Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This is Where We Live

I thought y'all might like to take a walk with me... And, yes, I do say "y'all" in Canada; why do you ask?

That's Michigan on the left (thank the cell phone gods for a Sprint tower!) and Amherstburg, Ontario on the right. You can't see it, but the arrow points to our little house ;-).

Our house is a "townhome" in "Canadian" and a "duplex" in "American".  This is the front entry:

We share a common wall with our neighbors which you can see from the back view (ours is the left side):

Ships pass from Lake Erie to Lake St. Clair, and the big ones rattle the house. Otherwise, it's quiet, and I admit the water views are calming.

The Canadian geese (of course they are) cackle at us and are not happy when the ferry honks to get them out of the way. The ferry, of course, yields until they swim to safety.

The ferry does not, however, wait for me. I miss it more than I catch it, and, for those of you who know I'm not exactly what you would call "early" to things, I say "It's not my fault..." Every Capt. has his own version of what 'every 20 minutes' means. Yes, we plan our car trips by the ferry schedule. I plan my time in the grocery store by the ferry. I plan my trips to Windsor by the ferry. I plan what time to put ice cream in my car by the ferry. You get the idea... I have started baking for the ferry personnel, and if it means they won't leave me at the dock when they see my car coming, all the better. (Not that it's my reason for doing it, mind you...)

We're renting on Boblo Island. It used to be an amusement park, and there are remnants of the "glory days" such as the old dance hall where Sinatra and Elvis once played - but not at the same time.

The old Observation Tower still stands as do the docks where Michiganders would boat over to in order to play here each summer. Now, we have early urban development and lots of trails for walking and exploring if you don't mind the snakes. Two of them managed to short out the electricity for the whole island Sunday morning. They gave their lives for a little adventure; I think there's a lesson in that...

My uber-hardworking husband fishes each night. What a gift it is for him to relax like this after dinner. Living on an island means he always catches something. I'm looking into investing in companies that make lures, because at the rate Michael loses them, I can retire on that investment alone.

Did I mention it's allergy season here? The WalMart people tell me "allergy season ends in winter".  I cry, but they think it's just my allergies.  This is how the ground looked this morning as I walked the dog:

And it's 'snowing', thanks to the Cottonwood trees. I wear sunglasses... for many reasons. If it weren't for the pollen storms, life here right now would be idyllic. It's a breezy 70 most days, and the nights sit in the 50s.

Boblo Island has a 113 year history; we're adding ours to that now. Wanna come visit?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In the News

I have to share a few of the Yahoo Canada headlines as of late.

Angry Beaver Terrorizes Town was the original headline here: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/angry-beaver-roams-n-w-t-town-184453296.html

Flying Bear Kills Two Canadians in Freak Accident is a truly sad story, but I admit to laughing at the title when I first saw it. My question is, "How fast would one have to be driving to launch a 440 lb. bear through another car?" A tragic story with an odd headline: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/flying-bear-kills-two-canadians-freak-accident-154945849.html

(Granted the U.S. has its share of oddities; these 2 just caught my eye early in the morning.)

In personal news,
1) I'm learning to quickly multiply kms by 6.2 to check my speed limits, because I feel like my Virginia license plates are a target.
2) Temperature conversions - double the Centigrade, subtract 10% then add 32 - take me a moment longer, but, hey, my math skills can always use some tweaking.
3) Rogers is replacing my internet hub. I'm sure my file with them is volumes by now. They also charged us for a phone number we don't have. I wonder if Nadir Mohamed, their CEO, has these problems... maybe I'll write and ask him...
4) The weather is gorgeous. (Y'all feel free to rub this one in my nose in January.)

In other news, and this is for my US OCC peeps out there:
   1) We call them all Collections Centers (just local or regional)
   2) We call it National Collection Centers Week
   3) We use decos, known as OCC Boxes here, so much that almost no one uses regular shoeboxes.
   4) We are all doing the same work. Remember that.
It's not the differences that matter; it's what's the same that is important.

Isn't that true in life, too? Let's seek our common ground and get past the things that separate us. Uniqueness comes from God, but so does unity.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Good vs. Evil

Waiting can be a very good thing, but we sometimes romanticize it so we can use it as an excuse for being lazy. C'mon... admit it; I know I'm not the only one... However, I've found that 'doing' can also be a bad thing if I'm the one behind the motivation. In Acts 1, those in the Upper Room were told to wait and see. With today's frenetic pace, we forget to heed that counsel.

My Canadian OCC Reg. Mgr. reminded us last week that God loves Operation Christmas Child more than  I (we) do. I needed to re-hear that. As I settled in to Canada, and after meeting the 3 ladies on the team, I felt that familiar urge to go and get it done. Was God telling me to "Go" as he did with Abraham? Um, no, He was not. He was telling me to wait.

I confess to fighting that. How many times have I (do we) set the path, the goals, and politely asked God to make it happen? Puh-leeze... We all know that's wrong, and yet it's exactly what we do. (You can agree - I won't tell. You're in great company here...)

By the way - I waited, and when I felt 'pressed' to, I made my first 3 calls. All 3 said "yes". No surprise there...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Good Things

So as not to appear negative - y'all know me as the eternal optimist - I've decided to share a few areas where I feel Canada gets it right. To each his own, but here's the list:

1) The govt. owns all the liquor stores. I know it's not fair to the vendors, increases taxes, and stifles competition, but it certainly sets the "tone" on drinking. (They have drink recipes on their website... isn't that a bit hypocritical?)

2) No smoking - anywhere - unless you are extremely creative. (Essex county has 4 full-time smoke-free monitor people. Tax dollars at work...) Recently, a man was arrested for smoking "in the workplace"; he was sitting in his cab. Ha!

3) One has to sign a release for anyone to check your references. Privacy is a good thing; I tire of thinking about who knows what about me...

4) Cities do fireworks for everything :-). I love fireworks.

5) Pay-for-usage internet has driven me away from the laptop. I knew the computer could be a huge time waster, and now I find myself getting SO much more done each day.

6) All new chefs on the Food Network (who are these people?).

7)  House Hunters International goes to the States!

8) Your credit rating does not apply here (okay - this is a positive for some people, but we're basically starting all over. I haven't put down a security deposit in 25 years...until now)

9) You can scare "certain" vendors" with your 41-page credit report from the States! (I got that security deposit back in one week.)

10) The spring/summer weather. Hey, friends, we're headed for a high of 70 today... (The thought of winter scares me already...)

Off to plant pansies - in summer!