What I Want To Be Remembered For

Topic: What do you want to be remembered for?

I attended a funeral yesterday for a woman that had lived a very long, fruitful and successful life. I had only seen her a few times, but her son is a friend of my brother’s. One thing that everyone said about her is that no matter how much pain she was in, or what kind of day she was having, she would ask, “How are YOU doing?” It made me think about how I conduct myself in meeting new people and in those I already know. I have changed that immediately.

There were two pieces that were read at her funeral that I believe exemplified who she was. Here they are:

She Is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

written 1981
David Harkins 1959 –
Silloth, Cumbria, UK

Philippians 4:8-9
New International Version (NIV)

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I’m not a religious person, but I’m spiritual. The first one celebrates the life that this woman has led, not her death. The second describes a king leaving his people and though he is gone and may not return, they will be able to continue because of the lessons he has taught them.

I should only be so lucky as to have my life memorialized in such a way. That the lives I’ve touched have been forever changed and hopefully enriched by having done so. Peace.

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What Would You Like To See Me Write About?

Quill PenAfter reading a post about How To Get More Traffic, I decided to look into at least one thing that I had not yet done and that was ask you, my readers, what you would like to see me write about?

I have such a diverse background and have great stories to tell. I’ve been doing a lot of Post A Day from WordPress, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, but is it what you want to see?

Many of you have heard me tell a story or two (or more). What story would you like me to tell? Is it one I’ve already told? Is it one that you haven’t heard before, or one for which you didn’t hear the ending? That doesn’t mean that I’m going to change everything, because I will still write a thing or two from Post A Day.  Maybe I’m missing a story about my personal endeavours or my work experience. You tell me.

Beware the Goofballs

I wrote a post a while back about my prom date. I actually was able to find the original email that I send out a few years ago with the original Toronto Star Article. Boy do I know how to pick ’em. Here it is:

From The Toronto Star, October 4, 2003 “A cautionary tale about heavily armed goofballs” by Slinger:

Daniel Greig, who looks like a clean-cut college graduate, is a clean-cut college graduate.  He is also very well-spoken.  What sets him apart from a great many other clean-cut, articulate college graduates is that he possessed:

  • A six-shot, .44-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver.
  • A .45-calibre Glock semi-automatic pistol.
  • A .45-Calibre Heckler & Koch semi-automatic pistol.
  • A 12-gauge franchi pump-action shotgun with a pistol grip and a collapsible stock.
  • An M16, a .223-calibre Colt semi-automatic assault rifle.

When Toronto Police discovered his arsenal, the guns were fully loaded.  Rounds were chambered and ready to be fired in the semi-automatic weapons and the shotgun.  The shotgun’s tube magazine had be extended so that, instead of the legally permitted three, it held eight rounds, in this case of buckshot.

 Two of the magazines for the assault rifle had been taped together pointing in opposite directions, combat-style, so when one emptied the other could be slammed into place with a twist of the wrist.

 Some of the several hundred rounds of ammunition found with this weapon were armour-piercing.

 “None of the firearms was suitable for hunting,” Mr. Justice Archie Campbell observed in a decision published shortly before he began his inquiry in the city’s SARS epidemic.

 Greig himself explained it to the police this way:”I was a little gun-crazy.”

Gun-crazy, maybe, but not nuts, at least not according to any definition of “nuts” in the Criminal Code.

But we shouldn’t get the idea that Daniel Greig is normal, either.

Even the normally gun-crazed don’t usually also possess a bullet proof vest, a pair of Smith & Wesson handcuffs, a pair of single use plastic handcuffs, a “cold steel” knife with an eight-inch blade, two gas masks, a Kevlar-reinforced metal helmet of the type worn by soldiers, two black balaclavas, and a radio scanner tuned to the Toronto police channels.

 They don’t usually make their own 45-minute videotape of Brinks trucks and banks – some chots were taken inside banks, and some, like the Royal Bank branch at King and Yonge, from his car in which the cases that held the shotgun and assault rifle are plainly visible – or hide the videotape in a box of detergent under the kitchen sink.

Then again, it isn’t entirely normal for a TTC Wheel-Trans driver to encourage his fellow Wheel-Trans driver to buy bullet proof vests and wear them while on duty.

Wheel-Trans is the service that provides transportation for the handicapped.  When Daniel Greig did this, the TTC fired him.

Some advice to gun-crazies: Don’t trust your mom.

When Greig was arrested, he phoned his mom and asked her to go to his apartment and throw out the box of detergent.  he said it was of inferior quality.

Instead, she took it home and used it.  Some weeks later, when she got to the bottom of the box, she found the videotape.  Which is why the police found it when they searched her house.

Why the police are sad: Greig was able to buy all these guns – one detective described them as “weapons of mass destruction” – with no trouble at all.

Why Gerig is sad: He’d never been able to get the 40-mm M203 grenade launcher he had his heart set on.  And he got arrested.   But he should have been more careful.  He’d been warned.  Staying away from guns was one of the terms of his parole after a previous infraction.

Why I’m sad: I wonder how many goofballs are out there who are up to their uinghangs in this kind of weaponry.

That’s why I’ve left out a lot of good stuff, such as the interior of his car being splattered with human female blood, although a homicide investigation fail to turn up a suitable human female corpse, and the Chinese Mafia -Toronto police plot to kill him.

Because of the heavily armed goofballs are what worry me most.

Still, some of them might not be complete screwups like Daniel Greig.

“I’ve been, in the past, a little paranoid,” he admitted.

Armageddon, or at least World War III, was about to break out, maybe in a couple of weeks, and he wanted to have enough firepower to protect himself when the government conspiracy replaced democracy with a dictatorship.

Presumably knocking over a bank was necessary to finance his survival.

The judge was unsympathetic.

“No citizen has a right to constitute himself as his own private army,” he said, and sent him away fro what will amount to a total of 4.5 years.

And yes…

Happy 5th Anniversary To Me

This was a cover that I used for my second level Niei Chi

This was a cover that I used for my second level Niei Chi

Saturday marked a real milestone in my life. It has been five years since I stopped smoking. It also marks 5 years since I graded for my first black belt.

I was never a very heavy smoker. A pack a day was a challenge. I averaged 7 or 8 a day and smoked ultra light menthols. I’d tried quitting before and it usually lasted about 6-8 weeks before I’d go back to it. I even had major surgery to remove my spleen and thought I could beat it. I tried acupuncture but because I could go for 6-8 weeks on my own, they said it wouldn’t do much good.

Taken one day after class on the East Beach in Toronto

Taken one day after class on the East Beach in Toronto

In our organization, all black belts must sign their name stating that they are smoke free. I’d been promising myself each belt level that I was going to quit. But as I went through them, I kept smoking.

Grading for your black belt is a great honour and I regarded it as such, including the oath I took. The day I graded for my black belt is the day I smoked my last cigarette.  A month later when I was awarded my first black belt, I smoke half a cigar in celebration and haven’t smoked since.

Since then, I’ve been to Hong Kong for 5 months, where everyone smokes like chimneys. I could have cheated but something a friend of mine kept me in line. Whenever I thought “Maybe just one; no one will know.” His voice would answer: “But you will.”

I finished university, go the rest of my shodans, went onto my nidans and about to start my sandans in the fall.

Thank you Sensei. Ous.

If you started a music band, what would the name be?

If you started a music band, what would the name be?

When I was working for Toronto East General Hosptial in the Public Relations Department, we worked on a project called Silos to Solutions. We put together a slide show of hundreds of shots around Toronto taken over a few weeks. While at Cherry Beach, I shot this one with Kevin’s camera. (Thanks to Kevin Holm for lending it to me to take this one set of shots). While there, I came up with a band name: Cherry Swan. I wasn’t even practicing in a band, nor did I have any dreams of becoming a famous musician. But if it ever came, I’d have a cool band name.

The One That Got Away

I’m sure we all have stories about “The One That Got Away”. It’s more likely, the one we let slip through our fingers. I have one of those stories…and in light of Valentine’s Day, I hope you never let one slip through your fingers that shouldn’t.

In my last year at high school, I started using one of those dating phone lines. Don’t remember which one and it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t sure if it would lead to anything and probably thought this was just a good way to make the guy I liked jealous. I figured that the object of my affections didn’t care for me enough to just see me, so I would see what else was out there. Started talking to this one guy with a nickname of “Taz”. We chatted on the phone for hours on end, sometimes all night until dawn. He was a really sweet guy.

One night, we decide to meet. He lived in Brampton and I lived in Toronto. It being fairly late at night, neither one with a car and the GO Buses had stopped running, it was unlikely that this was going to happen. He hops in a cab and pays $50 to meet me at Yonge & Bloor Station.

I hadn’t told him what I was wearing and before the internet, it wasn’t easy to see what each other looked like. He told me what his jacket looked like and had to hope that I wouldn’t leave him stranded there. I walked passed him and said his nickname. He turned around and there I was. We walked down to an all night dessert place and talked for hours. Then we went back to my place and spent the night together. He even gave me the poem he’d written for me and read to me over the phone hours before. I gave him an origami japanese crane.

The next day, I felt awful about it. Not that I didn’t like him and that he wasn’t a nice guy, but I thought “This isn’t fair to him. I don’t ‘love’ him. I should stop it.” I got on the phone that night to him and started to break it off. As I’m on the phone to him, the other guy rings in on call waiting. He’s decided that I’m the one for him and that he wants to be with me. I’m over the moon. I switch back to the other line and finish telling him that it’s over. I didn’t do it on purpose, I was just confused.

A few days later the other guy decided he didn’t want to be tied down and I finished it with him. ‘Taz’ and I still talked, but it wasn’t the same and it became less frequent. We got on with our lives and I called him up about a year later, just to see how he was doing. He was dating another girl by this time and she seemed very sweet. I got a call from her one day asking if I’d come up for a visit to Brampton and surprise him for his birthday. He was working at a local pub and we went to meet him there after she met me at the bus station. I made a japanese crane and told her to take it in to him. He’d know what it was. He did and he was truly surprised. So was I…at how much I think I cared for him. But he was taken now and I couldn’t ruin that for him. We had a great time that night and I crashed at their place.

The next day, the girlfriend had to go to work so he was going to take me back to the bus station. We were hanging out at the apartment and while we were playing around, he kissed me. Both of us knew it wasn’t right. He couldn’t do that to his girlfriend and I couldn’t screw up his chance at being happy after I’d broken his heart already once. He confessed to her about it and she never let me speak to him again. Can’t say that I blame her.

He did eventually marry her and within a year, they were separated/divorced. Turns out she cheated on him and took him to the cleaners. He got another girlfriend after that and I’m sure there were more, but then I lost track of him.

I started looking him up on the net and dialling old phone numbers, but nothing. I did actually find him finally just last year on Facebook and he is happily married with children. But for the longest time, I wondered if something could have been. I even still have the paper with the poem on it. Might even post it someday…

My Nana

Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Should would have been 87. So we’ll make sure to toast to her later today. For now, will light a candle. Her memorial is posted on my Princess’s message. She passed away just last month. Boy it was strange this Christmas with her not being there. But her spirit lived on.

On Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, there were always people over at my Grandmother’s house. We figured it would be just be me, my mother and brother and my uncle this year. A friend of the family said she was going to drop by later, so my aunt and her husband said they would too. She was going to bring some food, but I’d told her not to fuss since there weren’t many of us and it wasn’t going to be the usual gathering. She brought her daughter, my uncle’s girlfriend and her son came over too. His best friend from across the street came over and said that his mom was sitting alone and would it be okay for her to come over as well. Of course! Then the guy next door came over since his wife was working. So considering, we did pretty well. I guess Nan didn’t want us to be lonely on Christmas Eve without her there. And as my mother said on Christmas Day, “Raise your glasses to the founder of the feast. I give you, Mrs. Phyllis Mills” Bye Nana.

Bridget Jones: Day 3

Units of Caffeine: 3

Units of Alcohol: 3

Cigs: Still none (over 4 years now)

Meals: 2

Muffins: (Home made) 2

Fruits: 1

Salads: none

For those who have taken to reading my Bridgesque posts, I am doing my best to keep you informed but not to bore. I’m still working on this and thank you for your patronage, but know also that to protect the guilty…I mean…innocent, I’m not going to post everything. That would just be stupid. Full Stop!

At the stroke of midnight last night (Tuesday/Wednesday) I took to read my horrorscope hoping to gain some insight into my upcoming 2nd interview. Oddly, I found this:

You have someone’s attention now, Capricorn. You may not have noticed, but you have a secret admirer of some sort. This could be a romantic interest, but it could also be that someone is observing you and admiring your talent or skill related to business. If you are hoping to meet the person of your dreams, stay alert for someone’s shy flirtations. If you are hoping to make a career move or you need to make a special connection for your business, keep your eyes open for opportunities. This is a good day to make progress in both areas.

Who could it be? I thought I had it figured out, but alas I was wrong. Am happy that they have found someone, but was slightly disappointed. Part of me thought it might be me. Not that I would have done anything, but it would have been a boost to the self-esteem to say the least. Had built it up because of stupid horrorscope. Thought I had it figured out. Oh well…Back to the drawing board. <looks up horrorscope for the next day> Does seem promising.

Went for second interview BTW with full arsenal. Research, done; reference list, done; reference letters, done; outfit, done. Arrived 20 minutes before appointment. Can’t go wrong, right? Keeping fingers crossed and will hopefully find out Friday.

Originally had another piece to go in here, but think I will make it a separate post. I’ll save the New Year’s stuff for tomorrow. For tonight, we train and go kick the crap out of stuff. Good way to kick 2010 to the curb!

Just A Gold Box

My father was kind enough to send this to me and I wanted to share it with you all.

A young man learns what’s most important in life from the neighbour next door.

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams.

There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.” Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important…Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture….Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box.. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day, Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. “Mr. Harold Belser” it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

“Jack, Thanks for your time! – Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most was…my time”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.

“Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Let’s try this again…

I’ve tried running a blog before and it didn’t really work all that well. I had too many things going on, like finishing university and finding a job that my thoughts needed to focus inward. The job search is still on, but I thought I would kill numerous birds with a single stone. What this has allowed me to do is use a single tool (WordPress) to categorize my thoughts and reach out to people that perhaps can assist me in my career and my public profile. In future posts, I may share some rantings, philosophies and thoughts along with what I have for a profile to improve it with your help. In so doing, I learn a little more about blogging and social media, improve my writing skills and improve my image.

The previous posts I haven’t quite figured out what to do with as yet. They are still pieces I want to keep close, so bear with me as I go on this journey of self discovery.

Please also feel free to checkout my other blogs if they are of interest:
ADHD – adhdjourney.wordpress.com

and my creative writing blog: shadowshui.wordpress.com

Stay tuned!