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Monday, August 14, 2017

It must be jelly...

...'cause jam don't shake like that!

In the 1940s, the late, great Glenn Miller, and others, recorded a song called "It Must be Jelly 'cause Jam Don't Shake Like That."
I don't know whose recording my father played for me when I was small, but I loved it and would ask him to play it over and over. The lyrics, as I remember them, were:
It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that
It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that
Oh, mama, you're so big and fat!

At that time, no one would have considered the lyrics socially unacceptable, and only the chronically overweight would have thought them a slur.
How times have changed, and I'm so glad, because I'm certainly no longer young, nor slim!

When I was three or four years old, I thought 'Must Be Jelly' was wonderful. Other bands and singers recorded it with more lyrics (particularly Woody Herman, whom I considered the height of comedy my in pre-TV days) but I only remember those three lines, and they have stayed in my mind, rightly or wrongly, as Glenn Miller music.
When I became older, and could have my own record-player, Dad insisted I play one Glenn Miller record for every rock'n'roll record. Dad had long realized I couldn't sing (I couldn't even carry a tune in a bucket) so he made it a point to teach me to listen. For that, Daddy Davies, wherever you are, I've been forever grateful.

My father had been a musician and a scenery-painter in the Canadian Army Show during WWII, and was forever teaching me, and my brother Clint, everything he knew (our younger sister made it known that she wasn't particularly interested).
Many years later, when Mom and Dad had a surprise baby, Rob became Dad's best student, soaking up knowledge like a sponge.

Laena McCarthy,
without permission,
but many thanks
One of the things my sister and I learned from Mom, and from our grandmother, was cooking. And something else I saw Nanny do every year was canning.
We had fruit trees in the yard, and any fruit that escaped the three of us and all our friends, was 'canned' or made into jam. Canning, at that time, involved a wood stove, huge pots, boiling water, and hot jars, so it was not considered something to teach children. My young sister, however, absorbed it all, unbeknownst to the rest of us, and years later, when she was married and a mother herself, she took to canning all the produce she grew in her garden. (That blew my mind, to be honest.)

And now, to get to the heart of this blog post: I am old and, having had an often-busy life, I never though to take up canning fruit until this weekend. (Something red, halfway between jam and jelly, lurks in the fridge, on its way to becoming whatever it wants to be.)


Our Nanking Cherries
The reason for this sudden industry: I planted two Nanking Cherry bushes about 15 years ago, and this year we really had a bumper crop. Although I have been known to be a little extravagant over my long lifetime, usually buying rather than making, I suddenly said to my husband, "Let's pick those and then we can can them." The fruit is very small, pretty much miniscule, really, so I have already devoted three days to the chore of removing the itty-bitty pits.

More will be revealed, but right now I'm posting this for Lady Fi's wonderful meme "Our World Tuesday." 

But first, re the jamming — as I said, we have a jar and a half of something red and unrecognizable in the fridge — jam, jelly or ice-cream-sundae topping, we figure. At the very least, I did get myself a long-desired over-the-sink colander.

Only time will tell with the project, so I'll have to get back to you on that.





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

To train or not to train, that is the question


A somewhat-recent addition to our family is a mixed-breed terrier we named Bonnie-Belinda. Here she is, in the photo above, looking a lot like the RCA Victor dog I remember from childhood.

There's no doubt that we love Bonnie. She is very intelligent and has learned many things: some good, some not-so-good.
She has learned how to manipulate her daddy, who thinks she is ever so cute, and who is reluctant to train her how to walk properly on a leash.

My walker in the kitchen
when I first bought it.
The other day, Bonnie and I were out with my walker. I want her to get used to walking alongside me, and it.

My husband came with us to watch out for rabbits, because I can't hold the dog back when she sees a rabbit. See one she did, and leapt into killer-mode, nearly pulling my arm off, while my husband wasn't looking at us.

The bane of my existence, that man I love.
And he loves the dog, yes, I appreciate that, but some of it is misplaced, in my opinion. He lets her pull and tug on the leash, and her short-legged, deep-chested 40 lb. body (18kg) weighs a ton when she's pulling.
He is often away on business, and I have to be able to walk the dog, never as far as he can, 8000 or so steps on his iPhone step-tracker gizmo.

Because I paid for Bonnie at the SPCA, and also for her examination at a veterinary clinic soon after we adopted her, she is supposed to be my dog.
At the clinic, they gave me some special dog food that would help her get rid of pieces of the Kong toy in her stomach. Said to be indestructible, the Kong had succumbed to those powerful jaws Bonnie inherited from some of the bigger, stronger breeds in her DNA.
Although we attempted, somewhat successfully, to have our favourite groomer trim our new girl's toenails, we haven't yet introduced Bonnie to our 'personal' veterinarian, a lovely young woman who makes house calls. She was wonderful with our late Golden girl, Lindy, in her senior and final years. Coming to the house regularly to check on her, she was with her right until the end.

Lindy was definitely Dick's girl, and they went on those long walks together for years, until she couldn't do it any longer. She behaved impeccably. She was a lady, after all.
Bonnie-Belinda, on the other hand, is an excitable, impetuous, athletic growing girl. A horse of a different colour, as it were.

Linking with Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And another post presents itself

Blogging will be easy if this continues to happen, with posts delivered right to the blogging corner of what now passes as my brain (the older I get, the less information it contains).
So...
While 'working' (not really the right word) on my Facebook page today, a friend's post about filing cabinets brought back many memories of my early days in the newspaper business.


SUN TOWER,
BEATTY STREET, VANCOUVER
In the mid-1960s, my friend Judith and I both worked in the editorial department of the Vancouver Sun, in the old building on Beatty Street in downtown Vancouver. I was a mere copy-runner (the lowest of the low) while Judith worked in the editorial library.
When editors or reporters hollered "COPY!" it was my job to run over to take their typewritten stories and deliver them where they wanted them to go, sometimes running up several floors of winding stairs to the composing room. Then I'd have to run back down until another editor or reporter sent me elsewhere.
Judith, however, worked in the editorial library, and sometimes she was the one to yell "COPY!" It was up to me to run to the library to take the information she had researched, then deliver it to the appropriate editor or reporter. How she loved the opportunity to push me around like that! I am happy to say that later, and to this day, we meet on equal terms and are the very best of friends.

In 1965, Vancouver's two daily newspapers, the Sun and the Province, moved to a shared building at the corner of 5th Avenue and Granville Street. It was big and shiny and new, and put to shame 'the old building' which we so dearly loved.
The new Sun newsroom was vast, and anything but cozy. There were offices around the perimeter for editors and columnists, all of whom required the services of a copy runner once or twice or more per day.
However,  I no longer had to respond and dash off in a flash. I had a new job...I was the editorial receptionist, with a raised desk overlooking my new realm, a console with a vast number of buttons to pass information to writers and editors..."Call for you on Line 3, Mr. Swangard"...plus a window beside the locked door, through which I could first check and then, perhaps allow visitors to enter, or else ask them politely to wait.
I had become the editorial receptionist.


LINOTYPE OPERATOR

But ink was in my blood, and I returned to the family trade... job printing.

A job printer can read upside down and backwards just as fast as he can read the normal way.

Old-time job printers, like my father, could "set type in a stick" almost as fast as a linotype operator could with that late nineteenth-century marvel of engineering: the linotype machine.

The newspaper and printing industries remained pretty much the same until the mid-twentieth century.

Union membership made printers mobile, able to travel from paper to paper, shop to shop, continent to continent. An ITU ticket was a ticket to the world for many years, and I met union compositors from all over the world.

Then came computerized typesetting equipment.


SMALL NEWSPAPERS, AND JOB SHOPS SUCH AS OURS, TRIED OUT EARLY COMPUTERIZED TYPESETTING MACHINES LIKE THESE TWO (below) BY THE COMPUGRAPHIC CORPORATION

 
















By the time I eventually became a union-certified compositor, things were changing in a big way. We called it "tech change" and it was affecting almost all the developed world in one way or another. My brother and I, and even Dad, joined the International Typographical Union.

More soon, but now
sharing with Lady Fi's popular meme Our World Tuesday.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A blog post has presented itself

I'm just back from a trip to British Columbia to visit family and friends, and am delighted to say that a Vancouver Island friend has instantly answered a question Dick and I have had for a while now, about some feathers he found while walking around the nearby coulee with our little dog, Bonnie-Belinda.


Many thanks to my longtime friend Pat for identifying the feathers as coming from a Northern Flicker, or perhaps from more than one Northern Flicker.

Therefore, I no longer have to wonder what I should post today for my long-awaited return to blogging. Thanks again, Pat.

FEMALE NORTHERN FLICKER
(WIKIPEDIA)
MALE NORTHERN FLICKER (WIKIPEDIA)

According to Wikipedia: 

The northern flicker is part of the genus Colaptes,
which encompasses 12 New World woodpeckers. Nine subspecies and an extinct subspecies of C. auratus are recognized. The existing subspecies were at one time considered separate species, but they commonly interbreed where ranges overlap and are now considered one species by the American Ornithologists Union. This is an example of the "species problem".
The northern flicker is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has been ratified by the governments of Mexico, Canada and the United States and prohibits the killing or harming of the northern flicker, including its nests and eggs.
Extinction is always a threat, as seen in this paragraph from Wikipedia:
The Guadalupe flicker (C. a. rufipileus; syn. C. cafer rufipileus) is an extinct subspecies formerly restricted to Guadalupe Island, off the northwest coast of Mexico. Its presence was last recorded in 1906.

Extinction is rampant in today's world. It's just a matter of time... 
K
   Posting, only two days late, for Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ta da! It works!

My computer works!
Hooray!

Some months ago, I took my computer to the store from which I'd purchased it. A big store. Part of a big chain, with hot and cold running techies.
"It doesn't work properly," I told the young men at the Geek Squad desk.
"We'll fix it," they said.
Fast forward a few days:
Incoming phone call...it's the Geek Squad, hooray!
Not hooray.
My computer was worse after they messed with it, and it continued to get worse until I was at my wits' end.
Heartbreaking for a blogger.
Time passes.
Then our son-in-law phones to say he saw, on my Facebook page, that my computer is close to being toast.
"Maybe I can help," he offered. "I'll be over right away."
"Bring the kids," I requested, "I haven't seen them in forever because they're so busy. They haven't even met our new dog."
So we put our little Bonnie-Belinda on a leash and walked one block to the lawn by the swimming pool. We'd arranged to meet Wes and Kayen and Kiana there, rather than have them come right into Bonnie's house. In her mind, she's a guard dog.
This way she'd think of our grandchildren as friends rather than burglars .
We knew she would be happier about meeting in neutral territory because she doesn't worry about people and dogs who aren't in her house or yard, or walking past her, or, worse...on bicycles!
Sure enough, a little bit of sweet talk, a whole lot of petting, and quite a bit of shake-a-paw did the trick, so Dick and the grandkids and I were able to enter the house calmly.
Bonnie was somewhat concerned when Wes came in a few minutes later, having had to move his vehicle, but he has plenty of dog experience, and after he put my newly restored computer on my desk, he had her playing shake-a-paw all over again.
Now, I think we should buy Wes a great, huge, and very big gift for the work he did. Overnight he brought my computer back to life.
Take that, Geek Squad, take that!
And guess how much it cost...a thousand, a hundred, or fifty dollars? It cost Wes just twenty dollars for a part, and it cost us that same twenty dollars to repay Wes.
Then we had some fun talking about the Virtual Reality place in Medicine Hat. Or, rather, Dick and Wes and the grandkids had fun talking about it.

I don't know that I'm ready for Virtual Reality, unless there's one that features me as I used to be. Not a chance.

O well. C'est la vie, as Canada's other official language says. I'm just happy that my computer got rejuvenated, but I must confess I don't know how to say that in French. That probably makes my blog politically incorrect, but my French went the way of all good things, because I'm old.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Nothin' ain't workin' nohow


Before I try to get into the intricacies of my computer's failing health, let it be said that I now find my own silly self on the horns of a dilemma. (I've always wanted an occasion to use that phrase, and here I am at last, with just such an occasion, just when I don't need it.)


Unfortunately, it is not a happy occasion. This dilemma has huge horns.
My computer is getting worse and worse every day. For instance, my husband's cute photo of our Bonnie-Belinda-dog with her nose in a peanut butter jar — I can enlarge it, but then it is fuzzy — even fuzzier than it is here, and yet it is sharp and crisp when my husband enlarges it.

Enlarged only slightly but fuzzy already.
Due to this and many other problems, I definitely need a new computer.
However, we also ( and also definitely) need a new dishwasher. 
What to do? What to buy, and which to buy?
Yes, dilemma. Horns and all.
Sigh.
Part of the problem: I have already booked and paid for a multi-stop hop over to my homeland, British Columbia, plus I've already paid a crew of arborists for topping and trimming our huge poplar trees. Definite deficit in the old bank account.
Re the trip, I am flying from Medicine Hat, Alberta, to Calgary (also Alberta) and then from Calgary to Kamloops, BC, to visit my mother's cousin Ian MacKenzie; from Kamloops to Vancouver to visit my family, from The Wet Coast to Kelowna, BC, to visit my friend Gloria and then, on my last day, from Kelowna back to Calgary, and thence a flight in a very slow teeny-tiny plane to get me home to Medicine Hat.
The very definition of a multi-stop hop.
Air Canada had a seat sale, and I couldn't resist.
Yes, booked and paid for.
Paid, however, before a large branch from one of our huge trees came down, hitting the power line between the garage and the house. The power line by then was hitting the metal frame of the hot tub gazebo, and the big branch was forming a link between the power line, the metal structure, and our house.
I came home to find my husband and a neighbour calmly de-limbing and cutting the fallen branch without a care in the world.
"Did you call someone about it?" I asked, but they hadn't.
I think I lost my temper.
My hysterics resulted in the requisite calls being made, followed almost immediately by the arrival of a firetruck ...siren and all... attracting several of our neighbours.
So, at the suggestion of these authorities, I phoned the tree-toppers, and now find myself in a dilemma indeed, re my upcoming trip to BC.
Since then I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to pack so that I can get by with one carry-on bag. Gone is the option of buying something to wear when I get to wherever I'm going. Even if the tree-faller-fellers hadn't cost me all my savings and all my credit, I would still need a new computer. And a new dishwasher.
(I'm waiting to see if my husband will offer to wash all the dishes by hand. I suspect it will be a long wait.)



Every good country has its day...




...and Canada just had its 150th birthday. 150 years since Confederation. 150 years of being our own people.
Oh, sure, Canada was around before that, but had to wait for a bunch (er, a gathering, a committee, or some such) of Brits to declare us a separate country all on our own, with only a formal tie to Britain. (If we get on the list early enough, we can rent one of the Royals for a celebration or a bridge-opening.)
Most importantly, this past year has seen much progress in reconciliation with the original people of this land. It isn't perfect, but it's progress, although long overdue.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrating.


I bought this marijuana-flag t-shirt for the occasion, but didn't wear it in public...I used it as a nightshirt. Canada seems to be headed for legalization of the used-to-be-wicked weed sometime soon, and it will be interesting to see how our young people (and those not-so-young people who still imbibe) will handle it. I fear that having for sale in special outlets won't completely eradicate illegal buying and selling. (But what do I know? I'm old. Right?)

I remember this man. Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister of Canada when I was in high school.

LESTER B. PEARSON"It is becoming apparent to the world — at last — that we are not merely an Arctic extension of the United States," the prime minister said then. "A London journalist even went so far as to admit that Canada now existed not merely as a fact but also as an idea and an ideal."


And so we progressed.
"Fifty years later, we bask in the reflected glow of a prime minister's socks. Canada is noted in foreign papers for both our leader's whimsy and our status as a relative paragon of pluralism and moderation in a newly fevered world," said CBC News.

It's a good place, this land of mine. I always wear a Canadian Flag pin when I travel to foreign countries. And I don't really say "aboot" — no matter what Americans might say.

Posting this for Lady Fi's memorable meme Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Addendum to previous post


If you read my last blog post, which I did for Skywatch Friday, you'll know we have some very wild winds here on the southern Alberta prairie. Add some serious wet to the windstorms and I find myself in considerable pain. 
You might also remember I had to call an arborist to look at our huge prairie poplars which tower over our little hobbit house.


Richard Schear photo
Now, for Lady Fi's memorable meme, Our World Tuesday, I continue the saga...

Not only did last Thursday's storm terrify our darlin' little Bonnie-Belinda dog (pictured above, on a clear day) it also continued, and brought more rain than wind for five days.
I spoke to the arborist today and he says we'll have to wait for the soft ground to dry up because his equipment is huge and very heavy.
The photo below is not of our tree, but it shows how tall the prairie trees can get if left on their own. With a lift truck and skilled operators, almost any tree can be trimmed or removed, as shown below.

Rite Industries photo
Below is a lift truck with a wood-chipper behind.
Branches are fed into it, and become wood chips in no time at all!
Rite Industries photo
Following photo, a stump-grinder awaits its next assignment.
Rite Industries photo
We won't require the big yellow piece of equipment above, but I find stump-grinders fascinating!

Thus I look forward to next Tuesday, when we might (weather permitting) get started on the trimming process.
I hope the noise and (to her) confusion won't scare Bonnie.

Although I am easily frightened now, at one time in my life (long ago and far away) I learned, along with my brother Clint, how to cut down trees — the skinny jack-pines of BC's Okanagan Valley where we grew up.
Dad also taught us how to trim off the branches (even skinnier) and cut the branchless trunk up into sections that would fit in our pot-bellied stove, to keep the family warm in winter. (Electrical service hadn't quite caught up to our location yet, but don't let me get sidetracked into the story of priming the pump, or whitewashing the outhouse, because I don't have photos.)
It was the early 1960s. Dad and Mom had decided we were getting soft living in downtown Kelowna, BC (it was a small city at that time) so they bought six acres on the back side of Knox Mountain and had us help build a house on our property's one flat spot. There, the mountain was rocky, but weather had eroded the rock into a smooth surface which provided a perfect place for our house.
Please don't get me started on more. As an old TV show used to say "there are a million stories"...!