Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on May 29, 2024 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 2 comments

Spring cleaning or spuddling?


Spring is a time of hope and renewal.

And ticks and June bugs.

And beers and burgers.

In our part of the world, we have the luxury of four seasons. Now some cynics have often opined that we really only have two seasons in Nova Scotia: summer and 8 months of poor skiing! This past winter was similar to those that many of us experienced as children. We had many snowstorms, a few of epic proportions, delighting those who love to ski, skidoo and snowshoe. Lots of grumbling by those who needed to shovel their driveways.

Spring is busting out all over. With apologies to Messrs. Rodgers and Hammerstein. The leaves are out. June bugs have arrived on our screen doors. Allergy season is in full bloom. Many of us take this opportunity to do a bit of spring cleaning. Just last weekend, I got out the feather duster with the long extension, and dutifully went through my apartment. What prompted this call to action was not necessarily the onset of spring. After what seemed like months of dull, drab, cloudy weather, the sun emerged. It is truly a beautiful thing when the sun is streaming through your windows. However, it also exposes one’s shortcomings and this includes cobwebs. I was walking down my hallway the other day and was rather appalled at the cobwebs hanging from various nooks and crannies.

One other sure sign of spring is Bulky Waste Collection days in the town and county. It is a great opportunity to get rid of junk cluttering up your home and garage. Everything from old sofas to neglected treadmills can be parked on the sidewalk outside your home and municipal employees will come along and pick them up. It is a wonderful service.

Recently, I stood outside on Court Street for hours waiting for the garbage trucks to arrive. I guess I misread the notice from the town. I put on a few pounds lately and thought that it was Bulky Waist Collection week!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and continue to learn new words.

We all know them and have probably worked with a few. These are people who have a knack of appearing busy but actually doing little or nothing. Folks in the 17th century had a word for this: spuddle: to work ineffectively: to be extremely busy whilst achieving absolutely nothing. It’s not always easy to spuddle but computers have made it infinitely easier. Theoretically, you could be in an office in front of a computer all day, frantically hitting the keyboard and never coming up for air. There’s a good chance that a spuddler is a) checking their e-mail; b) reviewing their Instagram page or c) playing Minecraft. The next time you see someone working hard at doing nothing, just tell them that they are spuddling. They’ll probably take it as a compliment.

We are all aware of the demise of newspapers. Gone are the days that we would eagerly wait for the early morning edition of the dailies and for those of us small town folk, our own weekly paper. Technology has overwhelmed the print business, and most people now consume their news, sports and entertainment from multiple platforms on their smartphones or tablets.

It makes me sad that we no longer employ reporters and writers who keep tabs on the comings and goings in our small towns. I used to be a writer for our hometown paper, The Casket but unfortunately it is now a shadow of its former self.

Bucking this trend is the Guysborough Journal. A family-owned paper, it has been in existence for 30 years, keeping people in Guyborough County and beyond well informed and entertained. I am pleased to inform you that starting today, I will be writing a monthly column for the Journal. It will be called Through Len’s Lens. The world as I see it.  For old times’ sake, why not go to the nearest store that still carries newspapers and pick up a copy of the Guysborough Journal. Or better still, take out a subscription.

Spring into action. Support local newspapers.

Have a great weekend.


Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Tri Mac Toyota!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on May 15, 2024 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet


Degrees. B.A. 1973. B.U 2024


What’s in a name?

What’s in initials?

I am frequently asked why I go by the moniker of P.D. My cheeky friends might chirp me and say Pretty Dumb. The truth of the matter is that growing up in this part of the world, having a last name of MacDonald poses some challenges. In my case, being raised as a Catholic, just about every second boy’s first name was John, a tip of the hat to the bible. What an unimaginative bunch we Scots are. Do you have any idea how many John MacDonalds there are just in my hometown let alone this region of the province?

In order to distinguish one MacDonald family from the next, the initials of your father were often used. There were the D.D. MacDonalds, the D.V. MacDonalds to name but a few. My dad’s name is Peter Donald so let’s clear up this mystery once and for all. I’m one of the P.D. MacDonalds.

When you see the initials P.C., what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Rabid political junkies will automatically conclude that you’re talking about the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada once led by the irascible John Diefenbaker. The P.C. party no longer lives. In 2003, the Canadian Alliance and the PC’s merged forming the Conservative Party of Canada.

Having mail delivered to your door was once common but these days, group mailboxes are in vogue and the way things are going, mail as we know it (other those annoying flyers) might soon be extinct. People rarely write letters any more or send Christmas cards. Most bills are sent electronically and paid online. Which begs the question. Will we still need Postal Codes (P.C.) in the future?

Is a Mac better than a PC? Just about every one of us owns a computer. One would think that being a MacDonald, I would favour a Mac (!) but as far as I know, my electronic devices are considered Personal Computers. This is a broad term to describe any computing device for everyday individual use. Laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones and other devices are all considered P.C.

You’re likely scratching your head wondering where this piece is going.

“Ball of confusion,

Oh yeah, that’s what the world is today,

Woo, hey, hey.”

Ball of Confusion – The Temptations

When it comes to grocery stores, I have no real preferences. I could just as easily do my shopping for President’s Choice (another PC) products at the local Atlantic Superstore as I could at Sobey’s. I can go broke there just as easily as I can at Sobey’s. However, since I decided that I would no longer own a car, walking to Sobey’s from home, an 8-minute jaunt, makes more sense.

A few times a week, I walk up Church Street toting a couple of reusable grocery bags. I grab only what I can carry at Sobey’s and then it’s all down hill back to my apartment. Most of you will remember vividly that going to a grocery store during Covid was like visiting the morgue. People were masked and no one seemed to want to engage with any other human being. Who will soon forget the one-way arrows posted on the floors of the aisles to keep people away from each other?

These days, the grocery store feels like the good old days. People will often stop and chat and get caught up on the news.

I would hardly consider myself a celebrity, but I do have a loyal following of readers of posts like the one you are reading now, so it is inevitable that I will occasionally bump into someone who wants to bend my ear.

I had a lovely chat with an old high school acquaintance in aisle 7 last week. He and his wife were shopping together, something you never saw during Covid. We hoed the usual rows and every conversation, yes every single conversation among seniors starts and ends with health. I inquired about the health of the woman’s mother. She is getting up there in years. Aren’t we all!

She said that her mom was doing pretty well but that dementia was setting in. She also had a bad fall recently which ended up in a stay in the hospital. In a discussion with a nurse about her mother’s overall condition the nurse said, “Your mom is “pleasantly confused”. (P.C.)

Pleasantly confused. I’m not sure about you but I think that description suits me to a T. I’m a glass half full kind of guy and I’m in good humour most of the time. That covers the “pleasantly” part of the equation. When was the last time that you walked into the kitchen and, for an instant, couldn’t remember why you were there? When was the last time that you met someone you knew from a previous life walking along the Main and you couldn’t conjure up their name? As time marches on relentlessly, these spells of confusion will no doubt increase.

Until then, I’ll choose to be blissfully unaware.

I have a university degree on my wall. It says Bachelor of Arts. 1973 (B.A.)

One of these days, I’ll just replace the parchment which will read: “Blissfully Unaware. 2024.” (B.U.)

All in all, that’s Pretty Cool!

Have a great weekend.

P.S. At school last week, I was teaching the students about the Gaels, the Highland Clearances, and famine, a few of the factors resulting in some of our ancestors coming from Scotland to the New World. I told them about The Hector and the replica of the ship in the town of Pictou. The Hector arrived here in 1773, just over 250 years ago. Several students in my class have recently come here from war torn countries. Something got lost in the translation as one young boy said that I didn’t look 250 years old!



Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on May 1, 2024 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with one comment

Child proofing or senior’s proofing?


Odds and ends.


In case you didn’t see it (shame on you!), my most recent piece was about death, dying and estate planning. Upon reflection, that may be why you decided not to read it. I received quite a bit of feedback as many folks in my age bracket are slowly coming to grips with the fact that we are indeed mortal.

I discovered that the purchase of a cemetery plot entitles me to two interments. It seems these days that there are endless promotions for BOGOs – Buy One Get One free. The crafty Catholics are right on board. I decided to check with family members to see if any of them wanted to ride shotgun. I suggested that we could form an “underground band’. It didn’t take long for one of my witty children to reply that the band could be called The Grateful Dead.

“If you go, then I’ll be blue,

And breaking up is hard to do.”

Breaking Up is Hard To Do – Neil Sedaka

Whether it is “puppy love” or a long marriage, breakups are difficult. Divorces have risen steadily in the past years although lately statistics seem to indicate that the phenomenon has levelled out somewhat. Let’s not spoil your morning coffee going into the details. Safe to say, some breakups are out and out wars while others are more civil and amicable.

That is, unless there are children involved. And no, I am not talking about the two-legged variety.

Custody battles are very messy affairs with more losers than winners. Against this backdrop, I noticed a story coming out of British Columbia last week. A couple was in the throes of a nasty and contentious separation. Sometimes these battles are waged in the courtroom with a judge passing judgment on who gets what.

In this particular case, the unhappy couple was not fighting over property, bank accounts or the subscription to the Globe and Mail. I may be barking up the wrong tree but from the brief description of the court case, it appears that these folks were fighting over the custody of their dog.

“A golden retriever named Stella is now part of legal history in B.C. after an upper court decision based on new laws that recognize pets as family members (my italics), not just property. The ruling is the first of its kind and stems from a claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster by a woman seeking to have exclusive care of the dog after she and her boyfriend broke up last year. But in his reasons for judgment, Associate Judge (S.N.) ordered that custody of Stella be split evenly on a week on/week off basis.”

I didn’t read in the court transcripts if the dog gave testimony.

Senior’s Rant.

It is often said that as we age in our golden years, we become more childlike. The neurons aren’t firing quite as quickly and getting out of bed in the morning resembles a child learning how to walk…or crawl.

I try my hardest to stay in good shape. I walk every day. Ditto for chair yoga. Trust me, I’m not lifting any heavy weights, but I do bicep curls with small dumbbells. I’m not about to enter an arm wrestling competition any time soon. So why is it that manufacturers make packaging almost impossible to open whether you’re a 2-year-old or a 72-year-old?

Last weekend I decided to make a batch of spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker. Preparations were going smoothly until I tried to open a jar of Classico tomato and basil pasta sauce. I know that I’m not as strong as I once was but trying to get the lid off the jar was borderline ridiculous. My first feeble attempt was unsuccessful as I grunted and groaned. I then took the end of a heavy carving knife (the wooden handle) and started tapping gently around the edge of the lid. I believe I uttered a few profanities. I then ran the lid of the jar under hot water which often does the trick. No luck. I swore some more. I then resorted to an old trick by wrapping an elastic band around the lid. I don’t pretend to understand the physics of this maneuver but after repeated attempts and more expletives, the lid finally popped off.

The spaghetti sauce turned out beautifully and then it came time to eat. I’m quite lazy as I opted to buy a can of parmesan cheese instead of buying the real McCoy. Try as I may, I simply could not twist off the top of the container to remove the paper seal on the inside. I was reduced to taking a toothpick and puncturing holes in the paper in order to extricate the parmesan.

Maybe this is all a sinister plan to drive old people crazy.

It certainly helps us to remember how to swear.

Have a great weekend.



Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.