Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Mornings are rather like the description of one's state of mind - a changing but relentless account. Their repetitive frequency affords an historical insight into the entirety of one's life.  Normally I wouldn't think to dwell upon the seemingly mundane subject.   But today's enthusiasm is so uplifting that it has prompted me to expatiate. This morning is one of those ideal summer mornings - blue sky, dazzling yellow sunshine, balmy temperature, nothing pressing on the agenda and a comfortable feeling about recent provocations.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Le bien-être

Le bien-être (a state of well-being) is a general term for a positive condition. Though it is at times meant to describe a satisfaction of physical needs (and an absence of worry) it is far from being aligned strictly with monetary assessment.  Seldom is happiness of any character contingent upon material appeasement; it is by contrast a narrow and unqualified view of one's enigmatic happiness. The simple account of le bien-être does not however approach the nature of its achievement. Getting there is no mean task. Even spending a great deal of time reflecting upon the inscrutable subject is no guarantee of any profit.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

You are what you do!

Contrary to the many popular adages surrounding the desirability of doing nothing - inspiring quips such as Oscar Wilde's, "To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual" - I am nonetheless not persuaded by the elevated tone of the observation. I much prefer to earn my keep by doing something.  This visceral pleasure no doubt betrays either my indelible vacuity or thriving materialism.  I say "materialism" because the thrust of productivity of almost any order is delivery of a tangible end.  I therefore employ the mundane description in its metaphorical sense in addition to its more vulgar appreciation.  Truthfully I abhor doing nothing, whatever the cerebral implications.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Lonely Road

It isn't often I take an aimless automobile drive alone.  When one is blessed (as am I) with an agreeable and sharing relationship, the solo adventures are infrequent.  Today however was another rainy day.  It required little resolution for us to withdraw from the customary routine of an improving bicycle ride. But not everyone is equally enthralled by the prospect of motoring along a glistening highway. I won't pretend that either my ambition or performance was especially singular but at least I permitted myself the novelty of some hitherto uncharted rural roads.

Monday, July 23, 2018

A nice cup of hot tea

Last evening I set my iPhone alarm for five o'clock this morning.  I had an early morning appointment at the Pacemaker clinic of the Heart Institute in Ottawa.  At precisely 4:57 am this morning I suddenly awoke. I got out of bed, turned off the alarm and immediately prepared to shower.  Afterwards I grabbed a bit of fresh fruit and we were then on the road shortly after six o'clock.  It was smooth sailing to the Ottawa Hospital.  We were thus afforded a convenient parking spot in the in-door lot upon arrival there (the out-door lot historically becomes hopelessly congested by mid-morning).  Signing into the registration desk on the second floor before proceeding to the Pacemaker clinic on the first floor was handled comfortably as well though it angered me that a late arriver - from Calabogie no less (as I overheard him say when he signed in) went to the head of the line as soon as the folding doors of the registration desk were drawn back.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

"Garota de Ipanema"

The English version of the Brazilian Bossa nova ("new wave") jazz song "The Girl from Ipanema" originated in 1963.  The song was inspired by Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now known as Helô Pinheiro), a seventeen year old girl living on Montenegro Street in Ipanema.  Daily she would stroll past the Veloso bar café ("each day when she walks to the sea"). She has been described as "the paradigm of the young Carioca (a native of Rio de Janeiro): a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, the sight of whom is also sad in that she carries with her on her route to the sea the feeling of youth that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone - it is a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow".  It was this haunting, wistful mood which captured me today as I sailed about the countryside in my car on a balmy July afternoon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Ivy Lea Club

You've no doubt heard the depreciating adage, "He who can does; he who cannot, teaches".  Reputedly it is from George Bernard Shaw.  I am oddly reminded of the celebrated maxim in the context of the Ivy Lea Club.  The reason? Well, they both bring to mind the disparity between talking about things and living the dream.  Most people will at least purport to favour action to talk - reality to dreaming.  I on the other hand am quite prepared to suffer the indignity of mere imagination - particularly where as in this instance the difference might in my opinion amount to a distinction without a difference. Living the life of a maritime vagabond (with or without a yacht conveniently parked nearby) is just as glamorous to me as a transient interloper as I suspect it is to the real McCoy.  It is certainly less restrictive and far less expensive. Some may prefer (more generously) to characterize the dichotomy as one of vicarious existence; namely, why endure the weight of capital cost and perpetual maintenance when you can have it all for a song?  That at least is my rationality.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Waiting for the bus

We've hit an uncommonly tranquil period.  The sultry summer heat has caste an oppressive blanket upon activity generally.  Given that it is the middle of July it is not surprising there are fewer cars on the road. Every day resembles a weekend - at least judging by the lack of traffic. It makes one feel odd to be doing anything other than sitting by a lake or pool. Not having anything in particular to occupy me I have had to succumb to what I find to be the singularly Spartan state of unqualified patience (not historically my strongest feature).

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pillow Talk

Sometimes the most unexpected things happen.  Take this evening for example.  We were dining on this brilliant and steamy midsummer night with my sister and her husband at their very agreeable residence in Ottawa South. Earlier we had visited my elderly mother at her nearby retirement residence on Colonel By Drive.  The entire project had accordingly a decidedly familial tone to it.  After having reminisced about the general nature of our sojourn with my mother, we discussed preparations for the upcoming holiday of my sister and her husband at a cottage in the Upper Ottawa Valley. When I dared to compare the preparations to those we similarly make when going south for the winter, my attempt was cut short by my sister who insisted that we haven't the same volume of goods to transport.  We did however both agree that when travelling outside our immediate digs (whether for six months as we do or for two weeks as my sister and her husband do) we brought along our favourite pillows (the specific details of which subsequently ensued). Seemingly the study of pillows is a varied one and one which is of an inspired nature for each individual. The racy topic engaged us in all manner of curiosity and animation.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The country gentleman

Secreted among the ancient bushes, oak and willow trees along a meandering country lane near the Village of Ashton is the charming 75-acre estate of a country gentleman. We had been invited there by the lord of the manor to delight in an afternoon of warm sunshine and cool invigoration in the meadow pool.  In keeping with the feudal tradition of exchange of land for service or labour, we vassals (the interloping tenants) proposed to expiate our homage by preparing an evening meal.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

La Dolce Vita

The summer is literally steaming along.  Indeed things are moving so hotly and quickly we are already musing about when the weather will begin to cool and usher in the autumn.  If we were not so preoccupied with our agenda (which essentially reflects our domestic readjustment to Canada after a six-month sojourn in Florida and the preparation for departure again in the fall) we might be more relaxed and less prospective.  But medical necessities embrace time limitations (made all the more compelling by having to withstand the customary system delays - some of which routinely extend for months at a time).

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Funny how that happens!

An event occurred today which hasn't any particular distinction other than it is the continuation of an acquaintance and friendship which transpired in a most unlikely way. It is surprisingly easy to allow these once odd circumstances to evaporate from memory.  But revitalizing the account is worthy. Here is a copy of what I wrote in 1996:

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A very plausible account

It isn't often that one can count upon a credible rendition of personal gossip over a casual summer luncheon. There are normally just too many obstructions - prestige and pretence, honesty and humbug, society and style, age and ambition, defeat and defence, shallowness and swell - to name but a few hindrances. Today's gathering at Neat Café in McNab/Braeside Township was however the uncommon exception. The collateral advantage of the singular assembly is a sense of improving legitimacy (and almost mathematical purity) in addition to the overriding theme of authenticity. In plain terms, we had a most agreeable congregation and a very palatable bite to eat.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cocoon of Boon

The heat wave lingered again today, heralding the kick-off with another soft, balmy ether under a steamy blue sky. We bicycled as usual on Country Street, adjacent the fields of mounting emerald corn stalks and amid the lavender bouquet of the roadside flowers. The normally rhapsodic poplar trees were motionless in the morning stillness. The tolerable heat was increasingly oppressive. I wound up the sleeves of my shirt.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Canada Day July 1, 2018

We began the celebration of Canada Day with an early morning bike ride along Country Street. The sultry heat of the day had already commenced. It took no convincing to restrict our ride to five kilometres instead of the usual ten, a tact we skilfully rationalized as prudent.