Yesterday was my birthday and it was a very good day. I got a card from friends, it said;
Birthdays are a great opportunity to pause, look around for all the good in your life.
This is true, I can honestly say I have had a very good life and have seen and done much, more than the average person. I am in a long term relationship, 43 years, a good home, two old but fun puppies. Live by the Sea and eat very good quality food. I also have good health with not health issues, except for what comes with being now a senior but that is minor. So yes I am grateful for it all and this is what birthdays should be about.
I remember that in Muslim countries, people do not necessarily celebrate birthdays, in some countries dates of birth are unimportant and not observed, an approximate date is good enough. In Asia, conception is considered as important or more so than the day of delivery, so when you are born you would be already 9 months old. So a birth date can be many things to various cultures.
So I had 2 cakes this year done by my friend Valerie R. who does this on order as a hobby. Her cakes are high pastry, wonderful and creative. Very good quality.
The other is an Espresso Mocha cake. Both delicious.
The Federal Government Fiscal Year in Canada is March 31. We arrived in PEI in and around that time 6 years ago. So now it is time for updating insurance etc. and last year I had a nasty surprised from my broker who increased my car insurance without warning or explanation. So I enquired and was told that the Government had authorized the increase, I smelled a rat and thought it is not so. This is not how insurance companies operate or set premiums. I also had problems with them in the past with getting answers to questions or just a call back. Even if you went in person, no one could see you, we will get someone to call you which never happened. So I decided this year to find another insurance company and CAA sent me a letter about insurance. I have been a member for decades and always got good service from them.
Papers are ready for income tax which is due also at this time, this is Spring Season in Canada. The first cruise ship arrives on 22 April, a first in 24 months, tourist operators are all excited and this comes on the heels of a piece of investigative journalism exposing the exploitative nature of restaurants, bars in general with low pay, no benefits and very long hours, 14 hour days is common. lots of abuse from owners and patrons alike. The tables are turned now, the shortage of staff is a very real problem and the same owners are crying in their soup. Given the obscene profits during the short but lucrative tourist season, I wonder how many will pay attention and reform their business to attract staff and train them properly. Not all restaurant and bar owners are crooks but there is a sizeable group. The tourists in town don’t know but the locals do and we avoid such places.
Birthday week for me, two cakes ordered from my favourite cake maker. One is an orange flavoured cake and the other is a Moka (coffee) style. More activities are planned of course, stay tuned for details.
This morning I noticed that Nicky has an irregular heartbeat, he has always had a heart murmur but this seems different and I am worried. So I will give the Vet a call, maybe she can help. He is 13 years old and he sleeps a lot, though he also has energy when required. He is definitely an old dog.
It seems that the Winter Storms in the Atlantic provinces are getting worse each year. This year so far we had 4 storms over 4 weekends. It is the same pattern, a mix of snow and freezing rain and very high winds in the 70 to 80Km range. This past Thursday night we had very high winds around 100Km and then rain, so much so that severe flooding all over the Island was wide spread, roads cut off, etc..
The rain and wind was so fierce that the windows on the West side of the house were leaking and the wind was pounding our 180 year old house. We did not loose electricity, we stayed in obviously. We could not take the dogs out for a walk, they would have flown away. The snow melted quickly and now we have a lot of green everywhere. Funny to see how in two days big snow banks disappeared. The weather also went from -29C to +9C. The next day it was sunny again but cold. The temperature has been fluctuating wildly from one part of the day to the next.
Today is Nora’s Birthday and next week it will be Nicky, both are 13 years old now. Incredible how time flies by so quickly. They are in good health generally and Nora is as feisty and talkative as always. Nicky has cataracts but he is getting eye medication twice a day and is doing well. With COVID we really spent a lot more time with them and developed quite the routine and I often think that they organized the routine for us to follow, one thing is for sure we cannot depart from it, they give us dirty looks. For her birthday Nora and Nicky got prime rib roast beef, just a few pieces, they also got home made liver treats, they enjoyed it all.
It is true that there is inflation all around but what continues to surprise me is the crazy sale and discount in grocery stores, often prices are slashed 50 to 70% for a week on various items. I know that they are still making a profit, so it is telling. There is no shortage, all this talk of shortages in grocery stores was nothing but pure nonsense, a lot of it spread by the Conservative party who truly hate PM Trudeau.
As for the situation in Ottawa today, well the occupation is over, the trucks are gone, many left on their own but the police made sure to get all their details, name, licence and insurance. They are free to leave but prosecution will follow at some time. Some where towed away. I watch live on CBC and CTV the coverage of the police action to clear the streets, the Media had unfettered access, many journalists commented on that fact, they could go where ever they wanted, film and record. The police presence was massive, including a detachment from the Sureté du Québec in their green riot uniform with steel helmets. Others came from all regions of Ontario and the RCMP also had a big tactical presence. The police were very polite, you heard them ask people to leave and move out, it was a little unreal but it was all very professional. Contrary to what FOX News, Reuters and the New York Times were reporting no one was injured or killed, no guns. The police did not use their guns or shoot at people, the New York Times had to retract that story. The cavalry unit separated the crowd to allow the police to form an inside line, one woman fell but was not injured otherwise. The protesters had lots of diesel and gas jerry cans, some had propane canisters and threw them at the police, they also threw firecrackers which could easily have ignited the fuel. The police responded with pepper spray and smoke bombs.
There is a hard core or protesters, some want to die for the cause and they are delusional. Some parents with small children and one lady with a small baby charged at the police line on Sussex Drive. That was unbelievable that anyone would do that to a child. The police managed to bypass her quickly without injuring anyone. The leaders have been arrested or fled, news tonight is that they are on their way to Quebec City, am not sure that this is a true story. During the police action, protesters, some of them in the USA flooded the 911 line of the Ottawa police with obscene messages. Some one called a bomb threat at two major hospitals in the hope of disrupting the police action. The media followed all this and reported as being malicious action on the part of protesters.
Tonight, Saturday, the streets of Ottawa are deserted, Parliament is still sitting until midnight to finish the debate on the motion of the Emergencies Act. The vote in the House could be Monday and probably in the Senate the next day. The Conservative Party with interim leader Candice Bergen are doing all they can to vote down the E.A. but it looks like the motion will pass with the help of the NDP for reasons not clear to me, possibly because their leader Jagmeet Singh is of Punjabi origin and saw the hatred and racism of the protesters. Many people living in Ottawa from residents to business owners said out loud that they were very afraid of the protesters. Harassment on the street and acts of vandalism against ordinary people and property is one hallmark. We had during the day, Friday 3 Conservative members of Parliament come out from the West Block to cheer the protesters and tell them to keep fighting to get rid of the Government. One Conservative Senator Michael MacDonald from Cape Breton berated on the street the Citizens of Ottawa and the Government, cheering the protesters as good people.
I don’t think this is the end of these protests, the extreme right, the white supremacists are spear heading a movement similar to the Trump Nation in the USA. However despite the lies and their rhetoric and their appeal to the Armed Forces and the Police to come and join them, they are very unlikely to prevail. Some protesters like Dwayne Lich the husband of top organizer Amanda Lich, quoted the First Amendment of the US Constitution in Court during a bail hearing. The Judge asked him what he was talking about, reminding him that we are in Canada and have very different Laws and Constitution. Dwayne was taken aback and then asked the Judge if the Government of Canada was legitimate, the Judge and the Crown prosecutors were in disbelief. Some protesters asked the police to read them their Miranda Rights, there is no such thing in Canadian Law. Truly sad to see so much confusion from people who watch too much Fox News. Dwayne Lich is from Saskatchewan and Amanda from Medicine Hat, Alberta. Both had jobs in the oil patch in Alberta.
Majority of Canadians are disgusted with what they saw in Ottawa and the 3 week occupation of the Capital. The people of the downtown core are proceeding with their Lawsuit against the organizers of the protest, money donated has been frozen in accounts. But what is also apparent now, some so called influencers on YouTube are very well financed. One guy who does videos of Downtown Ottawa got a donation of $40,000 last night (Saturday) from one donor and thank him publicly on his site.
This is what happens when you have a population who does not pay attention, watches to much foreign television and is illiterate in Civics. I feel anxious for the future, something has to give.
Will had his birthday and 2 cakes. The first party we had African food from Kenya prepared by Makena who has been in the catering/restaurant business for 20 years. She is also a member of our club. It was all very good. The cake was a beautiful rich buttercream cake prepared by Valerie who has done at least 6 other cakes for me over the years. This is a hobby of hers but the results are always outstanding, she is also a member of the Club. The music was done by Nathan C. and we have a special connection to him because 6 years ago when we came looking for a place to live in Charlottetown, we met Nathan through other friends of ours. He and his then wife were playing at a Club and everyone enjoys his music which is a mix of old classics and other things. He mentioned that night that he had bought a house and was moving out from his current location. We went to look at it and it was exactly what we were looking for. So this is how we found this wonderful place we live in now. We have of course kept in touch with Nathan and his new partner through the years. So I asked him to come and play at Will’s Party. It was perfect with the old fireplace giving a nice glow to the room.
On Friday the Club President threw another party for Will and all the members sang the Birthday song and he had another cake. He also raised $1000 in a Go fund me drive for the Animal Humane Shelter in Charlottetown. So all is well all around.
Today Will is making Ginger Biscotti and they are baking in the oven the smell is divine throughout the house.
Now this weekend we start the Christmas decorations and this week I will do the shopping for our Christmas Luncheon. I did not want to try out the weekend crowds, too many people a little crazy.
Next week we have one get together at our Lawyer who lives down the street from us. Then we have the Christmas dinner at the Club, there will also be entertainment.
In other news, Nicky’s cataract situation is not getting better, the vet is proposing another treatment and some radical approach and frankly we are thinking about it all. I just wonder now if I am getting the best advice for the money. Our main concern is that he not suffer in any way. More to come this week, we will see.
Today the 30th November is my late father’s Birthday, he would have been 91 years old.
He had 2 middle names Cyril and Andre but for some unknown reason only used the middle initial C. and never A.
It is also the Scottish National Day, St-Andrew being the Patron of Scotland for more than 1000 years, despite the fact that he never set foot in Scotland.
I have to start thinking of Christmas Cards and posting them. I will do some electronically but sending a paper card is also very nice and a bit old fashion.
With the end of the Year upon us soon I was looking for a wall calendar for the New Year but could not find anything I wanted, too many cute pussycat calendar or homey folksy calendar. Whatever happened to artful calendars?
It has sort of started to snow, but not really. We had a few flurries but it all melts before it hits the ground and lots of rain and wind. Generally speaking it is still mild, though tonight it will go down to -2C.
Today is was Will’s turn to get his vaccine and he got a Moderna one.
The hockey arena has been re-purposed to give vaccines to Islanders and it is alldone on an appointment system. I drove him to his appointment which is a 5 minute drive and he went in. It is all very well organized and professional, impressive in fact. So far 18% of the general population has been vaccinated and 80% of all Health Staff are vaccinated. So at this rate things are going pretty well. Still no death and only one hospitalization in Ward 3, none in ICU.
Now he has to wait for his second shot in 4 weeks time. My shot is in 5 days and I am looking forward to it. You get a sticker on the way out stating that you have been vaccinated, people walk around proudly with them on their jackets.
In terms of Birthday’s today was the Anniversary of the Founding of Rome some 2774 years ago. Romans left flowers at the statue of Emperor Augustus in the Roman Forum. The Mayor of Rome left a giant flower wreath at the foot of the statue of the Goddess Roma at the Altar to the Nation, where the eternal flames burns. Happy Birthday to Rome the greatest city in the World.
Another Birthday today 21 April was for HM Queen Elizabeth II who turns 95. Poor dear buried her husband just days ago. She is now the longest living and longest reigning Sovereign in the history of Canada and the UK. This year is the 69 th year of Her reign, next year will be the Platinum Jubilee which has never been celebrated before.
To give an example of longevity Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years, George III for 60 years.
Last night we had a handful of friends come to the house for a glass of Cremant de Limoux, small bites prepared by our friend and Chef Pico and a cake by our friend Valerie.
The food was wonderful and so imaginative, Pico truly loves preparing food and has no end of ideas.
Valerie, also makes pretty nice cakes, she too has great ideas and she strives for perfection. The Sicilian Whole Orange Cake was rich and very good, the way a Birthday cake should be.
It was fun to have people over even if it is a small number due to Covid restriction.
Also last night around midnight Will was able to make his appointment for his jab, it was confirmed a few minutes after midnight and so he is scheduled. I will make my appointment next week when my age group is next. Will and I are happy that our turn is coming around and get this done. In fact people talk about getting the vaccine and having a date to do it, as if it was a much anticipated event like a holiday. I know so far of no one who described having a problem, at most it was feeling drowsy or a warm arm for a few hours.
This evening at the Club we are having cake # 2 a Black Forest Cake. Then Saturday night another small party with friends, food and cake # 3 a Expresso Moka Cake.
A number like any other but one which in our world is like a portal into seniority.
I remember my 20th another number imbued with significance, seems so far away now. I also remember other Birthdays in far away lands where I lived. My 30th in Mexico City, my 40th in Istanbul, my 50th in Beijing.
This one well I look at what I have, all my teeth, you know that Colgate smile, my health, a nice home close to beaches, a nice life, friends, my two old puppies Nicky and Nora and my life relationship with Will, 43 years this November.
I cannot complain, Fate and life have been good. So this Birthday is one of Thanksgiving for all the good in my life.
Well Spring arrived on time and suddenly the temperature shoots up and it’s sunny, snow is melting very quickly, the little there is and people are happy.
But what is really here is my Birthday, on Wednesday I turn 65 Officially, no trooping of the colours for me but 2 cakes for 2 separate parties with two groups of friends. One more cake for Friday at the Club during Happy Hour. The Weather this week, sunny all week with average temp of 12 C. The cakes are made to order by a pastry chef who makes any type of cake to order. I have ordered from her and everyone raves about them.
The other cake will be an Espresso Moka Cake. As for the third cake at the Club I have not decided yet.
But these parties are a surprise for me, well how can that be if I know who is coming and I ordered the cakes. Well there is also food, a good friend of ours is a Chef and he will prepared great stuff but I do not know what it is. His food is always spectacular anyway, always out of the ordinary, so no worries.
Talking of the Club, I prepared the Newsletter each week with all the activities etc going on. It has been a great success, I present a brand new format each week with lots of news to keep it interesting and lively. However this week, I had a problem, someone sent me a PDF file with 3 links to 3 different websites to advertise an event. I use Mailchimp and gmail and what was sent is not compatible and there is no way to transfer this to the newsletter format. So I asked Will what should I do? I had no idea what to do or how to make it work and the person who sent me the material was a little nasty about it. Will did some research and spoke with Mailchimp people and he was able to work something out.
Anyway my sweet Baboo found a solution and a work around. He is the best and I am so happy. He has a far better understanding of computers etc than I ever will.
Tomorrow we go to Kensington which is a small town West of Charlottetown on HWY 2. to get the puppies groomed, being Wire hair Dachshunds, their coat has to be stripped. They have 2 coats and to ensure a good clean look this is needed. We use to have a great groomer in Rome who loved Nicky, he always came out looking like the show dog that he is. So both he and Nora will look great for the Festivities.
This past week our little Island province went from 1 case to 15 cases of Covid19, all due to a handful of under 30 who travelled outside the Province and failed upon return to observed the mandatory rules of 14 day quarantine. They in turn infected their friends and all of a sudden we have a crisis. Unfortunately too many people still think they are above it all and it does not concern them. They put everyone at risk with their irresponsible actions. What was most shocking was the 2 girls twenty something who being sick decided to go shopping instead of going straight home, result they infected staff and other clients in the store which had to close. Or the 17 to 24 group who went to the Gym in Summerside a small community about 50 minutes from Charlottetown. They gave false names and phone numbers so they could not be traced, only then when they were found by the Health Authorities lied further by giving false information. I have a real problem with this type of reasoning. Do they not care that they are putting family and community at risk? Summerside has a population of 14,000. small town in other words.
At the news conference Dr Morrison, chief medical officer was visibly upset and appeared very tired, she and her staff of the Health Dept have been working flat out 24/7 doing a tremendous service. Well some people are making death threats against her. Unbelievable that anyone in their right mind would say such awful things. They are upset and cannot understand the gravity of the situation. News UPDATE as of Sunday night we are now in a RED zone and everyone is confined to home for 72 hours, the only stores open are grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies. The streets are deserted.
I was at the grocery store just before the Premier and the Chief Medical Officer went on the air to announce the restrictions Saturday afternoon, which closed the Island and all businesses, restaurants etc. Stay Home and wear a mask even outside. There was a noticeable air of panic and anxiousness in the air at the store, many already knew the bad news and we are back to where we were one year ago. The difference this time we have some 7,000 Islanders or 4.5% of our population who have received the vaccine and more have been called up, vaccination is in effect and moving ahead, that is a big plus.
IN OTHER NEWS
As we enter March Winter is clearly coming to an end, the days are 1 hour longer now. As my Birthday is coming up, Will asked me to see some old photos of myself, one photo was taken some 59 years ago, the other 62 years ago. I have to say looking at those photos made me wonder, it is another time and place gone forever. Now when I think of the past, it is mostly 5 to 10 years ago, this to me is manageable and in the realm of reality. Anything beyond that looks to remote, so many people, family and friends I knew simply gone, they are memories of another era. I also realize how the world as a whole has changed and with it our lives.
Maybe the Pandemic also affects my view of the past. Our movement are curtailed and everything is local, the rest appears to far away to reach.
Finally today I miss Italy and Rome, saw some pictures of friends gardens all in Spring flowers and the trees are also in flower, greenery everywhere under the beautiful sky. It looks so relaxing and pleasant. It is also artichoke time and you can buy the whole thistle plant and stock and make a beautiful meal of it.
In restaurants in Rome you could order the artichoke dish in two styles, Carciofi alla Romana, Rome Style Stuffed or Carciofi alla Giudia, Jewish style fried, both very good.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown