Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 18, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

 

Scarfing one down

“The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

Blowin’ in the Wind. Bob Dylan

“If you’re going to look like a dork, I’m not walking with you.”

This is hardly the stuff one might expect to find in a Hallmark card on the cusp of Valentine’s Day.

Some of you might recall that a week ago Sunday, we had extremely high winds and bitter temperatures. After a long day indoors, my wife and I decided to brave the elements and go for a short walk. I can’t remember it being this cold in a very long time so I decided to layer up and this included a rarity for me – a scarf.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve worn one. Come to think of it, I’m not certain that I’ve ever worn one. I poked around the closet and found one that was very plain. No fashion statement with this one. I wrapped it around my neck and tied it in a knot. This “tying the knot” (not to be confused with one’s wedding day) rendered one end of the scarf long and the other quite short. This is when my wife delivered her verdict on my appearance. With the temperature hovering around -25, I wasn’t expecting the sidewalks to be crowded with fashionistas.

I was asked to remove the offending object and this time, she tied it to make me look less dorky. She commented much later that I actually cut a dashing figure as we exited our apartment to face Mother Nature’s fury.

It was brutal outside and it was hard to keep one’s head up. About 1.5 kilometres into the walk, we turned the corner heading up Brookland Street. We were now feeling the total brunt of the wind causing eyes to water. I grabbed for my scarf to pull it up over my face only to find it no longer around my neck. I turned around and it was nowhere to be seen. We may have been inclined to turn back anyways but this gave us a convenient excuse to re-trace out footsteps. We walked slowly back home looking carefully in all directions. The scarf had vanished.

As mentioned earlier, the streets weren’t crowded. Actually, we didn’t meet a single soul on the outward journey and one lone college student on the trip back home.

I was more puzzled than anything so I decided to go back over the route one more time, checking both sides of the streets on which we had trod. I looked in bushes and trees and even under vehicles. If anyone had been watching they may have wondered if I had misplaced the crown jewels.

The good news in all of this is that the scarf did not come from Mills Bros. in Halifax. In fact, I was told that it was purchased at Value Village for $2.00.

I also coined a new word last week. I have serious issues with weather forecasting. Actually, it’s not so much the accuracy and veracity of forecasting that irks me but the hype by the media when bad weather hearkens. Any hint of foul weather (can you say winter?), brings out a litany of messages designed to increase engagement at media outlets. “Huge system coming our way”, “Blast of winter to hit the Maritimes”, or “Major winter storm to wallop the region” are all catch phrases (Thanks GMD) which encourage people to tune in to their favourite television or radio station.

Whenever I hear these dire warnings, I want to scream “Flake News.™

Have a great week.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 11, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

Our just desserts?

There’s an old expression I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. The recent changes and updates to the Canada Food Guide have me and many other Canadians thinking about what we eat. Although Christmas is now a distant memory, I’m reasonably sure that most people have dialed back their excessive holiday eating. Not surprisingly, more gym appearances are made in January than any other month of the year. In other words, we’re trying to get our act together… again.

“You are what you eat.”

Surprisingly, the Canada Food Guide does not have a category dedicated to sugar. I don’t think I’m the only confessed sugar addict. Back in the early 80s, sugar was often referred to as “cancer crystals”. Besides desserts, most processed foods contain traces of sugar and some of them, including fast foods, are absolutely loaded with it.

I have been repeatedly told by family and friends that sweets are ok in moderation. Unfortunately, I did not inherit the moderation gene.  When I smoked, I smoked close to two packs a day. Good thing I quit cold turkey when I did about 40 years ago. I am healthier because of this choice and I have saved myself a bundle of money. Two packs a day these days will set you back about $1,200 a month. You could afford a very nice home in Nova Scotia for that price or a one bedroom apartment in Vancouver.

Like most self -respecting Maritimers, I drank my share of alcohol. I decided on January 1st of the year I turned 60 (eight years ago), that I would put a cork in the booze bottle for good. I felt that sleeping better was a sensible trade- off for the momentary high of a glass or two of wine.

In the not too distant past I ran marathons and biked like a mad man. My neck and back now hate me for this excessive behaviour. There is nothing wrong with running or biking. Just do them in moderation!

You get my drift.

If you are what you eat, then what are you?

I am apple pie, crème brule, strawberry shortcake, coconut cream pie, oatmeal cookies, date squares, apple turnovers, Timbits, crullers and donuts.

I am mom’s pineapple squares, Evelyn’s lemon tarts, Effie’s chocolate squares, Nora’s fudge, Mrs. A.B.’s butterscotch pie, and Violet’s blueberry grunt. (A tip of the hat to old neighbors and friends).

I am profiteroles, Budapest roll, chocolate chip cookies, peek freans, cherry pie, muffins.

I am chocolate. I am death by chocolate. I am Peace by Chocolate!

I am jelly beans, hard candy, Oh Henry bars, coconut bar, crispy crunch, cherry blossom, caramel cake and Jos.Louis. I am plum pudding, fruit cake, cinnamon rolls, tomato cake, banana bread, cheese cake.

I am Nanaimo bars, rice krispy squares, butter tarts, lemon loaf, parfaits, trifle and sweet cereals.

Have I missed any? Please do tell.

I don’t have the nerve or resolve (yet) to kick the sugar habit but I’m working at it. I am fairly certain that sugar is my number one enemy and will eventually do me in if I’m not careful.

Valentine’s Day is lurking which usually means chocolate.

Maybe you can surprise your special person by purchasing them a lentil burger on Cupid’s big day.

Have a great week.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 4, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

The Rockies

Over the past six weeks, I have travelled by car, ferry, ferry taxi, bus, train (Skytrain in Vancouver) and airplane. I mustn’t forget travel by foot. I covered a lot of miles over the streets and trails of Victoria and Vancouver. I like driving less with every passing day and I’ve become a big fan of public transit. If you have time and you’re not in a hurry, travel can be relatively painless. Of course, every one of us has a travel story that has gone south, and I don’t mean Florida.

I have become a student of air travel and have adopted a few strategies that take some of the stress out of this mode of transport. Baggage is always a big deal so whenever possible, I travel lightly with only a carry on bag. It avoids the zoo around the baggage carousel and of course minimizes the chances of your baggage not arriving at its destination.

I’m always astounded at the whole check in procedure when you arrive at your appointed gate. Everybody sitting in the waiting room is going to get on the plane but when the first pre-boarding announcement comes over the loud speaker, there is a stampede for the check in counter. I wonder if those people pushing and shoving think they’re going to arrive at their destination before the others. Yes, if you’re the lucky one to be first on the plane, you avoid those other annoying passengers banging you in the butt with their laptop bag.

But if you’re the last person to board the plane, you also avoid the pandemonium and that is precisely what I have been doing the last several times I’ve flown.  It’s very calming.

The same holds true at the end of the journey. You know that just about everyone on the plane is restless having been sitting in cramped quarters for numerous hours. If you have a tight connection, then it is imperative to gather your carry on bags and beat a hasty exit from the plane. However, if you have a checked bag, then standing at a crooked angle by the window seat, trying your best to break into the lineup, is an exercise in futility unless you’re 100% positive your bag is going to be the first one off the carousel. How often has that ever happened to you? Never. I thought so.

If you don’t have a tight connection  and you have a checked bag, might I politely suggest that you stay in your seat until everyone except for the flight attendants have vacated the plane. You’ll avoid a hernia trying to twist your body to get amidst the throng panting to get to the exit. If you’re the last off the plane, you walk peacefully down the aisle. Barring a miracle, you arrive at the baggage collection section before the carousel indicator makes that jarring and sometimes annoying beeping sound.

Now those same people who pushed and shoved to get on the plane, then off the plane, are also likely the same ones who push their way to the front of the carousel. By the time they get to their vehicle, they are well on their way to road rage or a heart attack.

If you have the time, try my strategy some time. You’ll be amazed that you leave the same time as everyone else, arrive at the same time and collect your bags within minutes of everyone else.

If you just missed a connecting flight to the Bahamas, please disregard this post!

Have a great week.

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