The Ultimate Frozen Treat

Lola frozen treats








Summer’s here and it’s shaping up to be a barn burner again.

When the sun is scorching hot and it feels like you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, the best way to cool off is to reach for your favourite frozen treat.

When I was growing up, the ultimate frozen treat was the Lola. It was a triangular shaped slushie that you had to eat like a beaver, chomping on the corners of each triangle with your two front teeth. At least three or four times red or purple juice would spit out or spill all over your white t-shirt. To finish it, you had to tilt the triangle up to slurp the sugary juice, choking and sputtering liquid everywhere.

Lola’s were only sold in Ontario and Quebec from 1959 to 1982 but I read somewhere that they actually brought it back in 1999, under the slogan, “One taste of Lola, and you’re back in the fun-loving ’70s”.

This week’s #HappyAct is to stay cool by indulging in your favourite frozen treat. What’s yours? Leave a comment.

Life’s a beach

Girl riding beach toyWhat a summer we’ve had in eastern Canada—one of the hottest on record. The best way to beat the heat is to hit the beach with your favourite floating toy.

This year on the July long weekend, my brother and his wife brought the kids the latest installment in our collection of exotic beach toys: a big yellow banana. Yes, riding the Big Banana has taken on a whole new meaning in the Swinton household this summer.

There have been epic noodle fights, rodeo rides and spectacular spills on that banana, especially the time Dave tried to ride it. I can’t help but wonder what the cottagers across the lake think when they look across and see The Big Yellow Banana.

Beach toys are a part of summer. We have a raft of old beach toys crumpled up in a deflated pile in our barn. Oh the memories. There was Homer Simpson, who one year we found floating at the other end of the lake in early spring. The Montreal Canadiens life raft—symbolic I think. And too many floating chairs to mention now sunk in the graveyard of water toys in our barn.

This week’s #HappyAct is to keep cool with a cool beach toy–whatever floats your boat. Ours just happens to be a big yellow banana.

Ed. note: As a kid cottaging on Lake Simcoe, I remember we used to dive off huge inner tubes that came from military truck tires. There was a guy in Port Credit who used to sell those inner tubes. They’re fantastic for jumping and diving, and rafting. If anyone knows where you can get inner tubes, post a comment.

Girl on a floating raft

Buy a bug zapper

Lady with bug zapper
Practicing my form on the back deck

It’s a cruel joke when you live in Canada that as soon as the weather gets warm, the bugs come out. First, it’s swarms of black flies, followed by mounds of mosquitoes, then the cavalry arrives in the form of deer flies and horse flies that literally take a chunk out of your skin when they bite you.

I have found solace in this world of insects. It’s called a bug zapper.

The first bug zappers were potent. You could see the electricity coursing through the electric coils, and see and hear the spark when the bug got zapped. The latest versions have been dialed down a bit, probably because too many kids stuck their finger or tongue in them and got hurt.

To me, bug zappers are one of the pure joys of summer. They allow you to shift power and take back control in the war against bugs.

This week’s Happy Act is to buy a bug zapper. Don’t be driven indoors or let pesky pests spoil your summer. It will be the best $1.50 you’ll spend.

Clear some columns on the spreadsheet of life

cartoon character wants freedom from spreadsheetsI don’t know about you, but I’ve been a bit too busy lately. It all came to a head this week between work, school commitments, travelling and neglecting my family. It’s time to clear some columns on the spreadsheet of life.

I think most people carry around a virtual spreadsheet in their head. Mine has columns for work, Boards I sit on, school council to dos, social events, family commitments, planning the kids summer camp schedule, stuff to do around the house…some days it feels like the columns keep multiplying.

And then the May long weekend and summer comes along. Glorious, wonderful summer. Time to slow down, kick back and relax, and grab a beer.

Being busy is good. Being busy to the point where you miss spending time with your family or are constantly thinking about work or calculating your next move isn’t good. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking it’s the sum on the spreadsheet that counts. It’s not. It’s the joy and enrichment you get out of life from the items on the rows and columns.

So welcome summer. It’s about time you got here. This week’s Happy Act is to clear some columns on your spreadsheet of life. Live in the moment and clear your mind of everything except wondering if the beer is cold and the lake is warm enough for that first dip.

Gotta go and make a to do list—let’s see, make potato salad, buy garden plants, buy beer…

This week’s reads

If you didn’t get a chance to read last week’s blog, Take the 90/110 challenge, read it now and take the challenge. Stay safe on the roads this weekend friends.

Tired of summer taking its sweet time? Read this great Toronto Start editorial, “Star demands action: Spring, you’re late.