Feb 18, 2019

Morigeration Monday

morigeration ~ deferential behaviour

If you live on the North American continent, then you probably have today off. While our friends to the south (the U.S.) are celebrating President’s Day, we Canadians are celebrating family day.

And here’s a bit of trivia for you: President’s Day was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1885, commemorating George Washington’s birthday (February 22). In 1971 it was moved to the third Monday in February – I guess to give everyone a long weekend.

Family day, however, is not a federal holiday and hasn’t been around nearly as long. It was first observed in Alberta in 1990, then Saskatchewan in 2007 and Ontario in 2008. Personally, I think we were just jealous that the U.S. got a long weekend in February and we didn’t.

I must have had a brain fart or something, because one of the things I did on the weekend was make a big pot of chili. Now this in itself might not seem like a big deal, but everyone knows chili tastes better the next day, which means it needed to be refrigerated overnight.

My fridge was already pretty full. I didn’t just have the regular stuff from my weekly grocery trip, but I also had the ingredients for a double batch of broccoli cheddar soup in there. I managed to get the chili pot in there, but just barely.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on this blog, but at the end of the week I’m off to a writing retreat up on Lake Simcoe. It should be an interesting experience – no T.V., no WiFi, and we’re taking turns cooking the meals. I’m on the Sunday lunch team – we’re having soup and sandwiches, with ice cream for dessert.

I volunteered to bring my broccoli cheddar soup (hence the ingredients in the fridge) which I made up yesterday. I figure I’ll save time by making it ahead and freezing it for transport. All I’ll have to do when our turn comes up is heat it up and add the cheese. I even invested in an iceless cooler that plugs into the car to make sure it arrives safely.

The retreat runs from Friday through Monday, so that means there won’t be a post next Monday – I’ll be busy wrapping up at the retreat and driving home. And, like I said, there’s no WiFi so I’ll have no way of accessing the internet. Well, I’ve heard of people using their cell phones to create an access point, but that’s a little beyond my skill set.

I’m actually looking forward to being unplugged for the weekend – we’ll have to wait and see if it gives my writing a boost.

See you in a couple of weeks!

Feb 11, 2019

Microseismometer Monday

microseismometer ~ instrument for measuring small or distant earthquakes

Last Tuesday (February 5) was the changing of the Chinese year. We said goodbye to the Dog and hello to the Pig.

It’s funny, any time I think of pigs I think of my Aunt Florence – and I don’t mean that in a bad way either. She had a thing for pigs (not real ones) – we made pigs for Easter out of Styrofoam egg cartons, and she had a set of ceramic pigs for St. Patrick’s Day – but this wasn’t something we really took note of until her later years. I think she wanted it that way so she wouldn’t be inundated with pigs on gift giving occasions as kids like to do.

Once a kid knows you like something, that’s their fallback gift for every gift giving occasion. Which is nice for them because they’re never stuck for long for an idea, but not so nice for the recipient of yet another mug with a hummingbird or dog or boat on it. So I can kind of see why Aunt Florence kept her love of pigs to herself for so long – it saved her from receiving a giant stuffed pig for her birthday or Christmas (which I’m sure I would have done).

Anyway… I’ve always had a thing for the Zodiac – both the western and eastern ones. I’m pretty sure I did a series of posts on the Zodiac, but I started getting way too distracted looking for them so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

At any rate, for many years I thought I was born during the Year of the Pig, but that’s because I was following the western calendar, which goes from January 1 to December 31. However, the Chinese New Year begins on the second new moon following the winter solstice; that’s why it’s on a different day every year. And that’s also how I was actually born in the Year of the Dog.

Now this might not seem to be a big deal to you non-zodiac believers out there, but consider this: The Pig tends to be considerate, responsible, generous, and optimistic. They’re also lazy, short-tempered, clumsy, and enjoy sleeping and eating. The Dog is loyal, responsible, clever, and independent. But they also tend to be sensitive, conservative, stubborn, and emotional.

I have traits from both animals – and no, I’m not going to tell you which ones. Those that know me can figure it out for themselves. :-) But it makes me wonder … Those born on the cusp (the day before or after) of one of the western zodiac signs often share the traits of the two signs. Could someone born before the second new moon after the winter solstice but technically in the new year also be considered to be born on the cusp, thereby sharing traits from both years?

Makes sense to me.

Feb 4, 2019

Muliebrile Monday

muliebrile ~ womanly; feminine

There is a lot of stuff in my house. And I mean a LOT of stuff. This is what happens when you’re a pack rat with many different interests.

I keep trying to pare it down, but it’s not easy. This item is part of a collection, or that item has sentimental value. And when I do manage to get rid of some stuff, more magically appears to take its place.

Have you ever watched Tiny House Nation? Basically, it’s a show where people decide (for whatever reason) to downsize from their normal, large sized home to one that’s only a couple of square feet. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little. It’s more like a couple of hundred square feet, but it just seems like a lot smaller.

To qualify as a tiny home, it must be less than 500 square feet. Considering the average size of a home is between 1500 and 2500 square feet, that’s a big change. And that’s a lot of square footage of “stuff” to get rid of. I think the episode that really drove home the whole down-sizing concept was the one where the wife was presented with a medium sized plastic bin and told that whatever she could fit in there was her clothing allowance. Her shoes alone overflowed the bin.

I’m of two minds about the tiny houses.

On the one hand, they’re cute and compact and make amazing use of what space they have. They’re relatively low-cost to build (around 50,000 U.S.) so all you really need is the land to put them on.

On the other hand, I’ve seen cottages with more space. I could fill one up with my books alone – don’t even suggest I downsize my book collection. And while I could see using one as a writing shed, I couldn’t possibly imagine having to live in one and share the space with someone. Even the cats would go stir crazy after a while – I’d have to have a catio added on.

And that’s the thing. Many of these tiny homes make good use of outdoor space as well, which is fine if you live in a warmer climate, not so great if you live on, say, the west coast where it’s rainy.

And many of these homes are on wheels, which begs the question, why wouldn’t you just buy an RV instead?