still the same stamps in the variety packetsThe impulse to collect stamps is labelled “philately”.  Between the ages of ~9 years old and 15, I possessed that rather solitary passion and it might be a major contributing factor in the development of my adventurous nature.  That need to explore goes hand in hand with a lack of fear of the unknown, in my case, and it brought me to Montreal, ideal home for adventurers…, and stamp collectors as I discovered today.

A small ad in a paper that I read rather assiduously led me to exup 42, which I suppose can only be the 42nd Exposition of the Union des philatélistes.  The ad promised both free entry and free parking, but I took the scenic route by bus along Jean Talon this morning and walked up to the second floor of the Maison  du Citoyen in Villeray – St. Michel – Parc Extension fashionably just after the 10am opening.

After a few words of counsel from the Union people, I was directed away from the merchants and into the Bourse des timbres à 10c de l’UPM.  Taking my seat with the other early birds, I introduced myself, “Mon nom est Ted et je suis une philatéliste”.  I blague (I’m joking).  It was more of a square than a circle, due to the tables in front of us.  In the middle of the room were other tables piled with hundreds of albums holding what the UPM volunteer described as “surplus stamps that their members were willing to sell at 10 cents each”. I had the full extent of my circa 1975 stamp collection along with me, and since there were some stamps that I lacked in a “World of Sports”” stamp album from the USPS.  I started by looking at “thematique” albums which contained various – boats, bridges, flowers, animals and, not least, sports”.  Soon I was lost in the beauty of stamps, filling out a dim sum-like summary of my purchases. MLK_Togo_timbreAfter a slow browse through 4 or 5 thematic albums, I was getting the hang of the system and decided that I would follow up on a recent read of a sort of autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. starting with stamps from Africa honouring him.  The albums of African countries, from North to South, Angola to Zanzibar piled before me failed to yield up a single Martin Luther King stamp, though I remember reading that he did travel there.  Finally in the Togo Republic, I found the civil rights hero’s image on a stamp.  I know the obvious is to look for MLK in USA, but since presidents and prime ministers like John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill can be found everywhere in the stamps of the world, I expected the same for this martyred civil rights hero.  Not the case.

The take home for me, besides a selection of stamps that I can use to illustrate future blogs on a variety of topics touching history or geography, is that there are people like me whose interest in stamps is not about rarity or even the collecting impulse but who see stamps as a “trampoline au monde entier”…, and a good conversation starter.  J’ai côtoyé du monde fort engageant aujourd’hui et c’est pas le monde des timbres, mais le monde des philatélistes.

Some excellent reading & music

Texture magazines

This morning, in my long run which effectively completes my training for the half marathon in Montreal on September 25, I ran with my Eers earbuds in playing this week’s Discover Weekly playlist put together by Spotify.  This is exceptional for me to run with music but since I needed to stretch my distance out and I would be running alone for two hours without a companion, I thought that doing this to jazz music would help “diminuer les ennuies”.  And so it did – I finished 16 km of running with 8 songs left still unplayed in the 30 song playlist.  If you use Spotify, clicking on the previous link will open up the playlist that I enjoyed this morning.

After returning home and being greeted as a hero by Carol for accomplishing such a distance (my training for this major run next Sunday has been, admittedly, spotty, I showered, brunched (oh, how I love running for the way that it makes everything taste better) and then rested my weary bones with some reading.  In a similar manner that I use Spotify to find any and all music that I want to listen to, just this week, I signed up for the magazine service put out by Rogers which gives me unlimited access to a whole panoply of magazines.  My iPad is the ideal device to read on.  I have these magazines listed as My Favourites: Bicycling; Canadian Business; Canadian Cycling; Canadian Running; Consumer Reports; L’actualité; National Geographic plus these from same publisher – History, & Traveller. Continuing: New York Magazine; Popular Mechanics; Québec Science; Popular Science; Rolling Stone; Smithsonian; The Atlantic; Travel & Leisure; Vanity Fair; Vélo Mag; Wired; The Official Program of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and, finally, Zoomer.  Missing from this list are weekly or bi-weekly magazines like Time, Newsweek, McLeans, The New Yorker, Billboard and People.  I opted for the Basic $9.99 per month subscription that includes only the monthly magazines.  From a point of view of costs, I simply cancelled my New York Times digital subscription (too much of the American election) which cost me $14.99 per month.  I am quite happy that the $10 per month gives me access to a fair slate of Canadian content including magazines en français that will help me expand my vocabulary.

Am I reading?  Yes!  Besides the reading from the library, much of this also coming across my iPad as e-books from the Montreal Library, the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Québec, and the Ontario Public Library system.  Thank you Baysville Library for access to the e-book wealth of an entire province.  My Goodreads links to my updated reading list with very short reviews for my completed books.

Now back to Québec Science magazine’s fascinating article on the history of the Saint Lawrence river.


God has no problem with that

Thinking of a title for my Sunday blog this week, which must be prepared this Saturday night as tomorrow is not only a day of rest in the morning for me and Carol, it is an exciting day of choir work as we audition over 50 singers for Montreal Gospel Choir.  Exciting season-beginning event each year.

So….what of the title, “God doesn’t have any problem with that”.  Well, if God were God On High, and also Prosperity God, wishing, even willing my material well-being, I know he would have a problem with the way I conduct my business. This Prosperity God would be ashamed to be associated with an affair like mine which refuses to progress and finds itself (parce que, l’affair dans cette affair, c’est MOI) doing shoddy things like lugging home leftover product wrapped up with ice like I was some bag-lady moving her worldly possessions. At the June market I reached my target of a complete sell-out in spite of having significant un-ordered product.  When this happens, I’m elated the whole trip home.  Today I had little extra product available at the outset (except in Garlic-smoked sausage) so I didn’t try to promote extra sales.  Result:  I didn’t get extra sales and had several no shows – people not claiming their orders.

[Note added 6 weeks after original date of this blog:  watch this 6 minute presentation on the effects of inner voices from Alain de Botton’s School of Life.  You could say that my rather confusing blog “God has no problem with that” is about me listening to my inner voice condemning me about the way I do business.  Fortunately, God is to me the comforting, encouraging inner voice and more than that, God specializes in redeeming bad situations, at least that is my experience.  Read on and see what happens when I’m faced with more leftover product than I can carry and a rapidly approaching deadline if I am to reach the last Saturday train back to Montreal.]

What did the God that I know do?  (Btw, He is Suffering Servant God and God Immanuel, too).  This God sent an absolute angel of a taxi man: patient, caring, good driver, very professional, a listener.  The flat rate from Burlington to Union Station downtown Toronto was nothing miraculous, but I tipped him as if he was Jesus Christ meeting Abraham.  God can get me more of the tipping money and he all-the-time-Jehovah-Jireh does (that’s my life experience).  But still, I’m lugging a hockey-bag-sized ensemble of 4 X 5 kg garlic sausage plus ice bag to keep the product chilled, plus insulation to keep the ice from totally melting, a vinyl sign used between ice and product to keep the whole thing from becoming sausage soup until I got on the chill train. ‘Le tout’ bound together and made carry-able, but not elegantly, with the jib halyard that I salvaged from the items in the rummage shed at the Lake of Bays dump several years ago.  Fer shame, Ted!

I am presently returning from a business trip – please don’t imagine me meeting clients like a traditional businessman might on a business trip.  That is what I do – meet my clients – but we’re not talking of some future sale, we’re handing over product that they have ordered from me by phone or email.  If I did it every month I might really hate what I do, but I do it 4 times per year (go to market) and it refreshes the majority of what I do in my business which is work by myself in a cooler, packaging sausage while staring at the box liners hanging in front of my stainless steel work table. I don’t exactly hate that either, as it is menial work which gives a person time to think great thoughts, and the one day per week nature of packaging is about the appropriate healthy level for doing that sort of thing.

God has no problem with that.  God can use that, even when I’m ashamed of myself for my shabby show.  God is ‘in it’.  Like ‘with me’ – Immanuel.  God doesn’t desire to put me in a situation where I don’t feel much respect for my business self, but he doesn’t say “I’m out of here” or reinforce my negative self condemnation, he sends his angels to carry me.  Sometimes the taxi dispatcher sends Jesus.

Glory to God, in the highest!

And peace, on earth.

Good will…



btw, the bag-lady worldly possessions ensemble got delivered to my faithful Cornwall customer (and perhaps himself a double agent school teacher / part-time angel) who was over-the-moon for how it worked out in his favour and was ready for me to deliver like this all-the-time.  That would be putting the Lord, Thy God to a foolish test (in my eyes, anyways).  This one’s a one-off, kind of cool-in-the-end experience that started with me wallowing in misery.  And praise God, for His ways are right.  But Via Rail delivery? Not happening…..more than once.

Montreal Gospel Choir



Une de mes choses favorite dans la vie c’est chanter et socialisé (ça se dit?) dans Montreal Gospel Choir.  Pendant que j’ai fait mon travail (à la maison) aujourd’hui j’ai écouté “Not by Might” une chanson écrite expresse pour Montreal Gospel Choir par Rex Verzosa avec les versets ajouté par quelques solistes, des voix extraordinaires toutes!  J’en ai hâte pour la répétition ce soir avec cette avant goût des choses à venir!

I LOVE singing in Montreal Gospel Choir – so many interesting people singing together on music we love.  The graphic artist who designed the poster seen here is also among our tenor section.  He used his graphic skills and posted all manner of representations of his poster in unexpected places.  Another one of our tenors with “mad” research skills actually found where this bus shelter is simply by using some of the visual clues found in the image. There is a whole lot of fun going on in Montreal Gospel Choir that only the members get to experience.  Thanks, all you characters, singers and hangers-on for making my life so much better!



walkingOne of the best features of the winter that is now drawing to a close is that there has been a higher amount of sunlight than usual.  Today, in the last hour of sunlight, I decided I needed a walk in said sun so that I could not be accused of despising it.

Moi, j’habite dans l’arrondissement Plateau Mont-Royal.  Puis, quand je sors de la maison pour prends du soleil et un peu d’exercise d’ailleurs j’ai tout un choix des routes.  Aujourd’hui j’ai eu comme but le Parc Lafontaine, donc j’ai suivi rue Prince-Arthur jusqu’a Carré St-Denis et après avoir mangé des steamés et des rondelles d’oignon chez Lafleur j’ai monté St-Denis un peu pour atteindre le parc par le moyen de Roy.

aVapeurBy this, I don’t mean that I took the King’s highway – no, there is a pleasant neighbourhood street in the lower Plateau known as Roy (say ooWah, like the famous Canadiens goaltender, Patrick Roy).  If it was further advanced in the spring, I might have gone earlier to Parc Lafontaine with one of the books that I am reading and soaked in the sunshine and the book on a park bench.  That day will come soon  enough.

En cours de route, j’ai résolu de suivre ce route régulièrement, ça veut dire que je dois continuer  d’avoir cette marche intégré dans mon quotidienne jusqu’au date quand je peux commencer de  monter le montagne (Mont Royal) sur vélo.  À ce moment je peux interposé les jours de vélo  avec les jours de marche dans le cartier.

The walk down Prince Arthur, past St-Louis Square (home of my favourite Montreal fountain)  and on to Parc Lafontaine with return by Duluth is nothing if not quirky and interesting.  The  laundry (fond memories of when I needed one of these) on Duluth whose window I’ve pictured below makes clever usage of the Québec term which might be translated “undies” –  des bobettes.  They will pick up (cueillir) and deliver (livrer) your “bobettes” (undies) via the Bobette express.  Knowing the neighbourhood, this is more likely to be done by bicycle than by car. And the books in the window – de riguer – that is if the real-time social networking that came before wifi existed is having a slow day.  For “buanderies” like this, their numbers aren’t going to increase, but it’s a nice reminder of a world that once was, or once might have been and still finds a way of existing in the Plateau.


How old?

With each new birthday, astute ‘Livre des Visages’ observers note George Etienne Cartier Monument1919my age. As of February 2015 j’ai quatre-vingt-seize ans! (Do the math anglos: 4 X 20 + 16 = 96 years old).  There is a story of how this came to be:

When I signed up for L-d-V (Book of Faces) there was a slider for age or year of birth.  Sliders make me want to push the limits.  The limit at the time I signed up was 1919 so that is why I am 96 on L-d-V as of 2015.

With each additional year, I feel like I should fill out my timeline as there is presently a big gap between my L-d-V birthday and my real-time birthday that should really be documented. I’ll find pictures that are year appropriate.  Project duly noted.

The monument pictured to the right is in honour of Georges-Etienne Cartier, well enough known in Québec but in the ROC he enters history as John A. Macdonald’s ally.  Without M. G-E Cartier, Canada would .not exist in the form we know it.  The monument is in Jeanne-Mance park (or is that part of Parc Mont-Royal?).  When I begin skiing, bicycling, running or walking up Olmstead Way into Parc Mont-Royal I pass before (or behind) this monument.  Let’s say the angel guards the entrance to Olmstead Way.  It happens that this monument was erected in 1919, my L-d-V birth year.  It was recently restored at the cost of millions, which is quite understandable for a 96 year old.  There is a fantastic view of the monument when you are coming up the bike path in Jeanne-Mance park from Rachel.  This photo gives angel-appropriate back-lighting to the monument.  It is a stunning monument from any angle at any time of day.

Pain ressusciter

Ce matin pour ma fête, j’ai voulu commencer avec un petitPain_ressuscite_vector déjeuner fabriqué des aliments que j’ai déjà en main. Donc, s’il me reste un pain italien bien sec, des oeufs et du lait avec la date d’expiration demain, c’est bien evident l’affaire que je peux facilement confectionner. Le pain perdu!

J’ai cherché mon blogue avec le tag ‘breakfast’ parce que j’ai déjà une simple recette pour pain perdu (French toast) écrite dans la série “17 Favourite breakfasts” (mes dix-sept petits déjeuners préférés).  Après avoir fouetté un oeuf dans un quart de tasse de lait, j’ai gratté (rapé?) dedans un petit peu de noix de muscade et j’ai saupoudré légèrement mon affaire de la cannelle.

Il me reste du gras d’un rôti de porc cuisiné hier.  J’ai eu peur que le pain va goûter de l’ail mais, finalement ce n’était pas le cas.  Le pain bien sec a ‘gobber’ le mélange oeuf-lait comme un éponge. Le pain perdu n’était pas cause perdu (lost cause?) mais un réussite total!

Donc, je suggère humblement que les Larousse et les Roberts du monde francophone ajoutent au lexique ‘pain ressusciter’.

Garden Stew

stew contents
stew contents – fresh from the market or rescued from the fridge

I was able to finish up work soon after 1pm today, which usually means that I’ll stop somewhere on the way home.  Very near to the sausage plant in Laval is the Marché 440.  I don’t know if it is the only market in Laval but it is an excellent place to buy fruits, vegetables, honey and much more.  Wanting to make it quick – just needed a flat of raspberries while they are in season locally – I transacted for the fruit at the closest vendor, one of the best – but since I had to pay across the aisle where they have an extensive selection of vegetables, I quickly added a cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, string beans, tomatoes and new potatoes to my bill.  And then I stopped at my favourite supermarket on Avenue du Parc  where I have learned to speedshop. 50 cents of metred parking only buys me 10 minutes. Let’s just say that I didn’t have to use any of my time today in the produce section.

The original idea was to make raspberry jam when I got home, but since neither Carol nor I had had any lunch and I was bringing home some freshly smoked sausage from work, I knew I had all the ingredients on hand for a hearty lunch on a rainy day.  Put the berries on ice and pulled out some cooking pots (des casseroles, comme on dit ici).  I think I have a garden stew recipe posted on my original personal website. Yes, still there at: Continue reading