First Snow

Remember when piles of white stuff on the ground made you smile, back before snow became a four-letter word?  Before the frozen crystals meant winter tires, and icy streets, and double the commute home.

Remember snow angels, and winter forts, and snowball fights?

Most of us growing up in the Great White North don’t remember our first snowfall because snow just is. A part of life, it arrives every year whether you want it to or not.

Newcomers to Canada though, aren’t so blasé about the white stuff.
first snow

These two children, newly arrived from a refugee camp in Sudan, couldn’t be happier with the fat flakes falling out of the sky.

Watching them, I can almost … almost be happy about winter 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

 

Advertisements

Impulse Buys

Ads pop up on my laptop, emails scream sale price at me, and Amazon and I have a one-click-to-buy relationship. Shopping 24/7, the ultimate consumer dream, brought to you by the good folks at the internet.

I’m ancient enough to remember how excited we all were when stores were first allowed to open on Sundays, but now…

Who needs store hours when you can buy stuff while sitting in your bathtub?

Most of the time, I’m good at reigning in the impulse buying. I don’t order from the Shopping Network, I ignore the ads for creams that claim to be better than face-lifts, and I consider things like currency exchange, custom fees, and delivery charges before pulling out my credit card.

Usually.

There have been times though…

There are two red-velvet covered 1907 theatre seats from the Royal Alexandra Theatre  sitting in my basement gathering dust because I read an email at 5 A.M. after a sleepless night. I thought they’d look great in my living room. They don’t.

Which is not to say that all online purchases are a mistake…

Two years ago, when he was 12 years old, Louis Bilodeau bought a flock of sheep on Kijiji.

Now at 14, he’s a sheep farmer, a high school student, and the lamb supplier to a Montreal restaurant.

He even has a dish named in his honour, Méchoui fumé de Louis.

Obviously, Louis is a smarter shopper than I am 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

True story: A while back there was an entry on my Visa bill I didn’t recognize. Wracked my brain. Nothing. I couldn’t think of what this charge could be — Queen? Not any store I’d ever heard of.

I called Visa and was asked if perhaps I’d purchased concert tickets … Colour me embarrassed.

I had bought tickets — to see Adam Lambert. Okay, yes, I vaguely remembered he was bringing some people called Queen with him, but who knew the concert was actually titled Queen + Adam Lambert?

Everyone 🙂

I’m not a rock band enthusiast, but you probably figured that out by now 🙂

I have never once bought any song Queen ever recorded, but that changed today.

Why?

I saw Bohemian Rhapsody — Twice.

Aimer at Amazon

 

 

Hockey, Eh?

You’re thinking the NHL,  or the local arena where you drink coffee early on a Saturday morning while your kids race after the puck.

Uh, yeah, but I’m thinking Kenya.

As in the Kenya Ice Lions. You know the guys from Africa? The ones who taught themselves to skate on the only ice in the whole country. The guys who don’t have a goalie or anyone to play against.

Well, we can’t have that. Can we, Canada?

No, we can’t.

So Tim Hortons did something about it. They flew the twelve member Kenya Ice Lions to Toronto to play a friendly game against the Mississauga Firefighters.

Kenya 1

Two Canadian NHL players, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, showed up to help out.

And they weren’t the only ones who wanted to help the Ice Lions get a game in. Gary Mercer, the owner of a Toronto trucking company, pulled friends and family together, found a goalie (his son) for the Ice Lions, a rink in Etobicoke, and a referee.

As Gary says, “We take it for granted here, that you can grab a stick, find some ice, and play a game, but that’s not the always the case in other countries.”

True, and enough to make any Canadian weep.

Benard Azegere, Captain of the Ice Lions, is dreaming big. With the help of a Tim Hortons donation to fund a youth hockey league and new equipment from CCM, he’s thinking Olympics. “It may not happen this year, next year, but trust me, one day, … Kenya will play in the Olympics.”

hockey 2

And you thought we just exported wheat 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

None So Blind

I love it here in Canada, wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Yes, the winter is crap unless you’re one of those coordinated types who like to slalom down mountains or fly over the ice, but hey — central heating 🙂

I like that we’ve had same-sex marriage for 13 years, medically assisted dying (euthanasia) since 2016, and have now legalized recreational marijuana.

I’m incredibly grateful that I live here — but then, I’m not one of the First Peoples.

We have consistently and systematically mistreated and abused the First Peoples of this country for most of our 151 year history.

Out of all the wrong we have done, to my mind, the worst has been stealing their children and forcing them into Residential Schools. We forced these children to abandon their culture and heritage, forbade them to speak their own language or practice their own religion, abused them physically and sexually. We did this for more than a hundred years.

But we know better now, right? We don’t still believe one race, or religion, or culture is magically right and all the others are wrong.

We do know better, but racism is alive and well in this country for many minorities and for First Peoples especially. Ask Katrina Anderson of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. Her daughter, Candace came home from school and found a letter in their condo mailbox telling her family to go back to the reservation where they belong.

first peoples 2

None so deaf as those who will not hear.
None so blind as those who will not see.
Matthew Henry

Aimer at Amazon

What Do You See?

I see nature winning,
And man failing.

I see a world suffice unto itself.
Oceans and plants and crawling things
All of whom
Would be better off without us.

I see humanity,
That puffed-up peacock of the animal world,
Building monuments to nothing
But our own vanity.

I see blue skies and green trees
Towering mountains and vast seas
And humans too stupid to
Appreciate any of it.

I see nature winning,
And man failing.

20180806_071340 (2)
Defunct stone fountain, Guernsey.

Aimer at Amazon

Standing Guard

There’s a line in our national anthem…

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

To my mind, those words aren’t about protecting our borders — they’re about protecting each other.

We are Canada.

All of us.

Unfortunately, we here in Ontario have been caught asleep at our posts. The conservative provincial government has rolled back sex education to where it stood in 1998.

They scrapped the sex ed program the liberals put in place in 2015 because apparently,  our kids don’t have to learn about consent, same-sex relationships, gender identity, online bullying or sexting.

Did I mention masturbation? 

No? Neither does Doug Ford’s 1998 retro program.

British Columbia, marching to the beat of different drummer, stands on guard for all its students.

Unlike Ontario, B.C. is not trying to turn the clock backward.  In 2016, they instituted SOGI — sexual orientation and gender identity program — with the goal of helping LGBTQ students and ending bullying based on gender identity.

Is the B.C. government getting flak from some parents and religious groups arguing that SOGI is “sexualizing our kids” and “telling them they are gender fluid”? Yes.

There were dueling rallies on the lawn of the legislature this past September, groups for and against SOGI shouting over each other.

Is the government backing down? No.

The province is committed to ensuring that every school is a safe space for all children.

The license plate says it all — Beautiful British Columbia.

Gay Pride In Canada Concept Image - Gay Pride Rainbow Flag And T

Aimer at Amazon

 

 

Words Wound

There was a childhood rhyme that used to be bandied about …

Sticks and stones may break my bones, But words will never harm me.

You don’t hear it much anymore, because we know better. Words can and do harm us. Ask any kid being bullied in the schoolyard or on the internet.

Hate speech is a crime for a reason.

Words are powerful. Has there been a revolution ever that didn’t start with words?

Words are tricky. Not only do their meanings change over time, but context and tone come in to play too. Who uses a particular word, and how they use it, makes a difference.

How then do we judge which words are dangerous? Off the top of my head …

Think — less than. 

Any word, or group of words, that label a particular subsection of humanity as less than — those are the words that should never be heard.

I apologize for the preachy tone of this post, but …

I heard a man speak Thursday night, a Holocaust survivor. He ended his presentation by saying:

It starts with words …

Aimer at Amazon

 

 

 

 

Escape Games

An hour of entertainment or a humbling trip into inadequacy?

Hmmm …

It depends entirely on whether you and your trusty companions manage to escape before the clock ticks down to — you lose.  And BTW, you’re a moron.

Nice, right?

FYI, this is not a game to play with your spouse/partner/anyone you intend to get naked with.

Why not?

Have you ever tried sticking your arm through a hole in a wall and, using a handheld mirror to reflect back the contents of the room on the other side of the wall, find a green button?

That’s the easy part.

The hard part is describing the location of said button to your husband, so that he can stick his arm through an opening cut into a door and hit the button only you can see.

Take it from one who knows, don’t do it.

Apparently, to some people, not naming any names here, the instruction move straight ahead is ambiguous.

We’re not even going to get into the bit where I was too short to see some of the clues and too clueless to get most of the ones I did see.

Considering my abysmal performance, you’d be justified in assuming I won’t be swiping my credit card at one of these escape rooms ever again.

Wrong.

I remain uncowed and unconvinced. I refuse to believe I can’t figure out how to escape … eventually.

Aimer at Amazon

 

 

Caveat Emptor

Buyer Beware

Is it just me, or does there seem to be more to be wary of these days?

Scams and schemes abound, from the automated phone calls that threaten you with Revenue Canada if you don’t contact them to the truly horrific bogus kidnapping messages that claim they have your children.

And then there’s the people promising to change your life if you only hand over your wallet.

Case in point, recently I’ve been approached by companies offering to promote one of my books. Sounds good, right?

“You’re book has been recommended to us by …”
“We will flog your book on social media daily …”

I don’t know how much money these companies want because I hang up on them before they get to that point. Am I skeptical?

Hmmm… Am I breathing?

The first solicitor didn’t even know the title of my book. The second one sent me an email that could have used a grammar check.

Hmmm…

One caller said his company was based out of Las Vegas. Really?

So many books out there, so many that never get seen let alone read. Every indie author knows this — so do the companies offering to help you.

Caveat Emptor

Aimer at Amazon