Blog Posts

The Crossing

The highways out of Manitoba in November are often not for the faint of heart.  Driving through prairie snow storms and on icy highways, over so many mountain passes, we migrated. We clocked  3117 kilometres, visiting friends, family and hot springs along the way. Finally we boarded the ferry. Hello ...
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So We’re Off Then

I'm not sure I'm a snowbird type. We're off to our winter home in Victoria, BC today. Yesterday Tucker and I took one last long walk on the Ironwood Trail, watching the river freeze and missing my Pinawa already. Tucker doesn't know what's up, but he knows something is, because ...
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The Westie – A Love Story

If you've ever been in love you know, the heart rules. That's as it is with our 1985 Volkswagon Westfalia. Westie became ours because our original 1976 Westfalia caught on fire and burned on Highway 9 just out of Selkirk, Manitoba. We looked and looked for something more practical than ...
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The Exhilaration of Active Transportation

If you live in Pinawa, you may have seen a group of middle-aged cyclists heading out-of-town in the rain last week. We were heading to the Seven Sisters Harvest Party. It was a magical evening. One of the things I remain most thankful for are the friends I have accumulated ...
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Real Treasure on the Pinawa Trail

Has anyone been out treasure hunting yet? Don't know what I'm talking about? The Great Trail Treasure Hunt, hosted by Canadian Geographic and the Trans Canada Trail Association has started. I had a look at the clues and I don't think I'm letting anything go when I say I think ...
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Pinawa’s Trail – Dam to Dam

Wow, do we have a not so hidden treasure in Pinawa with our section of the Great Trail, and don't just take my word for it. Ask the three visitors that came out and joined the Pinawa Friends of the TCT on a hike, two of whom trekked the entire ...
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Winnipeg Folk Festival – 2018

I've just come back from my annual inoculation of peace, love and optimism - four days of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. My faith in the human race is once again restored. I can go on boldly nattering on about my ideological, social-liberal, tree-hugger beliefs, knowing I am not alone. Hot ...
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Spicy Radish Cycling Tour

I left the best for last. With over 50 k left to my Great Cycle Challenge goal of 500 k, and only today left to complete it I have few options. Finally, I'm going to explore this cycle to the Spicy Radish I've heard so much about. Joining me today ...
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Hotel Mahendra Prakash – Udaipur, India

Sometimes in India, a traveler needs a refuge. If you're lucky, you may find Mahendra Prakash. The hotel was just another cheap booking.com find, no special recommendation has brought us here. We’ve just finished two days of wedding celebrations near Delhi followed by a flight and it is 39 degrees ...
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The Great Cycle Challenge

Starting tomorrow, June 1, wherever you are in Canada you might see a few more people taking to their two-wheeled vehicles. The Great Cycle Challenge kicks off for its third year. The Great Cycle Challenge is a national fundraising initiative for raising money for Kids Cancer Care. I got involved ...
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The Indian Wedding

”Please hurry, the wedding has started!” I cried to the taxi driver. I couldn’t believe we have traveled all the way from Canada, and now we were late for the wedding. We started with our taxi 18 kms and 3 hours ago, and were still looking for our hotel. We ...
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Delhi – Day 2, Oh Yeah India

The shock of India is wearing off already, and I remember why I love this country and wanted so badly to come back. We woke early today after a solid zombie-like sleep. Our hotel has breakfast included and this morning the restaurant is full of tourists. The breakfast includes some ...
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Delhi, India

When the invitation arrived it was not unexpected. We had, in fact, been anticipating it for years. “I’ve heard Indian weddings are amazing,” I mentioned to Gunjan one wet day in the flooded Amazon jungle lodge, where we first met.  “When I get married I will definitely invite you.” And ...
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Victoria Discovered

City lights and ocean walks, craft beer, fine dining and endless dog parks, winter clothing as a fashion statement - Victoria discovered. Ray and I became snowbirds of the Canadian variety this past winter. We decided to start trying on Vancouver Island, more as a second home, then some time ...
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Rented! Victoria Condo for Rent

Rented! Dates: May 1 - October 31 (flexible) Rent $1550 per month Fully furnished 1 bedroom plus den 1 bath ~830 sq. feet balcony private rooftop patio Located in Esquimalt, British Columbia our condo is available for rent this coming summer. The condo, located on the top floor of the ...
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Tiny Space Artist

I'm a tiny space artist.  A little room at the top of the stairs, meant as a landing for the rooftop patio, is now an office, a guest room and a yoga studio. And it's my little haven. Almost exactly a month ago I had my last writing class and ...
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Christmas in Victoria

The light dusting of snow fell quietly, dampening my hair and squeaking under my crocks. We've just finished a west coast Christmas Eve dinner, salmon, prawns, perogies and meatballs. Were it not for Tucker I might not even have stepped outside this evening. The view from our balcony is of ...
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Finally… on route to Vancouver Island

Since 1977 I've planned this move to Vancouver Island.  Back then I had this bad-ass boyfriend that I was getting all too serious about. I decided it was time to pack a backpack and hitchhike west.  I was 17. My Mother bought me a 4 month rail pass at the ...
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The Pink Dolphin

Beneath the river lie mysterious treasures, yet undiscovered. Deep in the murky waters of the Amazon River, feeding on catfish and piranha, live the mysterious pink dolphins. Known as Boto, or Bufeo by the locals, these mammals are the largest and most intelligent dolphins. Locals believe they lure children who ...
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Larry’s Arch – The Keen’s Grant

Larry's Arch is a picturesque 200-metre path along the Pinawa Channel on Pinawa's part of The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail). It's been named after Pinawa's first trail builder, Larry Gauthier (now retired). Twenty years ago Larry found this pretty spot and thought it would make a nice walk. This ...
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My Tenacious Christmas Tree

I have a small hidden pond in my backyard that attracts all sorts of wonderful things; birds, frogs, snakes, dragonflies... but for the past couple of years it was attracting a gnarly little pine tree (or spruce or fir I've been told). Two springs in a  row I took the ...
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Our Victoria Condo

The woman walking across the street at 7 AM this Sunday morning leaves the sidewalk and walks on the road. I wonder why? I stand up for a closer look. There is a man sitting in front of Ming's Variety Store, brown paper bag in hand, enjoying a smoke. Somehow ...
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Awaken As I Come Home

Shards

The assignment is Ekphrastic Poetry. Ekphrastic poetry describes a work of art in words in a specific way. The poem must have 4 stanzas. The first describes the art objectively, the second subjectively, the third interpretively and the fourth is a turn away from the artwork towards a broader concern ...
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The Retirement

This is my second attempt at fiction. Really,  just fiction, I swear. It’s just economics. Don’t you be judging me. Statistics are clear, most men don’t live past 65 and there are way more widows than widowers out there. Do you think this is a coincidence?  What happens in a ...
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Meet Shannon Dee

As part of my Creative Writing course, I had to interview a Canadian author and update their Wikipedia page. This was an opportunity for a wonderful lunch at Pineridge Hollow with an old friend. If you're looking for some new children's literature for Christmas gifts, her books are great reads, ...
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Van Life

Be careful what you wish for. If you're life seems a little boring and you're yearning for adventure, follow me but be prepared. It's not always fun and games. We were still east of Regina when Westie broke down for the first time. The problem was overheating, but the cause ...
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A dark street in Spain along the Camino

An Unfamiliar Place

An Unfamiliar Place is a story I wrote for a contest several years ago. I am republishing it here for my Creative Writing class and requesting feedback from my Professor. Some of my readers may already have read a version of this story. An Unfamiliar Place Day 23: The guidebook ...
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The truck

The Anniversary

It had been a fun evening until the end. We had over-stayed our welcome and had too much to drink. Awkward good byes were said and we headed out to the dark street. That truck, if only she could talk. We’d bought her from my brother for $150. He’d had ...
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Portraits of the North – Meeting Gerald Kuehl

The portrait of Betsy Anderson that I stared at while waiting for Gerald to take the floor is mesmerizing. Her toothless smile, deeply lined skin and worn kerchief tell a story I know I want to hear, and Gerald Kuehl tells it. Betsy is 101 years old in this photo, ...
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Back to School

Writer’s Block!

Or maybe I should call it pure intimidation. I've started school this week - a creative writing course at the University of Winnipeg. It's a second year English class, and please don't tell my prof but this is my first ever post-secondary English course ever. Hopefully he's too busy to ...
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That’s a wrap – TCT Celebration

Thirteen hikers caught the bus from Pinawa Dam at 7:30 AM for the Pinawa through-hike, heading to our starting point Seven Sisters Falls Hydro Generating Station. Already the volunteers had started arriving. When Rosie pulled in with the school bus, I knew it was all going to go just fine ...
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Details of our TCT Celebration

On August 26th the Pinawa and Lac du Bonnet Trail Organizations will be celebrating the Canada 150 Trans Canada Trail 25th anniversary and connection of the trail by flooding our trails with people all day long. We've worked out the details. All you need to do is decide which event(s) ...
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Celebrations on the Great Trail

The Trans Canada Trail with support from Canadian Heritage has a goal to connect The Great Trail and the country for a grand celebration on August 26, 2017. Communities across Canada will be celebrating the full connection of The Great Trail and Canada’s 150th on the same date. The Pinawa ...
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Pinawa’s Great Trail

Pinawa's section of the Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail, spans 27.5 kilometres, from the Seven Sisters Falls Hydro Dam in the south, to the historic Old Pinawa Dam Heritage Park in the north. The trail travels through boreal forest and over granite outcrops of the Canadian ...
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Canada Day on the Great Trail

What better way to celebrate Canada Day than with a hike on the Trans Canada Trail. Please join me on July 1 as I lead a guided hike along a beautiful stretch of trail in Pinawa, Manitoba. Where: The hike will begin and end at the Pinawa Marina. We will ...
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Cycling Pinawa to Seven Sisters

Approximately 17 kilometres from Pinawa town centre to Seven Sisters town centre. Pinawa's favourite cycling path is back! The Trans Canada Trail between Pinawa and Seven Sisters is open for business again.  This trail has been closed for almost two years - first due to construction at the Pinawa lagoons, ...
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Cape of Good Hope

For a detailed account of this trip visit http://traillady.com/cape-town/ and then follow the right link at the bottom of each blog post. Cape Town to Cape Town complete. Our 11,400 kilometre African road trip is over, ending fittingly at the Cape of Good Hope, where sailors breathe easier once rounding ...
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Stellenbosch

The two wino's have finally made it to the heart of some of the worlds best wineries, Stellenbosch, South Africa. It is a painful reality that Canadians are only allowed to bring back two bottles of wine per person. One of life's regrets. Stellenbosch is a lot like the Okanagan ...
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South Africa – the Garden Route

Last week of travel and it looks like we're going out in style. We've reached the "Garden Route" of South Africa. If Namibia was Africa light, Botswana Africa wild and Mozambique Africa crazy, the Garden Route is Africa civilized (Ray says soft but I disagree). We are skipping from one ...
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South Africa – The Wild Coast

We've been on the road for a long time now and feeling road weary. There are days that all we'd like is a transporter machine to get us home. We've arrived on the eastern shore of South Africa now - to an area inexplicably called The Wild Coast. We were ...
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The Drakensberg Mountains

All those places that were just names on the map are coming alive to me now. Since we're in the neighbourhood, we decided to check out some world heritage site hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains. We got out the maps and asked some advice, and landed ourselves at the Garden ...
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Splashy Fen

Want to know how South Africans celebrate the Easter holiday? Well, at least about 5000 of them go to Splashy Fen, a music festival in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. It's much like any music fest you might attend in Canada, but with a distinctly crazy South African flair ...
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Swaziland

With relief we crossed the border from Mozambique into the Kingdom of Swaziland, with a friendly border guard and a 50 Rand ($5 CDN) road fee for Britzie. The drive immediately became saner, although everything is a matter of perspective. Looking back now Swaziland was not quite as modern as ...
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Mozambique

I apologize for any spelling, grammar or other errors in this post. I'm trying to upload it at a Wimpy's in some obscure South African town and we have a music fest to try and get to before dark. What the heck is going on in this country? Insanity mixed ...
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Kruger Park

A week in Kruger Park, a week of great campgrounds, amazing wildlife and South African families kicking off their three-week school holiday. Honestly, we've entered a completely different world now in Mozambique and Kruger seems like it was weeks ago. One thing I'll say about Africa, its diverse. Blink and ...
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Botswana

Wild and gracious and, in our case wet Botswana. Our short visit here has left a wonderful impression. Much of where we wanted to go, like the Okavango Delta, is currently flooded and the roads closed so our trip was cut a bit short, but what a trip it was ...
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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Today we visited Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. You cannot come to this part of Africa and not visit the Falls, or so says everyone I know who has been here. I'm not sure everyone is quite aware of the effort and cost one must ...
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The Caprivi Strip

Today we traveled most of the Caprivi Strip, a narrow patch of land that runs about 450 k between Namibia and Botswana. The strip is bordered to the north by Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe and to the south by Namibia and Botswana. This rainy season this is our only access ...
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Etosha Park

Trying to put Etosha Park into words is going to be work. We've just spent three nights here, pressing on now toward Botswana. Etosha is all about the animals, animals without fences. There are fences in Etosha, around the camps and around the odd Picnic spot, but they are for ...
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The Skeleton Coast

March 16, 2017 As I write I am sitting in darkness at a watering hole waiting for sunrise. We are camped all by ourselves on the outskirts of Etosha Park, - at "Johnnies Place",  close but not yet bound by park rules. As drives go, the Skeleton Coast must just ...
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Swankopmund

Five hundred dusty gravel kilometres from Soussevlei lies the unlikely German seaside city of Swankopmund. 50,000 people call this home, and many of them seem to have traveled the world before settling here. The Danish couple that sold us vegetables from their farm had tried to settle in Canada first, ...
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Welcome to Namibia!

March 14, 2017 The alarm on the cell rang at 4:30 AM. By 4:45 the camp had been dismantled and we were lined up at the gate. Last night the park attendant told us it was not possible to see the sunrise from the top of "big daddy", the largest ...
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Cape Town to Namibia

March 7, 2017 Well, we are finally on the road, and not without a few surprises. Our first surprise was that our rental camper was not available on the day they picked us up in Cape Town. It had been in an accident and another one was on route from ...
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Cape Town

None of my research prepared me for the amazing Cape Town, South Africa. This is so far the most beautiful city I have ever visited. The spectacular beaches framed by the ominous mountains, Table Mountain being only one of many, makes for a startling natural beauty. The friendliness of the ...
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Munich stopover

First blog post with my new iPad on the way to Africa. So far the karma is with us. Our trip started with a ride to the airport by a shuttle taxi driver, who just happens to call Cape Town his home. We told him to drive slow and picked ...
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and we’re off

Finally we're off to Africa tomorrow. No doubt about it, this is the most intimidating trip I've planned so far. Ray has decided to google every crime statistic he can find. According to him, and I'm not sure if this is fake news or not, South Africa has the fourth ...
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Winter Hike Pinawa to Seven Sisters

Take your honey to lunch this Valentine's Day - or any day, and enjoy one of the best walks in the area to get there. The temperatures are predicted to soar above zero this week - the perfect time for your first hike of the year to Seven Sisters.  Add ...
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Preparing for Africa

Africa is calling. Almost a year in the planning, we leave finally in just two weeks. I think we're ready! Our trip will begin and end in Cape Town. We have a general itinerary but we're basically just going on an epic road trip. We have hired a caravan - ...
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I’m Back…

Just about one month ago, very early in the morning before my eyes were completely open, I managed to destroy ALL OF THE CONTENT of the Trail lady blog. Almost 10 years of writing was destroyed. I know, I couldn't believe it either so I spent more than a week ...
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Lost! I Love my Town (Pinawa)

I thought I was done with teenagers, but then Pete brought his beautiful yellow lab Marshmallow home for Christmas. Turns out Marshmallow, at 6 months old, is just entering those teen years in doggy terms.  Pete had pretty good control of him before he got here, but I guess we’ve ...
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Finisterre – The End

For people who just don’t know when to quit,there is Fisterra,the Camino to Finisterre and the end of the pagan world. This is the most western point on the European Continent,and when you reach this,you must stop walking. Ray and I had a leisurely 10 or 12 km walk to ...
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Santiago to Negreira

Back on the Camino again! Ray and I are now on the ancient trail to Finisterre,the end of the Pagan World and the most westerly point in Europe. It’s Easter weekend,of course,so we have some company. The prices have changed just a tad around here as well,as a private alburgue ...
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Madrid

I have spent the past 24 hours in the beautiful city of Madrid. I arrived yesterday around 2:15 and caught the city centre bus from the airport –so far so good. I had google directions to the casa de la plaza hostel from the city centre stop so it should ...
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Off on my Camino – Finally!

The day has finally arrived. I am off on my pilgrimage tomorrow morning. After all the planning,and booking and training –most of that shared here on my blog –it’s hard to believe that the time has finally arrived. I am as ready as I’ll ever be! My emotions this past ...
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Peaceful Christmas

Christmas is always wonderful in the Warenko home,but this year just feels extra peaceful. Both boys are home for the week and I am totally enjoying their visit in spite (or because) of all the friends that come with them. This is the first time in 15 years that I ...
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Preparations for Spain – the Spiritual Side

I am sure my pilgrimage in Spain will be a fantastic adventure and my biggest physical challenge yet,but a large part of the walk is for the spirit rather than the body or the mind. If there is one area in my life that has received no attention at all,this ...
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Occupy Wall Street

Is the Occupy movement a bunch of homeless hippies looking for a cause,or is it a legitimate protest with legitimate and achievable demands? The Occupy Wall Street movement began on September 17th in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District. In just a little over a month,the movement has gone global ...
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Dana Where Are You?

Today the Traillady and the Great Hiker were supposed to get together for a meal and a walk on the Pinawa portion of the Trans Canada Trail. Sadly,we missed each other. Here in Pinawa I am somewhat known as a walker. I’m not really sure but it’s possible that people ...
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Winnipeg Folk Festival Revisited

I just came back from 5 glorious days at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Its been about 21 years since I last attended. I’m not a folk music fan by any stretch of the imagination. I own not a single folk music CD and the only music that could be mistaken ...
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Congratulations to the Class of 2011

I recently attended my high school reunion – 34 years since the Class of 1977 last partied together. I’m not sure how many REC grads there were that year – but well over 100. At the reunion, our 50+ year old eyes strained to read name tags, looking for the ...
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Who Pays for the Internet?

I just had to weigh in on this subject! 358,000 Internet users have signed a petition against the CRTC decision to allow Internet Providers to charge for the use of their service. No doubt consumers don’t want to pay more for anything BUT, who should? I do consider myself somewhat ...
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Re-Tired…

If you work for a company for 35 years and retire they have a dinner for you and buy you a gold watch, or a fishing rod – depending on how important you were. If you own a business you spend months, or maybe years, negotiating a sale and negotiating ...
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