Random Ramblings

News About Violence Is Everywhere. What’s a Person to Do?

Violence is everywhere. That’s nothing new. What’s new (relatively speaking) are the 24-hour news channels, and online news and social media platforms that put the violence front-and-centre – on repeat!

Setting aside war-related violence, which is beyond tragic and in a category of its own, I’m talking about neighbourhood violence, on the rise everywhere and seemingly out of control! Or, at least it feels that way.

It used to be (in my lifetime, anyway) that one learned about violence on the 6 or 11 o’clock news, or in the newspaper the next day. If the violence was of a particularly tragic, farther-reaching, or brutal nature, there would be a special news report interruption on TV or a newspaper “extra” (which I’ll admit, is a bit before my time).

Nowadays, learning about violence is just a click away.

Innocent, lazy channel surfing lands you on news channels where the story is told over and over, sliced and diced by experts and speculators alike, with up-to-date tragedy stats on a bright red streaming ticker at the bottom of the screen. You quickly click to the next channel or turn the TV off altogether.

Awaken your computer or smart phone to surf social media. Even though you’ve gone to extremes to only follow inspirational, funny or uplifting handles, it’s still there! Inadvertently, you see the violence trending or your inspirational, funny or uplifting handles have shared it.

If you don’t like it, disconnect!

That’s what people say. Even I say it – to others… to myself. But is it realistic? Even doctor’s offices, public transit, and shopping malls have big screen TVs, invariably broadcasting a news channel. What’s a person to do?

Besides, I like channel surfing and watching funny animal videos online.  I like the close connection with friends and special interest groups that social media affords. Is it just a case of taking the (sometimes very) bad with the good? How does one measure the benefits of one against the detriments of the other?

As I end this, I remind myself that there is still far more decency than deviance in the world. That while this vitriol on violence was spurred by a shooting in a home not ten minutes from where I live (that I learned about through social media), there are virtually thousands of homes between here and there in which live peaceful, loving families. Just like mine.

Random Ramblings

I used to cry at sirens

When I was little, I used to cry at sirens. Ambulance, police, firetruck. It didn’t matter. And, I heard them a good thirty seconds before my mother did. There I’d be, playing sweetly with my toys while she hung laundry (back in the day when people actually hung laundry). Without warning, I would start screaming, terrified, tears streaming down my plumb, 3-year-old cheeks. The first couple of times I did this, I scared my Mom out of her wits (so she said). Then, while obviously startled by a bout of sudden wailing, Mom understood my fear and gently told me what’s what. That sirens were actually a good thing. They sat atop cars that sped through traffic, charting the fastest route possible to save someone who needed help. Each time, I’m sure I would nod in understanding, trusting her, loving her, hugging her, as the siren faded off into the distance.

Until the next time…

Still, from what I can remember, Mom never got upset with me. She always gently took me to the porch steps, pointed out to nowhere in particular – the expanse of our neighbourhood, I suppose – and explained.

I can’t say exactly when I grew out of this behaviour. My Mom couldn’t remember either. Only that I did eventually grow out of it. To this day though, when I hear a siren, not only am I reminded of the fine first responders who come to every rescue, but I am also reminded of my dear Mom – gone now, just over two years ago – of her patience and love; boundless and genuine. She is forever in my heart.

Random Ramblings

Blood Saved my Mom’s Life

On June 27th 1956, my brother Michael was born.

On June 27th 1956, my brother Michael died due to complications during childbirth.

On June 27th 1956, after 36 hours of hard labour and severe blood loss, my mother almost died too.

In fact, my mother was losing so much blood that it took more pints of blood than the hospital had on hand to keep her alive. After depleting the hospital’s supply, three health-care professionals in the operating room at the time stepped up and donated blood on the spot. Her own physician donated blood WHILE he worked to repair the extensive damage.

My mother survived as a direct result of those individuals who donate blood. Giving selflessly of themselves, they gave my Mother the gift of life!.

After recovering from the loss of her first-born son and her own near-death experience, my mother sought to repay the gift of life that had been bestowed upon her. She gave blood for 45 years, stopping finally when she turned 71, the maximum age for a donor. When we lived in Europe for two years in the early 70’s, she did what was to them, the unthinkable, and donated her blood without solicitation. By this, I mean, she donated without a specific need by a family member or friend, as was and is the custom in some parts of the world. She continued this pattern of walk-in generosity until finally, they opened a small clinic where others could follow her example. And so, she gave the gift of life to others.

Blood! We all have it to give but few of us actually do. Basic eligibility (in Canada) for donating blood is simple. You must be between the ages of 17 and 71, weigh at least 110 lbs and be in general good health. Only a small percentage of the healthy, adult population with basic eligibility go past intention to actually donate blood.

Why don’t more eligible people donate?


FEAR is the number one reason why people don’t donate blood. Fear of needles and/or fear of contracting some disease. Fear of needles is understandable and can be difficult to overcome. Fear of contracting a disease is simply a non-issue because Canadian Blood Services’ and America’s Blood Centers’ trained personnel use only new, sterile needles for each donation.

TIME is the second reason why people don’t donate. Did you know it only takes 1 hour to donate blood? The minimum interval between blood donations is 56 days. If you or a loved one needed blood, would fear or time constraints matter?

How many of you have a story similar to my mother’s or have heard of similar stories, where a friend or relative or a child on the news, received blood as part of a life-saving procedure in the hospital? Now… imagine that blood not being available! Imagine it running out!

My mother is alive today because she received a massive blood transfusion on June 27th 1956. Consequently, I was born and my children were born and some day their children will be born. What a beautiful cascade of life this is, made possible because generous people conquered their fear and overcame their time constraints to donate blood. Don’t wait until you need it, or your parent needs it, or your best friend, or your neighbour needs it.

Find a blood donor clinic in your area! Resolve today to GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!

Random Ramblings

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Social Media

If there’s one claim to fame about the millennium it’s that it birthed “social media”. I’ve been on social media for years. As such, I’ve seen my share of hype. From playful viral pet videos on YouTube to bold-faced racist comments on Twitter. If it’s sensational enough, it will #trend.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the most recent beneficiary of the phenomena that is social media. I can’t even begin to guess how many videos have been made but I do know that, according to this online Time magazine article, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge has raised over $50 million! It raised over $10 million last Thursday (August 21st alone)!

I don’t know how this makes you feel, but it makes me feel a-MAZE-ing! It restores my faith in humanity. I am part of this incredible community of people, around the whole, entire WORLD, united in a single cause; to bring awareness and provide funds for ALS.

If you haven’t yet done the challenge, please consider doing so. And, if you’re in the need of a good chuckle, have a look at my challenge video. Oh… and don’t forget to donate!

Random Ramblings

Duped by Dr. Oz – But, it’s my own damned fault!

Duped by Dr. Oz - But it's my own damned fault!
By jesadaphorn, courtesy of freedigitialphotos.net

I’ve had trouble with my weight since puberty. So what else is new. I’m like a million other women with the same challenge. This year, I’ll be turning 50 and as part of this turning of the half-century event, I am also going through symptoms of menopause. Struggle as I have with my weight, I’ve always been all-over large. Gaining weight in the same places over the years as I yo-yo’d up and down on various diets and what-not. But now, I’m gaining weight in places I hadn’t before. Diet and exercise, other than helping to maintain general good health, has done zippo for the weight gain.

So, when I saw a tweet (can’t forget who promoted it and couldn’t find it afterwards) boasting a weight loss supplement endorsed and recommended by #DrOz, I thought, “Well, if Dr. Oz recommends it, it MUST work.”

Yes, I was duped.

The product I fell for (among others I have since learned about) is Garcinia Cambogia. I guess it was the mood I was in but I immediately clicked the link embedded in the tweet with the full (and clearly mindless) intention of  purchasing the product. I realize my credibility with you, the reader, is in question here but please believe me when I tell you, I simply do NOT do this.

The website I was taken to had all the typical visual bells and whistles but also had Dr. Oz’s photo as well as his, and many other people’s testimonials. This was not just a miracle supplement, but it was also guaranteed to help you lose weight (10-30 lbs) within 30 days. I did do a bit of research on Cambogia on the internet; plant based diet supplement, fat blocker, ya da ya da – then decided, what the hell, right? Nothing else is working… and, Dr. Oz says….

After I made the purchase (from my smart phone), with promised delivery within 7 days, I received an email confirming my purchase. I waited until I got home to check the order from my laptop. When I clicked the embedded link to view my order – DUPE # 2!… my laptop’s anti-virus security software detected malware, warning me of it with a big red warning and several exclamation points.

Oh HELL no!

I replied to the email immediately to cancel my order. I tried phoning. I tried going to their website and clicking “chat”. NADA. The one saving grace was that my product, after 3 weeks, had not arrived. I called my credit card company and told them about my experience. They were able to trace the company/shipper to China! Needless to say, there was no mention of China on this seemingly American-based product website (even had the little American flag at the top-right of the screen). In any case, my credit card company immediately reversed the charge. I got my money back. *Whew*. Case closed.

About another 2 weeks later, I got another email from said company saying the product had shipped. I checked my credit card to ensure I hadn’t been charged again. All was clear. Sure enough, another 2 weeks later, I got a bottle of Garcinia Cambogia in the mail. I kept checking my credit card for charges. None made.

Well, I thought, I have the bottle, I might as well try it. I read the label and checked the ingredients and potency and all that. Seemed ok. I started taking 1 capsule per day… and awaited my miracle. In a part of my mind I still held some hope out for what Dr. Oz had claimed. (And in your mind you’re thinking, “Is this chick stupid, or what?” More like a bit desperate.)

Besides giving me incredible gas and loose stools, Garcinia Cambogia failed to do one damned thing that it claimed to do.

The intelligent, professional woman in me calmly states, “Not at all surprised.”  The overweight, low-self-esteem woman in me simply shakes her head and says, “You brought this upon yourself, you idiot.”

Until this past week, I had no idea that Dr. Oz was under scrutiny at a U.S Senate hearing. In a way, while humbled by my own stupidity, I was happy to hear that I wasn’t alone in believing in Dr. Oz enough to purchase a product based solely on his emphatic endorsements. On the other hand, I’m angry as hell and delighted to see him squirm in front of the U.S. Senate.

I was duped by Dr. Oz. It was my own damned fault for being so naive, I know that. Still, where do I sign up for a class action suit against this guy?

Random Ramblings

Who Am I?

I am… daughter… sister… wife… mother… grandmother… dog-lover… retired from corporate life… active writer.  I am an extroverted introvert insomuch as I am naturally an introvert who has learned to be extroverted. I am aphantasic – one who lacks visual imagery. I am told I have a controlling nature, and yet, most of the time, I feel, like so many other people, as though I have very little real control over anything. I am on a spiritual journey.

Does any of this “make” me who I am?

Do the roles we play define who we are? Or is it who we are and our belief system that defines how we play our roles? In no particular order…

  • I am a good daughter who helps to look after her aging father whenever he needs it.  Mom passed away in 2016.
  • I am still (age 55+) the annoying baby sister to my 3 siblings.
  • I am a loving wife of almost 40 years to the same wonderful man.
  • I am a doting mother to 3 amazing children, all grown and out in the world.
  • I am a doting grandmother to 3 amazing grandchildren (so far), and I help where I can.
  • I am a friend to a handful of amazingly devoted and supportive friends.
  • I was pack leader to 1 amazing dog, a (now deceased) cocker spaniel, who filled my life with joy.
  • I’ve been challenged by chronic depression, panic, anxiety, and excoriation disorders.
  • I retired from the corporate world in 2018 and now pursue a calmer existence.
  • As for my writing, I have published a few short stories, several articles, a novel (out-of-print), a children’s picture book (very recent), and… I’m a blogger. My writing fills this tiny spot in me like nothing else.

So, Liana… who are you??

I am a strong, independent woman who believes in respect, honesty, and common decency. I believe there is a hero in all of us.  I believe in kindness and compassion and the freedom to be whoever you want to be.  I believe in following your dreams, success, failure, falling, and getting back up again. I believe in living in the moment and loving for a lifetime. I marvel at the glorious diversities in life; ethnicity, food, families, religion, sexual orientation, music, hair colour, paint colour, cars, wine, shoes… and so on. The list is endless.

Does any of this really define who I am? You bet it does!

I am simply me… an ordinary woman living an ordinary life gifted with extraordinary blessings.

My name is Liana… and in this blog, which I named Cascading Insights, I will share with you my reflections and insights about aspects of my life.

Welcome! Pull up a chair and stay a while.