firstname.lastname@example.org The dozens of performances that took place during the recent Vankleek Hill Music Festival provided as many opportunities . . . for fear and anxiety. Taking photographs of the student performers before each concert always affords me an up-close look at pre-performance jitters. But for the most part, the young performers seemed nonchalant before each concert. The children sit in the audience and wait their turn to perform, sometimes running to the piano, eager to perform.
email@example.com It is spring clean-up time for municipalities here in Eastern Ontario. This year, that seems to mean: sofas and couches can be found at the end of many driveways, ready for pick-up. The next most popular item seems to be large televisions. Hmm. Does this signify the end of the couch potato era? Has everyone decided to get up off the couch and exercise? Maybe. But I think it is more about outdated furniture and new flat-screen televisions than about exercise.
firstname.lastname@example.org I couldn’t sleep. The T-4 slips I had prepared contained a few errors. Reviewing my payroll records, I had not remitted enough funds on their behalf. The dollar amount in question was about $16 and change, if I recall correctly. I knew I had to tell the boss. I told him and offered to pay the amount myself. At the time, with the all-knowing wisdom that comes with being 18 years old, the error seemed unforgiveable.
email@example.com Let me speak to someone in charge. Or maybe not. Sometimes, the person who knows the most about what is going on is not the person who is supposed to be in charge. It isn’t the person with the words, “chief”, “chairperson”, “president”, “executive officer,” or “coordinator” attached to his or her name. The next time you are at a hospital, talk to the cleaners about how things are going. Ask the orderlies and they will tell you if things are, indeed, orderly or if changes need to be made.
firstname.lastname@example.org A lady visited our offices recently, asking to use our wireless internet. Without hesitation, I typed our password into her iPad. She was able to send the emails she needed to send. Without getting into personal details, she was in town for family reasons and although I didn’t know her, I knew of her family. At the door, she turned to say, “It’s good to be back in a small town again. I miss that.”
email@example.com It has been said that divine creation can be seen painted on the canvas of a butterfly’s wing. And so it seemed to me, perched in the highest row of seats in an Imax theatre recently, that the divine qualities of not only butterflies, but those of nature and life itself, were easy to see. Was I indeed, underneath a butterfly’s wing, experiencing it in three-dimensional wonder? As butterflies flew past, within inches of my face and even -- emerging from behind where I sat, I wondered, how did they do this?
firstname.lastname@example.org Last week. It was the week of communication hell. On Tuesday, our internet service blinked on and off like the lights at a crosswalk. As the day progressed, we learned that emails we thought we had sent . . . had not arrived at all. As we prepared to head to Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute to livestream Jim Jordan’s presentation, we learned that a request for internet, which had been made earlier in February, had gone awry . . . and alas, no arrangements had been made.
email@example.com I was listening to “We are family” by Sly and the Family Stone and in a flash, I recalled a moment of victory -- I had heard only a few notes of the song and was able to hit my buzzer and give the right answer to earn 10 points for our team on a television quiz show. It feels to me that I remember my successes with startling clarity. I don’t dwell on them, but I think good memories are healthy. Why not reflect back on good moments in life, when everything around me seemed aligned just for me?
firstname.lastname@example.org I had been thinking about things seen and unseen when we watched John Lloyd conduct a humorous inventory of the invisible in an online video this past weekend. I felt for a moment that he had stolen my idea, as he mentioned several invisible things that continue to perplex me, but he did overlook a few that are important to me. There is a lengthy list of things that we cannot see; yet we have no doubt that they exist.
email@example.com Watching an Angelina Jolie movie recently, I became immensely distracted by her lips. How did they get that way? Botox, I thought. Maybe it is just the time of year, as the romance of Valentine’s Day hangs in the air or maybe it is the looming Yes, Women Can! event coming to town April 14. But I got to thinking about the never-ending story of women and their struggle for a positive body image.
firstname.lastname@example.org Take me away. Please. Have you ever had one of those days . . . or weeks, where you can imagine yourself on a tropical island . . . with endless amounts of good food and liquid refreshments? But: no phone. No internet. Just happy people. I have been making a mental list these past few weeks. The list would include: everyone I would like to bring with me if I could have my very own community on a desert island, away from it all. It came together last night when I read an online article about dealing with negative people.
email@example.com I love those moments when someone reveals something to me that is a complete surprise. Sometimes it is something like their 20-year career as a biologist in India . . . or that they go parachute-jumping every year on their birthday. Mostly, I love it when the new information makes me smile and I look at them in a new way; my perception of them has changed in an instant.
firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t you hate it when you see someone in a so-called position of power speak to a customer in a demeaning way? Sometimes, a person is just trying to solve a problem, correct a billing mistake, or understand a process. But from the person behind the desk, a message of immutable power is communicated to the lowly paying customer on the other side. And yes, what power it is to control people’s billing information. What incredible superiority seems to reside with some of those who schedule appointments or who tell you to follow the yellow line down the hall.
email@example.com Did you hear that? My car sounds different. My computer sounds different. When the sound of something changes, it can be a sign that something bad is going on ... I want my car to sound exactly the same every day. I want my computer to hum steadily every day I am at work. I want to hear the same sounds from the furnace every day. How pleasing it is to purchase a new appliance or device and find all the controls in the same place as the old one. We don’t have to do things differently; we can just carry on.
firstname.lastname@example.org As I write this, the snow is swirling outside and the sidewalks are impassable. Our parking lot is one solid swath of knee-deep snow. The stalwart drivers who made it in to work this morning are aghast at the incoming road updates: road closures seem to be . . . dare I say it . . . closing in upon us. If need be, there will be a slumber party on Higginson Street, I think.
email@example.com The corner store at Sandy Hill Road near Hawkesbury had everything. Lighters, little tools, penny candies, bread, milk, jewellery, greeting cards, soft drinks in bottles, canned goods, juice and a refrigerated counter where we could buy slices of baloney and prepared meat. An entire wall was filled with cards loaded with gadgets like little flashlights, key rings and packs of toothpicks.
firstname.lastname@example.org I love those pictures which appear to be a beautiful rendering of a landscape but are transformed into thousands of tiny images of some unexpectedly mundane object . . . as one stands back for another look. I saw one of these perspective challenges recently on Youtube, where a team arranged dominoes so that the dark and light created an image of James Dean’s face, but a slight re-alignment of the dominoes and the dots created the familiar face of Marilyn Monroe. Up close, they were just dominoes, but from afar, it was Marilyn Monroe.
know about the party? That is what people wanted to know as I arrived at a surprise party organized just for me last Thursday evening. No, I answered repeatedly, surprised to realize that so many people had not only set aside their evening to celebrate my 20 years as publisher of this newspaper, but had managed to keep the whole thing a secret from me. Although I like to think I am up to date on what is happening in our community, this tidbit had evaded me.
email@example.com I think I have heard this story in every town I have ever visited. No one knows what it takes to make (fill-in-the-blank) happen. But good people always step forward to make things happen. After our Vankleek Hill buck sale last Friday evening (we added a Christmas cookie sale for good measure), our hungry volunteer team repaired with their spouses to the Windsor Tavern for the Friday night steak dinner at about 8 p.m.