No stoves needed…

A stock picture of a new condo in Toronto…there’s no stove. A matter of convenience? a matter of saving space? a matter of limited time? According to the Globe and Mail and other news sources, home cooking is on its way out.

Services like Skip the Dishes, Just Grub, and Uber Eats bring the food to your door. No need to spend time with all that annoying peeling, prepping, and don’t get started on the time spent in cooking. When the meal arrives, sit down and eat.

It sounds wonderful? No more shopping for ingredients. The practice of skipping buying ingredients for cooking (another time saver) is also touted as a way to cut waste…that asparagus you didn’t get around to using, that plate of leftover chili you forgot about, that wilted celery at the back of the fridge- all those kinds of things that would hit the landfill, won’t. Besides saving the environment, you’re saving money. Except that all the food brought in needs some sort of packaging. There’s the cost of the delivery, be it cab, included in the service, or by drone.

I’m old and funny and this just doesn’t sound like a good idea. I’m going to take it a step farther and draw a completely un-researched conclusion. Services like Skip the Dishes will contribute to our growing problem of obesity. Restaurant food is higher in fats, hidden sugar (because it’s cheap), and salt. Unless the portions are smaller than normal, more calories then needed are delivered. You won’t select your portion size, it’s done for you.

Home cooking does take some time but it’s healthier and with a bit of practice tastier. You have to re-train your taste buds to the subtlety of less sugar, less salt, and fat. Simple recipes and meals can be as satisfying as the latest trend in sauce-laden and fusion foods. Give it a try.

Googling kitchens without stoves results in a lot of pictures of the ranges you can buy. Some of them look like the deck of the Starship Enterprise. Perhaps no stove, no cooking, and ordering in is not a new way of life. I hope not but I am apprehensive. I understand the pressures of work, and limited time. Still there must be a better way.

And new this fall….

the smart diaper.

Yes, Pampers and Proctor and Gamble are going to introduce Lumi, a package that includes a camera, a sensor, and an app. The sensor will attach to a velcro -like pad on a special Pampers diaper and will then send information to an app on your smart phone (iOS or Android). Baby’s sleep patterns will be uploaded, the camera info will let you see your sleeping baby and the piece de resistance, the sensor lets you know if the diaper is wet or very wet. Sorry, for poop, you’ll have to rely on the old sniff test. O, and the batteries for the sensor last about three months. I’m not sure if that means the purchase of a battery or a new sensor.

The claims made for this device seem a lttle ridiculous. For eons, parents knew when baby was wet. He/she cried. And tracking the time between diaper changes? Though the sensor does this, parents don’t need an app. What will this convenience cost? No word on that yet but I’m guessing, discerning new parents won’t care about cost. The sensors will join diapers, Kuerig pods, and other disposables in the landfill.

I hate to sound like an old, crabby bag, but really? Really? How stupid are people and how gullible? How greedy are corporations? Wait. I know that answer to that one. Their greed is unlimited. Developing this product is short-sighted and caters to the rampant consumerism and elitism that characterizes society.

People in many countries struggle to feed their children and supply them with the basics of life, clean water, shelter, safety. I would like to say it leaves me speechless but obviously, it doesn’t.

Pampers is not alone. Huggies has already launched a similar product in Korea. Maybe I am speechless. It’s the end times.

Bears, Bears, Bears

My summer of bears started in June on our first camping trip. With my companions, Taz, the Jack Russell,and Scruff, the Schweenie, I had headed out for a walk, first among the cabins and then out into the sand hills. There was no need to take my phone, except if I had, I’d have gotten the calls and texts warning me of the big black bear that was wandering the edge of the lake, too. Oblivious, the dogs and I continued on until the park caretaker picked us up and drove us back to the camper in his side-by-side. I never saw the bear.
.Miette Hot Springs is in Fiddle Valley in Jasper National Park so it’s no surprise that bears wander into the resort. My son and his kids were in a cabin near us and he saw the bear while lying on his bed when he glanced into a mirror in the bedroom. I didn’t answer his text so he came right over, in case I took the dogs out for their morning constitutional and I ran into Mr. Bear.

In July, we were at Pierce Lake in Saskatchewan. A sow and four cubs had been in the vicinity so I was careful on the dog walks. So was the Jack Russell, a 12 pound bunch of spastic muscle. She smelled something and raced off, jerking me off balance. I tangled in the other dog’s leash. Yup, I fell hard and a week later still have a skinned knee. To Taz’s credit, I could hear crashing in the bushes. Was it a bear? It could have been, but it could have been a moose or deer.

On our next walk, a car stopped and the young man driving said, “You won’t remember me but…”

I said, “Kevin.”

Not a twelve year old kid, any more but I did know we’d camped and played ball with him years ago.

He had stopped to warn me about the bear. We chatted and he drove on. Not twenty feet up the road, I saw her. She was a big black bear and thin. Looking after four cubs will do that to you. I’d like to say the dogs and I turned and walked calmly away. I didn’t. I turned and ran and the dogs who didn’t see the bear thought what fun it was.

Later, Gary drove me “up the hill” to try and get cell phone service. From the truck, we spotted one of the cubs. It looked sleek, healthy and well fed.

Yesterday, we packed up and headed home. On the highway, a young bear started out of the ditch into our path but luckily changed his mind.

It’s still July. The bears this year seem active and in territories where they are more rare. Be alert. If you hear cracking branches in the bush, it could be a bear. Be safe.

Ondontophobia- or the Gold Capped Tooth

Half of one of my upper molars calved off the main tooth like ice crashing from an glacier. I saved the piece, only to have one of the dogs eat it. Now there was nothing to show the dentist.

With reluctance I made the appointment to crown the tooth and save it. A lot of reluctance. Getting any dental service gives me anxiety. It’s having someone’s else’s hand in your mouth, the very real danger of pain, and the whine of the drill. I am a coward.

When the dentist said that next time she’d do a crown prep, I was relieved and as a basic chicken didn’t ask what was involved. I let myself imagine a little examination, some thoughtful grunts, and maybe a mold of the tooth so a crown could be fitted.

The day of the prep arrived. I sat back in the chair with confidence until the dentist said, “We’ll just freeze it and then apply the rubber dam.

Wait. NO! I thought this was going to be a looky-loo. I opened my mouth because what could I do? I was lying with my head below my feet; too late to make a break for it.

Sort of like this…

The needle for freezing didn’t hurt, the rubber damn was on but uncomfortable because my mouth is small (some people will laugh). So far, so good.

“I’m just going to take out the old filling,” said the dentist, taking up the DRILL. Again, I am screaming, NO, inside. She began to drill, and drill and drill and drill. It was as though she was filing down an iceberg. The drilling went on forever…did it hurt? No, but I hated every second.

When I thought she was finally done, she said, “Now I’ll just polish the edges.” She used a different instrument of torture AND it wailed.

At last the procedure was close to finished, the dam was off, and I could explore my tooth. I wanted to cry. All that was left was a little cubic stub. When I’d gone in, there was a whole half tooth.

A temporary crown was made and fitted which involved more drilling and polishing. Gah…

I have scheduled the appointment to have the permanent gold crown put on. Did I ask what was involved in that procedure? I DID NOT. I am a coward, a sufferer of ondontophobia and I will pretend I’ve done the worst part. I’m only a little traumatized.

Packin’ ‘er In

The time has come. I’m done with school and there is a segment of the local population saying, “What?? I thought she died.” They belong to the group that was amazed a few years ago to see that I was still ambulatory. I don’t take the decision lightly and these last years, I have done sporadic subbing except for the month in October where I taught science in an on-line/fax/phone method. It isn’t for me, and although I appreciated the experience, living breathing bodies in the same room, is the way I like it.

I’ve been in schools since blackboards morphed to green and were then replaced by smart boards. Skirts or dresses were the order of the day- no pants and men had to show up in suits or sports jackets. Computers? My husband and I ordered a calculator from Sears (now defunct) and argued about whose turn it was to use it. No LCD and no floating decimal. And it cost us an exorbitant $69.99.

The time has come. To tell the truth, I’ve got so many other things to occupy me, that I haven’t missed teaching. Other perks are sleeping later, having the weekend extend all week, and sitting around in my housecoat, if that’s what I feel like. If a friend calls (please, do), I don’t worry about work interfering with a coffee date.

I think I like it. Sweet.

WTF? Language Warning

At a recent trip to the bookstore, I was astounded by the number of titles that include the word fuck. Among the offerings were:

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
  2. What the Fuck Should I Make For Dinner?
  3. Calm the Fuck Down
  4. Go Fuck Yourself, I’m Colouring

and the classic, Go the Fuck to Sleep, from 2011.

When Walter, the Farting Dog came out, I thought it was quite daring. And having said this, I have to confess to dropping my own f-bombs. Under certain circumstances, they change nothing, but sometimes I feel better after a good old Anglo-Saxon curse.

Now in my more mellow years, I am trying to use better vocabulary, even when frustrated. I strive to swear less and it looks like once again, I’m missing the chance to be trendy.

Book titles with fuck abound. I read an article that suggested a book with the f-word in the title was sure to be a best seller. I think that’s a stretch but it’s likely tempting.

I realize it’s 2019 and hard to encourage kids to read in the old-fashioned way from physical books. The same bookstore (and it was a Cole’s; so few independents remain) featured an array of titles for toddlers, kids, and young adults. However, their section wasn’t featured in the same way AND the fuck books had prominent places in several displays. I’m not prudish but it did make me wonder what Mom or Dad would say, when in all innocence, a child asks, “Why does that book say fuck? That’s a bad word.”

I’m kind of with the kid. It is a bad word and if it totally loses its shock value, what will I do when I drop the ketchup and it splatters everywhere? Sacre bleu.

A Close Call

Ice has broken up on the Battle River

Winter’s hold on us has broken. To celebrate we took the dogs (Scruff and Taz) to the nearby river park for some off-leash fun. There’s nothing to excite a Jack Russell more than a chance to race about catching the scent of wildlife. We were expecting a brave gopher; they have been sighted elsewhere or perhaps some geese. On the way down there was even a bald eagle in full plumage.

We were partway on our usual route when Gary (my husband) yelled.

“NO, NO, NO. COME BACK.”

We had lost sight of Taz (the Jack) and then saw her on the other side of a willow clump.

Gary yelled, “There a porcupine in there. COME BACK.”

The lucky thing is although our two dogs didn’t come back, neither did they further trap the porcupine who was hiding at the base of the willow. Perhaps he had intended to climb and get out of the dogs’ way. The frightening thing is if Taz had gotten too close, he’d have defended himself and she’d have had a face full of quills. The dogs hesitated long enough for us to catch up and carry them away. The walk ended with some “chase the frisbee.”

Thank goodness for Gary’s sharp, old naturalist eyes (or maybe it’s hunter eyes). There were no quills today.

If you look closely, you might be able to see the stripped bark where the porcupine dined this winter.