All posts filed under: Musings

The Bigger Picture: Have you ever stopped to ponder what ‘happiness’ really means?

  By my anonymous cousin Have you ever stopped to ponder what ‘happiness’ really means? We all feel it from time to time, and in our own ways. Certainly, what might constitute happiness for some, might not present the same for others. It is both bizarre and fantastic to me that happiness has the power to show up tailored to each of our adventures in life. Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘happiness’ as: “A state of well-being and contentment.” Alternatively, it is described as “a pleasurable or satisfying experience.” Anthropologist Ashley Montagu once wrote: “The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” I love this quote. I absolutely agree that happiness has the ability to grab hold of us — sometimes in a moment’s notice — and take us on an exhilarating ride. A universal dilemma, often portrayed in pop culture, is the pursuit of happiness. I feel this is best exemplified in the 2006 Hollywood blockbuster film of the same title, The …

On dumping a friend

One hot and muggy August, I fully enabled a knock-down-drag-out fight with a person whose ‘friendship,’ I felt, had dragged out much longer than it should have (it shouldn’t have extended past some bad, crescendo-reaching karaoke that took place shortly after I had met her a year-and-a-half earlier). I’ll call her Maude. I can definitively say I’ve since lost my ability to get the chills when I hear Whitney Houston belt out the climax to her cover of I Will Always Love You. Anybody who grew up during the 1980s and 1990s will understand: the part from Houston’s music video where, clad like Olivia Pope in a white pantsuit, she sits posture-perfect in a chair and goes for that high note, nailing it bang-on. It was the song that secured Ms. Houston her goddess-like stature in the music industry, years ahead of Celine Dion crooning about her heart going on. When Maude tried to replicate the hit in the handful of grubby clubs we used to circuit Sunday nights, the result was astonishing. Astonishingly awful. I’ve …

Recognition and Rewards: Know the Difference to Enhance Employee Engagement.

On March 6, you’ll notice #EmployeeAppreciationDay trending across social platforms. Twenty years ago, the first Friday in March was designated as such in North America, to create momentum around the idea of celebrating workers and their positive contributions to corporate culture. But rather than tweeting appreciation alongside blanketed tokens and goodwill gestures, shouldn’t companies be thinking on this theme more routinely—like every day? Shouldn’t this be a notion that’s innately embedded in a company’s overall corporate mission? Picking a number on a calendar and slapping on a catchy theme seems too easy; not a whole lot different than #NationalPoutineWeek or #CoffeeDay. It certainly contributes to headlines like this one proffered by a popular business magazine a couple years ago: “7 last-Minute Tips for National Employee Appreciation Day.” *This author shudders* Celebrating employee contribution by rote is one thing; doing it in a willy-nilly, shim-sham and lazy way will not enhance your reputation as a stellar employer and good corporate citizen. If upping your employee engagement factor is in fact something your company values, then you …

My Sprinkle-Free Answer to the Holiday-Themed Coffee Brew-Ha-Ha

  Some like to deck the halls—while others prefer their coffee candy-free. By now, anyone who navigates social media with some regularity would be remiss not to have noticed the trend that won’t end—the Pumpkin-Spice-in-everything phenomenon and the combination of meme-making ridicule and superlative fan shout-outs rendering the flavour du jour a broken record. Fret not your weary ears; it would seem Big Box Barista-ville has heard Twitter and company loud and clear. Popular coffee brands have untapped the yet-to-be ubiquitous Christmas market with the unveiling of both new and tried-and-true hot, artificially flavoured beverages. Candy cane, eggnog and peppermint lattes have been around a few seasons but haven’t seemed to garner the same attention befitting their fall-flavoured counterparts. That’s about to change with one shop’s newest holiday drink, the Chestnut and Praline Latte (I’m not even sure what a praline is – let alone how to pronounce the ‘a’ – but I suspect it’s a type of nut). I’m also guessing the newly revealed beverage is yet another of the syrupy and sweet, best- …

Vintage Fridge: Sometimes hoarding the old beats trading up.

In 1958 my grandfather built a clapboard cornflower blue cottage in Kannata Valley, Saskatchewan. It’s since passed down through three generations. Parts of its charm are the many retro trappings that still exist in all their 56-year-old Value Village-esque glory. From the sea-foam green plastic curtains, to a red manual can opener fastened to the cedar plank kitchen wall, to a tank of a white Frigidaire refrigerator that sits like a beast beside the cabin door. (I’m told it’s one of the oldest models in the country.) A chug-chug-hum-and-sputter one that still works and which faithfully, each summer, cools our family’s cans of pop, pilsner and popsicles. But truth be told, it’s a darn good thing we only use it in the summertime (for nostalgic purposes paying homage to our “Papa” who put it there eons earlier). Refrigerators are one of the highest energy suckers you can keep at home. Can you imagine the cost to your wallet to store such a behemoth, let alone operate it on a daily basis? Glad we still get …