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Shirley's Epistles


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 the “hole”.

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?

Construction, construction.  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 woods.

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 mine.

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!

Gotta bounce.


Dec 4th

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 outstanding.

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?  Mine!

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?

Gotta bounce!

November 20th

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 of theirs.

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 8?

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

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.

Gotta bounce.

November 13th

Shirley was shopping in Westport

The Knitter and the Sweater

November 6th

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! 

ECM upgrade

And you will even find a photo on 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. 

It’s 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 like.

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!”

Gotta bounce  


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 sucks.

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.  Really.

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 ….

Gotta bounce


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 bums-in-seats get!

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 think.

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 go, girl!

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 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:

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!

Gotta bounce,


October 16th

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 Gary.

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 smell money!

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 money!

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. Yum!

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!

Gotta bounce,

Shirley Gillette

October 9th

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.

Gotta bounce,


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?

October 02nd

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 well!

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?

Next event(s)!

October 9 th – there is a special Thanksgiving meal on the  Menu at the legion.

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 workplace?

Holly Anne Tough

Bob Hutchins

Steve Galloway

Henry Bakalarz

George McKeever (until Nov. only)

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.

Gotta bounce,


September 25th

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   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  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 to know.

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.

Gotta bounce,


September 18th – ALREADY!

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 cause.

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. 

Gotta bounce,


September 11th 

(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!!!

Chuck 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. 

Spare ribs but the Legion’s financial bottom line definitely suffered from the slim numbers in attendance.

(Chuck 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 1.30.

We are supposed to get violent weather this afternoon but it seems to have passed us by. 

September 4th (already!!)
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:,14285.html
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. 

Dave 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.
Gotta bounce,

August 28th

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 sneaky!

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 public.

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”.

Gotta bounce

August 21st
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.
Gotta bounce,

August 7th

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 one bit!

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 hand!

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

(  refers)

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 the reunion.

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 ))

Gotta bounce,


July 31st

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.

From: Shirley

July 24th

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 bunch.

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 God.

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 beware.

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 procrastination list.

The CM/EL reunion is coming up in September. I think there is still space available but you’d better check directly with (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!

Gotta bounce,


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. no-fries-with-that.  

    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 than usual.

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 it. ))

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! for the latest plans.

Gotta bounce

July 10th

The Dirty Dozen showed up today!  My God, that Yule Brenner was so hot in his films … but I digress.

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 thing.

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) party today.

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.

Gotta bounce,


Jun2 27th

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.  

Travel well my friends

June 19th

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 was up.

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 nights.

Stan approved next month’s menu with Cookie.  For those of us much lower on the “chain”, here’s what we have in store:

            3rd: Roast Pork Loin
            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, Donnie?

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! Beware.

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!

Gotta bounce,


June 12th

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!

Gotta bounce,


June 5th

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!!

Gotta bounce,


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.

Gotta bounce,


May 15, 2013
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.
Gotta bounce!

May 8th

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 back.

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 fellow passengers.

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 showers.

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 - yawn.


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 ordeal.

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 swim.

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.

Gotta bounce,


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.  

"While shutting off the main water supply valve handle broke off. Water off. Had to call city to send out a work crew to turn the water off so I could change the valve. Before amalgamation used to be free now cost $83 for crew to come out and turn the water to the house off!!! Took them several hours. Finally able to remove old valve. Went to RONA for replacment valve. Not available. Sent me to Boone on Woodward. Rush hour on Merivale. Not available. Sent me to Giant on Bentley. Rush hour on Merivale!!! Managed to get replacement valve but by this time city workmen had left for the day. Had to call out another crew to turn water back on. Cost another $83. DIY plumbing can be expensive."

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!

Gotta bounce,


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 bathtub.  

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.

 Gotta bounce,  

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.  

Gotta bounce!


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 613-Don-Cole. ( He actually 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.

Tax-time!  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 best guru.

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!

Show-n-tell.  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 apparel.

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.  HIGHgd&((*(_)*&_ Bloodsuckers.

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.

Gotta bounce,


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.  Beware!!

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 one.

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 than me. 

Gotta bounce,


March 6th 2013

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 deep-fried sardine.

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 best time.

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?   Strike!!!

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 26th.

 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 protest.

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.  We think.  

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!

Adventures!  We 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 our lady!

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. 

Cheers all

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 weeks back.

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 days, right?

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 farts).


January 30, 2013

Hi Everyone!

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 time.

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 b-tards.

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 yummier.

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 effective door-warmer.

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.

Take care!


January 23, 2013

Hi All
We had a large turn-out today given just how cold it was!  Man, minus 41 is just nuts.  This is not why I moved away from Labrador to live in Ottawa!
Don had a super birthday celebration today!  He first pulled out his Korean Veteran's baseball cap. It went very well with his hand-stitched Hebrides jumper.  Very handsome.  (Sorry Don - no boat and a motor.)   And then!, out comes the famous yip stick.  We were treated to a fine performance complete with a lively vocal rendering of commands.  Judging by his expertise, he has played with this stick many times.  Boys and their toys.
New bartender - new server.  The ones we are used to went to Cuba for a spell from Ice-cube Land.  These new guys did pretty good.  Ah yes, the Feb. menu will be posted shortly on the website.
Cookie went one even better as he appeared with a birthday cake (at Jim's request) after we had eaten.  Wow!  I think Don had a tear or two to help him blow out the candles.  I'm going to rat out Rollie again as he had two pieces.
Lou outdid himself by putting together a special gadget that Don was delighted with.  It almost made him forget about the 5U4 award - almost.  Many pictures were taken of Lou and Don and they should be viewable soon on the website.

Jim got himself an impressive set of bits that should encompass every need for the next 200 years.  However, Rollie brought in a screw that the set couldn't accommodate.  And then he told us that it was from his Scandinavian bed.  And that's as far as I'm going with this conversation.
Ron and Christine Belanger are preparing for their Italian trip.  Ron loves to start early so it was great to dust off my guide books I'd purchased when on posting there.  It brought back those great memories of travelling throughout these historical sites and enjoying the superb scenery and food.  He stumped me, though, by asking: which was the best place that you encountered?
Dave entertained us with updates on who he runs into from the department.  Recently, a small "argument" broke out over awards being given to the Canadians that had been posted to Tehran during the Canadian Caper.  Yes, Mary did get her reward but it was with the assistance of Ray White et al who insisted in nominating her for one.  I really think that Dave should write a book of his memoirs.  I would push Chuck out of the way to get the first copy))
Once again, I want to thank Moe the Finger for the loan of the temperature "gun".  It is unbelievable how much heat goes out the door.  And I have 3 of them!  In all cases, the doors have the proper "sweeps" at the bottom and all of them measure around zero.  You can believe me that there will be something done apart from patch-jobs right now.
Money is starting to twang a bit - you feel like you have to fend off all those gougers.  And they are extremely aggressive - i.e., that natural gas guy the other night that practically demanded I let him him.  I did wave goodnight at him with all digits on my right hand - just being polite.  But, confession: I did turn off the front step light - good luck with that, buster!
So hang in there everyone - we are heading into Feb. very shortly.  Up North, this is the worse month but as we are way down South, we should be getting a break soon.  If you know a new Canadian, make a coffee date later today so that s/he can experience just what it is like. I actually found yesterday worse because of the wind.  I feel sorry for those that had lost power in W. Quebec - thank God it is back on now but it sure takes a long time to bring a house back to a warm temperature.  BRRRRR.
Until next week.

January 16, 2013

Hey All,

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 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 !

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