Saturday, 28 January 2017


For decades, I have suffered from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), so much so that I take prescription medication. I cannot express how distressed I felt this week to find myself, even medicated, exhibiting some SAD symptoms......agitation, anger, depression, hopelessness. Then my calmer, saner mind ran further down the symptoms list. No, I wasn't sluggish. No, I wasn't suffering from insomnia. Then what? Right in front of me, in my hands, was the answer.

Much of my time has been absorbed reading about the blowhard billionaire with the thin-skinned, powder keg personality who now calls himself President of the United States. Racism, war crimes, cruelty, anti-feminism, divisiveness, tweet diplomacy....... That hateful, ugly, cruel face haunts my dreams. If that were not enough, Mikhail Gorbachev is of the opinion that "the world is preparing for war." And looks whose finger has access to that red nuclear button! Dear God!

So now my conundrum. Do I keep on top of issues in the U.S. which so affect Canada and the world or, for the sake of my sanity, do I bury my head in the sand, remaining blissfully uninformed? No more mouthy POTUS, no more feelings of outrage, anger and disbelief. Ahhhh!

Sadly, a wise man once wrote that "the deeper you hide your head in the sand, the more defenceless is your ass." Oh, how I wish I could ignore my university political science background and the obligation to remain informed with which Keith Spicer charged his International Relations students. I haven't forgotten, sir! And therein lies the answer to my conundrum. Poor Jim will just have to get used to my angry outbursts when reading and my vocal arguments when watching the news. It's only four years.....we hope....Hon!

Friday, 13 January 2017



Over four years ago, to escape the traffic congestion and noise of a population-burgeoning GTA, and much to the initial bewilderment of many friends, Jim and I dug up our York Region Thornhill roots and transplanted them northeast in Durham Region's Uxbridge. I have said it before and earnestly state it again, "What began as a leap of faith morphed into a brilliant idea. We have never looked back. Surprisingly, the disconnect was immediate". During these four plus years, Jim and I have developed a love affair with our little town, population 20,623.

The 2016 average selling price growth in the GTA was led by Durham Region. Atop the many towns in Durham Region sits mighty little Uxbridge with an astounding increase in prices over 2015 of 31%. You don't experience such price increases without latent demand.  A two-edged sword? Whenever Jim and I have headed west to Vancouver, we have been greeted by sunny skies. In response to our query, "Where's the rain?", our friend Malcom never fails to answer with, "We don't really have that much rain. We just don't want you easterners to find out and move here". Thus my "shhhhh". Please don't grow too quickly Uxbridge. We'd prefer you to remain a little town, to retain your charm, friendliness and big heart.

That said, driving through town today, with the memory of meeting yesterday another Syrian refugee family welcomed to town still fresh in my mind, with giant snowflakes falling on attractive shop exteriors and with the view of people standing on the sidewalks chatting with friends, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of being blessed to live here. It's time to put my love of Uxbridge into words. To paint my picture of life here will require more than one blog. What's life like in my small town Ontario? Stay tuned.

Saturday, 7 January 2017


As most Americans and Canadians experienced yesterday, my heart sank; I felt sheer horror at reports of the tragic shootings in the Fort Lauderdale Airport. All I could initially think was, "Christmas vacation, families, children. Dear God!"

Over coffee this morning with more reports in, my mind now reels with unanswered questions.

What was the Security Official in Alaska thinking when he cleared the gunman to board that Delta flight? Santiago had only one checked bag, a handgun case with a pistol. Granted, the gun was declared, but who travels from Alaska to Florida with no warm weather clothes...only a gun? Wasn't the TSA official even slightly suspicious?

When will the American News stations, FOX and CNN, stop speculating and just report the facts? At one point FOX News reported that the gunman was a passenger on a Canadian flight. Two carriers use Terminal 2 at the Fort Lauderdale Airport - Air Canada and Delta. Of course, it had to be Air Canada. Right? Knowing FOX's love (ha!ha!) of Canada, how they must have taken glee in reporting that the gunman originated in Canada. I can only imagine the increased worry and fear that unsubstantiated report created in those whose families were journeying on Air Canada yesterday. I will never forget CNN's reporting of the 2005 Air France crash at Toronto's Pearson. With the Global TV feed showing the flaming jet carcus, Air France emblazoned on the side, CNN, Wolf Blitzer in fact, reported the crash of Lufthansa. What? They went on to interview an expert who "speculated" that no passengers could survive such a crash. Imagine the unnecessary horror of families with passengers aboard Air France following that broadcast. All aboard survived. Give me the boring CBC!

What about security in the baggage claims areas of American airports? Direct access from outside is allowed into the claims areas. Tampa and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airports are prime examples. With such access, where is security?

Is the U.S. ever going to come to terms with their constitution's "right to bear arms"? Will they ever accept even moderate gun controls? Florida law permits guns inside airport terminals on the condition that they are still in their case. That said, there is a bill before the Florida state legislature to allow guns in public places like airports. Are you kidding me? How many more mass shootings will the U.S. suffer before they get it? Social media yesterday was initially dominated with "Trump will stop this" statements. How will he stop it? I need to understand how when this President-elect viamently campaigned against gun control.

Yesterday, as initial reports came in, I asked Jim how some one could have a gun in the Baggage Claims area of an airport. His answer? "It's the States." 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


For the first winter in almost forty years, Jim and I will be feeling no southern sunshine on our backs, viewing no turquoise Caribbean waters nor hiking any saquaro-dotted Sonoran Desert trails in glorious Arizona. Why? In March, Jim will go under the surgical knife at Sunnybrook Hospital to correct hip replacement surgery mangled three years ago. We have been warned that both his surgery and recovery will be lengthy. Is Jim is worried. No! Relief is finally in sight.

And so you ask, "How will you stand those glum short days, the depressing darkness, frigid temperatures, blustery snow and treacherous ice?"

Throughout my Real Estate career, I professed that success was "between your ears". How strongly you believe in yourself will ultimately define your career. Retired, I now lecture myself on enjoying and savouring each and every moment I am in. So why not savour winter? Just think about it; I don't even have to commute. I swim with a woman whose husband so dislikes flying that she has resigned herself to not journeying south for the winter. Connie told me that once she decided to like winter, she found herself actually looking forward to it.

I can do this; loving winter is a mindset!

I am going to appreciate snowy days when my world is silently blanketed in white, when I can catch big fat snowflakes on my tongue and when I can marvel at how Mother Nature creates sparkling individual snowflakes from water droplets. I am going to relish those sunny cold days when the sky is impossibly blue and, in the absence of mosquitos and flies, I am going to enjoy brisk invigorating walks, squeaky snow beneath my feet. I am going to lovingly laugh at the antics of my grandchildren as they make snow angels, skate or hit the slopes. Morgan and Zachary love winter; Grammie will follow their lead.

During the tranquility of early morning, I am going to stand in awe of the pink line of sunrise visible from our kitchen and cheer on dawn as it pushes back the black lines of winter's nighttime. Mother Nature's palette is always to be treasured.

A list of "to read" books glares at me from my nighttable. How can a simple list make one feel so guilty? With our fireplace radiating warmth and colourful light and as snow swirls outside, I am going to curl up, feet warming in wooly winter socks and revel in my escape into the world of good fiction. Look out list! Speaking about wooly socks, winter clothing is actually my favourite. Sweaters, sweatshirts, turtlenecks, hats, gloves, scarves......I love them all. I take great delight in layering. If it is cold outside, dress for it. And hey, my body issues disappear with each additional layer.

Winter food is comfort food, especially soups and stews. This is the time of year I most enjoy my kitchen. Inviting aromas permeate our home. When's dinner? And I am going to savour warm beverages enjoyed with good friends in the cozy atmosphere of the Tin Cup. A good cup of coffee, laughter with friends, the hiss of steamed milk being prepared and happy chatter. Let the cold winds blow; it doesn't get much better.

As I have grown older, I have increasingly come to understand that ALL of life is a gift. So much of winter in Canada is beautiful and I am going to embrace it. Yup! I can do this!