Sunday musings . . .

The condo smells great with the ham in the oven and the scalloped potatoes ready to go in.  The table is set for 17 and we are really looking forward to our condo neighbours coming later on bringing gifts of food for this Christmas potluck dinner. Last year, Margaret hosted this affair but there were fewer of us. This year, many more condos are occupied and all 17 residents are coming.  It should be a great evening.

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We watched the Almonte Christmas parade from our windows this year. The snow is falling lightly and the water is rushing over the falls. We’ve been here for over a year now but it still feels inspirational to live with these amazing views.

Al was excited to receive a phone call from the Ottawa Citizen telling him that the Opinion Piece on the rail line would be published probably on Tuesday.  The press conference on Parliament Hill is scheduled for Thursday.

Later . . .

and our dinner party was wonderful- good food, good company!

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Today is the first day . . .

. . . of the rest of our lives!

Today there’s a new mayor in town, and I’m very happy. It’s been a hectic stressful seven years but I am so proud of what he has accomplished.

However, I was awakened at 8 a.m. by the CAO calling Al’s cell to ask him to come in to sign a bylaw.  Imagine!

When Al went to the door to get the newspaper, he was greeted by the following:

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The mystery was solved when he opened his email and read:

GOOD MORNING AL

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR RETIREMENT!!

HOPE YOU ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

B & L

p.s.  love what you’ve done with the door!!

Later, as neighbours gathered to see the door, they contributed to the Al Lunney retirement fund, a box left by our next door neighbours. Included are: a purse of coins, cookies, maple syrup, a soap opera magazine, a calendar, some tea, a sudoku book,a bottle of beer,  . . .

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Hobby or obsession?

I played bridge Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday afternoon, Wednesday evening and I plan to play Thursday morning, afternoon and evening.

However, I cancelled my Friday afternoon game since we are going to a banquet and have to leave at 5 pm.

Hobby or obsession?

Free trade- what a joke

Once again, I have a rant about trying to buy anything in the US of A!

My grandson’s birthday is on the 27th and I had checked to see what he would like for his birthday. Armed with the list, I went to the website.  But, as usual, when I got to the part where you pay with a Canadian credit card, I was rejected.  So I did the usual thing and called the company’s phone number.  The order was placed, the credit card accepted (so I thought) and grandma was very pleased with herself.

. . . until today . . .

Five days later, I receive a call to Mrs. Looney (ohhhhh !) telling me that the prices on my order can’t be honoured because they are from an American website. But, I protested, I placed the order by telephone, it was accepted, and it’s being shipped to an American address. We don’t even have those items in our Canadian company, he countered.  But why should that matter since it’s going to an American address, I muttered.  Oh, it’s going to an American address, he said, apparently surprised to notice this all by himself. Okay, we will honour the prices and send the items within 7-10 days. Recall that we have already lost 5 days in this process so grandma is no longer so proud of herself!

the walking cast

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It’s been over three weeks since I broke a bone in my foot. Living on the second floor of a condo that has no elevator makes this more challenging than normal, but it hasn’t slowed me down, much.

The first week, I took a three-day course on directing duplicate bridge and can now brag that I am a qualified Duplicate Bridge Director.  I have also been out  playing bridge, attending other events and stumping around the condo, keeping things on track.  But to be honest, Al has been an amazing support through all of this.

Tomorrow I see the doctor and hope to be rid of the cast.

“Next weekend”

So what is the meaning of “next weekend’?

“I’m going to be in Montreal next weekend, our daughter from Ohio told me on Monday.  Would you and dad like to have a visit with me there? I was delighted, especially since we hadn’t had our usual fall visit. I called the hotel and no rooms were available for October 30 but they told me that my daughter was in a suite and a pull-out sofa was available. Our daughter would arrange for us to have a key.

So we decided to drive to Montreal on Saturday and stay overnight. We arrived yesterday, and to my great surprise, she wasn’t registered! After much discussion with the hotel clerk and a phone call with our son-in-law, we discovered that “next weekend” was a week away! Back home we went.

So when I talked to the hotel about rooms for October 30 and they checked on my daughter’s reservation, couldn’t they have helped me to avoid the confusion by noticing that she wasn’t going to be there on that date?

Guess the only thing I’ve learned is to use dates rather than vague expressions.

Mind’s Eye Bridge

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At the Ottawa Regional ACBL Bridge tournament, I had the most amazing experience playing bridge with a totally blind woman. She was playing with a friend from Calgary whom she hadn’t seen for 34 years. Her cards had Braille and she was able to memorize the cards in the dummy with just one repetition of them from her partner. This picture is on their website, ACBL Unit 192. This is the text of the Unit 192 article:

Have you ever marveled at how well you can “see” the opponents cards when you close your eyes?

Now imagine playing an entire session without actually seeing any cards, including your own!

This is a fact of life every time Mary Goodale plays bridge. Of course, she has an advantage that most of us don’t, in that she is fluent in Braille.

Here’s an open letter from Mary, thanking everyone involved with the recent National Capital Regional for their contribution to her enjoyment of the game:

Dear Bridge Players,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for making it possible for me to participate in the N. C. Regional Bridge Tournament in Ottawa. First of all the Rideau Bridge Club made sure that the boards with my Braille cards were at the Crown Plaza. The Directors and Caddies made sure that I had made up boards to play with. Then the players in my group had to make up an extra set of boards which were my Braille cards. When the opponents came to my table, they needed to announce their bids and announce their cards when they played them. Every one was so cooperative. My partner, Bless her heart, travelled all the way from Calgary. I am most grateful to all of you.

I very much enjoyed the five days I played in the tournament and it was most exciting to win some red and gold points.

Again, Many thanks to all of you.

Sincerely, Mary Goodale.

Major changes . . .

As of this fall, Al will no longer be “mayor of little places” since he has decided not to run for a third term. It has been an amazing seven years and I am very proud of his accomplishments. but the town may not know what has happened to it since my voice will become unleashed;)

He wrote about his decision on his blog:

At Monday’s council meeting, I will formally announce that I will not run for re-election in October.

Many of you have been asking me to put my hat into the ring one more time. I want you to know that your phone calls, notes and personal conversations mean a great deal to me. I have given my decision a lot of thought, especially since I have so enjoyed the past seven years as mayor. If I were a bit younger, the decision would be easy. But looking at my family history, it isn’t fair to my family. Jeri and I need some down time, some time to visit grandchildren and children, some time to just hang out with each other.

It’s been quite a run. In seven years, Jeri and I have endured many personal hardships: prostate cancer; the loss of three brothers and a sister; the loss of our beloved niece to cancer; and the loss of Jeri’s mom. Because we have thrown ourselves into the political arena, these events have all been public with all the support that a person can get from this wonderful community. But when I look back to 2003, I sometimes wonder how we survived.

I am proud to have been the mayor of this great community of Mississippi Mills. I have enjoyed meeting the people in our community and assisting them with their concerns. I especially want to acknowledge the contributions of the many volunteers in our community. I have enjoyed driving through every part of this large community, being able to appreciate the beauty of our river, the farmlands and the shops.

Some of our accomplishments over the past seven years include the introduction of a Program Review, an ongoing process that has made departments more effective and efficient. All departments create task lists and make regular monthly updates to council resulting in council being fully informed of all issues.

We have greatly improved communication with the community through the advertisements in local newspapers, our website and our e-newsletters.

A major focus for me has been strategic planning. Highlights here include a 10-year capital/financial plan and bringing more businesses to town. General maintenance of roads, sidewalks and bridges are also the result of long-term planning. Plans have also included concentration on policing.

I strongly believe in fiscal responsibility. I am proud to say that taxes in the Town of Mississippi Mills are lower than in surrounding communities of Carleton Place, Perth, Arnprior and Lanark Highlands.

We have made amazing improvements to the infrastructure in our town. Such initiatives as the restoration of the Old Town Hall, the tarring and chipping of the town’s many country roads, the building of the roundabout at the entrance to town and the development of the waste water treatment plant have been undertaken. Other projects such as providing services in the business park, expanding the municipal offices, upgrading the Stewart Community Centre in Pakenham and the Almonte Community Centre have also been among priorities.

The beautification of the town has been another priority with large projects such as the Riverwalk and the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway and smaller projects such as the flowers and the community banners in Pakenham and Almonte. Students are hired each summer to keep our community looking beautiful. Of course, the Beautification Committee must be congratulated for their wonderful work and commitment to our community.

Throughout my mandate, I have enjoyed excellent rapport with the town’s partners at the county, provincial and federal levels. I have maintained an excellent relationship with our local MP, the Honourable Gordon O’Connor, and our MPP, Norm Sterling, and believe that I have been been a strong voice for our town with the higher levels of government.

One of the highlights of my political career was to be elected by my peers as Warden of Lanark County in 2007 This experience broadened my knowledge of the workings of municipal politics and widened my list of contacts and friends. When I was warden, the County partnered with the federal and provincial governments to provide high-speed Internet services to virtually all residents of Mississippi Mills. This allows our residents to enjoy the perks of big city living while living in our beautiful countryside.

I have had the luxury of working with two excellent staffs- at the county and especially at the town. I cannot say enough about the professionalism and energy with which these folks serve you in our beautiful town. I’m sure they didn’t know what to make of me when I arrived with no political experience in 2003. They know how much I have relied upon them and how much respect I have for their hard work and dedication.

In preparing to write these thoughts, I read over all of the speeches given at the end of a year or at the beginning of a term of council. The issues I raised during my first election in 2003- sustainable growth, policing, economic development, water protection, the capacity of the lagoon, rural character, protection of our farming community, transparency, seniors and youth- continued to be my focus throughout my two terms in office. I am particularly proud of our accomplishments in infrastructure. We have received grants for so many projects, including the waste water treatment plant, the two arenas, the Old Town Hall, rural roads and bridges, and so much more. I feel proud of what we’ve accomplished.

In the end, it all comes down to relationships with the people I have interacted with in seven years. I have worked closely with two County Councils and have made life-long friends. I have worked with two Town Councils and that has provided me with both joys and challenges. But especially, I have come to know and love the people who make up our town as I met with you in kitchens, town halls, at festivals or in the streets of our town.

There are no words to adequately describe how much I have enjoyed the ride! Continue reading