Saturday, January 24, 2015

A blip?

When I saw that the price of gas had dipped below a dollar, I had to snap a photo. Quick. Before it went back over the loony line.

On Thursday I actually saw 98.9 in Vancouver, but I know these low prices won't last.

Last autumn, Steve Harper was touting the importance of oil to our country's economy, using that as an excuse to barge through the countryside with pipelines. This week, despite massive layoffs in the oil fields of Alberta (and, for that matter, across the country in all sorts of venues), he's changed his tune.

I'd like to consider believing him when he says our economy is based on much more than the extraction of fossil fuels. But it would sure be easier to do so if he'd set up some programs for ordinary people to access some of the interim methods we're going to have to explore as we wean ourselves off our addiction to oil. Rebates on electric cars? Subsidies on solar or geothermal installations?

And, while he's so busy giving tax breaks to the wealthy, might he consider giving a tax break to anyone who could prove that they'd voted? That might be a way to get out the vote -- and with luck -- see a change in government for Canada. Quick, while we've still got a country.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flowers for Charlie

These are my small attempts at bringing spring into the house. Tulips which I bought for myself -- a small extravagance to offset the dark week that has just passed. Interesting, I think, that they get their name from the cloth used to wrap a turban. And pink ones are supposed to indicate 'caring'.

The paper-white narcissus companions have joined the tulips, though they're in their own vase. These are the ones that I forced early in December. They bloomed, but then started sagging under the weight of their blossoms. So I cut their stems and put them into water. Their sweet fragrance fills me with hope that spring is near, as do the bulbs poking up their tips in the garden.

Today, Charlie Hebdo has published a new edition, this time depicting an image of Muhammad under a banner of forgiveness. In the image, he is proclaiming (as we all have been saying), Je suis Charlie,

More than ever, the words that guided the French Revolution -- liberté, égalité, fraternité -- are echoing through the streets of Paris, and all around the world. It's time to erase our differences, or at least thoughts of fighting over them.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Something new for a new year

Because I'm a person who likes things that are 'broken-in' it's often hard to part with items that others might consider worn out, or at least well past their 'best-by-date'.

New clothes feel scratchy, new shoes can pinch. Second-hand pillow slips are softer and often prettier. Garage sale cups and serving plates are sometimes hand-painted, and nearly always more charming than those that are brand-new. Even a new book needs its pages turned before it gets good.

Still, sometimes I have to admit that an object or item of clothing has served beyond its duty. Sadly, this seems to be the case with my beloved carry-all bag from Duthie Books, a locally-owned chain of shops that closed down for good in 2010. The letters are nearly worn off and the handles are frayed enough I sometimes worry that they might break.

The bag has worked overtime as a purse for me for many years, never complaining about dragging around an oversized wallet filled with library cards and receipts. Or my camera and glasses, and often an umbrella. Not to mention various notebooks, magazines, water bottles, combs and Chapsticks that may have ridden around in its black folds.

Sentimentalist that I am, I won't be throwing it out, but I do plan (yes, for the new year) to transfer those glasses cases and gloves and assorted paraphernalia to a newer bag -- this time, navy blue, one from Word Vancouver. At least it'll still be in the literary theme. And I can only trust it'll be as faithful to me as the black one has been.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The world in pieces?

Sometimes it feels that way. Wars, the threat of climate change, random shootings and more. You know what I mean, I am sure.

And I realize the images here are only of an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. Still, I want to think of it as a metaphor for starting out the new year. Besides, it was certainly calming to take a break from all that's hectic and work on assembling it.

My wish is that 2015 will be a year where we see the people of the world coming together and working towards finding real solutions to the changes we need to accomplish.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Peace on earth

Wouldn't that be the most wonderful gift? Even as a child, when I used to hear beauty queens stating 'world peace' as their greatest wish, the cynic in me would quietly sneer. Doubt, even then. Or was it fear that prompted those 'as if' feelings.

Thankfully, we no longer have to rely on beauty queens to promote the idea of world peace. Think about Malala, not afraid to speak her truths, including the goal of peace.

Considering the mess the world is in, that outcome likely isn't in the cards for the very near future. Nonetheless, I can still wish for peace, especially when I consider such a peaceful image as the one of my wind chime outside the back door.

And I can at least send wishes of 'good will to all'.

However you celebrate, may it be with kindness.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The parade has begun!

 And no, I don’t mean the Santa Claus parade. That took place at least a month ago, back when the messages to ‘Buy, buy, buy!’ went into full swing. Nor do I mean the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” (one of the songs the choir I’m in performed earlier this month, though not at all the version in the link). This parade is the annual one that takes place here, the parade of the holiday goodies.

The banana breads are full of walnuts and will go as gifts to friends and neighbours. The butter tarts (below) are a Christmas tradition which I still make with the ‘secret recipe’ given to me years ago by Betty from the Soo.

The apricots are more of the special treats that only appear once a year. They’ve been soaking in brandy for quite a few weeks and they retain enough spirits that they probably don’t make for safe driving. Dipping them into chocolate makes them festive. I was glad to be able to make them earlier this week for the first day of Hanukkah

There are still a few more treats that need to be made, but it’s a good feeling that I’ve managed to make a good start. We’ll be able to do some sampling for Solstice. Convenient that it will occur just after 3 in the afternoon here. 

So yes, the holiday preparations are in full swing here. And yum, does the kitchen ever smell scrumptious! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Today is the last day in most of our lifetimes when we'll be able to write the date as a consecutive set of numbers. Next time this opportunity comes up is more than 88 years from now, on the second of January, 2103.

Even then, to make it work, zeroes will have to be incorporated: 01-02-03,

It's likely by then no one will even notice the zero, as digitization of everything will have long occurred.

I'm not sure whether I'm disappointed or relieved to discover I'm not the only one who's considered the importance of this date.

A numbers nut I'll admit to being, but I suspect there are worse things to be.