Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Winter Vacation

It wasn't any exotic location in the South Seas, not a Caribbean tropical island or a ski week in was 8 days on 23-acres of gently rolling landscape in the Region of Niagara along a paved road. The property is a 'post-card-vision' of a comfortable red brick ranch home...a separate double garage...evergreens and deciduous trees...all accenting the property.  A place to call 'home' with acres to roam backing on  Chippewa Creek. Often deer are seen prancing the snowy terrain.  Sounds idyllic?

This is where my daughter, son-in-law and grandson live. They are away on a group vacation with 6 other family kin...and I'm here to 'house-sit' and be a 'Mother Hen' to 3 orange and white tabbies, an Australian shepherd dog and an aquarium of fish.  This is my 'family vacation' for a week.

On Christmas Day, I spent with the human family and 3 days prior to Feb. 8th, came for my 'orientation care' of house and pets. It's back to the country, akin to my parents' farms in Brant County.  Today, there are no cows to gardens to plant or harvesting for daily gathering of eggs from the chicken horses to tractor, binder or plough to tend  the fields.

It was a wintery day when I arrived, wary of freezing rain, blowing winds and icy roads. Parking in the driveway, loud barking from the house welcomed me.  Wiley greeted me with  more 'barking hellos' and soon calmed down with a milk-bone-biscuit...and we are suddenly 'buddies'!  So for a week, I am enriched with Wylie (the Australian shepherd...a herd dog).  He's frequently out daily for his run and returning with a bark at the front door to re-enter. He craves for attention (to which I give plenty); he misses his family and like a built-in-timer, mid-afternoon he watches through the dining room window for the school bus to arrive with my grandson. When that doesn’t occur, he wants OUT...rolls in the snow and then sits up facing east from where the bus should come. His eyes, very intelligent looking and uniquely two-toned… brown on the outer sides and pale-bluish shade on the inner. He's very observant and very gently tolerates the felines.

Watching a special on TV about sledding in Northern Ontario with several Huskie dog teams, Wylie became most vocally communicative, barking with these excited he was viewing them! Other breeds seen by him on TV, he'd aggressively bark...chasing them away.  Good Dog! During the day, he sprawls at my feet…reclines on any chesterfield or love-seat…or sits upright at the front door for ‘out’.

When offering him a doggie milk-bone, he'd take it and lay down to chew upon it. Following 2 times only, I'd asked him to sit prior to acceptance...Wiley, thereafter, automatically sat on cue to obtain the treat...whether milk-bone or tartar-bone treat. At night, when the lights go out, he wanders down the hall to the master bedroom awaiting entry to find his overnight position on the carpet (usually beside my daughter's side of the bed) or at the foot by the doorway.

If I had the energy and physical ability, I'd be out daily for the fresh air exercise!  I'm certain he'll welcome his human family home…due on Sunday.

And now for the felines:  All rescue cats, they are orange and white tabbies and appear to represent three generations ~  grandfather Mr. Floyd, son Magic and Chevy the grandson!  I comment here that the comparison between these four animals and having 4 human children at home is amazing in that all have varying personalities which call for independent attention.

Mr. Floyd:  A rescue cat originally from the SPCA, he was given to my daughter by a friend.  Now 19 years old, he’s a Four-Pawed Senior Cat Citizen! A bit bony, he’s  lost some of his ginger-coloured hair; his stripes are still visible on sides, legs and tail…beautifully marked with large white moustache and chest, a white stocking and 3 socks.  He’s well preserved and happily content…walks with dignity and determinately with each forward paw and manages to play occasionally with the other tabbies. Sitting, he’s very regal and poses with front legs and paws erectly together and glances around with an ‘air of wisdom’ in that cat head of his.  He reminds me of Grizabella from the musical Cats. Due to health issues, he has four small tins per day of Purina Fancy Feast with special meat and gravy aromas.  Then he flakes out…in sun rays on the dining area floor…a small child-size leather armchair…on the carpet near a floor radiator…or his favourite, a deep leopard-patterned cushion in a quiet dark corner.

Magic: Located below their deck one day, my daughter rescued him. He’s a real recluse that claims the basement his ‘home hangout’. He’s seldom seen with the rest of his family.  Ten or 12 years old, he has a medical problem that has caused great weight gain…often referred to as Fat Cat.  I didn’t see Magic until Wednesday evening when he waddled over to me, rubbing against my legs…his habit is to appear in the middle of the night, climb the stairs and wander to the dining area, leap to the table for his prescribed nibble food.  Surprisingly, he hung around to play with the other tabbies and with the red laser lights I beamed on the floor for him to chase. Then he flopped down to rest his orange/white body.  He’s a charming ‘loner’ who, to my thinking, was being hospitable with his guest…me!

Chevy:  In the Fresco parking lot of a large plaza, my daughter and a friend discovered him late last fall wandering alone…about the size of a 5 or 6 week old orange and white kitten.  They rescued him and named him after my daughter’s car.  On Christmas Day I met this bright-eyed ‘kitten’ with big green eyes whose fur is caramel and ivory/white. He’s extremely playful, frisky and friendly, now about 8 or 9 months old (according to the Vet)…looking like a mature ‘teenager’. He’s mischievous and full of discovery antics. He’ll tear paper, unwind the bathroom tissue and play with bootlaces.  He’s so lucky to have been rescued!  He gets special ‘Kitten niblets’ for healthy growth.  Mr. Floyd and Chevy’s feeding stations are on the end of a side kitchen counter.  To assist Floyd, there’s a soft-seated chair upon which he can first jump to reach his food  and water.  To satisfy Chevy’s taste buds, he gets a small forkful of  Mr. Floyd’s special diet.  Chevy can be found wherever  mischief will take him…playing in an open drawer among clothing…playing with a toy attached to the scratching post…stretched out asleep atop any chesterfield…snuggled on a person’s lap…even a hidden niche. At night time, he’ll enjoy the privileged place between the bed pillows of the adult bed.

The fish in the large aquarium are the most passive…large black angel fish(?) with spreading fins and several smaller fish swimming in tropical seawater.  I feed them mornings and at dinner time.  Chevy often sits and gleefully watches…and tries to paw-reach them as they float through the water.

My ‘vacation days’ with this family is high-lighted by the 'hotel-meal-menu selection’ provided me in the refrigerator…meat sauce for spaghetti, a full chicken dinner sufficient for two, chili-con-carne, large container of chicken soup, ham dinner, makings of salads with dressing choices, etc. Drinks include pure pomegranate/blueberry juice, lemonade or bottled water. For tea, I can boil water or operate their Keurig coffee machine for specialized brews by Van Houtte.
I just need …a maitre-de…with a selection of wines!

How fortunate is this menagerie of fins and four-footed pets!
Each a loved family member…living in a pampered family environment.
Perhaps it’s the quaint little quilted house labeled...“My Home” over the entrance
…with a long corded attached toy.

Merle Baird-Kerr…penned February 16, 2015
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Poetic Compassion

LOVE is the Poetry of the Senses. (Honore de Balzac)
LOVE is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. (Aristotle)

One Love!  One Heart!  Let's Get Together
and Feel all right!  (sung by Bob Marley)

Love is the balm that contains the power of healing.  Love is the great refiner and beautifier. Love is more!  Love is the key to every door. It is the creative reality behind every ardent hope. Love is the cohesive power of the it holds families together, the entire world and the universe.
If love were withdrawn,
all things would fall apart and disintegrate. When a human being eliminates love from his/her life, he too begins to fall apart. Love is not only eternal...but it is the most desirable element to possess.
(Analee Skavin)

Several years ago, a long time friend (a High School English teacher) sent the following compassionate message to a personal friend who felt that her world waiting-to-be-fulfilled, was 'falling apart'...due to a relationship that failed to develop because of extenuating circumstances.

She wrote ~  “Love”...a philosophical poem based on my experiences
which hopefully will help you through the days ahead:

Love, unlike the fairy tale
Is not 'happily-ever-after.'
Love is like the rising sun
Which creeps up silently,
Predicting, but unexpectedly,
A new time every day...
Flooding the morning sky
With pink and golden beauty.

Then moving restlessly,
Advancing on high
To a dazzling blue zenith.
The climax of its destiny...
Fulfillment of its journey...
Trembling triumphantly...
But hovering only briefly.

Then dipping slowly, gradually;
Diffusing gently,
Lingering reluctantly
At the edge of the horizon...
Flooding the evening sky
With a final defiant display
Of warmth and golden beauty.
Until the fall of darkness.

Then...sadness and loneliness ~
Yet, with the dawn
A new Love will be born!

* * * * * * *

Words of Wisdom

The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.
(Jacques Benigne Bossue)

No matter, how dark the moment,
love and hope are always possible.
(George Chakiris)

Don’t let anyone…EVER dull your Sparkle!

Merle Baird-Kerr...created February 1, 2015
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gift of Love

 Do not value the things you have in life.
But value who you have in your life.
(Author Unknown)

The following true story was contributed by Tom.

The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps.  She paid the driver...and using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he'd told her was empty.  Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.

It had been a year since Susan became blind.  Due to a medical misdiagnosis, she had been rendered sightless...and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity.  “How could this have happened to me?” she would plead, her heart knotted with anger.  But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth...her sight was never going to return.  A cloud of depression hung over Susan's once optimistic spirit.  All she had to cling to was her husband Mark.

Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all his heart.  When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength she needed to become independent again.  Finally Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there?  She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself.  Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city.  At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark's need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task.  Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn't working ~ it was hectic and costly.

Susan is going to have to take the bus again, he admitted to himself.  But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe.  She was still so fragile, so angry.  How would she react?  Just as Mark predicted,  Sudan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again.  “I'm blind!” she responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I'm going?  I feel like you're abandoning me.”  Mark's heart broke  but he knew what had to be done.  He promised Susan that each day he would ride the bus with  her until she got the hang of it.

And that is exactly what happened.  For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day.  He taught her how to rely on her other senses to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment.  He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her...and save her a seat. Each morning they made the journey together...and Mark would take a cab back to his office.

Although the routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own.  Monday morning arrived,  and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband and her best friend.  Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, his love.  She said good-bye and for the first time, they went their separate ways.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...each day on her own went perfectly...and Susan had never better in a long time.

On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual.  As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, “Boy, I sure envy you.”  Susan wasn't sure if the driver was speaking to her or not.  After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? “Why do you envy me?”

The driver responded, “You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus.  He makes sure you cross the street safely...and he watches you until you enter your office building.  Then he blows you a you a little salute...and walks away.  You are one lucky lady!”

Tears of happiness poured down Susan's cheeks.  For although she couldn't see him, she had always 'felt' Mark's presence.  She was blessed blessed...for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn't need to see to believe ~ the Gift of Love ~ that can bring light...where there had been only darkness.
The Best Things in Life are Free:
hugs, smiles, friends, kisses, family, sleep,
laughter, kindness and love.
Freely many, each is a gift!

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted January 31, 2015
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Worst Date Ever!

If you didn't see this on the Tonight Show,
I hope you're sitting down when you read it.
This is probably the funniest date story ever...first date or not!!! 
We have all had bad dates but this takes the cake!

Jay Leno went into the audience to find the most embarrassing first date
that a woman ever had.  The woman described her worst first date experience.
There was absolutely no question as to why her tale took the prize!

She said it was a February winter day...snowing and quite cold...and the guy had taken her skiing in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was a day trip (no overnight)  They were actually strangers, after all, and had only recently met.  The outing was fun but relatively uneventful until they were headed home late that afternoon.

They were driving back down the mountain, when she gradually began to realize that she should have not had that extra latte!  They were about one hour away  from anywhere with a rest room and in the middle of nowhere!  Her companion suggested she try hard to hold it, which she did for a while. Unfortunately, because of the heavy snow and slow going, there came a point here she told him, that he had better stop and let her go beside the road, or it would be the front seat of his car.

They stopped and she quickly crawled out beside his car, yanked her pants down and started.  In the deep snow she didn't have good footing, so she let her butt  rest against the rear fender to steady herself.  Her companion stood on the side of the car watching for traffic and indeed was a real gentleman and refrained from peeking.  All she could think about was the relief she felt despite the rather embarrassing nature of the situation.

Upon finishing, however, she soon became aware of another sensation.  As she bent to pull up her pants, the young lady discovered her buttocks were firmly glued against the car's fender.  Thoughts of tongues frozen to poles immediately came to mind as she attempted to disengage her flesh from the icy metal.  It was quickly apparent that  she had a brand new problem, due to the extreme cold.

Horrified by her plight and yet aware of the humour of the moment, she answered her date's concerns about, “What is taking so long?”  with a reply that indeed, she was 'freezing her butt off' and in need of some assistance!  He came around the car as she tried to cover herself with her sweater and then, as she looked imploringly into his eyes, he burst our laughing.  She too, got the giggles and when they finally managed to compose themselves, they assessed her dilemma. Obviously, as hysterical as the situation was, they also were faced with a real problem.

Both agreed it would take something hot to free her chilly cheeks from the grip of the icy metal.  Thinking about what had gotten her into the predicament in the first place, both quickly realized that there was only one way to get her free.  So, as she looked the other way, her first date proceeded to unzip his pants and pee her butt off the fender.

As the audience screamed in laughter, she took the Tonight Show prize hands down. Or perhaps that should be 'pants down'.  And you thought your first date was embarrassing. Jay Leno's comment...”This gives a whole new meaning to being pissed off!”

Oh, and how did the first date turn out?
 He became her husband and was sitting next to her
on the Leno show.

“Pearl of Wisdom”
It's not the mistakes that matter.
It's how you recover from them!
(from Barbara Freethy's novel...Garden of Secrets)


John walked into a post office and saw a middle-aged man at the counter pasting love stickers on pink envelopes with hearts all over them.  The man then took out a perfume bottle and sprayed scent on them.  Curious, John walked up to the man and asked him what he was doing.  The man replied, Im sending out 1,000 Valentine cards  signed, Guess Who?’

“But why?” asked John.
“Because,” the man answered, “I’m a divorce lawyer!”

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written March 9, 2012
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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Love Defined...

Wives at a Seminar

A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with their husbands.  The women were asked, “How many of you love your husband?”  All the women raised their hands.  Then they were asked, “When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?”  Some women answered, 'Today,'  a few  'Yesterday' and some couldn't remember.

The women were then told to take out their cell telephones and text to their husband: “I love you Sweetheart!” The women were then instructed to exchange phones with another person and to read aloud the text message they received, in response.  Below are a few replies ~ some are hilarious.  If  you've been married quite a while...a sign of true love...who else would reply in such a succinct and honest  way?

             Who the hell is this?
             Eh, mother of my children...are you sick or what?
             Yeah, and I love you too.  What's up with you?

             What now?  Did you crash the car again?
             I don't understand what you mean.
             What the heck did you do now?

             Don't beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need!
             If you don't tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die.
             I thought we agreed you wouldn't drink during the day!

             Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn't she?
             Am I dreaming?

The Shortest College Paper
(This is just too funny and just too brilliant)

A college class of women was told to write a short story in as few words as possible.  The instructions were:  The short story had to contain the following three things...Religion...Sexuality...Mystery. Below is the only A+ short story in the entire class ~
Good God!  I'm Pregnant!  I wonder who could have done it!”

Mother's Driver's Licence

A mother is driving her little girl to her friend's house for a play date.  “Mommy,” the little girl asks, “How old are  you?”  “Honey, you are not supposed to ask a lady her age,” the mother replied.  “It's not polite,”  “OK,” the little girl says, “How much do you weigh?”  “Now really,” the mother says, “Those are personal questions and are really none of your business.”  Undaunted, the little girl asks, “Why did you and Daddy get a divorce?”  “That's enough questions, young lady!  Honestly!”

The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play. “My mom won't tell me anything about her,” the little girl says to her friend. “Well,” says the friend, “all you need to do is look at her driver's licence.  It's like a report has everything on it.”

Later that night the little girl says to her mother, “I know how old you're 32.”  The mother is surprised and asks, “How did you find that out?”  “I also know that you weigh 130 pounds.”  The mother is past surprised and shocked now.  “How in Heaven's name did you find that out?”

“And,” the little girl says triumphantly, “I know why  you and Daddy got a divorce.”  “Oh really?” asks the mother. “Why is that?”  “Because you got an F in sex.”

The Husband Seminar

At St. Peter's Catholic Church, they have a weekly husbands' marriage seminars. 
At the session one week, the priest asked Giuseppe, who said he was approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same woman all these years.

Giuseppe replied to the assembled husbands, “Wella, Iva tried to treat her nicea...spenda da money on her...but best of all, I tooka her to Italy for the 25th anniversary!”

The priest responded, “Giuseppe, you are an amazing inspiration to all the husbands here!  Please, tell us what you are planning for your wife for your 50th anniversary.”

Giuseppe proudly replied, “I gonna picka her up.”

(The foregoing incidents sent to me by Tom...Thank You.)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...November 6, 2014
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Treasure the Person"

You never lose by loving...
You always lose by holding back.
(Barbara de Angelis)

This is a true story that begins in High School.
10th Grade:  As I sat there in English class, I stared at the girl next to me.  She was my so-called 'best friend.'  I stared at her long, silky hair and wished...she was mine.  But she didn't notice me like that, and I knew it. After class, she walked up to me and asked me for the notes she had missed on the day before.  I handed them to her.  She said, “Thanks” and gave me a kiss on the cheek. 
I want to tell her.  I want her to know
that I don't want to be just 'friends'.
I love her...but I'm just too shy and I don't know why.
11th Grade:  The phone rang.  On the other end, it was her.  She was in tears, mumbling on and on about how her 'love' had broke her heart.  She asked to come over because she didn't want to be alone.  So I agreed.  As I sat next to her on the sofa, I stared at her soft eyes, wishing she was mine.  After 2 hours, one Drew Barrymore movie and three bags of chips, she decided to go home.  She looked at me, said, “Thanks,” and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
I want to tell her.  I want her to know
that I don't want to be just 'friends'.
I love her...but I'm just too shy and I don't know why.
Senior Year:  One fine day she walked to my locker.  “My date is sick,” she said, “he's not gonna go;  well, I didn't have a date, and in 7th grade, we made a promise that if neither of us had bad dates, we would go together just as 'best friends'.” So we did.  That night, after everything was over, I was standing at her front door step. I stared at her.  She smiled at me and stared at me with her crystal eyes.  Then she said, “I had the best time ever, thanks!” and gave me a kiss on the cheek. 
I want to tell her.  I want her to know
that I don't want to be just 'friends'.
I love her...but I'm just too shy and I don't know why.

Graduation:  A day passed, then a week, then a  month.  Before I could blink, it was Graduation Day.  I watched as her perfect body floated like an angel up on stage to get her diploma.  I wanted her to be mine...but she didn't notice me like that, and I knew it. Before everyone before me went  home, she came to me in her smock and hat...and cried as I hugged her.  Then she lifted her head from my shoulder and said, “You're my 'best friend', thanks,” and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
I want to tell her.  I want her to know
that I don't want to be just 'friends'.
I love her but I'm just too shy and I don't know why.

Marriage:  Now I sit in the pews of the church. That girl is getting married now...and drive off to her new life, married to another man.  I wanted her to be mine...but she didn't see me like that, and I knew it.  But before she drove away, she came to me and said, “Thanks,” and kissed me on the cheek.
I want her to know that I don't want to be just 'friends'.
I love her...but I'm just too shy and I don't know why.

Death:  Years passed.  I looked down at the coffin of a girl who used to be my 'best friend.' 
At the service they read a diary entry she'd written in her high school years.  This is what it read:
“I stare at him wishing he was mine; but he doesn't notice me like that...
and I know it.  I want to tell him; I want him to know
that I don't want to be just 'friends'. 
I love him, but I'm just too shy and I don't know why.
I wish he would tell me he loved me!
...I wish I did too...”

I thought to myself...and I cried. Time doesn't wait.
If you think you might have found the right one...
treasure the person...don't let that person get away. 
Don't let fear hold you back.  Give it a try...else you might regret later.
No one other than ourselves know what can  truly make us happy.
Do yourself a favour...tell her/him you love them.
They won't be there...forever! 

Untiring Love
(This is a true story that happened in Japan)

In order to renovate the house, someone in Japan tears open the wall. Usually, Japanese houses have a hollow space between the wooden walls.  When tearing down the walls, the worker found there was a  lizard stuck there because a nail from outside hammered into one of his feet.  He sees this, feels pity and at the same time when he checked the nail, it was nailed 10 years ago when the house was first built.  What happened?  The lizard has survived in such a position for 10 years!  In a dark wall partition for 10 years without moving!  It is impossible and mind-boggling! Then he wondered how the lizard survived for 10 years without moving a single step...since its foot was nailed!

So he stopped his work and observed the lizard...what it has been doing...and what and how it has been eating.  Later, not knowing from where it came, appears another lizard  with food in its mouth. 
Ahh!  He was stunned and touched deeply.
For the lizard that was stuck by nail...
another lizard has been feeding it for the past 10 years.

Such love!  Such beautiful love!  Such love happened even with this tiny creature. 
What can love do?  It can do wonders!  Love can do miracles!

Imagine?  It  has been doing that untiringly for 10 long years...without giving up  hope on its partner.  Imagine what a small creature can do, that a creature blessed with a brilliant mind can't.

I was touched when I heard this story and started wondering about relationships between family members...friends...lovers, etc. As information and communication technology advances, our access to information becomes faster and faster.  But the distance between human it getting closer as well?

"Never abandon your loved ones.
Treasure the one who loves you!"
It's not easy to find a person who loves you!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written January 8, 2015
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Salute to February 2015

 If we had no Winter, the Spring would not be so pleasant.
(Ann Broadstreet)

Winter Curb Appeal for Your Home:  Even with snow on the ground and on roof-tops...and your garden in 'sleep mode'  you can create a warm inviting outdoor landscape that will put your home's best face forward.  Add a little life!  Plant some winter flowers (perhaps for another year) such as honeysuckle, snow berry, winter jasmine or fountain grasses.  Evergreens, holly bushes and yews can be put in plant pots and stand up well even when the snow flies.  Window boxes can be filled with winter greenery. Add additional lighting: solar lamps, spotlights or rope lighting.  Stay on top of shoveling your drive and walkways.  Paint your front door a bright colour and add a wreath for a pop of colour and charm.  Your home can look as great in winter as it does in June!

Busy Season for Flying Tires:  With snow tire season upon us, police warn this is also the season of rogue wheels flying down the highway.  Roughly, 3 wheels a week come off vehicles, driving on the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area highways (according to OPP statistics).  New wheels are substantially more likely to fly off and remind drivers to 'double-check' the wheel fasteners the day after a change.  It sometimes can take a few kilometres for the tires to adjust and settle properly.

Health is Wealth:  STOP EATING BEFORE YOU ARE FULL.  Years added?  Being 100 pounds overweight can subtract a decade from your life.  (Did you see the Hagar the Horrible cartoon today?  Standing close to each other, Hagar asks, “Have you noticed that the longer we're together, the closer we get?”  Helga replies, “Yes, I noticed!”  This box shows them from head to toe, facing each other, both now heavily set with their full-figure stomachs touching!)
USE SUN SCREEN.  Years added?  Possibly 20.
KEEP YOUR BODY MOVING.  Years added?  At least 3.

Holstein-Frisian Cow ~  'Snow Countess';  She is a life-size cement statue, greeting you on entry to Woodstock, Ontario.  Born November 1919 and dying August 1936, she produced 9,062 pounds of butterfat  (more than any other cow in the world),  She held this record for 21 years.  Built at a cost of $4,000, this life-size statue weighing 5 tons, was mounted on a granite base  on August 4, 1937.

Nature's Riches:  Canada's natural areas are the envy of many countries. With approximately 3.5 million square kilometres of forested area, three ocean coastlines, an enormous supply of the world's fresh water and an amazing abundance of wildlife and wild spaces, Canada has an enormous amount of area to conserve.  These remarkable wild spaces found across the country provide food, water and shelter for millions of living creatures...including humans!

Animal Compassion:  There is a hotel in Vienna, Austria that caters to the dogs of its guests. In the 19th century, the Hotel Sacher was once owned by Anna Sacher who loved her French bulldogs. In keeping with the pet-loving history of the hotel, the current management decided to provide special rooms with all the things that dogs need:  baskets, blankets and feeding bowls.  A dog's owner can obtain dog food from the concierge...or if desired, can order a steak from the hotel's kitchen. Rules do apply, however.  Furry guests are not allowed in the spa or in the restaurants.
                           Furry guests must be kept on leashes at all times.

Bizarre Amazing Fact:  True!  In 1835, a man attempted to assassinate the American President, Andrew Jackson, with 2 pistols.  However, both pistols misfired...and Andrew Jackson proceeded to beat the man to near death with  his cane at age of 68.  (Note: this fact not verified by me)

Valentine Bus Love:  Getting married on a bus is not something most couples would think to do, but  for Nina Schmidt and Jarred Greff of Vancouver, British Columbia, it only made sense. The pair first met on the No. 3  TransLink bus during a commute one day.  They noticed each other and when a seat became available beside Nina, Jarred sat down beside her.  They went bowling on their first date and not long after, realized they were in love.  It was arranged for wedding guests to take seats on that very bus to witness the nuptials.  Fittingly, the wedding took place during the city's  “I Love Transit Week”  and it was sponsored by the transit company.

Best Sermons are Lived:  “Today, my father told me, 'Just go for it and give it a try!  You don't have to be a professional to build a successful product.  Amateurs started Google and Apple.  Professionals built the Titanic!”  (Courtesy of a collection from Carolyn)

MBK's NewsBits:  Recently I viewed a black and white photo that grabbed my attention...of Jeff, a six-year-old orphan from Austria who embraced a brand new pair of shoes just given him by the Red Cross.  He sits joyfully smiling on a concrete step, hugging these new shoes.  Wearing shorts and a jacket, his feet display baggy old socks, well-worn running shoes with barely any soles and broken laces.  He is absolutely ecstatic!!!

From Copenhagen:  “Danes Ready to Lay Claim at UN to North Pole”
Denmark says scientific data shows Greenland's continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it.  Denmark will deliver a claim to a United Nations panel in New York that will eventually decide control of the area, for which Russia and Canada are also coveting.

Notable Dates
                                February 2 (Monday) ~ Groundhog Day & World Wetlands Day
                                February 14 (Saturday) ~ Valentine's Day
                                February 15 (Sunday) ~ Nirvana Day & Canadian Flag Day
                                February 16 (Monday) ~ Family Day (Ont., Sask., Alta)
                                                                        Louis Riel Day (Manitoba)
                                                                        Heritage Day (Nova Scotia)
                                                                        Islander Day (Prince Edward Island)
                                 February 17 (Tuesday) ~ Shrove Tuesday
                                 February 18 (Wednesday) ~ Ash Wednesday
                                 February 19 (Thursday) ~ Chinese New Year
                                 February 20 (Friday) ~ Heritage Day (Yukon)

Words of Wisdom
Nature chose for a tool...not the earthquake or lightning,
to  rend and split asunder...not the stormy torrent or eroding rain..
but the 'snow flowers' noiselessly falling
        through unnumbered centuries.
(John Muir)

Merle Baird-Kerr...created January 8, 2015
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