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Archive for November, 2012

Last year, I debated whether its better to celebrate Thanksgiving in November like my fellow Americans or in October as it is celebrated here in Canada. At that time, I considered it a draw. (See-When is the best time to Celebrate Thanksgiving)

Well, I think I’ve changed my mind. I now believe that Canadian Thanksgiving should be observed simultaneously with the American holiday. The reason: Shopping, Shopping, Shopping.

Lady Shopper with Sales SignsThe terms Black Friday and Cyber Monday have now entered Canadian speak. Hoards of Canadian shoppers now make the annual trek stateside to participate in the madness of post Thanksgiving sales. I think Buffalo, NY and other border cities may have more “eh” speaking customers than residents in those line-ups trying to score those big screen TVs and other doorcrashers.

Many people are already taking time off work to hit those south of the border sales. Countless business hours are lost the following Monday by people looking for the best Cyber Monday bargains. Retailers in Canada are even jumping on board offering extended store hours and Black Friday deals of their own – an attempt to keep those dollars on this side of the border.

With so many people already making it a holiday for themselves, why not just jump on the bandwagon and make the official Thanksgiving switch. Don’t want to make such a radical change. Fine, here’s another idea. You can keep Thanksgiving in October and find something else to commemorate late November. Everyone appreciates a holiday. In the USA, Columbus Day coincides with the Canadian Thanksgiving. I’m sure the creative lawmakers of Canada can figure out something to celebrate in November. Anything that incorporates large meals, excessive sports watching and a weekend of shopping will do.

This suggestion works both ways. For years I’ve been calling for the introduction of Boxing Day to Americans. In fact now that Barack Obama has job security for the next four years, its time to give him a call. Hello President Obama? What are your plans for the Day after Christmas?

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What a rough couple of weeks. Hurricane Sandy which became known as Super Storm Sandy which became Super Pain Sandy hit the New York and surrounding areas on October 29, 2012 like a punch in the gut. Watching the devastation was heartbreaking. Entire neighborhoods flooded. Lives lost. Houses and lifelong belongings and memories swept away within minutes.  While I was safe and warm here in Toronto, my family is all back there so it was a very worrisome time for me. The most difficult part of all this for me?  Not being able to get in touch with any one in my family. With power and phone service out and cell and internet spotty at best, it was days before I could get an update from anyone down there. It was such a strange and unsettling feeling. In these days of social media, with everything being tweeted before it seems it even happened, the idea of no communication at all can be a startling sensation.

Millions were left without power, some even weeks later. Gas shortages caused tempers to flare in long line-ups. No electricity, no lights, no hot water, no heat- I don’t know how my family and all those others did it. Would I be able to take it that long? I applaud their strength and determination and only hope I would have that courage.

Below is a video shot and edited by my cousin, Scott Meyer, a professional film editor. It shows the damage and devastation Hurricane Sandy did in Howard Beach, New York, an area hit particularly hard.

Living here in Toronto, I have experienced my share of weather. I think we only have two seasons here. Every year it seems we skip fall and spring and have extended summers and winters. Yes, I have felt cold. I have experienced snow, often more than I can deal with. I have also sweated through hot, humid summers. But, I have never been caught in a weather event that devastating or destroying. I lose my power for more than an hour and I’m a basket case. I remember the great blackout of 2003. My power was out for 25 hours. It was terrible. I remember following the radio coverage as neighborhood by neighborhood got power back while I was still in the dark. Nothing is more irritating than hearing ‘with the exception of small pockets, power has been restored to 95% of Toronto’ when you’re residing in one of “those small pockets” But that was only one day and it was in the summer. I can’t imagine going without power for over a week, in November when the days are short and temperatures drop near freezing at night.

Would you be able to hold up under those trying circumstances? Have you ever experienced anything like that and how did you cope? Let me know by leaving me a comment.

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