Act 346

Give food.

Tonight the CP Holiday Train pulled into town to help raise funds for the local food bank. It’s always a big draw. We do love trains. Especially the shiny, brightly lit ones with Santa on board.

I’ll try and leave my corporate cynicism at the door as to the reason CP goes to this expense. On some level, CP must understand that people enjoy exchanging something ordinary (food and money) for something extraordinary (Santa on a train with a band and lights that can be seen from outer space). So on that front, it’s successful.

The real message is about giving. And we probably don’t need such an extravagant display to give. But judging by the crowd, it certainly helps.

I’ll try and set aside my concern that food banks are a very serious symptom of what’s wrong with our society and our economy, but I’ll set that aside too.

Bottom line, there are people who need food who haven’t enough. There are people who know this and volunteer to fill that need. So give what you can.

Ironically, debt is a product of wealth. If I have debt it’s because I have wealth. If I lived in poverty, I wouldn’t have debt. I also wouldn’t have what I needed to feed my family. All things considered, I’m lucky. So if I can give a few dollars or some pasta and beans, I will. We all should.

And maybe, just maybe, Santa will give us the wherewithal to understand and address the root causes of income inequality and poverty so that one day soon, we no longer have a need for food banks at all.

 

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Act 327

Have a Grey Cup potluck

Having a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. If you enjoy football (I admit I’m a fan during playoffs), invite neighbours and friends over for a Grey Cup potluck. You’ll be amazed at what you can pull together from an average pantry. Some ribs, some cheesy potatoes, a few shrimp, a pot of chili. Doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have some fun.

Go Riders.

Act 294

Attend a networking event

I know, right? Who uses words like networking? Business people, that’s who. It’s like we’re afraid to call it what it is. A chance to catch up, to spend time with people you like and respect but never get enough time to hang out with because, you’re a business owner and you’re, well, “busi”. Sometimes I think business should be spelled busyness instead.

Business loves to euphemize normal words to inflate their sense of importance. They don’t need a to do list, they need a long term corporate strategic plan. They don’t ¬†have an image problem, they need a branding strategy. They don’t need to hang out, they need to network.

Anyway, funny thing about networking, it’s normally code for really good free food. Business people eat well and they normally do it on someone else’s tab. An expense account, a conference registration fee, an association meeting, a fundraiser. So if you can, be charming and delightful. Get yourself on the invite list, you’ll get to catch up with folks you like and get a bite to eat. No bill, no dishes, no worries.

Act 211

Give thanks with food

Tomorrow we head off from ten wonderful days in the maritimes. Destination – la belle province – my emotional home.

But before I head off, I tried to prepare a few bits and bites for my lovely hosts as a way of thanking them for their lovely hospitality.

On days like this, full of food and fondness, I’m reminded that we all have choices in life. My plan A was to build a life or career of corporate success. But love got in the way and with it came a life long appreciation of what matters most in life: family, friends and happiness. In many ways, it’s a longer path than that to physical wealth. But it pays off in ways that money can never measure.

Enjoy the people you love and remind them of it from time to time. It’s free and it’s priceless all at once.

Merci au maritimes. A bientot ma belle province!

Act 210

Costco Caution

Went for a visit to Costco today. Keep hearing my friends rave about the savings and the choices so I thought I’d best check it out. Hadn’t been for many years and I’m glad I did.

But some things are just too big to buy no matter how big your household or your business. Take this bottle of hazelnut spread for example. It’s the size of a small child. Unless you’re in the business of re-packaging hazelnut spread and selling it in smaller jars for a mark up, I don’t see how it can be value for your dollar. But it looks impressive.

costco

Other items seem well worth the price but only if you can use it all and have space to store it (which I don’t).

What struck me was the sheer size of everything. Like a giant super sized market. We seem to attach value to size. The carts are bigger, the ceilings are higher, the shelves are taller – interesting to know what the psychology of that retail experience is – regardless, it must work. There always seems to be a giant traffic jam in the parking lot.

Act 89

Try a new recipe

I often think that food is a good metaphor for money. We all have the same ingredients, it’s just that some of us have a better recipe.

I tried a few new and adjusted recipes today. Same ingredients, better meal. Food for thought.

Act 07

Go for Lunch at the Grocery Store

It’s good to get out of the office or the workplace at lunch. Trouble is, if I go for lunch every day at my favourite place (I have a few), those daily visits can cost upwards of $3,000 a year. So I’ll keep them for special occasions and visit the grocery store at lunch where there is a great selection of well priced single serve items like fruits, dairy, baked goods and deli items.