Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Cozy Bungalow For Rent In Hamilton!

Cozy bungalow in quiet Rosedale Neighbourhood (click to view more pictures)
  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, hardwood floors throughout, eat-in kitchen with ceramic floors, open concept living room/dining room, basement with ample storage
  • Freshly painted, updated plumbing, new pot lights in living room, large bay windows and lots of natural light throughout
  • 6 appliances: fridge, stove, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer
  • Spacious, fenced-in yard with storage shed
  • Driveway fits three cars end-to-end
  • Close to schools, shopping, recreation (King's Forest Golf Course, hiking trails, Rosedale Arena)
  • Convenient location for commuters: minutes from the Red Hill Valley Parkway, Mountain access and close to public transportation
  • No smokers
  • Available November 1, 2013
  • $1,600/month (incl. utilities) - 12-month lease 
  • Inquiries: 905-923-0287 or e-mail a.lamanes@hotmail.com

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Strive On, Untiringly: My Reflections on 9/11

My first visit to NYC left a profound impression on me, quite literally. I was in my early 20s and sitting in a tattoo parlor in Greenwich Village when I was really supposed to be chaperoning a high school band trip.

How I managed to squeeze myself away from a pimply-faced brass section to get inked I have no idea. But wandering Manhattan's lower west side is forever etched in my memory (and my left shoulder). I remember mentally transporting myself back and fantasizing about Jack Kerouac's wild narration of On The Road at a speakeasy. Or hearing Joni Mitchell's crystal voice and gazing out with her blue eyes at a mesmerized crowd in a smoky bar.

These days, the Village has transformed...home mostly to wealthy bankers rather than beatniks. I've also changed after many more visits to NYC, as I've come to explore and appreciate other boroughs, nooks and crannies on the island (no more tattoos though!) Just for the hell of it, I once flew in and out of the big apple in one day.

To say I love New York is an understatement. Strangely, I feel at home when I'm there.

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 upon us, it's hard to explain the trauma, shock and numbness I felt when the planes hit the twin towers. The reality of the event really hit me when I saw the devastation up close on a visit to ground zero in December 2001. I wasn't related to any of the missing people on the posters that were still taped to telephone poles. I can't even compare my sadness to that of the families who lost loved ones, including the brave first responders.

Still, I was deeply impacted because never before had I seen the kind of immense horror that humans are capable of inflicting on each other. I'd lived a rather sheltered life until that time. To see that magnitude of deliberate force carried out in a matter of minutes by a group of extremists who despised America...it felt like time had stopped. I couldn't process what was happening, much like Siddhartha (who would one day become the Buddha) venturing from his palace and seeing old age and death for the first time.

For weeks afterwards, I was in a fog. It didn't help with the TV networks playing a constant loop of the planes careening into the WTC, people frantically waving for help from broken windows, and evacuees stumbling through the streets, zombie-like, in a haze of pulverized concrete after the collapse. I recall my bouts of sobbing, nightmares, paranoia. I know I wasn't alone.

Ten years later, I can look back but I no longer feel that intense despair. I now use each anniversary as a chance to think about the bigger picture. Perhaps my turn towards Buddhism has helped me think more broadly, outside little old me. I think about what all 7 billion of us can learn from New York, September 11, 2001.

The moment everyone stops viewing the "other" as the enemy -- whether it's neighbours in a suburban community or nations half a world apart -- that's the moment we become stronger and better than who we were. Shouldn't we all be trying to figure out as a human race how to preserve and protect our species instead of killing each other off? Share resources rather than horde?

This all sounds Pollyanna-ish, and in truth I know everyone singing kumbaya and playing nice isn't going to happen in my lifetime. That faceless "element" will always be out there. Since 9/11, I can no longer look at the world through rose-coloured glasses and I am not ignorant to the destructive potential of humanity when ideas are taken to dark places.

But, I have to look at examples of hope and good, and cling to the belief that despite what I read, hear and see, love and respect for each other is the norm and not the exception.

New York can teach us to never let fear get in the way of living. There is no amount of evil in the world that will ever destroy our resilience. New Yorkers' hearts were broken, and ours broke too. They rebuilt their spirit and the now sacred land where the towers stood. We can all take comfort in that.

On his deathbed, 2,500 years ago, Buddha's final words to his followers were: All things are perishable, but do not despair. Work hard to gain your own salvation. Strive on, untiringly.

Timeless words.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Adventures in House-Hunting: You Had Me At...Uh Oh.

You have only been looking at homes for a short time, but you think you have found "the one".

It's OK if it's love at first sight, but prepare for the unexpected. Like any relationship, sure, you can't see brains from across a room. It's normal to feel instant attraction at first glance; but, be sure to look beyond the cuteness to find out what's really going on.

Is it a nice home next to sketchy neighbours who have bed sheets on the windows? Does flooding occur the area? Is the home close to a railway line or directly under a flight path? These are all things that will surely cause grief while you own the home and bring down its value.

Also, be realistic about needs vs. wants. A solid house with a newer roof, furnace and windows is better than a house with new hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and a leaky roof.

Weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision, or it could cost you big time.