October 31st – Halloween

Today’s subject for my last news story of for October was a no brainer. Having spent a reasonable amount of time sourcing out an entertaining Halloween article, the one I finally opted for can be found here .

This article focuses on food and the part it has played in the celebration of Halloween over the years. The entire article was quite informational and entertaining, but I did find a few things to be of particular interest.

  • Back in the early days of Halloween, ‘soul cakes’ were given out to children, beggars, and wandering Halloween minstrels in lieu of candy.
  • Way back in the early days, before pumpkin carving became a popular pastime at Halloween, people would carve potatoes and turnips
  • And my personal favourite – Before bobbing for apples became an entertaining event at Halloween parties, people would attach an apple at one end of a stick and a lit candle at the other end. A string would be tied to the middle of the stick and the stick would be spun around. The participants would try to take a bite out of the apple while avoiding getting smacked in the face with the lit candle. Such merriment was to be had in the ‘good old days’ !

Halloween, and the fun and games with foods that came with it, has become a much tamer celebration over the centuries. None the less, there are still many who choose to join in the festivities and many, the likes of us, who delight in seeing the little ones out and about in their adorable little costumes and pumpkin baskets filled with enough treats to keep them happy until Christmas.

Costume shopping
Dominic out on Paw Patrol
Prim-mouse
Prim & Maddy – spooky…
Genie & Rory (Suzy & Casey) we are all so excited ๐Ÿ˜‹
Brook ๐Ÿ˜

That’s it for today! Take care out there and have a great Halloween! ๐Ÿ’ž

October 30th – Metaverse

The news story for today, found here, is all about the new and improved Facebook, ‘Meta’.

For those WordPress readers who were, like me, born before the debut of the fax machine, this leap into the future of social media is no doubt a bit daunting.

From what I understand, the ‘Metaverse’ is a place where we humans will exist as our chosen avatars (cartoon characters of ourselves) and where we can hang out with the avatars of our real life co-workers, family, or friends. We will wear a virtual reality headset, which will enable our avatar to reflect our facial expressions and our real time movements. ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿคธ

With ‘Meta’ Facebook we will hold virtual meetings, dance parties, and participate in online games. We will make crafts and play sports. Our entire mission in life will be to have happy, healthy, fit, convivial avatars.

So, that brings us back to Facebook and how they expect to profit from this new Meta version. Their plan is to profit off of merchandise sales. Naturally, much of this ‘merchandise’ will be of the technological type like apps to create and expand our own little Metaverses. But, the big winner will no doubt be the sale of digital clothes that one will buy for our avatar. Seriously, no one wants to be seen out and about in the Metaverse in last year’s stretch pants and t-shirts. We will buy expensive designer outfits and accessories for our lucky little avatars, while we stay at home and slump around in our stretch pants and t-shirts. Why didn’t we think of this ages ago? ๐Ÿคฆ

I suppose it was inevitable that we would eventually fade from our livingroom couches to the digital spaces and places that only technology can provide. I am just not sure that I am ready.

Anyway, that is it for today. As always, feel free to comment below. Yay or nay, are you ready to celebrate this latest step in social media?

My not so digital dog. ๐Ÿพ

Take care and have a great day! ๐Ÿ’ž

October 29th – Paternity Leave

Today’s news story, coming from CTV News, can be found here. This story touches on the subject of paternity leave.

Joe Rogan, who works for Spotify, posted a tweet bashing US Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, for taking six months of paternity leave to care for his newborn twins. Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palentir Technologies Inc., responded by calling any man “in an important position” who took six months of paternity leave “a loser”. He went on to say that “In the old days, men had babies and worked harder to provide for them…”

IN MY VIEW:

  • Joe Rogan and Joe Lonsdale are in no position to judge anyone for how they use legitimate employment benefits or how they should prioritize their career and their family.
  • Joe Lonsdale is in no position to decide if one’s ‘position’ is important or not. If you are employed, it is because what you do is important enough to warrant a position.
  • “In the old days, men had babies and worked harder to provide for them…” In the ‘old days’ a lot of men worked at home – with their wives. (Ie Family farms, family businesses with living quarters). Even those who worked out of the home, did not face the commuting times that exist today or the amount of travel away from home that is part of employment nowadays.
  • Many fathers today are far more hands on than they were years ago and many mothers are employed outside of the home. It makes sense for both parents to spend as much time as possible with their newborn.
  • As wonderful as infants are, and parenting is in general, transitioning from being a couple to being a family is challenging. A challenge that has often ended in divorce court. If a few months of paternity leave helps to make this transition successful, it would be beneficial to the child, the parents, their community, and society in general.
  • Work to live, do not live to work. Golden advice that becomes more obvious as life goes on.

That is it for today, folks! As always, feel free to comment below. You don’t have to agree with me to comment, but I will appreciate it if you keep it respectful.

Son Dan enjoying some time with his son Cason.

Thanks care and have a great day! ๐Ÿ’ž

October 28th – Muscle Cramps

This morning I went searching for information on muscle cramps and it led me to an interesting news story, here.

Most people suffer occasional, if not frequent muscle cramps. I have certainly had my share, so I am familiar with that excruciating “kill me now!” pain that they cause. Most of my muscle cramps affect my toes or my calf muscles. My previous boss would get cramps in his hands that looked brutally painful. My husband Dan generally experiences his worst cramps in his thigh muscles.

Last night, Dan’s right thigh muscle cramped. I heard him let out a moan/groan/scream cuss word. By the time I got to the kitchen, he was clutching the back of a chair. By his facial expression, I was convinced that he was suffering a heart attack. Quite possibly one that could turn fatal at any moment. Through clutched teeth, he mumbled that he had a cramp in his thigh.

Having no idea what I could do to help, without risking making the situation worse, I started to gently massage his thigh. The muscle felt like twisted steel rope. The pain went on, and on, and ON! I don’t know how long it lasted, but it seemed to go on for ages. Gradually the cramp eased to the point where Dan could move. He slowly and cautiously walked (shuffled) across the kitchen and livingroom until the pain ramped down to a dull ache.

This morning, I set out to determine what could be done to diminish the frequency, severity, and duration of muscle cramps before one of us lost a toe or a leg to one of these insidious events. I expected to read about the prevention of dehydration, or the need to take supplements such as magnesium or calcium. I did not know what, or if, I would find anything to ease a cramp that was already in progress.

Amazingly, I found a number of articles, from credible sources that suggested PICKLE JUICE as a quick and effective means for releasing a muscle cramps. While a number of theories have been tested as to how pickle juice alleviates muscle cramps, most research that I came across pointed to the same conclusion. If one is suffering from a severe muscle cramp, tossing back a couple of ounces of pickle juice triggers a reflex in the back of one’s throat that shuts down the misfiring of neurons in muscles throughout the body, effectively releasing the muscle cramp.

Apparently this is not news to a lot of athletes, who have been using pickle juice to ease muscle cramps for years – and who totally swear by it.

Personally, I have not tried it – yet! But the next time Dan gets a muscle cramps – I will be ready. Maybe I will tell him that it is vodka, just in case he is not into the whole pickle juice experiment. ๐Ÿ˜

They are even Hungarian pickles! ๐Ÿ‘

That is my news for today! If anyone has tried pickle juice as a muscle relaxant, I would love to hear about the results in the comment section below. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Take care and have a great day! ๐Ÿ’ž

October 27th – Parenting

Today’s news story, found here, is on a subject that I did not expect to touch on this month. But here it is and well worth the time to read it.

This article from Today’s Parent magazine was written by an actual mother struggling to get her child introduced to a variety of foods. It could have been written by any mother getting a child to do, or not do, anything over the course of a regular day. That is what makes it such a refreshing, enjoyable, and valuable article.

As a young mother, I read articles and entire books that promised perfect parenting. I was a mother for about two days before I realized that my children were obviously not perfect. They were children – adorable, precious, unique little human beings who had obviously not read any of these articles or books. Likewise, and just as obviously, these articles and books were not written by anyone who had ever raised, or seen, an actual child.

My Three – Mark, Jen, & Dan

I have checked out a few parenting articles in recent years, since becoming a grandparent. While the articles today still tend to spew the ‘one size fits all’ rules for perfect parenting, they seem to have gotten more obnoxious over the years. Many push young parents to embrace their updated parenting skills while rejecting any ‘well-meaning’ advice from grandparents or like. Seriously ๐Ÿ˜’

If you are, or are about to become a parent, chances are you will read up on the subject. Here are a few of my own personal tips on parenting – take them or leave them, ignore them at your own risk. โ˜บ๏ธ

  • Do not believe everything you read – if it sounds wrong, it probably is.
  • Every child is unique – and every grandchild is unique. They are meant to be that way. Do not frustrate yourself or them by trying to shape them into something they are not. ๐Ÿ™„
  • What works once for one child, will not necessarily, or generally, work for another child, or even the same child.
  • Worry less. Never worry about what may or may not worry your child. If it is really a problem for them, you will know. If it isn’t a problem, don’t create one.
  • Good parenting doesn’t have to be serious to work. Have fun! It might not seem like fun when your little one is power puking across the Christmas tree, or shooting their new panties up into a neighbour’s tree, or putting a dead hamster on your pillow, but someday those times will be priceless memories (to be recounted at graduations and weddings). Then, if you are very fortunate, you will graduate to grandparenting!
Granddaughter Maddy

That is it for today! Take care and have a great day!๐Ÿ’ž

October 26th – Camp Marjorie

These days, the  news in Regina features articles such as this one found in the Regina Leader Post.

Upwards of a  hundred nylon tents have been set up in a small park at the centre of town  to shelter the homeless in our city.    Sleeping bags, food and other necessities have been donated and secured.  Kitchen areas  and  port-a-potties have been set up.   A windbreak has been built to surround this make-shift community.   Those who are homeless continue to arrive at  ‘Camp Marjorie’ and the camp expands to meet the growing need.

I certainly applaud the efforts of the volunteer organizers and the community groups who have worked to provide assistance for the homeless in our city.   But, this is Regina, Saskatchewan and this is the end of October.   Our temperature is drifting above and below freezing.   Frigid winds whipped through Regina yesterday, followed by rain.    Snow is in the forecast.  I cannot imagine nylon tents supporting the considerable weight of  snow – or giving much protection from the wind and the rain for that matter.

‘Camp Marjorie’ is not a permanent solution for the homeless crisis in Regina, but it is bringing much needed attention to the situation.    The local police and fire department are attending regularly, doing what it is within their jurisdictions to do.   Social service care workers are attending and doing what they can to resolve issues – ma y of which have been created by their government employers.   Some of the needy have been placed in hotels temporarily , while permanent arrangements are being made.   Others wait.

Housing and feeding the vulnerable  in our community is a start – and it is a good start.  But hopefully this is just the start. There is so much that needs to be addressed before our homeless can experience the security and quality of life that they deserve.    There are so many support programs that would provide a hand up to those who have virtually nothing and nowhere to go. And there are those who are, and will always be, incapable of proving for themselves. Our city and our province need to do better to help those who are in need, regardless.

‘Camp Marjorie’ in Core Community Parker

That is my sad, but hopeful, news story of the day.

Take care and have a great day. ๐Ÿ’ž

October 25th – Breaking News in 1955

Being at a loss for anything newsworthy today, I flashed back to the news headlines of 1955. See here.

1955 was a very prolific year, news wise. According to The People’s History website, these were some of the top headlines.

  • The St. Laurence Seaway opens
  • Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat for a white passenger
  • The first McDonald’s was erected
  • TV dinners, featuring fish sticks, went to market
  • James Dean killed in auto accident in California
  • Coca Cola, previously available in bottles only, was now sold in cans
  • The average minimum wage in the USA reached $1.00 per hour
  • 7 out of 10 US families owned a car
  • USS Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine, was launched
  • The original Salk polio vaccine was introduced
  • The Mickey Mouse Club debuted
  • California Disneyland opened
  • The Baghdad Pact was formed to unite the Middle East
  • The Warsaw Pact was formed to unite eight Communist countries
  • USA begins involvement in the Vietnam conflict
  • Great Britain declared a State of Emergency due to National Rail Strike
  • Great Britain also affected by winter storms causing road and rail problems for food and medical supplies deliveries
  • Inventions of 1955: Pocket transistor radios, atomically generated power, Hovercraft, Lego, Velcro, polyurethane

1955 saw Rock and Roll hit a frenetic pace with the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and the Platters. Families gathered around their television sets to watch the debut of shows like Gunsmoke, Lassie, and The Lone Ranger. Theatres were packed for the showing of hits such as Oklahoma, Rebel Without a Cause, To Catch a Thief, and The Seven Year Itch.

1955 celebrated the arrival of Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bruce Willis, Kris Jenner and Yours Truly. That is right, my mother gave birth to me in July 1955 as the parish priest filled the hospital with his live and apparently very loud rendition of Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’ – the Number One hit in the USA at the time.

Me & my Mom

That’s it for today, folks!

Take care and have a great evening! ๐Ÿ’ž

October 24th – The Cost of Food

Today’s news story, found here, relates to the ever rising cost of food. The gist of this article, is that the federal government is supposedly underestimating inflation in Canada by how they track the cost of groceries.

The federal government determines their average cost for specific products based on information received from three national grocery chains on a regular basis and compares it to previous data reported from the same chains. Melanie Morrison of Better Cart Analytics in Saskatoon, Sask. is saying that this is not as effective as the system that her company uses. Better Cart Analytics tracks product at thousands of chains and independents across the country.

Since most people do their shopping at larger chain outlets, I am not sure how including pricing from smaller, independent outlets or specialty shops would be any more accurate. The only thing this article seems to show is that the large national chains are not being as affected by inflation as the independent outlets – based on their rate of inflation.

One thing that does seem to be obvious, is that the cost of groceries are increasing and that is not good news for a lot of people.

Food cost is a major part of every household budget.ย  Fortunately,ย  it is also one of the most flexible. There is room for improvement in almost everyone’s shopping habits. Here are a few tips for grocery shopping that we have found to help keep our food budget in line.

  • Compare pricing for products sold in bulk and/or smaller packaging. We have at least one chain here that often sells larger size (bulk) packages at a higher price per unit than the price per unit of smaller packages. (Especially meat but other products as well).
  • Compare displays of same product. This same chain will often have a large display of chicken breasts, thighs or wings at a high price. Follow the path that most shoppers take and you will find another display – exactly the same packaging and best before date – at a much lower price
  • Check discount pricing compared to regular pricing. I have seen slightly damaged goods go on sale for higher than the same regular priced goods. (Not just at food stores)
  • Do the math Two for $5.00 instead of One for $2.00 is never a good deal but stores will offer it.
  • Check package weights Some chains sell entire displays of product (especially cheese) at so much per package. The weight is shown on the package and can vary substantially. I don’t check every package, but I no longer grab the first one I see.
  • Note the price of products (Dan is much better at this than I am) and make sure it rings in at the correct price. Most stores have a generous policy if an item rings in higher than it should – and it happens frequently!
  • Check product for damage – especially, fruit, vegetables, and eggs. There is no point in spending top dollar on poor quality product.

Of course, there are countless other ways to save money when it comes to food costs – watching sales fliers for good deals, buying ‘in season’, avoiding wasteful food habits, cooking tasty and cost conscious soups, casseroles, and stews, and avoiding impulse buying.

I know it is really hard to revise one’s shopping habits when one is working, raising a family, or just dealing with life’s issues. But, even small changes can make a big difference to one’s food budget. After a while, the only thing you notice is the money you save.

That is it for today! On a personal note …

Saving money for the things that matter – Happy 3rd Birthday, Cason!

Take care and have a great evening! ๐Ÿ’ž

October 23 – Elephant Evolution

Myย  news story of the day comes from CBC News.ย  It is a piece about elephants and being a lifetime elephant fan, I naturally had to check it out.

Unfortunately this story turned out to be sad and shocking.

The first shock came from how fast elephants are evolving in some areas.ย  Elephants in Mozambique are rapidly losing the beautiful tusks that they have historically used to dig for water, strip barks from trees for food, and joust with other elephants.ย  These tuskless animals are all females and they now make up two-thirds of live elephant births in that area of the world.

The second shock is that, the reasonย  this elephant evolution became necessary, was to avoid extinction at the hands ofย  illegal ivory hunters.ย  These hunters were decimating the elephant population in Mozambique to finance both sides of a war effort there.

The third shock was a little side note.ย  When authorities in Sri Lanka seized a massive amount of ivory tusks from these illegal elephant hunts, they ultimately destroyed them!ย ย  I cannot believe they could not be turned over to some historical agency to be preserved orย  soldย  for a legitimate purpose.ย  The funds from such sales could have provided financial help (medical assistance, food, housing, etc) for people in Mozambique.ย  Surely thatย  would have been far better than just destroying these tusks!

Altogether a sad news story today.ย ย  It is hard to imagine that humans can be so greedy, bloodthirsty,ย  and destructive.ย ย  It makes one wonder what else the warmongers around the globe are destroying.ย  Obviously,ย  countless innocent human victims are just the beginning.

That is it for today! Take care, take care of each other and our vulnerable animal population, and have a great day. ๐Ÿ’ž

October 22nd – Fractions

Today’s news story was just too good to pass up. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ Sometime in the 1980’s, fast-food chain A&W introduced a 1/3 Pounder to compete with the McDonald’s 1/4 Pounder. Selling it at the same price as McDonald’s was selling their smaller burger, they thought it should be a sure winner! It was not.

Decades later, they decided to figure out where they had gone wrong with their genius marketing promotion. They used focus groups to find the answer to their dilemna. The focus groups got right to the heart of the problem. 50% of the geniuses in their focus groups believed A & W was ripping them off because they thought 1/4 pound was larger than 1/3 pound. Seriously?

If focus groups are an accurate representation of the general population, we are in some trouble.

In all of my sixty-six years (two thirds of a century there abouts), I have run across one person who had zero concept of fractions. He honestly had no idea how to cut a pie in half or how far to go if I told him that a certain shop was half a block away. He just could not wrap his head around fractions.

The rest of the people I have know, could tell the difference between 1/2 , 1/4, and 1/3 by the time they were three. Some struggled with adding 3/16ths to 5/32nds, but how often does that come up outside of the construction industry?

I could possibly understand if these focus groups were twenty year olds from Canada (where we use the metric system a good part of the time), but these were Americans. They must have been taught fractions in school. What is the deal?

Anyway, to turn this promotion debacle around, A&W has decided to offer a limited time 3/9 Pound Burger. If sold out, one can buy a 2/6 Pound Burger for the same time.

I may be wrong, but I think that half of their customers may flock to Burger King to avoid the math madness.

Prim & Maddy – long before the math controversy made headlines ๐Ÿ’ž

That is it for today! Take care and have a great one! ๐Ÿ’ž