Friday, January 30, 2015

And they call it the 'safe' way?

I've always wondered why they call our supermarket the Safeway. And for most of this winter, it's been even more puzzling.

For a couple of years, the store has supplied germ-killing wet-wipes near the entry to the store. I liked using these to wipe my hands -- but even more for the fact that I could wipe down the handle of my shopping cart. How many hands touch those each day? Yech.

But for the past few months, there haven't been any wipes at the door. Although I've spoken with both the manager and his assistant manager several times, each of them has always explained that they haven't received them despite their trying to order them.

When I've gone so far as to suggest one of them just go back into the store and bring an alternate supply to the front, they've replied that they couldn't do that. I've not really understood this, but the gentlemen in charge just shrugged and smiled and walked away, leaving me wondering. Could it really be that the store's discretionary budget can't deal with such an expense?

So today, because we're still in the midst of flu season (and experiencing a flu that this year's vaccine doesn't afford protection from), I decided to buy the poor grocery store a pack of cleansing wipes. After all, if their budget can't look after this, I can.

Gesundheit. And stay safe.

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.