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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 63 - Smell Ya Later

1 Apr 2010

Hi everyone,

Hope March has been good to you!  April is upon us and I'm already thinking about SMELLS in the air -- flowers and trees, perfumes/body wash in the department store (still a month early for Mother's Day), and SMELLS of people -- yes, people! 

Going back to March, I started with a mining conference.  As you all know by now, since I just won't let you forget, I attended the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, trade show and investors exchange.  This year, I did not just attend a one-day free sessions for investors this year, but, also attended the trade show for three days.  Thank God for great shoes!  I put in my mileage on the carpets and off!  Fueled by caffeine, pizza, hot dog and Starbucks' white chocolate macademian nut cookies (don't forget that!), I trekked my little heart out at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC).  The SMELL of people in suits, jeans/sweatshirts and rocks and gemstones!  No, I did not actually sniff the rocks and gemestones -- the shiny ones did catch my eye and it's as great as the SMELL of COFFEE!  This year, I wanted to learn more about rare earth elements, but, ended up also learning about mining in various provinces and countries around the world, mining equipment, and views about economies in our own backyard, our neighbour's backyard and our distant neighbours' backyards.  If you think it doesn't always SMELL so great in your own yard, try SMELLING other people's yards and you'll realize, we're not smelling so bad right now.  Sure, it could be better, but, I think we need to hang tough, buckle our belts and don't be afraid to pursue happiness in this economic climate. 

On one of my days off, I went to see My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding with three friends from work.  It was a humorous and heartwarming musical, which arose from The Fringe (Toronto Theatre Festival) and became a David Mirvish production at the Panasonic Theatre.  The creators/writers of the play are David Hein and Irene Carl Sankoff, a husband/wife team.  I met David Hein a few years ago when I happened to be in Indigo (Eaton Centre) one night because I was desperate to get to a washroom!  I was planning to see another singer/songwriter elsewhere and happened to hear David perform in Indigo.  We spoke a bit after his performance and I bought his CD, North of Nowhere.  We kept in touch online since then.  I saw him perform again at one of the Songwriters Unite! night in summer, 2008.  David introduced his new song, which was based on a true story about his mother -- her Lesbian Jewish Lesbian Wedding.  It was so catchy and different!  The other songwriters in the room were also impressed.  Later, I wrote David and told him that particularly loved the song, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, and called him a "genius".  Little did I know that he and his wife would eventually write a play about David's life and he would write more songs for this play.  Although I wanted to attend The Fringe to see this play, I just did not get around to it, but, I knew, it would not stop soon.  When I heard that David Mirvish was going to produce this play, I could just SMELL the excitement ahead!  I am really happy that I finally went to see it with my friends.  My friend, Margaret, and I stayed a bit after the show, and met David.  I wanted him to know what we thought, and that I really am happy for their success and overwhelmingly positive responses from critics and audiences.  Margaret told me later, that he seems very humble.  David appears very confident onstage.  If you ask me, I would say that David SMELLS nice, sweet and humble.  His wife, Irene, is identical!  They seem like a perfect match as partners in life, and also, in their professional life!  If you are interested in seeing the show, it ends on April 11, 2010 -- just go to the bottom of the page to get information and tickets.

The day after the show, I went to see the King Tut exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) with a  friend/co-worker, Helenie.  The Pharaoh's mummy is not on tour with the rest of his treasures, but, it was still an interesting outing.  I went from mining, seeing rocks and minerals to an exhibit presenting some  rocks and minerals in finished form -- my favourite is GOLD.  What is not to love about Egypt?  The ancient Egyptians did a phenomenal job with the precious metals and gems they imported and found locally.  We really can't brag about how advanced we are when we see how buildings, furniture, jewellery were created thousands of years ago and have been preserved all this time.  Can you see your computer lasting thousands of years?  There are things more worth keeping than others.  In this day and age when we keep hearing advice/warnings about not throwing out so much stuff because so much will end up in landfill sites and dumped into the lakes and oceans, our society's mentality still has not changed much.  What's worse is how we also treat people like they are "disposable" -- no emotional flinches -- they're gone!  If you think the SMELL of garbage at landfill sites is bad, think about how some people in society who may not SMELL so nice, are treated.  WE STINK when we discard people based on the way they look, smell and the fact that their pockets are empty. [King Tut exhibit ends April 18, 2010 -- see below for information/tickets to King Tut]

I would like to share three stories. 

Larry and I went to visit his dad one day.  We had to wear a mask and gown to get into his room because his dad may have had a contagious virus.  I actually welcomed the mask because the area outside his room SMELLED bad.  To me, it's like drugs or urine or both.  Whatever the smell -- it was not pleasant to me.  It did not bother Larry that much -- he said, it could be worse, but, it wasn't so bad that day.  I recognized a similar smell from hospitals.  One thing I wondered about was, how do people adjust to the SMELLS they are surrounded by.  Physically, we can get used to any smell, after awhile.  That is just a known fact.  We may work or live in a particular environment -- we simply adjust and will either endure the bad, negative odors.  Those who visit will likely endure for awhile -- but, they will do so because it is important for them to do what they need to do, or maybe, SMELL has little meaning beyond the physical senses.  I think, perhaps, love and concern triumphs over physical pleasantries.  Think about this, the next time you are visiting a family member or friend whom you care deeply about at the hospital.  Your spirit will help you overcome the unpleasant SMELL and physical appearances.

On the first day of the PDAC conference when I was travelling on the subway, I gave my seat to an older man.  He was so gracious and kind.  Turned out, there was still a seat next to him, so, he invited me to sit beside him, all the while thanking me for my kindness, which I did not feel was well-deserved.  I did sit back down beside the gentleman.  After awhile, I realized that this man may not have bathed for awhile.  I did not move away -- I felt like it would seem rather insulting.  But, the longer we sat next to each other, I kept hoping that he would get off soon.  I kept counting the stops, but, he did not get off.  Finally, it was my stop.  I had to take deep breaths when I got out of the train because by that time, I felt as though I was going to vomit.  I guess, I had tried to hold my breath a few times, to avoid inhaling.  When I got off the train, I saw that man get up, and it appeared as though he was going to get off too, but, I lost sight of him.  It almost looked like he disappeared on the train!  Was he an angel or just an ordinary man who taught me something that day? 

On another day, I was on the subway heading home, and there were two young men standing beside me.  Again, I thought, they smelled as though they had not bathed for days.  I tried to look at what they were wearing, without trying to stare.  I wondered if they lived on the streets.  Their clothes were intact and did not look so dirty, but, the SMELL from their direction still bothered me -- to the point where when I got home, I thought their odor was still lingering on my jacket.  I thought, if they didn't smell pleasant, they might not act so pleasantly, but, I was wrong.  I noticed that they were polite to other passengers and spoke normally, without a lot of swearing which I often hear from well-dressed, middle class schoolboys and girls.  I realized that my thoughts were more unpleasant than the way those two young men SMELLED.  It's easy to wash my jacket, but, not so easy to change the way I think.  It seemed that the lessons I had learned this past month was again reinforced. 

I'm glad I got away from cubicle life for a few days in March.  Along the way, I realized that there may be more for me out there!  After speaking and being around CEOs and geologists (of mining companies), fellow investors, actors and art enthusiasts, I think I can move beyond my existing circle of friends and co-workers.  I have never had such a great time at the PDAC than this past March.  I also loved going to a show.  And, although I have tried to get out of cubicle life before, I'm willing again to SMELL a different environment.  I have learned from some good friends that it is possible to work hard and be happy doing what you do or want to do, to be happy being with those you want to be with, and to be happy with yourself.

Friends, thanks for reading another episode of KaTsZoNe! 

As my former co-worker, Marianne, always said when we departed knowing that we will meet again, "SMELL YA LATER!"

Cheers and blessings,
Katherine (KK)   


Check out past episodes of KaTsZone at:

Calendar of Events on KaTsZoNe:


Websites of events referred to above:

Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada - www.pdac.ca/pdac/conv/index.html

"My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding" (Show ends April 11, 2010) -
David Hein -

King Tut exhibit at Art Gallery of Ontario (Exhibit ends April 18, 2010) - www.ago.net/kingtut