A Canadian Thanksgiving

Fall grass with a molten gold filter

Canadian Thanksgiving is today (the second Monday in October).  It is a celebration of thanks for a good harvest – and it occurs earlier in the fall than American Thanksgiving because Canada’s climate is colder and our harvests end earlier. At least, our farmers hope they end earlier, but the early snow we’ve had here in Alberta has delayed harvest somewhat.

Fall grass with a cartoon filter

We’ve had our family Thanksgiving feasts already. On Saturday we hosted a Thanksgiving lunch. The featured ‘guest’ was a fairly large ham. Though we bagged up a lot of ham and sent it home with the family, we still have a lot of ham left over.

Eternity is a ham and two people.
– Dorothy Parker –

Grass with a scratchy line drawing filter

Yesterday (Sunday) we went to the daughter’s house for a Turkey Dinner. Son-in-law got a little carried away in the selection of the size of the turkey. This caused them to own a bird that just barely fit into the appliance that cooked it. There was also lots of mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry jelly, several salads, three kinds of desserts. Delicious. They bagged up a lot of turkey and sent it home with the family. They still have a lot of turkey left over. Another kind of eternity.

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
– Author Unknown –

Tonight The Car Guy and I will dine on left-over ham and turkey. Tomorrow – maybe a casserole with ham or turkey. The next day, maybe split pea soup made from the ham bone. The next day – anything that doesn’t involve a bird or a pig.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadians! Happy Columbus Day (or Indigenous People’s Day), Americans!

Fridge in the Middle

The Car Guy and I decided to replace our refrigerator. It is over 20 years old and well past its ‘best before’ date.

This is a haiku
Haiku’s don’t have to make sense
Refrigerator
– Author Unknown –

The appliance store had so many fridges to choose from – at least, that is what we thought when we first walked in the door! But, as our sales associate, Todd, walked us through the choices, it became clear that our new fridge would be ‘one of a kind’. Yes, if we wanted a fridge with an ice maker/water dispenser, with two upper doors and a lower freezer, that would fit in the space we had, in the colour white (to match the appliances we weren’t replacing) – our selection was one fridge.

So we ordered the fridge. It was supposed to be delivered in a week – two weeks tops! That was almost two months ago.

On a very local scale, a refrigerator is the center of the universe. On the inside is food essential to life, and on the outside of the door is a summary of the life events of the household.
– Robert Fulghum –

In the meantime, my old fridge is in a ‘not so convenient’ place in the kitchen. The Car Guy had to pull it out so that he could add the plumbing for the ice maker/water dispenser. He also had to raise the cabinet above the fridge by one inch.

He didn’t move the fridge back into the fridge ‘home’ because the fridge is heavy, awkward to move and only fits into the space if you give it a mighty shove… and the new fridge might arrive any day now!

Figuring out why people who choose not to do something don’t in fact do it is like attempting to interview the elves who live inside your refrigerator but come out only when the light is off.
– Eileen Pollack –

A fridge in the middle of the room seemed like a huge inconvenience initially. Now it is merely a mild annoyance. We can still use the fridge, even if the doors don’t open all the way. We can still get to the coffee maker and we can squeeze by the fridge to get from one room to another!

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?
– Erma Bombeck –

In the grand scheme of  Red House Renos, the ‘fridge in the middle’ is way down the list of projects that seemed to take forever to finish!

Open your refrigerator door, and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century. The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.
– Bill Bryson –

What is the oldest appliance in your house? Which one would you love to replace?

How many times have you been watching an episode of ‘South Park’ and thought, ‘I’d like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator?’
– Trey Parker –

Looking for Puppy Faces

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
– Winnie the Pooh (by A.A. Milne) –

Six years ago I wrote a post called A Perfect Storm – The Motorcycle Accident. It was the story of the day (Friday, July 13!) that The Car Guy and the Harley abruptly parted company – both landing in a farmer’s field, both with considerable damage.

I reread that post yesterday. I also reread all the comments left on posts then and after the event – words of encouragement, concern and prayers for a speedy recovery! Thanks again, from the bottom of my Canadian heart, to all these kind bloggers who reached out to me during those dark days:

The Cvillean
Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings
Virginia Views
Before Morning Breaks
Joys of Creating
The Other Side of 55
Mark Armstrong Illustration
Coming East
composerinthegarden
Year-Struck
Nylon Daze
MountainMae
From the Drawing Board
Fear No Weebles
Bless Your Hippie Heart
k8edid
The Sandwich Lady
Winsomebella
I Need a Play Date
Layton
Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Caryn Caldwell
pouringmyartout
timethief
boomeresq
Barb-The Empty Nest Mom
Carrie
Azara
Cheryl
Rose L.

Some of these writers are still blogging! Some have ‘ceased blogging operations’ and moved on.  The ‘ceased’ bloggers – some left a farewell message; some just packed up (I envision it as happening on a dark and stormy night) and disappeared, leaving us all to wonder what they moved on to, or if they are actually ‘deceased’!

Now, for the update on The Car Guy.  There were certainly some interesting and amusing moments during his recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). For  the first few months,  he was unable to retain memories, but more spectacularly – sometimes he saw people that the rest of us couldn’t see!

One afternoon he woke up after a nap in the Guest Room at the Cabin and announced there were puppy faces on the ceiling over the bed. This was a new hallucination. He insisted I come and look. We stretched out on the bed and looked up at the wood paneled ceiling.

“See – there.” He pointed at the wood grain knots and swirls. “Two eyes and a nose. And over there. Two eyes, a nose and ears. And another one over there!”

Relief – yes, I could see puppy faces in the knots and swirls too! Then – I thought about all the people who had slept in that bed, but had never mentioned seeing puppy faces! It takes a certain freedom of thought, I guess, to see things like that.

I think of those puppy faces when I read the news.  Much of Mainstream Media (MMM) has the single goal of telling you what you should think. Often their message is biased and designed to create fear. They want you to only see what they see in their knots and swirls.

Fortunately, there are many  Not Really Mainstream Media (NRMMM) sources of positive messages that encourage the grand diversity of human thought. They encourage you to look beyond the knots and swirls for the other messages.

I try to start my day with positive sites like these: Thoughts of Dog,  Human Progress, Mike Rowe and Regie’s Blog.

A puppy face – the Grand-dog – right after a bath: “Where is the treat you promised me if I went along with the foolishness of a bath?”
The grand-dog – finally dry and back outside: “My price for not digging in the garden again is… double treats!”

Where do you go to get a balanced spin on the news?

Not Fueled by Chocolate

As I
slide
towards
another birthday,
I am reminded that
increasing age diminishes
my ability to shed those
extra pounds that cluster
around the part of my body
that makes me look like
a pear.

An unfortunate side effect of getting older is that it is getting harder to maintain anything remotely resembling an hour glass figure.

A brisk thirty minute walk in the morning and forty-five minutes at the gym after lunch just isn’t enough exercise to make my clothes feel ‘less snug’. I’ve been forced to cut calories too, starting with the ultimate sacrifice – no dark chocolate snacks until the pudginess is brought into submission again. For some indefinite amount of time, my blog writing will Not Be Fueled by Chocolate.’

There are any number of articles and advertisements that suggest how to lose weight (many are for bogus diets or are designed to drain your bank account), but it is only in the last few years that researchers have identified how our body fat makes us fat. With the rise in obesity and diabetes, researchers have had increased incentive to investigate how fat cells work.

It has now been suggested that the number of fat cells in our bodies increases from infancy into our early twenties. After that age, we keep the same number of fat cells throughout our lives. Gaining or losing weight does not affect the number of fat cells.

Fat cells do many good, important jobs besides being able to store a lot of energy in a small space. Unfortunately, when we take in more calories than we burn by exercise, the extra calories make the fat cells larger.

Scientists now say that our bodies have THREE kinds of fat cells: white ones, brown ones and beige ones. White fat stores extra energy. Brown and beige fat cells burn chemical energy to create heat.

Brown fat is present in most adults, but adults with more brown fat are generally slimmer than those without. (That explains that skinny friend who doesn’t exercise and can eat whatever they like.) Unfortunately, as we age, the heat production ability of brown fat cells decreases. This causes a natural increase in weight.

Beige and brown fat activation are both triggered by exercise. Combined with a decrease in calories, this is still the best way to shrink fat cells.

Scientists are hopeful, though, that they can find other ways to enhance the function of brown and beige fat cells or cause white fat to turn into brown fat. They have evidence that exposure to cold temperatures (16 degrees C) triggers beige and brown fat activation, but they continue to search for the ‘silver bullet’ that could be the game changing treatment for diabetes and obesity.

Other interesting facts about fat and weight:
– a single study published in the journal ‘Obesity’ showed that a year after liposuction removed fat, the fat came back, but not in the areas it was removed from. An increased fat appearance was observed in the upper abdomen, shoulders and the back of the arms.
– about 10 percent of your fat cells die and are replaced each year.
don’t diet – think instead about how to satisfy your hunger for fewer calories. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. (Eat less chocolate…)
exercise (aerobic and strength training) – the more you do, the more calories are burned. The largest muscles (and therefore the largest calorie burners) are in the thighs, abdomen, chest, and arms.
one size does not fit all, so to speak. Researchers are trying to understand why one person may lose weight faster or slower than another, even when they eat the same diet and do the same exercise.
– the set-point theory of metabolism may be a myth. Studies suggest that if we lose weight, our metabolism shifts to a normal rate for that new weight.
walking for 30 minutes most days of the week, is as effective as a structured exercise done three to five days a week.
“low-fat” or “fat-free” food is not necessarily low calorie food. A bunch of low-fat cookies might have more calories than one or two regular cookies.

With that, I’ll go have a carrot…

Do share – are you an hour-glass, a banana, a strawberry, an apple or a pear shaped person?

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month.

My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

 

They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
– English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –

 

The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree tradition when he put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848.

We have a Tannenbaum forest here at the Red House, but my Christmas Tree is a very realistic, artificial tree – I don’t want my forest to think of me as a tree killer…

Are you ready for Christmas, or are there still lots of things to tick off your list before you can say, “It’s a Wrap!”

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Favorite.