Letter


Forgive another re-post. In three days Christmas party season evaporates, returning Notes to her former self.

notestoponder

There’s a pack of postage stamps somewhere, I saw them last spring while searching for tax receipts. A book of ten glossy peel and stick intentions, tossed with irreverent haste into the chasm of a bottomless drawer. With nothing to mail, all I wanted was to hold the possibility.

Trying to remember the last time a hand written letter arrived at my door-step,  I faced the reality a Christmas card from my sister counted – her decision to pen sentiments meant more than an e-card. At least she bothered to find a stamp.

The more I thought about it, my mind’s eye paraded her distinctive calligraphy to a shoebox on the closet shelf. There it was, resting atop a lifetime of penned treasures, stoically guarding a dusty box of tender expression. Letter after letter passed through my hands, serenaded by  pen strokes’ symphony.

I found myself mourning a future of…

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Annoyances and Bad Form


Time for my annual Christmas party ponder. A grumpy, exhausted caterer’s list of annoyances and bad form –

You failed to inform us “Sparky” is a very bad dog. You – executive of a major corporation hosting a Christmas party with your lovely wife. Never mind ridiculous expectations and timeline, we’ll make it fabulous. Pardon me? Sparky is snarling at my chef because he doesn’t like men wearing caps? Would you like a hair in your prime rib? Never mind. Oh, Sparky is hungry. You want my chef to feed him while carving the beef? Maybe you should feed Sparky and put him in another room. How silly of me, Sparky is much too precious. Just watch him beg for food as your guests awkwardly pretend Sparky isn’t drooling at their feet. Let me assure you – bad dogs are neither cute or entertaining, Sparky is a very bad dog.

Bad dogs have nothing on bad people. Being a reflection of his clueless environment, Sparky pales in comparison to blithering clunk-heads oblivious to their surroundings. You’re a guest at a company dinner – guests at 6 pm, passed appetizers and drinks for an hour, please be seated for dinner at 7 pm. Look around – this isn’t a restaurant, did you notice the kitchen we set up behind pipe and drape. Never mind, please be seated. Oh wait, you changed tables and now are making a scene because servers couldn’t find you to deliver a gluten free vegan meal? My sincerest apologies, if you would be so kind as to take your seat we’ll have you eating in no time.

Place setting jumpers and bad dogs pale next to passed appetizer garbage dumpers. Garbage dumpers catapult beyond canape lunges. Pushing guests aside to ensure first crack at a platter,  only embarrasses individuals oblivious to polite decorum. Taking an appetizer then depositing the pick, spoon or napkin back on the tray of canapes epitomizes bad form. Garbage dumping eclipses annoyance, forcing an immediate server about face to the kitchen. Clearly common sense eludes these geniuses – why should they care when a full platter returns to the kitchen for a scrub because their garbage prevents servers from feeding co-workers.

Baked Brie is not a pie. Yes, I see you put half a pound on your plate but no, I don’t have a fork. See the little knife for spreading it on sliced baguette? Notice scores of people politely waiting to spread a morsel of Brie on that bread? Is grumpiness trickling from corners of my forced smile? Fair enough, you probably haven’t seen a wheel of Brie large enough for fifty people – figure it out – I still don’t have a fork.

I’m sorry, your host didn’t order coffee. No, I don’t have any hot water with lemon. Can I make an exception for you? With all due respect please don’t confuse my good nature with perceived ability to pull a kettle out of my ass. I’m sure you’re lovely, mean well and truly desire a warm beverage – please look around, this isn’t a restaurant, there isn’t a pot of coffee in the back. This is the observation deck of an office tower – even if I could boil water, your host didn’t pay for hot beverage service. Can you understand my limitations, has it occurred to you one exception opens a can of worms I haven’t the staff, authority or inclination to deal with. Do you really think one exception ends with you, that none of 200 in this room will demand equal consideration? You don’t like my attitude, poor customer service? Take it up with your host – I don’t have a freaking kettle.

Why are you blocking our service area? Are you vacant, oblivious, gripped with self importance vast enough to deem it your right to stand where you damn well please? How many times have I politely asked you to step aside? Are you passive aggressive, amused by my servers struggling to maneuver around you, honestly this inconsiderate? Did you notice that one ton truck outside? What crosses your mind each time I ask you to move? Are you conscious of exhausted staff struggling with enormous loads, dolly after dolly of heavy equipment hauled outside, loaded on that truck? Silly me, of course you didn’t.

I’m tired – Christmas party season is over in a week. Like childbirth and tequila, destined to seem like a good idea the next time it rolls around.

t

 

 

 

 

Bad Earl


Please forgive another re-post. Notes is quivering until Christmas party season implodes next week.

notestoponder

Earl wasn’t always bad. He started out as an average pet store rabbit; cute, fluffy and oblivious to the stew pot intentions of his purchaser. Growing up on a farm left me with a soft spot for stew bound rabbits. Learning that we just ate my missing “pet” rabbit, was more horrifying than all the plucked birds and game carcasses put together. When the “intervention”  by one of my children and friends delivered Earl to my doorstep – I had no choice but to let him in.

Not told of the planned rabbit caper; Earl arrived one evening, accompanied by teenage exuberance. Rescued from the Aunt of one of these kids – a woman who planned to fatten him up for a special dinner – I agreed to give him sanctuary. As he was snatched from his cage in the course of a daring rescue – Earl arrived cage-less and…

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Pluto In Your Face


Once a planet Pluto needn’t feel slighted by an unflattering cosmic demotion, in my mind Pluto rivals any planetary body in our solar system. Admirable diligence by NASA’s New Horizons probe spanked antiquated notions that size matters – meager prescience became irrelevant the moment Pluto intensified before our very eyes.

A dainty 2,370 km. wide (Earth – 8,000 km ), 30 times farther from our Sun, the average temperature on Pluto is minus 232 degrees Celsius. At that temperature on Earth, oceans would freeze almost to the briniest depths, our collapsed atmosphere measured as an 11 meter layer of frozen gas.

Last week NASA released images from New Horizons July 14, 2015 close encounter with Pluto. Glorious, in your face photographs defining my need to ponder the cosmos.

http://earthsky.org/space/closest-pluto-images-ever-returned-dec-4-2015

View larger. | NASA calls this image 'the mountainous shoreline of Sputnik Planum.' It's not a shoreline as on Earth, of course; it's a place where two kinds of ice meet. The mountainous region - informally named al-Idrisi mountains - is made of great blocks of Pluto’s water-ice crust. Some stand as much as 1.5 miles high. The mountains end abruptly at the shoreline of the informally named Sputnik Planum, where the soft, nitrogen-rich ices of the plain form a nearly level surface.

View larger. | NASA calls this image ‘the mountainous shoreline of Sputnik Planum.’ It’s not a shoreline as on Earth, of course; it’s a place where two kinds of ice meet. The mountainous region – informally named al-Idrisi mountains – is made of great blocks of Pluto’s water-ice crust. The mountains end abruptly at the shoreline of the informally named Sputnik Planum, where the soft, nitrogen-rich ices of the plain form a nearly level surface. Imaged by New Horizons July 14, 2015, using the LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) camera. Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI. Read more about this image.

Imaged by New Horizons July 14, 2015, using the LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) camera. Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI.

Imaged by New Horizons July 14, 2015, using the LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) camera. Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI.

Imaged by New Horizons July 14, 2015, using the LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) camera. Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI.

Imaged by New Horizons July 14, 2015, using the LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) camera. Credit: NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI.

ProFunc


Pondering hysteria over refugees made me think of ProFunc – fear is a powerful political weapon…..

notestoponder

It never fails; every time I settle into a warm, fuzzy, proud to be Canadian state of mind – something comes along to make me say “holy crap”. Cold War shenanigans are understandable, hardly earth shattering is the concept of Communist or anti-Communist sentiments. Without a doubt, the Cold War fostered a level of paranoia unmatched – with the possible exception of post 9/11 fear – the Cold War reigns as the big daddy of propaganda, paranoia and  dread.

ProFunc (Prominent Functionaries of the Communist Party) was a top secret program carried out by the Canadian government and RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to identify and intern Communists, Communist sympathizers, and their families. In 1950, RCMP Commissioner Stuart Taylor Wood spear headed ProFunc, complete with arrest document C-215; a form filled out with information on 16,000 “Communists” and an estimated 50,000 “sympathizers”. These citizens were often under surveillance – form…

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Cake


Last night I reminded my husband not to come home with birthday cake. Waking a year beyond mid point between fifty and sixty had nothing to do with it. – I don’t like cake. In fairness to cake, one peculiar exception prompted a “note to self” – next year he can stick candles in a fruit cake.

Fruit cake, the misunderstood butt of seasonal offering endures needless suffering at the hands of Christmas bullies. Skeptics and naysayers just haven’t had the right cake. Proper fruit cakes are pickled in spirits, wrapped for weeks in rum soaked cheesecloth until every morsel of candied fruit packs a rum bomb. Yum.

When my children were young birthday cakes were a big deal. Not for candles or a birthday song – anticipation hinged on the unveiling. Sheets of  “stay out of the kitchen til I’m done” cake, yielded to coaxed pleas of “look like a rabbit” , train or mermaid. Cakes baked for the gift of my children’s delight – for myself as much as them – those cakes I loved.

A good cake demands steadfast attention to detail. Baking, the science of precise measures to incorporate air, control temperature and stoke chemical reactions while resisting fickle inclinations. Few people care about fundamentals of cake, razzmatazz resides in layers and frosting. Cake cred is style over substance – if it looks good, slice it.

What if it looked mediocre but held pie? Where does all substance, no style cake fall – squarely on the plate of Cherpumple. Bake a cherry pie in white cake, apple pie in yellow cake, pumpkin pie in spice cake – now frost them together without a twinge of remorse.

I can’t speak for pie, but sympathize with pies’ outrage over cakes’ brazen attempt at validation. Nice try cake – I still won’t eat you.

cherpumple

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/12/cherpumple-cake-pie-recipe_n_5485021.html