The View From Here
Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Another Party - Time To Get Busy
Today is our neighbourhood barbecue and since I am not much of a cook, or at least I don't much like cooking, I always volunteer for the deserts. My best recipe and also the easiest is a 4 ingredient cheesecake, not counting the crust. Sometimes I make my own and other times when I'm either rushed or not feeling well, I buy the ready made graham cracker crusts.
The four ingredients are obviously cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla. If anyone wants the recipe just email me and I'll send it out.
To make things a little more interesting, I take a little sugar, butter and sliced almonds and just lightly fry them up. It produces a candy like croquant that I then spring on top of the filling.
Because my sweeties likes cheesecake and since I didn't have anything for last nights desert, I made two.
Once I'm on a roll, it's hard to stop and what the heck, a nice little carrot cake would not be amiss.
Of course by now you know that everything I do is done twice, you know like knitting socks, gotta have two them. Same with cake, therefore there is a second little carrot cake which has been stashed in the freezer for next weekend.
Tomorrow were off to London for baby Elliotte's Baptism so no posting and no baking. Maybe some knitting on that long 3 hour car trip.
Michael Moore on Leno
When I can't sleep, which is a frequent occurrence, I watch Leno. I find him mildly amusing and definitely better than anyone else out there.
Last night he had Michael Moore as a guest for the second time in a month. I'm not sure whether or not to like him, mostly I don't. I certainly take exception to a lot he has to say.
Let's start with the obvious one, Canadians have free health care. That's got to be the biggest lie going, you see there is nothing free. Someone pays and in Canada it's the taxpayer. We pay lots and lots of money to finance the "free health care" he speaks about. The only people who don't have to pay are people in a lower tax bracket and even they are now paying the new Ontario Health Tax, which was a tax put in place four years ago when Ontario elected a new Liberal government.
He takes licence with the truth, anything to make a buck. When he is so dishonest about this it makes me wonder what else in his movie is fiction. We can buy private insurance but only for things like drugs, dental and a semi private bed in hospital If you've ever had the slightest thing wrong with you though, such as arthritis and fybromyalgia, you can forget it. You won't get coverage.
Let me tell you what our "universal health care system" doesn't cover. It doesn't cover Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Psychiatry, drugs, dental and a lot of surgery deemed cosmetic even if necessary. Eye exams can be had every two years which for an elderly person could be devastating. For routine surgery such as gallbladder or hysterectomies unless it's an emergency and you present yourself to ER half dead, you will go on a waiting list. Pacemakers, cataract surgery, hips and knees, the wait can be up to two years. There are people who have had cancer surgery and then have to wait unreasonable amounts of time for Chemo or Radiation. Some people are discharged from hospital with prescriptions for drugs costing thousands of dollars monthly.
I am not suggesting that the system in the U.S. is better, what I am saying is, tell the truth and don't sugar coat it to suit your film.
I find it sad that 47 million U.S. citizens do not have health coverage, but how many of these are young people who simply don't want to pay for it and would rather use the money to buy a car? I know from some of the bloggers I have met that some actually choose not to have insurance. Seems weird to me but it's their choice. Are these people counted in that figure?
When things are "free" they aren't always the best and I have had a lot of experience with the system recently. This "free" system isn't all it's cracked up to be. When you are elderly you are not treated well, I guess they figure maybe it's time for you to die anyway, why waste money. Case in point, I fought three weeks to get my mother a pacemaker, three blinking weeks! In the end, it was too late. Life support was discouraged, wouldn't want to take scarce health care dollars away from someone younger, ie. more deserving of life. Would it have made a difference if she had been in a different country, different hospital? I don't know, truthfully, but I'll always wonder.
The other country he likes to talk about is Cuba. I have been to Cuba and have actually experienced the medical system there. The doctors are great no question about that but most Cubans would trade their free medical care for freedom any day.
Memo to Michael Moore, nothing is free...
Friday, July 27, 2007
Right Wing Or Left Wing - Where Do I Fit In
It has been said by my offspring and most of my friends, that I am a right winger or more precisely a conservative. That's become a dirty word in this country. Some days I have to agree with him and others I'm not so sure. Maybe I'm a little of both depending on the day, maybe even the time of day.
I absolutely believe in personal responsibility for my life and have some disdain for the "cradle to grave" socialist system of the country in which I live. I also don't believe in legislation for every behaviour since most people could care less anyhow, they just go about their merry way doing or thinking their own thing in private. But I also believe in giving a hand up to those genuinely in need. Society is judged by it's compassion and just by being conservative doesn't mean I don't give a shit.
Nevertheless, maybe I'm just not liberal enough, so on that note maybe (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) I need to memorize these 10 Commandments to make sure I don't run afoul of the politically correct liberals. The article can be read in it's entirety in this newspaper opinion piece and the list is as follows;
1. Thou shalt have compassion for the poor, downtrodden and elderly, except no compassion shalt be spared for the poor, downtrodden and elderly who are sick and suffering on hospital waiting lists as this would endanger our most sacred of cows: socialized health care.
2. Thou shalt love peace and promote universal brotherhood, except it's OK for big union bosses to smite or otherwise intimidate workers who wish to cross a picket line.
3. Thou shalt support the notion that no one is above the law, except in the case of Mohawk "warriors" who have every right to defy our laws and shut down our major highways.
4. Thou shalt support official bilingualism, except in Quebec where thou shalt support the government's right to criminalize the English language.
5. Thou shalt oppose corporations that seek to increase profits, but thou shalt support governments which seek to increase taxes.
6. Thou shalt oppose and denigrate anything associated with the United States and scorn all Americans, the exception being Al Gore and Michael Moore, whom ye shall worship and follow without question.
7. Thou shalt defend human rights, except for the human rights of gun owners, smokers, pit bull owners or any other unpopular or politically incorrect minority group.
8. Thou shalt not whip up public hysteria about terrorism, but thou shalt whip up public hysteria about global warming.
9. Thou shalt solve all the problems of the world, from climate change, to Third World poverty, to Bono's need for publicity, with over-hyped rock concerts.
10. Thou shalt extol religious tolerance, except when it comes to Christianity which thou shalt mock, ridicule and otherwise malign at every opportunity.So there you go, I will commit these to memory and try to live by them...and thank you Gerry Nicholls for coming up with this list.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Still No Wireless, Grrr
After complaining to Bell Sympatico yesterday, a new wireless router arrived by special delivery today. I was so excited, I mean its been almost two weeks of being stuck to this stupid desktop computer I could almost not contain myself.
After hooking everything up and installing and configuring the new router both desktops computer worked just fine. I turned on the laptop keeping my fingers crossed the whole while (I'm superstitious). Well, it didn't work, no network, no service, no nothing.
I spent one hour on the phone with the techie guy, who I'm sure is sitting at a desk in India somewhere judging by how difficult he was to understand and with the amount of outsourcing that happens these days, to no bloody avail. It wasn't going to work.
Now I just had my laptop checked over this week by my own computer guy, who assured me the machine was "clean" and purring along so I knew the problem was not from my end. And here's this guy telling me that I had the problem. I thanked him very much, hung up and called back an hour later. Got the same guy I'm, same accent, same language problem, only this time he couldn't understand me. The long and short is another router is on the way, hopefully by mid next week. Meanwhile, live goes on and at least the DSL is still running...
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
My First Ever Award - The Schmooze Award!
I have been given this award by Cathy and it's a cute one. The definition of schmooze is as follows;
“As it goes, schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship…. […]”
and it comes from here in a roundabout way through Cathy.
I never thought I had a particularly interesting blog, in fact there are many out there that are way more thought provoking or fun than mine. Since I have 74 blogs listed on my Bloglines feed picking five is difficult but I will try. Without further ado, I will nominate the following blogs for this award.
1. Goes to Kelli at AfricanKelli. This is an amazing young woman, a domestic goddess who runs around African Orphanages doing good deeds. When she's not busy doing that and holding down a job she sews the most fantastic bags I have ever seen and cooks up gourmet meals for her friends.
2. Has to go to Devious Diva who lives in Athens. I love reading blogs written by women who live in other countries, they are so fascinating. I have a particular interest in immigration and racism and found her series on the Roma particularly heart wrenching. On my last visit to Athens I did see young, pretty Roma children begging on street corners and it has stayed with me. You can find a link on the top of her page to the series.
3. This one goes to Christina at Mausi and I love to read about her life as a Canadian expat living in Germany. It provides me with a different perspective of what was once my homeland. She is also a genius cook and baker and her pictures and receipes make my mouth water.
4. Then there's Ann at Roc Rebel Granny who has hilarious tales of her grand kids and just life in general.
5. This goes to Cathy at Here I Go Again, this lady is an environmentalist and we have had some differences of opinion regarding global warming and climate change, nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoy her blog.
Oh well, let me do one more, can't really forget the offspring's blog since he's the one who is really responsible for this stuff, my blog I mean and he really is a schmoozer. You can Teddy at Where's Teddy Now? Look at some of his travel photo's, they're really quite good. I know he's a guy, but what the heck...
Nothing Works - The Art Of Complaining
Some of you may remember that in June I was without DSL for about 8 days and had to use dial up service. Now I am only allowed 10 free hours of dial up monthly as part of the DSL package and I generally use that up when I'm at the cottage, so I made absolutely sure with the business office that I would not be charged for any extra dial up usage during the time my DSL was out.
It was a comedy of errors on the part of Bell Sympatico that had me sitting at home 3 days in a row waiting for a techie that never showed. When he finally did arrive and get things humming again his advice was, "if it goes down again, get a new wireless router".
Well guess what, wireless went down again last week, 9 days ago to be specific. Now this time I do have DSL on the desktops but the laptop is not picking up my network. Last week I was promised that the new router would arrive in two business days which would have been Thursday. I gave them until Friday before making one of many phone calls. I preface each call with "I'm really sorry, but I am really really angry, I know it's not your fault personally but you are at the end of the phone line so please understand my frustration". I try to say this with a smile on my face, which is something I learned in real estate. Of course they can't see you smile but it comes through in your voice and it always works. The person on the other end of the line bends over backward to help me.
The tech support guy had absolutely no idea why I hadn't received the router but promised a new one was on the way and would appear no later than Tuesday. Well Tuesday has come and gone and still no router.
To add insult to injury when I got my e-bill last evening it was roughly 20 bucks higher than normal and I knew that I had been billed for the previous months dial up usage.
This morning I sat down with my coffee and my notes and called Bell again starting with the business office. I went through my usual "I'm sorry..." routine and scored 3 months free service. The rep then went on to check where the heck the router was. When he came back on the line he sheepishly told me that for some unknown reason the router order made it to the warehouse and seemed to get stuck there! Wow, maybe it really is time for someone to buy out that company and overhaul it, said I.
Well the upshot is this, he will courier the dam router, I should have it by Friday and he gave me one more month of free service. So four months of free service altogether is kind of sweet, too bad I'll be gone for 6 weeks of that time.
Tomorrow I'll tell you how I scored $125 credit on our Rogers Wireless phone service...
Sunday, July 22, 2007
It's Official Now
The tickets are booked for the trip to Greece and today I bought one honking piece of luggage. This stuff is made by Hays and is practically indestructible, holds humongous amounts of crap and for sure I'll be able to recognize it anywhere.
I bought one of these suitcases for my sweetie a few years ago in black and he just loves it when he makes his annual pilgrimages to home and hearth. Not that he has a lot of clothes to take, just that his Mom wants a lot of stuff from here brought to there. Generally on his way home the thing is half empty. Since we're only allowed one piece each I thought I'd make it as big as possible.
I also went looking for the Lonely Planet guide book for Turkey but have not been successful in finding it yet. I will keep looking since that is also on our agenda. Then there is the Germany leg of the trip which I'm doing on my own. I'm meeting up with a childhood friend for a few days and we are doing a road trip. My cousin from Chicago will also be there at the same time which is kind of cool. I haven't seen her in over a year, although we talk often.
This is the latest picture of my granddaughter, Elliotte. I stole this from the offspring's blog over here. Isn't she cute... We are going to see her this coming Sunday for the Baptism in London, Ontario, about a three hour drive from T-Dot. She will be wearing her little baptism gown that my own offspring wore 41 years ago, albeit with a new ribbon.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The Citizens Have Won - Sort Of...
And now the hand wringing and terror tactics begin.
Monday's vote to increase taxes in the form of an extra land transfer tax and vehicle tax for the citizens of the City of Toronto failed, sort of. It was actually deferred to October by one vote. The deciding vote by Brian Ashton, who is part of Mayor Millers inner circle was a surprise.
Of course nothing has really been gained, in the end the tax will go through maybe just in a different form. There is now talk of making the seller pay it instead of the buyer. That's kind of like a tax on capital gain. My problem with this is there is no capital gain tax on principal residences in Canada. We also don't get to write off our mortgage payments against income. So if you live in Toronto you could be the only one paying this tax, fair right?
A recent survey in the most liberal of newspapers, The Toronto Star showed that a full 75 percent were against these taxes. Is this the end of Mayor Miller's political career or will we all forget in the 3 or so years? I know I wont.
So, the fear mongering has started with the Transit boss today threatening to shut down an entire subway line, never mind that this particular subway has a light ridership and should probably have never been built. Another threat is a double digit property tax increase and layoffs at city hall. Other layoff's we have been threatened with are police and firefighters and the always popular "we will have to close swimming pools".
Belt tightening is the order of the day for the good Mayor and Councillors but when asked if he would retroactively cancel the over 8 percent salary increase that they recently voted themselves, or cut back on their office budget the answer was a decisive NO. I have absolutely no problem paying my fair share of property tax when it is used wisely. I do vehemently object to elected officials using my money to give themselves freebies such as golf passes, transit passes, free parking and lunches.
Oh yes, with all this belt tightening, they found the money to purchase a building that houses a non descript, second rate theatre group for over 1 Million Dollars and leasing it back to them for a buck a year all under the guise of providing culture for the denizens of this fair city. Thanks Mayor Miller, I'll provide my own culture, thank you...
Monday, July 16, 2007
Not A Dime More
The City of Toronto was on the verge of voting on new revenue (read tax) tools today that would have hit new home purchasers with a new land transfer tax of 2 percent. That would have been on top of the 2 percent land transfer tax already payable to the Province upon the purchase of a home. In the city it would add around $4,000 bucks to the upfront cost of home ownership. This money is needed says Mayor Miller, to make Toronto a "great city". Fortunately for us, some councillors saw the light of day and have deferred this vote until after the Provincial election in October. Should be a good one. Premier McGuinty, watch out, the trap has been set. It was after all, Premier McGuinty that bestowed upon our "great" city Mayor, the power to tax beyond the normal property tax and user fees. The other revenue tool discussed was an extra $60 bucks a vehicle per year for city residents.
Might I offer some suggestions for our councillors. If they want us (home buyers, not tenants) to pay more tax it would be incumbent upon them to maybe tighten their belts somewhat and/or spend our money wisely. A few things come to mind immediately, councillors get free transit passes, free snacks and coffee, free golf passes, free passes to the Zoo and free parking. I don't know of a single corporate employer that offers those perks do you? This is on top of the $80,000 plus salary and over $50,000 yearly office expenses...they can't buy their own blinking coffee!
This all comes on the heels of the great garbage caper. This one is really cute...we are all forced to throw away our garbage cans (to the landfill), and are being forced by the city to buy new ones. They come in four sizes with the smallest to be free. The other three sizes will cost dearly, but no, it's not a tax. The small free one holds one green garbage bag which will be picked up once every two weeks. So over the last few years we have gone from 4 bags a week to 6 bags every two weeks to one bag every two weeks. All this for yearly tax increases of over 3 percent. Even with all the recycling and composting I do, it will be difficult. But since I am adamant the the city is not getting another dime from me, I will look into buying a small compactor.
This is what I do to reduce my garbage...
Our City Composting Program
This green bin takes the stuff my composter won't such as meat scraps, diapers, Kleenex, paper towel just to name a few.
Maybe it's time our city boys and girls take a good look at themselves and figure out where they can reduce before they ask us poor denizens to take any more hits. Judging by the turnout at today's vote meeting, it looks like the citizens of Toronto might have had enough, I sure hope so, I know I have.
Oh yes, one other thing, stop buying theatres, soccer stadiums and other unimportant stuff.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
For My Mother
Today it is two months since my beloved Mother died. I know she is watching over me. She would say to me if she could, "weine nicht mein kind", don't cry my child.
The sky looks as sad as I feel.
Out there it's such a lonely sky,Artist: Chris De Burgh
They'll trap your wings my love and hold your flight,
They'll build a cage and steal your only sky,
Fly away, fly to me, fly when the wind is high,
I'm sailing beside you in your lonely sky,
Fly away, fly to me, and if you need my love,
I'm sailing beside you in your lonely sky...
I'll come in with the dawn,
I'm sailing beside you in your lonely sky,
On the wings of the morn,
I'm sailing beside you in your lonely sky,
Above the world we'll be flying,
I'm sailing beside you in your lonely sky...
And though their hands are cold they'll love forever.
Just A Few Odds And Sods
As I watch my laundry dry on the line on this beautiful sunny but windy day I think of what else I can do to save electricity.
Yesterday, Toronto Hydro installed what is called a "Smart Meter". The purpose of the smart meter is to determine when you use the most electricity and charge accordingly. It is potentially a windfall for the power company since the absolute best Off-Peak time is from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM during which time we will pay 3.2 cents a kilowatt hour. Now I don't know about the rest of you, but that's generally the time I'd like to curl up in bed with a good book or knitting, not be cooking, baking or doing laundry.
The most expensive time for power consumption are 7:00 am to 5:00 PM, that's in the summer. There are different times for winter consumption and then there is the Mid-Peak which I won't bore you with. Suffice it to say I'm going to need a spreadsheet to figure this out.
One thing I do know for sure, it will cost more. During peak times the cost is 9.2 cents a kilowatt hour and during mid peak it's 7.2 cents. So in order to break even I figure I need to do almost all of my living at night and sleep during the day.
I know that in Europe this system has been in place for a while and that my mother-in-law does her laundry before she goes to bed and hangs it out in the morning. The clothes always smell musty and when my sweetie came home from his last trip there he asked me to rewash all his clothes. During out winter I can't hang clothes out anyway but guaranteed I'm not going to bed and leave the dryer running. Nor will I run the dishwasher at night. I have heard of fires started by dryers and homes flooded by a broken hose on a dishwasher. Will I take that chance, not in this lifetime... I guess I'll just pay the higher rates.
The other big news in the "world class city" (the mayors words, not mine) of T-Dot is the new garbage rules. We used to have garbage pickup weekly, then it went to bi-weekly with a 6 bag limit. Recycling was the order of the day but having garbage hang around for two weeks during the hot summer months was a pretty buggy affair. A year ago the city started a new program and gave us a new bucket for compostable garbage. Just about all wet stuff can go in that including kleenex, paper towel and even diapers. This was picked up weekly and whatever garbage was left was still picked up bi weekly with a 4 bag limit. So now we separate garbage into three different containers to be picked up weekly and bi weekly on different weeks.
This past spring our city fathers, having run out of money to spend on perks have figured out a new way to tax (sorry, generate revenue) us by taking away our garbage bins and forcing us to buy a city approved bin. These come in four sizes with the smallest size at no extra cost (tax) to us. It hold one green garbage bag and will be picked up bi weekly. So now for the same taxes we pay, which have actually been increased another 3 percent this year, have gone from 4 bags to one bag of garbage, awesome (I hate that word) right? I wonder if it's a union company that produces those new garbage bins?
I personally am not buying a bigger bin, I will make do with the small one. Of course if I have a dinner party, when the guests leave, together with a doggy bag of leftover food I can give them their share of the garbage to take home...
Another revenue generating tool being voted on next week is an extra $60 a year registration fee on your car, but only in the city of Toronto. This money is supposed to be for road repairs, of course all the suburbanites to travel into Toronto daily and use the road don't have to pay. And the worst tax of all, the one that has every one of my Realtor friends up in arms is the new Land Transfer Tax for the City of Toronto only. Considering that this tax is already paid to the Province, this will be double dipping and could add up to $6,000 to the cost of a house, payable up front of course. What will happen to the robust real estate market here? If they kill it the economic slowdown will affect everyone not just the realtors.
Oh yes, one more tax, a tax on sidewalks. Yes you read that right, a tax on sidewalks for business in our entertainment district where people have to line up. I wonder if they will tax the panhandlers too? Then they wonder why tourism is way down and Americans don't come here any more. Our Mayor who has a degree in Economics from some fancy American University should be able to figure this out.
On a fun note, this goody. Do you live in a neighbourhood where walking to amenities is possible? Take the test and see how your hood rates, Americans and Canadian only though.
My neighbourhood rates only 54 out of 100 which means it's not terribly walkable. Just to get to a pharmacy I would have to walk 1.43 miles never mind the grocery store, that's over two miles away. Can you imagine me walking home two miles carrying groceries? I can't much as I'd like to. There used to be many more small stores in this neighbourhood but numerous tax increases in the last few years have bankrupted most of them.
And while I was out hanging my laundry in the backyard, the FedEx guy was at my front door. So sad, I still won't get that laptop up and running.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Family Heirloom - For Elliotte
This little christening gown I have been schlepping around for 41 years. It's now on it's way to Cowtown for the offspring's new baby girl. It has a new pink ribbon and has been carefully washed. I just know Ellie will look gorgeous in it...
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Self Indugence Won The Day - It's A Pie
After giving it some thought and looking at those gorgeous berries, I decided to make the pie.
Of course you really shouldn't attempt pastry on a humid day, but what the heck I'll tempt fate and hope for the best.
The dough held together nicely and here is the finished product. I'm sure my sweetie will be happy...he has the sweet tooth.
Real soon I'm going to get back to some serious blogging, there have been some really bad things happening. The one that has me most upset at the moment is the case of Huseyin Celil a Canadian citizen who was arrested and tried in China on trumped up charges. He has had every human right violated by that government and today his last chance of appeal failed.
It is my opinion that Canada needs to boycott the Beijing Olympics in protest of this case.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Jam Or Pie - That Is The Question?
I want to be really really greedy, and make a raspberry pie for immediate gratification, but my generous side is pushing me to make raspberry jam to give away as Christmas presents.
Which side of me will win?...sigh
There is also a bumper crop of red currants and gooseberries and that also makes a good jam. I guess I'll decide in the next couple of days after one more good harvest.
Madonna - Live Earth Live from London 07.07.2007
Maybe this one will work, they seem to have taken the other one down, oh well...
Sunday, July 08, 2007
A Happy Birthday Wish
For Bruce... Over 45 guests showed up to help him celebrate this special birthday. A good time was had by all.
And here is Bruce...
Here in this hood, most of us have keys to the others' houses and the result of that folly is the t-shirt above and below. Nope, I didn't do it, another more creative neighbour than myself, sneaked into his home, swiped photo's off the wall, had them copied and imprinted onto the t- shirt while Bruce was out for the afternoon. Pretty cheeky wouldn't you say?
He took it in stride though and modelled it for us.
Peter and his new fiancee Danielle...
This is Jim talking with Betty another neighbour (she has great stories). He's telling us about his recent back packing trip to Peru and we are all in awe. I'm not sure of Jim's age but I know that you have to be really physically fit for a trip like that. He stayed in hostels, not luxury hotels and had a grand time.
Machu Picchu was one of the places he visited and it's now been voted as one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. I tried to convince him to start a blog for all his pictures of this amazing trip with no success.
More neighbours, of course there is always one who doesn't want their picture taken. Can you guess which one?
In three weeks we do this all over again, party I mean. Not a birthday this time but our Annual Block BB-Q, a yearly tradition that was started by the neighbour who doesn't like her picture taken. It is a great place to live.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
It's Friday, No More Thinking
A busy Friday here a chez Rositta, a huge Norway Maple that causes us lot of worry during big storms needed trimming. The way trees have been falling down all over town recently it was time to tackle this project.
The professionals were called in...
Tie the ropes...
Oops, it wasn't supposed to end up on the hydro wire... hold that ladder buddy.
One more big branch...
Let the clean up begin...
And just for fun a little quiz again, I seem to like doing these on weekends for some reason. So this one is compliments of Cathy's Place and it's kind of fun. So There you go, my brain is orange, what color is yours?
|Your Brain is Orange|
Of all the brain types, yours is the quickest.
You are usually thinking a mile a minute, and you could be thinking about anything at all.
Your thoughts are often scattered and random - but they're also a lot of fun!
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about esoteric subjects, the meaning of life, and pop culture.
This is also the weekend he Calgary Stampede opens in Calgary, Alberta. This photo was from our trip there a few years ago. Stampede week was a ton of fun and I hope to go again. I'm sure the "offspring" and family will be there.
And last, but not least, this is your last chance to vote for the Seven Wonders of the World. Good luck getting through though, the site is so busy it's almost impossible to get through. I voted ages ago but thanks to Kat for reminding me the deadline was fast approaching. I meant to write about this before but it slipped my mind. My vote went to Neuwandstein Castle in Germany not because I'm German, but because I've been there and it's magnificent. Of course I've been to the Acropolis too, but hey, I'm loyal to my roots.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Michael Moore - Sicko
According to Michael Moore Canada's health care system is wonderful. I would hate to disabuse him of that fact, but he is wrong. It might be better in some respects than the U.S. system, but it is not a panacea.
Just a couple of things stand out right away for me, just recently my mother was in hospital with several heart issues and stroke issues. I was discouraged from the get go about life saving techniques such as intubation. I was told, "well she is 84"...yeh so what. Under stress of having practically lived there for 5 weeks I concurred.
Just yesterday I read another bloggers report about her elderly father in the U.S., who had similar health problems with a bleed on the brain. He was given live support and rallied and came out of the coma. He is now back at home with his family. Of course now I'm second guessing myself big time.
His other example if about a woman who was told to have all her teeth pulled or pay $30,000 bucks to fix them. Well dear Michael, we in Canada are not covered for dental care unless we have private insurance, and guess what Michael, we are not covered for drugs either until we turn 65 and then only for generics and not all drugs. In fact, we are not covered for the latest cancer drugs on the market either.
There is of course private insurance above and beyond what the government will pay for but if you have even the slightest existing condition you will not be able to get it, at all, at any cost.
When my Mom was in the hospital, I was expected to provide basics like towels, wash cloths soap and yes even diapers. Not only that, they (the nurses) were expecting me to do her personal care. That's our wonderful system that he talks about.
Wait lists, most Americans haven't a clue what that means, here it means you could sit in a wheelchair for up to 18 months waiting for a hip or knee replacement. I've been told by my doctor that I need my gallbladder out. My cousin in the U.S. went straight to a surgeon who booked her operation. She got to choose her surgeon whereas I'm told to wait until I have another bad attack, go to ER and hope for the best. My mother waited three weeks in hospital for a 1 hour pacemaker surgery! My cousin in Michigan got hers within 2 days.
I could go on and on but I think you get the point. For all of the above services, we are taxed to death. There is no perfect system and both Canada and the U.S. need improvement, but to hold Canada up as the best is disingenuous. Go see the movie by all means, but take it with a grain of salt...Oh by the way, we lock our doors at night and guess what? we even set the burglar alarm.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
The Perfect Cottage Guest
Well no, not really but his owners are. This is Benny and he gets scared during thunderstorms and firecrackers both of which were in abundance this weekend. I found him hiding in the bathroom...
Sunday morning breakfast looked like this....
Then the guys went out to cut down some trees while D and I went to town to shop a bit. We got back just in time to take this photo.
So after all this hard work, we decided to feed them a nice Greek feast. Souvlaki, roasted potatoes, lots of tzatziki, stuffed vine leaves, taramasalata (fish roe dip) and a few other goodies including a fresh blueberry pie for desert.
That's the four of us sitting down to enjoy the feast.
And there is D doing the cleanup in the kitchen. Meanwhile, I got to sit and rest my foot. We have a little deal actually, I do the cooking and baking and D cleans up. I made fresh bread for Monday dinner and also a nice little cherry cheesecake. It got gobbled up before I could locate the camera.
The foot is still in the cast, I still have the heart monitor and I wrote all about my health issues on my knitting blog so I don't need to repeat it here. I will slow down a bit, rest a bit more so that I will be ready for the trip to Greece in September.
Six More Canadian Soldiers Die
In Afghanistan of course, where else? What the f..k are we doing there? They are never going to make a difference, they are just going to keep dying and we're not making a bit of difference. Whether we are there six months or six years, the moment we leave or NATO leaves, the Taliban will be right back. The people there themselves cannot or will not accept responsibility for their own lives. Just my view, of course.
I fully believe that we ought to help out in parts of the world where we are wanted but when other NATO countries shirk their responsibility and leave the worst fighting for Canada, Britain and the U.S. then no, we need to quit. And the sad part, the Taliban know that we haven't got the stomach for it, they have internet access too and can read every news report. They just love Jack Layton and his NDP buddies. The crying and hand wringing will start momentarily. This is just breaking news so the hand wringing hasn't started yet but by the six o'clock news, watch out.
The six soldiers who died today were meant to come home at the end of this month. My heartfelt condolences to their families.