Lessons learned after the storm


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This should be titled “Lessons RE-learned after the storm”

But first… What storm? you ask.

I’m talking about the SIX tornadoes that touched down in the Ottawa Valley and neighbouring regions on September 21, 2018. One of them smacked the Hydro station serving thousands of customers in Nepean.

tornadoes cause mass outages

‘We’ve pretty much lost everything’: Homes destroyed as Ottawa-Gatineau

Ottawa Hydro station damaged Sep 21

John Paul Tasker · CBC News · 


It was quite the event. My area of the city lost electricity for 50 hours.

How about you? Were you greatly affected?

We are grateful that it was only electricity that we lost and not our roof, our shelter, our home. Other parts of the region were not so lucky.

If you live in Ottawa and survived the ice storm of ’98, you should have been prepared at least with an emergency preparedness kit : candles. matches, battery powered / wind-up radio, dry goods, water – something to hold you over for the first day or two.

It sure held my household over.

The Canadian Red Cross even sells the kits or gives you a list of items you should include. See http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/emergencies-and-disasters-in-canada/be-ready-emergency-preparedness-and-recovery/get-an-emergency-kit

Finally, that alert ready alarm was right

Prior to the tornadoes hitting our region, we received those annoying alarms on our cell phones. I received them on both my personal cell and work phone.

Land line hold-out still has communication

I was able to communicate by telephone with family who had power at their end of the city, and with two of my adult children who called to check in on me from other provinces.

My cell phone service was working fine – as long as the battery held out.

I was able to follow status updates by listening to the battery powered radio and checking for updates on Twitter and local news websites on my cell.

Lessons learned


One valuable lesson I learned was not to procrastinate with laundry and homework.

The previous weekend was so hot and humid that I couldn’t muster the energy to do laundry. After assessing my closet contents, I figured I had sufficient work wardrobe items to last the next week. It did but my plan of doing laundry on the next weekend was foiled by the loss of power on September 21st.

Luckily, on the Sunday, a kind family member let me do a load at his home, to shower, recharge devices, plus enjoy a hot meal!

As for the homework for the online course I am taking this semester, I should have applied myself to the readings and not gone to see The Bookshop mid-week. I had good intentions to do homework on the weekend of September 22nd.

Well, I couldn’t. I had no power, no home internet to access the required reading. Again, thanks for family and friends, I was able to use their WiFi to access the reading for that week’s lesson. I also sent an email to the course facilitator, asking for an extension. She was understanding and extended the deadline for the entire class by a couple of days.

Cats on living room chairs

A quiet, powerless Caturday September 22nd

The cats were oblivious to the lack of electricity. I knew they’d be okay in the dark because of their night vision.

One annoyance during those two darkened nights was that the old boy would wander and meow from dark corners in the apartment. I had fun getting out of bed to shuffle around, to find that black b@stard and shush him.

On the Saturday night, early Sunday morning, the little b@stard knocked my little flashlight off of my dresser, causing me to crawl on the floor on my hands and knees, feeling around for the thing in the dark.

On the Sunday, I got back into my morning routine of going for a walk around the neighbourhood. The sunrise was colourful but eerie, illuminating the darkened streets.

Sunday Morning Sunrise Sept 23

Sunday Morning Sunrise Sept 23

Will we be ready for the next time?

Environmentalists and climatologists predict that due to climate change, we can expect more of these powerful storms travelling down our valley.

I will be ready as ready can be.

Will you?




Higher Education


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Whew! I survived.

This week I attended the final class for the second course in the Spring 2018 semester at our local college.

In addition to obtaining my final grade from the instructor, I enjoyed conversations with classmates and a potluck supper abundant with food from different cultures. I was stuffed! It was interesting to learn more about the backgrounds of my classmates plus hear what they planned for the next steps in their education journey.

Aside from the stinky summer humidity, the stress from too many obligations and frustrating rush hour bus commutes, I enjoyed this back-to-school experience.

I enjoy acquiring knowledge and meeting new people. I was proud that I kept on the path for my five-year plan. 

The occasional smell of nicotine and pot smoke reminded me of high school. One floundering, talkative classmate claimed that his Cannabis use was for medicinal purposes. Okay… who am I to judge? The times they are a changing… 

My clear-minded final grades for the two courses are 91.5% and 89%. Not bad, eh? I look forward to taking just one course in the next semester. I think it’s all I can handle right now.

Thanks for dropping by.


Looking for some light humour? Visit Pampered Cats and Other Household Gods.

What was I thinking?!


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On New Year’s Day, I made a list of goals and priorities.

This has become an annual event along with reviewing accomplishments from the previous year.

Some 2018 items were general categories like health, relationships, career and financial well-being. Some items were specific like getting my drivers license.

Just before the Lunar New Year I caught the flu; I lost a week of work, socializing and getting out for provisions. My youngest adult child dropped off necessities from the grocery store. My closest friend brought me lozenges and herbal tea.

I had time to rest, wallow in self-pity, watch trashy Netflix shows and reflect.

Black cat in front of TV

Cat on Lap watching trashy Netflix shows with me

I used some of the recent recommendations from the Year of the Dog Feng Shui workshop to rearrange my living space, to revisit my personal space and time. According to our instructor, this coming year would be a good one for career and education.

black cat in front of documents and tablet

Cat on lap helping with Lunar New Year cleanse preparations

It could have been the haze of the flu lifting but I had a vision of where I would like to be in five years, let alone one. I revisited and embraced information about an early love, the love of libraries. I registered for a college program as a part-time student.

Coming out from under the winter funk, I felt motivated to move my body more and soon put some goals into action. I pushed myself to the end of April, as I studied for the written test for the drivers license.

Black cat in front of screens

Cat on Lap helping me study for the written test

I passed the test and earned my G1. Yippee!

In early May, I started attending night classes for two courses in a college program. By late June I was wondering “What was I thinking?!”. The stress of work demands and school assignments was starting to peak.

I felt a great relief by last weekend after delivering a successful presentation in one class and completing the midterm exam in another.

Now enjoying a wisely planned vacation week, I can relax and muster up enough energy to get me through the next six weeks of school (plus that work thing and weekend volunteer shifts…)

I am continuing with my morning walks because my physical and spiritual health are important to me.

I am planning to take driving lessons this fall and winter so I can pass the road test by next spring. I look forward to being independently mobile for future travel.

I think I’ll only take one night class this fall though!

We’re half-way through the year. Whew!

Thanks for stopping by. If you like the black cat’s appearances, you can see more of him and the Fat Tabby at this blogIf you like my writing style, you might enjoy reading my novel from 2011.

What’s your opinion of setting annual goals? Lifelong learning?