Homelessness

Imagine you have no where to go. Not because all of your friends are busy or you’re waiting for Friday to come to get paid. You have no home, no comfortable bed to sleep in tonight. You did manage to collect some money and you are setting up a tent on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant downtown. There’ll be other people like you there, they’ll understand.

Once upon a time you had a home, a job, maybe even a family. That was before you lost your job. Maybe that was before you lost your arm in Iraq or Afghanistan or some far off place most people in your city don’t think about anymore. You think about it over and over, every minute of the day…and wish you could stop.

But then the law enforcement comes and tells you it’s against the law to sleep there, in front of the Panera bread, now dark and empty, but you can still smell the bread as the officer is speaking to you. Smelling it is better than nothing. “Where am I supposed to go?” you wonder.
***

I occasionally give to the beggar with his cup jingling at the light when I get off the highway. But when I get off multiple highways in a day or a week, I admit I get a little frustrated. How many am I supposed to give? In theory I’d like to help all of them but is that realistic? Shouldn’t they go to a homeless shelter…aren’t they supposed to help them? Small town movies came to mind where perhaps neighbors helped out people who were in need. In big cities we probably don’t feel responsible for helping individuals, I think we expect organizations to take care of the homeless.


I’m not here to give an opinion about where homeless people should sleep or if we should give them money out in the streets, but on the news a few days ago they were discussing a court case about homeless people setting up tents at downtown Miami and it has remained with me. They were discussing the Pottinger Act.


I found this interesting and wanted to find out a little more about it. This definition comes from the University of Miami link listed below: The Pottinger consent decree puts limits on police power to arrest homeless individuals for certain minor offenses, and protects homeless people’s property from being arbitrarily seized. It has been hailed as the gold standard in civil rights litigation to protect the constitutional rights of homeless persons.

Then I saw this video on Facebook showing random people in the mall being asked to share their food with well dressed people and then a homeless man who was willing to share his food with someone well dressed and obviously doing better than him. I’m not here to say whether we should share with someone who doesn’t seem in need but I these two things came at me in the same week and has made me think and I share with with you because in bringing it to our consciousness  maybe one of us will do something to make things a little better for even one person.


Below are some links I found informative about this topic.

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Presents

A friend shared this with me. It’s a thoughtful idea.



It would be nice to share the email address with family members and close friends so they can contribute too.

Perhaps the idea could be extended to other people. Like you make a box for a friend or family member and for a month or so before their birthday you fill the box with little things that remind you of the person or with things he or she likes. A class could even do this for their teacher. 

Everyone likes to feel like someone thought of them or that they have someone who gets them. I suspect that’s what makes dogs so great they know how to do this all the time. 

Hashtags

The hashtag was invented in 2007. A former Google employee named Chris Messina came up with the idea to group information with a # sign. I admit I am probably one of the last four people on the planet to get on the hashtag bandwagon. I still don’t quite get it, who really looks up a hashtag for information?

As an experiment I tried #workout. #dog, #education and I didn’t find anything particularly appealing. While #Canada brought up a few images of things Canadian on the first page of images I clicked on, there were also many irrelevant selfies that were taken in Canada. #kettlebell did result in more interesting videos and pictures.

I had to start using a hashtag because my friends and I are doing 100daysofhappiness. We created #100daysofhappinessLWS to group our pictures (LWS for laughing with sound…everyone asks). At least once a week I like to click on the hashtag and see the conglomeration of our happiness and how we’ve stuck with it for over two months now. More recently, I followed the suggestion of WordPress and added #wponthego for a post I submitted from my smartphone. It’s interesting getting this grouping of posts that I might not see otherwise so I can get on board with the hashtag idea for certain projects or perhaps relevant things going on at the time, but are all the hashtags really used?

How do you decide which words are hashtagged? Is it just free advertising if you have a brand? If you use hashtags in your facebook or twitter posts…why????

Of course, I am now establishing #possibilityandlight. I’m thrilled that it doesn’t already exist!

Do hashtags give people power to unite, or at least give us a little bit of control and/or fame?

I leave you with this video from Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

Casa Loma: How much is too much?

I visited Casa Loma  which is a castle in Toronto built by Canadian businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and soldier, Sir Henry Pellatt (1859 – 1939). He was friends with Thomas Edison and it was in large part due to his innovation that electricity was harnessed from Niagara Falls and was put to use in Canada.

Casa Loma is a 100 room castle built on a hill. Sir Henry intended it to be a place that people enjoyed during his life and a military museum after this death. He had a fascination with Hercules which showed itself in the décor throughout Casa Loma and with British royalty. He hoped to one day entertain the Queen at Casa Loma. You can read more about Sir Henry Pellatt.

Sir Henry and his wife, Lady Mary moved in before the construction was completed and often entertained. They liked to throw lavish parties at Casa Loma. Sadly, due to various factors such as WWI and the Great Depression Casa Loma was not completed and Sir Henry lost all of his money and had to move out. It stood empty for many years until the Kiwanis club took it over and made it a tourist destination. Sir Henry who had a good heart came to the re-opening and expressed to everyone that Casa Loma was meant to be a place where people enjoyed themselves and he was very happy to see it reopen.

Sir Henry had great plans for Casa Loma but he wasn’t even finished building it when he had to move out. He was a savvy businessman and very forward thinking. In fact some of the ideas that didn’t work out during his lifetime did eventually pan out, such as the idea that beet sugar could be a significant sweetener to use instead of cane sugar (doing a quick internet search I came across this explanation of the differences between beet and cane sugar). However, due to outside factors such as the war and the depression,  Sir Henry and his wife Lady Mary could not afford to remain in Casa Loma and had to move out. After that they kept moving from house to house and Lady Mary died two years later. Sir Henry remarried not too long after but his second wife did not live very long either. Sir Henry ended his days living with his former chauffer.

I keep wondering if Sir Henry have been better off not throwing such lavish parties and finishing his home? Or was he being true to himself, enjoying what he had while he had it and taking risks?

Photos of Casa Loma

Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario

There is an audio tour for Casa Loma. If you like history I recommend visiting this landmark. At first I was hoping that there would be a docent but there is so much information about each room/area the audio tour turned out to be better.

Entrance of Casa Loma
Entrance of Casa Loma

 

 

Main Entrance
Main entrance with fireplace and piano.

 

 

Scottish Coronation Chair
Replica of a Scottish Coronation Chair. The graffiti is from that time. One of the comments says “P. Abbott kept here 1800”.

 

 

Example of adornments throughout Casa Loma
Example of adornments throughout Casa Loma

 

Oak Room
The Oak Room which was being set up for filming of a TV show called the Strain. Casa Loma is often used to film scenes for TV shows and movies

 

 

Oak Room
There’s a monstrance and a crucifix, possibly for the scene from the Strain

 

The Skulls
One of my favorites movies had scenes filmed at Casa Loma. Various movies and shows have been filmed here.

 

 

 

The Study
Sir Henry’s Study. This was just one of many areas we saw set up like an office

 

The Study
Me in the Study

 

Secret Passageways
Staircases on the sides of the fireplace are secret passageways. The one on the left leads to the wine cellar in the basement and the one on the right leads upstairs to the bedrooms

 

Wine Cellar
Chellsy in the Wine Cellar. You can see the secret passageway leading up to the Study

 

WIne Cellar
Me in the Wine Cellar

 

 

 

Family Room
This room was used as the family room by Sir Henry and his family. It has the elegance Beauty and the Beast library.

 

 

Family Room
The family room set up for an event

 

Lady Pellatt's sitting room
Lady Pellatt’s sitting room in her bedroom suite. She was a significant force to the Girl Guides of Canada and helped them grow from a small organization to thousands of members by the time she retired. She often entertained the girls here.

 

Lady Pellatt's Bedroom
Lady Pellatt’s Bedroom

 

 

 

Lady Pellatt's bathroom
Part of Lady Pellatt’s Bedroom. Does anyone know what the little tub is?

 

Sir Henry's Bedroom
Sir Henry’s Bedroom

 

Sir Henry's Bedroom Suite
Sir Henry had to auction off most of Casa Loma’s belongings when he had to move out of his home.

 

Sir Henry's Bedroom Suite
One of Sir Henry’s desks

 

Sir Henry's Bathroom
Sir Henry’s Bathroom. Notice the telephone in the right corner. There were telephones throughout the house.

 

Bedroom Suites Hallway
Hallway leading to Lady Pellatt’s Bedroom on the right and guestroom on the left. While the guests rooms were all decorated as lavishly as Sir Henry’s and Lady Mary’s suites, we saw many of them with bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms. When Sir Henry had to move out, Toronto considered turning Casa Loma into a hotel but it never came to fruition.

 

Landing
Landing leading from bedrooms to main entrance. Chellsy and I felt there should be a coffee shop here.

 

Staircase to Scottish Tower
There are two towers. This was me stopping to warm up on the way up to the Scottish Tower

 

Scottish Tower
Chellsy pondering the graffiti in the Scottish Tower

 

Graffiti in tower
Graffiti GRRR. Apparently there is historical significance to graffiti which I’m sure will be a post someday.

 

Scottish Tower
One of the stairs leading up the tower

 

Scottish Tower
Leading up the tower

 

Military History
This corridor displayed items regarding military service, honoring Sir Henry’s wish that his home would become a military museum some day.

 

 

The Solarium
The Solarium. Seems like a nice place to have a wedding

 

The Solarium
The Solarium

 

Solarium
Entrance to the Solarium

 

Tunnel
Tunnel leading from the basement to the garage, stables, and greenhouse. They used this space to display photographs about the Great Fire of Toronto, the Tuberculosis Plague, and the Prohibition.

 

garage
Sir Henry’s Desk in the garage

 

Greenhouse
Chellsy in the Greenhouse. This area was nice and toasty.
Greenhouse
Me in the Greenhouse

 

Tunnel
In the tunnel

 

Garage
In the garage

 

Greenhouse
The Gardens were closed since it’s winter but we were able to see the greenhouse.

 

Garage
Garage

 

Garage
Garage

 

Garage
Four cars in the garage

 

 

The stables
The Stables

 

 

Belle
The home of one of the horses

 

 

Stable

 

Pool
The Pool in the basement. Sir Henry intended there to be a heated pool and a two bowling alleys.

 

Pool/Theater
What was to be the pool is now a little theater where they show a short film about the life of Sir Henry

 

 

Back in the house

 

 

 

The Solarium
The Solarium

 

 

Solarium celing
The ceiling of the Solarium

 

The hill
The view from the hill

 

 

 

 

CN Tower & Perspective

Interesting thing. The view from our hotel room at night on the 39th floor is much nicer than atop the CN Tower 1122 ft high, which approximately twice as high. 

It’s good to stop and notice what’s good about where we are on the way to where we’re going. 

CN Tower





Our Room





#wponthego

Possibilities & Light

Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry,

“More light.”  Sunlight.  Torchlight.  Candlelight. 

Neon, incandescent lights that banish the darkness from our caves to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. 

Big floods for the night games at Soldier’s Field. 

Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep. 

Light is more than watts and footcandles. 

Light is metaphor. 

Light is knowledge, light is life, light is light. 

~Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

 

I wanted to create a space for sharing new and interesting things. I’ve made various attempts at blogging but either didn’t have enough material or focus to keep it going. The other thing that always stymied me was coming up with a name. Some inspiration came from the results of a personality quiz I took recently that I plan to discuss in another post very soon. It was about purpose, innovation, and seeing things in a new light. So I looked up quotes about light and came across this one and finally committed to a name.

There are many interesting and exciting things we can devote our attention on instead of dwelling on the negative. This blog is meant to be interactive. I hope you will post interesting things you encounter in the comments as well.