Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hang onto your hat!

Considering that for the past month and a half since our arrival on Daytona Beach Shores I've hardly stratched the surface of verifiable industry (assuming one doesn't count cycling on the beach or lounging by the pool) it must sound a stretch to suggest that I've had a hectic day. But that is precisely how I feel! From the moment of my awakening this morning before 6:30 am I've been going non-stop.  It is now almost 9:30 pm and I am just coming up for air. As usual I resort to the cathartic relief of a memorandum to get myself in line once again.

Monday, November 27, 2017


When we're in our southern winter habitat it isn't often I choose to spend the day doing anything other than cycling on the beach or lying in the sun. However we were expecting a delivery this morning between 9:45 - 11:45 am. Knowing this I resolved to sit tight for the morning to await its arrival.  As I prepared and ate my breakfast I pondered what I would do for the remainder of the day.  The weather was less than brilliant so that alone diluted my customary drive to be out-of-doors.  By degrees I was persuading myself to go for a drive in the car if for no other reason than to give my leg muscles a break from the routine of cycling. I find the repetitious exercise precipitates tightness in my lower limbs. Though I attempt moderate stretching it never really does the trick.  Parenthetically I am munching on turmeric every morning on the advise of my middle-aged hair stylist who assures me that it worked to eliminate her arthritis.  It is useless to canvass the supportive assurances which abound on the internet.  My stylist convinced me when she reiterated that she had tried everything from pain killers to glucosamine without improving results.  I figure, it's worth a try!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Among other things...

A cosmopolitan veneer is for some an ambition having as it does the gloss of suavity and polished urbanity.  It comes however at a price. What one gains in sophistication one loses in focus (or what others may stigmatize as parochialism). I rather style the insularity as manageable appreciation.  The plain fact of the matter is that if I spread myself too thin I threaten to dissolve into the ether.  By remaining local I am able to detect not just the lustre but also the substance of what I perceive.  It takes time and experience to insinuate the depths of one's environment. Forgive me but having an exciting and glamorous international character doesn't in my books translate into absorption. I am not convinced that multi-cultural or well-travelled people are of necessity more sophisticated or refined.  There can be lots going on but nothing happening.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sunny Saturday Cycle

In the middle of the night I had checked the weather forecast.  Sunny skies were predicted.  Knowing this made me restive as the dawn began to break into my bedroom early this morning. Although we have an uninterrupted agenda of beachside living for the next 4½ months I nonetheless greedily embrace the alloted time for fear of missing an opportunity.  By degrees in my inert state I rationalized that I would get up soon, prepare myself for the day, have my usual breakfast of orange slices and protein then get on my bicycle.  I imagined that it could all be done by noon at the latest.

Friday, November 24, 2017

3703 S Atlantic Ave Daytona Beach Shores to 2727 N Atlantic Ave Daytona Beach FL USA

By entire coincidence I cycled today from our apartment at 3703 S Atlantic Ave in Daytona Beach Shores to 2727 N Atlantic Ave in Daytona Beach.  The coincidence is that the unintended destination was where  - ten months ago - we first met the real estate broker who consummated the contract for our rental apartment here.  I recognized the building as I approached it along Atalantic Avenue (A1A) which I maintained as my route throughout the journey, there and back, because the tide was so high and the beach was virtually impassable. According to Mr. Google the distance between the 2 points along that coastal route is 9.1 miles which is a far greater distance than I would have imagined traveling when I set out on my bike at eleven o'clock this morning.  Perhaps it was because yesterday I was rooted inside the apartment for the entire day preoccupied with a particular legal issue and - most importantly - it had been raining on and off throughout the day.  Besides the day before I had cycled about ten miles to and from Ponce Inlet and I felt it wouldn't hurt to take a day off so to speak.  Even though the weather was cloudy today - and there appeared to be a possibility of rain - I decided to bicycle in any event because I was in need of the expiation not to mention the exercise, rain or shine.  To be cautious I sported a shell I had bought last year on Hilton Head Island.  Even though it never rained the temperature was cool enough to merit the jacket in any event so I was glad to have had it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Business as Usual

I have become embroiled in a potentially burgeoning controversy involving a former client of mine. I stress that I have been contacted as a friend, not consulted as a lawyer. When I was still working we both fell under the heading of friends and solicitor/client. Though I continue to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada I am prohibited to provide legal advice because I no longer maintain Errors and Omissions Insurance (other than so-called "run-off" insurance for retired lawyers) through the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company. Accordingly my participation in this matter is restricted to listening and a discussion of possible practical solutions which have no bearing on recondite legal rights or obligations.  By contrast I cannot deny my interest in the legal parameters.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

En plein soleil

The skies were clear this morning. When I perched at the end of the long dining room table to sip my black coffee and eat my succulent Navel orange slices the sun was dazzling across the sea. I consulted the Tide Chart as usual.  And the weather.  The high tide was at 10:08 am and the wind was 6 mph from the northeast. For the next hour I preoccupied myself with perusal of email and the news on BBC and CNN in addition to preparing my customary conglomerate of protein (today it was ham, hamburger, bacon, eggs and American cheese slices).

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Contract Day

It was a rainy and uninviting day on the beach here today.  Just as well as we had two preoccupying meetings - one in the morning to view a prospective rental unit for our hibernation next year; and another in the afternoon to sign a rental contract for another unit we had already seen several days ago and about which we were already determined.  Both meetings went well.  The morning meeting confirmed our prior expectations about the place; namely, that we would not be convinced to seek to secure its rental.  The building did not speak to us and the unit was smaller than we prefer (and less well maintained and outfitted). The owners (who are from West Virginia) were extremely pleasant, both professionals who fled from Communist Romania years ago and who have since successfully proven their compatability with capitalism.

Monday, November 20, 2017

In the works!

Lingering in Florida next to the Atlantic Ocean for the winter is for the most part a lethargic enterprise. Whenever I have anything to do other than bicycle on the beach or swim in the pool, I sense a moderate imposition. The obtrusion could be something bordering on work or drudgery like grocery shopping, getting my teeth cleaned or - as I did today - having my hair cut (something I confess I actually relish though it is still an obligation).  In fact the day started with a commercial bang at eight o'clock this morning when Bruno arrived to examine the oven and outdoor barbecue, both of which have been malfunctioning more or less. In view of my haircut appointment at 1:00 pm I decided to forgo any attempt at an early morning bike ride - in spite of the glorious sunshine - and chose instead to take the car to Sparkle-N-Shine Car Wash in Ormond Beach.  Washing the car is also something I enjoy if the truth be known. It's a good thing I set aside over an hour for that particular project because, aside from the fact that it takes about 25 minutes to get there, when I arrived there was a line-up and the attendant asked whether I could spare 30 minutes (which I said I could).

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Breezy Sunday Morning

It's 8:32 am on a bright and breezy Sunday morning.  We've flung open the balcony doors in the living area and two of the bedrooms. The air is circulating with uncommon activity.  When I looked at the weather report on my iPhone before getting out of bed the forecast was cloudy skies but all I can see now is an azure dome. The buffeting wind is cleansing the conditioned air of the apartment and refreshing me as it dries the remnant moisture from my shower.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Terra Mobile

Several weeks ago shortly after our arrival on Daytona Beach Shores we informed the estate agent handling the rental of our condominium unit that we wished to renew the lease next year for the same six-month period. The estate agent relayed our wishes to the landlord but never received a reply. Initially we had set a date of November 10th by which we appreciated receivng the landlord's response.  That date came and went.  We subsequently heard rumours that the landlord is considering retirement and we therefore assume he might want to move from West Virginia where he lives to Florida. Otherwise we are in the dark.

Friday, November 17, 2017


I've managed to get myself into a state over the silliest of concerns. We haven't yet succeeded to secure the rental of a place in Florida for the winter next year. I confess this is hardly worthy of disturbance on almost any level but it does bear upon something resembling one's home and that - with a small stretch - is a sensitive subject for most people.  No doubt a modicum of the perplexity arises from being nomadic, seemingly akin to perpetual agitation.  In any event it has been our habit to arrange the upcoming hibernation at least a year in advance.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Alabama Nut Job

For the better part of the last decade we have been traveling to the United States of America for winter holidays.  What started as three-week vacations on Hilton Head Island when we were working has since grown to six-month hibernations in Florida following retirement. During the entire time in America we have been regularly riveted to cable news programs to follow national political developments.  I can't but recall the expressed preference of a venerable Canadian lawyer for American politics.  If you have a taste for it, its appeal is undeniable!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Blustery Weather on the Beach

It occurred to me late this morning when downing the dregs of my coffee and preparing to go bicycling on the beach that I never tire of the project no matter what the weather.  True, a sunny day with fluffy white clouds assembled in a blue sky is my preference but I still have an appetite for just about any day at the beach.  Balmy, humid weather makes up for a lot of inadequacies I find.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Career Satisfaction

I consider it a distinction to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada.  This is important to me because I spent a good deal of my life devoted to the study and practice of law (basically from the age of 21 years in 1970 when I commenced my graduate studies at Dalhousie Law School until I retired in 2014, a total of about 44 years, 39 of which were actively engaged in the practice of law after Articles and my Call to the Bar at Osgoode Hall in 1975). Parenthetically I regret the change of the name of the Law Society of Upper Canada to the Law Society of Ontario, a name which I consider insipid though I acknowledge my objection has about as much strength as the preservation of Confederate statues in the United States of America.  The only other point I wish to make is that maintaining one's membership in the Law Society is not automatic upon retirement (assuming one no longer wishes to pay the Professional Errors & Omissions insurance premium) unless you are over 65 years when you retire.

Windy Day

When the wind blows off the Atlantic Ocean on Daytona Beach Shores it howls.  It carries more than just gusts and draughts.  There is in the salt sea air mixture the finest amount of sand picked up from the beach. Like the salt water that comes with it, the grit sticks to one's glasses, gets in your hair and maybe even between your teeth!  I have quickly learned to assess the strength of the wind by remarking upon the distance from the end of Sunglow Pier at which the wave swells begin to break.  If I strained my eyes today I could see white caps as far out as a mile. The first rolling, breaking waves tell the full story.  Today the waves were breaking a good distance from the end of the pier. And the swells were high, promoting large curls of frothing white water pouring onto itself. While it might be a surfer's dream, for me it was a swimmer's danger.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Heros

I find it offensive to denominate anyone a hero. Acknowledging their talent is judicious without approaching the cheek to comment on their furnishings. The example set by matchless people is worth emulation but not fawning. From what I know of paragons they perform well without oleaginous additives.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


It is peculiar how one becomes fixed upon an idea then transitions to a complete reversal.  That's sort of what we're now doing. I won't say that the realization (if I may dignify the change of heart as such) has been precipitous but there has certainly been an evolution towards its fruition.  After encountering repeated small obstacles to our usual agenda to settle upon a six-month southern rental for the upcoming year, we've suddenly awoken to the possibility that we needn't tie ourselves up in one place for any length of time. I accept this is an observation too patent for words! In defence we haven't any more than three years' experience in this nomadic vernacular and seemingly we have unwittingly become rooted in the routine parameter. There is something to be said for the stability of one place for six months, not having to pick up and move, learning where local merchants, suppliers, service providers and professionals are located, that sort of conditioning. On the other hand we've also discovered that it doesn't take long to habituate to almost any scene and feel comfortable.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Getting in the groove

Today we lunched at Boondocks Restaurant on the Halifax River, Wilbur-by-the-Sea. It is conveniently located exactly one mile from our apartment. Being at this casual Florida waterfront restaurant eating spicy eat-'n-peel shrimp, conch chowder and blackened Mahi-mahi consummated our initiation to the area. We sat outside at a picnic table overlooking the marina. One couldn't imagine frequenting this place in anything but leisure clothing. Eating there is messy business!

The Tenancy Agreement

About twenty-two years ago I travelled to Naples, Florida with a friend to interlope at his mother's and step-father's rental apartment on the Gulf coast for a week over the Christmas holiday. My recollection is that the apartment belonged to a Vice-president of Mobile Oil who planned to retire there ultimately but who in the meantime had agreed to rent it.  My friend's mother explained to me that she and her husband routinely spent three months of the year over the winter in Florida; and that they always arranged their upcoming stay in the year prior to the visit while they were then currently in Florida. At the time I marveled at the planning which naturally exceeded anything I had ever undertaken for my comparatively shorter southern jaunts to the Caribbean or Mayan resorts. Now that I have graduated to the vernacular of a retired snowbird the planning routine is a familiar one.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Shopping in Daytona Beach

As much as I am shamelessly devoted to driving my automobile it is an odd repercussion of our hibernation in Florida (or elsewhere in the United States of America for that matter) that apart from the journey to and from here the vehicle suffers ignorance by design. We've become instead overwhelmed by prolonged breakfasts after which we indulge ourselves in schemes of fitness (bicyling on the beach for example or swimming or - dare I say it - weights and pulleys); and by the time all that is accomplished the evening is upon us and there's dinner and the news then bed.  Not what you'd call a dynamic agenda by any standard but nonetheless passably healthful.  I confess our daily absorption in American politics is beyond doubt.  We've even discovered by chance that our political immersion far exceeds what is the perceived normal for most Americans.  Certainly Mr. Trump can be thanked for much of the vigour which swirls about the native political arena but I suspect it is also true that Americans - at least on the level of those who contribute to and watch cable television - have a passion for politics competing with the likes of Nova Scotians in Canada where residents actually know their legislative representatives.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Better tell Jeannie!

For want of a better description we are "snowbirds" from Canada. We sojourn in Florida over the winter in a condominium located on the beach of a tiny barrier island called Daytona Beach Shores. If I may be forgiven the cheek of weighing in upon the esoteric affairs of the condominium association where we reside, I am compelled to note the distinction of its concierge Jeannie B. who undeniably defines much of the delightful experience in this fine establishment. From the moment we were first introduced to the property over a year ago we were smitten by her knowledge and aplomb. To the credit of the condominium association Jeannie is aptly characterized as the frontline contact for the building, its residents and interlopers.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Life's Dreadful Realities

There are so many reasons to be disconsolate. Sure, one likes to think positively and be thankful for what one has. But in the small hours of the morning when flipping back and forth in perpetual anxiety, there's an austerity of optimism. It is then that the drudgery of life and the shallowness of its preoccupations, its random disappointments and blunt realities are transparent. If, as I am, one is rapidly evolving into an era of old age and decrepitude then the frozen truth is even more chilling! The despondency has a compelling authenticity when there is Biblical authority for the inevitable confrontation of the vanity of life.  These hard midnight thoughts urge upon us an admission of defeat no matter how we may seek to disguise our futile human enterprise. The trepidation goes beyond mere mortality or amortization; there is in addition the interim contamination of everything that precedes it - with fear.  How trifling are our exploits!  How harsh is our existence!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Daylight Savings Time

Last night I set my new wrist watch and pocket watch back one hour in anticipation of the shift to Daylight Savings Time (DST) this morning. I brought along four other watches on this trip but I have no intention of re-setting them unless and until I wear them.  Three of them may even reset themselves because they're somehow tied to a GPS or satellite.  All I know is that when I bought them I needed only choose from the settings the closest urban centre and select whether I wished the device to accommodate DST.  Besides I always prefer using any new device for the first while.  In addition the opportunity to wear a watch in this environment is fairly limited, given that when I am bicycling I don't want anything strapped to my wrist to contaminate my tan line; and certainly when I am swimming I don't wear a watch (even if they're purportedly "water resistent" whatever that means). The number of times we "go out" is infrequent but when we do I do like wearing a watch.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Shoe in

We both bought new shoes today.  I like shoes.  I've even considered that I may have a shoe fetish. I once had a pair of shoes custom made for me by a cobbler in Montreal.  Those were the days!  Custom made suits, shirts and shoes!  Now I couldn't be bothered.  For one thing I'm done with suits and French-cuffed shirts.  As for shoes - given my escalating arthritis - the only ones at all comfortable are deck shoes (first popularized by Sperry).  Now every manufacturer has got into retailing them but there are few brands I like - among them Sebago.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Back to the Beach

It wasn't until almost 10:30 am this morning that I first opened my eyes. Through the blinds on the balcony windows it appeared from the dim light that the sky was grey.  I got up and squinted through the centre crack of the blinds. Yes, clouds.  Grey.  That helped.  I hate waking up late in the morning.  In defence we had both been up at 2:30 am sipping coffee and poring over our computers.  I had gone back to bed shorty before 5:00 am. Clearly I needed the rest.  It seems my bicycling is taking more out of me than I imagined.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

New Direction

When the front wheel of my bicycle first met the soft white sand of the beach I knew in an instant that I would be going in a different direction today - northward towards Daytona Beach rather than southward towards Ponce Inlet. There was a tangible wind from the north.  And that was the direction I was headed. The strategy would be to go as far as I could - into the wind - then when I felt worn down I would turn back with the benefit of the wind to push me homeward. To my surprise - whether because I was energized or because of the novelty of the expedition - I went along the beach much further than I had anticipated. I suspect it was my greediness for invention which trumped my notorious passion for routine. It must sound odd to advance that within a matter of 5 miles in one direction or another the view of the beach could be much different. Yet it is.  As one would expect the scenery along the coast towards Daytona Beach is more urban than it is in the other direction towards Ponce Inlet. Towards Daytona Beach there are more low-rise hotels, fewer high-rise private condominium residences. There are also more people on the beach for the same reason.  In neither case is the beach swarming with people. I guess that on my entire outing today over a period of about two hours I only passed six cyclists.  There were clusters of couples (mostly elderly) and young families but the numbers in total were still less than 50 - 75 I would imagine thoughout the length of the ride.

Say it like it is!

Words can promote a harsh image. In some instances the usage is as alarming as attending a job interview in the nude, revealing far more than one would care to know or share. To shelter from the embarrassment and abrasiveness of words we adopt variations which insulate us from the undisguised meaning. Consider the popular idiom for war which includes such sanitized editions as “taking out“, “eliminating” or “eradicating”. On the subject of killing we are all too familiar with what are essentially state–sponsored terms such as execution, abortion and euthanasia. Somewhere in the middle of the nuances of murder and war are those applied to the annihilation of animals, the least offensive being "slaughter" or the more disturbing term "abattoir" whose etymology is the blunt French word "battre", to beat down.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Refining the Routine

Incrementally as we settle into our winter digs on Daytona Beach Shores I am refining my petty routine. Though there is unquestionably a marked difference in my daily agenda here from what I do at home (mainly an absence of indispensable medical, bureaucratic, regulatory and substantive hardware concerns), there is an underlying commonality involving such matters of necessity as groceries and laundry. In harmony with what we have regularly heard reported from another Canadian interloper in Florida, Publix grocery store is hard to beat.  We too shop at Publix for the provisions we want without having to search resources elsewhere.  Specifically the fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and fish are all top quality. I cheerfully say this because one of the staff at the store modestly dismissed the establishment as a "beach outlet" (though pointedly that was said in response to my query about a styptic pencil). The store pharmacy also attended to our seasonal flu shots. I like that products such as Kéfir and premium olives and dill pickles are available.  Publix prepares very tasty complete seafood meals with veggies for between $9 - 13 each which makes for a convenient change from dining out or take-out.  My culinary habits are all but written in stone - breakfast is always orange slices, black coffee and protein (a variety of salmon, hamburger, ham slices, bacon, cheese and eggs accompanied by green pepper shards and halved cherry tomatoes); dinner (we don't do lunch - for obvious reasons) is a bed of chopped cilantro to which I add sliced mini-cucumber, shards of green pepper, a handful of zucchini spirals, halved cherry tomatoes, chunks of cheese all drenched in lemon juice, touch of olive oil and grated salt; then I add protein of any description (salmon, crab cakes, red meat, chicken). Dessert is blackberries swimmig in Kéfir. The secret for the preparation of fresh salmon filets is ZiplocⓉ Zip 'n Steam cooking bags.  Though one can add pats of butter and herbs, the plain fish is an undeniable success - and literally ready within minutes!