Archive | July 2012

Just Bitchin’ – Common Sense – An Obituary

A friend posted this on Facebook today and I thought it was worth sharing:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;

– Why the early bird gets the worm;

– Life isn’t always fair;

– And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, launched a lawsuit and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death,

-by his parents, Truth and Trust,

-by his wife, Discretion,

-by his daughter, Responsibility,

-and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;

– I Know My Rights

– I Want It No

– Someone Else Is To Blame

– I’m A Victim

– Pay me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.


Just Bitchin’ – Nepean National Equestrian Park

The City of Ottawa does it again……..or is it the NCC?  I’m not sure.  The land is owned by the NCC and leased by the city.

The City is certainly the one who decided to  close down the equestrian park because it was losing money.  What should one expect when a municipality tries to manage and run an equestrian facility?????  DUHHHH!!!

Terry Matthews – a very successful local entrepreneur – offered to take it on and put $30 million dollars into the park, expanding its use, adding soccer pitches, maintaining the equestrian events and offerings – but NO – the powers that be have decided this wouldn’t be fair to others who might want this opportunity – and it must all go to competitive tender – at some point in time.  Did you hear the thunder of a multitude of companies rushing to save the NNEP?  I sure didn’t.

Meanwhile, those who have their horses stabled there will have to find other lodgings and move them.

Those who take riding lessons there will have to find another place to take their instruction.

Those annual events on competitive riders’ calendars will disappear or be taken on by another facility.

The horses owned by the park will have to find new homes and the riding program for disabled kids will have to find a new provider.

Do you think any of this will come back to the NNEP a year or more down the road once the competitive process has been completed?  Not to mention, this sort of process often results in a contract to the lowest bidder….not necessarily the best one for the job!

The City did the wrong thing by sole-sourcing Lansdowne.  Now they are doing the wrong thing by refusing to sole-source the equestrian park. One certainly can’t put the two situations into the same category!!  They will likely never find a better scenario than that offered by Terry Matthews.   This is, of course, only my opinion.


Just Bitchin’ – Exercising


I’m signed up (for the 2nd session in a row) for a chair exercise class at the Kanata Seniors’ Centre……Monday mornings.  Last session it was Friday mornings.  Neither seems to be the perfect choice.

Chair exercise isn’t exactly as it sounds – we do spend some time in a seated position – but there is enough done to bring up the heart rate and to break a sweat.  Some work is done beside or behind the chair (with the chair acting as your balance buddy) and some work is done “on the move”.  The instructor seems to sense when we need to sit down (good for her) but we really ought to pitch in and get her some new music tapes.  We all know all the words to all of the songs so you can guess which era they are from!!

The really hard part is getting there.  Waking up in the mornings, there is seldom a body part  that isn’t aching or unwilling to behave properly…….and so the thought process starts……Do I really want to go this morning? …… I wonder if I should?…….It’s sooooo hot out there……. Perhaps I shouldn’t aggravate that hip……..It would only be for this week…….!!!

Usually my determination to do some form of exercise wins out over my hatred of the damn stuff.  What will happen today?

Just Bitchin’ – Traffic in Ottawa

I bet you thought this would be another “rant” about the supposed gridlock in Ottawa’s streets.  According to a recent report just released by TomTom – Ottawa ranks 10th out of 26 cities studied when it comes to traffic congestion.  Toronto was just ahead of us in 9th position.  That’s not good.

Our photo-opp happy Mayor – Jim Watson – as usual, has turned this news into an advertisement for LRT.  Everything is somebody else’s fault and he has all of the answers.  YAH……RIGHT……like segregated bike lanes on Laurier Ave!!  What’s next, Jim? Segregated bike lanes on the 417???  The first leg of the LRT won’t be complete until at least 2018 – and I don’t see any other solutions popping up in the meantime.

I AM SO LUCKY that I am retired!!!  For the most part, I can schedule my trips across the city to avoid traffic gridlock.  In fact, I can schedule my life to suit ME!!  What could be better than that?

Just Bitchin’ – Unions & Public Sector

I’ve been  afraid to allow myself to embark on this subject – I get so hot under the collar I just might say some very inappropriate things.  However, an article in today’s “Ottawa Sun” has me at my computer, hoping to remain lady-like in my comments.

While I understand how unions came into being in the manufacturing world – how on earth did they ever get such a strangle hold in the public sector?  There has never been poor working conditions….there has never been mistreatment of staff (other than the occasional nasty superior which happens anywhere)…..there has always been (at least as long as I can remember) decent wages and more than decent benefits.  You only have to be sitting in a government department at 4:05 pm to know that, in general, nobody is asked to over-exert themselves!

I know….I know….there are always some exceptions – but I’ve been there – both as an employee and as a contractor!  I also spent 30 years in private sector (some of it as a contractor on public sector work sites).

Yet here we are, our public sector is union-driven.  Teachers are being encouraged to “work to rule” – goodness knows – if you stay after school to coach a sports team, or to help students in need of some extra time, you might make somebody else look bad.  Our municipal, provincial and federal workers – who get annual increases no matter how they do their jobs – feel over burdened.  Somebody has been telling them that working a 7.5 hour day with coffee breaks is hard labour.  A month in a private sector job would be a major eye-opener.

Sigh.  What I really want to say is that in today’s world (and especially in public sector), unions seem to be doing more harm than good.  They work for themselves, not for their members and certainly not for the greater good.  They use hard core tactics to ensure their survival (e.g. mandatory membership, mandatory picketing, etc).  They share, in large measure, with Dalton McGuinty, responsibility for the financial mess our province is in today.  They create and encourage an environment of “entitlement”.

Times have changed.  It is time for more change.

Just Bitchin’ – Favourite Restaurants

There is nothing like enjoying a good meal at a favourite restaurant – and there are a few on my list.

Today I had lunch with friends at BRIGADOON – a lovely restaurant with fabulous food located in Oxford Mills.  It is well worth the drive.  And here’s a tip:   You don’t have to go to The Empress in Victoria  to enjoy afternoon tea – Brigadoon offers the whole 9 yards, including little sandwiches and mini cream puffs, scones with preserves and devon cream, custard tarts with fresh fruit – is your mouth watering yet? The house was built in 1853 and the owners have gone to great care to preserve original fixtures and the Victorian ambiance.  The menus for lunch and for dinner will leave you torn when trying to make a decision.

What else is on my list of favourites?

THE LONE STAR always makes my list.  I’ve had fajitas in Dallas, I’ve had fajitas in San Antonio – but nowhere do they make better fajitas than our very own Lone Star restaurants.  Of course many other things are on the menu – I just don’t usually get around to them.  Give me a platter of fajitas and a pitcher of sangria and I’m a happy camper.  Word to the wise:  it may take a few days to get the mesquite smell out of your clothes – so best to leave jackets in the car!!

It may be more because Tuesdays are half-price wine nights (ya think???)  – or because there is a great round corner table that will seat a group of 8 to 9 people than because of the actual food (which is fine but not fantastic) – but MOXIES at Kanata Centrum is a great place to go – on a Tuesday night – with a group of friends who like wine.

If you don’t mind the noise level, POCO PAZZO makes the list of dining establishments with wonderful food.  They now have two locations – one at Hazeldean Road and Stittsville Main and another on March Rd in the new Sobey’s plaza.  The jumbo shells filled with a veal mixture and topped with gorgonzola sauce is one of my favourites – never on the menu – but often one of the “specials”.  I’ve never had anything other than a great meal in either location.

So – let’s dress it down a bit and get more casual.  THE WORKS makes a mean burger – if you can wend your way through the menu and the 50+ burger options on it.   The “Tower of Rings” is an absolute must – there aren’t better onion rings ANYWHERE!  But unless you are really really hungry, be prepared to share – it’s a lot of food!!

Fish and Chips brings two restaurants to mind:  LAPOINTE’S and THE GLEN.  Lapointe’s (in Kanata and Bells Corners) has provided fresh fish to Ottawa folk for years and years – the first shop being on the Byward Market.  Fish is fresh, batter is light and the ff’s are like real chip wagon fries. The zucchini appetizer is absolutely yummy – but huge – so it’s another dish to share with a friend.   The Glen is a Scottish restaurant in the same plaza as Poco Pazzo – and features all sorts of scottish delights (food as well as drink), including a great fish and chips plate.  The Glen did a Robbie Burns night complete with scotch tasting this year – an event I would be happy to make an annual booking in my calendar.

If it’s something spicy you are looking for – I would recommend HOST INDIA on Montreal Road.  They offer a lunch and supper buffet with an absolutely amazing Butter Chicken.  The buffet isn’t large, but the food is excellent.

For Chinese, I return, year after year to MAPLE COURT on Kakulu.  The egg rolls are almost as good as those at the Golden Palace and it’s closer to home!!  They offer a small (but yummy) buffet Wednesday through Sunday evenings.  The family has managed this little place since 1983 so they must be doing something right.

JACK ASTOR’S makes the very best chicken caesar salad ever – they add real bacon bits, fresh parmeson and likely thousands of calories in the salad dressing – but it works.

When it comes to breakfast – there are a few that pass the test:  CORA’S and PERKINS immediately come to mind.  And then, for sheer location and view, try CONSTANCE LAKE LODGE – a 1930’s float-plane base right on the lake!

I could go on and on – but I’m making myself hungry.  I have, no doubt, missed several that should be included here.

What are your favourite places to eat……and why?  Let’s share information!!





Just Bitchin’ – McGuinty is at it Again

I heard “through the grapevine” that the cost of renewing our license plate stickers is going to increase – and then increase – and then increase again.

Trying to find this information on the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario’s website is like looking for a needle in a haystack – obviously they don’t want us to find it!!!

However – here’s the scoop.

As of September 1, 2012, the renewal price is going up from $74 to $82.  That’s a 10.8% increase.   Then, in  2013 (and I believe it is January), the cost will go up again, to $90 (another 9.8% increase).  In  2014, another increase to $98.00 (+8.9%).  All together, the jump from $74 to $98 represents an increase of 32.4%.  Nice work if you can get it!

As painful as this is, there will be  some of you who can delay the pain.  If your birthday is after September 1, 2012,  go and purchase your new 2-year license plate sticker at the current $74/year cost BEFORE the Sept 1st deadline.  The system apparently allows you to buy the renewal stickers up to 6 months in advance.  It may not be a huge savings – but it is one more tax grab from this Liberal government that you won’t have to deal with for a few years.

Just Bitchin’ – Happy Canada Day!

We are a country of nearly 33.5 million people.  Think about that.  It’s a big number!

We, apparently, rank 5th on the “world happiness report”.  Wonder what that means?  Are we only somewhat happy?  Who ranked first and how are they different from us?  Maybe a shorter winter – or maybe even no winter at all!!!  Maybe lower taxes?  Maybe fewer politicians?

Just under 15% of all Canadians are over the age of 65.  I am only speaking for myself of course – but I am mostly glad to be part of this group of “seniors”.  Granted, my income has shrunk considerably, my body has started to fall apart and there are days when I’m convinced my mind is keeping in lock step with my body – but ohhhhhh the benefits! – no more stress from a “must-do” job…….no more panty hose…..on most mornings, no more alarm clock… time restriction on lunches…..I can play bridge in the afternoons, no more Saturday grocery shopping……etc. etc.  We can’t change our age so we might as well find ways to enjoy it, right?

The average Canadian is expected to live to be 81.1 years old and there are 5,825 people living in Canada who are more than 100 years old!!  Wonder what their secrets are?  Are they the ones drinking the average 4L of beer, 1.9 L of wine and 2.1L of spirits a year?  Are they the ones drinking 2.8 cups of coffee each day?  Are they part of the 40% who have a favourable opinion of Don Cherry?   I’d like to know the answer to these questions.

The Canadian flag is proudly flying from my front porch and I will watch the celebrations on Parliament Hill from the air-conditionned comfort of my living room, feeling lucky…….very lucky……to be living in such a great country.