Canadian Snowbird Stories

The fountain in Fountain Hills Arizona – on St Patrick’s Day. the water is tinted green.

I’ve edited the following popular Snowbird joke that circulates in emails. I made it an Alberta/Arizona joke instead of Minneapolis/Florida (though it is rather far fetched to think someone would choose to honeymoon in Arizona…)

An Alberta couple decided to go to Arizona to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Calgary and flew to Phoenix on Thursday. His wife would fly down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail since she was expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: November 18, 2004

I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
PS. Sure is freaking hot down here.
– Original Author Unknown –

Now, here is a real Canadian Snowbird story.  If you are going to run out of a prescription drug before you can get back to Canada, there could be a way you can get it refilled.

Take the remaining medication to a local Urgent Care (Primary Care Walk-in) Centre (we used the one nearest  to us, in Fountain Hills Arizona). Be sure the medication is in the original container with the label from the pharmacy that filled your prescription.

The Doctors or Nurse Practitioners will give you a similar check-up to what your doctor at home would do before renewing your prescription. There will, of course, be a fee for this service.

The prescription will be sent to a pharmacy of your choice for pick-up the next day.

This and That – Seenagers

A Sunflower in the hay field across the road. For some reason, there were only about a dozen of these cheerful flowers in the quarter section.  The blooms lasted for about 2 days before the swather cut them down. Timing is everything…

The Quippery

Speaking of music, I downloaded Copy Trans Manager and used it to upload music to two little (and old) iPod Nanos (second and third generation.) The program works well and it was ever so nice not to have to put iTunes on my computer.

Steve Jobs apparently once joked that Apple’s iTunes software for Windows computers was extremely popular, because “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.” I disagree. Getting iTunes off your computer  – now that is hell.

Speaking of age, here are all my Age Quotations. I have friends I should send this link to, but right now I can’t remember their names. So please forward this to your friends… etc.

My 52 Friends Plan for Retirement

We lived overseas (UK and the Middle East) for 5 1/2 years. When  it was time to return home to Canada, we were entering a new phase of life – we were retirees! It was a leap of faith. We could only guess whether our new economic situation was going to be adequate in a country we hadn’t lived in for a while!

We had made quite a few friends as expats, so before we moved home I came up with a cunning plan. If in fact there was going to be more month than money, we could sponge off visit our friends, on a rotating schedule. If I could find 52 friends who would each host us for one week, we didn’t really even have to have a home. I called it my 52 Friends Plan.

The roll out of my plan took place at our Overseas Going Away Party. We invited lots of people. Many of them were going to be retiring to places we thought we might like to visit. When they arrived at the party, I handed them a flyer I had printed up. It read as follows:

The Canadian Visitors Plan
You can avoid Surprise visits from retired Canadians by applying for Membership to The Canadian Visitors Plan. Once your application has been processed, you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your Canadian Guests will only stay with you for one predetermined week each year.

ToonadayAre Canadians Hard to Look After?
Canadians are a hardy and adaptable bunch, with relatively few special needs. We’ll send you a short list of ideas about how to make them feel comfortable in your home, along with suggested menu plans and wine pairings. We then encourage you to correspond with your Foster Canadian prior to their first visit. This will guide you in selecting a good list of sights to send them off to, so they won’t be in your home and bothering you during the day.

Is This Like an Exchange Program?
No, you are under no obligation to visit your Canadian in their home environment. But after your Canadian’s first visit at your home, your Canadian will undoubtedly encourage you to come and visit them (assuming they are not really homeless…) You will want to ascertain just what part of Canada your Canadian lives in, and what kind of accommodation they can offer you before you accept such an invitation. And while it is totally untrue that you have seen all of Canada just because you went to Toronto on business, there are many parts of Canada that you might not want to visit if your Canadian invites you to come in February.

The Selection Process
We will select a suitable Canadian, based on the preferences you indicate when you fill out your application form. Once we have assigned you your Canadian, we will send you an 4X6 glossy to hang on your fridge. But, if you are eager to start your friendship with a Canadian today, we can assign you this lovely couple… (Then I inserted our name, address, phone number and e-mail address.)

52 Weeks in a year – 52 Friends. It just made so much sense to me. Unfortunately no one took my 52 Friends Plan seriously. Not a single person signed up.

Within a month of arriving home, we received a request for accommodation from one of those expat friends. They stayed with us for two weeks – and we were but one of several people they were staying with as they hopscotched around the country. They were living my cunning plan. Excellent! My good idea worked – just not the way I thought it would.

What great ideas have you had that didn’t work out the way you planned?


Speaking Quotations

The Quippery

A closed mind is an enigma indeed. Nothing ever goes in – but odd things are forever coming out.
– Laurence Dunphy –

All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears, of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark, or speaking before the Rotary Club, or the words ‘some assembly required.’
– Dave Barry –

An echo is pretty accurate, but it doesn’t contribute much that is new.
– E.C. McKenzie –

As in the days of his prime, McLuhan was eager to share a bit of intellectual gold he had just discovered in his endless prospecting.
– Philip Marchand –

Be sincere, be brief, be seated.
– Franklin Roosevelt –

Beware the tongue. It’s normally wet and likely to slip.
– Author Unknown –

Boren’s First Law: When in doubt, mumble.
– Author Unknown –

Commencement speakers have a good deal in common with grandfather clocks: Standing usually some six feet tall, typically ponderous in construction, more traditional than functional, their distinction is largely their noisy communication of essentially commonplace information.
– Denzel Feinberg –

Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself. It’s the only way you can be sure somebody’s listening.
– F.P. Jones –

Every speaker has a mouth,
an arrangement rather neat.
Sometimes it’s filled with wisdom,
sometimes it’s filled with feet.
– Robert Orben –

Finster’s Law: a closed mouth gathers no feet.
– Author Unknown –

For good or ill, your conversation is your advertisement. Every time you open your mouth you let men look into your mind.
– Bruce Barton, Readers Digest, January 1974 –

I didn’t know at first that there were two languages in Canada. I just thought that there was one way to speak to my father and another to speak to my mother.
– St. Laurent, Louis –

I don’t call it gossip, I call it “emotional speculation”.
– Laurie Colwin –

I’d rather be told “Have a nice day,” by someone who doesn’t mean it, than “Sod off,” by someone who does. (Answer to the question of how he felt about American insincerity.)
– Author Unknown –

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
– Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman, attributed –

I love my body, but I’d like to have a sieve over my mouth. Sometimes I read what I say – apparently sarcasm doesn’t translate in print.
– Sandra Bullock –

I’m not sure if I should be here speaking. When I was younger, they said I was too introverted to even lead in silent prayer.
– Tom Livingston-

I never know how much of what I say is true.
– Bette Midler –

I never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?
– Joan Baez –

It does seem so pleasant to talk with an old acquaintance who knows what you know. Conversation has got to have some root in the past, or else you have got to explain every remark you make, and it wears a person out.
– Sarah Orne Jewett –

It’s all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation.
– Dr. Rob Gilbert-

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
– Mark Twain –

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don’t know.
– Mark Twain –

Light travels faster than sound. That’s why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak.
– Albert Einstein –

My job is to talk; your job is to listen. If you finish first, please let me know.
– Harry Herschfield –

Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
– Author Unknown –

Of course everything has been said that needs to be said – but since no one was listening it has to be said again.
– Author Unknown –

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
– Will Durant –

Revolving doors pushed quarters of conversation out into the street.
– Colum, McCann Let the Great World Spin –

Tact is the talent of shutting up before someone else wants you to.
– Unknown Chinese Fortune Cookie –

Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.
– Author Unknown –

The brightest things you ever say are those you think about next day.
– Arnold Glasow –

The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.
– George Jessel –

The thoughts of two people are more valuable than money. When two people exchange dollar bills, each still has only one dollar. When they exchange ideas, each then has two ideas.
– Author Unknown, Bits & Pieces, April 25, 1996 –

The tongue is the deadliest of all blunt instruments.
– Shannon Rice –

The words you speak today should be soft and tender, for tomorrow you may have to eat them.
– Author Unknown –

We communicate with our bodies, especially the hands. How many people, when asked to describe a corkscrew, can do it without twirling their finger?
– Author Unknown –

When I was born I was so surprised I couldn’t talk for a year and a half.
– Gracie Allen –

When your mind goes blank, don’t forget to turn off the sound!
– Author Unknown –

We’ve had our cliches framed
and hung up on the wall
so now for conversation
we don’t have to talk at all.
– Roger McGough “Mute Consent”, Worse Verse, 1969 –

Women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself – like, for instance, he can’t find any clean socks.
– Jean Kerr –

Humour (Humor) Quotations

The Quippery

A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein –

Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.
– Sid Caesar –

Everyone is flailing through this life without an owner’s manual, with whatever modicum of grace and good humor we can manage.
– Anne Lamott –

He who laughs last didn’t get it.
– Helen Giangregorio –

Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.
– E.B. White 1899-1985 –

Humor is a rubber sword – it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.
– Mary Hirsch –

Humor is, I think, the subtlest and chanciest of literary forms. It is surely not accidental that there are a thousand novelists, essayists, poets or journalists for each humorist. It is a long, long time between James Thurbers.
– Leo Rosten –

If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.
– Groucho Marx –

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
– Francis Bacon –

Laughing stock: cattle with a sense of humor.
– Steven Wright –

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.
– Langston Hughes –

On a throne at the center of a sense of humor sits a capacity for irony. All wit rests on a cheerful awareness of life’s incongruities. It is a gentling awareness, and no politician without it should be allowed near power.
– George Will –

One thing you can’t pretend to be is funny.
– Cynthia Copeland Lewis –

Question: What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Walter Cronkite: I’m strongly urged by advisers not to say “moral laxity,” so let’s say “sense of humor.”
– Proust questionnaire, in Vanity Fair, 1997 –

That’s the great thing about a sense of humor and a sex drive, you can’t wait to share it with everybody else.
– Dolly Parton –

The first thing people lose on a diet is their sense of humor.
– Gunnar Peterson –

The opposite of funny isn’t serious, it’s not funny.
– G.K. Chesterton –

There is nothing like a gleam of humor to reassure you that a fellow human being is ticking inside a strange face.
– Eva Hoffman –

What is humor? A sense of perspective – a removal of the self from the centre of the Universe resulting in taking one’s own self lightly while taking one’s work in life seriously.
-C.W. Metcalf –

Wit has truth in it. Wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.
– Dorothy Parker Writers at Work interviews, 1958 –

When filled with humour the body becomes loose, relaxed, tension dissolves. Thinking becomes clearer, more optimistic, it is easier to focus. Our manner also changes and we become more expressive, more giving. Even an insincere smile works, because the mind may be smart but the body is stupid.
– David Granierer –