Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 18, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

A walk on the wildside


“Whenever I chance to meet, some old friends on the street,

They wonder how does a man get to be this way.”

Kiss an Angel Good Morning – Charley Pride

There are so many obvious benefits of walking. First and foremost, it’s good for your heart. There is an abundance of evidence to show that even moderate exercise can vastly improve long term health outcomes. And we’re not just talking about keeping our ticker purring like a cat. Many would argue, including myself, that walking is also good for the head. It’s an opportunity to clear the cobwebs. Very often, nagging problems can be solved by taking a solitary walk.

Invariably, I find myself humming a tune as I wend my way through the streets of town or on country roads. I can say without any hesitation, that music, in some way, shape or form, has been a part of every day of my life.

One of the other benefits of walking is that you meet other walkers. If you are a creature of habit, you generally see the same people on your daily walk. Sometimes you stop and chat while other times, it’s a simple wave of the hand if they’re on the opposite side of the road.

The other morning, I bumped into two individuals in two different locations along my route. After chatting with them for a few minutes, I walked away and thought to myself, “Those are two of the most decent human beings I’ve ever met.” Most of us are flawed human beings. But occasionally you meet people who just seem to be so damn nice. You always feel better having spent time with them even if it only for a few fleeting moments.

What are the common characteristics of folks like this? First of all, they always seem to be in good cheer. They smile easily. They rarely speak negatively about any person or anything. They seem to be blessed with inner peace and contentment. I’m quite certain that a longer conversation would reveal that their lives are far from perfect but in public, they just seem to have the gift of making people around them feel better. Oh yes, these two individuals are also very fine musicians.

In my years in business, I was repeatedly told by my mentors to surround myself with people who were smarter than me. That was a pretty easy one! They also told me to avoid negative people like the plague and to seek out people who exuded optimism. Positive people beget positive people.

Speaking of music, I perform a lot of music for people who have dementia. Someone sent me this quote (author unknown) the other day which succinctly describes the power of music for those who have lost so much to the ravages of time.

“Music takes a person to a happier place in time, and is a potent stimulus for reaffirming personal identity and social connectedness. Familiar tunes and lyrics can be recognized across all stages of dementia. So, whenever possible, sing, hum and move along to your loved one’s favourite song!”

On this Easter weekend, why not get out for a walk. You’ll feel great and you just might bump into some people who will give you hope in a troubled world.

Optimism and good cheer are contagious. See if you can contract some of it!

Happy Easter.


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Highland Hearing Clinic

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 15, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

The happy wanderer


“I love to go a wandering, along the mountain track,

And as I go, I love to sing, my knapsack on my back.”

The Happy Wanderer

Placebo or the real deal?

CBD oil: Update #1.

My last article on CBD oil generated a lot of interesting discussion and comments. It would appear that there are many people my age who are dealing with a variety of pain issues. This is hardly breaking news. We’re all getting older.

Possible remedies? Over the counter medicine like Advil. Physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, cortisone shots, meditation, yoga, reiki, massage, reflexology, tequila, chocolate ice cream. The list is endless and I have tried all of them. Interestingly and maybe coincidentally, all of my pain issues surfaced after I gave up alcohol almost 9 years again. I might have to have to reacquaint myself with “the Captain” one of these days if all else fails.

I have been consuming CBD oil for one week. The first night I took half the recommended dose as my particular concoction contains a small amount of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Zero effect. The second night, I upped the dosage to 75% of the recommended dosage. Same result. On night three, I filled the eye dropper to 1ml. By the way, CBD oil tastes a bit like 10W30 motor oil. I worked at a service station in my teens and inadvertently came in contact with motor oil. Actually, there’s very little taste but it’s oil so it’s going to have the texture of oil.

On a full dose, I noticed one small change. I slept better than I had in some time. I didn’t experience any “high” after taking the oil. We all know the healing powers of sleep and many pain sufferers don’t sleep well. It would be a stretch to say that there’s a significantly noticeable difference in my pain levels, but something positive happened over the last seven days. However, I’m not about to declare victory.

I suffered a fairly serious leg injury (ruptured quadriceps muscle) a month ago. The accident also exacerbated my existing pain issues so basically everything in my body hurt with the possible exception of my toe nails. I was told by my surgeon that the healing would begin to surface in a month which leaves me wondering if it is CBD oil or time that has caused me to feel better in recent days. I will continue the experiment for a few more weeks before heading off to Spain to do the Camino. Even though marijuana and its derivatives are now legal in Canada, it would be folly to carry any of these products in a foreign country. I may have to substitute some excellent Spanish red wine for CBD oil for a month.

I am frequently asked about my apparent wanderlust. I’m not the only person who likes to travel, see new things and experience different cultures. If you have the time, good health and the resources, there’s nothing like travel to broaden your horizons. Don’t forget, eternity is a long time so if you plan on living and doing things, you better get a move on. Time’s a wasting.

I took a nice two hour walk with my backpack out to the end of Williams Point yesterday morning. The sun was coming up and the birds were chirping. A little bit of heaven on earth.

Happy Easter week.


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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 11, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

Getting an oil change


There’s a first time for everything.

First date. First kiss. First job. First airplane flight. Life is full of firsts and though we think we’ve seen it all as we pass through life, there are still many unique experiences. I remember my first date and my first kiss. I doubt that the young woman on the receiving end of my attention and affection has even the foggiest recollection. My first job was mowing the grass in the graveyard under the guidance of Joe “Mike”. The only time I got a break from mowing “between the crosses, row on row” was when there was a committal or burial. My very first plane flight was to Newfoundland to represent Nova Scotia in a junior golf tournament. The return trip was easily the scariest flight I have ever been on.

I was attending a birthday party last weekend and most of the attendees were north of 60. Every discussion I had with other guests revolved around health. Quelle surprise. Let’s face it, the clock is ticking and the warranty on our bodies is fast approaching. That is not to say that we don’t still have many good miles on us, but the wear and tear of life are telling.

I was engaged in a spirited discussion about pain and pain management, a subject that I have discussed here before on more than one occasion. I was telling a friend at the party about my journey of pain and my elusive search for some kind of remedy. After going through a long list of treatments, including legalized marijuana, she suggested that I go to the NSLC and try some CBD oil. Cannabidiol oil or CBD (I always thought CBD stood for Cape Breton Diesel!) contains extracts from cannabis plants. Some people use CBD oil to relieve pain associated with chronic conditions such as arthritis.

I had been thinking about CBD oil for some time. I left the party, walked through campus and Liquor Lane and found myself in the legalized marijuana dispensary at the NSLC.  It was a quiet evening and I had the undivided attention of two young men who gave me a primer on CBD products. The oil comes in varying strengths and some contain THC the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. I gather that in some cases, the THC can give a person a mild “buzz” but most old farts like me want pain relief and not the high.

One of the clerks told me that his mom has suffered from arthritis for years and that CBD oil has been a game changer for her. We discussed options and $36 later, I walked out carrying a bag containing 30ml of cannabis oil.

The regulators of legalized marijuana are taking the sale of these products very seriously. There are lots of warning signs in the store as well as on the labelling of the products. But it is the packaging of these goods that leaves me scratching my head. In attempt to child proof my CBD oil purchase, the authorities also “senior proofed” it. I was easily able to remove the package from a small brown paper bag. Years of practice removing bottles of rum from NSLC bags were my training ground.

The outer cardboard packaging was the first layer. By the time I extricated the actual bottle of oil, I felt as if I had received a gift of Matryoshka dolls. You know. Those Russian nesting dolls which stack one inside the other. Once you remove the outer shell, there is a tiny box resembling a coffin for a grasshopper (pun intended). And inside this container is the 30ml bottle of CBD oil. And this is where the fun begins. If I had happened to have arthritis in my hands, I would have had to call a neighbour, a nurse, a paramedic, a continuing care worker or possible a welder with a blow torch to remove the hermetic seal from the bottle. I have never seen plastic wrapped so impossibly tight around an entire bottle. I chiseled away at the plastic with a sharp paring knife. I am also certain that I uttered some expletives heard only by our plant collection. Seriously, while I appreciate the intent of the regulators, I think the packaging is a little over the top, not to mention more waste in the landfill.

I’ll let you know how this experiment goes.

It is National Volunteer Week across Canada. Volunteers keep our economy going, especially in small town Canada. I realize that some of my readers are still in the trenches, raising a family and working full time. Volunteering is not an option when exhaustion is your constant companion. But for all you seniors and retirees moping around, bored out of your skull, why not do a shift at the Food Bank or help peel potatoes for a lobster dinner fundraiser? You’ll meet lovely people, you’ll stop thinking about your aches and pains and you’ll feel good having made a contribution to the well-being of your community. Put the remote control down, turn off Facebook and do something positive. Good for your body and soul.

Have a great weekend.


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