Thursday, March 31, 2016

Question Of The Day

I was born in Montreal, Quebec in Canada and I lived there until we moved to Kingston, Ontario in 2009.

How about you?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

You Asked, I Answer (Politics)

A new week means another opportunity to answer questions you had for me on this year's ‘Ask Me Anything’ post. Except this week, as mentioned last Tuesday, I’m going to address a single inquiry of a...political nature.


Adam asked:
If you were an American citizen, out of all the running candidates for the 2016 presidential election who would you vote for? And which would you hate to see get into office?

First of all, I try my darndest to steer clear of political and religious discussions because many times, oh so many times, people get hot under the collar and totally bent out of shape when you challenge or disagree with their beliefs, opinions and choices. Bat shit crazy some of them get. They really do.

Also, I try hard not to inject myself into another nation’s political goings-on, and even harder when there’s a debate as heated and messy as the one the United States is in right now. Although sometimes it’s next to impossible to stifle an opinion, particularly when it feels like your country is being dragged into the whole sordid mess. What the heck am I talking about? Here’s an example: I recently ran across a political attack ad (such childish things) showing our nation’s flag and playing our national anthem. It really annoyed me and I blurted out “$#@% off, [whoever created this], leave us out of your political crap.” And that’s saying a lot because I really don’t swear. There was also a condescending emphasis on the words “socialist” and “liberal” about my country and some European ones, too, but that didn’t bother me because this.

(And click here if you'd like to see the ad I’m talking about.)

Okay, all joking and teasing and grumbling aside...

Most of all, apart from sensationalized news, an article here and there, opinions of bloggers, discussions amongst family and friends, things I stumble across on the web and stuff like that there, I’m not familiar enough with your country’s social, political and economical framework and/or issues, and even less so about the voting process, candidates, their platforms and all the key changes they’d like to make south of the border. Therefore, it’s impossible to make an intelligent and informed decision.

However, you, Adam (I am addressing you directly), are a very intelligent young man who is admirably well informed and very involved in your country’s politics, so here’s what I’m going to do. I will list a few things that are important to me and some of the things I stand for. After you’ve read through them, I would like you to suggest which political candidate may be the best fit and where I might belong on your nation’s political spectrum. Are you game? I hope so because here I go...

What appeals to me (in no particular order):

- Affordable housing
- Support for veterans; the ability to easily access any/all services
- Access to government information
- Universal health care/affordable health care
- Gun control/gun laws
- Social/recreational programs in school to engage young people
- A reasonable/livable minimum wage
- Affordable post secondary education and trade schools
- An end to unfair tax breaks
- Maternity and parental benefits
- Fair and balanced labour laws
- Pro-choice
- Accessible, affordable mental health care services
- The welcoming of refugees (right now it’s Syrians) during a humanitarian crisis
- Marriage equality/LGBT rights  ("There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation", Pierre Trudeau; 15th prime minister of Canada and late father of current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau)
- Complete separation of church and state
- Action on climate change
- Peacekeeping operations
- Physician-assisted death
- Rehabilitation instead of longer sentencing
- Education, work programs and appropriate therapy to help prisoners transition into the free world
- Clean energy
- A tax break for the middle class
- No government-sponsored partisan ads
- Assistance, aid to the poorest and most vulnerable locally
- Foreign aid; assistance, aid to the poorest and most vulnerable around the world as needed
- Diversity in Government, public sector
- The outlawing of capital punishment
- Equality and non discrimination ("Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948)

There is more but let’s stop here.

I want to live in a country that is recognized for its compassion, progressiveness, tolerance, diversity, humanitarianism and support of equal rights for all citizens. I want to live in a country that makes great efforts to eliminate poverty and give everyone, regardless of economic circumstances, equal opportunities to succeed. I want to live in a country that keeps church and state separate; religion is a personal matter but state affairs/services concern/affect/are shared by everyone. I don’t need to know nor do I care whether a candidate is religious or not, and what religion they practice if they practice any. That is irrelevant to me. I want to live in a country that is proud of the diversity of its people and promotes mutual respect among its citizens.

I want a leader who is diplomatic, respectful, courteous, open minded and progressive. I want a leader that unites rather than divides. Someone who promotes peace.

So tell me, is there a candidate that would appeal to me?

And as for who I wouldn’t want to see elected, there are two that I find very disturbing. As human beings. I won’t name names or point fingers. Instead, I’ll give a description of how I perceive them and you see if you can figure out who I’m referring to.

One is a serial lying, racist, sexist, arrogant, offensive, misogynistic, foul-mouthed, vain, opportunistic, xenophobic bully. I’d be embarrassed to have him representing me on the world stage.

The other is also a manipulative, arrogant, hypocritical, serial liar who employs dirty tricks and bends the truth (or just flat out lies) to get ahead. He seems to have absolutely no moral compass and I wouldn’t trust him to take out my garbage.

And that’s all I’m going to say. Now, I hope I didn’t offend anyone but if I did, well [shrug], that’s the way it goes sometimes. It just means that we can't agree to disagree.

More answers to your questions next week. Have a good one, everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you all had a great weekend. And for those who celebrated, I hope you had a lovely Easter. We enjoyed the long weekend but we actually don't celebrate Easter until May 1st when the Christian Orthodox Easter takes place. Why does it fall on a different date sometimes? For a couple of reasons. First, the Christian Orthodox Church continues to follow the Julian calendar when calculating the date of Easter while the rest of Christianity uses the Gregorian calendar. And also, Easter must take place after the Jewish Passover in order to maintain the Biblical sequence. And now you know.

Speaking of long weekends, my younger daughter came home on Thursday evening and she'll be leaving tonight to return to Ottawa. It's been wonderful having her here. University life has been good to her. She's doing well in school and having a great time in her new city. And even though she's only been away for a few months, she seems so much more grown up. In any case, it's very comforting to see her happy and well adjusted.

Now how about some funny stuff? Let's get to that...

Have a good one!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hometown Memories: A Real Life Ugly Duckling Story

(I'm short on time today, so I thought I'd re-share this story that was originally posted in spring 2011. I hope you enjoy it!)

Over the years, when I was still living in Montreal, I bumped into many of my childhood friends. Most of them recognized and remembered me, and most of the time I recognized and remembered them – unless they had changed drastically, which isn’t often the case since many of us don’t change all that much, we just become older versions of ourselves. But once in awhile a person’s appearance changes so much as the years pass that you would never be able to link the two versions (child and adult) together. Such is the case of one of my childhood friends that I did not see until I was in my late 20s. When he was a kid, he was a scrawny, buck-toothed, silly and awkward boy who didn’t rate anywhere on the ‘cute kid’ radar. He was a lot of fun, and one of my favourite friends, but hardly adorable. He wasn’t one of the little boys you would expect to grow up to be a handsome man.

But oh my...

One day while I was scanning items in a supermarket aisle - near my 30th birthday – I felt eyes upon me. Moving my head back and forth while pretending to check out items, and hoping that my peripheral vision would catch a glimpse of the gawker, I noticed a man had stopped a few feet away, just staring at me. It was early afternoon on a weekday, a time where most stores are quiet, so it was just the two of us in that aisle. There was no doubt his eyes were fixed on me; I felt my cheeks getting very hot as I became self-conscious of his blatant gazing.

I wanted to move out of that aisle but I wanted to move out with poise, slowly, calmly, without showing any sign that he had in fact intimidated me. I had no idea what had possessed him to stop and stare. Was he some guy who routinely tried to meet women in a supermarket? Was he a creepy character that I should be concerned about? Would he follow me around the store? To the cash? Into the parking lot? I didn’t know. What I did know is that he was making me nervous. Still, I wasn’t going to grant him the satisfaction of watching me flee in fear. I decided I’d turn around and look at him straight in the eyes as I walked right past him. And when I did turn to look at him as I moved past him with my shopping cart, I found myself face to face with one of the handsomest faces I’d ever seen. My heart skipped a beat (or two or three...), my eyes got big and round and my legs turned to jelly. I could hardly breathe. Or move. Or take my eyes off him. Now I was staring.

That’s when he said my name.


Huh? He. Knows. Me. ! This gorgeous hunk of a man knows me? ! How? From where? And how could I not know him? Who could possibly forget someone who looks like this?

“Do I know you?” I asked.

“Yes” He smiled. And the universe shook. I swear there was a halo around his head. “From a long time ago.”

Oh, how blessed those days must have been...

When he told me who he was, I had to remember to put my jaw - that had nearly dropped to the floor - back in place. This dazzling, tall, dark, eye-catcher was the same scrawny, buck-toothed, corny boy that I had spent many days playing with as a child. The ugly duckling story that I had read as a child sprung to mind. Here I was standing before a classic example of a complete – and stunning - me-ta-mor-pho-sis.

Reduced to the awkwardness of an adolescent, I nonetheless tried to retain my composure and make casual – and coherent - conversation. It took tremendous effort to stay focused. As he spoke, telling me a little bit about himself and his news, my mind wandered off and I could barely make out what he was saying; I was too preoccupied, wondering if I looked okay, chastising myself for not having taken more time to fix my hair or polish my make-up or dress nicer. What was I thinking coming here without making more of an effort on my appearance? A girl should be prepared at all times; you never know who you’ll bump into at the supermarket, right? I was even filled with anxiety when I couldn’t remember whether I had any pimples on my face or if I had recently plucked my eyebrows or shaved my legs or put on deodorant.


It turned out he was still single and lived close to my home in the same neighborhood. OHMYGOD. Then he asked about my situation by using three words that had never sounded so obscene in my life: “Are you married?” No? Maybe? Kind of? Sigh… Yes. (Damn it) I was incredibly alarmed to find myself more annoyed at having to admit I had a husband – what kind of person was I? - even though the marriage was a fiasco and a terribly unhappy one. So instead of speaking about a husband that was obviously more of a nuisance in my life than a source of happiness, I focused on my daughter instead, chatting away, hoping to direct the conversation away from the ‘man’ in my life. If I could avoid answering questions about my partner, I wouldn’t have to deal with saying wonderful things about him that I didn’t feel, and I wouldn’t have to concentrate on making sure my eyes and facial expression were up to par with my lies.

After we said good-bye, wishing each other well, I floated through the rest of my shopping spree, imagining all kinds of scenarios that were not appropriate of a married woman, feeling tingling sensations that screamed x-rated. I never saw him after that, which was for the better, but I think about him now and then, and hope he is doing well.

So while some of us do not change all that much as we age, others go through a complete transformation, the man in the supermarket being a fine (oh so fine…) example of that. I would never have recognized him had he not recognized me, and I figure he knew who I was because I was still quite recognizable, albeit an older version of myself. I just hope I made as much an impression on him as he had made on me. One can only hope.

(And just for the record, my second marriage is a match made in heaven because I'm with the most amazing man in the world, so I wouldn’t hesitate to answer that I’m married if I bumped into this man now. Just sayin')

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Words Of Widsom

I've tried advising them against dumb actions but they won't listen. Instead, they go up into the attic or down to a pitch black cellar to investigate - alone. And when the house says "GET OUT", they choose to ignore it. That would be the perfect time to hightail it out of there, don't ya think?

What extremely dumb things that people do in scary movies can you think of?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

You Asked, I Answer (Unsavory Foods, Middle Names and Regrets)

Another week, another round of answers to your questions on this year's ‘Ask Me Anything’ post. If you'd like to participate, click here.

Here we go...


Bethany asked:
What's your least favorite food?

I’m not a very picky eater but there are some things that really don’t appeal to me, mostly because of their unpleasant texture; the way they feel in my mouth. For example, anything that’s slimy (oysters, mussels) makes me gag. And the gelatinous feel? Bleh. Not for me. And you guessed right that I won’t eat Jell-O. Even the way it jiggles around when you poke it is alarming.

And although there isn’t one particular food that is my least favourite, here’s one that assaults all my senses:

GAWD... Hairy, slimy, nausea-inducing okra. I suspect that it’s nothing more than a mutated green bean that some farmer successfully introduced as a new discovery after a crop gone bad. My mom used to make it regularly when I was growing up...oh the trauma...and I would not touch it. Not. One. Bite. Nothing’s changed over the years; I hate it now as much as I hated it then.

And you know what? My husband feels exactly the same way about this dreadful food. Another reason why he’s the most amazing man in the world.

My apologies to the okra lovers. Although I think you’re all a little crazy!


Francie asked:
What is the middle name of tbhitw? :)

Emmanuel. He doesn’t like that name any more than he likes his first one, so don’t tell him I told you what it is! *snort*

Personally I think it’s a very nice name and I’ve told him as much. But he just shakes his head. No. No no no. And no. I get the feeling he's made up his mind about that.


Red asked:
Do you ever have any regrets and if so what are they?

I’m not one to dwell much on the past, but like anyone else, I sometimes ponder what could have been if I’d made different choices. Obviously getting married to the wrong man the first time around is something I think about now and again, but because I have two amazing daughters as a result of that, there is a positive side to that terribly unpleasant time.

Going further with my education is another thing I sometimes think about. I took a lot of shortcuts when I was young, eager to get out of school as quickly as possible and join the working world, and sometimes wish I’d been more focused. And patient. Perhaps in the next lifetime...

And every now and then I wish I’d pursued what would have made me the happiest: charitable work. On a global level. When I was full of energy and boundless enthusiasm in my youth, the nomadic lifestyle was highly appealing and there is no doubt that I would have been very happy being part of a humanitarian aid organization that worked in different areas around the world, helping others, making a difference, giving my life purpose and meaning. And I would have been as equally, or maybe even more so, fulfilled if I’d been an animal rights activist bouncing around this beautiful planet of ours for several years, saving the animals that needed saving and working with endangered wildlife.

If my life had taken that direction in my youth, people who know me would have been asking “Where in the world is Martha today?” for an extended period of time. And if I’d met or known the most amazing man in the world at that time, I would have taken him along with me and we both would have been out saving the world. Side by side. And one day at time!

But all in all, life has been good to me and I don't have much to complain about.

And that's all for today. Next week I'm planning on answering a single question...perhaps of a...political nature.

Until next time, have a wonderful rest of the day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone, and most importantly...happy spring! favourite season of the year has arrived. And there are soul-feeding things springing everywhere. The birds are singing, the daffodils are rising, the world is's all so beautiful, isn't it?

Now here's something interesting - and maybe a little amusing - about just how small this world really is...

I received an email from my brother a few days ago letting me know that the federal judge that President Obama nominated for the US Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, is married to our (first) cousin's sister-in-law. In other words, my cousin's wife is the sister of Merrick Garland's wife. What??? WHOOSH...the world got really small.

My brother joked that maybe we can be invited to the White House being somewhat (but not really) connected. Yeah! No. That'll never happen. Still, this is pretty awesome because I'm suddenly closer to the White House than anyone I know! Kind of. But not really.

Okay, enough of that. Here's some funny stuff for you.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happiness Is...

...this sandwich's green bread.

Every Wednesday I volunteer my time with an elderly man in the early stages of dementia. His family, a lovely Irish family with those wonderful accents and all, is away for a few hours and I'm there to make sure he's safe and well taken care of.

Anyhow, his wife always has food prepared for the both of us for lunch; all I have to do is put it on plates and make us some tea. And yesterday she surprised me with green bread! Green bread. She actually found green bread. She's so cute.

In addition, she left us some cupcakes with a green topping.

And celebratory napkins:

This family. I just adore them.

Today they are celebrating their heritage and so are many others. As the napkin says:
Happy Shamrock Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Question Of The Day

The insensitive remarks about low income families and the prejudice toward people living in poverty.

Every now and then I run across someone who'll make derogatory remarks about poor people and the children being raised in them. And the remarks are sometimes nastier for children growing up in a low income, single-parent household. What's sadder even is when the individual making these comments is familiar to me. Take, for example, a very old friend of mine who once said to me over the phone All the worst kids come from poor homes, especially if they’re being raised by only one parent.”

I couldn’t believe my ears when she said this, particularly because it hit very close to home. For one thing, I grew up in a poor, working class household and - according to her - should have turned out quite badly. And at the time of the remark, I was a single, low-income earning parent. My own children, therefore, were condemned to a life of substance abuse, crime and turmoil because of our lifestyle. If I shared her philosophy, I’d have thrown in the towel right then and there and let nature take its course. After all, why fight the inevitable? If you’re doomed, you’re doomed.

It’s sad, really, that someone feels this way about human beings in less fortunate situations, most of which are hard working and doing the best they can. Poverty is not a disease and the people involved are no less valuable. We are measured by who we are not by what we have.

What do you personally find deeply offensive?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You Asked, I Answer (Homes, An Optimistic Outlook and Dreams)

Here's another round of answers to questions my blogging pals have asked in this year's ‘Ask Me Anything’ post. If you want to participate, click here.

Here are today's answers:


Betty asked:
What kind of a house are you looking to move into after your house sells?

A much smaller one!

I like small, cozy spaces that are easy to care for and maintain. Right now we live in a place that is about 2,000 square feet. Oversized with oversized responsibilities. What we’d like is a home that is about half that size, so that we’ll not only cut down on chores, we’ll also lower our bills. And significantly reduce our mortgage!

We tossed a few ideas around when we first started contemplating a move and we even went so far as considering moving into an apartment to be totally free of all home-related responsibilities. But I’m not quite ready to give up gardening and the most amazing man in the world is not quite ready to give up his motorcycle. Also, in my little city rents are ridiculously high. In fact, they are amongst the highest in the province of Ontario. Why? There is a shortage of rentals, so the vacancy rate is low. Therefore, supply and demand. And dare I say it, greedy landlords. Ooops...I said it.

So another house it is for us. We’d prefer a detached or semi-detached single home. We visited a couple of townhouses, and although they were just the right size, they don’t appeal as much to us. And we would never even consider a condo. Ever.

Right now, we’re just hoping to sell! The house market, especially for the type of house we have, is very slow from late fall and throughout the winter months. Kingston’s busiest season is in spring and we’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll finally be able to unload this beast and move on.


E asked:
Your optimism is infectious...What do you think contributes to your wonderful outlook on life?

First, thank you for this. What a nice thing to say.

Here’s my answer:

I have bad days like anyone else. And I get moody, frustrated, impatient, anxious and even down in the dumps at times. But not for long. A pessimistic state is very exhausting for me mentally, emotionally and physically, so I work on getting the heck out of it as quickly as possible.

What lifts my spirit?

- I’ve kept my childlike wonder and still see awesomeness in this world.
- I capture that awesomeness through my camera lens.
- I spend time being creative. It's relaxing and meditative.
- I find joy in the simplest things.
- I soothe my soul by spending time with Mother Nature.
- I live in the present.
- I never try not to worry about what I cannot change and what is beyond my control.
- I do not follow trends or chase fashion. I'm outdated and blissfully happy about it.
- I avoid toxic people. They are like vampires; sucking the very life out of you.
- I don’t fret over what other people think of me. Nor do I care.
- I volunteer my time and have discovered that helping others kindles my own happiness.
- I live and let live, and mind my own business.
- I practice gratitude daily and remind myself how easy I have it.
- I have the most amazing family. No competition or conflicts or struggles. Just peace, love and boundless support.
- And I laugh every single day, which is easy because not only do I have a healthy sense of humour but so does the most amazing man in the world. We joke and tease and get silly day in and day out, living our own personal comedy skit.

These are some of the things that push me toward an optimistic outlook in life. It’s much less tiring and a lot more pleasurable to be on that side, isn’t it?


Country Gal asked:
If you had one dream to live out what would that dream be?

I would travel the world and photograph everything along the way. I’d love to immerse myself in different cultures, go from one place to another by plane and ship and train and bus and car and bike and on foot. Experience the diversity and vastness of this amazing world we live in. See it all. Breathe it in. Soak in it. And if money was no object (aka if the lottery came in), I’d get started right now..right this very moment...and travel till I dropped. With a camera in one hand and the most amazing man in the world in the other.

That would be my dream!

And that, my friends, is the end of this week's answers to your questions. Enjoy the rest of the day!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. Another new week has begun and because we moved our clocks an hour forward over the weekend this one is going to have longer days. YAY! I'm very happy about that. I'm also very happy that spring is just a few days away. Can't wait till the weather is nice enough to get our bikes out and go on some adventures.

For  now, here's some funny stuff to get your day going...

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's The Little Things: Nostalgia

You know what I'm talking about. That warm, fuzzy feeling we have when we think about fond memories in our past. I love that feeling, don't you? It's mostly a comforting, happy emotion but it comes with a tinge of sadness, too. Because whatever we're remembering is something that is lost in some way.

But I digress.

I've been feeling very nostalgic. The feeling was brought on by skyping with my younger daughter earlier this week. As I was speaking to her while she sat in her dorm room, hearing about her plans, her new apartment, the future, I kept picturing her like this:

As a five year old.

It made me smile. And it tugged at my heartstrings.

The power of nostalgia. So bittersweet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Little People Living In The Big World

So today I'm going to introduce my other blog, Miniaturopolis, which has been up and running since April 2015. I started slowly by posting once a week, then twice and settled on three times; a comfortable amount since I already have this blog to cater to and don't want to overdo it. It's my playground where I let the kid in me loose and where I unleash my imagination. I waited a long time before introducing it because I wanted to make sure that I was committed to it. I sure am! I'm loving every minute of it.

So what is Miniaturopolis about, you ask? It's about the experiences little people living in the big world have, as well as the many challenges they face.

It's where they work:

Preparing it one noodle at a time.

Where they play:

Come on in, the water juice is fine.

Where they find love:

Indeed it is.

Where they're naughty:

That's how your change disappears.

Where they solve crimes:

In the kitchen, with the candlestick...

And sometimes, it can be a dangerous place for them, too.

It can kill you.

Because it's not easy living in the big world.

If you'd like to follow the adventures of these little people, visit them here: Miniaturopolis

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

You Asked, I Answer (This, That And The Other)

Here's another round of answers to questions my blogging pals have asked in this year's ‘Ask Me Anything’ post. If you haven't participated and wish to do so, or if you've already posed a question but want to ask another, click here.

Here is today's round.


Hannah asked:
Did you ever want your name to be something different? or your birthday to be on a different date? why?

I’ve always disliked my name. I’d go so far as saying I hate it but when I do that I feel guilty because I’m named after my maternal grandmother, and you can imagine how heartwarming it is for my mom that I'm named after her mother. Nonetheless, I have wished since forever that I had another name. Like what? I don't know. But something else. My own is not a terrible name but it’s an ‘oldish’ type. Although at my age, I’m certainly growing into it!

And wouldn't you know it...I'd end up being paired with a man whose name happens to be George. Yeah, cue the 'George and Martha Washington' comments and snickers. Yes, people do nauseam!

As for my birthday, I’m born three days before Valentine’s, so it would have been nice if there’d been a little more distance between the two. That way, both celebrations wouldn’t get lumped together. Like they always do. But I’m okay with being born in the winter. No problem there.


The Happy Whisk asked:
What colour is your toothbrush?

Only Wonder Woman (aka The Happy Whisk) would think to ask such an entertaining question! And have me eagerly answering.

My toothbrush is white and pink. I’d personally never choose pink since it’s not a favourite colour of mine (my first choice would be blue) but I get many of my brushes from my dentist and this is what I got on my last visit. And come to think of it, on the last few visits. Hmm... I shouldn’t read too much into it (like is it because I’m female?) but I will sneak a peek into the dental hygienist’s drawer next time she reaches in there to grab one for me and see what other colours there are.


Bethany had a few fun and interesting questions and here’s one of them:
Do you ever listen to the radio? And, if so, what do you listen to?

Once upon a time I used to listen to the radio all the time. I especially loved those shows where song dedications were made for love or heartbreak or because of grief. One show was 'Delilah' where callers would tell the host their situation or story and then she would choose the song that best matches their circumstances. I shed a lot of tears with that one. The radio show is still going on.

And then, of course, there was the Canadian show "Lovers and Other Strangers"; a kind of chicken soup for the soul radio show. With the use of captivating words accompanied by the perfect music, the popular host, Don Jackson, would take you deep into your mind. Every time I tuned in, I was guaranteed a very inspirational and spiritual journey. I shed a few tears there, too.

That was then.

Now I almost never listen to the radio at home. Occasionally I’ll play some music CDs, which I have too many of, but mostly I like to connect to YouTube and listen to the songs on my playlist.

But it’s a totally different story in the car. When I’m driving, I always have the radio on. I enjoy the background noise; the news, weather updates, songs. My favourite type of music is classic rock but I’m open to just about anything. If the song is to my liking, I don’t care what genre it is; I will listen to it. And if it's something I really like, I'll start singing along.


Barb asked:
My question for you is "if you could live anywhere else on the North American continent, where would it be"?

Ah, Barb, if only I'd met the most amazing man in the world in my youth; we'd now be living somewhere in British Columbia where we both have always wanted to be. But life had different plans for us. The west coast of Canada has always been at the top of my list and if my two daughters moved there, I’d have an excuse to go. But I don’t see that happening any time soon, so here I am.

Tropical islands like Barbados, Turks and Caicos, Curacao and Aruba are also very appealing but I’m not sure I could handle hot weather year round. I like the idea of four seasons. But give me half a year in Canada and half a year down south and I’m game!

That’s it for this week. If you haven't seen your question yet, don't worry; all of them will get answered in the next few weeks. Also, there are a few inquiries that are so thought provoking that they may take up an entire post. One of them might be yours, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Another Monday, another new week. How is everyone? Did you have a nice weekend? Yesterday the weather here was a-ma-zing. Sunny and mild and simply a-ma-zing. So we went on a road trip over to the neighbouring town of Greater Napanee, which is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of Kingston.  It's a pretty town with only about 15,000 residents that we've been to a few times and will probably go to again. Hopefully the next time will be with our bicycles. To explore it further. Again. And photograph around the area. Again.

But until then, here's some humour for you.

Have a great day, all!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

What I’ve Learned In My Life So Far

I’ve learned that you should...

Edgar Allan Poe (The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether)

It always drove my kids batty when I asked questions like "where did you hear that?", "who/what is your source?", "why are you so convinced it's the truth?", "did you do any independent research to verify the information/dates/numbers/statistics?", "have you checked different sources for other opinions/perspectives/thoughts/facts?", "why do you simply believe what he/she said without verifying it?" and so on when they shared a news story or when we debated a topic or when they parroted something someone told them. I wasn't trying to frustrate them; I was trying to teach them to think for themselves, to open up their minds, to question what they hear and to be fully informed (of their own doing) before coming to a conclusion about any social/political/historical/economic/environmental/etc issue.

Because "the neighbour/teacher/uncle/reporter/pastor/boss/politician said", "the newspaper wrote", "my friends think/believe/insist", "I saw it on TV", "there was this YouTube video", "it was posted on Facebook", "people are tweeting", "this story has gone viral", "everyone is saying" sometimes leads to misconceptions, untruths, faulty information and mob mentality.

So I do what I've tried to teach my kids to do: check and research for myself before coming to a conclusion. And before repeating it!

Because just because someone says it is so doesn't make it so.

How about you? Do you believe what you're told or do you verify the information?