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Shirley's 2014 Epistles

Dec 10th The Wives and Widows Christmas Lunch 2014 with Photos

Nov. 26th

Here we are again � another Wednesday of great company, cheer and food.  Noel outdid himself today with very tender chicken and crispy fries.  Our man Stan bemoaned the fact that there were very few fries but his plate had a lot more than mine � phew � it was still a lot of great food!

Today, new faces blew in the door!  Bill Gooch � always the organizer of things needing organizing � brought in a small but VIP entourage.  Henry Newton and Ken Ljunger � packing legal smokes � accompanied him.  It was quite a treat for our regulars to see their wonderful faces and not only were there 25 conversations to the 19, there were even more as the guys recognized each other and then everyone tried to catch up on each others� news.  It was more than marvellous!  Thank you Bill Gooch!!

Okay � numbers, numbers.  At one point we were 18, then 19 and then we stuck at 19.  Not too too shabby, what?  We even had a working stiff in a tie join us.  Photos were taken and I�m sure that Stan will have posted them up on the ofarts site by now.

Okay, All, � someone went home, inadvertently, with a roll of tickets, beige in colour, that Stan kindly purchased for our Xmas lunch.  We had a lot of fun pointing fingers at each other, and finally, looking under chairs, into my hat, into my handbag (what a bunch of perverts!) and any available canes in use(again, you bunch of perverts).  I�m sure that it will turn up and Dave has a great lead.  Donny Cole contributed to the fiasco with �it had to be a communicator that stole it, an El would never do that � just to get one going, what a dag!  

(Abbreviated version)

As for me, gotta bounce!


Nov. 19.

Here we go again.  We just celebrated the third Wednesday of this month already.  My God, we must be having fun.

Winter, ice and wind are upon us.  Yesterday, I was out being a social butterfly at the Flying Pig out on Bank Street.  Then, I was nearly was blown out of my coat as the buildings are so sparse  - hence, no windbreak.  And today, the Wind loved the walk home by shoving you over the icy spots on the sidewalk.  It would seem that Loki has decided to make us dance � one has to watch out for these Old Norse gods.

Numbers, numbers.  We got up to a Feisty fifteen today.  Cookie made us shepherd�s pie and coleslaw.  It went down a real treat given how cold it was outside.  There were big holes in our plates � our food disappeared very quickly.

Photography, generators, old carbon monoxide detectors, old passport photos, winter gear, who to vote for (Federally), Christie somebody or another.   Christie Clark, was it? Ok.  Then, we had the difference in cost of 6� copper tubing, how to reduce the cost of your Rogers cable bill, phones and the eternal BB versus Apple.  Photo albums also hit the table.  And that was just the first half hour.  Then it was � pass the ketchup, I need some of that new sauce, more ketchup and onions; we ate, we chunked it down and we enjoyed it thoroughly!

Oh, before I forget, three people have pulled out of Barrie�s Lime Lunch this Friday.  Another person chimed in during the lunch, so that leaves an opening for two.  Please contact Barrie ASAP (email redacted) so that he can keep an eye on his numbers.

Our Christmas lunch is coming up quickly � December 10 is the magic date. .  And now to get serious - numbers, you will want to contact Dave Smith at (email redacted)  very soon.  Our numbers are currently listed in the 40�s which makes us shy of 20 or so.  We need the numbers so Cookie can know how much to purchase ahead of time.  He has very limited space in his freezer and needs to set up kitchen help, too.  Stan will be sending out an up-date on the procedures and prices shortly.

And speaking of gatherings, today our own Dr. Rant (Dave Smith) printed off a bunch of our photos from days way back when.  It went down quite a treat!  We had a lot of fun placing the names of the photos that were taken by the professional photographer that was down on Sparks Street (beside the post office).  Does anyone remember the name of the company?  He was a professional photographer and did a lot of government work as well as famous people like us.

Last week, I got my new Movie Entertainment magazine.  Today I got an even newer Movie Entertainment magazine.  What!  How can it be possible?  Moses Almighty - not only is next Wednesday our �payday� but tomorrow, the date of December 01 nudges in on us in a mere 11 days.

Posting Info! Another topic came up was that Jim advised that guys back in those days had to be 23 before they could be posted out.  I was only 19 when I joined back in August �75 so I had to stay in HQ for all of that time before I could be posted out at 21.

I am 60 � unbelievable!  Don�t we all get a little shock every time we think about our current age?  I sincerely hope you don�t have to go through my daily routine � up at God-only knows what hour of the clock, go to the washroom without the light on beside the mirror, make a coffee in the dark so there aren�t any reflective surfaces.  Then I do about 25 crossword puzzles with my book light on.  After another coffee, I have a leisurely shower; blow-dry my hair while the mirror is still all foggy.  Then I make sure I�ve taken my severe anti-stress pill and sneak up on a mirror.  Whahhhh!

Today, we did not play the �what�s his name� � I think it had to do with the brilliant blue sky, the strong wind blowing in the right direction and snow is down which is brightening up the bleak November scenery.  Phew � because my invention isn�t ready � I still have to catch a cat, procure a trike, those jumper cables, etc. 

Towards the end of lunch today, we all gathered around one of the tables when the tales started coming out about Frobisher Bay, as it was called in those days. 

This was after we had discussed that false soldier that had been interviewed by CBC on Remembrance Day in the parade around the Cenotaph.  It has angered a lot of people and it has been agreed by the legal system that he will be charged.  But to what extent, is the question.  The general consensus was that it will be just a tap on the hand.  That is not the impression I have been getting from the press, but who am I to go against the general consensus.  The press loves to drum up business � they love contributors to their rice bowl.

Five more Wednesdays to Xmas Eve.

Gotta bounce!


Wow � yesterday was amazing!  There  were very moving ceremonies� the prayers, the parades, the crowds and their appreciation for the Veterans, our military, our RCMP, the police, the list goes on.  The piper and the trumpeter were spit-polished and perfect.  The size of the crowd was just beyond belief � it was larger than that of the past years according to the CBC.  I found it was probably that of what you come across on Canada Day but no one was moving so you just came up against a wall of bodies.  It was a challenge to get home after a mere 5-K walk with my walking club.  I finally found a way through the throng on Albert Street as the police were enforcing the narrowed bus route.  The general consensus around our table today �Stay home�.  That being said, I just found out that our Legion�s vets gather and does a march from Cyr Avenue up to the Cenotaph, accompanied by police and pipers every year. Here�s to 2015!

Our numbers floated around for a bit.  Just as I said, we will be a small crowd but who should walk in � Ray Fortin!  He no longer had time to shake a few hands when in strolls Doug Budd.  Once the food was served, the count was taken.  We hit the Fabulous Fourteen!!  Not too shabby.   Now go home Marvel Comics and remember that you heard it here first!  

We played the memory game again.  One of these days, someone is going to have to design a hologram deck for us.  In so that when we try to remember someone�s name - we can see the face, we can invoke the hologram deck at our table.  It shouldn�t be so hard to do � just some jumper cables, duct tape (to stick the jumper cables to our heads), a cat, a trike (for the cat to ride), a white placemat, or may-be a black placemat � no one knows yet what colour we will project in.  Hey � feel free to jump in here � this might even prevent Alzheimer�s but then it might depend on the cat, too.  Ah, good one. Ok, but I don�t think the cat should be allowed any jumper cables.   The cat just might show us up, you know, old sock.  So, ok, the trike, yes.  Oh, so many variables, so little time, Igor!

Factory Direct is having a great sale right now.  I might just head out over there to check out their jumper cables.

I woke up around 11pm last night and channel surfed for a bit � for quite a bit to find something interesting.  I was just giving the clicker a rest when this ad came on for travel insurance.  I stuck in an ear after seeing the guy go through the security line-up and throw in his car-keys that had a rabbit�s foot tab into the tray.  Then, they scanned his carry-on and came up with a baggie of green stuff.  He cheerfully answered the security guard �Those, oh, they�re just my four-leaf clovers�.  The guard ran the wand again but to the rear of him this time.  Off went the wand.  To which he cheerfully replied �oh, that�s just my horse-shoe�. 

Gosh � I missed out a lot on the show-n-tell as there was much talk about winter travelling down to Florida.  Actually, that�s not entirely true � there was a lot of talk as well about some female political figures being quite good looking and some politically incorrectness dialogue being directed at them.  I stuck in my oar re good-looking male politicians and there was a quite different reaction.  How wonderful to have lunch with people you know and like so much.  We all respect each other and our separate views.

The 5U4 � Lou has been up on his roof again � the PVR connections, I couldn�t hear properly - and poor Marg is not comfortable with this situation.  I don�t blame her one bit � I couldn�t hear properly because my fingers were in my ears.  I was scared just listening.  The 5U4 came up because Lou said this wasn�t a 5U4-deserving situation.

Then, we started to try to search our collective brains to remember who the last recipient was � we encountered some intermittent technical difficulties because the cat was on strike, the trike had a flat, and someone stole our duct tape.  And we all know what is tech speak for intermittent technical difficulties.  I say.  That damn cat.

Naturally, the weather came up as our temps are dropping from that beautiful Nov.11th.  As always, someone says � winter is coming early this year. No so.  Exactly a year ago, at a Union conference here in Ottawa, we were just starting our health break and were gaping at the snow coming down outside of the Delta hotel.  I remember it so well because Ian Black walked over to the window beside me and said �What! I didn�t forecast this for today!�  Man, I miss working for the Weather Office � they were a great bunch.  And even weirder than DFAIT.

For those of you who received an email from the FSNA on non-credit continuing education, you might be interested to see who the lecturer is on the Middle East.  Any of you remember Jim Gould?  He was the 2-i-c in Baghdad when I went in on TD during one of the wars Iraq/ Iran.  I also sat on the same side of the union table with him during LMC�s  back in those days when he was the President of PAFSO.  Now, he carries the label of doctor who is obviously pursuing his dream.

Btw, the name of the forward-looking EL that we were trying to remember is that of Yvon Pelletier.  He was the only EL that was on the pilot project when Signet was first starting up.  Now, if this included all groups � of which our Dr. Dee should be our advisor � what about the AS�s and FS�s?  I do remember having to take the exam and passing with more than the required mark of 60 versus 65 for the other groups.  And, much to the disgust of a member of scy group, she brought this up in a scathing way.   Leger Roy came out of his office and said �yes, but you�re not the one that is losing your job!�.  Remember the telecom family, all?

Jobs, jobs.  When are we ever going to stop running out of projects?  I hit the Tassimo on Monday morning and it has been wild in this house ever since!  It�s just like participating in a conversation at OFARTS � nineteen to the dozen and I�m the only one here!  Remember that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you realize that your inventory is late, you�re trying to remember if your shot book is with your passport and where the hell is your passport, anyway?  Okay, I�m not the cat on the trike but am feeling close to it.  The variance did go through and City Hall approved it last Wednesday at 5:35pm. Yay!!

So � it�s Green light so far.  As long as there are no further objections � a legality again imposed by the City � all is well.  Shovels � big shovels � will be going into the ground come late Spring/early Summer.  The senior architect had to sit in session from 1 until 4:15 pm because all of the huge companies brought  in their property lawyers to argue their variances. 

Hey, everybody, start taking photos of your separate areas because they � the photos -  will be worth money soon.  Just here in Lowertown, DVD�s are already being sold of what North Dalhousie used to look like back in the �mid-century� according to our local rag.  Gosh, when I moved here in 1975, the Market was fascinating with Woolworths, the old shops selling working lamps for a dollar, shops where you went in with a broken small appliance and they fixed it right on the spot � many times without a charge.  We have chosen to settle in a good city with good people.  Yes, the climate is brutal in Ottawa.  But, we are living in a city with a great heritage.  Why not become a tourist at home � you will be amazed what is hiding in plain sight.

Gotta bounce!

Nov 5th (rev 2)

We all blew in around lunch time � literally.  We started up this week�s lunch with typical November�s blustery weather.   There was lots of wind, heavy dark clouds and leaves swirling around.  And that was just outside.  Once inside, it was quite a surprise to see lots of light and hear the sound of coins and bills being counted by hand and by machine. 

Yes, Poppy time, already.  We are still all staggering around after that horrible incident at the cenotaph and the charge into Parliament of that lone wolf.  We were all in shock with horror and grief of the loss of such a young and vibrant single father who held down two jobs.   Our walking group went to the cenotaph and security was overwhelming as was the sight of all the flowers, teddy bears, hand-written poems � some of them written in crayon.  Sens� caps, beer mugs, and toy puppies augmented the huge tribute to that young man that had no way to defend himself against the brutality of that terrorist.  The rest of the world mourned with us while friends and relatives scrambled to hear if we were safe.

I think Canada found out that day just how unprepared we were that day.  School kids sent home to empty houses, employees not allowed to go home, just to mention a few things.  A very few things, in fact.

Some of you will also be interested to know that when they allowed the PM out, he was put into a very huge armoured  helicopter which flew directly over my house on the way to Sussex Drive.  Then I heard it returning again � this time, apparently, it took some of the MP�s to the Pearson Building.  There is a reason why we refer to it as �Fort Pearson�.  I live about a 12-minute walk from the Pearson � and that�s going against the wind.  Ken Watson lives even closer so he must have had his ears bombarded.

Okay � time to stop chewing your nails!  Our numbers were great today � we were 18 digging into either pork loin or roast beef when who should saunter in � Late!!  Kevin, of course.  He said hello to all around the table after signing the Late book and checking out our food.  I had mash so he couldn�t steal any fries from me!  So our numbers rose to 18 plus 1 � what should we call that?  The November Nineteen?  Why not � that date falls on a Wednesday � done.

Oh, before I forget, I am writing this blurb on behalf of Roly Mailloux � he was sitting in the Blurber chair and has confessed that he is too shy to put words to �paper� so I�m stepping up to the plate for him.  No worries, Roly, you can reward me with a few fries.  May-be some coleslaw, too.  

Dave has his book back � the one written by a FS�s wife on the tales, woes and challenges of living in the Foreign Service those many years ago.  It has proven to be very popular and after I�d passed it on to Chuck, it has made the rounds.  Even as Dave was leaving today, someone key-holed him from it.

Show-n-tell.  I missed a lot of it as Roly had swiped my seat.  Did I mention that Roly had swiped my seat, by the way?  Dave (Mr. Rant) brought in a special connector for your toilet that has a very clever over-ride in case your water connector is compromised causing flooding.  He is investing (wisely) in as many as needed � your toilets, your dishwasher, etc.  Who wants their flooring and ceilings to be damaged in case of flooding. 

Cold-weather clothing.  Yep � we are Canadians and this is what we do best.  I�m finding lots of Merino wool long-sleeved shirts at Costco.  Warning:  don�t move too fast � you will die of heat.  Just as your Canada Goose gets hotter the faster you move.  It can be minus 40 and you can hardly get that coat off because you are so hot!  Moe and Donna Rainbow converted me to Canada Goose and I sing sermons to Canada Goose now.  The only down-side to this is that Canada Goose is now American-owned.

Okay � this is really nail-chewing time for me.  Today is the ruling on the variance for my 3-floor renovation.  Normally, in life�s experience, good news always comes early.  The variance hearing was at 1pm � it is now nearly 4pm.  And the phone hasn�t rang yet.  If I were to leave an unsuccessful union negotiation, I would call this a call post-mop-up.  I think it is time to watch the Comedy channel.

There was a good point brought up today � important dates.  I can�t tell you how many times I�ve been asked �when is the Xmas Lunch�, etc.  I try to post this as much as possible but it isn�t always obvious.  Maybe we can discuss adding something like to the OFARTS site and see if anyone can assist Stan in any way he sees fit.

Yup � we had a good turn-out today, we ate well, it was beer-day for a few of the boys, Art handed over a club to Dan, and we even had to add a new table to our usual three.  Well done!

Bonnie and I sat together, as usual, and brought each other up to-date over the three or four other conversations going on.  Then lo and behold, one of the guys nudged me and asked who was the tall blonde guy over by the elevator.  Moses all-mighty � and there he was.  Another Newfie!  (Brian Madden) And who should be helping him � another Newfie!  Naturally being such a shy creature,  I quickly brought them over to our table and it was old-home-time.  Yay � then we were four!

Gotta bounce!

October 29th

Shirley went walk-about for the October 22 and 29 gatherings. But David has snagged a few photos of the dependable dozen.



October 15th

Holy Smoke, again, 19 to the dozen!  Just as I was getting concerned over our lower-than-usual turnout, we were descended upon by some of the techs from I Branch!  And they were wearing passes � something that is now only a concept to regulars at OFARTS.  

Cookie fed us heaps and heaps of food � roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, ham, massive amounts of green beans and carrots, mashed potatoes, gravy and a wedge of tourtiere.  We all heroically munched and munched and did what we could to be able to see the bottom of our plate.  (Please note: there wasn�t a fry in sight!)  Then, came apple pie.

All of this was accompanied by our choice of beverage and lots of conversation.

The majority of you know that Gary and I like to niggle each other in a good mannered way.  I was going back through and cleaning up my Outlook email and came across one from him I hadn�t read.  As he�d addressed it to all of you, I thought I would save from reading two emails from me.  Here is his original:

 � Shirley, re our exchange last week about downtown and Rideau st.,, we were in the east end
on Sunday and out of curiosity, drove down Montreal rd. and Rideau st. Wow, it is considerably
worse than I remembered it.  Buildings very grubby looking, sidewalks dirty, cig butts, bits of
paper flopping around, a number of panhandlers and very rough looking characters around,
not a bit of color or interesting design on any of the store fronts, just a sad downtrodden
looking area. I hope tourists are steered away from it.  I realize that the area you are in is
 in fine shape, but your comments about how much Rideau st. has improved, just don't hold water

My reply:  Gary � I keep telling you to stop hanging around in those retirement homes!  Especially on Montreal Road.  (Rideau officially ends at the Cummings Bridge.)

I sent an email to Al and Ruth Couture to find out what was happening about 3 weeks back.  Here is their answering email Sat., 27/09/2014

Well your email is well timed. We just arrived back from a trip to Ottawa and London, ON last night. My mother has not been well and while we have been waiting for the closing date on the sale of our Embrun home (presently scheduled for end of October). We stopped in Ottawa on the way home for Friday/Saturday and Sunday. We were able to visit with our grandchildren (4) who we hadn�t seen in 18 months. Then it was off to London on the Monday to see my mother. She hasn�t been well and we felt we couldn�t wait any longer to visit. We took 2 days to drive home. The first day we drove to Levis, PQ and then home yesterday�.. roughly 850km each day.

It would have been nice to have been able to get to Ottawa in mid-week but scheduling didn�t work that way. Yes, we�re enjoying our time here in Diligent River, Nova Scotia. It really is a good community to retire to and live. We also got good news from the county in that after our appeal of the removal of the ap on our municipal tax assessment because we weren�t living in Nova Scotia immediately after my father-in-law passed away; our appeal was successful and our taxes have been reduced by 25%.

Cheers to everyone. I have been following some of your news on facebook.�

All of this was accompanied by our choice of beverage and lots of conversation.

Some of the high-lights were but not limited to:

)      The RBC in the Pearson is giving up the ghost next year and our accounts will be moved over to Sparks Street.  Which explains why Sparks Street branch is going through such massive renovations.

)      Please note that our yearly Xmas lunch will be held on Dec.10th � there will be the same menu as above and the cost will be a mere $15.00.  I will be bringing a doggie bag as he serves very large portions.

)      Ron Belanger is looking for a MAC user to bounce some ideas off of as he wants to buy one shortly. 

)      More and more families seem to be getting away from the traditional turkey dinners this year.  Unless you are having your family over, a turkey for two people is massive.  I made (from scratch) shrimp dumplings and bok choy in oyster sauce � my son was very happy � I was very tired.

)      DFAIT retirees� luncheon � it�s this Friday and the procedure has changed slightly.  This time we pay at the reception desk and it is recommended we have the correct change so that things move quickly.  However � you will be given a ticket and if you lose it, no lunch for you!  Also, this year, there seems to be a good change that the space will be larger as the room next to us will be empty so let�s hope we will be spread out more.

)      Jim has changed the heat pump in his hot tub and has been running an analysis of the Hydro cost per minute.  I couldn�t hear anything after that as we had to start shifting chairs around for more new attendees joining us.

)      Travel plans, Glen Cameron�s retirement, who might so and so be, remember what�s-his-face, all the usual stuff.

)      I�d like to add here that Ron Belanger gave me his special recipe for cooking a perfect roast.  You can be assured that I will try it on Xmas day.

And, Roly ate two desserts today!

Gotta bounce,

September 24th  

Nineteen to the dozen today!  At least that�s what it sounded like.  We actually got up to nineteen with Bob Belter coming in later than usual.  And, there were so many conversations going on, it was hard to keep track along with eating real home-made hot chicken sandwiches and fries.  Stan was in seventh heaven over the fries.  The table grew quieter and quieter as more of us were served.  And then dessert muffins were served �by  then Roly was in eighth heaven, while staring at our uneaten ones.  FYI, he has vowed that he will change that behaviour in the near future.  Roly: �But, for now, all those muffins, you see here, they are mine, all mine!�  Please don�t change Roly � we love you too much to see you change.

Tuesday, yesterday,  two of us Old Farts and Donna toddled and dawdled around Almonte and drank copiously of the scenery, separately.   The air was so totally fresh and the colours have just started to promise great beauty.  Moe went m.i.a. from the group (our walking group) and experienced a great chat with one of the energy plant workers.  He knows a great deal more of the town, now, than we wanderers that fell in love with it.  Meanwhile, while we were hitting the sidewalks in a very relaxed mode, a car stopped and a guy grinned at me.  Lo and behold, another Old Fart.  Now living in Almonte, no less.  It was Mike what�s-his-name, he was at Old Farts just last week and sat beside Moe.  I am having a few blank moments but he has a French last name and had a posting in London � possibly replacing Moe.  Mike Trepanier, yes, thank you, now I remember the name � sorry about the mis-spelling.  You can now call him Gramps. Officially.

Monday�s weather certainly was a precursor to what is about to become fall.  I hope not with that brutal wind!  However, we get to give Mother Nature a good shove, if the predicted weather is to be believed.  These weather systems are now just screaming by.  When I worked at the Weather Office (the Met), on the Atlantic side, it was pretty frantic during the Autumn and, especially the Winter, given those fighting  air streams.  Now, it must be even worse.  Sunday was a totally odd afternoon as I was making a huge stew for number one son � it was so foggy outside that I had a total brain burp to start cleaning the kitchen window.  However, once outside, I found that the fine fine rain was coming down in sheets.  Beautiful.

I had a wonderful email from Bob Davidson � he is eager to join the fold again after a few health issues that are clearing up.  How wonderful to hear from him � even more so, to see him, today at lunch.  He got a lot of hugs � I hope we will see more and more of him in the months and years to come.

Show and tell:  Roly brought in half of a set of an old arcade game, un-labelled  except  1 of 2.  It was a 5 �  diskette, write-protected, even!  He also brought in some Fit-Bit bands and a usb charger to hand over to Barrie � who didn�t SHOW!!  A-hem.  What, what did I say?

Then we started speaking of down-sizing, clearing out basements � those sort of mountainous jobs.  Stan said that Mary wouldn�t allow him to lend me any plastic packing boxes � which is so totally understandable.  That is why we buy them in the first place and fill them with utter precision.  I am now an owner of 12 of them myself.  And I expect to need more � even after the addition.

The golfers were in and got their food first.  Hmmm.  But, then, what do we care.  We get to nap in the afternoon.  That is, you guys get to nap � I have to do the blurb.  But, I am not complaining, whatsoever.  As revenge, I get to bore you to death if you choose to read them.  Or not.

We had a special visitor today � Neil M. seconded over to I Branch from the Australian Foreign Service a few years back.  I guess his years here were quite productive and useful for Canada as we now have gained a new son and three grandchildren.  Yahhh!

Last week, a few of Old Farts connected over a few comments on Facebook.  It started out as a comment or two on babble which then turned into comments on the Tower of Babble out of the Bible.  I jumped in with saying I�d seen a zigguarat while in Iraq and said it was amazing.  Jim Fanning, our man in impeccable grey avec the fedora, said �a zigguarat is what is passed around at a rock concert from the guy beside you saying �puff, puff and pass�.  Now, that, is a comment that cannot be left alone.  It has to be shared.   Jim must have one of the world�s greatest sense of humour.

Gotta bounce!

Sept 17th  2014

Autumn is rapidly rolling into Ontario!  I went out shortly after 9am and was very glad of my down-filled vest and merino undershirt under my wind-cheater.  But, I certainly needed gloves!  It was only 7 degrees.

Numbers:  14 hungry people chowed down, left early and stuffed to the gills.  I ordered a pastrami sandwich and got two of them!!  Noel must think we are way too light in our loafers and need fattening up in time for winter.  The servings were huge � even Barrie said he was stuffed!  No one even had a thought of pudding in their heads after that lunch of shepherd�s pie or liver-n-bacon-n-onions.  Roly ate my extra pickle and promptly passed out.

Meet-up.  I finally went on a long walk and got to speak with this older lady, Gertrude.  Get this guys � Gertrude  physically built her own sun porch on her house which is on Frank Street and the Canal.  I think I heard she did this when she was just 71.  Challenge!!

Both the Byward Market and Sparks Street Mall are vying for customers.  The councillors for Sparks Street Mall had started a huge campaign about to 8-10 years ago to revive the flagging consumerism which hasn�t really been working due to parking costs.  The City has been replacing their parking meters with those new-fangled solar ones all around town � many, many local street users spend about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to use them.  God help those American tourists.  Needless to say, the City is now just adding confusion to help making you feel like a total idiot.  I�m so glad just to be a walker but I�m also an observer.

The Market is getting cleaned up � unfortunately, for me.  They are now moving over my way � which is closer to the Chinese Embassy.  I totally blame this on Moe � can you blame me?  This is being  said totally with cheek � but there is one guy that is very aggressive  which made me buy those walking poles.  I move very quickly and aggressively  for an old female FART.   I was  a lousy Tai Chai student.  Took it once, it didn�t take.  I prefer all that studied whacking stuff executed by Bruce Willis and Helen Mirin.  Also, it�s a bit different from knitting � ah � one needs to get away from math, which knitters rely on, all the time.  Trust me on that fact.   I will restart next week, but first � hie yah!  Now - that feels more like fun!

Harvest time!  How doth our friend Terry do?  I so hope he has had a great harvest and he will share it with us � in a pickled state, of course.  And by that, I mean the garlic and onions, naturally.  As for Terry, well, we dearly love him and hope he will never change.  Even though he starves his barber.

Rumour, with cred,  Barrie gives it up!  The next re-union will happen in 2016 in, maybe, the same digs as last time.  TBA!  Keep your nose to the grindstone, kiddies!  Some of us never age but keep getting younger � if you want proof, look at our Lou and Mr. Borse � what do they put in that beer?

Spades in the ground � Smoley!.  Things are getting very serious � the first two payments are in to them and I just got a call this afternoon.  There went my nap.  My packing time just ramped up � maybe it was just a warning but I am starting to save all kinds of packing things for next week.  My call-out is this � if you have large plastic containers, I will gladly take then off your hands until my extension is done.  I   I figure it will take a year until I get everything sorted out after Xmas � which suits me fine.  It will not cost me anything extra as my contract was signed with OGC and they honour it.  I am just so glad not to have to do the grunt work with the back-ground checking, the hiring, the firing, and ensuring they have the necessary permits.  And that�s before the variance that allows all of this stuff to happen. 

Is it truly time to cut the cable?  I listened to an interesting article on this � one might be surprised.  The big networks are scrambling as they are seeing what consumers are opting for.  Personally, and I will emphasize, personally, I like to have a DVD that only costs a $1.50 and is available at my Loblaws or Metro that I can just toss into their bin after watching.

Just a reminder about the RA DFAIT retirees� lunch will be the 17th of October.  Here�s a copy of an email I received this am:

Ron pearce Today at 7:36 AM



Ron Pearce
Gatineau (Masson Sector) Qc.
J8M 1B1
T�l�phone:  (819) 986-3358

I heard through the grape-vine that Stan is bringing back lobsters for all of us � if so, I can supplement that with K.D.   That way, we could feed the whole Legion, which might bring the numbers up to about 25 or 30 on our lunch days.  If anyone, like me, doesn�t like to cook up a whole pack of K.D.  Costco has now come out with a huge box of 40 pouches of KD that serves up two bowls at a time.  Hey, works for me once I hand over 20 of them to number one son!  Like Jim said today, Lewis is such a bean-pole at 6�4� and he can eat like he hasn�t seen a meal in a month!

The subject of RIFFs hit the table today and Jim�s sage advice is that you must ask for the tax to be withdrawn at the same time.  I am yonks away from this so it isn�t on the radar.  Then the subject of age hit the table.  Our new regular, George, turns out to be our baby!

Gotta bounce!

Sept. 10th, 2014

And then we were twelve!  We arrived quietly and some in their own way.  I got there under my own steam and saw Barrie pulling up so I decided to wait for him so we could enter together.  After two minutes, I gave up.  I think he was fixing his make-up and I didn�t want him to feel embarrassed.

Barrie has some news to pass on re Gayle Robichaud.  As a lot of you know, we have lost contact with her and we�re concerned so it was great to hear that she is doing well and living in a retirement home.  Barrie is our news source on this one.

No shovels in the ground � yet.  The request for the variance is holding everything up.  I suspect it is at the local level as the community association has to be contacted.  They, in turn, pass on their decision to the City of Ottawa.  OGC prides themselves in never losing a variance request.  I just now spoke with the chief designer of my project and it appears that the community association needs a few pokes to get things going.  After that, it should head over to the City for mid-October.  Once there, it takes 20 days to ask the neighbours if they have any objections.  Which then moves the spades-in-the-dirt into late November.  But, if there are objections, it then moves everything, if it is resolved, into December.  Obviously, that isn�t a good time to have the back end of your house yanked off.  So � we now move into March.  I�m glad he was honest about it all.  I hate it when they say �oh, in a few weeks or so� and then have to chase after contractors because its Xmas and you have no kitchen cupboards.  I�ve done this work separately before.  It�s no fun, especially when you are a single parent, working full-time, plus being a volunteer in a very responsible position.

Something isn�t going right with my Outlook.  I sent out a Mad Monday lunch request a few weeks back and didn�t get back any answers as much as a shut-up-n-go-away email.  I suspect you all have me going to your spam folder.  Shame on you!

Scotland is starting to sway to a different line of thinking.  All the Brit political leaders are rapidly beating a path Northwards to check the yes vote.  Then, who is next?  Wales?

Building snowmen in Calgary.  Not unheard of but it must have been wonderful to cavort in it knowing that warm weather is just a few hours away.  Apparently, the almanac is calling for an early winter.  Get those Snow Goose jackets ready!

Barrie insisted in telling us about the latest novel he�s read.  It had to do with the climbing of Mount Everest.  During my first posting to Delhi, an immigration officer and I decided to go up to Kathmandu to check it out.  This was during the time that the Canadian �assault� on Everest was coming about.  Remember Laurie Skreslet and Pat Morrow?  Those two were successful by scavenging the wasteland of dead oxygen tanks.  They made it but the original team lost many members � even one of the photo crew.  It was quite interesting to talk to Laurie � he was my dinner companion at a hastily-arranged dinner by the Hi-commer, John Hadwin.  Yes, we were hi-jacked into dinner at a moment�s notice after Canada�s successful assault on Everest.  It was quite an event � and then came breakfast the next am.  What to drink � beer or tea?  The water wasn�t safe, obviously, and unfortunately, coffee wasn�t an option.  Tea, please.

Our PM is quite the explorer!  He personally found those relics from what is hoped to be one of Franklin�s ships.  Or so, he wants us to believe.  If only they had listened to the Eskimo elders who knew all along where it was.  They pass on knowledge by word of mouth mostly.  My grandfather, a travelling missionary of my faith, once showed me an Inuit bible.  All I can remember, vaguely, is that the writing symbols were mostly geometric but I am going back 55 years ago.  I don�t think there are too many of these bibles around but I would love to have one to study the Eskimo written word.  I was born and brought up in Labrador and had daily contact with all of the good people there daily.  My father took hours to teach us kids how to know and use the vital words of the Innukittuk � I think I learned about 50 of them before I stretched out and hit Nova Scotia.   We kids had to learn the words of water, knife, dog, seal, seal breathing hole, polar bear!, those every-day type of words.  Once in Nova Scotia, I had to learn different types of words � beer, fun, cheap milk and food!!  In Labrador, all food-stuff had to be flown in, given the climate, so the cost of food was incredible.  I`m sure that has changed now that there is a drive-able road as the Churchill is now tamed, but in those days, nothing could harness that mighty river.

So � what hit the table today?  Everything.  Not much.  Too much.  When you have the Dirty Dozen sidling in, you have to expect what you can expect.  We had Lou�s Chili, or at least, Noel�s version of it.  It didn�t look like Lou�s type of chili to me as his chili looks very rich and meaty .  The word on the �street� was that it was soup and had a bit of a kick.  The boyos happily accepted the fries that came with my burger and I was happy for that as I can�t eat chili because of the sweet peppers.  However, my version of chili truly kicks butt, too!

I brought in a new condiment that didn�t seem to be to the liking of the boys.  It is a maple/whiskey sauce that is truly marvellous.  Hey � more for me!

Everybody seems to be leaving earlier and earlier these days.  I used to cut out at 13:30 and leave a crowd behind.  Now, there�s practically no one left.  Was it something I said?  I also shower daily!!

The God particle came up � hey, only a K more left to live, kats and kittens!  May-be.

Gotta bounce,


September 3rd

Ribs today with funny fries.  Enough said.

We numbered sweet sixteen today.  Some of the boys had golf scheduled for early afternoon so they managed to join us.

Show-n-tell.  Perhaps I should just let you ask Roly and Stan about their devices � a TV box and a Belkin device respectively.  Both of them will be learning more about them very shortly.  I still think my onion goggles has them both beat out!  Yes, Roly, PINK!

Labour Day Parade!  Not only that, it turns out I should be suing CTV for filming me without my knowledge.  And they also filmed my Eddie Bauer purse, too!  Both my purse and myself were flying union flags at the time so may-be I won�t.

My Facebook page has also been busy with photos being posted of the parade.  We had the Sons of Scotland piping us (PIPSC) all the way from City Hall to McNab Park.  Kilts were swinging, bagpipes were making bagpipe sounds, cute knee-socks were marching, and the tams� ribbons were flying!  But, that was only when they were marching.  Apparently, when the band is standing still, they aren�t allowed to play.  At least, that�s what I was told but it does beg the question of why the lone piper plays standing still. 

The crowd in McNab park was enormous and still growing by the time I left.  It took me over an hour to find the owner of the really big flag I had toted.  Thank God there wasn�t a lot of wind that day as it can knock you over from the drag.  Also, it was a gorgeous day.  I was wearing SPF 40 and was the colour of ketchup the following day.  Time to get clothes with a SPF factor build in!  I know that Eddie Bauer sells them but I�m wondering who else does, aside from MEC and Expedition.

I finally found the new 2-nd floor food court in the Rideau Centre.  It�s across from Peoples� Jewellers.  It was hard to find out what types of food was available as the food court was busier than a bunch of drunken elves during the 24th of December!!  Seriously, I�ve never seen so many people in the Rideau Centre ever!

The Rideau Street project.  According to the work going on, summer is still in full swing!  They�ve re-tarred one lane from King Edward to Nelson.  Aww � such a wonderful smell on a hot summer�s day.  Perhaps that is why there was a young man sprawled out on the grass, asleep, besides Loblaw�s.  Or perhaps he wasn�t, as the security guard was calling 911.  I didn�t check out the situation as there were so many big delivery trucks parked on both sides of the side-walk.  I had to slither through and then, the fire-truck arrived from pumper station #13 (yes, true) but couldn�t enter Nelson entirely.  Then the fire chief arrived, followed by the paramedics.  Just as I was about to heel-toe-it to the Legion, the bus finally arrived.  Can�t be late for lunch, you know � you�ll get chewed out by Chuckie!

And speaking of Chuckie, his bartender can now afford to feed his family a meal or two.  May-be three if he sells off Chuck�s hair for a wig.  I guess we will all have to get spiffed up now. 

Noel approached us and explained that we will have two options for the 17th � there will be both shepherd�s pie and liver.  To sum up, we had four people that opted for liver.  I went for the pie as I already have a liver.

Blue eggs and ham!  At least that�s what we were joking about towards the end of lunch.  Bill and Wendy�s chickens will be laying by next week and those of you that want some, please bring in your cardboard cartons so they can use them.

Carp members � in case you�re not aware, you can get a very substantial discount at Goodlife Gym � nearly a half in price of an annual membership.  Here are some very useful phone numbers, if you are interested:

Contact: 1-800-363-9736 � press 5 to get to this level to talk to a real person.  They also refer to this as tech support.

Corporate Wellness Section of Goodlife 1-877-348-8742 ext. 222

I�m not too sure about the level of tech support as she told me that you can only suspend your membership once only.  However, when I spoke with the Corporate Wellness person, she confirmed that it is for every year that you have a membership, up to six months.  Done! I�m now suspended for six months.  Phew � no more guilt for half a year!

Roly was given a challenge at lunch.  Barrie challenged him to turn the rib bones into dessert.  My lips are sealed as to the result.

Gotta bounce,


August 27th!
Okay � I don�t want to scare anyone but we just celebrated our last Old Farts� lunch for August! And we numbered thirteen today! And, if that�s not enough, check out this picture of Eric Carter � he deserves to be quite proud of this one: it was taken at the wives and ladies� Xmas lunch at the Legion last year. I didn�t even photo-shop it! I swear. Okay, I�m getting up off the floor now but I�m still laughing madly! I love it!
We had a generous lunch of great salads, hot roast beef sandwiches, fries and vegetables today. They were better than the Reubens of last week but we will be drinking our water taps dry! I will confess that my hat is off to Dr. Dee � he ate the sandwich without the gravy. However, we�ve never gone to our weekly lunches for the food but remain forever grateful that they feed us and therefore, we have a spot to catch up on each others� doings. The Legion wins too, as we are members.
We forgot to get Dragon Lady a going-away gift!! We were all so intent on the various conversations and who was ticked off with which company � it totally slipped our collective mind!
Blackberrys, Androids, etc., they came up today and who is giving the best deal out there. I was a long-time Rogers user until I went with my little son who wanted the I-phone 4 those many years ago. We went to FIDO, and while waiting for him to get his paper work out of the way, I did a no-no and browsed the hardware and contracts. In the snap of a lizard�s eye-lid, I signed over to FIDO and returned to the Blackberry world of smartphones. The Rogers� contract dismissal fee was waived (they own FIDO) and suddenly Lewis and I could call each other for free and unlimited time. FIDO also has started an enticement where when you sign up with them, they ask which FIDO customer has recommended you. Once you give them the person�s name, that person then gets a $25 credit to their account. I deal with the FIDO office on George Street � they are all terrifically young and have memories of your accounts that will make you want to book an appointment asap to check out the possibility of early Alzheimers!
Gun laws in Arizona. I saw today that Arizona has the least strict gun laws of all the States. A 39-year old instructor was killed by a 9-year old girl today as he was giving her instructions on how to operate an UZI. She and her parents went to a family-fun centre where there are lots of activities. She had her parents� permission to take the lesson and did so. The video showed her taking single shots and then her trainer shifted it over to hundreds of rounds per minute. According to their training protocol, they have to lean over the client at the time of training. Barrie broke in and related his training time with an UZI � he said they are crazy sensitive and push upwards because of the recoil. Given that and she lacked a lot of strength to stop the recoil, it was a blameless but useless death. Also, in Arizona, children as young as 8 can start gun lessons. Such a pity for both the victim and this little child.
DFAIT is up for awards (self-appointed?) and so I nipped over to the Shopper�s Drugmart (yes, yet another one!) to check it out. The car-park of the funeral home next door was stuffed to capacity. I patted down my arms and legs and was glad I wasn�t the guest of honour. Then � a horrible thought crossed my mind that may-be it was Terry Webb who might have died from a lack of a shave and a haircut!! Stop grinning, Terry.
I�ll have to read to obits tomorrow but Ron Pearce is very much on top of them when it comes to Foreign Affairs and regularly posts on Facebook. I�m a member of so many groups that I can�t quite remember which one but just query DFAIT or Foreign Affairs and you should be able to join the particular group.
And speaking of groups, this year�s DFAIT retirees� luncheon is scheduled for October 17th at the RA Centre with Ron Pearce being your main point of contact:
Please send your RSVP to him � he does an amazing job and gets an amazing price. My best advice to you, after you RSVP, AND/AND if you are lucky enough to be accepted, is to get there early � I would recommend no later than 11am. Parking is abundant and free.
Skunks! Still. With all this construction going on, this critters keep getting moved around. Which I like � why should I have to host them for a year or so, avec odour, while my lazy squabbling neighbour who pays $200 plus a month in rent doesn�t even cut her weeds or grass. I listened with great interest to one of the boys, Dr. Dee, I think, that said Lowel Green was quite livid that someone had called 911 to state they had seen a skunk. That brought over a haz-mat team to deal with the problem. However, that doesn�t deal with my question � how many legs did these skunks have? Ottawa abounds with both.
Now we have had July weather yesterday and today. I have been so happy with that. For those of you that love the hot humid weather, you must hate me for jumping with joy! I can walk, skip (yeah, right) and jump where-ever I go.
Well � here we go � Show-n-Tell. I brought in my technical gadget of the decade, of course! I was most astounded that the boys didn�t bow down to it. Maybe they just don�t like pink but I was asked where to get them. Them, being Onion Goggles. And if I have to hear one more time about cutting onions under water I will scream! Do you hear? I like to cut my onions in good light and these goggles work by surrounding your eyes in a comfortable form-fitting and snug design. And I love my onions as they are so good for your heart-health. My grandfather � God Bless him, lived to be 2 days less than his 100th birthday. His favourite sandwich was a raw-onion one. My mother loves onions and is now a cantankerous 80-plus with no signs of slowing down.
Dave brought up the power of FSNA and CAA membership. Please look into it. I don�t own a car and haven�t even pumped up my bicycle tires in 5 years, so I shall pass this one on apart from Dr. Dee is your rant God on this one.
Stan was our style afficiando today. Who knew. And the wheels on the bus go �round and �round.
Gotta bounce!

August 13th

I missed today but can pretty much up-date you that Reubens� weren�t served.  Phew!  My favorite sandwich of all.  And there I was moping on the couch, feeling sick, forgotten, shivering, starving, and watching re-runs.  Did I mention starving?  Wahhh!

Okay, may-be not so forgotten as Stan did send me some of the numbers for today.  And they were pretty good considering our stormy am weather.  He also tried/tried to infer that I should have sent in a sick slip � he�ll get a sick slip, alright! J

The Dirty Dozen rode again!  This time they didn�t skulk; they only darkened doors as they dove for cover from the pelting rain � they were trying to protect their skulk pelts, and so would I if I had been there!  Wouldn�t you have?  And read those words again, �. Skulk pelts.  Not skunk pelts.  The first would be for brollies and the second would be for certain supervisors or �., well, you get the picture.

I have it from a good source that the boys had a great time � too bad I missed it.  I missed show-n-tell but had my contribution all ready to go but couldn�t make it.  Rats.  I ,like all others, always love to throw something on the table that is met with either a look of �what�s this� or �how are the plans going�.   And then it starts! 

I stumbled across an August 9th ceremony which honours Canada�s Peacekeepers on Sussex Drive just beside the American Embassy.  It was impressive and the Honour Guard certainly was as they came from somewhere towards it.  I�m guessing from the Armoury on Laurier/Elgin.  It was also the 20th or 25th anniversary of Canada�s peace-keeping.  I couldn�t hear the year properly as the ascoutics bouncing off the stone buildings were something else.  Plus, I�m just too lazy to look it up ))

Originally, I had started out my Sunday stroll to check out some Rib restaurants in the �hood and possible free parking so when I saw the kilts swerlling and the pipes doing their amazing job (and they also wear those cute knee-socks!) it was time to hop it to find a seat.  Scored � I found a nicely-shaded bench.

All in all, it was a two-hour watch and it was worth it.  The VIPs and their wives sat in the hottest seats, unfortunately, and I felt sorry for those without hats.  Fantino, naturally, wasn�t there � what can anyone say about him?  There was a 3-word mention of Foreign Affairs and that was it � no name and no mention of Glenn�s duties.  He was the first and I hope, the last, DFAIT employee to die in Afghanistan.  Of course, the department is now called by another name: DFATD � like CIDA was never a part of us?

The ceremony ended at 11:30 and I was very happy to hear that the official participants were invited to buffets at both Fat Boys on St. Patrick and the Smoque House on York St.  Those very places I�d started off to check out � who knew they had just great taste!!

Just keeping everyone up-to-date and in the picture.  The skunks have moved across the road to where my awful neighbour lives � I am Happy, I am Happy, I�m so Happy!!

Gotta bounce!

August 6th

A new chapter � and all of our numbers are even: 08/06/2014.  This will be a lucky month for us all � but don�t hold me to that.

Today, we numbered the Notorious Nine!  We die-hards just keep showing up but we had a few once-a-year friends that come and share good food and good times.

Also, it was another time of �remember what�s-his-name who was a real �..� Lots of names hit the table and tales were told.  Most of the stories were hilarious and we have ab aches from all the laughing.

One of the regular tables brought over some printed jokes and they made their way around the table. One of them was about a wife that decided to sue her husband�s surgeon because her husband had lost interest in having sex after his operation.  The doctor protested because the husband�s surgery was for cataracts.

Yes, folks, it was one of those days when we were all giggle-happy and the weather was glorious.  Barrie was in good form and kept us laughing for an hour.  Others jumped in with �I remember what so-n-so did to so-n-so in the comcentre back in ��.�  Then we were off to the races!

Rollie told us what he has been up to.  He shared lots of photos of his backyard work and the scariest one, him on the roof clearing out his eaves-troughs. It also turned out to be Rollie�s birthday and I�m sure you will all join me in saying �Happy Birthday�.  Once Bev�s cake was served, we sang him �in�. He doesn�t look a day over 75 but we learned he just turned 71.  )))) Projects, projects!!  Stan had his roofing done, Rollie just finished his weeping tile project and Terry is growing God-knows-what.  I am off to the bank tomorrow to discuss some of the technical stuff to pay the OGC to get my extension (yes, three floors that will go out 25 feet).  Once they have the cheque in hand, all systems go.  I only just signed off on the second set of plans so the time-frame should be mid to late September.  I love September!

An old boyfriend stopped by last Sunday and we chatted for an hour or two. He said that a lot of retirees that he knows are complaining about what to do with their time.  They obviously don�t know us!

A great pal stopped by for dinner yesterday.  Some of you may know Marion Braid.  She is x-posting from Abdjn to Hkong and is leaving tomorrow for TO and then on to HK.  She sends her best to all.  She will be in HK for three years and hopes for another x-posting after that.

Posting season, IT Abroad, the Sub-group AGM is coming up � can it get any busier than that?  And just to top the name of STUPID, I also volunteered to help out the FSNA.  They will probably toss me off their volunteer list forever � hey, one less thing to do.

Just a little thing to share with you all � one evening a work colleague and I went to an event at the National Arts Gallery.  There we are, all strolling along with a large-ish group of people checking out the art. There was a sudden rush of activity and excitement.  I turned to this unknown woman and asked what was happening.  She gushed �Foreign Affairs is here!�  I craned and craned to see who it was and realized it was me and my friend.  Did we know this significance of the department when we joined?  Of course not.  To us, or to me, I should say, it was just a job I transferred into from the Weather Office.

Everyone looked great today � Lou was on time, no one was late, no late book had to be signed, and who was not there missed out on some great laughs. For those of you that like to count, seven ex-CMs were there today.  Hey, remember Mel Swenson and Bob Matheson � great to see them!  Given that we were such a larger group, we had more stories to tell but still, Don Butt�s name always comes up.  Remember, CAW, CAW, CAW!

Just a head�s up � the prices will be increasing for our Wed. lunches.   No big deal, all.  Cookie is operating on a deficit and I told him that he should be increasing his prices then.  He serves us premium delicious food which we devour like rabid wolves.  What�s a buck � we get to keep our cook and our meeting place.  If anyone has a problem with that, see me.  Did I just say that?  Nope, cancel that --  see Stan. )) Gotta bounce,

July 30th

Already, it is the end of July!  Incredible.  It would seem that someone wound the clock too tightly, if that was possible, as the time is just screaming by.  We must be having a lot of fun, folks!

I got to lunch an hour late today!  I didn�t know I was having that much fun to sleep in on a Wednesday.  However, we missed a regular and I�m sure the boys are pounding on their keyboards asking what happened to him.

And that is why we were only eleven instead of our glorious Dirty Dozen.  Also, it isn�t just us that are counting � so is the table that sits in front of us.  I joined them as I didn�t feel like heading for home quite that early.  I got to sit with Joe and Noel who promptly told me that I was late today.  And that we were only eleven. Ahem.

I told Noel that we are so happy to have him make us such wonderful meals thus far.  He shared his secret to his tender pork chops and I will use that in the future.  And I was told not to be late any more.  Hmmmm.

Dan Burns joined us today � I haven�t seen him in a decade if that at least!  It is always great to see old colleagues � we all of us have so many stories to share and enjoy.

Our farmer guy showed up and is growing some stuff.  I am assuming this would be garlic and onions.

Roly brought in some very old newspaper articles relating to the Titanic that his daughter nearly threw out when she was getting ready to relocate.  These newspapers date back to 1912 and are replicates but wow!

It was another great day as I got to insult our dearest Art.  We had a lot of fun trying to out-do each other.  He is looking as brown as a berry and quite fit with all of his golfing. 

Dan brought back some memories of Delhi as he had done two postings there, as well.  He brought up a memory of our dearest �Rambo � aka Steve Matthews.  To this day, I have never have heard him referred to as Rambo.  And, I worked with him for two years in London.  He was such a total gentleman and so quiet.  And then ,today, so many stories!  Moses, Almighty.

In no disrespect, I would like to repeat a well-known fact:  when in Indian, don�t burp below.  Dan was telling us a great story about Steve wearing his impectible sky-blue safari suit one day.  He was returning from lunch, marching off to work and then did an abrupt turn-about.   He changed his trousers.  Good man.

Gotta bounce

July 23rd

A new kitchen crew today!  Noel and Joe certainly took good care of us and every condiment we own hit the table today.  It turned out that we only needed salad dressing which they supplied in great amounts.  Our salads were outstanding with 2 types of olives, celery, red onion, red pepper over lettuce.  We were impressed.

After that we were served breaded roasted chicken and hand-cut fries.  The portions were very large and we got real gravy with that, too.  The portions were so large that Stan could not finish his fries!  But, I noticed that he ate his desert.  According to Jim, the chocolate cake was quite rich.

And! The prices have returned to $8.00 again which makes us happy because we then can turn over a tenner so they have larger tips.

Our turnout today brought us in at 16 � not too shabby for this late in July given it is a holiday month.

More great news � our temps go down to 13 tonight.  In my neighbourhood, that means it should drop down to 20-ish.  Who knew, 26 years ago, that King Edward and St. Patrick would produce so much heat-inducing traffic.

Today, our lunch was very animated. Yes, we were 16 attendees but when it came to the conversations, it was more like 19 to the dozen.

It is posting season!  And the Foreign Affairs ghetto is getting larger.  It now has surpassed my street and is moving up towards Rideau.  For-rent signs abound while the moving trucks have been and gone.  After six postings and many TD�s, I don�t miss all that travelling around the world a bit.  It has been a great adventure � some of them great; some of them a nightmare.  As usual, I don�t miss the work � I miss the people I�ve met and worked with over the years.  You become good friends with your fellow vagabonds and keep in touch well past your retirement.

Skunks!  Alas - last year my contractor worked so diligently getting rid of all the weeds.  So much so, that they grew back with great vigor.  And the skunks are really happy � they have a ton of food and shelter in down-town Ottawa.  If only they could pay rent!

Stan and Noel collaborated on the menu for the next 3 months.

30 July

Pork Chops

6 August

Hot Beef Meal

13 August

Cabbage Casserole

20 August

Ruben Sandwiches

27 August

Hot Beef Sandwiches

3 September

Ribs B.B.Q

10 September

Lou's Chili

17 September

Noel's Mexican Shepard Pie

24 September

Hot Chicken Sandwiches

1 October

Pork Schnitzels

8 October

Garlic Spareribs

This is great news so we know that we will be able to meet and nosh until Oct.  There were a few questions about who was running what and the general consensus was that it really isn�t our concern as getting fed and enjoying each other�s company takes first-place.

What a busy bunch we are.  Roly is having work done in his back yard; Barrie just had a new A/C unit installed; Brian and Lou are bottling their �home-made� beer; Chuckie keeps attacking objects while taking a tumble or two, as do I: vacations are being planned by all; camera short-comings are being discussed, and Gary is looking forward to getting in some more flying once the wind cuts down.  My variance preliminary meeting takes place tomorrow and the contractor comes over to discuss the additional size of the reno.  And MONEY!

The subject of flipping property came up and the general consensus was that it isn�t a good time.  When I look around the �hood, private houses are going for an improvement of some sort, such as in refinishing the exterior.  Others are adding on to their houses so they can accommodate in-laws, etc., or a much-needed space.  If I was to invest in a new career, it would have to do with people going into retirement and their needs.  Especially DFAIT as we carry around so many physical things from our postings to fill those large-ish SQs.  But � who needs a new career?  (Unless your name is M. Duffy.)  I would estimate that the majority of us worked for at least 40 years � enough already.  And, we paid greatly into our pension fund.  So, here�s my take � go to the gym or golf, keep up friendships, enjoy life to the fullest and live to be 100+.  Get your pension�s money�s worth! 

Oh, and Barrie ate two deserts today.

Gotta bounce

July 16th

Hey, everyone � we are now moving into the dog-days of summer!  Doesn�t that take you back to your childhood of flip-flops, tans and those cool sunglasses?  And the wonderful tinkle of the ice-cream truck winding down the road towards you.  Ahww, those treats and just kicking back as a kid.  And now you can do it all over again but even better � no September.  This is the best gig in town.

Today, we were Les enfants terrible @ dix.  For those of you that know French,  I should probably leave town, now.  And really fast.  And to think of all of those years I was turned down for French language training � I stopped asking after 20 years of doing so. 

Almost everyone was late today but I didn�t have the sign-in book so they�re off the hook.  However!  There was an exception today.  Lou showed up at 11:45 instead of his usual skittering-in time of 11:59.  The usual consensus was he didn�t stop off at Princess Auto; there were several others but cannot be shared in this forum.

Today, we saw another change to our Wednesdays.  Maggie, our Scottish cook, is quitting the cooking biz and we wish her very well.  She stepped in for us at a crucial time and we truly appreciate it.  Stan  started us on our collective way to show her our thanks.  Lou led the �For She�s a Jolly good fellow� and we did the honour shout.  Well done, All!

Our next cookie is Noel.  Most of you will remember him from before � he is the older white-haired man that used to be a waiter.  We await, with bated breath, how the breaded chicken breasts will be.  I also hear that there will be fries with that.

A date to remember!  So, ears up, you lot.  Get those smartphones out and go to your calendars.  This year�s Xmas lunch will be on Dec.10th at noon.

Then, there�s the yearly luncheon that Ron Pearce so works at diligently.  I�ve requested the date and he will get back to me on that.

The Lime Lunches are the 3rd Friday of the month and this time, there will be 19 of us attending.  I�m not sure if the list is closed but it�s always worth a try to get another chair at the table!  I remember Kit Carson telling me of one of his fond memories of having a meal at his neighbours.  All the kids ate their lunches and when it came time for dessert, they just turned the dishes over.  I like that � less dishes to wash!

Show-n-tell.  Dan Kenny produced this heavy steel monster crimper out of his sleek biker�s back-pack.  It had to be manufactured in the 20�s it was so heavy.  However, not so, it would appear.  Stan had a lot of fun trying to figure out where it had been made. (It was actually a dip bag lead seal crimper from Consulate of Canada in San Juan, Puerto Rico SGF) 

Barrie Thomas is going to check into a new phone provider for free long distance calls anywhere/anywhere in the world.  It turns out to be some company based in Nigeria.  Onejack?  I can�t remember � there was too much noise going on.  And guess from whom.

And so, met with the OGC people again and I saw the plans.  I begged for even more space and they agreed to go for it when they argue with the City variance ogres.  The disappointment is that it can take as much as two months from start to finish.  However, it seems I will be clutter-free by the end of autumn.  Yes, it will just be spread out a whole lot more.  As for the financing, my bank manager is totally amazing.  He�s like a walking calculator but to the 3rd degree. 

Gotta bounce!


July 10th

And there we were � all 14 of us. 

It was a terrible day, it was a great day and it was a day just like yesterday.  Again, we arrived, we yakked, we ate  and enjoyed the conversation and the food.  Chuck�s good pal stopped by to say hello and it is always nice to see him.  He has such nice manners.

Okay � the count is in.  Some, more like a few, demanded that the number be called as a baker�s dozen plus one.  I disagree and given that I�m writing this blog, I shall call it what I want.  Hmmph, so there, and I�ll give you one guess as to who was the loudest one � as he always is.  Obviously, he forgot his hearing aid again.

We were the outstanding Freaking Fourteen today � and that is just to reflect the weather and not the company.  What a strange day we had � it was so dark around 3 that I had to consider turning on the lights.  But, just to tee off Enbridge, I decided not to.  Up your nose with a rubber hose, Mr. Electric-no-selectric.

Conversations today were many � weeping tiles, sump pumps, and everything else in between.  Many things were said all over each other and sundry.  And they say that women talk each others� ears off.

Barrie and Rolie each ate double desserts.  However, to do them justice whether they deserve it or not, a third brownie came their way.  They both declined but Jim picked up the ball � good man.

Well, as for me, the big meeting is coming up on Thursday to get the mortgage rolling.  Then, on Friday, I shall meet with the architects to see the plans they are projecting.  Stan stuck in some good advice about getting an elevated toilet.  Thank you, Stan!

So, with ink in my pen, and determination on what I need, here�s to the rest of the week.  The size of the extension has expanded � it is now 18 by 24 versus 20 by 20.  As the project manager (all of what, aged 24?) says, it is all one cost , yes $1000) so we will ask for it all at one time.  Cough, cough � yes and see if you can increase that, as well.  The size, that is.  Size counts.

Some of you were MIA but not when it comes to recounting memories.  Remember-what�s-his-name is a very popular guy!  We are getting to be such a funny bunch.

Gosh � I just remembered that I forgot to bring in �Of no fixed Address�!  My sincere apologies to the next person in line.

Sussex Drive changes.  It�s still a mess � what would you expect with Harper living in #24.  Gary is probably starting a campaign to evict me from the NCR based on that but I will ask that nice moose to have a talk with him.

Oh � what I wanted to say, re 125 Sussex, is that there isn�t a sidewalk anymore � it is now a two-lanned bike-way.  Yep- no sidewalk.  If I might be so bold, I�d suggest you use the �back-way�.  It�s actually called Union Road.

Gotta bounce,


June 28th 

Please note that the July 2nd Old Farts �do� is delayed by a week as the staff will be working 12-hour shifts on Canada Day and they will appreciate not working so much on July 2nd. Enjoy Canada Day � it is also Memorial Day for Newfoundland.  This ceremony was held last year at 9am in Confederation Square.  If you go, you will see kilts flying, bag-pipes expertly being used, and a celebration ceremony of those that laid down their lives for the Empire.  The ceremony, last year,  ended at 10am so you will have to hop it! See you the week after on the 9th.  

Meanwhile, Happy Canada Day!  



June 25th � a torpid day

As some of you know, I called in late today so there wouldn�t be so much ribbing from the �locals� at one of our tables closest to the bar.  As it turns out, I was finished my appointment and on the bus before anticipated.  And just to prove how cantankerous they are, these guys then proceeded to give me a hard time.  Really � what a bunch!


And yes, we were a wonderful bunch, today.  Those grey droopy clouds weren�t stopping the Elite Eleven.  Not only did we skulk, sneak and skive our way in, we did it with our usual aplomb � all hats off at the door el pronto and with appetites properly tuned up.  Today we had cheeseburgers and fries coming at us so we had to be at the ready.  And, we did our group proud!  

A new tradition is in the midst of being born � an honorary plate of Family Fries shows up at the table, we all try them (before the vinegar is added!!) and then we pass judgement on their taste.  This has happened twice now and twice the fries have been lauded on high.  Strange how they always land up in front of Mr. No-Fries-with-that.  An eternal mystery, I�m sure.

Stan started off the technical side of things today by saying that his phone is stating that he has _____mgs of email while he knows that all of his folders are empty.  We all threw conjectures on the table and I was told outright that I have no idea of what I�m talking about.  !!!  Fancy that after being on the email server team for three years!  However, I didn�t mention this and it turns out that Stan has this error message on his eye-phone and this is a known MAC error for their past two operating systems.  Of course I wouldn�t know this as I�m not ever going over to the dark side.  Android, maybe, a good chance of that, but I sure wish that some more high-tech jobs would hit the Canadian market instead of down South.  All that being said, I still love my 9290 BB.

And speaking of my beloved 9290, it was on the endangered species yesterday as I went out for a walk when all the clouds in the sky descended just as I was finishing my 5-ish Km daily walk.  I fished it out of my phone holder and hastily got it into my gortex�d jacket pocket before the phone holder flooded.  I also rescued my $20 bill before it floated away.  Man!  I will say that I am in love with my new jacket � the hood has a wonderfully designed bill which protects your eyeglasses from the rain so I was able to glimpse the $20 making a desperate run for freedom.

Well, eleven of us and there had to be fourteen conversations going!  I made the mistake of checking to see if my son had received my text re a job offer and only two seconds later, the conversation had changed from Video 8 to radios.  Then run-away chickens took over for a few moments and then it was the arrangements for July 2.

Okay folks � here it is.  There will not be a gathering of Old Farts on July 2 as Maggie is doing a 12-hour shift on July 01.  After asking around the  table, only two of us will be able to attend out of a possible 30-something members.  Now, if you wish to go on that day, drinks will be available but no food.  And no Old Farts unless you make arrangements t�wix ourselves.

But!  Back to the chickens � the general conclusion around the table was that foxes had probably dined and then frolicked with the errant chickens.  Bonnie then spoke about a recent purchase of cottage land (yeah � no more bad neighbour and his dogs!) and she and Dr. Rant compared notes about how close their cottages were.  She also mentioned a very strong odour (no not Dave!) and we were contemplating this problem.  One of the Ladies� Auxilliary over-heard us and she mentioned that you should put out dog-hair in the affected area because foxes like to bury their cache.  Bingo! 

Somehow, it came up that the best �container� for the dog-hair is to put them into pantyhose.  Foxes, apparently, are scared of dogs.  It also came to light, jokingly, that Stan loves his pantyhose and even has a favorite brand � King�s, I believe it is..

Just at that lickety-split moment, the door opens and there is Janice.  We are all falling over ourselves explaining how her name had just come up only a second ago.  Amazing.

Dr. Rant casually left his new camera on the table while visiting the gents, and the boyos took full advantage of it.  Snap, snap and there we were.  However, no wild mooning shots  - we really are getting tame in our quieter days!

Canada Day is almost upon us � we will be reaching that pinnacle of summer-to-be.  I sincerely hope it will be a mild one with a lot less rain than yesterday.  Ottawa now seems to have a monsoon season as well as a construction one.  Aren�t we lucky!  However, I was speaking with Angel yesterday and she passed on the shocking news that some citizens of Manitoba are having to run their water 24/7 because their pipes are still frozen.  How awful.

To get back to Dave�s camera, he mentioned that while they were in Beijing, a Canadian tourist left his/her camera in the Embassy.  Being such accommodating souls, they all posed for a group photo and did a mutual mooning shot for this tourist.  

Gotta bounce - Shirley

June 11th, Yikes

Rub-a-dub, dub, two feet in the tub. What comes next?

That�s just a general throw-out for a response.  It will be interesting to see what the response will be.


George and Frank

Okay � yes, we did surpass the Dirty Dozen.  Jim sat in his usual chair looking quite pleased at being back.  He and Faith fought off mossies and a variety of big Flies.  Hey, maybe we should start a new industry � Black Flies you never want to encounter!  

We had a wonderful newcomer � Kawsar � please forgive me if I�ve spelt your name wrong!  It is so nice to see another woman join us. (Kawsar is John Kruitof's wife, the author of many interesting histories 

Today, fish and chips.  Stan made a mention of the fries not being gluten free and indeed, they were not.  They had a coating which made them crisp but to me, tasteless.  Yes, we are becoming quite gourmand, and that�s not a bad thing.  Also, for dessert, there was pineapple-upside down cake.  Everyone loved it!  Wow � Donnie must be turning in his grave � no smoked-meat sandwiches with forgotten mustard.  God love him!  Blessings on you, my old friend.

Now that we are moving into the a/c season, we are starting to hyper-focus on our a/c units.  Mine is still reasonably new < 10 years but I am watching it like a hawk.  If you live this close to King Edward and St. Patrick, so would you.  When the weather office says 22, its closer to 40 at this junction.  And I know this from my past experience at the Weather Office, Environment Canada.  Hey, it�s much cooler out at the airport (with all the landing craft) than it is in a land-locked, car-n-semi, intersection.  It is fantastic when the wind comes up � ah, a breath of a breeze.  Cough, cough.

Do we live in a land of mah-jongh players?  We are approximately 5 players looking for more � the rules aren�t as important as we can all learn the international rules.  I played in Delhi with the Dip community and am eagerly looking for a group to join or even start, if we have enough.

Gas prices, gas prices.  I�m not going to go there.

Costco, prices are going up.  There are still some excellent products but lately I�ve run into a few bad ones.  I got home with a wonderful camembert � opened it up, and only to find it brown inside. Hmmmm.

Ottawa recently had an Open Doors event and after snacking on a decadent Klondike caramel cone, I decided to act like a real part of the Dirty Dozen.  I slinked (slunked?)  in and was suddenly caught by a member of the welcoming party.  I got papered and skittered away in a hurry.  The building is absolutely stunning and I just loved it.  Please go to the �Conference Room� and check out the fire-place.  O-M-G.  What incredible craftsmanship!

Again, at this building, one of the big announcements was to sit in the mayor�s chair, which is located on the 2nd-floor of this building.  It is referred to as a �normal� school, as it was called in the 1800�s.  It then turned into a teachers� college after that and now is filled to the brim with City of Ottawa workers.  Gosh, I wonder who fills the offices over at the new City Hall?  Meow.  Go check it out.

Yaaaay, the weeds are having a fantastic year � the ba----tards.

Yesterday, I eagerly rushed off to the Loblaws on McArthur yesterday to get some plantlings and didn�t find what I wanted.  However, I picked up some pineapple mint and two other incredible plants.  When I was paying, I inadvertently (don�t you love that word for mistakenly) asked for money back.  Now you can imagine when I opened up my wallet this am and found I didn�t have it, nor the receipt.  C_ap!  Major Cr_p.  So, I called the Loblaws and eventually spoke with the �cash� manager.  Guess what � she says it happens all the time and they have an incredible amount of extra cash from this source.  The good news � I had my $40 back within minutes of showing up after my call.  And, without a receipt.  As many of you know, you have to sign the receipt once you get your money.  I just identified myself, the time of transaction and obviously, sounded just like myself.  What!  I heard that � just shut it!!

Gotta bounce!


May 16th � Yikes!

In order to sound like the perfect broken record, I need to repeat what I�ve said (or echoed you) in the past � where has all the time gone!!    On the other hand, hey, we are starting to look at getting some return on all those years we paid into our superannuation.  If any of you remember Ralph Guitard, he told me that he now has been retired for longer than he worked.  Good on him!!

And there we were again � another dirty dozen skulked into the Legion!  This time, our posse � God love �em � were three but I think I saw a few being shoved out of the way so our posse could get through the door.  Obviously, one of them wasn�t Jim because we all know he sleeps there the night before so he and Faith must be checking out other parts of the world.

Show-n-tell:  Barrie was presented with a gramps� gift (from Roly and Bev) of a onesies for his 8-day old grandson.


The names of companies that are folding came up at the table.  Sears, Grand-n-Toy, are just two of them I remember.  The Rideau Centre is changing rapidly and to what avail?  I was totally lost the other day and this very nice gentleman approached me and asked if I needed help.  Obviously, yes.  We spoke for a bit and he is obviously plugged into what is happening there.  The changes are mind-boggling � if memory serves me correctly, the food court is moving up to where the movie theatre was.  The escalators are being re-rigged to take on this new floor.  Geez � I sure hope they think about the added weight of the down-ward escalators after all that fast food!  

Ken Watson showed up today and we got caught up on the neighbourhood news.  Fires, and more fires.  Some of them were logical and the others were just absent-mindedness.  Scary stuff.  And it is so easy for it to happen.  I was so focussed on making my shrimp sauce the other night that I forgot to turn off the pasta-pot burner.  My son was bringing in the dishes and noticed the pot starting to smoke.  Phew!

In my defense, I have started using an induction cooktop plate.  I am amazed by how fast water will boil � so much faster than my electric kettle and super-faster than my stove-top element.  The temperature control is so fast and so accurate.  And for those of us that lived in Asia �so cheap, lah, only $59.99 � you need one, lah!�   It will be interesting to find out how fast it takes to boil a litre of water but I don�t have time � too much to do outside now.  Gotta train those dandelions!  Hut, hut, kill that squirrel.  Okay, okay, just push that squirrel off my property.  Man, animal rights �..

Ken told me about another walking club just up the way and I�ll have to check it out � they hike around Rockcliffe Park and his wife is a member.  I was trying to find something like this about 8 years ago and nothing existed that was common knowledge.  Now � just check out meet-up Ottawa and see what comes up.  I am a member of the Rideau Canal Walkers and they are a really great group.

Next Lime Lunch will be this Friday at the Sweet Basil on Bank and Huron.  Check it out but please get back to Barrie pdq as I just took place #10.

Okay � we are rapidly approaching the gardening weekend.  Okay � I �fess up and already bought some planters from Metro but considering their price, they just under-cut Loblaws by half-price.  Incidentally, both these stores are Union-ized.

Next week we will be having ribs and chips.

Gotta bounce!

March 26th
Okay � now for the numbers. Four of us did the count and gladly reported we hit 17! Our faithful posse of five keeps supporting our Dirty Dozen. Good one!
Here it is! We skulked, we darkened doors. Then we found ourselves in the wrong place. Then, we had to re-skulk. Those damn GPS systems! Then, once we all had re-skulked, collectively, we took pics on our smartphones. Why? Can�t remember.
Phew! Onward!! �Where, again? What parking lot?� �Oh, say, I believe we met somewhere � did you ever work for ���., what was his name again?� � Yeah � you remember him � he always �����������., remember?�
Today was meatloaf with mash and veg. It was very good and the servings were generous. Dessert was banana bread and it was gobbled down with much gusto. At least Barrie and Rolly did �over-justice� to what was put in front of them The vote was taken � next week we will have smoked meat and fries or hamburgers. We voted for both.
Well, Angel came and just left yesterday. She enjoyed herself immensely and her sense of timing was great. She got to come to Old Farts as well as a Lime Lunch. As you recall, last week we had twenty-two attendees! Some of those got to sit at the children�s table but what the heck. When it came to the Lime Lunch, it would seem that not all showed up as we had two tables booked. The joke was � it�s a good thing we booked because there isn�t another soul around. Then, a bunch of young lads (mid-40�s) came in and then we found out they were all from Foreign Affairs! It is such a small world.
By the way, if you are ever back in that neck of the woods, the Hintonburger (literally, next door) does some of the best/best burgers in Ottawa along with bad seating, bad karma, no atmosphere but a ton of customers! Another word about the �d�cor� � even the old winos get take-out as their card-board shacks look better. However, the word is getting out about the real beef and real cheese, though! I would not, however, recommend the bacon. It is tough as old boots � the exact same as what I had in my $10 ice-burg small salad at Friday�s Lime lunch.
Hey All, I now know which light switches control the lighting over our tables! Dave, the Rant God, told me that he got some dirty looks from the bar steward for requesting more lighting one time. Well! They are right beside the entrance to the bartender�s berth. Thank God for that � it is so depressing when you are trying to catch up on everyone�s news or show-n-tell, and you feel like you are in some old rummy bar. Of course, I, like you, would only know about this from watching bad TV and movies.
Old Man Winter is being such a bore. Give it up! Even Angel groaned when she heard about Monday�s/Tuesday�s Ottawa forecast. For the first time in many years, I haven�t started my herbs, which I normally start germinating in Feb! Even worse, I haven�t been doing any Union work apart from training it to and from Toronto. Other acquaintances are saying that they just can�t get started on things. I ran into another old colleague. She is in a cast from badly breaking her knee just around Xmas after a fall on ice. Then I ran into a member of the DFAIT working-wounded � she was doing spring cleaning at home.
Thank God for extra-strong coffee. I�ve started in on my kitchen cupboard project. I am lining every one of them with easy-clean ribbed heavy-duty plastic liner. Once all of that is done, it will be time to start the exterior cleaning and polishing. Dave and Jim gave me tips on that a while back with Dave saying to remove the cabinet pulls so as to get a better-looking result.
The ever-youthful Mr. Kenny has been making sounds about doing a show-n-tell. He has made a promise that most of us would not recognize what he will bring in. Just try us, Danny Boy, dare ya! ))
Today�s show-n-tell comprised of samples from the Home Show that Jim and Dave went to last Thursday. Those were pretty snazzy doors and then a blurb on a very powerful generator. Someone contributed a special cream in a tube that came with a lot of comments. Two different technical comments in particular that partially agreed so ��.
Onwards � we heard about Ron and Mary�s great trip to Puerta Vallarta. They had nothing bad to say whatsoever and they also took the local buses � which sounds fascintating. The restaurants sounded divine and the most expensive restaurant cost them about $40 for the most expensive dish on the menu. (Heck � at the last Lime Lunch, one pub entr�e cost that!) I shall certainly be checking this place out for next winter.
Yikes � pert near 4pm � how fast our days fly by. Today, I was happily surprised to see some old union colleagues come by for a meeting. They invited me to brief them as I am still very involved as both a sitting President and a Vice-President. We exchanged info on our calendars � these calendars are totally crazy. How come volunteers are so very busy while so many people are looking for work on such a scale? Does the word �free� seem to work here?
Gotta bounce!

March 19th

Okay, gang, we are past the Ides of March, past St. Patrick�s Day and now we are slated to get more snow. Did we miss Spring, Summer and Autumn? However, I�m not going to complain much as Angel and I got in a few good walks today.
And, now, what you have all been waiting for! The numbers at the Old Farts� lunch came up to a double deuce � as Stan said to Angel �Welcome to being one of the Dirty Dozen!� As for skulking and slinking, I shall pass on my excellent skills to her these next few days.

We were more women than usual and that was great! I missed a lot on show-n-tell as I was watching for my son�s appearance. Even though he is past 23, as a parent, I still worry about him when he doesn�t show up on time. It turned out his hair was still wet and he was waiting for it to dry. ??? Geez, I remember when we used to fly out of the door with dripping wet hair when it was minus 20. And we dare to think that this generation X (or is it Zed, now?) is stupid?
I find it amazing that so many of us are still alive and almost healthy. I remember quite well my first year in Ottawa and the party scene. My number one survival skill was to add as much starch as possible to my jeans so that they would help me remain up-right while working the old torn-tape relay line after only an hour�s sleep!
What a busy crowd we were today! We had to add another table to our usual three. The sitters immediately announced it to be the �children�s table�. Hey � you have to arrive on time! Anyway, we are going to blame it all on Kevin as he was the last one to slink and skulk in. He darkened the door at nearly 12:15. Okay, okay, may-be it was 12:13.
Our lunch today (food-wise) was one of the better ones we�ve had so far. Somehow, we seem to be missing some of our condiments � or I should say, Lou�s condiments. My son, Lewis, was very smart today and added the extra-virgin olive oil to his pork. Good lad � his cholesterol levels will remain extremely low. I am hoping that he will get my �Medusa gene� � and that has nothing to do with my current hair style Extra-virgin olive oil is a mono oil and it will lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol. Also, so does peanut butter. Eating healthy doesn�t mean having to try to get through those rice cakes lickety-split before that your taste-buds wake up and take over your brain�s command centre and say � �You really are kidding me, right? This is so not happening!� I will not continue with what your brain says to your poor little tummie.
To get back to Show-n-Tell, lots of things hit the table again. Including my RFID Tracker. No one paid attention to it, as Stan mentioned, so I get to bore you to death at leisure. These are available at Bentleys� in the Rideau Centre and you get 4 of these �envelopes� for about $5. The basic design is to protect your credit card and pers info on the cards of choice by creating a �deflective cage� around the selected card. I showed this to my military neighbour and he decided on the spot that he would put tinfoil around his special cards.
To further bore you to death, I also mentioned to the group that I did break down and purchased the Salton induction �heat-plate� at Costco. A most impressive purchase! The instruction booklet does tell you what types of cookware to use and one of them is your mother�s heavy cast-iron pots! Pyrex! Stainless steel! Yep! Now, if you have fancy-pants copper-bottomed cookware, don�t go for it. Or don�t get this type of heat-plate for your student child that might only have access to cheap aluminum stuff. Your cookware must re-act to the magnetic field and wow � you are away with the races. I put on a pot of cold water, 2 cups to be exact, and turned on the plate. I started my timer on my watch and after fiddling with a few controls and then figuring it out, found out that that water went from cold to a full boil in under two minutes. That�s faster than your electric kettle and much kinder to those of use that like to cook our pasta properly. That being said, most of us still use our microwaves to re-heat our coffee but I am loving this induction-method of cooking! Especially if all you are doing is a one-pot meal during Ontario�s �high-cost� energy usage.
Dr. Dee brought in a much-loved Sony shortwave radio. It was an old Sony � unfortunately, I don�t remember the model number. Perhaps Stan can put in a note on it. Dave was saying that it had an �air-wave channel� and the boys were having a ton of fun over it. I used to own a much smaller version of it � much more limited, but it was a vital part of your packing kit when you went out on TD for three months.
Actually, this short-wave was even more vital than that. When I lived in Italy back from �83-�86, it was the only contact I had for English radio. One night, one of my Italian boyfriends was over and we were trying to listen to a BBC broadcast. Finally, he tied a string of sorts to the radio and then leaned out of the bathroom window while I hung onto his ankles so he wouldn�t take a nosedive 4 stories down onto the cobblestones in the courtyard. We got the Beeb and it was marvellous. Another time, this same boyfriend was over and we had rigged up a series of wires to optimize the reception. That night, we listened � live � to the bombing of Quaddhafi�s home. Rivetting.
But! This wonderful little short-wave also got me into trouble when I was on TD in Iraq. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and I thank God for that. I was telling Stan that when I was in Bghdd and what happened when I called down to the front desk to ask for some technical help. I couldn�t seem to pick up the Beeb and the tech guy came in just as my dinner was being served in my room. I explained to him the problem and then he wouldn�t leave. It took me nearly an hour to get him out of my room and I can be fierce. (Shut-up, Kevin!) The next day, at the Embassy, I found out that you can be arrested by the state police, slung in jail where you will basically rot, just for bringing in a typewriter. Thank you, department, for not telling me that in advance. Diplomatic immunity? I remember having to help one of the local Immigration officers by turning my ppt the right-way up � duh. I was so glad to leave that place � the Embassy kept booking me out on every next-day flight so I wouldn�t have to take their aids test. I am not kidding on this one. I left Baghdad, after more and more airport hassle, and then Ken Beach stepped in and straightened stuff out. Remember our colleague? God love him. Then, I boarded Swiss Air and woke up mid-flight after a night-mare. I also woke up the two male Swiss Air flight attendants that were sleeping both a row ahead and behind me. They were there with warm blankets and hot milk within minutes. I love Swiss Air.
Okay, I cannot think of any other way to bore you to death so you are safe, now. I�m sorry it took me until this time to post this but, my group contact in Outlook became corrupted and I had to build it again. This might mean that some of you may get this twice so please bear with me. You guys are wonderful and most of you don�t show up often enough. And, I do know why as you contact me and let me know what is happening. That, I appreciate so much. We are still a great family!!
Barrie has arranged this month�s Lime Lunch for this Friday. Please contact him directly for details in case you can attend.
Hey! The light levels are coming up, the snow is shrinking due to the Arctic conditions of extremely cold and dry air. Hey, man, this is a Labrador spring in full force!! Get those gardening tools and seeds out now or else!
Gotta bounce!

March 12th

Oh, oh, it appears the word is getting out that the new cooks are pretty good � and we get seconds plus dessert!!  So, pass on the word that sandwiches are soggy and the soup is cold!  More for us, that way ))

Yes, today saw the Dirty Dozen there in full force, with a posse back-up of five.  That�s not too shabby for the middle of the month.  Yes, we are nearly half-way through this month already!

More white stuff is coming down.  Okay � this is getting to be more than enough!  Although, I will say that it certainly makes for a good excuse to have a long nap on the couch while you keep the TV company for the afternoon.

Before I forget, Maggie is going to make up roast pork, mashed potatoes and peas for next week.  She wanted to add cauliflower and broccoli but I talked her out of it � don�t hate me!  The chili had a lot of takers today, along with the garlic bread.  Some even had seconds!  For the first time ever, I heard Lou say he ate too much.  That being said, Lou�s Extra Hot sauce bottle certainly got a work-out.  We now have Cross-n-Blackwell vinegar and salad greens for our tables.  I forgot to bring in the chili flakes today. 

The ladies have started cleaning out the fryer.  There were un-godly noises coming out of the kitchen � I�m sure they are doing a super job.

Bill sported his new hand-knitted vest this afternoon.  As usual, Wendy did a fantastic job.  The most amazing thing is both of us have the same type of wool.  I made my son a toque with it when he was around three � he wore it until he was nine � he really stretched it, that�s for sure.

We will have another surprise coming out of the kitchen next week for our tables! 

Bonnie brought her Celtic accordion to mark the up-coming occasion of St. Patrick�s Day.  I�m glad the lighting has been improved.  Last week it was very dark and I grumbled about it.

Barrie and Roly were discussing their time they spent this year in Florida.  They had lots of good things to say which doesn�t surprise me.  I wonder how much money goes south of the border on a yearly basis.  Floridians do love us a lot!

My eyes are starting to cross � and I just had soup and a sandwich.  Wow � time to keep the TV company.

Gotta nap!


March 5th
Today, I felt a minor twinge of terror at the thought of TAX TIME again. Sigh, the gathering together of the receipts, the purchase (or not) of an up-date of your on-line tax return or to remember to see your CPA in order to file, sigh. Back in the days when I used to smoke, I had my very special ritual of getting a brand-new pack of smokes, a new lighter and a pot of coffee. Then I�d crack open the paper copy (this was �87), study all the notes on how to file, and begin. Pretty much after that 3rd cup of coffee and � a pack of cigs, the air would be blue with all my cussing as those rotten so-n-so�s were stealing more of my hard-earned money!!
But, onto better topics.
Yes � you guessed it � the Dirty Dozen rode in again!! And not even a do-nut in sight as an enticement! We lolled at our Old Farts� table-clothed tables like we were totally used to it, partook of our usual beverages of choice and dug into our shepherds� pie with gusto. Lou was true to his promise and brought in chili sauce, HP sauce and Heinz ketchup. Thank you, Lou! Maggie told me that she has locked these condiments safely in her part of the cup-boards. Next week, I will bring in the chili flakes and malt vinegar.
Next week, we will be treated to chili with garlic bread. Both of the ladies are still very nervous about what to serve us. I keep trying to calm them down and told them we just want honest home-made food. Nothing special, something simple, and now, more importantly, something freezable as we cannot guarantee our numbers. Maggie wants to make us a roast beef or chicken parmesan but what if we suddenly shrink to a mere six or grow to a few Dirty Dozen? She has frozen the soup from last week and can do the same with the chili � in case there are any left-overs. BTW, for the first time in our history, seconds are being offered for free and we had a few takers. Also, if you get a take-out of the days� special, the price drops to a mere $5.00.
And, we might even get Shake-n-Bake chicken! Remember that ad with the little kid despondently throwing rocks into the fishing hole, bemoaning the fact that they hadn�t had Shake-n-Bake in months � poor little tyke. And then his pure delight in having it served just that very night. Wow � the power of TV advertising and what it does to our brains. Gee, I wonder how they did ads back in the days of cavemen. �Look, Ma, there�s a drawing of a mastodon. Get another husband - we haven�t had meat in months! � Seriously, though, I was listening to a report on how cruel life was at that time even if you sprained an ankle as a lone hunter. However, that then moves us away from bison tartar and onto Shake-n-Bake!! Man � progress just rocks.
Today, the sun shone, the windows sparkled, people smiled and the buses were dishing out their usual poor service. I left home at 10:30 and finally got to Old Farts at 11:10. I can walk this distance in about 20 minutes but people were feeling chatty at the bus-stop so I am not complaining plus it was warm and that sun felt so wonderful!
I went to TO for a conference last Friday but found out previously that one can no longer order their meals in advance on Via even if you are a Preference customer. This has changed from back in October 2013, for those interested. The only way you can order something in advance has to do with allergies and food intolerances. So � I ordered gluten-free and no peppers. What I got was totally disgusting, had peppers, but the fruit was nice. So, I ate like our Saviour and had bread and wine for supper.
With this warmer weather, seed-starting arose. I feel remiss in not starting my herbs indoors but my floor spaces have been covered with papers that need to be filed or shredded. We got talking about chili peppers and how one can be hot out of six or so and the others tasting flat. Bill spoke about his heirloom tomatoes and the space required when he plants them. I have been planting a certain bean plant on my entrance-way because of the size of the leaves in order to get the shade benefits. Since then, I�ve found out that it grows beans that have enough riacin to kill an elephant if not a whole herd. YIKES! I hope that my passion flower vines will thrive if I can get them to start from seed. I sure hope so because my bad neighbour across the street hates them.
We were joined by a new person today. None of us knew this man but he politely asked if he could join us. He joined in on the conversation re types of maple syrup, the average output of maple syrup from the different types of maples, etc. He then added to our input by asking if we wanted to hear the joke of the day. Certainly! (warning: I�ve taken some literal freedom.)
A blonde was speeding down the highway when she was pulled over by a cop. The cop, also a blonde, asked to see her license. The speeder went through her hand-bag several times and couldn�t find it. The blonde cop says, �surely, you must see it � it�s square and it has your picture on it.� �Oh,� says the speeder, �I�ve found it!� She hands over her open compact and the cop looks at it. �Okay,� he says, �you�re good to go.�
Yayyy!!! It�s March and soon it will be St. Patrick�s Day � I love this holy and blessed get-crazy day!
Gotta bounce,
Shirley Gillette


Another Wednesday and another breath of relief that our Legion #462 can accommodate us for lunch.  We all scraggled in � only to be surprised that our tables now have plastic table clothes and clean S&P shakers!  Many expressed the �fear� we might be going up-scale.  Also, our cutlery was very nicely wrapped.  No complaints from me on this front.

Today, we had home-made soup and a variety of sandwiches.  With the exception of one attendee, we all chowed down something fierce.  I ate so much, I can hardly move my eyelashes.  The subject of seconds of soup and sandwiches arose and we had a few takers.  Just before we paid for our lunch, out came trays of cookies!  Stan and Dave took some photos � they will be posted shortly, if not already. (First, Maggie our new cook. And a former Branch 462 Bar Steward from the days of Donald Butt!)

Maggie, our Scottish lass, came over several times to make sure we were well taken care of.  Dave Smith says that he is in dire need of an English-Scottish dictionary so if anyone has one, you know who to talk to.

Now on to something a bit closer to nature.  The CBC had an article on how this cold weather is affecting the honeybees.  Usually around this time of the year, the bees exit the nest for a bit of a check on their surroundings.  Not so this year as the grouchy old evil snowman has been a real curmudgeon.  I was speaking with Angel today and she said it is brutally cold there.  It�s also affecting the birds there (Winnipeg) as there is so much ice still around this late in the winter.

Someone at lunch reported that it is the coldest winter in over 40 years.  And my heating bill reflects it! That being said, the sidewalks are drying up and soon it will be walking weather again.  Yayyy!

Ottawa will be hosting the mayors this weekend.  Rob Ford will attend � this will be his first-ever appearance.  I told Gary it is probably because he heard that I will be going to Toronto this weekend.  

Numbers, numbers!  We were 17 today � that�s pretty good.  The dirty dozen keep riding in - with a posse this time. 

Stan is back from his trip, Chuck is feeling much better and all the rest of us are looking very relieved that our weekly lunch is alive and well once more.  Joan and Maggie were looking more relaxed than last week and we have a lot of confidence in them.  The ladies ask us what we want for lunch and the table voted for shepherd�s pie for next week.  Maggie has promised that she will look into getting some fish and chips for us sometime soon.  I mentioned that we should have some Cross and Blackwell malt vinegar in the fridge but not so.  Not to worry as I have a few back-up bottles at home.  Lou has promised that he will bring in some hot sauce so we will be �normal� shortly.

Bonnie was asked after by Maggie and we explained that we cannot account for anyone showing up.  Dave Hamilton�s name came up by our table and how we managed to chase down his email address, thanks to Gary Langille.  When it comes to communicating, we�re not too shabby at it.

Stan � I haven�t forgotten re my homework.  But, I need a nap � that soup today was incredible.

Travel:  I went to Montreal last Sunday on Via � the train was jam-packed.  My seat-mate hauled out a Lenovo notebook, noticed my curiosity and handed it to me.  I was shocked by how light it was.  After a few words about train travel, she was deep into her work � and this was a SUNDAY.  When she surfaced, circa 2 hours later, we discussed how everyone seems to be switching over to Via because of the ease of travel.  However, the demise is starting to happen � one can no longer order your meal ahead of time unless you have special dietary needs.  This happened back in October.  What a pity.

Speaking of communicating, it was mentioned, albeit very briefly, that Blackberry is rebounding.  Good, we need jobs here after so many companies have been dropping workers.  I thank God that I am retired � and so I should be after working for 38 years for the feds.

Bill Neelin (trust Bill) has put in a special request for Jig�s Dinner.  Now we really need another kind of dictionary!  Poor Maggie. I am very familiar with it as I grew up in Labrador with both parents steeped in the rich heritage of Newfoundland.  It�s basically a boiled dinner with salt beef being both the meat and the flavouring of the dish.  Then it is layered with turnip, carrot, potato, and topped with cabbage.  My favourite way to have this is like having bubble-n-squeak � all minced and squished up and fried, then topped with gravy.  After that dish, man, you�ll sleep for a week!

Canada Goose coats � they are everywhere this year!  Those hoods are to die for as you can really get your head way, way back.  The coyote fur stands up to those winds we are having this winter and there is wiring all around the front and sides of the hood.  Warning, though, carry an anti-static sheet with you � sticky-up hair if you don�t wear a hat!  And, before I forget, do NOT remove any labels from one of these coats � this will void the 10-year warranty of the coat.

Next week will be very interesting at our watering hole.  Stay tuned, or better yet, show up!! (Shepards Pie was mentioned.)

Gotta bounce,


Feb. 19th
Wow � back to our old and familiar haunt! Fifteen of us showed up to claim our tables and to partake of the new cooks� first meal under the new kitchen management. Fyi, Joan, the dark-haired lady, is the head cook and Maggie, with her strong Scottish b-r-r-r, is helping her.
We all congratulated them on their incredible efficiency in getting the food out so quickly. It was sort of your basic beef stew and I liked the addition of turnip. Both ladies were very nervous and we did our best to reassure them that we are an easy bunch to please. They are very eager to know what type of food we want and we said: just comfort food like meatloaf, shepherd�s pie, even soup and sandwiches. The gang also put forth the price as just the same as usual, $9.00 with the usual tip. We told them that we have no control over the number of attendees so it would be a good idea to have something else just as a back-up.
I did mention to Joan about my food allergy and she wants to hear from us if we have any special concerns. I did ask if she had any adversities to types of food to prepare and here it is: liver. Okay, Lou, you can stop cheering now
Two of our greatest regulars, Stan and Chuck, were M.I.A. today. (Stan likes liver but it gives Chuck gout.)

 However, we had three additions that were great to see: our Donny Cole and Marti B.Y. and his wife, Luce. And, some of our boys have been busy in the romance department! Don showed off a picture of his new girlfriend � he says she�s 39 but may-be 40, is more like it. Art changed his marital status during his trip to Hawaii. He and Jennifer got married on Feb.14th.
Spring is in the air and today even rain has been called for. Whether we get it or not, is up to Loki. All I know is that my plants are starting to perk up with the light levels coming up. Time to start thinking about spring bulbs and dandelions! And, the bamboo that Gary and Maureen have been so kind to share with us. Unfortunately, the kids next door have really been determined to still tramp across my lawn right where it grows. Okay, time to get the shotgun out.
The Olympics are starting to get rather serious. We saw the Russians moved out of the Hockey finals today. I�m sure that there are many tears being spilt today with many litres of vodka being consumed with sadness. This am I listened to a radio broadcaster predict a �walk-over� by Canada over Latvia. What an idiot! How to tick off the opposition � they also listen to Canadian radio stations, too. I know that it would tick me off enough to really put the boots to Canada�s hockey team. And, so, they did. Thank God, our boys pulled out the rabbit from the hat. Has anyone put out a contract on that damned radio announcer, yet?
I took the train down to Montreal on Sunday. It was packed!! The woman seated beside me said that they are filling up more and more. She would know as she travels at least once a week to Montreal on Via. I agreed and said it�s because people are starting to realize that it is so much less hassle. That, and because Ron Belanger has started this trend. )) I am heading to Toronto soon on the Canadian One for another union conference and shall return the same way. The Union is picking up the tab and by travelling by train, first-class, I will save them around $200 ( in total) versus economy airfare. And I get 4-star meals included! Also, I don�t have to take off my shoes for a airport security check. And � always, you develop a hole in the toe of the sock just at that moment!
Okay � what else happened today. Again, we had the happy inclusion of Bonnie! She�s always a wonderful addition and we swap our down-East experiences in comparison of Ottawa and Newfoundland-n-Labrador living.
Dave Smith and B.Y. turned out to be heroes to another one of our long-retired members. How many of you remember Rod Villeneuve? He recently purchased a 60� TV along with the Blu-ray and a PVR. I am not familiar with the company he got it from but it sounded like a nightmare as the company didn�t send anyone over to help with the set-up. Perhaps Dave can give you more info, if you wish. He and B.Y. went over to Rod�s for lunch, learned of his problem, fixed it and is happy that Rod not only has excellent connectivity but is in incredible physical condition! He still chops his own wood, plays bridge, and is very, very active. I remember from last year that his bridge event happens on a Wednesday � that is why he doesn�t join us. Our loss, then, as he is a very vibrant 80+ year-old!
For you property lovers, they have finally announced that the old Rockcliffe base is now ready for development on the news, this am. I didn�t catch the name of the developer but that is one really large prime site. That area has been stagnant for a very long time while Manor Park has been really taking off. Also, there was an interesting tag on this item as to why Ottawa is home to so many condo developments. Apparently, the City of Ottawa has decided that we now have enough �suburban sprawl� and hence, we are moving into developing a more concentrated urban living area. Man, what a place to live! Near enough to walk to downtown and far enough away that you aren�t bothered by the traffic. Does anyone know the name of the developer? If so, please post on my Facebook page, just below.
The Lime Lunch for Friday has 15 takers to date. Not too shabby. We shall eat and eat well in great company!
Gotta bounce,

What an incredible day it was, today. I got to the Legion a few minutes late and was astounded to see not an Old Fart in sight! Not even Jim in his usual chair! You know, the one he sleeps in on Tuesday nights so none of us low-lifes can sit in it.

Well, what�s a gal to do? I just ordered my usual in hopes of having some company a bit later. Sure enough, a few scraggled in, much to my relief. But just before that happened, Marin came over and said that he could take us to a place � very nice for ladies � with soup and sandwiches. It was embarrassing as I was trying to tell him that this isn�t my decision where the group wishes to go, if at all.

Dan Kenny made a cute remark just before he left about how he couldn�t see where there would be a problem as we had a kitchen and a woman sitting at the table, doing nothing. Needless to say, my boot helped him up the steps to the exit. We both had a great laugh over it � we were on our first posting together in London all those many, many years ago.

All in all, we were 8 that showed but only four of us tried out the new place (DA Moose). The guys really liked the food and the price was incredible. Soup, a chili dog and fries for only $6! Still, it isn�t our Legion even though everyone at the Moose was wonderfully friendly and accommodating. I didn�t eat as I had a huge breakfast of corned beef and vegetables around 9:30 � I don�t like an average breakfast.

As the four of us were being led over to the Moose by Miran, Ron Cooke and I were at the back. I mentioned to him that I felt very pressured to carry my business over to this new establishment. We both agreed we would keep our eyes open.

But back to the intense pressure � yes, everyone wants to increase their number of patrons but I was starting to wonder when the Circ du Soleil was going to show up and perform for us for free. Granted, the Moose most certainly has the space, also a semi-private area where we could have our tables joined, the bathrooms were sparkling clean, lots of free parking, and a very extensive menu. Here it is, and the cost is the same at $9.00:

Roast Beef
Roast Pork
Smoked Meat Platter
Hot Chicken or Hot Beef
Shepherd�s Pie
Sweet-n-Sour Meat Balls or BBQ Meat balls w/eggrolls (2)
Hamburger Steak with fried (???)
Fish and Chips
Meat Loaf
Spaghetti & Meat Balls

Okay, now I have done my duty. My apologies to all that I missed the meeting last night but this damn flu won�t leave! Perhaps Dave, our Rant God, could use this address list to debrief all of us � I am very much looking forward to it.
So � if things don�t work out for our beloved Legion, may-be the Moose is just what we would like. It�s a private club and not a restaurant. There is a lot of free parking and it is located just behind the Shoppers Drug Mart beside the Legion. But, get this - it is a huge North American chain that has the logo � if you break down, call us � we will come and get you. That�s amazing, but I don�t know if its true.

Please check out this link if you wish more info:
There is an annual fee of $45 for gents, $25 for ladies. Na-na-na-boo-boo.

Gotta bounce,

Jan 30th

Sorry - I am a bit late in doing up the report of todays� lunch.  I�ve been busy in getting ready for income tax filing and applying for CPP.  You know, after retiring, you don�t realize just how much this administration relies on you going on-line to get your info.  Naturally, I can do that but would rather talk to a warm body that gets paid on a daily basis.

But, back to business � today was a great success!  At one point, we hit 25 attendees as we all scrunched together in eager anticipation of Cookie�s smoked meat and fries.  I say, at one point, because I got there late due to that damn # 12 not running on time again.  Even in my Canada Goose, I was starting to hop and bop to keep my feet warm.  Hells� Bells, it was a cold one in the capital.  And to make matters even worse, Moe the Finger stole my hallowed seat!

Well, as usual, Dave (Dr. Dee, the Rant God) had us all organized wonderfully.  The cards went around, the money was divided up equally between the two � Cookie and Gerry.  Lou made a great speech thanking both guys.  We sang �For he�s a jolly good fellow� with great gusto and yet, sadness.  Just before the boys were about to wipe their eyes and blow their noses, (in that order, thank God) we were ordered up on-stage for the photo op.  Thank God � phew, that is out of the way. 

What is to happen next?  We have verbal assurances that they will find us a cook for our regular Wednesdays.  Will this happen?  We really don�t know but Gilles, the bartender, is keeping an ear in for us.  After all, it certainly affects his take as he�s walking/driving home with anywhere between $20-30 in tips on a very liquid day.  And the last time I did my taxes, those money-gouging sob�s want you to declare your tips!  How�s that for falling arches and hardly anyone to talk to?

Everyone did a wonderful catch-up on each other�s news and had a great time scarfing back the food and liquid of choice.  The company, as usual, is great and the what-ever-happened-to-so-and-so is endless as we miss our old colleagues.  I think Terry Webb may have said it best, but not the least, when he stated � �we were quite the bunch/strange weirdoes/employees/techs/communicators/freaks�.  Now, he may have said �we were quite the bunch of reprobates� as well, but I shall exercise diplomatic freedom of speech in this case, with all due respect to all the attendees.  Lord almighty � I am getting soft in the head after saying something like that!

To our business, this Friday, I shall call the steward of the bar and he will let me know if we have a cook for Feb5th.  Stay tuned on that, I�ll send out a broadcast message to you all.  Let�s hope that we do, but I do recall Paula stating that we are a priority for them.

Donna and I have been joining up with GoodLife Fitness gym as Carp members are getting a year�s membership at nearly half price.  It beats out the RA Fitness gym�s price by nearly $350.00  less for a membership per annum.  I have also heard through the grapevine that you can now claim off your membership against your income tax.  I did try to confirm this but was stuck in phone la-la land for 20 minutes.  And 20 minutes in a retiree�s day is quite a lot with a big to-do list.  I was about to confirm my union trip to Toronto on Feb.22nd for the Presidents� meeting while doing a Wiki search for the meaning of �retirement in 2014 and CPP entitlements�.  Okay � I got some answers and if it helps, here some of them are:

CPP:  If you wish to retire at 60 (or so), all that is required is the SIN of your child(ren).  That�s it.  You can apply on-line at or go to a Services Canada outlet in your area.  The big one is to apply for your OAS and here�s where it gets complicated for those of us that have lived overseas for 6 months plus.  First of all, you do not have to provide all of this info if/if you have been employed by the Govt of Cda (EXTOTT, EAITC, DFAIT, etc.,) and maintained a primary residence in Canada.  If you haven�t, then all you have to do is photo-copy your old passports with entrance and exit visas to your foreign postings, append them to your application for OAS, at 65, and you should be good to go.  I�ve kept all my special and dip ppts all of these years and now know why I�ve always been so brilliant. J

It was really nice to catch up on Terry Webb�s country news that that, especially, of Doug Budd.  Terry expressed the opinion that he would never live in the out-lying city areas and loves where he is living.  Super!  As most of you know, I live in the down-town area and wouldn�t swap it for the world.  I am fiercely independent and even hate to take a bus somewhere!  I actually had a friend suggest that I take a taxi somewhere and WHAT!  That�s a 4-letter word!  Taxi, that is.

And speaking of 4-letter words � we are all muttering them after this prolonged cold �snap�.  Cold hell, is more like it.  Doug Budd was mentioning that he is originally from Manitoba and could never imagine himself going back there to live after they are going through such a tough one this year.  I agreed with him that I would be totally mad to go back to Labrador � my home is here, now, and so are all my friends.  And, is, my son.  Then we launched into a discussion on the German Air Force enjoying their low-level pilot training so much because of all the free flying space, especially once you are out of Goose Bay�s flight area.

Speaking of my son, we now officially have named a star in our galaxy and it has our official name.  Lewis, my son, got it on the Internet out of the Uk.  Pretty damned cool.

Kevin is kicking in the work-house towel come April 2014.  Good call.  We were discussing if we should be calling him on the slump or sluff that he�s been in for a bit � what, 5 years now?  He is now putting out a contract on us � in a bad way, natch.  Ah, I don�t know � it might have something to do with Terry�s ponytail.  And Terry�s on-going boycott of his barber. 

What else � or yes!  Ron Belanger is heading out to Miramichi soon and has been bemoaning the fact that CN is going to give up on a 80-k track of rails that is in a crucial area of N.B.  To my great surprise, it was disclosed that the CN Rail tracks are belongs to no other than Bill Gates!  I think it is time to protest to this wonderful man � if not, it will mean we will no longer have the greatest train ride across Canada.  From East to West, and from West to East.  I am still going to support the rails and am going to Montreal for my 60th birthday lunch � I can�t believe it. Sixty!??  Hell � I just turned 29 last year�man what a party, what a hangover!  But, you all still look as you looked those many years ago.  By any chance, were you at the same party?

Gotta bounce,


Jan. 22nd
We are still in the deep-freezer here but we still had a great turn-out of 15 of the good guys and gals. The Dirty Dozen with back-up rides again!

Bonnie brought her antique �button-box� and treated us to some great songs. This time, she had special requests and did so. It was marvellous!

Dave brought in his 17� laptop but I didn�t get to see any of the photos as I was too busy trying to restrain myself from grabbing the Windows 95 resource book and doing a flying run out of the Legion with it.

I will say that Windows 95 did bring back memories of preparing the clients for the world-wide up-grade to XP. The joke amongst the users was that we (Signet) was down-grading our network to 95 when the rest of the world was already on 98. It was decided by whomever that this would prepare the users for the different interface in a gentler way for our new O/S. I�m not sure how the users felt about XP but we had so much o/t that sleep became the new million-dollar job due to all the questions flooding our phones. Our server was a lemon as it kept crashing and we also experienced a theft of expensive chips. What a month that was but once everything settled down, we techies all were in love with XP.

Legion Activities:
Today, Stan flagged down a fellow that was in full Legion kit (funeral) and asked a lot of pertinent questions. Yes, Kathy and these guys who are seconded in from the Command Centre out in Kanata are aware of us. Heck, any Legion is probably aware of us given our regular Wednesday lunch�s dilemma. Not to mention our collective search for a replacement Legion! For those of us that have been actively searching out other Legions, I think we have come to the conclusion that ours, with its free parking and a dedicated cook, is the best of all. Plus, we have been going there for 18 years solid. Also, a lot of us �civvies� took up membership to support the Legion�s cause. All of these points were well taken and we finally got our 5 or 6 cents onto one of the radar screen of one of the new Board of Management members. This gent agreed that Kathy is a real hard-ass and then he introduced us to the head of the Ladies Auxiliary, Paula Brazeau (Please note � I only overheard her info in a very noisy environment.) It appears that her brother is a chef and then I missed a lot because of LATE arrivals. Yes, that means you Kevin, and Grant!

So, the upshot is: we will have a new Cookie for Feb.5th but I�d like to urge everyone to come out for next Wednesday to give our Mirian a great send-off. He�s quite rightfully proud of having served us such good food for such a decent price over all of these years. I don�t know how long he�s been there but it has to be over four years since I�ve been going there. We wondered about his future and now we know that he won�t be working at the Knights of Columbus as they offered him minimum wage while the dishwasher is getting $22. ????? Who knew a dishwasher could make so much loading one and unloading one? Remember what we used to make per hour how many years ago?

To keep with the update on the Legion, I received a lsnail-mail etter just minutes ago. It is dated Jan.21st and signed by hard-ass herself. I�m not going to add the whole letter as some of it doesn�t apply to us, like service pins and what-not. I am writing this verbatim and therefore, am not responsible for either content, punctuation, grammatical errors, or proper upper/lower cases. Here goes:

Comrades as you have probably already heard a Board of Management has been brought into your branch because of Financial Irregularities. We were appointed on Dec 9, 2013 to help resolve the situation and to run your branch. The Executive have been removed from office but they were asked to stay on and assume their chairs to assist the Board of Management.
This is your branch and if you are interested in finding out what has been taking place we hope that you will come to the General Meeting on Tuesday February 4, 2014 and express your concerns.

Service pins �.. blah blah blah.

Since we were appointed some chairs have stepped down and we need your help, we can�t do it alone. First and foremost we need a recording Secretary, so if you or someone you know could help out in this capacity please let me know. We also need a Membership Chair, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Chairman for meetings, Treasurer, Public Relations, and Training and Organization Development Chair and a Housing Officer. The Board of Management will help train or guide anyone that is willing to come forward and help.

We are hoping to be able to make some improvements to the building and if you have time or skills that you can offer you can contact the undersigned at 613-828-2314 or

We need your support � this is your branch, it needs you the members to put it back on its feet."


I guess I�ll have to send an email to hard-ass weasel to find out when this meeting starts. Anyone want to join me at the meeting?

So, all, any volunteers for the Chairs? I already am Chairing two union committees, behind on a third, but am still interested in seeing that our Legion starts steering right. That being said, our very own Dr.Dee � the Rant God, has studied their by-laws till the cows come home, errrr - or weasels, so to speak. I believe we should volunteer Dave (our very own Rant God) to be the Membership Chair for meetings.

And, hey, I might be interested in Public Relations. How wrong for that role could I be after seeing hard-ass in action?

As for Treasurer, unfortunately, our favorite Donnie has passed on where they have a different currency.

I vote that Membership Officer should go to Chuckie as he has been darkening their door since the late 50�s.

As for the Housing Officer, let�s see, that would be Jim Rogers as he�s done so many major moves in the past decade.

That leaves us with Chairs for Training and Organization Development and Sergeant-at-Arms. Hmmmm � I wonder if they allow for a person to be a double-chair as I could also go for the training and organization dev.

Hey � I like that part where they are asking for volunteers for improvements to the building. May-be we could paint the ladies� washroom something different from violent violet. Also, of course, the gents� that emits quite the smell by the entrance-way. My talents are very limited when it comes to improvements but I�ll gladly volunteer to don a leather apron and do whatever is asked of me. Hey, my Tim Allen screwdriver is just stumbling all over itself for some exercise as well as my B&D drill. I say we do this!

Jim and Bill-Lee were discussing a new option now available from the Ottawa Public Library. Instead of paying out money on, just go on-line with the library and follow the links to see your ancestral history. Many of the churches are now sharing their archives on-line � some of them even hand-written. Jim was adding that some of the entries might only be a line or two while others were quite expansive. I think the table was in agreement with the more liquid (Whiskey) they imbibed, the longer the entry for that particular family

Recently Gary and I have been flaming each other over our listening pleasures. I gather a few of you guys though we were being serious. Damn straight! NOT. Gary loves to take the other path so as to get a discussion going and we just have a great deal of fun doing so. Naturally, he is always wrong as he picks on the CBC for having such gentle programs as what to do when your baby kittens scratches you - to claw or de-claw? Of course, this makes me fall off the couch in laughter as I am thinking up how to make him fall off the couch with laughter! We have a lot of fun with this. For instance, while Bob A. was in town, Gary joined us for a pub lunch and I don't think any of us stopped laughing for hours on end. One thing I'd like to share with you is that when I was at my tailor's, she had on Lowell Greene's radio station. I made a comment about it and she said she had it on for comedy. Hey - I don't make this up - this is for real! We were grinning at each other while suddenly the change-room curtain whipped open and this guy stepped out and sternly said "that's my brother-in-law you're talking about!" Busted!! After she and I stopped laughing, he complained that she had to take in his shirt another cm. I tried to make him feel better, and God knows he needed to. To have a better day, a week, a year, whatever - so I told him that he had ordered the same material I had for my union dress shirt.

Gotta bounce,

Jan 15th

Wow � we hit another first for 2014!  The Dirty Dozen are back!  Wa-hoo!

And still, the drama continues.  Unfortunately. We had thought that our regular meeting place was secured but it now turns out that Marin (Cookie) has been denied the use of the refrigerator and freezer compartments.  We traded ideas, thoughts, a few random insults, one or two really useful suggestions.  Naturally, my ideas were the best, of course.

Today was a red-letter day for the Fockner Family!  Stan�s daughter now has her Turkish letter of residency and has lost no time in adding in on her new business venture.  She sent Pop a link to her newly-acquired cruise ship which he only just received during lunch.  We got to see it on Pop�s Eye-phone � very nice.  She is now starting to go ahead with her plans to re-vamp the cabin and berth configuration so feel more N. American and Euro standards.  Smart woman!  (She surely takes after Mary. Stan, I just had to put that in ;)

Phew � out of that horrid deep-freeze!  However, please be careful as there is still a ton of ice around.  If you are in my neck of the woods, you�ll encounter a lovely part with bare sidewalk and then come across a half-block of 4�-thick ice covered with snow.  Now if one is to take a CBC broadcast seriously (Shut up, Gary), have your smartphone with you and if you fall, take a photo of the area.  This will allow you to start the procedure to sue the City of Ottawa.  Finally, some movement � I am a serious walker and hate it when they don�t maintain the sidewalks.  Note to self � letter to Jim Watson.

Flu season is rampant right now.  I�ve had the flu shot, like millions of other Ontarians, but it has hit me hard.  I�ve been sneezing like crazy  - the same with coughing.  I now have another broken blood vein in the same eye in less than a week.  My opthamologist told me that the force of the cough or the sneeze can cause this.  Gosh � I remember the days when my sneezing was gentle and coughing was minimum.   E alora,  What�s in these flu shots?  My immune system is pretty strong so perhaps it is making it hyper-strong and therefore my resistance is now in hyper-drive?  This sounds like a case for Moe the Finger to �suss out!  Hop it.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of lunching with Bob A. and Gary L.  It started out that we would meet at Alfie�s on Waller Street.  Many of you will remember this basement restaurant nearly 40 years ago that was very popular because they served you food that was in the old English style � no utensils, a huge plate and in-your-face servers � it was a lot of fun!  That being said, it seems to have changed hands many times over and is now called the Lunenburg.  I got there a few minutes early and tried to get in.  Locked.  Hmmm.  I tried the other door.  Same.  Hmmmm.  I did a panorama and spied a gate � not locked.  Hmm.  Checked it out but the ice was too slick to be a public access area as well as a ton of ciggie butts.  Hmmmm.  I backed out and got back on the side-walk.  Sent an email to Bob in hopes he would be monitoring his smartphone.  Meanwhile, left to my own devices and lacking a cross-word puzzle, I had a chance to notice all the on-going changes to the block that used to be Waller/Rideau.  If you don�t live downtown, the only building you will recognize is Dworkins.

So � why am I rambling here?  Well � smartphones, of course.  Bob-ski showed up within the next 10 minutes which gave me ample time to count up all these huge trucks that cut through Ottawa to carry on out to connect to their routes.  Now, as a person that lives downtown and also a tax-payer, I think of them as pirihannas of this area � they take up a lot of road-space, regularly bust down the stop signs and continually destroy the road surface.  At one time, a lot of hookers (both male and female) used to line up along King Edward to ply their trade but, I must say, this has been incredibly cleaned up � at least, until 4pm.

Okay � Bob and I were discussing where we should move our venue when I found out that Gary L. had been invited.  What great news!  Unfortunately, men being men don�t seem to set times.  Hmmm � the meeting place is closed, Gary doesn�t have a cell with him, we are on a busy street that is loud and filled with big trucks.  What to do?

Show and Tell:

Chuckie brought in a pen that has a camera in it.  Amazing!  He told me that it has 2 gigs of memory.  And, then we were off to the races!  All started talking at once about our first computer systems and even harped back to OCAM�s days.

Security came up and I harped back to a security briefing back at my last mission.   I had worn a normal watch into a secure environment one day at a mission during a staff security briefing and watched a freak-out from the MCO.  You can imagine his face when I handed over my watch to my team-lead for him to show it had a very capable USB connector.  And I had access to any/any area in the mission while wearing this watch.  These MCO�s.  And I left the watch at that mission.  Idiot-boxes.

Next:  I noticed a very small Sony camera on the table but because of the on-going drama, I didn�t hear about it.  Action: Dr. Dee.

Photos of 1981 � they had been passed around last week and the Rant God has obviously scanned them in.  The question hit the table why these were all taken around the same time and Moe the Finger came up with a logical  reason � the life of the film in storage.  Plus, as an ex-CM, we all knew that EL�s never worked 7.5 hours in a day at all  )). Challenge - Snowball fight!


Okay � okay.  Back to yesterday � there we were faced with a serious dilemma � how could we get a message to Gary L?  Both Bob and I are fully equipped with smartphones but we had no idea how to get in touch with Gary to let him know we had to go elsewhere?  Okay � we were stumped because we had no paper nor Scotch-tape or spray-paint to leave him a message that we were going off to a better place.  A place that had heat, food and liquid beverages of choice.  So, being an Alpha Female, I pondered.  One has to take care of your tribe.  Bob wasn�t wearing gloves and already my hands were cold.  Okay � the light-bulb came on!  I told Bob that he should pretend to be my pimp and when the trucks pulled over, he could whack the perverts with his cane.  Hey � that would be a great upper-body work-out for him!  And it would keep him warm until Gary would show.  Even better, I�d get a super upper body workout doing the Russian Dead-lift throwing these losers back into their trucks.   Okay!  We were about to launch into our new activity with great enthusiasm when our old pal showed up.  Super!  However, before I enter this into Stan�s entries, I will tell you that you must never do a Russian dead-lift unless your form is perfect.  Please � although It is the ultimate � it is dangerous so trust me on this advice.

After no offers from the truckers at that particular time, who should pop around the corner but our pal. Gary and the rest becomes history.  Alora, we found a pub, had lunch and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with our what-ever-happened to who.  We spent an extremely wonderful time and Bob has almost committed to coming back in the next few years in his SUV.  What a great time seeing to connect with-out  friends!

And just to add an aside, are you guys aware that a lot of us have now known each other for a MINIUMUM of 37 years!.  Some of us for more than 40 years of friendship, what a history.  Wow � and how much more we shall look forward to build together, my friends. 

Gotta bounce!

January 8th

Happy New Year everyone!

Wow � what a day! Another chill-you-to-the-bone day filled with ice snakes and useless applications of salt, given how cold it was.

However, that did not deter 23 attendees today. We had to keep adding tables to accommodate everyone. Hey, 23 � that�s nearly two sets of a Dirty Dozen.

We also broke a record for having the most number of women ever at a regular Wednesday lunch. We numbered five!

Our tables were abuzz with the disappointing news that our Cookie is looking for another job due to the fact that the kitchen rent is being steeply increased. Apparently, the Legion is losing money and they are conducting an audit to ascertain the source. The situation kept changing as our lunch progressed. We were throwing around new places where we would meet in the future. Someone (the Rant God) floated the location of a Catholic church. I was quite alarmed at that as I don�t want to be responsible for those walls collapsing if I was to go to the new location � sinner that I am.

Towards the end of our lunch, we got the happy news that Cookie will arrange his business schedule to ensure that he will come in to prepare our Wednesday lunches. Yayyyy! And that church is still safe.

However, Art the Fart did come up with a logical statement � we shall now have to attend in the self-same numbers. Naturally, I disagree with him. We shall continue on as we have before � our financial transactions on a weekly basis help them out wonderfully as our lunches and tipping are a boon.

Windows and electricity came up briefly while we were pondering life without Cookie. Stan mentioned that he and Mary had had a window changed over this frigid time and was very happy to say that it took only four minutes. Much to the disappointment of the ice snakes!

Just around the Xmas time, my internet, phone and TV went down on an intermittent basis. Thankfully, my neighbour arrived back from his vacation close to the New Year so I could piggy-back on his network. I managed to get in touch with the supervisor of the construction site next door � this is where my hd cable goes across. He acted like they had been there all the while � not! � and that they had just nicked the cable. Fortunately, the original Rogers� installer came over, measured my connection � it was at minus 10db and then left a very important phone number. I managed to get through to Joe � an extremely busy fellow who promised a tech would be over the very next morning. And so he did. He located all the important damaged bits � my signal had deteriorated to minus 27db by this time. Also, he told me that the contractors had gouged my cable about a metre long. In short, I now have a 50-foot cable running from my house to the Rogers� box. It has also been tie-wrapped to the fencing. The contractor has also promised Rogers that they will bury my cable come spring. Good! That means that I should have about 20 feet left over to hang the contractor.

I was quite surprised at a certain phone call last night � I grabbed the phone to quickly answer it as my mother is in the hospital. It turned out to be some idiot telling me that my operating software needed a certain patch. Remember that old scam? I am now in training to be a saint as I didn�t even swear while telling this idiot-box to not ever call my number again. Just before hanging up, I heard this plaintive voice asking me �Why�. Then it was even harder not to giggle when I said � �We know you are a scam!� Anyone else getting these calls again?

Brrrrring � another call came in. This time it was a Rogers� call centre in Toronto. Cable changes in my interest, no less. And, here all this time, I was figuring I was just a hot chick with all these calls coming in. Hmmmmm. Ok � call me a fool but I played along and while the guy was checking to see how he could save me money, I found out that he was originally from Mumbai but had applied for his Immigration Visa in New Delhi. We chatted about the Canadian compound Immigration entrance, Shantipath, Khan Market, etc., while he kept looking at what freebies could be offered. Has anyone tried to get the Hollywood Channel? It was being offered for free so what the heck? Check. I decided to push to envelope and saying that I wanted to go back to paper billing but at no added cost. Especially, after Stan had gotten back to free paper billing. When I complained to Stan about (probably) being too �young�, he told me I didn�t have certain male appendages and therefore it wouldn�t happen. Well! That put salad on my plate. Nah-nah-nah-boo-boo! Done! And no male appendages required. So now I have more channels at 15% less a month. Next � to tackle Rogers re my phone bill!

Chuckie is looking good � and that makes us all very happy.

Lou brought in some priceless pictures which a few of us got to look at. They will be scanned in and then sent to our faithful Stan so they will then be posted to Well done to the scanners and the �poster-guy�.

Bob Alexander joined us today from our sister chapter in Victoria and appeared to be having a great time! With such a large crowd, all of us tried to spread ourselves thin in order to wish everyone a Happy New Year and catch up. We had a fabulous time!!

Please come out and join us � you won�t regret it as you reminisce with colleagues that attend. Most all of us secretly admit that our new friends think we are being snobbish when we mention some of the cities we have live/worked in. Not so us, where you will remember the lines being down because the copper had been stolen, pushing out the traffic in Poland as they had sliced the lines, the bomb curtains in London, the safe rooms in Nairobi, all that stuff we lived through, strived through and overcame.

I found out the definition of a new expression to my vocabulary. Peeler Club. ?? Potatoes and carrots came to mind. Lou looked equally on with an inquisitive eyebrows. It turns out that this is stands for a �stripper� club. Both Lou and I took turns in talking about our experiences in the stripper/peeler bar in the old Grand Hotel. It seems that this is a de-riguer experience. Who knew? And all good families do this, he assures me. I remember mine as this �. It was an evening shift and we all wanted to go out for lunch in the middle of our shift. Jim Koradi spear-headed this initiative and BY seconded it. Away we went down to the Grand. I was clueless at this point and Jim introduced me to Boil-makers. Thank you but no. Then the music started and out came this gal � complete with stretch marks and cesarian stitches. She did her dance while I drooled at this guy�s pizza across from us. I would have stolen it from him as it was that kind of pizza we used to get � the kind with cheese before it became an extra, extra crunchy bacon, and a big high-risen well-baked crust. However, there in the middle of it, was his head, face-down, totally passed out.

Gotta bounce,




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� OFARTS Canada 2014 Old Foreign Affairs Retired Technicians, Canada