May 28, 2023 · 8:09 am
Whenever I hear news about city budget shortfalls and the consideration of library services as a possible target of cuts, it saddens me.
Some might rationalize that a decline in foot traffic or a decline in the number of loans might make a case for a reduction in hours or even in the complete closure of a branch. I disagree. I honestly cannot imagine a community without a library.
Discussions like that tend to spur on memories of the countless hours I spent at my own neighbourhood library in my pre-teen and teen years.
We were so fortunate that there was a branch just three blocks away from the house where I grew up. That being the case, I could be found there a couple of times per week, especially through the summer months when school was out.
In a moment that may sound like a scene from an episode of “Young Sheldon”, I’ll never forget getting up on my tiptoes to stand taller over the circulation counter, attempting to drop my voice by an octave and asking the librarian if there was a minimum age to be able to go into the adult section.
Just to clarify, when I say “adult section”, I don’t mean materials that would be inappropriate for a pre-teen. I mean the collection of books that isn’t aimed at children or young adults. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, books, Humour, stories
Tagged as book club, books, city, community, librarian, libraries, library, life skills, periodicals, reader, reading, reference, sections, town
May 21, 2023 · 9:55 am
Have you ever tried staying off your devices and social media to avoid spoilers about a show or an event that you haven’t watched yet? I surprised myself recently in discovering just exactly how difficult that can be.
I wouldn’t consider myself addicted to social media, my phone or my iPad by any stretch of the imagination. I can definitely go a few hours without looking at any of them and not feel the slightest sense of missing out. I do it all the time when I am deeply in the creative zone.
In the years that I have been writing, interruptions have been my kryptonite that have been known to break my flow. That being the case, with so many writing projects in the queue, why would I get in my own way and check my phone between paragraphs? Why would I subject myself to the negative energy of articles that the algorithms have mistakenly assumed that I want to look at? If those aren’t a buzzkill for creativity, I don’t know what is.
This past weekend was the grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest, an event that I have followed for almost 20 years. Throughout that span of time, I don’t recall its schedule conflicting with North America’s Mother’s Day weekend, but this year it did. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, music, pop culture, stories, TV
Tagged as alerts, competition, Contest, devices, ESC, eurovision, events, live, music, news, outcome, programs, song, spoiler, spoilers, sports, streaming, telecasts, television, time, TV, winner
May 7, 2023 · 11:40 am
When it comes to Costco, I feel a huge sense of gratitude for the wide range of products they offer, and often, at staggeringly good prices.
But to be able to take full advantage of my visits, I did not realize the number of rules I had set for myself whenever a trip to Costco was on the agenda.
Who knew that my algorithm for going to Costco could be so lengthy?
– Did I get a solid 8 hours of sleep?
– Did I have my 2 morning coffees?
– Have I recently completed a meal to avoid being “hangry”?
– Are there enough items on the list to truly warrant a trip to Costco?
– Which Costco location should have all the products on the list?
– Can I avoid shopping on a weekend?
– Can I avoid shopping in the afternoon?
– Can I avoid shopping on the Friday of a long weekend?
– Can I avoid shopping on a government pay week?
It’s not Costco’s fault. It’s the energy that I pick up from some of the other shoppers that keeps me off balance.
For example, there are shoppers who have an astounding sense of creativity when it comes to rules of the road in the aisles. I marvel at their mastery of driving their carts in diagonal lines, performing 180 degree turns with no advance notice and who seem to embody pure randomness, keeping their fellow shoppers constantly guessing. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, food, home, stories
Tagged as funny, humor, humour, retail, shopping, store, stories, stress
April 23, 2023 · 8:51 am
Shortly after discovering a pretty major food intolerance about 15 years ago, I quickly realized that I needed to brush up on my cooking and baking skills. A person can get bored pretty quickly on a rotation of just three “safe” dishes: shepherd’s pie, chili con carne and grilled chicken breast with a tossed salad.
I consider myself a pretty good short order cook with a natural curiosity for trying different food combinations. That being the case, removing wheat from my diet was not a catastrophe to me. In fact, I think it just spurred on my curiosity even more.
I just had to make time to practice more, to locate recipes that appealed to me and to test them until I got the desired results.
At first it was a bit stressful to explore a world without wheat and flour, especially when some of the resulting dishes didn’t look anything like the picture and tasted like cardboard. But eventually, some reliable go-to recipes emerged and things fell into place.
But along the way, I made another discovery. During that incubation period of trying new recipes, I found that cooking and baking can have a relaxing effect on me. Continue reading →
Filed under food, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as baking, cooking, cuisine, curiosity, curious, happiness, hobbies, joy, kitchen, mindful, mindfulness, recipe, recipes, relax, relaxation, serenity
April 16, 2023 · 8:25 am
In 2016, I wrote a blog post called “With This Many Loyalty Cards, How Loyal Can You Be?”
The story was based on the plethora of cards and reward programs that we were offered to pledge our loyalty with a store chain in exchange for points and rewards.
Despite the freebies associated with the programs, don’t we all know that some of those perks come at a price? Homework!
When inflation started to rise, I admit I started watching flyers and offers even more carefully in order to try to stretch our food dollars, whether through sale prices or through bonus points which can later be redeemed like cash.
Fortunately, in retirement, I actually have time to read flyers carefully, cover to cover, rather than scan through them like a squirrel on a caffeine rush. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as cards, food, frugal, groceries, grocery, inflation, loyalty, money, offers, points, prices, retail, rewards, savings, shopper, shopping, store, thrift, thrifty
April 2, 2023 · 9:32 am
Back in 2015, a few days after I adopted Ivy the Wonder Cat, it was time for my weekly housecleaning.
When I turned on the vacuum cleaner, it was like a scene from a feline version of “The Exorcist”. My adorable little kitten turned into the devil’s child, hissing at the vacuum cleaner and at me for the horrendous ordeal that was underway.
In a house with wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s not like I could avoid the vacuum cleaner, just to keep Miss Ivy from turning into a horror movie villainess. When it came to cleaning, the show must go on.
She eventually learned to cope by disappearing to a quiet corner of the house until the vacuuming was finished and the vacuum cleaner was put away.
Despite the advice of online pet psychologists suggesting that some cats eventually make peace with vacuum cleaners, unfortunately, this wasn’t meant to be in my household. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour, stories
Tagged as cat, Cats, clean, cleaner, cleaning, dander, dust, hair, home, house, maintenance, management, pet, Roomba, time, vacuum
March 19, 2023 · 8:47 am
I don’t know if anyone else feels the same way, but what is it about changing an appointment that can put my stomach in knots, in ways that few events can?
At the root of the feeling is the simple fact that I take my commitments seriously. When I’ve made a commitment, I like to keep it. It’s a pride thing, for sure.
When life happens and a commitment needs to change, for some reason, deep down, I feel a sense of defeat… even when it’s not my fault… or nobody’s fault.
Even though I am confident in my negotiation skills and acknowledge that most people are pretty understanding, changing an appointment seems to have a triggering effect on me.
Does that feeling originate from my school days and the looming threat of losing points if an assignment was handed in late?
Could it come from the steep fines that certain businesses charge if 24 or 48 hours’ notice isn’t provided to change an appointment?
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that things can unexpectedly happen (… and quickly!) that can de-stabilize situations no matter how much we might like certainty and clarity. Continue reading →
March 12, 2023 · 8:52 am
Is it any wonder I sometimes find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place as an adult, when scenes like the following played out in childhood?
My mom would be in the process of trying to gently steer this only child onto the more courteous road of life where the world didn’t actually revolve around me. She would share words of wisdom and life lessons on the importance of patience, with beautiful sayings like “good things come to those who wait” and how taking turns just makes the world a better place.
Moments later, my Dad would stomp in, turn off the TV and announce that the grass needs mowing… now!
Maybe they should have checked first for the scheduling and timing of their life lessons, but despite the mixed messaging, in time I came to realize that they were both right.
In life, some things must be handled urgently while others can (…and should) be scheduled and addressed at a mutually convenient time. To recognize the difference is what I would consider to be the “wisdom” part of the equation.
But not everyone seems to have gotten the memo. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Inspiring, stories
Tagged as client, customer, demands, expectations, human, humanity, industry, labor, labour, patience, patient, people, perspective, service, speed, staff, tech, technology, time, urgency, urgent, wait, waiting, work force
February 26, 2023 · 8:07 am
A while back, while running my socially-distanced, masked, sanitized errands, I stopped by a nearby bank branch with a simple mission: to obtain a transaction register.
For those who might not be familiar with what that is, a transaction register is that little booklet you slide into your chequebook holder, to keep track of your deposits and your withdrawals.
I realize that I am probably dating myself with that statement since cheques, chequebooks and chequebook holders might not be household names in many households anymore.
The fact is that cheques are losing popularity (in Canada, anyway), in favour of credit cards, debit cards, eTransfers and automatic withdrawals. I think it would be safe to say that during the pandemic when physical forms of payment were discouraged, the adjustment to contactless forms of payment may have accelerated the inevitable.
Just the same, there are occasions when a cheque is still the more convenient or practical payment option. This 2018 article from the Ottawa Citizen explains more on the topic:
Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, pop culture, stories
Tagged as accounting, check, check book, cheque, chequebook, cheques, credits, debits, finances, financial, money, personal, records, register, system, transaction
February 12, 2023 · 8:22 am
One of the greatest ironies about getting older is that despite the whispers of life experience and wisdom through which we can better take life’s drama with a grain of salt, and to view it with the perspective and acceptance that prevent our heads from exploding on a daily basis, there is one troubling reality: new situations to replace them… which still hold the power to make our heads explode.
To me, a recent bugaboo has been company name changes.
A few weeks ago, my partner and I received an email from a company we deal with, announcing their name change. Frankly, it wasn’t a big change. They just dropped a few letters from the end of their name.
I felt empathy for the poor employees having to drop everything to update all of their forms, templates and signature blocks, at a time when their plates were probably already full. It brought back memories of a position I have been in more times than I wanted to recall.
I sometimes wonder if it’s just me who thinks that company names seem to be changing at a faster pace than before.
But the evidence speaks for itself when watching a vintage episode of “The Price is Right” on YouTube and noticing that many company names that were household names in the 1970s have completely disappeared.
I have to admit that remembering names is not my strongest attribute. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, pop culture, stories
Tagged as aging, brand, branding, business, change, changing, client, company, consumer, corporate, customer, goods, history, memory, name, names, recall, reputation, service, services