, lest he consider himself a failure. Give a child a mark of, say, 30% and more than likely the principal will raise it to a pass.
Today's Toronto Star has a long article discussing this phenomenon. In it, one educator says that the onus is now on the teacher to teach rather than the pupil to learn. "The teacher used to say, 'Look, I taught it, you just didn't learn it. My job is done: you try again'...now we know that if it didn't work the first time, more of the same isn't going to work." There is no such thing as too much help, says the article.
Bull. There is so. When you don't enforce deadlines--which are an unavoidable fact of life outside of school--who exactly does that help? When you give a failing student a passing grade, who does that help? It sure doesn't help the student, who is assumed to understand certain concepts by virtue of that passing grade.
But according to research done at Queen's University, students who fail more than one grade nine course are more likely to drop out of school.
So what? I know several high school dropouts. A few of them have gone on to attain multiple diplomas, degrees, and designations. Others haven't, but have instead become happy, well-adjusted (and very well paid) tradespeople. There is nothing wrong with dropping out of school so long as there are alternatives available. And should the student choose not to accept any of those alternatives? Then there ought to be consequences to that choice, too.

I'm very much convinced that the overwhelming sense of entitlement many of today's youth have can be laid at the feet of educators afraid to educate them in the realities of life (sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug) and parents who are deathly afraid their little ones might not succeed at every last thing they try.

I've always wondered at the typically teenage dismissal of consequences. What causes a fifteen-year-old to steal a car and drive into a taxicab at an estimated 160 km/hr, killing two girls (who, ironically enough, took a cab because they felt the transit system wasn't safe) not to mention himself? Did that outcome not even occur to him? Why do so many teens think that drugs which have been proven potentially lethal won't affect them? Kids have always had these sort of attitudes. It's only recently that adults seem to have bought into this themselves, in their absolute refusal to set consequences for their children's actions. The above incident was called an "accident" in print. God, I hate that word. Most traffic "accidents" aren't. The very word denies the near-inevitable consequence of driving irresponsibly.

It's everywhere. Those kids I wrote about last post, who stole about $3500 worth of cigarettes? Both of them have been in trouble with the law before. One of them has been my pet project over the last several years. I kind of knew that without my efforts he'd wind up in a life of crime. Turns out that's going to happen despite my best efforts--which leaves me profoundly disappointed. Because now it falls to the justice system to straighten him out, and we all know how well that works. "Stop! Or I'll say 'stop' again!"

Our whole Canadian society is built on abdication of responsibility and dismissal of consequences. Whenever anything even remotely disturbing happens, you can count on a Canadian to announce the government should do something. In the aftermath of the "accident" alluded to above, for instance, there were immediate calls for a review of police chases, on the grounds that the police were chasing the car at at the time. Never mind that they were well back, travelling considerably slower than the young criminal. Never mind that, I say, it has to be someone else's fault because it can never be our own.

When there are no meaningful consequences to one's actions, there is no deterrent to wrong action and no reason to assume responsibility for right action.

Consider the environment. Not all that long ago, pollution of most kinds was perfectly acceptable, even a badge of progress. And why wouldn't it be? Belch a huge amount of crap into the atmosphere and the wind would blow it all away as if it never existed. A few people downwind would get sick and die. At first, nobody thought to connect this with the air they were breathing, so polluting was still okay. Then it was discovered that air pollution could kill you--and air pollution was still okay so long as it only killed other people. (Don't think for a second that people don't actually rationalize like this...) Now we're quite probably on the cusp of seeing wider, deeper and more unpleasant consequences of our environmental attitudes...and there are STILL people out there dismissing it all out of hand.
And what really scares me is that we forgot to teach the people we've entrusted with fixing our mistakes in this arena about consequences. We also forgot to teach them about personal responsibility.
Oh, global responsibility they get. The world has a responsibility to crown them, adore them, coddle them. Don't do any of that to their satisfaction and you're 'dissing' them...which in certain circumstances can get you killed. In their world, respect is assumed, not earned. In fact, if this goes on it's a good bet the word 'earn' will drop right out of the language.

I wasn't raised perfectly--who was? But I thank my parents, all of them, for giving me a sense of consequence and responsibility. It kept me out of trees, sure, but it also kept me honest.

08 June, 2007

Bachin' It/The Experiment Ends

I won't be working any more night shifts for the foreseeable future.
Which is really too bad, as I have enjoyed them immensely. There's a sense of importance that washes over you at three in the morning, as if it falls upon you to bring the sunrise. What's more, I was able to get vast amounts of work done, much more than I've ever managed in daylight. No customers will do that.
So why are there no nights in my future? Not through any fault of mine, believe me.
We had a sizeable theft last Tuesday night. I was there at the time, busy like a little beaver in my dairy aisle, while this was going on at the other end of the store. Didn't see or hear a thing. Two of my fellow workers were caught on tape and summarily fired and charged. (I know you're supposed to say 'allegedly' in cases like this, at least until the suspects are convicted, but the camera tells no lies.)
Rumours of additional hanky-panky concerning still other members of the night crew forced my boss's hand. No more nights. Which really bites. (Hey, Ken, you're a poet and you don't know it...your feet show it, they're Longfellows.)
So now I'm not back to work until Monday morning. Eva's up at her best friend's cottage in Wasaga Beach, having a girls' weekend. I'm here with the menagerie, trying to figure out how to plan my sleeps now so as to 'flip' for Monday morning. Oh, and there's a buttload of cleaning to do around here, too.


03 June, 2007

I Don't Get It

Much as I would like to, I can't claim to have been born without jealousy installed. It occasionally rears its ugly green head, masquerading as free-floating insecurity, and it always takes me some time to determine what it is. Why, that's jealousy! Get it out of your head! Jealousy, to me, is almost the most irrational emotion imaginable: feeling pain at another's happiness.
(And before you ask, I shall answer: yes, I have, for example, deliberately set up a girl I wanted dearly for myself with a good male friend of mine, on the grounds he was probably better for her than I would be. More than once I have done this. It never took, but it wouldn't have bothered me if it had.)
I've said before that jealousy is corrupted envy. Envy, a perfectly natural state of mind, is wanting something someone else has. Jealousy is wanting something someone else has, such that they can't have it any more. It's a petty and yet supremely damaging emotion, and whenever I feel it, shame is hot on its heels.
But there is one emotion I think of as more irrational than jealousy, more terrible in its implications, both for the self and for others. And it's sort of related. It's called schadenfreude: not pain at another's happiness, but happiness at another's pain.
Schadenfreude is, of course, a German word. It's often said that only the Germans could come up with such a concept and feel it worthy of a single word...an assertion that, besides being deeply racist, is also flat wrong: there are similar terms in at least seventeen other languages, from Arabic to Hebrew, from Greek to Gaelic. Which points to schadenfreude being a universal human emotion.
Not in my universe.
I can honestly and sincerely say I've never felt it in my life. To me, there is no more succint definition of evil than finding somebody else's pain worthy of celebration or merriment. I've often found myself in debates with people who find pain funny. I never win these debates, but it isn't for lack of trying:

Would you find that funny if it happened to you?
But it didn't happen to me. That's the point! [chuckles]
Yeah, but what if it did? She didn't find it funny, did she?
Of course she didn't, she's crying! [laughs uproariously]

It's all I can do not to stare at the person at this point as if they'd grown hooves and horns. And then I'm invariably told to "lighten up"...which I take as a command to pretend someone else's pain isn't real.

Sorry, I can't do that. I've never found pain--physical or emotional--at all funny when I've experienced it. I have no reason to think someone else's pain is any different than mine.

I can trace this strangeness in me--a strangeness which, by the way, I think is perfectly normal; it's the rest of the world that's screwed up--way back into early childhood. Remember the Swedish Chef on the Muppet Show? I hated him, and would burst into tears as he whipped kitchen utensils around, utterly careless of who or what he hit with them. Any child of a particularly messy divorce might be able to sympathize...but I honestly think I would have been appalled even if I hadn't seen stuff flying around my own kitchen on occasion. Pots, after all, hurt.
This gradually evolved into a hatred of violence in any and all its forms, something which I still harbour deep within me. Growing up, I often felt compelled to hide this hatred from other kids my age, to fit in. Sometimes it was impossible. I remember a movie night at my first job, a little staff party held for some reason or other. The movie was Die Hard, and I think I made it through the first 45 minutes before quietly slinking away. Part of my disgust revolved around the fact that seemingly every other guy in the room had at least one girl to cuddle--yep, jealousy, I was incredibly immature then--but a deeper part was concerned that anybody could cuddle up while watching the gore onscreen.
I'm sure a psychologist would have said I had difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality. Bullshit. I knew perfectly well that the blood and guts on TV weren't real. What bothered me...what revolted me...was the idea that somebody would (a) want to portray such madness as if it was, and that (b) dozens (no, millions) of people would find such a spectacle entrancing.

Things have progressed. It's not enough any more to show blood and viscera. In torture porn like Saw and Hostel, I understand people get ripped apart. Eyeballs pop like grapes. And teenagers watch all this and think it's hysterical. They actually cheer, I'm told, as if dismemberment was a sporting event. (It goes without saying I haven't seen any of these movies. You have to pay me an awful lot of money to sit through just one of them.) You wonder why there's so much violence in certain segments of society? I'm positive the movies are part of it...but what I'd really like to know is how children get so desensitized to acts of unspeakable carnage as to eventually find them laugh-out-loud funny. I wonder how gut-bustingly funny it'd be if their guts were busted. Or those of their friends.

To this day, I suffer from a lack of schadenfreude. Yes, suffer is the operant word...because the pain and misfortune of others is so...damned...inescapable. You can't avoid it on television...I sometimes think it's the only basis for TV comedy. It's as if TV writers sit amongst themselves and think "well, we're stuck for a joke, here, so let's inflict some pain on this guy." Again, yes, I know television characters aren't real--but so what? Why is fictitious injury funny? I don't get it.


I don't think I ever will. Actually, I hope to God I never do.


02 June, 2007

500 and counting

Welcome one and all to my 500th post.
When I started this blog a little over three years ago, I had little idea where it would take me. Five hundred posts, well over a million words, and untold skullsweat later, I'm still not sure.

The nicest thing about Blogger, for me, is the chance to be an editorialist without all that tedious drudgery of being a lowly reporter. No, better yet...I don't have an editor. Doubtless that has led to some rambling, out-of-focus posts, not to mention a small mountain of typos (I'm particularly negligent at closing brackets. But ask any professional writer to name the bane of his existence and chances are it's Mr. Bane, his editor. The nerve of those people--who would try to temper my love of the emdash--who would dare to tell me I use more italics than Cosmopolitan. I know the job of an editor is to make a writer's message clearer, but for a stream of consciousness writer like me, that's akin to telling me what and how to think, and I resent that more than anything.
This blog has witnessed a host of world events. Some momentous ones, like the
tsunami and hurricane Katrina), dominated my thoughts for days or weeks. Others were forgotten almost as soon as they had been committed to screen.
Unlike many bloggers, I made a decision early on to alternate political with personal posts. The Breadbin has seen a slow but steady evolution in my politics, even as it has catalogued my biggest biggest
ups and downs. But the most important function of the Breadbin in my life is to keep me balanced...and to promote balance around me whenever I get a chance.
This blog has exposed me to other bloggers whose missives I read routinely and whom I count among my friends (hi, Peter!) I tied it to a
group blog which has, in spite of being rather dormant of late, provided me with lots of food for thought. And the mere fact I have a blog means I've had to scrounge endlessly for stuff to write about, menaning in turn that I have learned a lot.
I have put more effort into this blog than maybe anything else in my whole life (with the exception of my marriage, of course). A friend of mine once had to delete her blog and start over. At the time, she had put about as much into her blog as I have now into mine. I don't know how she did it. The idea of all these thoughts, emotions, words going poof! fills me with horror. Even at gunpoint, I'd hesitate before I hit that delete key.
Because this blog has been my truth. Not the truth--one of the things the Breadbin has reinforced is that there is no such thing--but my truth, and I types it as I sees it.

Thank you, everyone, for reading my ramblings, for sticking with me, for commenting and making your presence known. Writers write to be read: an audience is our sunshine. This ongoing document just wouldn't be the same without you.