Wednesday’s Words to the Wise

Posted on October 21, 2020 under News & Updates with one comment

Morning has broken


For the past nine years, I have been posting stories twice a week at exactly 6:00 a.m. Atlantic time , regardless of where I’ve been in the world. Sadly the streak will end tomorrow. Now, don’t panic! I’m not packing it in but I must change the time to 7:00 a.m. Atlantic. It has to do with my almost non-existent internet connection in my apartment. In order to post my stories, I now have to go to the school at 5:00 a.m., often in my pajamas. That’s not so bad right now but in a few weeks when it goes to -30, this might be uncomfortable!

Sorry to upset your biorhythms but this is necessary.

Have a great Wednesday.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on October 19, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment


“Country roads, take me home.


Do you ever feel like you’re caught in some kind of time warp?

I have written many posts on this subject before so you can go and check your Twitter feed, your Instagram account or feed the dog rather than waste precious moments of your life listening to me go on and on about the good old days. But I know you wont because you’re a sucker for nostalgia.

Everything old is new again.

I am still addicted to music from the 1960s and 1970s, so it comes as no surprise that I often listen to oldies while I’m baking or doing the dishes. My cable TV has several music stations, mercifully without ads.

On the weekend while I was puttering, I heard the song “Reflections of My Life” playing in the background. Surely you remember that 1969 one hit wonder by the Scottish band, Marmalade?

“The changing, of sunlight to moonlight, reflections of my life

Oh, how they fill my eyes.”

Nearly 50 years ago, I was single and a rookie teacher, moving to a northern community in Alberta for my first teaching gig. I had quite a bit more hair than I do today. I inherited a challenging class. I had been told by the principal that the previous year, this particular group of students had chewed up and spit out four home room teachers. Ah yes, the 8Bs. I’ll admit it wasn’t easy, but I can say with a great deal of satisfaction that I still keep in touch with a handful of those same students. Of course, being a neophyte, I didn’t have a sweet clue what I was doing but I hung in there long enough to be accepted by the students and the community.

One of my fondest memories from those days was performing music in the hallways. I was shocked to hear from my niece that this type of activity is no longer permitted in schools in Nova Scotia. Are educational theorists fearful that children might actually experience joy, along with Dylan and Joni Mitchell?

My lifelong friend, Dan, taught in a classroom kitty corner to mine. Every once in a while, when a change in atmosphere was required, we would grab our guitars and sit in the hallway playing tunes. The kids loved it and it gave us the energy we needed to get through another day. I also played a lot of sports in the north including hockey, basketball and badminton. And the occasional board game.

Fast forward to 2019. I am single, and a rookie teacher, moving to a northern community in Quebec for my first teaching gig in 40 years. I inherited a challenging class. During my interview for the position, I had been told that I would be teaching a difficult class. I’ll admit that it hasn’t been easy. Being a neophyte (for the second time), I didn’t have a sweet clue what I was doing but I hung in there and I’m back for a second year. I am learning what to teach but more importantly, I am discovering how to teach in a new era.

Last Friday was rainy, gray, and quite miserable. I keep my guitar in my classroom. It may well be the most important tool in my teaching tool kit. I had a free period. I decided to turn back the hands of time. I wandered down the hallway to the secondary side of the school during recess, guitar strapped to my back. I pulled up a chair and started to sing. As an elementary teacher, I am not often seen on the secondary side so there was a certain curiosity. I started with “Country Roads” by John Denver. This song is very well known up here. I moved on to “Hallelujah” by the other Leonard! Just about everyone in the free world knows the refrain. Next up was Raffi’s “Baby Beluga, a tune that I introduced to the younger children during summer camp where I was a volunteer. Because of the song’s subject, it is becoming a well -known tune in the school. I finished up with a song quite popular in the north called “Taanisi” by Twin Flames. It is a hybrid of Inuktitut and English. It was the first time that I tried singing in Inuktitut. I needn’t have worried about embarrassing myself because several students joined in. Give it a listen.  It is a great song, and the photography is stunning. I had a great laugh when a student came by and dropped a quarter near my guitar!

As I was about to head back to my home room, I was asked to come into one of the secondary classrooms to sing one more tune which I happily obliged. I asked for requests and was a bit surprised that one young man suggested something from “the man in black”. I know a few Johnny Cash songs and luckily the one he wanted was one of the ones I knew – “Ring of Fire”.

As I meandered back down the hall (MDB!), I had this déjà vu of years gone by. A grin creased my face.

I played my first game of badminton the other night. The stiffness hasn’t left my body yet! I also played a board game with some colleagues last Friday evening.

Everything old is new again.

“I’m changing, arranging,

I’m changing everything, everything around me.” Reflections of My Life.

Have a great week.



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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on October 15, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet


Fall golf in the Cape Breton Highlands


“The autumn of my life”

I was humming that old Bobby Goldsboro song the other day as the days become shorter and shorter up north. I think we’re much closer to winter than fall these days as darkness arrives earlier and earlier. Locals tell me that at this time of the year, we lose 15 minutes of daylight every day.

I was hoping to use a few of the lyrics of this song released in 1968. However, when I looked up the words and realized that it was about a man leaving his family, I decided that this was not the metaphor I wanted for this piece!

Unless some drug company magically comes up with an anti-aging pill, many of us find ourselves in the autumn of our life. Lest you think that this is a depressing post about growing old, I happen to love autumn. I also happen to love being 69 even though I recoil occasionally when I wonder how this could have possibly happened. How did I get from being sure footed and supple to someone who now gingerly and cautiously walks down a flight of stairs watching every step? And whose joints ache most of the time and tying my laces constitutes a yoga workout.  Of course, transitioning to progressive lens several years ago required learning new skill sets. A few years ago, while doing music therapy in a nursing home, I was coming down a flight of stairs carrying my guitar and song books when I missed the last step, rupturing a quadricep muscle. The home’s administrative staff were prepared to take me in as a resident without applying!

It is hardly surprising that I spend quite a bit of time chatting with people my own vintage and it is interesting to hear what they want from life heading in to their “golden years”. I always laugh when I think about a couch pillow I once saw that said “The only thing golden about the golden years is the color of my pee.”

Many of us still have the yen (rupees… euros) to travel but Covid has thrown a soggy blanket over that. It is not impossible to travel these days, but it has become a riskier and less desirable proposition. Yes, lineups are considerably shorter, but the safety protocols add another layer to an ofttimes tedious process, especially if one is traveling abroad.

My independent survey of “silver seniors” tells me that what most folks my age want can be narrowed down to a few key themes. At the top of everyone’s list is good health. We badly want to be well and stay well as long as possible so that we might enjoy more sunrises and sunsets, walks in the park or sharing an ice cream cone with a grandchild. Or curling up on the couch with a good book. Most of us know that it is incumbent upon each of us to work at wellness. Many of us have moderated our lifestyles (I still eat far too many sweets) and realize the importance of regular exercise.

Many of us are alone either by choice or circumstance. While being independent and free has its appeal and is quite liberating, having companionship is life giving. Single seniors want to love and be loved. They want sincerity, honesty and fidelity in a partner, mixed with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor.

I think they call this friendship.

“Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call. And I’ll be there, you’ve got a friend.”

You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King

Have a great weekend.


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Highland Hearing Clinic

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