Tag Archives: Only child

Pictures can help you write your memoir

 

For those of us writing a memoir or who want to do so, sometimes we get stymied. Where do we start? What do we focus on? What happened in our life that really affected us?

Of course, we may have a specific area of our life we want to focus on. But our memories can play tricks on us. Our memories can “hide” a wealth of information about our past, the people in it and our emotions during those times – even if we think we know how we felt.

So, use pictures to trigger your memory and its whole enchilada. I don’t mean just old family and friend photos. But buildings – your school, the house you grew up in, streets, transit (cars and public), old new-story photos, old ad, even cemeteries.

And even the above which may not be your family photo, may not be a streetscape you are familiar with. You are thinking of the time and what is actually in the picture and transferring it (in your  mind) to your story.

As some of you know, I teach various memoir writing workshops and courses at Toronto Public Library branches. And as the above hints at, the next one, on April 16, is called Using Your Pictures to Create Your Memoir. Most of my memoir writing workshops and courses have something about pictures, particularly those old family and friend photos. An interesting thing I keep discovering is that even if the picture is of my family or friends or me or the house I grew up in – it will always trigger some memory (not connected to me) in some of the participants.

“Oh, the picture of your dad reminded me of my dad.”

“The picture of your house reminded me of the house I grew up in.”

“That picture of your friends reminded me of something that happened with my sister/some of my friends.”

The pictures take on a generic form. And that can happen with transit and streetscapes. For example, a picture of a streetcar can bring up memories of you riding in a streetcar in the past,  lead to something (good or bad) that happened to you while riding a streetcar. Who were you with? What was your relationship to them? And taking it beyond the streetcar ride, what else happened to you and them, especially if a sibling, parent, or close friend? How did you feel towards them? Does it bring up emotions – sad, happy, angry, etc.? And this can lead to more stories with them and maybe with the streetcars. Maybe your dad drove a streetcar or a bus. What were his stories about that?

You can see where a simple picture can lead you in your memoir writing.

Here are the details of my workshop. If you are in the Greater Toronto Area and are interested in taking it, there is still time to register. And it is free. Yes, I get paid by the library for teaching these workshops.

Using Pictures to Create Your Memoir

Tue Apr 16, 2019
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
90 mins

Location

S. Walter Stewart Library

S. Walter Stewart

In this memoir-writing workshop, author and editor Sharon A. Crawford shows how old photos, news stories, ads, streetscapes, and pictures etched in your mind can help create your memoir. Includes how to do picture research and research kick-started by pictures. Through discussion and writing exercises with feedback, you will get a start on your memoir. To register or for more information, please call 416-396-3975.

Meantime, look, really look, at the photo at the top of the post. And see where it leads you in your life.

And the picture below my signature.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Family and Friends, Libraries, Life, Only child memoir, Writing workshops

Only Child horrified at Humboldt truck driver’s light sentence

 

What’s wrong with this picture below?

The  truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who killed 16 members and associates of the  Humboldt Bronco hockey team and injured 13 more in Saskatchewan last April has been sentenced to eight years in prison for each count of dangerous driving causing death. He also received a five-year sentence for 13 counts of dangerous driving, to be spent concurrently.

The judge wanted to send a message and even though this is the highest sentence ever given for dangerous driving causing death in Canada, the sentence could be 14 years at its upper limits. Even though 14 years isn’t really enough for what Sidhu did, the message would have been clearer with the 14 years. And none of this serving the two sentences  concurrently. Adding the two sentences that were actually given together, that would then be 13 years.

It is possible that Sidhu, who is a  resident of Canada, not a Canadian citizen,  could be deported back to India after serving his sentence.

However, deportation or not, I am still incensed and troubled by the judge’s sentence. The message I’m getting is that Canada’s justice system  (such as it is – and I have said before that many of its sentences are too lenient for heinous crimes) seldom applies the full amount of years allowed in sentencing. Or rather the courts, i.e., the judges don’t. I am not sure how that sends a message to other drivers.

And yes, I know 100 years wouldn’t bring back those he killed. I get that. But there is something really wrong with all of this and some questions still sit uncomfortably in my mind.

And yes, I also know Sidhu pleaded guilty and showed remorse.He also offered his sympathy to the victims’ families.

“I don’t know why this happened,” Sidhu said. “They don’t sit alone. I have kids, too.”

And he wasn’t drinking when driving. No distracted driving issues seem to have come up in the investigation.

But…

The forensic report said that Singh did not brake for the stop signs. These signs were increased in size after previous accidents at the same location. The report also stated that no environmental issues (like trees) blocked his view.

It was clear outside and there were no weather issues.

I also have issues with the company he was driving for.

Sidhu had been driving for this Calgary, Alberta company for only a month.

The company, Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd, is small and appears to have only one other truck and one other “staff” – the owner, Sukhmander Singh.

The company had only been in business since the fall before the crash.

Although before the Humboldt crash, the company had no serious charges or infractions, they did have one minor infraction found in a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection defect from the Northwest Territories. The company violated the federal hours of service regulation.

The owner took the company’s other truck off the road right after the accident. The company also had its license suspended until the investigations were complete.

All this raises questions.

What kind of training did Sidhu have to drive a big tractor trailer?

Because he was driving a company truck, shouldn’t the company bear some responsibility for the crash? I couldn’t find any report of the truck not being fit for driving, but isn’t it usual when an employee commits a criminal act, the employer shares in the blame and the sentence? Or am I just being naive here? And I’m not saying it should be spread 50-50 because after all it was Sudhu, not the company or owner, who was driving the truck when he crashed into the bus.

Someone once said the law is an ass. I’m not sure what the context was then. But certainly not sentencing to the fullest when necessary does make the law (or some of its courts) look like the proverbial donkey.

Anyway, I suggest you read some of the stories about this horrific crash and its aftermath and decide for yourself. Reading the court records would be helpful.  Meantime, here are a few of the stories from newspapers, etc. published online and/or in print, some of which I perused for my information. However, opinions in this post are mine. You can Google for more stories.

Truck driver in Humboldt crash worked with Calgary company for ‘about a month’, by Ryan Rumbolt, Calgary Herald Local news, updated April 11, 2018

Jaskirat Sidhu: What we know about the driver charged in the Humboldt Broncos crash, by

Driver in Humbold crash gets 8 years, by Claire Theobald (Toronto) Star Edmonton, March 23, 2019 (print copy)

No wonder I write mystery fiction (Beyond series) where the criminals get their just desserts. And it is not always jail time.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Dangerous Driving and Canadian Law and Sentences, Highway Collisions, Humboldt Crash

Only Child says Spring is springing

Only Child’s spring garden 2018

Today, spring officially arrives. Exact time depends on where you live in the northern hemisphere. Here, in Toronto it is today at 5.58 p.m. and I plan to celebrate – not with a drink, but with buying a plant, a pansy, providing the garden centres (read Home Depot here) have some in. I want to put the plant front and centre on the small red table on my front veranda. Pansies can survive temperatures down to 26 F and it it gets too cold temporarily, I can bring the plant inside for a bit.

Back when I was a child (in the grey ages of course, i.e., mid-1950s), my mom and dad were already out in the garden digging and doing other prep work to plant vegetables – well in early April, not March. But April is coming soon. I was not far behind, waiting to get into the garden and learning what to do from my mom. Guess that’s where I got my gardening bug.

But I am doing some gardening preparations. Finally got my seed order into the seed company – as usual in mid-March. But all those problems (which still keep coming) stole and steal my time from what I want to do and need to do. Often those coincide but when the latter means fixing big problems, I resent that.

So, I hope the sun, spring and warmer weather will kill all the problems and maybe “burn” the perpetrators a little. And “burn” can be taken in other ways than fire. I don’t wish the latter on anybody.

Enjoy the spring. Meantime, here are a few photos from my gardens past to enjoy.

Four-year-old Only Child ready to garden in April

 

Only Child in her backyard patio

 

Backyard Garden 2018

 

Tulips in bloom spring 2018 backyard garden

Happy Spring.

Sharon

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, Gardens, Mom and Dad, Only child, Spring

Only Child why no posts for awhile

I have not disappeared off the face of the earth, although sometimes that sounds like a good idea. But I am stubborn and determined, despite being very cranky this winter. But for good reasons – and these reasons are why it has been awhile since I posted here.

My intent is to resume posting – at least every other week and hopefully getting back to weekly postings.

So what has been in my way?

Well, one of the biggies is sporadic or no Internet access – for just over a week late in February. Even my land line went on strike off and on. Combination of old phone wires and old modem and bad luck. I got a new modem and the fibre connection – which is fine with the Internet but I don’t like it with the phone. I have to keep the modem on 24/7 so the phone will work. The 24/7 is okay but not the phone’s dependency.

What’s wrong with this picture? The modem has a battery, but if there is a power failure the battery lasts for only 4 hours. For major power outages that is not acceptable. You might be able to phone the hydro utility, a family member or friend during that time. But if for some reason you have to call the family member or friend or 911 after that and can’t… I’m a senior and need my land line to be an actual land line – not off in cyberspace land. And don’t tell me to get a cell phone – they operate on batteries, so will run out of juice. During the big power outage in southern Ontario in December 2014 (thanks to the ice storm), my landline was my lifeline to my friends and my son. There was a boarder living here then – she had a cell phone and couldn’t use it because it needed recharging.

From another era. Are we too far in the other direction?

Bell Canada smarten up here.

The other biggie is the weather in southern Ontario (and elsewhere -no one has been spared). Too much snow, too cold, mixed precipitation, rain on its own, damaging winds (fortunately the power didn’t go here in Toronto then and I had just had the new Bell fibre system setup and connected two days before). Among other things, I have had to move a dental appointment three times because of weather. It is now on hold until spring, unless it turns into an emergency. Dealing with this weather is and has been horrendous. Below are a couple of shots I took of the outside – at the beginning of one of the big snowstorms.

Above photo – recycling bins waiting to go to the curb. Hah!

 

My backyard patio – where I eat in summer.

The list goes on and on. I swear on one of my pile of mystery books that 95 percent of my problems are not caused by me – they come from what I call “outside” but I have to deal with them. From what I hear from others, I am not alone with this scenario. Many others have been hit with a lot of bad luck since January 1 of this year.

I am a Sagittarius and for 2019 Jupiter is supposed to be my ruling house, meaning lots of good things happening. Well, you astrologers and would-be astrologers, that is bunk and some of us are living proof of it.

Could it be something in the air causing all of this?  Or? (You substitute what you think here).

And what do you think anyway. How is your 2019 so far?

For the record a few good things have happened in my life this year. But the balance of good to bad (or should that be bad to good?) is lopsided. They say that into our life some rain must fall – my emphasis on the some. But we are getting hit with torrents of rain (metaphorically speaking) t seems.

So, my personal way to deal with this? Go after the big trouble-makers/big problem causers and let the rest slide. Connect with the people in my life who really care and I really care about. And

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

I am a writer after all. See my website for more on that.

Like author John Irving once said
“Half my life is an act of revision.”

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Beyond Faith book cover

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Computer problems, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Good and Bad Luck, Life Balance, Life demands, Problems

Chasing the elusive sleep

Not how Only Child wants to sleep at night

One of my goals for 2019 is to get more sleep at night – more specifically get to bed at a more normal/earlier time than 2 a.m. My problem isn’t waking up and getting up at 8 a.m. – it is getting to bed early enough to get 7 to 8 hours sleep.

But I have identified the gremlins. And yes, I don’t need to fall asleep for 30 minutes watching the news on TV. As part of my hopeful new regime I can do half an hour of that plus 10 minutes of the Weather Network and still get to bed in good time. No, it is the real gremlins behind this that have to be taken to task. So, going through the layers, there is first my health issues and all the extra crap I have to do for them. But, the basic extras would be okay to fit in. It’s the extra extras caused by flare-ups in one or more of those health issues which steal my time. Another time-stealer is the daily evening chores like doing the dishes, etc. (much more etc.). Even they can be reigned in.

IF ONLY I CAN GET RID OF THE HOUSE, COMPUTER PROBLEMS, ETC.  THAT JUST COME AT ME OUT OF NOWHERE.

If I thought or even hoped that 2019 would be any different from 2018 in having to deal with problems “coming from outside” as I call it, I was wrong. I’m referring to problems I don’t cause; problems caused by others, other organizations, etc. But I am the one that has to deal with the aftermath problems. And all this is not helpful to getting to bed at a reasonable time and getting enough sleep.

I’m a Sagittarian and to those astrologers who said because my sign is in Jupiter for 2019, I will have a much better year than 2018, I say “Stop talking through your hat. Take off your damn hat and think. All Sagittrians are not alike.”

Having said that, I am still determined to get my sleep – and not in front of the TV. And woe to anybody or thing that gets in my way.

And that includes health issues over-reaction – no doubt thanks to the stress from the problem

So, I am pursuing one of my other 2019 goals – start meditating. And one of my friends is helping me find resources to get me started. Thank you to her. Meditating may not solve the problem, but it can help me calm down and get my much-needed sleep.

And I just remembered what another friend told me many years ago  and to paraphrase her – Picture in your mind the culprit responsible for your problem(s). But picture them wearing some outlandish outfit – like boxer shorts with well (this next part is my idea) pictures of daggers or a big hand ready to grab them and shove them somewhere. (Well, I do write mystery/suspense so that can get rather dark)..

Well whatever works – as long as it is not sleeping pill prescriptions, large quantities of booze or even cannabis, although I am in favour of the latter for medicinal purposes under the direction of a doctor, but not recreational. So would this constitute medicinal? For more info on the cannabis and its consequences, etc., go to the first episode of my TV show Crime Beat Confidential which I tape every other month at thatchannel.com where I interviewed James Wigmore, a forensic scientist who is an expert on what cannabis is all about, and not from personal experience,

Meantime, here are a couple of links on sleep and stress. Please note: I may not agree with all the information below. There  is much more info online about stress and sleep deprivation but consider the source for helpful info.

Tips to reduce stress and sleep better

Stress and insomnia

And the Mayo Clinic on sleep disorders

Happy zzzzzzzzzs  – at night in your bed.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

2 Comments

Filed under Life Balance, Life demands, Sleep and Health, Sleep deprivation

New Year New Outlook

Teddy reminding me to slow down

I am one of many who is glad that 2018 is past, deceased, down the drain. It was a very bad year for everybody and for our planet. On my Facebook page, my New Year’s message for all is:

Happy New Year to all my family and friends. May 2019 be your best year yet and the best year yet for our world, especially earth. May we all learn how to slow down before we burn out.

That is what I base my intentions, goals, etc. on. I don’t do resolutions. Instead I do a few lists under headings such as “Want to do/have to do”, “Don’t want to do/have to do”, “Want to do/don’t have to do” and my favourite “Don’t want to do/don’t have to do”. The latter is a bit longer than other years – the first has the longest list, which is good –  it is always better if what you have to do is also what you want to do. What is on my list is for the whole year and I don’t intend to do all at once. But it helps me realize what I have not been doing and what I have been doing too much of. And the focus is on CHANGE.

And no, I’m not going to list the whole she-bang. Just a few highlights.

I have not been able time-wise to do as much reading as I like and enjoy – so that is on the want/have to do list. So is something that has been eating away at my psyche and my health for a few years.

Those of you who follow this blog have probably read my occasional posts where I complain about water getting into my basement sometimes with heavy rainfalls and why it happens. In 2018 a friend offered to pay to get the waterproofing done and so I interviewed five prospective contractors who specialize in waterproofing the basement. But there are two black walnut trees near the house and on my neighbour’s property – trees neither of us planted – the pesky squirrels did it. As digging is required for outside waterproofing and I was concerned about tree roots, I decided I better get in an arborist to look at the tree situation. I kept my next door neighbour up to date on everything.

The arborist came and said the trees had to come down. He was going to charge a  ridiculous fee, plus there is a permit to get, etc. etc. – so  more fees BEFORE the waterproofing could be done. No way did I want my friend paying for trees to come down – she had offered to pay for the waterproofing and I was grateful for that. Anyway, for other reasons, both my next door neighbour and I do not want the trees to come down (shade, etc.) – they have been trimmed in the past by another arborist (who didn’t return my calls to do an assessment).

These trees weren’t big enough to be in the way when the original contractor, one Nigel Applewaite, did the job and did it wrong. He didn’t dig down to the weeping tiles like you are supposed to. I distinctly remember him telling me then that he was digging down four feet (weeping tiles are 5 to 6 feet down at least). Of course, then I didn’t know any better.

The first two years no water got in and then it did – obviously from below where he stopped digging. After he told me to get the drains checked (I did – city workers said they were clear), he ran the hose against the wall in one area to see if any water got in (not from that spot)  and that was it. Never heard from him again.

So I’ve been letting people know not to hire him because of what he didn’t do – including my insurance agent’s manager when her basement flooded for the same reason. “Don’t hire Nigel Applewaite” became my mantra for all.

Well, I’m still suffering thanks to him. So, this year I’m going after him – all legal. I have some options up my sleeve for this.

The rest of my intentions for 2019 are not nasty unless you count dropping so-called friends who betrayed me in 2018. But from that and other experiences I have learned to treasure my true friends and to try to spend more time with them. To that end I am cutting back or deleting some of the unnecessary time-wasters from 2018. Or just saying “NO” to what other people think I should do.

 

I will still be writing (more than in 2018 I hope), doing book promo for my Beyond mystery books, editing clients’ manuscripts and teaching writing workshops. All that will be  covered on my author blog here. But I probably won’t get to this week’s post until tomorrow (Jan. 4, 2019). But posting weekly to both my blogs (as I used to before forces outside me took over it seems), is one of my 2019 intentions

So, happy, prosperous, joyful, productive, peaceful, etc. 2019 to all.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Basement Flooding, Family and Friends, Life demands, New year's resolutions, Only child

Only Child on postal strike and GM closing Oshawa plant

I was 16 and became close to a pen pal (if you are over 50, remember those?) living on the Prairies. We wrote often and after mailing my letter to her I would start looking in my mailbox for her reply. Then the unthinkable to a teenager happened. Our correspondence came to a halt. We didn’t fight and neither of us had stopped writing.

But the Canadian postal service had stopped. No mail delivery because the union and its workers were on strike.

I had never heard of or experienced strikes before. But I learned fast that strikes between employees and management aren’t just between them. There is a third party, an innocent pary maybe you could call them victims – they are called “general public”.

It was my rude welcome to the club. From then on I never was in favour of strikes as a means to settle labour disputes – no matter which side was at fault (and I learned that most of the time there was fault on both sides.)

But not on the third party’s – general public – side.

Yes, I once worked for a government agency and belonged to a union. We weren’t allowed to go on strike because we were considered essential services. But we all got very good raises in pay at contract negotiation time.

Now the federal government has finally passed legislation ordering these postal  strikers back to work.  And their union leader Mike Palecek has the nerve to stick his face in front of a camera and complain that it is not right. Excuse me, but just obey the law. Your strike may have been legal up to now, but now it is time to sort and deliver the mail backlog.

And maybe Mr. Palecek should turn his attention to the real worker problem – not a strike, but a company closure. I’m referring to General Motors closing all of its Oshawa, Ontario, Canada plant by the end of 2019. It will put over 2500 out of work, just from General Motors alone. It will also affect where they took their business – shops, restaurants.

And all these are people. It breaks my heart when something like this happens. This is not disgruntled greedy workers striking for more money and perhaps what they want in working condition improvements. This situation is  no pay, no job. Some of these GM workers have moved their families several times to follow where GM put them, where the jobs were. Now they have nothing, thanks to a parent company decision.

And finding out about this in the Christmas season makes it worse. Even Scrooge will be crying into his Christmas tree.

So Mr.  Palecek – quit complaining, do your job, and let arbitration sort it out. You will have enough to do to sort out the mail – despite online shopping (or maybe because of it) there is still lots of mail waiting to be processed.

Several empty mailboxes awaiting mail delivery

And when you do this, you might also like to pay attention to the GM workers situation. And count your blessings.

Cheers.

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada Postal Services, CUPW, Labour Unions and Strikes, Mail Delivery Canada, Unions and Strikes