A Money Coach in Canada

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Here are 3 legit, fun, Canadian contests – not the kind that fakes you out, and sends your address everywhere, but fun, innovative (ish) contests from:

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Photo Credit: Erich Mercado
1. BLENZ – the Vancouver-based coffee chain will give someone 142 days of free coffees, in honour of Canada Day, celebrating 142 years. You simply need to share your thoughts about what Canada means to you. Do it soon, since the prize is given out this Wednesday!

2. SixString Nation – get some publicity, aspiring song-writers! Get on Twitter, use the hash tag, #6SNSong, and let out your inner songwriter. D&M will collect all the entries on June 30 and July 1 – Canada Day – they’ll announce the winner. The top 20 will be listed on the D&M website and on the Six String Nation Facebook page. By the way, they’ll be up here at Yellowknife’s Folk on the Rocks!

And our favourite airline, WESTJET, is giving away a flight-for-two each day this coming week if you simply follow them on twitter!
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Photo Credit MiguelB

Those are the three I know about – any more that you’ve heard about?  Canadian, and legit, not “sweepstakes-y”?

I’ve had a couple tough days.  I’m off work, ill.  Headache, achey bones, and a fatigue that’s taken me down for the count.  I hate being sick!  Additionally I’m missing a lot about Vancouver these days.  Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy Yellowknife – but there are experiences and places and shops and wifi and people who are only to be found in Vancouver.  So in addition to bone and head aches, there’s some ache-of-the-spirit in the mix.

This evening I did what all sick people do to console themselves.  I made the treck to the video store.  Alas, I came out empty.  No The Wire.  No BSG til late July apparently.  I forgot to ask about Firefly (anyone seen the series?  I saw one episode – are they all as awesome?)

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Plan B:  buy some chocolate. One idiosyncrasy of life up here is that the majority of shops shut down at 6pm but not, thank goodness, Shoppers.  I went the distance, folks, I selected a beautiful Lindt milk chocolate bar, went to the til — and my debit card was declined.  And declined.  And declined again.  It’s payday and I work for the Gov’t so I’m guessing Central One’s servers went down, but in any case, so much for my chocolate.  Life was beginning to spiral downward.

Until a lovely thing happened.

The young woman at the til, seeing my crestfallen face, told me to hang on one sec.  She punched a few buttons on the til — handed me the chocolate bar, smiled, and said, it’s on me.  Not on the house.  It’s on me.

I stood dumbfounded.  Eventually I stammered out my thanks, and happily accepted the chocolate bar she had just bought me.

It cost her $1.50.   Not much in the grand scheme of things, but its impact was multiple time a buck-fifty.  It was a lovely, unexpected, random act of kindness.

I don’t know if I’ll make a point of paying her back or if I’ll pay it forward or quite what I’ll do.

I thought I’d start by simply sharing.

Readers, have you experienced a Random Act of Kindness?  Care to share?

ps: I got home, and reached a vancouver friend who, of all things, is also housebound.  He’d rented One Week, and I was able to find it on iTunes for rent, so we’re sharing a movie, virtually.  Life is lookin’ better.

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2.5 years ago, Marks & Spencer rolled out a bold sustainability plan. No “motherhood” statements here – most of these are easily verified by a customer:

  • Operations in the UK and Republic of Ireland will be carbon neutral
  • Stop sending waste to landfill eg.,  Instead, reuse food scraps to create green energy
  • Selling only free-range poultry products
  • Converting key clothing ranges to 100% fair trade cotton
  • Increasing nutritionally balanced food to 50% of all foods sold

I’m so pleased to see large businesses step up to the plate like this.   And here’s some even better news – their initiatives have now become cost-positive.  If you want their 1/2 way point progress report, you can find it on their website.

Readers, Are any stores near you clearly holding themselves to sustainability standards?

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A week ago I accepted a challenge from the Cdn Chiropracters’ Association to find 15 minutes in my day, every day, to get active. Having successfully completed the challenge, I’m in a draw for an iPod Touch and I have an iPod Shuffle and $20 iTunes card to give away!

Some people are into fitness.  They love their workouts, or going for runs, or playing squash.  Me?  Meh.  Not so much. (a fact I find woeful, but what can you do?)  But 15 minutes every day?  This I could do.   But I knew I had to do stuff that didn’t feel like exercise.   Also, since it’s Summer In Yellowknife, I’d be crazy to spend the time inside (plenty of inside time coming up starting in October).   So I decided to make a bit of an adventure for myself.

Day 1: I dug up half my garden with the help of my trusty daschund.  It’s my first garden ever!  The permafrost is gone as of a couple weeks ago, but with the long hours of daylight, a good garden crop is still possible.

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Day 2: I went for a Geology 101 walk on some billion year-old precambrian shield with my loyal companion.

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Day 3: Hiked to the top of Bush Pilots Monument (sans hounds) and was rewarded with this view:

It’s not the grind (hat tip, @Salbrecht), but still …



Day Four: I wound down at the day’s end with some free Yoga
(thanks, iTunes!)

Day Five: I danced like no one was watching! And I sure hope no-one was – it was my first drum dance, and it was about midnight on Solstice in the north, and Aboriginal Day (ahem, judges, is that not the Ultimate Canadian Fit in 15?) Again – I’m no videographer – for heavens sake I was dancing while I was recording – this is just evidence I was there!



Day 6: I finished the second half of my garden

and Day 7 – alas! I had hoped to culminate my week with a swim in the Great Slave Lake but since it was POURING RAIN (a rare occurrence up here – we have the sunniest summers in Canada) , and only about 15C, if that, I opted out of that particular adventure for now. Instead, I Unpacked a Very Large Box which I hadn’t yet opened since my move. It involved hauling the box around, moving furniture, and working up a bit of a sweat, and took me well over 15 minutes so I figure that counts!

Mission accomplished! It was a lot of fun. I was active and I accomplished a lot while I was at it. I got to know my new home better, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone with the dance, my garden is ready for plants and I made further progress in unpacking! Not bad for just 15 a day, eh?
The ‘hounds thought it was marvellous too.

Thanks, Canadian Chiropracters! (here’s lookin’ at you, Michael)

AND THE WINNER IS…

Thanks so much to everyone who popped by to encourage and make suggestions this past week.

The winner, who got 2 points for doing an activity and leaving a comment, is BRAD!
Brad, to collect your prize, please leave a comment below and include your e-mail address. NO ONE will see your address but me. Then I’ll e-mail you back so I can get your mailing address. Congrats!

One of the pleasant surprises in Yellowknife is the commitment to gardening! The Arctic Farmer (which has a little stream and goats! Perhaps you need to live here to understand how unexpected goats are!) and The Garden of Eden provide all manner of delightful garden tools and rubber boots, and the first truckloads of fresh plants are a community joy.

There’s a real commitment to gardening up here, and a little known fact is that while we have a short growing season, it’s possible to grow almost anything up here because of our extended daylight hours. So when I attended a talk about food security by Ecology North, I determined to grow some of my own food.

Yesterday for my Fit in 15, I finished digging up my plot that I began last week. I work up a sweat, I’ll tell you! And those darn mosquitoes! But when I start to enjoy the carrots, peas, and rhubarb, I’m sure it will be all worthwhile.

How’s that for the circle of life – I get fit in 15 by planting food!

Readers: The contest for the iPod shuffle (4G) and $20 iTunes card is almost done! If you’ve ever grown your own food, let me know in the comments, and it’s a point to you!

This isn’t my garden, but it’s in Yellowknife. It captures the spirit of living and gardening in Yellowknife! Photo Credit: FranH

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