Tuesday, January 31, 2017


A hand-man/woman’s guide to maintaining and enriching a roommate relationship.

They say necessity is the mother of invention. I have learned that moving in with someone out of necessity as a roommate requires a lot of skillful flexibility. I moved in with a man whose health was deteriorating who I did not know well, and yet we have both learned how to get along and keep our friendship intact. I realize that if people in a marriage could apply what we have learned to apply, a relationship might endure.
My roommate and I endured a terrible landlord, floods, no heat and more. We also endured two very different distinct personalities. He is a serious introvert and a sit-in. I am active and a talker. What we have both learned is how to teach one another some survival relationship skills: give space, say hello, compromise on the bathroom, and share the cleaning load, and most of all do not take the other person’s lack of tact or poor habits to heart: laugh, laugh laugh. Use humour to help the person change bad habits. Set the example as well, and verbalize how you have contributed to cleanliness. let them know, you get tired as well. You are grateful  to him/her if she/he would split the burdens/load.

Assume and be proactive in good will intentions from yourself and the other.
If the other keeps on misbehaving in a  truly disrespectful way, call him or her out on it. Let them know that if it happens "one more time", it will be seriously handled. Make a list of changes needed for both of you. This objectifies the issues more.
Most of all, realize that we all live in our heads, and a lot of the times, we fog out on the other. These magic words have worked for us: kindness and thank you: say "thank you" even for little deeds, such as the other washing a spoon YOU used. BE KIND, EXERT PATIENCE! and try to make the other one laugh. NEVER MOVE IN WITH A STINGY PERSON. DO NOT NAG! Do not be nosy either.
Tell the other you appreciate it when he or she allows you to have an off day, but let the other one know, you are not going to be up to par that day.
SHARE SHARE SHARE in different ways. You may share your news for the day. The other may share his/her time to help you with something. Compliment when sincere. Accept the fact that you are a being who lives in his/her mind alone, but the times/activities/opinions that you can share are gifts.

Best of all, do not give up. There will be days, when you loathe the person for being massively insensitive. Be humble and honest about 2-way emotions, as anger and frustration work both ways. If you make the other happy, you feel great too. It takes energy and maturity. The pay-off is you  increase your chances of hiaving a  reliable friend for life – even if you move out down the road.

When is it time to call it quits?
Constant aggravations, two days go by without communication due to hurt and you refuse to initiate why you are not talking ot the other, and when you have reached a limit that you have no interest in recharing. You've had enough! 
Here are my top five features that tell you you must move out because the other is doing this:
BEING CONSTANTLY SELFISH, LYING, STEALING, DRINKING AND ENDANGERING YOUR SELF-ESTEEM. Move out, but always leave with calmness; do not insult the other even if you feel he/she needs to hear your invective.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hi all,
Here's Nancy Snipper's travel blog article on her "Love Affair With Merrickville".
Initially, the article was to be about the 1840 Guest House B&B but Nancy expanded her article to include the great attractions and "one of a kind" businesses in our wonderful village. 
The result is her travel blog article at the following link: Nancy Snipper Merrickville Travel Blog Link
I think Nancy has captured the great wonders, attractions and unique businesses of Merrickville extremely well and hopefully will attract many of her Montreal followers to come explore Merrickville.
Have a read.  I hope you enjoy Nancy's vivid tale of her exploits in Merrickville discovering the attractions and the unique businesses detailed in her "Love Affair With Merrickville" article.
Regards, Mike

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


                                                           (Directed by Martin Scorsese) **

 In the 17th-century, two Jesuit priests in Portugal, Rodrigues and Garrpe (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver respectively) go to Japan to search for Ferreira, their priest mentor (Liam Neeson). The church has heard that he has rejected his faith (apostatized), and so they wish to find him. They also act as priests to Christians who lead such intolerably miserable lives in hiding from the cruelty of the Japanese inquisitor. So this is about faith overcoming fear of torture. 

But this is one badly made movie in all ways; how many times can you show various way Christians were tortured by the Japanese? How many times do you have to repeat the same scene of stomping on a relief plate of Jesus under your foot?

How many times do we have to watch Christians hanging upside down in a pit, being burned, drowned and crucified? In trying to graphically chart the suffering of the two priests – in particular – Rodrigo (Garfield) and their flock of starving villagers, the movie becomes intolerably long, overly done, and pretentious. The dialectic between the Japanese inquisitor and Rodrigo; this Japanese Inquisitor is trying to convert him; it  becomes more painfully boring than having to sit in a church pew singing hymns that are monotonous rituals. 
Based on the novel written by Shusaku Endo which itself is based on true events, this historical chapter in Japanese history is not without great cruelty to Christians.

Nonetheless, its visual manifestation 
is melodramatic and self-righteously insufferable. The film would have fared better in the hands of Mel Gibson and a brand new editor. Garfield was great in Hacksaw Ridge, but the emotional height he duplicates here falls … on deaf ears. Silence is the operative word here. The script is to fault for this.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Winter Wonder at Park-Mont-Saint-Bruno

This stunning national park in Quebec’s Monteregie region, which is only 35 minutes east of Montreal, has a unique history that enthralls visitors. A mix of indelible imprints consisting of gentrified wealth and religious devotion rests on this gentle mountain.  

Quietude and pristine beauty cocoon the park. It continues to inspire visitors. Its colourful 4-seasonal vistas and multitude of surprises both natural and structural continue are a big draw – ever since it first opened in 1985. To date, close to 900,000 people annually leave their tread. 

Small in Size, Big on Variety
The park’s small size (only 8.84 kilometres in area) is deceptive park; as  you wander under the canopy of trees a vital ecosystem reveals itself in a plethora of bird life (234 species), and closer to your feet – a maze of fabulous flora (574 distinct plant species)

Deer appear on any given day – only part of the animal diversity: 35 species of mammals, along with fish and reptilian life – all zealously protected by Sépaq. Along with the activities it organizes, Sepaq ensures nature will continue to thrive in harmony with humans who constantly tread on the park’s hospitable paths of circuitous routes that frame Saint-Bruno’s five landmark lakes.

Cross-country skiing in snowy beauty on New Year’s Day
Having spent a full day during summer both on foot and accompanied by Sepaq park guide/warden Suzie in her ATV, I wanted to return in winter.
From the get-go, Mont Saint-Bruno’s welcoming Sepaq employees demonstrated expertise and enthusiasm. Take for example Rosalie at the ticket accueil who never stop smiling. And there there’s Sarah at the rental area who not only waxed my old skis, but suggested I try newer equipment. 

 She selected a spanking new pair of Rosignol skis, boots and sleek ski poles (mine were too short). Looking at the trail map Rosalie had given me, she suggested I try trail 1.  Suzie took initiative to call upon ski patroller, Timothé Plante. My first day of the New Year was about to turn gloriously in sync with the outstanding weather. The sun was shining, a fresh crop of snow had just fallen, and it was unseasonably warm.

Timothé… a guide of unparalleled passion for the outdoors
Meeting Timothé was a godsend. Not only was he incredibly patient and considerate with me. His long time experience skiing on the mountain – he started at the age of four – came into play at every turn. Only 24 years old, this remarkable man already boasts exceptional immersion experience in the outdoors; he obtained a leadership adventure guiding certificate from B.C.’s  Trinity College. He has scaled mountains all over the world, including the Rockies, the Himalayas, and the Sierra Nevada in the USA. He recently spent a stint in Norway honing more of his skills, and had just returned from British Columbia where he skied, rock climbed and camped for long periods of time.

Timothé Plante ski patrolling at Mont-Saint-Bruno

 Hearing that I had not yet been on skis last month, he mapped out a “made-to-measure-route”. We began on trail # 1 and eventually merged onto trail # 5. The park has a 35-kilometre cross-country-ski network whose nine trails range from easy to very difficult.

                       We followed a loop around part of the mountain that bordered Lac du Moulin.  
                                                                                                          (3 lake photos below taken by Jean Claude Honjik)

    A terrain of tree growth amidst brooks greeted the eye at every turn.  




    He always announced an upcoming “hill” I was about to descend. As time passed, my confidence soared. We had skiing a few hours, chalking up about 10 kilometres.   Scenic vistas transported me into snowy, tree-filled realms of ski-gliding delight.


    Time to pause

    A log fire in front of the tea house

     We went into the tea house - once an 18th-century mill. The teas and scones hit the spot.

    Here, we met up with Marie-Andray Chouinard – Timothé’s mother  who also ski patrols here.

     In fact, they are the only patrollers for its recreation ski trails.  Marie-Andray is also the park warden at Îles de Boucherville Park which I visited n the summer and this part November.  

     I loved my New Year’s Day. Perhaps I will return to explore its 3.7 trail of snowshoeing, or simply rediscover its three walking trails to enjoy the contrasting appearance of summer and winter. 

    Skiing on the trails at night starts in February, and if you love biking, rent one of their fatbikes to ride away.

    The address is: 330, rang des 25 Est, Saint-Bruno, Quebec, J3V 4P6
    For information on park activities rentals, tickets and more, visit www.parcsquebec.com/montsaintbruno. Call (450) 653-7544.