November 21, 2021 · 8:20 am
The guilt… oh, the overwhelming guilt I feel when I place a book on the back burner and don’t get back to it for weeks or months at a time. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel awful.
I think it would be safe to say that I have always been an avid reader. In high school, when a novel was assigned to us for a book report, a presentation or a test, I would usually devour the book cover to cover on the Sunday, to ensure the information remained closely in my subconscious for the coming week.
It wasn’t that I was procrastinating, but with my brain processing so much new material from all of my classes, it was the most efficient way for me to ensure I was prepared to answer questions about the story.
The pace at which I learned to read (and to retain) became a wonderful life skill not only for my personal reading pleasure but also for my career, where I often needed to process great amounts of information to generate reports, recommendations, solutions or combinations of all three.
If I had to express a preference, I like to read at a more casual, relaxed pace, where I can truly savour every word, especially when the author’s masterpiece is a tour-de-force in brilliant writing. Savouring a book on a rainy or snowy Sunday, in my favourite chair, sipping a wonderful cup of tea, with the cat snoring next to me is paradise on earth. Still, there are times when regardless of how quickly or how slowly I may start a book, the words just don’t seem to sink in. Why is that?
Over the years, I became aware of the difference between a “light read” and a “heavy read” and how that affects the appropriate timing for introducing a book in one’s life.
During stressful times at work, heavy reads just would not sink in. In most cases, a light read was all that my brain could handle. Still, there were some abundantly stressful times when light reads were a challenge too, as you could likely see glimmers of “no vacancy” signs in my eyes. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, books
Tagged as artist, author, bibliophile, book, bookaddict, booklove, booklover, books, bookworm, challenge, eReader, guilt, heavy, literature, mood, read, reader, reading, remorse, time
February 14, 2021 · 8:21 am
For as long as I can remember, when it came to grocery shopping, I was almost always a handbasket kind of guy.
Back when I was driving to work every day, it made perfect sense to make a quick stop on the way home to buy just the items needed in the short term, and then to breeze through the express checkout.
For those rare times that a handbasket wasn’t enough, I might have opted for the smallest shopping cart possible and going through a regular check-out lane, but that was fine. All in all, it was a pretty efficient system for me for many years.
But why might I have an aversion to super-sized grocery carts? It might be due to trust issues resulting from being stuck with the cart with the annoyingly bad wheel, no matter how infrequently I may use them.
Or possibly, is it just a hyper sensitivity to spatial awareness that I fume when I am stuck behind someone with the big cart, parked in the middle of the aisle, and having to wait for them to make a life-or-death grocery decision before getting through. With a hand basket, I could just suck in my stomach and go around them before they even noticed that I was there.
When my partner and I moved in together, I understood that shopping for two might mean using the small shopping cart more often. Of course, I was happy to make that change.
But then Covid-19 happened.
With public health officials advising us to stay home, to only make essential trips, and recommending less frequent grocery runs, it took some adjusting. But because making lists is one of the things I do with great joy and enthusiasm, it seemed like the transition to a 7-day shopping trip for two people should be easy enough.
But it took some adjusting there as well. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, food, home, Humour
Tagged as adjustments, buggies, buggy, cart, carts, Covid-19, food, groceries, grocery, heavy, large, shopping
November 17, 2018 · 10:12 am
It was 7:30 a.m. last Friday morning when Ivy the Wonder Cat and I were playing chess on the coffee table or at least Ivy’s version of chess, knocking the chess pieces off the table and meowing with joy.
Then I heard it!
You’d think it was the sound of “a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer” with the speed at which I flew to the window, but no. It was the snow plow… The snow plow I hired to clear my driveway, making its very first visit!
For those who might not be familiar with an Ottawa winter, let’s just put things into perspective. While different sources offer different statistics, I’d say that on average, Ottawa receives about 200 cm (roughly 78 inches) of snow through the fall, winter and spring months.
Of course it doesn’t fall at once. Sometimes it falls as light fluffy flakes, sometimes it comes with ice pellets and sometimes it is wet and heavy. As an added bonus, after the plow (or plough, if you prefer) comes to clear the street, there is always a heavy (and sometimes mountainous) snow bank at the end of the driveway that needs to be cleared as well.
Plus, when you have a winter like 2008 with more than 300 cm of snow, and all of the snowbanks start getting taller than you, where do you put the snow?
For the longest time, I thought that hiring a plowing service might have been frivolous or extravagant, especially since my driveway is barely over one car length. But I had to accept the sad reality that the degenerating disc in my back will continue to degenerate, and that the shoveling is probably not helping it in the long run.
I tried to convince myself that it was good exercise and that it was one of the joys (and responsibilities) of home ownership. But 17 winters later, my positive spin on shoveling is spiraling downward. I’m over it. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, Humour
Tagged as back, back pain, careful, chiropractic, chiropractor, degenerating, disc, getting older, health, heavy, home, home ownership, maintenance, Ottawa, ploughing, plowing, pride, risks, safety, self-care, service, shovel, snow, snowfall, solution, strain, weather, well-being, wellness, winter
April 30, 2017 · 12:46 pm
With every passing day, the use of debit cards, credit cards and online banking seem to become the norm as we inch closer to a cashless society. Given that certain vending machines and self-checkouts are only accepting cards now, are coins falling out of favour?
When we also consider that Canada phased out the penny four years ago and inflation has greatly diminished the purchasing power of low denomination coins, how is it that I became a magnet for people who need to unload some precious “doubloons” because their purse or pocket is getting heavy?
Don’t get me wrong, I completely sympathize and have been on the opposite side of the coin on a few occasions myself.
Given some underlying disc issues in my back that flare up from time to time, I am very much aware of the need to keep the contents of my messenger bag to a manageable weight for my travels to and from the office. If I don’t, and my spine compensates for a few extra contents by shifting a little more to the left, it could lead to neck, back or shoulder issues, which leads to an added visit or two to the chiropractor. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Christmas, Humour, Misc blogs
Tagged as cash register, cashless, change, checkout, chiropractor, coins, credit cards, customers, debit cards, dimes, empathy, generosity of spirit, grocery, heavy, inflation, kindness, money, nickels, patience, pennies, pocket, purse, quarters, queue, retail, society, value of money
May 12, 2016 · 7:25 pm
We hear men boasting about the size of theirs all the time and how bigger is better. We also hear from some women who say it is not really the size that matters, but it’s more about the quality of the experience that counts.
Of course I am referring to… televisions.
About 3 years ago, I called one of those junk disposal services to come over and haul away my 27 inch tube-style TV. The beast, as I called it, was still a perfectly good TV but was not keeping up with technology that was going digital and HD. Watching HD programs on an old standard TV was like watching shows from another planet as it never fully filled out the screen and would sometimes go wonky on me. Sometimes the image was zoomed in, sometimes it was zoomed out. It made me dizzy. It was time to step it up… technologically speaking.
Let’s not forget as well the beast of a stand it took to support a TV of that weight. The two guys from the junk disposal service were grunting pretty hard as they were dragging it out.
The shiny new TV I bought to replace it was a 40 inch flat screen LED smart TV, weighing considerably less. The new TV was actually more awkward to carry than it was heavy, but still, bringing it and its stand home was a one-man job which I handled easily enough. I felt like Superman carrying a 40 inch TV over the threshold, all on my own.
Given the size and layout of my living room, 40 inches was plenty big to view from any seat in the room, from any angle, even with the eyesight of an almost quinquagenarian.
At that time, of course, there were larger televisions out there, but 40 inches was probably on the cusp between medium and large size at that time. In any case, I have never regretted that choice.
Even though that was just 3 years ago, if you walk into any television dealer, the 40 inch TVs are looking puny when compared to other TVs seemingly up to twice their size now.
The next question is why? Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, TV
Tagged as awards ceremony, digital, efficiency, electronics, emerging, events, evolution, flat screen, gaming consoles, generation, HDTV, heavy, home theater, home theatre, modern, sports events, televised, television, TV, viewer