Archive for October, 2014

Kale Salad

Pat obviously read my blog about my Sunday dinner, with particular notice of the lack of raw vegetables and plant leaves.

So tonight, before our Chicken Cordon Bleu meal, we had a huge salad of Kale leaves, two types of cabbage, thinly sliced raw Brussels sprouts, sliced Broccoli topped with cranberries and pumpkin seeds plus other things that must be good for me.  It is a good thing I have sharp teeth, it was chewy.

I assume she was trying to suck out the evil things that I consumed on the weekend when she was away.  Actually a very nice salad.

Fortunately the Cordon Bleu chicken was filled with ham and Monterrey Jack cheese, so I was able to recover.

Still it is great to have her home.  As my mother used to tell me, even the best meal is not the same without someone to share it with.

Not the least of which, I can write this blog while she polices the area…..

Rob Ford Elected

Weird as it is, Rob Ford staggered up from his sick bed, a bottle of Vodka in one hand, a bottle of grape juice in the other and his favorite crack pipe in his vest pocket to thank the voters in Etobicoke for voting 60% to return him to council.  What a crazy place Toronto has become.  Fortunately his just-as-crazy brother did not quite make it as mayor.

Granted that this is the same town that voted Mel “Bad Boy” Lastman as mayor many years ago with the motto “if I can sell cheap furniture, I can run the city”  .  Whoever thinks Toronto as staid is mistaken.

Home Alone on a Sunday Night in Late October

Well I am home alone on a Sunday night.

The Bride is off in Edmonton to share a birthday with her mother.  Only a few days alone and as she is coming back tomorrow I will have to police the area tonight and do the dishes before I go to bed.

Last night I went as a single male to the Newcomers Alumni appetizer party.  Given that this is a club for women where the spouses are invited, a bit off the rules, but Louise (the hostess for the evening) did invite me.

As per usual a great party with about 36 people of whom I knew at least 30 from previous parties.  As a single guy I made the point to circulate to meet the 6 people I did not know.

Unfortunately as I was introducing myself to one guy of the 6, he reminded me that he was at the party at our house last month and we apparently had a long conversation.  I immediately went into the recovery routine I had when I was working by blaming the lighting in the room, of course I remembered him.  Then moved on.   By careful observation I heard someone call him Dave so later approached him starting with his name.

When I arrived the hostess made a joke about announcing to the crowd that I was a single guy, but the few widows and divorcees in attendance are friends of Pat.

I had at least one invitation for dinner on Sunday as they knew I was alone, but it was by a guy that made the offer without previously getting approval from his wife.  In any case I was not prepared to go out on the Sunday night as I had anticipated a great solo dinner.

On Friday I purchased  lovely 16 oz T Bone steak which I was going to make my Sunday dinner.  I BBQd it rare and served it with mashed potatoes and peas.  None of that celery, and cucumbers or plant leaves that Pat insists we have to fill us up on meals.

But I have to confess,  I am not the man I used to be.  A great T Bone steak but I could not finish it.  Carved off a large piece to be frozen for a future stew.

Still not a bad evening.

By the way for the family in Alberta, while you were having snow, I mowed the lawn today in sunshine in my shirtsleeves.  Harvested the last of the tomatoes.   Paradise

Guarding a War Memorial

When I was 18, I had the great honor to be selected as one of the honor guard on cenotaph duty for Remembrance Day.  As an air cadet I represented the air force.  There was also a navy cadet, a corporal from the Regina Rifles and a Mountie.  We marched from city hall to the cenotaph, each took a corner, reversed our rifles and stood heads bowed for an hour.  The rifle barrel was resting on my left insole and as the hour progressed I thought that it was going to bore right through my foot particularly as it was a cold Regina November 11.  When the ceremony was finished and we could reverse the rifle to our shoulders and march away I was pleased that my left foot still worked.

But I have never forgotten how proud I was standing there on the war memorial in front of hundreds of people serving as a living symbol of the thousands of young men and women who had died for the country.

Obviously Nathan Cirillo must have felt the same way as he guarded the War Memorial in Ottawa.

That is why I was so particularly moved by the Editorial Cartoon drawn by Bruce MacKinnon in the Halifax Chronicle Herald .

Brucex23 RGB_12

My Son James, the traitor

The title is a bit strong.  However he deserves it.

It is Friday night and I am home alone.  The Saskatchewan RoughRiders are playing the Calgary (whatever the term is for guys that beat their horses as they ride along) in a late game in the CFL.

Now despite the fact that James was born in Saskatchewan, and was brought up in the tradition of a Rider Nation family, he chose to call me late in the game (as he is partying with his buddies in Calgary) to gloat about the beloved Riders losing their lead to the hated (the team that is named after the term for evil men whipping and rushing cattle to their death).  Oh Bless where did we go wrong when a good Saskatchewan born son goes to the dark side.

James did not even have the decency to send a sympathy email in the morning after the game,,,,, he had to phone with 2 minutes in the game to gloat.

Legally he is still my son, and I am obligated to love him, but he had better wear green the next time we meet.

Tiny HMS Victory

Over the last few years I have commented that I am struggling with the 1/96 scale for the model I am building of HMS Victory.

Very difficult to build and yet put in all the details to scale that I would like.  To give you an idea a normal person would be just over 1/2 inch high at this scale.  How do you turn all the little finials and pilasters that decorate the stern and other areas.  The parts are just so teeny sometimes.

In the past I have worked at 1/72 scale (the most common for historical models) or even 1/48 (Meagan and Jorg’s Junk)  You can really spend time on the details when there is space available.  However if I made the Victory to the larger scale, it would have been almost 6 feet long and consumed too much space in Andra and Sean’s house (sort of like the doll houses I have made)

But I have decided to stop complaining about my 1/96 scale when I started to follow another builder that is working at 1/1000 scale.

Now for this I would need a laser etcher and even stronger bino glasses.  I do not think so. Even I think this is one weird shipwright.

Tiny Victory



Bazaar part II

Well it is the Sunday after the BAZAAR.  Pat headed off  to church early to help with the final sales in the hall.  All the stuff is still on the tables awaiting cleanup after the second mass today.

Now this is a big parish, so between the 2 masses this morning easily 1500 people come through on  Sunday morning.  Just a short staircase down to the hall after each mass to pick through the garage sale collection of books and knitted ware etc.

I have no idea if any of you remember the 1960 movie Pollyanna where a very young Hayley Mills convinces a curmudgeon minister (a young Karl Malden) to stand up in the pulpit and threaten all the parishioners that they should go to the charity fair (read CWL bazaar) or he would heap fire and brimstone on them the next Sunday.

I suggested to Pat that maybe she could ask Father Marek to threaten the 1500 (well 2000 if you include the Saturday night mass) to go down to the hall and buy stuff or he would inflict old school Catholic retribution.

Apparently Pat believes that Father Marek is way too nice to do this so she never asked. Frankly from the times I have met him, she is probably right.

Again when Janine is eventually in charge of her CWL fund raising I know she will persuade (whatever the term) her Priest to market the program properly (or else)

Good news is that the support team for Pat did all the coin wrapping last night so I had an easy day.

However,  I realize that from the ladies I met yesterday,  that this is less a fund raiser and more a social event for them.  They bake, they knit, they make jewelry and this is their weekend to contribute.  I expect, like Pat, they sleep well tonight.


When we moved to the island as a retired couple and Pat became more involved with her local Catholic Church, she joined the CWL (Catholic Women’s League).  The female equivalent of the Knights of Columbus, but without the drinking evenings.  As one of the youngsters in the CWL she was immediately moved into the executive and soon assumed the position as the Treasurer.

You may recall a blog many years ago where I celebrated this position thinking we could enhance our lifestyle by skimming tiny portions of the funds that flowed through.  Not stealing, just a recompense for the hours of executive management of the money.  Well never happened.

In the early years I helped develop an accounting system and despite the thousands of dollars that flow through, it seems that every time the month end balance comes up we have to throw in a nickle or a dime.


The big fund raising activity for the local CWL is the fall bazaar at the church held in mid October.  A one day event where they raise up to $9000 for their donations and activities.  The planning for this event starts in the spring and Pat loses sleep for weeks in advance as she has to organize the cash management.  One reason why we cannot travel in October (the other reason is that the one time we did take a holiday in October we sailed into a Hurricane but that is another story)

Last year on the Sunday after the bazaar, we spent, (and I say we as I was made part of it), sorting and counting and wrapping about $2000 in coins.  Let me say this is more boring than weeding a garden and I declared that Pat had to organize a committee to handle it the following year, which she has.

For the first time I actually visited the bazaar today to see what this is about.  It is a series of tables in the church hall where the CWL ladies sell their baking, their knitting, their crafts and some tables of donated items that you would find at the Sally Ann store.  A big garage sale but without the things that guys would donate or buy.

I am walking through and realize that the thousands of dollars come from the CWL ladies themselves, Gertrude buying baking from Mildred, and Mildred buying a knitted shawl from Edith and Edith buying a set of tea cups donated by Gertrude etc.

The economics just do not seem to work.  For example Pat saved the big peanut butter jars (the plastic 1 litre size)  we used in the last year.  I was assigned the job of cleaning the label off scraping with solvents in the basement.  Eventually they were sterilized and Pat filled with little toys or chocolates to inspire the little kids to buy it.  When I was touring the bazaar the youngest person was 50 and only there for the cheap lunch.

Pat tells me she sold one of the beautiful jars filled with toys and wrapped with ribbon for $2 to an old guy that thought this would make a fine gift for his grandson   The toys themselves cost $4.50, the jar granted free , but the cost of cleaning the jar (by a retired engineer with an MBA) priceless.

How this whole thing works is that Pat, having spent a month in preparation, came home with all the things she bought, which I assume all the other ladies did as well.  We are the proud owner of a big jar of Budgie food.  We do not own, or even know anyone with a budgie.  Pat did, however score big in that she bought a basket of bathing accouterments, bathing salts in glass jars, oils and ointments… a basket that would easily sell for $20 at a store and priced at $3.

This organization really needs a marketing expert to put together a profit plan with pricing and cost guidelines.  I am looking forward to the day when Janine retires, joins the CWL and makes it into a profit organization.

Until then,  it will have to remain the social event that I observed.  A bunch of elder ladies sitting behind their tables having fun and swapping with the other ladies with some funds at the end going to a good cause.  Not particularly efficient, but from what I saw when I visited, they way they want to do it.

Just glad I am not rolling $ thousands in coins tomorrow.

Ratlings Complete

When we were visiting Ephesus in Turkey this last September, we were taken to a factory where they make traditional Turkish rugs.  They had an artisan demonstrate the hooking or knot tying procedure for a rug.  Everyone was going Oohh and Ahhhh.   And to be truthful, she had talent doing a double knot in a row about every second. Many long rows.   The fact that it takes 30,000 knots  to make even a small rug, impressed the crowd (well not enough for anyone to spend $3000 for a rug)

I was thinking of this as I continued to tie the ratlings in the shrouds of the Victory.  A lot more difficult than hooking, because each knot had to be tensioned and the thread had to be passed behind the shroud and then a clove hitch tied and moved on to the next shroud.  Each knot had to be spaced from side to side and above the row of knots below while keeping the scale.

The ratlings are cords tied at 16 inch intervals up the shrouds so that the crew could quickly climb up to the tops to handle sails and man their gun positions.  If you like a rope ladder.

Anyway I have finally completed the ratlings.  Thousands of knots but if you want the model to look right, you have to do it. Probably the last really boring stage of the model.

If you wonder why the lines are black, on the ships of this era once the shrouds and ratlings were laid up they were coated in tar to make them water proof. The sailors that handled the sails up in the air were the most skilled and called topsmen.  They would run up the ratlings in bare feet and used their toes to hook over and hold on.

Zoom in on the second picture.  Scale and separation is great with no lumpy knots.  I am pretty puffed about this if I say so myself.

The next months are more interesting as I finish the standing rigging, manufacture the spars and mount them and finally finish off the little details.  The end is in sight.


Rat Lines 2 Rat Lines Detail


Blog comments

Tonight I found something I did not know about my blog.  I published my previous blog and a few minutes later a comment popped up then disappeared.  Did not see it when I went into the comment section.

I write many blogs and occasionally get a comment from the family.  I found out tonight that I actually get many more comments than I have seen but they are filtered because I have not approved the sources.

A very nice one from Molly that said she loves to read my views and finds them amusing is a typical example.

Still I did not approve her connection or any of the others (some wanted me to buy things, sometimes immoral things.)

If you are in the general population and wonder why your comments about the erudition of my blogs are not acknowledged, well that is going to be the case.

My daughter created this site for me to spread my wisdom (or whatever) to the family.  As we no longer live together they cannot daily bathe in my enlightened opinions and observations on life.  But it is intended for the family and some friends so those are the comments I am approving.  I did go through the list and did approve a couple of friends that I know, but generally this is a personal blog site.

So feel free to send me your comments if you wish and I will read them occasionally, but no I do not need a dating site so stop trying to connect me.