Staying Alive in the 905

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In the past the only online shopping I did was for books through Chapters/Indigo.

This year I have done more online shopping for Christmas gifts than in the past five years combined.

I’m glad I did.  It has been convenient and reliable.  I have started to make purchases online for items other than Christmas gifts.  I have learned to go first to the Air Miles shops because if I can access a store via that site I will earn air miles for my purchase.  For example if I shop at Apple via the Air Miles shopping site I earn air miles but do not earn them if I shop at the Apple store at the mall.

I was glad to see a good review in the National Post recently regarding a Canadian discount designer shop – Beyond the Rack.  It is a bit like an online Winners.  Once again, you can shop at Beyond the Rack via the Air Miles site.  I’ve made two purchases from this site and am happy with the merchandise.  There is the option to return but I have not needed to yet.  It is based in Montreal.  It is like a club and you must sign up for membership but it is free.

For many years it seemed that we did not have good Canadian online shopping and I was reluctant to shop from a U.S. site.  Now that we have good Canadian sites I think I will be doing more shopping online.  What about you?

                   I would love to know about other reliable Canadian shopping sites.  Please share.




It is traditional at this time of year to reflect back on the year that just whizzed by.  It seems that 2009 has been one big reflection. That’s because 2009 was the 40th anniversary of 1969.  A lot happened in 1969.  It was an important year in pop culture and the history of the world.  It seemed everything changed as the sixties rolled into the 1970’s. 1969 was a very big year for me and I remember why.  It was the year I became a teenager and started high school. I wrote about all the reflecting and remembering in an email to my friends this past summer: 

It seems this summer that everyday in the news there is something that happened 40 years ago.  For example: Ted Kennedy is dying, as a revered statesman, 40 years after he got away with murder. Woodstock!!!! Woodstock was that summer but I was only a teeny bopper wanna-be hippy.  I didn’t venture far in those days.  So if anyone my age or younger tells you they were at Woodstock they are probably lying or they went with an older sibling… or they were ahead of their time, had run away from home or …their parents took them. Wow – 1969 was a very big year. 

Q107 has been inviting listeners to share “where were you when Apollo 11 landed on the moon?”  I read some of the comments on the website and entered some contests but decided not to fess  up as to my whereabouts.  I remember exactly where I was when man landed on the moon.  Do you?

The summer of ’69 was a pivotal period for me – between the end of grade 8 and the beginning of high school.  I tie-dyed a sheet, black, to hang in the door way of the grade 8 grad dance – yes, I was on organizing committees back then too.  I wore my white lace bell-bottomed pant suit and white chunky heels.  I still have that outfit and some of you saw me wear it at my 30th birthday party – after a few too many drinks.  I have the shoes also.  This outfit was a hit when my son’s female classmates modeled items from my cedar trunk in Grade 7 for a retro fashion show.  

I think I remember so much of that year and the few that followed because of the little B&W television that was added to our kitchen so my news junkie father could keep up with the world during dinner.  Prior to that I remember parents reading newspapers a lot and if you owned one, the televison was in the living room.  That little TV on it’s chrome stand was mod and funky. Man, I thought we were rich when we got that thing.

All the Vietnam news footage bombarded us with war and then we saw the demonstrations etc. etc.

When I started high school girls were not allowed to wear pants and no one could wear jeans.  As a member of student council I campaigned for the right to wear pants and felt so empowered when we achieved our goal.  Everyone bought cords and we soon dressed just like the guys.  Afterall, those mini skirts were sexy but brutally cold in the winter.  I still fear my mother was right when she said that baring our thighs to the cold would make them fat!!!  Remember – females had never worn such short skirts before – ever!  We were told that the body would layer on fat to protect itself.  LOL….that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

The next year we won the right to wear blue jeans. That was the most pivotal fashion moment of my life.  Anyone remember how they were so stiff and dark?  My brother and I took a new pair of jeans to New Brunswick every summer purposely to wear them in the sand and salt water to break them in and fade them a bit.  That dark stiff denim is back in vogue and the current trend is not to wash them so they remain dark and stiff.  Imagine.

  Now I buy something denim every year but I started high school without it in my life. 

Back to 1969 and the moon – I can not tell a lie – when the American astronauts landed on the moon I was at a Bobby Sherman (Here come the Brides) concert in Buffalo, NY.  My friend’s’s father took us to see the hot teen idol/singer/actor.  When the concert was over we dashed to their relatives’ home nearby to watch footage of the historic event.  They were complete strangers to me and distant relatives to my friend but sitting in silence in their living room we all felt connected – we were all the mankind Armstrong spoke of and you needed to share it with someone.  I wondered if we would all be living on different planets some day and wondered why we needed to go to the moon.  I’m still wondering about that.

I am amazed at what has transpired in the last 40 years as I write this on a computer.  Not enough has changed though.  We still fight wars and people still die too young and now we pay too much for a pair of  jeans.  Denim was invented for miners in California to wear because they needed an affordable tougher fabric that would withstand their climbing over rocks.  We are paying $ for a pair of work pants!!

So that’s my musings about 40 years ago – it was a pivotal year to become a teenager.

Where were you when man landed on the moon? Please don’t say”not born yet!” I know some of you weren’t – I’m lucky to have friends of all ages.

I googled Bobby Sherman.  I see he had the good sense to leave the entertainment world when his 15 min. of fame were up. He became a sheriff and a family man.  He’s still kind of handsome for 66.  Eeew!  He was only 4 years younger than my mother.  Glad I did not know that then.


I read about this fundraiser today on the f word.  The f word  is an email fashion newsletter published by F-List. I subscribe to it.  I am assuming they won’t mind if I help spread the word about a fundraiser that helps fund hockey for those who could not otherwise afford to play.   

Greenshag gives a puck and so should we!  I will definitely log -on to shop December 3 if I can’t get into Toronto to visit the store.  I salute Greenshag menswear for supporting this cause and… for making the offer available both to in- store shoppers and online shoppers.  Mark your calendars.  After years of raising money for my sons teams it will be nice to support an initiative to make hockey available to the less privileged.

I CONFESS – I COPIED THE FOLLOWING DIRECTLY FROM  Greenshag’s website. (but I added the link to their site) 


GreenShag hockey cufflinks

Give a Puck Shopping Event

We’re Giving a Puck… so should you.

WHEN:    Thur, Dec 3rd 10am – 10pm 
WHERE:  670 Queen Street West and/or

$20 from every pair of GreenShag cufflinks sold on Dec 3rd will go to the Hockey Night In Canada Help Fund – helping kids who can’t afford to… play.  Giving a Puck has never felt so good.

Also up for sale: various signed memorabilia from your esteemed HNIC announcers and NHL players – including genuine NHL game pucks and jerseys. 100% of these proceeds go to the HNIC Help Fund.


Read about the HNIC Help Fund.

Visit the F-List blog, sign up for email and follow-on Twitter.


Last week the parents of three university students who drowned in a vehicle in a farm pond travelled to Dickinson, North Dakota to visit the scene of the accident and attend a memorial service.  One of those students was from Canada.  Bev and Phil Neufeld, parents of Ashley Neufeld, appeared with the others on national television.  As a mother I felt their pain and I immediately  noticed that Mrs. Neufeld, despite her obvious grief, was wearing a poppy.  In every photo that has appeared in print media she has been wearing her poppy.  

This made me feel ashamed for the many times I have left home without mine.  I have profound respect for our veterans and I believe the symbol of the poppy is as sacred as our flag.  This week I will not forget the sight of Mrs. Neufeld wearing her poppy and I WILL wear mine.  If she can remember, so can I.

Even though I am way past the “yummy mummy” stage of life I do enjoy reading some of the bloggers on the Yummy Mummy Club site.    Over 20 women contribute blogs to the site.  I list a couple on my blog roll.  This week something in the “articles” section caught my eye.  Patricia Volonakis is about to turn 52.  In this article she reflects on what she has learned about life and being female.  I agreed with every one of her ten points/rules to live by.  Hopefully some younger women will see this article and take note.

I also think about “What I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger”.  Take a look.

Some products work so well they deserve some free advertising.  I love it when I find something that makes my life easier.

Often the best products are the oldest products.  When it comes to laundry I know of what I speak.  I’ve raised three boys, all hockey players.  I’ve washed a lot of foul-smelling gym and hockey gear.  

Borax is not just for science experiments.  The green box in the laundry detergent aisle boasting the strength of 20 mule teams really is ‘nature’s deodorizer’.  Detergent alone will not remove the odour of sweat.  Stain removers will not improve the smell but adding borax will freshen up almost everything.  

My grandmother taught me about this.  One summer in New Brunswick my son was working in a fish plant and I complained that I could not remove the smell from his work clothes no matter what I tried.   Ma to the rescue!  She asked, “Don’t you use Borax?”   Hmmm.  I always wondered what was in that green box.  I wasn’t much of a science student.

You must keep it away from children as this powder is toxic if ingested.  If you do not have young children or pets mix it with a bit of sugar and put it out to kill ants.  They love it.

Now there is a new product that I love.  Yes, I get excited about detergent.  Win is a liquid laundry detergent specifically for washing gym/workout wear. I’ve only seen it at Shopper’s Drug Mart.  There is regular scent and a “green” unscented version that works just as well. I’ve bought and used both.  They both remove the sweat odours but I prefer the unscented.

Sometimes I use both Win and Borax in the same putrid load.

Now if only the boys would bring their stuff to the laundry room more often.  I won’t go into the hockey bags.

 As I leap into the blogosphere I can’t help but think about the irony of being social in a social network while being totally alone in my home. I have created this blog for my social media class.  It’s something I’ve thought of doing for some time.

 I like to share information and photos.  Gardening tips, laundry tips, recipes and shopping bargains.  Life as a home and school/hockey mom. New discoveries and the old reliable.

However, I’m cautious about sharing. Doesn’t it seem like we are all sharing too much? I have embraced Facebook and tried Twitter.  I have read some blogs, such as, Bargainista, for a couple of years now. Do I need to know immediately via Twitter that the creator of that blog, Eden Spodek, is currently at a store experiencing poor service? No. I don’t. I prefer the hockey parent rule of waiting at least 24 hours before addressing a gripe and/or sharing it.  I will try to self-impose these standards to this blog.  The immediacy and egocentric nature of tweets and posts annoys me.

I remember what I thought when cell phones first came on the scene in the 1980’s. I would see someone, usually a man back then, walking down the street talking on his phone and say “no one is that important, can’t it wait?.”  Now I am doing it! I don’t have a business to follow but I do have teenagers. There are advantages.

I recall being excited and nervous while working as a public relations officer in the early 1980’s when we first got computers at our desks.  I no longer had to compose news releases on a type writer but we still had to print off hard copies and fax them to media outlets.  When the internet arrived it was a luxury  to send copy, for the company newspaper, electronically to the printer a half hour drive away but we still did manual layout on site.  Eventually, that was no longer necessary as layout could be done on a computer and sent electronically.  It was progress but I was sad.  I always looked forward to hanging out in the back room of the Woodstock, N.B. Bugle five times per year with blue wax pencil in hand.  

I recall a horrific prediction:  humans would become less social, they would sit at their computers and not visit in person.  I was one of many who laughed at that prediction.  The tables have turned.  I now spend a lot of time online and am trying to convince my friends to embrace more social media networks.

Slowly but surely my fellow boomer friends are logging on but I continue to hear the complaints.  Those who work want to leave the computer behind when they come home.  (I’m seeing that my generation doesn’t log on at work, they would make personal calls from work but they will not log on.)  They want to focus on family and relax.  Can you blame them?  I am beginning to fear that if my generation does not embrace social media we will be out of touch and like our parents – unable to use a remote control. We might be left in the proverbial dust if we don’t join electronic networks.  We won’t know what is happening or know what is current.   Many of  us don’t have the equipment because we don’t have employers to buy us PDA’s and laptops.  Our children have them but we do not.

Maybe it’s supposed to be this way.  Life should get simpler.   We all need to slow down and not juggle so much.  Perhaps our goal really should be to leave behind all the devices, we monitor so feverishly and sit quietly. Sit down and listen to the rhythm of the ocean, the buzz in our own backyards and be at peace, alone with our thoughts.  I do that every summer in New Brunswick.  I look forward to doing only that someday but for now….it’s time to blog, tweet, post, text, read and blog some more.  After all, thanks to the internet I can communicate from almost anywhere.

I will always prefer to visit my friends in person and hear their voices.  I don’t pay bills online.  I prefer to go to the bank and joke that my goal is to keep bank tellers employed.  Social media will be an additional means of communicating and conducting business, not the only means. I think!

It’s all part of staying current, in touch and very alive out in the 905!


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