Friday 31 December 2010

Some Never Left The Playground.

Ah, the playground, times recalled of the joy in a young child's heart.  The fun, the laughter, the innocent games of childhood.  Yet, not all children had games of fun to keep them amused.   For they were the playground bullies and the only games they wished to play, involved toying with the minds of the vulnerable little ones.
Some of the bullies never left the playground.  They brought their evil into their adult working lives.  The games, the mind games, took on a more sinister and complex nature.
I never really fit in at work.  I was different, a foreigner, an outsider.  I tried to ignore the abuse.  Maybe if I pretended the writing on the wall that stated, 'You foreign bastard!  Fuck off back to Canada!  Stop taking jobs away from us English!',  wasn't really there, that all would be okay.  Oh, how wrong I was.
The torrent of abuse, went on, unabated, for more than eight years, physically, financially, and worst of all, psychologically.  Here I was, a man trying to support his wife and son, falling apart and descending into a world or relentless insanity.  Racked with guilt, I felt I'd let my family down.  Once, a strong and happy man, now barely a man at all.
My mind and my body, could take no more.  I collapsed at home, a quivering wreck.  My doctor put me on sick leave.  This would be the start of a breakdown that scared and humbled me.
I returned to work a month later.  With trepidation, I attempted to do my daily routines.  'Hey nutter?!  What's wrong with you?  Poor baby not very well?!' taunted the bullies. Well, no I wasn't and I left the job, for good.
The ripple effect of leaving my job, was to take its toll on my family.  I turned to drink to numb the escalating reality that I was becoming mentally ill.  This only compounded the problem and my wife left with our son, to start a new life.  My breakdown was now in complete control of my life.  I turned into an incoherent, pathetic, shadow of a man.  Get drunk, pass out, wake up, get drunk, pass out.  This was my world.
You may have realised, that through sheer resilience and determination, that my life has turned around.  I challenged the negative environment within and without.  Yes, I am mentally ill.  This, however, has bestowed upon me a gift.  The gift of profound understanding and empathy for the innocent, the scared, the desperate. Fragile humans, tormented and abused, by those so insecure, that they need a victim to deflect away their inadequate feelings. Yes, I am mentally ill.  I thought it only happened to others.  Now I know that it can happen to anybody.
A bully needs an audience.  I walk the streets of town and sometimes see the bullies that came so close to destroying me.  I look at them , I smile and see the fear in their eyes.   For they fear the man who was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.  'What if the nutter is having a bad day?'  If only they could see the man and not their distorted perceptions of my illness.
The goal of my blog is to reduce the unfair stigma, the labelling, that so many of us with mental health issues, have to endure. We are all in this together.  No man shall be alone.  It's time to celebrate rather than fear our differences.  Let us truly create a positive environment where all mankind can rejoice in the wonderment of diversity.
I think back to the happy times of a little boy in a playground.  Some brought the darker side of the playground world into their adults lives.  Their ugly acts of inhumanity have caused intolerable grief to countless, defenceless victims.  It's time to stop, to think, and embrace the possibilities of a caring, kinder, more thoughtful world.
Here's wishing you a peaceful and positive New Year.

Monday 27 December 2010

Twas The Day After Christmas.

Twas the day after Christmas, when all through the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star.
Okay, I spent Christmas Day, mostly alone.  The son made a cameo appearance, just long enough to grab some Christmas dinner and proceed to his bedroom, with his collection of 'suspicious' looking friends and Penny the delightful dog.
I have discovered some advantages to spending 'Boxing Day Eve', sorry, Christmas, on my own.  For, I can sit there, let rip the most putrid smelling turkey farts and not go bright red, while protesting, 'Hey 'Uncle Bob', weren't me!  I didn't fart!  That darned dog has been at the turkey.  Smelly dog, that's disgusting!'  And, I don't have to be super nice to that obnoxious git sitting across from me at the table.  The opinionated know-it-all who has done what I've done, only twice as good.  That would be same butt wipe who smirks at everything I state, shakes their head in disgust and talks down to me in a patronising, dismissive manner.  Luckily, I do not encounter this, because if I did, I would be tempted to stick the remainder of the turkey down their big fat gob.
You may have experienced the joys of the yearly Christmas friends and family gathering.  You may watched 'Uncle Bob' and 'Auntie Sue' have their traditional Christmas Day argument.  There 'discussion' becomes so heated and personal that you wonder if it's actually Christmas Day.  Suddenly, you think, this feels more like 'Boxing Day', in a more pugilistic sense.   Then you look over at Grannie.  Good old Grannie, like she always does, proceeds to complain about 'those kids these days'.  'You know what dear? (you hate it when she calls you dear).  'You know what dear?  Those kids these days.  No manners and all they care about is getting gifts and the gifts are never good enough!'  Grannie then reaches over in front of your face, grabs the last slice of white turkey meat and moans about the gift from her son-in-law.  Of course, Granddad has hidden under the table.
So what have I learnt about Christmas?  I've learnt that I have much to be thankful for.  I realized, even more profoundly, that I have friends out there in the kind and caring family of bloggers.  That fills my heart with renewed determination and inspiration for a more positive world for all of us.  I've discovered that 'Jacob Marley' was not a reggae singer.  However, he did do a most notable cover version of the Diana Ross song, 'Chain Reaction'.   I figured out that 'Ebenezer Scrooge' and 'The Grinch' were okay dudes who were just a bit misunderstood.  
Christmas has come and gone.  I am determined to remember that, 'Humanity is for life, not just for Christmas.'

Saturday 25 December 2010

Humanity Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas.

It is a cold and clear early Christmas morn.  I gaze out the window and think of the moon as a gentle beacon of hope.  Hush now, the voice that screams in my head and torments my soul.  Gary, do not cry, for despite your painful isolation, intensified on Christmas Day, you have so much to be thankful for.

And I look out the window.   See the rising Christmas moon, cast glowing shadows, on snowy fields.  Embrace the moment.  Rejoice and understand that life is what you make it.

I sit here.  Not sure what now to write.  The words are not there, just a jumbled mess in my mind.  I turn around and the reassuring look of Penny, radiates the sweet innocence of a beloved dog.  I am deeply touched by her unconditional love.

The Christmas moon now shines brightly through winter tree.  I see this as symbol of better times to come.  I may be alone, I may be isolated, devoid of  human contact, yet my optimism for a better world, remains resolute, on this, a cold and clear, early Christmas morn.
My gratitude for you, on the other side of my computer screen, goes beyond any words that I can summon.
May the lonely, the isolated, the homeless, the rough sleepers, the sad and the desperate, find a few moments of comfort, during this, the festive season.  Humanity is for life, not just for Christmas.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Dog And The Hedgehog.

Hi there, it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star.  Klahanie, or as I call him, 'Gary', is allowing me to write this posting.  He needs a short break before the silly old dude attempts to come up with some really clever Christmas posting.  I've told him to take his time because, whenever I do a posting, the hits on this site, go through the 'ruff'.  Maybe he should take a hint,  'Arf, arf!'
Do you like the title of my posting?  I think it sounds like the name of some quaint British pub.  Pictured with me is, 'Haiden' the hedgehog.  Note how thrilled Haiden is to have his photo taken.  I think Haiden is kinda' sleepy.

Actually, Haiden is so sleepy, that I've decided to snuggle up to him on the living room carpet.  I feel so warm and cosy.

Enough of  this.  Enjoy your sleep, my little hedgehog friend.  I'm off to the garden.  My 'snow ploughing' talents are needed, again!

Gary has received another award.  Yes indeed, he has been given 'The Versatile Blogger' award.  However, the old dude has realised that I, Penny the Jack Russell, talented writer and 'pawblisher', was truly worthy of this award.  Thus, he has bestowed this award upon me.
Misha at My First Book, originally passed this award onto Gary.  Misha writes really neat stuff and she lives in South Africa.  I have been told that is very far from England.   I do so hope that you check out this marvellous blog.
So, in perhaps a rather unprecedented move I, Penny, will take over this award and adhere to the rules of receiving this award.  First of all, I have to tell you seven things about me and then pass the award onto seven more bloggers.  So, here goes....
1.  I was born in early October in the year 2000.
2.  Tristan, the son of Gary, chose me, just before Christmas, to come and live with them.  Ever seen the eyes of a little boy light up with gleeful excitement?
3.   I remember going for my first few walks.  I was limping and in a lot of pain.  Gary and Tristan took me to the vet's.  The vet performed emergency surgery on me.  I had a degenerative bone disease and all the bones in my back left leg, were shattered.  The friendly vet removed the bone fragments and took out my back left leg, hip bone.  Now that truly makes me 'one hip dog'.  I'm okay now but I do occasionally limp.  The vet says I'm just fine.  
4.  As a little puppy, I remember going for a walk with Tristan and instinctively pulling him back, with my teeth gently tugging the bottom of his trousers, from the edge of a hill.  I worried about his safety.  He was okay.  Thank goodness.
5.   I love to snuggle up to the central heating radiator.
6.   I am a happy, loving and playful dog.
7.   I have an award with my photo on it.  It is named The Gold Framed Dog Blog Award and has, hopefully, spread peace and joy wherever it has landed, in the wonderful blogging community.

I now forward this award onto the following seven excellent bloggers.

1.  fairyhedgehog :  A beautifully written blog that clearly demonstrates the author's love of our wonderful creatures.
2.  Ten lives and second chances :  The ongoing stories of Charlie the cat and the human he lives with.  A clever and witty read.
3.  Basket of Dreams :  Kamila, at this excellent blog, is embracing the possibilities of a more positive life.
4.  love of the loveless :  This transparent and thought provoking blog, is a new discovery.  I highly recommend you check this honest and raw blog, out.
5.  Bits of Paper and Glue :  Lynne, the writer of this superbly written blog, writes with such beauty and honesty.
6.  Inside the Chicken Coop  : Diane, at this delightful site, writes about the wondrous adventures of her birds.
7.  W.M. Morrell's Musings From Down Under  : Wendy, a blogger who lives in New Zealand, is a brilliant writer and has been very supportive.  I, Penny the Jack Russell, am very grateful.

Well, that's just about it.  I note that, Haiden the hedgehog, is still asleep.  So, I Penny the Jack Russell, on behalf of Haiden, wish you a peaceful and pawsitive Christmas.  'Arf, arf!'

Friday 17 December 2010

The 'Wee Folks' Christmas Special.

And thus, Fidelina, the beautiful fairy princess, Geoffrey the garden gnome, and their wee son, Einahalk, rejoiced in the warm, reassuring glow of the twinkling Christmas lights.

The 'wee folks', such wondrous, magical creatures, had come in from the cold and gathered in the comfort of the living room.   All different, all equal, celebrating the magic of a special time.

Such diversity.  Their's is a world where all is possible and no judgement is ever passed.

See the joy, the sheer delight on the faces of the wee folks.  They know that life should be a celebration of all that is good.

And the party continued.  They danced and they sang to sweet tunes of love, hope and understanding.

In the above photograph are Venetia, the sister of Fidelina, and bridesmaid from the enchanting wedding of Fidelina, the beautiful fairy princess and Geoffrey, the garden gnome.  Standing beside her is the 'best gnome',  Teagan.  There was a hint of romance between the two of them at the magic-filled wedding on the first day of summer.  Note the gnome in the background, Yrag, who is the best friend of Teagan.

And here is a happy little monkey, with his great long arms, wrapped over a couple of friendly garden gnomes. Nice tinsel effect, happy little monkey.

Dreams can come true.  Dare to believe in yourself.  Fidelina, Geoffrey and their beautiful little boy, Einahalk, wish you a peaceful, happy and so very positive Christmas.

And the wee folks gazed out the window.  They looked out, looked up, at moon drenched sky.  Tis a marvel to behold the shining orb through winter branches.  Soon they would leave.  Return to their world of love and peace.
Their message to us is simple, yet profound.  For the wee folks live in their wee world, where stigma, labels and the passing of judgement, are bizarre and baffling concepts.  May we learn from them.   Let us celebrate and rejoice the diversity of mankind.  And just like in their world, we can truly be, all different, all equal.

My dear friend, this was a posting from last Christmas.  During the uncertain times that have been encountered in my house and the fact I'm struggling to focus, I do so hope that you will share in the joy and the wonder of the message in this reposting.   In kindness and hope for a better way, for you, for my son, for all of us.

Monday 13 December 2010

And The Sign Said.

"And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said "You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do"
So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind.  Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?"  
(Lyrics and song,"Signs", sung by the Five Man Electrical Band)

Okay, and the sign 'said'.  No, of course not, I mean a sign wouldn't 'talk'.  Would it?  Well, I did find myself muttering away to the sign below.  I can assure you it did not respond.

Now, I'm not one to swear in my blogs.  Don't really need to use Anglo-Saxon derivatives as some kinda' fucking shock factor!  Oh no, not me!  Notice my usage of the exclamation mark!  Aren't you impressed?!
So for documentary purposes, only, here is what I asked of the sign in the photograph.  "What the fuck do you mean?  45 minutes?  No return within 1 hour?  If I'm only allowed 45 minutes, then why oh why do you state that I cannot return within 1 hour?  What happens if I sneak into my car before the hour has expired?  Does this mean that actually you want me to stay away 15 minutes more than the allotted time, so that some traffic warden can slap a ticket on my car?  Answer me sign!  Give me a sign.  For fuck sakes!"
End of documentary purposes.  I must say that some pedestrians gave me some rather strange looks as I took this photo and chatted to the sign.  I wonder why.

Now this is only a brief blog.

Because I'm feeling a little saw.

To end this brief posting, I submit the above photograph.  And before you ask, it's not an orgy involving Casper the friendly ghost's family.  I wonder what your interpretation of it is, and which 'person' would represent how you feel about your life.  You can click on the photo to make it larger.
That's it for me.  It's a sign of the times and I'm signing off.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Time Flu By.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Penny for taking over and doing a bit of guest 'dogging', I mean, blogging.  'Dogging' is evidently a British euphemism for performing sexual acts in a semi-public place, often in a car, in a secluded car park.  This can include group sex or, if you like, 'gang banging'.  Voyeurism and exhibitionism are often part of this fun-filled festivity.
Anyway, I digress.  I've been extremely ill over the last few days.  I managed to crawl out of the house, ever so briefly.  I will now demonstrate the amazing listening abilities of some folks.  'Hi Gary, are you okay?'  inquired a neighbour.   'Well actually, I've got a really nasty case of the flu.  It feels like Woody Woodpecker is tapping on my skull, my eyeballs are about to pop out and I'm on the verge of passing out into that pile of yellow snow.' I responded.  'Glad to hear it', replied the well-meaning neighbour.
Okay, before I head back to bed, I thought it only right to thank two very kind 'doggers', I mean bloggers, who have bestowed upon, me, yes me, shy, modest and humble me, the following awards.

Kamila, at Basket of Dreams has very kindly forwarded on the 'Amigo Award', to me.  Kamila, I'm very grateful and very flattered that you considered me for this award.  If you have not checked out her site, I would highly recommend that you do so.  I am inspired by her determination to embrace a more positive life.
Now, I understand that I'm supposed to pass this award onto a few bloggers.  However, I'm, grateful to all my friends, or, if you like, amigos, in the great blogging community.  Thus, I forward this award to all of my blogging friends. I just couldn't single any out, this time.  I'm blaming it on the flu.  Thanks again, Kamila, happy writing and peaceful, positive wishes, your way, Gary.

And then there's this award.  The 'Honest Scrap' award, kindly presented to me by Samantha at  Life, Love and Living in France and Lettuce Head.  I wish to thank these two wonderful ladies very much for considering me for such a thoughtful award.  Now Samantha does a very clever, observational blog about an American living in France.  In my own way, I can relate to starting a new life in a foreign country.  Luckily, I did not have much of a language barrier.  All I had to remember was which side of the road to drive on.  I learnt fast.
And 'Lettuce Head' is a fascinating read about a young lady who states that she is a "...a late bloomer, full of love and laughter"  Ladies, I am truly honoured to have received the 'Honest Scrap' award.
Now then, according to the rules, I must state 10 facts about myself to properly receive this award.  However, being a rebel and having stating facts about myself, in another award, I'm going to cheat and only mention five.  I hope I don't end up in 'bloggers prison' and serve a very long 'sentence'.
Fact 1:  I have never lost an egg and spoon race.
Fact 2:  I went on a three day, one hundred mile walk, in support of the native tribes of the West Coast of Canada.  The walk was named 'Moccasin Miles' and went from Vancouver to Hope, British Columbia.   It was Easter, in the year 1969.
Fact 3:   I spent my honeymoon night in a 'halfway house' where my then wife and I spent time with two of my sister-in-law's, who were staying in a secret location for traumatised children.
Fact 4:  In the middle of June, 1998, I spent five weeks alone in hospital.  I nearly died from the self-inflicted ravages of the hell that is alcohol abuse.  I left hospital, a free man, never to drink again.
Fact 5:   I blog for therapy.  I try to convey my honesty and transparency to those who have flattered me by reading my postings.

I now forward this award onto five most notable bloggers.
1.  Lynne at, Bits of Paper and Glue,  has been a most wonderful discovery.  Brilliant poetry and thought provoking stories, await you at her lovely site.  I am grateful for her kind interaction.
2.  John at, Hedgeland Tales, does an informative and beautifully pictorial nature blog.  His site is a highly worthwhile blog to visit.
3.  Michelle at, Rantings of the Reckmonster, writes a very clever, sometimes witty, sometimes bitter sweet, but always honest blog at her highly admired site.
4.  Grandpa at, Life on The Farm, talks about tales of his life "from the tropical rainforest at the foot of the Malaysian main mountain range."  This is a fascinating read and Grandpa has most endearing writing style.
5.  And finally, this is a superb blogger that talks about her life in Scotland, in a clever, thoughtful and amusing way.   I do so hope you check out this superb blog at, Mrs. Midnite's Mutterings.

So a huge thank you to Kamila, Samantha and 'Lettuce Head' for the preceding awards.  These awards have been a real tonic during a time when I've not been feeling very well.
Apologies for this not being a particularly well written blog.  I could barely muster up enough strength to press my fingers on the keyboard.  Yes indeed, I was in bed for three days and time flu by.

Saturday 4 December 2010

Pawsitive Wishes.

Hi there.  It's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star.  Gary aka 'klahanie', has allowed me to put up this posting.  He's very tired and thus, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to let you know my feelings.  Gary has been very sad, but I want him to know that he is loved.
The weather has been cold and bleak.  We've been running out of vital food supplies.  In other words, my dog food.

I have tried to give Gary a bit of a hint of just how hungry I am.  Note my fascination with 'Tails' the fox.

I told you I was hungry.  Get me some food dude, or the fox gets it!

Okay then.  So I went outside to survey the situation.  Could I possibly work out a plan so Gary could get to the shops and purchase some dog food?

Aha!  I've got an idea!  I shall become a very handy 'snow plough' and clear a path down to the street.  That'll do it.  Clear a pathway, Gary walks to the road and heads to the shop for some urgently needed dog food.  Fantastic!  I'm such a clever little dog.  I state ever so modestly.

Yikes!  It was bloody fffreeezing out there.  I had a look out Gary's bedroom window and realised that it was going to be a heck of an undertaking.  I mean, really, was I going to snow plough the entire street so that the old guy could get to the shops and obtain some vital dog food?  Hmmmm..maybe not.  I shall have to give him that sad puppy look and thus he will brave the bitter cold and head for the store.
So off Gary went.  It was so cold that he couldn't open his car doors!  Undaunted, he eventually trudged to the store and came back with those vital supplies.  Yes indeed!   I now have plenty of dog food and Tails the fox has been spared from my thoughts of knocking the stuffing out of him!

Gary has asked me if I would make this announcement.  Coming soon, to a computer near you, the eagerly anticipated, 'The Wee Folks Christmas Special.'  I'm really looking forward to that because the wee folks are kind and gentle creatures.

I went back out into our garden.  I looked way up at the icy chimes.  Beautiful music echoed through the naked branches.  Cold, crisp and haunting tunes, rang out, on a bitterly freezing, late autumn night.
I went back inside to our warm and cosy home.  I saw Gary looking so sad as he lay on the sofa.  I snuggled up beside him. I wanted him to know that all would be just fine.
Now my tummy is full and I am content.  It is time for me to go and sleep in his son's bedroom.  I want his son to understand, that no matter what, I shall always love him and will do whatever it takes to make him smile.
Thank you, my friend.  I, Penny the Jack Russell dog, send you pawsitive wishes.