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.

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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.

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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.”

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And you thought we just exported wheat 🙂

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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 …

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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.

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Care

Some days, the news racing across our screens is all bad and the world seems a dark place. Depressing, scary even, but what can we do?

Caught up in the busyness that is our lives, carrying around our own bag of problems, what can any of us do?

Maybe …

Something simple, something small, some one thing that makes a difference to one person.

Hanna Hoswell and Kate Hanafy, paramedics with the Queensland Ambulance Service in Australia, thought to do that one thing that would made a difference to Ron McCartney.

After fighting a seventeen year battle against prostate cancer, Ron was heading back to the hospital for the last time. Hanna and Kate, when told that Ron hadn’t been able to eat anything for two days asked him if he could eat anything right then, what would it be?

His answer: A Caramel Sundae.

En route to the hospital, the paramedics stopped at a McDonald’s and got Ron his sundae.

Ron (2)Picture courtesy of Danielle Smith/Facebook

A small thing, a caring thing —

That sundae was the last thing Ron ate before he passed away.

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Home Away From Home

When you’ve seen enough museums, castles, and churches. When your feet are killing you and you can’t access Google Maps because the battery on your phone has died. When the clouds open up and you left your umbrella in the hotel…

Tourist Overload.

The cure?

Something familiar. Some place that’s just like home.

Don’t think I don’t see the irony here.

We pack our bags and hit the road because we want to see new, different, other — and then all we want is the same old, same old.

Why?

Because being a stranger in a strange land is exhausting. Also interesting, exciting, and amazing, but it fries the brain.

For most North Americans, that little bit of home is a Starbucks or if we’re really desperate a McDonald’s. For Canadians though, nothing says home like Tim’s.

In Belfast, a block or two away from their incredibly beautiful city hall … could it be? Nah. No way, not here.

But, yes. There it was, as Canadian as the Maple Leaf — Tim Hortons in Northern Ireland.

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Did I go in?

Two words for you — French Vanilla 🙂

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Welcome Home

No one says Welcome Home anymore.

In my house, I’m lucky if anyone turns away from the TV for a whole two seconds and tosses a Hi in my direction. No one actually gets up and comes to the door. Basically, I got more enthusiastic welcomes from the dog, but he’s moved out.

Banners say Welcome Home, but unless you’ve been stuck in the hospital for a month or carried a gun somewhere overseas don’t expect anyone to string one up for you anytime soon.

Has this lack of an anachronistic pleasantry darkened my days and ruined my nights? No. I never even thought about it, much less rued its absence, until…

On my way home recently, I asked Google to talk me through the traffic and ever-present construction. Eventually, I pulled into my driveway. My phone said…

Welcome Home.

LOL, literally. Huge smile on my face.

I considered driving around the block just to come back and hear that automated welcome again because—seriously cute.

Who needs people when your phone likes you?  🙂

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