Posted in Dining, General

Mother’s Day

After railing about grammar in my last post, you might wonder whether it should be Mother’s Day or Mothers’ Day. Or maybe you don’t wonder about it.

To be candidly truthful, I wasn’t sure myself. So, not relishing a logomachy, I wondered, even if you don’t, if I could discover what other logophiles had to say about the apostrophe in question.

I discovered that Mother’s Day originated in the United States of America in 1908, when Anna Reeves Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. In 1908, the US Congress failed to pass a law making the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day. In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked Second Sunday in May and Mother’s Day and, after several states made the second Sunday in May a Mother’s Day holiday, in 1914 Woodrow Wilson had Mother’s Day made a national holiday.

Wikipedia says, “Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was [intended to be Jarvis meant – Ed] on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue law suits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honour their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards.”

So, Mother’s Day it is.

I wish I had been more appreciative of my mother’s muliebrity. I was too young to appreciate what sacrifices she made during the war-time rationing, although I did know that she did give up eating something she knew I would like or of which there was not enough for two people.  She was loving, always there for me when I had a fall, or I’d driven an axe into my leg, or, as happened once, an evacuee from London picked up a 2 x 4 and hit me over the head with it, causing the centre of my scalp to stream blood until I had cycled a mile home. Fortunately, no severe damage was done except that it rattled what brain I had around in my head. Not being able to think well caused me to have five kids – at least, that’s my story.

My Mum (or Mummy, but always with a capital M, for she was special) was always there to help others, taking in friends for a weekend or a week or so in our rented house which Dad had found for us well away from the city, to give them some relief from the blitz going on in Southampton, our (and their) home town.

And could she sing! She had a wonderful soprano voice, which, had it been trained, could have taken her onto the concert stage. As it was, she sang beautifully, whether it was at one of our many parties (strictly tea-total, mind you) in our house or in a neighbour’s house in Southampton before and after the war, or at church. People loved to hear her sing accompanied by my Dad, who was a brilliant pianist and likewise could have taken up a concert career instead of teaching.

Mum had a great, if somewhat quirky, or even a slight shade of blue, sense of humour (the blue never being exposed when Dad was around) and I well remember walking along one of our country roads when a convoy of American army trucks passed us and the wolf-whistles the troops made at her made her laugh and laugh. I felt very proud of my Mum. It was only in later life after the war that middle age took its usual toll on shapeliness, as it does to many of us. Photos of Mummy before the war at a beach with Dad and me show a good figure. Oh, is that being chauvinistic?

S-o-o-o-o….

…..what did I do for the mother in this house, My Beloved, who had raised five children?

No, I did not provide breakfast in bed – she would not have appreciated it.
No, I did not provide lunch for her, but I did let her nap –
and then watch tennis all afternoon.
While I also had a nap and then started prepping dinner for her.

Appetiser: Sizzling Tequila Lime Shrimp

This was three large prawns sautéed in butter with grated ginger and garlic. When done, I added the Tequila and flambéed them. When the flame had died down, lime zest and juice were added.

Appetiser

We did not sit at the table: I presented My Beloved with her plate as she sat comfortably in her lazyboy-style chair watching the end of the tennis.

When we had savoured and relished the shrimp and the tennis had finished, I moved back to the kitchen and finished off the main course: Bacon-wrapped chicken stuffed with guacamole. In other words, tender chicken breast which had the heck malloted (newly coined word meaning the breast was smashed thin with a mallot) out of it, rolled up with creamy guacamole and wrapped in bacon that’s grilled until the bacon is nice and crispy! It was declared a success by the one who mattered – actually “matters” always, every day, every minute!

Main - stuffed guacamole bacon-wrapped chicken - 20180518_172702

Accompanying this were grilled asparagus and balsamic soy garlic roasted shrooms. While the asparagus was as one might expect – roasted – they were very thin. My options on buying them were limited: thin, or thin. However, the shrooms were a true success, delivering a sweet and deep flavour such as we had never had with any vegetable before. We will do those again. Soon!

All of this was accompanied with my own Merlot. Several glasses.

Dessert was very simple: vanilla ice cream and coconut chocolate ice cream.

Dessert - IMG_20180513_1952177

And with some or all of those delicious flavours lingering on my and your pallet,
I bid you and Mother’s Day adieu!

 

Posted in General

What happened to adverbs?

“He played aggressive.”
“She ran good.”

The question is not so much, where in the world have people who describe events or activities in such a fashion, been educated? It is more, why has has our education and teaching produced such deplorable grammar?

What has happened to the good old adverb, which qualifies another word, such as an adjective or verb and which, of course, in the examples given should have been ‘aggressively’ and ‘well’?

What has happened to our teachers who have failed to produce students who can speak the English language properly? In my research, I have found that Canadian education standards are pretty high – far higher than those in our friends to the south.

eudemic is a site dedicated to providing teachers and all involved in educating our children and with a mission “Create awesome students”. From time to time it rates educational systems around the world. Unfortunately, I could find only its last available report for 2014. Fortunately for us, Canada ranked 7th, right under Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland and the UK. The USA ranked well below at 14th place.

Another site, WorldKnowing.com ranks, among many categories ranging from olive oil to prostitution, levels of education and students. Here is a table showing the 2017 rankings:

Rank Country Name System Index
1  Japan  90.72
2  South Korea  89.76
3  United Kingdom  88.93
4  Singapore  88.67
5  Russia  88.31
6  Finland  87.96
7  Canada  87.64
8  Netherlands  86.47
9  Ireland  85.58
10  Israel  84.80

In yet another site, it’s interesting to see that in the 2017 WhichCountry.co rankings, Canada is also at seventh place and USA also at fourteenth. The other rankings are:
1.   South Korea
2.   Japan
3.   Singapore
4.   Hong Kong
5.   Finland
6.   UK
7.   Canada
8.   Netherlands
9.   Ireland
10. Poland
11. Denmark
12. Germany
13. Russia
14. USA

Many years ago, when I was young and charming (credit Gilbert & Sullivan’s Butterfly in HMS Pinnafore), I was working as the risk manager for a large international multi-integrated company which built an airport in Sri Lanka, a number of hydro-dams and other large projects in Canada. As part of my job, I was to review the plans, specifications and blueprints for all the projects. In doing my research, I would interview the engineers and ask them to provide me with details in written form as well.

I was astounded.

Virtually all the engineers coming out of university could not write sentences completely. Verbs would be left out. Elementary grammar and spelling errors occurred almost on every line. I could not believe what I was reading. Otherwise well-educated young people who could not complete a simple sentence in English without error.

At the time, I was chair of a school board in metro Winnipeg and I obtained an interview with the Dean of Engineering, University of Manitoba, the object of which was to try to get English as part of the Engineering degree course, and I offered examples of recent graduates’ descriptions of what their part in a current project entailed. I cannot remember anything of the interview from fifty plus years ago, but I do believe I was at the very least instrumental in getting English in as a course in Engineering.

So, although our country is quite well-regarded in educational circles, I still hear many local kids and, worse yet, sportscasters and sports people ignoring the common ly at the end of many adjectives.

Here is a quote from a CAA site: Use your CAA membership to save big. Of course, no-one in today’s world would know that the correct adverb is bigly. And it would sound very strange to most people’s ears. But it could have been written more precisely with still the punch,  Use your CAA membership to get big savings.

Recently, I was reading a recipe in which pork was slow-roasted. To me, that gives the end before the process. Surely, it would be more appealing to write, the pork was roasted slowly  in the oven. I can almost imagine the smell as the pork is becoming more and more succulent as it spends time in the oven. Slow-roasted is inadequate. It just doesn’t imply smelling and juiciness.

Take a look at the chalkboards on Argyle Street or Spring Garden Road the next time you walk down one of those streets or some such restaurant row in your city. See how many fresh-squeezed orange juices, or fresh-caught haddock you can spot.  And writing about food, how about the term eat healthy, which is very frequently used these days. What does it really and literally mean? We know the verb eat and what it means, but healthy can only mean whatever we are talking about is healthy in itself. You may be a healthy person, you can eat apples, but you cannot eat healthy. Healthy is not a noun. Your trainer is healthy. So is your bank account – hopefully. Healthy, a pure adjective describes nothing in the term eat healthy. Advertisers really mean to say eat healthily or healthfully, not healthy.

 

In my estimation, written purely from a lay point of view, for I am neither a teacher nor an educator, although I admit to being a volunteer Chair of an adult literacy network, our governments and school administrators have endeavoured to even the playing field for all children attending public schools. Note that I say, public schools, for private schools, in my estimation, frequently produce a far more rounded personality and a more complexly educated person because they allow for more gifted children advancing at their own pace and giving them latitude to experiment and explore rather than holding them back with the rest of the students in the crowded classrooms. Can that be an explanation – or are the teachers just not as well practised in the English language as they should be?

Whatever the answer, adverbs are disappearing and leaving some of us reading descriptions of scenes or activities directly, head-on crash, not with the wholesomeness  of description that adverbs can describe. Would you want a love scene to be described in the same manner as a news item might describe a crime scene. In the latter, a blood-spattered wall, the victim in a body bag with furniture upset all around demonstrating a frightening struggle. The former might be seen as two lovers sitting quietly, gently stroking each others’ cheeks in the faintly shining moonlight. In the crime scene, there are no adverbs: in the lovers’ scene, there are several, softening and amplifying the evening.

So, we lexophiles, philologists and grammarians will continue to use words wisely, correctly, hopefully befittingly and, sadly, perhaps wistfully, as we witness the describing adverb disappearing slowly.

Posted in General, humor, humour

How much about our health is TMI?

Over the past five months, I have subjected my friends and two of our daughters have subjected their FB friends to episodes in my life regarding health.

Ofttimes, I have thought, I wonder if this is TMI – Too Much Information – and whether I should not ask for prayers and positive thoughts. I have wondered whether my friends and all those hundreds on FB, most of whom I do not know, have just discarded the emails or FB posts.

Today, after church, one person came up to me and said, “Mel, thank you so much for sharing. Many people do not have the courage to ask for support. Perhaps your sharing will help them share.”

I had never thought about my emails in that light. It was quite a revelation to me. But on thinking about it, I realised that very often I know friends who are suffering from health or other difficulties of life and, yet, they do not broadcast their woes or seek opinions of others. In my case, I also realised that by telling hundreds of people about myself, hundreds of people, most of whom I do not even know since they are friends of our daughters, gave me huge support with prayers and, equally stimulating for me, words of encouragement, stories of their spouses’ or friends’ experiences. So many people supporting me: me, whom they, too, did not know, but nevertheless took time to let me know they were thinking of me.

I am not a narcissist, nor do I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am a person who likes to talk to people. My Beloved knows that I am just as likely to start a conversation with that nice couple at the next table as not. Maybe more likely, particularly if I detect a different accent. I have also been told on many occasions that I am funny. And that is how I tried to write those emails relating to my health issues: not heavy-handed or sorrowful, but with a touch of lightness. To many I related my issues to an old car: you take it in for an oil change and the mechanic says, the radiator has a slight leak – I can really associate myself with that – and, having fixed the leak, I find my brakes are squealing, so I have to get new pads. Having got that fixed, the weather stripping around the driver’s door needs replacing – it actually did need that. After all that, I say my car has had its Spring Tune-up. That’s me.

Pacemaker in Nov-Dec.
One eye cataract in Jan and the second in Feb.
In March, a CAT scan (because I cannot have an MRI with a pacemaker) discovered two “things” in the bladder, so this month, I have had them scraped off the wall.
The following day, I had two basal cell cancers snipped off the tip and the side of my nose – I look like I had a great fight or, as one friend at church put it, “Looks like your wife bit the end off in a moment of real passion!” Yes, in church, yet.
I still have to get a hernia fixed in May, but after that, I will be able to say, my Spring Tune-up was successful and I am ready to run or walk as in the past. Walk, anyway, as I don’t like running. I mean, what’s the point of trying to get from one point back to where you came from in the least amount of time? I like to cover the same ground looking at the hedgerows, the flowers and keeping watch out for the hungry coyote.

Without humour, where would we be and what would our lives be like? (The subject of another post on this Blog, I think.) Life is what we get dealt by genes, fate,  and nothing you or I can do will change those factors. However, our own way of life can be a serious factor by what we eat, believe and how we act. And in how we deal with what we have been dealt and relate that to others, if we feel like doing so, is quite probably the way that others come back to us. As yet another person in church this morning said, “These last few months, you have had one thing after another, but you always come bouncing back cheerfully!”

Life may not be what you make it, but you can sure help to shape the results. And it may be that if you share your issues with others, as I have done, the rewards can be overwhelming, often making me cry.

Cry? Is that a good or happy thing? You betcha, it made me feel one heck of a lot better!

And, so, I share all this with you, dear reader. May you be blessed with good health and a sense of humour.

 

Posted in General, humor, humour

The Pedometer and what it means to me

For years I have wanted something that would tell me how far I have walked, or how many steps I have taken.

Once years ago, I bought a pedometer which strapped on my wrist. After a while, it seemed not to be very accurate and I lost interest in what it was telling me. I think it broke: or I broke it. I can’t remember.

So, just recently, I informed My Beloved of 63 years (plus those nine courting years, including 6 in the teen years) that for my birthday I would like a pedometer. OK, she responded, but you will have to choose one. Now this was different, because for the past umpteen years, we have not given birthday or Christmas gifts to each other – oh, occasionally, I might have given in and surprised her.

Now some of our friends have Fitbits. And everyone to whom I talked never mentioned the word pedometer. I thought I must be a dinosaur asking for a pedometer: so was the name Fitbit being adopted like Kleenex as a generic word meaning what I used to call a pedometer? This thought had me starting to search Google for Fitbits.

Oh, they come for your wrist, for your ankle, as a pendant or as an attachment to your belt. Or as a clip-on to your pocket. I had had no idea how many of these Fitbits there are. But then I discovered that there are many fitbits (with a small f), but that they are not called fitbits with a small f, but Fitness Trackers. Oh.

But my friends all had Fitbits, or they said they did. Oh, my! I quickly came to the conclusion that all our Fitbit friends were wealthier than My Beloved and me. The price of Fitbits seemed astronomic: over $300 Canadian. To count my steps?

But wait, the ad said, all the things that a Fitbit can do:

  • Tracks steps, distance and calories burned
  • Syncs automatically to your computer or select bluetooth 4.0 smartphones or tablets
  • Set goals, view progress and earn badges
  • Share and compete with friends throughout the day
  • Free iphone and android application
  • Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 150 leading smartphones

No, no, no! I do not want to sync to my computer; I do not want to earn badges – I have enough; I do not want to share and compete with friends. I JUST WANT TO COUNT STEPS.

So, next was the Omron at little over half the price of a Fitbit. However, in Canada we work in metric and I found one review which told me that it could not be changed to metric. Throw the Omron out!

After looking at a number of similarly expensive machines – and it seemed to me that the smaller the machine, the more costly it is – I concluded that I could not have a birthday present.

But wait! What if I changed my term of reference for Google? How about simply asking if there were such a thing as a Pedometer. And, suddenly, there burst on my screen a zillion pedometers – including my friends’ Fitbit.

And there, alongside the Fitbits were much less costly gizmos. Including one called a
One TweakIMG_20180401_1657465

The One Tweak does a few simple, but one particularly essential one for me: it counts steps. Yes, it also stores a daily and up to a monthly total. And a total memory mode. It also counts calories (which I ignore in more ways than one), the distance in kilometres (yes, it does US standard, too), and exercise time. It does not sync with my computer; it does not share and compete with friends; it does not earn badges! It does what I wanted a pedometer to do: count steps and tell me how far I have walked.

And it clips to my trouser pocket – facing inside the pocket. Or, when I’m doing exercises first thing in the morning, to my underpants. That’s probably too much info. Imagining me in my underpants and a shirt doing exercises. One Tweak doesn’t care – it works anyway.

The photo shows that today, Easter Sunday 2018, by just about 3 minutes to 5pm when I took the photo and put it in this post, I had walked 1,652 steps – most of them at church this morning. Yes, we had a Sunrise Service at 5.30am starting with fire in the parking lot, then candle-light in the church, following which we men’s group provided breakfast of fried eggs (three at least for most), sausages (two for most, but three or four for some), one pancake each, tea, coffee and OJ or apple juice. And then, after an hour and a half break during which My Beloved and I went home, set the alarm for 9am, woke to the alarm, we returned for a more traditional Anglican (C of E or Episcopalian, depending on your country) service at 9.30am.

Oh, yes, my One Tweak tells the time – and in metric! Or 12-hour AM/PM if you prefer. I don’t.

How can you refuse to buy and keep something from Amazon Prime when it arrives with the enclosed card:

IMG_20180401_1659505

I have now had my One Tweak for about a week and how much did it cost? Canadian $80. And I am totally satisfied with it – well, almost: the numbers are rather slow at getting towards my first target of 5,000 steps. I wonder how I can get it to speed up!

 

Posted in Dining, General, humor, humour

One More Year and Still Going…. and What a Difference a Meal Makes

10th day of March this year of 2018 marked my 85th birthday. And did a year make a difference? No, and but for a few minor health issues dealt with or about to be dealt with, I still feel as fit as last year – or the year before.

So, what made the 10th special were three great happenings? A great hotel, a great theatre, and a great dinner.

First, I had found a good weekend rate and we checked into the Prince George Hotel last Saturday afternoon. Right on check-in time of 3pm.1

We didn’t have more time than to dump our belongings, few though they were for a one-night stay, open the bottle of wine in the room and have a glass each, before we had to leave and go to the Neptune theatre for what turned out to be a totally brilliant performance of The Mountaintop. This short, only one hour-twenty-minute drama was a tour de force for the two actors comprising the cast: Tristan D. Lalla as MThe Mountaintopartin Luther King, Jr. on the evening before assassination day, and Letitia Brookes, as Camae, the flirtatious and temptress room-service waitress. They held us spellbound for the entire eighty minutes with lots of humour and leaving us with a vital message that we, as human beings, still have a long way to go to get racial integration.

Lalla was the mainstay of the entire evening although both of them received three call-backs for their intense and often humourous rendition of their parts. The playwright is a Memphis, Tennessee woman, Katori Hall, the director was Jamaican-born Torontonian,  Ahdri Mandiela, and the cast were Canadians.

Prince SuiteFrom Neptune, we returned to the Prince George only to discover, in the shortened version of this tale, that Atlanta daughter, Jenny, had found out where we were and had had us upgraded to the most luxurious suite in the hotel, the Prince Suite. Mind, you, I later discovered that she, as only she can, wangled and wrought wonders with the staff to reduce the cost astonishingly.  Not that that mattered to us, as she had taken care of the stay and thrown in dinner for us, which My Beloved and I had previously reserved in the very good hotel restaurant, Gio.  I had been particularly careful not to tell any of our family and only one friend, and she not until around our check-in time, where we were going to stay and eat. But the wiles of Jennifer Anne are hyperacute. The following day, we walked out with zero on our credit card. Oh, she does something like this every year on our birthdays, for she can do a two-for-one, My Beloved’s birthday being eight days later, tomorrow, in fact. My Beloved and I believe it is wonderful that she is able to do this for us and we are annually very, very grateful.

We dressed differently for dinner, discarding our casual theatre garb for more formal dress. Except that I had intended to wear a navy blazer, grey trousers, blue shirt and red tie. Only I forget to put the blazer in the car. What did I say at the beginning of this post – I was that day 85, so we will ascribe the forgetfulness to a sense of joyful achievement. So, I was left with a red cashmere sweater and a red tie. It worked, sort of.

Table plant
Interesting table plant – do not know it.

Chantel, with whom Jenny had worked regarding the restaurant, was not our server, but came over to the table and welcomed us and told us she had enjoyed working with Jenny. Our server was Hannah and she was just wonderful, hiding our wine, Trapiche Iscay, and suddenly appearing with it just as the glasses were getting low.

While we were sipping our wine, Hannah brought some lovely soft bread with oil and balsamic vinegar – always a winner for both of us.

My Beloved started with a squash soup, roasted and pickled squash, chili oil (only a dash, please asked My Beloved), cinnamon, and crème fraîche all of

Squash Soup
Squash Soup

which was truly tasty and filling, so that when it came to her main course, she opted for another appetiser of Pork and Beans. Yes, you may well smile, but when they arrived, the plate had three strips of caramelized pork shoulder, navy beans, molasses and pickled Brussels sprouts (which neither of us had seen before). Very, very good, she declared!

IMG_20180310_1958467.jpgBetween the appetisers and the mains, Hannah arrived with what I can only describe as a very tasty amuse-guelle in a porcelain Chinese soup spoon. Although Hannah explained what it was, I have no recollection of her description.

 

IMG_20180310_1938400My appetiser was something I had not seen on a menu for years, although it had always been a favourite of mine: sweetbreads. No, that is not a form of sourdough bread; it is – usually – either the thymus or the pancreas of a calf or lamb. Mine were described on the menu as breaded sweet breads, focaccia, mushrooms, pickled egg and tempura enoki mushrooms. Oh, how these sweetbreads brought back so many far-off memories of delicious ones, especially creamed, eaten with my parents during or after the war (WWII, not WWI), as during the war meat was scarce or unobtainable, but you ate every part of an animal. When creamed, they are soft and tender and these at Gio, although soft in the middle, were spoiled a little by the fried breading. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them immensely. I have had them since the war, certainly dining somewhere in North America with My Beloved, but it was a long time ago and neither of us can remember where or when.

 

IMG_20180310_2000573Back to my main, which was three delicious large Digby scallops with rye spätzle, corned beef, chestnuts, kale, brown butter cream, capers, squash purée and crispy sauerkraut. Wow! What an aggregation! But it can be described as par excellence.

As my family all know, I am very partial to the large local Nova Scotian scallops from around the town of Digby.

 

IMG_20180310_2044000Following this wonderful dinner, we ordered our digestifs, Cointreau on the rocks for My Beloved and a Chocolate Coffee, consisting of kahlúa, bailey’s, crème de cacao, grand marnier and chocolate with whipped cream on top for me, the Birthday Kid.

Suddenly out of the somewhere, Hannah appeared with a chocolate dessert.

IMG_20180310_2049435.jpg

As could be expected after such a sumptuous course, we retired to our Prince Suite and just sat, relaxed, sipping the last of the previous room’s bottle of wine, when, lo and IMG_20180310_2205505behold, a doorbell rang and who should appear but a room service server with a plateful of our favourite Stilton and glasses of Port. Oh, and a few grapes, but who cared about them.

Pizza

So, what a difference a meal makes? Yes, yesterday, I undertook to create a cauliflower crusted pizza  It was a lot of work cooking and shredding the cauliflower, grating Parmesan and Mozzarella, lots and lots of it, chopping salami, pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, cooking bacon and chopping it, cooking the base, then assembling it all with store-bought pizza sauce and a layer of cheese, then layer upon layer of meat, mushrooms and bacon, separated with even more cheese.

Well, we had a very good appetiser of shrimp in avocados, but the pizza left a lot to be desired. Could it really be called pizza?

Could it be compared to Gio’s dinner? Yes – it was edible, but will not be repeated.

Of course, neither may the Prince George adventure and experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General, humor, humour

I’m behaving like an old car…but…

You know how your old car develops little maintenance problems and you have to get them fixed before it will run properly again?

First, you have a rear right turn light out, so I, being totally car illiterate, have to take it to the service garage.
You get it fixed, only to hear squeaks coming from somewhere under the hood (or bonnet). Back to the fixer of everything cars. It needs a new belt, he says. OK, what’s that? It’s the belt, he replies, that you don’t want to get your fingers anywhere near when you are filling up the windshield washer.
He fixes that, but the very next day you hear more squeaks, but not from the belt. (Oh, I am now an expert with auto terms and I can say belt, sort of knowing what it is.) So back to Mr Fixer. Oh, he says, that sounds like rotors. Hey, my car is not a helicopter: it doesn’t have any rotors. No, he says, a rotor is the thing in the wheel that the brake pads grab to slow you down.

So you get new rotors: they never come one at a time, always in pairs. At least that’s what Mr. Fixer says. After paying him a minor fortune, you drive off feeling happy.
A week later, I see water under the front of the car. I open the hood and, now I am an expert, even I can see there is a hose (yes, I know that term – I have several in the garden that spout water in various places leading to a little spurt at the end instead of a good jet) and I see water dripping from the hose that leads to the radiator (I know that term, too, for in olden days, My Beloved and I had an apartment in Winnipeg equipped with something that looked like the thing under the hood, which I broke by leaving the window open at night, only to have the minus thirty degree air come in and bust it, thereby flooding the apartment below). So, Mr. Fix-it fixed that.

All of that cost some dollars, but more to my point, they were all minor maintenance issues, which many an old car has.
And that is how I am feeling these days.

Back in November (2017), the fainting, going unconscious, episodes about which I had written and many of you knew about as long ago as five years were getting closer together. Short story: my pulse would drop to 30 beats per minute and leave those funny little billions of cells in my head with very little blood, so they shut me down and these episodes became a daily event. That’s when the cardiac specialist inserted a pacemaker in me. Great! Now I do not pass out. Well, not because of low pulse rate. So, I checked off No. 1 maintenance.

Second maintenance was a cataract operation to my left eye, which left me able to see half of you, as the other eye had not had an operation – until two weeks ago. Now I see you properly and you all look beautiful – or handsome, if you are a male.

Third maintenance issue: last fall, I arranged with a plastic surgeon, who also, fortunately, specialises in removal of basil cell cancers and the like, to have the one on the tip of my nose cut off. Some say, a smaller nose would have been better seven decades ago. So, that takes place March 21st.

Fourth maintenance issue started yesterday with a CAT scan of my abdomen. Over the past couple of months, I had been having teeny-weeny pains sometimes in my left lower abdomen and I could feel the odd lump, which, when I massaged it, would move along and disappear. At least, until it appeared later as, to put it politely, gas or poop. Now, I may not be a car expert, but I am a pretty good quack, so I figured it could be a hernia. So, also, after poking me around quite a bit, agreed my real doctor, the lovely Dr. Eve (name changed to hide the innocent), but I’d better get a CAT scan. As I have a pacemaker, I cannot have an MRI or I will disintegrate in flames.

However, before I was able to get it, another issue arose, which required a CAT scan also.  I chose to get it at an out-of-town hospital, as I knew it would take longer to get it in the main hospital in town. And yesterday, My Beloved and I had a lovely drive in the country with +8C and sunny skies to get my two-for-one CAT scan. I can’t tell you the results yet, but I’m sure my Dr. Eve will let me know next week.

On our return drive, we picked up our mail at the boxes, or as Canada Post tenderly calls them, a nest of boxes. In one of the envelopes was a demand for me to appear at a down-town hospital, where a urologist will give me a cystoscopy. Now, my quack knowledge did not encompass that technical medical word, but it didn’t sound or look like anything frightening. I mean, after all, cyto comes from Greek meaning a cell and I have zillions of them, so why would he need to copy one of my cells? But, if that’s what he wants, then he can copy as many as he wants.

But, curiosity, as they say, killed the cat. I looked up cystoscopy and it didn’t mean copying any of my cells. It meant this doctor, who from his name is obviously an Irish immigrant right out of the University of Limerick, is a newly born surgeon looking to further his experience and to take a camera right up my – yes, very private part – and have a good look around at several of my organs. When I have had my colonoscopies I have rather enjoyed watching on the TV in the op room the camera creep up my other private part looking for nasties, but I’m not sure I will be able to have the satisfaction of that in this next invasion of my innards, as they probably don’t have a TV set up in the same way. Or, maybe they do.

Well, remember the car and its maintenance? That’s how I feel I am these days, just getting maintained. But, when all has been fixed, just like the car, I will be as fit as I feel now, only knowing that there is nothing further that can go wrong — trust me, I’m a pretty good quack!

Posted in General, humor, humour, Uncategorized

What a Difference a Play Makes!

Yesterday, My Beloved and I went to our excellent downtown Neptune Theatre to see
– and hear, of course –
Jonas and Barry In The Home

Jonas and Barry - IMG_20180128_1608275.jpg

It was hilarious!

The playwright, Norm Foster, a Canadian – a Maritimer, actually, coming from New Brunswick – has written 59 plays, I believe most, if not all, are comedies, and in any year has at least 150 productions in Canada. I have seen only two or three, but thoroughly enjoyed laughing through them.

Barry is a curmudgeon, as Jonas initially calls him, having come into the seniors’ retirement home on the basis that his daughter, who works there, wanted him closer so that she didn’t want to go to see him at his house, only to find that the place smelled of rotting flesh, he having died two weeks previously. Jonas gradually gets Barry to open up and meet “girls”. Jonas is quite the flirt and has a libido as wide as the horizon. (At one point, he admits to Barry that one evening, he looks at himself and sees “an old man’s penis”, small and flaccid.)

Jonas continues to build Barry’s confidence up throughout the play and Barry eventually turns into a man-about-town. And interesting to us was that Norm Foster himself played Jonas. The essence the Director wanted to leave with us at the end of the production was make yourself happy first and then others will be made happy by your attitude.

If you should ever have the opportunity of seeing this, or any other Norm Foster play, do go and see it.

And after the matinee performance? Dinner, of course. At a restaurant to which we had never been, but just 100 paces from Neptune’s door, East of Grafton, a tavern of sorts.

We, apparently, should have had a reservation, for they were full, the hostess told us, except for two seats at the bar or at one of the high tables, where the stools have no backrest. So, we were in a quandary, trying to decide if we wanted to stay in one of the two uncomfortable places or leave, when a young server came up to the hostess and told her he could find us two seats at a table for four, which, we presumed, the people had reserved and not turned up. Ah, God works in mysterious ways, even on the floor of a pub.

We ordered a bottle of Malbec, one of our favourite wines from Argentina, and perused the menu. On our way to the Neptune performance, we had glanced at the menu on the window, so it did not take long for me to decide on the Salmon Tartare and Fish and Chips. My Beloved pondered over it longer, because we could not find the Open Face Lamb Sandwich on the menu, but which we had seen on the menu on the window. “Oh,” our server told us, “that is only on the lunch menu, however,” she continued, “I will see if the chef will be able to put one together for you.”

Our lovely young woman quickly returned and informed us that the chef said he has one lamb sandwich left and My Beloved can have it. Oh, seems like God continued to work in mysterious ways in the pub!

My Salmon Tartare came with a couple of toasted slices of French bread and was more than delicious: wonderfully sushi-ish, ground up salmon mixed with some form of creamy sauce, possibly with dill involvement. My Beloved had a couple of bites and declared it to be as good as I had.

My Beloved’s Lamb Sandwich arrived.

Open face Lamb Sandwhich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to My Beloved, the lamb was sitting in a bowl of bread and it did not really live up to its promise – not that I heard it promise anything – but the lamb was a bit dry, she said. Perhaps it had been sitting on a shelf since lunch.

As far as my fish and chips was concerned, I had been informed that the remoulade on the fish was unavailable last night. That didn’t make any difference to me, as I had no idea what a remoulade was, so I didn’t miss it. The haddock fillet was quite large, larger than those we have been able to get fresh recently, and cooked just nicely: that is, still a little moist inside, so it is not at all dry. And the fries, oh, they were excellent. Small, thin and well deep fried. Mmmm! I shouldn’t have had them. I should have ordered a side salad. I’m sure glad I didn’t, though.

Fish & Chips.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And to you, My Friends, I bid you bon appetit with whatever you are about to eat and leave you with the following thought……

bacon-quote-quotes-Favim.com-640819

or, Shakespeare said….

A man cannot make him laugh – but that’s no marvel; he drinks no wine.

Henry IV – Part 2 – Act 4 – Scene 2