Thursday, 24 September 2015

A Yom Kippur Tale

Hi, can I get 4 dozen black seed and 3 dozen white seed please?

Anything else?

No thanks, that's it. I will pick up my order around 2.

Blah blah blah mumble mumble blah

I'm sorry?

Oh I'm sorry Ma'am. We are no longer accepting telephone orders.

Do you have bagels?


White seed?


And black seed?


But I can't place my order over the phone?

No, Ma'am. We are no longer accepting telephone orders.

And you are currently open?

Yes Ma'am. We are open for walk in orders only.

Hang up. Walk to car. Drive to bagel store.

Hi. Can I get 4 dozen black seed and 3 dozen white seed please?

Sure. Anything else?

No thanks, that's it.



Are you the one that just called?

Friday, 4 September 2015

The REAL Canadian Health Care System

Need doctor's appointment.

Call former colleague and very good friend who is married to guy I thought was super cool in high school. Super cool is now a doctor.

Dr. Super tries to get me appointment with doctor who I once saw with my mother and she ended up eating a birthday candle in his office.

Several weeks and multiple emails pass with no appointment.

BFF  misses my birthday party and offers to take me out to Trendy Restaurant to compensate.

Who walks into Trendy Restaurant.


Dr. Birthday Candle.

And is seated right next to us.

Hi. I smile apologetically at wife and continue.

I have been trying desperately to get an appointment with you. I gesture to BFF. We went to high school with Dr. Super. I'm the one he's been emailing you about? Maybe I look familiar because I came to see you with my mom? She ate a birthday candle?

Oh of course. The birthday candle. How can I forget. You're the one he's been emailing about?

Yes that's me. I need an appointment with you.

Next day at 2pm I show up for my appointment.

First thing out of Dr. Birthday Candle's mouth? Tell your BFF she was right. The beet salad was delicious.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Let's Catch Up

Everything's been hopping around here.

Really? Because from where I'm sitting, it seems incredibly quiet.

Yeah. I know. I feel a bit guilty. I've been writing for everyone with a pulse for some incredibly colourful and dynamic publications and haven't been diligent about posting all the links.

First, I went camping with my kids. Read about the potatoes and get full recipe here.

Previously written article "About learning circles" finally published in Long Term Care Ontario (Summer 2015) here.

Another article "Learning from complaints: the Quebec experience" was published in Canadian Nursing Home (June 2015) but they don't have an online version yet. Don't look so relieved. You and I both know that I will learn how to pdf that sucker on some cold winter night and you will click out of complete boredom despite every intention to the contrary.

I interviewed my daughter (in my head) about how to complain effectively for Wise Women Canada. Full story here. I have another interview in to them that is coming out any day now, so you may want to go ahead and click like on their FB page so you don't miss a thing. 

And then my old and already published story about a trip to Quebec City just won an award. Would you want to read it? Oh thanks. That's so sweet. Ok, sure, click here if you insist.

I also went to a fantastic writing conference and volunteered to blog about the two keynotes, one of which reminded me of my $5 shoes (details here) and the other gave me a great reading list (here) which includes a non-fiction book by George Orwell which is the only one I've completed so far which is actually a compelling read.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Lessons Learned From My First Ever Writing Conference

1. Words like prosity, braided essay and anal bleaching are easier to use in a sentence than you would think.
2. Do not expect diversity. Expect cat owners.
3. Creative Non Fiction is actually a code word for deep dark and depressing memoirs, hopefully featuring drug abuse divorce and broken limbs but leaving out cancer because there are way too many cancer submissions right now.
4. If you tweet pictures of your $5 shoes you will meet lots of lovely people many of whom are also wearing fabulous shoes.
5. Writers are so notoriously unhelpful toward each other that we need a panel about being nice, called Literary Citizenship, which featured tips such as when someone does you a favour, bake them cookies.

And the most important thing I learned at the writing conference:

6. Turns out I'm a writer.

Saturday, 6 June 2015


Hi, I would like to deposit this $20 check please.

It's a US check.

(Yes.  That's why we are spelling it check. If it were Canadian it would be a cheque.)

Yes. That's why I am giving it to you, the teller, instead of depositing it in the Instabank.

(Again, Canadian. In the US we could deposit it at the ATM).

You don't have a US account.

Right. That's why I am giving it to you. Please see above.

I will have to charge you $5.

$5? On a $20 cheque check?

You're right. That seems silly. Ok I will waive the fee.

Check deposited, fee waived, am back in car writing blog post in my head.

Did you deposit the US check to my account?

Yup. Just like you asked me to.

Did you not realize it was a US check?

No, I knew. That's why I've been saying check instead of cheque.

So why didn't you deposit it to the US account?

We have a US account?

Complaining Lessons Learned:
1. You can politely ask people at the bank to waive fees and most of the time they will.
2. If you use the Instabank and you get unreasonable fees you can call after and ask to have them waived. This sometimes works.
3. You may complain about your husband not listening when you talk to him, but maybe sometimes you're the one not listening.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Reprinted With Permission Of The Author, B., My 16 Year Old Son

2015 McEntyre Contest Grade 10 Winning Essay

George, The Shark Who Wanted To Be A Whale.

A while back, my buddy George wanted to be a whale. See, the whales were the fly party mammals in our school of fish. They would get drunk every weekend, they got all the girls, they made the rules, and people really looked up to them. And although George longed to be like them, he was born with an unfair disadvantage… George was a hammerhead shark.
George was getting sick of being considered weak and small, when he pitched the idea to me: we would help each other become whales; WE would be the cool kids in the ocean.
“George, listen. As great of an idea as that is… it sucks.”
“What are you talking about, Paul? We have a responsibility as sharks to become whales.”
“What would your mother say about this?”
“She doesn't have to know! She’ll think I ran away or something, she’d never recognize us in our new form.”
As you can see, I was hesitant, for many reasons. Reason Number One is that I had been going to the gym recently, getting in shape. To be a whale, I would have to screw all of that and become obese. Reason Number Two is that I kind of like living the ‘shark life.’ There are many perks, like being starred in Shark Week, on the Discovery Channel - I was an extra last season.
I lost the battle with George, as always, and ended up on a journey to whale-dom. First, we made a list of all of the qualities a whale must have:
-dark blue
-their eyes are like on either side of their heads
-small fins
Next, we tried to emulate these qualities. To get fat, we headed over to the Krusty Krab and ate burger after burger after burger. By the end of the night, we were each 300 pounds larger (sharks have slow metabolisms.) The following quality was their colour, dark blue, which required a lot of spray paint and took like six hours. But what came after were the most crucial qualities.
“Bro, I’m not gonna let you perform surgery on me. This is getting ridiculous.”
“Listen, how ‘bout you do it to me first, and if it doesn't work, you can go home and tell everyone that I’m insane,” suggested George, holding duct tape, a scalpel and a power drill. I agreed, reluctantly.

Step One: pull his eyes toward his temples, and hold them in place with the duct tape.
“Oh, God, do you want me to stop?!!”
Step Two: use the scalpel to slice off half of his left and right fins.
Step Three (The Final Step): make a deep hole in the top of his head, using the power drill.
There was no response.
“George? Come on, buddy, we’re leaving. Hello? George? NO! George, don’t leave us! You’re not ready to go! Please? Hello?”

George was dead. He died chasing the one dream that he thought he could achieve. He died trying to gain respect, for once in his life. He tried to stand up for himself. Anyways, now I’m being convicted for second degree murder. My lawyer says that I’m looking at 20 years… Don’t follow your friend’s dreams. Just, work on your own.