Archive for August, 2013

Planked Salmon

Earlier this summer there was an ad on TV for a big boy BBQ.  I think it was an ad for Canadian Tire, but does not really matter.

There is this big guy that looked like John Coffey (the big black guy) in the movie Green Mile pontificating about this great BBQ for sale.  Talking about the great steaks, chops and ribs that could be cooked on this BBQ.  His sidekick mentioned “and it could be great for planked salmon” at which point the John Coffey character looked over at him with disdain and  said “I think I am going to pretend I did not hear that” (in the deep voice)

That was when I realized that cedar planked salmon on the BBQ is  a Woofta dish.

Regardless, the salmon are running these days out here and I bought two big slabs of Coho salmon fillets today.  I used the cedar plank process on the BBQ with the salmon tonight, and it was fabulous.

It is very nice that I am so secure in my manhood that I can overcome TV ad stereotypes to eat what we want.

I do go on about the paradise of living here on the island.  In a few more months we will have rain and overcast, but we get fresh fish that most people in the country would die for.

And Cedar planked salmon on the BBQ is great, and yes, as my fans will understand, I write this as Pat does the cleanup.

At this point I was going to write that Pat is the Jacqueline to my Picasso or the Mary to my Hemingway.  You know the supportive wife that allows the genius to create, while they take care of the details,  but I realize that neither of these artists had what I have.  Just look at the history of these guys and their wives and I am lucky.  Pat thinks these little items I write are cute and accepts that this is my forte.

And time for dessert……

Suitable Wedding Gift

I was reading an article today about the ongoing trend (well actually a trend for many years) to give cash as a gift at the wedding.

Now we come from the period when a young married couple needed all the paraphernalia for setting up a household.  Certainly true for Pat and I.  So wedding gifts were plates, utensils, knives, pots and pans and sheets.  We have always thought when we attend a wedding that the gift should be something that the couple needs and maybe would remember us for giving it.

We have been married 44 years and there are still some items that we have where we can identify who gave it to us as wedding or shower gifts.

This is not the modern model of marriage.  Most couples have lived together and have all the basic accruements so maybe they set up a registry and that might be to upgrade the quality of their home items.   When Janine and Vedran got married Blaine and Lisa gave them a great upright mixer.  Not something that they might buy themselves so a memorable gift.

But according to this article, this is less likely to happen as couples establish households longer and have what they want.  There are indications that the bride might request “no boxed gifts” in the invitation.  Apparently this is a clear indication that they want CASH.

We have always been reluctant to give cash because it just seems so cold.  To my memory we have only given cash twice at the many weddings we have attended.  One was many years ago at a large Italian wedding where we were clearly told that cash was the norm (remember the scene from Godfather?)  The other was when we went to Germany and did not have a clue what to give.

With modern couples financing much of their wedding and with no clear need for things, cash kind of makes sense.  You should at least cover the cost of your meal and drinks you will consume so they can have the party without going broke. That is the modern way.

But when I am using our rolling pin to crush bread crumbs, a rolling pin given to us by Aunt Mona and Uncle Jim 44 years ago, I miss the opportunity to give a gift that the couple will use and remember that someone thought to give it to them to celebrate their marriage.


Rolling Pin

Inventory Forecasting

We had a lovely morning and early afternoon but then the temperature dropped and it started to rain.  There was no set plan for dinner and we normally think of BBQ and sitting outside but with the temp drop we decided I would just go to the Super Store and pick up one of those pre BBQd chickens with all the fixins.  Easy meal and tastes good.

As I was picking up one of the last precooked BBQ chickens at about 5:30 there were only 4 left.  This store sells dozens of these chickens on a normal night.

The manager came out to the display with the guy that apparently cooks the chicken and became frantic.  Where are the chickens? Do you have more on the go?

The guy says “well no, this is what we normally sell in the evening”    I expect it takes an hour or more to cook them so a bit of a problem.  The manager looked at me and I said ” well it is a cool rainy Monday night I expect you are going to have dozens of people looking for this meal”  He looked at me with a the look that said “thanks I needed that”.

Granted that was with the foresight of arriving from outside where a nice day turned crappy while the poor schmuck that has to plan how many chickens to cook is inside.  Cook too many and they go to chopped chicken salad, cook too few and the manager yells at you.

But on the way home it made me reminisce about a job I had in 1977.  I had just received my MBA and got the position as administration supervisor at Amalgamated Electric in  Markham.  We made electric panels for housing and small commercial buildings.  In my position I supervised the order service people but the fundamental responsibility was to schedule production 3 to 5 months ahead.  We had close to 3000 SKUs to be scheduled and while some were steady demand, most were cyclical.  Despite my recent MBA I started the job just like the guy cooking chickens.  Looking back at history to forecast the future.  Like driving a car while sitting facing the rear.

The guy obviously thought since he sold 40 chickens a day for the last few days so he would cook 40 today, but missed the change in weather.  I did the same in my job.

I had what I considered miserable results in my two years on that job because I never learned to try to forecast future demand based on approved building permits.  Granted this was a time before internet so not as easy as it sounds today to find this information.  Apparently I was not so bad because I was promoted to the manager of the administration for the division with 6 different supervisors reporting to me doing the same forecasting for different lines.  At that point I was no longer lost in the forest trying to see the trees (that is a metaphor) I had the time to look for trends and help provide forecasting tools .   Inventory scheduling results actually got much better for the entire division.  Apparently it is easier to drive facing forward.

So as the manager at Super Store walked away he left the poor schmuck trying to figure how he can get another 40 chickens cooking, I mentioned to him that maybe he should look outside sometimes.

I suspect he had no idea what I was talking about but, as a customer, he could not tell me to blow it out my kazoo.  But I knew I was giving him good advice.

Fresh Herbs and Mushrooms

It is Sunday evening and we had a wonderful meal.  I BBQd lamb chops with fresh mint from our garden.  We had little potatoes with peppers, mushrooms and onions grilled in a basket on the grill with fresh rosemary from the garden.  Pat prepared a salad with lettuce from the local market and included little tomatoes and basil from our garden.

This is the time of year to enjoy these fresh ingredients.  They just taste so much better than those we get at the store.

But there is one thing we are reluctant to test.  With the combination over the last week of rain and days of sunshine we are finding mushrooms galore in the lawn and on the golf course.  They look great and they may be safe, but we are too chicken to try it.  You go to sites on the internet and they say, large white mushrooms are perfectly edible unless there is a slight pattern in the skirt in which case they will kill you in a minute.

These looked great but I could not determine if the slight pattern I saw would kill me.   You hear stories all the time about people eating wild mushrooms and either dying or growing their hair long, dancing around campfires and voting NDP.  Either case I am not prepared to take the risk.

But they are pretty mushrooms.

Mushroom 1Mushroom 2

Golf Wunderkids

I mentioned that I was volunteering at the BC Golf Association Juvenile championship this week. One of the pleasures was watching two phenominal kids.   The winners were a brother and sister (Alex and Sumie Francois)  He is 15 and she is 13 and they are considered wunderkids in the world of golf.  Alex ended up 8 under par on the tournament.  Watch for them in the future as they will be known

Evil Wabbits

Over the last few years my gardening hatred has been for the evil deer that sneak in at night and eat all the plants we chose for our landscaping.  They eat the buds off the roses, the buds off the lilies, the carnations etc.  We have spent 5 years finding flowers and plants that stink so bad that the deer leave them alone.  Not plants that we wanted, just those that the crappy deer would not eat at night,

Over this time period, Blaine and Lisa have complained about the rabbits that infest their garden.  We have thought ourselves immune because we have eagles, hawks and owls living in the trees around us.

But this summer the birds of prey have left us and we are now inundated with evil wabbits.   The flowers and plants that we have determined deer do not eat, rabbits now consume.

Now I could appreciate vegans and tree huggers saying “rabbits are God’s creatures”.  But they are not.  They are black or ginger, which means they are pets that some dweeb couple bought for their kid when the creature was the size of a fist, then the rabbit grew to the size of a cat and their kid got scared so they said let’s release it in Crown Isle.

As far as I am concerned these people that release rabbits in our neighbourhood  should be shot.  Not a killing shot, I am not a redneck.  I am thinking of an ear the first time they do it and maybe a left elbow the second time.  But the next time they release these varmints in my back yard I am thinking of a shot in the delicate regions.  I am not a radical guy but there has to be consequences for your actions.

I know you are saying that this is an attitude that would lead you to think I am an advocate of capital punishment.  I disagree.  I think people that release evil wabbits in my neighbourhood do not deserve to die, but they should be taken away to a starvation internment camp in the Arctic where they learn that instead of releasing rabbits, they should eat them.

Unfortunately, unlike Elmer Fudd, I cannot shoot these wascally wabbits.  I must trap them.  So tonight I have set out a trap.  I will let you know the results.

Death of an Acquaintance

That is such a cold title but I was trying to pick the word for my relationship with Dan.

I received an email from my former workmates at Petro-Can Lubricants about the passing away of a fellow that I knew back in the working world.

Not a personal friend.  He was never at my house, and I was never at his, but I liked him and remember him well.

Way back when I was the guy in Marketing launching new lubricant products, they determined that a line of heat transfer fluids (Calflo) that I was pushing deserved a dedicated sales force.  Dan Caruth was an experienced sales rep that was part of the three guys assigned.  I remember being pleased because he had a reputation for success which I wanted on the project.

Dan was a bit unusual in the Lubricant sales group in that he did not drink alcohol and he did not swear.    Never-the-less he fit in with the rest of the group because he had a dry sense of humour, and could be depended on to bring the rest of the guys back to the hotel on group meetings.  And he was good at selling Calflo Heat Transfer Fluid to customers in Canada and the US.  (I am sorry that I rate a person by his sales success, but that is what you remember)

Anyway he died last week.  (Ironic when you consider he did not drink, kept in shape, and was careful in his diet)  About my age.

Now those of you reading my blog will wonder why this subject.  Truthfully I have not thought of him since I retired but I write this because I remember Dan, he was a good man, I liked him and this is my personal eulogy for him.

I expect over the years I will have many more.

Golf Volunteer

This week is the Juvenile (16 and under) golf championship of BC on our course.  They asked the members for volunteers and I signed up.  Spent the last 2 days as a spotter.  These are people that are positioned on long holes to tell (using flags)  the golfer hitting from the tee box if their ball is good, out of bounds, lost or in the water.  Also help look for lost balls.   Speeds up play.

You have to watch every shot from the tee positioned about 200 yards down the fairway.

Absolutely perfect weather (unlike last week when Andra and family were here)  There are about 85 boys and 28 girls participating (about 1/3 Chinese) and some of them are very, very good.

The boys tee off from the men’s blue tees and the girls from the men’s white.  Lots of them scored in the low seventies with one 15 year old girl shooting a 69.  Phenomenal.  I have to wonder how good the kids in California or Arizona must be.

But I have to say one thing.  I have never met such a bunch of polite well behaved kids.  Many of them went out of their way to approach and thank me for volunteering.  Only saw one lad show anger (granted he had just hit in the water, redropped a ball and hit it into the water further up.  I would have had a few words in that situation.)

And they were polite to each other.  Threesomes made up from kids all over BC and yet they played like friends not competitors, complimenting good shots and even helping with yardage measurements.  I was very impressed.  I mentioned this to a couple of the parents that were following a group and the woman said that the politeness was due to the mothers to which her partner said “and the skill comes from the fathers”

I have had two very enjoyable days.  I am not needed for the final round tomorrow but may go and watch anyway.  Maybe not quite the skills as watching the pros but a lot better attitude.


Well we took Andra and the family for our long anticipated trip to Tofino to visit the beaches.  Unfortunately after 6 weeks of perfect weather we arrived to heavy rain and fog.  Tried briefly to look at a beach but had to abandon .  What a waste.

We had booked a cabin in Ucluelet for the night so settled in to play cards and wait out the storm.

The next morning it stopped raining so we were able to explore the area.  In the past whenever we travelled to the west side of the island we had always gone to Tofino or the beaches.  Turns out that there is actually more to see and do in Ucluelet than there is Tofino.  Great hiking trails and views.  We did one hike along the coast and then drove to the lighthouse at the point.    So the trip across was not a total loss.

Blessed Rain

We have had drought in the valley for about 8 weeks.  Typical for this time of year and not a huge issue because we have the luxury of glacial fed lakes that supply our hydro power and local water.  So we have been able to water our yards and golf courses to keep them green, but the drought has dried out the forests so we have severe fire concern and the community areas are yellow.  Campfires in parks, in back yards and even on the beaches have been banned.

The upside has been lots of sunshine with great beach weather.  The downside has been the threat to the many crops that are grown in the valley.

We are expecting Andra and Sean and Mason to arrive tomorrow and have promised them great beach weather, but that started to change yesterday.  Despite the forecast we had light rain last night and today torrential rain.  Very surprisingly heavy.  We get a lot a rain and it normally is light to heavy drizzle but for an hour this morning it came down in buckets.

I was supposed to golf this morning with my buddy Harry but we cancelled out and that was fortunate.

Still I was concerned about our plans with the kids for the week.

I was reminded of a drawing I saw years ago.  There is GOD sitting with praying people on each side.  Their prayers were in dialogue  bubbles.  A young woman is praying “Please Lord, I am being married tomorrow give me lots of sunshine”  On the other side is a farmer on his knees praying ” Please Lord my crops are failing bring me rain by tomorrow”  The sketch was titled God’s Dilemma.

So there I was hoping for the continuation of the drought and sunshine for the visit by my family, but HE squeezed in a day of heavy rain to help the farmers.  Forecast is for good weather for the rest of the week .  Not as hot as we had, but I can live with that.

Still the rain was timely.  Even with only a day, the golf course is greener and the common areas around the community are looking great.  And we no longer have a local forest fire threat.  HE slipped in a miracle.