Archives for December 1, 2019
Last week you may have seen what resembles a structure fire coming from our airport training grounds.
After a number of years using our old mobile home trailer for various fire related scenarios including a bunch of live burns. It was one last burn and a great practice on protecting “exposures” that’s what we call the buildings next to the burning structure.
We would like to thank the people of Oliver for their support in our on going training to make everyone safer!
Training such as this is invaluable to our members as it shows them the different fire dynamics that occur during a large structure fire.
Source: Oliver Fire Department
Recently I have been purging the house of unwanted items, kind of difficult to do a I have always been taught to keep things that “may come in” someday.
I guess this attitude is inherited from my grandma who always had to scrape together enough money to get buy, she had thrift down to a fine art and, I guess, she passed this on to me.
I must confess I am a thrift store junky, I am addicted to a bargain, and doesn’t really matter if I need the item or not, if it is a bargain, I buy it. This squirreling away of things I may need some day has meant I live with closets and drawers that are overflowing. Not a problem in my present home as I have lots of storage, but when time comes to move on, it means a good clear out.
Starting in the bedroom, where I have two huge closets of my own, I began by laying an armful of clothing on the big bed. First I sorted out the “must have’s”, the clothes I wear regularly, that fit well and make me feel good. These go back on the hangers and back into the closet. Next come the ‘fat clothes’, the ones I have shrunk out of and I am keeping for no other reason but that I like them….into the thrift store bag with them.
Next are the ‘thin clothes’, these are items I hope to shrink into one day. I realistically eye each item up and give them serious thought. No matter how much weight I lose am I really ever going to want to squeeze into a sparkly, beaded black dress that makes me look like Morticia, from the Adams family??? NO, and unless I intend going to lots of Halloween parties, it is useless, so out it goes. Some girl is going to love that little number but, let’s face it, it is not for me.
On and on I go, casting aside all the stuff that I know I will never wear again, some of it never worn at all but I admired it in the thrift store and bought it, how could I think something that is ridiculous could be a bargain? I am not a drinker, so what made me buy some of this stuff?
The next closet is the serious dress up clothes, the formals that I have enjoyed once or twice then stuck in the closet. Beautiful, expensive clothing that has cost just a few dollars at various thrift shops but is not really the sort of thing I wear very often. Christmas is really the only time I would wear this kind of dress and over the past few years, dinner dances have not been on the calendar. Let’s face it, the idea of washing my face and climbing into slinky clothing is not appealing any more. After 6.00pm, on most winter nights I am more likely to change into PJ’s than a backless gown for a few hours of being swept round a dance floor. It takes me all my time to sweep the kitchen floor and I don’t need to change clothes for that. A pair of slippers and a rather ratty robe is my evening wear most nights.
Next item is drawers. Out comes the top drawer, everything turned out onto the bed. Ahh, here is the raffle ticket I couldn’t find a couple of years ago, when I was sure I had won a prize. What on earth was it doing stuffed under fifteen pairs of somewhat tatty underpants? Hiding under some bra’s that never fit me comfortably, but may fit some time in the future, I find seven dollars. I think I have a gremlin running round my home, hiding stuff as I never put any money in the top drawer, this is my treasure drawer, where I put valuable mementoes. Here is the hanky that belonged to my wonderful mother -in-law, she has been gone thrity three years but is as close to my heart as she ever was.
The hanky goes back in the drawer, along with the beautiful letter that my drug addicted daughter once wrote to me. She had been in a long battle with drugs and had jumped through an apartment window to escape her abusive drug dealer partner. The fall had broken her back and arm, plus many internal injuries, but the long hospital stay got her free from drugs and back into the bosom of her family, that letter will remain, with the hanky, until I die. Some things may not have a purpose but can never be classed as useless and are truly irreplaceable.
I count, unbelievably, twenty seven tee shirts, many of them washed too many times and shapeless but “may come in”. I decide that they will not be coming in anymore and the good ones go in the bag, the shapeless ones go in the bin. On I go through the drawer of shapeless socks, some missing partners, that may turn up someday. What a pack rat I am, it seems that I can never throw anything away, however I do find some loose change and two keys that have no known locks! Hmmm!
No more money turns up but I do locate a couple of pairs of long lost sun glasses under the eleven, mainly shapeless swim suits that I have hung on to. I don’t know if I harbour the hope of things getting better as I hide them away, there seems to be no logical reason for keeping shapeless things, yet here they all are.
When I am done, my cupboards and drawers look great, down to less than a quarter of what I started with, nothing in there that doesn’t fit well, two big bags for the thrift and three bags for the garbage, and a feeling of accomplishment. Just when I feel that I have moved a mountain, it dawns on me that this was just one room, the rest of the house awaits, but that is for another day. Right now it is time for a well deserved cup of coffee and my feet up for a while.
Not What it Seems
I awoke this morning thinking of food and wondered why. Was it because I love to cook and because of renovations I have been without a kitchen for the past month (cooking on a single hot plate and an oven)? And then I thought that I cook because I like to eat. But, it turns out, that is not the reason. While in the shower – what better place to think – my mind wandered to memorable meals and I discovered that my waking thoughts were not what they first seemed.
Included in my memorable meals shower reverie are dining with just my wife at her table set with crystal, china, and silver in the first-class section of a British Airways flight to London sharing a bottle of Margaux. Fortunately, she doesn’t drink. And many years earlier with her alone seated by the fireplace in the dining room of a Scottish castle, there being no other guests. Or us in a rented cabin sharing fish that I had just caught in the waters of Tchesinkut Lake. Or on one of our anniversary dinners in Calgary on a minus-40 night where again we were the only patrons until a party of six arrived and the owner-chef-maître d’ (all in one) addressed each of them in their own first language – four as I recall.
My memorable first breakfast in the Painted Hall of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich came to mind. Being the only one in Army uniform and not knowing the Navy habits I committed some faux pas only to be outdone when the Australian – just one – arrived and cleared the room of all but we two.
Memorable too was the first time I had sushi. We were in San Francisco for a meeting and one of the participants invited me to join him at a hole in the wall where he used to dine regularly when he lived in that city. They remembered him, we were treated like kings, and I learned much about sushi. Or the evening in the Bellagio’s Jasmine – one American, one Canadian, one Brit, and one from Hong Kong who took charge of the meal giving instructions to the staff in their native language. She did the same at dinner in London years later at a small French restaurant where we dined again on unrecognizables’.
And, of course, those evenings On Her Majesty’s Service – an excellent use of taxpayer dollars by the way since many bilateral agreements are achieved this way – dining with my Polish and Norwegian counterparts on a rooftop overlooking the Capital in Washington, or my Danish and Finnish counterparts in a beer hall in Koln, or the Sunday evening in Hunstville, Alabama with one Pole, one Brit, one American, one French Canadian, and one ex-Israeli Army chap where we were stymied by the waitress who challenged us to name the state and state capital where none of the letters in one appeared in the other for which, if we could, she would pay for dinner. Or with ten members of a TTCP working group around a table in Sydney, Australia setting the R&D schedule for the next year. Or rations shared with my brothers. Or dining with my friend Pat in Ottawa 35 years ago. Or any of many holiday meals with friends and family for which I have been the chef in their kitchen or in mine.
Or dinner aboard the Princess Mary in Victoria with my uncle Art who had come from England, who bought his way into a job bussing tables aboard that same Princess Mary with hope he could become a waiter in time, who became a telegrapher aboard that same vessel when sparks got appendicitis, who flew out of Newfoundland with Ferry Command during the war, who missed four assigned flights and all four went down. He told me, “never run for a departing airplane” and I never did. Or dinner with a colleague in the Castro district during an evening when he wanted to show me his world and where he rescued me by slapping my ass.
Karen and I just finished breakfast. Six boiled eggs, four slices of toast, two of us, and one revelation.
I seldom remember the food – except in Louisiana – but I always remember the people.
Dine with someone today. You will be nourished by their company.