Friday, July 31, 2009

Sunrise over Southern Georgian Bay...Moving On

Sunrise over Southern Georgian Bay. Taken from the top of Blue Mountain just outside of Collingwood. The craziest coincidence: I posted a story a few months ago about my inspiration for running the Reggae Marathon. (Original post here:
It recalled my hike up to the top of Blue Mountain Peak in Jamaica nearly 40 years ago.


I had fun taking this picture. Other than getting up at 4:30 am...I am an early riser but that really was ridiculous!

But it was worth it! The air was fresh and still; the cloud and rain of the past few days a distant memory.

And not to beat a dead horse about this, but it represented a turning point for me. Someone moved my cheese, I don't care, time to move forward...the Parmesan is just around the next corner. (Thanks Andrew in Wasaga Beach for your comment on the last post)

Now lets move on...

I received some really good news regarding my run in the Reggae Marathon this December 5 in Negril, Jamaica: I have received the support of the Canadian Diabetes Association.


Now I can officially say that my fund raising efforts are "in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association”. Over the next few weeks I'll announce how you can make donations directly, easily and securely to the CDA. I want to raise a lot of money to help find a cure for this disease and I will need your help. Please consider my request and be as generous as you can. I can promise that I will work my butt off to get through the 42 kilometres in Negril this December.

A lot of people have supported and encouraged me so far:
  • Marguerite Orane of the JamDammers Group in Jamaica for moral support. I will need all the water stations on December 5...and the music as loud as you can play it.
  • Mike McCluskey and the Wasaga Beach Road Runers While I have only managed a couple of runs so far, the support and encouragement has been great. "I'll get over this bum knee soon".
  • My kids...all 4 of them for humouring the 'old man'. Thanks Andrew, Court, Holden and Michael.
  • All of you, my friends who have put up with me as I have droned on so far about this project.
  • And most importantly, Sally for putting up with this. Without her this would not be happening. I truly am blessed.

I plan to share some more of the sunrise pictures I took from the top of Blue Mountain. Here is another one.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Move on!

Easy advice to give. A little more challenging to receive.

I was asked recently if I had gotten over the challenges of the past year which have included job loss to my Father's passing to trying to eke out a living through this global recession. The follow-up question was next: “Are you ready to move on?”

Where to begin?

My best attempt at an answer is the picture I chose to illustrate this post: a sunset. I have taken a lot of sunset photos recently and have used a number of them in various recent posts. And I have received some complements (it helps to have a really great camera and some spectacular scenery here at Wasaga Beach).

Sunsets of course are about endings. And that's where I am. Ending a bunch of things while experimenting with new opportunities. 'Transition time' the experts say. "Exciting times" they all parrot. Over these past 12 months I have knocked on a lot of doors and kissed a lot of frogs. I have a lot of T shirts.

Moving on from job loss. I had a meeting recently with a Toronto-based advertising agency executive. Somehow we got onto the topic of job transition. He related his story to me but the line that has stuck with me is, “I got up one morning and felt like the most unsuccessful successful person I knew”. Those of us who have been restructured will understand that. Don't blame yourself...self flagellation hurts too much.

Can you ever move on from the death of a loved one? The sad truth is you do. They fade away. You learn to live without them. In some cases, to stand on your own two feet. For me, I don't have to seek approval anymore. I feel like I have just been released from jail and just want to inhale the scent of freedom for a while.

And finally now that the job in the 'downtown high-rise office with the paid-for underground parking' is a distant memory, its time to move on from 'job' to 'work'. My 'job' moving forward is to put my 25 years of experience in marketing and advertising to work: help others grow their business. Actively seeking opportunities!

I could rattle on about moving but the way I will be best able to demonstrate that I have 'moved on' is with a picture. Stay tuned.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Running on Wasaga Beach Summer 2009

Busted! Sally caught Tia and I recently on Wasaga Beach after a short run to test the recovery of my knees. Unfortunately my knees did not past the test. Staying with easy cycling for now. And no, I do not run with Tia even though she loves to gallop along the beach.
It is hard to be down when we have this to enjoy every day. Sunsets at Wasaga Beach tend to be magnificent even on bad days. That is Collingwood and Blue Mountain in the distance.

Whew! I am going to have to loose a few pounds. Where did that spare tire around my waist come from? Probably contributed to the knee problems...that and staying with running flats too long back in April.
The Wasaga Beach Road Runners club is now officially up and running now. You can check out the site at
I am also pleased to announce that Sally and I have put our money where our mouth is and have signed up as sponsors to promote our Identity Theft Restoration business. You can check us out at
Until next time...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Don't Be Afraid of Social Media

This was an interesting article about how to use social media sites more safely. As we all know, hackers and other data breaches can compromise our personal information. But as this article suggests, we can't be luddites.

Advertising and New Don't Be Afraid of Social Media#links#links

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Dairy Queen TV commercial I am proud of

This is a blast from the past.

A long time ago when I was responsible for the marketing for Dairy Queen Canada, I had the great pleasure of working with a talented creative team from Grey Canada on an advertising campaign. Chris Seguin, one half of the team and I crossed paths a few years ago at MacLaren Advertising and we have stayed in touch. He sent this link to the commercial we produced:

Our objective was to promote hamburgers. DQ is well known for the soft serve (I have a craving for it even now) and we wanted to break through all the competing messages. I think you will agree that we did that.

After all these years, I still love the spot.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Summer Sunday Rambling

We talked about going for a drive in the country. The absolutely gorgeous country south and west of of Wasaga Beach is some of the prettiest in Southern Ontario.

Working in the garden was on the to-do list. Weeding is a never ending job.

Cooking a 'Big Breakfast' of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast and eating al fresco was also discussed...and discarded.

In the end, we settled for sitting outside to enjoy the hazy, overcast day today: Tia stretched out on the patio love seat doing what she does best...enjoying the life of a Yorkie in the Morales/Pennock household. Sally in the armchair across from me doing her daily ritual, the crossword puzzle in the Toronto Star (don't EVER attempt to talk to her before she gets through it). And me taking it all in with a Brava, "the Beer of summer".

It doesn't get much better than this.
I'll work out bum knee needs a rest today.
Until nex time...

Gardening, Running and other Summer Experiences

I get the feeling that a lot of people are missing summer this year. With constant reminders in the media about job losses, turbulent stock markets, and even the garbage strike in Toronto, most people seem to be in 'survival mode'. And most people seem to be letting summer pass by.

For me, a natural summer person who enjoys getting a tan (yes, I know the political incorrectness of that but heck, I am over 50) I think that is just plain crazy! We get about 3 months of hot weather in Southern Ontario...get outside and enjoy it before we have to head back inside!

Here are my miscellaneous ramblings for the Summer of '09.

"My knees have let me down"
I was moving along so well with my training for the Reggae Marathon. Then disaster struck. I think it happened after a particularly strenuous trail ride about 3 weeks ago followed the next day by a long run. A pain in my left knee. Of course I have not been to a doctor preferring instead a 'do-it-myself' fix. That has meant hydrotherapy (love the jacuzzi tub), elliptical training at the Y and even some rest days. I thought I had 'fixed' it but after a 4 km run a couple of days, the pain re-developed. I think more rest days may be in order.

"Working in our garden"
If you can't run, work in the garden. Sally has been taking advantage of my high energy level to get lots done in the garden this summer. I think the constant kneeling, lifting, hauling may have contributed to my knee problems though. (Weak attempt at trying to find something other than working out too hard).

Sally and I are really proud of our garden. From an empty back yard with two builder-planted Spruce trees over 4 years ago to the current state that includes multi-level decks, cedars, day lilies, herbs and lots of others I can't remember the names of. And rocks. Lots of rocks. From boulders to river rocks to pea gravel, I have become an expert at handling and working with 'tons of rocks'. The neighbours call us the Flintstones.
Sally and I talk about it endlessly. She is the visionary. I do the heavy lifting. It works well that way.

"Road Trip"
We have taken advantage of our flexible time schedules recently by heading out on the road. And yes, we have taken Tia along. Southampton, Sauble Beach, Keady (fabulous market) are some of the places we have hit so far.
Planned excursions include Tobermory (finally) and the small towns of the Beaver Valley. Main observations: we live in the best place in the world! The scenery is magnificent, the people absolutely fantastic. Secret revealed: if you want to learn how to survive and even thrive in a down economy, visit a small town in rural Ontario.
Until next time...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Advertising and New Don't Be Afraid of Social Media#links#links

My rant today is about on-line identity theft. As an independent associate with Pre Paid Legal (we have the Identity Theft Shield), this is top-of-mind for me. It should be for you as well.

Today as I was surfing through the blogs I follow on a regular basis (you can find them on my blog list), I came across this article about hacking and identity theft. Talk about a coincidence. Today I had two separate meetings where we were talking about that very issue. If you are interested in reading more, follow this link: Advertising and New Don't Be Afraid of Social Media#links#links

If you want to find out more about you can protect yourself, check out our web site:

In the meantime, please take care. There are lots of things you can do to safeguard your identity. Shredding all documents that contain personal information, protecting passwords (on-line and with debit/credit cards), changing passwords regularly...these are some of the things you can do to minimize the damage. You can search on-line for lots more information and things you can do.

Unfortunately because we all live in the digital world, it is absolutely impossible to guarantee that your information will not be compromised. Don't be reactive...there are things you can do to be proactive. Just don't procrastinate.

OK, rant over.

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What are you doing with your life?

That question is most often reserved for teenagers and young adults. Those of us who have run the gauntlet of 16 - 25 with our children know what I am referring to. Those of you who have that to look forward to, get ready.

Recently however that question has been posed to me. Not directly in all cases but the shifting eyes and stammering from lots of friends and family over the past 10 months since I 'retired' from my 25+ great years in the advertising agency business says it all. And no matter how well I answer, the response has usually been polite yet dismissive.

But the funny thing? I don't care. OK, that may be too strong. The more politically correct way to say it would be, "I have no concerns". Either way, my response back is usually, "Thank you for your concern, but I know where I am going". I wish I had been that tactful at age 18.

The truth is that my advertising career was my second career. And one that I fell into because of my talent for developing and nurturing strong business relationships with my clients. My first career, broadcasting was over by age 25. This 25 year run has been incredible.

Now on to career number 3. And it comes from a most unlikely source: my Grandma Wilson . She asked me when I was about to head off to university not what I wanted to do for a living, but what did I want to do with my life. I know I gave her a hasty, dismissive answer. I am sorry for that.

But the question stuck. And now that I have the time, energy, drive, ambition and support (thanks Sally), I really can tell you what I want to do.

Helping people achieve their full potential. That's my real passion. I have enjoyed much success in my advertising career mentor younger employees.

Helping people is the reason I joined Pre Paid Legal (I have seen the upward rolling eyes over this decision). But it was simple really: our membership gives you the power to protect your legal rights and protection from having identity theft destroy your life. My family came awfully close to both of those last fall. No one should have to go through that. Plus, we get great satisfaction of talking to people and educating them about the risks of identity theft. We do that through our public information seminars. We are available any time any place. (

Related to that is the underlying motivation for getting up each day to go to work: running in the Reggae Marathon this December to raise money for research on behalf of all father's who take an interest in their kid's lives. Within a couple of weeks I will be able to announce details of the campaign and how you can help. And yes, I will be asking for your help.

So over 30 years later, I can more honestly tell my Grandma that I am working to help people. I know she would be proud.

Until next time...