Hi, there. Thanks for visiting. I'm starting this blog as an advocate for mental and physical health. I'm a freelance writer and also own a home based medical transcription business. I was diagnosed in 1978 with paranoid schizophrenia and started to become acutely ill three years prior to that, unmedicated, frightened, confused, and in trouble with the law. I graduated from university with distinction the year I became ill. I've never regretted learning how to think at university. I struggled with my illness for 35 years and have reached the top of the mountain now, I think, or the other side, where the grass is greener and the path easier. There's hope for all of us, the whole human race, and never think there isn't hope or joy no matter your circumstances. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with mental illness in all its forms: depression, brain injury, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc. and your positive experiences as well as those lies and half truths society and even therapists would have us believe about ourselves.

We are different folks, and we are beautiful. The whole human race is beautiful. Let's celebrate life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Wow, I have another follower! Welcome, Bob. You're a regular contributor to the comments and I much appreciate that. I like comments. Maybe if I had too many or the wrong kind I wouldn't like comments. But right now I like comments.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Canada Post

I received this email from one of my brothers just now...

"Very Interesting Read... Keep this in mind!

Canada Post, " I learned something over Christmas that I feel compelled to share with you. This won't change your life dramatically or help you survive the apocalypse but it will save some $.

I recently mailed two identical packages via Canada Post one week apart. One would think that the postage should be exactly the same.

Pkg # 1 was mailed from a Canada Post Office. Postage came to $11.74. Since I knew the second package would be mailed in about a week's time, I bought sufficient postage for the second pkg while I was there.

When it came time to mail Pkg #2, I went to the post office in Shopper's Drug Mart. I handed the pkg to the clerk to be put in the outbound mail bag, I was informed that I did not have sufficient postage attached. The clerk proceeded to inform me that I needed to purchase an additional $6 worth of stamps. After explaining how I knew exactly what the postage should be, the clerk offered some lame excuse that Canada Post is unionized and they can say and do anything with impunity and if I wished to mail that pkg. From Shopper's then I needed to purchase more stamps.

I told the clerk to stuff it and took back my package and headed to the Canada Post Office, where I would raise hell... Much to my surprise, the Canadian Postal Clerk took my package, weighed it and tossed it in the mail bag, and it was on it's way...When I asked if the amount of Postage on the parcel was right she shook her head and said "yup, no problem"..

The Truth comes out:
Canada Post Offices charge postage for packages at the published Canada Post rates. Franchise locations such as Shoppers Drug Mart can charge whatever they like. So remember if you regularly mail packages at franchise locations (Shoppers Drug Mart,) you are probably paying too much. Franchise locations are found in shopping malls, drug stores and private businesses everywhere. From now on, all of my mailing will be done from a Canada Post location. Still perplexed by what I was told by the girl in Shoppers, I fired off an email to Canada Post for clarification.

This is the reply I got from them:

Thank you for your message to Canada Post.
A postal outlet is not a federal government agency and is not owned or managed by Canada Post. For example if the postal outlet is within grocery store or pharmacy it would follow the stores working hours, therefore if the store must be closed, so will the postal outlet inside. Only Canada Post Depots and Corporate Post Offices are obligated to follow the price of stamps and postal products that are legislated by Canada Post. Any commercial and private establishment may charge extra fees as a convenience to their customers. It is at their discretion to apply additional service fees to products that they sell. We suggest visiting a Corporate Post Office in order to avoid paying additional service charges that corner stores or other establishment may implement on their products.

Regards, Veronika Strofski Customer Service "

How's that for privatization?

How do you like your post office?

I'm bemused by the Postal Service which seems to charge for parcels whatever they please at these small outlets, and tell you what they please...some of you may know what I'm talking about who live in small towns or have small postal outlets and send mail internationally and both to and from the US. I've begun going online to print out labels for my parcels, using a tape measure and postal scale to determine the correct price, and choosing the cheapest option if I can. It always seems correct but I noticed at our little postal outlet the other day, and I've noticed this before, that a woman was charged expedited parcel as the cheapest way to send a small parcel, which would have been half the price. I wonder why they charge more? It seems to me somebody's making quite a bit of money on overcharging for parcels that could have gone out much cheaper...and I'm aware of that, as I see the rates online, and have the dimensions and weights posted on the Canada Post web site. I've never had a parcel returned. They're either poorly trained or are using a different scale and measuring system. But to ignore the fact that many parcels can be sent small package air or small package surface for a fraction of expedited parcel seems even dishonest. I once saw a man being charged $31 at this particular post office for a brown manila envelope and when he questioned it they changed the price to $11. I'm sure it could have been sent for half that...if anyone wants to question the Post Office about this kind of thing I have no proof, you know, just what I've observed. But I think the Post Office employees should be monitored more closely. Ours is private now. It used to be government. Stores have Secret Shoppers and the transit system has supervisors who check up on the drivers regularly. I think the post office should have supervisors who check up on post office employees as though they're customers and see what is happening. I used to work in an office where the mail was delivered at four or five o'clock in the afternoon. I phoned the local postal outlet a couple of times and was told once the carrier was there reading a book and they thought he'd completed his rounds. Lots of times I'd see him smoking in the Safeway parking lot with the security guard there. When we complained they'd tell us he had until five o'clock to deliver his was an office. Since moving into this apartment building I've had times when the mail was delivered late at night because apparently the carrier didn't show up at all during the day and mustn't have phoned in.

I love the concept of the postal service and depend on it as though for my lifeblood sometimes; my cheques come through the mail and my friends and family send cards, letters and parcels frequently. Seldom do they go astray, and often arrive before they were scheduled. It's the individuals they hire sometimes, especially here in Canada, who don't seem to be properly screened for efficiency and punctuality. They're well paid. I wouldn't be a mail carrier myself; too many dogs and icy sidewalks to contend with. But here in our apartment building there was really no reason for two cheques and a card with money in it to be sent back as "moved" in the interim when we had a substitute mail carrier, nor for the multitude of letters in the lobby which were misdelivered. Fortunately our regular mail carrier came back after a period of two or three weeks and things were back to normal. But I remember a time when a mail carrier spilled coffee, cream, and sugar all over everyone's mail and then delivered it that way with no apology. And the Post Office took out the complaint line...our previous mail carrier seldom worked on Mondays or after a long weekend or holiday, often delivered mail to the wrong suite, and was frequently very late or didn't show up at all. If he had a parcel he would cram it into the mailbox and sometimes so tightly it wouldn't come out, or came out damaged. He wouldn't ring our suites to tell us we had a parcel nor would he leave it at the office. He would leave a notice that we had to go to the post office to pick it up as he was apparently too lazy to deliver it to us or to the office so we could pick it up. Often I'd receive a notice that a parcel was there when I'd been home all day.

The larger parcels are delivered by a carrier in a special truck at another time of day, and she's excellent. She brings the parcel right up to my door, and is very pleasant. I keep candies and chocolate bars for the couriers and delivery people, and they almost always are inordinately pleased with the wee sweets. I do think they have a somewhat thankless job, but not particularly difficult.

The previous mail person kept his job for a long time, and probably is still sorting and delivering mail somewhere else...they do seem to have better service in the US, where a mail carrier also will post letters and parcels for customers. But I've read that the US Postal Service is in financial difficulty. Their postage rates are cheaper than ours. I don't complain about the flyers and catalogues I get because I think that keeps our postal service going, but it seems as though our rates are quite high and go up every year.

Once I left a thank you card with some candy for our regular mail carrier in the mail box. She thanked me with a note in my mailbox and seemed surprised that someone would remember her like that. I complain about poor service but I don't complain to supervisors anymore as I don't want to get anyone fired, unless they're really BAD! I did phone the post office and lodge a complaint about the cheques and money that had been misdelivered and returned as "moved". I will compliment good service and often have gone out of my way to speak to someone's manager and give them a kudo. But poor service and sloppy or rude communication skills just really irritate me. There's no reason for it; no matter how humble the job, do the best you can and be pleasant.

I think maybe for Christmas I'll slip a card with a $10 bill in it into my mailbox. I seldom see the mail carrier face to face as there's a large bank of mailboxes on the wall in the lobby and she goes into a locked room behind the wall to deliver the mail.

This post is a bit disjointed but I'm torn between complaining about the poor service and then complimenting the really good people. Customer service at the post office was very nice when I called and agreed "that shouldn't have happened." He also apologized. I wish more companies would realize how such a little thing like politeness and "thank you" and "I'm sorry" or "how can I help you?" go a long way towards promoting positive feelings for the company and stopping any hurt feelings that might go any further.

I notice since our regular mail carrier returned the end of October that no mail has been put up on the bulletin board or table in the lobby as being misdirected. And our mail is being delivered mostly before noon. I wonder what's going to happen at Christmastime when they get more subs?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thinking out of the box

I took a book out of the library on my daughter's recommendation of it called "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely. I'm looking forward to reading it perhaps this weekend. Apparently it explores the reasons we act the way we do, and it's not because of rational or logical thought behind our beliefs and behaviors. I thought when I first heard about the book that he meant we act on our emotions but that's not it. I hope to "get it" and see the world through different eyes, perhaps understand the behavior of other people better when it doesn't seem rational, and my own behavior and beliefs as well. I'm always open to new ways of looking at the world in an effort to get out of my little box and an established way of thinking.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Esoteric Properties of Truth

I've decided it's just too darn hard to try to reconcile the two sides of the universe as I see them, the flickering shadows that we know and the blinding light of ultimate truth. It's all rather esoteric and I don't know that anyone can do it. So I'm just going to do like the Dalai Lama and "shape motivation" every morning. Is it all about love? Or truth? And are they the same? I started this thread as a means of communication about mental illness. But that seems to be blending into simply life as we know it. We are all one.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

What is Truth?

This is hard to explain, but I'm trying to establish a network of truth, like a spider web first as a framework, and then fill it in. There's the truth of things and then there's the shadows, like Plato's Metaphor of the Cave. I think it's all part of our truth as we don't stand in the bright light easily, or are comfortable in the glare, and have spent most of our lives in the shadows. I'm not talking about mental illness here although the analogy could be true for that, too. But very few people know the truth of things, and part of it is looking at the world from someone else's eyes not only our own limited vision.

That may be part of what I'm looking for.

It's like trying to reconcile the two hemispheres of one's brain. It can be done but with difficulty, due to the neuroplasticity of our brains (see Dr. Norman Doitch's book, The Brain that Changes Itself). So I'm trying to change my brain to take in a wider viewpoint to arrive at a more complete truth.

Of course, the ultimate truth and the means to attain it is love.