Monday, August 31, 2009

Ollie and Me: He’s a laundry basketful of fun - but heavy

Ollie popped into my office today and stayed and stayed, then put me to work.

After knocking over towers of empty film canisters for 15 minutes (“Pile them up again. Pile them up again. Again. Again...”) he climbed happily onto my lap to watch the Ollie file on my computer, dozens of photos old and new.

I enjoyed the peaceful reprieve more than he enjoyed the random pics that floated across the screen.

["A basketful of Ollie - Dec. 2008": photo by GAH]

But as soon as he saw shots of himself inside my laundry basket, I was put back to work.

“Empty the basket,” he said. “Carry me.”

And around and around the house we went, he in charge of the spaceship, me in charge of keeping him aloft.

Thankfully, Nanna saved me from one hundred trips around the galaxy by distracting him with a reading of Bialosky’s Christmas.

["Read it again. Again.": today's photo by GAH]

Actually, they’re now on the third reading.

If I could bottle his enthusiasm I’d make a million bucks.


The Suicidal Planet: The Muskoka cottage leaves a large footprint

The following is from a recently purchased book:

“In 1993, Al Gore, then American Vice President, observed that our civilization is in denial about its addiction to the consumption of the planet’s nonrenewable resources bringing us to the brink of catastrophe. In emphasizing the need for development of a strategic environmental initiative, he wrote: “Only the radical rethinking of our relationship with nature can save the earth’s ecology for future generations.” [pg. 2, The Suicidal Planet]

While in Bracebridge for the weekend, my brother-in-law told me how many small cottagers are leaving the nearby lakes because they can’t afford the growing taxes.

Small, old cottages are then bulldozed to the ground to make make room for much larger models, pushing assessments higher still.

“Sometimes they’re 3 - 4,000 sq. ft. just for two people. This kind of stupid development can’t last forever,” he said.

I hope not, I thought. There won’t be any nature left to show the grandkids.


Family Reunion: I stood tall in a room full of short people

One thing I liked about the past weekend’s family reunion in Bracebridge - I looked tall when standing alongside my family members.

Another; there was only one kind of potato salad, evidence we can still get creative as we age. But that’s another story.

At 5 ft., 5.5 in. tall, I towered over everyone (relatively speaking) but my younger brother, who took after Grandpa Catton and not the dwarfish side of our family.

I’ve always liked reunions and will attend as many as possible until I can no longer make the drive north. Maybe my oldest son would drive me then; he’s pretty short; he might like the mental boost.


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Suicidal Planet: Looks like it will hit many bases

I usually can’t get out of Chapters for under 20 bucks.

I like travelogues (via motorcycle please) and Long Way Down caught my eye recently. I read it while riding my recumbent exercise bike and I’m now in the middle of Africa with Ewan and Charley and in better shape for hockey, to boot.

I like books about nature’s conflict with mankind and picked up The Suicidal Planet at the same time.

So far, it has hit familiar bases, but promises more.

“The greenhouse gases we have been emitting - mainly carbon dioxide from our energy use - will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, in turn causing changes for millennia as the earth slowly reacts. Future generations will bear the heaviest burden for the present generation’s irresponsibility. Time is of the essence. Every year that goes by without an appropriate response reduces the chances of averting an ecological Armageddon and makes the changes required by current and future inhabitants of the planet an increasingly uphill struggle.”

When I was 14 my biggest worry was whether I could impress my oldest sister’s girlfriends or not by wearing a new t-shirt.

My grandson, age 3 in December, will have much different and greater concerns, because, we are slow to act.


My Lucky Day: Dodged a snausage bullet aimed at my heart

Is this happening more often to you as you age?

(I hit the big 6 - 0 in 3 weeks, so age is on my mind a lot more than usual).

I was staring silently into the bathroom mirror this morning, wondering (Do I still have it? Have what? You know, what I used to have? What did you have?), when my wife poked her head around the corner and said, “I’m going to pick up breakfast. Would you like hot cakes and sausages?”

Hot cakes and snausages? I thought. Maybe just hot cakes is enough. Snausages aren’t real meat. Some young punk just sweeps stuff off a barn floor and throws it into the snausage bin. His motto - don’t throw anything out.

["My first mad encounter with mystery meat in a can"]

Before 8 a.m., a problem like that will take me 20 - 30 minutes to resolve.

Eventually I said, “Just hot cakes.”

But before she left the house I said, “OK, I’ll have the snausages, just this once.”

Then I changed my mind, then back then forth. Final word - yes to the snausage.

When I heard the car pull back into the laneway 10 minutes later I tasted snausages in the air and they didn’t taste bad at all. Extra syrup was playing with my mind.

But I discovered, as soon as I removed the foam top to my breakfast, there were no snausages. The girl at the drive through had made an error. But hadn’t charged us for any snausages, however, so I immediately forgave her.

So did my heart. We’d dodged another bullet.


OK, about the introductory question? It could refer to several things.

Take your pick.

Are you eating more fast food? Wondering if you still have it? Having a harder time deciding re the snausages (I call it the mystery meat factor)? Can’t make up your mind easily, especially before 8 a.m.?


Is Downtown London going too upscale?

At The Renaissance, one of Deforest City’s newest downtown apartment complexes, prices start at $1,000 per month, for 618 sq. ft. (The Monaco, a bit smaller than the actual city after which it was named), parking not included.

Other units range from $1,250 - 1,500, for 800 - 1,172 sq. ft. Is that pricey. My mortgage is paid off so it felt that way to me.

I have to admit, units are moving, and the ones I toured (15 - 30 seconds each, saw it all) had lovely views of treetops that hide The Village, my current home, and of the downtown... which is likely what you want when you live downtown.

I was confused by the sign on the toilet. I use the balcony to do what?

["I use the balcony?": photos by GAH]

Downtown too expensive? What do you think?


Last time I paid rent - $150 per month, for a house in Old North.

Next column tells the tale.

Current column here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hit Single: Our Love Will Last a Long, Long Time

I’m just getting started really...

Here’s verse one and the chorus. What do you think?

Our Love Will Last a Long, Long Time

1. My wife said,
Our love has lasted a long, long time.
I said, it seems longer to me.
She fired right back with
You’ve got one more chance
To say something romantic to me.


So I said... my love will last longer
Than green Tupperware
And the curlers you got in your hair.
It will sure out last
All of our frozen food
In the freezer at the foot of the stair.

No really - the only thing that might last longer than our love is the elastic in men’s underwear.


Any changes needed so far?

See more hit singles and prose at my other extremely popular blog.


It Strikes Me Funny: I could live downtown but could I afford it?

I know I could live in downtown London and enjoy almost every bit of it because I’ve already done it - though years ago.

[Click here to read recent column re my two years downtown.]

The only problem is - could I come up with the bags of cash needed to either get the kind of house I have in The Village, complete with lovely workshop (formerly an attached, dirt floor garage), 360 sq. ft. back deck (I could go smaller), and 1,000 sq. ft. backyard, or an apartment with quick and easy access to work and green space?

I’d have to have a workshop. I’m not into movies, sitting in a pub and sipping Labatt 50 on a regular basis or window shopping. I’d rather spend my time making a birdhouse or Rietveld crate chair for the backyard or deck.

My wife would have to have room to putter. She’s world class.

So, truth be told, the kind of place we’re looking for might not exist close to the historic core, and that’s where I’d like to be.

Right now, I’m a 15 minute walk from the JLC. I don’t think I can beat that.


Can you?


Mini-protest at Highland Country Club enters Day 3

It really doesn’t take much time and energy to mount an effective protest.

(The word ‘effective’ has several meanings, as you may know!)

First, you need some basic supplies.

Second, you need to find a worthy target. Highland Country Club, perched on grand property south of Commissioners at Wortley Rd. will do just fine.

With a deal that allows it to pay only 60 per cent of its annual taxes and a Club President that says ‘the tax issue has been put to rest’, I think it’s the perfect place to pound in my huge sign.

One club member says they’re all just a bunch of ordinary folks, true advocates for the city.

Yeh, I’ll believe that when pigs can fly.


Raise your hand if you believe Corvettes, Mustangs, $12,000 initiation fee and $5,000 annual dues are an ordinary part of your budget.

Should Highland pay 100 % of their taxes, now that times have changed and they’ve somehow managed to get their feet on the ground?


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mind yer cuss words: Miss Manners is p----d

You probably caught this earlier and had a good laugh.

You likely needed it too, what with all the cuss words flying around these days.

A woman expressed her concern about such matters in a letter to the editor in this morning’s London Free Press when she wrote:

“...Roger Caranci does not seem to be capable of using a word more suitable for public comment other than “p----d” to describe his frustration with the problems in east London.”

(I missed Roger’s comment. He was likely more than ‘peeved’ ).

The writer continued:

“And shame on The London Free Press for reprinting the comment without editing the word out. Try setting a good example, everyone.”

The writer’s name - Nancy Manners.

I tip my hat to appropriate language at all times - and suitable last names.


Highland Country Club has one vocal supporter of unfair tax deal

Grant Doty, in a letter to the editor of the London Free Press, said the following:

“I’m happy to tell Barber (city councillor) that my morals (or principles with respect to right or wrong conduct) are fine as I am adhering to the policies and agreements established by the city with Highland over 45 years ago.”

Good for you, Grant. Go get ‘em.

Standing up for Highland Country Club is your right.

["I'll stand by my sign": photo by GAH]

But you miss the main point.

The deal smells (an exclusive club pays only 60 per cent of its taxes yet can afford a $3.5 million overhaul) and is totally unfair to every citizen and sports facility who does not get the same deal in this happy town I love to call Deforest City.

I have no doubt that members of the country club are as Grant describes, “respectful, responsible, hard-working and advocates for the city.”

["Do some golfers have a deep-rooted sense of entitlement?"]

But how quickly will Grant and his golfing pals advocate for a fair tax structure, where everyone is treated equally, and is expected to pay their share - even those who can afford a $12,000 upfront membership fee and $5,000 annual dues?

Adhere all you want, Grant. Just know the deal the deal is totally unfair, except to the members of your exclusive club.


Time to make my signs for my mini-protest, Day 3.


More people are saving money, dumping cookies at the store

The story here is - shoppers are still shopping, but they’re reducing their spending and leaving more purchases behind than ever before.

(In my opinion, that’s a very good thing).

“They're leaving sweaters in the dress department, dumping cookies near the grocery cashier and waiting until the last minute to weigh wants versus needs. Online, shoppers are abandoning their virtual carts as they search for better deals.”

[Click here for full story]

“Hard numbers are difficult to come by, but Burt P. Flickinger III, a retail consultant, estimates that in 25 percent of shoppers' trips to the store, they're ditching at least one item. In the recession of the early 1990s, it was 15 to 20 percent. In good times, it's more like 10 percent.”

["Spend wisely, live small and prosper"]

Maybe money is tight in more homes. Maybe more people are looking at stuff in their hands and thinking, I don’t really need this. Maybe we’re realizing material goods last for days, even minutes, but debt lasts forever.

Whatever the case, I was cheered by the article. More people are reducing their spending and moving closer to the lifestyle they can actually afford.

Keep up the good work. folks.


Have you cut back on spending? On particular items?

What have you gained?


Duct Tape: For ducts and blue boxes, not ducks and tailpipes

As a True Canadian, one who sings the national anthem at all sporting events (even curling) and plays hockey with a sweet mixture of grace and aggression, I always have 3M duct tape on hand for minor and major repairs.

This morning I used red duct tape to strengthen the battered corners of my blue box, minutes after a young man in coveralls winged it over his left shoulder and bounced it off a telephone pole before it landed on my lawn.

See how nicely it matches the porch broom. If there’s one thing I like - it’s colour co-ordination.

Those who have been going through life thinking the stickiest, most versatile tape in the world is called duck tape, please take note.

["Versatile - make your own wallet": photos by GAH]

On the inside of the roll are the following words:

Duct Tape. Warning - Do not use on flues, chimneys, mufflers or tailpipes. Not to be confused with duck tape, an inferior product sold only in the seediest of stores.


Have you used duct tape for a quick fix?

Tell me what you fixed.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mini - protest at Highland Country Club: Day 2 - exclusive photos

1963 was a very good year for the exclusive Highland Country Club in London, Ontario.

While I ran around in dark-rimmed glasses, polyester pants and white sneakers trying to impress my oldest sister’s best friends, Club President C.P. Haskett (his initials seem to indicate he was destined for the role) inked a deal with City Hall to pay only 60 per cent of the club’s property taxes in perpetuity.

["C.P. Bennett inked a great deal, eh?: photos by GAH]

Def’n - in perpetuity - until we all push up daisies, even longer maybe

Not a bad move for old C.P., eh?

["I want to land a Highland deal"]

I sure would like to have a deal like that for my private property, for even 20 or 30 years. I bet you would too.

["My bicycle could get used to the Highland life!"]

Do other private clubs receive such a benefit? If not, why not?

Because they never asked?

["Mini-protest hits its stride - Day 2"]

Maybe all any of us has to do is ask.

I think I will.


What’s the number for City Hall?

Can anyone help me reach the Mayor?


Something smells bad at the exclusive Highland Country Club

I visited the club yesterday, parked my motorcycle in the Men’s Champion parking spot and wandered into he admin offices with an important delivery - a request for information.

I wanted to collect information about the Club’s 1963 tax deal with City Hall.

["Mini-protest hits the Highlands": photo by GAH]

The Club deferred (i.e. we’ll never see it) $158,000 this year alone, for a total of $2.4 million so far. So far! Next year they win the lottery again. The year after that, they win the lottery again.

So I ever so politely asked for the names of Board members and minutes from Board meetings from that year - and what kind of knife they use to cut the crusts off their bread for their annual banquet.

Serrated or butcher?

I’m sure Club president Ellen Kerr will happily comply with my homemade request for information form.

While waiting I’ll continue to quietly protest by placing my huge placards on the boulevard near the entrance to the club. Or little ones - Bristol board is so expensive these days.

[Link to article in recent London Free Press]

Though Kerr said in a recent newsletter that “the tax issue has been put to rest. We have no plans to revisit this arrangement,” I bet she’ll change her tune momentarily, to help remove the smell from the Highlands.

Maybe it's those sandwiches.


Should I hold my breath?

Will the club just ignore me, like they ignore common decency?


Life in the fast lane shouldn’t come in the can

I’ve got phone calls to make (my mini-protest and upcoming column re Highland Country Club tax deal just got more interesting) so breakfast is nuked tea and a pb and j sandwich. No time for toast.

While putting the pb jar away I spotted the bane of my existence - powdered gravy in a can.

["Things I wouldn't put on my potatoes": photo by GAH]

Though my wife and I are getting older and busier (almost at the same time - it’s eerie), don’t take time to cook meat and potatoes on a regular basis, and eat out more, there are some convenience foods that send a shiver down my spine.

Powdered gravy? I see the “JUST add boiling water!” and immediately imagine the following scene:

Some guy named Biff is sweeping up the floor at a chemical factory and is about to throw a pile of dust and bits into a bin when he stops, scratches his head, and says to his foreman, “What happens if we add water to this crap?”

“It’s BISTO baby, it’s BISTO!”

I’m sticking with margarine for my powdered potatoes. You?


Isn’t instant gravy way over the line?


My Point of View: Harper and Conservatives wrong again about John Baird

Thinking he wouldn’t smash up anything too badly, PM Harper moved John Baird to the Transportation Ministry after it became obvious he was a poor fit in the Environment Ministry.

Wrong again.

“We are seeing some positive economic signs, but they are fragile... the last thing we need is the political instability an election would cause,” he said (while berating Liberal leader Ignatieff for suggesting an election wouldn’t cause political instability).

(Link to news article as in London Free Press)

Wrong again.

The majority of Canadian voters can attend political debates, read political flyers, watch Conservative attack ads on TV, walk to the polls to cast a ballot for a different party and still finish a day’s work without falling apart.

If we can survive John Baird, we can survive an election.


Can you handle a fall election? Will you suffer from instability?


Monday, August 24, 2009

Highland Country Club Blues: Mini-protest hits exclusive golfers’ paradise

I knew it would happen.

News about an exclusive golf club’s $2.4 million tax break hit the street in London last Friday and someone took offense...

...And is fighting back by planting large signs near the entrance to golfers’ heaven.

I think the mini-protest (the signs were actually only 8.5 by 5.5 inches in size but highly visible this p.m.!) is important.

[Exclusive photos by GAH]

Wealthy club members can cough up tax money faster than the average Joe, so let's see it.

Any ideas about what form the protest will (or should) take in the future?


Stay tuned for breaking news.


From mini-putt to mini-protest at the Highland Country Club

When Michael M., a local mini-putt whiz, heard about the $2.4 million tax break enjoyed by London’s Highland golf club, he said, “Homeowners don’t get subsidies. Those property taxes could be used to pay for kids’ programs, upgrades to parks, whatever the city needs.”

[Link to article in today’s London Free Press]

Not a bad comment off the top of his head while a microphone was stuck under his nose.

[When that happens to me my nose gets itchy, I break into a sweat and say stuff like, who are you, why is this microphone covered in grip tape, can’t... talk... now... mind... is... blank. Sorry, I digress. Oh, I wouldn’t say 'sorry, I digress' into a mike.]

And I agree with Mike.

Which begs the question: Why does a wealthy, exclusive golf club get a tax break? And not me? Or you?

And I also think this situation demands a mini-protest.

But what form should it take?


Ideas will be read and considered thoroughly.

However, forget about lobbing golf balls at the clubhouse.

I don’t want anyone to get hurt around here. I just want the money back.


Deforest City Blues: 100 ordinary citizens deserve Highland Country Club tax deal

If the way to stroke wealthy golfers is to give them a $2.4 million break on their taxes, then I think it’s only fair City Hall give 100 families a $2,400 break for 10 years to make par.

A $1,200 break for 200 families for 10 years would also fly, like a well struck Titleist over a deep bunker.

[Don’t worry about me, City Hall. Though I can’t afford Highland’s $12,000 upfront membership fee and $5,000 annual year, I can handle my own property taxes for now. I know many other Londoners, however, feel like they’re knee deep in a sand trap at tax time.]

Another way to look at it:

Since Highland has received a $2.4 million break from the citizens of Deforest City, it owes those same people an equal amount of service.

What can Highland Country Club do for its community in lieu of money?

Free golf? Free use of their dining room, bar, grounds? Let’s think about it.

At present, Highland Country Club’s board has thought about it and has “told its members it doesn’t plan to consider changes to the arrangement.”

Really? I get teed off when I hear stuff like that.

[Link to article in today’s London Free Press]


Why does an exclusive golf club get such a great deal?

What was City Hall thinking when the tax deal was inked, 45 years ago?


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Plans change quickly during wonky weather

The bike was warmed up, I had my cycling jeans on, and was about to check the oil when thick gray clouds started spitting at me.

Not a promising sign.

I thought, I have a job lined up in the shed; pieces of pine for another Rietveld crate chair are ready for my linseed oil/stain mix. Plus, I could write for an hour because (due to a family reunion and an inherited desire to make 6 pounds of potato salad for such events) I need to get next week’s column in very early.

I covered the bike. Writing it is. Then the job in the shed.

["This one needs a mate": photo GAH]

Not a bad trade off.

Though I enjoy motorcycling (especially after I’ve sold a couple of birdhouses; I feel like I’m filling the bike’s gas tank for free), writing and wood work go together in a lovely way.

Why is that?

I’ll think about it while staining the pine inside the dry confines of my wee shed.


What do you call it when two activities go together seamlessly?

Do you find an excellent balance is created when you complete two (somewhat dissimilar) tasks back to back?


Lazy hazy Sunday; the motorcycle is warming up

Last Sunday I landed safely in Port Bruce, enjoyed coffee and good company, then walked the beach in my workshop jeans and old sandals.

It was a perfect day and ride.

Today I’ll follow my nose wherever it leads, but wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up at the same port, camera and coffee in hand.

Play safe out there.

[Photos by GAH]


Where do you often end up after a short drive?

Is coffee your goal?


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Zoom w a View: Out In The Street - in London

Bruce Springsteen does ‘Out In The Street’ better than me, especially ‘Live,’ but with camera in hand I think I captured a few spots in London in a way that says, not a bad place to live.

I’d live downtown in a minute, if my wife agreed. ("No pressure, dear").

["From the 7th floor of The Renaissance Apts."]

Especially if Apt. 8 was available in Lord Dufferin Arms. I wonder if my paint job in the kitchen (circa 1972) has stood the test of time?

["A four-storey walk-up, a long haul with groceries": photos by GAH]

Wherever you live, would you move if a nice apartment opened up in the downtown?


Getting older has perks. Whazzat? I said, there are perks

I explained to someone recently how I ripped my hockey pants. (It’s old age: I absent-mindedly put my pants on before my skates).

I felt better about the rip after talking to a guy who had done the same thing. In a bigger hurry, he was. Had a bigger rip to prove it.

That’s one perk of getting older. More things to laugh about at the end of the day. Or hockey game.

And I can now laugh about my botched $1.00 haircut, seen in the old photo below (March, 1972).

On the back of it my wife wrote, "Dad looks like he is in the army."

More perks (from my oldest sister - the voice of experience):

You enjoy long conversations about pension plans.

You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the 

You enjoy singing along with elevator music.

Your eyes won't get much worse.

And your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay  off.


More perks to getting older? Let me know. Sweet Sixty is around the corner.

Thank goodness for early CPP to take the edge off.


Gord’s Grilled Goby: I’m onto something in a non-invasive way

I recently read that the bottom-feeding, aggressive goby has invaded many of SW Ontario’s lakes, rivers and streams - and had two immediate and enlightening reactions.

Nature is under attack from an invasive critter - and this time, it’s not man.

["Looks harmless enough, but it ain't": photo link]

But maybe man can help nature fight back.

"The goby is a bottom-dwelling fish that has great potential for causing impacts on Great Lakes fisheries. The round goby takes over prime spawning sites traditionally used by native species, competing with native fish for habitat and changing the balance of the ecosystem." [More information]

Now that sockeye salmon stocks are declining in Canada (see post below) perhaps we can turn our attention to the goby, in the same way Australians did concerning rabbits when that furry creature (to my bearded Aussie friend - I’m referring to the rabbits here) started to take over the continent down under.

Since most North Americans like to eat just about anything in sight perhaps we could add Goby on a Stick to our weekly menu.

Charcoal flavoured Goby, BBQ’d Goby w Lemon Sauce, Grilled Goby w Guinness - all winners.

My suggestion: Use our insatiable appetite to reduce the numbers of this invasive species.

[Originally the round goby and the tubenose goby were introduced into the St. Claire River in 1990, probably via contaminated ballast water of transoceanic ships. Round goby are thriving in the Great Lakes Basin because they are aggressive, voracious feeders which can forage in total darkness.]


I’m onto something, aren’t I?


Nature’s wealth is going through a recession too

Natural sockeye salmon numbers are down so low in the Fraser River that one day soon the majority of Canadians may be reduced to eating a factory farm replacement.

["The number returning from the sea - down substantially": photo link]

The lower quality replacement will sit on our plates alongside our factory farm pork, beef, chicken and lamb. (I’d include wieners but I think they’re still made from real chicken lips).

My suggestion: Reduce your intake of fish and meat, reduce our reliance on factory food, and give nature and natural herds a chance to rebound.

Ten to twenty years ought to do it and our average weight per person might return to near normal levels.


Want to lose five pounds before Christmas?

Reduce meat in your meals by 50 per cent and skip the second helpings at Thanksgiving.

Am I onto something?


Friday, August 21, 2009

If I didn’t live in The Village, I’d live downtown

I really like the downtown.

My wife and I started out together in a cheap apartment in SE London in 1970, and when opportunity knocked one year later we moved downtown, across from City Hall.

["Across from City Hall": photo GAH]

Who knew it would be so exciting?

I love Victoria Park. Had it to myself while jogging at 7 a.m. before breakfast and driving off to school in 1971-73. I loved walking out the door on weekends and shopping for groceries at the Dominion store (York and Wellington) five minutes (count ‘em), five minutes away.

["David's first birthday; Gord w bad haircut": March, 1971]

I hated it when our new Gendron baby carriage was stolen from the YMCA. Not the current Downtown YMCA. I mean the original downtown YMCA on Wellington, north of Dundas. The one that burned down in a blaze of terrible glory.

I hated that I could barely see PM Trudeau from my balcony, as he escaped his body guards at the corner of Wellington and Dufferin, during a rare visit to Deforest City, and took a run for it in order to shake hands with the common man, none more common than me.

["Two Dave's I know; my son and his uncle, D. Tamblyn, formerly w OCEAN": photo GAH]

I’m now happy as a clam in The Village, a 15 minute walk from the JLC, 25 from City Hall (yeah, I checked).

But if my neighbours boot me out of my lovely cottage (plus wee workshop - it’s heaven) because they’re finally tired of constantly hearing the strains of Dylan (or my weak attempts at delivering a hit single) drift through my open windows, I’ll land downtown.

Downtown - as long as my wife gives the thumbs up.

Yeah, two people live in my... our house.


Downtown London: Is it worth the cost of renewal and upkeep?

As a former renter in the downtown core (Apt. 8, Dufferin Arms, right across from City Hall), I will say yes.

["Dufferin Arms - a long haul to the fourth floor": photos by GAH]


Just as taxpayers collectively pay for dog parks and swimming pools etc., without any intention of ever owning a dog or going for a swim, so too should we continue to put and keep the shine on downtown even though a small percentage of Londoners live there or visit on a regular basis.

Once the population of downtown London hits 25,000, it will be the place to be - and not just when the Rib Fest is in town or Labatts is giving away free samples.

["At what corner will you find this reminder?": GAH]

It's true. It’s open late.


Do you think it’s worth the cost?


Waking up with the need for new hockey pants

Truthfully, my thought about hockey pants was the second urge I woke up with this morning.

Because of my advanced age (I kiss my 50s good-bye in less than a month) and two cups of tea before bedtime, I had to stroll very quickly down a short hall to the loo - as if I had everything under control, even in the dark - and negotiate a familiar routine with one eye closed.

Back to the hockey pants.

["Maybe some new socks too": photo link]

I ripped a hole in the old pair and because I have my first CPP cheque arriving in late October I woke up thinking, I should get my new pair now and pay them off later. The monthly cheque will be a perk, for sure.

Here are a few more, courtesy if my oldest sister and some site she visits regularly.

Perks of getting older

There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

Things you buy now won't wear out. (Including hockey pants? Quite likely.)

You can eat supper at 4 PM.

You can live without sex but not your glasses.


I’m not sure about that last one.

I’ll check with Sweetie Pie.