Canada Day

On this Canada Day, July 1, I’m simply posting pictures. These are pictures that I’ve taken over the past couple of years that say Canada to me.

O Canada

Our home and native land!

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Caution: Skaters crossing!

Caution: Skaters crossing!

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The Snowbirds over Parliament Hill.

The Snowbirds over Parliament Hill.

Milk in a bag. Unique to Canada?

Milk in a bag. Unique to Canada?

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Ah, summertime!

Ah, summertime!



What says Canada to you?

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Host and Guest Survival Strategies Part 2

Originally posted on Protocol School of Ottawa:

The goal of hosts should be toenjoy the visit along with their guests. Once again, a little planning and thoughtfulness ensures that your guests feel welcomed and you do not spend their entire visit playing room service.  A few pointers to being a welcoming host:

* Spend a little time prior to the visit preparing food that can be frozen, reheated at the last minute, or simply tossed together.  If you don’t mind sharing your kitchen accept help from your guests.  It will make them feel useful.

*Ensure your children feel special if they are giving up their bedroom for your guests.  They need to understand that temporarily the room is the guest’s private space.

* Fabulous if you have a dedicated guest room.  It’s not the place though to unload your old pillows and bed linens.  If you don’t want to sleep on them why would your guests? …

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Host and Guest Survival Strategies Part 1

Originally posted on Protocol School of Ottawa:

The care-free days of summer are here.  Entertaining is less formal but more frequent.  Friends and family travel to visit one another and stay for a few days.  This should be fun and stress free for everyone.  Like you, I want to be remembered as both a gracious guest and a gracious host.

The goal of overnight guests should be quite simply to be invited back. Thoughtfulness and a little planning will ensure your host enjoys your stay with them and looks forward to your next visit.  A few pointers to being a welcomed guest:

* Before you leave home discuss with your host exactly how long you will be staying. They shouldn’t have to guess or ask when you’re leaving.

* Arrive with a useful gift for your host.  Specialty food or wines from your area are all lovely gifts.  If you know the taste of your host then…

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When is a Joke Not a Joke

A few days ago we attended a Travel Show. It was quite crowded and I stopped for a moment, unable to move because of the people in front of me. A man behind me directed this comment to me; “I bet they’re having a hard time selling tickets.” He had a smile on his face as he said this. I looked at the booth he was referring to. It was Malaysian Airlines. From his tone and facial expression I could tell he thought he was being funny and that I would enjoy his joke. But it wasn’t a joke. It was poor taste. I told him my heart went out to the airlines and everyone involved. He walked away.


When is a joke not a joke? When it belittles or ridicules another, whether it is a culture, ethnic group, or individual trait. When in doubt whether to pass on a joke, ask yourself if you would tell this joke if a person of that culture/ethnic group/disability/ was part of your audience. If the answer is no, that they might be offended or if the joke was at their expense, then you have your answer.


I enjoy jokes. Laughing is good for us. I appreciate a person who can make me laugh ’till I cry by simply being funny. No insults. No crudeness. No offensiveness. Now that’s real humour.


I hope you laugh often. Heartily.


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Words on a Wall

Hanging on the wall of one of my favourite spots to meet for tea, French Café, are these words:


Which phrase resonates with you? Which inspires you? Care to share? Tell us what and why.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

Children hear things. Even when you think they’re not listening.

Children see things. Even when you think they’re not watching.

Children learn things. Even when you think they’re not paying attention.

Here’s a sample (all true) of what I have heard children say over the past few years. Some are funny. Some are revealing:

I don’t like you.

Some daddies don’t wear jammies.

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It was nice meeting you.

Life isn’t fair. Just suck it up.

I’m so smart I’ll probably be in university when I’m eleven.

It’s good to meet new people.

I’m the mommy and you’re the daddy so you have to take the garbage out.


Children imitate what they hear and see. We are all responsible.

Share what you’ve observed.

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Days for Girls

I belong to a volunteer organization, Days for Girls. It’s about….well, before the details let me warn you I’m going to be talking about feminine hygiene products.

Are you still reading? Great! Did you know:

  • the main reason girls in developing countries quit school is due to lack of feminine hygiene products

  • when a girl drops out of school she is then enrolled in a life of poverty

  • thousands of girls and women risk infection by using whatever is available (leaves, husks, stones, newspaper) for hygiene

  • when a woman is forced to miss five days a month from her job she lacks the money to feed her children

  • girls often sell themselves in order to buy hygiene products

I could keep going but that is enough to get most people thinking. A common response is “I’ve never thought of it before.” But most of us have never had to think of it before. Most of us live within a few kilometres of a drug store and have a purse full of credit cards.

The volunteers at Days for Girls chapters purchase the appropriate fabrics (or gratefully accept donations), trace and cut the official patterns, and sew the kits according to specific instructions.IMG_0700uca_3

Often I cut and sew alone:


Sometimes with my long time friend:


Sometime with a group of volunteers at a hall:


Sometimes we have supervision:


The kits are washable and usually last a girl three years. That means:

  • dignity

  • health

  • continuing school

  • continuing work

  • health education

  • did I mention dignity?

These things can’t be measured. They change lives. They can change the world.

“Every girl. Everywhere. Period.”

Check out the Days for Girls International site.

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