Halloween

Halloween year 'round

Halloween and I have a unique relationship. Nope! It's not what you're thinking. I don't decorate or buy heaps of candy or put up special lights. In fact, I don't even typically put the porch light on in the neighborhood where I live currently. But for ten years I celebrated a version of it daily.

Kids on the block

I'm not really sure how it all started? We'd been settled into our North East Calgary home for some time - a year, maybe - and Halloween was approaching. The neighborhood children were giddy with anticipation for the coming holiday.

My own kids couldn't be stirred to any kind of interest so far in advance, but eventually we'd be last-minute scrambling for their costumes. The haul of candy from that suburb! Pillow cases brimming for all three boys. 'Come Halloween night they'd all dump their hefty sacks of treats into a giant mound on the living room floor. There, they would sort into favorites and shares and "Daddy tax" piles.

But the kids on the block were excited days in advance. For whatever reason, as a group of them were trodging past my front porch on their way home from school, one of them playfully yelled out, "Trick or Treat!" That was the beginning of an almost-daily game that we played for the next ten years.

Halloween in June

I responded to their "Trick or Treat!" with a gesture of invitation up on to the porch. Asking the little cluster of children to wait a minute, I scrambled to the pantry and found a bin of animal crackers. To their delighted surprise, I handed each of them a tiny cookie and sent them on their way.

What started as a little joke between myself and a dozen neighborhood children soon became an after-school and weekend check-in. The kids would come, randomly -- in singles and pairs and groups of five. I wasn't brave enough to entertain a neighborhood in my living room (I already had three little boys of my own running amok at the time), so they weren't allowed beyond the front porch. They would ring the bell and holler their plea for "candy." Day after day. I would step out on to the porch, often hunkering down on the step, as they told the stories of their day.

We talked of squabbles and wishes. They talked of heartache and plans. Often they brought disagreements-in-progress (so many little girls with so many opinions on one city block!). They often reached for reassurance: Am I ok? Am I safe? Lovable? Wanted? You know - the easy questions in life. Their were story books and movie chats and big questions about life.

Costco shares

Costco must rue the day we left that neighborhood. The buckets of suckers and sour soothers and animal crackers I churned out of our house! I don't know if the kids remember me, now? We left that neighborhood almost eight years ago. My husband has pointed out since that sometimes, "giving out candy is just giving out candy." But I'd like to think that a little neighborhood full of bright hearts and minds was made safer, and more connected, by ten years of hanging out on the front porch. So many treats in so many sticky little hands. Trick or treat!

Car Maintenance

From the rubber on up

This past week I got another flat tire. I say "another," because our family's primary car maintenance expenditure is on tires. We've always lived in suburbs-under-construction. That means there's always something rolling around on the asphalt just waiting for our tires to it pick up.

So, the night before Thanksgiving Monday I realized that my rear passenger tire was woefully low. And I realized I was going to need to look for tire support on holiday Monday.

To my happy (thankful!) surprise, I got right in at the shop. 9:30 am on Thanksgiving Monday and the service guys were ready to help. Given the season, I opted to leave off repair of the flat and swap on winter tires instead. They were happy to do that, too -- and then threw in a new set of windshield wipers to boot!

How much maintenance is enough?

The amount of care and money we put into our car maintenance is part necessity, part personal preference.

In a robust article written by Consumer Affairs' senior report, Aaron Sultzman, he notes that discretion needs be applied. He asks, "Are Canadian car owners being misled about how often their cars need to be serviced?"

With a spectrum of climates and road conditions across the country, car care will vary from one province to the next. Some provinces use salt to clear ice; others rely on sand. Our coastal provinces have a running battle with moisture, whereas our Northern locales experience harsh weather. Sultzman explores the line between regular maintenance and dealerships who push for more costly attention than is required.

'Tired of maintaining?

If you're swapping out an older model for something shiny, consider having us auction your running vehicle off on behalf of charity. Or, if you have a recycle ready car just taking up space in the garage, we can help with that, too! You give us your vehicle particulars and choose your charity (there are over 800 to pick from!), we'll take care of the rest.

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Pumpkin Drop

Local Pumpkin Drop is a Smash Hit

Pumpkin Drop

The annual pumpkin drop at Blue Grass Nursery was a smashing success. For 16 years the garden shop, joined by XL 103.1, has raised funds for charity by dropping pumpkins. This year Donate a Car Canada was able to join in the festivities.

Pumpkin Drop 2

Sunny skies and warm Autumn air drew a big crowd to the nursery. Three pumpkins, weighing in between 300 - 1200 pounds, were dropped in turn.

Pumpkin Drop 6

One of Donate a Car Canada's supporting tow agents helped Blue Grass out with delivery of two crush-ready cars. Cars, cranes, fireworks, and plummeting pumpkins! It was a massive coming together of skills, physics, and splatter.

Countdown to Smashing Pumpkins

300 pounds
500 pounds
1200 Pounds!

Gifting Alberta Children's Hospital

The Alberta Children's Hospital will be the recipient of funds raised at this year's event. Last year's gift to the ACH was $30,000. We're excited to hear how our joint efforts came together in 2019.

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Factory Theatre

Factory Theatre has grit. Donate a Car Canada is proud to partner with charities big and small. FT is one of our lesser-known groups. We are excited to say a bit more about them.

Factory Theatre has vision

From its founding in 1970 FT has held a commitment to Canadian stories. Their play house is a heritage building that now houses the 50-year old company.

New work and play development are at the heart of Factory's artistic vision. Factory's role is to boldly bring new Canadian voices to the stage. They do so with courage and resolve. Some voices are bound to be unfamiliar and challenging. FT's goal is for the expression of those voices to give the audience pause for reflective questions and critical thinking.

Theatre as an authentic challenge – theatre with grit.

Celebrating 50 years on stage

Artistic director, Nina Lee Aquino, notes the Factory's 50th,

"will celebrate its illustrious and resilient history with...the return of two iconic Canadian classics that premiered at Factory." And "it will bring three thrilling and immersive stories from Newfoundland, Calgary, and British Columbia to Toronto audiences."

Each of this season's shows represents a connection to all that Factory has accomplished under past Artistic Directors. These have impacted Canadian theatre. Factory’s 19/20 Season is a celebration of where they've been, where they might be headed, and where they want to be. "All the while remaining fiercely Canadian."

Heading to the factory?

Factory Theatre has a robust offering of entertainment and ticket purchase options. Check out their 2019/2020 season for the package that best suits your and yours. A great option for Christmas gifting!

Is this a group you can get behind? Visit their site for more ways to get involved. 'Have a car you're ready to donate? Consider Factory Theatre as your chosen gift recipient!

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Funny | Some Laughs to Ward Off the Early Chill

Funny is a good go-to on chill days in our Canadian autumn. For some, the winter blahs are no laughing matter. Seeking out the silly, the light-hearted, and the goofy can be good medicine all through a long winter.

Funny Fan of the Night

Bull riding isn't a sport we'd typically fall asleep at. But one hard-working dive master couldn't keep his eyes open.

"Lookit how it goes to us!"

McIntyre on raising kids

Keeping it light

A little bit of funny can go a long way when the daily news is grinding you down. Duty and making ends meet can get wearing. So, find a laugh or two each day to indulge.

Charlie Chaplin said, "A day without laughter is wasted." Are there ways that you can add levity to your life? To the lives of others around you?

I'm not a social media gal, but I have friends who regularly send me a quick text with a meme, link, or comic that brings a laugh. They're small effort can reap big reward in my frame of mind. Are there sites and sources that you go to for a giggle? Share them and spread the smile.

'Need a little help finding something new to laugh at?

Check out The Awkward Yeti and their "Heart and Brain" comic strips.

Curious about some of the science of why we laugh at all? BBC offers a glimpse into why we giggle.

Whatever your style of humor, may you find something to tickle your funny bone today!

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