Category Archives: Family

Thrift Store Shopping…

When I was a kid, in the late 70s and early 80s, my Great Aunt Bea lived across the street from the large French church on Wellington Street. I can only imagine that was a fairly poor and rough part of town at that time. Now it’s gentrified, and you can buy your five dollar coffee like any other gentrified part of town… (Yes, I’m guilty of liking Second Cup specialty coffee)…

I have these snippets of memories with her and my mom as we would go to the thrift stores to buy stuff after watching the game shows. There were a few places we would go, and I didn’t know anything about anything back then because I loved to spend time in thrift stores in Shawville, looking at stuff. The church bazaar, I think it was called. Anyway…

You grow up, and you start making money, and the world tells you that material items are important only if they’re new. And that’s bullshit, but you believe them. And people buy you gifts, and you accumulate stuff, and then you have to look after this stuff. And move it with you. And sometimes you sell it or throw it out.

Then you fall in love with antiques, but people want you to restore them. And that’s bullshit too because a thing has a history, and lines and wrinkles, that give it character. Old things, made not to fall apart, or replace next month, have permanency.

And the world tells you that last year’s model of something is no longer good. And that the thing you bought needs to be upgraded.

Then you get to a certain point… You realize you don’t really need much to get along. And you don’t need 45 pairs of shoes, or $150 jeans.

We work to survive boredom, or maybe as an easy way to get paid for our boredom. And we work to pay for things that we often don’t need, because we’re told we need them.

I still love my little computer luxuries… But I would rather have a pint of beer with someone, or a nice bottle of wine, than something outrageous.

One of my favourite stores now: Value Village, or Salvation Army, or another store like that. I try to avoid malls, and commonality as much as I can. I like unique gems. Finding those things that have permanency.

It’s a smart way to live in a world that already has too much stuff.


Big Rig Kitchen Brewery – This is not a food blog… But today it is…

I find myself at Big Rig, a new local brew pub… Mostly because my niece’s husband works here now making beer and LOVES IT… So I thought I would share.

Big Rig is out by the new Ikeaplex in Nepean on Iris. It’s a comfortable atmosphere, with high ceilings, and comfy sitting areas. And, even though its run by an Ottawa Senator, it doesn’t have an “in your face” sports bar feel. A few TVs here and there, and mostly in the bar area. The wait staff is fast. It’s hopping for a mid-day crowd and the music is suitably top 40 appropriate.

My steak was a perfect medium rare with lots of marbled fatty goodness so the flavour was great. The stout was chocolatey, as the menu promised.

A twist on traditional apple pie for dessert and a strong coffee.

I’ll be back.


Raymond’s Last Party…

“On the day they lay me down/Want everyone to gather ‘round/And say he was a father, brother, neighbour and a friend/He was a good man!” — Emerson Drive

Raymond was swept away too soon, and he certainly was A Good Man when he was here.

Correction (thanks Maribeth):  Raymond was the *second* one of the grand-kid generation to go.  My cousin Lorna passed away 7 years ago.  I don’t think I ever knew that, and maybe I did, but I don’t remember, and it’s sad that I didn’t, and I’m even more saddened that I wasn’t closer to my Uncle Delmer and Aunt Joyce’s kids.  Distance can separate family as much as time can bring them together.  Randy, Lorna’s brother, hosted Raymond’s last party at his house on Saturday.  I remember them up at the farm all the time when I was little.  Life is strange sometimes…  How do we all float apart from one another?  There is something to be said for a common family homestead.  When Grandma moved away, and the farm was sold, it didn’t give us a reason to all congregate any more…

Up until now, on my mom’s side of the family, we’ve lost many family members…  A handful of my first cousins died in infancy or childhood but this was a tough one for many of us of the Charlie and Mary grand-kid generation.  I’m the second youngest, and even though 2o years or so separated Raymond and I, and I’m closer in age with his children, it still wasn’t easy.  He was more like an uncle to me than a cousin.  That crazy uncle who you loved to have around to hear the stories from, that always had a joke to tell, and that really wanted to know what was going on in your life (mostly so he could tease you).  That kind of uncle.

He didn’t want anyone to be sad on Saturday.  He set it up so we could have a party.  He set it up so it would be short and sweet so we could get to the good stuff.  Just like he wanted.

We had country and rock music in the funeral parlour; old pictures on the screen; and a bottle of alcohol passed around at the cemetery for those that wanted to share one last round with Raymond.  It was him.  It was great.

Dammit.  Adam, his oldest son, and I were saying that it’s only going to get harder as the years go by.  That’s a given.

I have stuff to do.  I better get to it.  Nothing like mortality to refocus what’s important and meaningful in your life.

Thank you, Raymond.  Thank you.


Father’s Day…..

Sunday is Father’s Day.  My dad died in 1996.  I was just 21.  I sure wish I had him around now.

My dad.

His twin brother, my uncle Barney, moved very far away a few weeks ago.

I try to keep in touch with him as best I can.  You don’t realize when your 21 how valuable hearing someone’s voice is.


My sister…..

…is on the road to health too!  Follow her blog.