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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Qu├ębec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Google Earth and Video help you learn about and stay in touch with T-dot

For those of you who are far away from Toronto like I am, or even have never been there, there are a couple tools you should be aware of. They are from Google, and they are free, and they are oh-so-cool!

One is Google Earth which "...combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips." You can use it to explore Toronto, though it's coverage beyond the U.S. in terms of searching for addresses was a little limited last time I used it.

The next tool I just discovered today and it's called Google Video. Now what's cool about this is that you can find videos that have been published on the web by both pros and everyday people. Seach for "Toronto" and you'll currently find over 500 videos! Here's a sample:

Toronto bike ride
by ilya emilianov

12 min 44 sec - Sep 10, 2004
- a silent ride down Younge Street

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Beware private health-care - it's all about profits

CBC British Columbia - Private health-care debate heats up

Private care advocate pleased
Dr. Brian Day, who owns the largest private surgical clinic in Canada, says the government is simply responding to the wishes of Canadians who've grown tired of an expensive system that doesn't deliver.

"For many years now, we've been under this impression that we've got this wonderful system, but the truth has come home to roost," said Day.

Cambie Surgery Centre

Day could become the next president of the Canadian Medical Association. He is one of six candidates running for the position. The voting begins later this week.

John Lennon sang, "You don't know what you got, until you lose it..." and Canadians are going to be singing the same thing if they don't take steps to fix what they have for a healthcare program, rather than lose it to for-profit, private healthcare and insurance interests. If you think healthcare under the US private care system is "wonderful," you really have another thing coming.

Here's a little personal experience to help you understand. I was in a car accident. I needed to be checked out to be sure I wasn't messed up too bad. I could feel I had whiplash. So I went to the Emergency Room of a small local hospital, I checked in, waited an hour, had my blood pressure and pulse checked, saw a doctor for 10-minutes (tops), who wrote me a perscription for pain killers and sent me home. Cost? $620.00 for the visit, $50 for the meds.

A yearly check in with my regular doctor averages at least $500. I pay $100 a month in health insurance, but NONE of this activity is covered. If I wanted it covered, I'd pay $2-300 EVERY MONTH to the insurance companies.

Dr. Day happens to run a private clinic, where people who can pay, do pay to get to the front of the line for their treatment. I have a couple of questions for you to ponder tonight:
  1. Do you think he'll charge LESS if the government suddenly supports his private practice?
  2. Do you think it's in his interest to tell the public that Canada's current system is a good one?

Just remember the $1200.00 a year this American pays right now to cover only the most extreme health emergencies before you dismantle your current system. If you believe poor access is bad, what will you think of no access at all? Many Americans face that reality every day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A new twist: Part II

Maybe there's something about the air in Seattle...maybe there's something about reunions...something about the air and reunions that make you hope for a future you gave up on. I couldn't tell you. I, as you know from my posts, live in Hope and Faith.

Now, conversely, maybe there's something about the cold of Toronto...maybe there's something about being back in your own hometown and alone...something about the cold abd being back alone that reminds you of all the reasons why you gave up on that future you dreamed of in the first place.

That seems to be the case with my love. In the last few days, in our calls, she has begun to distance herself again...Let's face it, when someone choses to work, "I'm not your girlfriend, so I shouldn't really care..." into a sentance, it's not just by chance.

So the dreams I dream are again, mine alone. It was a nice fantasy while it lasted - that she might want to fight the good fight with me again - but sometimes we all end up fighting our fights alone, save for God by our side.

And I don't have to worry about Him leaving me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Toronto Favorites

I was thinking of Toronto again, and thinking of my favorite places in my home away from home that I miss so much. I'm a City boy, so my list is pretty focused on places you'd find downtown. My home when I was with my love was downtown on Bay Street, and from that central location, my adventures always began either on foot, or by taxi. There isn't any special order or logic to my list - simply what is coming to my mind and my heart tonight...

  • Younge Street - from near the Eaton Centre to the South and The Bay to the North, this slice of the longest street in the world is packed with more variety and interest than you could imagine. There are toy stores; SAM SAM the record man and other record stores, large and small; yummy pizza, Spring Rolls, coffee shops galore, and don't forget the almond croisants; sports stores for both fitness needs and Leafs gear (go Leafs go!); strange little shops with questionable electronics at prices so good that you probably wont buy anything; and stores so expensive that you probably can't afford to buy anything at all!
  • Kennsington Market - this is a weird little neighborhood, almost like a hippie throwback, with houses truned into shops and fruit and veggie stands here and there and everywhere. I remember it hot and crowded and hard to park.
  • Nathan Phillips Square - A skating rink in the winter and a wading pool in the summer and a gathering place all year round. I love the modernist architecture, though the huge, unused concrete ramp is a real detraction. Rumour has it a remodel is in the offing. Maybe they'll make the rink big enough for hockey games, or maybe they'll make a skating path all around the square.
  • St. Lawrenece Market - I love this old place off of Front Street. The cheese shop is amazing and it's a lot like shopping at Seattle's Pike Place Market - lots of small local vendors. If you like the adventure of putting a meal together at a time, you'll love this place.
  • West Queen Street - I could adventure all day on Queen. From the cafe, "Sugar", back to where the street meets Nathan Phillips Square, there are more boutiques, cool shops (especially for me the vintage guitars at "Capsule") and yummy snacks than I can remember. This is an organic neighborhood at it's best. I hope it doesn't become too gentrified.

That's a start I guess. I think my lists are redundant, but I cycle these memories and they are always fresh and warm to me, like the croisants on Younge Street. If you're in Toronto, pick one up for me sometime.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A new twist

The Mind has been silent for a few weeks, but for very good reason...that being a twist in our tale of love and loss and immigration.

First a little background - My love and I never have stopped contact, even though we have considered things over. We speak almost every day still; the same with emails, and the cards and letters have still passed back and forth, presents for Christmas and birthdays...the way things should be if you still care.

We recently decided that it would be nice to see one another again, even though it has been many months, so we booked it, and it happened over this last week. She flew in on that familliar Air Canada plane from Pearson and I met her at Sea-Tac, Baggage Claim 15, as usual...except this time I didn't see her in the confusion of the crowd. She stood there until our eyes met..."Have I changed that much?" she asked.

So, how was the visit? Uncomfortable? Sad? No - it was fun and it was amazing, and we had simply the best time - the time we usually have, full of adventure and laughter and smiles and tenderness! So what does that mean? Well, we aren't sure yet, but it may mean that we are back on for April - at it together again.

We rediscovered that together, life is so much better! Please pray for us!