From the monthly archives:

February 2009

dscn1428x420Some people in my city of Windsor, Ontario are high on promoting our community/region as the perfect place for seniors to retire.  Essex County is known as the Banana Belt, being the southernmost point in Canada.  Actually at Point Pelee we are on the same parallel as Rome, Italy and Northern California.  That’s pretty impressive.

I recently attended a presentation by Mr. Lynne Adams of the new Senior Advisory Council in Windsor. Many seniors have concerns about crossing busy streets.   Lynne mentioned that some busy intersections have lights timed in a way that does not permit sufficient time for unhurried crossing.  When a light turns green a pedestrian should first check traffic, then look down to ensure safe footing before starting to walk.   Feeling rushed makes some seniors, as well as people with disabilities, feel nervous and unsafe.

Another observation I made while in Florida in January was the courtesy I was consistently shown by drivers,  driving in traffic, and while I was a pedestrian.  I think I noticed it because of the sharp contrast to how people drive in my hometown of Windsor where drivers rush to beat other cars and pedestrian through an intersection or crosswalk with an ‘it’s all about me’ attitude.

One way to attract seniors to our community, as well as enhancing the lives of those presently living here, would be for the city residents to focus on, and be known for, courteous drivers.

While in New Brunswick a few years ago, my friend and I were standing on the sidewalk near the curb.  We were debating where to go next.  When I looked up I saw that traffic in both directions had stopped.  I looked at my friend with the question on my face and immediately spoken through my lips – wondering why the traffic had come to a sudden standstill.  She laughed and said “That’s what they do here.  They see us at the curb and are stopping to allow us to cross.”  And that was without us showing any obvious intention to cross.  Based on my life experience this was so extreme that I had to take notice.

Awareness is the key. When I returned to Windsor from my vacation I found myself allowing pedestrians the right of way in a way that is not always my norm.  As odd as it may seem, this makes ME feel better about myself.  I know I can do better, so I am concentrating on how courteous I can be, like in the adage, “Do unto others”.

Courtesy extended to a visitor is like saying “We appreciate you being here.  We would be happy for you to like us enough to come back”.

I am thinking that we can do that here, wondering what it would be like if our citizens got on the bandwagon and took this on, as a way of improving how others view us, changing how we do things, making us proud.

And it doesn’t cost a dime.


The simpler math of tipping

by lulujane on February 28, 2009

dscn2290Many in the service industry depend on tips to supplement their income.  At the Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria Island, Florida our receipt  included information which presented the calculation of three percentage choices (15%, 17.5% and 20%) “for your convenience” to assist the customer in calculating their tip. It made figuring out my bill so much easier. In previous years our Ontario PST and GST combined to add 15% in taxes onto bills, so many people here just added the taxes to figure out a 15% tip if that was their level of tipping.

Although this receipt information may be utilized by merchants in my local community, I haven’t seen it yet.  The way I see it, it not only benefited me in helping me to calculate my tip, but also the serving staff who would receive it.

Bravo to Sandbar Restaurant.


First a guest

by lulujane on February 28, 2009

dscn19304201On my January visit to Florida one of our dinners eaten out was Chinese food.  I had been prewarned that Nam Fong, this narrow little restaurant was always busy, with a crowded entry way and a long waiting line outside.  Because we were at the right place at the right time, we were fortunate to be seated immediately on arrival.  The congestion in the small lobby followed closely on our heels.

Almost as soon as my bottom got comfortable in my chair a complimentary pot of Chinese tea and small snack bowl of crunchy chow mein noodles were placed in front of us.  I think a lot can be learned from this simple, inexpensive, gratuitous offering.  The cost to the restaurateur was minimal.  The impact on me was big.

I felt like an honoured guest  first and a customer second.


Attitude is everything

by lulujane on February 28, 2009

dscn2071-420I just got off the phone from talking with my friend Bonnie.  Even this early in the morning she is cheery and bubbly. We shared what our day will look like, with a positive outlook of course.  I am grateful that I see my life through a clear filter, not muddied or dusty with residue or interference.  How my day will go will depend on how I choose to see it.  It is all up to me.


See update below to “I’m not a brat”

by lulujane on February 19, 2009


Just a note to suggest you have another look at the synchronicity of the February 2 ‘I’m not a brat’ entry.


Honouring our Veterans

by lulujane on February 5, 2009

Occasionally I have felt nudged to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies at our downtown cenotaph in Windsor, Ontario. In my working life I always had November 11th as a paid holiday.  Particularly because I was paid for this day my conscience made me aware of my responsibility to honour the purpose of the day.  A few years ago I volunteered to help out at an annual veterans’  luncheon. The luncheon was extremely well attended, and I was disappointed that as a volunteer, no specific job was assigned to me.  As an individual who wants to lend a helping hand I felt discouraged.

As November 11, 2008 approached I felt I should be doing something more and wanted to avoid a duplication of my previous volunteer experience at this event.  I thought of a solution and contacted event organizers to see if I could attend the function and take photographs of veterans.  I got an immediate “yes” and in this way had an opportunity to serve our community of veterans.

Jerome Bernard

Jerome Bernard

About 800 people were in the hall when I arrived, seated at round tables of ten.  I moved around the room, stopping at tables to ask “are you a veteran”?  And most importantly, “would you like me to take your picture”.  In all I was able to take individual portraits of about forty-five veterans.  If they were accompanied by a spouse or other family member I also took some group shots.  Within about one week I had done Photoshop work on the photos and had them printed, delivered and/or mailed. In most cases I was able to provide the veteran with a colour photo and also a black and white with the colour brought back into the poppy and/or medals on their jackets.

My purpose in doing this is my pleasure at the joy it may bring to the recipient.  It was joyful to receive unexpected telephone calls, cards and notes to express their pleasure with the quality of the photographs and their appreciation in having the pictures.  One of the gentlemen who called me just happened to work with my father when he was a very young man. This was another bonus for me.


Free Food

by lulujane on February 3, 2009

Curbside sign
Loudly offers
Abundantly growing
Luscious, juicy
Florida grapefruit

Golf cart driver
Helps self

Juice tomorrow.

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Indiana Man

by lulujane on February 3, 2009

A smiling Indiana drawl
Warms me
Music from a tanned
laughing man
Addressing it soft and slow

Me percolating
Like bubbles
Urging release
In shaken
Corked champagne

Behind even golden tan
Creases line up
spread outward
From aside his left
The one closest
to me
Smiling with mouth

Left thumb
On that side
Under chin
Pointer curling
Pressed above upper lip
Beneath nose
Of a pose
I unconsciously

I met Ralph Waite once
In a New York diner
I approached
Crystal sparkly eyes
To say

I watch this
Handsome man

Taking it all in


Happy Face

by lulujane on February 3, 2009

dscn1864xLooking toward me
Deep set
Tracing lines
On tanned
Smiling face

As she looked toward me
Shifting her view
From shuffleboard court
I smiled back
“You look happy”
I offered.
“I am” she countered
“Win or lose”

An afterthought added
“And I’m 84 years old”

Life is good I thought
I would like to have
known her more.


Zooming down the Highway

by lulujane on February 2, 2009

Wearing sun visor for fashion
On overcast afternoon
My driver
Leaning into
Gripping steering wheel
Had pedal to the metal

Through village gates
Jacketed girls
Alongside busy highway
On pedestrian walkway

Full speed
Strong breeze
Twisting hair

Breaking rules
No seat belts
Throwing caution to wind
Eyes wide
Looking for police cars

Doubling over
In giggle fits
Drowning sound
of traffic
And jeering shout from speeding car

Too funny for words
Our spontaneous
To Win Dixie
For milk and bread

Racing full speed
At snail’s pace
In Betty’s golf cart.