Winter Blues

Today I re-routed my errands. Instead of just ticking off the to-do list musts, I took a 5 minute wander into the seasonal section at Canadian Tire. Winter blues haven't been the specter this year that they have been in winters past. But this is the season for getting ahead of them, and one of the ways I do that is by thinking about dirt and fertilizer and seeds.

There's something about the scent of earth and the hope that I'll soon have a spade in one hand, and a satchel of seeds in the other. Spring doesn't feel so far off, even as February holds us in a winter grip.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder aren't necessarily one and the same. SAD is a medically acknowledged condition, and sufferers may benefit from treatment.

The Mayo Clinic notes, in most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Fall and winter SAD

Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

Spring and summer SAD

Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety

Creative treatments

Light therapy and medications may be effective in treating the winter blues, and SAD.

Canadian Living's online magazine offers some helpful guidance on managing mental health at this time of year. Getting out into the sunshine whenever possible is high on the list. Furthermore, consider taking up a winter sport, or throwing a winter social event. Take on a new project and set goals for yourself. Moreover, give your own mental health some of the attention you may not once the weather shifts and life picks up the pace again.

In addition to these useful self-care tips, consider caring for others. A little generosity of spirit can go a long way. Take care of the caretakers in your life. Check-in with the folks who seem to have it all together. Give! Share your time, your heart, your creativity, your resources. It's easier to shiver through the winter doldrums when offering warmth and support to others.

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Acura RDX, 2020

The 2020 Acura RDX is beloved by reviewers and drivers alike. The ride, the cargo space, and the economy. What's not to love? Well, the non-Android-compatible, not-touch-screen multi-media system. And yet, reviewers agree: utility and performance make the Acura RDX a win for the money.

Car Gurus have their say

"A capable, spacious, luxury cross-over" is George Kennedy's summation of the Acura RDX. While, he notes, it's not that much different from the 2019 model, he has a lot to say about the value and drivability of the RDX.

Trouble spots? He does highlight the Acura's infamous infotainment system. Users seem to weigh-in as having easily adapted with a little time and savvy. On the other hand, reviewers love to pin their criticism to that component.

TFLCar - The Fast Lane's review

TFL loves the Acura, but consider the multimedia system, "a nightmare." From the sounds to the unintuitive radio screen access, this reviewer is super sad about the infotainment and navigation system.

Stay with this video to learn about sport and sport plus modes. The Acura RDX has some fun features to play with!

Honda and Acura vehicle donations

Hondas and Toyotas make for strong donation outcomes. As our decade-plus files show, these makes hold their value well. Furthermore, donated Camrys and Accords bring in some of our highest donation outcomes.

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Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck controversy

The Tesla Cybertruck is here, and it's creating stir!

Popular Mechanics' Take

The Tesla Cybertruck, says Popular Mechanics, is a little bit Blade Runner. It's also definitely a conversation starter, and certainly not bullet proof. Eric Adams notes,

"The design overall is a bit awkward and ungainly, particularly around the wheel wells and some of the proportions, but I get what they’re going for—something futuristic, surprising, and thoroughly avant-garde.

In that sense the truck is a smashing success. Its front light bar and roof bar are brilliant, its high waistline slices crisply down the side and projects outward, adding an extra dimension to the exterior, and its profile slopes down to the front, adding a bit of Mad Max-ian urgency and speed to the car’s vibe. Its triangular cab is more at home off-world than in the Home Depot parking lot, but it does cap off a thoroughly executed, highly conceived design. They went for it with this truck.

Ultimately, it may not appeal to a lot of conventional truck-driving folk, but it could also create a whole new class of enthusiasts for the segment, the brand, and electrification itself."

Yours for $39, 900

At $40,000, the Cybertruck is not unreasonable for those in the market for a pick-up. Tesla offers single, dual, and tri-motor options. For $7000.00 extra you can enjoy the self-driving option.

Curious about how the new Tesla compares to your Ford? Motor Trend compares it with the F150-Raptor (the world's best selling truck). Check out Nick Yekikian's match-up, Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Raptor: Off-Road Champ Meets Off-World Newcomer.

Out with the old

'Thinking of donating your old truck? Granted, a self-driving Tesla may be out of reach as a replacement! But, perhaps a good ol' Dodge Ram is within reach. Consider donating your old vehicle sale proceeds to your charity of choice.

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Cars With Panache | Cooper’s Not-so-Mini Contribution

This is a re-post from several years ago. A story with heart that is worth re-sharing!

Cooper is one of those cars that brings a smile to your face. Mr. and Mrs. Irwin knew a little about the make and model from not so by-gone days. They were more than happy to honor the work of a cause they respect with the car that they love! Continue reading "Cars With Panache | Cooper’s Not-so-Mini Contribution" →

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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Acts of Kindness

"Acts of kindness" has lost some of its punch as a collection of words, but the acts themselves have not.

Kindness is one of Donate a Car Canada's core values. We are a locally owned and operated business, and so we have overhead costs and need to earn enough money to keep the doors open. The women that take your calls and compassionately field your donations need to feed their kiddos! And having a key value of kindness behind it all makes doing this important work so much more rewarding.

Acts of Kindness in Canada

In her, "9 Random Acts of Kindness That Will Make You Proud to be Canadian" online Reader's Digest article, Rebecca Tucker paints an engaging picture of what it looks like to be uniquely kind in Canada.

Tucker's collection of stories championing individual and community efforts of caring invite us to tackle kindness in big and small ways. In fact, the limits to how we extend this basic human dignity are only limited by imagination.

The Reader's Digest Who's Who

Rebecca notes 9 groups and individuals who have made a difference in their own unique ways:

Stella Bowles of Upper LaHave, N.S: Eco-Hero! She took it upon her 11-year-old self (she's a teen, now) to investigate and address pollution in the LaHave River.

Staff at the York Care Centre, a Fredericton retirement facility, immediately circled in to support one of their own who had been victimized by a violent crime.

Milestone, Saskatchewan farmers banded together to pull in a community member's crops when hard times fell on the family.

Larissa Arthur, an RN heading home from a mountain hike, saved Mike Estepa's life. He'd collapsed of a heart attack on a bicycle trek, and she happened upon him just in time.

Three crab fishers from St. Lewis, N.L. pulled off a dramatic Arctic Fox rescue. Fishing the little guy in from where he was stuck on the ice, they nurtured him to health and set him free.

Rebecca Schofield (#BeccaToldMeTo) gave her dying days to spreading a message of acts of kindess in even the smallest things, like, "opening doors, buying coffee for strangers, giving out granola bars at the gym."

Frank Vieira received the Goodyear Highway Hero Award for a dramatic roadside rescue.

Andrew Harper, a 95 year-old philanthropist seeking to honor his beloved late wife, made an unprecedented financial contribution to the Chez Doris women's day shelter.

Kyle Busquine, Julio Cabrera, and Jehangir Faisal exhibited the stuff of superheros, jumping on the tracks to rescue a fallen man.

What's your next kindness contribution?

So many ways to share the best of who we are. At any time. In any place. I don't have $1 million dollars to gift to a women's shelter, but I do have $5.00. I haven't the energy in this ol' body to save a river, but I can pick up the trash I see on my daily walks. And, even on the tired and overwhelming and "What the goodness is going on in this crazy world!?" days, I can offer dignity and respect to every heart I encounter.

To all who will show me kindness today (I don't even know who you are, yet!), thank you. I will do my part to keep kindness going, too.

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Goodness |Do the Good You do

Goodness. If you say it often enough, it doesn't sound like a real word anymore. And in a world gone all wobbly and sideways, it's easy to think that maybe "goodness" isn't even a thing. If we're looking for evidence that things have all gone to heck, well, there seems to be a growing body!

Evidence against

You don't need reminders of all of the ways we know that Goodness is taking a thumping, hey? Have you been hacked lately, and threatened with recrimination if you don't send money/call this number/set this straight right now? Or had your identity stolen? Maybe you've been victim to prejudice or shaming? Is the one who ought to love you best hurting you? Your body may not be cooperating and you could be feeling stuck and lonely. Friends fail us, money is tight, and the world-at-large feels like it's equal parts dumpster fire and a volcano preparing to violently erupt. So much evidence for not-Goodness.

Evidence for Goodness

What to do? Who are we to be in the face of blaming and hating and self-promotion and ice that's melting too fast? We don't want to be blind to the world's trouble. But we don't want to be consumed by it either. So, what if we just, each one of us, do our little bit? What if we just determinedly and consistently do our own little bit of Good?

  • Make a wholesome meal for your family. Safety and caring in our own homes matters.
  • Read. Expanding our perspective and thinking our own deep thoughts is grounding.
  • Believe. Aligning ourselves with authentic, thoughtful, experiential Goodness takes an effort of heart and mind.
  • Work at doing the good you do. Watch for opportunities to act justly and compassionately. This is no time for us to be lazy about this stuff.
  • Listen for the story beneath the story beneath the story: it's easy to dismiss and to judge when we're not listening to each other. We're all in this together -- whether we like it or not.
  • Just be. Take a breather from the glut of information and streaming and hope-bludgeoning media. Be with people you love; be someone people want to love. The truest, strongest, most vibrant you (you come from innocence). You are enough.

Keep it up!

Everything is (probably) going to be okay. If you do your small bit, and I do mine, odds are good that love will win the day. Let's take care of each other, care for the earth, and companion the vulnerable -- we'll make it through with Goodness intact.

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Charity of choice | 250 charities helped in February

Charity of Choice

Charity of choice is what we're all about here at Donate a Car Canada. It's one of the hallmarks of our exceptional donor care: you choose the charity you love. We make sure they get your gift!

We have over 800 charity "doors" to choose from. You're sure to find a cause that you feel deserving of your donation dollars.

Do you already have someone in mind? 'Need a little more information? Just call in, or explore our site. You'll find the inspiration you're ready for.

Charity of choice means it's all up to you

Canadian vehicle donors gifted 250 different charities in February. This doesn't mean we had only 250 donors; many donors select similar charities. For example, it's common for well-advertised charities like the Diabetes Canada, The Heart & Stroke Foundation, and the Canadian Cancer Society to receive many donations each month.

But something you'll love about us? We have hundreds of lesser-known organizations to choose from. Here's a sneak peek at 25 of the charities that we sent funds to last month:

A Better World Canada
ALBERTA CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
Alberta Wilderness Association
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF EDMONTON
BC Children’s Hospital
BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS CANADA
Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter
CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY
CancerCare Manitoba
DIABETES CANADA
Elderdog Canada Inc.
GERDY’S RESCUE & ADOPTIONS
Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta
HEART & STROKE FOUNDATION
Kenneth Copeland Ministries
KIDS HELP PHONE
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada
ORKIDSTRA
Pacific Assistance Dogs Society
PARKINSON CANADA
Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation
THE DREAM FACTORY
Tree Canada
WINNIPEG HUMANE SOCIETY
Wounded Warriors Canada

How can I learn more?

We're supporting charities that work with kids, animals, and the sick. Women in need of assistance are served by smaller charities in every Canadian city. If Earth care is your heart cause, we can help. And, if you're looking to support the arts, we have many theatres and groups to choose from.

If you click on the "charities" button on our home page you'll be taken to an alphabetical breakdown of who's on our list. Clicking on the charity name will give you a quick look at their unique mission. And each mission is linked to the charity's home page, should you wish to explore more deeply.

You choose! We're here to help in every way we can, and your charity of choice is ready to receipt you for your generosity. We look forward to your donation!

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