Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 30, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 4 comments

Cedar Hills Golf Course. Victoria, B.C.


Coming to Victoria is like coming home. I lived here for a time back in the early 70’s. As I have stated many times, it is my favourite city in Canada and this time, Victoria welcomed me with open arms as it would appear that I brought some good weather with me from Arizona. The day I arrived, was the best day of another wise, wet, and cool spring. The temperature soared into the mid 20’s and we had three consecutive days of warm, sunny weather. Allergy sufferers might have been none too pleased as every manner of plant, tree and flower was blooming.

On Saturday, the rain and cooler temperatures returned but this didn’t deter brother Tom, me, and his golden retriever, Oslo from doing a 10K walk to the Oak Bay marina for coffee and scones.

This is a fantastic walking city with dozens and dozens (if not hundreds) of walking trails. I’m generally not a “step” counter but my IPhone tells me that I’m averaging over 20,000 steps a day.

The picture above is the Cedar Hill Golf Club, a course I played many times way back when. There is an undulating walking trail around the perimeter of the course, a wonderful place to go in the evening. The Olympic mountain range in Washington State is in the background.

It is easy to see why Victoria is the retirement capital of Canada.

My quest for pain management continues. Some of you asked for an update.

I know many of you have chronic pain issues so my situation is far from unique. It’s quite normal for most people our age. The hot, dry weather in Phoenix, Arizona helped for sure but I don’t think I was there long enough to say for sure if this is the answer. I have been experimenting with all kinds of medical marijuana products. Yesterday was a first for me. I went to a perfectly legal medical marijuana dispensary. It was a bright, modern store with chilled lemon ice water and flat screen TV’s. The staff were well dressed and very professional looking. They have a registered nurse on staff for free consultations.

I have been reading a lot about CBD oil. After a lengthy conversation, I bought a small number of pills. So far, they don’t seem to have any recognizable benefit. A friend, who lives here, gave me some topical marijuana cream. It seems to give a bit of relief but it doesn’t last long.

At this point, I don’t really think there’s a panacea, which is what I expected in the first place. The last major frontier is diet. I have been reading the book: “Eating Clean. The 21 day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body.” I have friends who swear that eating clean will likely result in a reduction of inflammation, but this will take some work and discipline. I always enjoy suggestions that you send along. Is turmeric the answer? Stay tuned.

I’m not quite sure how to address this next topic. I’m flying to Toronto on Tuesday and will spend 3 days in Hamilton with some old friends. One of them sent me this message yesterday (paraphrased): “Would you volunteer to help a friend of mine pack up her shop? She’s closing down her business.” My friend is aware of my physical limitations (no heavy lifting). I immediately agreed. My friend went on to say: “It will be a unique experience as my friend owns an adult sex toy store.” I have been trying to wipe the grin off of my face ever since. I haven’t even gotten there and I think I could already write the story that you KNOW I’m going to write when the task is completed. I am going to have to choose my words very carefully so as not to offend any of you. I don’t very often get handed a gift story like this.

Have a great week.

P.S. No. I won’t bring back any discounted items from the store for you!



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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 26, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments


Mt. Douglas, Victoria, B.C.

(Peter MacDonald photo)


“Go rest high on that mountain,

Son your work on earth is done.”

Go Rest High on That Mountain – Vince Gill

So much sadness. I hate to start off my post with bad news but sometimes there just seems to be so much death on our doorstep. It started with the horrific bus crash in Saskatchewan, leading to the deaths of so many young lives, followed by the senseless killing of innocent pedestrians in downtown Toronto.

And now, in the space of a few days, death has stolen of few of our own. I went to school with Heather MacVicar. She was one of the Brookland Street MacVicars. I don’t think I have seen her since we passed through the doors of the old AHS in 1970. She was looking forward to attending a 50th class reunion in 2020. Heather died a few days ago. Life can be so cruel and unforgiving.

I didn’t know Barbie (MacMillan) Whalen growing up. She was Wally and Mary’s daughter. She spent a lot of her life in California and lived the last two years of her life in Antigonish surrounded by her compassionate and caring family. I met her at the RK. She was my mom’s roommate for a few days before being moved. Her health deteriorated but she never lost her sense of humour. I would drop in from time to time to sing a few tunes and tease her. She lobbed a few good one liners right back at me.

Life is so quick, fleeting and fragile. It can be cruel and unforgiving.

I’m back on Canadian soil. I had a wonderful time in Arizona and was treated royally by my hosts, Lisa and Dudley. We walked, we ate, we hiked and shared lots of laughs. I enjoyed hanging out with their five pets while they attended a funeral in Vancouver. The weather was spectacular. I am told that when summer comes, people rarely spend much time outdoors at the temperature can soar to 120.

As much as I travel, there is something very comforting when I arrive back in Canada. Somehow, Canadian Customs doesn’t seem nearly as intimidating as other countries. After the fiasco in India last year, I renewed my Canadian passport for 10 years so I won’t have to worry about this expiring any time soon. I hope to live long enough to renew it for another 10!

A Nexus card is worth every penny if you do any amount of traveling.

I had barely touched down in Victoria when my brother Tom pushed me out the door for a walk. He tells me that this was by far the nicest day of the spring. I must have taken some sunshine with me from Arizona. Victoria is such a beautiful city especially at this time of the year. The flowers are in bloom and the lawns are lush and green. Despite all the walking I did in Phoenix, I was a bit ragged by the end of our jaunt. The two of us plus Tom’s dog, Oslo, logged 12 kilometres in 25 degree heat and quite a bit of the walk was hilly.

Quick. Fleeting. Fragile. If you’re going to do stuff, do it now. Don’t procrastinate. What are you waiting for?

Have a great weekend.


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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 23, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Downtown Scottsdale


And just like that, two weeks in the desert sun have evaporated. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I’m really busy and engaged or inactive and slothful; the relentless ticking of my life’s clock still amazes me. But time is about the only thing that evaporates around here. Every day, I take a peek at the weather early in the morning and it’s always the same: sunny with a 0% chance of rain. But this should not be surprising as Phoenix is situated in the Sonoran desert, otherwise known as “The Valley of the Sun.”

One interesting feature of the Phoenix area that I have never seen before is something called a “wash.” Washes look like dried up river beds but they are filled with all manner of vegetation. Many of these washes are actually artificially irrigated to keep plant life alive. Washes concentrate water and nutrients from a large area and serve as dispersal corridors for plants and animals.

It is hard to imagine how people decided to set down roots in the middle of a desert. But it is not hard to imagine how this has affected nature’s delicate balance. A recent New York Times story spoke about the looming water crisis in the Phoenix area as expansion continues relentlessly. I still believe that water is going to be the next battleground between our countries as the U.S. tries to slake its unquenchable thirst. And, if you believe in climate change (the proliferation of wild fires et al) the water problems will continue to escalate.

I’m staying with friends who live in a fairly new development in the north east part of the city. Like the rest of the area, it was carved out of the desert. You can walk 10 minutes from where I’m staying and be standing smack in the middle of the desert. Mother Nature has noticed this. It is not uncommon to encounter snakes, scorpions and coyotes in the wash areas. In order to get the dogs out to a nearby park for their morning “constitutional”, one has to walk through a wash area… something that the locals do all the time as they are sometimes connectors of streets.

I have yet to encounter a snake or a scorpion but coyote sightings are commonplace. I saw one the other evening at the end of my walk not 100 yards from my house and Friday evening past, I was out walking Daisy when another couple coming from the opposite direction warned me of three coyotes in the wash a few feet away. My hosts told me early on that these coyotes will not bother you and are frightened of humans. I have yet to test this theory.

I have gone to Scottsdale a few times as it forms part of Greater Phoenix and is only a 30 minute drive from my house. Scottsdale is driven by tourism and is a well-known golf destination. The first time I went there with my hostess, Lisa. She was doing a bit of shopping at Nordstrom’s. My aversion to shopping is well known by regular readers. Luckily, Nordstrom’s realizes that having a place for non-shoppers to sit is good for business. I chose the women’s shoe section which was a few feet away from one of the entrances, in case I started having heart palpitations. I wasn’t the only man sitting there, btw.

I was to discover later that this wasn’t just any shoe section. This store is massive and there were other locations in the store to buy footwear. I found it odd that there were six nattily attired sales people serving customers in this one small corner of the store. That was until Lisa informed me later at a coffee shop that shoes in this section start at $600 US. It was fascinating to watch the go ahead as the mostly male staff served this obviously high end female clientele. I doubt that I have spent $600 in footwear in the past five years since I stopped buying expensive sneakers for running.

Because tourism is everything in Scottsdale, I was not surprised to learn that parking throughout the city is free. This includes parking garages. I think I could easily live in Scottsdale but I’m afraid I’d have to go barefoot!

I’ll be heading north and west on Wednesday as I make my way to Victoria, my favourite city in Canada.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. Please turn the heat up when I return in early May!

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