Saturday, 30 November 2019

Greatest Christmas Movie Ever?

Well here we are, friends; November 30th, 2019. Christmas is now just a little over three weeks away.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but yesterday could quite possibly be a day to go down in infamy as the first time in my life that I've ventured out to take advantage of a Black Friday sale. Yes, you heard that right; I can't believe it either. I seriously cannot remember ever doing that before. Historically, one thing Black Friday sales always lacked was … me.

So today, the fourth last Saturday before Christmas, my better-half and I plan to start watching some of our favourite seasonal Christmas movies. There are all sorts of classics that we could choose from, but once again this year, we'll start with our favourite; Die Hard. Truly, it's a Christmas classic, at least in our humble opinion.

I know, I know; some of you scrooges do not agree with our assessment. I actually have family members divided in their own homes over this. One spouse agrees with our viewpoint, whereas the other vehemently disagrees. Kind of funny, actually.

Not to be forgotten, there are the biblical birth narratives of Jesus which trump all other Christmas stories. I will give you that and will never personally deny it. THAT is what Christmas is truly all about. No arguments from us … ever!

As for that Santa guy perched on a cheap throne in shopping malls; well, he's just creepy. Why our society thinks it cute to let our children sit on a strange man's lap, as he hides his true identity behind a usually phoney beard, is beyond me. If that horrid practice happened any other time of the year, the creep would be swiftly, and rightly, locked up! Still, the modern Santa religion and/or cult permits and condones it. In all fairness, I never grew up with this tradition.

However, I've digressed. We were talking about our favourite Hollywood-ized Christmas movie classics. Keeping that action-packed movie genre in mind, the greatest non-faith based Christmas movie ever, has to be Die Hard. There is nothing on the big screen that yells out "Christmas" as much as seeing Hans Gruber falling off the Nakatomi Plaza. The scene still brings a joyous tear to our eyes. Isn't that just beautiful?!

"Yippee Ki Yay … " 😏😏😏

So from our house to yours, Merry Christmas.



Photo/Cartoon Sources: Unknown

Saturday, 23 November 2019

A Dog's Life: Inside or Outside is the Question

We have a beautiful mixed breed dog we rescued from an animal shelter about four years ago, who perhaps ironically, rescued us as much as we rescued her. At 56-kilos (123-pounds), she's no little girl, and probably could stand to lose some weight, as I previously blogged about here.

She's a bit of a sap, but she's our sap, and we love her. One thing she's not is an outdoor dog. Yes, she loves going for walks, but she also gets exercise on a treadmill for about 30-minutes each morning before her breakfast. Like all dogs, the backyard is her outhouse, though I am convinced that if she could figure out how, she opt for using the same toilet we do.

Our fur baby is not overly sociable with strangers and doesn't play well with other dogs, but then again, my wife often jokes that I'm not overly sociable either. I guess we're made for each other. Wherever we are, she wants to be as well, and she adores our grand babies and protects them like they were her own pups. For that we are blessed.

However, I have a confession to make; things were not always like that.

Growing up we had dogs, but they were never allowed in the house, with the exception of extremely cold nights, and even then, only in the basement. As I grew older and got married, we again had dogs, but I am sorry to say that they spent too much time outside and away from the family. In retrospect, my wife and I both still feel horrible about that; the dogs just wanted to be a part of the family, and we by our actions, essentially denied them that. How sad! We really should never have had them, and after the last dog passed away, we went several years dog-less. Maybe we needed that break to learn how to become real dog lovers and appreciate them as much as they appreciate us.

Thankfully things are very different with our current dog. I couldn't imagine her not being in our home and in our lives, even with having to vacuum up enough dog hair every week to knit another dog. She is a part of the family and we are committed to giving her the best home possible.

Our house is her dog house.

Recently I discovered a video by Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian, who did a little experiment to learn what it must be like for a dog to live outdoors in a dog house during winter. As I suggested above, we have come to believe that if you're going to have a dog that only lives outside, you probably shouldn't have one at all. I will now never be convinced otherwise. However, as Dr. Ward's experiment shows, especially don't leave them outside in cold sub-freezing weather … please.



I also like how Dr. Ward briefly makes reference to homelessness among humans, another deplorable problem in society. Certainly much more can and needs to be said and done about our inhumanity toward our fellow man in even allowing it, but that's a separate topic for another day.

Just my humble opinion. Peace.

"The world would be a nicer place if everyone 
had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog."
M.K. Clinton

Saturday, 16 November 2019

I'm Offended!

I'm offended that you're offended by me taking offense at your offensive offensiveness.
😏😏😏

At the risk of offending and perhaps bordering on a political argument, both of which I strive very hard not to do, one thing has bothered me lately: When did we suddenly become a society of spineless pansies, always seemingly offended by our own shadows?

Please understand that I don't believe in going out of my way to deliberately offend anyone, and I do not condone that in people who do. However, it seems to me that modern society has become a little more stupider of late. Maybe my saying that also offends. Hmm.

Someone shares an opinion, something that last I checked, we were all equally entitled to do, and suddenly someone else cries "foul" and everyone suddenly goes berserk and into a dither back peddling to appease the offended and pseudo-offended. That's it; I had my little feelings hurt, and I'm going to sue for damages! Really?! What a bunch of wimps we've become! Whatever happened to the proverbial, "Suck it up, buttercup?" But no; we cry at every offence, and what's worse, society caters to it. "You can't say that; I'm offended!" Good grief, how did we as a society get our knickers into such a tight knot?

What have we become?

You don't have to look very hard, and you certainly don't need me to cite examples, to prove my case; it's everywhere. When did we suddenly lose our spines and get offended at every second remark someone, usually innocently I might add, had the audacity to proclaim? I don't remember it ever being this bad back in my day; all this nonsense seems like a recent development of only the last few years.

Sportscaster Don Cherry shares an opinion about people who don't wear a poppy, and on Remembrance Day, the very day he tries to honour, get's fired for sharing his opinion about remembering those who gave their very lives in the defence of freedom. Wow, the irony! No matter how much I back play the alleged infraction, I still don't know what he said that was perceived so evil. Offended over what? Using the phrase, "you people?" Telling it like it is? Having an opinion of his own? Publicly saying what many others, based on the public outcry surrounding his firing, apparently also think? Sheesh!

When did we start holding sportscasters to a higher standard than our politicians? Politics; now there's a comedy of errors that maybe we do have a right to be offended about.

Just my humble opinion, if I'm still allowed to have one, that is. I'm offended too, by the offended, in case anyone cares. End of rant!

Don't get mad at me when I pull a you on you.
😏😏😏

Saturday, 5 October 2019

of Nachos and Captain Jack Sparrow

You know you've been married for a long time when you and your better half both have a craving for the same food at more or less the same time. Funny how that works.

This week the craving for nachos seemed to resonate with both of us. While we could have gone to our favourite watering hole and ordered a platter, as we've done a time or ten before, this time we opted for homemade instead. While a little more work, it was a nice treat for our Friday night movie. Pirates of the Caribbean never looked so good.

No doubt there are a thousand and one ways to make nachos. Definitely not a case of right or wrong. This mouthwatering feast began simply enough; with ground beef, browned, drained, and seasoned with a taco spice. It had about three layers of tortilla chips, each layer topped with a medley of chopped jalapeno peppers and green onions, taco ground beef, and a grated blend of three different cheeses. Just for good measure, to the third and final layer I added an extra sprinkling of Armstrong Old Cheddar. After all, one can never have too much cheese, but one can certainly have too little.

After a quick heating in the oven to melt all the yummy cheese, it was time to sit back with Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan, and the rest of the motley crew … and enjoy the show.

For the record, there were a few left overs, but not many.

"Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate."
(Captain Jack Sparrow) 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Sweet Potato Soup: Cure For A Cold Day

There is nothing like a hearty homemade soup on a cold day. It is still only September, but somehow the mercury found itself below the freezing mark, and with it came the first fresh blanket of that nasty seasonal white stuff … snow.

Time for a delicious homemade soup.

One of our favourites is sweet potato soup. Not sure why we don't make it more often; it is, after all, rather simple to make. On a lazy colder day, it once again seemed like the perfect dinner choice.

I'm afraid that I am not really that great at creating recipes, since I rarely measure anything. It is always some of this and some of that; whatever seems best at the time. So if you're looking for an exact step by step recipe, well I'm afraid this post may not be much help. But if you're creative, and have a sense of which end of the kitchen is up, I'm sure your homemade sweet potato soup will be equally awesome. So here's how I made mine … sort of:

I began by peeling some sweet potatoes. Though I still don't know the difference, I've substituted yams before too. They're equally good. These I cut into smaller chunks. I had about half a dozen carrots left, so I peeled and chopped them too. They went together in the same pot and boiled them until soft.

Once soft, I drained the water, added a can of low sodium mushroom soup, and two cans of milk. After mashing the mixture, I went a step further and pureed the mixture as well. You can add more or less milk, depending on the consistency that you prefer. We like it a little thicker. While all this was happening, I cut several small white potatoes into little chunks, skins on, and let them boil. Once tender, the white potatoes were drained, and folded into the sweet potato and carrot puree.

After reheating, we were ready to eat. I like to add a dollop of sour cream and a few cut green onions before serving. I have sometimes also added bacon bits. Tasty, filling, and wife approved. A perfect meal for that cold day … even if it is only September, and old-man winter gets confused and comes way too soon.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Oh Crap!

"Every time a bird poops on my car,
I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my porch,
just to show them what I'm capable of." 
(anonymous)

😜💩😜

Pardon me for chuckling, but this story my wife shared with me was worth an extra snort.

It seems that a politician in Chicago was discussing a pigeon pooping problem with reporters at a transit station in that city known for its bird feces problems, when a pigeon promptly did its business and pooped on the politician's head. Well, crap; I guess the birds did get the last laugh after all!

Karma? Political savvy of our feathered friends? Hmm, maybe not. But perhaps the lesson is that, if you find yourself in Chicago's infamous  "Pigeon Poop Station," you might want to consider carrying an umbrella. Or at the very least, invite a politician to join you. After all, apparently they know just what to do with politicians.

😜💩😜

Story Source: Pigeon Poops on Lawmaker Discussing Pigeon Poop Problem
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Retirement: The Other Side of the "Tire?"

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
(Fred Rogers)


Well here we are, almost two months past the date in which I had planned and hoped to retire. The previous retirement goal was five years earlier. That one didn't work out so well either. Hmm, maybe it's time to rethink this retirement thing.

I guess I had hoped that retirement for me would be more than just putting on a new set of rubber on the old car, and continuing on with it, much as before, with no end in sight.

Re-tire-ment? Bad joke; sorry.

So here I am, still hard working at a high-stress job. Do I begrudge it? Am I angry or depressed because things didn't quite work out (yet) as I had planned? Not at all. Far from it, actually. In truth, I am very grateful for a number of reasons, a few of which are these:

I am blessed with a good job.

Though I am on salary and put in far more hours than I technically get paid for, and though sometimes I have joked that I am a volunteer, I certainly cannot (and dare not) complain. Someone once said, "I complained of having no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet." The wage is good, the benefits are good, working conditions are great, my immediate supervisor has been great; what more could I ask for? This year I even qualified for a fifth week of annual paid vacation, not to mention several personal days to take as I wish. Yes, I am blessed.

I am still able to do a good job.

It is one thing to consider retirement when one feels like they can no longer do the job. But I can still do the job. Yes, sometimes I pull out what's left of my hair doing so, but I can still do it. That's got to still count for something, wouldn't you say? I would think so. A few years back my job position once again changed, and the new position dictated that I successfully complete a certain level of Power Engineering education. It wasn't easy, but I did it, and thereby successfully moved into my newest role.

My employer hasn't put me out to pasture yet.

Maybe I shouldn't wish myself out to pasture yet either. Like many of us, I've seen some colleagues face those dreaded Friday afternoon Human Resources meetings in which they were no longer welcomed back to the job site Monday morning. Maybe one day it will be my turn as well, but thus far, that has not been the case. "No news is good news," someone once said. I must still be doing an acceptable level of work. Certainly I've had some positive recommendations on my LinkedIn account by colleagues and former bosses.

Retirement age?

So there you have it. Retirement age? Maybe that's a subjective thing; different for everyone of us, and based more upon a plethora of personal circumstances and abilities than physical age. Yes, I am in my sixties now (don't ask me how THAT happened); retirement age for some, but for others more a time to re-rubber the old cow and carry on for another ten years or so.

Retirement? God only knows if/when. One day, maybe. But for now, it's "one day at a time." Maybe I'll make another month, another year, or another five years. Whatever it may be, I'm at peace with it; and I guess that's the best that I can hope for.

The only question that remains is, How did that poor old cow get herself into that predicament with that tire? Did she also attempt to retire too early? Hmm.

Photo Credit: Unknown