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Shirley's 2015 Epistles

Little Christmas at the Legion -  Dec. 23rd

Wow – we had a large crowd today – some people I haven’t met, even.  

There were nineteen of us, neck to jowl, around our usual three round tables.  The kitchen staff were working hard toasting loaves of bread for our club sandwiches.  Coleslaw and fries rounded out our plates.  The servings are still generous and we appreciate it!

Next week, we will be treated to hot pork sandwiches, gravy and fries.  I am rapidly turning into a blimp!  Bring on the end of my house extension so I can bring in the new treadmill!

Be prepared to risk life and limb is you need to go to the LCBO on Montreal Road.  Generally, this one is quiet while the one on Rideau/King Edward is insane.  Naturally, everyone that goes to Rideau/King Edward went to Montreal Road this week.  Ah, best laid plans of mice and men!

I was tooted today!  I had the light and was heading over to our Legion.  This big SUV was indicating a right-hand turn but I wasn’t having any of it.  It tooted and just as I was turning around to give it the good old English salute, it turned out to be Stan. So, I just grinned at him as it had been a nice friendly toot.

Little Christmas.  If anyone has ever been to Scandinavia on this date, you will always remember the huge celebrations that go on there.  There’s lot of feasting, imbibing and celebrating.  I spent this holiday in both Norway and Finland.  In Norway, the breath-a-lizer police start testing drivers at 7am as they are heading into work.  Now, that’s just grinchy.

Attention shoppers – tomorrow is Christmas Eve and fifteen degrees!  For the first time in many years, I will be out there, too.  After all, why should late shoppers have all the fun of pushing, shoving, cussing, sweating in those huge line-ups and that’s just at the grocery store.

I was listening to a program on the CBC that addressed grinching re having front-door wreaths being stolen.  One lady called in to explain that in her community, everyone gets together for the annual potluck.  She did the turkey and finding she didn’t have enough room in the fridge, put the stuff in the backseat of her car.  She said that she slept all day the next day.  (I gotta find out where she lives – that sounds like a great party!)  She got up the day after the big sleep, and hit the fridge for those delicious left-overs.  Not there – oh, yeah – the car.  Hmm – not there, either.  She checked the front entrance.  Not there.  The candle lit up – she’d been robbed.  Someone ate well that Boxing day.  Grinched!

My son and I are going out for Christmas lunch – no hassle, no dishes, no oven to clean, no melt down when the turkey lands up on the floor, the gravy is lumpy and the cranberry sauce burns.  By the time the guests arrive, you are stressed, cranky and exhausted.  And then, there’s always something that gets broken – normally it is the broom over your spouse’s whatever.  Ah – nothing like having to get a new broom, though.

Lou got “caned” today.  As we are all aware, he is very kind to help us out when we have something that could possibly be of value to his collections.  I was down in the utility room and found a copper grounding 6-twined wire left by the electrician.  Hmmmm – so, the head table supervised Dr. Dee and I as he turned it into a copper candy cane and I had to attach the bow.  Thanks to Chuckie’s supervising, it was done in a thrice.  I’m just sorry to say that I forgot to bring the duct tape instead the normal clear stuff.  I thanked him for his advice and he said something about being full of it.  At least, that’s what I heard.

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 16

Scared yet?  Only eight more sleeps before the Big Red leaves you something in your stocking.  Let’s hope it isn’t a lump of coal!

Scuttle-butt!  Again, the pretty older lady in a white apron showed up at the Legion sitting at “that” table.  As bold as brass, I asked her name.  She returned my smile and said “I’m Monique and I’m a friend of Noel.”

And – ta dah! The numbers.  We were the Fantastic Fifteen today.  And all fifteen of us looked askance at the new seating arrangements as we didn’t have our usual three round tables.  We had special tablecloths and candle-holders.  All the guys got white “candles” while mine was dark pink.  Their candle batteries worked but not mine.  Wah!  And here I was looking forward to all that flattering glow.

Show – n – tell:

Dr. Dee brought in a photo album he received from Eleanor Ryan.  It had belonged to Ester Gardner.  I remember her from when I joined the department back in 1975.  I didn’t know her too well as she went off on another one of her zillion postings and I was stuck in Ottawa as I wasn’t 21 and postable.

Stan brought in a special on/off switch containing two circuit boards that are WIFI-enabled.  Remote-makers beware!  Our smartphones are taking over the world.  (Just a hint forward to Pinky and the Brain.)

Black Friday.  Red Thursday.  I wonder who’s next?  Those sales are unbelievable.  I went off to meet my little 6’4’ son on Red Thursday with an idea my wallet was going to take a big hit.  I looked for him at Best Buy and missed him, thank God.  (He was TV shopping and wanted me to help out because he just needed to have a LED smart TV for his new apt.)  I headed over to CanTire and knocked around there for a bit looking for wax paper.  Ka-chunk!  I spied a sign that said 73% off.  I snuck over there hiding behind the camouflage gear and there she was.  A $2000 treadmill going for $499! So, caught up in the moment of having a bulging wallet, I scooted up to the sales counter and got it, with taxes, storage, delivery and set-up for $650.  And the guy beside me was buying a box of nuts and bolts.  Poor him because everyone was buying huge amounts and he would have been just trying to get to work.

The next day, my son and I went back to get the treadmill mat I had forgotten and on the way home, we hit Loblaws.  We were reading the flyer  - it was a no-tax day!  They also had three smart TVs on sale.  So, I wound up buying a Westinghouse as the other two were RCA’s.  So, I guess my home gym is nearly done.  Now, it’s just a matter of a DVD player and a big expensive date with Rogers for the drops before the drywall goes up.  The chief architect says there’s no problem with the treadmill weight – even with me on it ;))

Next week (Little Christmas in Scandinavia) we will be having club sandwiches and fries.  Roly sends his best wishes to all for Christmas – he is getting his knee looked at and his teeth pounded.  Or may-be it’s the other way around. 

But speaking of these professionals, such as optometrists, dentists, etc., they keep booking you for all these appointments for extremely expensive services.  Excuse me for being such a pessimist but I see this as they see us as wealthy, with a limited live span and are going in for the “cream”.  Also, I wonder if they ever set up their private pension plans.  If you remember, you had to sign on the dotted line that you will pay for your govt. pension the moment you started working or else, no federal job.

So – shall we start taking bets on whether we will have a green or white Christmas?  According to Ian Black (who used to work for Environment Canada) it will be an un-usually warm Christmas day.  Forgive me for sounding like a Grinch, but I hope we don’t get snow between then and now because if we do, it will turn out to be very messy and, for the most part, drivers in Ottawa don’t care how much they spray pedestrians.

And speaking of Grinch’s, one lady called in to a radio talk-show and described how they had a prized Christmas wreath stolen from their front door.  It was prized to them, at least.  However, they have a video security system and the husband checked it.  Sure enough, they see this recording of a well-dressed woman stealing their wreath at 2am.  The wife then posted the video on Facebook and now there are over 2,000 views of the thief’s highly-visible face being shared.  Man, oh, man – what does it take to be a good honest thief these days?!  Please let me know at and be sure to leave lots of Christmas baskets including surveillance systems, etc.

Soon, we will see the absence of our Snow-birds for a while.  Some, up to three months.  Their company will be missed but the silver linings are still there.  Less cars on the roads, Hydro will be all ticked off with less income, house-sitters will make money, we  Ofarts will have more food – maybe even dessert.  Ok – time to stop – they might come back before time!

Static cling season is upon us.  I had the monthly cut and came out all fluffy.  I got back home looking like a greasy Harper playing a judge in Murdoch’s Mysteries.  Dr. Dee and I have a running commentary on Harper’s wig.  He’s the no guy and I’m saying yes to the wig.  Heck, anyone can add grease to a wig.

The Duffy trial is on but I took a day off so I am missing out on some of the drama.  Talk about a great script including him bringing in words from Jim Flattery, who unfortunately passed away last year.  Mr. Flattery contributed a lot to his family life with a special needs child if not two of them.  That being said, he isn’t here to refute or salute Mike Duffy’s statement of “this effing bunch ……”. 

The Trudeaus are Canadian Royalty – all over the world, according to Vogue. 

Trump seems deemed to be president down South. Personally, I’d like to see Hilary get back into her old home.  After Justin did it so she should be able to sleep in her old bed.  But, back to Trump, are my senses deceiving me or is he toning it down a bit?  I used to think he was the (rich) theatrical outrageous moneyed monkey  in a suit with a really bad comb-down but now?  Yah – still.

Gotta jump


The Ninth of December, and all through the house …..  

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OFARTS Xmas 2015

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Today was fabulous – the weather was above zero – again!  Just an actual fact, Ottawa hit 116 years in record-breaking warm temperatures – according to Ian Black.  Hey, that makes me a very happy lady as I am going into a winter build of my two-floor extension on my house.

We had a magical number of 50 show up today to enjoy and mingle with each other just weeks before Santa Claus shares milk and cookies with us.

Some faces were new – some faces were old – mine, of course!  All the rest of you looked like newly minted dimes.

Noel did his best and that tourtiere was to die for.  I complimented him on it and his reply (he is a shy man) said I did what I could but meat is getting so expensive.  So, I am so glad that Stan decided we would pay over and above what Noel deemed for the meal.

There was some discussion re Xmas music – personally, I would liked to have heard a real-life rendering of some on an old-fashioned squeeze-box, but may-be that’s just me.

My elf’s hat is off and tipped towards Donna, Stan and mostly to Dr. Dee for getting this organized!

Dave – that was an outstanding job you did.  All of us thank you for getting us together and I finally got to see the wives for a change!

Gotta jump….


Dec. 02

Today, we straggled in, we arrived early (some of us!) and some of got there a bit late.

We carried in tools, toys and good memories.  And we were sweet sixteen today!  How much better is that.

Next week we will be approximately 50 for the now annual Xmas lunch.  Noel will do us proud with turkey, tourtiere, ham and all the rest.  All we ask is that you bring a crisp $20 – that will take care of the lunch and the tip for one person.

As usual, many conversations abounded – Barrie asked about attendance for his planned Xmas lunch.  Please get in contact with him asap if you wish to attend or not.  The food in this restaurant is excellent and it fills up quickly so, I’m not exaggerating re plans.  This restaurant has been recommended by Guy and Alison Lebars – so that is really saying something.

For the very first time, Noel ran out of his lunch special.  Lou had to have a pastrami sandwich but Cookie made sure he had lots of extras.  That being said, Roly nearly cried because there wasn’t any dessert in sight.

Oh, before I forget – there’s been some talk about Xmas outfits for next week.  Bring your cameras, all, as I heard that Bill Neelin will be wearing an outfit with the top down to there and the skirt up to there. Sailors, you know.

Aren’t we the lucky lot with such wonderful warm weather!  I just listened to the weekend forecast and they said we might get a bit of a dusting.  Time to get out that Xmas wreath.

Projects on the go.  Barrie is putting in a new sink in the kitchen.  Stan brought in a snazzy-looking jig saw with 3 blades for him.  Strangely enough, I am also replacing my kitchen sink but it will be done by Pearl.  I really don’t want anything fancy – just something that my last tenants didn’t ruin.

So – next week we get to meet and greet!  How did Xmas get here so quickly?  Our very own Dr. Dee (almost still a real red-head) has done a great job of organizing us.  We already know what Bill is wearing so those of you with socks and matching ties will do well!  We ladies will be outstanding, as usual.

Got to hop!


October 28th

A day off today so I headed over to the Legion.  I had on my long leather coat, gloves and woolen hat.  I nearly went back for a scarf but always being the optimist, it wouldn’t be needed. 

Got to “church” a few minutes before the 11th hour – there were already 5 attendees seated and I’d missed the show-n-tell.

Slowly, our numbers were increasing and then B.Y. walked in!  He’s only in town until Friday am – I’m sure he came to enjoy our storm that is hitting downtown pretty hard right now.  Like Cuba doesn’t get a lot of storms of the hurricane nature!

Seriously, this is the spin-off of Hurricane Patricia and although my bus-stop is only 3 blocks from the Legion, my feet and ankles were sopping wet because the drains couldn’t handle the rain coming down.  And that rain was very cold!  And it was sneaky.  Just as the rain would douse your glasses so you couldn’t see anything, a great big drip would manage to get down the collar of your coat.  Smoley, and it isn’t even Hallowe’en yet.  I need to put in a grievance to hold off the cold white stuff until December.  Who’s going to join me?

Oh! Before I forget, we are having ribs next week.

There was talk around the table about the success of the menu at the RA Retirees’ luncheon.  There was fewer choices of stodge but we were all very happy with rice and glorious mashed potatoes to accompany the gingered pork and coq au vin.  I heard that the desserts were great with gluten-free being offered at no extra cost.  I wish I had had the time to check them out but had too many things to handle at that time.

Numbers – oops – almost forgot.  We were more than a bakers’ dozen – we hit fourteen today!  That’s not bad for such a grey miserable day when you just want to do all that stuff around the house with great gusto.

Time to renew your Legion membership – this year it’s $55.  And, they like cash but will accept a cheque.  I never carry a cheque book or cash anymore so it was a miracle to see some twenties in my wallet to get my renewal.

And now we will see a senator not taking up a bed at the jail – Paul Brazeau,  after what the judge ruled on today.  I wonder who will take over from him as manager at the Bare Fax in the Market.

Speaking of time and money,  the date of the Ofart’s Xmas Lunch has never changed from December 9th.  There is some sort of rumour going around that it had.  Not so, old bean.  And, today, the price has been finalized.  You will need a crisp $20 and I would advise you to get your name in asap to Dave Smith.

Take care all as the end-result of Hurricane Patricia passes over us.  According to the Weather office, tomorrow will be bad with wind gusts but I don’t think that it will beat this early afternoon today.  That was awful.  On the up-side, the radio reports were coming in with less/less accidents than normal for a storm like this, thank God.

Meanwhile, enjoy the rain of leaves as they flurry by.

Gotta jump.

Oct. 7th

I haven’t been ignoring you – I just have been flat out with things happening on Wednesdays.

What a gorgeous autumn day we had today.  The colours are just starting to change in the NCR – such a beautiful time of the year.

Ouch – I just heard that we might have a touch of frost tonight.  Please no.  I want to get my house extension started well before the frost.  However, there has been movement from the final major obstacle – Enbridge Gas.  The final part should be finalized by this Friday once their Parliament Hill client is over.

And now for the numbers – only onze as Brother Lou was mia.  Time to dig up the Late Book for him to have to sign next week!

OC Transpo is the total epitome of insanity.  I’m so glad I bought downtown as I can avoid them whenever possible.  Rideau Street is becoming a nightmare, as well and I read that the City is suing the company that paved the Cummings Bridge for not using the proper material for the paving.  2017 is going to be very interesting once all this dust and jostling settles down.

Show-n-tell – a book by General Grant of CFRA hit the table today.  Dr. Dee brought it in and was quite chuffed that Ken Grant had personally signed it – who had even added that he didn’t recognize Dave with his clothes on.  These sailors tsk, tsk.

Chairs, chairs, who are in the chairs.  I was asked to mention this but as no coin greased my palm; you will have to rely on who sat where from the pic taken on Stan’s Eye-phone.

So, how was everyone today?  The boys were their usual selves – full of comments, questions, information, suppositions and the usual ribbing.  My 2pm got cancelled at 10:35 today so hey, I hopped into Sneakers and raced out of the door to get to Ofarts.  Of course, the boys said “what are you doing here – don’t you have somewhere else to be?”  Hey – how much more welcoming can that be?  Just for that, I stuck around twice as long.

Just in – there’s more talk about development for the corner of St. Patrick and King Edward.  The rumour is that it will be a nine-story Holiday Inn with the first two floors dedicated to the retail industry.  Please, God, be kind and tell me that a mini Costco or Rona will move in.  I have so many projects to try to get done before I go to the Big Walk in the sky.  But, to get back to reality – it makes you wonder about the local effect on traffic.  Those big rigs are just starting to slow down as they hit St. Patrick after leaving la belle province.

More and more of us are starting in on home projects – there is even talk of adding an elevator or just a platform.  At one time, I thought of an elevator but with 900 sq.’ of living space, nope.  Besides, once the concrete is poured; that’s less 26’ of weeds that can grow in my backyard.  And these are super-weeds, believe me!  However, at least one metre down, I didn’t see any bodies down there in the sand after the gas guys were here.

Code, code everywhere a code.  Those of us getting into extensions/renos are coming to hate this 4-letter word.  And, it is starting to spread through-out the industries.  I was haunting the windows/doors section at Rona on Monday and the chap and I swapped horror BILL stories.  He wants to change over to Bell for some reason and they are quite happy to accommodate him for a mere $6000.  I had already greased Hydro’s massive paw for $5000 to attain the ugliest 400-amp box in the world and had my front yard torn up several times.  Just yesterday, an extra bill for $3,244.83 showed up from them.  Code and more code on you, buster!

I sent out an email to several of you regarding insurance companies and your satisfaction with them.  I’ve had only one response but of course, no one is obligated to answer it.  I’m just trying to recoup some money somewhere after shelling out more than $8,000 to have my brand-new 100-amp 2015 ASE-coded fuse-box recognized by the insurance company.  All this agent kept parroting was – your house was built in 1926 but you have copper wiring through-out which is reflected in your insurance policy.  If you wish to see an agent, you will have to go to Milton.  Or, we can send in an agent – for a fee, of course.  Code you, Aviva.

Tomorrow is a day off from having to be at home until OGC takes over on behalf of their trade people.  FYI, services such as Hydro, Enbridge or your phone company, ISP, etc.,  is your responsibility.  I’ve been lucky in that they are helping me co-ordinate meetings.  That being said, Hydro and Enbridge will not deal with them so it has been a huge deal to chase the utility managers down.  If you need the names of those I’ve dealt with, please just shoot me an email and I’ll help out but be prepared to wait as the big construction companies are ahead of us little guys.  Or, you can become like me and rattle their cages with close to 8 calls/emails a day.  After that, I think they might call it skulking or something like that.  Who cares.

For those of you wondering why this has been on the go for over a year since the City variance was granted, we (OGC and I) decided for safety reasons, it would be better to wait out the sale of the house next door.  For six years, that owner suffered from PTSD and had two un-secured rifles in his basement.  He also physically leaned in and threatened me “you cause one crack in my plaster and I’m coming after you!”  So, we played the waiting game.  I still shudder when I hear the door slam next door even though he is long gone.

Changes, changes, they are a ‘Comin’.  Changes happen every day and every week.  And then, there are some we are totally sick of.  Politics and more politics.  Especially when you live in the NCR – I’m so fed up with hearing this bull – I’d rather hear more about the RV values of the new windows, walls, and doors.  Not to mention, lock systems and exterior light systems.

But, back to the attendance today….for the first hour, there were more CM’s than EL’s.  To this remark, Gary L. said that the El’s always were social climbers.  Chuckie said that he could always swing both ways.

Gotta hop and comparison shop!


Sept 30th

Pork loin and mashed potatoes

Sept 09th

Today, we got a bit of a break from the heatwave, thank Heavens.  I first went out around 5:30am  and it was gaspingly heavy with heat and humidity.  I adjusted the a/c to a screaming 20C degrees so that it would off-set somewhat the time I’d be without electricity today.  (The disconnect and reconnect for the new ESA standards that HYDRO now demands before you can even start on an extension/reno.)

The first team (electricians) showed up ready to roll at 8:00.  Smoley – what a lot of equipment!  I scooted into the kitchen and got brekkie started at 8:30.  Normally, my home cooking goes down and tastes like a lump of coal but today I was so nervous it just went down a lump of steel.

Hydro showed up at the stroke of 9am so the electricians could go full ahead.  Yay!  If you are going to start a nightmare, the sooner it starts, the faster it finishes.  So I’ve heard.  Thank God, it kept getting cooler outside.  The outside guy was quite happy about that as he really had a lot of drilling work to do as my foundation is a foot and a half wide.  And his drill bit was more like 8”.  The builders back in the ‘30’s didn’t fool around in those days.

And thank God for smartphones!  Home-wise, I lost access to the internet, my home phone and total power.  Good old Costco came through with their incredible prices as my little Red Cross flashlights came into service at once.  That being said, the outside guy must have bat-like capabilities as he just thundered up and down my totally dark basement stairs without a flashlight!

My new OGC program manager came over around 10:45 and we did a thorough walk-through of what needs to be done.  In case you aren’t aware, everyone in the construction industry is stealing anyone that has a good rep and is good at their job.  I guess I haven’t been lucky in getting “useless” OGC managers – that’s two of them that are now off into different work situations that they could not turn down.  My re-action is one of – ENOUGH!  I connected with the new program manager who turns out to be one of the owners and he said that he can’t be lured away as he is fully committed to the company.

Next week, I will get a schedule and the new program manager has already selected the head construction manager.  The next obstacle: Enbridge’s gas meter has to be moved.  This will be even more complicated but at least the new electrical panel has a lot of room for expansion as we may have to stick in an electrical water-heater in the interim.  I’ll send the photos to Stan so you can all see the latest “fashions” in 2015 ESA coding.

And speaking of fashions, my backyard will be festooned with a Porta-Pottie!  I was asked if I wanted to spend a hundred smackers a month to have one on site or have 8 or so guys use my bathroom every day.  Multiple times.

Back to the goings on at the Legion.  A few of the regular faces were out to attend other things, a few of the rare faces were there.  There was lots of chatter going on, and the food was starting to pour out of the kitchen.  We – all the eleven of us – were treated to fried chicken, ribs and fries.  Yum!

Apparently, we had a 3.something earthquake in the near area of the NCR.  I didn’t feel a thing in my neck of the woods but both the Legion and my house are very old buildings and are probably on bedrock.

Windows 10.  Wow.  How aggressive is that?  Some of my settings had been changed in Windows Update – much disconcerting!  Thank God every update had failed as I don’t want to switch out of 7 yet.  What really ticks me off is that they really don’t do so much as fix all the problems with the o/s but change the heck out of the references such as – “go to the ribbon and click on ….”.  The ribbon.  Really?  Let me see, one of the first helping devices was a stick.  Then this became a cane.  In time, names have changed.  I just call it a whacker and I’m sure it’ll beat the heck out of that ribbon. 

The email and phone invitations are now going out for the RA retirees Oct.16th luncheon.  Better hurry – those spots are filling up fast!  This year, the price has increased.  The menu has been changed up to coq au vin and pork stir-fry – but, I had to promise to marry the chef in order to keep the price at $20 a head.  Gosh – please tell me he’s a hunk – or at the very least, he is a he.

Ok – I have to hop it – time to start calling people for the luncheon.  It’s so weird not to just send an email but there are good parts, too.  For instance, I called Helen Scott last night and we caught up on each other’s news after more than 30 years – we had a great time!  She is doing wonderful, by the way.

Gotta jump,

Shirley (I don’t want to get married!! whahhh)

Sep 2nd

Amazing that our twizzler of a summer has nearly left us.  This winter, we nearly froze our tukuses off, just got a great gasp back on life in that all-too-brief Spring and then Mother Nature threw us into the dust of Summer.  Well, not being such a shabby lot, up we got, dusted off our duds of choice and just threw it back!  Lots of it – we are so involved in our projects that we forget to slow down sometimes.  Grab a cold one, put your feet up on the new porch, or the old one – who cares.  And, if you’re really luckily, that old tire swing in the backyard is still reliable.  You hope.

Today, we trickled in.  I was in a bit early and got my nose to the grindstone of my scratch tickets pdq.  Gotta win a lot of money, you know!  At 10:59, in strolled Chuckie and Stan.  Drat – they didn’t have to sign the LATE book.

And now, the numbers!  The Fab Fourteen hit the tables and chowed down on hot turkey sandwiches with stuff.  Our golfing friends stayed until just minutes before we all folded our tents to leave.  They’d already tee-d off this am in anticipation of today’s predicted heat and humidity.  Smart men. 

Chuckie is looking great and has taken that illness down to the mattress!, if you’ll excuse the pun.  It aint coming back anymore.  Good on him.  I’ve missed my next-seat pal and his special sense of humour.

Donnie came in with Jim today.  I couldn’t hear too much of his news because Barrie was sitting beside me.  Need I say anything more on that subject?  Really, Barrie, we do love you.

Barrie brought in his special lens for his camera – unfortunately, he’d dropped it and as nature would have it, it just got “hurt a little”.  I picked up the carrier bag to hand over to Moe and was shocked at how heavy it was.  Then I nearly dropped it and Barrie had a mini conniption.  I did say, nearly, didn’t I?

Roly and his house are still going through changes – and whose isn’t?  With all of these programs now on about fixing your city/town house up to flip on the market – who isn’t buying in?  What I find interesting is where the houses are popping up on the “for sale” sheet.  I’m a walker so I head out in whatever direction my sneakers take me.  I also live in Lowertown North so I get to roam around a lot of the External Affairs’ ghettos.  Lately, my sneakers have been taking me towards Sandy Hill – in particular towards King Edward.  Ottawa U continues to expand their campus over on my side of King Edward.  Relentlessly.

Interestingly, today, the CBC did a property survey of Ottawa and here is the result:

-          Unsurprisingly, condos are over-done and the market has dried up.

-          In order to correct this, the big companies are now changing it up.  If you buy one of their condos, they will go out and search out a tenant for you – preferable a Carleton student, one of the companies has stated.  Sounds aggressive (desperate?).

-          On the good side, finally the construction will quieten down this autumn.

-          That being said, they are tearing up Rideau before the Cummings Bridge again!

I’m starting to feel like I’m living in London W1 again.  Every damn week those Brits tore up the street to do whatever.  And my phone line kept getting worse with cross-talk.  I was so happy to leave that country with all its problems that they had at that time.  Which were practically nothing now when you look at the world today.

Alors!  Time you saw something truly butt-ugly.


I tried everything possible to avoid this but Hydro is the only game in town and they know it.  The guy I dealt with was arrogant, nearly belligerent and didn’t even do me the courtesy of taking off his sunglasses.  In case I had to i.e. him in a police line-up?

The good news?  See that tiny little tomato ripening?  It turned a gleaming red just yesterday and my neighbours likened it to a beautiful bulb on a future XMAS tree.  I think I have been blessed with good and patient neighbours.  I lost a lot of perennials due to this dig out but next year if anyone has any really tall ones like Delphs,  I’ll gladly give them a home!  That 200-amp box needs a grand disguise!

We were musing about the lack of beer-brewing sites and after about ten minutes, decided it had to do with all the craft beers being done in Ottawa.  Has anyone every taken stock of how many there are in Ottawa.

A new phrase hit the table today.  Butt-dial.  Hmmm.  Ask your grandchildren – they will up-date you.

Ah, the wonder of email.  After today’s delightful lunch session, I got home, grappled with key and lock and broke into my house.  Phew – keys – Gimme back my punch-key system!  That wasn’t the worse.  There was an email from some company that said they are coming over tomorrow to do the disconnect and reconnect of my electrical.  I nearly freaked because Hydro has to be on site so that everything can be inspected and then the reconnect can go ahead.  And Hydro isn’t coming over until next week!  And the worst part was that they hadn’t included OGC in this conversation!  I was all over that in three minutes plus a call in to Josh.  PANIC!  I then sent out another email telling this company they are not to do anything without OGC’s blessing.  All went quiet and then Josh called and said – it’s all been re-scheduled but I’m bringing in some other project managers tomorrow to meet you.  Handlers?  Should I get out of town?  Buy a lead vest?  Joking.  Yes – they will be handlers for the contractors and their employees.  I’m still La Bossetta  (if that’s a word).

Sadly, we lost another loved one in the Telecommunication’s section.  Ron Savard, the great prankster, left us shortly.  And, so, let us take a moment or two to think fondly of him and his surviving family.

I gather that the Miata venture went well and had a lot of attendees.  Marvellous.  But, and there is always a but – Barrie was a spare and found himself leading 16 cars when he inadvertently got lost.  Now, if that was me, and if we were near a pub, as a woman, I’d avail myself of the locals’ perfect knowledge of the area.  Perhaps, a few liquid helpers-on would be good but within limits, of course.

Thunderstorms are striking and I haven’t changed into my hob-goblin attire – gotta rev up my broom!

Fly time

Aug. 26th

And who wants to believe that date!  Smoley.  I was in a store just the other day (Loblaw’s) and the Hallowe’en treats are already out.  Smoley squared!

Alors, there is more movement.  I now have a tremendously ugly huge power connection box in the front of my classic brick Lowertown house.  It’s purported to be good to 200 amps to be “up to code” for 2015.  Why, oh why, didn’t I do this in 1995?  But, who are you going to argue with?  I’ve already done that and both of us acknowledge that they are the only game in town.  Originally, they wanted $10K before even thinking of starting.  After a few emails, I sent them a paper cheque for $5K.  Then, they started checking into stuff.  Man – did we ever work in the wrong jobs!!  All he did was stroll over in a very lazy way, wearing a hazard hat, a neckerchief and sunglasses from eyeballs to naso.  For some reason or another, that got my back up.

Anyway- on to better things!  We were ten Celebs today! Noel and his crew made sure we were well taken care of.  I really envy the boyos that can pack that much food away – it ensures our big eaters that they get enough.  Hey – mark this one on your calendar – Roly only had one dessert today.  (A first!) Hey Barriet – you lost out as there were three free desserts on the table.  Guess who’s going to be there next week with bells on.


I had to leave the house this am pdq – it was getting insane as they were drilling through the brickwork to start getting ready for the disconnect and reconnect of power sometime soon in the future.  Given this is the start, Sneakers will have some travelling to do before the snow hits.  And, we are looking forward to it!

We missed Chuckie today.  According to his wife, he wasn’t feeling all that great but was having a good kip.

We spoke of many things – we ate well, we enjoyed the great company.  What else can you ask for?

Gotta Jump!

August 12th

And just when you thought you were getting older, yep, here comes the confirmation.  We are pert near into the most beautiful fall month of the year – September. 

As I age, I guess we sour as the mossies don’t attack me so much anymore.  Yaaa!  And soon, we will have the stingless wasps kicking butt out of the emerald ash borer.  When I read the article, it reminded me of that old song, “and she swallowed a frog to eat the ….”  But, what do I know about all of this things  – my head is stuffed with hardware store items  re with faucets and toilets and shower sets and trying to locate lost measuring tapes.  Smoley. But, and there is always a but, I found a wonderful German-made Grohe “Sway” solid-steel  faucet with a life-time warranty with steel  and ceramic parts on sale for $111 – and that with tax Including feed-Harper tax.

I slinked into Preston Hardware yesterday to check out the pocket door hardware.  Wow – they have a great selection and the young gent and I lost no time in accommodating my swollen arthritic fingers with a larger fitting.  And!  At a smaller price tag.  A whole dollar less, at that.  Ask for the round security hardware for the pocket doors.

Okay, yah, it was may-be a dollar cheaper but remember when you were a little tyke and how much a nickel bought you of candies?  I so recall my mother giving me a quarter and off I zoomed lickety-split before she changed her mind.  A whole quarter! I got back home with what felt like a huge bag and we ate it all up and giggled like twins.  Ahh  – sugar.

Today, in we came – eager to sit at our tables.  Preferred liquid was bought and then we were down to business of finding out who was up to what.  Dave brought in a solid copper pipe with a problem and some plastic wheel nuts.  Just when it came to show-n-tell, there was so much static coming from  an I-pad at the other end of the table so I couldn’t tell you what it was about.  

The golfers came in late but still got their steak and choice of spuds.  We all chowed down with forks flying and knives at rest.

I heard that Lowell Green, that old badly-informed  ogre has re-surfaced.  Why on earth would you want to besmirch yourself yet again, Lowell?  But, as the old adage goes, once an idiot, ….

Gotta jump,


August 5th

Yaaa us!  We survived liver and onions!  We survived massive servings of meat macaroni!  Only one person opted out of the choices and I wish I had done so.  I hate leaving that much food on my plate but as a consolation – someone’s cat or three will eat well tonight.

And speaking of cats, it always brings to mind about the cats of la bella citta da Roma.  After every meal, the Romans would set out the left-overs in bowls on the sidewalks for the cats.  And the cats ate very well, polished the various bowls and meowed their thanks.  They even yowled in a different accent than our North American cats!

And now for the numbers.  Drum roll, please!  We blew in the door and numbered the Elfish eleven.  Many, many conversations were going on and it was very different to be put in the  “hole” of the second table, for a change.  We engaged in conversation mostly related to travelling around Canada.  None of us are slowing down and that is marvellous.   

I got there late but had a good reason so I didn’t have to make up the time. J  OGC and Hydro came today for the 11am meeting.  Things have been going well but are slowing down again.  The reason – this is holiday month and city desk holders still have to stamp their stamps and Hydro is under-manned this month of the year.  However, the city side-walk cut-in has been done.  Of course, they did the cut-in on the wrong segment of the sidewalk so that they did this on OCH property so now we have to look at jinxing the piping over on my side using copper-clad piping.  As that will cost me $15 extra, I’m all for it as eventually I want to put up a fence and don’t want to have some back-hoe hitting my electrical line by accident. The Hydro guy told me of a nightmare scenario where a tenant of OCH was ordered to remove her fence – she was only trying to circumvent the local kids from bouncing their damned basketballs against her wall.  Her fence guys dug and her days went dark, dank and hot even though they had followed the “call before you dig” .  Now, he may just have been fooling me, but I instructed both OGC and Hydro to pull that line over on my side of the property.  It was interesting to see how they reacted to a woman telling them what to do – OGC was cool with that but not Hydro. Hmmm.

And speaking of different treatment, I think that it is time you guys filed a grievance against the Legion for unfair treatment.  Reason?  How come that today’s waiter doesn’t get as close to your lips as he does to mine!?  Human rights grievance!!

I thought I would be kind to my neighbour and inform him about the “deforestation” of the back-yard.  However, my next door neighbour sent me back an email that if he has any cracks in his communal wall, he will be coming after me.  So, I will be stomping over there with my new camera to take around a million pics of his wall just to get him off my case.  I don’t react well to threats – they get my back up – just like you.

Some of you may have seen the pictures of my backyard in April after the crew had been in to take down the weeds.  They brought it down to actual sand and pulled off the back porch.  Wow!  The light pouring into the kitchen was amazing!  Well, I took pictures yesterday of the weeds – most of them are around 5.5’ high – I can only gauge their height by my 5’ fence as I cannot get into the backyard whatsoever.  The Scottish thistles easily measure over 6’ todate.  And the bees love the thistles which is very heartening so something good comes out of this.  I showed pictures of my backyard to the gang, today, and Stan actually yelped and my BB nearly hit the 10’-high ceiling at the Legion.  Which would be as high as the Manitoba maples.  And, just to re-iterate, this growth has only  been since April of this year.  However, my next door neighbour sent me back an email that if he has any cracks in his communal wall, he will be coming after me.  So, I will be stomping over there with my new camera to take around a million pics of his wall just to get him off my case.  I don’t react well to threats – they get my back up – just like you.

Ron C. was telling us about his travels out West.  Also, that he and his wife made it to his brother and sister-in-law’s joint birthday celebration.  They rented a girl-guide camp and their daughters went all out in organizing daily activities for a crowd of 80.  Eighty!  Smoley.  There were movies for the kiddies, meals for those many, yoga and Pilates, and even good old-fashioned “tire on a rope” jumps into the lake for the 80-year olds.  Ron mentioned that there were many RV’s all nicely parked off to the wayside but as there weren’t any hook-ups, the families had to stay in the barracks provided by the camp.

Lou’s eyes lit up and he told us about his brand-new RV that he and Marg will take out for a jaunt sometime in the near future.  (Gosh – I wish I had one!)  Then, he shared some knowledge with us about what the newer RV’s have on board.  Two kitchens!  Granted, one is a mini one so that you can do the cooking, eating and washing up outside but still!  How many houses have all of that unless you are looking at the standard bbq, picnic table and the garden hose?  Obviously, I don’t travel in the proper circles. J

Variances and new ownership hit the table, as well.  As Jim told us months back, now when you buy a property, there are those must-do’s.  You have to have an inspection done – ok – that’s good.  Hey, that should protect you but I seem to remember in the past, we had these inspections done before you bought.  But, what would I know – just being a – how did Stan put it – I’m looking rather haggard.  And that was after doing my hair twice – TWICE –today.  (Somebody we know is so very dead ..…)  Ok – back on-line.  Several years back, I was reading up on city taxes and after working it out, decided that my house is not in what the city refers to as a-one condition.  My house was built back in the 30’s and there are 5 items that affect an a-one condition.  My electricity had been up-graded from the 30’s.  My plumbing, ditto.  My doors, ditto.  My windows, ditto.  Also, my furnace.  Those conditions, once ensued,  (Off the top of my head) this then “down-graded” my house status to less than a-one condition.  Ergo, my taxes would then go down.  Man, these city politicians and their fancy double talk.

Back to RV’ing,  I remember my last trip to Florida back in ‘06.  I was in a diner and shamelessly eaves-dropped on a table of elderlies beside us.  They had taken their luxury RVs from Florida up to Alaska and back.  One of the old geezers cackled and said, in a Jimmy Carter-like accent – “We had a great time but our timin’ was lousy.  We paid out for gas like nobody’s business.  Even when we cut thru Canada.” 

Finally, some relief from that record-breaking temperature last week.  It was insane in Lowertown.  With the two heavily-travelled big streets of King Edward and St. Patrick, the temperatures and car emissions are over-whelming.  For instance, when the Weather channel announces that it is a mere 16 degrees, I now resist the urge to open the windows.  That 16 degrees is measured at the airport – that is where most of our weather offices are physically located so that they can take the readings to ensure the safety of the aircraft.  Yup – I do miss my weather office days but not the shiftwork.

Gary Langille made a rare appearance today.  It is always a pleasure to see him although we’ve never worked together.  May-be that’s why it’s such a pleasure!  Sorry, Gary, I just could not resist that little poke. J  Gary and I love to “flame” each other on Facebook but in a good and friendly way.  But! And there is always a but – he made a confession today about his opinions.  I’ll leave it at that except to say, just perhaps, just a good chance, he’s a closet NDP’er.  Come out, come out, Gary, where ever you are!

Yup, I’ll pay for that one.  Bring it on!

Gotta jump.


July 22nd

Arrrggh – we are a month past the summer solstice – can you believe this!  It seems like you barely do the laundry, wash the car, re-pave the drive, clean out the gutters,  get the roof checked, kick the tires, press your pants and we are heading past the middle of summer. 

Might I suggest in the future you require pressing skills so your summer will last longer ))

As I wrote that emoticon, it reminded me that yesterday’s CBC spoke of a new app that Apple is promoting one that will evaluate the “emotion” of your text or email.  Tres cool!.  However, even the great Apple is running into financial problems re phones so for us, it is great that they are starting up something enviable for a change.  As most of you know, I am a devoted Blackberry user and I don’t use it as a piece of bling.

Ok – numbers and the drum roll!  Onze.  We have never had onze before so today was very special.  We also had a special Brussels postee join us and there were lots of memories brought up from Chuckie and his side-kicks.  

We ate way too well today – as usual.  Noel certainly takes care of us and our plates are always over-filling.  The boys attack their plates like there’s no tomorrow and he’s very happy about that.  I just wish I could do the same but I’ve been suddenly a 5-forkfull  eater – just like when I was a kid.  May-be House addition stress?

I woke up at 10:29 this am after napping from my original time of 2:30.  Yikes!  I hopped it pdq and managed to slide into MY chair at 10:59.  A few of the boys were already there ahead of me – smoley.

Fries with that?  We had smoked meat on rye – unadorned but there was a pickle.  Pickle is a vegetable, right? And then there were boiled fries with that – Stan got mine, too.

To bore you further, as I was bursting out of the door, I noticed that there were guys spraying my sidewalk!  Being miss bossy-bee, I cast an eye. “ Water” said one sprayer.  Another happy looking chap just kept spraying.  Off I dashed.

So today, we started talking about these colours and Jim brought up blue being the colour that hydro uses.  Well – after telling him that the only colours in front of my place were pink and green, I found them to be added with blue. 

So, Jim you are right!

Gotta jump

July 15th

What a beautiful day – no humidity, no mosquitoes and no hassles going on with the buses, for a change.  And with the middle of the month in mind, it started me wondering when the Mid-summer’s day’s date occurs.  It turns out that we have already celebrated it.  Did you know that the Celts had a 13-month calendar but, obviously, we don’t follow it. 

Okay – and the numbers are!  We were the lucky 13 today.  We were served a wonderful meal of salad and lasagna.  Salt was needed so we are being served healthy food – so tell that to your doctor.

Back to the Legion’s kitchen issue – it is shocking to hear that our cook, Noel, suffered a stroke last week but was back in the kitchen just on Wednesday to oversee our roast beef meal.  I managed to ask him about it and here is his explanation: he pointed to his head and said that a vein got blocked but then the blood started to flood almost at once.  He added that if it hadn’t, he would be a vegetable now.  Phew!  We are very, very happy that the vein unblocked.  He’s a good man and takes care of us so very well.

Lou showed up late!  We were all checking our watches because he always screeches in a few moments before noon after hanging out at Princess Autos or Lee Valley Tools, for instance.  Sometimes he and Marg might even be planning a trip out of town.  Well, I guess they are getting ready for one as he bought a 2011 brand-new 28-foot trailer today.  Smoley.  Maybe I should just toss out the extension idea and buy a trailor!  If memory serves me correctly, the slide-out on his trailor goes out 12 feet.  So – I guess we will excuse him for being late as he just finished the sale today.  Wow - that isn’t something that you or I do every day!

Roly brought in his souped-up camera to show all the work that has been happening in his back yard with landscaping.  Its looking super.  I asked him what kind of flowers those were and the highly technical answer was PINK.

Barrie and Paul swooped into the Legion late-ish.  It appears they’d partaken of beverage in the Market which was why they were edging in on being late for lunch.  The Market is great but the cost of parking is getting out of control.  I’ve noticed that some businesses have moved out.  Sassy Bead was the first to go.

Barrie brought up a page from the past.  I was popping back into Ottawa during a posting and the boys decided to drag me out.  So, naturally, they decided on the Bare Fax and off we went.  Thank the Gods I got a seat with my back to the stage!  Anyway, as time wore on, the beer went down well and snack time was well overdue.  As I looked around, I saw a pizza being delivered to the table beside us. How to steal this pizza – what a dilemma!  It was soon solved as the owner passed out – right into the middle of the pizza.  Rats.

A few of us are into the sellers’ market.  Apparently, it has flattened now after the Spring.  I was checking out the ‘hood and cannot believe how much money is out there!

I’m very glad not to be into that – Hydro is coming on board and my approximate date is between 1-2 weeks.  They are out-sourcing to a contractor – God, who isn’t these days.  Then, comes the move of the gas line.  No work can really be done (spades in the ground) before this is done, obviously.  The good news is that isn’t going to cost me $9000 just on the Hydro side and it  was going to take 6 weeks before my extension could even start.  Now, after a phone call, I might be getting money back from Hydro but it will be happening much sooner, one to two weeks.  Personal contact still works, my friends.

I was checking out my chequering account today to see if Hydro had devoured my initial payment – sure enough, it was chunked down.  Then, I saw something I’d never seen before – a $4 rebate labeled “seniors rebate”.  What the heck?  I’m just a youngster at 61.  And $4?  Who makes this decision regarding the monthly moola?  I’m off to the bank to see the impact on my type of account and it sounds like they owe me back-pay.  I’m with RBC, btw.  I’ve included some items you might find interesting.

Why is the Seniors' Rebate eligibility age changing from 60 to 65?

We’re changing the Seniors’ Rebate eligibility age to 65 to be more consistent with the age that most seniors’ benefits generally apply (for example, many government programs offer seniors’ benefits starting at age 65). If you’re under 65 and currently receiving a Seniors’ Rebate, you’ll get to keep that rebate for as long as you keep a Seniors’ Rebate eligible account. 

“What is Visa Virtual Debit?

Virtual Visa Debit is a smart and safe way to pay for online, telephone and mail order purchases by debiting the funds directly from your banking account. This payment option is ideal if you make online purchases and don’t have a credit card, or if you would prefer to use debit for your online, telephone or mail order purchases.

You can request to receive a Virtual Visa Debit Reference Number by calling 1-800-769-2511, sending us a secured message through RBC Online Banking (your full mailing address must be included), or by visiting your local branch.

When using Virtual Visa Debit, your primary Chequing account will be automatically debited at the time of purchase.

There is no annual fee associated with Virtual Visa Debit. In addition, any purchases or recurring payments made with Virtual Visa Debit will not count against your monthly debit transaction limit or be charged a per-transaction fee.

Finally, Harold did us proud with that photo he took when Stan ordered us up for the photo last week.  What a great job!

I am meeting with my new OGC team on Friday  -  I hope that work will start on the extension by the middle of September at the minimum.  They have alerted me that I should move out for a few days because stuff will get messy.  Messy?  They don’t know foreign affairs, do they?

Gotta hop!

July 8th

Yesterday, those of us in Ottawa coped through a steam bath of classic July weather.  Mid-evening, we had a storm come through and then our temperatures dropped down to 13C.  No one complained about the drop as we had a beautiful, beautiful day today.  Perfect temps, perfect wind, and most of all – no mosquitoes in downtown Ottawa.

Mosquitoes are plaguing our friends in the West-end of the city.  It’s a very mean problem as the kiddies have to be kept inside which means the parents are going bonkers trying to keep them entertained.  Yesterday, in all that heat and humidity, Barrhaven lost their power for a few hours. Talk about trying times!

Lunch today – something was up!  Our tables looked different, our chairs weren’t in their right places and the three-some were further away from the door.  Being such creatures of habit, we all commented on it.  I moved around a couple of chairs and when Stan and Chuckie arrived, they sorted out their chairs.  Phew.

Drinks of choice hit the table, toasts were made and we listened to Stan and Jim tell their vacation tales.  Roly brought in a wonderful Lee Valley household item for show and tell and we all had a bit of fun pushing this and that.  It was a manual doorbell and we managed to drive the other side of the room nuts with all the clanging we were causing.   Well done, Roly, for allowing us all that fun!

And the numbers are! Fifteen, and then, wait for it --- Bonnie joined us and then we were sweet sixteen.  I would also like to point out that today was a very special day for ofarts – we were 4 women instead of just me.  Yay!  The boys were on very good behaviour  - as they generally are.

So – today was different because we had ladies in the kitchen, too.  We don’t know why but there was also a different fellow back there, as well.  Noel came in around mid-meal  while we were eating his usual delicious roast beef lunch.  Once again, we have nothing to do with the running of the club – we just support the Legion in any way that we can, financially.  The general thought of our group is that we are on the better end of the stick with the treatment that we get.  We get great fellow company (well…..) and good food at such a reasonable price.  But, Stan didn’t get his fries today however, by the time I left, he wasn’t complaining about it.

Okay, we were ordered up for photos today.  Roly gave Harold, our pal from the “other” table, a crash course so up we hopped onto the stage.  Lou said that our group photo would be all around the world by 18:00 EST and I’m sure it will.  John K.’s wife took a back-up photo just in case.  Always a wise thing to do.  Harold did great and we think he should join our/our tables after the ribbing he took today from his cronies.

We broke up early today – wow, I was out by 13:00 – everyone is getting busier and busier.  We are either improving our living quarters, moving, selling or modifying something on a large scale.  We are not part of the “slow-down” generation, that’s for sure.

Barrie has quickly arranged a Lime Lunch at the Stagecoach Inn for Thursday the 16th – please contact him directly.  If he isn’t in your address book, it’s  The food is great.

Okay, you guys, my hat is officially off to you.  Hydro has snookered me because the line has to be moved to bring it out of the way of the extension.  They are the only game in town and certainly know it.  That being said, I did bring in my donation hat today, and guess what, not even a thin dime hopped into it.  Got spare change, spare fully-operative LED lightbulbs, anyone?  Hey, I’ll even take a working back-up generator – maybe even a bag of low-sodium pretzels avec une bottle of red-wine?  I’m not fussy.

Ok – you know that I’m only joking.  There is a further smile in this story.  I was writing an email to my project manager and said: “ ok – let’s move on this now as the interest is eating away at my line of credit without any results.  Advise at once.”  Within minutes, I got an answer back from Hydro from the guy with the same initials as my project manager.  “Yes, ma’am!”  while he kept avoiding speaking with my project manager.  What I didn’t share with you is that I did send Hydro an email earlier with a moan about they had me over a barrel and were holding me hostage to their pricing!  And that as a retiree, it isn’t like I can work over/time!  I also contacted Metro newspaper’s reporter that did an article on how Hydro is making millions but didn’t hear back from her. The up-shot is that he will try to circumvent a lot of City desk-to-desk which should save money and time.  I certainly hope so!

Time for another good whinge! Given the cost of living, it is time we started looking at it.  The weather hasn’t been kind to the farmers and we cannot expect them to operate without a profit.  But!  And there’s always a but, someone sure is.  I bought  fruit, etc., this am at Loblaws just down the street from me.  One banana, one orange, one peach, a pack of bagels and one Portobello mushroom.  Just under $9.00 for the total. Whaaat!  The bagels were the most expensive, naturally, but – and here’s the but – the peach cost over $2.  And we seniors are the cause of expense this, I’m sure.  Somehow, we have become their target – more than likely, because we are the largest growing segment of Canada’s population.  Well, Harper – guess what – I plan on living for another twenty years at least – just to be a pain in your who’s-it.  But, then, what will you care – you’ll be living in a telephone booth.

Funny stuff?  Not too much.  I checked out the ‘hood around 7am.  Smoley.  Lots of money being spent on upgrades to housing.  I spotted a SUV Porsche sitting proudly on one of the home driveways.  Our Mr. Myers came to mind, right away, as I remember him saying that one of the things he always wanted was a Porsche.  And he did it.  Good for him – we are all entitled to those dreams that we worked for.  That being said, I’ve no idea where Gordon lives but I don’t see him and Jayne wanting a SUV.

As for me, I’m still working on a peach!

June 17th

We were Lucky 13 today!  People trickled in and looked at the head table with surprise.  New faces were sitting in old chairs.  Three of the regulars that sit there were MIA today.  I lashed myself into my regular seat with grim determination.  Our Mr. Cooke was happy to not to have to sit in his usual spot in the “split”.

The Lime Lunch will be very well attended this Friday – the numbers are up to 19 so far.  That’s a big crowd, considering we are into holiday season.  It should be a lot of fun plus Barrie has plotted a route through the scenic backroads.  I heard that Gary and Maureen are going to be a part of the sweep team so none of us meander off the route.

Our normal topic of Rogers versus Bell came up yet again today.  Together, we are going at them 19 ways to Sunday to get our monthly cost down while getting the best performance possible.  Personally, I just got another $5.00 off my bill – the home phone, this time.  It originally started with me getting emails from friends saying – initiate your answering service, idiot!  Wahhh? Why is this happening?  Some over-zealous young chap had discovered that I was paying for Rogers answering service and clicked on it.  This started a conflict betwixt Rogers and my Vtech base unit with Rogers knocking out the Vtech-base answering unit.  Alors, out goes Rogers answering service and also their call display popping up on the TV – voila - $5 gone.  It’s amazing what we get charged for and what today’s phone systems can provide us with for free.  That being said, I stuck with the “essential” service so as to keep my 500 N.A. minutes for “free” with Rogers.

Then, feeling all flush with victory,  I called my cellphone service to ask about how to get my prices down.  I got an agent with a sing-song accent that told me if I were to sign up now, I would get all sorts of great things that would cost me a mere $90 a month.  What a waste of time as that is almost double what I pay now. I quickly hung up before she got it into her head to start programming my Fido account!!

A surprise visitor today! Frank Arsenault delighted us with his company.  We never know when he will appear but it is always a joy to see him.  He made a comment about how much greener Ottawa is than his hometown in New Brunswick.  He attributes it to all that fertilizer coming down from the Hill.

Cars took up much of the conversation along with stories of being flagged down by speed traps and OPP.  From these stories, we gather that Barrie was born with a horse-shoe up his who’s-it.

Stan would have been very disappointed with our meal today as no one was given a choice of mash or fries.  Some of you may have received a delicious looking photo of a family-sized serving of golden fries.  That had been ordered by his daughter and Stan is very much the proud father.

Lou is the owner of a new GPS.  Some of the guys had a lot of fun is trying to figure out how to reset the language from what-ever to what-ever and of course, his GPS display is coming up in the Cyrilian alphabet to boot.  How frustrating!  But, at least the boys found a local phone number to call to get them to do a reset.  All of this makes me very happy not to have to cope with yet another device to drive you around the twist.

Summer travelling also hit the table and some of the hare-brained schemes we are getting up to.  Yes, we are older but just more adventurous – not wiser. J And who wants to be wiser when we are having more fun!

The gang broke up early today – just after 1pm.  Perhaps it may have had something to do with our huge lunch! Noel really outdid himself – and us, today.  We got ½  chicken and two scoops of mash each!  It was delicious, to boot. There was salad and even dessert.  I counted at least three doggie bags heading for home. 

My eyeballs are colliding … nap-time.


June 10th

A blazingly beautiful day morning!  Dry, windy, no mosquitos – wow.  Who can think about housework or even gardening with weather like that.  Sneaks and I tore out of the house directly after making a huge mess in the kitchen frying up eggs and chips.

I cut through the UofO campus grounds and saw lots of young kids scurrying off to their classes – most of them on their bikes carrying their daily supply of joe.  I went over the “new” pedestrian bridge Somerset East to Somerset West.  There are so many locks on the bridge railings – it is amazing.  This, btw, is how the young students exchange their vows these days.  Yep, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a friendship ring.  And you don’t have to ask for your lock back.

And now for the drumroll moment!!  We were the Dirty Dozen with 14 conversations going on re cars, brass plumbing rods, etc.  We missed Chuckie today – you can count on one hand how many Old Farts’ lunches he misses in the past three years I’ve been attending.

We were served a nice piece of fish with chips that resembled macaroni.  I remember Noel telling me that the fryer is acting up – what a pity as these fries weren’t the frozen type.

Once again, the perennial subject of Rogers/Bell/Shaw suppliers came up.  We must be all on the same wavelength because I spent ½ hour speaking with Rogers yesterday.  I was very upfront with her and told her that Bell has made me a very attractive offer of everything for only $90 per month.  She said that yes, they are very much aware but to keep in mind that this rate was only good for 3 months AND Bell increases their rates 3x a year versus Rogers increasing their rate only once a year.

I had (again!) a very helpful young lady that trolled through my bill with a fine-toothed comb and came to the conclusion that if I changed over to the new offer, I would save $9 over three months but I would lose my substantial discount on services that sunset in Feb. 2016.  Dr. Dee let us know his greatest woe that he is locked into because he doesn’t get cellphone service at the cottage.  Donnie has decided to go to war with Rogers and is going with ComWave.  Dr. Dee turned us green with envy when he spoke about his son switching over to Videotron; hence, saving lots of money but/but getting to deal with real people that are sitting in a real office.

The EggMan brought in 2 cartons and they were snapped up.  He mentioned that they had lost 2 young-uns so far but are getting ready for when the laying season starts.  So, just before your recycling day, please don’t heave out your empty egg cartons – bring ‘em in.  That gives you a great excuse to show up for our next lunch.

Jacques shared some interesting info about horses.  It’s the oldest mare that is the matriarch of the herd.  She decides who is going to be accepted or not accepted.  Gee – who knew that this type-A high-school practise came from such a source!

Lunch: we were served a nice piece of gentle pan-fried fish with chips that resembled macaroni.  I remember Noel telling me that the fryer is acting up – what a pity as these fries weren’t the frozen type so he did a lot of work with the peeling and cutting which we really appreciate.

We quietened down a bit during lunch and dove into politics and who the heck to vote in.  The general consensus is that Harper is smoked, Peter McKay is mapping out how he will take over the party once H has to resign or get kicked out as leader of the Conservatives.  Or not – maybe he will go the way of my old classmate – Brian Tobin.  He put his family ahead of politics (probably because Jodie told him so) and couldn’t be lured back to lead the party – take over from Mulroney, that is.

We also discussed the $23M audit that has been done on the Senate members.  Barrie brought up a scary thought – when will they audit the Commons.

Oh – before I forget.  We got cake for dessert – much to our surprise.  However, being us, we started a rumour that this was a member’s birthday cake but he didn’t quite make it to celebrate.  I passed on that when I cut through the funeral’s parking lot next door, it had a lot of cars.

Gotta jump!


June 3rd

What a gorgeous day!  Finally, we are hitting spring temps and everyone is in the midst of holiday plans.  Thank God we are not one of those “gotta go visit Auntie in blip-blip before she pops off” groups.  We may have a few or three gray hairs, but we are still on the ball.  At least enough that we can still feed the mossies and black flies for those that wish to camp. 

Speaking of camping, Barrie mentioned his RV’ing days when you bring everything with you, go anywhere, have all the comforts of home with a double-wide with a queen-sized bed, and a small living room.  Heck, even pop-up campers offer you so much.  The funniest part I remember about that particular camping incidence is that my old boyfriend always kept a frying pan just beside the door.

We had a special visitor today – no, not a wandering bear.  But, a man that loves the pure language of math.   Our group was quite taken with him and he even has a personality!  He brought in lots of goodies and so did Lou.  It created quite a buzz around our tables – so much so that I forgot to do the count.

And the drumroll, please…..we were 14 today!  I have to offer my apologies for being late  And! Lou was there before me so we know that Princess Auto must have been closed today.

Show and Tell – wow – there was much to see.  Some Australian stuff, some Brit stuff.  This fellow is quite a collector!

Chuckie and Donnie are duelling it out as to who has the best memory – it’s a dead heat.  That leaves the rest of us in the dust.

Induction heat hit the table as a topic.  Jacques and I are in perfect agreement about how quickly the cooking is done.  If I wish to boil water, I just slap on a saucepan and it boils in seconds – leaving the electric tea-kettle sitting in the “out-the-door” heap.

LED lighting – how are we doing with that project?  And the dual cooling and heating blinds?  Cleaned those cupboards?  Got the weeds under control and the spray system for the garden colour?  And – you thought with being retired, that would be done in no time.  Time is now 4 to the power of 16 – it proves that you are enjoying yourselves as it should be.  And if you need a power nap – super!  And, sometimes, in my case at least, a power nap equals a full sleep.  Hey, more time to work on my Union projects!

My personal big project is now starting to move ahead in anticipation for late August early September.  My biggest disappointment is to find that the senior project manager is moving on to corporate work – read Big Bucks.  Also, my senior architect has been snapped up and cannot refuse that kind of money.  That being said, I was at OGC for over three hours yesterday and revamped the plans.  They listened to my ideas – not that I am a pro – but it just saved me nearly 11K as we aren’t doing the basement extension anymore.  Which I am glad about on both accounts.  Its dark, down the steps, and spooky.  And it has a washer and dryer that says “Feed me”.  Oh well, at least it doesn’t say “spare change, spare change”.  On the up-side, my computer and desk is there but who uses one of those these days?  I haven’t rebooted Spot in a year or so.



I guess we blinked .  As Art would say … what the ______?

I decided to test the extremes of acting like an idiot box and went to Costco on the Victoria Day weekend.  Smoley.  Huge flats of plants were doing the yo-yo between the agri-centre and the cash.  Us almost-normal shoppers were in mortal danger with all those hanging plants, various grasses, looming over us in the cash line-ups.  It was an interesting experience.

Yesterday, you could have wrung the hot water out of the air at 8 am – today, it was back into long pants and a good warm jacket!  The wind will get even stronger this evening and it is supposed to go down to around zero.  Cover those plants!

Numbers, numbers.  We were sitting at the odd number of fifteen and just as we were getting comfortable with that, in strolls Dan Kenny.  So he brought us up to sweet sixteen.  Any one want to design a nickname for him?

We had cabbage casserole today – well, mostly everyone.  Noel is kind enough to keep a few back-ups for us and does a great bowl of fries.  Something you should keep in mind but here’s the deal – let him know about a ½ hour before our meal. 

Soon, our capital is going to have to be known as Windy Ottawa!  I was raking the other day and by the time I got the leaf bag out, they were gone.  Yay!!  And that black material you put down to deter the weeds – well, I’m down to hard black earth with nary a dandelion.  Yay!!  On the negative side, my mulch is drying up very quickly but the bamboo that Gary gave me is thriving because the squirrels can’t hang on to the new thin branches.  The squirrels attacked the bamboo so badly last year that I didn’t think it was going to come back.  Now, you know you live in a rough neighbourhood where even the thieving squirrels are starving!

Both Barrie and Roly were mia today.  They missed out on the desserts.

Bonnie showed up today and unknowingly sat in the parking lot until 11:30.  So she missed out on our company but now is up to snuff!  I got there, late, too, at 11:03 and my spot at the table had already been swiped by Moe the Finger.

Dave has been bringing us up to speed with his eye problem.  And his crazy ophthalmologist.  After hearing his tales of woe and undertakings of expensive tests to no avail, perhaps Stan has the answer.  Just put Vicks’ Vaporub on the soles of your feet before going to bed.  Hey – it is said to cure everything!  I know that it seems to be the only thing helping with this infernal cough!

Posting season is upon us – or, I should say them.  The date is June12th for those that are interested but I still don’t know where they will have it.  I’m hoping that it will be at the Irish Village – they didn’t kick us out last year so we should be good to go.

An NDP govt in Alberta, snow in late May there, too.  PAFSO postings under attack,  AS’s transiting into PAFSO positions without riding the FS exam.  I’ve already had a concerned CS asking if this will be in our future.  I think not.  Things might be a little different if one were to see them stringing wires, defending the demarc site, the telephone room, and doing everything else on the daily list of 175 tasks.  There you have it, the reason why we all look so happy to be retired.

We were talking about bathrooms today and what they are like in so many of the hotels we have stayed in during our TD’s around the world.  They have ranged from pretty bad to outstanding.  The best, by far, I have ever showered in is right here in the Hilton Hotel at Lac Leamy.  Not every floor has been redone yet but if you do get one, you will know it.  The tubs are extra deep and roomy – ahh – what a great soak – I hadn’t had a bath in years.  However, when I had to get out – there lies a whole different experience!

Opened up the mail just on Monday as our friendly postman delivered those love letters (bills).  Then he came back with another one and we laughed.  I didn’t recognize the return address so it just went into the “later” pile.  It turned out to be from the Ontario Breast Cancer Society.  Now if that doesn’t give you a shock but the good news is, they very quickly tell you that you are breast cancer free.  All of the rest of the print just swims in front of your eyes.  I very much hope that this letter’s contents go out to everyone we know.   Please be vigilant everyone.

I’ve been flippant about it because we don’t have breast cancer in our family history but we do have horrible memory thingamabobbers’ stuff.  I think it is called idiot-box-it is.  But, we’re not too worried as the rest of Canada has this – up to 99.9% -just like the Pill’s effectiveness.  My aunt took the Pill – she quickly had twins and then another set a year later.  And that is a true story.

So, we all went green when it came to consumption of water and now what is about to happen?  As Dr. Dee says, we don’t seem to have consumed enough so now, we have to pay more because we didn’t.  And, I ask you, why are you going to sit down for this?  And then, what’s next?  Enbridge and Hydro will start shaking the trees, as well.  Better watch those apples!

The golfing boyos left early today.  I wonder what you call it when the wind is this strong and you are trying to tee off.  That must be some form of mini-baseball or another.

The wind seems to have dropped – yay – maybe the furnace won’t come on tonight.

Gotta go check on those apples!


May 13th

So!  I’m not going to ask if you are having fun yet – instead – what are you doing to have so much fun!  My God, we paid for it and we saved for it – now is the time to get out there and take advantage of what  you did to deserve this!

Today was beautiful – cool and and the Wind spoke.  It blew away those damn mossies, that’s for sure.

We saluted Stan on his cheerful arrival to his 73rd – Happy Birthday Stanley!!

We were Onze today.  Everybody is very busy – Spring has been very versatile and is testing us in our projects.  I still have to get started with the kitchen cupboards and then onwards and upwards.  Today, my house, and as Pinky and the Brain says, as they slink away, TOMORROW, THE WORLD!  I love Pinky and the Brain.  I also love the coyote and the road-runner.  I love the coyote and beep-beep to you road-runner!!

Okay – and just because I feel the pressure – Elizabeth May – oh, did I get the spelling right?  May-be that was just too much wine on my part.  Nuff said.  And my spell-checker agrees so all is well in the world.  I mean – hey, if MicroSoft is wrong in all of those tests, who are we mere humans to disagree?

Well, to change the subject – the doorbell rang just as I got into my ugly before taking shower.  No way I going to answer the door and hopped in.  Poofff – I scrubbed a-rubbed-dubbed and I figured I passed the D marcation line into normal.  I shimmied into my ugly old pants that still fit  – then had to look for my next ugliest old shirt that fitted.  Oh, crap – I’d already put the shirt in the dirty laundry bag so I had to go and check into the “Charity” bag.  Yay me!  Clean sweater to the rescue!  (Did I mention that I’m a wee bit busy?)

Finally, up to snuff, out I trot.  Kleenex, comb, little black book, yeah, I’m good to go.

So, off I scoot, EARLY, to the bus stop, togged out in my regalia, and finally, the flipping 12 comes along.  I get on, take out my Presto pass, and just as I’ve waving it, the driver looks at me and says – “no need, today’s seniors day - it’s free.

Smoley – in Ontario, 65 is seniors’ .  I just got to 61 – and proud of it.  Well, I know it’s been a very hard winter but ….

Gotta  find a wheel-chair!

61!  Like that only happens to old people – I’m young.  Proud.  Strong.

April 29th

Hurray!!  Finally, double-digits that warms the cockles of your heart and gets those dandelions a-going!  And after the worst winter in history, we will take those few bits of yellow and rejoice.

Judging by what people are wearing today, I should have changed my wardrobe over last week.  But, I’m glad I didn’t.  I only do laundry on Hitler’s tou. 

Given how beautiful the weather was, we didn’t think we would get a big turn-out at the Legion.  Well, bless me and our cotton socks – here’s our numbers.  The Dirty Dozen rides again with a posse of five!  Not too shabby for such a glorious day with a dubious menu of garlic fried chicken drumsticks and rice.  As for the meal, it was another mountainous one.  We must all look like we are starving refugees or diabetics on a death wish – groan.  I asked for just one scoop of mash with my drumsticks.  I got 3 huge pieces of chicken, a coleslaw, b-b-que sauce, garlic bread and a double-scoop of home-made mashed that had been molded to look like one.  And I had the smallest portion of all.

Er – ah, sorry, I dozed off for a moment.

How strange today – not one comment about Duffy.  I guess we are all getting lives in a spring-kinda hurry!  We have plans to get on with, projects to plan, trips to take and hitmen to hire for pesky neighbours.

Roly sold his 31-year old girlfriend – finally.  He said that she’d cost him an awful lot of money over those years but he will sorely miss her.  Her first name was Spitfire.

All sorts of movements going on within the group!  People selling and buying, mostly.  Others are just digging into the garden, planning vacations, organizing their golf skeds, planning a hit on the neighbour,….

October 19th is starting to loom in the headlines.  Groan – October makes me think of crisp cool evenings and Hallowe’en.  Gee – I wonder who Harper will pretend to be?  Ain’t no hiding those “dead shark eyes” as the press loved to refer to them.  My Heavens, whoever penned that expression?

Our Rant God pulled a fast one today and didn’t even show up.  He had the audacity to come up with some lame excuse (and invoked the dreaded G.Happy name, no less!).  And then, THEN, said that Stan had deep pockets and this hitherforthwith, made our Rant God in the clear.  Bah, humbug, I say.  We are so gonna getcha, man!  And – don’t waste your time googling hitherforthwith, cos I just made it up.

Hey!  I got lucky!! Yay me.  I just got back into Ottawa from a weekend Union conference.  (No  – just shut-up and keep reading – you don’t have to blush.) The taxi driver had yacked my ears off but in a nice way and insisted on hauling my heavy suitcase up the steps.  I got inside the hallway and immediately felt the urge to grab my express library book and return it.  I grabbed it and scooted up to Rideau St. library.  As I was about to go through my-now-secret way, I heard a rustle of leaves.  I glanced over only to see two new nearly-separated $20s skip by.  Like a gazelle, I tripped and stumbled – but I got one!  I nimbly slugged the be-jasus out of the other one with my library book.  Yay – now I can afford stuff!  Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about, Grasshopper!

Gotta jump!


April 22

It started off as a cold and blustery day as I scooted down to the local shop for mushrooms.  Gotta have mushrooms, gotta have mushrooms …  so I can loiter over a leisurely breakfast of beautiful  café lungo e tremminzino ai fungi.  S’moley  – it was cold and wet! But, the beauty of living in Canada is that we can change the atmosphere of our homes to reflect some aspects of our fav postings, right!

I got to the cash and realized that I’d left my purse at home.  S’moley again!  However, I found I had lots of change in my pocket – I had successfully rolled a few local bums last night, thank God.  And they were high class bums – they had toonies!  No corks going on there – take note, Stan.

And now, the numbers are in!  We hit twenty-two big ones – not shabby at all given that it was a perfect day to start the indoor dreaded spring chores.  Or may-be not.   Phew – there’s Old Farts every Wednesday and they need me to attend reads the ticker tape going across the individual brains that seem to be attached to the BORG.  (Back home in Ottawa, Retired, Generally.)

But, today was a very special one that many of us weren’t in the know about.  Bob Davidson and his wife Winnie were there promptly at the appointed hour – good on them.  We were celebrating in seeing them only to learn that they are moving down to NS to starting living in their retirement home.  Bob and Winnie have got good handles on what needs to be done and their son is coming up to help out.  All of us got what hugs and best wishes we could and then, suddenly, like a wonderfully loved piece of nature, they quietly left to go on their next posting.  All of the very best for your move Bob and Winnie, and then, comes summer!  Ohh  God, summer in NS – what bliss!  Please rest assured that once I get his new email address, I will send out a broadcast message to you.

Much ado in the capital – but when is there not!  Duffy/Gary Langille/Lowell Green.  Have some fun with that!

CRA is becoming outrageous!  Or should I say, their boss, Harper, is.  All things trickle down from the top, as we all well know.  Here in Ottawa, we Urbanites live downhill from where the E-L-I-T-E live and --- how the heck does that old song go “sewage”?

Whoah – tax season!  Mine is done, out of the way and the money is automatically in my chequing account.  I’ve been speaking with a few (20 or so) friends to see what has been happening.  It would seem that about half of us are getting our needed papers mailed to us while others are not.  Guess what, boys and girls, you’d better follow up if you aren’t getting things like your bank papers.  I ran into a woman yesterday that is being fined by the CRA because she didn’t submit her Banking papers although she had spoken with the bank and demanded them.  Now repeat after me ….. I am responsible for filing my taxes.  I am responsible….  CRA doesn’t care if your whatever papers aren’t in – you’d better file!  She had been hit pretty bad.

 I just handled my financial assets to what feels good.  I converted half of my financial portfolio over to RIFF status only yesterday.  But, that’s just me.

Angst – angst – some of us even know the meaning of this word, says she hoping you will join me in the great sharing of life and humour.  We must – given that we are Canadians.  At one time, we had to survive starvation, freezing cold temperatures, and hostiles.  And this was just at recess!

And so, we should become a betting nation.  Who’s gonna win.  Barrie is calling for a small c with the liberal being the official party.  Personally, I think here’s the sitrep:  Harper, with his dead-shark eyes, Trudeau, with none of his father’s brain and then we have Mulcair – multi-lingual, very articulate, fast on his feet.  Gosh, choice upon choice.  I say nothing.  Should I sneak in – Mulcair.  NDP with a small c. opposition.

Barrie tried helping me out with my failing camera.  He did his best, went through all the menus as much as possible and then  stated – get a new camera.  Not a problem – that camera had been recommended by an old idiot-box boyfriend.  Gone.  Ditched.

Probably some snow tonight.  Rejoice!  That will mean a later skeeter season and it will slow down the good edible weeds.

Gotta jump!

April 15th

Hey, what a coincidence!  We numbered 15 at lunch.  And who should saunter in with his wife but Larry Lackie!  But – just before that,  Bob Matheson graced our good tables with his presence.  How amazing to see our old friends!

Today was a hands-in-the-pockets kind of morning.  It reminds me of when you are so eager to get outside and away from the boring adults that you don’t care if you are wearing your mittens or not.  You just stretch the heck out of the arms to cover those frozen fingers.  Remember, too, when we had mittens attached to those long strings running through our parka arms so we wouldn’t lose them?  Well, all, it won’t be too long before we advance to those days again.

I was going through a rough patch with the extension and my miserly lazy neighbour who is encroaching on my land.  I called Angel and did a lot of moaning.  Did I mention some wine was involved?  Anyway, at the end of the phone call I asked her if she would come to Ottawa to bail me out of jail in case I got arrested at my Union rally on Tuesday.  Yes, she said.  So, there I am, rolling down Queen Street in full Union regalia towards  the front of the Delta Hotel.  I round the corner and so does a cops’ car.  Rats!  Hey, may-be jail food is better than what you get at the Ottawa General.

There were many different conversations going on around the table, as usual.  Dave (Dr. Dee) got a letter with a birthday card inside from his dearest girlfriend, Loreen Harper.  He tried to get me to touch it but thank God I was wearing my Union kit that warded off all of that bad karma!

Well,  our OFARTs group has been awarded a status we never knew we had!  I mean, we always knew we are very special but today was something else.  I sit at the head table facing the bar – my usual spot.  (Are you listening, Barrie?)  This older man comes in and goes to the bar but doesn’t order anything.  He is the President of the Retired Members Guild of PIPSC so of course, I go over to greet him.  I went outside and found the rest of the executive standing around on the steps to the bar.  Naturally, I know them all and asked why aren’t you coming inside?  The answer:  we’ve been told that we can come in at 2:30 because that is when a special group leaves.  Special?  Yay us!

Tonite – the Sens and the Habs!  I believe it starts at 7 but don’t hold my feet to the fire on that one.  So get in the beer and snacks now – you only have a few hours  to do so.  And make that popcorn with real butter – finally, the word is out on that horrible margarine stuff.  It’s a great artery clogger.

The Lime Lunch is this Friday.  Please send Barrie an email ( to let him know if he needs to add tables.  Please do this asap.  Chop, chop.

I am now porch-less, weed-less but my account balance in the line of credit is increasing.  My kitchen is now hosting all the things that the backyard hid away.  Even after ditching many things, many things came inside!  I can almost make it to the dishwasher after I move the Italian porcelain tiles to the front of the food cupboard where my lone can of beans lives and then back again.

ETA of the 3 floors – end of August.  As Lou said – tell me in October when you really have an ETA.  You know, it’s like getting ready for a posting.  As long as your inventory is almost done, who cares once that big moving truck pulls up and you hear the dreaded (or not)  pneumatic brakes.  As Daryl once passed on to me: “hey, the time is now and you can’t do anything anymore.”

Mine?  Hello, hotel and room service.  Where’s the clicker?   Lewis (my son) that’s your 5th piece of pizza.  Mummy needs some, too.  True story!


April 8th
Mother sun did her best today to greet us and almost did. Brother wind was cantankerous and spitey. Oh well, it’s another day that we just scooted out of the house and down the road to see and speak with lots of friends.
Our showing wasn’t bad – kind of like my tax return. Only my refund managed to squeak into 3 digits. Today, we hit Sweet Sixteen. And I sure hope that we’ve all been kissed or else somebody amongst us is in a bad way!
Stan brought in Girl Guide cookies and they were gone before 11:45.
Okay, folks – it’s now official. I am in a bad way. Since getting my new Blackberry Q5, rather than take the time to learn how to use it properly, I’ve been using a paper calendar. I scooted off to the grocery store to get some delicious baguette to serve to my luncheon guests yesterday. I was squeaking along and just as I turned into my walkway, my project manager was just coming down the steps. We talked for a while and he brought me up to date and we went down to be basement area. We discussed all sorts of stuff that I won’t bore you with and then he left. Yikes, there went a half hour out of my schedule to clean the house, get the food ready and then clean me up. Whiz bang, and more banging as I broke more stuff than what I cleaned.
I just gave up at one point and started in on the food part. Then, I looked around the kitchen and spied 4 lemons. Now why did I have 4 lemons? Finally, the penny dropped and I raced down to the freezer to get the frozen smoked salmon. I slung the individual packages into the sink and ran cold water over them. Yikes, it was 12:20! Cussing and swearing, I vowed that I would never invite people over again. Ever.
Then I bounded (ok, hobbled) up the stairs to change clothes and came down triumphantly, at 12:29. Yay – I can’t do anything more so I started to slice the bread. Then 10 minutes goes by. No ringing of doorbells of hungry trekkers. Another 5 minutes and then I called Donna – do I have the right day? She called me back and delicately told me that my late brunch is for next week.
But, hey, a practise run has never hurt anyone. I now have all the drinks in, the furniture has been arranged, and I promptly ate half of the sliced ham! With sliced baguette, to boot.
What a delicious meal we had today. Noel outdid himself and we really appreciated it. We were given so many choices of how our meal would be served, we got ourselves all confused. But, it all worked out. Then there was dessert, as well. I tried to sell mine to Roly for three bucks but that wily coyote wouldn’t go for it.
Vinyl siding versus aluminum siding? Naturally aliuminum is more expensive. Dave (our rant god) was saying that a neighbour of his had built this really ugly house over his pre-exisiting one. He joked to his wife that someone should burn it down. Sure enough, at the stroke of midnight, up she went in flames! I guess, to say it was pretty ugly is an understatement as none of the neighbours would fall the fire department until the structure was done for. Out of this conversation came a gem. If you have aluminum siding, it affects the cost of your house insurance in a positive way, given its fire deterrent properties.
Donnie bought himself a new Pentax camera with a lot of bells and whistles. He handed it over to Barrie who started to tell him what a lot of the bells and whistles stood for. He ended with the statement: what a sweet camera.
Dave (the rant god) brought us up to date as to the Legion requesting $100,000 to charge on their line of credit. Questions were posed: what is the money to be used for – no answer given. Why do we need this big expense. No logical answer given. Their AGM comes up soon and that’s when this issue will be voted on, for sure.
More proof of being stressed, I also got two appointments mixed up yesterday. Or may-be not as I didn’t go to see my financial Dragon Lady so I still have working fingers and legs.
Anybody want to buy a house? (semi-detached) downtown Ottawa within walking distance of the Market, New Edinburgh, Rockcliffe, and our Legion? As a bonus, I promise to be a very quiet neighbour. Rob, next door, has decided to retire from the military and head off down East to NS by the third week of May. His house is up for sale and he’ll be asking $324,000 or so. Downtown with parking – and me for a neighbour – sweet.
Fire/carbon-monoxide alarms came up. Apparently, Barrie brought in one a few years back to show-n-tell that didn’t even have a test button. If you have one of these, you might want to give it a toss. Jim told us that once you activate your alarm, it starts the 10-year count-down immediately. Always good info!
We were talking about our devices filling up and then Stan mentioned what happened with his old I-phone after I found that that you can’t just upgrade your memory stick on one of them. You have to buy a whole new phone at $100 or so to go to the next higher memory stick. Anyway, Stan hit a sweet spot when he needed to replace his old I-phone. Many occurrences occurred – such as the agent dropping an I-phone, no old I-phones available, the I-phone 32 wasn‘t in stock – and then Bingo, he got a new 64-gigger replacement. His only regret? It was white. The fix: he bought a case in black. (Which I think they swiped from Blackberry )
Barrie waxed eloquently about the weather in Florida these past few months. We all glazed over – not from boredom but with ideas of how to juggle two properties in January to March. Momma mia, after this eternal Winter, who wouldn’t. Snow, tonight, too. Sigh.
But, and there’s always a but – we should be rewarded by Sunday and Monday with double digits on the positive side of the thermometer. The weeds and skunks will love it!
Monday – my fingernails nearly gone! Spades will be in the ground next week. Man – OGC doesn’t fool around. When they say this is your start date – it happens. And Monday is the middle of April in their books. They have done the hiring, the planning, the re-planning with a different budget in mind. I met last week with the material management lady – Dave already met her at the Home Show –Jasmine is her name. We had a great time in looking at shower bases, flooring, bathroom vanities, laundry space, etc. Paint colours will be as boring as beige as you can get. The door hardware has been chosen as well as the hinges to match. I will have two pocket doors and have elected to have the cheapest possible. Hey, I live by myself – why would I want to have pocket doors shut? I can hardly wait to get to the sexy stuff – windows, the IT cabling and safety stuff.
Anybody picked up on the date, yet?
Gotta jump!

April Fools’ Day

Yay us!  By the time most of us headed out to our #462 Legion, the temps were a balmy -2 or -3.

We twinkle-toed into the Legion with huge smiles.  No more big mukluks and parkas – for today, anyway.  Phew.  How nice to be able to take out the trash just wearing ankle boots and a koolee-tuk!  But, and there is always a but, we aren’t out of the woods yet as I heard a mention of the oft-dreaded freezing rain for tomorrow.  Please let everyone be wrong on that.

The numbers are in and they are hot!  We hit 15 today.  Which meant a few more cars got some miles (or K’s) put on them.  And speaking of mileage, Bill the Eggman is now wearing another one.  Happy Birthday, Bill-lee.

The snow-birds are returning from Florida.  And for the most part, are glad to be so.  That dollar of ours certainly took a pounding.  On the other hand, the Bank of Canada prime rate is starting to stir up the property market again!

Spades-in-the-Ground.  I am already starting to go into high stress mode.  My neighbour is going to sell his side of the duplex which means our mutual property line is hard-up against each other.  I’ve asked him – at the prompting of OGC, what he plans to do with his deck.  I got a non-committal email back wishing me a good extension and how sick he is of Ottawa.  Do you all remember us speaking of so-n-so going through “culture shock” when we were at post?  He has it bad.  Only now they call it something else, I’m sure.  All of this to say, now I have to figure out a way to start to discuss the de-construction of his deck (which is rotting) so that I don’t have to rebuild it for him.  I would love to have some feed-back from you guys with positive phrasing I can put into my email to him.  Please take this as a big Help for Feedback!

I was making my coffee this am and while checking out the backyard, I saw little yellow flags attached to my 3-foot high weeds.  You know, those weeds I pulled up last year by hand until there wasn’t anything left but sand.  Well – these so-n-so’s are worse than cockroaches!  But, unlike cockroaches, they can serve a purpose.  However, all that being said – how wonderful it must be to just vault over a 3-foot fence and do your work.  I’m just a young little geezer-ette  but even my days of vaulting over a dust-ball are over.

Chuckie is getting younger every week.  I’m sure that his wife and family are the reason.  And Stan, of course.  Social stuff is so very very important.  Most of my male acquaintances wisely leave their social calendars to their wives and find themselves all the better for it.  Also, women are like bees – we tend to be happy in groups.  Just today on the bus, I complimented this older woman on her beautiful bright orange nail-polish.  And before you know it, we were like old pals because we live in the same ‘hood.

And speaking of old pals, NL is sparsely populated in some places.  Roly was mentioning that he had knocked up Mike and Pearl Yetman down in Florida.  And guess what, Bev knew them from when she was living in Gander.  North America continues to shrink!

My union duties continue to grow.  And I’m sure you say – why?  Or you’ll just skip this para.  Go ahead.  But back to the subject – the young kids are coming back – tres unhappy.  The stress of the job really isn’t worth it.  The impact on their families (witness Miami today and the grief of that poor family) is in-surmountable.  Every week one of us will say – we worked for the department at a good time.

We had another great member turn out today – Rodge the Dodge.  Of course, you will all remember him.  We didn’t really have a chance to speak apart from his comment on one of the sauces I’d brought in for us.  It was the maple-flavoured bourbon sauce.  He commented that it looked like a hip flask so I shall have to do some inventory taking next week!

Dr. Dee didn’t grace us with his presence today.  Methinks he is still lost somewhere within the Ottawa Home Show venue.  Oops, I nearly said at Lansdowne Park but it is the TD Place now.  Finally, we are starting to see the world as it really is – and we all knew this well before, too.  Those boundaries that you see on the map are just marks.  And I will leave it at that.

Barrie brought in his pal, Paul today.  It is always great to see new faces – mainly so that we can bore new people with our stories.  Ooops, did I say boring?  Not so – our stories are one-of-a-kind that perhaps will shock the pastor or mayor – but, damn, they are good stories.  Some of them might even be true.

Gotta jump!

March 25th

Today, Stan pulled a fast one on us. We saw a few new faces at the Legion – and one that has never attended our weekly gatherings and ramblings. Tom Miles was one of our attendees to pass on his news and to call Art and say “You’re late!”
The other fellow was the famous Mr. Contract himself. He kept us entertained when we all walked down memory lane. It was very interesting to hear the “other” side instead of the technical side of things. We had a lot of fun hearing about some of the antics that the “upper echelon” of our department got up to with their entertainment claims. You should hear the one about a lazy officer and the King of Norway’s protocol office. Well done, Ron Pearce, for sharing that bit of true history with us!
Btw, the job of Mr. Contract was to conduct audits of contracts that the department entered into. He gave courses over at the “school” where they conducted training for departmental employees. I attended one of his courses when they were trying to clerk-i-ze me. He ran a very tight ship.
I was out on a call on day to see Alice Power who ran the “civvie” training school. We shared a special bond given that she’s from Nfld and me from Labrador. As I was doing my thing, she broached the subject of combining the technical school with her’s . I told her that it really didn’t make sense as our attendee numbers would be very small in comparison to the fees of the teachers. Also, there was a small matter of, ah, sensitive “stuff”.
Okay – numbers. Drum-roll please! The fabulous fourteen met, ate, sipped, swapped stories, offered each other advice on our projects. Naturally, the conversations measured 19 to the dozen – the other two were out on smoke-break when I did the count. We were treated to George’s home-made fried chicken with fries. We were given a choice of white or dark meat, as well!! Very impressive and delicious.
Noel came over and presented our table with the April menu. It had the label of April $8 meals. We all took this a a good sign that we will still have a place to meet and eat for another 30 days. This led us all into the yak session of why should one slap 100K of a line of credit when they are zooming into debt. Ron said that this is happening all over with the Legions, Knights of Columbus, etc. When it comes right down to it – home entertainment is encroaching hugely on these organizations. Personally, I’m just too much of a lazy slob to leave my keyboard and go out to sit in a “bar” with a bunch of strangers. I’d rather walk, hit the gym, attend a union rally, or just sketch something beautiful.
I wanted to bring up the subject of doctors now having to comply with patients’ rights to have the services they request. So far, I keep hearing about the Pill or abortion. Now, I wonder why that is? I was listening to an interview with a Nova Scotian doctor and a CBC reporter this am on why should a doctor refuse to give a patient a referral/subscription for the requested action. Out comes the question “blah, blah, blah”; then comes the answer by the representative of the Christian doctors association of Canada. At the end of the interview, the new-sreporter does her recap and sums it up with another question. To which, Mr. God Doctor replies, Anna-Maria, I have already answered that question of yours. To get away from that bad taste in our collective mouths, some of the call-ins were very interesting. Such as – if they benefit from the public purse (ours), and they supply a service to us, why shouldn’t they supply a reference to, say, an accupuncturist or naturopath? Why should they spout off about their religious beliefs? Then, it all got muddy about they are professionals and etcetera, etcetera. What ever happened to Hippocratic “do not harm” oath? What about the cost to the public? I underwent months upon months of physio for my extreme tendenitis without relief. I was offered acupuncture and after the third treatment, I was cured for life. I will leave you to ponder that one which I’m sure you’ll be ahead of me lickety-spilt.
Spades-in-the-ground. Wow – things are really heating up. On Friday, OGC came in to do a walk-through. This means that they are doing an on-site inspection and then we hit a common area to go through the scope and work plan. We had a genteel duke-it-out over a few issues and that was Friday afternoon. Come Monday, I was careening through Merivale Road heading toward Hunt Club when I decided: this tummy needs some warm stuff before my next meeting with OGC. I got off at the stop and then toddled off – promptly had to stop and put up my hood! Which means it was really really cold. Thank God for that Canada Goose hood. (Again, this would not have been able without the help of Donna and Moe for that purchase.)
Hood up, off I went. “Hie ho, hie ho, it’s off to work I go, with a bucket and a pick, it’s off to work I go. Hie, ho, hie ho, hie, ho!, it’s off to work I go” (And that was the clean version for those of you that have never heard it.)
Smoley! I nearly blew away. And, hardly a telephone pole in sight to hug when the stronger gusts came in. So, defeated, I had to succumb to diving into a bus-stop and wait for one that would take me all of one – ONE! bus-stop before OGC - how disgraceful to have to this.
So, and there is always a “so”, I would like to propose that this summer we put out skeetter traps. But, don’t kill them. More later!
Gotta jump!

March 18th

Another cold one with strong winds blowing around.  No fun!  I can hardly wait to start putting away the winter gear. Including the ski goggles that we’ve needed with all the severe wind!  And I’m sure our pals down East are sick unto death of being dumped on with all that snow.  Incredible!  But, we will officially be into Spring on Friday.  Then, we can start to do some serious complaining

Today,  the extraordinary eight of us blew in the door.  The bartender, cook and the waiter always look happy to see us.  Our only complaint is that cookie gives us too much food. 

A man in Ottawa fell victim to the very strong winds yesterday.  A 400-lb structure blew down and according to the news, it hit him.  He wasn’t hurt very badly, thank God. 

I was waiting for the light to change yesterday at Rideau and King Edward.  Suddenly a huge gust (80K plus) roared down King Edward and then there was a huge bang above us!  A young mother and I rushed backward and we looked to see what it had been.  It was the traffic light.  It didn’t actually come down but I’m avoiding that corner from here on.

At the risk of boring you to death with true tales of the winds on King Edward, here’s one.  I was going to work early one blustery sunny morning, sporting Minnie the Mink.  She was in great form and it was getting hot inside that coat.  As you all know, the female ranch mink’s fur is thicker and once you get into the sun, the fur absorbs the sun and then, it gets pretty hot.  Anyway, just as I came over the rise, between 111 and 125 Sussex, the wind struck.  It was so strong that even when I literally fell into it, it wouldn’t allow me to tumble down.  It was a great giggle!

The 5-year mortgage rate just fell today.  Two of the big five have come on board – Bank of Montreal and the TD.  I wonder what will happen next.  The construction boom is starting to level off, according to the banks but I believe they are looking at single-family homes.  However, that’s not stopping a lot of us retirees from renos/extensions, etc., in getting things done to our places so we can live at home even longer.  I personally plan on staying here until I go out, boots first.

I went with a group to a “free” lunch by a retirement home so we could have a look around.  It was enormously hot in this place on Creighton Street.  We were fed bland chicken, bland vegetables but a decadent dessert.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit a suite because some old geezer had refused to pop off.  So much for that.

Go see the Northern Lights tonight!

Stan gave us a lesson today in how to get rid of body hair by light therapy.  He got tired of shaving his legs.

Gotta jump!

March 11th

We skipped, we jumped over puddles, we avoided the sliding of all that ice crashing down from roof-tops.  One poor man was walking down O’Conner street and was hit by a 100-kg slab of ice.  Thank God the man didn’t get killed!  Perhaps, the side-walks should be moved to the centre of the street – at least, you can see/hear the car that is going to nail you!

And – drumroll please!  The Dirty Dozen  arrived early, middlin’ and late.  No matter.  Cabbage rolls numbered three to a plate, along with either two scoops of mashed or fries.  The good news is no one passed out in their chairs by attempting to clean their plates.  One or two did and I almost did as Chuckie helped me out by eating three fries.  Three fries – ARG!

We were a quiet bunch today – but those around our table are starting to get very boisterous.  Must be those pickled eggs that they consumed.

Our bunch were concentrating more so on house concerns, taxes, Riffs and even a birthday!  Donnie Cole said that he’d written a blog on Korean Memories/Don Cole.  We’ll have to check that out.

The next Lime Lunch will be at Casey’s out on somewhere near Hunt Club, I think.  It will be Thursday next week.  I believe it is a burger joint but couldn’t tell you for sure. 

There’s an awful lot on my plate.  When my home phone rings, I never know which country is calling me, CS-wise.  Then there are the rallies to support the working dead.  Thank God, the weather is warmer now so we now longer have to freeze off our eyelashes!  S’molley – it was really/really cold on Feb.19!

We missed Stan today as he was off to see our teen-age retina specialist, I heard.  Also, m.i.a., was our Rant-God – Dave Smith.  Roly should be back on duty with us next Wednesday, we think, and then we will have Barrie back.

Asbestos – yes, it still exists.  I hope that the old Comcentre kitchen is now cleaned up.

Everyone is really great in snapping up the eggs and bringing in the egg cartons for Bill.  Bill is also trying hydroponics and I didn’t get a chance to ask him more about it today. 

For those of us enjoying our special arthritic conditions, a few years ago, I was introduced by a good pal into getting your feet done by a specialist.  They are called chiropodists, but you already knew that .  I went yesterday after putting it off for six weeks because it is very far from having a pedicure.  First, comes the alcohol treatment.  You’re swabbed from toenails to heels and even between your tootsies.  Then, in comes the specialist.  She turns on the machine to warm up while her clippers go snip, snip, snip.  Then, comes the drill with the drummel attachment to go over the tops of your toes.  Have you fainted yet?  By the time I can look, she has done something else with a tool I can’t identify and then, up you go.  She grabs you by the ankles and studies the bottoms of your feet, your toes and your heels.  Phew!  I passed without even studying and then she slaps on a special cream so your socks and sneakers will not run away from home.  And, no – it isn’t crazy glue.  And you get to send your claim into OHIP who picks up the 80%.  My next appointment is now only four weeks away – whahhh!

Last Sunday was a bit exciting in the ‘hood.  I hopped out of the house around 10 to get to a Sunday Brunch and scurried along with my head down watching for those ice ogres.  Then, I hit a yellow caution tape and scoped out what was happening.  Just a few blocks from my place, (Nelson/Clarence)  there had been some gang activity – drug whatever gone wrong, I guess, and the cops were in the midst of investigating.  Still slogging it out, the yellow tape continued up to Rideau and Nelson.  The Loblaws (24 hrs) had yellow tape, the pharmacy across the street was 100% blocked off, etc.

So, what does that have to do with our group?  A member of our group stated that they should move the Shepherds of Good Hope out to Orleans so that when Dan comes home too late, and Della has locked him out, at least he can sleep there.

Tax time is upon us.  Are we happy yet?  Not.

Our lassie, Bonnie Preston, will be playing at the Westboro Legion on St. Paddy’s Day.  I think we should go out and support her and perhaps, partake in some pretty awful green beer.  I will post her email after this.  I hope some of you will go – I don’t want to sit by myself!

I was scooting down the street the other day and saw a neighbour lovingly greeting his little kitten at the door.  I remember his house so well.  One beautiful fresh day, I saw a black cat, on a leash, engaging in a mortal-combat staring contest with a squirrel.  Sometimes, you have to watch.  That’s been burnt into my memory forever – just like all the others I’ve forgotten.

Gotta jump!


March 4th

First of all – my apologies for not posting this sooner.  I’ve been out of commission with some weird but very painful thing with my jaw.  My sleeping habits are all over the map but, but, my cussing is getting more up to snuff.  So here goes, kiddies!

Yes, we made it through another one.  And what a one it was – the worst winter on record for our neck of the woods.  But!, and there is always a but, the ice carvings didn’t suffer.  Personally, I found there were many less showings this year, which may  be a result of our past warm winters.  Also, there was a special exhibit for the little ones where they could contribute to a coloured work-in-progress.  That is marvellous.  Why should only the sedate and sober and serious of us enjoy this marvellous time of the year.

And so!  We skipped, we sloughed, and we found alternative routes over big puddles.  But – did we care?  Not.  However, Old Man Winter has taken quite a liking to our hospitality and we are becoming quite the curmudgeons about it all.  Be gone, be off and take your mufflers, mitts and toques with you!

The numbers are in and drum-roll please.  We numbered a lucky 13.  The beef stew was outstanding – so I heard.  I didn’t partake as eating was excruciatingly painful.  But, it sure look inviting with rich beef gravy and starch of choice.  Noel is making sure that we get butter and not margarine – much to Lou’s delight.

Many,many conversations were going on today.  And they were nineteen to the dozen going on. It must have something to do with the light levels or something.  No show and tell today – just our happy grinning faces, enduring the usual light-hearted insults, comments (mostly derogatory) and even a few compliments.

The subject of LED lighting came up, again.  And how many of us are converting over to the cheaper lighting.  That led me (no pun intended) to checking my empty containers and receipts for the ones I bought recently.  Mine are the ones from Loblaws, Sylvania Ultra 820 lumens.  They proclaim to be good for 25,000 hours but when you do the evil-eye squint, the fine print reads “based on 3 hours a day”. 

Yes, that will really work for us, based on our Southern winters when it is dark at 3:30 pm and dark until 7-ish am.  I don’t think our Northern neighbours would appreciate that with their very long winters.  How I remember enjoying our very short summers – being outside and skipping rope, kicking soccer balls until dark – usually around 11pm in August.  Our parents on the stoop, paying us no mind until sunset when we would all group and revel  in the stunning beauty that would last for nearly an hour.  At least, to us kids, it would seem that long.  We just wanted to watch TV – all of CBC – our only one channel.

What a hectic week!  I’ve been up at all hours of the week writing and responding to many emails of a union nature.  Since our second most hated PM announced Oct.19th as election day, like all of you, I’ve been trolling here and there to get a picture of where I should cast my voting favour.  Talk about angst!

Lou was late for lunch by ten minutes on Wednesday!  We kept watching the clock as he normally swoops in about 30 seconds to go before noon, so we were starting to get worried in case he had a break-down.  However, Princess Auto was to blame.  Again.

Our mayor – not our Bill – has taken a fall and has broken his pelvis.  Dear God in Heaven, how awful that must be.  To break anything at our venerable age is terrible!  Time to hit the gym, do some strength training and cardio.  We worked damn hard – financially – but we slugged it out and we deserve what is coming into the bank account.

Can you believe that it is already March!  Mind you, for me personally, that was the longest February  I’ve ever lived through.  Up North, you expect that you will just go into hibernation mode, wear 14 layers of socks, mitts and sweaters.  Here in Ottawa, it just yoyo’s.  I’ve only taken Mini the Mink out six times so far this winter, though, and that is three times more than last year.

So – are we smart-deviced out yet?  Our phones, our Fit-bits, our tablets, our wire-less what-evers, our security systems, our on-line buying, the countless account names and email accounts.  And that isn’t even taking into measure your ISP, your network access stuff!  This is getting nuts.

I called what I thought was the City of Ottawa tax office today to find out when I would get my final bill for 2014.  A very nice young lady called Tassimo or Keurig answered and she told me I had the wrong office – in the nicest sort of way.  That being said, I also found out some very interesting info.  I live in a duplex (side-by-side) in a very old area of Ottawa.  My house was built in 1927 in what used to be called St. Patrick Street until it became Ottawa Street.  Years later, it became Old St. Patrick Street.  I get a lot of history from my hairdresser who was born right beside my house.  Yes – Ottawa isn’t a big city and that’s what I love about it.  But – back to taxes.  I appealed my property bill to MPAC  over ten/twelve years ago.  They sent out an inspector and we had a grand old time of assessing things.  You might hear from people “never let these so-n-so’s in your house!”  That’s because these people did not do things properly and generally installed below-standard “up-grades” to their plumbing, windows, doors, roofing, etc.

Naturally, being a member of the “I am not stupid club” I had done the right thing and had gone through that exhausting process of obtaining permits, hiring the right contractors, you name it.  So, everything went swimmingly well.  As a result, my tax bill dropped by nearly $600 per annum back in 1995.  Just as an aside – your house is listed in what the city refers to “perfect condition” when you do not make any changes to those five basic conditions as referred to above.  Check into it.  I know our favourite pony-tail sort-a guy is going to.  Also, I would not personally buy a house in city-stated “perfect condition”.  All it means is that your property tax is sky-high.

By the way, you might want to check with your local MPAC office, to find out when your property tax appeal expires for 2015.  In my case, it is March 31, 2015.  Just weeks away! 

Well – all that being said, next week is going to be intense with everything ramping up for the extension.  I get to meet all the team at the house as they do a walk through.  Hell’s bells – I’ll be cleaning all week just to make this place almost presentable.  That’s on Thursday.  Then, come Friday, the 13th, at 13:00 H, I shall meet with the team to pick out my flooring, my lighting, everything.  Even my outside siding – so I shall need some advice on outside siding and hope you all can counsel me on this on Wednesday – plastic/aluminum?  I’ll be burning up the wires, as we used to say.

Man oh man, what a time we have had.  I always like to sign off on a light-hearted note.  Not so this year as I can’t find one – not even a single measly fish-bite.  So, I shall just have to tell you a true story.

In the mid-70’s, there were these three communicators sitting at the LBP cafeteria   Soon, they were joined by several others.  And,  then, more.  So they then occupied all three big tables just behind the cash. All of them, the men, were facing towards the cash.  I got my coffee, promptly walked over to the first table and said, “so, I don’t see the cards but what’s the score – ten, nine but dear God,  don’t tell me that I just scored an eight!” 

Gotta jump,


It is now 1 hour and 45 minutes  and the Rogers tech has just left.  I’m so glad that he came!  He looked aghast at the network wiring.  Rogers hasn’t been in the house for a few years.  (None of it has ever been my doing – I just wrestle with local printers and the occasional USB hub upstairs!) Upshot – my router is now gone, my network id and user pwd has been changed, a booster has been installed to speed up my TV, and a lot of extra cabling and a splitter has been taken out of the house.  I shall be keeping an eye on network speed in the next few days.  And,  for Stan – a special shout-out out for sound on the TV’s.  I thought it was quite the coincidence re TV’s as it was the first problem that the tech found out on my network.

Another tip from the Roger’s tech – unless you use Bluetooth on your smartphone, disable it as it really wears down your battery.  (He uses the Apple I-phone (like Lewis) and his wife is running the Blackberry Q5 (like me) as well.)

All of that being said, we Old Farts just had another successful lunch.  The spaghetti and meatballs went down a treat with the only complaint – too much sauce!  Noel is very generous with his servings even though the price of the meal was a mere eight dollars.  I opted for eggs and chips – the good old English stand-by.  He put three pieces of ham steak on my plate.  I got through the eggs and the ham, Chuckie helped out with eating a few fries and Stan wimped out on the fries department.  For shame, for sooth.  And then, I nearly passed out from the onslaught of protein and deliciousness!

And speaking of numbers, we clocked in at the Terrific ten, today.  Again, not too shabby given we are in prime vacation time.  Mr. Webb decided to grace us with his presence, sans pony-tail.  Also, Bill and Wendy are back in town after the brisk weather in Florida so keep those egg cartons coming in.

Are we all happy to be Canadians this year that live in the capital and there-abouts?  It’s been the coldest winter since 1875, 1945 or whoever says what.  Who cares!  It’s been too damn cold and it has been going on forever!  But, if you’re a skater on the canal, you are in your glee as this year the record has been recorded for the longest period that the canal has been open – 49 days so far.

Papers hit the table today regarding cable.  Stan and I were on the same wavelength but I forgot my Roger’s print-out for the cost of hybrid-fibe.  Which probably turned out to be a good thing as Jim told us his tale of woe/extreme annoyance with these rip-off artists.  I had been looking at my paper trail of Rogers bills and stamped my foot when the cost kept going up by a few dollars here and a few dollars there.  So – the upshot is that I called Rogers and this nice young lady Tammy (from Ottawa) delved into my account and saved me $60 plus – snap – just like that.  She said that she could apply this promo to my account and it would last for two years as I have been a customer for so long.  I think “grand-fathered” was a term.  Hey, boys and girls, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  And what does a phone query cost?  Nada.  Also, new promos come up every month – yes, each and every month.  So, I’ll be calling back the first week of March.  Shake, shake, shake;  shake, shake, shake, do the mambo…..or, whatever.  It’s better for that money to be back in your pocket.

Strikes have been avoided by Unifor and CNN/CPP.  I’m sure that a lot of railroad users feel a lot safer now as that was the biggest issue.

Tax season looms like a hungry and hypnotic snake.  Most of us have received our T4-s just yesterday and now we are waiting for the rest of them to arrive.  I am still waiting for the city to deliver a summary of my payments for 2014 and they are always late.  Given I’m off to meet with Dragon Lady, I’d like to drop off my tax papers at the same time so my accountant can get my refund into my hot greedy little paws (extension equals the damned line of credit) asap.  I’ll be running the numbers from my bank account just as soon as this blurb is posted.  George was mentioning that he used to do his father’s taxes and he remembers the T-4’s coming in.  Given I only have 1 bank account – and that is sorely used – my info will be easy to gather before Dragon Lady time!

Today, I had to take advantage of TechXpert, now free from Rogers as Tammy upgraded me to hybrid-fibe.  My bookmarks had disappeared and it turns out that Yahoo has been a bit naughty.  May-be I should clean up my emails as they are in the thousands.  I do try but ….

Ottawa has okay’d a new area of Ottawa – the DomTar plant will be turned into a multi-use area.  River -front properties, malls, etc.  It will cost a billion or so.  I’m so glad I bought my house those many many years ago.  I’ll bet those new home-owners in Lebreton Flats are counting their blessings.

Terry W. is going to take MPAC to the mattress!  Good for him.  I did this about fifteen years ago after they upped my taxes to some crazy amount.  If anyone is interested, you might want to investigate why your house is listed in “excellent” condition.  Excellent condition is City-tax speak for how to soak you to the inth degree.  For instance, there are several conditions that you can use to lower your house tax.  Here are a few that I used.  New windows?  Check.  Plumbing changes?  Check.   Door(s)?  Check.  Covered porches – in Ontario?  Check.  My taxes dropped by over a thousand per annum after a city tax collector came by for an inspection.  You will hear from a lot of people – don’t let these guys in your house!  Generally, that means that they start listing all of your up-grades.  As for me, I was too poor to do anything “luxury” and my house was just barely up to the building code of the day.

Party day – April First!!  Stan asked when we would be celebrating my extension and guess what!  Come and celebrate with us the most terrifying time of house-owning for anyone.  I can’t tell you what will be on the menu – our web-master will consult with the chief cook who will consult with the bartender after he has consulted with George after George has consulted the sous-chefs.  We keep our fingers way out of the way when it comes to the menu but I did meddle today.  My neck and other parts are on the line now!  All I can share with you is that George’s famous chicken will be on the table March 25th.  Remember that ad – “we haven’t had Shake-n-Bake in so long and then the little tyke gets to chunk down his chicken leg with gusto.  That’ll be us!

Gotta jump!


Feb. 18th

Finally, we got a break from the Iceman.  The wind-chill factor went from minus 25 this am to only minus 16 or so.  Yes, finally, time to break out of the cabin.

Again, we were a small group but managed to squeak into double digits – ten of us!  That’s not too bad for prime vacation time.

Today, the meal was quite hardy – pork schnitzel and we even had a choice of mash or fries.  And we were treated to salad, too.  Forks flew, conversation both stopped and started while we were trying to figure out what dressing we had been given.  We made a few guesses and came to the final consensus:  who cares.

We now have real butter for our buns.

We did some communal moaning and groaning about the new series that starts tonight on CBC regarding the X Company.  It’s a spy drama about Canadian recruits to a World War II espionage school that begins with new agents that all have special abilities.  It is purported that this is a true story and the school was in Southern Ontario.  I thought I heard Ilford, but am very likely wrong.  Anyway, according to Rogers , the pilot starts on CBNT (Rogers 124) at 8pm tonight.

And this comes out within a month or so of the airing of the Imitation Game.  I finally saw it yesterday and the acting was great!  I nearly cried at the end of the movie.

Global News is currently doing a Show-n-Tell on Global News, Rogers channel  119 “Noon News Hour/Tech Talk”.  “Get connected with Mike Agerbo” is another way to find it.  They are sort of like us except they have a nicer meeting place but the lighting would be way too bright and there wasn’t a beer  nor wine glass in sight!

Tomorrow is Lime Lunch day.  George has sent out a Facebook event invitation.  He is standing in for Barrie who is suffering from shorts-itis down in Florida.  I’m sure you will join me in sending our communal condolences to him and his travelling companions.

Well – speaking of lunch – I had my week all sewn up to go to the Lime Lunch.  Then, my other luncheon group sent me an invite to the restaurant “Home” on Elgin.  So I backed out of one in favour of the other  re location and guess what?  Then I got a notice of a protest rally tomorrow – also, downtown.  So, it serves me right, you might say.  But, being a type A personality, I’m going to attend both - the rally and lunch!  How does that song go again?  “These boots were made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do.” …… 

I brought this up at Old Farts today and was asked what happens if I get arrested.  No problem – I’ve got all of your phone numbers programmed into my Q5 Blackberry’s speed-dial.

Our group started discussing the disgusting practises of the banks given the drop in the Bank of Canada prime rate.  I am taking a special interest in this because I noticed at my line of credit recently dropped from 3% to 2.85%.  And that happened a few weeks back when the prime started dropping in line with the cost of a barrel of oil.  Naturally, when the prime dropped to 0.75%, the big banks are just sitting back and waiting to see who will jump first.  Why do I say this?  I went to my bank just last week when the wind-chill was only minus 22 and got a meeting with one of the bank advisors.  We didn’t get off to a right start as just as my bottom was in the inth proximity of the couch, he pounced and said “come into my office”.  Plus, he wore pointy-toed shoes that turned up.  All I had were two questions:  when are you going to go prime (their usual .75 plus one) and when will it affect my line of credit.  (And, and I didn’t even call him buster.)  Instead, he thought I was going to fulfill his ½ hour quota (to get paid) and was a bit put off when I zipped up my coat, picked up my granny shopping bag, and said – it’s time you guys got your act together because I will walk if I don’t get what I want.  That’s what I miss about not having a mortgage.  You could always play them off against each other.  That being said, I meet with my financial planner the 26th.  Because of the up-coming 3-floor extension, I’m sure she will have me flogged, deported and sent to my mother’s place in Labrador next November to March to do penance.

Oh – the mailperson has just left some love-letters in my postbox!  Phew – only the Rogers’ monthly bill this time.

Check out:  Sanko’s Super Upward-Looking Dozing Desk at  Ninety smackers, US., according to Movie Entertainment magazine.  And if you do get one, …. well, …..

We played the Memory Game again today.  We got it 80% correct and just as we finished chowing  down, a warm body from the past came over to say hello.  Just as I was thinking, gosh, he looks like Dennis Poulin who used to work in personnel under John McCann, that was him!  He looks just the same except grayer – just like us, or, most of us.  I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not grayer.  I just get browner and blonder every few months, thanks to my hairdresser.  And he loves it – keeps his condo fees affordable!

Okay, time to jump!

Stay warm, stay safe, and stay out of those measle-riddled places!


Feb. 11th

And here we go, again!

We had a small turn-out today but everyone was full of smiles and bon-homie.  Chuck showed up today – we hadn’t seen him since around Xmas.  Stan is back from his VIP trip to Kona.  That being said, there was a great buzz going on around the table!

Numbers – we made up the Nifty Nine, today.  The boys must be very busy with their honey-dew lists as the weather was cold but great.

And speaking of weather – what a winter!  Rarely do we stay in the deep-freeze for this long --- and the Atlantic provinces can’t seem to get away from all that snow.  The Weather Network showed those scary photos of the sidewalks in Moncton where the cars can’t see the pedestrians.  I really feel for the pedestrians as once that green light turns and cars go forward on the “right-on-a-red”, we’re just target practice.  I was nearly hit yesterday as I moved forward to cross Rideau/Dalhousie and so did a great big truck going Dalhousie/Rideau!  Wah – he got the hairy eyeball, for sure.

The Rideau Centre is playing with us.  Every time I go there, somebody has moved, shutdown or merely disappeared.  Good news: the dental office hasn’t moved and the big Sport’s store now has a sale’s place on the first floor where Warren’s house of britches used to be.  That was as of yesterday.

Well!  Today – two pieces of really great national news.  The prime has fallen to 0.75 due to the dropping of the price of oil.  On top of that, Walmart has announced their expansion nation-wide which will bring in more construction jobs, store-front jobs, etc.  Let’s hope that this kicks this who’s-it does some kick-starting to more full-time jobs.  Our kids and their kids need full-time jobs to be able to invest in our wonderful country.  Right now, I feel that we retirees are the ones that a buoying up a lot of the economy without being drawn into debt just to have a decent standard of living.

It’s surprising how much noise nine people can make in a small area.  Or, so it would seem.  There are two other tables and they kick up such a ruckus that we can’t hear each other so we start to bawl like sick cows.  Then they turn up the volume and because we see each other all that infrequently, we are not to be outdone. 

When I got there, Stan and Jim were deep into a discussion on something that I couldn’t hear whatsoever.  Donny Cole came in with Roly.  I caught that Don got a lift with his grandson Jim.  I also caught that Roly was trying to run them off the road because the driver was acting like some kind of a … I delicately describe it as a … ah, tourist.

To leap ahead, Lou showed us photos of a coffin that he and his neighbour have worked on and finished.  Dave had actually brought up the subject of the cost of cremation urns/boxes and how he made his own.  Then the camera was passed around, costs were compared, as were sizes, accommodation, storage and how to get this big thing in the back of a truck once you can move the body as apparently you don’t have to go through a funeral home to do so.

So, then, Lou told us that the guy and his wife live in a one-bedroom house so they store this big honking coffin down in the basement.  They lie it flat on the floor and the poker group are used to it now.  But – not the daughter – she refuses to sleep in the basement.  I don’t blame her.  Me – I’d be sleeping in with Mom. And Pop can go for a regular fitting down in the basement “box”.

Stan was showing off his I-phone.  And how he really has articles to consider for Serri.  Stan impressed us with Serri giving him his location via voice query to the phone.  Natch, he kept taking it to a higher level.  Like a real lady, she was tactful, thoughtful (read – takes a long time to answer certain questions), and we all of us had a hoot at her answers, including Stan, of course!

David Dr. Dee had a bit of an eye issue today.  Nope – not even a sign of a hairy eyeball.  But, once you have had such a problem, you don’t wait around given the direness of what could happen. 

However, on a lighter side, it goes to show how we think we are covered with cheese curds just because you slurped instead of chewing when diving into a bowl of poutine without a fork.  I think they call this face-plunking.  I could be wrong because I dive in, shower-cap in place, teeth chomping, gravy boats in both hands and just go for it.  By the time you come up for air, even your ear-holes are full of poutine.  Yes!!  Now, that’s love.

Cougars!  Average weight: what-ever.  Sightings:  Ottawa - watch-out!   The provincial government will say that they don’t exist and dismiss it to even being a house-cat.  Apparently – they can weigh around 125 pounds.  Wow – that’s a lot of cans of cat-food.  Or you at 98.6F.  Yum.  Carry a whip.

Coyotes.  Ottawa abounds with them apparently.  And they are without a kill quota, here.  Also, if you kill one and cash in on the pelt, each pelt is worth $100.  That is according to here in Ottawa.  Some of the local farmers figure they will average 20 or so this winter. 

I am without prejudice on this as I grew up in Labrador and we always killed what threatened our children, pets and animals.  I remember one afternoon encountering a full-grown lynx in my back-yard in Labrador.  We stared at each other – on my side, the beauty of this animal was nearly mesmerizing.  However, this is an animal that is hungry and then instinct took over.  I was taller but lighter.  My height was what I used, plus voice and stamping, and the lynx ran.  Unfortunately, the only weapon I had was a swath of grass.  Or, perhaps, not.  I’m not sure if this beautiful animal lived.  My father and his peers chased it – I never saw it’s pelt framed so I think it got away.

So – scrunching tires and cold handles.  Aren’t we lucky to be Canadians?  Where else in the world can you enjoy this experience and then scoot into such a luxurious place?  Recently, I donned some of my low class winter gear, entered Bectka, ate like a Queen, went over to the Park and revelled in the beauty of the carvings.  There is an astounding carving from the Far East but all of the carvings are amazing.  Bundle up you dweebs – time to go to Confederation Park.

Measles – yes, it’s the German Measles that keep re-occurring.  This blurb isn’t for advice but I can guarantee you this – call your technical pals and you’ll get a good earful!

Off to get some hot ooey gooey poutine! Going to get smothered, covered and ….well, gravied!  So be it.


Jan 21st

Another cold and snappy one!  No snowballs or snowmen.  But, the gorgeous blue and clean air and the smell of a wood fire – how can this get any better in our winter lives!? Ah – we finally get to wear our really cold-weather gear before the moths beat eat them out!  And did you know we are currently in an Ice-Age?  Contact Stan for more info.

Numbers:  we were only 11 today but everyone was going great guns with catch-up!  My ears don’t reach everywhere so I did miss a lot but just at our table there was a lot of cross-talk.  Barrie, you know.  Okay – you guys know I really am not being nasty – far from it.  We all love him – he’s so , ahh, Barrie.

Well, I certainly now know where I sit!  After shedding all those necessaries – sunglasses, earmuffs, hat, scarf, Canada Goose parka, etc, I got to lighten up by about a pound or so.  Right there, sitting in front of my usual chair, was a big picture of Harper and several glossy membership cards.  Harper’s picture was the size of a dinner placemat.  Nothing is without its uses – we then discussed the merits of men’s hairspray. On another change of subject,  I forgot to ask how much this cost for The Horrid Conservative Membership Sell-out kit.   Too bad I had to give it back before lunch was served – I am such a sloppy eater.

After next Wednesday, a couple or more chairs will be empty.  Winter holidays are upon them and various countries will happily be hosting them.  The only foreign travel that waves its hand at me is to the States via train but our dollar is just way too low to even think about it.

There seems to be a big run on the Mounties lately.  How sad for their families.

We just recently lost a DFAIT colleague, Ken Beach.  I never worked with him as a CM but encountered him in Baghdad as the MCO.  He came to my assistance by stepping  in between the acting/ambassador and myself when this FS thought he was god and I was his servant.  Ken practically threw the guy out of the corridor.  It had to do with access to my office and I wouldn’t let the “god” in. 

I’m sure that this has happened to a lot of us old CM’s in the past .  I remember when I was in Delhi – the senior CM had boarded a plane Canada-bound not 28 hours earlier when the RCMP showed up and demanded entry.  The tech was out at that time through no fault of his.  So, that left all 5’3” and 110 lbs of me to stand up to these two big strapping guys.  Plus, our dutch door had deadbolts.  “Ah, sorry, you’re not on the list.”  Strange how Mounties re-act to “no entry for you!”

I had the wonderful experience of working with Bud Wade (aka Shaky Bud) in Delhi.  He was shaky because he was hypo-glycemic  at the time.  I kept both cookies and cheese in my locker “inside” .  His wonderful wife, Joyce, made sure the goodies were always fresh.  We all became good friends and they were kind enough to treat me like one of the family so I practically lived at their place with their cook giving me milk and cookies all the time.  We single people so much appreciated being treated like that.  Well – to be picky, maybe not so much on the milk and cookies.

Well – someone has named what you and I would call just natural goodness and manners.  Hollywood now refers to it as “playing it forward”.  May-be they just discovered what we Canadians have been doing forever.

Show and tell:  Scored!!!  I brought in my two items – a D-Link USB 3 hub and a Sylvania LED 60-watt equivalent bulb.  As for the hub, I was told to check out the dollar store but I don’t think they are selling USB 3 yet.  And we are all such suckers for the latest and greatest.  The LED bulb brought on a discussion from Stan about how he has been whipping up ladders, changing hallway light fixtures and hardly saying a word about it.  Pssst – he got the new LED fixtures at Cost-something or another.  He even went one better by changing Mary’s overhead desk-light to LED.  On the other hand, our very own Dr. Dee spoke about Cree led lights.  Apparently, they have a sticky exterior and this seems to be the only ones with this property.  I wish my Sylvania leds had a sticky exterior, at $25 each you don’t want to drop one when screwing one in!  I was pretty nervous changing out two CFLs last night with these LEDs– that would be a big expensive smash.  Plus – question: do they go into the trash or are treated in a special way?  I’m sure that Moe the Finger has that answer.

Another mention:  Dave brought in a very exclusive inventory.  You might want to contact him directly for a copy – he is copying this original manuscript as we speak.  And then, we all started down that wonderful familiar path of “did you ever work on the …..”.  Hands went up, stories were swapped, more funny sitreps were traded, you name it.  Anybody miss breaking tells?  Not me, said I, the kat in the Hat.

What else?  Legion-wise – it’s still as butt-ugly as ever but it’s still ours!  Today, we had tablecloths And/And steak knives.  Steak knives.  An omen of tough meat, was one of the comments.  To give Noel his due, he does his best and no one can ask for better than that.  Plus, I love his mashed potatoes – especially when I hit a lumpy forkful.  Please sir, can I have some more?

Gotta jump!


January 7th

Unbelievable – we are 2015.  Please all, do not blink or else we will find ourselves in 2019. 

It was cold today – and for a Northern Canadian to say that it was cold, means that it was cold!  I’m a walker and when I have to move about, I take a bus.  I probably spend more time out in the open than necessary waiting for a bus so I can tell you, first-hand, when it is really cold.  Today was one.  The wind pummeled but I got far back into the famous Canada Goose hood.  Ha-ha to you, buster-brown wind!

True to form, we piled in – slowly at first and then the last few shunted in as the wind was picking up.  Fourteen of us!  We greeted each other with hand-shakes galore and much cheer.  A true Canadian cares nothing about temperatures – only until the heater in their car dies.  That’s when we walkers take over.  Especially in a Canada Goose – just don’t walk too fast or else you’ll die of heat.  However, Minnie the Mink still rocks when it comes to minus 40 weather.  She is lighter than my parka and with the sun shining, seek the shade!

Polar vortex be put to Hades!  It’s all across Canada while the Almanac  had  predicted a warm winter.  That’s how fast and unpredictable these weather systems are moving.  I remember my first year with the weather office quite well.  I was coming into work one day and the sky did not look right.  Not right, at all.  I rushed up to the chief forecaster and told him something was about to happen – something very bad.  Chief forecasters don’t like to be told things like that.  Sure enough - 20 minutes later – out came the major weather alert.  We had dropped over 35F degrees in one hour.  Oh – did I forget to mention that this was a SAC air-force base?  Goose Bay, to be precise.  The biggest refuelling base in the world in the early mid-40’s to 70’s.  I will leave the necessary  fuel and airplane temperature calculations to  your imagination.

We had a newcomer today – Mr. Sanderson.  He bit the bullet – wisely.  His retirement  been less than two weeks so it still feels like a short vacation for him.  No one at the table said anything about what he will feel like after six months.  That is a feeling like nothing in the world.

Stan, true to his word, did bring in a string of LED lights.  Ok, being an idiot, I would call them a rope of lights but I do muchly admire the rigging.  Lou puts up his lights in late autumn and keeps them up until around Easter.  It helps that he lives in la belle province – we Ontario church mice can’t afford that length of time.

Talking about new, I learned a new swearword today and can hardly wait to share it with you!  I told Roly and we fell onto the table laughing.  It’s mother-flipper.  Please giggle away – you are in good company.

What else apart from we missed our dear Chuckie.  This flu season is hitting us bad.  Just when you think you are over it, back it comes like a bad senator.

Hockey night – wow!  Junior World Series Gold.  Those young kids, on both sides, really blew us away.  And we thought the game with the US was physical.  I couldn’t believe the amount of pounding that was happening during the third period – I think the refs were too exhausted to be able to blow the whistle given how fast these guys were moving.  I told a few of the guys that I felt like an American – where’s the puck – I can’t see the puck.  What speed!  Wow.  By the end of the game, one of the Canadian teenie-bopper players had already picked up a contract for a cool mill.  Just think how much he will start to sell his game skates for.  My hat is off in honour of the Russians – I’m sure you join me in that.

I was boring Angel to death with all of this and we then spoke about the Bronze game.  The Slovaks.  Good on them!

I continued to bore her about the time I was in Prague on T.D. and went to a local hockey game.  Of course, in those days, everyone except you knew your next where-abouts.  Wow – I never knew the Czechs could play so well and we had premium seats, naturally.  I felt like a hockey scout!

Rodents of all kinds abound. Roly mentioned that he had caught his 8th mouse out in the shed so far.  Ron also mentioned that they’d attacked a bag of birdseed in his shed.  I was mentioning to Ron that I’d had a huge bat trying to steal my bathtub a few years back.  I kept hearing this noise coming from the bathroom upstairs – I thought it was my son having a hissy-hit – teenagers, you know.  He thought it was me having a hissy-fit – mothers, you know.  Well, after we ran into each other in the kitchen, we thought we’d check it out.  I nearly fainted when we saw this huge leathery bat skittering around in the bottom of the tub, and it was screeching something awful.  Back went the shower curtain, door shut and what next?!  Like all the very best-mannered of families, we pushed each other out of the way in our haste to get to the safety of the couch, armed ourselves with fly swatters and re-grouped.  We forgot all logic of calling a pesk control number.  We made our own bat-kit.  A big heavy duty bag with handles, and the biggest bath towel possible.  Pretty smart, huh?  We opened the front door, secured the screen door to fully-opened, rushed into the bathroom, threw the towel over this huge bat.  In went the bat and the towel into the bag.  The bat went into 5-alarm with clawing and even more screaming.  My son rushed down the stairs and threw the bag out of the door.  The bat came out of that bag like it’s tail was on fire.  It was in Feb but off it soared into the night.  Only then did it hit us – bats bite.

I carefully disinfected the tub the next day and then had a leisurely shower.  Just as I was drying off, I realized my son had changed my towel.  It was the bat towel! 

Ah, isn’t this what family memories are all about.

ice snakes are everywhere these days!  There used to be a time when they would awe us. And  never scare us.  Remember as a kid when nothing was better than a snow day – or even just a recess.  As a kid, you’d get so hot running and making snowballs, that your hands would melt the snow before the snowball was done.  And then you would lose the war!  Remember the days when you’d have the Catholic school and the Protestant schools – at the risk of raising issues.  Anyway – one of the schools was up the hill and we would have to engage in the daily snowball fight under the barrage from the other school.  We would sortie, we could fortify our snow-hills, snowballs would fly and we’d skitter home before dinner-time. And God Help you if you got home late!  That would be more shovelling – thank God I didn’t live on a farm.

Oops, before I forget – for you all that didn’t attend missed out on a wonderful exercise to exercise your jaws when it came to chowing down.  Man, we needed some extra choppers today.

No one finished their meal except Stan.  He took one for the whole team.

Gotta bounce



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