Tag Archives: weather

Top Ten Reasons To Live in Canada…

This post was inspired by my friend, Renée, over at Life in the Boomer Lane: http://lifeintheboomerlane.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/the-best-country-in-the-world-is/

Newsweek rated Canada #7 in the world as “best country.”  I think it should have been #1!

For those of you who don’t know my background, I was born in Ohio, but my family moved to Ontario when I was 8 years old (1969).  So for those of  you who aren’t math wizards, I’ve spent the last 41 years living in Canada.  I can say in all sincerity that I’m never leaving! 

Here (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) are my Top Ten Reasons To Live in Canada (in random order as I think of them!):

1. It’s probably the only place in the world where you can bump into someone, and they will apologize to you.  Canadians are the politest people ever (unless they’re drunk -don’t bump into someone holding a bottle of Molson!).

2. Geography lessons are shorter – we only have 10 provinces and 3 territories to learn the names of.  Rivers and lakes are often given Indian names, while cities and their streets are usually named after dead guys or places in England.

3. Our paper money comes in pretty colours – it makes it easier to figure out what you’re giving the clerk at the Great Canadian Dollar Store.  Our dollar coin is called a “loonie” for the bird that’s pictured on it (it’s not a reference to our Queen who’s featured on the front, although it may apply to certain members of her family).

4. Our young men are not required to register for military service on their 18th birthdays…however, they must have worked at least two shifts serving coffee at their local Tim Horton’s outlets.  If they do decide to join the military, they are probably going to be sent over as peacekeepers to some country the Americans have invaded.

5. We elect our governments in a single day…no foolish primaries!  Candidates campaign for about a month before the election.  Campaign costs are measured in thousands of dollars rather than millions.  Canadians have been known to elect prime ministers who didn’t look like movie stars.  The worst political scandal is likely to involve a government minister leaving sensitive documents at his girlfriend’s house (no Watergate here).

6. If one is a Canadian actor or musician, it is possible to move about freely without being constantly accosted by fans (or even recognized).  These artists have to make it south of the border before anyone here pays attention to them (sad but true)!  It’s a different story for hockey players or national news anchors…they will be mobbed wherever they go!

7. Getting sick in Canada is not likely to cause you to lose your house.  Our tax dollars ensure that no one is billed for routine medical appointments, emergency room visits, or hospital stays in semi-private rooms or wards (although cosmetic surgery or dental treatment is a whole other ball of wax!).

8. Our highway signs are in metric – a 100km/hour speed limit sounds so much faster than 60 mph doesn’t it?  We also have compulsory seat belt/motorcycle helmet laws, which often prevents injury in the event of a collision (cleanup after the accident is also quicker when you’re not peeling someone’s body parts off the pavement).

9. Since we basically have only two seasons in Canada (winter and summer), one doesn’t need nearly as much clothing.  Tanning companies make a fortune, because our summer is only three months long.  Strangely, many people wear baseball caps year-round (including women).

10. Handguns are illegal in Canada.  If you cut somebody off on the highway, they probably won’t get out and shoot you (although you could be beaten with a hockey stick!).

I invite my Canadian readers to add to this list…


Filed under rants, self-discovery

Sweating and Small Stuff…

It’s been hot in our neck of the woods this week…not stifling like it is in some locales, but hotter than we’re used to…the humidex has hit 90 degrees plus several times.  Our usually cool house in the country has been a little warm…we have windows open, and about four fans of various sizes blowing the hot air out.  I’ve never enjoyed heat, and I’m not loving this heat wave…it makes this peri-menopausal matriarch even crankier than usual…which brings us to today’s post:

We got our annual shipment of wood on Monday morning…five cords of wood dumped in our driveway, despite my plea to get it to the back of the house if possible (apparently, it wasn’t possible, but I don’t think the guy tried very hard).  Déja vu! (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/wood-that-i-could/)

Yesterday morning started out badly…I woke up at 4:45 a.m. (45 minutes before my alarm was set to go off – this is starting to be a pattern).  I went to the bathroom, and then back to bed.  Some crappy pop song jolted me out of bed when the radio came on at 5:30.  As per my usual custom, I shut off the alarm and went back to sleep for what was supposed to be an extra fifteen minutes…you guessed it…I didn’t wake up until 6:15!  Not a big deal…it just meant that I wouldn’t be ready to go to town with my dad at 7:00, but that I’d get a ride in with Jim later.  I actually had time to make a real breakfast, instead of just grabbing a bagel the way I usually do!

My usual breakfast (minus the peanut butter)...

I surfed the net while eating my Toad in the Hole.  I was sad to read that a woman I knew had passed away after a 2-year battle with breast cancer…she used to ride our bus when I lived on the West Side…she was smart, independent and sweet…she will be missed (her name was also Wendy). 

I arrived at the bookstore without any major difficulty…traffic has been unpredictable lately since the highway is under construction and has lanes closed in both directions.

Hope called to tell me we were out of bananas (I knew that)…I made a mental note to stop and pick some up (along with eggs and potatoes) on the way home.  She called an hour later to tell me that she hadn’t made the Top 20 for Saint John Idol…she’d tried out on Wednesday night, one of some 90 hopefuls.  She did a great job, but I suspect that far more weight was given to performance values (Hope’s only 12) than singing ability.  There were some really good singers who didn’t make the cut!  I told her she could try again next year… 

Hope and her Saint John Idol debut...

Our first customers of the day were from the cruise ship that was in port…two women from Arizona.  They inquired about whether the fog outside was “normal.”  I advised that we considered it “our natural air conditioning.”  Worried that I’d taken offense, they hastened to add that “it was nice.”  They were looking for a book with Canadian poems about the sea for a gift.  I sold them “Songs of the Maritimes,” a perfect choice.  After they left, I remembered seeing another copy of the book I’d sold in a box somewhere (the store still looks pretty much the same as the photos here:https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/scenes-from-a-bookstore/)…I wanted to replace it on the shelves.  After going through, I don’t know, fifty boxes, that’s when I realized that the box I was looking for had been donated the day before (along with seven others) to a local church for their fundraising book sale.  Did I mention I had also decided to wear white pants yesterday?  You can imagine what I looked like after that…

Around 11:00, I decided that I should call my daughter and invite them over for supper…I had extended an invitation a couple of days before, but Scott had chosen that particular night to mow the lawn.  Ordinarily, I would have had a problem with trading a chance to see my granddaughter for “emergency” yard work, but given our uncomfortable temperatures lately, I could see his point.  Kaylee assured me that last night was a good time.

I spent the next couple of hours working on my blog.  The nature guy from the museum came in looking for a certain Farley Mowat title, which I knew we had somewhere, but couldn’t find…we wrote down his name and phone number.

I decided about 3:00 that I should go to the drugstore to pick up a couple of things before Jim came…I was just about to go, when two men from Vancouver came in…they had a variety of interests, and seemed to really enjoy our store.  One fellow collected Hardy Boys books, and presented me with the tiny list he keeps in his wallet.  He bought two in dustjackets.  He was also interested in sheet music…Dad brought out a box from the back room.  His companion collected books by J.M. Barrie (and his name was Barry) – I showed him two particularly beautiful volumes with tipped-in illustrations by Hugh Thomson (a sought-after illustrator during the late 19th century).  He also requested Farley Mowat titles.  Barry left with five books, giving them both a 20% discount…I’m hoping they may be back today to buy the Barrie books.

"The Admirable Crichton" by J.M. Barrie

By the time the West Coasters were gone, it was 4:15…I called Jim and asked about his ETA.  He advised that I probably wouldn’t have time to make the drugstore, but that we could go on the way home.  Anna called to tell me we needed both kinds of milk (homogenized and Lacteeze).  A half hour later, Jim called from Harbour Bridge (as he always does), to let me know to go out and wait for him.  I was waiting at the usual spot when he called again.  Jim told me that he’d missed the exit (preoccupied with work), and was now caught in a traffic jam.  He suggested I go ahead to the drugstore, and he’d catch up with me later.  Off I went to pick up my stuff.  Heading to the checkout, I saw that “Miss Sullen-No-Personality” was on duty, so I picked a different cashier (she was friendly and efficient – I liked her!).  While I was in the mall, I took the opportunity to check my lottery ticket from last week…woohoo!  We won $2!  I reinvested the winnings (along with another $7), buying a ticket on a $43 million jackpot for tonight, and one on a $7 million jackpot for Saturday.

I called Jim from the door of the mall: “I’m at the Germain Street door…is that a good place?”

He replied, “Go up the hill where the YWCA used to be.” I reminded him that was probably before my time in Saint John (that’s a particularly annoying idiosyncrasy of Saint Johners – they’ll still refer to “the K-Mart” 20 years after it’s closed!). 

Exasperated, Jim said, “Go up the hill, cross Union Street, and wait at the corner.” So I did.  I tried to look as little like a hooker as I could (that neighbourhood has a bit of a reputation for that).  Needless to say, I was happy to see our Dodge Caravan pull up…

We stopped to pick up our growing list of groceries, and also made a stop at our neighbourhood drugstore for Jim’s prescription.  By this time, it was 5:35.  As I waited, I called home.  Hope answered.  I asked to speak to Anna, to see if the kids would cut up some veggies for our guests to munch on while they waited for what was surely going to be a late supper.  “Anna’s asleep,” Hope said. 

“Asleep?  Why?” 

“I guess she was tired,” answered Hope. 

“Well, could you guys cut up some vegetables so that Kaylee and Scott don’t starve?” I asked.

“Nah, we’re watching Mr. Bean,” said Hope.  And then she HUNG UP!

Mr. Bean in the Photo Booth...

We got home at 5:55…Kaylee was due at 6.  The dishwasher had been run, but not unloaded.  Dishes were piled high in both sinks.  The kids were still in their jammies, and Anna was just waking up.  “You didn’t tell me Kaylee was coming over!” she whined.  “I’m not ready!”  She hurried off to get dressed. 

Jim saw the look on my face as I announced, “I am seriously going to lose my mind!”  He immediately switched to SuperJim mode, unloading the dishes, putting them away, and then reloading.  Then he went off to start the barbecue…I love that man!


I went to the freezer, pulled out hamburger buns, and put them in the microwave to defrost.  Then I started peeling potatoes…it was warm, so I went into the dining room to open the window and turn on the fan.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  Jake had left me a lovely gift (he usually goes in the back kitchen)…awesome!  How do four teenagers manage to ignore a dog doing “the have to go outside dance”, and then not notice when he sneaks off to the dining room to poop on my floor!  I fumed as I cleaned up the mess…

"I'm innocent...I was here the whole time!"

Kaylee and Scott and the baby arrived a little later than usual…I kept peeling the potatoes and tried to carry on a conversation from the kitchen (which was impossible because Mr. Bean was still on).  Once they were ready for the BBQ, I carried the potatoes outside to find Jim switching the propane tank for the one in our second barbecue…out of gas…I came back in and took burger orders: beef, chicken or veggie.  I delivered them to the grillmaster, and started cutting up the vegetables while I watched my granddaughter having fun in the living room with the rest of the family…it had been a week-and-a-half since I’d seen her!  I missed her…

Supper was finally ready about 7:15.  I served Aunt Jerry’s Green Salad (see  https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/tastes-of-the-past/) for dessert.  I managed to convince Scott to try a little bit of Kaylee’s, but he didn’t jump at the chance to have his own bowl…I believe the word “wimp” may have come out of my mouth…Elise liked it though…

Finally, I was able to sit down and play with my granddaughter.  Elise had great fun trying to grab Gramma’s dangly earrings, and pulling my hair…she’s the wiggliest kid I’ve ever tried to hold (her mother and aunts weren’t that calm, either)!  She’s also been noticing Jake a lot more lately…I don’t think he’ll put up with the same treatment Elise gives her cats!

Trying to suppress the wiggler...

Kaylee and Scott left shortly after 8.  I promised to be more organized the next time, so that I’d actually have more time to talk to them. 

I went out to check on my garden…woohoo!  I had peas…lots and lots of Sugar Ann peas!  I picked a little bowlful to have in a stirfry for supper tonight.  The girls enjoyed picking them and eating them right away.  I also have beans starting (fava bean pods are already 5 inches long – still have some fattening up to do though).  Anna thought the Mennonite purple stripe runner beans looked black.  Not sure if my cauliflower is going to make it…something has been chowing down on it.  The broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, and rutabaga looks good though.  I didn’t check the tomatoes last night, but I had a tiny tomato on one of the yellow variety plants the other day. 

When I came back in, Jim suggested we watch some TV before going to bed…I said, “I didn’t watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ from last night yet” (we PVR it – I love that show!).

Tyce Diorio...one of my favourite judges on SYTYCD...

Jim said, “I meant that I wanted to watch something good!”  I gave him a withering look, at which point he said he was “just kidding” (right!).  In the end, he watched some documentary for a while, and I decided to go to sleep, not wanting to stay up for another two hours watching TV.

I woke up at 4:45 again this morning…hoping today is less “eventful.”


Filed under books, family, food, gardening, rants, self-discovery