Thursday, 13 August 2015


For Morgan and Zachary

Dear Morgan and Zachary,
I am Huff. And I am Puff. And we are puffins. Actually, we are now YOUR puffins. Your Grammie and Grampa have invited us to fly home with them and to live with you in Richmond Hill. We are very excited to meet you! Before we leave for Ontario, though, we should tell you a bit about ourselves and then we want to take you on a tour of our island, Newfoundland, for the next few weeks. 

Most people recognize us because of our large orange beaks. I hear, Zachary, that orange is your favourite colour. We sure like that! Some people call us the "clowns of the sea", but we don't look like clowns, do we? We prefer to call ourselves "sea parrots". What do you think?

Your Grampa and Grammie have told us, Zachary, that you love to fish. Wow! Huff and I should get along really well with you, because we love to fish, too. We fish for herring, hake, capelin and even sand eels. To catch fish, Huff and I dive deep into the ocean and catch the fish in our beaks. Num! Num! Capelin fish are my favourite dinner. Huff likes to feast on sand eels. Eeeeew! I think they are too slimy.

Here I am searching for fish in the ocean.

Morgan, we hear from your Grammie and Grampa that you are an amazing swimmer. Can we please, please visit your cottage one day and watch you swim? Puff and I swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Brrrr! The water is very, very cold, but our waterproof feathers allow us to stay warm whether swimming on the surface or diving underwater. Our feathers act like your Daddy's Iron Man wetsuit. Is your water cold, too? We can dive as deep as 60 metres. Puff and I swim by flapping our wings as if we are flying through the water and use our feet to steer. How do you swim? I can't wait to find out. Perhaps you can teach us a few tricks, Morgan.

Sometimes, after diving, I get water in my ears. It's itchy! Does that ever happen to you? What a pain!

Your Grampa and Grammie tell us that you have nice rooms, decorated in pink and blue. Will we be able to stay with you in them? Our home in Newfoundland is in a burrow between the cliff rocks, decorated in boring brown. Our room can be cold and wet sometimes, but we do have a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.

We are not very quick on our feet, but Huff and I would love to go for small walks with you........slowly, that is!! What are sidewalks, anyways?  Don't you walk on grass? It's fun; it tickles our feet.

If we don't say so ourselves, we are excellent fliers. We can flap our wings at 400 beats a minute. Can you do that with your arms? Try it sometime. Whew! It can be hard work. We have a difficult time taking off from the water, but once we are in the air we can fly as fast as 88 kilometres per hour. Cool, eh? Maybe we should race your grandparents Air Canada plane back to Ontario. Only joking! Your Uncle Chris laughs and laughs and laughs every time he watches us try to take off. Perhaps you can teach us that "squish your head" thing that you do to Uncle Chris. Hee! Hee!

Well, it is time for us to say goodbye for now. If you check Facebook with your Mom and Dad every day, we will send pictures of our adventures across Newfoundland. Then, we can come home to Ontario and finally meet you.

Until then, we are sending you loads of hugs!
Huff and Puff Puffin

Friday, 7 August 2015


My Mother's conversation rule was always, Never discuss politics or religion; Keep the peace, her entertaining mantra. If you are looking down, Mom, I am so sorry but a cancerous growing practice in Canadian politics is getting under my skin.......bigtime! I can no longer keep my big, opinionated mouth shut. To my Conservative Party-supporting friends, in an effort to maintain our friendships, I am warning that you may not wish to read any further.

Is anyone sick to death of the Just Not Ready ad running again and again and again and.......? Where is that 'mute' button? What happened to the fair play and decency once characteristic of Canadian political ads? I despair that the malicious muckraking ads of the U.S. have over past elections and now in this one, taken permanent root. Our politicians speak from one side of their mouth of taking the high road, comparing policies and track records, and then immediately resort to smear campaigns, with ads based on out-of-context words and fear mongering. 

Fully aware that their Just Not Ready crusade is based upon misleading statements and innuendo, the Conservatives have cynically opted to muddy an opponent's reputation. Since when, in a decent society, does the end justify any means?

I guess pension splitting for seniors is next. The Liberal platform does not, and never has, included cancelling income splitting for seniors. Pure unsubstantiated scare tactics!

Well, he wants to send winter jackets to Syria. Yes, Trudeau has supported the already existing Canadian Government assistance program involving support to help refugees and displaced citizens survive the winter.

Didn't he say budgets balance themselves? are words taken out of context from a Trudeau speech made in Quebec in which Trudeau discussed accepted economic tenets. Oh, and do you get the impression from this that the Conservatives have balanced our budget? You need to investigate further if you believe that smoke and mirrors act. 

Of late, the revised Just Not Ready ad has alluded to concerns that to allow anyone but the almighty Conservatives to handle our economy would lead to a Greek-like debt crisis. At this point, I must restrain myself from throwing a brick at our TV screen. The acme of cynicism has now been reached. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in our Canadian economic landscape can be compared to Greece's long history of obscenely generous pensions and national income tax evading psyche and the Conservative party knows it.

Why am I so upset? I do not presume to tell you who to vote for. Should you not wish to vote for a particular political party or its leader, that is your sacred democratic right! But please ensure that your decision is based upon the comparison of policies or track records or the handling of issues important to you. Do not allow your vote to be based upon public perceptions shaped by misleading statements or unsubstantiated and disparaging innuendo. What of the naive voter who reads little, but allows such attack ads to form their opinions? When did we Canadians give a free pass to our politicians, to mudsling, unjustly harming the reputation of opponents who feel called upon to honourably serve their country by running for office?

I dream of an election in which our politicians only advertise and promote their policies, track records and dreams for our incredible country, Canada. Let me decide based upon facts. Refrain from attack ads and you will have my vote!


Saturday, 1 August 2015


You may be an adorable bandit-masked little rascal to some, but am I done, done, done! Amusing no longer describes you. Do you hear me? In case you have failed to notice, WE, Jim and Daphne Lockett, own this property, not YOU, Racco the Raccoon. I have even verified our deed! Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah! Time to move on, buddy. You are trespassing, stealing, and have overstayed your tentative welcome. Now what will it take to make you vamoose?

I am done, done, done with waking at two in the morning to a reverberating, thumping racket on our upper deck as you attempt to dislodge bird feeders, planters, and seed bins. My husband may be able to sleep through a bomb blast, but that is not a talent to which I lay claim. I need my sleep! Capisce?
And are you dense? Did you not get the message when the hinges on the feeders were upgraded? No, I think not. It just takes longer to dislodge, thus more thumping, eh. buddy? Simply a minor, enjoyable challenge for you, hmmmm? When are you going to pay up for all of the broken feeders and devoured seed?

I am done, done, done with my railing baskets, once filled with vibrant oranges and yellows, being used as a place of rest from your nighttime gymnastics and more recently, being used as your private toilet. Yuck!  I promise you that finding your raccoon s**t, while watering in the early, morning does not make my day. Hey, buddy, would it have killed you to show some sympathy for those poor, now dying, nasturtiums? Really? You'd die too if you were s**t on every night! 

I'm done, done, done with picking up icky, smelly, spilled garbage after you overturn the recycling bin. Raccoon resistant green bins. Hilarious concept, eh buddy? If you truly are intelligent, possessing small motor skills beyond compare, would it be too much to ask that you at least use your talents to clean up after feasting on leftovers?

I am done, done, done, so war it is Racco. If I were you, I would wave goodbye now or I'll visit you at two tonight. That's a date! Let's see how you like being disturbed during your nighttime forays. And don't think for a second that you can hide behind that stupid black mask. If I fail, Racco, I may be forced to hire the biggest, meanest guard dog you have ever met. 
I am done, done, done! Take my advice, Racco, and say, Bye, bye.