Archive for January, 2017

Clear Garbage Bags

The town of Airdrie Alberta has followed the trend started by Halifax by making it mandatory that you put out your garbage in clear plastic bags instead of the traditional black or green.  The justification is so that the collectors can check if there are recyclable items in the garbage and if so reject the bag.

Anyway, apparently there is a big push back by householders.  They claim that they do not want their neighbours to see what is in their garbage.  Now you may think that may mean they do not want the neighbours to see that they are not being responsible but the arguments tend more to privacy issues.  Halifax does allow people to use black bags if they feel they have a privacy issue

Which leads me to the question I give my followers.  What are throwing into your garbage that you are too embarrassed for your neighbours to see?  And second question is would you go around peeking into your local garbage bags to see what they were throwing out?

Kind of a moot point for us because we put out garbage cans and in many communities you have to use the special bins…. but still what would you be ashamed of?


Another Meatloaf Blog

For those of you that follow my views on life, you may remember previous notes on great meat loaves I have prepared in the past,  but I must tell you that tonight, I created the finest meat loaf that we have ever enjoyed and I would put it up with all the great time loaves.

I know many of you think of a meat loaf as something like a solid chunk of meat that your grandma did or something you ordered at a diner on the highway while filling up for gas in Tisdale Saskatchewan.  This is entirely different.  Takes 45 minutes to prepare and an hour to cook.  

Let me tell you about this one.  It is 1/3 ground lean beef, 1/3 ground pork and 1/3 ground veal.  Take slices of days old french bread chopped up and soaked in milk to soften.  Sauted chopped leek, carrot, celery and mushrooms.  Mix it all together with chopped green olives packed with garlic, chopped red peppers, horseradish, basil plus a bunch of other things.   A little of this and a little of that including cheese.   

Mound the loaf on a cookie sheet and bake it (not in a loaf pan).  

Pat declared it the best meatloaf I have ever created.  The finest restaurant would love to serve it and would have charged extra.   Now this could be like some of the great chicken wings that James used to prepare when we lived in Oakville.  Some good and some great but he could not remember what he did different.  However I did record the recipe this time.  

And we will have several meals.  

Granted I get to write about this while Pat is contentedly washing all the many dishes and pans I used to prepare this meal so there might be an ulterior motive.   

A Wedding Gift

We were married 48 years ago.  There are very few wedding or bridal shower gifts that we can attribute to a single person.  Yes we have our Royal Dalton Lavender Rose china which was given to us in place-setting increments. We would like to express our appreciation to all those that gave us this china but truthfully most of those people who gifted us are long gone.

There was one gift that I always could recognize as a wedding gift.

Aunt Mona, my father’s sister, gave Pat a very nice maple wood rolling pin at her wedding shower.  There is a bit of background on this.

My sister Dale had married and moved on and I was often given the chore to prepare the evening meal before mom and dad came home.  Now normally this would be following whatever instructions that mother left in the morning but as I grew older I started to experiment.  This was repeated many years later when James would be responsible for preparing a meal when we came home (when he was not tormenting his sisters).

Anyway one of my signature dishes was Italian breaded pork chops.  I would take some old bread and roll them out  for crumbs with the narrow wooden stick that mother had, and then coat the chops, season with spices, and briefly fry them in an old green electric frying pan. The one with a cover.    Lovely.

One evening when Uncle Jim and Aunt Mona were visiting, mother asked me to make this special dish.  Aunt Mona loved it (I expect the little surprise of using some grated cheese on the chops helped because I suspect they were a couple who never used spices).

Later that year we were planning our wedding.  Pat was at her shower where all the relatives showed up (we still have a picture of Pat with all the gift bows glued to her head)  Aunt Mona gifted her a very high end maple rolling pin.  The kind where the handles are on each side.  She told Pat this gift was so I could make those delicious Italian breaded pork chops.  (true story)

Over the years I have used this rolling pin many times and always, I mean always, remember Aunt Mona when I do it.  And yes I still make on special events Italian breaded pork chops.

Pat was off at a religious event today so I planned a special meal.  Jagerschnitzel.   I was rolling out the pork and bread  crumbs when I noticed that the wooden bearings beside the handle seemed dark.  I took apart the rolling pin and it has mold within the shell.

We will be looking for a new rolling pin tomorrow.  AUNT MONA THANK YOU FOR THIS GIFT.

Big Brother watching

I know I have brought this issue up on my blog in the past , but occasionally I am still upset that every opinion I write is being monitored by the internet agencies, including NSA and the RCMP (apparently a group  stationed in Moose Jaw where they read my blogs between training sessions for the Musical Ride).

Okay, I can get past that, but why, every time I go on the internet, I get ads on the side of the screen for minor items I have looked up?   In December I bought a saw on the internet and I still get endless ads for more tools.  If I should mention in one of my blogs about some kind of weird experience with a donkey, I could not imagine the countless ads I would receive.

For all those in the NSA and other weird people reading this blog, Pat and I are going to watch a movie tonight for which we have paid.



Diana Finished

This afternoon I finished the model of the Diana.

I spent the last couple of days just touching up the paint and futzing.  Finally said, enough already it is done.  We were chatting with Janine on the phone when I came to that realization.

3 years on this project.  Kind of mixed feelings.  Glad to be done but I enjoyed the time.

I am going to do some simple projects for awhile before I think of my next model.  One possible project is to take over the kit model of the Golden Hind that my buddy Harry started and abandoned.  I realize it is a kit but it would be an easy task since the hull is complete with the first layer of planking so just the detail work I enjoy.  I also have a commission from Monique to make her a new jewellry box.  So I will not go into depression.

I hope Dave and Kelly are happy with this.  It is not a fully rigged model, it is more of an artistic venture called an Admiralty style.  Basically a model builder showing off his skills on the hull.  Not sure I will ever be able to do this again.

By the way note the base.  When Janine visited I was showing her the two bases I had made for this model. (one mahogany and one maple)  She nixed them both so I showed her a piece of cherry that I had rejected because it had flaws including a bark on one side.  She told me that is what I should use and I am so happy with the result.


Times are Changing

I was reading that Norway, with the new year, has cancelled FM signals for radios.  AM signals were cancelled years ago.  The new concept is DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting).

I have no idea what this means, but as I am a senior, I fear the change.

You may recall many blogs ago my story where, when I bought my second car in the 60s, I was thrilled because it came with a radio that could receive an FM signal, which at the time was the only station that did not play Lawrence Welk all day.  We cruised to the FM station groove all the time.

Since then I have had a problem with lost technology that worked so well.  I accepted the move from Microsoft Vista to Microsoft 7 and eventually to 10, because it was evolutionary.  We even introduced an Apple product to our lifestyle (an iPad) and have learned to love it.

But we remained true and loyal to our flip phone for our cell phone requirements.   I used to brag to those who stumbled to figure out how to sweep and to answer a phone , while with ours, you just opened and closed it. Easy peasy.  Granted they could look up the temperature in Moscow on their phones (assuming they had mastered how to answer a call) and that might be nice, but it never convinced me that this was better than FLIP THE PHONE OPEN AND TALK, AND FLIP THE PHONE CLOSED TO HANG UP.

Anyway our phone company said they would no longer support our traditional phone, and we had 2 weeks to move on.  The photo is the old faithful compared to the new machine.

So we are now the proud owners of a phone that tells us the temperature and can find us with GPS anywhere in the world, and apparently, may even predict our thoughts.

Pat and I are poking it with a stick to see if it is safe…




A Typical Wednesday meal

A couple of blogs ago I told you of the Pork Tenderloin en Croute meal we had.    Well here is the second half.

When you are preparing meals for two and you buy Puff Pastry you only need half for each meal.  What do you do with the second half besides throw it out before it turns squishy?

So we had planned a second en Croute meal and chose a fancy Salmon version.  You take a fillet of Salmon (of course easily available here in Paradise) layer it with steamed Asparagus, add on a creme fraiche sauce with dill and wrap in puff pastry and bake.

Like a good retired couple, we hate to see food go to waste so this is an efficient meal.


No Good Deed goes UNPUNISHED

On Saturday morning we woke to 2 inches of fresh snow.  We thought that we had missed the big dumps that Vancouver was getting but not this time.  So I was up early and fired up the snow blower and did the driveway.  It was cool and the snow was light so the machine worked as it was designed to.  I could run it in 4th gear so a fast walking pace and the snow flew.

I completed my driveway so quickly I moved on to do the houses next door then did the sidewalk for 8 houses in either direction on both sides of the street.  Then went down to do a couple of friend’s homes on the adjoining street.  Came home in about 45 minute feeling pretty good and  through the day received several phone calls and emails from people thanking me.

Last night it snowed again so I thought I would get up early and repeat.  Problem was that the temp was +3 C and earlier the street plows came by and piled all the street snow on the sidewalks.  The snow did not blow it sort of glooped out the thrower.   I finished my driveway OK but the 2 foot ridge of plowed snow on the sidewalks was like partially set concrete.  My machine even in bull low gear just could not handle it.  Now if I could have quit after doing my own property that would have been enough but due to the thank yous I felt obligated to try and repeat the range I did on Saturday.  Very tough going and when I finally got home after 2 hours I was exhausted.

There is a lesson there somewhere.


Meal Inspirations

When you are a couple trying to think of exciting new dishes to prepare for supper, it can be a challenge.  Every recipe of interest seems to feed 4-6.

Granted I remember telling this sad story to mother years ago when she was living in her apartment and she told me “well try cooking something interesting for one!!!”

Our meals often come from inspirations as much as looking in the fridge and thinking what can we do with what we have.

Costco had pork tenderloins on special.  Pat and I had an inspiration.

When we went to the movie Julie and Julia (about Julia Child) we came home and prepared a Julia Child recipe.  Pork Tenderloin en Croute.  (a tenderloin wrapped with prosciutto ham and puff pastry baked in an oven)

So that had to be our meal.  I went off to buy the puff pastry and the ham (which turned out to be half the cost of the meal) and we prepared it tonight.

It is lightly snowing and I will have to probably head off early in the morning to clear the sidewalks and driveways in the neighbourhood, so it was nice to just work in the kitchen preparing dinner on a Sunday night with no concern that we have to get to work in the morning.

A wonderful meal but more food than we could eat.  Not a boring meal for two.

A Leadership Escape

Our Christmas gift from the the family when we visited them in  Calgary was an evening of Escape from a locked room.  This is an event/experience more popular than the old paint ball team challenges.

Your team is locked in a room where you have to solve many clues to find the keys and secret passages to finally escape.  Many groups never succeed.

So our kids and Grandkids joined us for a dual escape (2 rooms 2 teams). I was selected to be the leader of one team and the Bride was the leader of the competition.

I had never done this before so when my team were locked in a room with many clues I had a few reservations.  I was not sure if the team would be able to perform in an effective manner.   Fortunately I was able to take a leadership role and delegate to those that had special skills and game experience to work the solutions.  Mason proved handy in crawling under beds and working little locks that my fingers could not handle.

With my leadership, we solved clue after clue and eventually moved into the next room.  The team was working on high efficiency at this point and when I finally unlocked the last chest to reveal the giant Ruby Jewel  it was glorious.  We almost set a record for the fastest escape.

A great team effort where everyone participated, but again that is what a leader should encourage.

We finished so early I was able to watch the live video of the competing team where they were running around leaderless like chickens.