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The calendar says it’s Friday so . . . time for Five for Friday.

It was a particularly Canadian experience heading to the gym this morning. The outside temperature may have said 6C, but I think the wind chill was probably -35. Give or take. I can take the spin room and the suicide runs and the hateful pushups and pullups … but the darkness and cold at 530a really does me in. Being the clever sort, I’ve determined that part of the issue for me is wearing shorts out to the car at that hour. The sensation of November wind whistling up the Under Armour may not inspire a folk song from Gordon Lightfoot, but it’s hard to imagine a more visceral Canadian moment. A friend of mine runs the organization that produces those wonderful Canadian Heritage minutes you see on TV. Maybe I’ll suggest one honouring those who put their butts on cold car seats in the name of pursuing fitness. And maybe I need a car with seat warmers. Call it a First-World problem.

It’s minor hockey picture day tomorrow. In the olden days we used to do picture day (or, Fucking Picture Day as I called it) in a corner of a rink that was temporarily set up for the job with electrical cables running across the floor, rubber mats that the kids in skates ignored and walked on the cement anyway, and crowded access. And kids who were not otherwise electrocuted or maimed from falling while trying to walk across cement in skates got their pictures taken. The kids would come and some would have forms and some would not and some would have cheques and some would not. And parents would order nothing at all and settle just for one portrait of their kid or they would go all-in and get the key chains and tea cozys and pillow cases and arthritic heating pads and all manner of paraphernalia emblazoned with the gap-toothed image of Little Johnny. It’s amazing how much of an industry exists around minor sports – ALL minor sports – and selling crap to people that they don’t really need. Given the advances in technology – and assuming life will go on if you don’t have fridge magnets with your son’s photo on them – I wonder if anyone would care if an organization just scrapped picture day altogether in favor of one dad with a decent digital SLR taking a pic and emailing to everyone ? Picture day now is at the terrific Toronto Rock Athletic Centre. Multiple photo stations, nice facility. It runs like clockwork.

It’s the time of the year already where Christmas is barrelling down the track. We have come-home dates for both boys and Laura has already booked a chunk of Chris’s time to decorate the house. Everyone likes the holidays and Chris has always been a particularly enthusiastic decorator/helper. He will be home in only four weeks, about a week before his older brother, who is a less enthused elf — more of a South Pole Elf, really. I am an unapologetic suck when it comes to my boys and I’m counting the days until they return and create chaos in the house. Both have already reminded me of this year’s Night Before Christmas Challenge. A long-standing tradition in our home is the Christmas Eve reading the holiday poem by yours truly. Time and age has not diminished the boys’ enthusiasm for the poem, except the challenge for this year is for me to recite the entire work from memory. My memory isn’t that great so remedial work will begin shortly. As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly . . .

I’m trying to be more positive about everything. It would be a lot easier if I didn’t have GO Transit in my life. Track switch problems west of Oakville have screwed up morning trains for two days. Okay, fine. I get that GO can’t control that, stuff happens, etc. But, would it be too much to ask that GO make timely, clear announcements about what is going on? Would it be too much to ask that when the 750a train arrives at Oakville at 730a that they could open the doors so people could stand somewhere warm while we wait (FYI by this point in the day I’m not in my Under Armour anymore, but leaving it on might mean I get a lot more personal space on the train, so perhaps it’s worth consideration.) GO Transit acts as though customer service is a 5th or 6th rate priority. It is so bad it is depressing.

Trudeaumania 2.0? The reaction of the public, the media, the public service, foreign governments to our new PM . . . it’s quite something. Somewhere one can only imagine Stephen Harper sitting in a dark room drumming his fingers like a villain in a Batman movie and hating it. I have no clue if Trudeau and his government will be good for Canada. But less than a month after his election most Canadians seem to be happy with his primary achievement so far: that he’s not Stephen Harper. I guess the country was ready for change. Canada must be a truly boring country if ordinary people can express an opinion on the reinstatement of the long-form census. Having said that, it seems undeniable that Trudeau and his family project an image that Canadians like a whole lot better, at least for now.