Saturday, July 31, 2010

News Clipping: Redefining the Good Life

I’d call it harping. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Harping that people must save money for the tough times ahead. Because tough times are coming. And a lot of people have their heads in the sand.

Please click here to read a brilliant piece that includes some of my (also brilliant) harping.

It’s time to redefine the good life. Those people who relate the good life to the size of a house or car or closet or refrigerator are swimming in the shallow end of the pool. They may have banged their heads. The good life should relate to reduced spending, lower debt, more savings. And helping others.

["Save some; spend some on others": photo GH]

I do not harp alone. Another writer and financial planner (I’m not a financial planner; I’m a financial harper) recently made some excellent points in the local paper.

Cahill said, for example:

Avoid the temptation to spend.

“We have shifted from a producing society to a consuming society. People borrow to the maximum on big-ticket items, such as an expensive vehicle or house. Save up significant down payments first.”

Live under your means.

“It's not unusual to find couples who make $200,000 a year or more living paycheque-to-paycheque.”

Seek good advice.

“Engage the services of an accountant, lawyer and financial planner... educate yourself. You cannot rely on the government or others to bail you out.”

Be a philanthropist.

“Finally, give back... Investigate how 3 billion people on this planet live on less then $2 a day. Spending all of our resources on ourselves, or hoarding them for the future, only leads to self-absorption.” (July 26, The London Free Press)

I thought Mr. Cahill’s article was very timely.

Yes, more harping may be needed, but timely nonetheless.


Are you trying to reduce spending?

Are you saving money?

Paying down debt?

Helping others? In what way(s)? (Here’s one way.)

Harping to members of your family? Ain’t it fun?


Haiti is a big, important work in progress

For those who support worthwhile projects, take a moment to take a look at one concerning Haiti, About which President Bill clinton said the following:

"It was a mistake. I have to live everyday with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti.” (Pres. Clinton’s words to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10, 2010)

"The country has the best chance in my lifetime to achieve this objective: to build a modern self-sustaining state. But what it means is that we have to think about our roles in a different way, and how we will play them in this reconstruction process.”

More information concerning a film project is provided at the following sites:

Hands that Feed: A documentary film

A little embeddable widget for blogs


Tell me what you think of the project.


Zoom w a View: Common gulls on the north shore of Lake Erie

Yesterday, three seconds after my writing project of the day was completed (I pressed ‘send’ 15 minutes before deadline), I said to myself the following:

Writing is done. Workshop project (due the next day, i.e., Saturday) is done. The motorcycle is 30 steps away. Pt. Bruce is 60 kilometers away. Go.

The beach was quiet.

I was almost alone.

A light breeze brushed my face.

Common gulls filled the water less than 15 ft. from where I perched peacefully upon a log.

Not that log.

["Common gulls at Pt. Bruce": photos GH]

I flew the coop at 4:45 p.m. and arrived home in plenty of time to see the latest episode of Coronation St.

Life is good.


To C St. fans: Did Lloyd deserve a punch in the squash?

Wrong place, wrong time, wrong woman?


Birdhouse Spotting: Port Bruce, north shore Lake Erie

After a morning of hard work I rewarded myself with a short motorcycle ride to a lake shore hamlet about 60 km. from my front porch.

I spotted several birdhouses during the hot afternoon ride but only stopped once. I preferred to coast and enjoy the breeze blowing through what’s left of my hair.

Three people sitting on a blanket in the shade wondered why I stopped my bike beside their house but didn’t complain while I too a few pictures.

I didn’t bother to ask if the birdhouse was active. I knew it had been in the past at least. A bit of nest stubble appears in one doorway.

["Birdhouse stubble on the right": photos GH]

Please click here to see photos from my last trip to Pt. Bruce.


So, now you know what I sometimes do during an afternoon off, especially if it’s hot outside.

Did you coast on Friday. Catch a breeze?


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Climate Change Concerns: 2009 was hot. 2010 could break records

In an earlier post I wondered out loud: Will 2010 be the warmest year on record?

It could be. March, April, May and June are the hottest months on record (since 1880). That’s why your shoes and socks have been so muggy for the last four months.

[“If the heat continues to rise, 2010 will bet out 2005 for warmest year on record.” July 17, London Free Press]

For more news about annual temperatures I linked to Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NY.

Excerpts from a recent report follow:

2009: Second Warmest Year on Record; End of Warmest Decade (Jan. 21, 2010)

“2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, also shows that in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880.”

“Although 2008 was the coolest year of the decade, due to strong cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2009 saw a return to near-record global temperatures.”

“The past year was only a fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest year on record, and tied with a cluster of other years — 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 — as the second warmest year since record keeping began.”

re the graph

“Except for a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s, Earth's surface temperatures have increased since 1880.”

“The last decade has brought the temperatures to the highest levels ever recorded.”

“The graph shows global annual surface temperatures relative to 1951-1980 mean temperatures. As shown by the red line, long-term trends are more apparent when temperatures are averaged over a five year period.”
(Image credit: NASA/GISS)

It’s apparent. Hot times in the city are getting hotter.


Live small and prosper.

The greenest products are the ones we don’t buy.

Reduce spending.

Pay down debt.

Save money for tough times ahead.


Climate Change Concerns: Will 2010 be the hottest year ever?

My first reaction yesterday, once I was entirely covered with sweat and heavy drops were falling from the end of my nose and onto the driveway, was to run inside and change all my clothes.

My t-shirt, after an hour of edging the front lawn, weighed over 10 pounds.

[“Last month was the warmest June ever recorded, according to the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). What’s more, it followed three months of record-shattering heat.” July 17, London Free Press]

My shorts, made from rugged cotton and suitable for workshop and yard chores, had turned from light to dark green and - due to the weight of my sweat - were about to fall.

[“In its monthly global snapshot, NOAA said March, April, May and June were all the warmest they’ve ever been.”]

My socks, great for long-distance running because of their ability to soak up and disperse sweat, were dispersing the excess to the soles of my feet. I felt like I was surfing.

[“June’s average temperature was about 0.68 C hotter than the 20th-century average for the month. The previous record was set in 2005.”]

My shoes were making a funny sloshing sound and leaving a wet imprint on the cement driveway.

[“According to NOAA, each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have been in the past 15 years. So far, 2010 is on its way to being the warmest year ever.”]

An impulse grabbed me. Run inside - change your clothes. Survive.

[“If the heat continues to rise, 2010 will bet out 2005 for warmest year on record.”]

I said to myself, yes, but if I change, I’ll just soak more clothes and my laundry basket will weigh over 100 pounds.

So I resisted the urge to change and slowly carried edger trimmings to the backyard. With the help of popsicles, and a break to play hockey, I lived to face another day.


I don’t have a swimming pool.

I may set up the sprinkler, but not to water the lawn.

Am I too old to jump through a sprinkler?

What will the neighbours think?

Please click here to read other Climate Change Concerns.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Zoom w a View: London, Ontario - black and white

While visiting a fellow hockey player at his place of business I snapped a photo or two of scenes of downtown London, circa 1950.

[“Bank of Nova Scotia, 422 Richmond St., beside Casino Restaurant”]

[“NW Dundas and Richmond; Quebec and Ridout St. buses”]

I arrived in London in 1968 and rode some of the same old buses, but don’t recall seeing parked cars on both sides of Dundas.

Maybe cars and buses got too big for the streets.

I do recall that a 1968 Chrysler was quite a bit wider - like a houseboat; maybe to accommodate wider rear ends; but that's just a theory - than my 1964 Volkswagen.


CBC News: Can we afford lifeguards at provincial parks?

I woke up slowly this morning and began to tune in to a story on the radio about a woman who almost drowned at Sandbanks Provincial Park (south of Belleville and Picton in Prince Edward County) and the call for lifeguards or park staff at all the beaches in such parks.

Though drowsy, my mind began to churn.

I could understand why the caller wanted more safety measures put in place. It had been traumatic for her to watch a swimmer get dragged out of the water. It had taken some time to reach a phone to call 911. The 911 operator didn’t recognize the name of the park and wanted a definite location, e.g., a major intersection, and the park isn’t at an intersection. It took 50 minutes before an ambulance arrived on the scene.

["Sandbanks Provincial Park, Prince Edward County, Ont.": GAH]

I thought, sure, madam, the park system could hire more staff if that’s what the community wants.

But that opened up a few doors of discussion.

First, Canada is huge, isn’t it? The number of parks, the miles of beaches - it boggles the mind.

New staff will be expensive. We want taxes to rise? People are willing to pay?

If the present staff has to include ‘life-guarding services’ to their itinerary then something else would have to go, e.g., finding tourists who get lost, warding off bears, manning the gates, etc. Are people ready to wait longer for other park services? (“If you are phoning to reserve a campsite please press 3, and be prepared to wait until our lifeguard returns from the beach. It’s a very big beach.”)

Personally, I think it’s too easy or just habit to think on a big scale, e.g., “we want more staff on all the beaches.” Over the last 65 years, as our country grew wealthier, we funded more and more services for the public good on a regular basis. Want more hospitals? You got it. More paved highways? Right away. More services? Ditto.

["Neys Provincial Park, Lake Superior. Not a lifeguard in sight."}

Even as individuals or as families we’ve put our wealth toward bigger this and that, e.g, more square footage, more horsepower, more appliances, more clothing, more food on our plates, more types of mustard inside a fridge the size of a small nation. To the point of bursting at the seams.

We may be at the point in history when we need to say the following:

We can’t keep adding on and adding on, growing bigger as parks, public works departments, governments, homeowners, etc.

["Pancake bay, Lake Superior. No lifeguards": photos GH]

We need to learn to prioritize.

You want something? What are you willing to give up in order to fund it?

I think, if we lived small (small house, car, meals, closets, etc.) we’d have more money for things related to the public good, for services all could benefit from and enjoy. If we de-emphasized our individual wants there would be more money for community-based services.

But we’re a long way from that philosophy.


And now I’m awake. And it’s time for coffee.


Daily Crossword: If you can’t pronounce it, is it a word?

(Concerning yesterday's crossword puzzle from the Free Press)

I got 10 across just fine (“Ship’s mast”), i.e., spar, because I know a lot about boats.

Stern, bow, port, starboard, first mate's cabin, galley, officers’ mess, steal their rum - the whole nine yards.

["Numism... numismat... huh?"" photo GH]

I even got 37 across in a snap (“Dresser mat”), i.e., doily, because my granny crocheted hundreds of them. A doily a day.

But 54 across was just plain sneaky.

“Of coin collecting.”

Yes, I finally had it, i.e., numismatic, but only thanks to the fact that I filled in everything around it.

I wonder. If I can’t pronounce it, is it an actual word?

And if you collected coins and suffered from asthma, would we call you an asthmatic numismatic or the other way around?


And, a high-kicking French dance is called...? (6 letters)


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family visit: It’s not all fun and games you know

When I visit family, e.g., this past weekend, it can include hard work.

[“First, we remove all the old boards and 4,000 nails.”]

Concerning this past weekend: I am not only better acquainted now with some of my loved ones but with a hammer, chisel, crow bar, screw driver, power drill and 12- and 16-ft. lengths of heavy lumber as well.

[“One of the many boats I’d love to own”: photos GH]

This morning, after my shower and while my skin was soft and cuddly, I removed several slivers from my delicate hands. So, my time away was no picnic.

[“The only boat I can afford - minus snazzy umbrella”]

No picnic indeed. Except for meal times and a few hours relaxing on the dock. Yeh, those times were like a picnic.

So I’m not complaining, eh!


Money is Tight: More seniors are working longer Pt 2

It’s the kind of article that would make some people cover their eyes while reading the paper.

Headline: Seniors' employment rate on rise, data shows (July 22, QMI Agency)

First line: More seniors are staying in the work force for longer and working harder, according to government figures, triggering renewed calls from one of the country's biggest unions for pension reform.

I say, scary, very scary.

And I also say more than pension reform is needed. In an earlier post I said that we need to reform the North American lifestyle because “we seem to be chewing through our planet faster than necessary.”

["Money is tight and smokes ain't cheap!"]

On top of that, lifestyle reform needs to come - in part - in the form of a retreat. Since 1996, senior employment (for both men and women) has been on the rise, due in part to financial necessity, and pension reform cannot be accomplished without making contributions higher - unless we create more, new, sustainable jobs and develop and maintain a bigger workforce that will contribute to a healthier pension so that seniors can stop working and go home.

I’m dreaming, of course. More, new, sustainable jobs? When have they ever existed?

We must retreat to smaller dreams, homes, apartments, cars, trucks, meals, refrigerators, closets, demands upon the planet and our finances.

Canada is becoming such an expensive place to live, isn’t it?


I suppose if we don’t know we could ask our parents and grandparents after they come home from work.


I wonder if it’s about the money? Pt 2

Money matters. Apparently, so does our long-form census.

It’s in all the news. It’s not going away.

In an earlier post I stated “maybe our Prime Minister realizes Canada is headed for the poor house,” and that affected his decision about the census. You know, stop producing the penny and stop sending out all those census forms - to save money.

I don’t know if PM Harper has the census under his microscope because it’s an ideological issue as some of his critics say.

To them I say, it may be an ideological issue in part.

It may also be a financial issue in part.

It may be because the Pm is vindictive and small-minded and ornery in part.

["Other- 5%? Let me see. Contrariness?"]

It may be all those things and more.

I wish there was a machine that spit out percentages when an issue came up and it worked like this:

Ideology - 32%

Financial concerns - 28%

Vindictiveness - 12%

Small-mindedness - 8%

Asleep at the switch - 8%

Indigestion - 7%

Other - 5%

The machine would really help.

Until it’s invented, however, we’ll have to make due with lots of discussion, and I’ll continue to speculate that money is involved because money matters and it’s getting tight.


What could ‘Other - 5%’ be? Now I’m curious.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

I wonder if it's about the money

Money matters.

Though it can't buy me love and is at the root of many evils, we have to deal with it many tines per day, maybe more than we'd like.

I thought about money when reading a recent article about the federal government's decision related to the census.

(Yes, the census. Where have you been? It's been big news for the last week in Canada. My gosh, we live in such an interesting country).

I read:

"While critics accuse the Harper government of pursuing a right-wing ideological agenda with its switch to a voluntary long-form census, many so-called progressive European countries (e.g., Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark) are eliminating the census altogether." (July 23, London Free Press)

Then I thought, is it an ideological issue or financial issue? Something else?

I don't know, but I do know many countries have over-spent for years. Annual deficits are the rule, not the exception. Canada's national debt is the largest it has ever been in human history. Greece is wobbly. England is feeling the pinch financially.

Perhaps many governments around the world are realizing that, fiscally speaking, much must change.

Maybe our Prime Minister realizes Canada is headed for the poor house. Maybe he is putting a lot of things under the microscope to try to save money, e.g., the Canadian Pension Plan, the production of pennies, how many haircuts we should be allowed per month. Maybe this is just the beginning of doing hundreds of things differently because money doesn't grow on trees anymore.

I read that Britain is considering 'cancelling its census outright after the next survey in 2011... the decision is partly driven by budgetary concerns.'

So... about our census.

I wonder if it's about the money.


What is the cheapest way to collect important information about Canadians?

This is not a quiz.


Life on the channel : Without a boat

In the previous post I mentioned that every time I come to Fenelon Falls I see boats that I'd like to own.

My wife has a different point of view.

I took the following four pictures today and showed them to her.

"I love this boat. Can I buy it?" I asked.

She said, "Settle down."

"How about this one?"

"Settle down."

This one?"

"Settle down."

[Photos of four lovely boats by GAH]

"Okay. How about this last one?" I finally asked.

"Please. Settle down," she said.

If I could settle down I'd settle down on a boat.


keep your dreams alive


Fenelon Falls: Life on the channel

The sunrise in Fenelon Falls yesterday was brilliant. (See earlier post below)

Serene. Quiet. The smell of smoke Coffee. (You had to be there).

I could get used to life on the channel, part of the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Everyday I see boats I'd love to own.

Everyday my wife says, "Settle down."

Still, it's a beautiful spot.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rainy Day Money Pt 2

I recently discovered that "32 per cent of Canadians (I bet it's the same in the USA) do not have a plan in place to achieve their savings goals."

Oh, 99 per cent of us have goals (e.g., "To retire at 55." "To have money in the bank." "To clean up the garage.") but no plan.

Maybe 32 per cent of Canadians just think retirement happens and the money will be there to buy the shop vac to help clean up the garage.

32 per cent of my fellow countrymen would be wrong.

More seniors are working longer and harder due to financial necessity. More grown-ups are living at home longer with their aging parents. It ain't looking good out there for happy, comfortable retirements.

More and more people need to be setting aside 'rainy day money.'

I suggest folks talk to someone at their bank. Then arrange to withdraw $10 per week or $45 per month automatically to go into a Rainy Day account.

Automatic withdrawals are very important. The Rainy Day account gets paid first, the new shoes or funky hairstyle or impulse buy has to wait. (Really. How many garden gnomes or electric edge trimmers does one person need?)

Me? I'm going to put money into a recycled peanut butter jar.

(More about that later).


Zoom w a View: Sunrise in Fenelon Falls

I woke up out of a bad dream at about 6:20 this morning.

I had been dreaming I was back in London, and it was hot and humid, and I was stuck to the vinyl seats in my van.

As I wrestled with the idea that I still owned a cheap van, I woke up.

The sun was rising in Fenelon Falls so I found my camera and quietly stepped onto my son's second floor balcony over-looking the channel btween Cameron and Sturgeon Lake.

["Beautiful. And... I think I smell coffee": photos GH]

All was quiet.


Shhh. Have a great day.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Money is Tight: More seniors are working longer

If you're a senior you may know this already.

"The number of seniors with employment is on the rise, due in part to financial necessity."

Sure, I like to tell people I work a bit on the side because I love to work up a sweat, but - truthfully - the roof on my house needs fixing and the first quote (for metal; I'm thinking long-term) came in at $12,500.

I also read that "more seniors are staying in the work force for longer and working harder, according to government figures, triggering renewed calls from one of the country's biggest unions for pension reform." (July 22, London Free Press)

Sure, pension reform is needed (e.g., workers need to put more aside for future use, retirees need to take out less wherever possible), but reform is needed in another important area - the North American lifestyle.

We seem to be chewing through our planet faster than necessary.

Smaller homes, smaller furnishings and appliances (e.g., smaller refrigerator with room for fewer bottles of salad dressing on the inside of the door), smaller cars, driveways, yards, etc. would not only be healthier for the planet but put less strain on our wallets.

If we want to work less and pay less we need to live smaller than we are at present.


It seems to be getting hotter outside.

Would a smaller lifestyle also help the weather?

Most of us know the correct answer to that.


Rainy Day Money

I recently read that 'we feel better when we have money saved up, but many Canadians aren't saving anything.'

Are you one of those people who doesn't save money for the future? You have no 'rainy day money' on hand?

Along with me (read earlier post below), start trying to put aside $10 per week for the next year. I'm sure it will become a habit and the amount will increase once you get used to living without the $40 per month ypu're stuffing into a recycled peanut butter jar.

I've learned that province by province in Canada, the percentage of people willing to change their spending habits to save money is quite high (in my opinion).

From 78% in Quebec to 90% in Atlantic Canada. Ontario, my home province, comes in at 84%.

So, if you start saving a bit of rainy day money, you may find that you're not alone.


$10 per week is the same as $1.43 per day.

How much is a cup of coffee? A small bag of chips?


How to save $10 per week for tough times Pt 2

We need to start saving money on a regular basis for tough times ahead.

I think it will be easy for me because I'm a saver.

I'm also very grateful to be in the position in life that I am.

For example, I'm retired with a pension.

Sorry, I lied. I have two pensions.

I also write a weekly column and get a small fee for my brilliant service. I also build chairs and birdhouses in a small workshop and don't give all of my projects away. (Yes, the government knows about me and is likely happy, from a taxable income point of view at least, that I turn rescued lumber into something they call a revenue stream.)

So, I'm a saver (long story short; my folks drilled the benefits of saving money into my head at an early age) and have a few revenue streams.

Oh yeah, before I forget, I should also say I'm 'somewhat frugal' and don't like malls or shopping or spending my hard earned dough on a long list of frivolous stuff. (Sure, I buy frivolous stuff - I live in North America after all - but I'm pretty sure many people would consider I keep the list short).

For me, the job of saving 10 bucks per week for tough times ahead will be easy.

Here's what I'll do.

I'll take an empty peanut butter jat from the recycle bin and put a label on it.

Something like, '$10 per week,' or 'Tough Times Is Coming,' or 'Be Prepared.' (Yup, I was a Boy Cub as a kid and 'be prepared' was our motto. It stuck. I also got into the weekly habit of shining my shoes so they would look better and last longer).

Now, I'm in Fenelon Falls at the moment and am listening to my grand-daughters eat their supper, but when I get home I'll find that peanut butter jar. And I'll be on my way to saving $520 by this time next year.

To help me feed the kitty, I resolve to stop eating street meat, e.g., outside Home Depot, Canadian Tire, etc.

I resolve to take proceeds from birdhouse sales and fill the jar occasionally rather than the gas tank on my motorcycle.

I resolve to write two columns about saving money and put the proceeds into the jar.

That's for starters.

What else could I do?

What can you do?

Are you with me on this one?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to save 10 bucks a week for tough times ahead Pt 1

“Let the savings begin.”

That’s the catch-phrase related to Scotiabank’s new initiative to encourage Canadians to save for tough times ahead.

According to a recent survey, “nearly one in five said they have no money at all set aside,” and I’m hoping my sons are not among that group.

Really, the basement’s a mess and I’d hate to go back to the days when the fridge door opened and closed every five minutes and it wasn’t because of me in search of the last slice of elderberry pie.

["Rare sighting: $10 peeking out of Gord's wallet"]

But, how will anyone who buys into the initiative to save money come up with, say, 10 bucks per week as a start? $20 bucks? $30 bucks? And how much is enough? How do we figure these things out?

Like many people, I don’t have all the information I need.

But, while I’m collecting information, let’s all save $10 per week (for tough times ahead), stash it in an old boot or under the mattress, wherever, and see how that feels.

In other words, let’s start a bold “save money” experiment and see if it goes anywhere.

Maybe saving money will become a habit (I think it will take 10 - 12 weeks before it’s a habit). Maybe the desire will vanish and we’ll go back to same old, same old. Maybe we’ll hit $20 per week in 8 weeks time. Maybe we’ll have $200 in 3 months. I don’t know.

I do know it will be hard for some, not so hard for others.

Stay tuned.


I think $10 a week will be easy for me.

I’ll tell you why.


(Really. You knew that was coming, right?)


Zoom w a View: Pt. Bruce smells like a good burger

While waiting for my lunch order yesterday (sirloin burger, coffee; no fries - a hockey game was scheduled for later in the day and I should lose five pounds) at a small lakeside cottage community, I walked beside a nearby boating channel camera-in-hand.

["Pt. Bruce - the land that time forgot": photos GH]

I noticed the horizon was hazy and dark clouds were moving in from the north-east.

I walked back quickly to the lunch stand.

After lunch I smelled rain (it overpowered the smell of burgers, onions and hot pepper relish), left town abruptly, got soaked within minutes, had to deal with bad visibility (raindrops between my prescription lenses and clip-on sunglasses are impossible to remove quickly) but, upon my 1100cc Virago, I outran the worst of the downpour.

I’ll surely return to Pt. Bruce another dozen times before winter.

In my opinion, it looks and smells great.


Please click here to see photos (of unusual birdhouses) from an earlier trip to Pt. Bruce.


It Strikes Me Funny: How do you spell ‘delectable?’

My wife and I just returned from The Little Red Roaster in Wortley Village and I’m 5 minutes away from writing a very serious post, i.e., ‘How to save 10 bucks a week for tough times ahead.’

But first, something was mentioned during our first normal conversation of the day that I have to put down before I forget.

(We had earlier conversations [“What day is this? Who are you?” “Coffee?”] but they don’t apply here.)

While sipping our coffees two women in their mid-seventies rose behind us to leave.

["Delicious or delectable. You be the judge."]

Their departure triggered a memory. True story.

One of my wife’s friends overheard two grey-haired ladies talking about me one day and told her the following:

One said to the other, “That young man has such a delectable personality.”

When I first heard this story I said to my wife, “I can understand ‘delicious’... but ‘delectable?’ What do you think?”

Unfortunately, my wife had a mouthful of coffee at the time.

I have the stained shirt in my closet to prove it.


So, delicious or delectable?

Seriously, I think both are dead funny.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zoom w a View: My Morning Walk Pt 2

I was a little late getting out the door this morning for my fitness walk - I had to finish a section of yesterday’s crossword. Yes, I had to - but once I got moving on the tree-lined streets of Wortley Village all pistons fired smoothly.

I cycled 30 miles last night on the exercise bike, and play hockey this afternoon, so my exercise routine for the week is off to a good start.

Will I have extra energy on the ice and pop in a goal or two? We’ll see. If I score a good one, you’ll be the first to know.

Because of the recent rain, neighbourhood trees and flowers are looking good and healthy.

The hugging trees are two blocks from home and I always look to see if they are still fond of one another.


A bank wants us to save money for tough times? What next? Pt 3

A recent news article said Scotiabank is starting a “Let the savings begin” initiative.

I’m for it. (Please read Part 1 and Part 2 for additional and brilliant information).

I want to see folks reduce spending, pay down debt and save money for tough times ahead.

["Wanna save $10 per week? Cut back on restaurant meals."]

And when a bank encourages the same thing I have to ask, what next?

900 sq. ft. houses? Enclosed scooters that get 100 mpg? City planning that encourages walking? (Oh, I hope so!)

TV personality Valerie Pringle will act as a “savings ambassador.”

“We are trying to encourage Canadians to make small changes,” said Pringle. “It’s something that’s really important and we have to take responsibility for it. It has to become a habit.”


Small changes, e.g., even saving $10 per week, may produce big results, especially if the habit grows to $20 per week, then $30, and so on.

Though 55 per cent of Canadians save on a regular basis, the amount may not be enough to ensure all their future expenses are covered in a reasonable manner.

The other 45 per cent can likely look forward to feeling the squeeze year after year. (If the rent is right, the basement at your parent’s house might start to look pretty good in 2025).

Banks and governments also know that our national debt is growing and we have a poor track record related to paying debt down. (Since 1960, we have grown debt in about 80 per cent of our annual federal budgets. Our provincial record is almost as bad).

Any efforts by the powers that be (though several years late) to get people to become more financially responsible is a good thing.

Let the savings begin.


Let me know when you see a developer design and promote a 900 sq. ft. house.

I’ll take a picture.

How can people save $20 per week?


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zoom w a View: My Morning Walk Pt 1

Wortley Village is near the center of the 10th largest city in Canada, and if I wake up early enough, I get most of the tree-lined streets to myself during a fitness walk.

I believe The Village is a great spot in which to live and conduct the important business of birdhouse building.

Later in the day traffic will be busy, but walkers and cyclists will be found on every street.

[Wortley Village photos - GH]


Yes, I said 'fitness walk.'

I need to walk and cycle more often. I'm getting... how do you say - soft?

And my skating is slowing down. Ouch.