Tag Archives: comedy

A Half-Baked Post about the Importance of Halves

Do you remember those childhood days when adding “… and a half” to our age was of critical importance? I was watching a TV show recently where they interviewed a young star who was asked how old he was. When he added “…and a half” it took me back. Waaaay back!

I can’t remember exactly when I started, but I recall adding “… and a half” to my age since the beginning of the school years when fractions were first introduced. “What a great invention!” I thought.

When I place myself back in childhood, I remember always being one of the shortest kids in my group of friends and when grown-ups would be guessing my age, they were always on the younger side.

While I’d like to think I’ve acquired better social skills since then, at the time, I did not hesitate in correcting those crazy grown-ups by telling them exactly how old I was. It seemed like adding “…and a half” proved them even more wrong.

In my 20’s, as my career was just starting, those halves would still show up from time to time in response to how many years I had been in the work force or how many years I lived in that first apartment, but the halves started losing their importance and fading from vocabulary. Continue reading

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When Money Talks

Shopping CartsIt was a quiet Friday night at the grocery store, picking up the essentials for the week ahead, when I spotted it on the floor, peeping out from behind the rack of discounted fruit. A five dollar bill!

As human nature would suggest, I took a look around, as if somehow the link between this five dollar bill and anyone in the store would be immediately obvious. The store was a ghost town. There was almost no one to be found.

I took another look around, this time to see if anyone else saw it. Clearly there was no risk of anyone swooping in to collect it.

Normally, when it comes to picking up a coin off a sidewalk, I wouldn’t think twice or look twice to locate an owner. I would just do it. But this case seemed different. Maybe it was because it was private property. But what hit me the strongest was the fact that it was five dollars, not five cents.

As these thoughts were blazing through my mind and the ensuing analysis of whether to pick it up or not, I’m not sure if the fumes from my recent oven cleaning had anything to do with it, but I could have sworn the five dollar bill said “Psst… Psst… André! Not meant for you!”

I took another look around to see if anyone else heard that, but again, the nearest customers were either squeezing the Charmin or inquiring about whether they stocked Grey Poupon. I looked down again and considered what the five dollar bill was saying. Continue reading

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10 More Things about the Cat That Make Me Laugh

ivyatplayLast year, I dedicated a post to the Top 10 Things about the Cat That Make Me Laugh. A year later, she remains a boundless source of comic relief and a welcome diversion from the preoccupations of adulthood.

Here they are: Ten More Things about the Cat That Make Me Laugh

20- The cat who cried wolf

After almost two years, I am getting pretty good at understanding the subtle inflections of her meows and what they mean. If she meows repeatedly and succeeds in walking me to where she might have a concern (who is training who?), I am usually able to figure out and address the situation. But if I have ruled out issues relating to food, water, litter, sleep, play or her nemesis is at the back window, what else is there? I am convinced that she has learned the art of “crying wolf” just to get some extra attention and getting me to step away from what I am doing. Not so surprisingly, it works.

19- Finding myself trying to explain the story of the cat who cried wolf… to a cat

When I stop myself and realize that I am explaining the story of the cat who cried wolf, I snap myself back into reality upon realizing that I am trying to negotiate with a cat. We all know who wins anyway, right?

18-Galloping during game time

The pure joy she expresses when we start playtime is unmistakable. Her usually gentle, soft footsteps are replaced by the cadence of a prize racehorse, as she gallops around the house running after balls, chasing a piece of yarn or the ever popular laser pointer. I never knew that cats could run quite like that. I don’t get how we never had a series about a bionic cat because I think we have our star right here.

I also discovered that her galloping around the house can also be a sign that #2 is coming soon. I am not sure of the connection, but it seems like more than a coincidence now. Continue reading

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Where Did My “Get Up and Go” Go?

Get Up and Go It didn’t seem that long ago that it didn’t matter what day of the week it was, I could put in a full day at school or work, do something during the evening, even if it meant hanging out with friends until after midnight, and still get up the next day, bright eyed and bushy tailed, to grab the bull by the horns, to turn over a new leaf, and to move mountains.

What happened?

I realize that the responsibilities of being an adult do consume a fair bit of time and energy. However, my responsibilities at work translate to food on the table, my mortgage and bills are covered and that I have the means to enjoy fun experiences in my down time.

But lately, a typical Friday night consists of picking up my groceries on the way home, then a reasonable facsimile of a meal for dinner, a glass of wine, watch the news, maybe one prime time show and then I am pretty much ready to call it a night.

When it comes to going out, there have been times that on the way back after an eventful evening, I see carloads of folks half my age headed in the opposite direction on their way out to party. Then I wonder what went wrong. That used to be me… “Where did my get up and go” go?

Worse yet is to wake up one morning and to be hit with the old familiar feeling: every classic symptom of a hangover. Then in thinking back, realizing that the night before was an evening on the couch with the cat, a ginger ale and Netflix. Sigh!

It should come as no surprise that my running joke about having a caffeine I.V. through the day seems to come up more and more often these days. Continue reading

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How Am I Klutzy, Let Me Count the Ways

Emergency SignI wouldn’t consider myself accident-prone, but the contents of my medicine cabinet and bathroom vanity seem to tell a different story. The generous supply of adhesive bandages, support bandages, patches, gauze, antiseptics, antibiotic creams, ointments, drops and analgesics are evidence that this household is relatively well-prepared for when slapstick and life collide.

I have been very fortunate in that I have never broken a bone, but when it comes to bumps, sprains, scrapes and very minor accidents, I have experienced more than my fair share. Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall shareholders, you are welcome!

I take inspiration from Elizabeth Barrett Browning when I ask: “How am I klutzy? Let me count the ways…”

– When I was very young, I was fascinated with automatic opening doors. When I was 4, I was “testing” the doors at a nearby mall and unfortunately missed my cue and crashed into a closing door.

– I am told that at a school concert in kindergarten, where I played the conductor at our school band’s brilliant rendition of “Pop Goes the Weasel” apparently I fell off my podium in rehearsals. I have no recollection of this incident and will continue to deny it, but without video evidence, I admit that anything is possible.

– When I was 8 or 9, I remember a wobbly tooth that wouldn’t come out. Dad suggested I tie dental floss around it and attach the other end to a door, and to close it. I was never a master of physics, but I probably should have asked someone to check my work before proceeding with the experiment. When I slammed the door, the tooth didn’t come out… and the door bounced back into my face causing a bloody nose. Continue reading

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Just Like Dad

Dad and me Last Mother’s Day, I posted a tribute to my mother and the wonderful legacy of parenting she left me. I am reminded of those traits in observing my day-to-day interactions with Ivy the Wonder Cat and thinking to myself, “Wow! That was just like Mom!”

When it comes to my father, I find that his influences are far more prevalent in my day-to-day interactions at the office and, believe it or not, in my writing.

As I was growing up, getting good grades was the absolute top priority for me in my Dad’s world. In particular, it was all about the math. Given his brilliant mind when it came to numbers, in his eyes, the road to success was paved with good grades in all of the math disciplines: calculus, algebra, trigonometry, functions and relations, and if possible, accounting and this new thing called computer science.

The way he described it to me, with good grades in math, he thought this would open doors to colleges and universities, leading to a good job and then a self-sustaining adulthood. I knew that philosophically, there was validity to his advice.

Sadly, it took until my last year of university for me to recognize and fully appreciate the deeper connections made through the learning process. Math was not just about performing math functions, but it served as a way of cross-training young minds, so to speak, stretching them in every direction possible in preparation for the challenges of adulthood.

Mathematics were key to understanding money, finances, investments and doing taxes. Math also came in handy for taking measurements for home renovations as well as for splitting recipes in half. Beyond those obvious linkages, math also stood the test of time in teaching me the life skills of logic, critical thought and analysis, essential to organize facts and to solve real-life problems, something I use every day at work. Thanks Dad!

An epiphany followed Continue reading

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The Many Ways Biographies Have Inspired Me

BiographiesWhen it comes to finding a good book to read whether for some light reading before bed, for something fun to read while on vacation, or just to curl up on the couch with the cat on a rainy day, biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are my guilty pleasure.

I would consider that my first exposure to biographies took place in my pre-teens through my idol, Erma Bombeck. Her unique style demonstrated a consistent ability to make readers crack a smile or laugh out loud, from her seemingly effortless ability recount those everyday moments of family life we have all lived through, whether as a child or as a parent. Her talent was in the ability to hit the nail on the head in breaking down the story and examining every detail through her microscope of humour.

Even though I would suspect that she might have used some creative licence in retelling her humourous stories of a suburban housewife, at its core, her storytelling style had to be built on a foundation of truth, authenticity and love. While her books may not have been typically classified as biographies, letting us into the intimate details of her family life as she did, in memoir style, was to me, my gateway into biographies.

Throughout my teen years, I would spend much of my allowance money buying fan magazines and entertainment magazines. It was not because I had any appreciable appetite for celebrity gossip, but to me it was a way to get to know my favourite TV and musical artists outside of the realm of their public personas. This period also offered my first experiences in being inspired by celebrity quotes, especially when they related to the creative process and working at one’s craft.

In 1986, when taking a break from an all-nighter, working on a paper for university, I recall a middle-of-the-night trip to the 24-hour grocery store and stumbling upon Shirley MacLaine’s book “Dancing in the Light”. The notes on the jacket struck a chord with me. I bought the paperback and read it in a few weeks.

At 21 years old, I was struggling with a number of things, faith, identity, and my place in the world as a young adult. Miss MacLaine’s book offered the right words at the right time. “Dancing in the Light” was a catalyst in helping me understand my natural curiosity about life and my innate desire to continuously evolve. “Dancing in the Light” was the first book that demystified the concept of the soul for me and also positioned me for my own spiritual journey in life. These were my first “aha moments”, while reading a book.

As a result, once the university years were over and I returned to reading for the fun of it, my go-to books became biographies. Continue reading

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