DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

She shoots. . .She scores!

Here is my granddaughter, Olivia in her hockey outfit.

Besides being an excellent student, Olivia is an enthusiastic hockey player. She recently took part in a regional East/West hockey game, which is a traditional annual high school event. It is made up of students from area high schools which are made up into two teams. Olivia is one for a few students representing Ecole Secondaire Northern Secondary School. She scored a goal for her team in front of 2,000 howling students and staff at Memorial Gardens in North Bay. It is always a boistrous affair.

Her proud father sent me the picture. She was one of the younger girls being only this year in the nineth grade. She is an enthusiastic player. Her father always speaks with pride when he tells of her taking the boys into the boards when she played on mixed boy/girl teams when she was younger. She is not one to back down from 'vigorous' play. I am glad she got a little recognition in the local paper for her athletic efforts which go along with her scholastic accomplishments which please me even more. I am glad she is participating fully in all aspects of the school life and succeeding.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Dance Like a Butterfly but sting . . .?"

I found this video both charming and hillarious. As a pacifist, I give this kind of fighting, or dancing, my imprimatur.

Perhaps, this is more like, "Dance like a bee but sting like a butterfly." (My apology to Muhammad Ali.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

In the Netherlands and Belgium today, December 6, they are celebrating the arrival of Sinterklaas and is Moorish helper Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) arriving from Spain. Two years ago, when I was in Belgium, I was surprised and taken aback to see images of Black Pete. As one who took part in the civil rights struggle and has tried to always be politically correct with reference to all things "black", it was a shock to discover this much loved Moorish character that was the helper of Sinterklaas, the saintly bishop St. Nicholas. Black Pete is much loved by children in the Low Countries as he distributes candies and cookies and help Sinterklaase deliver gifts to every home.

Zwarte Piet (Black Pete)

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet.

Rather than try to explain to this holiday in Belgium and the Netherlands I thought I you share with you the explanation by a delightful young woman from Belgium in this video.

The share a little in the public celebration of this holiday watch this video of the procession in Utrecht. Enjoy!

In reading a little about this holiday I learned the Canada made a contribution toward it when Canadian soldiers after liberating the low countries they held a Sinterklaas celebration for the children with many Zwarte Pieten present.

"Originally Sinterklaas was only accompanied with one (or sometimes two) Zwarte Pieten, but just after the liberation of the Netherlands Canadian soldiers organized a Sinterklaas party with many Zwarte Pieten, and ever since this has been the custom, each Piet normally having its own dedicated task."

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Keeping Busy

I have been keeping busy these days, partly out of necessity and partly because of circumstances.

Having been late in doing my firewood, I have been frantically working to get it done before it gets really cold and snowy. Well, I now think I am on top of it. We have had a little snow even though it remains warmer than usual. Below is a photo of my handiwork. I promise myself I will get at it earlier next year.

(click on photo to enlarge)

While I rest between sessions of wood cutting and spitting and piling, I have returned to my efforts to learn touch typing. Years ago, I began to learn to type. (When I was in school only the "dumb" students in the commercial stream took typing for careers in office work). I had to learn to type when I got my first job as a minister. My wife said, "No more, I have have typed for you throughout University, now you have to type for yourself." Many a hour in that first year, I spent in my oak lined office with a teach yourself to type book; learning the keys, and the fingering and trying to build some accuracy and speed. Well I got the job half done. I learned to type with a couple of fingers more that two while looking at the keys. This worked for me for many years to type letters, rough drafts of sermons and the odd report. When I was no longer a minister of a church, I lost what facility I had acquired.

Along came the computer and the Internet for me, rather late I must say. I managed with two finger typing for most things but I decided I should learn keyboarding. (I hope every grade school child learns this now along side of handwriting.) A while back I began this process using a learning to type online program. I faltered before the task was done.

I am now back at the learning to type. I have learned the keys and finger strokes and now I am working on my speed and accuracy without looking at the keys. I am up to about 40 wpm. I have no great ambition in this but I would like to consistently be above 40 wpm. So I am close.

Practice makes perfect for this aging fat fingered typist.

This routine of wood splitting and typing was going fine until my computer went down. I managed to get an older computer, (I bought for $20) which has little power, connected to the Internet. It worked well for emails but little else. It was slow and I could not view videos or access some sites like Blogger's dashboard where I write these blog entries.

After almost a week of trying to get to town to take my computer to the tech guy, I discovered my computer was not broken at all. It was my monitor. I exchanged my good (now broken) monitor for the one from the old computer. Now I am back online.

A guy has to do something while suffering from "Internet withdrawal". I found myself cooking while not doing wood.

I decided to make some Boston baked beans. I used a recipe which they use at one on Boston's most famous restaurants, Durgin Park, which ate at several times while I lived in the Boston area. They are good, although a little milder that I would like.

With the weather getting colder I have begun to use my antique wood cook stove. (some photos are here) It is great to cook on once you learn the basics. It is also nice to keep warm by the stove. I find lots of things cook better on the stove with it's better heat distribution. On my electric stove my grilled cheese sandwiches never turn out such a nice soft brown toasted colour as you can see below.

While I have never baked bread in the wood stove oven it is nice to bake bread when the stove is going. The warmer heat from the wood stove helps the bread to rise. I then bake it in the range.

Yummy, If you cannot pursue your passions on the Internet, at least one can eat for satisfaction.

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