Tag Archives: stories

Where Is My Chap Stick?

It doesn’t seem to matter how much water we drink, having dry lips is a fact of life in winter with our heated cars, heated offices and heated homes, when the humidity outside is non-existent.

Nothing screams winter like a bad case of chapped lips. In Ottawa, where we are typically in sub-zero bone-dry cold air for weeks at a time, keeping an assortment of lip balms within reach is an essential. It only takes one missed application to get lips so dry, you can grate Parmesan on them.

When I don’t take the necessary precautions, there have been times I have looked in the mirror and thought my winter lips bore a striking resemblance to my cat’s scratching post, with unruly pieces sticking out of vertically shredded bits. I don’t feel too bad though because I know I’m not alone.

Over the years I have tried a number of lip balms including some pretty expensive ones, and to my surprise, the one that seems to work best for me is the basic, classic, unflavoured Chap Stick. The challenge is keeping track of those little guys.

I don’t know why, but I can’t have just one Chap Stick and move it to wherever I am. Even if it travels in the same circles as my keys, my wallet and my iPhone, for some reason it keeps escaping. Continue reading


Filed under 50+, Humour

How I Miss Music Video Programs

Ever since music video programs took to the airwaves in the 1980s, I have always been a huge fan of the art form. Whether it was “Friday Night Videos”, “Video Hits”, “Good Rockin’ Tonite”, “MuchMusic” or “MusiquePlus”, I was glued to the set. Hour after hour I would watch, mesmerized by this cool art form combining music, film and storytelling in a tight package with a run time of about four minutes.

Through my late high school years and university years, music videos formed the soundtrack of my life, featuring artists like Duran Duran, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Bananarama, Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys and the Jackson family. Music videos welcomed me home from school, were the focal point of some parties, helped keep me awake through late-night essays and helped me pace myself in studying for final exams.

When I got into the career years, priorities changed a little as did my ability to watch 12 consecutive hours of music videos. But I remained a fan nonetheless, often keeping the music channels on for background music while I cleaned my apartment or worked in the kitchen.

A few nights ago, I realized how much I missed music videos as a source of background music. I decided to try to recreate that feeling.

Since I got the iTunes app almost a decade ago, I have purchased a few music videos that were particularly special to me, but not enough to make a playlist as diverse as what a music video channel offered back in the day. Plus, iTunes doesn’t carry all of my old favourites.

YouTube on the other hand, carries almost everything I could possibly want, with only a few exceptions. Sadly, some treasured videos are hanging by a thread in cyberspace with only a couple of grainy versions to be found. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, music, pop culture, TV

Cinema through the Eyes of a Writer

This past summer, when most of my television programs wrapped up for the season, I decided to replace my TV time with the simple pleasure of enjoying a big bowl of popcorn and catching up on my movie bucket list.

There have been times over the years when life got in the way of seeing everything I wanted to in the theatre, and I am OK with that. When I missed one, I usually said to myself, “It’s just a movie.”

But more recently, I have picked up a renewed interest not only in that list of missed movies but old classics as well.

At this point in my life, it’s a whole new ball game. In my 50’s, I know I have a greater sense of appreciation for the artistic effort behind any movie. I also bring to the table a greater ability to admire the masterpiece in its intricate detail.

Plus, in looking ahead to my next career as a writer, I have to admit that the appetite is there to go through as many movies as possible to see what common denominators come up that make a movie work. Continue reading

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Filed under pop culture, Writing

Thank You! 10,000 Page Views!

10000cakeWhen I first started the blog in 2013, I went in with no expectations other than a place I could use as a rehearsal space to practice, practice, practice for my retirement plan for writing. I even had no expectations when it came to how long I would stick with it.

Yet, somehow, 180 blog posts later I am still here and 10,000 page views later you are still there. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for your kindness, your generosity and your encouragement.

It has been an absolute pleasure sharing my stories with you. The icing on the cake was discovering when a given post struck a chord, made you laugh or resonated with you on a deeper level.

I know people are busy, so when someone takes a few minutes out of their busy schedule to read the blog, I am very thankful. When a reader takes the time to offer kind words, the gesture is that much more meaningful. It encourages me to keep going.

In my first aspirations as a writer, I could never have imagined the potential and the possibilities that social media would eventually bring. Could there be a better time to be a writer? Continue reading

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Filed under Inspiring, Writing

Top 10 Things I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up

I would like to think that my parents did a good job in raising me, providing all the positive reinforcement a young boy needs, including the popular statement from page 826, paragraph 7f, of the parenting handbook, “Honey, when you grow up, you can be anything you want to be”.

How’s that for a torturous open-ended statement for Libra child, facing a lifetime of weighing the pros and the cons of career planning? No pressure there!

Fortunately, life deals us a variety of hands that help shape that wide, open-ended statement into something that gradually narrows into what might seem like a career path. Factors like interest, talent, perseverance and perhaps even things like eye-hand coordination (or lack thereof) gradually eliminate a few options, bit by bit, without really trying too hard.

It is clear that hockey player, pro golfer and baseball player were never on the table for me. When it came to natural affinity, I don’t think I was cut out to be a scientist since Physics was one of my worst subjects.

However, I did inherit (if one can actually inherit these) a head for numbers from my Dad and an affinity for creativity and language from my Mom so I was indeed lucky with the doors that were open to me.

Here they are: The Top 10 Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

10 – An elevator operator
Yes, I am of a vintage that remembers a time when people were hired to drive elevators. The elevators of yesteryear were not fully automated like today, as the doors needed a human to open and close them. I remember visits to a big downtown department store when I was very young and thought driving an elevator all day would be the coolest thing and that the people operating them had the coolest job EVER! I admit that I was also impressed by the very smart elevator operator uniforms. Unfortunately the fully automated elevator came in shortly thereafter and dashed those dreams… darn technology!

9 – A dentist
This one lasted for a LONG time and I believe it was inspired from Hermey, the elf in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special on television. I remember my Grade 7 composition on “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up” was indeed on the theme of dentistry. To prepare for that composition I spent a few afternoons at the library reading everything available on the topic. The research was hard core (well, about as hard core and scientific as a 12 year old’s research can get) and I knocked that composition out of the park. However, I spent so much time in the orthodontist’s chair in my teens getting my bottom teeth straightened, I lost interest. Continue reading


Filed under Humour, Lists, stories

The Proposal

Paul: Hey Pete, a Pepsi perhaps?

Pete: I presume your provision of Dr. Pepper is not so plentiful?

Paul: I was poised to purchase pop, but was plagued by professional pressures.

Pete: OK then, a Pepsi would be perfect.

Paul: Any progress with Penelope?

Pete: Positively. We pored over the past and the present as well as the possibility of properly punctuating our plans. It’s possibly time to pull the plug on bachelor life and pledge my love.

Paul: Are you possessed? Penelope is so prim and proper and you portray the preppie player.

Pete: Permit me if I am not privy to your pompous presumptions, but I prefer to pass on your petty Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction, Humour, stories

The Dreaded Summer Cold

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter what seemed like the winter that never ended and the spring that never arrived, it appears that summer is finally here in full swing with all of its accoutrements: hot humid days, sultry nights, t-shirt and shorts weather, enough sunscreen reapplications to have me feeling like an oil slick and sliding off the leather couch and of course… the dreaded summer cold.

It is one thing to get a cold when the weather outside is frightful, Jack Frost is nipping at your nose and all you want to do is hide under the covers and watch Netflix all day as you breathe through half a nostril. But in the middle of summer, it seems to defy logic.

I am not sure where this one came from, but this strain was preceded by a week of feeling unusually tired, sending me to bed much earlier than my usual bedtime. Nonetheless, even with the extra rest and conscientious effort to pump up my fruit and vegetable intake, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I now find myself breathing like Darth Vader. After a couple of days of toughing it out, treating it with bed rest, chicken soup and enough tea and fluids to flush out the sanitary system for a three block radius, the symptoms proved to be too much so I decided to check the medicine cabinet and check out what I had on hand. Continue reading


Filed under Humour

Daytime Horror Stories

RemoteYou wake up one morning and you really do not feel well. You put on your robe, you call in sick, you take your meds, and you make a warm drink. You grab your pillow and favourite blankie and you make your way to the couch for a mellow day of just looking after yourself. The mission of the day: feeling better!

You grab the remote and start surfing the channels. You stop. You prop yourself up. You lean forward to look more closely at the screen. You start breaking out in a cold sweat. You get the shakes. You grip your pillow tightly and then…. “AAAAAAAAAAAHHH” You break out into an ear-piercing scream…

The cause: the horrors of daytime television! Is there anything less conducive to feeling better than a whole day of watching daytime TV?

The last time I spent the day on the couch, fortunately I was sick enough to sleep most of the day. In between my naps, however, the daytime talk shows offered an endless parade of stories about being at death’s doorstep like: “the hidden dangers of leftovers in your refrigerator”, “the bacteria lurking in reusable grocery bags”, “when was the last time you bleached your kitchen sink?” and “when was the last time you checked your smoke detectors” Just what I wanted to hear, on a day I was trapped in the house!

Even if at that point, I felt the slightest hint of “get up and go”, there seemed to be no shortage of stories there to act as a deterrent from me from ever leaving the house: “distracted drivers are 23 times more likely to crash”, “the bacteria and germs lurking on the grocery cart”, “what you might not know about public restrooms”. If these aren’t enough to make one want to stay in bed, I don’t know what will. Continue reading

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Filed under Humour, pop culture, stories

The Experiment

A few years ago, I had a twinge of entrepreneurial spirit after a productive round of spring cleaning and purging… Well, actually, the TV show “Hoarders” scared me into spring cleaning. Not that my house ever remotely looked like the ones on the show but 5 minutes of that show is like a kick in the OCD!

I decided that rather than donating the items I was ready to part with, I would try my hand at selling some items on-line and try to make some money at it. For my first attempt, I wanted to start small and call it a one-month “pilot project” to give it a fair shot. I decided to start with books and CDs.

I did a little research before starting and found that when it came to books and CDs, you just never know who is looking for what, at any given time. There seemed to be a market for practically everything. Whether the items are current, recent or a throwback to the past, on a global scale, some Canadian CDs or books from a few years ago might be a collector’s dream elsewhere in the world. The possibilities seemed endless, it was just a matter of the stars lining up with the right buyer at the right time (he said, with dollar signs in his eyes). Continue reading

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Filed under Humour, stories

Love at First Sight

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES“I spotted you across a crowded room a few weeks ago. We exchanged glances but it was clearly not our time yet. You have been on my mind ever since. I had to keep looking in your direction, once or sometimes twice per day, waiting for the day you would be available. Don’t be afraid though, I don’t mean that in a stalker kind of way. It was just the persistence of staying aware of your status as I did not want to miss my chance if and when it would come up, or risk someone else getting to you first.

You may not know this, but we go way back! We knew each other when we were kids. You might not recognize me though since those were my ‘husky’ years, but we saw each other often. You comforted me at a difficult time in my life back when I changed schools, became the less-than-popular kid and the target for bullies. Yes, we go way back and you will never know how much I appreciate the joy and comfort you brought. You mean a lot to me.

Throughout the years, a couple of people said you were not good for me, but I had to ignore them and make my mind up for myself. Some thought you were too sweet, some even thought you were a little plain, but what others thought didn’t matter to me… even today. There is a constant state of mystery about you which makes you that much more attractive to me yet guarded at the same time. Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction, Humour, stories