When Nothing Else Matters (AKA - The Hunt for the Elusive Eclair)

APRIL 19th, 2015


(Click here for the video to our chosen background music to this article)

[John] Due to being house-bound from annoying viruses and long work hours, we decided to take advantage of some nice weather yesterday. 

Start time - 2:30pm

We hopped in the car for a short drive to a nearby park and a nice relaxing walk.  Leaving for the park, after turning onto the main road and approaching our next turn, Lana asked me “What happens if we go straight instead of turning here?”

[Lana] We ALWAYS turn when we go that way.

[John] I hadn’t been down that road for over 20 years and so… “Let’s find out.” Thus began our most recent spontaneous adventure.

After detouring from the originally planned route, Lana asked me which way I had actually planned to go. I explained to her the location where I thought we could have gone.

[Lana] “Well it would be nice if we could see something new or cultural or interesting, for no money.”

[John] So I pondered for a moment and then offered up the possibility of a new route… “Straight or right?” I asked.

[Lana] Straight seemed like the correct course of action at the time.

[John] “Straight it is then.” So off we went… West.

[Lana] “What if we’d went right?”

[John] “Terra Cotta”

[Lana] “What’s straight?”

[John] “Cambridge”

So towards Cambridge we went. Following a main road but staying off the highway, we headed in the general direction of a somewhat vague destination. We enjoyed the sunny sky as we headed west and I internally debated my knowledge of just how to get to Cambridge… having only driven through there a few times and I was never the one to actually do the driving. I briefly checked our map as we were nearing our turn-off, when I noticed a directional street sign that pointed to Brantford and told Lana, “Or we could go to Brantford.”

[Lana]  Again offered the choice of “Straight or right”, I felt confident in continuing on the line of the straight and narrow.

[John] Cambridge then became Brantford and no sooner had we continued on the road to Brantford, did Lana notice another directional street sign pointing to Paris.

[Lana] “Paris and London all on one sign right here in Ontario!”

[John] “Would you like to go to Paris instead?”

[Lana] “Maybe we could do both? If we have time…”

[John] “Let’s head to Paris and see what happens from there.”

[Lana] *Goofy grin*

[John] So we drove a little bit further west until we were welcomed by the community sign. “Bienvenue à Paris!” I announced to Lana as we entered this beautiful village in Southern Ontario. I had driven through Paris once before and had a vague memory of how pretty it is and it definitely did not disappoint us as we drove around.

We missed the turn into the downtown area and as I moved to turn the car around through a tiny parking lot, we realized the parking lot was actually for a park & walking path along the Grand River. Considering that our original goal for the day was to go for a nice relaxing walk in a park, we decided it was a perfect moment of which we should take advantage. We were not disappointed. This is a lovely spot to visit, should you ever be in the neighbourhood (Penman’s Dam).

[Lana] As we walked, we noticed some young folk sitting on the shore fishing. They began yelling something undistinguishable and it was only then that we noticed a young man out in the water with his hip waders. Even if we were worried for the safety of the crazy fool wading in the fast current of the river below the dam, his buddies were sitting along the rocks but were they just as apt to laugh at him, than save him? We didn’t have to wonder long as the man came ashore.

[John] After a nice walk along the too-short path, we hopped back in the car and continued to explore the village for a little while before moving on towards Brantford.

We arrived in Brantford and after some confusing turns and becoming somewhat lost…

[Lana] Or totally lost, depending on whose point of view…

[John] …we decided Brantford didn’t have much that interested us (at least not that we could really see) and instead of wasting more time there, we decided to slowly make our way home.

We agreed to avoid taking the highway home, in an effort to maintain our leisurely journey, so we stayed on the side roads with the only real goal being to avoid driving through Hamilton. I’ve been lost in Hamilton more than a few times and it is not my favourite place to be, so I didn’t want to ruin our lovely day by becoming frustrated with the city I’m not so fond of to begin with (no offense to Hamiltonians… you do have some lovely spots to visit. Overall though, just not my cuppa). 

Other than expressing my need to stop for some supper along the way home (we were about an hour away from reaching The Hangry) and wanting to avoid Hamilton, I was happy to continue driving the scenic route.

[Lana] NOBODY wants to mess with The Hangry. It is not a pretty sight.

[John] Um… yeah… sorry about that. I really do try to control it. Honestly. I’m not a fan myself. *blushing*

[Lana] Don’t make her Hangry. You won’t like her when she’s Hangry.

[John] Sidebar: This just initiated a conversation wherein I apologized for being a right bitch when I get the Hangry and Lana has advised that my Hangry / Bitchiness is equivalent to a normal person’s mild annoyance. Maybe I don’t need to apologize for it then.

[Lana] But it is still appreciated.

[John] Moving on… *still blushing*…

We decided to take the road through Ancaster and Lana’s brilliant knowledge of this thing called the internet, lead us to a nifty wee pub call The Brassie. Not a bad place at all and their Hawaiian burger is quite good. Lana loved the basket in which her fish and chips arrived.

[Lana] But John wouldn’t let me steal it. It would have looked so good hanging at home.

[John] Yeah… I’m not sorry about that decision.

[Lana] I wouldn’t have stolen it anyway but that doesn’t stop me from still wanting it.

[John] My little klepto in the making.

[Lana] Oooooh… shiny things! (Squirrel!)

[John] So we left with full bellies and empty arms (much to Lana’s chagrin) and continued on our way home as law-abiding citizens, passing through the village of Dundas (Sydenham Road makes for a beautiful drive).

Somewhere along the way I mentioned a craving for ice cream and suggested we could stop for a sweet treat. I’m not sure how, but Lana managed to convince me that my ice cream craving was in fact one for the Tim Horton’s Chocolate Eclair (recently reintroduced to their menu – this was a childhood favourite for us both) and thus began our next adventure.

[Lana] It may have been the fact that it had been over several days for the past few weeks that the Eclair had been brought up in conversation… and never initiated by myself.

[John] Yeah… well… uh… sorry about that too.

[Lana] I’m not… look what it brought us.

[John] A hilarious journey through the GTA and an unfortunate step into a puddle of puke.

[Lana] *uncontrollably giggling with a strong menacing streak*

[John] You weren’t laughing when I almost puked from it myself. And I want to throw up now. *Deep breaths*… I’m not sensitive at all. I swear.

[Lana] It was kinda funny though.

[John] Hrrmph

So as I was saying…

We stopped at one Tim Horton’s to sadly discover they had no Chocolate Eclairs and thinking it was due to the somewhat late hour, we decided to stop at another. After seeing they too had no Eclairs, we thought we’d try a third. Then a fourth.

[Lana] We didn’t even get to stop… it was closed.

[John] So we tried a fifth…

[Lana] We looked in the window like sad little puppy dogs because we saw they too didn’t have any.

[John] So we tried a sixth…

[Lana] We actually asked about the availability of the Eclairs. They originally told us they don’t make them anymore but when we told them we’d had some only a short while ago, they told us it must be a specialty item at specific stores.

[John] This was an unsatisfactory answer for me. They should know their company products. (Not upset about the findings at all by this point).

So we moved onto a seventh location…

[Lana] Again we looked in the window. We didn’t even bother going in. And for the first time, our thoughts of a failed mission crept into our minds.

[John] Enter the puke puddle. This made me think our lovely day had just come crashing to a pathetic halt, as I tried to scrape off the mess from the bottom of my shoe and maintain my own stomach contents in the process. Saturday nights around any coffee shop has down sides.

[Lana] Perhaps had that guy not been sitting on the curb in the spot we had originally wanted to park in…

[John] Damn dude.

We decided to try one or two more locations on the extended detour home, when I spotted the Country Style coffee shop and remembered that they too sell yummy Chocolate Eclairs.


Lana had forgotten that we had previously enjoyed the Country Style Eclair and was skeptical of buying into the potential illusion that was before us. Thankfully, I was able to convince him that our night was not lost (though I was still upset about the puke puddle) and we entered the shop to purchase our gold.

[Lana] They were huge-mungous and I wanted to buy six of them.

[John] I capped the limit at two and convinced Lana we would be happy not over-indulging and potentially ruining the experience.

We carefully carried our bag of gold to the car and slowly continued on our way home… finally.

Arriving home, I tasked Lana with the responsibility of gingerly carrying our treasure inside.

[Lana] I had never been so careful in all my life. I would have pushed old ladies down. I would have shanked anybody who would have tried to scoop our treasure. (None of this is true but I was very careful).

[John] I don’t know… you were remarkably protective of the bag and I was afraid to get in your way myself.

[Lana] *evil grin*

[John] We walked in the door and the Eclairs were hesitantly handed to me to place gently on the kitchen counter, as I prepared two large dinner plates for us. Our newly acquired jewels deserved their own real estate and so we settled ourselves in bed (this is eat-in-bed-worthy food) and turned on one of our favourite travel adventure shows (Departures) and took our first bites of gold. (Departures is a few years old but is a wonderful Canadian show I introduced to Lana a little while ago and I believe he enjoys it almost as much as I do – ironically, Justin Lukach and Scott Wilson are themselves Brantford boys which we only clued into while writing this article).

[Lana] The entire excursion was well worth it. I’m still going “Mmmm mm mmmmmmmm”.

[John] Though the idea of more Eclairs was and is still tempting, I’m happy to hold onto the memory of the taste along with the fun of the hunt.

[Lana] Did somebody say “Eclairs”? (Sorry… that’s just a little bit of drool dripping on your shoulder John, as I lean over and read your screen… please don’t puke).

[John] Thought my ear was bleeding. I’m good now thanks.

And so friends… if ever you wish to enjoy a yummy, sweet, creamy, chocolaty Eclair… enjoy your journey, have some fun, and avoid all puke puddles along the way.

Thanks for the lovely time, Lana… definitely a life-long memory of happy.

End-time – 9:30pm

Video Reprise: Click Here

By the Book - A Look at Karen A. Dahlman's The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication

APRIL 5th, 2015


     When I (Lana) was 10 years old, I had my first experience with the Ouija Board phenomenon. There I was at school with about 5 of my friends creating a handcrafted, makeshift board out of scrap paper, a pen and a plastic cup. As rough as our creation turned out, it seemed to work. As soon as our teacher found out what we were doing however, she made us throw out our board and promise not to do “bad things like that” at school ever again. Not wanting to get into trouble, I never did…well not at that school at least.
     Despite retaining an interest, it would be 6 or 7 years before I would use another Ouija (this time of the store bought variety). It is the typical story of young people fooling around with things they didn’t understand and not taking the situation seriously. I understood then why it could garner a bad reputation but I was still under the belief that not everything about the Ouija was negative. I was learning then that the majority of people fear what they don’t understand.
     I bought my own board and used it with various partners on and off for the next couple years but never seriously as I felt it was basically just a game even to the point of misusing it horribly as I have explained in our Halloween post. After that, I took it much more seriously and perhaps that is why my usage had become much more sporadic. After meeting John, and respecting her concerns over the whole topic, I have put the board away for now and left it at my parents’ house when I moved in with her.

     It had been a while since I had even thought about the Ouija but then I heard Patrick Keller from my favourite podcast (The Big Séance) interview Karen A. Dahlman. The discussion was fascinating and I knew I had to read her new book. I purchased a copy of The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication. Karen was even kind enough to sign the copy she sent.

(Image of Karen A. Dahlman taken from promotion of her appearance on Coast to Coast A.M.’s Beyond Belief with George Noory)

    The book tells many positive tales of communications that took place over the years using the board (sometimes even blindfolded) with various partners in life changing ways. Through detailing not only her life affirming experiences, some of the spirits with whom she communicates and affects these sessions have had on those who attend, the author also expresses the how-tos of achieving positive discussions of your own. What are these secrets? Well the one that spoke most to me was that we receive what energies we put out. Like calls to like. So if we clear our negativity and be serious and respectful, should we not be more apt to receive the same in return? After all, whether you are dealing with the living, the dead or those who were never human to begin with, shouldn’t all be treated with respect?
     The book kept me enthralled and wanting more when it was finished. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who has ever been interested but afraid to try considering the bad reputation that the Ouija receives. I know it has me wanting to dust off the old board.
     Most importantly, I believe once she reads it, John will dismiss some of her concerns about the Ouija and give it a try. Only time will tell.

You can order Karen’s books at her website www.creativevisionspublications.com, on Amazon or find her on Twitter @KarenADahlman