Sweet Avocado Yoghurt Tuna on Rice

 I just needed to eat something at least moderately healthy in almost no time at all. It needed to be light and flavourful at the same time. I don’t like having heavy meals at night. So here’s what I came up with.

Ted’s Sweet Avocado Yoghurt Tuna on Rice.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

1 cup white jasmin rice (cooked)

1 ripe medium Haas avocado

1 medium can tuna

2 Tbsp. Greek yoghurt

2 tsp.  maple syrup

1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt

 Drain tuna. Put in bowl. Add warm or cool rice (not hot) on top of tuna. Add avocado. Mix the 3 ingredients till sufficiently even everywhere. Dollop the yoghurt in the middle of the plate. Drizzle half the maple syrup evenly over the yoghurt only and the other half quickly over the rest of the dish. Sprinkle the salt evenly. Don’t mix.

It should look like this. 

Enjoy.

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Mr. Trudeau, Not Much Changing for People Between Jobs

#employment-insurance #Trudeau 

The federal Liberal government is apparently being praised for changing only one detail in the Employment Insurance Act. And with all the confusion in the terms and the way it is joyously written,  you’d think there was a major overhaul that took place. 

The detail being changed is the waiting time it takes to file a claim.  In a disclaimer at the end of the article,  we are told the processing time may be up to 8 weeks. No change there. 

So let’s get this straight. You lose your job, and God forbid your employer lies and says it was your fault, and you receive the salary left owed to you and the vacation pay left to take. When all this is received, you need to wait a week to apply for EI.  After you apply,  you will get paid after up to 8 weeks. And there’s usually no back pay. 

When people marched against this when the Conservatives were in power, they wanted a bit more than just a week less of waiting. They wanted a bit more than 55% of your salary paid to you. They wanted a bit more than a cap on the payments to be received every second Tuesday. 

It starts off with your employer being a liar just because he didn’t like you. In my case years ago, when I qualified for the maximum of  $35k a year,  my employer wrote that I was fired for fraud. The EI office only made me aware of this when I called to inquire where the process for my payments was. I told the woman on the phone that my employer was a liar. 

I called the MAC, a French acronym for Employment Insurance Action Movement. It was about 11 AM. The next day before noon I called back and they told me that they called my employer and found inconsistencies in her story. How convenient,  I thought. What would have happened if I hadn’t known the organization? 

This scenario will remain intact except for the 1 week of waiting time. Luckily,  I had enough money to get by for the 3 weeks I had to wait to get a cheque. Some people are not that lucky. Some of them have families to take care of. Otherwise hard workers and honest taxpayers,  these people risk falling into the abyss of a financially precarious situation. If something goes wrong through no fault of theirs  (like the government deciding you lost your job on purpose and withholding benefits ), they soon have to deal with bill collectors and foreclosures. And all this because their employer was an ass. 

Tips to follow:

1. Apply for EI as soon as you lose your job.

2. Don’t think things will work out. Make their lives a living hell by calling daily. 

3. Find an organization like the one I mentioned near you. 

4. Make sure you tell your employer you want this to go smoothly and the you know your rights. You can even give them the number of the organization. 

After all this,  make sure you follow the government’s rules. You need to prove you’re looking for a job by telling them where you applied. And be truthful because they may ask for proof. If you decide to leave the country,  tell them. They may cut your premiums outright if they catch you lying. 

Now you’re empowered. Make sure everyone you know is made aware of this as well. 

When Your Love of Life Is an Empty Beach 

#loneliness #empowerment 

The following lyrics are not in this book but should be. The bottom is a long way to go and it’s harder to get away from. 

CHOCOLATE DROPS

by Iggy Pop and Josh Homme 

When your love of life is an empty beach
Don’t cry (don’t cry)
When your enemy has you in his reach
Don’t die (don’t die)

When is painful to express the things you feel (inside)
When it hurts to share because they’re bare and real (so real)
So when everyday is judgement day, I won’t pray (don’t pray)
When there’s none to share that empty chair, well okay (okay)

When You get to the bottom You’re near the top
The shit turns into chocolate drops
When You get to the bottom You’re near the top
The shit turns into chocolate drops
When You get to the bottom You’re near the top
The shit turns into chocolate drops
Drops

So fly (so fly) 
So fly (so fly) 

When your love of life is an empty beach (don’t cry)
When is painful to express the things you feel (inside)

There is nothing in the stars if You fail to move
There is nothing in the dark, it’s just some old excuse
Hanging on, let it go 

The photo above describes the result of prolonged anomie. This is propagated by the perils of fear. Loneliness is a destructive state in which desperation emanates and slowly gnaws at our self – confidence. It brings about a weak person ready to break his moral boundaries for the sake of attention and the chance to be “useful” again.  At an early age,  this is seen as somewhat acceptable rebellious behaviour. It may go awry when drug abuse and prostitution set in. But often it’s a phase. We tend to grow out of it when we discover the adult world and fairly seamlessly fit into it. We accept its values and norms and become another law – abiding citizen.  Hopefully, there won’t be too many bumps on the road. And we hope we die at a ripe age with as little discomfort as possible. 

Then there is the loneliness that occurs in adulthood, usually when choices become fewer and our power to control life more difficult. We start languishing and regretting our past actions as we sink deeper into ourselves. The main reasons are usually economic and  romantic. Often they come after loss or death. But  very often they come after thinking about what wehaven’t accomplished and what can no longer be done about. We burn our social networks,  have relationship problems,  and even turn to legal or illegal substance abuse. We then may turn into that guy on welfare for life. We can even become homeless. And we know this. And the endless circle of the same thought pattern encompasses our sanity. It turns the fear into sanity. It convolutes reality. 

Then there’s that benign loneliness. There’s that lingering chasm we can’t enter. There’s that everyday grind that makes us all the more unhappy. Till we decide to change. But can’t.  We burn out. We recover. We are on a year of sick leave. Yet it seems we have to rejoin what had brought us to this state. Either that or the eventual situation in the above paragraph. 

Then there’s that sweet “aloneness”. That’s when we have an epiphany and empower ourselves to move to the next level,  where we laugh at our previous weaknesses and lack of knowledge.  Loneliness was just a crossroads to a new state of being. This is where we subsist through our knowledge and have a way to overcome even the most heinous,  hideous,  and malignant hurdles and obstacles.  

The Bukowski book and Iggy Pop song both show ugliness in the mire, yet express more than a glimmer of hope. Sad songs,  and poems,  say so much.  

Intersectionality and the Straight White Male 

#intersectionality #discrimination #democratism 

On a filial exchange on social media yesterday pertaining to feminism, a true feminist and well -educated woman brought up that she’s a true old -fashioned feminist who loves men. She also mentioned she was into intersectionality. This brought me back to my university days when this was a fairly new theory. In general, 

Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is a term coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and scholar of critical race theory Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. It is the study of what Crenshaw contends are overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppressiondomination, or discrimination. Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities. These identities that can intersect include genderracesocial classethnicitynationalitysexual orientationreligionagemental disabilityphysical disabilitymental illness, and physical illness as well as other forms of identity. These aspects of identity are not “unitary, mutually exclusive entities, but rather…reciprocally constructing phenomena.” The theory proposes that we think of each element or trait of a person as inextricably linked with all of the other elements in order to fully understand one’s identity.

This framework, it is argued, can be used to understand how systemic injustice and social inequality occur on a multidimensional basis. Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society—such as racismsexismclassismableismhomophobiatransphobiaxenophobia and belief-based bigotry—do not act independently of each other. Instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination.”

While originally set out as a theory to better understand feminism and build inroads to empower everyone by better understanding it as a societal rather than a female problem,  it was dear to my heart because it better helped me understand myself and my role in society and what I would be able to do to make things better and more egalitarian while at the same time becoming empowered.  This is why I have turned into this unsolvable creature. I am praised and scorned from all sides of the political and social spectrum. I’m a staunch feminist and borderline misogynist at the same time. This is either untrue or I’m apparently bipolar or psychotic. 

I decided to call myself a demicratust. So many terms were taken, but that one was still non -existent. I would love to say I’m a humanist, as opposed to a feminist. This would be an all-inclusive term to include every living person on earth. I have been taken to task by PETA,  for apparently not caring about animals as I do about humans. I find nothing wrong with that because I find it natural. I believe a monkey and an iguana look out for number one as well. And I don’t blame them. I’m not for animal cruelty,  but when it comes to equality among the species humans,  all humans with no exceptions,  always come before any animal. I have been told I don’t care about the environment. In fact, I’ve been a Green Party of Canada candidate 3 times. Do they fact check? Again, it comes down to plain old democratist humanism. 

So let’s examine me and my place in society as can be seen through intersectionalist thought. While most would say there is no sexism or heterosexism against me, they are thinking simply from looking at me and without knowing me. In most of my lines of work, women are involved more than men. I have been denied certain posts because no men need apply due to male demonization akin to Islamophobia in that males cannot be trusted with children in their care. While this was frustrating,  it was humbling as I was able empathize with victims of gender inequality. I was once up for a job in the gay community and again didn’t get it. They told me I looked gay. These are 2 mundane examples and the least important. Nonetheless,  it made me aware of different components of personality and identity politics. 

When my family settled down in a Greek ghetto in Montreal, most kids dressed funny because of the inability of their parents to know of and afford better things. The community grew and the previous Jewish and Anglo-Saxon immigrants started leaving. This xenophobia seems to be a rite of passage and perpetrated in kind by every group that was victim to it. The ghetto is now mostly East -Asian.  We’ll never learn. There was also the classism that had a separation on the main boulevard made of trees and fences to keep us out and keep their property values high. We relished going in there on Halloween and throwing raw eggs on their windows. They had on chance to catch up to us because their cars had to stop at the fence. 

In short, the biggest shortcomings of my youth were concerned with being an immigrant and poor. Now that I visit the old neighbourhood,  I see the rate of success at a much lower level than people who grew up under less discriminatory and oppressive conditions. With the laws of more capitalist countries like the United States, the rate of lack of empowerment would have reached epidemic proportions. 

Above are the 5 most important components of intersectionality.  When nationality is hyphenated  (ie. Greek -Canadian ), you know nationalist problems loom ahead. In Quebec,  the nationalist separatists consider you one of theirs if your family goes back to 5 generations of Quebec roots. I guess 80 % of Montreal is “other” . Such nagging and blatant xenophobia,  nationalism,  and racism are just part of life here, like brushing your teeth in the morning. This encourages,  even forces,  us to hang with “our own kind “, further perpetuating the myth of not being able to blend into our adopted society. They are enabling ghettoism and ethnocentrism. 

With all of the above, being a woman makes it that much harder.  But blaming individual groups,  like white middle -aged men for your problems brings about zero evolution. All true and honorable leaders have compromised with and often embraced their opponent in the end goal of building bridges to empowerment.  

So what brings about people’s beliefs and attitudes? We need to see the individual as an island for their unique sets of life experiences and identity -building factors and as part of a whole in understanding societal dynamics that define their current state. 

As a democratist, I aim to move forward with my EEE (education,  empowerment,  enlightenment) movement and better tackle the problem with a citizenry of empathetic and educated individuals.  

Three Months of Psychosomatic Disorder

#psychosomatic #anxiety

    It was in mid-March when my body started breaking down. It caught me by surprise because everything had been going well. I was launching my website and was almost at the end of my Amazon self -published mini novella. I figured starting off small was the way to go. And I still feel that baby steps are important as long as there are definite end goals and solid reasons for all the blood, sweat, and tears that may be spilled along the way. I never thought the spilling would be literal. It is through strength that I write this and share it with you on a day that I feel well in hopes of empowering the ones still in the closet. In the end, it’s about perspective and being honest with one’s self and with others. 

    

    The coming of spring apparently uncovers much of what is hidden and swept under the rug during a winter of trying to survive and our bodies and minds working overtime. Bloating through guacamole had never happened to me before. I pride myself on my fresh and organic ingredients in what is a recipe no one can match me at. Yet there I was, unable to sleep. I took something natural to ease the pain and got a few hours’ sleep. A few hot beverages the next day managed to bring the bloating down and make life good again. In the past, my stress always interfered with my digestive system. This was no different. And I’d fight it and win, as I had done in the past.

    MORE THAN A SYMPTOM AT A TIME 

    What made this harder was that I didn’t have time to battle one symptom when another showed up. I had multiple symptoms at once. Then they just disappeared. One night, I got a very swollen upper right lip and rushed to the emergency room at 8 in the evening. Of course, my turn in the queue was very low because it was a trivial condition that merited category 4 of 5 importance. After 12 hours I got seen by the urgentologist who gave me some cortisone, Zantac, and benadryl and a referral to the allergist. The allergist seemed very capable and automatically said I had no allergy and made me do a full battery of immunological tests, saying it was a protein with almost perfect certainty. The tests were negative. He was speechless. He is still waiting for me to get inflammation or hives in many places at once and goand do a blood test within 12 hours of the initial symptoms. I have had symptoms of bloating since along with ones of swelling and hives in weird places in my body. One night there was a bubble popping out on my forehead. It happened again the next night. I saw the doctor the next day and it hasn’t appeared since. Reassurance from someone you trust makes things go away. At least for a while. 

    It was at this point that I dug real deep and decided to take charge of my negative thoughts and let my brain send positive messages to my body. It was an uphill battle, no doubt. It took small moments. It took slight thoughts that made my brain and thought pattern take a leap away from the present toxic existence. These included watching something different on TV, walking and taking pics at night, thinking of and planning my next vacation,  etc.  Every time I felt a symptom, I’d try and positive think it away. 

    IT’S ALL IN OUR PERCEPTION 

    Throughout this learning, I was honest with myself and looked at the problem from many perspectives. Trying to overcome defeatism is the hardest thing in the world. Below are the typical symptoms triggered by stress and also the 3 main factors of our everyday existence that contribute to health risks. And like everything else, none of us are immune to these. Like an addict, we have periods of time that we go down the healthy path. But we are always at risk for a relapse. 

    We need to define what a virtuous path means for us and use it to build our end goal.  I’m no magician to anyone but myself. But opening that window to empowerment requires the help of friends and others. Battling our demons is strictly up to us. 

Political Correctness Is Killing Free Speech 

The political correctness brigade has once again hit close to home. This article from Anglo-Montrealer Andrew Potter has caused a social media outrage among most Quebecers. How dare he say that Quebecers are facing a social crisis. In the article,  Potter mentions the social malaise in Quebec. 

This assertion comes just days after the storm of the winter,  which dropped 36 cm. of the white stuff in Montreal and up to 60 cm. elsewhere. One of the major highways in the city was shut down completely. Not traffic.  A complete shutdown that purportedly started at about 7 pm.  The city became aware of it at about 3 am. That’s a whole work shift later. A whole sleep shift you missed. Among numerous near-tragic stories that came out of this unacceptable situation,  the one that hit me closest to home was not the bunch of cars running out of gas. It was not the people sleeping in the cold in their cars. It was not the cell phones running out of power and feeling like the end was near. No. The one story that will always stay in my mind is that of the diabetic man needing to get out of his car to walk back to his office where he had some insulin stashed away. What if he had no stash? He could have died. I can only imagine how he must have felt. 

Quebec has a broken system and it’s in constant regression. The malaise is more and more visible with every passing season. Things that never happened before are happening now. The infrastructure is crippled and the illogical austerity measures taken have brought about a big post -thud disconnect. This is nothing some band-aid politicking can fix. This is something that some good modern populism needs to get its hands on. Quebec is the saddest  (literally) province in Canada. It is the most detached society on the continent when it comes to social connections. We are doing the same as always but given less respect than before. 

 People are getting hurt feelings due to someone saying something politically incorrect about their Québécois identity. As a minority,  the anglos need to respect the place they live in. But this should not include being second -class citizens. I have example after personal example that which language I speak,  and how I speak it,  makes a difference in how far I get in something. Not getting an appointment in a French hospital and my neighbour getting one for the same thing is unacceptable. The opposite is also true and unacceptable. I prefer to go to the Jewish General Hospital because I have a Jewish Montreal accent and it gets me further. Again, identity politics. And I gotta do what I gotta do. It could be the difference between life and death. 

Potter lost his job and resigned from one of his posts at McGill University as backlash against both institutions he worked for grew. The people have spoken,  I guess. In doing so, they are silencing free speech. While Potter’s piece wasn’t a fact -filled scientifically researched classic,  it did cite statistics for most of his assertions and personal anecdotal evidence for the rest. It was,  at the end of the day, a piece of journalism. And unless it incites hate or violence, it should be left as is. Potter apologizing and resigning shows how a step back has been taken in freedom of speech in Quebec society. 
The daily feel I get in general living here is a combination of A Clockwork Orange and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, fear and lack of trust coupled by a lack of respect and dignity.  I am lucky enough to be surrounded by sane and proper people at work and in my personal life. But I have witnessed how all this plays out. And it ain’t pretty. 

Here’s an example from renowned British artist Morrissey being called a racist because of a song called National Front Disco. Obviously, true art and poetry needs to be interpreted. But like holy scripture, people interpret things to fit their agenda. Having listened to Morrissey all my adult life, I never thought of this of anything other than going into the deprived and depraved lives of young nationalists and neo -Nazis.  This almost ruined Morrissey’s music career. 

The mundane example above is necessary in understanding the paranoia and fear that are omnipresent in everyday politically correct life. A subconscious form of tunnel vision is created which allows for no innovative thought. It cripples the mind and keeps it a prisoner,  locked away from its own will. Very sad indeed. 

Thanks to Mr King,  above, for my sentiments to political correctness. With it, we live in a society just a tad above a relationship. We’re not burning anyone at the stake, but with regression there’s always the nightmare of that happening. Dreams are turning into nightmares. 

So the next time you listen to apparent facts on TV, make sure you fact check them. 

 

 

Eradicating Hate 

#trump-hate

Hate is a strong and mostly unreal emotion brought about by anger and frustration.  People who are down looking for a lift use scapegoating to overcome not directly dealing with their emotional distress. 

What is emotional distress? Emotional distress comes about from a myriad of possible reasons. Here’s a general explanation. It need not be a traumatic experience of fabulous proportions. Distress comes from extreme stress that causes you to not function as usual in most aspects of your life. There is always some negative emotion or thought in your head preventing you from thinking clearly and endangering your relationships and interfering with your road to personal empowerment. If not looked after, what ensues is emotional and physical illness. Weight loss,  sleeplessness,  depression,  lethargy,  and irrational fear are but a few systems that come up. 

So am I telling you that all this comes from an emotional I’ve called false? Yes,  would be the short answer.  I define it as a false emotion because it is not a pure,  or unadulterated,  emotion.  It is a culmination of other negative emotions,  mostly anger. Any pure emotion is healthy. Anger is necessary as a coping mechanism.  It becomes toxic after a small period of time. When toxicity sets in,  hate is born.  This is when our mind goes into a microcosmic whirlwind of traumatic reactions that may endanger our health. The physical areas to usually be attacked are the back and digestive system. The brain no longer sends clear signals to the body to regulate function,  making the onset of illness much easier to occur.  The immune system no longer has the power to fight toxins. 

The above caption is what you say when you’ve learned to control hate. Not anger,  but hate. Anger needs to be managed and hate needs to be controlled,  or avoided,  as much as possible.  

There are many options in learning how to take control of your emotions. I recommend psychotherapy for something prolonged or that seems insurmountable. I also recommend a proper diet and healthy lifestyle. Treat it for the physical threat it is.  

Exercising it away is the best way to go about this. This should be combined with sleeping enough and making a schedule to follow,  no matter what. This can be something simple like doing something at a certain hour every day,  like washing the dishes,  taking a walk,  writing, reading, etc. Sticking to a schedule makes your mind and body stay fit. For more info about this,  contact me at tedk68@hotmail.com.  You may also contact me here. 

In the end,  we need to seem like potential snobs when, in fact,  we’re just sane humans. We need to chase positivity and shun negativity. “Hate ” is one of the worst words in any language,  which is why it doesn’t exist as a word in many cultures.  If we can downgrade our emotion to “upset”, we will have a healthier road to self -realization and empowerment.