Monthly Archives: October 2014

Only Child Prepares for winter

Magnificent juniper as it once was - slowly coming back some

Magnificent juniper as it once was – slowly some came back

The big bad winter is approaching too fast and I still have too many issues with house and garden. They must get done before the ground freezes and the snow comes.

First, what is done and getting there. The air conditioner is covered. It might as well have stayed covered with our almost non-summer. Most of the leaves from the neighbour’s two walnut trees have been cleaned from the eavestroughs. That’s two cleanings and one more to go. One of the two handy guys I “employ” is looking after this. I’m out there whenever I can (read not working, promoting my book, doing house chores, sleeping, etc.) to rake the leaves from the lawn, garden, patio and walkway on one side of the house. This is a continuous job. But that is the price I pay for having much needed shade in the summer, so I accept that.

What I don’t accept is winter – all five to six months of it (as last year’s was). I don’t think winters were that long when I was growing up. I remember Mom and Dad out digging in the garden in April. For fall, Mom and Dad were kept busy. Dad had to literally take down the screens and put up the windows. Mom had to clear out the garden and finish up the canning – she made some green tomato sauce which I wouldn’t eat because the tomatoes were green. Not sure if she made red tomato sauce but she made a mean pickled mustard beans, rhubarb jam (sometimes with strawberries), black and red current jams and jellies, and huckleberry apple, which was for pies. That’s what I remember. She would put them all in the root cellar in the basement and bring the jar(s) up when needed.

I don’t can anything. I’m afraid of food poisoning. And sometimes home canned foods can go bad. As I write in my memoir, Mom could open the canned jam, etc., sniff it and just know it was bad. We never got food poisoning.

Instead I dry herbs and blanch and freeze excess vegetables = when the garden produces them. This year when the carrots grew large for a change I didn’t plant enough to freeze. I had some beans for a change but only enough for a few meals. I did get some from the farmer’s market and froze them; same for corn-on-the-cob which I don’t grow – partly because of space and partly because the racoons stole the good crop of corn my ex-husband and I grew in our Aurora, Ontario garden in the mid-1970s. There are enough racoons in this area that even the meanest-looking scarecrow wouldn’t frighten. It isn’t called “scarecrow” for nothing.

The main outside issue is the big juniper tree in front – the one destroyed by God’s horrible winter weather. The juniper has come back somewhat and is still continuing to do so but not fast enough for next winter. God didn’t listen here so now I need to find someone knowledgeable to do something to protect this juniper so it will survive and next spring continue to comeback. I know what has to be done – burlap wrap, not against the tree but on high stakes around it, plus spray something (I don’t know what) on the tree to prevent winter burn on the green parts. The so-called arborist (retired) who promised to help me with tree damage kept putting it off. Yours truly had to do some trimming back of the boxwood and silverlace, with some help from Alex next door on the dead silverlace on his side of the fence. Some of the silverlace on another fence and the gate to my garden from the driveway came back somewhat and was looking nice with its white flowers as it twined through the part of the dead tree (from years ago – it was a silverlace prop) that I hadn’t cut back.

Finally a couple of weeks ago this fellow who I had called the Good Samaritan (GS)came and trimmed off the dead boxwood which I hadn’t been able to do – he did a good job of that, but really messed up the silverlace and took down most of the dead tree under it, except for the main stem (narrow) and two branches. He left it leaning over into the bushes (more juniper) nearby. I had to tie it with bungie rope to the fence. It will act as part of the stakes for that low-lying juniper – and that is something I can do, but not the big juniper.

The GS also left a mess of branches by the boxwood and at the back of my driveway. I had to pay one of my handyman to collect it and tie it all up.

The GS’s actions has taught me another lesson. Trust few people in your life. Be wary; be suspicious. I usually am (except for those close to me I know I should be able to trust), but this time I was so thankful that God had sent someone to help. Obviously the wrong person. Now God has to make it right for the winter with my trees, especially the big juniper in front – without me having to fork out a lot of money.

Then there is all the stuff inside but I won’t go into that now. I would like to go to the last weekly Farmer’s Market near me before it closes today for the season.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child memoir, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child condemns Canada Post CEO decision

Only Child contemplates the end to door-to-door mail delivery in Canada

Only Child contemplates the end to door-to-door mail delivery in Canada

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

  • Translation by Prof. George Herbert Palmer Harvard University, from an ancient Greek work of Herodotus.

What weather can’t do, Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post is doing. Make no mistake. This Chopra is not the beloved author, public speaker and physician of the same name. The only thing those two share is their name. Chopra, Canada Post CEO, is the man who is destroying Canada’s mail service.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Chopra the CEO is closing down door-to-door delivery of mail in Canada. It is starting today in various sections of Winnipeg, Manitoba;Fort McMurray, Alberta; Calgary, Alberta , and Ottawa, Ontario, and is set to continue until 2020.

Chopra’s reasoning for cutting the service was to reduce Canada Post costs because Canada Post was running a losing game. Not right now. Canada Post is now making a profit according to an August 27, 2014 article titled Canada Post segment reports $53-million profit before tax in second quarter. The source? Canada Post’s website http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/news/pr/2014/2014_Q2_report.jsf
Wake up Mr. Chopra and smell more than the coffee because the outcry to your ridiculous ruling is thunderous.
Many petitions have been created and signed (yes, I signed one). One lady, Susan Dixon, whose son has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair started one. Last count it had well over 150,000 signatures and growing. Today, Ms Dixon is taking her petition to the Canadian seat of government in Ottawa. I wish her well. Her original question to Canada Post and the Canadian feds was “Have you ever tried to push a wheelchair through the mud or snow?”
She’s got it right.
CARP, the Canadian seniors advocacy organization (Disclaimer: I am a member) is also working to get this stupid decision stopped (or in some cases where it is already happening – reversed). For example, Mike Lansdown their senior’s advocate and a board member of CARP’s Halton Chapter, is very actively advocating keeping home mail delivery. Today, Mike takes part in a discussion on this situation on Goldhawke Fights Back (Radio 740 a.m. in the Toronto, Canada area. http://www.zoomerradio.ca/category/shows/goldhawk-fights-back.) More info on other CARP actions re Canada Post, see http://www.carp.ca/2014/02/22/canada-post-update-members-join-public-general-outcry-carp-steps/
I have never been an advocate of unions, mainly because they are too aggressive and they go on strike and that affects a third party – we the general public.
But I’ve changed my mind here. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is taking Canada Post to Federal Court on charges Canada Post is going against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because removing door-to-door postal delivery discriminates against seniors and people with mobility challenges. I’m 100 per cent behind this union here. True, many of them will lost their jobs and because of why they will, I support them. See and hear the Toronto Star October 21, 2014 story at http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/10/16/postal_workers_go_to_court_to_save_home_delivery.html

I know that for many years Canada Post has not set up door-to-door mail delivery for any new homes built so some people have no door-to-door delivery. But these people who moved into the new homes knew this before purchasing their homes, so they could decide whether they wanted to live with it.
Not the rest of us. I’m a senior but to date can still get around and walk even though some days my foot conditions cause problems. But I don’t want to “skate” out on ice in winter or get blown to a community mail box to pick up my mail. Why should I – especially as Canada Post also keeps raising the cost of postage. Is this extra cost supposed to pay for all the extra community mail boxes?
Canada has a federal election next year. From what I hear and read, this cutting home delivery of mail is going to be a big issue. I will be watching closely to see which parties, party leaders, and my area candidates decide on this issue. I won’t vote for anyone wanting to cut the service.
As for Mr. Deepak Chopra, Canada Post President and CEO. I wish him a happy retirement – very soon. May he retire to a place called Nowhere, location the middle of nowhere, with no car. I would add mobility issues but that would be an insult to those who have mobility issues.
Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Mail Delivery Canada

Only Child and the non-Thanksgiving holiday

Only Child's Garden one of the things she is thankful for.

Only Child’s Garden one of the things she is thankful for

Yesterday was the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. But it didn’t feel like it. Maybe because I didn’t do a family Thanksgiving dinner because my son was touring with his band Beams over the weekend. Maybe because my son, his girlfriend and I met for dinner instead – last Tuesday evening. We didn’t eat any kind of Thanksgiving dinner. We ate at an Italian restaurant and the closest to a bird was the chicken cacciatore I ate.
Maybe because it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving last Tuesday. We did talk about family matters but it’s not the same as our traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the roast chicken (I’m allergic to turkey). Maybe it’s because the bad still takes over the good in my life and except for a few things I don’t feel that thankful.
Don’t get me wrong. Each day I give thanks for what is good in my life. But I also do the opposite for what is bad in my life. I follow a variation of the rule learned from my Grade 6 teacher – give credit where credit is due (her rule) and discredit where discredit is due (my variation).
The odd thing was that over the weekend as I walked along the streets near home, strangers would wish me a happy Thanksgiving. I didn’t pull the snarky reply but smiled and wished them the same in return. If some people are 100 per cent thankful, I’m not going to burst their balloon.
However, I know that life is not all rosy. Bad happens and I’m still getting more than my share of it. For example, last week, despite my asking God daily to have all the six utilities work 24/7 with no disruptions in service, he didn’t listen. He is not responsible for the services going off, but he is responsible for not listening. “Ask and you shall receive” seems often to be either a crowd thing or if one person asks, i.e. me, I have to shout and shout to be heard. I am told I have to be specific in my requests, what I put out there and I am and what do I get? Nearly two days of no phone or Internet service because of Bell Canada. The ding-a-ling company had a corroded cable up a pole. That’s all I’m going to say about that now as it is fodder for another full blog post.
Like I said above I am thankful for a few things – my son and his girlfriend, my house (except for what needs fixing), my garden, this lovely summer-weather day today, my health (what is still good about it), my writing, editing and writing teaching/tutoring business.
Speaking of my writing, I am really really thankful that Blue Denim Press just published another book of mine this fall – my first mystery novel Beyond Blood. The book launch for it is this coming Sunday, October 19, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Paintbox Bistro in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If you are in the area then, please come to the book launch, which also launches another first mystery novel – Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski. More details at http://www.bluedenimpress.com
I will be blogging more about it this Thursday on my author blog http://www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com
And check out my son’s band Beams at http://beamstheband.com/

Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Family, God, Health, Only child, Prayer, Thanksgiving

Only Child looks at distraction causes

Only Child literally got a wake up call this morning

Only Child literally got a wake up call this morning

Lately I have moments of sudden distraction with upsetting results. My mind will run around in circles or be over-focused on a problem or an item on my to-do list. Then I go to do something you usually would do automatically. And I mess up.

The scary part is I am not aware of doing the automatic function incorrectly. Until it is done.

The latest was preparing to cook rice in my rice cooker. I had removed the inside pot to fill it with the rice and water. Instead I poured the rice and water into the main cooker. That is the part the instructions tell you not to immerse in water.

I discovered the mistake right away and dumped everything out. I dried the outside and inside of the rice cooker, scooped up what I could of the rice from its dumping point, washed it yet again. This time I put it and the water into the actual pot. Placed the pot into the rice cooker, put the lid on and plugged it in.

Some people would not take this chance of getting electrocuted or having the whole thing explode or burn. I was willing to do that because I was angry that this had happened and I didn’t want the hassle etc. of replacing the rice cooker. The cooker was also a gift a few years ago from my son. And being of “a certain age” I sometimes don’t care about consequences and just act.

I was also very hungry. And there may lie the problem. Hunger plus not enough sleep. Throw in too much to concern myself with and you have a cognitive behaviour alert. Not dementia – not yet anyway.

My late mother had a few of these “senior moments.” The one that sticks in my mind is when she hauled the bacon instead of the steak out of the freezer. She might have been heading for Alzheimer’s. It certainly runs on her side of the family – those with Strauss blood in their veins. But Mom died at 63 of a brain aneurysm so it was too soon to tell.

I have a lot of malnutrition problems cause by IBS and just getting older. As you age your digestive system can’t digest food as well as when you are younger. And don’t tell me to take digestive tablets. Tried that and while some may work for a few weeks, after that they register nil. So I have to eat small snacks in between meals. Often I forget or what sometimes happens I am running necessary errands which go into the supper time, mainly because of time and the time part often has to do with when the stores close. If a store closes at 7 p.m. you have to get their before and when you are working all day (albeit it from a home office) you tend to dash off doing those errands – some business related – before dinner. I also don’t like early evening meetings either unless they include dinner or large amounts of snack food that I can eat. (Gluten-free). I also haven’t been getting enough sleep because of too much to do and sleep can also play havoc with your cognitive abilities. I got my wake-up call (literally) on that one this morning when I woke up 45 minutes late because I had forgotten to set the alarm. Obviously that is the length of time I need to sleep (although I felt groggy when I first got up until after a couple cups of java). When I got up this morning is too late for workdays, so I will have to go from the other end – get to bed sooner, which means something has to be done about that end of the “to do” list.

As for the rice cooker, I kept my attention on it and the cooker seemed to work fine and cooked my rice. Of course it was less rice and I hadn’t put the right amount of water in it. But when I added the steamer of vegetables that part also worked.

Now excuse me while I tackle more of the work part of my “to do” list. This afternoon I’m teaching a crafting a short story workshop at the library and I need time to eat lunch after I do a couple more things.

Any of you have similar experiences? What caused them? And what did you do?

Please comment.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Digestive disorder, Health Seniors, Malabsorption, Mother, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Time, Time management