Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 31, 2022 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

Len writing his very last Monday Morning Musings

 

This will be my last Monday Morning Musings.

This is not an early April Fool’s joke.

After ten years and nearly 1300 posts, I am going to scale back on my writing. Coming up with fresh material twice a week, every week, is getting harder and harder. I’m sure it is mostly age related. Of course, when I started out, I had no idea that a few harmless stories would take me to where I am today. Thursday will be my final Thursday Tidbits.

However, rather than abandon you and cause withdrawal symptoms (!), my plan is to do one story a week on Wednesdays. It will be called Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom. So now, rather than MMM and TT, it will be WWW. I will continue to do the Wednesday piece until I run out of gas.

It has been a lot of fun penning these pieces. I have enjoyed meeting new people through my writing. Some of you, I have never met in person, but I feel I know you every time your name pops up. Hearing your comments and reactions has made it all worthwhile.

Of course, none of us are indispensable and once I am done, there will be lots of other options to capture your imagination.

So, look for my first Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom on Wednesday, February 9th. at 6:00 a.m.

My experiment with podcasts is over. I wanted to try something different, but it appears that you prefer my short, easy to read written pieces. Fair ball. Pete and I had a lot of fun producing them, but the response was tepid, to say the least. A small number of you sent donations to produce more episodes and we will honor those contributions with one last podcast on Saturday, February 5th. I am not surprised. The vast majority of my readers grew up cherishing the written word and we are creatures of habit. Some of you are regular podcast consumers but it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Regarding last Monday’s post about online dating guidelines, I received a huge response. There appears to be a large Lonely Hearts Club out there trying to figure out a way to meet people in the “third period of life”. My original intention was to just post the guidelines but as is often the case, something struck me as funny, and I went off on a wild tangent. A dear old friend sent me a message with her vivid memories of the charade that took place every week at the Saturday dances.

Len: You brought me right back to the Parish Centre dances with “like a crow in heat”. I literally belly laughed at that description as that is exactly how I remembered it as well except from a female perspective. As young women we would sit in rows in the bleachers waiting for the guys to walk across that huge mostly empty floor (unless it was near closing time), climb the stairs and try to persuade the lady of their dreams to dance with them. Most times if she didn’t agree they would move on to the next lady seated beside her. If still no acceptance then it was the young lady next to her and so on until either someone said yes or he reached the end of the line when he would sheepishly retrace his steps back to the crowd of friends at the front of the stage if they weren’t all lucky enough to find a dance partner and be strutting their fancy moves on the dance floor listening to the latest big hits. Oh and I can’t forget the last waltz which would often be “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum. Ahhh…..the good old days…..thanks for bringing me back. Love it when you talk about the teenage years as we are similar ages, and I can really relate.” Thanks, SG.

Later in the day that the story was published, I received a telephone call. It was from none other than the “lovely woman” who had first penned these guidelines. At first, I was terrified to listen to her voicemail, fearing that I had offended her by taking her serious discourse and poking fun at it. I was relieved to know that she got a chuckle out of the piece. Truthfully, everything she wrote about online dating rings true. One of my readers told me that she was going to share the story with a friend who has been encountering difficulties finding love online. Thanks, JM for being a good sport but mostly for sharing your wisdom.

When I finally hang up the pen (mouse?!), these are the exchanges I will miss the most. In many ways, my stories were your stories. I just happened to be the one to have the nerve to say them out loud. I mean, what man in his right mind would write a story about the delicate art of laundering his spouse’s bras!

I believe that being able to laugh at ourselves might be one of the most underappreciated determinants of good health.

There’s no fool like an old fool!

Have a great week.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 24, 2022 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

 

“Roses are red my love,

Violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet my love,

But not as sweet as you.”

Rose Are Red – Bobby Vinton

Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away, so I thought a primer on romance was in order. Now if you’re happily married, you can book out and go watch an episode of Squid Games.

“What are you smoking, Len? Are you suggesting that you’re the next Ann Landers, dispensing advice on a subject you know little or nothing about?”

I know as much about romance as I do about cricket. Both of these things confuse me. All I know about cricket is that there 22 players on the field and that an average cricket match often lasts longer than a Hollywood marriage.

Many folks entering their golden years often find themselves without a mate. Maybe they have managed to remain single their entire lives or have lost a spouse. Others have experienced the pain (in some cases relief) of separation and divorce. Whatever the reason, many people decide to take another shot at love.

When we were kids, romance was so simple. Or so it seemed. You either found the person of your dreams at the bowling alley or at a Saturday night dance. For guys, it was our first experience with rejection and shaming. We circled the gym floor like a crow in heat, staring up into the bleachers, looking for that one unsuspecting girl who might deem you worthy of the last waltz. All too often (can you say ‘always’), that particular young girl had much bigger fish to fry than you. Getting “shot down” was humiliating but like everything else, you eventually got used to it and took up a more predictable and safer pastime like bronco bucking.

So, how in the world are older folks supposed to find love in the third period of life, especially in the middle of a pandemic?

Many have turned to online dating. Full disclosure. In order to pen this “advice” column, I had to do some scientific research so that I could speak with some authority. Truth be told, from what I can discern, most dating these days, in all age brackets, often starts on a dating platform.

After some stumbles and missteps, I decided to take some sage advice from a lovely woman who set me straight… after euphemistically stepping on her toes. She sent me some guidelines for online dating which I would like to share with you, my faithful readers. She was born in small town Canada.

Her words – not mine (With thanks to JM):

  • I generally avoid those who have never been married or raised children. Marriage and children teach us flexibility. (And penury. My words)
  • I tend to favour those with siblings because they grew up learning to share, compromise and consider others. (Unless the last piece of pie was in play)
  • I tend to favour those from smaller places or cohesive communities – like the Prairies, the Maritimes, or any farming community because we have been raised to help and consider others in making our decisions (All the while being nosy and listening in on a party line)
  • I favour those who remain close to their birth families (Close but 1000 kilometers apart seems to work well) because they were more likely raised in a loving home with good role models. Those with difficult childhoods are more likely to be damaged and have difficulty with close personal relationships.
  • Kindness, trust, and shared humour are the basis to any successful relationship. (So are red wine and margaritas). The rest, for example, great sex (Don’t go there Len) shared interests (Bungee jumping), physical beauty etc are icing on the cake. Without the basics (Like coffee with Bailey’s), this cannot carry us in the long run.
  • Being beautiful only counts in public (Some like me don’t look great in public or private so we don’t have to worry about that one). Once we get home, attractive is enough (I’m about a 3 out of 10 on a good day- I am prone to exaggeration) is good enough.
  • Equal financial security is relevant in the sense that it protects our own financial security and affects the power dynamic in a relationship. (See item 1 – penury)
  • Similar cultural backgrounds make life easier because it means we are more likely to have the same (low) expectations and play (Tarbish) by the same rules.
  • Political attitudes are emblematic of our attitudes to life. Are we more open-minded or more motivated by fear? Thus, liberal folks are often better suited to liberals than conservatives and vice versa. (I have yet to find a suitable partner who shares the views of the Natural Law Party of Canada. C’mon. Yogic flying is for real).
  • Attitude is everything (Unless it’s bad attitude). Does this other person have a sense of entitlement? (“I am entitled to my entitlements. DD. 2005). Are they judgmental? Cynical? (Gosh, why would anyone be cynical in 2022). Open-minded? A giver or a taker? Active or a couch potato? (I have never met a couch potato that I didn’t admire)
  • It is difficult to get the measure of a person except with time- in various situations (Like mud wrestling) and interactions with others.

 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

It is also a truth universally acknowledged that a man who has raised four children will NOT be in possession of a good fortune!

Have a great week.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 17, 2022 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

A blast from the past – Victoria 2015

 

“Life in the fast lane, surely make you lose your mind,

Life in the fast lane,

Life in the fast lane, everything all the time,

Life in the fast lane.”

Life in The Fast Lane – The Eagles

After going flat out for four months up north, I am trying to adjust to life in the slow lane. My last stint in Kangiqsujuaq might possibly have been the busiest I have ever been in a job. It was relentless. I was wearing many hats and every second of every day, I was doing something. It was satisfying, rewarding, demanding and exhausting. No regrets.

Now, I spend my days searching for things to keep me out of mischief and from allowing boredom to set in. With the spread of Omicron, this is feeling very much like another quarantine. I have watched way too much television and Netflix shows. It’s not all bad, though. I had the pleasure of Peter’s company for the better part of a month. Our bubble of two worked out well as we worked hard to produce ten podcasts.

It would appear that we’re hopefully reaching the peak of this wave of the pandemic, which means I need suggestions for Netflix shows. I’m currently watching Prison Break, Emily in Paris and yes, Grey’s Anatomy.

I’m also reading a terrific book called Shantaram by Gregory Roberts. It is a true story set in India. After reading the first 10 pages, I was completely hooked. I find it hard to believe that 5 years ago today, I was in southern India working with the poor. So many of the situations in the book, I have lived. I’ve been in slums. I worked and lived close to people afflicted with leprosy. I have experienced the crush of humanity in India’s largest cities and have been enthralled by all the sights, sounds, smells and colours. I miss the Indian people and especially Indian food. Coincidentally, I received a request recently from someone in Scotland for a copy of the book I wrote about my experience.

I am making steady progress with book #7. If I can keep my focus and discipline, I expect that I will have the first draft completed by the end of February. My great friend from Kangiqsujuaq, Mary Arngak, has graciously agreed to proofread my manuscript. She was a mentor and teacher during my time in the village. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Omicron has made its way into the village, and it is currently under lockdown.

I was in Halifax last week visiting a friend. Yes. I did a rapid test before going! We decided to go and see West Side Story on the big screen. The Cineplex Theatres in Bayer’s Lake were open for business with many restrictions in place. I’ve been to this complex long before Covid and it can be a zoo. Not this time. We had to arrive early and show proof of vaccination. The concessions were closed. The long hallway leading to the individual theatres was completely empty. It wasn’t difficult social distancing with a grand total of four people watching our screening. If you are a lover of music and dance, I highly recommend this movie. The dance scenes are incredible but don’t take my word for it. I have two left feet and left many an unsuspecting lass with permanent foot damage back in my teenage years.

  1. Back to the podcasts. As most of you know, podcasts are meant to be an audio experience. They are passive in nature. People listen to podcasts while they are doing other things. Pete and I decided to add a few extra things for those who actually want to click on the link and stare at the screen. We have incorporated music clips and photos but make no mistake, the podcast is primarily designed for audio.

As mentioned last week, producing a good quality podcast has costs. We had to rent sound equipment to create a studio in my apartment. There’s recording of voice and music. There are photos to be arranged with the script. There is a lot of editing during the process and afterwards. I decided to do the first four podcasts at my own expense as an experiment. We produced the raw material for 10 podcasts for Season 1. The first four will run in the month of January. To continue producing and airing the last six podcasts, we are reaching out to folks like you. Somewhat like PBS broadcasts, we are looking for “friends and supporters” of episodes 5-10. Each episode costs $500 for a total of $3000. If you would like to become a supporter of the Week45 podcast, you can send me an e-transfer at lenpdmacdonald@gmail.com. You can remain anonymous, but we would be happy to tag your name on the podcast if you so choose.

I realize that this is a departure for my faithful readers. I have been producing content twice a week for 10 years at no cost. I mean, who in their right mind would pay to read 750 words of fluff?!

Have a great week.

P.S. Please share this post. Thank you!

 

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