Tag Archives: humor

Letters to strangers – the timid shopper

It was refreshing to see someone politely ask someone else to move a bit so they could reach something on the shelf.  Really, common courtesy is not common anymore, so good for you for not bashing your way into the checkout line to reach that 1 chocolate bar that you wanted!  I would suggest however, that when you ask someone to excuse you and move out of the way, it might be more effective if you did so louder than a whisper. And then, when that person either doesn’t move because he’s a rude boor or just didn’t hear you, it is perfectly acceptable to ask again, just a tiny bit louder so that you are, oh, I don’t know, audible. Then, may I suggest that if he did shift out of the way, even if it isn’t too far, if you have line of sight to that candy bar, go for it.  Just because it means that you will be putting your face near his butt is not a reason to hesitate since you have already skipped the entire check out line that will go right past this shelf anyway and left your basket in the middle of the floor. And I’d like to give a shout out to the shopper behind the guy who is “blocking” your path to the candy bar who reached down and picked up the candy bar for you, turned around, asked how many you wanted and went back to get the 2 others and handed them to you.  She was far more compassionate than most of us who were just wondering whether you were scared to reach in and grab it or if your tight skirt prevented you from bending down that far.




Frozen (Not just Still) Lifes

A random collection of frozen objects that I found interesting – because in my opinion, that’s all that matters 🙂

Bowed Down


Is this a Stop(ped) light?


This willow has survived a windstorm that almost totalled my car, several thunderstorms and now an ice storm….and yet it still stands despite losing several branches and basically threatening to fall on us any day




The flowers are artificial, but if that wasn’t enough to preserve them, we decided to put them on ice


You can see which way the wind was blowing



You would not be sitting pretty on this


And kids, do NOT stick any part of your body (especially your tongue) on this!


My Jamaica is more than patties

My Jamaica is not just the beach. When I speak with fellow Jamaicans or when I am back in the homeland, the one thing that screams “I’m back ayard!!” more than the patties or oxtail or ackee is what we Jamaicans do to names. People’s names, street names, town names….anything is fair game.

When I was growing up far from the island, I always associated food with my culture. It was so different than the Canadian food – full of peppa (HOT peppers) and spicees and rich sauces and flava (flavour)!! Not to mention the exotic ingredients – cassava, oxtail (yes, real tail from real ox, not like the British toad in the hole which doesn’t involve any real toads), okra and plantain (the sweet fruit, not that leafy green medicinal plant).

The next stage was when I met my cousins and aunts and uncles who all still held onto their Jamaican accent. I still remember with some trepidation one of the first dinner parties where I could not understand a word Uncle T said. I had to find my mom and ask her if he was speaking a different language. Oh, how I wanted (still want) to speak like them! It was musical, intriguing and it was “home”.

But I realize now that more than the rum that leaks from our very pores (comes from having it poured on us every time it rains), it is the use of language that ties us together. This is what allows us to recognize each other as soon as someone walks through the door and you hear “Awhahappen?” But you know the soul of a Jamaican by how they use the language. We don’t bat an eye at names like Pretty (uncle) or nicknames like Plumby (uncle – spelling approximate as I’ve never actually seen it written – real name Ronald), Cutie (aunt), Evadne, etc. The absolute highlight had to be this gravestone we found in the cemetary. Only in Jamaica would you find:


We also use it to be a colourful descriptor. So while you can certainly find a “Main Street” (actually Avenue) in Kingston, Jamaica, you are just as likely to run across “Half Way Tree Road” or “Birdsucker Lane” or “Constant Spring road” or even “Red Hills Road”.  Each name conjuring up a visual or indicating that there must be a story behind the name. The most innocuous name I saw on my last visit was “Orange Grove” and even that makes you think of bright orange fruit with a leafy green backdrop!

However, it’s not all fun and interesting names. I was in my early 20s before I realized that one very ordinary and plain word was being used to indicate the staple of boiled yams and bananas in our diet. This, they call “food”.

How to survive 32 hours of travelling for business

I have certainly learnt my lesson this year. Just because the schedule looks ok on paper doesn’t mean it’s ok. On paper (or on screen if you’ve gone totally “e”), things are only 2 dimensional. It doesn’t take into account that 2 overnight flights in a row are going to wipe you out even if you can sleep on planes or that a 5 hour tour of a city (see my Istanbul post) in a 9 hour window means you are on the go for the entire time or that 3.5 days in Cape Town really IS just enough time for your body to adjust before you yank it back to North American time zone and you have to readjust again. So, here’s what you do if you have to go to a conference halfway around the world:

  1. Do NOT schedule a 5 hour exam the day before you leave (I passed, by the way)
  2. Do take your own travel pillow with you even if travelling business
  3. Do drink loads and loads of water, not alcohol or soda/pop, in addition to the gallons of caffeine you will be consuming
  4. Do NOT expect to land after 22 hours on a plane, 3 takeoffs and landings and 32 hours travelling and go to a briefing session
  5. If you do make it to the briefing session, do NOT expect to stay awake
  6. Do take extra time for your body to adjust to the new environment and take a moment to relax before shoving your body back in a tin can (the plane) rather than travelling for 63 hours and only spending 96 hours on the ground
  7. Do boost your immune system because you will be breathing in so many things on the flight you just don’t even want to know
  8. Do sleep whenever you can, but preferably not during the plenary session when sitting at the front
  9. Do bring your paitience and humour with you and leave everything else at home

How to keep friends

At a funeral I went to recently, the family said they found this prayer in the deceased’s chair. I searched the net, but didn’t find an author. Comments in brackets are mine.

A Daily Prayer for Those Growing Old

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old.    [I think everyone of any age should read this!]

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.   [oops, I guess this blog post ignores this one]

Release me from craving to try and straighten out everyone’s affairs.   [agree, but don’t stop telling me about all the affairs – gotta have some fun]

Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all … but thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.    [my advice is to write a book – that way people will pay for your advice anyway and you can get your friends to “proofread” the book so they have to read it]

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.  [I would add here not only patience but also the social graces to exit a conversation]

I dare not ask for improved memory [that’s what smartphones are for now], but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint; some of them are so hard to live with; but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And give me grace to tell them so!   [Sainthood should be saved for the afterlife, I’m growing old, but I’m not dead yet!]


30 Days of Beauty – day 10

When the slower cars really do drive in the right hand lane (in Canada). Even better, when they get out of your way as they see you coming.

30 Days of Beauty: An exercise in writing and recognizing the things that make my soul giggle and sing.

30 Days of Beauty – day 9

Messy eating. There is no best way to cut up a quesadilla. Accept it and dig in and make sure there are enough napkins allows pure enjoyment to come through.

30 Days of Beauty: An exercise in writing and recognizing the things that make my soul giggle and sing.

30 Days of Beauty – day 7

Laughter. Listening to pure and simple laughter between people sharing a joke full of humour that hurts noone.

30 Days of Beauty: An exercise in writing and recognizing the things that make my soul giggle and sing.

My Wallpaper is my Mood Ring

Ever have “one of those days” at work? yup, c’mon, raise your hand, you know you do! A day when you really, really, really want to tell that annoying person where to go? Except that there are laws against that?  Or one of those days that you just can’t seem to do anything right, but it’s only 9am and you can’t go home yet?  In either case, to save me a trip to human resources, I change my computer wallpaper. One of my colleagues knows me so well, that he looks at my wallpaper to judge my mode.  If it’s a photo of zebras kicking another zebra in the face, he laughs and treads lightly. If it’s a landscape photo, all is probably good (unless it’s volcanoes). Once I think I had a lion kill photo (thank you National Geographic photography) and he just sat very quietly at his computer so he wouldn’t attract my attention. If someone is being a real idiot, it’s the penguin butt photo (from Guardian’s week in wildlife – and it was actually a frontal shot).

And when it’s a really bad day and it’s noone’s fault but the universe, I’m in need of a little cute and fuzzy. That’s when I discovered this blog about the cutest kitten in the world. Not only is she adorable (everyone in the office went “awwwww”), the photography is really nice too – crisp and clean.

However, once in awhile, everything is right in the world and I can put up some photos that sooth the soul and inspire. That’s how I found this blog on fine art dog photos and eventually, this photographer. I had the Puli (rasta dog!!!) on my computer for days! (really long time for me) because I love motion shots and this dog was great (still trying to find out how they did that one).  And then had the dog (schnauzer or poodle?) clipped like a skeleton up there for awhile too.  And for those of you who are about to complain that it was a cruel thing to do to a dog or that animals are beautiful in their natural state has never been in a barn to contemplate how to clip the hair on a horse’s butt so there is a little heart in it (just set the clippers a little longer or shorter). (p.s. “clipping” = shaving with an industrial size men’s clippers).

I love Tim Flach’s photos of equines and plan on trying some of them as soon as winter is over!!!!