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).
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.

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" 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.


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.



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.