Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on November 15, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 4 comments

A celery stalker


“I like to eat, eat, eat,

Apples and bananas,

I like to eat, eat, eat,

Apples and bananas.”

Apples and Bananas – Traditional

And kale.

Many times, during my life, I have thought about becoming a vegetarian.

Luckiliy these flights of fancy pass quickly.

Like so many others who were brought up in my part of the world, and who came from large families (in numbers, not girth!), meat and potatoes were the staples of our diet. Mom would arrange for the purchase of a side of beef and my siblings, and I would form a production line around our lengthy kitchen table, weighing, wrapping, tying and labelling ground beef, roasts, stewing beef, and the occasional steak. In a family of 10, steak was as rare as an appearance of Halley’s Comet, once or twice in a lifetime. Tube steaks and brown beans appeared on a more regular and consistent basis.

Now, I certainly have nothing against those who eschew meat, fish and poultry. Vegetarians are lovely people as are vegans. “Judge not and thou shall not be judged.” So says the bible.

While I love a good steak, pan seared scallops or a turkey dinner, I am also quite fond of vegetables. As part of my (somewhat) healthy eating lifestyle, I try to have two or three vegetables on my plate every dinner. I have a two-tier steamer which cooks carrots, broccoli and cauliflower to perfection.

Unfortunately, sweets are also an essential part of my diet. My most recent addiction to sugar is in the form of mini pies, lovingly and expertly prepared by my daughter Ellie, proprietress of the wildly popular La Vie Sucree.

Now that the cold, wet weather has arrived, many of us are turning to comfort food. Recently, I made beef stew in my slow cooker. This might seem like an odd choice for someone who lives alone but I am a crafty, thrifty Scot (more Irish than Scottish, actually). When the stew has finished cooking and has cooled down, I put individual servings in containers and pop them in the freezer. Thaw and microwave at a later date when I’m feeling lazy and uninspired about what to have for supper.

We all have our favourite stew recipe, often handed down to us from previous generations or the latest version downloaded from Invariably, one of the key ingredients, a flavour enhancer to be sure, is celery. Celery is one of those vegetables that a single person should never purchase. It’s virtually impossible for one person to consume every stalk of celery in a bunch unless you happen to have a pet rabbit or chinchilla. After using a few stalks in the stew, the remainder go back into the crisper where they die a slow, miserable death. When you finally discover their remains months later during a cursory cleaning of the fridge, you are relieved that the Department of Health hasn’t come by for an inspection. Such is their pathetic state that you can actually pour them into your composter.

I decided to be smart for a change and share my celery with a friend. I was happy. My friend was happy. The celery was overjoyed.

“How does the rest of your family feel about celery?” to which she replied, “They think celery tastes like despair.”

Celery is a food enhancer, nor a standalone item, apparently. As a supporting cast member, celery shines. To wit, in a stir fry. As a solo act, not so much. You can dress up a stalk of celery with peanut butter and raisins and make ants on a log, but it still tastes like despair… with a hint of beurre d’arachide.

That got me to thinking about vegetables and how they can be described by taste and texture.

I am not a foodie or a food snob and will eat just about anything that’s put in front of me including every imaginable vegetable but really, why is kale allowed to exist? Some people say that cilantro tastes like soap, onions make people cry and the perfect human repellent is garlic. Turnips make you fart. I was going to use “flatulence”, but fart is much more descriptive. Parsnips are as dull as day old dish water and how about cabbage? Zucchini tastes like fog.

And then there’s rutabaga. In a previous life, I met someone that I quite liked until she made me rutabaga cookies. I think chewing on a frozen hockey puck holds more appeal than a rutabaga cookie.

I could go on, but I can already sense the wrath of the vegetarians who might show up at my doorstep and throw four month old celery at my windows.

Al Michaels, the venerable and much-admired sportscaster who turned 79 last week, says that he has never knowingly eaten a vegetable in his life with the exception of potato which he consumes with his steak.

A former neighbor and friend subscribes to the Al Michaels diet. He supplements his meat and potato diet with jellybeans, surely nature’s most perfect food. Milk is taboo in his diet as well.

“Food, glorious food,

We’re anxious to try it,

Three banquets a day,

Our favourite diet,

Just picture a great big steak,

Fried, roasted or stewed,

Oh, food! Wonderful food!

Marvellous food, glorious food.

Food, Glorious Food – Oliver

Kale, kale, the gang’s all here!

Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on November 8, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet


Many days, I feel like I’m going round in circles.


“All my life’s a circle,

But I can’t tell you why,

 Season’s spinning round again,

The years keep rollin’ by.

All My Life’s a Circle – Harry Chapin

Daylight saving time slipped out the back door last Sunday in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes, it is very difficult to get rid of an unwanted guest, but daylight savings is not one of them. We treasure the lengthening days of spring and summer. When daylight savings ends, someone slams the door and turns off the lights for the better part of six months.

Harry had it spot on. The seasons are spinning around again… and again. We have scarcely finished the last miniature Coffee Crisp left over from Halloween, when in the headlights, the “C” word is already pulsating. I saw a load of Christmas trees heading down Hawthorne Street last week (late October) and already I am dreading the first rendition of The Little Drummer Boy.

Spring. Summer. Fall. Darkness.

Fear not. I am not about to trash either Christmas or lament the shortening of the days. I admit that the joy of “Christmas past” is in the rear-view mirror. I don’t think that I have ever been accused of being curmudgeonly, but Christmas has lost a lot of its mojo for this septuagenarian. I will once again put up my tiny tabletop ceramic tree with its multi-colored lights, a few days before Christmas.

I am very fortunate in many ways. I don’t suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. I do sympathize with folks who suffer forms of depression during the dark days of winter. There is no clear cause of SAD. Less sunlight and shorter days are thought to be linked to a chemical change in the brain. In my case, this is certainly not the case for if it was, I would never have travelled to the Arctic to spend parts of three school years.

This piece is really about Chapin’s line about the seasons “spinning round again”. I know that I have gone down this rabbit hole more than once. I must be getting old and cranky (old for sure!) but I’m getting tired of hackneyed expressions like “rabbit hole”. It seems like the entire population of the earth is now burrowing underground.

At last count, there were still 60 seconds in a minute; 60 minutes in an hour; 24 hours a day and 365 days a year except 2024, which is a leap year. Yes. There will be a February 29th in 2024. I’m sure you’re delighted with this intel so that you can now start to plan your Leap Year party. Why is it that we can never seem content with the present? We’re constantly looking ahead to the next event on the calendar. I have a theory that living in the present may slow down the pace of life. However, I don’t believe in my own theory for a nanosecond. I live each day as it comes but those days just seem to be coming faster and faster.

As the darkness settles in, let’s not forget that the sun will continue to shine (literally and metaphorically as these are dark times).

And let us not forget those who made the supreme sacrifice during wars and conflicts with Remembrance Day just around the corner.

“Time, flowing like a river,

Time, beckoning me,

Who knows when we shall meet again, if ever,

But time, keeps flowing like a river,

To the sea.”

Time – The Alan Parsons Project

Have a great weekend

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on October 25, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet

First Kiss


“Just one kiss from your sweet lips,

Will tell me that your love is real,

And I can feel that it’s true,

We will vow to one another,

There will never be another,

Love for you or for me.”

Young Love – Sonny James


The best thing I ever did was get an education degree. One can’t have enough tools in the tool kit as I often opine to anyone who cares to listen. I actually don’t own a real tool kit. If you knew me well, you would understand why. I don’t own any power tools and certainly never entertained the thought of wielding a chain saw. You get the picture. I can write 1000 words but don’t ask me to hang a picture or fix anything.

Some of you know that I started my official work career as a teacher back in 1976 when I ventured out to the Peace River country in Alberta. I taught for three years before returning to Nova Scotia. There were no teaching jobs to be had in my home town and my career took a U-turn. I ended up in the non-profit sector for 13 years and bookended my career as a financial planner.

In 2019,after 4 years of retirement, I decided to dust off my education degree and spent the better part of three years teaching in Northern Quebec.

These days, I am substitute teaching which I happen to love. Most of my subbing is at the local junior school which means that I have a steady diet of 10–14-year-olds. I find this work satisfying and my hope is that being around young people will keep me young. “Don’t let the old man in”. (See last week’s WWW)

Of course, at a junior school, one sees the first signs of budding romances with this age group.

Do you remember your first love? Unless your gray matter is past its due date, you surely remember. And I would be shocked if you didn’t remember your first kiss.

I’m going to go out on a limb here but I’m guessing that if you polled 1000 women and 1000 men and asked them to recount their first kiss, the results would be dramatically different. Most of the guys would say that it was a truly magical moment. It was like the fireworks on Canada Day. Heart pounding with anticipation and then the execution of the kiss, carried the young male somewhere near cloud 9 as he walked home as if in a dream. It might have been the best moment of his life other than the hat trick he scored at his last hockey game.

Now, I haven’t done exhaustive research on those poor, unsuspecting women who endured their first kiss, but I feel certain that their experience with “first kiss” was vastly different. Having a pimply faced, slobbering boy, attempting to lock lips was as tempting as a bout of dengue fever. I believe that “endured” is the most apt description. A first kiss was to be tolerated and not necessarily a thrill.

“Young love (young love), first love (first love),

Filled with true devotion,

Young love (young love), our love (Our love),

We share with deep emotion.”

Prime time for kissing occurs during the courting stage of a relationship and reaches its zenith upon marriage.

And then children arrive.

The flame begins to flicker as sleep becomes far more important than romance.

Try asking your partner for a kiss while they are cradling a colicky infant. You might get a smack but it won’t be on the lips.

Some day there will be a last kiss.

I have been a big fan of the word kiss for most of my working life and it has nothing to do with love or passion.

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Have a great weekend.


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