Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 10, 2022 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

 

 

“Tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles),

In the wine (in the wine),

Make me happy (make me happy),

Make me feel fine. (make me feel fine).”

Tiny Bubbles – Don Ho

The first week of 2022 is officially in the books. Christmas decorations have been put away and people are tallying up the cost of the festive season… in the wallet and in the waistline. OMG. I was so supremely proud of myself when I arrived home from the north. I hadn’t had a drink all Fall and worked so hard physically at school that I had lost 12 pounds. That all went in the shitter in just a couple of weeks. It’s amazing how we can totally lose all semblance of discipline when the reins are loosened, and we’re untethered. I shouldn’t be using the royal “we”, but I can see a number of you nodding your heads in agreement. How does one know when they’ve eaten enough chocolate?!

I will be overjoyed when ‘tiny bubbles’ actually refers to champagne and not the isolating experience that most of us felt at Christmas. My bubble consisted of Peter and I and some dust bunnies.. and of course, my magnificent two-foot-high ceramic tree. This may have been the quietest Christmas I have ever experienced. It wasn’t terrible but all the customs built up over a lifetime seemed to have vanished. Having a creative son allowed us the opportunity to play some tunes and work on podcasts. More on this in a bit.

I don’t make resolutions, but I do have some plans and goals for the year ahead. No offense, Pat and John but I hope not to see either of you other than socially. Pat and John are great guys, both endowed with a generous sense of humour. They own funeral homes. As always, my number one goal is to stay healthy. With good health, anything is possible.

I also want to finish writing and publishing my 7th. book about my adventures in the north. Because I have done four, 14-day quarantines over the past two years, I was able to get a head start on the book but hadn’t written a single word in 8 months until I put the hammer down earlier last week. If I can write at least 1000 words a day for the next month, on top of what I’ve already written, I should be in good shape. This will be by far my biggest book in terms of number of pages. I hope to publish and release it in late spring if all goes well.

I had every intention of not mentioning Covid in this piece but that’s pretty hard to do when it continues to be such an enormous drag and a huge pain in the ass. All of us know someone who has had it. Most people seem to be experiencing fairly mild symptoms but not all. I have friends near and far who feel like they have been hit by a fast- moving train. I think most of us feel like there’s a good chance that we will get it before all is said and done. Until the rest of the world’s poorer countries get vaccinated, we will continue to see new variants, according to epidemiologists.

So, hands. How many of you watched Episode 1 of theWeek45 podcast? It had its baptism last Thursday. https://www.week45.com/podcast-episode-1/. You are excused for not watching it if you were doing something more important like emptying your composter or paying your Visa bill. It’s not too late to take a look at it when you have 25 minutes. We received many favourable comments. I know at least one family who listened to it while they took down their Christmas tree. Yes. Watching the podcast is OK too. You see, Peter has inserted some wonderful photographs of places that were part of the journey.

Episode 2 will be coming up on Thursday and will continue to run weekly for the month of January. Now this is in the experimental stage. I can tell you that producing a podcast requires a lot more than meets the eye. The easy part is telling stories and chatting. However, editing this material, producing music, equipment rental, and adding photographs requires time and money.

If the response remains positive (please continue to comment), our plan is to do an initial 10- episode season. That means that if there’s enough interest, we will produce another 6 episodes after the trial run. Not unlike PBS, I will be reaching out to supporters to help with the costs of producing the last six episodes. Once we fine tune the production coats, I’ll let you know the bottom line. If you become a supporter, your name can be listed at the end of the podcast if you so desire or you can remain anonymous. Stay tuned. This is a new venture for us and we’re trying to see if it’s something you want.

Hope your year has started off on a positive footing.

Have a great week.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 3, 2022 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

 

 

A podcast in the making

(Pete MacDonald photo)

 

“I’ve been everywhere man,

I’ve been everywhere man,

 Crossed the deserts bare man,

I’ve breathed the mountain air man,

Of travel, I’ve had my share man,

I’ve been everywhere.”

I’ve Been Everywhere – Hank Snow

Hardly.

Yes. “Of travel, I’ve had my share, man”, but there are so many places that I haven’t been.

I’ve been from Pomquet to Paris.

I’ve been from Sydney to San Francisco.

I’ve been from Kamloops to Kangiqsujuaq and Kannyakumari.

I’ve been from Bayfield to Barbados.

I’ve been from Victoria to Varanasi.

I still have the travel bug, but this pandemic has sure put a damper on things. It will get better, possibly later this year but even then, will it be really safe to go to a foreign country?

I have a partial solution for some of you. Come and travel with me in my upcoming podcasts. One of the most common comments I receive from my readers is that they are living vicariously through me. Most people won’t ever travel to one of the hottest places on the earth (India) or the coldest (the Arctic).

It appears that the younger generation and a handful of savvy seniors have been consumers of podcasts for many years now. The audio format lends itself to those who want to be able to go for a walk and listen to something educational or entertaining. Ditto for those who need a distraction as they’re doing the dishes or housework.

My son, Peter has been encouraging me for some time to listen to podcasts but in an odd twist, as we were eating Christmas dinner together (two of us rather than the 10-12 we had over the years), the notion of doing our own podcast started to bubble up… along with the champagne. Actually, there wasn’t a drop of bubbly in the house although there may have been a can of Bubli sparkling water in the fridge. We discussed the idea of creating a travel podcast for my Week45 website.

Those of you who know me well understand that when I get an idea in my head, I don’t dwell on it too long before taking action. To some, you view this as impulsiveness. I call it living.

Fortuitously, Peter had brought along recording equipment when he traveled home for Christmas vacation from Victoria. He used the gear to record the 10th Christmas album with the Sleigher crew in Halifax. Here is their take on a Christmas classic: https://youtu.be/nDh-DM96O88.

Pete was supposed to go back to the west coast on December 27th, but Mother Nature threw a nasty curveball. You see, Pete lives a few kilometers outside Victoria in a yurt. Now, to many, this is a romantic notion, cohabitating in the wilderness with all manner of wildlife, including a noisy family of big horned owls. From their early morning squawking (4:30), they may be more suitably dubbed Great Horny Owls!

Just before Christmas, “the big chill” descended on the west coast taking temperatures to all time lows. There were days when it felt like -20. This is bad enough for the locals, many who chose Victoria for its temperate climate, but when you live in an uninsulated yurt, it becomes a situation that is untenable. Peter spent three hours on hold with his airline carrier before making changes to his travel plans. With two additional weeks of holidays and with nowhere to go because of the outbreak of Omicron, we decided to record a few episodes of the Wekk45 podcast.

For the month of January, I will be doing an experiment and will need your feedback. You are used to you regular diet of Monday Morning Musings and Thursday Tidbits. When you click on Thursday Tidbits this week, you will see the first of four podcasts. Most days, you can easily read my posts while having your morning coffee. I realize that you are creatures of habit and that any change might send you into a tizzy. We have prerecorded the podcasts and most of them are between 25-30 minutes.

What can you expect?

Peter and I did four epic road trips in 2015 and 2018. We crisscrossed North America. Many of our travel adventures are chronicled in my third book, “Tales, Trails and Tunes”. We hope to bring these stories to life in a different format. There will be storytelling, banter and some musical clips. We are hoping you will take the time to check these out. I will decide at the end of January whether or not to continue the podcasts. Of course, if I do choose to continue, there’s an endless supply of stories from my travels to such places as India, Spain and the Arctic.

Here’s a snippet of music from episode 3: https://youtu.be/t7ht0dUu1fM

“I’ve been to Hollywood,

I’ve been to Redwood,

I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold.”

Heart of Gold – Neil Young

Have a great week and Happy New Year!

P.S. “I will not procrastinate. I will not procrastinate.”

Starting today, I will continue to write my 7th book about my time in the north.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on December 27, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Covid Christmas 2

 

“It’s just another Covid Christmas,

Sure wish that I had missed it,

Cause that’s not a fun day,

Make you wanna run day,

It’s just another Covid Christmas.”

Sung to the melody of  Manic Monday

We have endured our second Covid Christmas in a row.

It sucks.

I know that that’s not the politest thing to say but I know damn well that this is exactly what many of you are thinking, if not actually saying out loud. Of course, we all made the best of it. What choice did we have? We still managed to eat and drink to excess, were able to spend some time with family, and even found a few presents under the tree. My tree is so small and my friends so few, that I used the dining table! I’m joking of course… about friends, that is. I received Christmas greetings from all over the world.

“So, Len. Please tell us what Santa delivered to the dining table, other than your usual lump of coal?”

Without fail, some kind soul usually drops off a six pack of beer. You can imagine how thrilled I was to find a 5-pack of rapid tests. It appears that this is a “must have” gift and very hard to come by unless you want to be extorted by a scumbag online seller. If you happen to run low during the holidays, stop by my apartment. I’ll only charge you $10 per testing kit!

I also received a box of 50 masks, a handful of plastic shields, and a case of hand sanitizer. The most beautiful and heartfelt gift was a framed copy of my QR code. For the man who has everything.

I was surprised to receive greetings from the Queen. Personally, I would have preferred an autographed picture of Freddy Mercury. I also received robocalls from the P.M., Drs. Bonnie Henry and Robert Strang and a shocking, surreal call from Anthony Faucci.Dr. Dr. Isaac By Gosh and I had a lovely chat about epidemiology on Messenger video. One of my most cherished gifts was a 10- year subscription to MMWR. It is an epidemiology journal with weekly reports on morbidity and mortality. Riveting stuff.

My absolute favorite gift? I was humbled to receive an autographed T-shirt from former Nova Scotia Premier Stephen MacNeil. “Stay the f..k home, Len.” Touching.

What? There’s more? Sound like an old K-tel advertisement.

I received some gifts that can only be described as unique. I received a pair of tickets to see my beloved Habs play the Leafs. Montreal has been playing so poorly and with several players in Covid protocol, that mercifully, I don’t have to travel to Montreal. I was given a special dispensation from the Chief Medical Officer allowing me to stand three feet away from my girlfriend, and touch fingertips, a whopping 50% reduction. Oops. Great idea Dr. Stranglove, but as of this writing I don’t have a girlfriend.

I have always wanted to continue my education. After all, grade three was the three most difficult years I spent in school. I just heard that St.F.X is offering a brand new Masters program. Some kind soul offered me free tuition to take the newly minted Masters in Event Planning. The course will be conducted online. (Sorry to my loyal readers who are not from Antigonish. This is very much a local story, but it did manage to spread to other parts of the country).

“Wow, Len! You scored big this Christmas. Your apartment must be a fun place to hang out with the abundance of Covid supplies.”

I will be hosting a Loser’s Ball on New Years Eve. Come one. Come all.

It’s Monday.

“Its just another manic Monday,

I wish it was Sunday,

Cause that’s my fun day,

My “I don’t have to run” day,

It’s just another manic Monday.”

Manic Monday – The Bangles

Have a great week.

 

 

 

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