Sanctuary and Serenity

People who are on the *system*…welfare, ODSP… they get a bad wrap.  Just because they are there, doesn’t mean they want to be there.

Some folks end up there through no fault of their own.  You lose your job because you fall ill.  Your rent is 800.00 –  you can no longer afford it.  Or your landlord of 11 years sells his building and informs all that live there that they have two months to move.  But now you are on the system.  You’re used to working and making good money – but that’s not the case now.  Now you must survive an entire month on 591.00 – that’s rent, food, clothes, medical needs, transportation.  Your rent *allotment* is considered to be 345.00.  lol  In a city where it costs approximately (at the lowest) 425.00 JUST to rent a single room where you must share bathroom facillities – what does that leave you to live on?   166.00.  So you think you’ll get a roommate and lower the costs?  Don’t think you can get just *any* roommate – if it’s the opposite sex they will call you a couple and decide your fate on what that other person earns!!  And what happens if you CAN’T find a new place to live?  Now you’re homeless…A buspass is 130.00.  If you want to search for work or go to a food bank or another resource to get food – churches, community centres.  What do you spend on food a month?  For a single person?  And I mean on food you like… food that’s good for you.  If you go to a food bank what do you get?  You get starch and carbohydrates.  You get rice, pasta, tin foods.  And it’s not just one race of people going there.  Each person has different requirements.  In some places the people cannot eat specific foods for religious reasons.  People with diabetes can’t eat any of the above.  And don’t expect meat or salad.  If you were to have a choice to eat what and how much you need, what would you require to spend on food?  To live a healthy and dignified life?  What about a phone?  You need a phone to call for jobs and get call backs, right?  So add that in.

Without proper nutrition you get sick.  Your health care costs rise.  Your confidence and self esteem drop.  Try looking for an apartment and telling your new landlord that you are on the system… Try explaining to a new boss in an interview what you’ve been *doing* with yourself for the last few months.  Attempt to get a job where no one is hiring.  Then you start to make choices.  Do I buy the food I need or get a buspass?  Do I pay rent or bills?  If I get an interview, how will I get there and what will I wear?  If I get a haircut do I cut out some food?

Now – knowing that people are starving – let’s take a look at the special food diet.  This was implemented to supply people with foods they need depending on their illnesses.  At first it wasn’t well known, but as time went on folks discovered it and took advantage of the fact that they could actually get money for FOOD.   So the numbers went up…. well, why not.  People need to eat.  So now the gov has decided that it’s *unsustainable* to feed people?…they are phasing out this diet.  Now you must reapply to the ministry of health, as apposed to social assistance.   They will have a list of illnesses they deem appropriate to cover and it will be less money than recipients were originally receiving, perhaps even coupon type mentality.  And not all recipients are being grandfathered into the new plan.  Another cut, another slash to the poor.  Way to go – so proud of our government.

People – all people – have a right to food.  There is certainly enough of it on this planet and our government knows this.  But here’s the catch.  If they raise the rates of social assistance – they have to raise the minimum wages in companies.  Minimum wage is still below the poverty line.  But if social assistance is near that rate – then they believe people will have no desire to take those low paying jobs.  And if they don’t provide social assistance and they just let people die in the streets – they believe there will be a massive uproar in the people…  Well, that’s what they need.  Massive uproar.  Because they ARE starving people.

Food banks were introduced as an emergency measure – they weren’t meant to be part of your monthly income.  They weren’t meant to be sustainable.

Health, and healthy food choices should be a normal part of life.  Life with dignity.  Shame on our government for starving it’s people.  No one can be expected to get ahead when they are hungry and this has been proven just by the fact that we have lunch programs or breakfast programs in schools for our children.  What are we doing?  Feeding them young and then starving them when they grow up?

And so what if you DO get a job, a part time job to start?  They take half of your pay OR MORE… each month.  So you work this month – they take it off your next cheque…but what if you don’t work next month?  They don’t help you get ahead.  They hold you down.

Some folks have life long illnesses.  They are on the system.  Did they ask to get Cancer, or AIDs or Diabetes, or Myofibrillar myopathies?

Truly – stop misconceiving the world around you…know your facts.  Help raise awareness – when we raise the lowest of us, we all raise to new heights.

Single folks aside – what about people with children!  (Thanks Kayla B for pointing this out.)  People have to go day to day worrying about how to feed their children.  Have you ever had a small child?  In school?  Try paying for all the trips.  Try telling your child that 6.50 is too much and they have to stay home when all the other children are going on a trip.  Try sending your child to school with a lunch comprised of food bank goods.  Try spending money on gym suits, day planners, locks for lockers…etc.  The list never ends, as anyone with kids knows.  And this doesn’t even cover clothing them… in what they feel comfortable in – because kids make fun of each other.  And what about how they are treated when they are asked what their parents do for a living?  Bring your parents to school?  Really?  How about having your friend over at lunch time?  What are you going to feed them?

Then there’s a whole other section – folks that were brought up on assistance – and then the grown up children go on it.  It’s all they know.  Maybe they had a parent that had a life long illness, that couldn’t work.  All that child knows is the system.  We all learn coping mechanisms and tools of survival from our caretakers, our providers – and this is what they learn.  No one knows anything but what they are taught when they are younger.  As you get older you learn for yourself.  But it’s ok – because if they get a job – assistance will just take some of that money to keep them there.

All in all.  Poor people are not criminals, or lazy or wanting to be on the system.  They are aware that working provides better money.  They are aware that it’s no fun to be stressed out because every minute of the day is spent searching for ways to get food – for themselves and maybe for their loved ones as well.  If the system covered at least the basics – a place to live and food in their bellies… they would have a life with some dignity and they would be a stronger people.

Fired Proud FM hosts weigh in as they pursue a wrongful dismissal suit.

Scott Dagostino / Toronto / Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“I understand the general public’s whiplash feeling,” says Shaun Proulx of being abruptly fired — along with fellow hosts Deb Pearce, Mark Wigmore and Patrick Marano — from Proud FM on May 5. Proulx says he doesn’t know why they were fired, but that the pink slips were issued after the group asked for a meeting with station management.

Despite rumours, Wigmore says the meeting wasn’t about money.

“We weren’t stupid enough to think we could go in as a group and scream ‘Unionize’ or ask for raises,” he says.

With the three-year-old station struggling to become profitable, Marano says everyone was “toeing the company line.” But, Pearce says, “Certain things kept creeping up and we wanted more clarity.”

Proulx points to April 12, the day the station became Glee FM. In a marketing tie-in with Global TV, Proud FM devoted its entire programming schedule and website content that day to the show.

“The station loves to use the word ‘transparency,’ but this deal wasn’t very transparent,” says Proulx. “Hosts were being asked to do some advertorial stuff that we’d never been asked to do before,” including using talk time to plug products. “I have a bit of an issue with just being handed something and told to shut up and read it. I have a lot of credibility behind my name. So does Deb, so does Mark, and so does Patrick. Proud FM hired us for our brands, brands that we built.”

Wigmore says each host was getting contradictory answers from Proud FM operations manager Bruce Campbell, so the foursome decided a group meeting would clear everything up. But after three requests, Pearce says, they were fired via email.

“It all happened over a grand total of 48 hours,” says Wigmore.

Campbell says there were “significant differences between management and the affected individuals as to how the business and administration of the station — both on-air and commercially — should be conducted.”

This, says Pearce, is not the case.

“They’ll never know what we wanted to meet about because no one ever took the time, respectfully, to meet with us,” she says.

Respect, Pearce continues, is at the heart of this story. She says she felt betrayed when station management ignored a two-week deadline to endorse her nomination for honoured dyke at this year’s Pride festival.

The station, “that in theory said, ‘I support you,’ now would not endorse it or do anything publicly,” she says.

To read more, click HERE.

When we revealed that there were seven Banksy pieces in Toronto, one thing we didn’t reveal were those pieces’ locations. We were initially sworn to secrecy—or at least vagueness—from one of our sources; there were concerns that disclosing the precise locations could lead to pieces being stolen or damaged.

Now, a few days and a good amount of damage later, we think it’s time to point the Banksy-hunting masses in the right direction.

We’re doing this for a few reasons. For one, the pieces are public, and meant for the public, for better or worse. Their accessibility is part of their form—and Banksy often makes it part of his (hers? their?) work’s content. The internet is the internet; we want you to see what’s left of the work yourselves, on the street. The pieces, as well, are disappearing fast—there are now just three fully intact ones left, and one of those is newly behind a protective layer of plastic. What’s more, those who’re committed to ruining the pieces weren’t waiting for an itinerary to do so. And, finally, we spoke to our secrecy-sworn source, and—with some reservations—they agree.

To read more, click HERE!!!

My stalker and it’s babies!!!  They are all so fluffy and cute – and not to be messed with. lol  I got as close as I dared to get pix….

(They still scare me!!!) lol  But isn’t it sad… see the fence behind them?  And in front of them a large expanse of cement.  A parking lot.  So unnatural…  Poor animals don’t stand a chance with us humans living near them. 😦

Babies 2!
Babies 2!
Babies 3!
Babies 3!

Well, I learned my lesson!  And how. lol

lol  I WAS a member of M*dblogz…. (Not allowed to have that here.)  lol

First off.   I was originally asked to remove the link to it by wordpress because of all the spam one gets while using MB.  So I did…. and then after about a week I noticed it was true!  Every comment I ever got on there was spam…. Second?  They have a wee warning… if you delete your blog you CANNOT EVER COME BACK….(Insert scary movie music here – dun dun dun dunnnnn)   Third?  I go there today and there’s an announcement that THEY are going to go through blogs and remove anything THEY deem unimportant / irrelevant?   Really?  lol   Needless to say, I deleted it on the spot – without a second thought.  I don’t care for controlling attitudes.  If it’s my blog, then leave me AND my content be…. it’s like when someone gets on fb and says *I’m going through my contact list, and if you don’t participate, I’ll delete you* – get on with it and PLEASE let me be first!!!  lol    In fact, if I find it first – I’ll do it for you!  How’s that grab you?  lol  Manipulation at it’s finest.  F. O. people – if that’s the only way you can get attention maybe you should just get off the net. lol   So – back from my tangent.  I deleted my account at MB (shudder to think of the consequences.) and they sent me an email – hopefully they’ll see me back in the future?????  Are you kidding me?  lol   Piss off…..quietly, I don’t want to be disturbed any further by you… lol

Rant over.  lol  I’m starting to like this bloggy business. lol

RainbowVectorsOnXparant By Kelly Krogman!
RainbowVectorsOnXparant By Kelly Krogman!


In the film ‘SAD TO BE GAY’,
David doesn’t want to be gay
anymore and enters treatment
to become straight.
Is sexuality something that can be
unlearned? Come watch a 45 minute film about
David’s journey.

Tuesday May 25th 12-1:30pm
Main floor
Pizza and discussion to follow film
Everyone welcome!

955 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON M4M 1K7
(416) 461-1925


For anyone who would like to get involved and join us – here is the information you would need!!

Our meetings are every other Wednesday at 10:00 am.  They go about two hours.  Our next meeting is June 2nd.

We need people with all sorts of skills.  Taking minutes, leafletting, canvasing for petitions… making banners, decorating bulletin boards, any creative idea you can come up with to raise awareness!!!

The meetings are open – anyone can come along and join in.  You don’t need to call ahead.  If you are interested in receiving information, or meeting minutes, upcoming events, please leave me a message and we can get in touch. 🙂

955 Queen St. East
Toronto, ON M4M 1K7
(416) 461-1925

If you take the 72 Pape bus down to Queen from the subway – you just walk 2 seconds East…. and there we are!!!


Call me daft, but I don’t understand.

The summit this year is being held in Canada, yay us… but it’s being held in Huntsville.  Huntsville!!!  It’s three hours away from Toronto.  225 KM.  Really??

So WHY are they adding 77 new cameras to the downtown core?  Can you say *excuse to add more cameras*?  They had decided before this came to be that there were enough cameras…hell, they were going to remove some!!

And why are our streets downtown smothered in police rounding up every person they can – homeless, bike riders, your usual suspects in petty crime… they’ve already got over 80 people off the streets.  They are all doing overtime.  You can’t move without seeing them.   The event isn’t until the end of June… and they’ve converted the old Film Studio down on Lakeshore to hold prisoners.

WTF?  Is it just me or has this world gone a little wacked?  Do they suppose that homeless folks are going to hitchhike to Huntsville to do harm to these special people?  Do they really even suppose folks care?  I would think they are busy locating food, or somewhere to sleep and that the G8 summit is the last thing they care about – or folks on bikes…they’re going to ride out there, are they?   I know those folks down in that area of Toronto, and they could give a rat’s ass!!!  Seriously – governments…get over yourselves.

And, last – they’ve decided to allow people to rally at Queen’s Park.   LOL  That’ll really impact the world leaders way up in Huntsville.  lol

~~~Walks away shaking head and mumbling…….

Bells on Bloor Brunch with purpose.
Sunday, May 16th, is our Bells on Bloor pancake breakfast fundraiser – come and get your stack of pancakes (gluten-free on request), real maple syrup and organic coffee with a side of fresh advocacy.
42 Howland (Bloor and Bathurst), 9am to 1pm – see you there!

Bells on Bloor Join thousands of cycle-savvy Torontonians on Saturday, May 29th in this pedal-powered parade!We’ll be ringing our bells along Bloor Street, from High Park to Queen’s Park, to demonstrate the need for Bike Lanes on Bloor.

Ring out for bike lanes on Bloor Street!
Bring your musical instruments.
Prizes for Best Photos and V…ideos.
Free bike bells for the bell-less.

For more information:

See more

Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 12:00
High Park to Queen’s Park, Toronto

Ok, I’m an animal lover.  I think that they are spectacular.  Just like having all the different races, religions, sects… everyone, all of us.  We, together make life wonderful – every living being has it’s place.  I used to say that I didn’t see color in people.  I loved who I loved without abandon and with my heart for who they were.. but I’ve realized ( a few years ago) that this attitude is just as bad as being racist, sexist, ageist…whatever.  BECAUSE… lol….people from different places, and beliefs bring something wonderful to the table.  I love it.  I love everything I learn about different cultures and people and languages.  Saying that I don’t see color is like negating them.  I’m so on a tangent now. lol  K…back to animals… the one thing I cannot support?  Pit Bulls.  I know they have a right to life as everything else does… but people have them and treat them wrong and they bite…but they don’t JUST bite, they can’t let go!!  And children are getting bitten.  I just can’t do it.  When I see them on the street I don’t think…aw…sweet puppy, I get nervous.  I would love to love them and support them, but I have children (grown up now) and I’ve felt the terror of those dogs nearing my child(ren)… and these dogs terrify me.  I think Rottwiellers have the same effect on me…but only because one bit me.  I love dogs.. really, I do.  I remember years ago, German Sheppards had the same label.  They were fierce..but we don’t hear that now.  Maybe it will be the same with pitbulls…but for now?  I agree they should be banned.  I think that sometimes, animals are animals.. they do what they know and it’s inherent.

Ok, I’m done. lol – no, no I’m not. lol

Should muzzles be enforced on all dogs when they are outside?  They have to put muzzles on Pits in Toronto already.  I feel so bad for them, though… they’re animals… they should be free and yet humans put contraptions on their faces.. can’t make going for a walk much fun.

And I agree – even from the owner’s point of view – they should all wear them.  When people would ask if they could pet my dog I would say no… she was very friendly, but she was a dog.  And dog’s bite.  lol  You never know when or why – what sets them off.  So why chance it?  Your dog is put down if it bites someone…

But that aside…. when they are at home – if there are children… and especially children with faces that are level with a dog’s face… if a dog chooses to bite them – the child will squeal, or scream…and now they’ve become a squeaky toy… and prey… and if it’s a pit – they can’t let go if they even want to – and you can’t make them.

They just plain scare me.  I saw one once on a talk show…the owner was dangling it off a branch… it bit the branch and couldn’t let go. Shudder.

Does anyone remember the Climax Blues Band?  I love you?  Or 10CC The Things We Do For Love.  lol Cyndi Lauper…Time After Time.

Or newer stuff… Coldplay, What If.  Christina Aguilera – Hurt.  Colin Raye – Love Me…. such good music for blue moods….for love felt, or lost, or wanted.  Blue Rodeo, Crowded House… I could go on and on. lol

There’s so much wonderful music out there.  I have over 200 Gigs of it and still I’m downloading…. there’s just not enough storage space for music.  It’s gotten me through every situation in my life.  Good or bad.  Every song reminds me of something…someone…some time or event.  What would  I have done without music in my life.

I remember as a child listening to the radio.   Magic Power – Triumph.  It got me through everything… and my mother asking me – *what are you doing?*… I said *listening to music*.  She then proceeded to tell me that you can’t just lay there and listen to music.  lol  How wrong could she be?  This from a woman that blasted the tunes all the time.  Knock on Wood still makes me think of her.  I grew up hearing David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Beatles, Queen, Fleetwood Mac…all at full volume… doing chores and hearing music.

My Rainbow S from Kelly Krogman. :)
My Rainbow S from Kelly Krogman. 🙂

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Well, we had a great time!  We first went to Long and McQuade’s and did the guitar thing!  He found a terrific wee amp that he can hang off his belt lol… it’s a Marshal Stack.  Hah.  🙂  And to all of our surprise… quite loud. 🙂  I also discovered they have chord posters there..which they said they didn’t have. lol  I went to some fancy schmancy store and ordered one – now I see they have them.  Lordy. 🙂  Then we went for SUSHI!!  And man oh man…was it good!  I haven’t had that in so long!!  I pulled a mother stunt and completely mortified my son by having the people at the restaurant come and sing to him………. mwa ha ha.  🙂

All in all – a great time.   xoxox  Happy 24th Birthday Son!

Happy Dance.  lol
Happy Dance. lol
Calamari - I See YOU
Calamari – I See YOU
Blushing after the singing.
Blushing after the singing.

So we are revamping our bulletin board at the community centre.

We moved it from it’s original location and scored a spot!!  by the elevator. lol  This is good because the folks wait there and read the walls while waiting on an elevator.  lol  We didn’t get it finished, but it’s a start!!  🙂

Aimee and our new board.
Aimee and our new board.
Ron and Aimee and our board.
Ron and Aimee and our board.

While you SCREAM at your partner, there’s another wishing they could talk softly in their ear.

While you HUMILIATE, OFFEND and INSULT them, there’s someone flirting with them and reminding them how wonderful they are.

While you HURT your partner, there’s a person wishing they could make love to them.

While you make your partner CRY there’s another stealing smiles from them.

Against Domestic Violence!

Serenity Xanadu by Kelly Krogman
Serenity Xanadu by Kelly Krogman

Thanks, Kelly!  I agree. 🙂

May 12th: Defend the East Downtown Neighborhood:
Bring Back Street Health Services, Re-Instate Gaetan!

Thursday, May 12th
12 Noon
Allan Gardens (Carleton and Sherbourne)
*FREE BBQ in the PARK!

On Wed. May 12 we will gather in Allan Gardens at 12noon for a
Community BBQ and Rally. We will then march on Street Health and
remind Laura Cowan, Mary McCowan, and Eleanor Lester that they are
accountable to the community and that the needs and demands of this
community will not be ignored. Bring back the services to Street
Health and Re-instate Gaetan at his job in East Downtown Toronto!

The Downtown East-End is experiencing rapid transformation, as are
many poor neighborhoods in Toronto. In this transformation, poor
people and services for poor people are being displaced. It is
important that we defend the need for public services and access to
these services within our neighborhoods; that we confront this process
of displacement. Street Health began as a project by homeless people
and has been an important space in this neighborhood for over 20
years. Gaetan Heroux has been a dedicated and much loved anti-poverty
activist within this neighborhood for over 20 years as well. We need
to send a message loud and clear: Street Health belongs to the
community and NOT to corporate consultants!

Four months ago Street and Neighbourhood Link moved the administration
office of the PAID I.D. Project out of Street Health, where it had
been for the last ten years, and relocated 5 miles away from the
Dundas and Sherbourne neighborhood, where most of the identification
clinics were located. Making people travel five miles to access the
administrative office is cruel and harmful to people who don’t have
the money for TTC tickets needed to get all the way out to Danforth
and Victoria Park.

On December 8, a petition with over 500 names was given to Laura
Cowan, Street Health’s Executive Director, and Eleanor Lester, Chair
of the Street Health Board. The majority of the people who signed the
petition were homeless men and women who had used the I.D. service.
They demanded that the administration office be returned to Street
Health and that Gaetan be reinstated at his job in the downtown core.
On December 29, a dozen people walked for over three hours from Street
Health to Neighbourhood Link and delivered another petition with over
850 names on it to Mary McGowan, the Executive Director of
Neighbourhood Link, again demanding that the administrative office be
returned to Street Health and that Gaetan’s job be reinstated in the
downtown core.

Many times the community has rallied outside of Street Health to voice
our concerns and our demands. Despite these numerous demonstrations,
several public meetings, and two petitions signed by homeless men and
women, community workers, and anti-poverty activists, the people who
run Street Health and Neighbourhood Link continue ignore the demands
of the community.

Defend your neighborhood and services: JOIN EAST DOWNTOWN FIGHTBACK on
May 12th, 12Noon at Allan Gardens Park.