This, That and the Other – Truth, Andy Amazon, Epoxy Resin

This – There is More than One Truth

Imagine that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are far out in the English countryside in pursuit of a unique case involving an agricultural mystery.
They have settled down in their sleeping bags in a small tent for the night.
Just before dawn, Sherlock nudges Dr. Watson awake, and says,
“Watson – look up and tell me what you notice.”
Dr. Watson tells him that he sees the stars – that the clear sky means the weather will be good in the coming day – that the very faint light in the east says it is almost dawn. “What do you notice, Holmes?”
Holmes sits up. “I notice that someone has stolen our tent during the night.”
– Robert Fulghum, Now What?

That – Shopping in the Time of Covid

If I find this mat on Amazon, I’m going to buy it…

The Car Guy calls him (though sometimes it is a her) Andy Amazon. Andy visits our house a few times a week. He/She has delivered everything from printer ink to kitchen sink taps… epoxy resin to tools… all the things that our local stores either don’t ever carry or  can’t get because of Covid caused supply chain issues.

The absolute nicest Andy was of Asian descent. He left a parcel at our front door, rang the doorbell, then headed back to his vehicle. I got to the door before he got to the end of the patio.

I opened the door and said, loud enough for him to hear, “Thank you!” He turned and… bowed.

Whenever it snows, I trudge out to the main road and shovel down to bare dirt so that Andy knows exactly where our driveway is. If Andy is just a few feet off the mark he/she could end up in the ditch. That would really mess up Andy’s day and maybe we would get a black mark next to our name and all the Amazon Andys would tell the dispatcher that they definitely don’t want to deliver the parcel to the house in the country with the really deep ditch that sucks your car in right up to the door handle.

Without Amazon, The Car Guy and I might go crazy… no, make that crazier…

Serious Lock Down Advice:
Everyone please be careful because people are going crazy from being locked down at home!
I was just talking about this with the microwave and the toaster while drinking my tea, and we all agreed that things are getting bad.
I didn’t mention any of this to the washing machine, because she puts a different spin on everything.
Certainly couldn’t share with the fridge, ’cause he’s been acting cold and distant!
In the end, the iron straightened me out. She said the situation isn’t all that pressing and all the wrinkles will soon get ironed out.
The vacuum, however, was very unsympathetic… told me to just suck it up.
But the fan was very optimistic and gave me hope that it will all blow over soon.
The toilet looked a bit flushed but didn’t say anything when I asked its opinion,
but the front door said I was becoming unhinged and the doorknob told me to get a grip.
You can just about guess what the curtains told me: they told me to ‘pull myself together!”
We will survive!
– Author Unknown –

The Other – When do you have Enough Drink Coasters?

Clear Epoxy Resin drink coasters with computer parts embedded in them

The Car Guy, Daughter the Nurse and gHosT the dog (who has posted on this blog a few times: gHosT the grand dog) get together once a week for a day of woodworking. For the past few months they have dabbled in woodworking AND epoxy resin.  One of The Car Guy’s first projects was embedding computer parts into the epoxy – in the shape of drink coasters. He has also embedded rocks, photographs, wood slabs and many other things. When we had answered the question “How many drink coasters does one house need?” the subsequent coasters left home and took up residence in the homes of various family members.

You might remember from a previous post that The Car Guy went through an epoxy resin glitter phase during the holiday season: Epoxy Resin Snow Flakes.

Daughter is cutting out intricate shapes with a scroll saw and filling in the holes with resin!

I am thankful that The Car Guy has embarked on a new hobby that challenges the creative side of his brain. I’m not saying woodworking isn’t creative, but the epoxy resin also challenges him to think more like an artist. An added bonus to this new hobby is that it is absolutely excellent daddy-daughter time and goes a very long way to keeping us ‘older folks’ from feeling very alone in this locked down Province.

gHosT wants to add this:

it was cold at the Red House. today. so cold no one. took me for a walk. but they put me in the fenced yard. i ran and ran and ran and borked. i smelled something. it was big. i think. it had a big smell. grandma said it was. moose. ive never met a moose. if i did. i would bork and bork. even more. the moose wouldnt know if it was a. friendly bork. or not. all my borks sound the same. even to me.

Scroll saw dinosaur with epoxy resin – by Daughter the Nurse

 

How are all you folks passing the time these days? Are you in some sort of lock down too? Are you feeling fearful or optimistic? Do you have things to do that make you happy? Do you have someone to share your life with?

Alberta and COVID-19 – Facts Amid the Fears (‘Rona #25)

Mass and Social Media have done a good job of making people highly fearful of COVID-19. However, as we learn more about the virus, statistics and studies support a less fearful scenario.

The media dwells on case counts but it is becoming obvious that confirmed cases are mostly mild and don’t, in fact, represent the number of actual cases. Many cases may have gone undetected because people didn’t have symptoms or didn’t seek testing. (If officials don’t know how many cases there actually are, how can they say what the COVID death or survival rate is?)

Here are the statistics in Alberta that I think are more important and less fearful:

1. The most significant metric of Covid is how many people died. Covid deaths to date are a very small percentage of both the population and of Alberta deaths per year. Covid deaths are less than 2 times greater than the flu season of 2017-2018, which was a high severity flu season.
– Deaths from all causes in Alberta in 2019: 26,972
– Covid-19 deaths to August 9, 2020: 213 (.0036% of Alberta’s Population of 4,428,247)
– Lab Confirmed flu deaths in the 2017-2018 flu season: 92

2. Another important metric is the number of hospitalizations. The 2017-2018 flu season (high severity) had significantly more hospitalizations than Covid. Covid Hospitalizations peaked in late April and have not reached a level anywhere near the capacity of Alberta’s health-care system.
– Covid Hospitalizations: 598 (.0091% of the population)
– Hospitalizations in the 2017-2018 flu season: 3047

3. The vast majority of Covid deaths were Seniors over the age of 80. The Average age at death was 83. Ninety one percent of the deaths were people over 70 years of age.
– Deaths 80+ years and older: 148
– Deaths 70-79 years of age: 46
– Deaths 70+ years and older: 194 ( 91% of the deaths)

4. Ninety percent of the people who died had 2 or more comorbidities. Officials have not said whether there is a distinction between death caused by Covid and death caused by the comorbidity but Covid was present.
– Deaths with 2 or more comorbidities: 179 (90% of the deaths)
Comorbidities include: Diabetes, Hypertension, COPD, Cancer, Dementia, Stroke, Liver cirrhosis, Cardiovascular diseases (including IHD and Congestive heart failure), Chronic kidney disease, and Immuno-deficiency.

5. Data and studies point to new assumptions that differ from those held at the beginning of the  Covid-19 pandemic:

– The perceived risk of transmission from contaminated surfaces is lower than it was earlier in the pandemic when not much was known about the coronavirus. (Linsey Marr, expert in the transmission of viruses, Virginia Tech, studies of the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces)

– The vast majority of transmission seems to be through close contact with an infected individual, primarily in an indoor setting. (Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease physician, Toronto General Hospital.)

Wearing gloves for extended stretches while touching various objects can lead to cross-contamination the longer you’re wearing them which winds up being less helpful than just washing or sanitizing your bare hands regularly. (Infectious disease specialist Dr. Zain Chagla, associate professor, McMaster University in Hamilton.)

Playgrounds are probably one of the safer places for kids to congregate, if they have to congregate. And the reason why is that sunlight kills off the virus pretty effectively(Linsey Marr, expert in the transmission of viruses, Virginia Tech, studies of the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces)

– Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. (New England Journal of Medicine, Universal Masking in Hospitals)

– The absolute risk of infection from an exposed individual was 12.8% at 1 m and 2.6% at 2 m. (From a Study of observational papers, published in The Lancet, June 1, 2020)

– We therefore strongly support the calls of public health agencies for all people to wear masks when circumstances compel them to be within 6 ft of others for sustained periods. (New England Journal of Medicine, Universal Masking in Hospitals)

– Recent data suggests that the human body reacts no differently to this virus than to other respiratory viruses: it mounts immunity, and once achieved, the virus gets cleared and there is protection from future infection. (Dr. Neil Rau infectious diseases specialist, medical microbiologist, Oakville, Ont.)

– Increased infections, as long as they do not involve the elderly or medically vulnerable, are an unavoidable path to herd immunity. Our “flattening of the curve” has once again proven the axiom: “You can pay me now or pay me later.” Holding out for a vaccine is impractical and likely naive, in light of previous vaccine failures with other coronaviruses. (George Delgado, MD, Covid Planning Tools)

The Piano Guys -The Calm after the Storm – The Cello Song (Video)

The QuipperyThe Hail Storm

Southern Alberta (hailstorm alley) experienced a severe hail/rain storm Saturday night. According to news reports, 48.7 millimetres (1.8 inches) of rain fell between 7 and 8 p.m. Some parts of Calgary saw hailstones the size of tennis balls that fell at speeds of 80 to 100 km/h. They punctured house siding and broke windows; pockmarked car bodies and caved in windshields.

We were fortunate this time. We got the rain but the hail was small and didn’t do much more than put holes in the rhubarb leaves. We haven’t always been so lucky, as you can see here, here, here, and here. (We are so glad our house still has 40 year old cedar siding – a blob of paint quickly covers the gouges a hail stone can make…)

The Covid-19 Storm

Alberta is lifting restrictions. At our house, family and repair people have been coming and going. We’ve personally relaxed some of the more diligent social distancing and mask rules – but our visitors are certainly welcome to distance and mask in whatever way they feel comfortable.

‘Autonomous Zone’ Storm

I’ve declared our home and yard to be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ – free from the  authority structure in which we are embedded. I’m working on my manifesto, but rest assured it will grant equality to everyone, including pirates.

I was inspired to make this declaration as a result of the occupation in Seattle by Antifa and Black Lives Matter.  They call their zone the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone – CHAZ.

The biggest difference between their zone and mine, however, is that I’m not displacing any people and businesses. That seems too much like colonialism.

CHAZ is doing a few other things that seem similar to the actions that are frequent targets of other protesters:

–  CHAZ put up barricades and walls – an act very similar to the contentious construction of walls between Mexico and the United States.
– CHAZ posted armed security guards around their perimeter (courtesy a self-appointed police force led by a rapper named Raz Simone) – an act in direct contrast to demands for greater gun control.
– CHAZ required residents who live within the boundaries to show ID to prove they “belong” there – an act very similar to segregation
–  CHAZ assaulted a street preacher (who was apparently saying things that upset people) – they supposedly pinned the man to the ground. This seems very similar to the police brutality that they oppose.
– CHAZ welcomed the homeless into their land (and discovered that the homeless took all their food) – well that is just too funny to even comment on.

Other than those items, and maybe some things I don’t know about, I’m in full agreement about freedom from the authority structure (Canadian Liberalism) that I am embedded in…

After the Storm Music – Hello Cello

It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.
– Johann Sebastian Bach –

Speaking of which, just imagine what went into taking 8 cello tracks and turning them into one song!

The Cello Song is based on one of the most recognizable classical pieces ever written, J.S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude… Steven Sharp Nelson decided that this piece needed some accompaniment… Adding some original material and 7 more cello parts stacked on top of each other…
The Piano Guys

What positive things are starting to happen in your part of the world?

Face Masks – When and Where to Wear (‘Rona #23)

Wearing a Face Mask. This is still a matter of choice in many parts of the world, though there are places that have made it mandatory under certain circumstances. There does seem to be agreement that home made masks will not block the entry of a virus. These masks might, however, reduce virus spread by asymptomatic carriers. The effectiveness depends on the mask material, how well it fits, and the competence of the user. Social distancing is still considered to be the best way to prevent the virus from spreading.

The best article I have found to date, that discusses masks, is this one: Understanding Health Canada’s advice about Wearing Masks in Public. (Read the Author’s About page if you would like to know Blair King’s credentials.) He discusses Conscientious Mask Wearers, Conscientious Non-Mask Wearers, and Non-Conscientious Mask Wearers.

Wear a mask when you can’t social distance but when in public at a safe social distance it is just as safe to not wear masks. To be clear, if you see me on a bus; I will be wearing a mask. If the store asks me to wear a mask; I will wear a mask because that is store policy. But in situations where I can safely social distance, I will follow our health professionals’ advice and keep my hands to myself while keeping a safe social distance and not wear a mask.
– Blair King, Understanding Health Canada’s advice about wearing masks in public

Of course, this is one man’s opinion and it might not mesh with everything you have read in your preferred mass media or what your friends tell you on social media. So be it. Mask wearing is still a choice in most situations. It is not the right or responsibility for any of us to comment on or shame others for the choice they have made. (This topic is discussed at ‘Behind the Mask’ at the blog ‘A Life Well Lived’.)

I’ll end this with a story that shows how hard it is to know what to believe these days – even when you get information ‘straight from the horses mouth’!

When we were getting ready to drive from Arizona to Alberta, I read mass media stories about states closing their borders. So I researched the entry/exit rules for the three states we would be driving through – Utah, Idaho and Montana. Each state website talked about 14 day quarantines if you entered the state, but that didn’t apply to visitors who were only going to drive through the state. Overnight stays were allowed too, as long as they weren’t in parks that had been closed. We were good to go for that part of the trip.

Then there was the Canadian website (returning Canadians without symptoms section). It said “You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while traveling to the place you will quarantine (self-isolate). Go directly to your place of quarantine, without stopping anywhere, and stay there for 14 days.”

Hmmm. We had our own vehicle, we had masks… but why would we need to wear them in our car for a 4 hour drive? What if we needed gas or a bathroom break?

Fortunately, the people who write these things aren’t the people who greet you at the border and let you into the country. It was a normal border crossing, with a short discussion about Covid and some questions about where we were going to stay during quarantine. Last, but not least, we were told we MUST put on a mask IF we had to stop before we got home.

So, which mask type are you?

All My Virus Posts (and lots of funny things) are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.

My 52 Friends Plan for Retirement

We lived overseas (UK and the Middle East) for 5 1/2 years. When  it was time to return home to Canada, we were entering a new phase of life – we were retirees! It was a leap of faith. We could only guess whether our new economic situation was going to be adequate in a country we hadn’t lived in for a while!

We had made quite a few friends as expats, so before we moved home I came up with a cunning plan. If in fact there was going to be more month than money, we could sponge off visit our friends, on a rotating schedule. If I could find 52 friends who would each host us for one week, we didn’t really even have to have a home. I called it my 52 Friends Plan.

The roll out of my plan took place at our Overseas Going Away Party. We invited lots of people. Many of them were going to be retiring to places we thought we might like to visit. When they arrived at the party, I handed them a flyer I had printed up. It read as follows:

The Canadian Visitors Plan
You can avoid Surprise visits from retired Canadians by applying for Membership to The Canadian Visitors Plan. Once your application has been processed, you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your Canadian Guests will only stay with you for one predetermined week each year.

ToonadayAre Canadians Hard to Look After?
Canadians are a hardy and adaptable bunch, with relatively few special needs. We’ll send you a short list of ideas about how to make them feel comfortable in your home, along with suggested menu plans and wine pairings. We then encourage you to correspond with your Foster Canadian prior to their first visit. This will guide you in selecting a good list of sights to send them off to, so they won’t be in your home and bothering you during the day.

Is This Like an Exchange Program?
No, you are under no obligation to visit your Canadian in their home environment. But after your Canadian’s first visit at your home, your Canadian will undoubtedly encourage you to come and visit them (assuming they are not really homeless…) You will want to ascertain just what part of Canada your Canadian lives in, and what kind of accommodation they can offer you before you accept such an invitation. And while it is totally untrue that you have seen all of Canada just because you went to Toronto on business, there are many parts of Canada that you might not want to visit if your Canadian invites you to come in February.

The Selection Process
We will select a suitable Canadian, based on the preferences you indicate when you fill out your application form. Once we have assigned you your Canadian, we will send you an 4X6 glossy to hang on your fridge. But, if you are eager to start your friendship with a Canadian today, we can assign you this lovely couple… (Then I inserted our name, address, phone number and e-mail address.)

52 Weeks in a year – 52 Friends. It just made so much sense to me. Unfortunately no one took my 52 Friends Plan seriously. Not a single person signed up.

Within a month of arriving home, we received a request for accommodation from one of those expat friends. They stayed with us for two weeks – and we were but one of several people they were staying with as they hopscotched around the country. They were living my cunning plan. Excellent! My good idea worked – just not the way I thought it would.

What great ideas have you had that didn’t work out the way you planned?

 

Cookbook Shelf

Savella Stechishin

In response to a blogging suggestion from Feeding on Folly – What does Your Bookshelf Say About You: I got no further than the Cookbook Shelf and this book – Traditional Ukrainian Cookery by Savella Stechishin. The Car Guys sister, by remarkable coincidence, had just asked us if we still have this cookbook.

The answer is yes, we still have it – the 9th edition (printed in 1976). This book was first published in 1957 by Trident Press Ltd in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Car Guy looked it up online, and found out that used copies are for sale on various sites for as little as $35 to as much as $400!

Savella Stechishin’s Traditional Ukrainian Cookery is to Ukrainian cuisine what Julia Child’s cookbook is to French cooking.
– Vera Krycak –

Savella Stechishin did much more than write a cookbook! She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1930 – the first Ukrainian woman to receive a degree there. She taught in Saskatchewan schools, was a home economist for Women’s Services at the University of Saskatchewan and lectured at the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She also gave Ukrainian language courses at Saskatoon’s Mohyla Institute, where she was dean of women. She co-founded the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1989.

The Car Guy’s heritage is Ukrainian and Swedish. This has introduced a wealth of interesting recipes to our family. My culinary repertoire was blandly vanilla in comparison!

What is the most dog-eared, well used, loved, recipe book in your kitchen?

Well of Lost Thoughts 2018 – Michael McIntyre- Man Drawer (Video)

When I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them, I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Facebook Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you.

The Man Drawer

The Car Guy has more than just a Man Drawer – he has a whole Man Cave!

Tupperware is forever.

I had the square cake container and the lid finally cracked when it was about 25 years old. I contacted a Tupperware person and they got me a replacement lid – for free.

Tupperware® brand products were introduced in 1946. The first Tupperware Home Party was held in 1948. By 1951, the Tupperware Home parties were working so well that all products were taken off store shelves.

Tupperware advises that Vintage Tupperware (made before March 2010) is not BPA-free so should not be used for food prep or storage. It is, however, up to individuals to assess whether BPA is as big a health risk as the media made it out to be.

Health Canada’s Food Directorate continues to conclude that current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children. This conclusion is consistent with those of other food regulatory agencies in other countries, including notably the United States, the European Union and Japan.
– Health Canada –

And What Are Plastics Made From? OIL!

Canada – 2018 was dominated by the Oil Pipeline Story. It continues in 2019 and the fall out could affect two elections this year. Alberta could turn their backs on the Left wing NDP party, while Canada may turf out the Left wing Liberals.

So to recap: Trudeau’s replacing the Minister who couldn’t get any pipelines built with the one who couldn’t get any infrastructure built, and replacing his former Trade Minister who couldn’t get any trade deals done with his former Natural Resources Minister who couldn’t get any pipelines built. That should make everything better, right??
– Conservative MP Blake Richards –

The issue is how to get Alberta’s Oil Sands product to market. Alberta wants to expand the capacity of existing pipelines and build new ones. They are not allowed to do this under today’s political climate. Until pipeline capacity is increased, oil is increasingly being transported by rail and truck, both of which are less environmentally friendly than a pipeline.

Environmentalists and activists, frequently funded by American money, have played a large role in blocking new pipelines. They have been highly effective in gathering public support and electing governments that support their anti-fossil fuel agendas. They live in a fantasy world…

Unfortunately, with two distinct functions in the economy, the misperception that more wind and solar (used for electricity) will displace oil (used for transport) feeds an ignorance that hinders sound energy policy.
– Jude Clemente, JTC Energy Research –

What would happen to the US today if the fossil fuel industry went on a strike of indefinite duration? What would happen if we gave the environmentalists what they want? Instead of nibbling around the edges, what if we just went all the way? What would be the consequences if Atlas shrugged?
What If Atlas Shrugged? By David Deming, February 7, 2013

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrapped up its $1.1 million cleanup of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps on federal land in North Dakota, hauling away 835 dumpsters of remaining trash and debris. The site, once occupied by thousands of environmental demonstrators, is now vacant.
– The Washington Times –

Speaking of Fuel

Last fall, 20 combines and drivers  joined forces to harvest Brian Williams’ crop of durum wheat near Milestone, Sask. Williams died right as harvest was getting underway.

The World Record – a total of 303 combines were working all at once in a field of winter wheat south of Winkler in Manitoba in 2018.  This event raisies money for Children’s Camps International (CCI) through its Harvest for Kids event.

I bought an ant farm. I don’t know where I am going to get a tractor that small!
– Steven Wright –

Every Day is Nude Day with Nudinits

Mike Rowe: “I’ve just been informed it’s National Selfie Day. Something to think about…”
David Vitti “It’s also international “Hike Naked Day.” It really bothers me that these two days coincide…”

About a Frog

A lonely frog, desperate for some form of company telephoned the Psychic Hotline to find out what his future held. His Personal Psychic Advisor told him, “You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you.”
The frog was thrilled and said, “This is great! Where will I meet her, at work, at a party?”
“No” says the psychic, “in a Biology class.”

Experiences from ‘The Good Old Days’

Question: Name a struggle you had growing up that kids today will never understand. – Matt Whitlock –
Answer: Fixing a typo involved pushing back your typewriter a character, inserting the white-out strip, re-typing the wrong character to place the white, removing the whiteout, pushing back the typewriter a character and typing the new character. You did this for each wrong character. – Blair King –

Literary Perspectives

When finding a new word, I tend to look it up before reading the rest of the written work to gain a full understanding. ‘Incel’ was such a word. After finding the definition in the urban dictionary, I couldn’t find the ambition to read the rest.
– Harold Sleeper –

Well to be perfectly honest, in my humble opinion, of course without offending anyone who thinks differently from my point of view, but also by looking into this matter in a different perspective and without being condemning of one’s view’s and by trying to make it objectified, and by considering each and every one’s valid opinion, I honestly believe that I completely forgot what I was going to say.
– Daniel Zimmerman –

Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. For example:

Knowing well the hand signals of his platoon leader, Private James Dawson silently dropped to the dirt, concealed and motionless for what seemed an eternity, a move that he had learned, coincidentally, from his parents whenever the Watchtower ladies would ring the doorbell.
– Peter S. Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA –

It Was a Quick Trip Home

The best laid plans… When we booked our 2 week trip back to Alberta (from our winter abode in Arizona) we were optimistic that the brutal cold would be over by early March. It wasn’t. The last night we were in the chilly north, the wind chill temperature was -40C (-40F.)

Is wind chill something that the weather man warns you about where you live? Did you know there is a rather complicated formula for determining wind chill?

There is an equivalent formula for degrees Fahrenheit, of course.

But, we’re still old school. We don’t need a complicated formula. We look out the window and use a simple If-Then statement:

If the outdoor thermometer says it is pretty cold and the snow is drifting across the back yard and the visible chimney smoke is not going straight up then the wind chill will be greater than the temperature on the thermometer.

So yes, it was cold out. Of course we are hardy Canucks with over six decades of Alberta winters under our belts. We hauled out the really warm clothing and released The Car Guy’s truck from the garage. We were good to go.

Unfortunately, our house was not quite good to go. We live on an acreage, with our own water and septic systems. Water in – water out is our responsibility. The extreme cold, unfortunately, froze the ‘water out’ system. We hadn’t even unpacked our bags before we discovered this problem. We quickly shut down the ‘water in’ system and booked a ‘discovery meeting’ with the plumber for the next day. When ‘nature started to call’ … urgently… and the extreme cold removed the possibility that I was going to squat outside in the snow, we packed up and headed to a motel for the night. (And the next five nights…)

After several thawing attempts by the plumbers, it was decided that the most cost effective course of action for us was to let Mother Nature thaw the system in the spring, and for us to cut our visit down to 6 busy days.

Besides visits with family, we attended a High School performance of  the musical ‘Chicago’. Actually, we went twice. Our Grandson played ‘Amos’ in this production and though I don’t want to brag too much – he was really good! Did I hum along when he was singing Mr. Cellophane? You bet!

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…

The rest of the cast was awesome too – such a lot of talent in just one High School. Multiply that by all the rest of the High Schools and all the other disciplines and the young plumbers who advised us on our septic system and the lively youngsters who bounced around the motel dining room at breakfast every morning – well you can’t help but feel optimistic about the future of our Province!

Lest We Forget

Calgary’s Field of Crosses

Each year, from November 1 to 11, over 3400 Memorial Crosses are placed in a park along Calgary’s Memorial Drive. Each cross represents a soldier from Southern Alberta who died in active duty during Conflicts and Peacekeeping Missions from 1899 to the Present.

Calgary Alberta
Field of Crosses, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Calgary Alberta

Vine, Henry W

The Car Guy and I walked the length of the park to reach our destination at the east end of the Field – the marker of Henry William Vine, my grandfather’s brother.

World War One

Henry William signed his Attestation Papers for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in September 1915. He was 17 years and 1 month old, and likely lied about his age in order to enlist. The family story is that a woman handed him the white feather of cowardice, and that is what compelled him to join.

Henry’s unit, the 49th Bn, arrived in France on March 26, 1916. Henry reported to base slightly wounded in June, 1916 but remained at duty. He was wounded again on September 15, 1916, apparently a gun shot wound to the right elbow. His third encounter with the enemy was his last. He was reported missing after action at The Somme, and presumed dead on October 4, 1916. His body was never found, making him one of just over 11,000 Canadian soldiers with no known grave.

The Battles of the Somme were launched by the British. On July 1, 1916, in daylight, 100,000 inexperienced, over burdened, inadequately supported men climbed out of their trenches and advanced shoulder to shoulder, one behind the other, across the cratered waste of “No Man’s Land”. 57,470 British soldiers were killed, wounded or reported missing on that first day.

In late August 1916, the Canadians moved to the Somme where they took over a section of the front directly in front of the village of Courcelette. By autumn, rains had turned the battlefield into a bog and the offensive came to a halt. The line had moved forward only 10 kilometers.

A completely accurate table of World War One losses may never be compiled, but it is estimated that 8,500,000 soldiers died as a result of wounds and/or disease. It has also been estimated that 13 million civilian deaths were attributable to the war.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McRae, December 8, 1915
Doctor serving with the Canadian Artillery

Canadian Thanksgiving

Fall grass with a molten gold filter

Canadian Thanksgiving is today (the second Monday in October).  It is a celebration of thanks for a good harvest – and it occurs earlier in the fall than American Thanksgiving because Canada’s climate is colder and our harvests end earlier. At least, our farmers hope they end earlier, but the early snow we’ve had here in Alberta has delayed harvest somewhat.

Fall grass with a cartoon filter

We’ve had our family Thanksgiving feasts already. On Saturday we hosted a Thanksgiving lunch. The featured ‘guest’ was a fairly large ham. Though we bagged up a lot of ham and sent it home with the family, we still have a lot of ham left over.

Eternity is a ham and two people.
– Dorothy Parker –

Grass with a scratchy line drawing filter

Yesterday (Sunday) we went to the daughter’s house for a Turkey Dinner. Son-in-law got a little carried away in the selection of the size of the turkey. This caused them to own a bird that just barely fit into the appliance that cooked it. There was also lots of mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry jelly, several salads, three kinds of desserts. Delicious. They bagged up a lot of turkey and sent it home with the family. They still have a lot of turkey left over. Another kind of eternity.

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
– Author Unknown –

Tonight The Car Guy and I will dine on left-over ham and turkey. Tomorrow – maybe a casserole with ham or turkey. The next day, maybe split pea soup made from the ham bone. The next day – anything that doesn’t involve a bird or a pig.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadians! Happy Columbus Day (or Indigenous People’s Day), Americans!