The pause that refreshed …

Life is crazy and challenging and chaotic and uncertain. Not just for me, for everyone, everywhere. It’s important for our mental, emotional and physical well-being to shut the world out from time to time, to live in the light, to find joy.

Well, that certainly happened for me last Sunday … 

… when I was lucky enough to be one of about 35 people who attended a casual, intimate, private, classical music concert. Not in the evening, in a darkened concert hall, which is what you’d expect. This concert took place in the afternoon, in a sun-drenched living room.

And on this day the living room happened to belong to a friend and former colleague — Bryan Tenenhouse and his wife Cori Halpern. But it could take place in my living room or yours.

Have you ever heard of Groupmuse? I confess I had not, until Bryan posted on Facebook about a concert at a friend’s home he and Cori went to last Spring. At the time he wrote that he and Cori loved it so much they wanted to host one themselves. Which they did, over two glorious hours, on Sunday afternoon.

What an extraordinary idea it is. Anyone can host. Anyone can attend. That’s right, you don’t have to know Continue reading

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Family …

My mother once told me that when she and my father got married there were 200-plus people at their wedding, most of whom were family. Like most children, I never thought about a time when our family would stop growing and start shrinking. Children assume everyone they love will be around forever.

In actual fact, I’m lucky. Most of my family lived long and full lives. I was 15 when my great grandfather passed away, in my 20s when my great grandmother passed. One grandmother lived to 98, the other to Continue reading

So how smart are you, eh?

We celebrated Canada Day this past weekend.  I’ve talked a lot about how proud I am to be Canadian, so I decided to spare you from hearing me blather on about it again. Then I saw this Historica Canada quiz yesterday in Huff Post Canada Weekend Digest and I thought I’d give it a try. I like quizzes anyway and it seemed like fun to see how much I know about this wonderful country I live in — or, conversely, how dumb I am.

I’m relieved to say that out of 30 questions, I only got four wrong. Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re sitting there thinking I should have known them all. Well it turns out I did better than most of the 1002 Canadians who Continue reading

Maria Shriver strikes a chord yet again …

If you follow my blog or regularly read my posts on my social media you know I’m a fan of Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. She always blows me away because she consistently writes about issues that are on my mind. But just as important, if not more so, she also talks about matters that should be on my radar and should concern me — this past Sunday’s essay being a perfect case in point.

In it she talks about reactions to medication, women’s health in general and the gender gap in medicine —  and then she segues to the allergic reactions we also have to people, what those reactions tell us and how we should handle them. All of it very important, so here’s a link. While you’re there, take a minute and subscribe.

I know to some degree we all suffer from information overload, but trust me when I tell you that the Continue reading

As fathers and role models go …

… I hit the jackpot.

As wonderful a father as mine was, my love and admiration for him goes far beyond his parenting skills, good as they were. It’s also about the man he was, what he taught me just by being who he was.

He was the guy everyone turned to when they had a problem or needed advice of any kind. And by everyone, I mean family, friends, employees, even my friends. They knew he’d be objective, he’d listen Continue reading

Laughter really is the best medicine …

I can’t tell you how many times I ‘ve heard that over the course of my life and I’m pretty sure you’ve probably heard it more than a few times, too. Laughing has never been a problem for me, I’m blessed with a pretty good sense of humour and it’s stood me in good stead over the years.

Being able to laugh, especially at myself, has helped me get through the ups and downs that are part and parcel of all of our lives and I’m grateful for that. But it was when my mother passed away that I learned that it’s okay to smile and even chuckle during the most solemn of occasions.

After my mother’s funeral, the Rabbi came to the shiva to lead the evening prayer. When he was done, not Continue reading

%#@& !!!!!

Well, now I’ve got an even bigger bee in my bonnet than my frustration with people who don’t vote: People who don’t use their heads when they vote, who knowingly and obstinately choose bad candidates — willfully ignoring the consequences of such actions. They drive me crazy and piss me off royally.

You know who I mean. All those in the US who defiantly, sanctimoniously and emphatically stated, “I’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton;” and then spitefully voted for Donald Trump. I’m not talking about his avid and rabid supporters. I honestly don’t think there’s anything that would make them turn against him.

No, I’m talking about all those who knew better. They knew he had a lousy reputation as a businessman. They knew he lied, insulted, bullied, bragged, swore, threatened and incited violence as he blustered his Continue reading

Why not travel light, even when you’re not traveling?

Have you been seeing all the ads on Facebook and Instagram for luggage?

I actually find them fascinating. Not the ads — the products themselves. All the different kinds of suitcases, knapsacks and packing cubes designed to let you cram as much as you can into a bag small and compact and lightweight enough to take on board with you — thereby avoiding the need to check Continue reading

Time for some introspection and reflection …

Every so often I take stock of where I am in my life, take a look at what I’m up to and think about whether or not it’s still working for me. I check in with myself to see how I’m doing. I assume that I’ve pretty much been on the right track because this has never resulted in my changing course dramatically. But, from time to time, I have taken some detours along the way as a result of these explorations.

I’m only mentioning it because, in her most recent Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver wrote about the importance of knowing our “why” — understanding why we do what we do, what brings meaning to our lives.

Despite it being a long weekend in Canada, I was chained to my computer the whole time, working on a Continue reading

Not a day goes by …

Sunday was Mother’s Day. I’ve dreaded it ever since my mother passed in 2007. But this year was a bit different. I realized that the “official” Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, is just one of 365 days in every year when we can, and should, honour our mothers, thank them, appreciate them and love them.

Really, the only difference between Mother’s Day and any other day is, the florists and restaurants are super busy and Hallmark does a booming business.

I think of my mother every day. I miss her every day. I miss her belly laugh. The glint in her eye. Her sunny Continue reading