December 18th (The
last lunch before January 8th 2014! )
Wow – feels like a long
time since I sat down to write up a few notes! December has really pounced
upon us very quickly this year. Only seven more sleeps before you get to
tear into your presents!
Today was wonderful –
twenty of us! We had to add a fourth table so that no one had to sit in
Lou stated that for the
first time ever, we had live music! Many thanks to Bonnie Preston who
played Christmas carols on her Celtic accordion. She has promised that she
will send in a history of herself and her accordion to Stan for inclusion on the
OFARTs site. Barrie Thomas also took a short video of one of her songs and
also did a pan of the attendees.
Rants. Well, now I
know who the Rant God is. That would be David Smith. I missed a lot
of the rants re medical bills, cable bills, in effect, all bills.
The stretchy pants (not
see-thru or form-fitting Lulu Lemon’s as I am not a size 1) came in handy
today as the schnitzel is always a large serving. We were given fries,
gravy as well as the usual coleslaw. I so need a nap!
So does that Lulu Lemon guy!
What is it with Canadian companies these days? Great innovations, great
inventions and then what? Call me paranoid but I listened to a few
articles yesterday about how the CIA, etc., have put electronic spies into some
of the most popular games played world-wide by the public to reap personal data.
And, if the government can do it, what about the big-money companies? I am
still very sad about RIM given their excellent product and secure servers.
But, I tell you this, I will continue with my BB to the very last day when they
go out of production. I believe I have mentioned in the past about their
incredible help desk service, not to mention the great product. However,
I’d like to back up a bit and go back to the Lulu Lemon guy – he sure shot
himself and his company in the foot with that mouth of his. Don’t big
successful companies hire P.R. people? Or should?
It is crazy! I live on one of the shortest streets in Ottawa (Old St.
Patrick Street in the Market area) and there is a 10-unit 3-storey building
going up next door. Immediately across the street, they are rebuilding 4
units that were burnt down in a recent fire. They had to replace the roof,
as well, so that means more huge machines coming in. Then on York street,
they are enlarging the original Girls’ School – it is another heritage
building so it will be interesting to see the final outcome. On top of
that, Rideau Street is being redone. Close to Charlotte Street, buildings
are coming down with more high-rise condos going up. A lot of this is
being done to try to accommodate the students from the U of O. In the
Market/Rideau Street, the construction crews have been given permission to go
ahead with building 24/7! Please keep this in mind if you are planning a
leisurely downtown weekend at Les Suites Hotel/Novotel, etc. Oh, and what
used to be the Holiday Inn on Dalhousie – they are taking down the Union
Building (York/Dalhousie) as it has been declared unsafe – a new hotel will go
up on that corner. And that’s just in a small part of my neck of the
I could be missing out on a
lot of what else is happening in the “hood”, but I’ve gone into full-on
war mode when it comes to paper files, household crap, and reconfiguring the
newly available space. The basement still terrifies me as well as the
“spare” bedroom. I recently bought a new scanner with thoughts of
getting the photos out of the way.
That project is intended for
those freezing cold winter days in Feb. but I could have started it yesterday
when we hit -42 wind-chill. Thank you Winnipeg! The good news is
that we are already warming up. Honestly, Tuesday was so cold that I
didn’t even take Minnie the Mink out for a walk but stayed up until midnight
putting up extra window and door coverings in this old, old crooked house of
Glasses – if you haven’t
used up your huge allowable $275 for the past two-year period, you’ve got a
week and change to do so as our plan covers only for odd years.
Union news – the
second-largest union (mine) now has a new president, Debi Daviau. This
government is trying to kill off the rights of unions to defend their membership
and this is the worse that has been seen since the 30’s. That means that
my life will get even busier as I’ve been elected back in as the DFAIT CS
President. Incidentally, I am the only retired CS Sub-group president
across Canada – and that is totally unplanned. I have told the Institute
that if you want to see how the government will proceed, watch Foreign Affairs.
This spring will see the Institute start to train some of us veterans to go and
lobby the MP’s so you will see me on the Hill.
Our next live-music
luncheon, courtesy of Bonnie, will be St. Patrick’s Day. So be sure to
mark this on your calendars as a must-attend OFART’s lunch. HOP IT!
Oh – a word of caution or two – there are now officially two of us from the
grand province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Bonnie hails from the Rock
and I am from Labrador. And you know what that means – in enters the
Newfie Mafia. YES!
Shirley was travelling to Morrisburg for a day of culture and fine dining today so we had a Wordless Workshop thanks to David who brought part of his collection of Excelite hand tools and Jim with his rechargeable screwdriver. David disclosed that 50 friends and family have signed up for the Wives and Widows pre-Chrismas lunch to be held next Wednesday, December 11th. - Stan
Hey – what a day! For those
of us who are snow-lovers, it was incredible! I woke up a few times during
the darkest part of the night and wondered what all the hype was re danger as
the snow was barely ankle-high. Ah – the snow was that wonderful
beautiful snow-ball fighting heavenly kind. However, when it came time to
do the shovelling, I forgot the rule of using PAM. Thank you, Costco, I am
now fully equipped for the snow to gracefully fall from my shovel.
My next-door neighbour decided, for
some reason, to attack it with her broom. I gave her the “eyebrow” and
she explained that they had no TV reception because their dish was covered in
snow. Their dish is on the third-floor so I couldn’t help but I am glad
that my “stuff” comes in via h.d. cable. Also, I noted that around the
‘hood, a lot of the dishes are now installed on fences. Now –
that would be broom-high.
I went out for an early morning
walk-about and that’s about all it amounted to – I had to turn around after
4 blocks. Our streets weren’t cleared and the sidewalks didn’t even
have paw-prints or yellow additives. However, the trees were stunning and
the fresh air was amazing!
Okay – now we get down to business.
Our numbers came up to 11 today – quite forgive-able given the driving
conditions with the wind and snow warning in our forecast. The attendees
blew in with huge smiles on their faces to enjoy the company and great food.
Cookie outdid himself today with home-made pork-loin and lots of hot gravy over
your potato of choice. We have had this in the past but today was
And speaking of meals, he had a
meeting with us today regarding the numbers for Dec.11th and any special food
requirements. May I suggest that you contact Dave Smith so he can gather
all this particular info before next week so that Cookie can do his shopping.
For instance, vegetarians and those of us with certain food allergies/dietary
needs might want to get our act together. As for fish, he spoke of
tilapia and then Stan came forth with his wife’s method of cooking it.
Ohhh my God – this woman so absolutely knows how to cook!!
Many subjects hit the table today.
Particularly, Black Friday here in Ottawa. Dave is going in, much money in
hand, to take advantage of all the savings at Canadian Tire. Good going,
Dave! You are buying while I am ditching – every third Friday of the
month (or so) the Canadian Diabetes Association will come to your house to pick
up your extras as long as you label your bags with a huge CDA. I love it!
However, when bargains are out there – grab ‘em! The year I retired,
they were amazing. A titanium chefs’ knife set for 60 smackers?
Time for us to get our houses ready
for the next few months. Those windows and doors are amazing losers when
it comes to heat. I was watching a cooking program when it showed another
use for my digital thermometer. I was telling the guys when they all broke
into laughter. Hmmph! I told them that the cooking show guy used it
for his candy making and boil-em-with-oil thermometer. And, no, I didn’t
box their ears, but they did deserve it!
Membership cards are rolling in.
I was an Early-Birder and got my card for 2014 yonks ago. The rate is $55
and we saw, today, that if you are a member in arrears, you will have to pay for
the past two years, if it is applicable to you. Barrie is now a member in
good standing and we are proud of him!
What a day for bad-boot walking!
I went over early to try to get some J-cloths at the Jean Costu and they don’t
carry them. Then I slogged it to the Legion and it was 3 steps backwards
and maybe 1 forward! The strange part I encountered was that all the men I
tried to pass on the snow-packed sidewalk gave me strange looks as I attempted
to share the path with them. Since when are we women supposed to get off
the path and sink in the snow so these un-employed guys can go past? And
this should only apply to women? Grrrr.
Okay – gird thy loins – December
doth approach. I looked at my calendar and I consider myself lucky – I
have 12 days free!! Wahoo! Oops, now 10. The big Xmas party at
DFAIT is on the 20th and it just is now scheduled. Okay, now down to 9
free days only left in DEC. This is getting nuts and why does this all
have to happen in December?
Good news - we are now moving into
the last few weeks of November. Soon the snow will fly and stay. Our days will
brighten with it and for snow lovers, it will be heaven.
My Trip - The shopping in Perth and
Westboro was great. However, we were all in shock in Perth when we jay-walked
there. The traffic actually stopped a half block back when they saw us looking
both ways. All of us said – how unlike Ottawa! Here, as a pedestrian, you take
your life in your hands crossing St. Patrick on a green light! However, at least
you know that if you get hit here, at least the drivers will do you the favour
of backing up over you so that you don’t have to freeze to death while waiting
for the ambulance that someone might or might not remember to call after
they’ve finished texting or tweeting.
And, speaking of food, the meals at
Michael’s Table in Perth totally lived up to its reputation. No one could
fault their meal in any way. If anything, we had too much food on our plates. I
had the fish and chips and it was amazing. Crispy and crunchy on the outside,
with amazing moist and fresh halibut on the inside. When it came to the chips
– not so good. But I’m very fussy as I’ve been spoiled by Dunn’s on
Elgin. The absolute best in Ottawa, and I know my fries! My seatmate had the
pork snitchzel – the serving was huge and she enjoyed every bite.
Back to Ottawa - Cranes, cranes,
everywhere a crane. Talk about ……. Just a slight variance on that great
classic song, but for those of us that live downtown, they are now a part of our
streetscape. Houses are getting smashed down, building is rampant, and there is
hardly a street in the downtown area that isn’t being reconfigured. (At one
point in time, if you used the words “smashed” and “rampant” along with
Lowertown, it would be synonymous with crime.) As for reconfigured, that can be
a good thing and it can be a bad thing. Everything is arguable, n’est pas?
Today, again, the Dirty Dozen skulked
in! This time we had an addition - a posse of five. We had Spareribs today and
there was much darkening of the doors (in a good way) and a rapid filling of the
seats. Drinks of choice hit the table and, if we had napkins, they would have
been wrapped around our necks with much eagerness! Please sir, can I have more?
Cookie is using a new type of fries and they were quite good.
You know who was a topic of
conversation at our table. If I might borrow Dr. Dave’s phrase – what a
bully after he knocked down the female counsellor. Maybe this is how he plans to
run as Prime Minister in the next Federal election. Somehow or another, I think
the washed and intelligent will quite blunt that vote. And which party will he
run in – the Conservatives are trying greatly to pretend that he isn’t one
To address another comment of Dr.
Dave’s – Mike Duffy now has a neck as he is no longer troughing in such
common style at the Senate’s table. But, he could still swing from it if the
Horsemen have their way. Who is next, I wonder? Pammy is making lots of
aggressive/defensive noises while we hear nothing from Mr. Brazeau. Gee, I
wonder which penthouse he is living in? And didn’t Harper appoint these three?
Oops, I nearly forgot to mention who
the new Mr. No-neck is – yes, you got it. Mr. new-to-a-gym-for-2-hours-a-day.
It probably took him 2 hours to learn how to spell gym. Have you noticed how he
starts a sentence and then it gets progressively more maniacal? Harper, version
Wow – to get away from those
windbags – we really had some strong winds the other night. I was severely
sawing logs when the wind ripped the Friendship flag from the corner of my house
at 1:13 am. Thousands of households were without power around that time, as
well. So, friends, sometimes it isn’t a bad thing to live within a project –
the City had the power lines buried just around the time of the Ice Storm. So
apart from a lack of sleep, I had all the amenities we need in our busy
connected lives and could attend my union meetings, showered, home-fed and
over-coffee’d, as usual.
I just heard via the CBC that the
Anti-Bullying Law is now in effect. Thank you, God. However, there wasn’t any
info given on what happens if a 12-year old bullies a little 9-year old and what
the consequences are. All I know is that a few decades ago (ok, ok, maybe 5 or
so), if my parents ever caught me doing something so stupid as that, I would be
not only grounded, but given the what-for!
Before I forget, Dr. Dave brought up
a web-site he has found out about that will provide him with glasses at an
exceptional amount of savings. Please get your P.D. settings from your
optometrist as this site requires it. I haven’t gone to it yet, so you shall
just have to check it out. Before I forget, the site is zinni.com.
We all had a laugh about the recent
survey of the Harvard students as to what the capital of Canada is. It would
appear that they only know provinces but one smart Yank did say Toronto. And how
many miles is that off the mark? There was one student who immediately piped up
“Ottawa!” and was exposed by the interviewer to be a Canadian.
Well, all – our Legion has some new
additions – two really important ones. There is now a Keurig and the other is
an ATM. There is also, now, a notice board which carries the names and addresses
of hospitals to augment the emergency paddles in case someone has a heart
attack. Those fries – we will pay for them!
Chuckie is looking great and is
sharper than ever! Well done!
More and more of the new currency
bills are coming out in polymer or some much material. Please flip-flop the
bills in your purse or wallet so that the plastic parts don’t face each other.
This way, the bills won’t stick together and you could wind up handing over a
few $50’s instead of one, etc. (This tip comes from Roger the Dodger.) Also,
the banks are finding themselves short of actual change – I found this out
yesterday when I lugged my very heavy handbag over to a mortar and bricks bank.
Also,btw, Cookie was short-changed by an ATM recently, so it’s a good idea to
ask for a receipt in case your cash comes up short. Btw, the verdict is still
out as what to do if you are visiting an ATM at night. As for me, this isn’t
an issue as I am in my jammers by 4pm.
Well, men do not see colour in the
way that we women appreciate! I just had my hair colour “refreshed” today in
a lovely copper tint and it kept being referred to as orange. Okay – maybe
orang-ish, they would add. However, this led to a conversation that not so long
ago, barbers had to take hair-colouring courses if they wished to keep their
jobs and a lot of the barbers refused.
I must apologize that I couldn’t
include other subjects but there was so much yelling and Cross-Talk that I
couldn’t pick up what was going on around the tables. But there were many
smiles, especially from Bill as he had just had both eyes done and is now
looking so much younger.
Without his glasses, that is.
Cataract surgery is abounding. I wonder if we are not paying for all of those
devices we stare at on such a regular basis.
Wendy graced the Legion today and it
is always wonderful to see another lady – she didn’t stay for lunch but
instead dropped in for a few moments and it was great to catch up.
This weather is crazy! I was out
walking with Donna on Saturday afternoon and heard a familiar warble. Sure
enough, it was a Robin red-breast. I hope s/he has flown by now. For some
reason, I didn’t hear the geese skeining but they are gone.
Shirley was shopping in Westport
The Knitter and the Sweater
Once again, the good guys (and gals)
survived and thrived through another big wind storm in Ottawa earlier this week.
For those of you not living in Ottawa, the huge cranes were ordered to stop
working once the wind hit a certain K. As for my little spot on the map, I had
tons of power and used them to work on my cross-word puzzles and therefore, I
wasn’t aware I no longer had a land-line phone, internet and TV. Only a knock
on the door from a construction worker announcing this problem, brought it to
light. This was soon remedied when I piggy-backed onto my neighbour’s network
who is a Bell user. And, funnily enough, I bailed him out last evening when Bell
went down due to the major construction going on just beside him. Rule of thumb
– if your neighbour uses Bell, Rogers, etc., go with another carrier.
Smoked meat today, and surprise, we
got dessert, too. Coconut Cake. I won’t rat out Roly or Barrie by how many
pieces they had but everyone said the cake was good. Cookie has decided that it
will be our dessert for our Xmas lunch.
Xmas! My God – it is coming up very
quickly … I won’t say how many days because then I will stress myself out.
Just to suffice it as to say that we will sit down and eat a wonderful meal with
our friends and their spouses on Dec.11th. Cookie and the Legion staff out-do
themselves and take great pride for our “do”.
Okay, I know you all have been hanging on with baited breath as to how the show-n- tell went today. Jim brought in a record of his furnace cost output and had put in a lot of work in finding out that the wiring had been done “wrongly”. He found a much more efficient and correct way and proceeded to fix it. Good one, Jim!
And you will even find a photo on ofarts.ca site that shows Jim being presented with the 5U4 award for doing so. The photo was taken today.
Next, our very own Dr. Dee (Dave
Smith) brought in some flyers and out of three of them, two dared to print the
word Christmas in big letters. The American flyer said Holidays and I am
boycotting this home improvement centre.
Naturally, my show-n-tell didn’t excite anyone apart from the fact that it was endorsed by the American Red Cross. And there I was feeling quite chuffed with my purchase – hmph! Okay, I brought in a trio of multi-functioning emergency lights I got at Costco.
a nightlight, (for scaredy cats??), a notifier that you have no power in your
house and if not, it will light up your required area, plus it then triples into
a great flashlight. If only it would stop those “spare change, spare change”
spongers who are becoming very very aggressive here.
At the risk of never winning the 5U4
again, I committed a great offense today. After this spare change sponger became
very aggressive on Montreal road, I found myself telling her to just shut up and
go away. She was sporting good clothing, a high-maintenance hairdo, lighting up
a ciggie – not to mention, she sure could put in a good day’s work on a
construction site. What really pushed me over the edge is that she kept raising
her voice as she kept asking for spare change like it was her right to have my
change, whether spare or not!
And now, to the matter of numbers, as
they always do. Again, the Dirty Dozen showed up minus one. We missed Ron
Belanger today but he was with us in spirit. Also, we had Bonnie Preston show up
and enjoy the smoked meat platter – always a good meal. Justice was done and
done again as the meal was so delicious. Mr. No Fries Allowed cleaned his plate,
B.Tee scraped off the lining of his plate, and Chuckie and his wife will be
enjoying those sandwiches for dinner. I wish I knew where Cookie gets that
smoked meat – it is fabulous! You can taste the nutmeg in them.
So – do a little dance, make a
little love(ly) sandwich, get a pizza, make happy! The Senators charged finally
got to their ending. What an awfully long drawn out affair about the financial
defrauding of the public purse. Gee – if we had done this at our tiny level,
we would have been trounced out of office within weeks, and that would have been
with “due justice”. But, I’m sure, when it comes to the office of Steven
Harper, Mr. Control of all Control Gods, he would be looking at his re-election
chances in 2015 and balancing the outcome. And that outcome, he probably won’t
Also, as for the Senate, the person
in charge of the financial section obviously hadn’t been doing their job in
this case allow these claims to go through. That person should be made an
example of – at the very least, his/her PMP should reflect this.
And speaking of reflections – now
we come to the Ghost of Gary. A few weeks ago, Gary and I got into a friendly
exchange of opinions on CBC versus CFRA. On the night that I no longer had
Internet, I turned on the radio, did more cross-words and searched for a good
classic music channel. Ahhh - I slept like a dream. The next morning when I got
up, I was making my Tassimo coffee and was shocked to hear Noel Green being his
over-obnoxious self. Ok – I am a reasonable person so I listened to this idiot
ranting and raving for an hour. Then I patiently listened to another 15 minutes
until Idiot-Box took another call and was asked a reasonable question to which
Idiot-Box didn’t have an answer. Idiot-Box promptly replied “you can only
ask a question once a week. Next caller!”
Okay, here’s today’s
take! We managed to get up to a Dirty Dozen again. This time we were
assisted by the presence of two faeries. Selling poppies, they were –
and they had buyers. Good one, guys.
Roly stole the Show-n-Tell
again!! That Roly guy….but, the photos were stunning. There was
one of the Poppy ladies that looked like she wanted to buy them but Roly and
Barrie were too into discussing how to change this and that, and cleaning up the
pixels with this or that program and what ticked them off with this or that
program, blah, blah, blah. What a missed opportunity to do some decent
flogging of good work – wahh. Lost money, you guys!
Lasagne today. Stan
stuck to his guns and got his fries. Others got theirs, too, as they
followed his example. Yesterday’s weather has started talking to our
tummies, it would seem. Yesterday, I had three breakfasts and an early
lunch! I also logged in a 10K hike, so – hey, no guilt on me ))
During this hike, we came
across a few guys out in speedboats. Naturally, being nosey, as all hikers
are, we stopped and watched. They were actually “gathering” the swans
for their winter homes. We found out that there are 12 of them and the
runners that went by called out their locations. At first, the gathering
looks very inhumane but how else are you going to get these rather large birds
into cages so that they can be further housed. I will send the photos to
Stan so that he can post them. We saw the white swan being captured, but
they had also captured a beautiful black swan. Unfortunately, I don’t
have a photo of him.
Mac versus Blackberry versus
Microsoft hit the table – as it always does. Honestly, this is getting
too boring to speak about. But, the general consensus is that the IPOD
Much more importantly, other
items must be looked at. We have upcoming memorials and funerals to honour
our colleagues that have passed. Too, too many, this month. Please
everyone, check into the OFARTS.CA OBITS site that Stan faithfully
maintains. I am guilty of not doing this and have resolved to do so.
Please keep this up, Stan, as I hear hardly anything from anyone these days,
apart from Ron Pearce. Oh! – I stand corrected – Dave Smith has been
sending me some updates – God Bless.
Btw, I have been trying to
find out which missive referred to me as the recording secretary or some sort of
stuff like that. Please keep it up as it really tickles my funny bone.
Cataract surgery is coming
up again, for one of our attendees. Those of us that have been through it
assured him that all will go well. It’s amazing – you feel like you
are on a factory belt. After the drops, the surgery is like about three
minutes, and then you get to go under such WARM blankies while you recover.
You are out of there and seeing perfectly 15 minutes later. But, that’s
just my experience. I had a special lenses put in for distance and to
correct my astigmatism so now it becomes a waiting game until the next cataract
surgery for the “close” lens.
Hearing hit the table, too.
Some of us are developing very sensitive hearing and really appreciate those
that take the time to wear their hearing aids. It truly hurts when the
noise level goes that high. It’s mostly the distortion of sound, though,
that hurts the most. How well I remember the intense pain of my ears at a
late-night event. It was excruciatingly painful. And this was after
a most wonderful meal at the Black Dog in Manotick and then we all went to a
Sports Bar for dessert. Don’t ask. As for the Sports Bar, the
acoustics were intensively horrid with all that brick and glass – the worst
thing for those of us with hearing that is growing more sensitive with age.
Yes, there are more and more of us now.
White stuff hit this am –
and a good thing, too! These weeds have been the bane of growers of the
good things for much too long! Out, out, you damn burdock before I eat
you!! Okay – done that and yuck.
Today, I asked for a
discussion on protective clothing during a job. Various answers for
various conditions came up. It was mentioned that at one time, this
clothing was provided to protect against general dirt and dust and steel-toed
shoes. Eye-protection, to be sure, as well. I will take the
Devil’s side to the opposition and then we will debate. I’d always
brought in an extra outfit for printer day so ….
Hello again – we are already past
the Ides of October and moving quickly into the end stretch of the month.
However – we are still being blessed with such good weather – blue skies and
brisk fresh air – what more could we want?!!
And, today, we chowed down on cabbage
rolls and were honoured with John and Kawsar – it is always nice to see new
and fresh faces at our gatherings. Also, Andy Nemo took time out of his busy
schedule to show up, as did Tom Miles. Also, we must not forget the dedicated
Dirty Dozen who darken the doors of the Legion just about every Wednesday. For
the rest of the week, I hear that they skulk around Lee Valley Tools, Princess
Auto and the Public Library. Yes, folks, I hang my head in shame as I also do
skulk and I skulk faithfully. Maybe I can change but I doubt it. What? – did
somebody just say duct tape?
Well, today was greatly celebrated
and the conversation was animated, lively, interesting and the subjects ranged
throughout the whole gambit of External Affairs – even to No-Neck Duffy. You
know, I really didn’t have much respect for the guy but now that he has put
our dear Harper-with-the-Rug on the hot seat, I’m loving it! I still have to
admit that I plug my ears up when they mention the salary these Senate
On to much better things – Chucky
was looking great considering he’d missed us last week. Donnie Cole is doing
well and I heard briefly that he now has a special friend. Dave Smith is in the
midst of trying to come to grips with that Frost guy who thought he was Mr.
Special Spy. Mostly he’d like to come to grips with this guy’s neck, I
Show-n-Tell. Roly brought in photos
of his new mantel piece. Black granite, no less – Wow. He and Bev have been
getting things done in the house and they have been doing a fantastic job. Maybe
we might get invited over after they finally stop painting, refinishing floors,
the yardwork, the walkway, you name it – Bev is very full of energy – you
Well, that leaves me in the dust –
I thought that my videos of the destruction of the brick duplex next door would
wow everyone. Not so – the viewers I stalked at our lunch were polite, nodded
and smiled. Ok – maybe they didn’t recognize me – I was looking like a
girl today. (It was a spectacular knock-down of a brick home.)
Btw, Bill Neelin is very happy to
supply us with excellent eggs from his chickens – I read the very impressive
label but what made me order a box was the fact that these eggs are only days
old! Yummy yummy, scrambled eggs in my tummy!
Dates to remember:
December 11th is the OFARTS Wives and Widows Xmas Lunch at the Legion. Please remember to RSVP to Dave Smith at email@example.com so that you can be assured of the wonderful company and food on that Wednesday. (The cook has promised there will be some meat pies and cabbage rolls available for take-away on a first-ordered basis. Freezer space is limited.)
December 13th is the Xmas Lunch that
Barrie is organizing for us. And that is everyone, by the way. It will be at
L’Oree du Bois and you really should contact Barrie asap as the seats are
rapidly filling up. Allison and Guy highly recommend this place and considering
the high quality of the food, you don’t want to miss it. Here is Barrie’s
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan brought in the XP book I’d
given him and plunked it on the table. And wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to
bring the test to prove he is now a know-it-all! Ah, but we all know that he is
a know-it-all, we just wish that we know on which subject(s). Oh, and Stan
brought in Girl Guide Cookies for dessert today – good one, Stan!
Today, it was gray, it was damp, and
it was nearly miserable. Not so at the Old Farts as we all ambled in with smiles
on our faces, in anticipation of another lunch with great people and good food.
We numbered – wait for it! ---- another Dirty Dozen. We were actually eleven
ringed around the tables but our great pal, Chuckie, was just up the road a bit
so that counts!
We were honoured by a visit from our
still-new pilot, Gary. He earned his wings after much studying and getting in
his hours after he and Maureen built their light-weight aircraft. Kudos to both
Maureen and Gary for taking on such a project and even more so, by taking her up
for her first flight! Okay, okay – just pulling your collectible wing, Mau and
Oh! Before I forget, for those of you
kleptomaniacs, Moe the Finger is missing his Cross pen – it’s light gray and
was last in his possession at the Telecom reunion. It isn’t worth a lot except
that it’s a good pen. So, please check those suits before you send them to the
drycleaners. And if you find it, you can always bring it into Old Farts. I will
gladly accept it and a modest monthly donation from you so that your identity
remains a quiet secret fra nous. And ladies, if you find it in your purse, the
same applies )) Equality is a good thing! Money, I smell money…….
Gary shared some news re Rick
Steven’s funeral. He’s been in contact with Rick’s son-in-law and the
funeral will be in the near future. Please keep your eyes on the obits as I’m
sure that many of us will want to turn out for Rick’s final party. I’m sure
you will join me in the very warm memories of Rick Stevens as only Rick Stevens
could be – hilarious, kind, thoughtful, witty with his in-your-face sense of
humour. God love you, Rick.
If I might share a Rick story, here
goes. I went on maternity leave while in Singapore and Rick was the very happy
dog who got this amazing 4-month temporary duty in such a sweet spot. We invited
him over for dinner once our son was born, and the first words out of Rick’s
mouth were: “Lewis, I love you to death, kid!” After that, he became a
Friday night regular at our place. I remember my salmon mousse not turning out
gelled correctly and said – yes, I know it looks like crap but just eat it! He
replied: Phew, Oh good, now I really feel at home )) I miss his irreverence, the
quick wit and, well, just him. Please join me in a moment of remembrance for
him. Thank you.
And now for a moment in the life of a
retired CS …. I recently purchased a Samsung ML-2160 laser printer for my
re-elected Union position. I had finally hauled it out of the box and after some
contemplation, I decided to put it in the living room, close to the Union
laptop. Just as I was about to set it on the table, it was ass-over-teakettles
time! However, I had automatically gone into CS mode and landed bum-side down
holding the printer up chest-high. It all happened so fast that there wasn’t
any time to freeze up so it just became another hilarious occurrence in the tech
world of aging CS’s. Now, I’m very wary of just installing the driver –
what next? My TV might get jealous and fall on my foot, or something. Okay,
I’m running away from home now. Bbsm – aka - Bye, bye, send money.
Tomorrow I head out of town and was
telling Barrie this. You know, as usual, with about 5 other conversations going
on at the same time. Some people might accuse us of having terrible
communications skills, but, hey, it works for us. Anyway, Barrie asked me to
take note of the route that the coach takes up to Barry’s Bay tomorrow and I
agreed. I just didn’t tell him there would be a price. And, again, Money, I
Show and Tell: all that hit the table
today were my photos of the fire across the street. However, as bad a quality as
they were, it did show how terrible kitchen fires could be. We did a wise
re-cycle of them at Stan’s suggestion that we all send good wishes to Chuck as
he was missing our company today. That we did! Good one, Stan!
Our very own Dr. Dee is working his
pixels to the bone! He is dedicated to getting all the photos up on Old Farts.
While I am mentioning his work, he has also been kind enough to re-post John
Kruithof’s recollections of the passport debacle and how we all worked
collectively from many sides to get this righted. Please check it out – it
will be up there shortly – Stan is working diligently and has been doing so
for the past 10 years, as has Dave. There is always room for more volunteers to
step in – and if you have fun doing it, all the more power to you! Of course,
it would be kind of you to pay me some cash for that privilege. Money, I smell
Travel time is coming up – just as
the leaves are coming down. Barrie and Art were discussing ways of getting to
Florida. It no longer calls to me – cocooning with big fat books and warm
socks, a beverage of choice and the biggest bag of Cheesies available sure does.
For some strange reason, I can’t
wait for winter to start. Not enough bills coming in, I guess. Heck – those
are the only thing coming into the mailbox these days – wah! Remember the good
old days of a hand-written letter and the beautiful calligraphy?
Chuckie was well missed today – he
always has a nugget of humour that he applies at the right time. We made sure
that the buns were well wrapped for his wife’s squirrels. Shhhh! That’s a
secret from his neighbours.
Lou has now seen the photos of
“my” fire from last Friday. Holy Crow – you could see the smoke columns
from Billings Bridge. My neighbour was at home and took some photos which I
printed and brought in today. And Lou correctly identified the worst-struck unit
as having a kitchen fire. The unit has no roof whatsoever and I am surmising
that it was the grease that added to the colour of the smoke.
So, Wally Brown, your name is now
being mentioned which means that you no longer have an excuse to not attend Old
Farts. I promise not to pick on you for your first couple of visits – after
that, Money, I smell money!
Okay, someone is messing with my
numbers! We were the Dirty Dozen for about an hour, and then! We became
the Lucky Thirteen. I won’t mention any names but only to say our
numbers were happily boosted by a recent retiree who is intent on starving his
local barber. Okay, maybe not starve the barber but keep him in check.
And speaking of numbers, I must
apologize in case I confused anyone regarding this Friday’s Retiree Lunch at
the RA Centre. Yes, October 11th and please get there early as last year
we were too-well scattered around, grabbing a seat where we could. Ron
Pearce says that we should get there by 11:30 but that’s not taking into
account that you have to cue, everyone arrives the same time, and you have to
pay and get your name tag. Last year, around 11am, we got there and we had
our choice of a table. Close to the food, of course!
And, of course, we cannot forget that
we have an up-coming event at the Legion in December. Every year this
event becomes more and more popular and I shan’t keep the date from you – it
will be the Ides of December. December the 11th and again, let’s keep
this on our calendar. As a matter of fact, that’s an order ))
On another very happy note, our ears
weren’t assaulted by that Big Mouth guy – the level of noise coming from
their table was truly unbelievable. These idiots were standing mere inches
away from each other and they were bellowing at the top of their lungs.
Scarey. The good news is that the visitor only comes up from the States
once a year. He is probably homing in some aircraft hanger where they test
the engines on an hourly basis, sans ear protection, obviously. And if
you’ve ever lived near a SAC airforce base, you’ll know the noise level.
Well, even though we were a
relatively small group, conversations were entered into with great gusto to the
joy of all around. Dave started off the whole show-and-tell by producing a
well-loved monkey wrench and lamented the fact that the company is no longer in
business so he has to do cross-border shopping. What a pity to see
companies shutting down.
Today, we were treated again to such
beautiful weather once the cold temps and the fog burned off. The Weather
Office was reporting zero degrees of visibility in certain areas of Ottawa and
the surrounding areas. Thank God the accidents were very few this morning!
And then, once show-n-tell was over,
Dave produced his amazingly over-priced hydro charges. Holy cow!
Delivery charges are amounting to $100 a month – and this is for a cottage!!
Apparently Lowell Greene is bringing this up on CFRA – good for him!
Btw, I cannot stand Lowell Greene – I consider him to be close kin to no-neck
Duffy and a hand-holder of fellow that idiot senatress
Pamela Whalin who had served as ConGen in New York. That being
said, sometimes the biggest squeaker gets the oil. In this case, I hope
that Lowell serves this purpose well!
Another rant – this time by Barrie
who brought up that the roaming charges from the Canadian servers are close to
thievery given what we have to pay while in the States and elsewhere. He
should do an article on how to save on your phone rates while out of Canada.
Hop to it, Barrie!
Now, I have a rant.
That being said, too many idiots
abound – such as this government going off their flipping rockers getting rid
of civil servants. Hey – who pays taxes, who shops at the grocery stores
to feed their family, who pays their rents/mortgages/retirement housing, who
buys a car, who supports a family daycare, who pays for these senators?
I’ll just leave it at that. As for the idiots that abound – why does
it seem they exist in the Senate to such a degree? And they do what?
Just a few days ago, I’d mentioned
to Moe the Finger that I wasn’t happy with Costco’s choice of my MFC’s
inkjet cartridges and that Staples’ prices were nuts. He happily
forwarded me his ink supplier and I happily nipped over to the site. Hmmm
– the prices certainly were right and I promptly ordered up a supply.
Okay – they charge you shipping but all in all, you are saving a whole bunch
of money. Now we get to the rant – I got home at 2:17pm today after Old
Farts only to see a Purlator notice saying that they had been at my home at 2:15
– arggh. What’s with that!? I pay for door-to-door service and
they didn’t even ask me my schedule for that delivery day! Heck – even
Canada Post leaves the package between your screen door and the front door.
It’s not like I’m asking for a fridge to be delivered but I shall chew off a
few ears tomorrow – hey, I have the day off so I can do it.
And speaking of days off – phew –
aren’t they great!? For those of you retired newbies cycling through
your new schedules, you will find this comment funny. For those of us that
have a few years under our belts, we will all nod and say – leave me alone –
my plans and priorities are mine and mine alone. It’s called Retirement.
Disclaimer: My dates, memories,
rants, anti-political comments, union support and general writing mistakes are
mine alone to bear.
That being said, too many idiots
abound – such as this government going off their flipping rockers getting rid
of civil servants. Hey – who pays taxes, who shops at the grocery stores
to feed their family, who pays their rents/mortgages/retirement housing on time,
who buys a car, who supports a family daycare, who pays for these senators?
I’ll just leave it at that. As for the idiots that abound – why does
it seem they exist in the Senate to such a degree? And they do what?
Again, another new month! They are going faster, it seems. And just when we are in the midst of the most beautiful walking/running/golfing weather! And, hey, if forced to do so, I could even sit around sipping a beverage of choice in a pub-like setting with weather like this!
We numbered 10 dedicated
souls today! It’s becoming obvious that the majority of us prefer the
beautiful autumn weather so that we can get our fitness on.
The volume at the Legion
today was out of this world! And not from our table. These other
guys have some serious ear/n/mouth issues.
Naturally, the main
discussion today was the re-union. Barrie kept on about how sad it was
that he lost his best Irish joke. We kept laughing about the
podium-on-wheels episode. Unfortunately, no one at Old Farts captured it
on camera. However – not everyone has checked in, yet. There is
always hope that someone caught that beautiful moment – Barrie, bum up in the
air, the podium doing a free-fall and the wine committing suicide, all at the
same time. Nothing topped that for funny for the whole night.
And he wonders why we quit
laughing at his carefully-chosen jokes after that hilarious episode.
We all decided that Eric
Carter will be buying lunch for us all until at least April 2014 after winning
the big-money draw. Double up, you guys, I hear Cookie’s lunches freeze
I have to admit that I agree
with Barrie that we should have another one in three years. Heck, may-be
even sooner. We might not clean up so well in the next span of time!!
For me, it was really great
to meet the wives I’d only seen from a distance previous, and, as always, a
pure joy to see those again that I know. And it wasn’t only the wives
– there were many people I hadn’t seen in years and got “caught” with
not knowing their names. Unfortunately, I have one of those faces that
doesn’t seem to change much over time so everyone recognizes me. Good
thing I never became a bank robber, huh?
October 9 th –
there is a special Thanksgiving meal on the Menu
And then, before we blink,
Hallowe’en will be over and we’ll start to concentrate on getting the sports
cars (or sneakers) put away – some of us, at least. Time to lay in the
salt, get those safety walkers hung up by the door in case of freezing rain and
just see what nature will have in store for us.
Flu shot time! I had
mine yesterday and major ouch. My doctor is horrid for shots and really
got the Olympic medal for shot-putting my upper arm. I nearly missed Old
Farts because of the various hurting parts. After a long shower,
everything hurt equally well so I went anyway. Hey, bonus, as the waiter
mis-understood and cut my meal in half. Yippee – lunch is done for
tomorrow during my union meeting!
We had a brief discussion
today as George M. was leaving. How many ex-CM’s are still in the
Holly Anne Tough
George McKeever (until Nov.
George has been tasked with
pulling the numbers and names together.
Well, that’s about it.
Yes, pretty boring. No fights, no name calling and no food fights at the
re-union. Rats. Also, no heated discussions, no mis-pronounciation
of names or food stealing at Old Farts. Rats. But, we could hardly
hear anything so we are to be forgiven this once.
Okay, I know you are all
dying to know how many we were today. Fourteen showed so the Dirty Dozen
has morphed into the Fabulous Fourteen. We were all ready to feast
on the fish and chips and did some serious damage to our arteries! The
Cross & Blackwell got a work-out, too.
Yesterday, I went to a union
meeting of the Retired Members Guild and got a very interesting publication
called: A Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors in Ontario. This
information is current as of January 2013. Before I forget, here is the
contact info: 1-800-668-9938 or the online is
www.publications.serviceontario.ca. Topics range from Adult Day
Programs (yes, they exist here, too, but are more structured – even subsidies
for the meals and transportation costs) to fishing and hunting, phishing, and
www.thirdagenetwork.ca Also, did you know that there is a provincial
minister responsible for seniors? It’s Mario Sergio.
Kathleen Wynne added the
following: “In the case of our province, the number of people aged 65
and over is projected to more than double by 2036. (aka – buy your
cane/walker/wheelchair/casket now!) While this shift presents challenges
to society, it also presents opportunities, with this generation of older adults
poised to become the most productive and active the world has ever seen.”
Okay – let’s start our own political party – it sounds like we can kick
some serious butt! Let’s do this while we can still kick.
Okay, enough of that stuff!
There was a great turn-out
at the Lime Lunch held in Carleton Place last Saturday. We had a wasp
fight, stole each others’ drink covers, and just generally kicked back and
enjoyed the scenery and each other’s long tales. Nota bene – the tales
get longer as our memories get shorter!
And speaking of memories –
I caught sight of Gary Black crossing at the lights (legally) at Dalhousie and
Murray as I was rushing to my doctor’s appointment. I didn’t have a
second to spare to say hello as I skittered between cars (illegally) to get
there on time. Zoom – up a flight and a half of stairs! The
receptionist was on the phone so I gratefully sucked back some air, took off my
coat and came nearly nose to nose with Gordon Craig. We got caught up on a
bit of news as the receptionist told me that I was a week early for my
appointment. Hey, practise is so under-rated.
Isn’t this weather
absolutely stupendous! Wow – and to be retired during this weather is
just amazing. Donna, Moe and I try to get in a long walk in the area to
keep our sneakers in tune. Monday proved to be quite a precursor to our
ordinary November mornings – toques, scarves and mittens needed! Moe
went to his wood-working gathering so Donna and I did a recce of property on
Preston. By mid-day, we were rewarded with all that crisp air, blue skies
and even got to watch two rapellers on Sparks come down a building. And
one was in high-heels. We think that rapeller may have been female.
Just a guess.
Show-n-tell: I brought
the hard copy of the publication mentioned above. Chuck got to bring it
home. I have an extra copy if anyone wants it – just let me know and
I’ll bring it in the next session.
Jim solved a problem that those of us using laptops as our main pc. With these later operating systems, some of us have been noticed our cursors going awol, rogue and even whole paragraphs missing. Fix: it's your touchpad. I did the cheap fix-it by taping a piece of small heavy paper over it. Thank you, Jim!
Just a reminder that there
is a special reception on Friday at the Legion for those of us that are
attending the re-union on Saturday. The specials that day are: Rib-eye
steak and Fish and Chips. I’ve already ordered my rib-eye.
Tony Clement’s name came
up today – with much teeth-grinding going on. Yesterday at the union
meeting, the FSNA letter came up and there is now a campaign going on with the
theme “Honour your promises!” For those of you that haven’t sent in
your letters yet to dear ole’ Tone, please add this comment to your copy of
the letter. I know that the PHCP issue #7 does state that it won’t
affect those of us that are already retired, but do you really trust this
government to stick to what they promised us? I don’t! They keep
eroding the rights of public servants – well, not to us they won’t!!
Vote with your letters – make them aware we are watching and guarding our
promised rights. And do like our good man, Stan, has done. He has
made copies and given them to his friends and neighbours. Ensure your
friends that no postage is required so they don’t have to find a post office.
(Another entity, by the way, that is being eroded and now I feel lucky if I get
a paper bill from the tax man.) Just as an aside, I used to get my snail
mail at 4:30 – I now get it at 6:30.
My weed-fighting is still
going on in stages. My neighbour across the street first recommended
Chlorox bleach but it really didn’t do anything. A few weeks later,
after dumping pickling salt in a certain area proved to be iffy, she recommended
pool salt. Well, I did find some very expensive pool salt at Home Hardware
and managed to get the 20-kg bag into my little shopping buggy. It proved
to be a lot more effective and soon I needed more. I am now the proud
owner of 50kgs of this stuff and will be salting those weeds like mad.
Lou asked me what I wanted
to do with having a sand pit as a backyard. Basically, I don’t want any
growth there as it just takes over and I could possibly be charged by the City
to have it cleaned up. My reno should take place in the spring. And
speaking of which, Lou gave me some really good advice this afternoon re solar
panels. In terms of foot-print, cost and cost recovery, we are extremely
far away from the feasibility of going that way right now. Thank you Lou!
When it comes to house renos, I know totally nothing so all good advice is good
I heard that Ron Cooke’s
new replacement car is keeping up to snuff and all is well. That is really
good to know – especially that he can re-use the custom-made floor mats, etc.
Roly left early after
chowing down not only his meal but Chuck’s coleslaw. Just ratting you
out, Roly ))
And to rat out Barrie, he
had extra coleslaw and tartar sauce.
We should be getting an
email from Barrie soon, informing us of the procedure upon entering the
reception, obtaining our name tags, door-prize tickets, etc. He now has an
abundance of volunteers for these events so you can all stand down. Hey!
– I get to be the bouncer – if you haven’t registered, no drinks for you!
Oh, and I nearly forgot,
Barrie flashed us.
September 18th –
Okay, everyone, we are now
over the hump of September. How crazy is that. However, the weather
has been stunning the past two days and the temperatures are slowly climbing
back up to normal. Hey, we’ll take it, right?
Today, we broke with the
summer code and had only 10 dedicated, hungry and thirsty attendees. No
matter – we did our colleagues proud by cleaning our plates and knocking back
our various beverages. As usual, there were various conversations going on
simultaneously and someone (mostly Stan) always remembered the name of the guy
that did that thing or wrote that book; you know, the drunk that wrote that book
on the ______ machines.
It was also a sad lunch to
see what happened between the bus and the train. Thirty injured and six
dead at 9:45 or so, this am. It was a double-decker and it was quite a
shock to see what wasn’t left of the driver’s side of it which also holds
the stairwell and some priority seating. Both the lower and upper sections
on that side were missing. I expect we will hear more later as to the
Our Ron Cooke recently had
his Murano totalled on him. To use his terms, “I was the meat in the
sandwich”. He is now driving another Murano – slightly newer but he
can at least recycle his car mats and other loose contents of his older one.
We hashed over some of the
machines we had used (or not) in the past and a Gerry Proc’s name came up as a
very interesting and knowlegable guy on this subject. Barrie was
mentioning this subject because he’d been watching a recent TV program about
old coding machines.
Tai Chi Chuan. Who
knew that twisting yourself into an impossible position and forgetting where
your feet are could be so difficult? Three of us attended this class and
found out that this is also a movement that was/is practised by monks in China,
etc., to defend their terroritory. Our honourable instructor spent a few
minutes telling us that what we are doing are basic warrior moves. What I
found out at the end of the lesson is basically – I’m dead in the water.
I sucked so bad that the instructor called me up to the front of the class so
that everyone could laugh at me, equally well. Donna and Moe did very
well. So well, in fact, I think that Moe was up at 3am, every night this
week, studying and practising the opening moves. He is so competitive, you
know. )) Just kidding! But, we did have a football-kinda guy/girl in
a mini-jean skirt with a flashy purple top take up some considerable space in
the front row.
Lou reported that his
holiday was out-standing! Ron Cooke is planning a vineyard outing in
Prince Edward County and the rest of us plebes are attending various luncheons
around town. Ron and Christine Belanger are newly back home after
vacationing with family down-East. Barrie mentioned that there is still
some space available at the CM/EL reunion next month if anyone else wants to
join us. He’s also looking for some volunteers to “man” the tables.
(David S.) There was a dearth of true/blue OFARTS at the Legion yesterday with Stan, Jim, Lou and Don missing in action. However, while we lacked in quantity, we made up for in “other ways” (and you thought I was going to say “quality” didn’t you!!!
held a full-court session being the senior rep of the group and then along came
some not always seen former OFARTS – Terry Webb, Kevin Johnson and Ken Peters.
Ron Cooke was in attendance and you missed his full accounting of how to reduce
a Murano to fit in a smaller parking space. Rather an amazing story
and I’ll let Ron give you the details – heck, I’d like to hear it all
again. One word of advice however – air bags don’t seem to
deploy on these Murano’s and as Ron has equipped himself with another, I hope
this one has the bags activated should the need arise.
D.) Only nine showed today. Ron Cooke(in his new car, same model as old one
but a little newer), Barry, David (who drove me home after), Roli, Moe, Terry
Web, Kevin, Ken Peters. Lunch was Spare Ribs(very nice). We broke up at about
We are supposed to get violent weather this afternoon but it seems to have passed us by.
Okay, now I know there is a conspiracy – again we hit the attendance number at a Dirty Dozen. Of course, this isn’t a complaint – it is always a joy to see your faces, both seen often and rarely.
Brrr- anybody feeling Old Man Winter starting to edge out on our sun-loving Weed God? I tried to sit on the up-stairs balcony only to be driven inside to scramble into a sweater so I could finish my crossword puzzle outside. But, I don’t regret it if we get an early start to winter – the Weed God will just have to give it up and wait until Spring. Meanwhile, enough of this hoe-ing stuff – time to invest in a back-hoe – these weeds have a better pension plan than our politicians when it comes to replenishing themselves!
Stan brought in a great gift for us – he brought in some reflective tape that proves to be quite amazing. He bought it originally for his daughter so that she could cover her white-covered driveway poles so that they wouldn’t be hit by the plow or that visitors could find her. Chuck got to use his usb-c/w knife for this first time today about 4 or 5 times so that we all could take away a section of this expensive stuff. Yeah us! Thank you, Stan, for your generosity!
Roly brought in his Costco mail-in coupon book which featured a LED LG 42” tv that had a lot of stuff that he wanted to upgrade to at a very good price. We all checked out the print-out and were suitably impressed. However, it turned out to have a new expression that none of us had heard of before – WiDi. Jim ventured that that “Di” could stand for digital input. Here is a link to what was returned from Tom’s Hardware:
For those of you that have TV’s that can go on-line, you know that it will recognize other units that are a part of your network – for instance, my Samsung is hooked up to a D-link with auto-recognizes my main pc in the basement, my 17” Vista-run laptop in the dining room and the 15” laptop (Union-owned) in the living room. The TV runs diagnostics and thru the D-link to the main pc, picks up on the mac address of the other machines in the house. Hey, how to get fat – you just use your nearest laptop to share all kinds of media. However, I have digressed.
Here is another link you might find interesting:
And now, who thinks that Jim was the closest to the interpretation? And who will take over the investigation to ensure that we are up to date on the latest? Not me, say I – this is September – it is Union month. And that means that I am totally flat out with my work.
Vacation time!! Some lucky dogs and their wives are heading out to vacation spots in the near future! Well done. Strangely, although we have now reached the peak of our Golden years, they can be enhanced by taking a few weeks away from our homes. Until I did that amazing train trip, I felt no need to go away. And now that bucket wish has been crossed off my bucket list, all I want to do is to stay home and enjoy it. And every week, I enjoy garbage day more and more – if it doesn’t help either our group or charity, out it goes. WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Ahhh!!! More breathing space. And no cats, dogs, chickens, nor floppy-earred rabbits. Ahhhh ))
And speaking of floppy-earred rabbits – Roly has been offering one from his area after Jim asked if anyone wanted a stray cat. He now has 3 of them and isn’t pleased – I wouldn’t be either.
The 5-U-4 came up today and was claimed by a new owner – Dave Smith was both shocked and delighted when Lou presented it to him after lunch.
was so gob-smacked that he forgot to stand up and shake hands. Hey friends,
it’s not often that we get to see that kind of real emotion. Yeah Dave!!! And
yeah Lou! for presenting the 5u4 in that beautifully hand-crafted case done by
Ron Cooke. This is our very own prize and it is presented only to our members
with both pride and joy. Good going, Dave!
Our Brian Borse came in today. At once, we all of us knew what brought him into our weekly lunch. We also saw Ken Watson, too. How nice to see faces that are welcome and who also bring us more stories. Dave Smith always brings us fascinating stories from his courier days and I get to sit back and just listen. We, all of us, have done courier duties and either hated it or tolerated it. Mine were variegated. Just like yours, I guess.
We more than made the magic
number again! This time, we achieved the Lucky Thirteen which surpasses the
Dirty Dozen! So, do you guys all get together the night before to decide who
gets to be in on the honourable mention? Hey, I know you guys – you are so
Hot, muggy and foggy – and
that was to just describe the lunch.
Maps hit the table, future
trips were discussed, touring club disputes were righted, and September chores
were completed this late August week. It goes to show that we still have our
noses to the grindstone except in this case, it is a beautiful grindstone as we
get ready for our up-coming projects, trips, vacations, diversions, and outings.
As for myself, the Visa got
a pure strength work-out this am. I paid my bills – some even before time (so
stick that in your ear, Rogers’ Cable). I’ve booked three excursions out of
town on the luxury coaches organized by the Good Companions for Oct, Nov and
Dec. My gym membership is now renewed for another year and my dentist is booked
for another visit. Also, I really enjoyed paying my cellphone bill as it has
been cut in half ever since that nice young lady asked me if she could do
anything more after fixing a technical problem for me. I do so love to whine
about my seniors’ fixed income now.
Presto myths debunked. Today
I travelled for free on the bus as the Presto machine wasn’t working. For
someone like me that lives downtown and rarely needs the use of a bus, it is
ideal. You put some money on it, then register it on-line in case of theft or
loss, and then tap it at any of the entrances on the bus. Once you’ve tapped,
it will deduct an amount and give you a “transfer travel free” for 1.5
hours. However, you have to tap every time you get on the bus so that it
registers the time left on your pass. Duh? And hey, I didn’t invent the system
– I’m just a user. However, I really like the system as now I don’t lose
bus tickets, or pay $100 a month for a bus pass which I don’t use all that
much as I prefer to walk.
FSNA members – get those
letters in! This hit the table big-time today and no one wants any more
encroachment on their promised retirement benefits when it comes to the GSMIP..
Please, please – sign those letters and drop them in the mailbox – no
postage required. But before you do, please scan them in or even photocopy them
so that your friends, neighbours and family can make a slight adjustment re
their MP info, and then send them in to both their MP and Tony Clement. As for
Tony Clement, Stan has a photo of Tony’s office he took yesterday. Naturally,
Tony wasn’t there.
I attended the Computers
Systems Annual General Meeting on Friday and Saturday and brought my letter with
me. It infuriated those that read it and now I am finding myself in the middle
of organizing union movement against this. We hope to pull in CAPE, PSAC, PAFSO
under the CLC. I am hoping that it will grow to include concerned members of the
Another thing I would like
to ask you to do is to show up for Sept. 2nd behind City Hall for participation
in the annual Labour Day Parade. Last year the Institute’s participants were
sandwiched between IBEW’s “trolley car” and the Ontario Teachers
Association. This year the Institute will have a float that has a 1930’s
fire-engine complete with a gentle female Dalmation. I’m on the decorating
committee this year! Come on out for a lot of family fun! There are burgers,
hotdogs and special fun for the kiddies at the end of the parade. Also, it would
be good to get to know a current IBEW member so that I can get IBEW involved in
up-coming protest. I was asked why we collectively meet at this location – it
is because this is where Jim Watson starts off the parade every year! He starts
it precisely at noon.
Last but not least – I
heard a joke that I would love to share with you: An old geezer went into the
car dealership and bought himself his dream car – a Mazzerati. Red, of course.
He was cruising down the highway with his few still-remaining strands of hair
blowing in the breeze. Hey, he thought, this is hot car so he picked up some
speed. Tres tres soon, he continued speeding down the I-95 when he noticed a
police car’s flashing red light. He accelerated and soon he was slowly hitting
90mph, then 100mph, Wahoooo!? He was then hitting 120 when he thought, hey,
enough of this. He down-shifted and prided himself on his perfect alignment to
the side of the road. The cop wearily came over and said “Sir, this is Friday
afternoon and I have only 30 minutes left on my shift. If you can give me an
original reason why I should let you off for such outrageous speeding, I
will”. The old geezer eased into his answer: “Well, sir, three years ago my
wife ran off with a cop and I thought you were bringing her back”.
The Dirty Dozen did it again! It must be something in the air – the smell of cabbage rolls, wafting thru the hot muggy Ottawa air?
Hey folks, already it is the 21st – this might be our last of the dog days of summer. I watched the weather network this am and saw that Badger, NL., managed to achieve a low of minus 1.9 degrees overnight. Brrrrr.
My apologies to those that look forward to reading my weekly updates. (And yes, there is more than one appreciative reader!) I ran away from home.
I toured with The Good Companions last Wednesday on a trip to Hudson. I always look forward to getting out seeing new places. The coaches are always luxury class and nothing costs extra unless you want something from the bar. It’s a wonderful thing for someone like me that lives downtown and doesn’t have a car. A fellow travelling companion and I have vowed to buy our voyages right up until Xmas – we are signing up for everything out of town. We also decided to start informal walking tours of the downtown area of our own organizing. If anyone is interested in joining us, please let me know. The tours will be of Lowertown, Parliament Hill, Sandy Hill, etc. It is about the olden days of when Ottawa was a Lumber Barons’ realm and the architecture of those days.
And speaking of signing up for everything, the new list of activities are out for the next season and to my delight, there is more in the way of exercise classes. Since getting the full go-ahead for strength-training and free weights, I can hardly wait to hit the gym as much as possible!
Speaking of exercise, Lou’s daughter is going for it! The Ironman, no less! Or was it the half-Ironman. No matter – even if it is the half, the roster is quite daunting!! She has to start off with a 2-k swim, then on to a 91-K biking event, followed by a 21-k run. And all of this must be accomplished under 6 hours. And all this without financial compensation and you can only score a t-shirt if you finish. Wow! What an achievement – can you imagine doing this? Good for her!
Jim shared a story with us today about his babysitting days for his 4 nephews. We had been noticing this really annoying guy going in and out of the Legion, thus sucking out our precious cool air on this hot muggy day. He said that his nephews had been in and out, in and out, in and out, until he put his foot down and said “either in or out”. Well, boys being boys, they’d rigged up a home-made parachute and used their hamster as the jumper. But, being true to their uncle’s order, they found a window where they could launch the parachuted-hamster to the ground – about 3 storeys down. Jim said by the time all came to light; the poor hamster was a bit on the staggering-side of reasonable health. Jim also told us about these self-same boys devising a pretty powerful home-made cannon but I think he should tell you that himself.
Some of our Dirty Dozen will be m.i.a. in a few weeks, if I heard correctly. Both Jim and Lou will be hitting the happy trails and I envy them. With the wonderful September/October weather coming, it will be beautiful. That might be the only time of the year when we truly appreciate all the trees we have in Ontario.
And before I forget, the “CM’s” re-union will be held the last week of September so it isn’t too late to contact Barrie to get tickets. He can accommodate 10 more so hop it! The numbers are up to 80 so far and our EL/CM colleagues are coming in all over from East to West. Do it!
Stan asked me about the de-forestation of my backyard. What a year for weeds! And trees!! I have no idea why people worry about pruning trees – for every bit I cut off, four-fold growth comes back. That being said, I am so happy with what is happening in the front-yard. My passion-flower vine is also thriving and does not resemble the picture I took of it a while back. Since buying the two tiny vines at the Beechwood Metro, these vines are now incredible in growth. For anyone interested in growing these beautiful blue flowers, the more water they get, they more they will grow. They also get my 40-50 degree C heat per day when the sun hits them because of being downtown and the sheer amount of sun.
And so now we come to September, - Labour Day activities. I believe I mentioned that last year the CS’s participated for the first time and found themselves in between the IBEW float and that of the teachers. If anyone is interested in joining the Institutes’ float, please contact me for details.
Weather-wise, it was super-great for
sleeping last night! I hope we have seen the back-end of the hot muggy
weather we get in Ottawa around this time of year.
Again – some of the original Dirty
Dozen showed up for our weekly lunch! A few were MIA and will find
themselves docked and having to sign the “Late” book. Ahem.
My apologies to those that visit my
Old Farts Facebook page as I forgot to post last week’s missive.
There’s so much going on that I’m behind in what I want to achieve each day.
Retirement is not/not for lazy people!
We had a wonderful celebration today – made all the better because Bev made a carrot cake for Roly’s birthday! Everyone got stuck in and I heard many compliments on her icing. Yeah!! And I won’t even rat out on Roly or Barrie for how many pieces they consumed. Or perhaps, they may have had less. And if you believe that, ….
Bev and Roly are looking wonderful
and rested. They had a great time visiting Mike Yetman and will do so in
the future. I remember Mike Yetman from my London posting waaaaayyyyy back
when and how nice he and Pearl were. It sounds like they haven’t changed
I got to the lunch late today but
feeling on top of the world! I saw the most wonderful Dr. Lee at the
Retina Centre of Ottawa. Wow – speak about a busy centre – both
waiting rooms were full and the doctors were going at a great clip. Even
so, I warmed a few chairs for about a total of an hour. But, it was so
worth it to hear the super-great news that my retina is now in great condition
and even the sight has improved over the past 6 months. On the down side,
my strong right eye is slightly worse but that hasn’t stopped me from shouting
with joy over the news on my left one.
Gary and Maureen are facing a very
large exterior project on their house and guest-house. Lou gave his sagest
advice on how to clean and achieve the desired effect. And some further
advice on how to go about it. Basically, slowly, slowly, catch a monkey.
As you all know, a project can be so daunting when you look at it as one thing.
I’d volunteer to help out but I’m busy trying to salt down every inch of my
backyard in an attempt to deter the weeds. And for a city backyard, it’s
a big one!
Roaming charges on your phone.
Hmmph! I got another message from my carrier on my Blackberry this
afternoon regarding this and I called them up. Who needs extra charges on
your cellphone bill! Short story is now there is a hold on my account to
stop my cell from roaming. I didn’t ask but I have a sneaky feeling that
the cellphone carriers are doing automatic charging for some things we haven’t
asked for. As a concrete example of this, I started getting charged $2
each month for them to send me a paper bill. Whaaaa? I don’t
recall hearing about this – the sneaky so-n-so’s! So, now I’ve opted
in for email notification of my charges but can you imagine if you have to go to
an internet café to pay your bills? Not that any of us are in that
situation but aren’t you glad that you are retired and have all of this in
We had a very brief discussion on
I-phones, Androids and Blackberries, and as usual, knowledge was shared.
Barrie loves his I-phone but is disappointed that it has so many proprietary
apps, such as only songs from I-Tunes can be downloaded to his device. He
lamented the fact that since the death of Steve Jobs, things haven’t the same
edge or image. Both Angel and I had earlier bemoaned the fact that
Blackberry is missing out on training centres to promote their products such as
what MAC has on the go so this got put on the table.
Just a quick reminder – the CM/EL reunion – again, contact Barrie at email@example.com
Lou and I grouched about everything
happening at the same time – social seasons, out-of-town-trips,
mosquito-shooting parties – you name it. Timing is everything. Most
importantly – the mosquisto-shooting parties! I just barely can make my
union commitments this year for September as all five of them are being held on
a Saturday and not a Saturday evening (the reunion)! Lou said that he and
Marg have already had to turn down 3 other events. Kudos to Barrie for
getting his reunion notice out before the other invites! However, I shall
have to do the shower-dive-n-dry-n-dress Olympic toe-in to make it on time to
BTW, get ready for a much louder
world, more filled with noise. With all this construction going on, I’ve
noticed that the great majority of workers don’t use “ear-muffs”.
And for when we approach our platinum years, the people in charge won’t be
able to hear our complaints – literally. Thank God for email!
I am taking 2 more out-of-town luxury
coach trips out of Ottawa this month – wow. I love this. Hudson
next week and, then, Picton, the week after. Stan and et al are
taking a canal trip very soon which sounds great. Let’s travel Canada
– we’ve seen so much of the rest of the world that we forget what we have
here at home.
Bleach is becoming the new
“black” in your toolbox. However, laundry-wise, just don’t use too
much on your undies. Yes, Mom always did say to make sure you have on
clean underwear in case you have to go to the hospital but you don’t want to
moon the doc. Please, please, don’t moon the doc – we don’t have not
enough of them in the system and you will scare them away! No clean
undies? Wear your wife’s – make the doc’s day ))
Shirley missed a different dirty dozen gathering while recovering from a "seniors outing" to the 1000 Islands, Bruce (third from right) joined us along with other senior retirees.
Again, there was a dirty
dozen – the same number as a few weeks back. Some of the bums-in-seats had
different names. Again, about 10 conversations going on and it was a lively
The food arrived promptly
and we all chowed down quite happily. Cookie showed up with next month’s lunch
menu – there will be a new addition of ham steak with pineapple ring for the
first Wednesday of the August.
The Lime lunch last Friday
was well-attended even though the venue was changed at nearly the last minute.
Moe, Donna and I took the bus home and then rushed home after our chores, thank
Lime lunch: I am glad we
hurried to our homes as the first raindrops hit Lowertown just as I was coming
up to my front porch. Shortly after that, the torrential rain and that strong
wind hit. What a beautiful storm! Unfortunately, it affected quite a lot of
people in the Ottawa/Hull/Gatineau areas and they were without power for a long
time. I had an email from a lady train-friend in Montreal who said that she was
still without power until Sunday afternoon. I now have one of the book-lights on
my must-buy list to put beside my solar-charged emergency radio which also has a
light and a hand-crank to charge the rechargeable batteries. Also, I guess a
heater with might be a good idea that would act on the same principle. My
next-door neighbour is one of those Apocalypse people – we went generator
shopping last year. He bought one big enough for emergency power to both our
houses so I do not complain about him being an Apocalypse guy. Okay, enough
about this subject – I am getting freaked out!
Show-n-Tell: if anyone gets
the Movie Entertainment magazine, there was an interesting article on how to
"accessorize" your Smartphone. Aka, turn it into a total working ing
machine to power a screen plus a keyboard. And why not! Also, there was a
write-up on the Cobra Tag which is compatible with the I-Phone or an Android, so
far. Geez, I wish they would figure out something like that for your where are
your glasses or which shirt has no wrinkles.
Lovely cool weather today
– superb for walking! Moe and I walked back from Old Farts and he was very
happy to be wearing his brand-new cowboy boots. Ah – the joys of walking in
great footwear! I was telling him that whenever Costco has new sneakers on, I
buy another pair for the future as I go through them about every three months
for when we have walkable weather. However, the last time I bought a pair of
sneaks at Costco, the size number and the shoe size did not match. Buyers
Courier duties and the
practise of them came up today along with getting into countries illegally.
Also, of having to follow the dip bags that the baggage handlers insist on
putting on the luggage carousel. One courier, no name mentioned thankfully,
actually dove onto the carousel itself so as not to lose sight of the bags. Now
– that’s dedication. Or something else.
Construction on Rideau is
advancing up towards the Cummings Bridge. The sidewalks are being widened on
both sides so that means the lanes are being reduced. Yeah – less pollution
for those of us down-townies! All for the tune of 28-million+ smackers. And stop
trying to cry in your beer over that – it has to do with the LRT, as well.
About the Rideau Street
project, I’ve spoken with some shop owners (no, not the tattoo-parlour guys)
and this is the start of the big upgrade of the Rideau Street area, thank God. I
am seeing less home-less people down by the Rideau Centre but more in front of
the Rideau Metro and the LCBO. They are very aggressive and I have bought a
walking pole from Waters in the market in case I have to guard my purse or
backpack. I made the mistake of getting one with an LED flashlight. This was the
only kind available in Ottawa so I had to take it or have nothing. It’s
fantastic when you are going up a hill in the dusk but a waste of battery power
at 9am even though it is shut off. The light comes on when the pole tip hits a
surface. I shall have to disable the battery – just another thing to put on my
The CM/EL reunion is coming
up in September. I think there is still space available but you’d better check
directly with firstname.lastname@example.org (Barrie Thomas).
Today, at the table, we
figured out who the rich guys are – the ones with sprinkler systems. They
tried to call us the rich ones because we paid for our lunches with $20’s. Hah
– we have $20’s because we hoard them for Wednesdays! They have their $5’s
because they get to use what’s left over after paying for their sprinkler
systems )) Sorry guys, couldn’t resist that.
Show-n-Tell: Lou brought in
a bunch of British plugs today. Gosh, that brought back a very frustrating
memory of having to change a fuse in one of these blasted things on my first few
month’s CM posting in London. I can assure you the air was very blue by the
time I finally located a screwdriver, figured out the colour system, located a
new fuse and got the job done. Naturally, in all of 4 years, this was the only
time I had to change a fuse in a plug! However, I must confess I do like the way
you click off and on the wall plug-in and at 220 volts ……
Weeds, weeds, and more weeds! My contractor came over and did a deforestation of my backyard. For those of you who aren’t aware, I had a forest growing out there. I managed to clear out around ¼ of it myself with the help of my little hoe but had to quit when my left eye seriously complained. Yes, the one that had had retina surgery.
So, I stopped
procrastinating and called my contractor. He arrived on that wonderfully
un-humid day last week. I gave him a very strong Tassimo coffee and he started
in on it like a pitbull on a mission. He had all the tools with him as he’d
already taken a look-see. Some of those trees back there were 30 feet high! He
took them down in sections and together we lopped off the branches so they could
be stacked. We broke for lunch and then started again. Meanwhile, city
contractors were busy deforesting on both sides of my back-yard so there was a
lot of noise from 4-man crews with their buzz saws, leaf blowers and lawn
mowers. Ferriss and I laboured on until we came to the two 40-foot cedars. Now
this is the part I which someone had video-taped. He climbed up on the very top
step and tied a 20-foot string on the closest cedar and I had to hold it steady
and pulling in my direction while trying not to fall into the holes where the
thistles had been. Then he sawed through the first tree, on top of my little
aluminium ladder, with a hand-saw. After a few tries, then it came down at a
safe distance of 5 feet away towards me. He took his chainsaw and went at it
while I went inside to drink a few litres of water. Then we lopped and lopped
like forever while he made bundles and carried it to my curb. Okay – now for
the last one. This one was much closer to the house and maybe a foot from my gas
meter, and no, I didn’t plant it. A bad neighbour from over 20 years ago had
– the Total Idiot Box – and while I was on td in Iraq!
But, I have digressed. Now
for the second one – we repeated the same sequence and after Ferriss had
another coffee – this time a more weaker one. (Thank you, Tassimo.) We
proceeded a bit more cautiously – again, the twine-thing for me with my
Can-Tire suede-leather work gloves. Ferriss sawed and sawed and tested the tree
trunk at about a 10-foot height while standing again, on the “do not stand”
step. Just as I could feel the tree coming down, naturally the 4-man city crew
from next door start carrying away the next-door trees and kept getting hitting
me with them around my eyes. So, I kept losing my balance but Ferriss was
watching and kept balancing the tree so it wouldn’t fall. After the idiots
stopped with tree-whapping me, we proceeded and YEAH, down it came! He
chain-sawed again and we manutally lopped for another hour or so. Those cedars
just don’t like to give it up! And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how two
seniors take down 40-foot cedar trees. I’d just like to add one thing, if I
might. Ferriss gave me a grin, after drinking a litre of water, saying “I do
so like it when the trees fall in the right direction” which made me almost
faint because it said it in such a way that it sounded more like it was a 30-70
percentage with 30 being your lucky number of a winning way. I was so exhausted
after this I hit the couch for 15 minutes until I remembered I was supposed to
be at a Union dinner 5 minutes ago. Thank God for Smartphones – I didn’t
want them to hold dinner. I showered and died. Meanwhile, Ferriss whistled and
laughed while carrying all the rest of the tree to the curb. The man is a young
pup of about 70 and has the strength of Zeus. He is semi-retired and will only
work for people he likes so I guess that means he isn’t looking for new
employers. And, especially now, as he is cycling through Europe.
Seniors kick ass!
July 17th – hot and humid
We were a small crowd today which was
great – more ribs and fries for us!
Show-n-tell: Dave Smith brought in
his Epson 1-megapixel digital camera he bought back in 1997 for $1,800.00. He
took a few pics and perhaps he will send them to Stan, you know, – Mr.
Yup, it still works. A little too close to Don with the flash but even enlarging doesn’t lose too much in the way of resolution. Unlike a lot of my later digital cameras, this one still works after 26 years – no wonder it was so expensive haha. - Dave
Today was quite normal. Words were
exchanged, insults flew, mild oaths were spewed and everyone shut up when the
food was served. Just your average family meal sit-down, you know.
Today we got to view the new
ambassadorial list. It was provided by that red-headed guy – you know, the one
that starts all the squabbles ))
Barrie, et al, had quite the
remembrance about the hockey team while he was posted in Paris. That started the
HUGE remember game about “what’s his face” and who bought who’s car back
in the ‘70’s. Cough, cough.
Lou shared that all is quiet on the
home front – and it didn’t sound like a bad thing. The bad thing was that he
put stuff in his truck to give to a guy who just never was there at the right
time. That’s a lot of work to off-load good stuff for free and then for the
guy not to show up.
Moe the Finger agreed to give me a
lift to OFARTS today, because of the incredible heat and humidity. Meanwhile, I
found that I’d lost my total connectivity – holy doo-doo!! No home phone. No
internet. No cable. Total holy doo-doo! My line had been cut by the city –
which brought about a few conversations how this had happened to us for our
missions overseas. Mostly, it was done out of pure stupidity or want of free
copper by the receiving country. I’d suspect it would be for both but one
doesn’t think that it would be like that back home.
Some of you may have seen my backyard
forest in my backyard. Holy Smoley – it was totally beyond control. My
contractor did do a look-see and still agreed to do the job. I was telling Ron
Cooke that he is like a total pit bull when it comes to do a job. He will do a
perfect job but before you ask me for his name, he is semi-retired and doesn’t
want any new clients unless you come very highly recommended. And he isn’t
cheap at $50.00 an hour.
Denis Deslaurier (forgive the
spelling) showed up and was his usual entertaining self. We also enjoyed Bob’s
company. He is always joking and in a wonderful mood. I’m sorry I don’t know
his last name but he is most welcome, as is Denis, to make our lunches crazier
I am going to ask Moe the Finger to
speak to the number of Roger’s vehicles he had to avoid today so that he could
get into my little round-about. Four, wasn’t it Moe? I had gotten a bit put
out as I had no phone or stuff, so I followed up – press 1 and keep pressing
1. (internet down/cable – who cares. We are old (??) people.) I did the usual
Signet thing (reference number?) and then the other usual thing – “what’s
your name” in a motherly voice. Hey, four trucks, no less. I guess I still got
Barrie told us that the Lime Lunches
are open to all so please keep your ears open to when the next one is. The more
the merrier and here’s to more memories! http://ofarts.ca/Index_files/LimeNights/limenights.htm
for the latest plans.
The Dirty Dozen showed up
today! My God, that Yule Brenner was so hot in his films … but I
It turns out I am a week
ahead of myself, both in the menu and my schedule. Next week we get the
ribs – my apologies to all that I misled – we had that roast beef today.
Donnie Cole graced us with
his presence – he managed to tear himself away from his three dining
companions. I heard that he has changed his opinion to those that hang on
his every word to those that are soup experts. And he’s eating three
squares a day – lucky dog! However, there is more movement on his house
repairs, especially to the kitchen and his carpets.
I heard that I missed a wee
do for Terry Webb and his retirement. Michael Mowatt prepared a song and I
hope someone recorded the goings-on. I forget now why I missed it – oh
yeah, I got dragged off to another lunch. I gotta look into that cloning
Stan was in a Stan mood
today. Not even fries could change that – instead, I swear, he got more
Stan-nish after he had the fries with the roast beef! The poor Irish
waiter will never be the same. We hope.
I was dragging down a
side-street in New Edinburgh yesterday on the way for my monthly shearing and I
saw a moving truck and a guy that looked like Lanny Steinburg. A few yards
closer, and yes, it was Lanny Steinburg! And no, he wasn’t the mover
guy. He had just gotten back from Costa Rica (three postings there
as MAO!) and he is now retired.
And speaking of newly
retired – please join me in welcoming Eve (Barrie’s wife) into our ranks of
the newly alive! I understand that she had her retirement (newly-alive)
I joined the Good Companions
Centre last week on an impulse. Naturally, I signed up for everything from
Latin dancing to bingo. However, I got beat out on the bingo by some
70-somethings so I’m going to take martial arts next semester to make sure I
am ahead of the old crowd. Planning is everything.
Sorry - nothing for this
Wednesday - had lunch with another ex-EXTAFF friend. We caught up on what is
happening with our mutual friends.
Unfortunately, we lost Edith
Gingras just yesterday. Such a wonderful lady - we met many times in our travels
- she was always elegant, always in good grace, with such an excellent memory.
Fourteen of us hit the
chairs today at the Legion. Cabbage
rolls were on the menu so that might account for the fact that our attendance
Barrie was proudly wearing
his new piece of gear. I noticed a
huge difference in his vocal volume, ahem, if I might put it that way.
He is very happy with it and still raves about the much better deal and
hearing test that he got at Costco versus the other places.
A few of the guys were taking mental notes.
Sub-mariners did a huddle as
they did the “do you remember so-n-so – he was a sub-mariner back ……
Jim is still skiving off in
the Algonquin ensuring that the mosquitoes are fully fed.
We expect him back next week to re-claim his chair.
Feel that? That was the
vibration of Jim arching his eyebrows! I
guess he’ll resume his ritual of sleeping at the Legion again on Tuesday
Stan approved next month’s
menu with Cookie. For those of us
much lower on the “chain”, here’s what we have in store:
10th. Roast Beef
17th. Spare Ribs
24th. Hamburger Steak
31st. Stuffed Peppers
And, yes, Stan, I know you
post this on OFARTS page but I just wanted to get ahead of you.
Summer is here?
I was listening to the CBC this am who announced that some places in
Southern Ontario were making the record for the coldest temperatures ever while
the Great White Territories were registering the hottest on record for this day.
When I went to Loblaw’s at 6:30 am, it was barely registering 10
degrees on my thermometer …. Brrrrr.
Chuck and I were lamenting
how our unused clothing seems to have doubled and tripled over the years.
Also, Angel and I had this same conversation over the weekend.
It is such a big job to start clearing out the closets and basements so
that the charities can come over and haul this stuff away.
I am trying to improve my system by hanging small trash-bags over the
door handles in different rooms. Will
it work? Well – if you’re
anything like me, it’s just like everything else – the first day is great
because you keep tripping over the thing and remember to fill it up.
By day two, you fire the damn thing out the door.
We missed Donnie today.
He is way too busy with all the planned activities and all the ladies in
his temporary location. So much for
old friends, what! Hear that,
Barrie and others had a
brown-out and he has been faced with the challenge of ensuring that everything
is up to snuff. Not a lot of fun to
go through with. Chuck and I threw
in a few remarks about always keeping an analog set in the house so you have a
telephone on hand. With your pc
down, Vonage will not work because of Voiping, as you all know.
I brought up this ridiculous
report the CBC recently ran about retirees going into a state of depression
around year two. The table
resoundingly stated: Who has time to
get depressed!! We are living the
dream of Freedom 55, or pick whichever age you wish.
We paid for this privilege – and then the discussion started on whether
the government would start reducing our monthly pensions.
Well, we were off to the races on that one, I can assure you.
The consensus was that war would start, led by the oldest pensioner armed
with a fork and knife. Harper!
We also discussed the state
of the current federal government employment.
The consensus was that we are more than glad to be out of this situation
and constant attack on the public servant. We
all know where the fluff is and it certainly isn’t at our old working level.
Speaking of flunkies, I have
been talked into running for local union president again. Again!
Ok – if successful, this has to stop after the end of my next term.
It really keeps me hopping as I choose to take on as much as I want which
means, pretty well filling in the stop-gaps.
I don’t mind too much but when you hear someone say “we know you have
the time” – that is annoying. I surely did not had a lot of time on my hands
enjoying the astounding Rockies – what an experience!
My God, where does the time go? We are already into double digits for June! Perhaps it doesn’t feel that “late” as our gardens are lagging. However, I noticed today that the dandelions are already “snowing” so they have had a great year – the buggers. I would gladly abide with them if only they would eat the mosquitoes. I thought I heard something on the CBC yesterday that the province is going to try to do something about the mosquito population due to West Nile. I saw let’s import some pitcher plants from Newfoundland. Chomp, chomp!
There were 15 of us today and we had two regulars missing – Jim and Dave. Jim is schiving off (kidding!) somewhere in the Algonquin with Faith and Dave had to take Janice to the airport to catch her flight. You guys missed the pork snitzel. And speaking of meals, Chuck got to take home lots of squirrel food today.
Barrie was heading out to Costco to get his first-ever hearing aid. He is really impressed by their hearing tests and he says the cost and guarantee are unbeatable. Costco is incredible, for sure. I checked out glasses there and they are about 1/2 price for the Crystal lenses with frames than Laurier Optical, for instance.
Bev and Roly came today before they embark on their last leg of their bike journey across Canada. They figure they should be back by the first week of August but I gather that could change. They are also quite busy getting things done to the house and the garden. They certainly are a going concern!
Rideau Street is a certifiable mess! So is the number 12 bus! Chuck and I commiserate about the OC Transpo service on a very regular basis because it is always over-crowded, late and is the only bus that services Montreal Road. That is totally nuts. The number of baby carriages (the size of a VW Beetle), walkers, grocery carriers are making them a death trap in case of an accident. The drivers must have been given a new mantra - pack'em in, pack'em in. Today was a nightmare - we had to yell at the driver that we couldn't move and of course, the windows won't open. And this is the public transport for the capital of Canada. For shame!
Okay, I've had my whinge for this week.
Our one and only Lou had a birthday today – unfortunately, we weren’t aware so no dessert. But, we sang him all of our best wishes and his beer went down all the better for it.
Gary reported that his bamboo stand is now twelve-foot high. Holy smoke – mine is short and very skinny – hardly past two-foot high. My soil is rocky and I could only drill down about ½ a foot – then it’s more like bedrock. Apparently, around 40 years ago, the city decided to appropriate a lot of the land around here and dynamited the existing housing. There’s lots and lots of huge stones buried all over my area. Chuck told me he remembers the housing before the city took it over. But, I digress – Gary asked me if I had put in the special manure and I said I used what my neighbour gave me. Obviously, Gary’s fertilizer is of a higher quality. And that's as far as I'm going with that ;) ;).
FSNA’s new-member package arrived today. I have been meaning to go to their site to see which contractors give you a discount. After three years, I finally got around to joining them. You can’t rush these things, you know.
Don is now nicely ensconced in the Valley Stream Manor after his kitchen fire. (His direct line is 613 356 4819 – thanks to Jim for all that info.) I hear that he now has 3 lady friends hanging on to his every word and the daily social outings are nicely arranged. Sounds like it will be hard to winkle him out of there. And God knows what will happen if all three of the ladies own a boat!
Unlike last week, we had seats open – this cool weather must be keeping the guys playing catch-up on their jobbing list.
Today was stuffed peppers without the peppers. They were huge meatballs and I had to eat for the three of us as both Stan and Chuck were m.i.a. I took a big hit for the team as I started my new diet on Monday. No fries, though.
Many conversations going on for such a small crowd. Lee Valley Tools came up in the conversation and I found out that the founder of the company had actually been a former rotational employee of DFAIT. Who knew?
Rob Ford’s name came up several times and never in a nice way. But, and yes, there is a but, he was defended by one person who said “At least he has a neck. Unlike Mike Duffy.”
I had lunch yesterday with a PEI’er who let me in on the following: if you own property in PEI but don’t live there, you have to pay a higher property tax. Which Mike Duffy does pay. Mike Duffy applied for a PEI health card. He was refused by that province. Oh my, oh my. And he doesn’t even have a neck from which to swing by.
Some of Via Rail’s staff will be in a strike position as of June 14th and you will recall that Moe and Donna are taking their western journey at that time. He called and Via Rail assured them that all would be well and the trains will still be travelling. I’m sure the CAW isn’t too fond of that response.
Calendar Creep. Remember where you heard it first – on OFarts. It will cycle its way around the same as Meet Market, etc. Yep, some of us are ahead of our times.
This expression can be explained in the way we started talking about the departing gift we received from the department when we left. And, no, that wasn’t the footprint on our collective derrieres. We all got one of those. Some of us were given instructions on how to choose your departing gift from HR. Some of us got crystal cubes, some watches, and this is in addition to all those late plaques. I only retired 3 years ago and already the list had shortened down to wall prints (what!?), a stereo system, a high-end iron (not the golfing type) and some nice luggage. I noticed that the luggage choice disappeared after 45 years of service or so. There you have it – calendar creep.
Angel just called – the weather in Winnipeg is stellar at the moment. We spoke for a while and I told her about the Rob Ford/Mike Duffy “neck” comment at the table today. We had a good laugh over that. Before I forget, she says Hi to all. She said that she couldn’t remember what it was, but she’d had a question to ask me. We got a bit further into the conversation, and then she remembered it. We discussed it and now, I can’t remember what the question was, either – calendar creep!
Show and tell. Dave is looking for a certain type of bit and Jim brought in a bit that might be it. I left my show-n-tell item at home as I had to high-tail it out the door in order to get there around 11. I needed to get there before Mel Swenson, you see, so he wouldn’t steal my seat again. However, Dave Smith was ahead of me on this one and had a sign already printed up – Reserved for Shirley Gillette. God bless his heart. Dave’s that is, not Mel’s. )) But we still love you, Mel.
Earlier this week, I was heading out for my hourly walk and was confronted by a street guy that asked for 16 cents. (Man, crack must really have gone down in price – I wonder if Rob Ford knows that.) But, this guy was pushy and I just didn’t like the way he kept staring at my handbag. I sneakered off to Tommy and Lefebvre’s to get a torso-bag and while there, asked them about walking poles. None. Eventually, five stores later, I chanced into Rivers’ on the Market. Yep – walking poles – not of the Nordic type, though, if you are looking for those. The one I got is made by Rockwater Design and is height-adjustable with a dual-position LED flashlight. It also had three “foot” attachments so you can use it every day all year long. However, the handle is a lethal-looking weapon and Gary Langille told me to get some Bear Spray (really, mace spray) to go along with it. Who knew that Ottawa could be so exciting?
By the way, my next-door neighbour loves my walking stick. He even offered to sharpen certain edges of it so it would be even more lethal. I shied away from that but he said, if you are ever brought to court, you just say to the judge “Sir, I feared for my life.” He seemed shocked that I knew nothing about this but I said – hey, remember me, Foreign Affairs all my life – Canada is a new posting to me.
Passports were brought up – they will have a longer life – or not, depending on your choice. Given the price, most of us thought we should go for the 10-year one. Denis Deslaurier said, hey, you roll the dice when you decide between the two. Calendar Creep.
Actually, calendar creep isn’t a bad thing. I was sitting around playing a pc game, watching tv and knitting at the same time the other day. I got to thinking about what I had done that day and while it didn’t seem like a lot, it had taken me a long time to go to the kitchen for a drink of water to checking the mail-box. What was with that? What I hadn’t factored into it was that I had watered my plants, admired the view, wrote my shopping list, and went back to the damned knitting. That’s real calendar creep. We forget about the time it takes to do those things. Just kick back and relax. These truly are the best years. And while you are at it, just think about how this cold windy weather is playing havoc with the poor mosquitoes. YES!!
May 22, 2013
Celebration time today! We feted Chuck who turned 82 today. Not too shabby as he is still reminding us of names and occasions those of us decades younger who seem to have forgotten. Well done Chuck! I’m sure that Donnie would have loved to been there but I gathered he couldn’t make it today. He was missed in your celebration.
We were 20 and then suddenly, 21! We have come of age again – and I won’t mention who the late person was but it wasn’t Lou. Suffice to say he is a golfer. Ahem.
Wow – today when we scraggled in, we had four tables set up. But, all together, we beat the hard rain and humidity. Get settled in, folks, I think we have perfect mosquito weather starting up.
Senators’ names came up today and not the kind that put the skates on and make millions. The ones that don’t put skates on and make money hand-over-fist were our subjects. Two of them were and their reputations were on our tables today. I wonder after this decade, who will come up as the most hated prime minister of Canada. It will be a hard one to decide between Mulroney and Harper. What a reward to have assigned to your name and reputation but then, once a politician,……
Last Friday, we had an earthquake. Today, we had a weather warning of hail the size of golf balls. Are we still in Ottawa or are we now in Kansas?
Trains, Trains, Trains, they and their journeys keep coming up. How marvellous!! We all must get in on this adventure before it is gone. A few weeks ago, Moe the Finger called to get a few ideas and I told him that he must book asap. He was sceptical at first, but he isn’t today. All of the good rooms are now booked out and you will be lucky to get a berth for the period of May to October.
And speaking of grand adventures, I understand that Dan Burns and his wife will be travelling on the Q.E.II and, sometime in the future, taking the Canadian out West. Wow – that has to be an ultimate of the bucket list. Good for them!!
PAFSO issues came up on the table – all I can tell you is that I have been in contact with Tim Edwards, son of Len and brother of Kathleen, and he has shared salary discrepancies of that of PIPSC employees and that of PAFSO. The major difference is that PAFSO has perhaps 2K members versus PIPSC with their 50K membership.
The posting party was a big success – I dare it not to be. For the first time, I had to make a speech instead of being a guest of honour. I told them that one doesn’t have to be gender-specific to be an old fart and our sign remains the same as it has always been even though Lou did ask if it had to be changed. He will tell you what I answered.
The postees are a bunch of young ones that we don’t know – the oldest being both Earl Wattie and Ron Dobson. Some of you might remember Mike Hyde if you were on the server team. Yes, he’s going to the Far East again. Where else, I ask you?
On a separate note, Friday was also the Lime Lunch at the Prescott Hotel on Preston Street. Wow – that is a pretty big and busy spot. It was wonderful to see Alison and Guy and to hear that her operation was quite successful – she is looking fantastic.
George and Janice were there too, and Janice has now retired. She let it drop that she now has a personal trainer – super! You will live longer that way and enjoy life more – not to mention getting back all that money you and I paid into superannuation from day one after signing on for permanent employment with the feds. Put the boots to them!!
Okay – what is the secret? Since retirement, I now have to run for scheduled buses, arrive out-of-breath for appointments, etc., and have never been so organized in my life. I’m thinking it isn’t me – this world is out of whack.
Thankfully, we didn’t get the hail – phew – just think how many dandelions might have been killed.
Here we are half way through the merry month of May already. We have had very strange weather but if you are a tulip-lover, what a treat! It’s time to head out to Dow’s Lake to see all the different types and colours while waiting for all the tourists to have their pictures taken.
I counted eighteen of us today so we had a good show. Everyone contributed to the conversations; sometimes simultaneously up and down the tables. We had a choice of today’s special! Yes!
Stan is now our official XP expert – or at least, has the Tome to prove it. He welcomes all questions on this o/s.
Trains and trips still dominated our lively conversation. We also lamented the state of our railroad system while other countries are going state-of-the-art. Trust Canada to bury its head in something we should take great pride in given that we have the Rockies and all that beauty. One of the couples on the trip from East to West was from Colorado and he made no bones about the fact that the Canadian side is by far superior.
The thing that shocked me about seeing the Rockies in this manner is just how drained and exhausted you are after seeing all that stunning awesome beauty. Yes, there are other wonders of the world such as the Matterhorn and the Three Sisters of the Himalayas, but this is in our proverbial backyard! How I envy those that have driven through the Rockies and had the opportunity to stop and take their shots instead of what was happening on the train. We were all crowded in the domes and trying to take shots while lurching around on a train going through the most impressive scenery around 50 mph. Regular speed is 80 mph.
PAFSO are shaking the wires by going into job action. John Baird should find his trip to Africa a bit interesting. Good for PAFSO. The CS union (PIPSC) fully supports PAFSO. Please tell your working colleagues to keep their union cards close at hand to prove they aren’t FS’s. They must still respect the strike line just as the FS’s are expected to support our strike line if and when we put one up. This is going to be a very interesting year, union-wise.
Somebody we know very well is turning a year older next Wednesday. If you haven’t been for a while, or even came today, please come and join us in the birthday celebrations.
And speaking of celebrations, the yearly posting party is this Friday at the Old Marble Works on Waller Street. I think this is a first venue at this place for the group. (The rest of the pubs must be networking these days and our reputation is getting around.) I got an answer back today that if we wish to go, please show up after 4pm. I announced this at Old Farts and the re-action was “oh yes, all the free beer will be gone by then”. Actually, all the speeches will be done by then and the free beer will still be on. I attend these every year and they pride themselves that there’s lots of money in the beer envelope. Please join them. I can’t give you any names except for Earl Wattie (heading out to Delhi) and a few others but the usual attendees will be there – Jean Cote, Colin Chesterman, Glenn Cameron, Terry, Kevin, etc. I’ll show up before and after the Lime Lunch down on Preston Street.
I started in on the weeds today with a mixture of pure vinegar, a few good dollops of liquid dish soap, and some table salt. Wahoo – watching the dandilions droop! I did go shopping for the pickling vinegar but it is about 4 times more expensive than my cheap PC brand.
Lou and Marg are now starting their un-staging phase of the house. They will list it very shortly to then start shopping in both downtown Vanier and Lowertown. Their trailer is making the move with them so they will need a decent-sized backyard. It would be great to have them as neighbours but it is still too soon to see what is happening to the house beside us. It is owned by the City and has to be demolished as the City tree is attacking the foundation. Given that the building codes have changed greatly in the past 80-90 years, the lane-way would have to be enlarged and as I don’t have need of parking ingress/egress, I’m sure we could waive some parking restrictions.
A long weekend coming up! Yikes – that means my two main grocery stores will only be open for 12 hours instead of their usual 24. I have to admit that I do miss the 4-star meals of Via Rail – my God, it was fantastic. No housework, no cooking, and good company! But, if I were to do it again, forget Ontario - trees, trees, and 2 days of trees.
Smiles all around the table today as
the weather is finally co-operating. That was one very messed-up spring – all
across the country. At least, I can attest to that from Ottawa to Vancouver and
I heard that the attendance was very
heavy while I was away. At least, that’s what the guys were telling me over
the spareribs today. But, then, men, you know what they’re like.
Our Legion is getting a bit of a
face-lift. Thank God for that. You know, instead of going to foreign countries
to assist in building efforts, we should just concentrate on the Legion on Cyr
Street. It reminds me of those club houses we used to build as kids, something
borrowed from that, something stolen from that, you know. And if you don’t,
then you had a very sainted childhood.
I sent in some train reports to Stan
and I see that he has posted them so I needn’t bore you with those any more. I
must admit I could get used to being treated like that (first-class) in a very
quick time – I think I was made to appreciate that sort of life. Four-star
cuisine, the scenery the most awesome on Earth, and sharing this with your
The 5U4 was presented to Roly
Mailloux today for his outstanding job that he did on Jim's bumper. Lou proudly
handed over the trophy just after we had all stuffed ourselves silly.
Al and Ruth are very busy getting all
the stuff into their U-Haul to transport down East. I hear the latest departure
date is May27. I didn’t get a chance to ask Al about the sale of their house.
We were 14 today and then joined by
Ken Peters just as the most of us had left. With that weather going on, a lot of
us high-tailed it home to get the outside chores done before the predicted
Maurice and Donna are planning their
summer vacation and I envy their travel schedule! He was originally thinking
that they were paying out a lot but not really. It’s when you make fast
changes to your itinerary that you pay through the nose. I paid a lot for that
little tin can trip to and from Victoria but I ask you, how can you travel so
far and not go that extra bit to see old pals. Who really cares about the cost
– it’s only money.
Just a reminder to all of you
travellers going outside of Ontario – don’t forget to ask for the pst off.
My $400 purchase had BC provincial taxes levied on it at the cost of $86. I
opted to go with the shipping cost of $16 and saved $70. And my goodies showed
up on my front doorstep just yesterday afternoon. No packing. No fuss.
The extension. I’m pretty much sure
that it will happen. Also, after seeing the photos of both Chuck’s and
Roly’s bathtub renos, that’s on the agenda, as well. My financial advisor
told me to forget about thinking about paying off the mortgage – just to enjoy
the extension which will finally give me a powder room on the main floor for the
first time since owning this house back in ’87. I still have to uncover the
official property plans to find out how much space I can work with. Many thanks
to Lou for pointing out the value of students of architecture at Algonguin. My
son and I will work on our wish-list for this extension over steaks at the Keg
on Mothers Day. His treat!
Jasper, May 1, 2013
Back on the train - this time in a
one-person sleeper. Too tiny for words or even a comma. I am so glad I checked
the suitcase all the way thru to Ottawa.
We left Jasper about an hour or so
ago. Saw mountain goats earning their via rail points, elks chowing down and
dainty deer. One of the engineers called out "bear to the left". Whose
left? I think he meant "the bear left". Engineers.
We ate rack of lamb, steamed potatoes
after a fresh crisp salad. It was washed down by a Merlot and a small plate of
Brie and crackers. Stuffed.
We have the Panorama car which is
incredible until you review your photos.
I am seriously contemplating a very
early night. I slept terribly last night so I'm very tired but wanted to say
what a great turn-out of 16.
I'll try to bring in the notebook
with all my bad photography for show-n-tell.
Meanwhile, it's off to bed for me -
Victoria, April 29th 2013
Winds at 90K, I took off for
Victoria in a DeHavilland Otter single-prop this 8:30 am with eta for 9:15.
Man, what an ordeal! The
aircraft was more like a freezing tin can with an elastic band for a propeller.
I knew it was going to be rough but I wasn’t all that prepared for the
worst flight of my life. There are
now permanent claw marks on a few of the seats now to attest to my white-knuckle
Bob Alexander met me at the
quay and I almost knocked him over giving him a hug of joy that I hadn’t had
to swim the last 20K. I can’t
Once in the vehicle, it was
wonderfully warm and we saw some beautiful scenery and gardening that was so
calming to the soul. It is easy to
see why people live there except that Bob says it is for the newly-wed and the
nearly-dead. Given the price of real
estate in Vancouver, that is easy to understand.
However, I really like the peacefulness of it but, then, I had just
crossed off on an ordeal that was not on my bucket list.
We went for tea on the
marina with all these expensive sailing sloops and boats were moored.
I partook of a fruit smoothie and a cheese scone.
Bob had a tea and a cheese scone. I
got the biggest scone and Bob got the smallest.
Tell me, does Cookie’s influence stretch this far?
Groan. The same as on the
Canadian – I always get the largest portion – whahhh.
Bob called John Marsden but he couldn’t meet us for coffee so we arranged for lunch close to where John lives. As always what happens, the one that lives the closest, gets there last. John and his friend took a quick look around and missed us as we were just starting to sit down so our backs were to them. Bob called him and of course, we heard the ringing and there he was. He hasn’t changed a bit in all this time!!
Well, three hours later
after we had reminisced about who and all and sundry, we decided to finally
leave but as Bob said, it’s tea-time! Of
course, we did not. Have tea, that
is, because the Italian place next door doesn’t open on a Monday.
All and sundry included the
movie Argo and that none of us would go to see it.
I told them about seeing Pamela Whalin hosting “Ambassador” Ken
Taylor on the CBC. What a ham –
both of them. She had been a
political appointee to our consulate in NYORK (?) and kept referring to him as
Mr. Ambassador. What a ditz.
We discussed what kind of gear they would have had to destroy in those
days and “Mr. Ambassador” described it as the size of a pool table.
I also told the guys that Moe, who did see the movie, had seen a CIA guy
use a Stu3 in his hotel room. We all
had a great laugh at that, as you all know,
it hadn’t been invented at that time.
The three of us then got into all our stories and it was like being at
OFarts on a Wednesday lunch except the food was a bit more up-scale and a lot of
the regulars missing.
Bob was kind enough to take
me shopping in a mall so I wouldn’t look so bedraggled during the dinner hour
on the returning Canadian. I did
some power-shopping at Sears and he power-drank hot chocolate at Timmy’s.
That’s how cold it is here!!
It was great to see old
friends again – too bad I hadn’t been a better planner but there was just so
much in the way of this personal trip. The
working CS’s truly appreciated the q+a re their severance pay.
But it is a lot of work of put this together along with a huge up-coming
train trip that is happening the next day.
The day ended with a drink
at the Victoria Legion – wow – makes our Legion look like something that
should be asking the Sally Ann for a hand-out on an hourly basis.
But, we do love our Cookie and our barkeep, Guy.
Bob took me to the harbour
and I was so glad to see that I was actually going back to Van in a twin Otter.
A bit of a joke as Bob said “see you come in on an Ott (only 1 prop)
and you go back on an Otter.” It
didn’t help when the check-in attendant said – “no, you won’t be in a
single-prop because with these flying conditions, such small planes aren’t
allowed to fly.” Thank you for
such calming words.
Thankfully, we had 2 pilots
this time in case one died of fright because of the turbulence.
We bounced around like confused lions being randomly attacked by rhinos
in a lightening storm. Again, I left
claw marks – I squawked, I squeaked, and I squealed.
April 19, 2013
The 2013 posting presentation (aka Posting Party) is May 17th, starting at noon. It will be at the old Marble Works, 3rd floor, on Waller Street. I saw Earl Wattie and he said they are hoping to see some "reps" from Old Farts. I have been invited in my union capacity - sorry, I won't be wearing 2 hats that day ))) so some (or all) of you will have to go.
April 17, 2013
Wow – we became of age,
again, today. Twenty-one of us
gathered for liver and onions. Hmm
– according to Cookie, not many of us went for the special.
A few of our die-hards had to wait for their food for a very long time.
Ron Belanger got his meal at last with Cookie’s apologies as so many of
us had ordered other things.
So many and so few things to bring up – given the numbers. We were ordered up by Lou for a group photo. We hopped right to it and I’m hoping we all didn’t look like vampires as we were all starving by this time.
Donnie got his bathroom redone and outfitted in quite a good time span! The price tag was very impressive – nothing like a son-in-law listening to his wife to get things done in a very timely order. Gee – can I hire him for my extension??? I promise to pay union-ordered wages.
We saw some faces we haven’t seen in a while. Chuck reported Shirley, Bob, Roly, Bob Matheson, Moe, James, Don, Ray Fortin, Mike Treppanier, Al, Bill Neelan, Barry, Andy Nimmo, Claude, Bob Belter, Brian, Dennis(cr), Jacque and Lou were present..
Why are you staying away? (Stan
knew Dave was prepping his cottage) It was wonderful to see you chaps today and to share our experiences of
rail travel. I am getting very
excited about my trip. If you
haven’t already done so, please join Via Preference – you will be happily
shocked with the discounts. If I may
share something with you – I found out that my travel agent from BCD had
booked me on first class from Ottawa to Toronto and the same on my return trip.
When I told the ticket chap at the Ottawa station I had no/no need of
this, he just waived the $117 surcharge. Snap
– just like that! So – hop it!
I am posting late today as
there is another lunch for a hundred on Friday which I have to organize.
What horrible timing as I travel off to Vancouver on Saturday.
However, life often serves up those lemons when you want mangos – who
am I to complain?
Again – renos came up.
Hmmmm- dare I mention this, Roly? He
isn’t a happy chappy after what happened when he tried to turn off the water.
One hundred and seventy smackers later.
We saw the physical results at Show-n-tell.
Wow – we had to put four
tables together to be able to accommodate everyone – it was great!
We were all in fine spirits due to some very needful spring weather.
Chuckie got his new Asus 7
device last Wednesday! He hie’d
himself directly to Canada Computers after last Wednesday’s lunch and is
investigating it on a daily basis. He
was nicely surprised to get a 5% discount on top of the sale price.
Good going, Charlie.
Stan was mia, again.
We wish him all the best in his recovery.
We also expect him to become an expert in XP Professional during his
lazing about. And there will be no
fries with that!
April 10, 2013
There was some excitement
around the table just after 12 noon today. We
noted that Lou B was late and that it would also mean that he would make number
13. Well, Jacques saved his bacon by
showing up just a few minutes before Lou. Then
Lou arrived and we were 14. He had
to sign the late book – which he did while telling us that the late book was
originated by Mrs. Graham and not Gordie Happy.
Chuck is moving into
shopping mode as Canada Computer has the Asus Nexus 7 that he wants and in comes
in at a very good price at $250.00 and ships with 32 mg of memory. He’s buying
it as you read this, at the Canada Computer store on Rideau Street.
Bathrooms renovations came
up right on the very end of today’s session.
Wendy was telling me that they had a representative come in yesterday and
he explained some of the fall-backs of the so-called walk-in tub.
Yes, those ads are slick for a reason.
Apparently, once you have one installed, there is no follow-up or
maintenance program. And who wants
that sort of hassle after paying out approximately $20,000.
Wendy and Bill went with the same sort of bath structure that Chuck did.
They are looking forward to having it done shortly.
Chuck reported that he and his wife are very pleased with their new
Today was cabbage-roll day
and wow – Cookie did a great job today. Forks were moving at a fast pace and
no conversations were being carried on. I
ate everything on my plate and Jim practically licked his clean.
Show and tell.
My Ontario Provincial photo-id made it around the table.
I had this done last year at City Hall and they produce the card right
there. Right now it evades me what
you need to bring with you as proof of identity.
Both Chuck and I don’t have driving licenses so this makes this card an
excellent thing to have.
Trains and train trips came
up again. I am off across the
provinces, plains and Rockies soon and my ears perk up as I’m really looking
forward to this adventure.
Wonderful news – a winter
storm is heading our way. It will be
a beautiful mess of freezing rain, snow and just a kind of day to tackle
projects inside or catch up on TV or reading.
CLR made its name on the
table, too. Ron C has been having a
great time with clearing filters with it and using his pressure washer with
great elan. Sounds like fun!
I asked the table if they knew what an Aerogrow was and got some strange
looks. I explained that I got
totally fed up with food safety warnings and bought one of these at Canadian
Tire a few years back. They are
hydroponic growers and you can choose your packages, such as herbs, lettuces,
tomatoes, or even flowers. Of
course, the boys said I was probably growing a particular type of plant and
they’d sic the cops of me. Ron did
intervene and say he would make sure they were the cute type.
ps - a late addition.
Blame it on the cabbage
rolls! After writing up the report, I bounced to the couch and logged in
an hour and change of a fantastic snooze. Wow.
I forgot to mention Ron
Belanger's mention of his frigid shower and watching his shoes floating on top
of this ice water on his latest train journey. He made it sound quite
funny but I'm sure it wasn't. But, hey, sometimes when those lemon moments
come around, things could get worse. As my father always said: and just
when you think things can't get any worse, they get worse. Ron braved
through it and enjoyed the trip through the Rockies to and back with the
grand-kids - you know, the ones that move faster than humanly possible.
They should have Olympics for babies. And special helmets for them -
I remember getting to Warsaw with my 1 and a half year old son, he had a
black-eye after pranging into the sofa right out of the blue just before we
departed Ottawa. I was just clearing the dining room table when I saw a
blur - that was Lewis. Thank God for all the calming medicines in those
days - for the parents.
What else did I forget?
Oh yes, Chuck was telling me about the working girls of Vanier. They
seemed to have moved from Murray Street, my area, over to Montreal Road.
Well! Today, I learned that I am waiting for my bus right in their
neighbourhood. Thank God we meet at lunch-time as these non-taxpayers must
be asleep at that time. I say we legit this business - the same as pot.
Hey - that way I can grow that stuff and then be able to buy a mink headband.
I recounted to the table
that when I first bought my house back in '87, I was a shift-worker living in
Lowertown. One night at the lunch-room, I was telling the boys that I was
walking home one night and hit the zebra-crossing on St. Patrick just after King
Edward. I was very impressed by the good manners of the drivers and
related how they all stopped for me one evening. I waved my thanks to
those drivers and went home. The guys had a great laugh and told me it was
a hooker location. GASP. More about how I paid off my mortgage on
the next install without a zebra-crossing encounter and who rented my house.
April 03, 2013
Pretty amazing, huh? We’re
already into April. It seems that
the longer I’ve been retired, the faster the time just flies by.
Perhaps that has something to do with quality of life after dropping out
of the walking-dead queue.
Fourteen of us blew into
lunch today. As usual, there were
about 10 conversations hitting the table at the same time.
As usual, no one had any complaints about that.
We had that Irish guy again and he didn’t (much) screw up the orders as
we all went with what Cookie had for the special.
Hmmmm – interesting stuff
today. Donnie Cole is going to start
up a cat house. Just call
( Heactually wanted to be an Arctic Cat Snowmobile dealer and was going to name the dealership “Don’s Cat House”.)
Another thing – we were
talking about bad teachers today. Donnie
broke in and said that he once had a teacher in grade 3 that gave him a hard
time for not shaving. I asked him
how many years he spent in grade 3. A
look of bliss came across his face as he replied “They were the best 4 years
of my life”.
A surprise visit from Stan
the Savant today! It was great to
see him in such good spirits after that operation.
We were counting up how many of our co-horts have gone through this
operation and the number is growing. We
bored the living daylights out of Terry Webb by talking about our retina
specialist, Dr. Lee, out on Carling. Stan
might say he has a lot of eyesight difficulties but he was the one that told me
our surgeon graduated first in McGill in his field.
Get those cards and letters in to the &()*_(&T%^$ CRA
bloodsuckers. For those of you
retiring this year, please confirm with these bloodsuckers that you can take
your severance pay over the span of two years.
(I remember this coming up at a union Branch meeting of the presidents.
This advice was given by a CRA employee.)
This may be in your better interest – your financial advisor is your
I was poking around on
Facebook last night and found Mayor Jim Watson’s page.
You might be interested to learn that you can post directly to his
homepage. However, please remember
the posting will be permanent. Man,
did it ever feel great to rant about the damn bus system we have in place.
Chuck and I lament about it every week.
In particular about the number 12 which moves from Rideau on to Blair.
Only one bus to feed this hungry and busy venue!
Jim brought in the obit section of the Citizen.
It had to do with a memorial to Doug Wood’s father.
Big surprise! (to me), that
Lou and Marg are going to sell their country property.
He thinks he has found the perfect buyer and our collective fingers are
crossed for him. Oh, oh, and before
I forget, Lou gave his personal approval of Donnie’s choice of today’s
Mr. Haircut (aka T. Webb) is
sliding towards his retirement in Terry-like fashion.
The magic month is July and that’s a good time to go off to a better
life. Like all of us,
Pre-Retirement, you wonder what you are going to do with all this time on your
hands. Those of us, within hearing
distance, laughed. Stan summed it up
best by saying “Projects! All of
us around this table have projects that take up all of our possible time.”
Time to segue into a project
of mine – getting rid of the back porch and put on an addition with a
senior-safe shower and toilet. In my
house, I have a bathroom upstairs and downstairs in the basement.
I suppose that has stopped me from being 300 pounds but just a powder
room would be quite the expense. My
financial guru advised me that if I am going to have that done, I should look
further into the future, and put on an extension or, what I really want – a
sunroom. Jim advised that if I go
with a sunroom, it should be a 4-season one so that there won’t be water
problems in the winter. Sage advice.
I’d like to start on this right away but have two other immediate
things to do.
Then Stan brought out his
brand-new I-phone and we all had some fun checking out some of its features.
I am still envious of the new Zed-10 Blackberry but as my Bold is only a
year old, I cannot justify getting it. But,
I am still blown away by the level of help-desk support of Blackberry.
She tracked me down thru a service desk report that was incomplete.
Just in time before a meeting in which I had to host over a hundred
attendees. But – I diverse –
congratulations, Stan, and welcome to the world of smartphones.
Everything is right there, right down to the shopping list when you hit
Costco. And do go up and down every
aisle – it has been proven to be the most economical way to shop.
Ron brought up his tolerance
level of the rising cost of his Bell bill. We
all stand behind him in this one. Things
keep creeping up in cost and it isn’t until you blow a few diplomatic gaskets
that you get them to toe the line. I
still have to do this with Rogers, as well.
I get my bill on-line and can see what they charge.
However, once you go to on-line billing, you’re stuck that way unless
you want to start paying for the print version.
Speaking of costs, I bought
a two-litre carton of Nelson milk this afternoon for over $5.00!!
Man, how much does beer cost?
We, again, floated the idea
of charging a no-show fee for Old Farts that haven’t attended for a while.
This has become a table joke; much
to my dismay. Whhaahh! I want that mink headband.
March 20, 2013
Our showing today was a mere
11. We braved snow, bright sunlight and cheerful scenery, to get to Old Farts'
today. The rest of you are certifiable wimps.
But, we had a very
productive lunch session! It has
been decided that a certain someone will have to work on getting a new stud-book
together. Al Couture came up with
the name: Alzheimer's’ Anonymous.
Notably, this work will be done by Dr. Dee, who is choking on his Coke,
right about now.
Roly and Bev survived their
furnace bailing on them. Sorry –
no details will be listed here as to how they managed to survive with the house
at only 51 degrees.
Stan and Donnie were out
sick today. Angel is on her way to
the UK. The rest of you have to sign
Gordie Happy’s late book. Actually,
a few of us started up an idea of fines for those who do not show up.
Beer, do-nuts, theatre tickets, toolkits, lumberjack socks, mink
headbands; we don’t know yet, but something is up.
Jim brought up the subject
of halogen light-bulbs and that they cost around $5.00 to replace the existing
ones in those light fixtures you own. He
did some shopping around on E-Bay and found he could get them for 9 cents –
Moses Almighty! Only in Canada, eh?
My XP manual has been
claimed by Stan. No fries with that,
though. Chuckie nailed him on that
There was a discussion on
hamburger steak versus Swiss steak versus Salisbury steak.
This rapidly deteriorated into a discussion on horsemeat. The boys ate
their steakettes and I had chicken.
Lou will soon start to
jump-paint. Marg is doing a
stupendous job at home with chinking his stamp room.
Once again, water heaters
hit the table. There are, of course,
two sides to this decision. One is
how much you pay over a span of time and the other is peace of mind.
Given my refrigerator drama the past spring, I am personally opting for
not buying anything else brand-new except for electronics.
My one year-old water heater is already not delivering the same degree of
hot water as it did when it was put in. Also,
take into mind the size of a hot water heater that you need – a family of six
will quickly go through a 40-gallon tank that I have.
And if you’re the last one or even, third one, in the shower line-up,
b-r-r-r-r-r. And your rental bill will be higher due to the unit's capacity.
I was told once upon a time that disposing of an old hot water tank was
quite difficult due to the toting or containing fees.
Can someone confirm this?
British two-penny pieces
made their verbal appearance today. Lou
and Ron were discussing places of where to dispose of coins, in general.
My ears perked up as I seem to have hundreds of these. I
did try to dump some into these new coin machines but they are even sneakier
Hurray, today made its first spring-like appearance. We feel like we are no longer held hostage to all that white stuff – as beautiful as it can be but after 4 days, enough.
We had a great turn-out
today, all the chairs were full and even then, a few of the regulars were
missing. We had fish and chips on today’s menu so I toted in a few bottles of
Cross & Blackwell’s to celebrate the change.
Speaking of the food,
someone in the kitchen displayed a weird sense of humour.
I got three big pieces of fish while Chuck got what he called a
Many, many different
conversations going on. Show
and tell was a tool that Jim had lent to Roly for one of his home projects. At
this moment, I am hitting a blank. Caulking tool for corners, yes, that’s it.
I went into the Pearson to
do some banking this am and, afterwards, went to the cafeteria.
I saw a ton of FS types (strange, according to Gary L.) and was shocked
by the non-appearance of FS-ITPs. I
did run into Mike Hansen and we had a 30-second chat.
He said that things have really changed and he did say it
wasn't for the better. At
lunch, we all held the same belief that we were in the Foreign Service at the
This topic then segue'ed
into the number of countries we had travelled to either on a posting or a t.d.
T.D.’s generally meant you hopefully made a few extra (or more) dollars
if you knew a few tricks of the trade. I
mentioned that I did try that old trick of putting your trousers in between the
mattresses in the hotel and was quite disappointed in the results the next day.
Chuck rose to this discussion in protest as he said it always worked
perfectly for him when he was in the British military.
I guess the reason for this would be that there’s a great difference in
the weight of a British mattress than the one from Ikea.
Then we spoke about the
all-important portable food we would pack, such as peanut butter.
Then Stan Dabrowski (God bless his soul) got an honourable mention as he
always brought his staples of peanut butter and jam so that he would always have
his snack on hand. Someone else
threw in a comment about having your pickles on hand, as well.
Hey, whatever rocks your socks. As
for me, anything concerning protein was high up there on the list, along with a
bottle of Woollite to ensure you always had clean clothes, too.
As Barrie had to go to
Costco, we got to talking about the quality of the fresh food there.
I had purchased some lambchops last week and got around to cooking them
up last night. Before doing so, I
took a measurement and they are 2.4”! It
takes forever to cook them – sure they taste good but that’s a very long
1-hour wait! Barrie commented that
the stuffed salmon is very good.
Chuck told me about freeware
called Calibre when it comes to e-books. It
sounds well-worth checking out. One
of these days, I will poke around and get aquainted with what is on offer.
Today, it hit me that I’m
not really retired. I was going into
the Pearson today and the commissionaire called me by my name. :((
I’ve been tasked with organizing another Union 100+ attendee lunches.
Oh well – keeps me out of the department stores :)
Lou got himself a great
haircut at a great price. The guys
started to compare prices and the tips they leave.
It’s enough to make a gal tear up her favorite pair of shoes!
I do remember a few gal-pals going to the barber and saving a whole bunch
of money. Another rip-off we women
have to go through is when we need to have alterations done.
Why is it we women have to pay so much more?
Chuck’s bathroom reno has
gone quite well and they are very pleased with it.
They now have two grab bars and I am envious.
I’d like to start getting something done in the house but Stan (Mr.
No-Fries) warned us not to believe anything that McGuinty has promised regarding
readying your house so that you can live in it longer before having to line up
to get into a retirement residence. Betcha
dollars to dough-nuts, by the time I will do that, I will have to pay thousands
a month for something the size of a mouse-house.
I spoke with Angel last
weekend and she is surviving all that bad weather that Winnipeg so nicely sends
us second-hand. I guess that being
bored with the weather has it’s up-side as she said she woke up one am and hit
the phone store. She now is the
proud owner of a Samsung S3 smartphone. As
she has a Samsung tablet, why not just stick with the same brand was the logic.
I have always loved Samsung phones but did a switch to a personal
Blackberry 2 years ago. I am
severely tempted to go over to the Z10 especially after hearing that you can now
do face-to-face (video) calling. Hey,
finally. Now we women can see the
creep who is making the obscene phone calls. p
Joking, of course, but not really. These
bozos aren’t necessarily the brightest spark in a badly-wired fuse box.
Next Lime Lunch – Barrie
wants your answer today.
Vancouver - April 24th -
time to look up some old pals there as the union conference begins on the
Okay, gotta bounce.
February 20th 2013
A song hit the charts a few years
back with a very appropriate winter analogy.
It is called “We hate Winnipeg!”
Hey, Winnipeg, you can stop sending your freezing cold lousy weather our
way. Valleys aren’t supposed to be
getting this cold, especially when we are surrounded by large bodies of water on
both sides. Or, did I get the song
wrong? Maybe it was, “We hate
Troffers”. Only three
federal senators in trouble this week. And
we need them, why?? Oh yes, Harper
needs to find somewhere to throw that money at because he killed off all those
federal servant jobs. I sure hope he
wakes up and realizes all those businesses that will soon go under because no
one is able to buy their services.
We were a relatively small group
today but we were lively! Lots of
buzzing around the tables – I got there late as I slept in.
Then had to sign the Gordie Happy late sheet.
Man! I even broke a nail in
Before I forget, please remember that
the Lime Lunch is this Friday down in ChinaTown.
If you haven’t let Barrie know by now, best do it quick chop chop.
He has reserved spaces for 17 of us.
He also said that if I don’t make it due to a broken ankle, he will
make sure I will have a broken ankle. Nazi.
Roly needs a new toilet.
And Jim is telling him to get one with a remote control.
I asked why one would want something like this – the answer came back
“Just to keep the price sky-high.”
Somehow or another, this led to a few lines of discussion on senators and “public scrutiny”.
Suddenly, don’t ask me why, Roly
quickly folded himself into his coat and said he had to go to Lowe’s.
And, if you are toilet hunting, Roly,
please get some batteries for that remote – Jim will sleep easier.
Chuck made us all stand on our toes
with a sudden question. Who was the
female minister in the 80’s that was based out of Vancouver.
(Why is this city suddenly our common focus, I wonder.)
I thought it may have been Flora McDonald but she was from down East.
The only one that could come to mind was a politicial appointee to the
London High Commission that was married to Stan something-or-another.
Jim rose to the occasion with the name of Maggie Cattley-Carlson.
So, between the lot of us, there’s no Alzheimers to speak of.
Pat Carney turned out to be the subject of Chuck's search.
The CM reunion is coming up for September.
It might seem to be a long way off but those cheques need to be coming in
to secure that venue. Barrie will
only secure your spot once he gets the cheque so hop to it!
need to plan and to dream these. Forget
whimpy vacations – we are now at the prime of our lives and who cares if you
have to put up with travel problems such as a forced lay-over while in business
class on a train or hotel. Hey –
all during our working lives, we had to have our noses to the clock.
Now – we choose the clock. Whaaa-hooo.
Chicken Salad anyone?
February 13th 2013
We had a small crowd today
– an even dozen. Bakers we are
not, but we can sure heat up that room.
Dave started us off to a
great display of his toy helicopters. After
having said that, I’m sure he will never talk to me in a civil tone again.
He brought in 2 models, one a real one and the other, a knock-off.
If memory serves correctly,
the knock-off was more expensive from factory to his home door.
We witnessed many types of landing and thankfully, none of them in our
drinks. But darn near close!
The discussion started off
about hot water heaters and they are a big drag on the budget.
I got rid of an old loaner just last year because it just wasn’t doing
the job. This job was an absolute
joy as when I called up the company, the coincidences were incredible.
The salesman had gone to the highschool just beside my house, the
accounts man had an Aunt Shirley, and the service desk lady remembered me from
last year when I had upped my service account with them.
I was treated like a VIP, got a brand-new water heater and they, of
course, took out the rental unit. In
the past, I’ve given many a thought to purchasing a water heater but have been
put off with the understanding that you have to make special arrangements to
have it removed and replaced. As a
person without a truck and no knowledge of how to do this, I opted to stick with
my rental unit. And already, one
year later, I am having problems with hot water flow and am hearing ominous
gasping sounds once I have my shower and may-be do the washing up.
Not good if I had purchased it – scarey, too.
Yes, I will call them soon as they have made the promise that if I ever
have any problems, a brand-new one will be one its way.
You know, I purchased a
whole slew of new things when I retired. Since
then, I have rued that decision – some of the older products were not only
more solidly built but the warranties were for much longer.
Please acquaint yourselves with this when buying a new fridge or so. The
days of those 25-year warranties are very much over.
I opted for an extended warranty on a pc and printer about 7 years back
– man, did it pay off. Chew it
over before you reject it outright. But,
who am I to speak to this issue. And
got a new fridge, out of it, too.
It was great to see Ron
Belanger, again, today. He’s
another train enthusiast and has encouraged me to join Via Preference club.
It’s dead easy, you just sign up for a Via Rail account and then sign
up for the Preference club. Already,
I have an on-line offer that is pretty hard not to accept.
Some of you know that I am heading out to Vancouver for an annual union
meeting and Ron has been telling me of his trip with his wife, Catherine, last
year when they trained it thru the Rockies from Alberta.
You know, I have to do this, there’s no way I can pass this up!
It has been my life-long dream to travel across Canada by train – what
an opportunity! As Ron said – how
can you not!
At one of the tables, there
were many hand and arm gestures going on – aside from those of the helicopter
“pilot”. Tres weird.
I asked Roly and he explained that they were talking about snowblowers.
Many, many, technical terms about the side pop-ups and that thingie and
such. Not even going there.
Angel, our angel, got an
honourary mention today from Ron B. He
told me the story of how he first met her in the good old days.
She had just bought herself a beautiful fur coat and was demonstrating
it’s beauty when he was walking by. He
said that this is and always will be his first memory of her and not because she
was one of the first female CM’s. I
thanked him and said – guess who inherited her coat and was so very thankful
for it. When she gave it to me, it
was with a beautiful flourish and class. Always
Ken Peters joined us around
13:30. He bounded in and looked very
happy to see us all. He is looking
well – retirement does tend to do that but he and his wife decided to put more
of an accent on the enjoying part and they are heading back South for the
winter. Smart couple!
And then came the surprise! the 5u4 housed in that incredible job that
Lou did. Man, that cabinetry!
Jim, always with his incredible camera, caught the change-over on the
fly. Thank you, gentlemen, it was an
unexpected honour!I t
And this was supposed to be
just a few lines – I guess my ears pick up an awful lot.
There is a medical term for it, actually, and Jacques Larose spoke to it.
Today it was wonderful to hear a lot of what was going on – but I did
miss hearing Chuckie’s news as Moe the Finger had swiped my usual seat ))).
Boys will always be boys just as gals will always be gals.
Too bad I missed Donna, his wife, but got to see Wendy, Bill’s wife.
Yikes, Feb. 14th.
Be good, remember the card, and especially the chocolates.
There is, apparently, a direct connection between chocolates, your
presence (face-wise) that equates to that special love thing.
I heard this on the CBC so it must be true. )))
If I have forgotten anything
– please forgive me.
February 6th 2013
Man, what a beautiful but
cold day! I remember one young new
FS-ITP recruit from Vancouver telling me that when she first moved to Ottawa,
she saw the sun and jumped into her summer running outfit.
She got 2 steps out of her apartment building before she turned around
and went home. Welcome to the second
coldest capital of the world. But,
we all know that so I’m not wasting any more time on that one.
Fourteen of us today!
Good show – speaking of which, Barrie started a photo session on his
I-pad showing the eagle with that stunning background of blue.
The bunny was cute, too. By
the way, Barrie isn’t dropping his prices – still 50 smackers for one.
I had excellent news today.
Moe the Finger and Donna drove me out to the Retina Specialist Centre and
I now have a clean bill of eye health! Phew!
I was having a lot of pain in that eye and was extremely relieved to hear
that it is just because some of my tear ducts are blocked.
Now I have to contact Angel to hear how she and her family dealt with
this in such an uncomplicated way – we had discussed this possibility a few
The new prices came into
effect today – it is now a huge amount of $9.00 for the special.
Kind of makes it awkward for the waiter to get his usual $2 tip.
Our new waiter is marvellous – very attentive and doesn’t come over
and suddenly announce how wonderful he is with the dogs.
And I’m sure the Irish guy is, but we are so wrapped up in our
discussions that it becomes a bit awkward. Mr.
No-Fries-ate-his-fries generally handles that situation for us, though.
Show and tell today –
Don’s daughter bought him a hand-scanner on The Shopping Channel on sale for a
hundred dollars off. It was pretty
impressive but I missed how much memory it had and what it could be upgraded to.
We all have our MFC’s at home but for me, in my union capacity, this
would be super to keep in my “portable President’s office”.
(I currently have a rolling briefcase that can hold a lot and has been
remarkable!) I need to look into
this further as this could very well solve my
printer-at-the-cafeteria-union-meeting without using the Signet network.
Moe the Finger brought in a
shoe he found at Marks’ that has a compensating rubber disc that you can dial
up to what your foot needs. He got
this for a remarkable price. The
system is called “dial-a-shoe”. Very
well worth the time to check this out. And
c’mon, retirees, we all know that we have soooo much time on our hands these
Speaking of time, I recently
got a happy birthday email from an old “friend”, asking me if I had any
thoughts on returning to works. He
got my thoughts, all right – a whole blistering paragraph.
Gary and Mau know to whom I refer. (He
now lives in Vancouver.)
I have only one complaint
about today’s lunch. Three of us
were discussing the merits of the McGuinty plan (isn’t he out of the picture
now? Isn’t he an accused thief?
Isn’t he a lawyer – therefore, a thief?
As an ex-politician and a practising lawyer, what does this make him? –
just grist for the mill.)
But, I digressed and now pay
for it by having to start a new paragraph. Today,
the volume at the head table towards the end of lunch was over-whelming!
Some of you might know that my hearing is going the other way than for
"normal" people. My
hearing is becoming quite sensitive and it physically hurts when someone exerts
a deep voice for a prolonged amount of time.
Okay, call me a wimp and I hereby challenge one and all to invent a
device (and not Maxwell Smart’s Cone of Silence!) that would allow me to
select a conversation to listen to without pain.
For this device, I will donate my 5u4 reward to the successful candidate.
That’s if I ever see the 5u4 device for which Dave Smith nominated me
when we were all pitching in to help him with the restore points for his
back-ups in Windows7. Hear me, Ken - Hop it!
We missed Ron Belanger, Dave
Smith today but were joined by Brian Borse who is always a joy to see, unlike
Art the Fart. Ah, Art, I always pick
on you, and you show, for you, a great sense of humour to put up with it.
I hope that you and Jennifer are having a wonderful time in the warmer
climes of down South.
Stan showed us a letter
today that started a lot of talk about the table.
The department, in their always-badly-timed wisdom, has decided to launch
a history of IM/IT in DFAIT. We
discussed who should be included in this “round-table” reaping of knowledge.
There was an official request for communicators’ input.
I will volunteer, if needed, as I joined back in 1975 going from 8-level
torn-tape relay in the weather office down to 5-level in DFAIT.
As CM’s, we were the pre-cursors to email and, another thing that
should be mentioned, we knew everything that was happening in the mission and
what HQ had to say and rule about. I
remember Friday nights at the Canadian clubs at missions abroad as being
exhausting when all the officers wanted to discuss the contents of their
telegrams. Such blow-hards.
The poor Scys got no recognigtion at all but at least they had a yearly
day. We, on the other hand, had a
locked Dutch door where we could post – Working in the Back.
Bill Neelin was given
further recognition for his daily input of his “To a Select Few”.
They are always guaranteed to amuse you and as he said, can be passed on
to the grandkids. If you are not
receiving them on a daily basis, please contact Bill directly.
Okay all – time I was
wrapping this up after boring you all more than sufficiently.
Zed10, Zed10, yes!
Time for Blackberry to get back some jobs that will feed our Canadian economy -
think? Too much of our jobs have been jacked by the States - buy Canadian,
for God's Sakes. Ah yes, that brings me to a further challenge to you all
- I have been informed that 4G isn't available in Ottawa. Who is going to
investigate this? It cannot be me as I am organizing another huge meeting
and lunch at DFAIT.
Done old beans (young
January 30, 2013
We had a really great showing with
every seat full today. It was great
to finally see Roger Banville again. He
has been ignoring us for much too long. Unfortunately,
I did not have much of a chance to bore him as chewing on ribs took up a lot of
No parking for the good guys today!!
Sad news – a 57-year old Legion member passed away and his funeral was
held just next door. He was only 57!
Also, the new barkeep said that another Legionnaire member passed away
the week before – she was also young! How
wrong is that?
Before I get into the reporting –
I’d like to apologize to one and all if they received a message from me with
the header of “hey”. My email
got jacked and hence, so if you haven’t opened it or even if you have, please
do not go to that site. If you do,
you will unknowingly download a Trojan. Rotten
creeps! If you did, please first go
to your email settings and change your password ASAP.
And if you find out the name of the Trojan writer, please forward it the
the American Gun Association for Justice, which I hope exists.
Again, lots of conversations going on
– great company, great food and a short time was had by most of us because of
a lack of parking. Chuckie
threatened me with his cane (not) because he had opened “my” email and had
gone to the link. Which is natural
when something comes from a trusted source.
We should start our own Gun Association for Justice for these nasty evil
slimy miserable mean time-wasting
Barrie is accepting cash for
something or other. Fifty bucks, I
hear, and that’s for one. Cash
only and he will ensure that you have a reservation, or something like that.
For a good time, call Barrie. Okay,
okay, I just could not resist that. Sorry,
Barrie. Actually, I’m not sorry at
all – I’m just laughing too hard.
The Blackberry Zed10 launched today!
I raced around like a worker bee getting some noisy housework done before
10am. I finally remembered to
register my BB at the RIM site to get updates and such.
Then hit the TV remote at 9:55 – Wahoo!
But what channel? Surf, surf,
what is this BNN? Click.
It is a business channel out of TO who was doing the coverage.
Was there any channel not doing coverage?
I don’t know but I am a helpless Crackberry addict and so I stopped
clicking. I was so excited that I
got hungry and had to hit the fridge with the volume cranked up.
Just as I sat down with a tray of 6 yoghurts (c’mon, mini ones and one
needs to be able to select) the CEO hit the stage.
What a shirt! Thank God he
didn’t try to crack a joke because he has a bad case of seriousness.
You know, that flat voice, so-so delivery, and after two seconds, you are
in sleepland. But, the world got
thru that and then! Yes, then, he whipped this phone out – and my BB rang!
My eyes scittered over to the call display and it said Canbra10.
I nearly didn’t answer as I figured this was Moe the Finger changing
his call display and calling at this crucial timing to announce he could still
give me a ride to Old Farts. Nope.
It turned out to be a CS in Rio de Janerio with a lot of union questions
that lasted for 40 minutes. What an
incredible case and my heart goes out to him for what he is going thru.
Squeek - I did cheat, however, by keeping an ear stuck in and did see the
two devices that the CEO held up. I
did see that SAP is now involved with the new platform which is very impressive
but must leave it at that as I need to see the low-down again.
And yes, I will probably watch this 10 times as when I upgrade my BB, I
want it to be what I want for when I want it.
I used to be a dedicated Samsung phone user but ditched it around 3 years
ago because of its calendar issues.
Okay – sorry – too much on that
subject but I really get carried away about a Canadian initiative and something
that can give us not only pride but bread and butter on the table for our
children to take home to their families. Blackberry
will come under tremendous attack in the next 1-6 months from both Samsung and
Apple – I think I will contact them to volunteer for some type of job to help
bolster them from this.
Ah yes, Studfinder stuff.
Naturally, the boys will be boys and all comments were about “Did you
find your stud yet?” Naturally,
boys being boys, they did not read my email correctly about my amazing savings
of $60.00 (less tax) when I got both my temperature ranger and stud ranger at
the great price of less than $60.00 for both of these products.
Boys – please note: ranger! Even
Today was a mess of weather but
having gotten a lift to Old Farts from Maurice, aka Moe the Finger, it was great
to be out in known company. I missed
a lot of show-n-tell but did see an install manual for an older type of hdd and
someone brought in a virtious voice-recorder.
My apologies for not being able to study these.
My contribution was my door snake which for ten smackers, is a very
Tehran came up again as Ken Taylor, a
terrible orator, was a guest on a 24-Jan recording of something of the Empire,
hosted by Pamelin Wallin, described he and his wife’s hosting of the
Americans. What a controlling bag of
wind. He described the destruction
of the back-room gear and he – yes, the ambo- with some sgt. destructed the
equip the size of a pool table. Idiotbox. Then there was some
sort of flapping of the hand when he sort of mentioned Mary “as she didn’t
obviously have the strength”. It
took everything I had to focus on what he was saying as he just rambles on with
him as the greatest rock of ages. Egads.
And he was still accepting questions with the audience calling him Mr.
Ambassador. God help that idiot if I
had been a part of it.
Nota bene: When I did my
training back in 1975, I was told that as soon as you get to your posting, you
request a 5-lb sledge hammer so that you can perform your own destrustion
routine. A pool-table gizmo - yes Mr Amb-ass-a-door, I'll just show
you to one.
Okay – I have taken up too much of
your precious time. Please take care
tomorrow because this mess is now going to freeze.
Get that salt out – it isn’t environmentally our best choice but it
may save you from a broken ankle.
I won't go into my insulating my
doors - too much info and not enough cold weather to compare to earlier this
week. More later old socks.
January 23, 2013
January 16, 2013
Today was surprisingly cold at 10 am. I got to the Legion very early and gulped down some hot coffee to warm up! I took out my daily need-to-do crossword and kept trying to de-frost my hands while having to hear some pretty awful language from those guys that sit by the bar. Yuck.
That being said, I was very happy to see your happy faces show up so that we could get into our interesting conversations of show-n-tell and remember-whens and, of course, whatever-happened-to's.
Today was especially rememerable as Ron Belanger graced us with his presence. Ron and Christina are planning a holiday in Italy come next year and as he had already been there for 2.5 months, we reminisced about food, people, good times and travelling around in that country. As you all know, if you don’t speak the local lingua, the Romans can be extremely hard on you. But if you give it a small effort, they might cut you a lot of slack. It was wonderful to go down memory lane with Ron for his preparation for his Italian trip. He also shared a lot of memories of his times there during those times. As did I with him. The Romans really aren’t all that bad once you learn how to say the normal phrases: please, thank you, and get stuffed. Just like anywhere.
Show and tell: Mr. no-Chips brought in an electronic measurer and tried to get us to read the rtm. Ah - the question is – did he bring the right rtm? Chuck had some fun with it and it did the trip around the table.
Speaking of, every seat was full today!! Sorry – I didn’t do a count as Italy and train travel through the Rockies was on the middle table’s topics. Am off to Vancouver for a business trip for the last week of April and I want to see the famous Rockies in all their glory. Al Couture gave travel advice about traveling from Vncvr to the East will be in the dark, for those of us who will be planning our train trips. Thank you Al. That certainly makes a huge difference in my travel plans.
A few of us idiots (6 ,but who cares) stayed on and got into several conversations about our old equipment. Please remember the operative words were idiots and old. But, still, a lot of fun was had by all of us. New truths were found, old truths were announced and we all left reluctantly.
Wendy and Bill are back and looking great. I am looking forward to the next Lime Day lunch when I can sit beside Wendy and hear about how my little pal, Olivia, is doing.
Friday will be hitting windchill of -30, according to the Met office. Please plan on this. Give your freezer a break ))
January 2nd 2013
Happy New Year! We all survived Dec.21st and the Mayan non-prophecies. It would appear that we went through a second gears-up for not much of a reason. However, we should be all better prepared if only for a few extra cans of soup.
Today, the tables had 11 occupants arriving all over the clock – we were offered shepherd’s pie and a new dish for the Legion – Chicken Fingers. Who knew. I couldn’t finish mine and only found out later that Lou would have gratefully polished off my still-full plate of lunch. Sorry Lou – it is now burned into my fat stem-cells.
A picture taken by Jim will shortly be up-loaded to our site. It had to be taken because for the first time in our known luncheon-history, Stan refused fries!! Thanks Stan – now we all feel justified in ordering fries just so you wouldn’t be feeling guilty.
Vic Lotto, Rick Kohler, Greta Bossenmeir, and Adam Blackwell were a few names that came up today. No bad words there. Of course, Ferret Face (aka G Lambert) also surfaced. Some of you will remember Ferret Face as promising us, back in the mid-70’s, that there would not be enough employees to populate even one of the towers of 125 Sussex. I also quite succinctly remember attending a PSAC general meeting with the scys and crs when he grandly announced that the department had a program in place that was training its employees to become IT professionals. And yes, it was me that stood up and asked him how many positions were available as all of the ones had already been taken by ex-CMs that needed their jobs. CM Jobs that had been declared extinct, as you will all remember. I remember when we all had to take the exams just to be able to qualify for the training when I was in Warsaw and the ambo’s scy bitterly complaining about the fact she couldn’t compete because of the top grades (65+, c,mon!) and Leger Roy coming up behind me and saying to her, Yes, but you’re not losing your job!
On a much better note, everyone was looking great at today’s lunch. I wasn’t sitting in my usual position as Moe the Finger had stolen it. However, change is always a good thing and I got to sit beside Roly and across from Al and beside Lou. Of course, the new thermostat came up as a current subject as well as the amount of snow we are putting up with. And more snow to come. For me, that is super as I don’t care about shovelling as it is white stuff and no where near the stuff I encountered while in the FS on posting. Meow.
The Ambos out there from the old days are being taken down to a much more normal level. Many many changes have been instituted and I think it is for the better. In Canada, we are all equal, taxing, grocery shopping, mortgages, etc., being a part of the equation. On a posting, as we all know, who gets the better housing, tax-free booze and ciggies, etc. Now comes the leveler. However, I do not know the other side of the equation so I really shouldn’t be making an opinion thus far.
Stan’s daughter suffered a great loss during the Xmas/New Years. She is taking it quite well and all the animals are safe. She is in a hotel and legal stuff is happening. Sorry – I didn’t get too much as I was sitting so far away. Thank Moe the Finger for stealing my seat!
Art’s getting ready for the South in Florida. As a golfer, he certainly knows his spots to go to. He and Jennifer are off in the month of Feb to a place he scoped out on VRBO.com. I shall be checking this out and others for Feb. of next year.
2013 – an uneven number - to an Asian is a bad number. To the average Joe, 13 is bad. But, I was listening to CTV, and a cosmic reader says this is the year of Women. Yep, step back guys – we will solve it all. I think. I believe. Yep – on the list.
I’ve nothing more to report, apart from huge praises of the wood cleaner that I am soooo looking forward to using. I hope that all has been good for all and this year, I forecast, will be better than the last. All the best to all !
© OFARTS Canada 2013 Old Foreign Affairs Retired Technicians, Canada