Tag Archives: Family

Parish Notice

Well I’ve had a very successful week despite being chief chauffeur for Eldest while she’s with us, and all the other ructions that come with house guests and not quite enough space. Packed her off to see friends in Vancouver for the weekend on the 7am ferry, so she’ll be partying with pals for the next day or so, while we old codgers back home discuss the revelations she brought over with her.

Right; so what’s this ‘Parish Notice’ malarkey? Okay, I’m finally ditching the gmail address and making a few administrative alterations to my various commenting accounts like Disqus etc. So if anything comes from my old gmail address after tomorrow (Sunday 25th September), it will be fake and can therefore be deleted with impunity. If anyone needs to talk directly, the contact form for this blog will field all new messages to my new mail hosting service. Gravatar is going to be on the casualty list too. I’ve used it for over ten years, but now it’s outworn all utility.

My reasons are quite simple. I’ve long been annoyed at gmail for all their spurious ‘security’ notifications which not only effectively work as a tool for tracking my movements, but suspend the account every time I take a trip up the road until I go through the whole ‘account verification’ circus. Every time I take a week away from my desk (Which is an irregular but not uncommon occurrence) I get half a dozen ‘Is this you?’ service disruptions which are about as amusing as a kick up the bum. In addition, I’d like to state that my motivation for discontinuing gmail is not derived from some paranoid “They’re out to get me” as some might think, but more out of a general “What the f**k’s it got to do with them?” Consider the account dormant.

Sadly, Google, along with Microsoft, Yahoo, Arsebook and Twatter have outgrown their usefulness and sold out to certain interests who have their own agenda. Thus their worth, at least in my eyes, is reduced to the point of near uselessness. WordPress retains utility, so the blog stays. Scriblerus stays. The means adapt. The song remains the same. Take that as you will.

Spider season

The first hint of Fall, or Autumn as we expatriates call it, always brings the wolf spiders indoors. A shriek yesterday morning alerted me to the first of these annoying eight legged interlopers when one was found poised perkily on the coverlet. Using the old jar and card trick, which goes like this, to the feminine chorus of “Don’t kill it! Nooo, get rid of it! Bill! Do it now!” Using a piece of card and a sufficiently large jar or glass, put jar over offending creature, slide card underneath affronted arachnid and carry to window or door and eject summarily. I found said dreaded wee beastie’s brother (Or sister, with spiders it’s hard to tell. Is there such a profession as ‘Spider sexer’?) in the tumble drier this morning and decided to deploy the heavy artillery, otherwise known as the vacuum cleaner, which is the nuclear option as far as spiders are concerned. Those that learn to keep out of the way of humans live, those that don’t, die. This is the way of things since Mrs Ug first screamed at Mr Ug to get rid of this horrifying half inch nightmare from their cave. You’d think that after the last couple of hundred thousand years of evolution the spiders would get the hint that humans are bad news, but no. Hi-ho.

Spider season is a little earlier by my reckoning this year and betokens a cold winter even though locally we’re having a run of sunny days with only a few showers. Normally they don’t start infiltrating households in any numbers until October. At least in these latitudes. A couple of our local species are known to pack a nasty nip, so instead of meandering around the office and apartment in bare feet as I usually do, I’ve elected to put my socks on. Just in case.

And speaking of those human web lie-spinners and purveyors of influence, the Clintons, I see the lamestream is finally owning up to the fact that Hilary Clinton is most definitely ill, no it’s not just a temporary sniffle because you don’t ‘fit’ during a faint or bout of pneumonia unless you’ve got something else pretty serious going on. Now here’s an interesting medical fact; the coughing is a known side effect of certain blood pressure medication, which, knowing that she has a family history of strokes and previous TIA‘s, it’s not a total wild guess to say she may be taking something like Ramipril. Which also might account for some of the fainting and spasms observed. She’s had TIA’s before, so I have a strong suspicion that she’s on quite a high dose to prevent another incidence. It would fit in with the prescription of Coumadin she’s been known to be on. Which would account for more or less all of her observed symptoms. The fainting and fitting, ‘zoning out’ and episodes of imbalance, not to mention the coughing fits. An adverse drug reaction would also account for the fast ‘recoveries’ as the dosages are altered. Well done Bill. Mystery solved.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. Eldest is due in under a week, the freezer is full, and we’re turning the apartment upside down in order to rearrange for her coming royal visit before she heads off to Oz. Brother in law is much better, and currently recuperating in France. Despite the spiders, life could be a lot worse.

Family stuff

Busy with organising for extended visit from Eldest on her way to the fabled land of Oz. She’s done her Africa experience, and now is looking to move down under. Her entry and work visa has been approved, flights are paid for, and backup finances put in place. Which may or may not be needed. Hey, she’s still young, so should do these things while she can enjoy them fully. We will assist where we are able while she gets settled in her new life. She’s got friends and family already in country, so she’s not going in completely cold. Hell, she’s even got mates in Vancouver who moved there after University, so no matter where she goes she’ll have a place to crash, as well as with Mrs S and I whilst she’s passing through Canada.

Which is cool. There’s always that sense of inhibition when you visit family, and the old bug-a-boo of things you always wanted to say but felt you couldn’t. Such as; “Why does no one talk about Uncle Henry?” or “Why didn’t Mum and Dad tell me?” This is something Mrs S and I try not to encourage. Because we both know from our own upbringings how toxic that can be. Repression brings nothing but regret and unhappiness, and over the years I’ve formed the opinion that’s way worse than giving an issue a bloody good shake out and airing. No matter how uncomfortable it is at the time. If you can’t talk about an issue, it just goes underground and festers, poisoning relationships and leaving problems unresolved. Which is something the current politically correct climate in academia, politics and media doesn’t help.

You see, I’m aware of all the problems my personal family history has brought and how it has in some cases stopped me from being a better human being. Now I’ve cheerfully accepted that I’m a real bastard son of a bitch, I feel much more relaxed about my life, and have determined not to pass that shit on to the next generation, while trying to improve my own lot. Put it this way, my stepkids do not have either my, or Mrs S’s hang ups and have been set free to make their own way in the world. With a little help from us older folks of course, who in my case is setting a thoroughly bad example, just to show that fun can be had, no matter what age you are.

As well as all the “But you can’t say that!” voices crying out that we should not talk about certain issues, or even allude to said facts existence, there’s a ‘health’ lobby out there determined that we will all end our days restricted to ‘care’ homes, dribbling out our dotage, and subject to naught but pity as the Alzheimers inexorably robs us of our marbles, bowel and bladder control. Me, I know that it’s a short life but a merry one, and that seeing as there’s precious little of it, intend to relax and take what comes, even if my last words are “Shit! The ripcord didn’t work!” or “Just a moment, I’ve had an idea.” or even “Bloody Satnav!” When the book closes on me, there will be no regrets but that which says “I wish I’d had time to do more.”

Life may be a terminal disease, but you only get one, no matter what any priest or politician says when they want you to do what you’re bloody well told, you, you utter peasant, you. My only reply to that is outright contempt, and if this makes me not worth talking to, then it has the upside of freeing me from the interminable blatherings of the dim and depressing.

Anyway, I’ll conclude today’s little missive with a misquote by one of my old boon companions (often falsely attributed to Sir Walter Scott or William Blake). “Better one hour of crowded life, than an eternity without a name.” Although I think his version was actually an improvement on Mordaunt’s original.

Folk remedies

Feeling much better today. Sweet repose has returned as the Korean Kitten infestation (Ask Leg-Iron, he started it) has departed. My mind is more settled, with the shadows that conspired to rob me of sleep vanishing with the light of day. To the point where Mrs S noted “Bill, you’re whistling.” Which I was. Just an aimless tune whilst engaged in a mundane task, but it’s a sign I’m feeling much more relaxed.

I put my vastly improved humour down to applying the Sticker family cure for insomnia. Which is one of a collection of remedies for various mild ailments I grew up with. Hot sweetened milk (Honey, sugar, whatever) and 500mg of aspirin or paracetamol at bedtime is the one we applied last night because Mrs S was running a mild malaise and fever and I wasn’t feeling too wonderful either. Like a hot toddy it’s a very nice way of sliding into the arms of Morpheus and makes for a better nights repose, allowing the bodies immune system time to do it’s thing and fight the infection causing the malaise. Which, unless you have a serious illness, is a sensible thing to do rather than immediately run to the quack for the latest thing from the drug companies, which is far too often a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Besides, everything for a purpose.

For most minor health issues I try to avoid bothering our GP, and only make an appointment if I’m feeling really unwell. Then I’ll take my pills without a whimper, because my body won’t have developed any drug resistance through over prescription, so my reasoning is that any medication I’m prescribed will work more effectively and I’ll recover sooner. That and I hate sitting in Doctors waiting rooms, which are always full of depressingly sick people. And the copies of Reader’s Digest and National Geographic are way out of date and just covered in germs. Double-euw.

For example; a recent experiment on the old anti-inflammatory standby Apple cider vinegar showed that regular consumption can reduce ‘harmful’ cholesterol in the blood by up to 13% rather than the 5% generally achieved with regular Statins. Without the risk of liver damage. Hmm. Ma Sticker used to swear by daily doses of Apple Cider Vinegar and Raspberry Cordial to reduce the symptoms of her arthritis, but probably didn’t know (or care) about the whole Cholesterol thing. Some people think it acts as a slimming aid or mild diabetes remedy, go figure. All I know is that it does seem to work as far as mild Arthritis is concerned.

Regarding regular medication, a family anecdote Ma liked to tell from when she had to go to hospital for an eye problem (Cataracts at age 95) where she had the following conversation with the nurse taking her medical history;
Nurse with Clipboard: “Can you tell me what medications you take regularly?”
Ma Sticker: “None.”
Nurse with Clipboard: “I don’t think you understand me dear. I mean’t what pills do you take every day.”
Ma Sticker: “I understood you perfectly the first time. I have no prescription medication. No regular medication.”
Good old Ma. Sharp as a razor right to the last. During most of her long and interesting life I think she rarely took more than the odd antibiotic and generally viewed doctors and hospitals with a healthy scepticism. Until 2012 when her health began to go downhill. The rest of her life she relied on our proven family folk remedies. Apart from a small goitre removal when she was in her eighties, that was it.

The randomness of existence

Illness in our little clan has reared its head once more, with eldest having a close brush with Malaria two weeks shy of her Australian residential / work permit medical. Brother in law looks to be on the mend, although post-op he’s looking a bit tattered and torn. This has also been a frustrating time because Mrs S and I have debated flying off to Africa on a rescue mission, but then deciding we’d be as much good as a chocolate teapot, because the medics at the hospital in question gave Eldest the most up to date treatment for the Malaria parasite, which has now been purged from her system. Like brother in law, she’s looking a bit worse for wear when we talk to her on Skype, but give her another forty eight hours and she’s going to be fine. Brother in law will take a bit longer because his condition was a direct hit on his lymphatic system. However, he is too robust and will recover quickly because if I know him, it would take a small thermonuclear device to put him down. This is good, because his Australian immigration medical is scheduled for November I think, and he and my other sister in law have worked too hard to fall at the final hurdle.

What else? I managed to piss off junior sister in law this weekend because I gave brother in law a small bag of birthday goodies we’d picked up in our trans american travels. She’d have been just as pissed off at me if I hadn’t, but I’ve learned that as far as she’s concerned, I’m always in a lose-lose scenario. Apparently I’m to blame for everything from her older sister, Mrs S, not calling her precisely on time because junior sister in law has such a busy schedule and never answers the phone herself anyway. Or some other minor inconvenience because I had the temerity to marry into ‘her’ family. Not middle class enough I think. Or as one of my cousins remarked, having met her briefly when Mrs S and I got married. “Lady Muck.”

At home I’m trying to steer clear on the subject of the US Presidential elections because although I’m not necessarily pro-Trump, I just feel he’s a much better bet than Clinton. While Mrs S disagrees, having swallowed the narrative being fed to the public via the lamestream. Why do I feel this way? Because I’m betting that Clinton will be no better than Obama, whose presidency now looks like it will only leave scorched earth behind it. Clinton, from what I can see is in hock to special interests and overseas influences as well as the big dark question mark over FBI investigations (It’s not just the emails, folks) and what seems to be a serious health problem that will directly impact on her ability to adequately fulfil the role of US President. Anyone remember the premise of Ivan Reitman’s amusing political fantasy movie ‘Dave‘? Where a cynical and corrupt US President (Republican of course) is replaced with an underachieving lookalike after suffering a massive stroke, who ironically turns out to be a better president than the real deal.

Yet could life end up mimicking art? Because I still think Clinton will win the Presidency because she’s bought and sold. Every dirty trick in the electoral book will be brought to bear upon her behalf, and like the scheming fictional Queen Cersei the throne of the west will be hers.

Although I hope she won’t win the election because instead of representing the US population, she only represents her own interests and those of big business and foreign donors. It seems that this is not an opinion that is uncommon. As I’ve said before, we toured through twenty three States on our big US road trip in May and June, and saw plenty of support for all the other hopefuls, but not one lawn sign, bumper sticker, banner or advertisement supporting Clinton. Most of the overt support we saw was for Bernie Sanders, with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz banners coming in second. There was even a John Kasich billboard up in Utah, but nary a one for Clinton. Which tells me one thing; popular support won’t win this election. Big money will. Just like for Bush and Obama.

Anyway. More important things have been done, like getting my recipe for dry garlic salt and peppered pork ribs right. It’s so easy it’s ridiculous. A pound of frozen pork back ribs. Rub with a lick of Olive Oil. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder to taste. Give it a quick rub, sprinkle with black pepper, set the oven at about 325-350 Fahrenheit (Gas Mark 3 or 180 Celsius). Stick the rack of ribs in a roasting pan, put in oven and leave for ninety five minutes. Switch oven off after time is up. Remove ribs and leave out to cool. Or if you’re feeling brave, eat while they’re piping hot. “Do not change this recipe. It’s evil.” Says Mrs S.

Well, far be it from me…. Good or bad it’s all part of the randomness of existence.

Grumpiness

At present I have much to be annoyed about, and I’m letting my inner grump have free reign. Why? From people in the UK trying to screw me over for tens of thousands (Good luck with that one – I know what they’re up to and so do my lawyers) and ill relatives, to the happy clappy attitude of some of the locals, who, it turns out, are far more likely to die younger than I. Which is a relief. A man can only take so much ‘nice’ before he considers committing an uncharacteristic act of malice and mayhem. Which tends to upset local law enforcement, and that would never do.

However, there is hope, because a new study has found that being a curmudgeon makes you likely to live longer, be more creative, effective, and generally be more prepared against life’s little vicissitudes. Of which there are a plethora.

The reason for my grumpiness? Hunting for a new apartment. Bills. ‘Hate crime’ laws going back on the books, people you’ve never met acting like you’re their best friend, usual shit. Now Mrs S has just announced she’s had a belly full of ‘nice’ because she’s just asked me what country I’d like to move to because she’s pissed off with the stinking tide of Political Correctness over here in BC. And going back to the UK isn’t going to happen because we like our personal space too much. After a few moments reflection I said “New Zealand. South Island.” For six months, certainly. Okay, I’ll give it a try. This is one of those ‘can hack’ situations where I have to do the hacking. Hey, I got us through the hoops of immigrating to Canada. Five or six months in NZ during 2017-8 by comparison should be a snip.

Just got to work out how to store the car, as the Bike will definitely be coming with us.

Stuff I think about…

“What’s going on in that head of yours, Bill?” Asked my lady wife while we were out shopping this morning. Well, she was shopping, I was just waiting.
“What happens when a warp field collapses.” I replied honestly. Truly. I was bored and wanted to give the old brain cells a quick wander around the block, just for fun. “Just random stuff like that.” Actually I was thinking along the lines of conservation of energy, the possibility of dropping a starship headlong into a relatively particle dense environment like an asteroid belt, comets tail or Lagrange point. Never mind the possibility of quantum foam erosion. In essence, what might happen when a travelling mass transitions from one state within a protected bubble of space time into an uncontrolled near vacuum with no field capable of deflecting incoming masses.
Her reply? “I don’t think I’ll ask you in future.”

A cure for boredomIt’s just my way of switching off. When stress is overwhelming, some people go for a run, bury themselves in their work while others read a book, burst into tears, drink a lot or gorge themselves silly. Sometimes all of the aforementioned. Which don’t work for me. Work is slack, I can’t focus on writing or reading a book and going out for exercise just makes me worry even more about things I can’t control. Telling other people is also off the table, because watching their eyes glaze over always makes me feel worse. That and there are things which should not be shared because in my experience they give others ammunition against and leverage over you. So, I put my mind on a leash and go for a stroll down the path less travelled. Some do pixie dust and unicorns. I like the chilly honesty of deep space.

The reason behind this is having to deal with familial events that I cannot help with but am desperately concerned about, like financial issues of a close relative in the UK which directly affect me, and a near fatal illness of a relative in the fabled land of Oz. I could leap on a plane and arrive all full of vim and vigour, but would my presence achieve anything? No. The UK matters are being handled by my lawyers, who know what they are doing, and the business in Oz by some surgeons with pretty impressive CV’s. Who also know what they are doing. All I can do is worry and get in their way, and that doesn’t do me or anyone else any good, so I have to lead my thoughts down a more picturesque route to take my mind off the bad stuff.

Which is why I think about weird shit that no-one else wants to bother with. Just for fun.

Going fishing

Trout fishing the lakes with brother in law up island tomorrow, as it’s a long weekend and Monday is a public holiday over here. Today I’ll make time to pop over to Canadian Tire to stock up on Steelhead trout and Smallmouth bass lures, as most of my gear is for salt water. Brother in law is a fly fisherman. I prefer spinners. What with the recent warm weather, I think the fish will be hugging the bottom and be too sluggish to rise for a fly, so my lures have to go deep.

Mrs S and her sister are going to have a picnic nearby, so they can natter and criticise our casting technique. So, picnic basket is being readied, finger food prepared. Although to be honest perhaps it’s best to let sis-in-law buy her own picnic stuff. She can be a bit picky, and has to watch what she eats because of the Statins and low salt regime she’s on.

The only threat to our plans are the forecast thunderstorms for Monday. Oh well, if the fishing is a washout we know a number of places for a decent lunch. Which with sister in law is too often a tense affair in case we say something she doesn’t like. Which can be anything from our holiday plans to what we choose for lunch. Heavy sigh. She can be very hard work.

At least when you go fishing, no one fusses about what your opinions are on a given topic, nor do the fish care what creed or colour you are or what you’re doing next year. It’s a simple hunter gatherer interaction and refreshingly free of human-induced complications and opinions. Which is probably why fishing is so enjoyable. Mr Rea and I agree on this, so it must be one of those universal truth thingies.

TTFN

So…

Another day, another picnic. Today I have prepared Tacos and Southern Fried (In my case baked) chicken. Previous taste tests have been positive, so I’m sticking with the tried and trusted today.

Anyway; what’s new out in the wider world?

I see 50,000-odd (Some odder than others) people have been marching against Democracy in London. By comparison; London February 15th 2003, around 750,000 protested against the Iraq war. Didn’t make a spit of difference. 50,000 by comparison, some of whom (If you read the text) are not UK citizens and therefore not eligible to vote in a UK referendum, making the protest a mere drop in the ocean. Not that the anti-Iraq war protests really achieved anything. Blair still committed the UK’s armed forces. 50,000? As the French would say; “Call that a march? It’s not even a Janvier – pff”

Similarly; Mrs S’s Open University course on the EU is proving lively, with a great many sceptical voices in the forums. It’s an online course with people from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand taking part. She tells me that only one pro-EU voice spoke out to indulge in a single trollish ad hominem attack against everyone else, which was promptly ignored. I think the person who made the bitter remark subsequently left the course in a huff as they haven’t been heard from since. Or possibly even huff a minute. (Ouch. Sorry, I’ll get me coat)

Over here the Postal workers are going on strike next week. I will be using UPS myself for important documentation. They get my packages and letters where needed on time every time. Not in three bloody weeks (For Air mail no less!) I have some important legal documents to go to the UK next week and am not entrusting sensitive documents to Canada Post. I can’t afford to muck around either as Mrs S and I are off to a conference on Wednesday and have to get stuff notarised and sent before then. Costs me a hundred and fifty bucks a time for notarising and sending, but as the deal is time sensitive it’s worth the expense.

It’s also National Fishing Week. Which I’m going to miss this year (Again!). Never mind, when I’m back home on the 12th I intend to cast my cares on the waters regardless of whether there’s a festival or not.

Another day…

…Another few dollars, although not quite as many as I’d hoped. Still, not a bad result for all that. Money is complicated. People must be reimbursed for their services, taxes must be paid, and so the money goes round. The timing could have been better, but I’m not totally unhappy. Next time it will only be me with my finger on the financial trigger, so I’ll only have myself to blame if it all goes arse about face. However, I’ve looked at the options of my chosen course of action, and I’m fairly confident of a stable long term outcome. Short of a cataclysmic meteorite impact or the Earth suddenly opening up and swallowing the piece of rock my money will be accumulating in, or the world having a total civil and cultural meltdown of course. Which is the investment version of touching wood or other action meant to placate the gods of finance.

2017 Europe tripAnyway; with all the whining and bitching about Brexit, this weekend I thought I’d post something a little more uplifting and pro-Europe (Although not pro-EU). Or annoying, depending on how sore a loser you are. The road map for the Bill Sticker European tour of 2017. Ta-daa! (Click to enlarge)

Now as no plan survives contact with the enemy, the above map should only be viewed as a general guideline. All locations are open to change. No definitive bookings have been made, and only a deposit has been put on the machine we are to purchase. Proposed starting date is from the UK in the first week of May 2017, thence heading south and west into France, towards the Rhone Valley and may take us further East and North than illustrated on the return leg, depending upon weather. I’ve done my stint riding in all sorts of shit and slush over the last three decades and have decided it’s not much fun. Especially when even the most impermeable waterproof trousers (Why is it always the trousers?) start to fail and unwanted moisture begins to make its presence felt in all those embarrassing little places.

The only way our proposed tour can go tits up is if all the wronged Brussels bureaucrats have a major snit at anyone speaking English and decides visas and passports from predominantly English speaking countries are invalid. In which case I’ll have just flushed a great deal of money down the great white telephone to no good purpose. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Article 50 negotiations and changes will take a lot longer than two years because the lawyers will want all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Then said negotiations can’t even start until there’s a new Prime Monster in Number Ten Downing Street. Even if Brussels decides a total ban on all things and people British is a jolly super wheeze, we’ll have until at least September 2019 to shoehorn our trip in. Besides, we’re Canadian with certificates to prove it. With an EU fiendish PM no less. So will bluff our way through somehow.

I’m not going to find myself in the position my dear departed old mother found herself in around 11th June 1940. She was touring with a band in Italy at the outbreak of World War II and found herself with a whole train load of British, French and other refugees at the French / Italian border, having been kicked out by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist government. “Suitcases all over the place.” As she often gleefully recounted her temporary predicament. How she got out of Vichy France she never said, but I think she escaped as one of the civilians taken out by Operation Ariel, which is the unsung cousin of the famous Dunkirk evacuation.

Not that anything like that is going to happen to we 21st century travellers. We might get a little unhappiness from border guards, but frankly I think their attitude will be; “We’ve had your money – now piss off.” Which is fine by me.