Celebrating my dad

I’m publishing my blog a day early this week because today’s my dad’s birthday. He’s been gone a long time, 31 years. Hard to believe. I never missed his birthday, even after I moved to Toronto.

From as far back as I can remember, my mother and I always drove ourselves into a frenzy trying to figure out what to get for him and how to celebrate. He was hard to buy for — not because he was picky — because he never wanted anything. He always said he had everything he needed. Same thing with parties. He liked to keep things low key. Except when the shoe was on the other foot and he was doing something for others — and then nothing was too good or too much trouble. He threw himself into the task with absolute zeal.

That was my dad. Kind, sensitive to the needs of others, caring and generous to a fault. He embodied all the values that are in such short Continue reading

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The first man in my life …

Yes, that’s me in the photo. With my dad, a very long time ago. Hard to believe I was ever that tiny. Oh, how I adored him. We were extremely close, up to the day he died, 30 years ago. Hard to believe that, too — that it’s been so long. I still think of him every day and still miss him like crazy.

He was an amazing dad. For that matter, he was a pretty amazing human being. Kind, thoughtful, open-minded, generous, loving, loyal, honest as the day is long.

When I needed advice it was my father to whom I turned, always, even as an adult. His friends and my friends often turned to him as well, as did many members of our family. You could always count on him to be fair, objective and Continue reading

Turkish delight …

I saw a wonderful documentary last week, about street cats in Istanbul, where hundreds of catsthousands of them roam freely, and have for thousands of years. In the film, Kedi, we meet seven of them.

To be perfectly honest, much as I love cats, part of me wanted to see the film and part of me didn’t. I hate to see animals (or people) suffer and I was afraid these pussycats would look Continue reading

What the world needs now …

Do you remember that Burt Bacharach classic, What the World Needs Now is heartLove?” And, by the way, if you do, Dionne Warwick wasn’t the first to sing it, even though that’s probably who you associate with it.

It was offered to her, she turned it down and it was recorded by Jackie DeShannon on March 23, 1965 in New York.

What you probably don’t know is that, in addition to Jackie DeShannon and Dionne Warwick, the Supremes also recorded it — along Continue reading

Canadian and so proud of it …

I am lucky enough, with this blog, to have readers from every corner of the world; and, depending onProudCanadian where you live and the news you get to see, you may or may not know about the tragedy in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

When residents woke up last Tuesday morning the sky was blue, but some smoke, from forest fires, could be seen in the distance. By the afternoon the city was engulfed in flames and the 80,000 people who live there had to be evacuated.

The damage is extensive, lives have been taken and lives have been ruined. It Continue reading

You just never know …

I don’t know about you, but lately, everywhere I turn I seem to be confrontedshock with bad service. With people who don’t value your business, who just don’t care.

It’s particularly frustrating and disappointing when it’s companies you deal with all the time, where you’re a regular, loyal customer. That really Continue reading

Accentuate the positive …

A week or so ago I attended a fundraising event for Firefly Foundation, angel a charitable organization that funds research and develops programs with a mission to prolong brain health.

It was started by a friend and former colleague, after she lost both of her parents to brain related diseases. Another friend of mine, who lost her mother to Continue reading

Day 144. Becoming ‘Involved’

Yesterday I read a truly inspiring post on The Green Study. In fact, it was the second installment, in what is going to become a series on ‘giving’. Now what every donationswriter knows is, each of us ‘reads’ differently. We read ‘into’ things differently. We all extract a different message, a different meaning.

My ‘take’ on what I’ve been reading is, the author of this wonderful blog is grappling with figuring out how she can support the causes she cares about, in a way she finds meaningful and personally satisfying. Which isn’t always by writing a cheque. Again, let me reiterate. This is my interpretation of what she’s saying. It may not be her intent, at all. You should read them for yourselves. Believe me, you’ll be inspired.

It’s made me think of my own approach. What I do. How. And why.

Sometimes, it is by writing a cheque. I have many friends and family members who have, unfortunately, been ‘touched’ by one

Continue reading

Day 118. Doing Something

I don’t know about you, but I’m being bombarded with letters and phone calls from charities and causes looking for donations.  I get them all the time, but it escalates at givingthis time of year.

And nowadays, with government funding becoming less likely with each passing day, the need for individual donations is greater than ever.  A challenge in and of itself, with so many out of work, worried they could lose their jobs, or just tightening their belts because of the economy.

Throughout my career, I’ve done a fair bit of work for non-profit organizations; and even in good times, it can be a tough go.  One of the main obstacles is, it’s hard for an individual to believe that their $5 or $25 or even $200 donation can make a difference when the problem is huge.  Like trying to cure a disease, or feeding the homeless, or keeping the local ballet company afloat, or disaster relief.

It’s understandable, of course.  But in reality, if everyone felt that way, and no one ever donated because of it, then where would we be?  In a major mess!  Because even a single dollar, when combined with hundreds or thousands of Continue reading

Day 71. Being Generous

Yesterday I wrote about my dad; and one of the qualities I talked about, was his generosity. I’ve been thinking about it and, while he was certainly generous about sharing the fruits of his labour, it was all the other, much more important and meaningful ways he was generous, that made him the wonderful and beloved human being that he was.

What comes to your mind, when you think of ‘generosity’?

For me it’s when someone needs a hug, and your arms are outstretched. When someone needs a shoulder to cry on, and yours is waiting. When someone needs a sounding board, and you’re all ears. When someone’s in trouble, and you’re there to lend support.

When someone needs attention, and you’ve got all the time in the world. When someone needs a helping hand, and yours is at the ready.

Generosity of spirit, is what I’m talking about.

Continue reading