Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goodbye December

'Autumn Thoughts'
It was read more than any of my other blogs in 2010.

Wow, it is already the end of December and time for my monthly blog wrap up.

For some reason Southern Ontario has missed all of the winter storms that have raged around us this month and that is a good thing.  

But wherever you were this month, I'm hoping you had a good Christmas.

Win a Magic Pig Wand

I got the idea of having a contest because I actually won a contest in someone else's blog in 2010.  I won a lovely newly published book called "Facing Fire" by Canadian author KC Dyer.  Ms Dyer is a friend of Pamela Patchet, who writes the amazing blog, 'A Novel Woman'.  

I won! I won! 

Anyway, the pig wand and my obsessive compulsiveness made a great combo.  By the time I was finished, it was quite glam - completely covered in sequins, feathers, ribbons etc.


Prayers to a female God at a UN conference?

What a great idea.

An idea whose time has come, I might add.

And the Winner Is ...

My high school friend, Lena, who lives in Nanaimo, B.C. won the magic pig wand!
Congratulations, Lena.

The next contest will happen a few weeks before Valentine's Day.

Think chocolate if you are wondering what the prize will be. 

Specifically chocolate from the chocolate shop in Ridgeville.

Grave Faces IV

The fourth in the series of interesting tombstones.

Ding Dong Bell / I Will fight Them on the Phone

I wrote two whole blogs on my frustration with Bell Canada. 

Eventually, I did manage to figure out the billing. 

Lucky for Bell.

3 Geneva Street, The Lights Are On

If you haven't seen this miniature house, and things like that interest you.  It is worth a trip to the St. Catharines Museum.



This was just a not to let people know that having highish speed Internet has freed up a lot of my time.

I've gone back to editing my novella, "Somebody Shot the Principal" and I'm doing it online so anyone who wants to, can follow along.

I won't be posting 'a North Pelham Journal' as often though.

I Sent a Letter to My Love

I love country mailboxes.  Some of them are pretty, some political, some scary. 

This is the first in a series.

Sister Wives

Things like polygamy don't bother me. 

Cruel, evil people bother me.  If someone is a good, responsible person then I don't care what they wear, (on their bodies or their heads), what their religious beliefs are or how many partners they have.

Unfortunately, there are many people who do care and we may be in for a rocky road in 2011 if by some chance both prostitution and polygamy are legalized.

On the other hand, this being Canada, we may just say a national, "Well I never!" and get back to doing whatever we were doing.

Enjoy these last few days of 2010 everyone! 

See you with my resolutions on New Year's Day!

(Feel free to add yours in the comment section!)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sister Wives

sister wivesImage by Elizabeth Haslam via Flickr
SisTer Wives better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan

According to Wikipedia if a woman has more than one husband it is called polyandry and if a man has more than one wife it is called polygyny. Put them together and I guess you come up with the more common word 'polygamy'

The most famous polygamous group in Canada is the break-away Mormon sect in Bountiful, B.C.

But another hidden group came to light last year during the investigation into the deaths of the three teenage sisters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17 and Geeti, 13, who were drowned in Kingston. They were killed along with, Rona Amir Mohammed, the childless first sister wife of the father of the girls.

To get around the immigration laws when they came to Canada about 3 years ago, the dead woman was identified as a 'cousin'.

I'm not going to talk about the Bountiful court case or the horrendous murder in Kingston, I'm simply noting that polygamous families do exist in Canada and at some point in the not too distant future polygamy may be legalized.

With rulings on prostitution and polygamy coming up,  2011 promises to be an interesting year, Canada.

Hold on to your seat belts!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Sent a Letter To My Love ...

The Mailbox Poem

I wanted to visit Grandma
I missed her smiling face.
But I didn't have the plane fare
To travel to her place.
So I hopped into a mailbox
With a stamp and her address
That's how I got to grandmas
By next day express !!



Here's one of my favourite Pelham mailboxes!

It shouts, "Proud to be a Farmer!"


This cylindrical mailbox gets the nod for most amusing or scariest. 

Take your pick.

On one hand it looks like a particularly ugly toilet paper dispenser.

On the other hand

it reminds me of one of those white railway cars that carry poisonous substances! 


This is a seasonal mailbox.

Right now it is decorated with evergreen boughs and Christmas decorations

 in the spring and summer the box is full of cascading flowers..

What could be cooler than a barn mailbox! 

If this was mine I would have glued little plastic cows on the roof.


Some mailboxes are just plain classy!

This Pelham horse farm owner has perhaps, the most elegant mail box in the area.

"Farmers Feed Cities"

And this farmer with the fancy dancy corn cob mail box isn't going to let you forget it!

Some mailboxes do extra duty.

This one tells the passerby what the farmer is selling that day.

Of course some Pelham mailboxes are painted red to match the closest phone booth.


Merry Christmas, Everyone! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Finally getting highish speed Internet service has really made a difference in my life. 

The greatest change has been the amount of time I spend online.  I have found that I suddenly have hours and hours of free time. Time I used to spend playing solitaire while I waited for the computer to switch from one thing to another.

I've had time to get back to editing my 'book' - "Somebody Shot the Principal".

It is really a Novella and there is no chance of it ever being published, so I have decided to blog it.

It is a humorous murder mystery.  The story of a group of teachers caught in a school overnight during a snow storm. 

The principal gets murdered, they don't know who did it, no one can get in to help them and they can't get out - you know the drill.

My posts to 'a North Pelham Journal' will probably be more sporadic for awhile.

If you are interested in following "Somebody Shot The Principal" chapter 1 is already posted at Http://

If I don't see you before Christmas have a wonderful, peaceful holiday.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

3 Geneva Street, the Lights Are On

You know that tingling feeling kids get when they are in bed on Christmas Eve and hear the bells on Santa's reindeer?

The fearsome knowledge that a secret world exits somewhere close by?

Scary and exciting at the same time?

That's the feeling I had when I first saw this miniature house.

That feeling of being seven again and in the presence of magic didn't last long enough I'm sad to say ...

but my astonishment is still with me.

This amazing little house has been taken out of storage and is on temporary display for at the Museum at Lock 3 in St. Catharines, Ontario.

This is the upstairs bedroom. 

Each piece has been hand crafted. Even the little drawers open.

I reallllllly want to know if there is anything in those drawers, old maps to pirate treasure, (miniature pirates of course), a wee pair of wire rim spectacles, maybe even a tiny diary full of secrets.

Evidently the builder had to make the proper miniature tools before he was able to construct the objects that appear in the house.

I find it hard to imagine that he went to all that trouble and then didn't pull things in the drawers. 

If I find out I'll let you know!

The downstairs parlor is my favourite room.  You have to see it to believe how tiny and exquisite  everything is.

Notice the open door on the hutch on the left.  Each tiny little plate, candlestick and vase has been placed just so. 

When I saw it in the basement of the museum after it first came out of storage, a number of the items had been knocked over.  Someone must have very gently used tweezers to put everything back in place. 

The identity of the children in the daguerreotype is unknown at this time. 

Perhaps the builder and his sister?

This is the masculine sitting room opposite the salon. 

Notice the clock and the tiny little pictures on the desk.

You can practically smell the cigar smoke still lingering in this room.

Another sitting room upstairs. 

This one seems more feminine. 

Could this one have been for the lady of the house?

No tobacco smells here.

 Just a hint of lavender.

Servants quarters under the truncated turret at the upper left of the house. 

Such a lovely painting on the wall.

It must have been a lucky girl who landed a job with this family.

This is a photograph of the house that still stands at 3 Geneva Street in St. Catharines.  For those of you familiar with St. Catharines it is south of St. Paul Street close to the 406. 

The Museum is closed between Christmas and New Years but the week after is a perfect time to take the whole family. 

Trust me, it's worth it.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Will Fight Them Over the Phone, I Will Fight Them Online, I Will Never Surrender

SVG version of the new Bell Canada logo as of ...Image via Wikipedia

I'm trying to avoid paying the multi-bizzillion dollar conglomerate Bell Canada the $2 fee they charge for a paper bill every month.

 After many calls to India, I have given up trying to get help over the phone.

As far as I can tell the problem is that my cell phone and the turbo hub I recently purchased are from two different branches of Bell.  The right hand of Bell doesn't know what the left sold me.

Here's what happened when I used their e-mail customer service to sort out the problem. Which, by the way,  I was advised to do by someone in Bombay.

Francie to Ma Bell, Saturday

Category : E-bill

Topic : Username and password

Dear Ma,

I am unable to get my web activation code because I have a turbo hub.

In billing step #2 it won't accept my mobile number.

It will accept my turbo hub number but there is no place that I can see to retrieve the number.

I love the product, but registering for the billing has been extraordinarily frustrating.

Please help.


Ma Bell to Francie, Tuesday

Good day Frances Mcglynn,

Thank you for using our website.

My name is Carl (Emp# 6000260). I have read your email and I wish to clarify that I am unable to assist you at this time since your name does not appear on this profile as the account holder or contact person.

I suggest that the account holder or contact person authorize your access by adding your name as a contact person.

We hope you will understand that these security measures are in place in order to protect client accounts from unauthorized access.

I would like to thank you, Ms. Mcglynn, for using our website and for choosing Bell Mobility as your wireless communications provider.

Kind regards and have a nice day,

Carl (Emp# 6000260)

Bell Mobility - Online Client Care

Francie to Ma Bell, Tuesday

Dear Carl (Emp# 6000260),

I am simply trying to arrange a method whereby I can pay my bill.

I have no idea what you mean when you say my name does not appear on the profile as the account number for the contact person.

Would you mind telling me whose name does appear there? Perhaps they would like to pay my bill.


Frances McGlynn


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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ding Dong

Cell phone tower cleverly disguised to look li...Image via Wikipedia
Bet you'll never guess which tree is the cell phone tower!

My next door neighbour recently bought a Blackberry. I was so impressed that she could get You Tube on her new phone way out here in the country, that I took myself off to the nearest Bell Mobility store to see if they had anything similar in my price range.

They didn't .

They did, however, sell me a nifty little device called a turbo hub.

For a price, one that city people don't have to pay, the turbo hub lets rural folks enjoy highish speed internet access.

It has its own phone number and runs off the cell phone towers.

It works quite well.

It is easy to install.

But trying to arrange online billing does not work well and is not easy.

To set up an e bill account and avoid the extra $2 a month Bell charges for a paper bill, (Can you imagine? Have they no shame?), you need a secret access code.

And getting the secret access code is like trying to get plans to build a nuclear scud missile in your back yard.

But I didn't know that when I started.

"What fun," I thought. "A secret access code! I'm going undercover, just like in the movies."

As I left the store, I hid the turbo hub under my coat and scanned the parking lot looking for enemy infiltrators. When the coast was clear I hopped into the spy car and headed for North Pelham.

Safely at home I put the thing together and went to the website. Following my handler's instructions which said they would text my secret access code as soon as I contacted them, I entered my cell phone number.

Seconds later I was shocked to learn that they have no record of my phone.

Which, I might add, I've been using for years.

Now I won't say I panicked but I will tell you that Bell eventually locked me out for a while.

Anyway after 4,723 phone calls to Bombay I learned it was because my phone was from Bell Solo and my turbo hub was from Bell Mobility. It apparently didn't matter that I bought them both in the same little 10' by 10' Bell Mobility Store in St. Catharines.

Bell was pleased to send my secret access code to my turbo hub phone number though.

But the turbo hub is a screenless, soundless black box.  Bell might as well have sent the
secret access code to the tree in my backyard.

You know - the tree that stands beside my scud missile launch pad.

To make it worse I keep getting anxiety producing e-mails from Bell Mobility wondering why I haven't arranged my billing. I only have 14, oops, make that 11 days, left to set it up after all.

The people in India have given up on me. I'm presently waiting for a personal e mail from Ma Bell herself.

If, by mistake, they send me the plans to build a nuclear scud missile instead of my

secret access code,

I think I'll aim it at their head office.

Because I'm not paying Bell Canada an extra $2 a month for a piece of paper.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Grave Faces IV

Christmas is all about the birth of the baby Jesus, right?
So you wouldn't expect to find sculptures of the Holy Family in cemeteries, cemeteries being all about death, not birth, right?
They  do show up however, and in light of the Christmas season here are a few versions of the 'grave' Holy Family.

At this tomb Mother and son wear magnificent crowns.

Jesus is looking upwards - to heaven I suppose, but He gives me the impression that He is trying very hard to keep the crown balanced on his head.

Mary looks strained. Like most mothers she is weighed down with responsibilities

- never mind the part about being the Mother of God.

Anyone who knows the story would understand that Joseph's existential moment here is not just for the person whose burial they are attending, but also for his son.

This baby Jesus rests a hand on his father's cheek to comfort him and gazes sympathetically at the mourners.


Mother and son look down from the sky at the grave of the person whose burial they have been called to attend.

Such an implacable look on Mary's face. She knows that the fate of the deceased is out of her hands now.

Jesus, although still a toddler, blesses the body.

It almost looks like a formal departure at a train station.

The Holy Family has gathered for a burial in Thorold and Joseph, the old man, is chilled at the thought of death. We see it in his face when he looks directly at the camera.

Mary, is lost in prayer. Unlike her husband, she has no doubts about the soul's journey through the afterlife.

Once again, Jesus raises his hand in a blessing.

And just because it wouldn't be right not to include one,

and because some might argue that municipal politics is a bone yard anyway

Here is a picture of the traditional Christmas creche that stands outside of St. Catharines City Hall.

Enjoy these last few weeks before Christmas, everyone!

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And the Winner Is ...

My assistant gets ready
to pull the name of the winner
of the Magic Pig Wand
out of the hat.

It was a scary moment, but my assistant has nerves of steel.

And The Winner Is:

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The Magic Pig Wand is off to B.C. with a little box of chocolates from the Chocolate Store in Ridgeville.

Congratulations Lena!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Astarte riding in a chariot with four branches...Image via Wikipedia

"God never changes. Sorry"

That was the last part of a knuckle rapping I took on face book a week or so ago from a woman I didn't know. She had read comment I made to a mutual friend in which I referred to God as 'She'.

The woman meant, kindly I think, to let me know that God is male.

But archaeological evidence has shown that from 25,000 B.C. to the appearance of Abraham in about 1800 B.C. people living in the Near and Middle East prayed to a Supreme female God.

A Goddess of many names, Astarte, Isis, Ashtoreth, etc. who was wise, valiant, powerful and just.

If you read the Old Testament you'll know that eventually the followers of the warlike Yahweh were able to destroy Her temples and either kill or convert Her followers.

But now, a mere 4,000 years later, She's back.

She was called upon last week, under the Mayan name of Ixchel, (the goddess of the moon, reason, creativity and weaving) to guide the delegates who were at the U.N.s Convention on Climate Change.

"May She inspire you -- because today, you are gathered in Cancun to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools."

- a prayer by Christiana Figueres,
executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

Of course I don't really think that God the Mother ever really went away.

I think that people are starting to rediscover and honour the female side of God as well as the male.

I also don't think it will be easy, judging by the backlash from one hopeful prayer in Mexico.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Win a Magic Pig Wand

Remember those Magic Pig Wands from about fifteen years ago?

Remember how you waved them over your food and the Magic Pig would remove all of the calories?

Boy, they were great.

I mean you could eat


Well I'm happy to say they are back.

Or one is.

I have recently come into possession of the new improved


 ABSOLUTELY guaranteed to remove all of those nasty calories AND it arrived just in time for the holiday goodie season! 

Made of GENUINE gold, ruby, diamond, pearl, emerald and sapphire
coloured plastic sequins, pipe cleaners, odds and ends  and glass beads!


Would YOU like to own the Magic Pig Wand?

All you need to do is leave a comment at the end of this blog or on my face book page telling me

the name of the city where you spent Christmas of 1989!

I'll put all of the names in a hat and announce the winner


I promise to do my best to get the Magic Pig  Wand to


before Christmas. 

I will even mail it to my far flung comrades in Russia if I have to!

Contest closes Moday at 6 p.m. North Pelham Time. (Think Toronto, Nrw York, etc.)

Instructions included.
Just not in Russian.


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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Remember November

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Confederati...Image via Wikipedia
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Ottawa

That was fast!

It's already time for November's review and update.

Here we go:

Some of the Greatest Canadians Were Americans

Remembrance Day month started off with a nod to some of our earliest veterans, the Loyalists.

I've often felt that they are the clue to the elusive Canadian identity.

A quick search of Wikipedia suggested a few characteristics of the Loyalist refugees, Larabee (1948).

What do you think?  Is this us?

a) they resisted innovation

b) they were big on law and order

c) they disliked violence

d) they were procrastinators

e) they liked to take a middle of the road position

f) they lacked confidence in the future

Oh Oh... are you squirming?

But wait! There's one more!

g) they were funny

Feel better?
Me, too.

Grave Faces III

I loved taking these pictures of the faces on some of the cenotaphs in the Niagara area.

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the one in Welland.

I was shocked by its massive size and its warlike message. It was the last memorial commissioned in Canada to honour the dead of WW I.

It showed no mourning figures though, just a bare knuckled soldier warning that the country would fight to the last man to defend freedom.

The year it was unveiled was 1939.

The Weapon That Won the War in Europe

I laughed when my Dad told me this story.

It is one of the few I know about his experiences during WW II. He said they laughed about it too - after it was over.

And okay, I made up the part about why Hitler killed himself.

A Family Remembers

During WW 1 in small town Ontario, no one delivered a telegram to your door if a loved one was lost overseas.

My grandmother and great-grandmother had to go to the telegraph office to pick up the news of the death of my great uncle, Alexander McKay, at Vimy Ridge.

November Garden

I was absolutely charmed by this chilly, whimsical garden.

Loose Teeth at the UN

Okay so we didn't get a seat on the Security Council at the UN for the first time ever.

Who do they think we are? People who resist innovation? Law and order freaks? Procrastinators? Middle of the roaders? Scaredy cats? People who fear the future?


But hey, did you hear the one about the Canadian, the American and the giant talking beaver?

The Staples of Life

Because in my heart of hearts I'm really an NDPer who dislikes Jack Layton's policies, I usually feel like a faker when it comes to the Green Party.

I don't feel GREEN enough, or maybe at all. Anyway, I was thrilled to find a real, live, green gadget. At last I'm doing my part.

Saving the world from a few staples counts, right?

The Three Biggies

Can you eat it? Can you have Sex with it? Will it Kill you?

News o' the Week

How sexy is potash in Saskatchewan, eh?

Once I had forced myself to sort of figure out what the whole thing was about, I thought I would force it on my readers.

I'm cruel that way.

Car Insurance. What's Not to Love?

Car insurance companies are going to roll out the big guns and go after people who make fraudulent claims? I'd say great if I thought it would make a difference.

I'll eat the spy car's back fender if our insurance rates go down.


This is another story from my years in the Yukon.

Topless in a Jail in Ottawa - a Commentary

Sunday night is when I post a comment about the news of the week - if anything interests me.

The 2008 jailhouse video that was released last week certainly got my attention. I felt myself turn cold as I watched an unresisting woman being manhandled in the Ottawa Police Station.

I did understand that it was just a short clip from what must have been a long event and I really tried to find something in the news stories to justify the police actions.

After having read as much as I could about it and taking into consideration the comments by the judge I have come to the conclusion that for some reason a few police acted like sadistic bullies.

But they were only three or four out of thousands of decent, honourable police officers in the province.

My advice is to scratch that phone number for the Bandido Biker Club off your wall.  If you bother  them you might end up going for a swim in the Welland Canal wearing cement socks.

The police are still the people to call if you are in trouble.

And that's it for November. Tomorrow is December 1.

It is the beginning of the month that Christians celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Let's hope in His honour the threat of terrorism and the ominous nuclear sabre rattling in Korea can be resolved.

See you Friday!

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Topless in an Ottawa Jail Cell - A Commentary

Vest of a Bandidos member from Washington StateImage via Wikipedia

I'm afraid I actually laughed out loud when I read the comment, "I'd rather call the Bandidos for help."

The writer was referring to the Ontario Provincial Police, a group someone else had called "the biggest gang in the province".

This hysteria was in response to an article about the release this week of the 2008 jailhouse video of the wrongful arrest of Stacy Bonds.

If you saw it, you'll know the video was chilling - so many police officers and one small woman.

She was charged with assaulting a police officer.

According to the reports, Ms Bond had been visiting a friend that night and was walking home along an Ottawa street after having had a few beers.

The police stopped her and ran her name through their computer. When they found nothing they told her to go home.

And that seems to be when she made her mistake.

She went back and asked them why she had been stopped. Maybe she felt targeted because she was black. Maybe as a law abiding citizen she just felt outraged.

Unfortunately her question seems to have enraged the officers. They arrested her for public intoxication.

The rest you know. She was beaten, strip searched and humiliated, left topless in soiled pants in a jail cell for hours.

The judge dismissed the case against her.

He called the whole thing a "travesty", an "indignity toward a human being..."

At this point it is important to note that the province's Special Investigations Unit has already started to look into the behaviour of the police officers in question. The officer who appears most at fault has been banned from working with the public.

So let's get a grip.


The guys who like to murder their buddies and leave them in car trunks in the countryside.


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Friday, November 26, 2010


When I lived in Dawson City, Yukon, there was a man I avoided as if he had the Spanish Influenza. Not because he was bad looking or smelled or was abusive. I avoided him because he was so needy.

His name was Man-Who-Wanted-a-Wife. Man-Who-Wanted-a-Wife did things for people, particularly women. He majored in being helpful.

But he was so depressing and self-centered that even a few minutes in his company was enough to drive me gratefully back into spinsterhood.

This is not the story of how I discovered his nobler side.


I recognized the voice. It belonged to a teacher who lived in one of the bottom floor apartments in our 12 unit prefab building.

I heard her start pounding on my neighbour's door.

I hadn't been completely asleep. I had heard the town's fire siren wail a few minutes earlier and had debated about getting up to see what was going on. Fire was a big source of entertainment in Dawson City in those pre-computer days, but it was 11 p.m., extremely cold outside and I had to work the next day. I had decided to stay in my warm bed.

"We're on fire," I thought. "I have to get up!"

I stumbled to the closet, threw my parka over my nightgown, grabbed my mukluks and headed out the door. I could smell smoke.

I ran barefoot down the closest staircase but I pulled up short when I saw the fireman standing in the doorway.

It was Man-Who-Wanted-a-Wife.

It would be hard for any man not to look good in a fire fighter's uniform. He was no exception. I hadn't imagined him doing anything so selfless and brave. I ratcheted up my opinion

But the door to the building was open and it was 30° below zero.

"Have to put my mukluks on," I said to him through chattering teeth.

I fumbled with the long laces.

"Never mind those," he said in a manly voice as he swept me into his arms and carried me next door to safety.

Oops. I lied.

That's not what happened.

Actually he knelt down and slipped the mukluks over my bare legs and then carefully laced them up before he smiled and held the door open so that I could leave safely.

Okay, that isn't what happened either.

The truth is that give me an irritated look and said in his whiny voice, "Well, hurry up, will ya!"

What a crab.

Reality 1, Romance 0.

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