Filtered By - Personal

  • National Post A Canadian childhood Forty famous Canadians share their favourite memories Tuesday July 5th, 2016
    Until I was 10 and bundled off to overnight summer camp, I spent whole summers in Balfour Beach, a 50-family community near Keswick on the south end of Lake Simcoe, a relatively short commute for fathers on Wednesday nights and weekends. Its handiness to Toronto was—is—arguably its most marketable feature. For it isn’t an attractive site. I remember our tiny crescent-sh...
  • National Post On cleanliness, dignity and our obligation to the homeless Tuesday April 26th, 2016
    My mother-in-law, Maryka, was healthy and independent well into her 80s, but eventually short-term memory loss and general frailty set in. Maryka studiously ignored our gentle suggestion to consider assisted living, and it seemed unkind to pressure her, but on the other hand, we didn’t want the decision made for her by a broken hip or a kitchen fire. Where, we wondered, was the lin...
  • National Post Sisters on the march Tuesday April 14th, 2015
    Last Friday was National Siblings Day, a relatively new and as yet unofficial day promoting appreciation of sisters and brothers. Makes sense: Parents raise us, but our identities and future relationships are powerfully influenced by siblings. They’re the only ones who share a literal lifetime of history with us. My older sister Anne and my younger sister Nancy and I aren&rsq...
  • National Post A reprieve from holiday gift-buying anxiety Wednesday December 17th, 2014
    I do not love buying gifts. That’s an understatement. Shopping for others brings on a feeling of creeping paralysis that is quite unsettling. Department stores are the worst. It seems that the greater the selection, the scarcer the sales clerks. My challenge is to find and buy something before I am compelled to flee lest I turn to stone. Buying gifts for grandchildren is no e...
  • National Post Burgers, balmy weather and summer’s other little pleasures Thursday July 10th, 2014
    In the spring, a young man’s fancy may lightly turn to thoughts of love, but in the summer, most Canadian men’s fancy usually turns to thoughts of barbecue, and what will be sizzling on its greasy grates. It’s not always the man who does the barbecuing, of course, but since all the summer TV ads for beer show a guy happily “manning” the barbecue, it must mea...
  • National Post Russia’s grand architecture and wretched past, as seen from a river boat Thursday June 19th, 2014
      MOSCOW — In its essentials — well-appointed staterooms, excellent food and warmly attentive staff — river cruising is much like ocean cruising (minus the lavish evening shows and casinos, which neither I nor my readers will consider much of a loss.) Its one real downside, which I’ll get out of the way up front, and ...
  • National Post Oceans are great. Sucks to be a lake Thursday July 5th, 2012
    Ocean or lake? Ocean or lake? For ten months a year, we opinion writers are racked by inner debate over the hard news of the world: Should Israel bomb Iran? Can the European Union survive? Will Pakistan implode? Is that Higgs Boson thingy going to change our lives, or is God just messing with scientists’ brains? But in July our brains suddenly turn to mush. The habit of bei...
  • National Post Won’t win a Tony Award, but I enjoyed this family drama Tuesday May 1st, 2012
    When I was growing up in Toronto, annual visits to my Detroit cousins were much-hyped occasions. Sometimes it meant a day off from school. Then there was the drive through the spooky Windsor-Detroit tunnel, capped by heart-stopping excitement in the middle, as the crossed American and Canadian flags came into view. And finally, there was Detroit itself. In those days — more than half a...
  • National Post The image of crotchety old people is a myth Thursday April 26th, 2012
     It’s a good day to be old. A study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that all those stereotypes of self-centred, curmudgeonly seniors raining baleful imprecations on the young and their incomprehensible preoccupations are a crock. The study reveals that oldies in every nation and culture become kinder, more conscientious and pleasant as t...
  • National Post The image of crotchety old people is a myth Thursday April 26th, 2012
    It’s a good day to be old. A study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that all those stereotypes of self-centred, curmudgeonly seniors raining baleful imprecations on the young and their incomprehensible preoccupations are a crock. The study reveals that oldies in every nation and culture become kinder, more conscientious and pleasant as they age. Tha...
  • National Post Seeing your bad decisions, through a child’s eyes Wednesday March 7th, 2012
    Before you act, imagine what your son or daughter will think about your actions. In a recent column about gossip, I confessed to an enthusiasm for consuming and dispensing the stuff, but neglected to mention that I have a personal horror of being gossip’s butt. I’m not a hypocrite. Gossip is an excellent social brake on stupid impulses. We need gossip to be better p...
  • National Post I know your name, it’s the face that’s a problem Monday January 16th, 2012
    On Boxing Day, an unlucky Toronto man, Oscar Bartholomew, died in police custody while visiting his native country of Grenada. Waiting for his wife to use the washroom in a police station, Bartholomew bear-hugged a female police officer he mistakenly believed to be an old friend. Officers on duty believed it was an assault, and seized Mr. Bartholomew, who later died in custody. Five offic...
  • National Post My older sister, the Queen of England Monday October 24th, 2011
     Barbara Kay  Oct 22, 2011 – 7:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Oct 21, 2011 5:56 PM ET I have lots of women friends, but apart from being endowed with high intelligence and a good sense of humour, they aren’t at all alike. A few years ago, trying to find a common trait that would explain why I had gravitated to them socially, I realized almost all were t...
  • National Post In search of the uncluttered life Wednesday September 14th, 2011
      I am writing this from an undisclosed location, where my husband Ronny has been sequestered under my supervision for his own good. A short stay away from home in a controlled environment was determined to be the necessary first step in his post-intervention program. Ronny suffers from a variant of disposophobia, although you may know it better as compulsive hoarding synd...
  • National Post Giving the family home one last hurrah Wednesday July 27th, 2011
     Barbara Kay, National Post · Jul. 27, 2011 | Last Updated: Jul. 27, 2011 3:12 AM ET Tonight will be our last night in the big Edwardian pile of a house my husband Ronny and I have called home for 32 years. The movers come tomorrow morning. Months ago we bought a downsizer, a bright, modern, no-nonsense box of a house with just enough room for us a...
  • National Post Sanibel Island, a real-life Truman Show Wednesday March 2nd, 2011
    My parents started spending their winters in Florida when they were in their mid-50s. When I say "Florida," of course, I mean Miami Beach. Where else would nouveau riche Jews from Toronto cluster, even in the 1960s, when anti-Semitism was on its way out? My parents found their white-broadloomed bliss overlooking the Atlantic in gated, lavishly marbled high-rises with car jockey...
  • National Post The heart of the home Wednesday December 29th, 2010
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 My 2011 will begin with a bang. Literally. When we return from our annual Laurentian Yuletide holiday in early January, our contractor and his crew will show up at the new, smaller house we bought last month and start demolishing its 30-year old kitchen. As faithful readers of this column w...
  • National Post Island of doubt Friday December 3rd, 2010
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Friday, Dec. 3, 2010 As proof that there is no subject on earth so trivial that it cannot be transmogrified into an entertaining column, Robert Fulford regaled us in Tuesday's Post with a homage to the humble octothorpe, the tic-tac-toe grid that sits on the bottom right corner of your telephone keypad, whose spiralling de...
  • National Post The day I won a Giller prize Tuesday November 9th, 2010
    November 8, 2010 – 2:44 pm The who’s who of Canada’s cultural elite — that is to say, Toronto’s glitterati — will all be at the Scotiabank Giller Awards Tuesday. I won’t be there. And not only because I happen to live in Montreal. I’ll never get an invitation to a Giller evening, because I’ve been very rud...
  • National Post The Accidental Oenophile Wednesday August 18th, 2010
    Barbara Kay, National Post · Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 Recently friends invited my husband Ronny and me and another couple to dinner at their upscale tennis club. Upon our arrival we were informed that the five-course gourmet dinner was also going to be a friendly wine-tasting "competition" for the approximately 30 or so guests in the cozy dining room. There woul...
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