Some of the Things I learned at Home.

Some of the Things I learned at Home.

When I was a child, I used to love to make my dad’s lunch. He was a logger. I would line his lunchbox with a paper towel and write a message on it. “I love you”, “have a great day”. I would make him a couple of sandwiches, wrapped neatly in wax paper. His thermos matched his stanfield .

I think my Dad probably loved that. Opening his lunchbox to find such love.

I was talking to friends on facebook, wondering who ever used wax paper, because plastic is such a nasty byproduct of our age. A couple of years ago I bought some wax paper out of pure nostalgia. I started to replace my use of plastic wrap with wax paper.

Wrapping sandwiches. Topping refrigerated bowls of leftovers. Throw a sheet over the cutting board when slicing bread. Save the crumbs for your breading collection. The wax paper can be used in the woodstove to light the fire. Lining plates where you are prepping hamburgers for barbeque. Makes them easy and sanitary to handle. You can make an easy piping bag for cake decorating out of wax paper. As a palette liner. Are you a budding artist? Cleanup is easier if you line your palette with wax paper, also you can save mixed colours temporarily. by sandwiching them in wax paper.

Canning jars, and random other food grade jars are a great way to store dried goods, transport fresh goods and package trail mixes for lunches. They are also great for actually canning foods. It is best to store such foods in a cool, dark place, like Canada!

Crockery. Sugar and flour I keep in crockery. I have a couple of antique pieces from Medicine Hat Pottery and Turner and Beaton in Victoria. They are art pieces as well as history. Functional as well.

Parchment is a worksaver in my kitchen. Baking chicken? Line the pan with parchment and save 90% of your elbow grease in cleanup. Salmon. I wrap the salmon in parchment and it comes out moist and delicious. Baked potatoes are good this way too. Eliminate your use of aluminum foil altogether with this product.

Freezer wrap. Buy in bulk and individually wrap your meat products in proper freezer wrap like the butcher used to do. Do not forget to date and label everything.

I use butter. Fuck the latest study. But when my butter is done, I carefully fold up the packaging and preserve in the fridge to grease pans for baking bread and cookies. Also, when I proof the bread, I put the foil on top of the loaf to keep it from sticking. Top that with a warm damp towel and it works well.

Vinegar. Throw out your Windex, all you need is a bucket of hot water and vinegar. Old newpapers work really well washing glass too. This mix works well on laminate floors as well.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. I would love to hear yours in the comments!

Not Yet a Comeback – The Bitch Ain’t Back, Yet

Not Yet a Comeback – The Bitch Ain’t Back, Yet

Well, boys n girls, I think this is the longest I’ve been away from blogging. Other than the occasional tweet or Facebook posting of an article or picture of interest, and only recently, back to commenting on a few like minded blogs, I haven’t really written or done anything of substance. I have written nothing here and Kim has been keeping the site updated with occasional posts. Keep up the good work, Kim! I’m sure people miss you; probably more than they miss me!

This post will have no links, nor too much research, typically needed for political commentary, but this post is more personal than political.  It’s more of an exercise for me, really. An exercise in concentration of one activity. I have been maintaining a private personal journal to get back into writing. This post is just the next step. It won’t be of too much substance.

Without getting into too much detail, I have been dealing some serious health issues since the beginning of summer.  I’m not quite at a point where I am comfortable sharing all the details. Only a select few know what is going on in more detail and it’s best that it remains that way.  I can only say that I have been battling the health care system here in Montreal since the summer. I have been assessed and reassessed by specialists. I have a diagnosis — a diagnosis that was made at an ER visit in 2006 that I barely remember. One who assessed me over the summer had that file and told me what kind of therapy I need– said I had this diagnosis since 2006. It was quite a shock to me. I had no idea. No one saw fit to even tell me back in 2006 when I was still in my 30s — young enough.  But no, I only found out last July and still smarting from it while also trying to fight to get services. So far, all seem to pass the buck. They all agree I need this treatment, just no one seems to be in any kind of hurry to give it to me.  Right now, all I have is my GP who is new to me still — only started seeing him last spring.  It is indeed frustrating.  All I am being given is pills which have terrible side-effects and really are not doing me any favours. To think, for about 8 years, I had been on the wrong track in many aspects. Scary shit!

Should I ever feel like publishing more detail, I may well do it on another site.

Trouble focusing and concentrating are part of my condition these days– lots of migraines.  So I started trying to read about my usual favourite subject again — politics. I’m more or less current — Quebec’s lovely Bill 10 — health care deform if I ever saw one; Bill 3 — the bill to try to cover up a loss of pensions  of public servants.

Yup, I’m aware Harper sold us out to the Chinese and it looks like his reasoning behind it is well calculated.  It would appear that according to Mitchell Anderson in the Tyee, Harper gave the shop away in a feverish effort to strip us of our constitution. Read There is More than One Way to Skin a Constitution . It’s disturbing, but a must read.

Ezzy Levant sank to new lows over a pic of Justin Trudeau posing in a picture with a bridal party at some wedding, by calling his parents sluts and promiscuous. Much of the journalism community all abuzz about how Justin Trudeau’s boycotting Stun Media is — gasp– so horrible! What scares me even more about this group is that they’re not more outraged at Ezzy Levant or Stun Media’s inaction to date. I mean, what Ezzy did was an insult to journalism, or at least, shouldn’t it be? Thus, shouldn’t journalists be gathering a lynch mob toward Ezzy and his seemingly ambivalent employer ( I am being charitable, boys n girls).

And who could forget Stevie’s protege, Paul Calandra and his latest stupidities along with Speaker Andy’s more than obvious partisanship attitude toward Thomas Mulcair?

I know I’ve said this about previous absences from this site — that I would do my best to be more present. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. Taking it a day at a time, as the old cliche goes.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to express condolences to the families and friends of two great bloggers who contributed greatly to the Canadian progressive blogging community: Susan Kent Davidson, aka Skdadl and David Robin (Rob) Hills aka POGGE of the blog site, which, sadly, is now down.  I never met them personally but I was a fan and there is a hole I think most of us from the Canadian progressive blogosphere feel there is on our side of the political spectrum. I didn’t always agree with them, but ultimately, we all had the same ideals and wanted the same things– one being, get Harper outta office.  RIP Skdadl and POGGE.

I am also putting out another call for contributors who are left of centre of any partisan stripe — just has to be anti-Harpercon. Please email me and we’ll discuss.

Basement Renovations Made Easy

Basement Renovations Made Easy

You might the basement is a space dedicated only for utilities and storage purposes, but in all reality, a little renovation and finishing on the side will transform that damp dark space to something you can spend the whole day in. During my recent basement makeover, I’ve learned some tips from basement renovations calgary that can served as my guide in making the right choices and approach for the transformation of my basement. If you’re planning on engaging on this project soon, here are some renovating details you may want to consider:

  1. Keep the utility room as it is.

The tanks, heaters, HVAC, and other equipments of the utility room should be kept as it is because of building codes that might be affected during finishing. You may opt to provide additional insulation for the walls surrounding the HVAC or utility room, but leave the interior of it as it is. The openness of the room was made to make possible future repairs a breeze by giving easy access to parts and pipes of the affected system.

  1. Verify current state of the perimeter walls.

Check all walls to see if there are any existing leaks or signs of water seepage and moss growth; this should be the first factor to consider. Prior to any finishing, repair all cracks and double check that no pipes are leaking. This step will save you from the hassle of having to change a newly installed wall because of water drippings.

  1. Consider the building codes.

Codes were created to safeguard occupants from possible accidents, and so before you start putting up all those finishing materials check to see if there’s a need to apply for permit for your proposed renovation . If you are planning on adding plumbing work and electrical work, chances are you might need to apply for a permit and inspection. For your own peace of mind, settle this first before you start renovating.

  1. Create an offset space.

An offset space is a gap created between the exterior wall and the interior wall finishing of the basement. This will serve as the area that will capture any moisture coming from the outside. Even if you are planning on insulating the whole perimeter wall, it is still best to have an offset gap so that moisture can be lessened first and only a little amount is absorbed by the insulating material.

  1. You only want the warmth inside.

Basements have generally low temperature because of the moisten earth or soil beyond the perimeter walls, that is why you should focus on keeping the warm temperature inside. To maximize moisture absorption, you may opt to choose an insulating material that has a vapor barrier on both sides. Insulation foam does not only control moisture but can also lessen the noise produced by equipments of your utility room. It is also a good idea to double the insulation material within the walls surrounding the utility room to lessen the vibrations and maximize sound absorption.

Basement renovations are easy as long you consider the codes and verify all utility systems prior to starting proposed upgrades . Just remember that water is the biggest enemy because it can cause serious deterioration to your basement, so research and create ways to hinder this and I’m sure your renovation project will turn out great.

Mount Polley, BC Environment Min goes all DEFCON-1

Mount Polley, BC Environment Min goes all DEFCON-1

Apparently, the BC Environment Minister has noticed that her complete lack of action on the Mount Polley tailings disaster is not sitting well with British Columbians.

The Mothercorp reports today a stern sounding rebuke from the Ministry to Imperial Metals to “stop, I say STOP” releasing effluent down what used to be Hazeltine Creek into the Quesnel Lake system. The report says that the Ministry observed this infraction on September 4th. Wow. Good job Minister. A full month following the catastrophic breach. Where have you been? Mary Polak, you should resign.

Yesterday, a group of residents of Likely and area held a Press Conference in Vancouver to outline their concerns.

“The specific long-term outcomes of this disaster are not known as it is the largest tailings storage facility dam break this world has seen,” it said. “We do know though, that a spike in cancer rates is guaranteed.”

Since this catastrophe, there as been an acidic leak in Strathacona Park on Vancouver Island and now one in Kamloops as well.

So, I wonder why Christy is missing in action? The Legislature schedule calls for a fall sitting on October 6 and yet Christy has announced a “Trade Mission” to India on the 9th. This Premier is hiding.

On a lighter note, hunting season is once again upon us. Please use your firearms responsibly.

We Had This Place

We Had This Place

There was this place in the world, where we were home.

For a decade, we occupied this place. We brought in topsoil. Slate. Beautiful flatrock. At the time, I worked at a nursery, and I brought in plants, shrubs, trees. Dave made art out of stumps and logs and burls. We stewarded that land and by that I mean we groomed it, pruned it, loved it. We were told that the place was ours to steward as long as we wanted.

I had cultivated native plants like sword ferns, arctistaphilus, trilliums, and all of the trees that grew on our claim. Western Red Cedar, Hemlock, Alder, Doug Fir, Holley…
Suddenly, our landlord decided to liquidate. We were out. Summarily.
Life went downhill from there. Try renting a place with a 70 lb german shepard. Well, anyway, yes, life went downhill from there. Eventually, the dog died of living three stories above ground.

Tonight, we went up the hill, to the top of Farmer road and watched the sun set. The moon was at three quarters. We gazed out at Gordon’s Bay and the straight of Juan de Fuca and we breathed deeply of the salt air.

I’m pretty sure there is no God.

Mt Polley. Where is the Government?

Mt Polley. Where is the Government?

Oh, that fickle news cycle! Bestie of Christy Clark, Bill Bennett, Mary Polak.

Where the fuck is the Federal Government, namely, Gail Shea, Minister Responsible for Fisheries and Oceans? Yes, Ms Shea, wild salmon spend a considerable portion of their time in our lakes and rivers. Why are you not out here, getting to the bottom of the science of massive tailings “ponds” and their effect on fish spawning and feeding grounds? Where are your scientists and enforcement officers? We are talking about one of the major salmon runs in the world. You should be fired. With cause.

Leona Aglukkaq, you suck. You should be fired as well. Where the fuck have you been? Minister of the Environment my a$$! You are missing in action, deserting your post in a time of need. What the hell do you think we pay you for? The largest tailings “pond” breach in history has occurred on you watch, in Canada (hint, that is your jurisdiction).

Stephen Harper. No photo-ops of you flying in to the disaster in your airforce gear? No commander in Chief moment? Even Christy Clark flew in for a photo op, after she recovered from her Hawaiian vacation. I guess we ain’t in Calgary anymore Toto! You are fired!

Imperial Metals, your social license is hereby revoked. If this were a democracy your CEO would be criminally investigated and your assets frozen pending trial. Up to and including the major shareholder.

Christy, Bill and Mary, you thought this was over? A bit of foreplay on twitter and a teachers lockout was going to get you off the hook?

We aren’t done with you either. Not by a long shot.

Mining, Mount Polley and Ministerial Responsibility

Mining, Mount Polley and Ministerial Responsibility

Two days ago I sent this email to Christy Clark, cc’ed John Horgan, Mary Polak, Gail Shea and Leona Aglukkaq. I have had no reply.

Dear Premier Clark.

You have been absent lately, and the people of BC need leadership right now.

We have a still unfolding huge scale environmental disaster at Mount Polley. The Minister who seems to be the frontman, Mr. Bennett, has provided nothing but lies and platitudes, covering for your huge donor Imperial Metals and its super rich owners.

Our Minister of Environment is as elusive as yourself Madame Premier, as are the Federal Ministers of Fisheries and Environment.

The taxpayers of BC, the voters, citizens, public demand that you take immediate action to stop spreading the catastrophe downstream into Quesnel Lake and on into the Fraser River. You must enforce the Law, seize all assets of this company to secure the assurance you owe to the public that the company will pay for the clean up.

If your Ministers are going to stand up and ensure the public of the quality of these waters, then get your ass up there and drink it yourself, then get your family to bathe in in for an extended period. We have long passed the point where the citizens of BC are prepared to take your word for it. It is time to prove Ministerial responsibility is still a part of our governance.

Step up or Step down. Your call.

Angry, disappointed, I remain,

An Open Letter to our Political Leaders

An Open Letter to our Political Leaders

I am appalled by the lack of debate in the House on the situation in the Ukraine and any role Canada should take on. PM has unilaterally started committing Canadians to go to the volatile region to take part in NATO posturing against Russia.

I know that Canada has many citizens of Ukrainian descent and that they form a considerable voting block in the prairie provinces. Harper’s base, if you will.
That does not constitute a reason to be using our military to goad Putin into WW3. I understand that people in power like to think of the military as “assets”, unless, apparently, they return home injured or survive to collect their pension. Mr. Harper made that perfectly clear in his egregious and disrespectful lawsuit of Equitas wounded veterans, his closing of veterans services, downloading costs on his honouring Afghan vets onto charities.

Mr Harper is sending my son into harms way, again. Along with his crewmates and other peoples kids, husbands, wives, parents. Perhaps it would be helpful for you, our elected representatives to think of these “assets” as citizens, and electors. Perhaps you should all consider that you have allowed our proud military to sink into a level of disrepair that is embarrassing to the entire nation. Some HMC ships are banned from certain Ports as hazardous. Much of the navy is barely afloat. Training budgets have disappeared as NDHQ siphons off money to private contractors. The Rangers have WW2 rifles are expected to defend the Arctic? Never mind the state of procurement in the Air and on the ground.

You people should all be ashamed of even thinking of sending our people once more into the breach without working equipment and at a time of crisis in morale. Suicide and rampant sexual abuse do not make a fighting force. They make for casualties.

Where is the Opposition? Where is the debate? Sober second thought? The Ukraine has a long and complex history and most Canadians realize that this is not a situation that can be explained by painting white hats and black hats on a deeply troubled country. That you think a military solution is acceptable or even doable puts serious doubt to your capabilities to lead this nation. Today, supporters of Obama’s puppet in Kiev have massacred dozens of civilians in the most brutal way. Many extremist organisations have fallen in with this puppet. You may have just sponsored Nazi’s.

Instead of committing our people to war with Russia, you should be having emergency debate on what diplomatic efforts could be utilized to diffuse this danger faced by millions of people. We are not okay with waging wars for Corporations. If you want Canada to go to war, sign up, or send your children.

In complete disgust,

It’s Spring. Sharpen Your Pitchforks.

It’s Spring. Sharpen Your Pitchforks.

This is it folks. Now is the time. We cannot afford to wait for some future theoretical Election to happen, where the outcome will do nothing to change the trajectory of turning Canada into a kleptocracy.

Let’s face some facts here. Even if the country, at least the 70% of the country that disagrees with the Harperization of Canada, all turned up to vote, we would split the vote and risk another disasterous Harper term. Or just as bad, the Opposition parties would gain power and fail to turn the rudder, preferring to continue to pander to the Corporate Class and opting to take their turn at the trough. We’ve seen it happen with the Clinton and Obama administrations south of the border and we know that those forces have established themselves on our soil through the Canadian Federation of Independant Business, the Fraser institute and Ethical Oil. Other astroturf orgs like the National Citizens Coalition and Citizens for Prosperity, Real Women, the Manning Institute and so on. Many are funded by the Koch brothers who have controlled the Alberta Government for so long.

Voting alone won’t save us. We need to organise. We need a lateral nationwide roundtable to put all options on the table. In full view and with the fullsome participation of the public. The Constitution should be opened to consider sovereignty issues regarding human and natural rights and to reconsider the rights we give to Corporations. The Bank Act needs revisiting, to allow for the financing of services at a nominal rate, rather than the commercial sector. Let’s face it, there are alot of Laws that need repeal or reconsideration. It needs to be done by ordinary people though, a good cross section of the general public.

The fact that so many Canadians have lost jobs ranging from menial to good paying union jobs under this Government and the previous administrations is proof enough that it is time to put a stop to the bleeding. We need the working class to stop hating on the poor, the liberals and ndp to just shut the fuck up and listen to the people. Face it, both parties can’t get past playing Harper’s game and trying to beat him at it, without the money or tools, or even a clue as to what needs to happen. They seem stuck attacking eachother with eyes firmly fixed to that carrot posing as a brass ring. If they can’t figure it out, we need to do an end run around them.

It is time to organise a General Strike. Nationwide. Union, non union, displaced workers, students, veterans, First Nations, farmers, the ranks of the disabled and disenfranchised. Even the Foreign Temp Workers who stand to serve terms of indentured slavery should participate. We need everyone, boots on the ground to rally and protest and strike until critical mass is reached and the political class is forced to capitulate.

It’s time for a new big idea. It isn’t going to come from the top so it’s up to the rest of us. Can we do it?