Friday, 5 July 2019

ONCE YOU HIT A CERTAIN AGE.....

A dear friend of mine (thank you Laura)  recently posted this on Facebook:


After I stopped laughing at how much the posting hit home, I decided that although I would likely piss off many with MY list, what the hell, I’m blogging this anyways. None of the following “unimpressive s**t” is personally directed. I admit that it is perceived through my value system and thus suspect to many. However, these are the s**t that, as I age, no longer impress me.

Designer Labels. Don’t take this as evidence that I prefer cheap throw-away fashion. I do, however, look at designer labels and, valid or not, see a purchaser attempting to display status. Insecure? is what I really want to ask. Why else would you want to wear or carry someone’s logo, advertising them for free? Truth be known, most people are perfectly capable of recognizing quality clothing, belts, purses and shoes. Sorry, but designer labels leave me cold.



Wealthy Parents. Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn what your parents’ social register name was, where they lived, what lofty position they held or how much money they banked. Too many highly successful men and women in our world have come from families who had virtually nothing but instilled in their children the values of hard work, perseverance, overcoming obstacles and generosity of spirit and where there was a dearth of parental guidance, these men and women found within themselves the determination to build a better life. Now THAT is admirable. So what impresses me? What kind of human being YOU are, not your parents.....YOU!

Negative Nellyism. You know who I mean: in the winter they whine that it is too cold to enjoy life, and in the summer, too hot. It’s raining too much, we haven’t had enough rain, it’s too cloudy, it’s too sunny......and on and on and on. We all experience our negative moments. That is life! But, like the flu, chronic negativity is contagious. For self survival, I need to keep my distance. Life is too short to be dragged down mentally by doom, gloom, frowns and whining. Instead of grumbling that roses have thorns, why not celebrate that thorns have roses? Chronic negativity does not impress me. As I get older, I avoid it at all costs; I haven’t got enough time left in my journey to waste it listening to negative s**t.

The Best. During a wine tasting at Chateauneuf-du-Pape, I learned what constitutes “the best”. Asked whether the best wines are French wines, the chief vintner smiled and then, to our complete surprise, answered that whatever wine sits well on your palette is “the best”. He added that although he would like to announce that French wines are the world’s finest, nothing is “the best” unless you personally like it. If a plonk wine is your favourite, then it is “the best”. Whenever I am informed that they (whomever that amorphous they is) say that something is “the best” - olive oil, wine, restaurant, hotel, car, where to live or whatever, I am not impressed. If it turns your crank, then it is “the best” for you. Tell my why you love it instead. Hmmm? Well that is, unless we are talking about our country, and then, although the Danes and Norwegians might argue, I will agree that Canada is “the best”. ❤️🇨🇦😉

Upon rereading this, I asked Jim if my words were too strong. His answer? Sweetheart, having lived over 70 years gives you the right to define what in your mind is bulls**t. So be it.

Aside from my blogs, what doesn’t impress you as you age?








Tuesday, 25 June 2019

MY HEART IS FULL OF LOVE AND WONDER

Jim and I have just returned from Morgan’s Grade 8 graduation where we watched as she was awarded with both an academic excellence award and school spirit award and then felt our hearts burst with love as she took the podium as Valedictorian. Voted in by students and staff, she confidently looked out at her audience and smiled her smile, the mega-watt smile that instantly fills a room with sunshine. And in that split second before she spoke my mind and heart were flooded with memories.




That moment when I first cradled our precious newborn granddaughter, her infant head even then covered in blonde fuzz. Overwhelmed with emotion, I never wanted to let go.

The memory of a tiny toddler holding the hand of her Daddy, all 6’2” of him, on their cottage dock. Such a contrast in heights. So much growing ahead.




The adolescent creating, always busy creating - crayoning, gluing, cuttting, beading, painting. Any medium excited her. It is Morgan’s design which graces the cover of her 2018/2019 school year book.

Her excited reviews of the many live theatre presentations and Blue Jays games attended with her Mom. Contagious enthusiasm always bubbles to the surface.

The burgeoning athlete - swimming, skiing, skating, basketball, curling, baseball and kayaking. A new sport? Bring it on! One of my fondest memories took place during our son’s Iron Man Challenge. Watching her father’s pained expression during the final run portion, Morgan joined in beside Matt, pacing him for quite a distance and raising his spirits. Such a typical Morgan response!




Books, books and more books, watching her read, oblivious to the world around her, totally absorbed in the tale at hand.

The young teen cooking up a storm and then, bent over her Christmas cookie creations, adding inspired decorations in our aroma-filled, sticky-surfaced kitchen.

Oh Michelle and Matt, what a precious gift you have given Morgan in providing so many opportunities, the seeds of her self assurance and desire to embrace life.

........and then Morgan began to speak and my memories morphed into a respectful wonder at the calm, joyful young woman, our granddaughter, speaking from the podium.

To Morgan on your Grade 8 Graduation as Valedictorian:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to great places.
You’re off and away.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Anywhere you chose.
     - Dr. Seuss, “Oh The Places You’ll Go”

The world is there for you to grasp, sweetheart. You go girl!

Friday, 7 June 2019

JUST RIP IT UP??????

I have a feeling, actually I know, that this blog will be extremely unpopular with beer drinkers. So be it!

Thirty-six years in real estate meant thirty years of practising contract law and six years of teaching it. I practised and taught respect for contracts, the backbone of our real estate industry, more importantly, the backbone of business in Ontario.


Ensure that your client understands that the contract they have signed is binding. To breach it will lead to penalties,  I taught and was taught. To simplify it, only a breach or misrepresentation by the other party or mutual agreement can lead to the cancellation of a contract without penalty.

The PC-led legislature has just passed legislation to dissolve the Beer Store contract which runs until 2025. Not yet law, the legislation merely awaits royal assent.

I totally agree that this contract is flawed in that it allows the private foreign-owned Beer Store chain, worth $2.5 billion a year, the right to retail most of Ontario's beer. Almost a monopoly, but not legally one! The contract, negotiated in good faith, runs until 2025; the Beer Store owners have neither misrepresented their service nor breached their contract. To rip it (the contract) up could potentially lead to a protracted legal battle and significant damages. And we all know who will ultimately foot that costly bill.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce called Ford's legislation short-sighted  and warned of negative consequences. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Ontario to honour the contract as proof that existing business contracts in Ontario will be honoured. To not do so would deter investment. What was that election promise about Ontario Is Open For Business?

Let the Beer Store contract run until 2025 and then be done with it. I'm happy with that. What I vehemently disagree with is ripping up an existing legal contract and immediately allowing more access to alcohol because of an impulsive election promise. To do so sets a precedent and makes a mockery of contract law.










Saturday, 1 June 2019

IT TAKES A VILLAGE.....To Keep Me Fit

Let's get one thing straight - I loathe gyms. Fancy-shmancy, basic, women's only, extreme fitness.....no matter the type, style, clientele, workout options.....I quite simply feel yuk, blah, grrr about any and all gyms. Please don't bother protesting; no matter how much YOU love it, I would hate your gym too.

My friend Ruth, a true fitness guru, extols the virtue of finding something you love. You'll stick to it, she says and she is right.

From childhood, I have been a water-baby, so it is no small wonder that after retiring and moving to Uxbridge, I gravitated to the pool. I love water - fresh, salt or chlorinated - let me in! Little did I know that Uxpool would prove to be a daily ritual and even more important, the source of so many friendships. What has helped maintain my daily pool habit? Hah! Miss a session and answer to questioning emails from Anna, Marion and Cathy. Trust me, on those frigid winter mornings when it is a struggle to even think of swimming, it is easier to hit the water than respond to those where-the-hell-were-you notes. Thank you Anna, Marion and Cathy for being my fitness conscience.

And then there is the group I have lovingly dubbed The Lunacy League. Invited by creator Barb and encouraged by Laura, I have joined nine other women in a weekly 5-day Fitbit challenge, The Workweek Hustle. Sounded like a snap to me. I could easily do 10,000 steps a day. Phffft! Yah, well 10,000 steps a day for five days a week would put me at the bottom of the heap. That is something else I loathe.....being at the bottom of a heap. To remain in the top two or three of these ladies, a daily average of 20,000+ steps is more the necessary reality. Susan-Jane, Mary and Louise are my fiercest competitors, constantly pushing the bar higher. Sigh, is it Saturday yet? I have now developed a 5km and 10km daily route. The 5km route is only used when I have appointments, restricted time or pole walking. The daily 10km route just gets me in the top 4. But oh, do I ever feel strong! I have always loved walking, fresh air and me time for my thoughts. Thank you to my beautiful Lunacy League Ladies, especially to Barb and Laura for getting me started and to Susan-Jane, Mary and Louise for pushing me ever harder.


I happened to mention to Sue, a friend at the pool, that I had noticed the existence of an Uxbridge Nordic Pole Walking Club. Before I could catch a breath, I'm in, Sue chimed. Now Thursday mornings are spent pole walking up and down the grassy treed hills of Elgin Park. Nordic pole walking provides a 46% stronger cardio workout than simple walking. After the first session my upper arms, shoulders and back could attest to the fact that it wasn't just my heart getting a workout. Aaaach! Thank you Sue!

As parents we always hope that our children will gravitate to positive friendship circles. We should wish that for our retirement, too. Friends.....physically active, mentally curious and generous in giving back to their community. It does take a village to inspire us as we age. Well me, at least.  No rest for the wicked, negative nellies would say. Personally, I believe that someone was watching out over me when we made the decision to move to Uxbridge.  Hillary Clinton said, It Takes A Village, and I thankfully have found one.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

A NEW CAR FOR ME?

Seated in my car, a small sedan, I am reminded of the time years ago when Jim and I flew in a tiny six-seater prop from Union Island in the Grenadines to Barbados. Landing at Grantley Adams Airport, our pilot pulled into a gate alongside a British Airways 747, a jet whose gargantuan wheels were larger than the total size of our teeny commuter plane. Expressed as a ratio? Flea:Dog best describes it.

For as long as I can remember, I have owned an SUV so why, I have to ask myself, did I say to Jim a year ago when purchasing my new car, Don't buy an SUV. I just need something to buzz around Uxbridge. You have 'large'. I don't need 'large' too. What drug was I on that day? What was I thinking?

Uxbridge is horse and farm country. So what? Well, most of our population drive either an SUV or a honking oversized truck. If I fail to make a mental note of where my car is, I am unable to locate it in parking lots without engaging my embarrassingly squawky location alarm. Look at me everybody...I can't find my automobile. Sandwiched between vehicular giants, I could swear that my tiny Corolla is actually hiding from me.

GM and now Chrysler/Fiat are closing sedan and van plants. A mere quarter of the North American car-buying population are opting for sedans. It is all about the SUV and the truck. I get it. Research indicates that SUV's are much safe than sedans. I admit to feeling more vulnerable when driving now. More drivers chance pulling directly out in front of me than ever happened with a more imposing automobile. From the standpoint of visibility, I miss being higher above the road. Hey, I'm nosey; I like to see what is going on. The view in my rear view mirror is frequently grill work and tires. Yikes! Anyone remember Steven Spielberg's creepy movie Duel?


To add to my frazzled nerves, Bloomington, Brock and Lakeridge Roads are heavily populated by massive gravel trucks. Viewing one of these monoliths sitting a paint layer away from my tail or barrelling around the Highway 47/48 roundabout in tandem with one of these giants is enough to cause my life to flash before my eyes.

So what to do? Truth be known, I love my little Corolla and don't want to give it up. In addition to extremely comfortable seating, it has all of the bells and whistles. Maneuvering and parking are a breeze. Fuel consumption is staggeringly efficient; I can go over six weeks without visiting the pumps. I just need something higher off the road and slightly more imposing. I think I have the solution to my problem. What do YOU think?



Friday, 22 March 2019

YOU ROCK MY WORLD

Jacinda Ardern, you rock my world. In the aftermath of the horrific Christchurch massacre, New Zealand has been led by you with dignity, compassion, resolve and immediate action. Mere thoughts and prayers simply do not cut it with you. I stand in awe of your leadership.

Deeming handshakes or the tossing of paper towels into a crowd as meaningless show, you instead donned a hajib, as a sign of respect for your Muslim community, and moved amongst families of the killed and wounded offering heartfelt condolences, emotional hugs, an empathetic ear to grief, and promises of resources and action.....promises which you immediately kept.


Your promise of the commitment of resources was instantly followed by the covering of all funeral costs plus financial assistance for families who lost their breadwinner. You stated that you were with the victims. No hollow political words for you, your actions proved it.

We in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name. Your impassioned parliamentary speech made my heart soar as you taught the free world how terrorists should be treated. For such anarchists, their message is as important as their actions. Just note this terrorist's lengthy manifesto released minutes before the slaughter began. Make the message and the terrorist irrelevant, you told us. Speak the names of the lives who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. Main stream media, please take note!

And taking advantage of a groundswell of support, you have announced an overhaul of New Zealand gun legislation, banning all military semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Meanwhile in North America, Canada still wrestles with this controversial issue while the U.S. dillusionally pretends that there is no issue.

Brian Mulroney recently worried, Where have all the leaders gone? Well, Mr. M., we found one. For me, true leadership has always been having the courage to do the right thing. Churchill, despite his massive failings, was a leader for his times. You, Jacinda Ardern, despite whatever frailties plague you, have proven at this time, in this moment, to be a true leader.

What our insane world desperately needs is more leaders of your calibre......leaders exhibiting compassion, strength, resolve and integrity.



Wednesday, 6 March 2019

TIME TO GO HOME ❤️🇧🇧

Perhaps it has been lying dormant just ready to bubble to the surface.....this desire of mine to return to my other home.

In 2013 when Jim and I last spent time in Barbados, we arrived at the sad conclusion that there was nothing left for us to explore or see, no reason to visit again. At only 21 miles long and a smile (14 miles) wide and after 36 visits, we had explored it all. My Mother’s ashes were spread at St. John’s Parish Church overlooking her favourite view 



and in the Caribbean Sea at her favourite beach. Our two boys, Christopher and Matthew, grew up spending their Spring Breaks, and even a few university breaks, on our island in the sun. Barbados became our second home. I vividly remember Matthew emerging from the airport on his second last visit, turning his face to the sun and yelling, I love this island. Bajans and tourists alike laughed and nodded their assent. Jim and I had enjoyed introducing our island to friends and glimpsing it through new eyes, but OMG, when we could no longer manage to get lost in Barbados’ insane maze of country roads, it was time to declare it done.

My innocent island was changing, too. Poor government decisions had and have left critical infrastructure in serious need of upgrading. Barbados was always an island of efficiency units, apartments and hotel rooms, providing great growth opportunities for local restauranteurs. Some of the Caribbean’s best dining establishments, serving every purse level, could be found on Barbados. The big stress of the day was where to go for dinner. Oh, how we enjoyed that stress. Insidiously over past years and I am sure the result of many a greased palm, five major all-inclusive resorts have opened on the island, stealing business from small local entrepreneurs and socking massive profits away off-shore. Don’t even get me going on the damage they have wrought. The bright massive windows at the airport were converted to opaque glass in an effort to prevent drug smugglers from signalling one another. So much for waving at arriving family and friends as they disembarked their planes. Aaach! Maybe time to move on, we thought.

But still our island in the sun beckons travellers. 



She may not be perfect, but she remains safe, friendly and welcoming. Bajan children are taught from the grade 2 level the value of tourism to their economy. Education is free and excellent. Literacy is one of the highest in the world. Health care is free. A large stable middle class forms the bulk of the population. Rent a car and travel the interior with no risk. Head out to restaurants at nighttime without worry. No necessity to remain in all-inclusive compounds for safety or because of government rulings.

One outstanding desire, though, has been niggling at Jim and I .... to introduce our grandchildren to part of their heritage. To see through their eyes the green cane fields, turquoise Caribbean waters, soft white beaches, hawksbill and leatherback turtles, 



coral reefs, flying fish, swaying coconut palms, grand plantation houses, calypso music ++++++. I am sure you are getting the picture.

That wish will come to fruition next March. Our whole immediate family - Jim and I, Christopher and Stephanie, Matthew and Michelle, Morgan and Zachary - will head to Barbados for a homecoming of sorts. When Air Canada lands on the tarmac at Grantley Adams International Airport in March 2020 and when Morgan and Zachary first step on Barbadian soil, they will be the 14th generation of my family to do so.

It may be a year away, but my heart is overflowing and my excitement keeps gurgling to the surface. Yes, it is time to go home.