Demystification Guru

Just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean it isn't understandable.

My Photo
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Garden still growing

My garden is growing along nicely.
cherry tomato
Here is one cherry tomato plant out of a line of four. I have the sprinkler on because tomatoes need water in order to produce fruit of any account.
garlic chives
These are the garlic chives that came back as a perennial. They are surrounded by robust marigolds who apparently love their location.
cosmos and dill
I planted cosmos along the fence, hoping they would grow taller than anything in the foreground. They turned out to be all shades of purple to pink and included these nice white ones. In the foreground of the photo is my dill plant.

I have been clipping the chives most days and using them in salads. But I haven't picked any of the other herbs yet. The basil could be picked and the mint but I think the others are still a little small.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Here is the view of the Peace Tower at 20:18 or 8:18pm EDT. According the Environment Canada, the sun sets at 20:55 today. One of the longest days of the year.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I laughed out loud and startled the dog when I read this:
"We always have our catastrophists and hysterics; there will always be people who sit in cafes and bitterly complain about the impending revocations of personal freedoms – and then dutifully go outside to smoke a cigarette in the cold, because that’s the law now. (It would be an act of civil disobedience to light up in the café, but it wouldn’t be cool.) "

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Welcome the Solstice

I see the crew is already building the stage for Canada Day (July 1). The Changing of the Guard will start this weekend (June 24).

Monday, June 19, 2006

Leave Mother Nature Alone

In the last little while (some months if memory serves) there have been at least three opinion columns in the Citizen about population growth. Not what you'd expect as a product of the 70s, where Zero Population Growth was big and fear-mongering rampant about the burden of over-populating the Earth. Back then, everybody thought we'd trigger a massive famine, war or other disaster if the population kept growing.

These columns are lamenting the fact that Canada's population is not only not growing but babies are being born at less than a replacement level. In other words, we Canadians will have fewer people living here in some years from now, than we do now. The reason the columns say they are upset about this is economic - a Health Canada paper says that there will be "labour market challenges" (old people are presumed not to work) which "could" lead to a decline in the GDP and an "insufficient tax base".

A logical rebuttal (not found in the columns) is that old people do indeed work and they definitely pay taxes. Even if they don't work, they still have income and therefore pay tax on it. No, there seems to be an assumption that growth is good and no growth is bad. The columnists don't consider that things have a way of working themselves out, that Mother Nature Knows Best, that all humans are just tiny cogs in a wheel.

However, the thing that really bothers me is that the growing populations of places like India and China and Africa are not mentioned at all. These columnists do not even hint that populations here might be able to be replaced by people from elsewhere on the planet. In fact, one columnist states:
"Every day, everybody gets older. Every day, people die. Without babies being born, whole nations would vanish in less time than it takes an oak to mature."
Their sole concern is that "Canadians" are not being replaced by more "Canadians" (or in fact, Swedes or Norwegians or even Americans in other places they have looked at with the same "problem"). Immigration issues are only mentioned in passing and immigration solutions are not hinted at. This is one reason why I do not care for social conservatism. It strikes me as being awfully white in its focus and I know where views like that have lead in the past. It's also an "us against them" mentality that is understandable in its origins - deep-seated primitive man fears of the unknown - but that is also overdue for discarding on the evolutionary ash heap.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

And now we wait

I finally managed to get two more herbs for the garden. Unfortunately, they didn't have any rosemary so I got parsley and chervil instead. Last year, I only used the rosemary on chicken anyway. But I fear the chervil may be a little too much like cilantro for my taste. I really dislike how cilantro tastes like soap. Since I had brought the Yak with the bike, I also got a hanging plant to decorate the shepherd's crook at the end of the garden. In the evening, I take the plant down and hang a lantern with a candle in it on the hook.
garden from the west
The bamboo stakes are propping up the parsley and chervil until they get stronger and can stand on their own. I heard it was going to rain last night so I thought they could use a little help from being flattened to the ground.
garden from the east
Here it is from the other end. It looks all bare in the left foreground and that is because the purple basil I bought has not grown at all. It seems to be surviving but it hasn't got bigger.
garden frog
Here is my ugly garden toad peeking from behind the thyme. That was supposed to be lemon thyme and when I got it, all the leaves were edged in yellow. Everything that has grown since however, is all green! What kind of plants are they selling anyway?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The garden is growing

the garden growing
The photo's at an angle because I'm holding the camera at my ankle and shooting blindly. We've had rain and cool weather recently and the weeds have flourished. The weeds are mostly something that looks like small clover and it produces a tiny yellow flower that looks like a violet or pansy. I still have not got my rosemary and parsley! Soon, Ralph, SOON!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mattress Finale

I wanted to sleep on the new mattress once before I reported the finale of the story. However, it wasn't a totally fair test because Peter was away so I didn't have the other body in the bed AND I expected him home around 5am so I kept waking at every little noise, thinking it was him. Anyway, I can report that the bed is totally comfortable. But man, is it HIGH!
new bed new
Here it is, newly installed and with pillows still in plastic. The guys who delivered it were professional and fast. They took all the plastic wrap with them and put booties on their feet when they came into the house. They didn't get too familiar with me either which I appreciated. And they took the old double sized bed away. I forgot to time it but I'd say it took less than 15 minutes, and it was a bit of a struggle to get the mattress up the stairs. They even asked if I had a bed skirt I wanted to put on before they put the mattress down.
new bed with sheets
Here is the bed partly made up. I haven't tucked in the top sheet. The main thing is that it is so high. But I have talked with other people now who have high beds and they all say they love them. My sister said getting in is sort of like a slow motion standing high jump and you do kind of slide your bum on as you slither into a lying position. Peter got home at 6:30am and is sleeping so I have yet to hear his verdict. My hip still hurts but it feels more like it is aching from the inside and therefore will need time to heal, rather than being tortured from the outside.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mattress saga - intermission

Peter has left on his business trip so I am alone with the beast. I am seriously thinking of taking him to school with me tonight, especially because Peter won't be here. We'll see.

Meanwhile, we stacked the double mattress and boxspring against the wall in the guest room and put the frame in the garage (they'll recycle the mattress but they don't take frames). Then I vacuumed under the bed. I have been washing the sheets that the guest used on the weekend, the mattress cover, dust ruffle and bedspread all in preparation for giving them away to someone who has a double sized bed. Then we up-ended the queen in our room and moved the frame into the guest room. Way more dust in our room than the guest room. I moved the bedside dressers and vacuumed under and around them - the dust was assuming a life of its own back there.

Then I washed the purple dust ruffle and put it back on the queen in the guest room. I plan to use the white ruffle on our new bed and see if it works. It used to be a queen sized ruffle but I took a pleat up the middle and put it on the double years ago. Now I will pick out the pleat and see if it fits on the new bed. I made it and it likely has a standard 14" drop but it always seemed a bit long on the double. Our new bed has a slightly higher boxspring so I'll have to wait and see. Anyway, everything is freshly washed now. In fact, it is so nice to have everything washed that I am going to do the curtains too!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Once Upon a Mattress

Today we went shopping and bought ourselves a mattress at Sleep Country Canada because really, why buy a mattress anywhere else? Previously, we had always bought from Sears because they deliver and it's safe. But this time, my sister had bought from SCC and recommended it, especially because they take away your old mattress, refurbish it and give it to charity (or something like that).

Our current mattress dates from about 1989 and whatever padding it had on the surface is gone. It still doesn't sag but I know it is not providing us with a good night's sleep. Additionally, the hard surface has within the past year aggravated my left shoulder joint in some way so that it tends to be sore a lot. And just in the last couple of months, my left hip joint has become aggravated in the same way. Only because it is my hip, it bears weight and thus re-injures itself regularly. We have been talking about getting a new mattress and finally decided this would be the weekend. Unfortunately, in the last couple of days, the hip joint has become inflamed and now I can hardly put any weight on the stupid thing. Climbing stairs is a painful chore.

Anyway, this morning we biked over to SCC in the rain and tested all the Beautyrest independent coil mattresses. The first three we tried we all far better than our current mattress and we had settled on the middle cushy model when the salesman suggested we also try to top of the line, Imperial silk model and we were sunk. Nothing else felt as good as that one. So we ended up spending twice the money we thought we were going to but we figure - we spend a third of our life on a mattress so it might as well be top of the line. Plus, they were having a sale on them.

It's being delivered on Tuesday. They will take away the double sized mattress and boxspring we have in the guest room and we will put the old queen sized bed in there. If that sounds cruel to guests, it's not. I plan to put a cushy foam topper on it and it is still supportive. And if you don't sleep on it every night for a year, I am sure it is just fine. Plus, guests won't be tempted to stay too long. Just kidding! I just can't keep sleeping on it every night. The new bed is so thick I had to buy new sheets for it. They give you a deal on the sheets - they are 320 thread count Egyptian cotton and you get the second set for only $50. All the sheets I have had in the past were barely percale so I know these are going to be the nicest ones I've ever slept on.

I'm also going to have to make a new coverlet and dust ruffle to fit this different sized set but that (while work) will be fun too. We figure this new bed should last us another 15 years and amortized over that time, only costs us $160/year. Now I have to rearrange the bedrooms, vacuum where the bed was and is going to be and get ready for the delivery on Tuesday. I can't wait!