Buncha Hanoi and walking on the coldest day thus far!

Proof of seeing Misun and David at Buncha Hanoi.


It was -11 Celsius, about 12 degrees Fahrenheit. This presented me with a challenge as I wondered what to wear for the morning dogwalk. I have a new, retro Patagonia jacket that I have been wearing non-stop from the slightly cold to the very cold weather. It is surprising because it does not look as efficient as it actually is. It is light, and has a kind of shaggy lambswool look to it in blue. Anyway, it is amazing. I wore a light vest over a long sleeved Gap shirt, a gaiter, just in case, my usually beanie, but my very warm mittens, since my hands have a tendency to get cold.

My efforts to stay warm worked.

At least my fingers are not cracking, I think because of the large amounts of water I am consuming. Yesterday, I had more than 120 ounces of water, which was not my intent, but a visit to our local Vietnamese restaurant was the cause. Not only did I drink water and have a delicious soup, I had a green tea laced with Matcha. In it, was placed some sliced ginger and organic honey. We had the tea along with a warm sweet banana dessert that was so different and exotic, but amazing. Once again, it was Buncha Hanoi. The owner came over again and talked to us and she told us we can get the tea at Costco!

A side thought on the restaurant. Few people were there, which is exactly what we wanted in these Pandemic times, and we had gone with our Stratford travel companions. While we were sitting there, in walked our youngest son’s in-laws. They came over, we introduced them, and they went and sat down at another table. We went over, took a photo with them and then sat back down.

Just before they left, Misun and David stopped by our table and David whispered that he had paid our bill!  We were absolutely blown away by the gesture. We are still reeling from the wonderful generosity and kindness. The world needs more kindness and they are certainly at the forefront of this.

Okay, I need to clean up and get ready to Zoom.

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More on Water

This is how I start out my day. This is a glass I love. Not a beer drinker here but I love this glass that holds 16 oz.

It has been over a month and I am still on tap for continuing my efforts to keep my water intake up. 

I was concerned about my water intake and concerned that overall, I was just not hydrating well. I am finding that the older I get, the more likely that I am not craving water like I used to. I looked into it and decided, that despite the fact that I will have to spend more time in the bathroom, that it is, in fact, a powerfully great idea.

I wrote a post about it and I got responses that counseled me to get an app.

I did. WaterMinder, which works powerfully well with my Apple products and even with my Apple Watch.

They came up with the idea that I need about 3 liters or 100 ounces of water per day. Needless to say, a lot of water. I have checked other sites that say, maybe between 70 and 80 ounces are good for my size and weight.

Here is my take after a month. My dry skin on my shins is gone. My thumbs, often a problem for cracking on either side of the nails is gone. My need for cream is little. It all makes me seriously wonder, how many people are walking around in a constant state of dehydration and how many of them are risking all sorts of health scenarios by not hydrating. Think of the cream they are wasting their money on!

It is a huge question.

Meanwhile, I will continue to try and do my three liters. I will say that the constant urge I have experienced to spend time releasing extra water from my system has improved greatly. It appears that with time, my body is adjusting for the larger intake of water and what was, at the beginning, a major amount of time running to the bathroom has seriously settled down. I hope I can settle in to this better habit.

Posted in Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy, Water | Leave a comment

Thoughts of Stratford, 2022

MK, CC, and Tony walking back from town to the “Three Houses”


The more I think about it, the less likely I think it is to happen. It has been a few years since we have been to Canada, much less Stratford. It is questionable whether or not we shall be there next year, although we are currently in preparation to at least attempt to make it a reality.

MK had been in contact with our B&B for some time. Years ago, when the B&B we were going to decided to close, we found one in town that was recommended and we have been there ever since. We started going there in 2008, our 3rd Stratford year, I remember being ‘interviewed’ by the owner, David and all the wonderful moments we had there.

Several years before the Pandemic, David told us that he was looking to divest himself from the B&B business, having come to it after a profitable time in the local restaurants. Then the Pandemic came in and we waited with bated breath thinking we might be able to go, at least by this year, but that did not happen.

Yesterday, we received word that the possibilities for us in our usual time frame, had pretty much vanished from the scene. Mary Kay went into Stratford mode and searched out our possibilities. She touched base with our travel companions, talked to other friends with whom we coordinate our travel times, and we looked to checking out our housing options. She came up with  something so if all goes well, we shall be once again in Stratford. As in every other part of our lives, nothing will be even remotely the same.

It seems hard to believe that we shall no longer be at the B&B with the most fascinating people, including our dear friend, Adrienne and her husband, but as we all know, all things must come to an end at some time. I still haven’t even spoken to Adrienne about it as it all came about so suddenly.

We are still in a bit of shock.

Again, I really doubt that it is going to come about anyway. Given the tenor of the situation and the new Omicron variant, one wonders if and when the shackles of this disease will ever let us go, at least within our lifespan.

Although we shall miss our usual situation, it shall be fun checking out something different.

Life moves on.

Posted in Canada, Life in general, Stratford, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Unseasonable weather as we head toward Christmas


Yes, we have had some snow, but nothing has yet stuck and despite the cold and the warm days here and there, it is as the rest of the year, unseasonable.

Unreasonable comes to mind as I say unseasonable. The world and its inhabitants are highly unreasonable, as we have see in recent days and I wonder when that cycle is going to continue into more normalcy.

Yesterday, as most of the work out of doors is done, I have turned to doing some things within the house. Not that I had not been doing them before, but well, try and keep me sitting in a chair!  We have had some cleaning issues as we do have someone clean the house every two weeks and our kind couple who does that has not been able to come. We don’t know when they shall return. Their son was killed recently in Mexico. We don’t know any of the details, but it is so sad to see a hard working couple knocked down by a horrible situation like that.

One of the things we have noticed about our cleaning team is that they are okay, quite fast, quite quiet, but also not as thorough as they could be, and that is okay. We have periodically asked them to pay a little more attention, and they do, but sometimes, we need to get involved so I was down on my hands and knees, and I thank the Lord that I can do that, wiping down the woodwork. In doing so, when I moved a tall cabinet, somehow one of its feet came off. Today I will have to find something to maintain its safety as the foot is currently on, albeit not attached with a screw or nail, and holding it up. There is always something.

The house is pretty much all decorated. Today, I plan to bring in some wood. We just had a whole cord of wood delivered, received as a Christmas gift from one of our sons. The wood looks good and will most assuredly be used. Perhaps one of the other things I can do is to remove the current ashes from the fireplace and distribute this natural fertilizer on the grass.

Okay, time to walk Stewart.

Posted in Christmas, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts of the past: words of a former student


I have been mulling over a recent communication I had with a former student. I was, in effect, totally blown away. Sometimes, we have no idea how what we put into a situation is actually perceived. More often than not, we have no idea. Then, years later, you find out that your care, concern, and demeanor were better understood than you ever would have thought.

My student was a most charming, young man who did things that were off the wall funny and interesting. There is no doubt, however, that given the time constraints and material that needed to be shared and hopefully absorbed, that sometimes, clownish antics and comedy might be less than welcome. Especially in the classroom.

I never doubted that this young man was intelligent, bright, creative, and hysterically funny. He was one of many I had and as I remember, not always the type of student that would be appreciated by other teachers. I don’t think I ever had to kick him out of class, but he may have had that occur in other classes.

I am not sure, in my memory, if he always did his homework. I do know that his grade perhaps didn’t reflect his true ability. I also know, having three sons very close in age to him, made me a bit more understanding of his persona and his plight. I also remember the extreme ease with which he picked up everything. His mind was and is like a proverbial steel trap.

On social media, recently, I saw that he had changed jobs. I asked him what he was doing, not being very clear to point out that I knew for whom he was working, as it was pointed out in the message. I wanted to know what he was doing for this well known national concern.

I have not used his name or the location of his work to protect him and his job.

This is what he responded.

“oui je travaille pour ((())). c’est celui que tu connais. s’il vous plaît, ne leur dites pas à quel point j’étais un gamin de quatorze à dix-huit ans. j’aurai 40 ans le mois prochain je suis différent maintenant.”

Here, he was quite impressive to respond in understandable French. He said, “Yes, I work for ((())). It is the one you know. (He had done something like put the letters of the concern, like AT&T and I had asked if he worked for ‘Animal Traffic and Transportation.’) Please don’t tell them what I was like when I was a kid between the ages of fourteen and eighteen years old. I will be 40 next month and I am a different person now.

He continued in English.

“Wow I can’t believe it’s been ten years since my last message to you.

I am now, and again, working for ((())). It used to be ((())), which was owned by ((())). then Xerox bought ((())), and moved everyone to New York City. i said no. I stayed here in Boston and I’ve made, what people will tell you, is a huge career for myself. So now I’ve gone back to working for ((())). I write all the commercials and campaigns for all of our upcoming events. 

I think about you all the time. I really wish I could have done things differently. I am so sorry for how I acted back then. I was someone who didnt know how to be himself. But you always, always believed in me. And you always took care of me.

I wish you were still teaching so that I could come in and tell your students how much of an important person you are. But please know that it will never be lost on me. Thank you for everything.


Needless to say, this almost had me bawling. No joke. 

Again, one never knows. I am so glad I asked him about what he was doing. Just before I did, I had spoken to my wife about the past and students she had encountered and we compared notes on similar ones we had both had. We know them well and despite sometimes being a bit annoying, we always loved them and knew they would turn out well.

Well, this one certainly did and this one really made my day.

Posted in Life in general, New Trier High School, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment