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For the past few years, I’ve given the same gift for Fathers’ Day over and over: tickets to see our local major-league baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, play a couple of times over the summer. My Dad and I went to our first game a little while ago. As usual, I drove to his place and we walked, took the subway and walked again to the stadium downtown. Along the way, we chatted about family, friends, work and life. Our conversation turned to health, as it often does: my dad is Always Doc, which is probably a whole lot nicer than being Always Grumpy like his son. And along the way, I discovered an interesting parallel between our very different career choices. Read More »

So there we were in Panama, way back last winter. In a previous post I explained how we decided when to take a family vacation and where to go, and described how we got there. Travelling makes me Always Grumpy, but arriving helps! We’d arrived on time, starting with a harrowing journey from boyz’ high school term exams to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport but proceeding uneventfully through check-in,  security, the flight itself, luggage pick-up and the bus ride to our resort on Panama’s Pacific coast in Cocle province. As the excellent tour operator reps from NoliTours had explained to us when they met us at the airport, our luggage was sent to our rooms separately – we were sent to have a free drink and check in. We wave our goodbyes to the friendly couple we’d met on the plane and talked to more on the bus – let’s call them Sue and Dan. They’re here to attend one of three weddings the resort will host this week.

Hello, all-inclusive resort! Read More »

 

As we’ve heard, lots of things make me Always Grumpy. And after a long week at work I’m Often Dopey and a drink or two on Friday evening makes me Quite Sleepy. Spending time with my family helps me be Frequently Happy though, and a few months ago I got to spend a solid week with my wife and our two giant teen-aged boyz.

Our taller and elder boy is much taller than Dad – that’s me, and maybe that’s why I’m All Seven Dwarves. Taller Boy is finishing high school this year and planning to head off to live in residence at university next fall. Our shorter and younger boy is now only a little shorter than Dad and catching up fast. Shorter Boy will still be in high school, but if he gets his way he’ll be in residence at a boarding school that’s more than a handful of time zones away from home. So we thought we should take the opportunity to get in at least one more full-family vacation this winter. Carpe Diem, as they say!

We talked to those boyz about what kind of vacation we wanted. The first decision: cold weather or warm? The vote went unanimously to somewhere warm. Next decision: land or cruise? Since three of the four of us have issues with motion sickness, a cruise seemed risky. Land it is. Now: beach or adventure? We were a little torn about this. All of us wanted some relaxation time, but we all lack the lassitude it takes to sit in a plastic lawn chair for a week, no matter how good the passing bipedal scenery. J So we needed some sort of activities. But where? There are so many choices. Read More »

The picture-in-my-blog-post thing seems to be becoming a bit of a theme. I’ll just ride with it for now…

One thing that keeps me Always Grumpy is being kept in the dark. We spend so much of our times there that it’s no wonder everyone knows what I mean when I say I’m kept like a mushroom! And it’s no surprise that other people feel the same way as I do about it.

But I learned something new last week.

Read More »

Oh my goodness, if there’s anything that makes me Always Grumpy, it’s kludgey technology. I get that even the most sophisticated machines have limits, and I know they only do what they’re told. But honestly, sometimes I just can’t stand my own electronics! The love/hate relationship reminds me of a poem I used to write on the board of a terminal room I staffed back in the dark ages before PCs: “I really hate this dumb machine; I really want to sell it. It doesn’t do what I want it to, but only what I tell it.” I put that up to remind people that computer problems are most often between the chair and the keyboard… but not always!

I’ve been trying to use Bluetooth headset technology for years, and it’s making me nuts. Read More »

Always Doc? Who’s that? We’ve heard that I’m Frequently Happy, Sometimes Sneezy, Often Dopey and Rarely Bashful. And we know I’m an I/T guy with lots of outside interests. But Doc? Really?

No. I’m not Doc. I’m Never Doc. I have only Bachelor’s degrees and I can only name a few of the cruder body parts and I’m not a medical practitioner of any sort, so you can count me out on that score.

Always Doc is my Dad, and this post is an homage to a man with a purpose. Dad turned 82 this month and he’s not feeling very well. So after over 56 years of practicing medicine as a General Practitioner on the same street corner in Toronto, my Dad is hanging up his lab coat and taking down his shingle. This is a sad moment for Dad and his patients and it’s a bittersweet moment for my step-Mom and all of our siblings, children, nieces and nephews &c. Dad could have more time to spend with us… but he’s not feeling well, so he won’t at least for now. There’s nothing to complain about here. Way back when we were little, Dad was often scarce for one reason or another, but that’s the way it was with Dads back then. Since we’ve reached adulthood, and gotten our own spouses and little ones, Dad has always made time for us in his home and life and swimming pool. Read More »

Hi there! It’s nice to meet you. I’m Always Grumpy – all sorts of things get me going. I’m not totally one-dimensional – I’m Frequently Happy, Sometimes Sneezy, Often Dopey… but I’m almost Always Grumpy. It’s usually about I/T, where I make my living and spend unconscionable amounts of my time even at home. But maybe it’s about traffic or politics or friendship or family. Why? Because I trust human nature. We can count on ourselves to behave consistently badly. For thousands of years, as long as we’ve recorded our myths and legends and histories, our stories are overwhelmingly all about what’s happened when we’ve lied and cheated and stolen and killed and just been plain thoughtless. We’re greedy yet kind, envious yet loving, self-absorbed yet generous, and all of the above all at once. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s tragic, sometimes it’s just plain perverse; the only thing we can be sure of is it’s always very human. Read More »

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