Unexpected Freedom

Note— I ran across this story and although it is not new, reading it again instantly made me feel spry. I hope you enjoy it…

“I am now, probably for the first time in my life, most like the person I have always wanted to be. Sure, I sometime despair over the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging chin. In fact, I am often taken aback by noticing that old person in my mirror, but I don’t agonize over it.

I have a wonderful life and I would never trade my amazing friends or loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. I’ve become kinder to myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avant-garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I can say ‘no’, and mean it… I can also say ‘yes’, and mean it.

Great freedom comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4a.m. or sleep until noon? I will walk the beach in a swimsuit that is stretched over a bulging body, and dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old!

As I get older, it is easier to be positive. I care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong. I like being old because it has set me free.

I genuinely like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been or worrying about what will be. Today, I wish you a day of ordinary miracles and the unexpected freedom of aging with joy.”

Canadian Retail Sales (Dec) – Feb, 2020

Seasonally-adjusted Canadian retail sales were unchanged in December at $51.6 billion, after rising 1.1% in November. Higher sales at building material and garden equipment stores, and at food and beverage stores more than offset lower sales at auto dealers and gas stations. Sales were up in 7 of 11 sub-sectors, representing 49% of retail sales.

Regionally, 8 of 10 provinces reported monthly increases in December. Notable increases were reported in Saskatchewan (2%) and Alberta (1%). In contrast, retail sales were down in Quebec (-1.4%).

In B.C., seasonally-adjusted retail sales rose by 0.1% to $7.3 billion in December. Increased sales were reported in the majority of sub-sectors with the exception of building material and garden equipment stores, as well as at auto dealers and gas stations. Meanwhile, Vancouver reported a monthly decrease of 1.1% in sales. Compared to the same time last year, B.C. retail sales were up by 1.5% in December.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Inflation (Jan) – Feb, 2020

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 2.4 per cent in January year-over-year, following a 2.2 per cent increase in December. Excluding the impact of higher gasoline prices, national CPI rose by 2.0 per cent year-over-year. The rise in gas prices in January were largely a function of concerns over global oil supplies in response to international political events. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation fell to average 2.0 per cent in January.

In B.C., CPI grew to 2.3 per cent year-over-year, above last month’s increase of 2.1 per cent. Notable increases in prices were for gas and alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. In contrast, prices for household furnishings fell.

Although the Bank of Canada has noted that inflation has been close to its target, the Bank will likely continue its cautious approach and look for major deterioration in other key economic indicators before deciding on a course of action at their next interest rate announcement in March.

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Fight the Good Fight

Have you ever gotten into a fight, and then wondered whether it was worth the bother? Being an adult means choosing your battles carefully. One of the hardest aspects of maintaining healthy relationships is deciding when to fight about something and when to simply let things go.

There are many times that letting go of something is the right thing to do— for everyone involved. However, if someone is violating your space or assaulting your integrity, you need to defend your territory. Listen to your anger without giving in to it. Psychotherapist Paula Hall gives these tips
on the BBC website for keeping the peace and fighting fairly:

• Develop your self-awareness. Be ready to assume responsibility for that which is rightfully yours. Check your conscience for reasons you might be fighting and be honest with yourself. Make sure you’re just not protecting your pride.

• Believe the best about the other person… until you have a real reason not to. Giving your opponent the benefit of the doubt is the right thing to do.

• Consider the effect of other influences. Are you stressed, tired, sick, or hungry? How much do you believe these factors have to do with the fight?

• Stay calm. Don’t fall into the trap of sulking, blaming, or being overly critical.
• Truly listen to what the other person is saying. Admit when the other person has a valid point.

Be Your Own Friend

Callie Khouri, the screenwriter of the classic hit film Thelma and Louise, suggests this reality check to see if you are being too hard on yourself.

In a commencement speech she gave at Sweet Briar College, she had this to say: “Would you say to a friend the kind of things that you say to yourself? For instance, let’s say you, like I, perpetually misplace your keys… Do you, when looking for your keys, find yourself saying things to yourself like, ‘Why can’t you just figure out how to put them in one place? I can’t believe how STUPID you are!’

Or do you say, ‘Now, let’s see, where would someone who’s really got something important on her mind leave her keys?’

See what I’m getting at? Don’t listen to things from yourself that you wouldn’t accept from a friend. You wouldn’t want a friend who wasn’t supportive, so don’t accept any less from yourself. You’re only human, so learn to forgive yourself the little things, and do the best you can on the big things. No one is perfect, and expecting perfection from yourself or anyone else is a waste of time.”

What Are The 3 Most Important Words On Valentine’s Day?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year that we specifically set aside to celebrate love. Have a beautiful day with all the people you love!

I wonder how many ways do you have to say, “I Love You”?

Here are 11 different ways to say it and build a strong, connected and committed relationship:

  • I thank you.
  • Please forgive me.
  • I trust you.
  • Let me help.
  • I believe you.
  • I forgive you.
  • Yes, you’re right.
  • I’m so sorry.
  • Count on me.
  • I understand you.
  • Go for it!
  • And of course:
  • I love you.

International Beans

Planning on giving your sweetie a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day? According to

thechocolatewebsite, there is international history in that box!

In roughly 1527, Spanish explorer Cortès brought cacao beans, equipment, and recipes for preparing chocolate from Mexico to the Spanish court of King Charles V. It made a profitable industry for Spain, which planted cocoa trees in its overseas colonies. Conveniently, the Spanish had taken over many Caribbean islands, and on those islands was sugar.

Over the next 60 years, small but noticable changes were made in how chocolate was prepared. Spanish nuns in Oaxaca, Mexico were the first to sweeten chocolate with honey, cinnamon and cane sugar, making the drink popular with colonials. For many Europeans, drinking chocolate was an acquired taste.

Around 1641, cocoa was introduced to Germany by a German scientist named Johann Georg Voldkammer, who discovered it in Naples, Italy. The Germans instituted the habit of a cup of hot chocolate before bedtime. By 1657, the first chocolate house was opened in London…by a Frenchman! Coffee houses were already popular; now one could go to a chocolate house to have a drink and talk over cards. Eventually, the chocolate drinks began to include milk and cinnamon.

By the turn of the 18th century, chocolate had made its way back to the Americas. In little more than a decade, Massachusetts sea captains were bringing back cargoes of cocoa beans. Boston apothecary shops were advertising and selling chocolate imported from Europe. In 1861, Richard Cadbury created the first known heart-shaped candy box for Valentine’s Day.

BC Housing Markets Off to a Strong Start in 2020

Vancouver, BC – February, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 4,426 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2020, an increase of 23.7 per cent from the 3,579 units sold in January 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $725,370, a 9.1 per cent increase from $664,633 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in January was $3.2 billion, a 35 per cent increase over 2019.

“Housing markets in BC are off to a strong start in 2020,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “We expect a much more typical year of home sales in 2020 as markets recover from the policy-induced slowdown of the past two years.”

Total MLS® residential active listings fell 12.6 per cent to 25,790 units compared to the same month last year. The ratio of sales to active residential listings increased to 17.2 per cent from just 12.1 per cent last January.

“While many markets are showing strong signs of recovery, the struggling forestry sector is having a clear impact on housing demand, particularly in the North and parts of Vancouver Island,” added Ogmundson.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Chores Work

Kids usually hate doing chores, but it’s an important part of growing up. That’s what Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, said in an interview that was reviewed on the People magazine website.

Tech Insider also says that children who do chores grow up to be more independent at work. In particular, they’re good at spotting when their co-workers are dealing with tasks that are challenging.

“By making them do chores— taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry— they realize ‘I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life,’ ” Lythcott-Haims says.

“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them,” says Lythcott-Haims. “…they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the sake of the whole.”