Wednesday, September 30, 2009

$1000 in donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association!

I passed the $1,000 figure in donations since the official start of the fund raising campaign September 1. With 2 months to go until the run in Negril, Jamaica on December 5, 2005, I know I will achieve my goal of raising $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association
For those of you who have already donated, thank you very much. Your generous support provides inspiration and motivation.
Here is how you can donate:

To donate with your credit card:

  • Print the form above
  • Complete the form with your name, address (including postal code)
  • 'Check' the box with your donation amount
  • 'Check' the box with the type of credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express accepted)
  • Complete the credit card information (including signature)
  • Mail the completed form to: Canadian Diabetes Association, 4 - 556 Bryne Drive, Barrie Ontario, L4N 9P6

To donate with your cheque:

  • Print the form above
  • Complete the form with your name, address (including postal code)
  • 'Check' the box with your donation amount
  • Make your cheque payable to: Canadian Diabetes Association - Reggae Marathon
  • Mail the completed form to: Canadian Diabetes Association, 4 - 556 Bryne Drive, Barrie Ontario, L4N 9P6
Diabetes can be controlled! Awareness is key. Combined with the information provided by the CDA and their leading-edge research, you can play a part in helping to reduce the ravages of this disease. It works for me! It's why I started running.

Until next time...

Monday, September 28, 2009

What I learned from my road trip to Montreal

Road Trip!

My son, Court and I went to Montreal last weekend to see my youngest son, Holden compete against the University of Montreal.

Holden is in his 4th year of playing football with the Acadia Axemen in Nova Scotia.

After graduating from high school, he got the football bug seriously when he played with the Mississauga Warriors. At the time when I asked him what he wanted to do after that he did not hesitate in his response: "I want to play football at university, Dad". He wanted that more than 'breathing'. He has been single-minded since and plays hard. Goal setting and achievement at its finest!

Since I can't get to his games in Nova Scotia, the chance to see him in Montreal was irresistible. I follow him on-line here

While the Axemen lost, Holden had the biggest grin on his face when we caught up with after the game.

Check out the picture. Now you know why I am a runner.

Holden is built like a truck and can run through a brick wall. And I have learned what 'quickness' is: Zero to full speed in 2 steps. The Defensive Ends have no chance when he is on the field. And he was just having fun.

Some other random learning from the weekend:
  • Schwartz's Deli on Saint Lauren Boulevard in Montreal serves the BEST smoked meat. You do not need to eat for the rest of the day.
  • Montrealers are happy people. We soaked up the ambiance. I will vote against separation!
  • Beer in moderation, warm fall day, football game all go hand-in-hand
  • Sleeping in the passenger seat of a Saab while being driven 'at speed' is great. Good driving Court.
  • "Monster" energy drinks work. Do they ever! "Monster" energy drinks work ... oh, did I say that already?
  • Don't eat cold sausage at 1 am in the morning. Never. Ever. I felt it the next morning in my long training run with the Wasaga Beach Road Runners

Life is funny. As a parent we hope we teach our children to be responsible, respectable and good. And then you have an experience like I did this past weekend where I learned from the kids: play hard, have fun, smile a lot. Go figure.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Article in the Wasaga Sun Sept 23 on the Reggae Marathon

This article appeared today, September 23, the one year anniversary of Dad's passing.
I am pleased that I can use my energy to raise money in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association. Since the official launch of my campaign September 1, over $1,000 has been raised toward my goal of $10,000 before the event in Negril, Jamaica on December 5, 2009. All the money raised goes directly to education and research in Canada.

You can donate directly by going to this link and following the directions:
Until next time...

Formula One Sucks!

I am disgusted with Formula One!

In case you haven't been following, Renault F1 boss, Flavio Briatore was booted this week ahead of a special hearing to determine if orders had been given to his driver, Nelson Piquet Jr to crash out allowing his team mate, Fernando Alonso to win a race in 2008. Turns out to have been true. Renault gets a suspended sentence, Briatore gets suspended 'indefinitely' and Piquet gets a slap on the wrist for putting his life in danger.


Contrast this to the previous scandal last year in which MacLaren Racing gets caught with hundreds of pages of Ferrari technical data. Their fine: $100 million.

Let me see if I have this straight: steal data get fined; endanger life get suspended sentence.

Both suck. But when the value of life is worth nothing, I'm out.

This race is over for me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I can only dream about the all new Saab 9 5 ... for now.

Unless things change very dramatically within the next 6 months, driving this car in Canada will be just a dream

I could wait until it gets launched in the US then find some willing importer to bring one up to Canada. The hassle of that sucks not to mention the extra cost on top of paying full retail. Oh, and no warranty or service.
I could flip to an Acura or Audi. Both make excellent driving cars. Hmmm...
I am considering buying out the lease on my current Saab. At less than the previously agreed upon figure. No warranty though and it would need brakes and tires.
Decisions, decisions...
I likely will drop down to a winter beater and decide next spring.
Irrational as it seems, I love Saabs and will wait-and-see...

My Last Saab?

This is my last Saab.

This could have been my next Saab: the new Saab 9 5

Unfortunately this Saab 9 5 won't make it to Canada for the 2010 model year. The new owners of SAAB Koenigsegg have their hands full in managing their existing large markets in Europe, Asia and the USA. Canada falls under their radar. At least for 2010.

And the business relationship in Canada is 'complicated'. Saab does not export its vehicles to Canada. It does so through General Motors of Canada Koenigsegg will have to negotiate separately with GM in Canada to get the rights to distribute their vehicles. Not at the top of their to-do list I'm sure.

In the mean time, the existing Saab Dealers who will be taking down their Saturn signs at the end of December 2009 will continue to offer sales and service...but for how long?

I turn in the keys to my 2005 Saab 9 5 on November 18 when the lease is up. Great car. Fabulous ride and handling. Love it when the turbo kicks in. One final long drive next weekend: to Montreal to watch my son, Holden play football with his team, the Acadia Axemen. I will enjoy that run.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Questions I would love to have answered

I will NOT look like this on December 5 around 9 am at the conclusion of the Reggae Marathon in Negril.

That's Mike on the right indulging me in a bit of vanity fun early last Sunday morning as we helped out in the Wasaga Beach 1/2 Marathon as members of the Wasaga Beach Road Runners Great time had by all.

On to what's been bugging me for the past week.

Questions, questions...
  1. How do companies figure that laying off their employees will grow their business?
  2. If this recession is over, why are people still cranky?
  3. Why are our Federal leaders screwing around with election talk? It makes us look silly on the world stage.
  4. On that note, wonder if Obama even knows who Harper is during their 'brief' meeting in Washington? (Long way to go for a 1/2 hour meeting).
  5. Still on politics...Ontario politics this time: why did the government fire the head of OLG for no cause? They had to have known it would go legal.
  6. Whatever happened to Tie Domi of the Leafs?
  7. Will the Leafs win the Stanley cup this year? Oops...sorry about that one.
  8. Will the Buffalo Bills ever win a game this year? Don't even ask about the Detroit Lions.
  9. How does Usain Bolt run so fast?
  10. Can the Argos make the playoffs this year?
  11. Do traffic round-abouts really work? We have our first one in the area near the Blue Mountain ski resort outside of Collingwood. Lots of effort and money for...?
  12. Will Americans ever buy small cars?
  13. Why did GM sell Saturn again? Don't they sell great small cars?
  14. Still on autos: will the 'new' GM ever show they have really changed by showing some humility for the fact that we OWN them?
  15. Why do people ride bicycles on the sidewalk?

Would love your comments...better yet, answers :)

Until next time...

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Perfect Wasaga Beach Weekend

I wish it had been 10 degrees hotter and humid (more on that later) but it was a perfect weekend.

It began with a celebration on Friday afternoon. Earlier that day I earned my first $ as a entrepreneur. It felt good. Sally and I celebrated with a drink on a patio on the main area of Wasaga Beach. Cheap red wine in a plastic glass for her; 'Tall Boy' light beer for me. Crap beverages, but it tasted great to be paid for out our our first earnings. More to come...:)

On Saturday morning I went out for my weekly long run as a build up the the Reggae Marathon in Negril on December 5. Weather conditions: sunny, humid and 35 degrees Celsius...oops, sorry, that was in Negril In Wasaga it was sunny, dry and 22 degrees. I put on a fleece pullover over my regular running top and headed out for a 80 minute run. Desperately trying to simulate the tougher conditions in Jamaica. Toque next. Great run. Knee felt fine. Massage, ice and hydrotherapy working along with the regular visits to Dr. Greg, my chiropractor.

I didn't stop after the run. Sally and I had purchased some plants (we never stop working in the garden) and we put them in on Saturday afternoon. Of course, we had to lift sod (our hidden agenda is to remove as much grass as possible). Our next door neighbours couldn't stand it ... they went out for the afternoon. We had a heck of a time with the second plant. We spent about an hour digging up a huge submerged tree stump. I practiced my swearing and came up with a few new combinations. Thanks Mike for the help. The downside was the time and effort to get it out; the up side was that we incorporated it as a design element in the garden.

Hydro therapy after that. Code for a long soak in mineral salts in the Jacuzzi. Ahhh....

Saturday was not over yet. I was delighted when I checked in on my son, Holden and his university football team at Acadia University in Wolfville Holden is in his fourth year and this year became a starter in his position of Full Back. The young man is built like a truck yet has the speed and agility of a gazelle. Unfortunately we can't watch his games on TV here, but his team handily defeated their arch rivals in the first game of the season. Yaaaaay!

Saturday finally ended with a splendid gluten and dairy pasta supper eaten al fresco on our back deck porch prepared entirely by Sally. OK, I helped with the home-made salad dressing, but she told me what to do.

"I hate 6 am" were the first words out of Sally's mouth on Sunday. We had committed to volunteer in the Wasaga Beach 1/2 Marathon and we had to be at Beach Area 1 by 8 am. The Tim Horton's coffee was already brewed in our genuine Tim Horton's Bunn machine so calmness prevailed by 6:15.

We had a blast at the 1/2 Marathon. Lots of members of the Wasaga Beach Road Runners ran in the event. Sally and I along with Mike and Mary McCluskey along with their friend worked at the finish line. I got to pre-announce the finishers so their names could be called out as they crossed the finish line. I took a good, hard look at the final 100 metres...I SAW Negril December 5.

And just when we needed to finally put our feet up, Mike, Sally, Tia and I packed up and headed to Orangeville to attend a tree planting dedication service in Orangeville to commemorate my Dad's passing last year. It was fabulous. My other son's, Andrew and Court were there along with my sister and her family and some other family friends. The singing of 'Amazing Grace' was a stopper along with the release of the doves. Extremely memorable way to celebrate the life a very good man. We went back to Mom's for a truly tasty supper of Jamaican treats (the curry goat stew was a keeper). And I got another donation, this one from my cousin, for the Canadian Diabetes Association! A couple of weeks into fund raising and we are on the board. Thank you if you have already given; please donate if you have not. Let's educate more people on how to deal more effectively with Diabetes so it doesn't cause future health issues. The link to the donation form is here: In the next few months I will be speaking to local groups and will let you know the dates/times.

Exhausted drive back up to Wasaga at sunset yesterday topped off a truly perfect weekend at the Beach.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labour Day BBQ Turkey...and Corn and Sweet Potato

We had a fabulous Labour Day weekend in Wasaga Beach! Sunny skies, warm daytime temperature with no humidity. Cool overnight. We had to celebrate our good fortune. So we decided to BBQ. Ended up preparing our entire meal on the BBQ: turkey, corn-on-the cob and sweet potato. Here goes with the recipes: (Note the generous use of olive oil and spices)

  • We started with a 5 kg bird.
  • Thoroughly seasoned it with a little olive oil, paprika, basil, oregano and paprika.
  • Covered it tightly with cling wrap and left it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • To cook, I placed a shallow pan filled with water under the grill and brought the temperature in the BBQ up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit before putting the turkey directly on the grill. Kept it at 400 F for the first 45 minutes, then turned it down to 350 F for the next 60 minutes.
  • Checked the internal temperature at this time and it was done! Took it off the grill and covered it with aluminum foil to rest for about 25 minutes.
Sweet Potato
  • Took 5 medium-sized sweet potatoes and removed the skin.
  • Chopped into approx 3 inch sections then sliced length-wise to make wedges.
  • Seasoned with some olive oil, paprika, garlic salt, oregano and basil.
  • Placed in microwave for approximately 13 minutes to soften them.
  • Arranged wedges on a shallow, flat metal pan directly on the BBQ grill.
  • Covered and left for approximately 20 minutes till slightly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.
Corn-on-the Cob
  • Removed the husk.
  • Drizzled Olive oil on all the cobs.
  • Dusted lightly with paprika, garlic salt, oregano and basil.
  • Placed directly on the BBQ grill for about 20 minutes. Rotated to get slightly brown all over.
Dinner was fantastic! We have left-overs. Won't last long today. :)

Until next time...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mad Dogs & Englishmen in the Noon-day Sun

What do mad dogs & Englishmen have in common with me? We love the sun. We thrive at high noon when the sun is highest ... and hottest. I've been running at noon this week to get in some hot weather running prior to the Reggae Marathon December 5th. Lots of fluids before, during and after.

I have been out 3 times so far this week. For my run over the lunch hour today, I plan to 'layer up': add a long sleeve polar fleece top to increase the heat. It sounds crazy (and is sure to get the locals talking) but it mimics the sure-to-be hot conditions in Negril. If I don't make it back, Sally will be making the next blog post.

Also this week, I met a 'Miracle Maker'. My left knee has been killing me since spring. Pain through the joint combined with muscle pain above and below. Sally said I should get treatment and I finally listened. For the first time in my life I went to a chiropractor. And he performed a miracle! He adjusted my back, massaged all the offending muscles and re-balanced everything. Thank you Dr. Greg Cholewinski of the McNabb Health Centre in Collingwood and Stayner.

The immediate results were stunning. Running on off-camber roads in racing flats earlier this year combined with the tight muscles in my lower back combined to inflict the pain. Now that all the apparent root causes have been addressed, I am back to my natural, comfortable style. I haven't felt this good running in years. Feels great! Looking forward to the long run this Sunday with the Wasaga Beach Road Runners

A final note: fund raising for the Canadian Diabetes Association is picking up steam. Thank you to all who have contributed so far. Follow this link to get the donation form and instructions for donating Please give generously: all donations go directly to the CDA.

Remember if you travel through Wasaga Beach over the next few weeks to look out for the mad dogs and me.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Three strikes you're out"...NOT!

"One, two, three strikes you're out". That's how I felt after the experiences of the past year.

Strike One, I lost my job in August. Strike Two, my Dad passed away in September. Strike Three, the economy went into the dumpster in October. I was down but I knew I was not out. Its taken much of the past year to figure it out.

Strike One: I got fired. Laid off if you prefer that. I hated the job! I was a square peg in a round hole. I knew it before I started. The money was a big attraction, but the real reason was that I was running away. I've had lots of time over the past year to wallow in self pity and blame (I know how to play the victim very well now...not good).

The job I was running away from was one I didn't really want to take. Before I took it, I was absolutely determined never to work in an advertising agency again. Not that they were bad, but after 10 years in the Ad Agency business, I had done my time, change was under way and it was time for a new breed to take over. I felt like the Pete in 'MAD MEN': he knows his world is changing, but he can't or won't change with it.

It took 5 years for my obsolesce to play out. Changing advertising agencies sped up the process. What I didn't like was the process of getting the advertising made. What I liked was working with clients and staff on solving business problems. That's what got me in the business in the first place. I had forgotten that. My next 'job' will be helping people and businesses achieve their full potential.

Strike Two: Dad died. That was a bitch! Psychologists would have a field day with me. Way too much 'stuff' to get into in this blog. The nut of it was that I played second fiddle to him my whole life. As the 'good son', I felt I had to let him win. I stifled my true passions, beliefs and energy into doing 'just enough'.

Lots of thinking about this over the past year, much of it while running. Time to 'unleash the beast', to let it hang out. The only competition now is with myself. Duh! How far can I go? Who cares...I just want to have fun and enjoy the ride.

Strike Three: the economy tanked. Can't blame that any more with the recent news that we are out of the recession. I don't care anymore. I don't want to talk about the global or even national economy. I have met way too many people over the past year right here in Ontario who are surviving...forget that, who are doing well! They go about their business not seeking fame or glory. They are positive people who are working hard to grow their business. Too bad the media doesn't report that. I have ranted on this before. Enough talk, now action.

They say that the only sure things are death and taxes. How depressing. And stupid. The only thing that is certain is CHANGE. We have always lived in a 'time of change'. Just ask the indigenous Arawak Indians who inhabited Jamaica before Christopher Columbus 'discovered them' in 1492. Their world changed pretty quickly after he arrived.

The rate of change is the key.

Last fall I felt I couldn't stay ahead of the tsunami. I felt I was George Cluney in "The Perfect Storm". The bad news is that it was a perfect storm for me. The good news is that I survived. Now on with thriving.

Until next time...