The Christmas Tree


I have a confession to make. I haven’t put up the Christmas tree in a decade.  Partly it was laziness, but partly it was not being in a Christmas mood.  I separated just before Christmas and I let everyone know by sending out my Christmas cards with only one name on them.

I still went to family Christmas. I still bought and wrapped presents.  I still grumbled about the commercialization of Christmas, I still sung the River by Joni Mitchell every single time it came on the radio–and searched it out on YouTube whenever I wanted.  I still watched Die Hard.  I just didn’t want to celebrate Christmas at home.


This year, because I promised my mother, I put up the tree. I still have mixed feelings, but the tree is up, there’s eggnog in the fridge, the falling-apart pinecone wreath is on the door, some stocking stuffers have been bought, and I know where the Christmas CDs are.

So, I guess I have done enough.

Posted in blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, Christmas, decisions, decisiveness, decorating, divorce, perfect moment, promises, seasons, separation, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the Way to Work


My colleagues and I have passed this store window every day for at least the past year,  Despite working as ESL teachers, not one of us has noticed the irregularity–that was only half-heartedly meant as a pun.  If they had noticed it, they certainly would have said something.

This happens often in Toronto at ethnic restaurants.  I have often seen Colona beer or something like that.  On the other hand, maybe that says something about the multicultural aspect of Toronto.  We just aren’t bothered by it all.

Posted in ESL, multiculturalism, perfect moment, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanks for Nothing Amazon


I got an email today telling me that a package I ordered from Amazon is being refunded. I don’t blame Amazon for this.  Based on the tracking, this is a Canada Post matter.

However, I do find it frustrating that the best Amazon can do is offer me possible reasons why the package was not delivered. Was it damaged?  Was there something in the package that they didn’t want to go through the mail system?  Who knows?

If delivery was attempted, they left no note to go and pick the package up at the post office. Also, there is a big package holder in the superbox across the street from my house.  I doubt that I will ever know the real reason.

It is frustrating because these were Christmas gifts. I ordered early to avoid any problems, but I found problems nonetheless.  I don’t know if I should order them or go out to the store and pick them up there.  Just a little information would be nice.

I feel like Charlie Brown and the football.

Posted in Amazon, Canada Post, Christmas, delivery, gifts, perfect moment, presents, problem solving, problems, shopping | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Warm Spell

When I left the house this morning, I was suddenly aware that it wasn’t that cold. I could almost see the snow melting before my eyes.  I was a bit confused.  You see, for the first time in a long time, we had a credible amount of snow in December.  It felt like it was going to hang around all winter and that we would have a white Christmas.

That was not to be.

I don’t want to award the absence of snow Today’s Perfect Moment. I generally like snow and I like winter.  I may not do any skiing this year, but I do want to acknowledge the season’s importance.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the warmer temperatures of today. It was nice not to shiver on every street corner waiting for lights to change.  It was nice not to have to have to zip my jacket up fully.  It was nice not to have to mess up my hair under my toque–okay, I made that last one up.  With the current haircut, the toque couldn’t possibly do any harm.

So, Today’s Perfect Moment goes to warmth rather than a lack of cold. It might only be semantics, but it is definitely worth celebrating.

Posted in perfect moment, seasons, snow, weather, winter | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vacation Decided


My next vacation is decided. I had had several contenders for the trip (Laos, Sri Lanka, Chile, Peru and Colombia) and after much indecision and repetitive research, I have decided to visit Colombia on my next vacation.

The usual culprits were the issues: cost, scheduling, weather and availability. For example; there was a cool trip to Sri Lanka which featured a sailing cruise to the Maldives, but there were no spaces for men on the trip I could take.  Also, the flights were incredibly long.  There was a time when I could shake off a thirty hour flight including layover, but those times seem like a long time ago.

This trip is going to include a little bit of cycling and rafting, as well as a hike into the lost city. Of everything we are going to do, this is the one that I am least excited about.  No, that isn’t true.  I have seen pictures and the view looks amazing.  I guess what I mean is that this is the part that worries me the most.  I don’t expect to be first on the hike, but I don’t want to hold everyone up either.

I have taught many students from Colombia and I have found them to be friendly, interesting, genuine, and quite wonderful.  I am looking forward to visiting their country.

Obviously, I will be blogging about the trip and posting to instagram–but I’ve got time before that happens.  Hopefully, I will have some great pictures.

The vacation isn’t until late February so I have some time to prepare. While, I don’t need a lot of new stuff, I think I am going to need:

  • hiking books/shoes
  • walking poles/or walking stick–not really sure about, but it is worth considering.
  • more swimming trunks as we will definitely be hitting some water on this trip.
  • A good book for both the flight and some of my down-time
  • some kind of action camera

If you have any thoughts or recommendations on things I should take with me or buy there, please do not hesitate to write–regardless of what the website indicates, you do not need to include your email to post a comment.

Posted in advice, bicycles, blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, cameras, Colombia, cycling, G Adventures, hiking, perfect moment, rafting, travel, travel tips, travel writing, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Birthday Dad


We celebrated my father’s 80th birthday on the weekend.  We assembled en masse, as we do for many family occasions.  We reached out to his long-time friends to bring both nostalgia and happiness.  We kept the speeches to a minimum and there was no need to call the police to break up the party–maybe next year.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Posted in birthday, cake, celebration, perfect moment | 3 Comments

Unstructured Time

close up photography of sleeping tabby cat

Photo by Ihsan Aditya on

Yesterday, I woke up to feed the cat and went back to bed. This is not a new phenomenon, but one that happens whenever I am not working or working late.  The cat has always had an early breakfast and I can put up with it.  The night before, I hadn’t slept well and didn’t feel particularly rested.  I turned off the alarm as I figured I needed a bit more sleep than normal.  What I got was a lot more than normal–an embarrassing amount more than normal.

I can’t complain. Obviously, I needed some sleep.  I am not a big fan of sleep and often stay up way too late–regardless of what time I am scheduled to wake the next morning.  Also, I am on a week of unstructured time and I am enjoying it.

What do you like to do with your unstructured time?

Posted in cat, perfect moment, recover, sleep, tasks, time, vacation | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?


Yesterday, partly out of curiosity, I took my mother’s Garmin GPS Navigation tool with me on a trip into the city. You have either heard, or experienced some of the interesting directions these things give.

I have had my share of weird directions. Once it had me drive around the block only to arrive back at my original place, then direct me to the entrance to something (I don’t remember what).  I am not sure why I followed it, but I did.  Maybe it was the authoritative voice tone.  Maybe it was me trying to show faith in something my siblings and I bought for my mother.

There are accounts, true or not, of people driving their cars into rivers because they followed the instructions of the machine even though there was obviously no bridge. I blame the drivers in these cases because they neither updated their maps regularly nor seemed to have any common sense.

As it is, the machine cannot pronounce many of the street names in Ontario. Yonge street is pronounced Yonj.  Living somewhat rural we have roads with names like St. John’s Sideroad–which the machines reads as SDRS.  I wonder what it would do if it had to pronounce Spadina or Strachan? (The pronunciation might surprise you.)

Luckily, besides humorous pronunciation, the machine performed well. As a result, I would call that Yesterday’s Perfect Moment.  It is nice when the machines that we allow to control our lives more and more function well.  It gives us the illusion that we are owning the electronic slave and not the other way around.

If you have a funny GPS/navigator story, I would love to read it.

Posted in accomplishment, computers, driving, electronic devices, navigation, perfect moment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beating Last Year’s Numbers

At the beginning of the year, I hoped that I would double the number of views I had from the past year. I had done that in both 2016 and 2017–though I failed to do so in 2018–I thought it might be possible in 2019.  Now as we cruise into the last month of the year, I have come to accept that it is highly unlikely.  However, I can, at least, take comfort in the fact that I have, as of sometime after midnight, beaten the overall number of views from the year before.  While I won’t double my numbers, I should be able to put some distance between the new and old totals.  I still have great ambitions for this blog.

To what do I owe my modest success?

  • Pestering friends and family on Facebook
  • Starting an Instagram account
  • Writing a few well crafted pieces of writing
  • Writing on some interesting topics
  • Continued interest in the posts “How Long is 30 Minutes?” and “The Proper Way to Eat a KitKat.” (Hundreds of views a year)
  • Pure luck
  • The support of all my readers (That means you.)

Thank You Everyone.

Posted in ambition, blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, growing your blog, growth, increasing blog traffic, perfect moment, statistics, stats, success, thanks | 5 Comments

Kinder Redemption


Long time readers to this blog might know that I have a particular disdain for Kinder Surprise eggs. The story is a good one and you should probably read it first before continuing with this blog.  Please click here.

So, if you’ve read this, and sympathize (or empathize) with me, you should also know that I have told this story to my students on many occasions–usually when the subject of chocolate comes up or when they are eating the aforementioned eggs during the breaks between classes. They find it amusing, but they don’t share my frustration.  They have always gotten cool stuff.


One of my students took this story to heart and wanted very much to change my opinion. Rather than get me the little egg, he got me a rather large, palm size, Kinder surprise egg.  He felt that the quality of toy inside would redeem the company in my eyes.

I was quite touched by my student’s gift. Maybe it was because he listened to me, or maybe it was because he wanted to do something beyond the ordinary.


As you can see, the toy turned out to be quite nice and surprisingly difficult for me to assemble.  The student who gave me the gift was the one who eventually put it together.  He even came up with a cool title for this post–but I have forgotten it.  Sorry Val.

When I showed my colleagues the toy, they mentioned that these things were banned in the US.  One teacher even wondered what would happen if she tried to drive across the border with a few eggs on the backseat.  I am not sure Kinder smuggling ranks high on the list for homeland security, but I have to imagine the border guards have been given some kind of directive.

Posted in chocolate, ESL, gifts, perfect moment, presents, students, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments