Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Posted on February 16, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet


Annie and friend – Kangiqsujuaq, Quebec


“And they called it puppy love,

Oh, I guess they’ll never know.

Puppy Love – Paul Anka

Earth to Len. Valentine’s Day is over, tossed to the curb for another 363 days. “Geez, Len. Are you suffering a Valentine’s Day hangover?”

In recent weeks leading up to VD, I waxed poetic about romance including dating guidelines. When did I become an expert on matters of the heart? And why, pray tell, am I continuing on with this theme? The short answer is that I am not talking about love of the human variety today.

“Raise a dog with sheep and it will love sheep.

Raise a dog with goats and it will love goats.

Raise a dog with people… you know the rest.”

Source unknown

“You’re barking up the wrong tree, Len.”

Those of you who know me well might be surprised that I would be writing about dogs. It’s not that I don’t like dogs. It’s just that I haven’t had a lot of experience with four legged creatures other than cats. Yes, our family had a dog when we were kids. Chipper was a “Heinz 57” specimen. While some dogs eat to live, Chipper lived to eat. Watching her waddle to the kitchen table was all the evidence you needed. I often wonder how she became fat. With ten of us around the table fighting for every scrap, it’s a little wonder that Chipper wasn’t skin and bones. Of course, we had liver twice a month so on these days she was certain to overeat.

Truth be told, I was nervous around dogs for the longest time. My edginess was warranted. When I was a youngster, we used to walk over to the Salt Ponds to skate. The confluence of two rivers overflowing their banks in a low-lying area, created the perfect conditions for a large outdoor skating heaven. When we weren’t in school, we spent every waking hour at the Salt Ponds pretending that we were the next Jean Belliveau or Gordie Howe.

In order to access the Salt Ponds, we had to go through one of the neighbor’s yard. On one such occasion, the neighbor’s dog took exception and came running after me baring its teeth. Before I could react, I had a 80 pound mutt hanging from my arse. It took a few of my friends a bit of time to extricate the dog from my rear end. I suffered a bite serious enough for a trip to the hospital. I suffered further indignity by having to drop my drawers and have a nurse poke a large needle into my butt – my first tetanus shot. I finally understood clearly the meaning of a pain in the ass.

With all the running I did on the back roads ten years ago, one would think dog attacks would be common. No, I didn’t carry a stick to ward off an attack. I had the comfort of my running partner. To say that Charlene was (and still is!) a no-nonsense person would be a gross understatement. On one of our runs out in the Ohio, a pit bull came running towards us, with harm in mind. Rather than high tailing it, Charlene faced down her attacker. She let out a string of expletives in a voice loud enough to break the sound barrier. I never saw such a frightened dog in my life. Its tail was between its legs as it made a hasty retreat.

On a few occasions, I have actually done some dog sitting. The first time was in Victoria when I looked after my late brother Tom’s golden retriever. Being a high energy dog, I was expected to walk Oslo twice a day which suited me just fine as I would kill two birds with one stone getting my daily walks. It didn’t take me very long to understand the true meaning of “babe magnet”. Now, in all of my years of running and walking, I have never been stopped by women who wanted to pat me or hand me a treat. It was hard to walk 100 yards before a gaggle of women stopped to worship Oslo. I seriously thought about adding a third walk each day.

Before I went to work in the north, I was cautioned about the preponderance of dogs. They are plentiful and often travel in packs. I’m sure that many a prospective teacher decided not to take a position for that very reason. It made me think about the old Jan and Dean song from 1963: “Two Girls For Every Boy”. In the north it’s more like “Five Dogs For Every Home”. Several of my younger colleagues became smitten with huskies and eagerly went and acquired a pup when news of a new litter spread throughout the community. So taken were they with their furry friends that they took to Facebook and Messenger, sharing every piddle and pee. I referred to their Messenger Page as “Pooch Porn”.

Fast forward to the present, if you consider a week ago the present. I was doing one of my daily 10km walks. I was out in the countryside when a dog came charging at me. Over the years, I changed my strategy when this type of thing happened. Rather than seize up, or worse still run, I stopped and went down on one knee. No, I wasn’t resorting to prayer. I was trying to adopt a non-threatening stance. I put out my hand as the dog approached, whispering sweet nothings to the pooch. He (or she) stopped barking and cautiously approached. The dog never got close enough for me to pet it, but the threat was over. I continued along my merry way.

I was a few hundred yards down the road when, low and behold, who should saunter up beside me but my new best friend. For the next 45 minutes, I had a companion. She (I made an executive decision and decided that it was a she) never came close enough for me to pat her but she was obviously happy to be along for the ride. It was strangely comforting to have a walking mate of the four- footed variety. A light came on. “So, this is one of the reasons people have dogs.” I made the turn to go back home, and the dog walked with me until she was back home. I hope she’s around when I do this route the next time.

So to all you dogs lovers out there, I leave you with this quote from Roger Caras:

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

Have a great weekend.

P.S. We are not allowed to have animals in our apartment complex which is puzzling. They accepted me!

P.P.S. Catch Episode 6 of the Week45 podcast this Sunday, February 19th.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Posted on February 9, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet

Frozen Fir


“If music be the food of love, play on.”

Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare.

WWOW! A new spelling for “WOW”.

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom.

This is the inaugural effort for a Wednesday post. After ten years, Monday Morning Musings and Thursday Tidbits decided to take an early retirement package.

When I announced last week that MMM and TT were about to end, one charitable (but misguided!) reader commented that she was looking forward to my mid-week ‘pearls of wisdom’. I assured her that these would be fake pearls. Someone else quipped that they would be ‘cultured’ pearls. I have been accused of many things. Cultured is not one of them.

So, what will I dish up for my first WWOW? Sadly, more of the same hearty goulash that you’ve been consuming for 10 years. A leopard can’t change its spots. Neither can a Leonard.

When all else fails, my fallback position is music.

After listening to one of the most amazing choral renditions of the old Toto tune, “Africa” last week (, I commented to a friend that I sure hoped that there’s music in heaven, or in my case, hell! She replied that by all accounts there is music in heaven and that perhaps I would just have to trade in my guitar for a harp. I mentioned to her that several years ago, I took harp lessons until my instructor moved away. I often wondered if it was my playing that drove her to the Elysian Fields. Actually, I think she moved to Wolfville which is paradise to some.

Then our conversation went a little sideways.

My friend suggested that I might be able to charm my way through the Pearly Gates (more pearls of wisdom?), like Orpheus.

There was a time that I was quite interested in Greek Mythology. I can pinpoint it to 1969 when I was a member of our school’s Reach For The Top team. I was invited to be on the team and there were three subjects that I was supposed to be the resident expert: sports, classical music, and Greek Mythology. My contribution to the team was less than stellar as I chronicled in a piece called “Reach For The Bottom”. (

I will leave it up to you, dear reader, to check out the story of Orpheus but guys, just remember this: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. In the case of Orpheus, he was torn to shreds by the angry women of Thrace. Apparently, he spurned their advances. Well, I certainly hope that I don’t get torn to pieces by a gaggle of angry women because of inattention! Of course, had I continued to play the harp, this may have been the sad outcome.

“I will play for Him on my harp; With my lute and ten-stringed lyre”. Like Cedars They Shall Stand – Dan Schutte

(Note to Len. If you do make it to the Pearly Gates, DO NOT play for Him on your harp.)

I would be remiss if I didn’t make a fleeting reference to romance with Valentine’s Day just a few days away. A few weeks ago, I posted a piece about guidelines for online dating. If you think dating during a pandemic is difficult, consider the case of Elizabet Barrett and Robert Browning.  Barrett and Browning are celebrated for their contribution to English literature and poetry. Against the wishes of her controlling and demanding father, Elizabeth Barrett started to correspond with Browning in secret. Over a period of 20 months, they exchanged 575 letters. This romance is not as celebrated as Romeo and Juliet but for sheer persistence and patience, this couple wrote one of the greatest love stories. (Ed. Note. I’m sure they would have appreciated Messenger and Zoom!)

Earlier on, I mentioned classical music. When I was in the north and had access to Sirius radio, I started off every day by sitting in a lounge chair with a cup of coffee, listening to classical music. I found that this practice had a calming effect which unfortunately was short lived. I remained serene until I entered the doors of the school. Now that I am at home and spend large amounts of time alone in my apartment, I have the luxury of listening to music. I usually have Mozart or Beethoven playing in the background while I do the dishes and make my bed.

Are you worried about getting old? Fear not.

An extensive study in the U.S. found that the most productive age in human life is between 60 to 70 years of age. The second most productive stage of the human being is from 70 to 80 years of age. As many of my readers are in this demographic, let us sing along with Bryan Adams.

WWOW – Episode 1 is in the books.

Have a great weekend and Happy Valentine’s Day… especially to the women of Thrace!!!

P.S. I am a third of the way through DryFeb. I’ve sworn off booze for the month of February and am raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society. My goal is to raise $1,000 by the end of the month. As of today, I am a third of the way to achieving my fundraising goal. If you would like to make a donation, please check out this link:

In conjunction with DryFeb, I decided to honor the memory of my late brother Tom who died of cancer two and a half years ago. For thirty days, I am walking 10km a day. Tom is walking with me. As of today, I have completed the first 100km, or one third of my objective. There have been some pretty messy days but compared to cancer, walking in an ice storm is really not so bad.

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Podcast – Episode 5

Posted on February 5, 2022 under Podcasts with no comments yet

Len and Pete chat about the first leg of road trip number two across the USA, getting lost in New York City, and avoiding some serious jail time.


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