Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Where I live in Vaudreuil, we have weekly boil water advisories, or so it seems. I pay little attention, we are neither very young or very old, and we have a filter. They only want us to boil it for a short time.
But there was a massive advisory in Montreal today, affecting over a million people. First the metro breaks down and then this.
I guess a lot of bottled water was sold. Not Laurentian Spring, as that company was sold int he 80's.(I don't like bottled water because of the plastic.) They've been upgrading the infrastructure and someone accidentally stirred up sediment.
Anyway, water hasn't been much of a problem in Montreal for a long time. In the 60's as a kid, I don't recall every worrying about it, or more to the point, I don't recall my mother ever worrying about it, like she did about trichinosis. (She blackened our La Belle Fermiere Sausages, to keep away the burrowing bugs, forcing us, instead, to eat carcinogens.)
(But then we didn't worry about the lead-laced car fumes either.)
In the 1910 era it was an entirely different story. There was a typhoid epidemic in 1904 and 1909, caused my water and in 1927 caused by milk.
My story, Milk and Water is all about these epidemics, and more. It's also about police corruption in the city during the Jazz Age the era of US Prohibition when Americans came to the city to drink legally.. sort of... Download the book from Amazon.com.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Here's a photo of this blog on Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
You can't tell. The picture from my last post looks very nice on its screen. Nicer than on my computer screen. The colours are more lovely.
The other week I went to see a sneak preview of The Great Gatsby in Montreal. It was a radio station promotion.
Before the movie, the 'celebrity' announcer, a young woman (who is probably working for peanuts) asked people who had dressed up in 1920's garb to come to the front for a small contest.
A few people did just that. Before the gal proceeded she asked the audience if anyone had lost a cellphone. She held it up and joked, "It looks like it is from the twenties."
Right then and there I knew that the phone was mine.
It's a samsung too. A little flippy thing like a Star Trek Communicator. A dumb phone, although I didn't figure out how to use it the three or four years I had it.
Well, as of today, I'm up to date (barely). I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. My husband bought a Samsung Galaxy S 3 or whatever. He's behind the times. The Galaxy S 4 is the hot phone right now.
Oh, gosh. I tried to find a YouTube video to show me how to work it.. and there are plenty of them. But these videos assume you can work a Smart Phone. They just show you the features.
I'm still trying to figure out if I can convert voice to text in an email.
Anyway, I sent a few emails and texts today. I used the drawing tool. I like that. It seems personal. Don't know what I am doing, though.
But it's a fun little thing, this phone. For a bazillion dollars a year and my life held hostage to Bell Canada for at least 3 of them.. (I wonder if Bell keeps all its money off-shore like Apple.)
Speaking of Star Trek. Saw that movie Sunday at the theatre. My son and his fiance were over and I suggested we go and they agreed.
Funny, after the show, my son's fiance admitted she had never seen the original Star Trek.
My gosh. I wondered how could she have enjoyed this Star Trek, Into Darkness. It is to me a very violent homage to the first sometimes-very silly series.
I joked to my future daughter in law, "I guess actors with big blue eyes and pillow lips are in."
I was referring to Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch. But then I remembered Robert Redford. I guess they've always been in vogue.
I wonder if their eyes will look blue and their lips pillowy on my Note II.
Benedict Cumberbatch gives Patrick Stewart a run for his money in the pipes department, doesn't he?
My husband and I have seen all the Star Trek movies in the theatre. But we're old. It's our thing.
Instead of fooling with a Samsung Note 2, I should have been working on my book, Sister Salvation about Montreal suffragists during WWI. Very very old stuff. But interesting.
I didn't do any work. Technology frustrates me. Although I had no problem putting my email address onto my phone.
I'm getting rid of my land line. The only calls I get on that thing are of the sleazy variety.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Yesterday, I went to the SAQ in Hudson to buy a bottle of wine, to enjoy the day and the holiday weekend.
This is a stay at home weekend. But first, my husband filled up on gas at 1.34 a litre and then passed passed another place with 1.29 a litre and was mad.
Do they raise the gasoline price just for the weekend. To exploit holiday makers? I bet they do.
As for the wine, if I wasn't cutting back on wine for health reasons, I'd do it for money reasons, yikes!
I ran in and tried to find the white California wine we buy because my husband is sure it doesn't give him a migraine. But they only had red.
So I did what I usually do, grabbed a wine with a label that appealed. With a price that appealed, 15 something. It was labelled leger and sweet. I couldn't read any more as I didn't have my glasses.
When I got into the car I told my husband what happened (he seemed upset, even though he only drinks wine to please me).
"Where's the wine from?"
"I dunno," I said.
I squinted at the bottle's label as we drove off out of the parking lot to go home.
It was a Quebec wine, complete with an endorsation by Gilles Vignault. Well, Dan Ackroyd has an Ontario Wine, I think.
"I think it's a Quebec wine," I said, rather shocked. Almost 16 dollars for a Quebec wine! Are you kidding?
"Do you want to take it back?" he asked.
"No," I replied. (Can you even do that? How would I explain to a SAQ clerk that I don't want this wine because it is from Quebec- and it has nothing to do with language.)
Anyway, I got my glasses and saw the label clearly. 11.5 % alcohol. That's good. Most wines are too high in alcohol, I think.
Made in Durham Quebec.
How would the Nicholsons of Threshold Girl feel about their own backyard being into WINO CULTURE, or is it vinoculture?
They were HUGE into temperance. Well, the father,Norman, was.
Vignobles. Such a nice word.
We took the dogs to Jack Layton Park, it being so nice out. I noticed the trees that were planted last summer were in full blossom. They looked dead last year from the drought.
On the walk, my husband noticed a beaver dam had popped up over the week. I waited 3 minutes for a beaver to budge, but no. I guess I wouldn't make a very good naturalist. No patience!
And then I snapped a picture of this Rodin, Reclining Woman by the Water. Or is it a Henry Moore. Maybe Matisse... he liked bulky women.
I got home and drank the wine anyway. L'orpailleur. (Surprise!) Watered down with an ice-cube. I think it seems a bit like that Pelee Island wine, the cheap one for less than 10.00.
Gotta go to Hawkesbury for wine and gasoline soon. Maybe tomorrow!
Saturday, May 18, 2013
I did something this morning that I haven't done in 25 years living out in the woods as I do: I went to a local horse show. La Pepinière Horse Show in St-Lazare.
And I love horses. I love the look of them, the smell of them, the leather, even the never-ending loads of poop.
The newspaper didn't say whether or not there was an entry or parking fee. We assumed there was.
But there wasn't. It was all free.
It was a beautiful day. 20 degrees. When we left the house, about a 5 minute drive from the stables in question, our golden lab Mr. Darcy was upset.
We should have brought him. The place was crawling with dogs.
I had forgotten from my childhood days taking riding lessons 'across the road' at Captain Adams' that horsey people were also doggie people.
I took a picture of this fine animal, a kind of Cary Grant of horses. I cut off his ears. But then, who ever looked at Cary Grant's ears.
There were a few others around photographing the event. But they all had these fancy affairs with telephoto lenses. I can see why. It's not easy photographing large animals in the bright sunlight with a Canon Sureshot. The owner of the above steed told me her horse was afraid. He was pooping all over the place out of nervousness. I didn't show that.
I asked my husband, "Have you noticed anything?" He replied, "No"
I replied "All the riders are women. Horse riding, at least at this level, is an entirely female domain."
And then as if to make my point, a red streak appeared on the horizon.
A line of fire engine red Ferraris.
"Are those lamborghinis? " I asked. I'm a girl, you see. (How do you spell Lamborghini?)
"No. They are Ferrraris. Notice the Horse Symbol? There must be millions of dollars of cars here," my husband said, impressed.
I thought gee. All those throbbing red metallic phalluses.
Horse riding is not a safe sport. In fact, the lady who taught me (a few lessons in 1966) across the street, Gladys Adams, moved to this very equestrian center and died in a riding accident.
Yet it is considered a girl's sport.
I'm sure back in 1910, the era of my story Threshold Girl, horses were considered a man thing. The annual Horse Show at the Arena in Westmount had numerous military brigades participating.
Girl and young unmarried women couldn't even attend, unless accompanied by a married matron or beau.
Today, all that is left from that era is the Mounties Musical Ride and the movie War Horse.
Pretty in Pink Ribbons. Some stable has been very successful.
I saw a Basset Hound, a French Bulldog, a Chihuahua, two handsome Boston Terriers and about 100,000 golden labs like my own.
I think the last horse show I attended was in 1968 on Isle Ste. Helene when our future Olympian Gold Medalists, Jim Day and Jim Elder were competing. I went with a friend as spent the entire two weeks there. Jim Day was very 'cool' as he took his mount over the jumps I recall. No expression.
The young riders I saw this morning were making all kinds of noises as they rode the course.
His horse was a chestnut called Canadian Club, I think, Or Canadiana. I actually went back stage and took a picture of the horse (not Jim, I was only 12) and then paid good money to get it blown up.. and then I lost it.
My spelt pizza. Kale and some veggie sausages.
I just had some wheat toast and peanut butter, but in general I'm not eating wheat and I feel good. And in two months I've lost weight effortlessly. I haven't even been exercising much. (I have a pinch in my shoulder I am babying.)
I'm on a kind of Perricone style diet, where I don't eat corn, wheat, rice or potatoes. Or peas or carrots.
I don't have celiac. My brother in law does (a serious diagnosed case) and he claims Northern Englanders have a wheat intolerance. Well, part of me is from Yorkshire.
My sister in law has never been tested for celiac, but she has been gluten free for a few years. She says bread makes her feel bloated.
It makes me feel bloated too, when I eat an entire fresh baguette - with butter. Yum!
A few days I read an online article about the gluten-free fad. The expert quoted said: "People don't feel better on gluten-free diets because they are gluten intolerant.
They feel better because if you don't eat wheat you can't eat fast food, junk food, fried food and you probably eat more vegetables and fruits."
Our food culture is wheat-based and supported by cheap, fast food and convenience foods full of fat, sugar and additives that make us crave more and more.
In France, they can eat wheat. They can eat their luscious croissants and still be slim. In Denmark they can eat wheat (and even those sweet Danishes, the only thing Danes seem to eat for breakfast) and still be slim and healthy.
Here in North America it is hard.
I discovered that spelt flour makes great pancakes, better than the ones I try to make from wheat flour.
And I've discovered that spelt flour makes nice pizza crust, if you like hard crust and I do.
Spelt has gluten. So does barley. I've discovered I like a nice chicken stew with barley.
I haven't eaten any pasta either, my favourite food of all. But when I get my cravings under control, I will start again, al dente.
Anyway, it's the beginning outdoor- market season and now I can indulge and buy some organic veggies. They look better and taste better. I don't care what the naysayers claim.
The ones on sale right now are greenhouse. We've hardly had any spring rain. My gosh, are we going to pay, but we ALWAYS do whatever the weather.
And I can buy artisanal beef too. Grass fed, a bit anyway. I don't buy hamburger anymore, except if it's artisanal. It's not even the same colour as the mush in the store. It's purplish with white pearls of fat. Makes great burgers and I eat them rare. I don't care what the wisdom is. Beef that is over-cooked is not worth eating, unless in a pot roast.
This is my indulgence. For now. This 'luxury' diet.
I think it is ironic. I am paying a small fortune for food so I will stay healthy and not cost the health care system money in the future. Touch wood!
(I got my husband's cholesterol in the excellent range from the dangerous range, merely with diet. The doctor was keen on putting him on pills. Instead, I improved his over all health. He's 56 and slim as he was at 26. Apparently, the medical insurance costs at his place of work are sky high, but not because of him. I guess we're lucky.)
You'd think they would encourage the population to eat healthy, but they don't. Quite the opposite. It's all about industry.
I can't avoid those MILK ads, on TV, YouTube anywhere, promoted by Canadian Dairy. We've been bombarded with these ads since some new studies came out saying TOO MUCH CALCIUM for women might be bad for us.
It's all so confusing.
Friday, May 17, 2013
I spent a little while writing my ebook Sister Salvation, the follow up to Threshold Girl, episode by episode, and watching the BBC's The Hour on Netflix, episode by episode.
It's British but it feels American.
It's set in Cold War England at the BBC and it's terribly cliche in a fun way, (I guessed all the plot twists) with great acting top to bottom.
So I enjoyed it.. and then, like Flashforward and The Boss, it just ends on a quasi-cliffhanger.
It's a period piece journalistic political thriller, right up my alley. And filled with all those actors who do plays for BBC Radio 4.
The main character is a philandering anchor man and he has this nice 50's wife, who is very cliche, except she's so well played by Oona Chaplin, who I only figured out in the second series was Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter. (Well, I saw the name and then tried to figure out who she was).
I guess she is going to be a big star as she in now on Game of Thrones and she played Watson's girlfriend in Sherlock, which I also saw on Netflix.
Anna Chancellor is especially good too. Nice to see her out of a corset and into pants.
Watching the second season, I got up and microwaved a bowl of frozen chicken stew. (Imagine, I actually froze some leftovers rather than put them in the fridge and throw them out five days later... A recent news article says Canadians are reeling from the high price of food and that Quebec has the costliest and Ontario the cheapest. But I live near the Ontario border and I don't see that, or I'd shop in Ontario.. and I'd fill up on gas while I am at it.)
The stew was delicious, but too hot coming out the microwave so I grabbed a plate to put underneath the glass bowl.
And then I had deju vu as the same plate I was using was on the TV, being used by the main character TV actor.
So the set designers think my plate, which is Les Etoiles from France, nothing special, is an example of classic fifties design. It once belonged to my Aunt Flo who was not rich.
So do I, that's why I kept it.
I see there's an online petition to keep The Hour going, or as the Brits say "To commission a Third Year at the BBC."
But the show didn't get great ratings and it looks expensive to produce and some critics feel it is a poor imitation of Mad Men.
(I haven't seen more than a season of Mad Men. It just hit too close to home. I used to work in advertising... But I'll get around to it.)
Funny, I was telling my husband the other day, when I finish Sister Salvation I think I will write about City Hall in 1910, and do more on Edward Beck, the crusading journalist who hated City Hall and who tried to set up my grandfather in a bribery sting.
The story line of my Milk and Water (based on true facts) about police corruption in Jazz Age Montreal is not far away from the Storyline of the Second Season of the Hour.
The police of the time, it said, worked hand in hand with the madames of Montreal.
Cliches come from somewhere. Or all politicians of all stripes and all eras are alike. (Interesting Toronto Mayor Ford headline today, eh? I mean you couldn't make this stuff up.)
Another critique is that the characters don't speak like Fifties Britons....but that's the West Wing Effect, I think.
I just heard a serialization on the BBC Four of C.P.Snow's books all about the era, it was terrific too. And supposedly based on true stories.
I have only read The Masters and that decades ago. Yikes!
I also know a little about newsrooms and I'd say newsroom characters are a bit West Wing, but also a lot of Seinfeld.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Today, I am reading about Mike Duffy and his friendship with the PMO and also working on Sister Salvation, (the follow up to Threshold Girl) a book about the Montreal Suffragists and their involvement in the 1917 Conscription Crisis.
Wow! This Montreal Local Council of Women Conscription Mess is more complicated than Mike Duffy's expense account mess. Although it seems a lot like it, too! The tangled webs we weave when we obfuscate in politics.
In the minutes of the Monteal Local Council from May 1916:
The chair announced that a meeting is called for recruiting purposes that the National Council had recommended that May Williams was anxious that women of Montreal shall help more especially by appealing to their women to let their men go.
Re Conscription: resolution and expression of sympathy . moved by Derick. That the LCW is dissatisfied with the present undemocratic method of recruiting and believe that Canada should without further delay fulfill her pledge to send 500,000 men for the Defense of the Empire.. petition government to take definite steps to extend the operation of the Military Act for Home Defense to overseas, with just and reasonable exceptions. (you can find them at BANQ)
This is the Resolution that got the MCLW and particular its President Dr. Richie England in big trouble in 1917.
I found the 1917-1918 National Council of Women Year book online.
In that yearbook it is claimed that it was the Montreal Council of Women who first resolved to support Conscription (or as they called it 'extending the Military Act for Home Defense to overseas') and then sent in to the National Council.
In another report by another local they actually call the conscription resolution "The Montreal Resolution"
So, it appears this conscription resolution got passed because someone at the National level pressured the Montreal Local to make a motion supporting conscription.. and then their resolution was sent backto the National Council who used it as a tool to convince their country-wide membership to vote for Conscription... suggesting the Montreal Local was all for conscription.
Apparently at the National Council Meeting President Carrie Derick of the Montreal Local said this: "Professor Derick stated that she approved of the conscription of men, women and wealth, a statement that was received with loud applause. "
Playing around with the meaning of the word Conscription. Ah..Politics.. Later on they would claim they never supported conscription, that they were non-partisan. When it was pointed out they took part in Municipal elections, they claimed municipal politics wasn't about politics, but about good governance.
Anyway, I found this tidbit in the yearbook for 1917. I mentioned last post how ironic it was that the suffragettes, who claimed they were in it 'for the children', would be all for sending 16 year olds to the front to get killed.
Well, in 1913, they called it Child Welfare. In 1917... Baby Welfare. So they were a little embarrassed themselves.