Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Catch 22 of Stuff

Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving. I wish all my American readers as Happy a Thanksgiving as possible under the circumstances.  I hope each and everyone of you has something to be thankful for.  And I hope none of it is stuff.  (Or stuffing)

Stuff, Things, Cargo, Plastic Happiness. The purchase of which is supposed to make us happier in some way or another.  With Christmas coming up and the world awash in stuff to buy, we all tend to fall prey to the notion, "If I only had. . . my life would be complete" whether it is for our selves or others.

Concerned citizens try to stay our hands by assuring us we are ruining the planet by our extractions and our junk. There are too many people using too many resources to be sustainable etc. etc. (Which is correct but have you noticed the people who say there are too many people in this world never volunteer to get off.  That is a rant for another day.)

Here is the conundrum (as opposed to an elephant sitting on a dinner roll which is a bunundrum) if we stop buying stuff, things, cargo, plastic happiness then the economy of the world would collapse and we would be worse off than drowning in a sea of refuse which will happen if we don't stop with all the stuff.

If there is an economist in the crowd, please explain to me how we stop buying stuff but keep the world turning round. Even if we just stop buying useless stuff like combination ramjet fly swatters and peanut butter spreaders.

The world adds millions of people to the work force every year, millions more than we had last year.  All of them need jobs that can earn them a living wage, define it how you will. Those jobs come from making stuff.  No stuff then no mines, no factories, no need for roads, rails, airplanes, shops, or garbage dumps. And no service industries. We cannot provide ourselves the basics, define them how you will, by taking in each others laundry. The basis of taxes which is the basis of civilization comes from taxing stuff and all the spin-off activity associated with stuff. From that we pay for education, health care, infrastructure, social safety nets and security.  No stuff, no civilization.  Stuff, no civilization but takes longer.

If I just had a sliding compound mitre saw and a semi-professional planer for my wood working shop. . .

My head hurts. I am going to bed. Happy Thanksgiving


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Football and Christmas

Football season is almost over in Canada. Eastern and Western Finals are next Sunday and the Grey Cup is the following week.  Our beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders made the playoffs and won last Sunday to advance to the semi-final against Toronto. The Riders belong to all Saskatchewan and all Saskatchewan turns up to cheer for them. Including ex-Saskatchewanians.  The stands are a sea of Green and White when the Riders play, even away games.

My son-in-law and his family live and breath Rider football.  The first game my daughter went to, she took a book so she would have something to do.  Now she goes to the games with him and watches the away games at home or in the sports lounges. She is a good wife.  SIL immediately bought tickets and airfare to Toronto when the Riders won last Sunday.  Daughter will join him in Ottawa the next weekend as SIL already has tickets to the Grey Cup.  SIL and his sister will go to the Grey Cup game and daughter will visit former Regina neighbours who now live in the nation's capital.  She is a good wife. . . to a point.

Tanya is going home for Christmas.  Flies out Christmas Day and back Jan 16, all for under $1500 CAD. She deserves it, having nursed me 24/7 since July 1.  She is excited but not nearly as excited as the granddaughters. I will cope.

Christmas Day is a good day to fly. Youngest is coming home from London, and Second-Youngest from Vancouver on Christmas Day. Son is driving in.  Christmas Dinner is on Boxing Day at Oldest daughter's house. We have booked our favourite photographers (Free Lense Photographic) for some time that week to prove we are all in one place.  The photo will have a disclaimer printed on it saying Photoshop was NOT used to put everyone in the picture.

Winter arrived Nov 1st and stayed.  Snow means I cannot use my wheeled walker so I am using a cane. Ice picks on the bottom sure help with the slippery roads. I can walk (and even run a bit) without it but am unsteady on my feet.  Besides if I am shuffling across the street it buys sympathy from the cars waiting for me to get out of the way.

Other than that, not much happens on a day to day basis. Just putting in time.  The sun comes up and the sun goes down. The hands on the clock go round and round. I just get up and it's time to lay down. Life gets teejus, don't it?






Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sleepless in Regina

Some nights I have trouble going to sleep and end up staring at the clock for hours since it is the only source of light in the room. As can be seen in the pictures below, it is an older digital model with little bars that light up to make the numbers. The system is quite simple.  Two bars make the number 1 and 7 bars the number 8.

Number   Bars

1               2
2               5
3               5
4               4
5               5
6               6
7               3
8               7
9               6
0               6

The least number of bars lit is at 1:11 for a total of 6.  The most number of bars lit is at 10:08 for a total of 21, unless you use the 24 hour clock when 20:08 would have a total of 24 bars lit.

I have not yet calculated the average number of bars lit over a 12 hour cycle.  That is for another sleepless night.




Saturday, November 4, 2017

Learning to make pumpkin pie

Halloween night, my daughter picked me up at 4:00 to help hand out candy to all the little monsters.  I was supposed to take pictures of the costumes but my phone was dead on arrival.  I had one job. . .

Tanya cleaned the flat, made stew and then walked over to the Lawson Pool.  We picked her up at 8:30.  She says she can get a lot done if I am not there to help her.

Tanya has discovered pumpkin pie. She is addicted.  As of yesterday we have a freezer full of pumpkin. My cousin's daughter learned to make pie crust from her maternal grandmother so I volunteered her to teach us.  Once you can make pie crust, you can make anything from it, I figure. We had not had a visit with her since we got here and wanted to see their new (to them) house.  Tanya had knit a scarf and toque for their 4 year old daughter too.  My cousin and his wife picked us up.

We had fun.  The little girl loved her hat and scarf and played outside in the fresh wet snow with Grandma while Tanya and I were schooled in the art of pie crust.  Tanya was hands on while I observed the process. One can read pie crust recipes called never fail but unless you know what to do and when, they will in fact fail.  Process is more important than ingredients.

The pie crust recipe called for half a pound of butter and we had brought a pound so Maryanne doubled the recipe, figuring it would make five pies, two large glass and three small aluminum pie pans. The finished dough was divided into five balls and stuck in the fridge for an hour while the pumpkin custard was prepared.

We were supposed to bring heavy cream but our grocery store was out of it so Maryanne's mom drove to a nearby store to get it.  It had snowed Halloween night and the streets were icy, very icy.  She slid into a curb and flattened a tire. CAA to the rescue. . . eventually. Being in an expansive mood, Maryanne tripled the filling recipe, I think just to use up pumpkin.

The dough was formed into pie crust in the pans and baked for 10 minutes which was new to me. Parchment paper went into the pans on top of the crust and was filled with dry beans to keep the crust in shape.  This jar of dry beans was especially for pie crust and was over 7 years old.  The crusts were then filled with custard and put back in the oven.

We had brought a big glass pie pan and took our pie home when all was finished.  It is now gone where all good pies go.  I got 1/3 Tanya 2/3.  As she said she did the work and it isn't good for me to eat too much sugar. She also said Maryanne was a great teacher but the big pie from Costco for $6 was a lot less work.

Photo by Maryanne. Jack o'lantern by her 4 year old daughter