During one segment of the evening news last night I was talking to my television. YES! TAKE A STAND!

What had me yelling at my telly? A group of male grade 12 students from Longfields-Davidson Heights High School in Ottawa have organized to teach and spread the word about violence against women.

This was triggered by hearing Glen Canning speak about the suicide of his daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons. She tragically took her own life after online bullying after an alleged sexual assault. The students were moved to start a program to stand up and speak out about violence against women. Man-Up.

Just one of the thought provoking messages in their program:

The right thing to do is

rarely the easy thing to

do. A real man will stand

up for what is right.

By the end of the segment I was full of hope. I want to tell these students:

  • Gentlemen, I am honoured to be writing about you.

  • Gentlemen, you are much needed role models.

  • Gentlemen,……………thank you.

Moments later the same news broadcast reported on yet another celebrity arrested for domestic violence. Man-Up!

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ten Tips for Waitstaff

Waiter taking an orderAfter listening to yet another server ask me “Ya done?”, I’ve decided to post a few waitstaff, please don’t ever say these tips:

  • You guys ready to order? Or any statement or question that has the word guys.

  • Awesome. The fact that I ordered the seafood penne is not awesome. It would be awesome if I ordered it in Mandarin!

  • Good choice. Yikes, glad I didn’t order the chicken. Would that have been a poor choice?

  • Ya done? Replace it with may I take your plate?

  • Telling today’s specials without mentioning the price. Many customers are reluctant (fear of appearing cheap?) to ask the price. Simply state the price with the description of the dish.

  • How’s everything here before I’ve had a bite. It reeks of insincerity; just another item to check off the customer list.

  • No problem or no worries as a response to thank you. Hmmmm….hadn’t thought it might have been a problem. You’re welcome or my pleasure are appropriate responses to someone’s thanks.

And a couple of non verbal annoyances to avoid:

  • Clearing one person’s plate while others are still eating. Everyone else feels rushed.

  • After requesting the bill, waiting a loooooong time. Customers begin to feel that, now that they have obviously ordered (spent) all they intend to, that they’re no longer important.

  • Scraping plates within my sight. Disgusting. Just lost my appetite.

I realize that the job of waitstaff is difficult. (I did it for a short time in England. My feet still ache when I think about it.) Customers are not always nice. Customers can be demanding and unreasonable. Waitstaff work hard for frequently less than minimum wage and tips are uncertain. Still, no reason to be less than professional.

Professional waitstaff can make a restaurant meal a must return event or quite the opposite.

As always, we appreciate your comments.

Tips for customers coming soon.

Posted in Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Every once in a while life has a way of snapping us back to reality. Sometimes it shows us that it isn’t fair.

A few weeks ago, on the same day, I mailed two cards. One, a birthday card to a 90 year old. The other, a condolence note to parents on the loss of their child.

Last week while we were driving my husband’s phone rang. It was an invitation to a 60th birthday dinner. Half an hour later the phone rang again. We were informed of the death of another friend.

Yes, life has a way of reminding us that it is indeed short. That it’s not always fair.

  • cherish each day

  • stay in touch with friends

  • keep your promises

  • learn something new every day

  • it’s not about the fork (you’ve heard me say this before), it’s how we treat other people

  • stand up for what you believe

  • what would you add?

When my family was scattering my parents’ ashes we were also smiling at the mud puddle antics of their one and a half year old great grandson. The circle of life.

Great grandfather.

Great grandfather.

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Back to School Time

Originally posted on Protocol School of Ottawa:

It’s almost September. It’s almost back to school.

Do you remember the feeling as a student as the return to school approached? Anticipation? Excitement? Anxiety?

For most of my adult life September left me longing to be back in the classroom. There has always been another course, another program, another direction that I’ve wanted to pursue. It wasn’t until I stood at the front of the classroom as an instructor that my September longings disappeared. I was already there. This is where I was meant to be.

Back to those childhood back-to-school emotions. As your child heads out the door with a new back pack, a fistful of markers, and a tablet (my, how times have changed) I hope they also take these guidelines along with them:

  • First impressions are important.

  • Be kind.

  • If you don’t understand, ask. You’re not the only one.

  • Clothes are only the outside of a…

View original 52 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Texting and Driving

About a year ago while driving, my husband and I were nearly run off a bridge not far from our home. A commercial truck took the corner wide and forced us to the guard rail of the bridge. Just in time he looked up from his phone.

A close call. We were shaken and angry but much better than many. According to the Canadian Automobile Association : “Cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers. Drivers engaged in text messaging on a cellular phone are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010)”. I urge you to click on the link to read some other sobering statistics.

The car failing to move once the light turns green is likely texting.

The car drifting over the centre line is likely texting.

The driver with head down at a red light or stop sign is likely texting.

The texting driver is unaware of their surroundings.

On a recent trip to the US I was so pleased to see the following signs that I photographed them (It’s OK, I was a passenger).  IMG_0742uca_2IMG_0740uca_1Pleased, yet at the same time, sad that it is necessary to remind people of something that, to many, seems so obvious. How can one possibly read and type a message while driving?

On another trip I saw a sign that said: IT CAN WAIT. TEXT STOP IN 2 MILES I didn’t get a photo of that one as I was driving that time. Taking a photo is just as dangerous as texting.

Don ‘t text and drive. It is that simple.

  • It is stupid. (I don’t like that word but it applies to this.)

  • It is irresponsible.

  • It is illegal.

  • Your message isn’t that important.

I received an email message from a friend recently with this tag line:

Honk if you love Jesus,

Text if you want to meet him.

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Glad You’re Good

Over the years I’ve mentioned the erosion of polite terms, specifically you’re welcome. Quite often the response I hear to someone’s gracious thank you is no problem or no worries. These expressions only diminish the other person’s thank you. Oh, was it supposed to have been a problem for the waiter to bring more water? Glad that was brought to my attention.

When asking guests if they would like more _________ I’m often answered with I’m good. What goes through my mind (even though I would never say it) is I’m glad you’re good but would you like more______.

  • The polite response to thank you is you’re welcome or the even more gracious my pleasure.

  • The polite response to would you like more_____ is either yes please or no thank you.

Other responses diminish the politeness that was offered. If we continue to whittle away at our politeness what will we have?yes please, no thanks

Posted in Commentary, Tips | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

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!

2014-02-28 13.18.53uca_1

The Snowbirds over Parliament Hill.

The Snowbirds over Parliament Hill.

Milk in a bag. Unique to Canada?

Milk in a bag. Unique to Canada?

2011-12-23_12-37-51_548-1c     IMG_4731_1 IMG_3051_1_1

Ah, summertime!

Ah, summertime!



What says Canada to you?

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments