Inspiring Adults to Stay Active and Stay Involved

This Blog is a creation of the Confederation Park 55 + Activity Centre's Writing Club, No Dead Horses.  All Views expressed in this blog are strictly views of the writing club and not the Confederation Park 55 + Activity Centre. If you have any questions about the blog or would like to be a guest writer, please email

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  • 2 Mar 2021 1:41 PM | Anonymous

    So, you want to write a book. You didn’t major in Literature, never took an English course and you want to know if you can still write? “Why are you asking me?” I think as my gnarly, grizzled old self snarls. Who wants to write the book? You!  Then you have the answer.

    And you want my advice? Okay then, here is it: “Take your pen in hand and write.”

    You want to tell a story? Make sure it is something you are interested in telling. Keep in mind there is always a market for good writing. And if you can keep this in mind at the same time, without driving yourself crazy - you can’t please everyone.  Trends will come and trends will go. But if you care about your story, your message and your presentation that will make your readers care.

    Don’t tell me “When (fill in the blank with your excuse)”. I don’t want to hear it. If you are committed about writing then you are committed to writing every day. No excuses. And that is final. Letters lead to words, words lead to sentences, sentences lead to paragraphs, paragraphs lead to chapters and chapters lead to novels.

    So, you think you’ll need a little support? Well who doesn’t? Join a writers’ group.

    Writing a book is not easy. Are you up for the challenge? Can you eat the proverbial elephant a teaspoon at a time? Then you can write your novel, a word at a time.

    Have you finished setting up your writing schedule yet? Ideally, your schedule should be at least six hours per week to write your book. What do you mean, “I can’t do it!”? How much time do you spend watching television? How much time do you spend watching YouTube? How much time are you on your phone?

    Create a new habit, a new regular habit with the same days and same time. You do it with your phone; you can do it with your pen and paper. You can’t find the time? Or you don’t want to make the time?

    Then you better forget about writing that book. Forget about the book cover for your novel.  And forget about the first 5 star review of your novel.

    So what are you going to do? Pick up your phone or pick up your pen?

    J. St. John

  • 19 Feb 2021 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    Have you ever thought back to your early days? The following “day in the life “ is a flash back to the 50s. As you read this reflection, do you relate to it as the mom or as the kids? All depends how old you are.

    The percolator made its bloop bloop sound and filled the kitchen with the wonderful aroma of freshly perked Nabob coffee as I dialed the phone to chew the fat with my pal, Alice.

    It rang busy so I thought well, I will call back later and picked up my Chatelaine magazine and plopped into the chesterfield.

    “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Just as I sat down, the milkman knocked at the back door. I had forgotten to leave the order on the milk box. So I put down my magazine and headed to the back porch. “I’ll take one quart of whole milk and a pound of butter.”

    I had forgotten to colour the margarine that morning so figured I could splurge and buy a little butter for supper tonight, pot roast with freshly baked buns. In fact, it was time to punch down the dough so I scurried back to the kitchen careful not to drop the glass bottle of milk. Just as I took out the dough, the phone rang. I wiped my hands on my apron and went to answer just in case it was an emergency. It was Alice. She must have psychic powers to know I had phoned. But I had to say I’d call her back. The cord wasn’t long enough to reach the kitchen counter and that bread really needed to be rolled into little buns.

    Three thirty and the kids would soon be home from school. Well, I wasn’t going to get the ironing done today so I tipped the board back into its wall cupboard and put the clothing rolled in damp tea towels back in the fridge. Carefully removing the cream from the top of the milk, I pulled some Dad’s cookies out of the cupboard just as I heard their bicycles arrive at the back. “Hi, mom,” the boys called through the screen door.

    Don’t let the door.....” Too late. The screen door bounced against the frame. One day I was 

    sure it was going to fall off. But I was very happy to see them as the chowed down on the cookies and milk. “Homework first then you can go play.”

    “Gee willikers, mom!” Charlie protested but he wanted to get to the television before dad got home and put on the news. So he pulled out his books, sat at the chrome kitchen table and started to write in his scribbler.

    Before long, their dad came home and we all sat down for the meal of pot roast and vegetables from the garden. Dessert was preserved peaches from last fall and the family holiday to the Okanagan. We talked about our day, cleared the table and washed the dishes. After the boys went to bed, Jack and I had a chance to catch up. “Phew! What a busy day!” I complained.

    I have redefined busy. Redefined simple. Redefined family time. Come to think of it. Everything seems different. It’s a pandemic! I’m blogging now, composing on my iPad using voice to text. Who could have imagined??

    By Anita Mann

  • 12 Feb 2021 11:25 AM | Anonymous

    Should You Choose to Live in a Retirement Home?

    Many people, after the age of 75 (or in some cases before that) begin to consider the possibility of moving into a seniors’ residence.  Perhaps they are beginning to experience some health problems and worry that they might die alone in their house or their condo. Perhaps their children are pressuring them to move, again because of possible health concerns.

    It might be because the yard work or the housekeeping has become too much, or a general lack of mobility keeps them isolated and alone.  In my own case, a TIA was a clear warning that an environment where there was fast access to medical assistance was preferable to living alone. After all, I did not want my relatives to have to break down my condo door only to find that my cat had been snacking on my 5 day old corpse.

    Here, then, are some things to consider.

    Do take a tour of senior residences in those parts of the city in which you would like to live. How close do you want to be to family and friends?  If you will be sharing space with a partner, ask yourself if you both will be happy living in a reduced space. Sometimes, after retirement, peace and harmony reign only when there is sufficient private space.

    Go in with a list of those things that are important to you. Is it important to have a lawn and gazebo with comfortable seating for the 6 days of summer we get? Do you want a gym with exercise equipment to maintain your fitness?

    I have been living in an “upscale” (read Private) Seniors’ residence for 3 years now, and this is what I wish I had asked before I moved in and what I would look at if I were making this decision today.

    1.    What are the “extra” costs associated with living here?  In my case, parking, “special” housekeeping services like turning a mattress or dusting the top of cupboards, hairdresser, etc. Don’t assume ALL costs are covered.

    2.    What are the meal arrangements? Is there assigned seating or can you sit by yourself if you wish? Are ALL meals covered under your contract or just one or two? Is cafeteria style available or are all meals served?

    3.    What qualifications do the medical on-site staff have?  What medical services are available on site?

    4.    If you do not have a car, what is the process for buying groceries or other shopping?

    5.    Are all residents independent or are there a percentage of suits rented to those on “assisted living”? What percentage is allocated to those with cognitive decline?

    6.    What is the ratio of staff to residents?  What percent of staff are permanent full-time? What is the staff turn-over rate?

    7.    Is there an official complaint process or dispute resolution process?

    8.    Can residents freely come and go to their suite, and have visitors in?

    9.    What kind of security does the facility have?

    10. Are the majority of residents drawn from the same type of people you socialize with now?

    While living in a residence may not be the best choice for everyone, it may be absolutely the best choice for some.

  • #1

    5 Feb 2021 2:19 PM | Anonymous

    In our little Writing Club, “No Dead Horses”, we have made our way through a variety of writing exercises, character sketches, short stories, poetry like Limericks and Haiku, and we were ready to take on another challenge.  ‘Let’s write a Blog,” someone said.  What?  Write a Blog?  Before I could start, I had to find out what a Blog is.  Here’s what I discovered . . .

    Blog:  On-line personal reflections, opinions, comments about activities and experiences.  

    Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  I’ve never had trouble verbalizing my opinions, ideas, or questions about things.  Now, all that has to be done is communicate these in an interesting way and in print form!  So here goes, from my “Ageless Mind” to you . . .

    With only a few Xmas presents waiting under the tree, I picked the one with the prettiest wrapping paper to open first.  Eagerly I pulled back the paper and there it was - “Himalaya Salt Table Lamp”? I couldn’t resist licking a finger and wiping it down the side of the lamp to discover it really is salt! What will I do with it?  The lamp needs to be plugged in and would need an extension –cord which might be a tripping hazard.  It won’t provide enough light to read by or to light my way to the bathroom.  It can’t be displayed with all my other collections - pigs, hedgehogs, Ukrainian Eggs, and moose. Nor will it fit with our extensive travel memorabilia we have on display.  

    Maybe this unusual and unneeded gift will be the impetus I need to pack up my treasures.  I’m sure you have heard that our kids don’t want any of the “good” things that our generation accumulated because we felt we needed them”.  That is why I have a plan to skip a generation and off-load our things on the grandchildren who might appreciate some of Granny’s stuff. 

    I can imagine there might be some haggling over a few items such as  the silver candle snuffer or even the green marble mantle clock which, like the Grandfather’s clock of song, hasn’t chimed in years.  The crystal water jug and glasses and the pewter tea set from pre-war China will fit nicely into whatever style of décor is popular.  However, when they find the lamp made from Himalayan salt, I’m afraid that might be one they’ll argue over!

    The grandchildren have always been a competitive bunch and this time a contest might be required to claim a treasured, but very “unusual” lamp.  However, tucked inside the box I have included a note suggesting that the lamp should pass from one to the other at Xmas.  With eight grandchildren, it would be eight years before it started its rounds again.   Each would get to enjoy this conversation piece as I have.  As well, every time it came up in conversation, they would be thinking of me!  Clever, n’est pas?

    Granny C.


  • 25 Jan 2021 10:54 AM | Anonymous

     According to Merriam-Webster, a blog is “a regular feature appearing as part of an online publication that typically relates to a particular topic and consists of articles and personal commentary by one or more authors.”

    So, here we are and here is where we plan to be on a weekly basis.

    The articles will be of interest to Seniors, written by Seniors. There will be three regular contributors, and one guest contributor every fourth week.

    No topic is off the table for our intrepid bloggers.  We sincerely hope that you will laugh, think, agree, or seriously disagree with the opinions of our writers.  As one of them said recently, “if some people don’t disagree about some positions, then we won’t be doing our job”.

    Why are we doing this?  Glad you asked.

    First, we all have strong opinions on some topics.  Some might even call us opinionated.  Whatever.

    Second, we have a strong commitment to Seniors, their issues, and their psychological well being. After all, this is our age cohort.

    Third, we want to create a forum where Seniors can express their views on various topics of the day. We invite you to respond to any article you read – like, dislike, curious, confused-anything except silence. That would make us shrivel up!

    Who can read the blog?

    Initially, the plan is to make this blog available to the membership of Confederation Park, and then, if it appears to be of interest to our membership, expand it to any other Senior who belongs to a Seniors’ group; and then finally open it up to any Senior living in the city.

    We are certainly not going to submit any potential reader to an integrity test. If you want to be an admiring reader, then you’re welcome – over or under 55. We’d even invite you to send any blog you find particularly interesting, amusing, thoughtful, or provocative to those on your email list.

    When can we expect to see our first blog?

    We know you are almost vibrating with anticipation, and we plan our first edition for Friday, Feb. 12.

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