January 17, 2021 · 8:33 am
As I sit down to write this piece, all is calm, all is bright. Miss Ivy, the “guardian cat”, is snoring on the wing chair beside me while I sip my morning coffee. Just outside my window is the first major snowfall of this season.
What a great way to spend a weekend snow day. I am very fortunate indeed for this simple pleasure.
I look out my window and think to myself how pretty the winter wonderland is. Then I stop myself and say “Whoa! What happened to that guy who used to ‘hate’ winter?”
The answer is that things have changed quite a bit.
For so many years, I have equated snowfalls with stress, the fear of the unknown, and having to dig deeply for an extra dose patience.
I don’t know why in Ottawa the show must go on, even in inclement weather, but only in rare and very extreme weather conditions was work ever “cancelled”.
It always brings a smile to my face to see news reports from other cities that shut down when they had one or two inches of snow on the ground. “That would never happen here”, I always think to myself as one to two inches on the ground is just an average winter day in Ottawa. But it didn’t mean it was an easy day.
Back when I was taking the city bus to school or to work, a snowy day meant a longer commute time in an overheated bus, while wearing a winter coat, sweating like a pig, wishing I could take another shower by the time I got to my destination. It also meant the crap shoot of whether the bus will be late or if it will show up at all, meaning that extra layers of clothes were needed to stand outside waiting, to protect from the elements.
It also meant the risk of being late for an important commitment, which is excruciating for someone who prides himself on his punctuality. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, home, Humour
Tagged as acceptance, accidents, back pain, bus, Canada, Canadian, commute, drive, driver, freezing rain, ice, inconvenience, nature, Ottawa, patience, shovel, snow, snow day, stress, weather, winter, work
December 24, 2017 · 9:08 am
When I think back to my Christmas wish lists over the years, music has been a constant. As a long time music lover, my voracious appetite for music goes as far back as age 10.
Through my early teens, I had an allowance from my parents, and in my later teen years, I had pocket money from a part-time job. A lot of that money was spent on records.
At that time, vinyl record albums were relatively pricey for someone earning $2.35 per hour. Christmas became that opportunity to ask Santa for the albums I did not get a chance to pick up myself through the year.
In preparing that wish list, there was some careful consideration and a few (if not several) trips to the record store(s) to ensure that the albums I chose would bring maximum enjoyment. I would meticulously review the song lists and count the number of songs I knew versus the ones I didn’t, and then compared from one album to the next.
We didn’t have listening stations, YouTube, iTunes or Spotify to check out those other unknown songs. Sometimes I might have been able to borrow a certain album from a friend or from the library, but for the most part, those other songs were often a mystery until the record was home and on the turntable.
When I think back, I am surprised at how methodical I was for such a young age, but value for money was pretty important given my limited means and my appetite for music. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Christmas, Humour, music, pop culture
Tagged as 1980's, albums, Boxing Day, Canada, Canadian, Canadiana, Christmas, collection, collector, discounted, discounts, gift certificate, gift certificates, icons, joy, memories, money, music, music lover, pop culture, price, prices, record albums, records, retail, sale, sales, Sam the Record Man, shopper, shoppers, songs, store, stores, teenager, tradition, traditions, value for money, vinyl, wish list, wishlist
November 13, 2017 · 6:39 am
With the fall season well underway and the official start to winter just on the horizon, I often feel like a squirrel gathering nuts, which is not too far from the truth, actually.
For those who might not be familiar with Ottawa, winter can offer its share of merciless days in terms of bad weather conditions. As a result, roads and driving conditions can get pretty treacherous.
If we hit a weather pattern of several days of heavy snow or freezing rain (or both), I tend to go out only if I really have to. And on those days when I have to go to work, I stick to the essentials: a commute to the office and back, and that’s it. I won’t do errands on the way home.
It’s just a question of safety… well… that and the fear of getting stuck in a parking lot where a plow hasn’t arrived to remove the snow which continues to pile up.
For that reason, I tend to stock up on certain items to ensure I have a decent supply on hand, and to not stress out if my errand schedule goes topsy-turvy when Mother Nature and Old Man Winter get cranky.
Here they are, my top 10 errands in preparation for winter:
10. Flu shot
Getting a flu shot is not so much a weather dependent preparation, it is just a seasonal one for which I feel a need to make time for it, to avoid the flu, avoid the line-ups and maintain good health through the winter season.
9. Snow tires
Local garages are usually run off their feet at this time of year as many drivers book an appointment to have winter tires installed on their vehicles. Given how bad the weather can get, I couldn’t imagine driving without them anymore.
8. Kitty litter Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Christmas, Humour, Lists
Tagged as back ache, Canada, Canadian, chiropractor, Christmas, clothing, coat, dry skin, emergency, errands, flu shot, funny, gloves, hats, holidays, human interest, humor, humour, ice, list, mitts, Ottawa, preparation, preparedness, prevention, shopping malls, shovel, snow, snow tires, sweater, Top 10 list, top 10 lists, weather, winter, winter gear, winter weather, wintry
May 14, 2017 · 12:08 pm
The first time I heard about the Eurovision Song Contest was in the late 1970’s when I read an article about my favourite musical group, ABBA. The article credited ABBA’s meteoric rise to international stardom to the Eurovision Song Contest and their 1974 win with the song “Waterloo”.
For this young Canadian, even though I had no idea what Eurovision was, it sounded like a big event! I knew just enough about world geography to know that if a music competition involved a whole continent, it must have been something special.
In the years that followed, and the many hours spent listening to MuchMusic, Eurovision came up a few times, whether in the “Rock News” reports or when the VJ’s (“Video Jockeys”) were presenting a video and providing some background into the song and the artist. I remained intrigued.
In 2002, I was finding myself a little bored with mainstream radio here in North America and found myself searching for other musical options. At the same time, I had changed cable packages and was introduced to “BPM TV”, a new music video channel focused on dance tunes from around the globe.
Over the course of BPM’s programming, I was introduced to the Swedish pop band Alcazar. With their very catchy pop-dance tunes, bright upbeat tempo, and amazing sense of style, glamour and showmanship, they quickly became my favourite band! They still are today!
In the process of getting to know Alcazar better through online research, the theme of Eurovision popped up again. Alcazar competed in 2003 with a song called “Not a Sinner nor a Saint”, in a competition called Melodifestivalen, Sweden’s national competition to pick a song to represent the country at Eurovision. This was where the journey began! Continue reading →
Filed under Inspiring, Misc blogs, music, pop culture, Travel, TV
Tagged as ABBA, Alcazar, artists, BPM TV, Canada, Canadian, countries, country, ESC, Europe, European, eurovision, Eurovision Song Contest, fan, fans, finale, Internet, Måns Zelmerlöw, melodifestivalen, music, music lover, pop music, recording artists, semi-finals, song, songs, spirit, Sweden, tunes
November 16, 2016 · 7:30 pm
It’s November and we all know what that means… I’m cold! And if history repeats itself, that also means I will stay that way until mid-March.
I sometimes think it is Mother Nature’s way of telling me that it goes against nature to be out and about over these frosty months. But then reality kicks in, along with the realization that I still need to work for a living, which then sends me outside, grudgingly braving another winter.
Over the years, friends and family members who may have had an accidental run-in with my permafrost hands or glacial feet suggested that I bring the condition to the attention of a doctor, before they contact a mortician to confirm that I am in fact alive.
I have to agree though. My hands can get so cold sometimes, even the cat won’t play with me.
To the disbelief of my inner circle, the medical community has concluded that everything is actually normal with me.
With that verdict in, I have had to adjust and to find ways to get warm and to stay warm, even if it means a commitment to a life of layered looks and thermal wear, outdoors and indoors.
Here they are, the top 10 remedies for when “I’m cold” Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Cats, Humour, Lists
Tagged as baking, blanket, Canadian, Cats, chill, cold, cold feet, cold hands, fireplace, frost, funny, furnace, heat, heater, housework, how to get warm, humour, icy, nordic, observational humour, poor circulation, remedy, snow, snowy, sweater, thermal, tuque, vacuum, vacuum cleaner, warm heart, warm up, weather, winter, working out
July 1, 2014 · 3:01 pm
Over the years, I have been very fortunate in being offered the opportunity to travel across Canada for business as well as for pleasure. Along with that goes the opportunity to experience the beauty of its sights and the pride of its people. From coast to coast, the beauty and majesty of nature through the four seasons is breathtaking to behold.
The people I have met along the way have been warm and welcoming and more than eager to show me the many facets of Canada’s magic up close and sometimes even behind the scenes.
Throughout these travels, I have always been thrilled by the richness in cultural diversity that Canada has to offer, without ever leaving home soil. All one needs to do is put aside their day-to-day routine, open their mind, open their eyes and the new things to see and do are indeed before us, everywhere we look.
We are unique in that we don’t have to go far outside of our respective comfort zones to sample the best the world has to offer, right here in Canada. The fact that we can respect and embrace those differences as part of the fabric of our Canadian flag is purely magnificent. That being said, let us not forget the rich history, heritage and traditions that are uniquely made-in-Canada which when combined, are sometimes the envy of other countries as well. We are most fortunate in having the best of both worlds. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Inspiring, Misc blogs, Travel
Tagged as Canada, Canada Day, Canada150, Canadian, Confederation, country, Dominion, envy, grateful, gratitude, heritage, history, human rights, kindness, life, nation, passion, perspective, poutine, pride, proud, respect, success, traditions, tribute, unites, unity, winter