Archive for January, 2015

Societal Madness #1…
January 13, 2015

I was listening to CBC radio, while driving home the other day. The banning of toboggans and toboggan hills in Hamilton, ON was one of the lead stories. To say my jaw dropped would be understatement. We are becoming, if not have become, a society ruled by insurance companies and asinine court rulings. It strikes me that common sense has gone the way of the Dodo bird. At what point did individuals abdicate their responsibility for their own actions?

Tobogganing is a case in point. Sliding down hills at breakneck speeds is not a  recent phenomena. Courier and Ives illustrations have depicted these themes since 1813 (mq-zGHitf–zn1Mt4xNmH9w.jpg). The thrill of the wind and snow in one’s face while careening downhill toward trees, and hillocks and God knows what has been a part of the challenge since time immemorial. No one makes anyone go down the hill other than the innate challenge to feel the thrill. We, regardless of age, make the decision.–slide of not to slide; toboggan or jet ski; snow suit or cardboard box.

And down we go!

I don’t ever remember saying to my parents may I slide down the Chapple’s Hill at breakneck speeds and possibly hit the building and maim myself, or, slide into on-coming traffic on Steven’s Avenue or on to Woodson Street. As kids we just did it because a. the hill was there; b. it was winter; c. the thrill was there; law? What law?

Sure some of my friends were injured in the activity. Fortunately, I don’t recall anything more serious than some of the guys straddling trees and coming too wondering who it was that kicked them in the groin and why!

At issue here is, as I see it, WE CHOSE! I don’t ever recall thinking it was someone’s fault other than my own. I saw the tree at the bottom and CHOSE to challenge it. The town wasn’t responsible for my stupidity; I was! And I accept it fully!

Madness rules! A court rules that an adult male slides down a hill ignoring the signs that there are dangers present and the municipality is fined  a large sum because they were negligent because there were not sufficient signs. What about the responsibility of the individual to explore and examine the terrain prior to going down the hill? Does the same rule apply to a military person crossing a minefield? Whose fault is it that the soldier is blown up? Does the same rule apply when one steps off the curb to cross the road at a legal intersection? How does this explain the deaths that have occurred in Toronto this year at legal crossings. Who’s fault is it? Ultimately it is our own. It is a reasonable expectation that we will look all directions to cross the street before taking the step from the curb. Likewise, it is reasonable to expect that we will, regardless of age, determine the risk associated with the sliding down a hill.

Living is a risk and no one is more responsible for the decisions we make than ourselves.


Snow Daze…
January 3, 2015

I wakened this morning and sat with my first coffee of the day eying the amount of snow that fell overnight and filled my driveway. Stormy thoughts of being related to Joe Btfsplk (look it up) fed my misfortune. Drat! The meteorologists were correct; my driveway could expect 15 – 20 cm of snow overnight. Yup! It was there! Sitting in my driveway.

Coffee done, snow shovel in hand I began the ritual removal of the offending material. I still have difficulty with the “s” word. Two hours of shovelling and the driveway was pristine. I could even see bare pavement in some places. The snowfall had lessened. It was only -10C and quite delightful outside. I had a great workout. Thank you great snow creature in the sky.

I’m inside sitting with my second coffee of the day watching as the snowfall becomes heavier. The drifts around the wheels of my car are a measure to the rate of accumulation. If I sip my coffee slowly enough chances are good that the car will by then have disappeared to be replaced by a small practice ski hill or beginners toboggan run. If I sip my coffee slowly enough, Spring may arrive and I’ll once again have my car sitting in the driveway awaiting my attention. If I sip my coffee slowly enough…


Shaping Up…2015
January 3, 2015

Last June I weighted in at 96.2 kg and realized that not only was I feeling like a slug, I was becoming one in appearance and attitude. I don’t mean that I was all slimy and slippery, just loaded with lethargy, sloth-like in my movements and more comfortable sitting than doing anything else. the decision to change was easy. Follow-through not so easy.

It was the visit to my doctor and diabetes caregiver that set the tone. “It’s time,” they said, “that we consider options other than diet control and exercise to keep your diabetes in check.” That’s akin to having my head smacked into a brick wall. Wake up! Smell the roses! Life-style change time!

The good news is that that wake-up call was the inspiration I needed to set a path to becoming healthier. As of January 1, 2015 I have lost 17.2 kg. Walking daily and swimming 5 days a week along with a more sensible diet has had the desired effect. The challenge is to maintain the momentum and to achieve my desired goal – only 7.6 kg to go.

2015 is shaping up to be a worthwhile year.