December 11, 2022 · 7:28 am
For as long as I can remember, there has always been a running gag among comedians and comedy writers about how men would rather lose a limb than ask for directions. It’s a generalization that may not apply to every guy on the planet, but you’d think it was, given how many times that theme has come up.
I hate to admit it but I am indeed one of those men.
I grew up in a family that lived on maps. In our library, we had amassed a collection of maps from our family vacations in addition to a couple of our fair city of Ottawa.
Once I was old enough to go bicycling on my own, I took to exploring our suburb. I would pull out the city map and find a corner of our ‘burb that I hadn’t discovered yet. Once I had my itinerary laid out, I’d hit the road.
To this day, I know that suburb inside and out to the point of being able to call upon that knowledge when traffic is tied up on the main artery, and I can nimbly navigate around the obstacle.
That was my first exposure to using maps, which became a life skill in itself, along with knowing how to fold it neatly back to its original accordion-like creasing. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, stories, Travel
Tagged as attractions, Directions, maps, nav, navigation, reference, technology, tourism, tourist, travel
August 23, 2020 · 8:02 am
At our new home, I find myself in an endless loop of shredding, as I go through old documents that I didn’t have time to destroy before moving.
Maybe it comes from my high school and university years working in the retail sector, when I realized that keeping receipts and statements was a good thing if I ever needed to return something.
Maybe I was traumatized by one client too many who stirred up a tempest in a teapot, bellowing about the unfairness of our return policy and shrieking their vow never to shop at our store again, simply because they didn’t have a receipt for a refund.
To me, keeping receipts was synonymous with keeping the peace, a natural conclusion for someone with an aversion to conflict.
Over the years, my filing system has been pretty solid and I have been able to produce receipts on demand when I needed an exchange, a refund or maintenance of one kind or another. I really can’t say I’ve had too many sleepless nights ruminating over where I might have misplaced a receipt.
As much as I was really good at filing, the downside is that I was perhaps a little lax in destroying after a reasonable time frame had passed. I still have receipts (and user manuals) for products I don’t even own anymore as they have already completed their useful life span.
Now, in the new place, with the move well behind us, I make a point of sorting and shredding a little bit each week, to make some steady progress in chipping away at the pile of boxes marked “papers to sort”. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, home, Humour, Travel
Tagged as appreciation, culture, destinations, food, meals, museum, road trip, social, tourism, tourist, travel, weekend
December 29, 2019 · 11:16 am
In recent weeks, not only have we been bombarded with retrospectives from the last year, but as with any year ending with a “9”, we’ve seen our lives flashing before our eyes with scenes from the last decade as well.
One evening, as I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic (again!), just for fun, I asked myself what were my own favourite moments of the last decade.
It was a fun activity that completely took me out of the drudgery of traffic. My spirits were lifted as I rattled off a list of great memories. When I got home, I took out the iPad and started noting them, one-by-one. In the days that followed, more ideas kept coming to mind and the list continued to grow.
Just like everybody else, I experienced personal and professional highs and lows. But it was because these experiences that I will remember this decade fondly as the one where I experienced the greatest and most significant personal growth.
Despite what I thought was a pretty good tool kit for handling stress, this past decade offered a pressure cooker of situations that tested my tool kit to its limits when anxiety took over. With the help of a psychotherapist, I was able to establish better boundaries which not only contributed to enhancing that tool kit, but also helped to prevent some situations from festering into anxiety in the first place. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, books, Cats, food, Health and Wellness, Inspiring, Lists, mental health, Running, Theatre, Travel
Tagged as anxiety, art, awareness, blessings, calm, colleagues, counting, decade, family, friends, gratitude, growth, joy, learning, lessons, life, love, management, personal, pets, professional, retrospective, stress, work
December 2, 2018 · 11:20 am
1. Travel offers a change of pace from the daily routine.
2. Travel can be a temporary escape.
3. Travel can be an opportunity to disconnect for a while.
4. Travel can be an opportunity to knock things off our bucket list.
5. Travel offers an opportunity to see random things we wouldn’t normally see at home.
6. Travel offers an opportunity to experience landmarks we have only read about or have only seen on television or in movies.
7. Travel offers an opportunity to admire natural and man-made wonders.
8. Travel offers an opportunity to admire the endless beauty of our planet.
9. Travel offers an opportunity to try different foods and beverages.
10. Travel can be an opportunity to experience music we wouldn’t normally hear at home.
11. Travel can be an opportunity to experience games and sports we wouldn’t normally see at home, or to experience a favourite sport in a different setting.
12. Travel offers an opportunity to enjoy life without having to cook, clean or run household errands for a few days.
13. Travel offers an opportunity to experience and appreciate different traditions and customs.
14. Travel offers an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Continue reading →
Filed under Inspiring, Lists, Travel
Tagged as air, appreciation, connect, connection, culture, domestic, enjoyment, experiences, geography, globe, history, human, humanity, humans, international, joy, nature, opportunities, people, serendipity, sunshine, travel, traveling, travelling, understanding, vacation, weather, world
October 14, 2018 · 11:47 am
my first car
A few days ago, I was walking through a shopping mall when I saw a shiny new car on display in the middle of the aisle. My gut went into panic mode for about half a second, but it was followed by a half second of relief when I reminded myself that I was not in “car shopping” mode anymore.
After many months of being on the lookout for a car, I still hadn’t fully shaken the sense of dread and pressure that I constantly felt throughout the information gathering phase. Fortunately, that was all behind me as I has recently signed and sealed a deal on a new car.
When people ask me what kind of car I drive, I often joke and say, “A blue one”, because that’s truly about as interested as I am in talking about cars.
It’s not like back in the 1970’s, while watching The Price is Right, this pre-teen could tell a car’s make, brand, model and actual retail price just from its grill, its hood ornament or its shape, long before the big doors finished opening.
Back then, compact cars, sports cars and luxury cars each had their unique style and you could quite easily tell them apart. But today, many cars look pretty similar to me, so it’s a little hard to get excited about them from the exterior.
Don’t get me wrong, throughout the shopping process, I reminded myself frequently to count my blessings over how fortunate I was to be in a position shop for a car. But when I went to pick up my new car, even my salesman noticed that I was unusually calm. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Travel
Tagged as admiration, anxiety, automobiles, car, car buying, car person, cars, deal, emotional, excitement, negotiating, negotiation, nervous, passion, practical, purchase, repairs, respect, shopping, stress, SUV
June 24, 2018 · 8:48 am
I am not certain which is worse: driving in freezing rain, driving in poor visibility conditions, or driving with a cat that does not like car rides.
Regular readers will know that I adore my cat, Ivy, and despite a few feline eccentricities, she is an absolute angel. But nothing turns her into the devil’s child faster than taking her out for a car ride.
From what I understand, cats aren’t fans of change to begin with. Then, to place them in a crate, going to places unknown, can be a scary prospect for certain cats.
The first time I took her to the vet, she didn’t just cry, she meowed in repeated shrieks at the top of her lungs. It was horrible. Thankfully, the vet is just 5 minutes away, but that was the longest 5 minutes of my life.
I often wonder what must be running through her mind through her persistent meows.
But what is it that elicits this strong reaction? Is it the sound of the engine? Is it the tires against the pavement? Is it the motion? Is it the displacement from her cozy routine? Is it a little bit of everything? Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, How to, Travel
Tagged as advice, anxiety, car, cars, cat, cat care, cats of wordpress, crate, hints, meowing, motion, music, noise, pet care, pets, scary, solutions, stress, suggestions, tips, travel, trip
June 17, 2018 · 7:59 am
In last week’s blog post, I offered a list of my favourite attractions in New York City, but I quickly ran out of space! For that reason, here is part 2 of “My Favourite Things to Do in New York City”:
Before every trip, I make a point of checking out the event calendar for Feinstein’s/54 Below. Located in the lower level of what was the legendary Studio 54 night club, Feinstein’s/54 Below “offers an unforgettable New York nightlife experience, combining performances by Broadway’s best with world class dining in an elegant setting”. Our first experience at the club was seeing a later performance of the group The Skivvies whose members perform their diverse musical set of pop and Broadway tunes in their undies. It was a brilliantly entertaining show, enjoyed over desserts and drinks, which seemed like a perfect way to end a busy day of sightseeing and entertainment.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Once your itinerary has been filled with Broadway shows, if you are still craving more performing arts, Lincoln Center would be your next destination. As their web site explains: “The 16.3-acre Lincoln Center complex, the world’s leading performing arts center, is home to the 11 resident arts organizations that represent the highest standards of excellence in symphony, opera, chamber music, theater, dance, film, and arts education.” The Center’s calendar of events offers a steady rotation of shows and events that are certain to appeal to everyone’s appetite for the arts.
If you have a chance, I would also suggest taking a guided tour of the beautiful campus for a behind-the-scenes look at the magic of this iconic venue.
When I visited New York for the first time almost twenty years ago, I think we were very smart in incorporating two bus tours into our itinerary, one tour of lower Manhattan and one of upper Manhattan. As a first time visitor with only a limited amount of time, we were able to cover a lot more ground by bus than if we had done it on foot. While the sights were all viewed from the bus window, it still offered us a great appetizer and the opportunity to figure out which sights peaked our curiosity to see up close in the next visits. Ask your hotel’s concierge or front desk team which bus tours they would recommend and to help you pick one that will go by the points of interest that would interest you most. Continue reading →
Filed under Travel
Tagged as 54 Below, art, attractions, Broadway, guided, ideas, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, museum, museums, New York, New York City, NYC, opera, shopping, sightseeing, Tenement, The Met, theater, theatre, tourism, tourist, tours, travel, travel blog, travel tips, Whitney
June 10, 2018 · 12:08 pm
Whether you love theatre, music, sports, fashion, museums, food or shopping, as a travel destination New York City has it all… and more!
On our most recent Broadway pilgrimage, I noticed that we have some sights that we return to, time and time again, just because we like them and it takes some of the guesswork out of trip planning. When friends ask us for advice on NYC sightseeing, these are the ideas we wholeheartedly recommend. Our suggestions have often become favourites for them as well.
For this travel blog, rather than walk you through our latest trip, step by step, I offer a short list of our personal favourites that I would recommend to any close friend looking for advice on points of interest.
In Ottawa, we are very fortunate that we have many local theatre companies and stages offering a variety of productions to feed our appetite for theatre. But when in New York, a Broadway show is a must-see. Live Broadway shows are the Rolls Royce of theatrical experiences.
With the multitude of shows being offered, there is something for everyone, featuring brilliant actors, singers and dancers who are all at the top of their game.
Broadway tickets can sometimes get expensive, but there are ways to make the theatrical experience more affordable, whether through same-day tickets at the TKTS booth or to get on promotional email distribution lists such as TelechargeOffers.com and Playbill.com when you are planning your trip. Continue reading →
Filed under Lists, Travel
Tagged as attractions, Broadway, Broadway Up Close, Central Park, guided, High Line, ideas, New York, New York City, NYC, Radio City Music Hall, sightseeing, The View, theater, theatre, tourism, tourist, tours, travel, travel blog, travel tips
April 29, 2018 · 7:10 am
A busy evening on Las Vegas Blvd.
When it comes to Las Vegas, I am definitely no stranger. Despite the distance from Ottawa, I have been there enough times over the years that I seem to have lost count.
It’s not that I consider myself a big gambler. It’s quite the contrary. There are so many things to see and do, whether you like entertainment, food, shopping, sightseeing or just the dry warm weather. Las Vegas can appeal on so many levels.
Back in the early 2000’s I wrote a “Vegas Top 10” email that I kept in my drafts folder for whenever friends and colleagues asked what they should see on their visit. I guess you could consider that my first travel blog entry, before blogs became popular.
The challenge now is that after a decade’s absence, I suspected that my list was getting out of date and not worthy of posting, given the pace at which Las Vegas seems to reinvent itself and to update its attractions.
The opportunity to visit Las Vegas, and to potentially validate my Top 10 list, presented itself last fall as my partner and I decided to treat ourselves and to celebrate our birthdays with tickets to see Cher and Céline Dion in their residency shows.
We were fortunate that our late November travel dates are not considered high tourist season. We believe that this played in our favour as we got pretty good deals on the points required to fly, as well as for our “once-in-a-lifetime” bucket list stay at the Bellagio Hotel. Continue reading →
Filed under Travel
Tagged as Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Céline Dion, Cher, Cirque du Soleil, Crystals, Fashion Show Mall, Gordon Ramsay, ideas, Las Vegas, pool, recommendations, restaurant, shopping, tips, travel, travel blog, travel tips, vacation, Wolfgang Puck
May 29, 2017 · 8:26 pm
Isn’t it wonderful when you have enjoyed your vacation time to its fullest and completely immersed yourself in activities that were so far removed from your day-to-day routine… to the point of forgetting the details of your day-to-day routine?
That being the case, you know it was a good vacation when…
Ice Bar, Stockholm, 2005
You have a hard time falling asleep on cue, to wake up in time for the return to your regular morning routine.
You wake up with muscle or joint stiffness but no recollection of what could have caused it.
The prospect of wearing long pants again makes you cringe.
The prospect of preparing a lunch-to-go makes you cringe even more.
You overshoot your morning routine prep time by half an hour.
Even your pets are seemingly sad to see you go back to the regular routine.
You’re not freaked out by the guy who cuts you off in traffic on your first morning commute. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, Misc blogs, Travel
Tagged as balance, commute, computer passwords, forget, forgot, fun, funny, funny stories, holidays, humor, humour, insomnia, lunch, memory, office, office humour, refreshed, rejuvenated, relaxation, rest, return to work, routine, sleep, travel, vacation, vacation planning, work, younger