Home In the news Musings: sharing my journey as it unfolds daily

Musings: sharing my journey as it unfolds daily

We missed our family Christmas.

If everyone of mom’s and dad’s family had been able to make it, we’d have 50 there. Sometimes, we invite a cousin (born in the west but lives down here) and their family. We rent a place. It is usually in early January. Not everyone is available on any particular weekend before Christmas.

Everyone brings a present and although the value is supposed to be $10 to $15, I am sure some might have a more significant value.

We, no matter the age, sit in a circle. The oldest gets the first trip to the gift table, picks whatever he wants (I am the third oldest  – a brother-in-law goes first). We watch him open it then the next oldest, a sister, gets the opportunity of taking his or picking another present and opening it. This ritual goes on with each following person having the chance to take any other presents that may have been opened.

Sometimes, someone has read a Christmas story with the words left and right in it. Each time a left or right is mentioned, the gifts move in that direction. There are a lot more rights than left in the story.

Then, since the gift you wanted may be across the room, we go around the circle again and each person gets to do an exchange to get what one wants.

There is a prize for the best wrapped. I won it this past year. I printed off pictures of our families and plastered them all over the wrapping. My prize was a coffee thermos.

We play games. Some are one on one and others are team play. The best one with the most laughs is taking the red (Solo) drinking glasses (plastic cups) and making a pyramid and then tidily dismantling it as you race against three other people.

Everyone brings too much food. We gorge. We laugh! We cleanup. We say a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone and after 5 or 6 hours,we are ready to go home.

With a restriction on even a family Christmas (with more than 5), our little group got to enjoy the Christmas presents. We have a little grand-daughter who turned ten on the day before Christmas in 2019. A few months ago, she began to tell people she was eleven. So on her birthday, we teased her about being 12. She said she was 11. When it comes to patty-wacks, some of us seem to lose track pretty quick. I think she must have got 30 or 40 in some cases.

She gave me the best present. It was a sealed plastic bag with a litre of water inside. She floated it in the aquarium to get a balance in water temperature. In due course, she got a knife, cut a hole in the side of it and two of the nicest little fish emerged from it to intermingle with the other six. Thank you very much Mazie.

I was reading an article about collecting the methane  exhaust from cattle to lower the consequences of Global Warming and wondered about the animal population in the world. There is also the drive to develop vegetable based meats, artificial milk and other products to rid us of these methane polluting animals.

Damian Carrington the Environmental editor for the Guardian wrote an article in 2018, “Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation.”

The Living Planet Index, produced for WWF by the Zoological Society of London, uses data on 16,704 populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, representing more than 4,000 species, to track the decline of wildlife. Between 1970 and 2014, the latest data available, populations fell by an average of 60%. Four years before, the decline was 52%.

Other recent analyses have revealed that humankind has destroyed 83% of all mammals and half of plants since the dawn of civilisation and that, even if the destruction were to end now, it would take 5-7 million years for the natural world to recover.

A peer-reviewed article from Science Direct points out that 100 years ago in 1920, there were 485,000 climate related deaths (flood, droughts, storms, wildfire and extreme temperatures). The graph declines in every year since showing over a 96% reduction. In 2020, there were 8,086 such deaths.

In a best selling book by Bjorn Lomborg named False Alarm, there is an analysis of how much climate change will affect us by the end of the century if we do nothing. The answer is 3.6% of global GDP. This means that instead of seeing incomes rise to 450% by 2100, you may ‘only’ see an increase of 434%.

Climate change may be a real challenge, but increased wealth and adaptive capacity vastly overshadow any negative impact. Climate panic crowds out smart climate policies. You can read the first 25p free at http://ow.ly/HUkU50A9v1o.

To replace the Carbon motive power (gasoline and diesel), the UK will take 37 million tons of Lithium just for the batteries, at a cost of $16000 per ton with that price rising massively on scarcity. There is not enough lithium, cobalt, nickel & rare earths to convert the US, let alone the world.

A single electric car battery weighing 500 kg requires extracting and processing some 250,000 kg of materials AND Toyota CEO agrees with Elon Musk: “We don’t have enough electricity to electrify all the cars.”

50-50 draws – At the World Juniors on Monday night, Jonathon Coutoreille won the 50/50 draw $130,412. There are no fans tin attendance so to enter your go to hockeycanada.ca/5050.

A couple of years back, we took our grandsons to a Toronto Blue Jay game. There you had to go to certain kiosks to purchase your ticket. You could watch the totals grow as more people participated. It was predicted that the prize money would be approximately a certain amount. It was slow getting there. My grandsons were guarding my ticket. Finally, it reached the predicted amount. I told them they could have anything over that amount. I guess, the purchasers got more anxious. The number grew. By the time of the draw, had I won, the grands would have made more than me. If  you had left, apparently you can go unto the website and see what the winning number was and claim your prize then.

Margaret Ann and I (me sounds better) were in Camrose to watch the Alberta Curling finals. In the 50/50 draw, sellers walked around with little machines and when you paid, either by cash or with a credit card, the hand held printer gave you a slip of paper with your ticket number. The changing grand total was displayed on a screen at the end of the arena. The draw time was announced to be at the end of the final curling game. It seemed that many spectators had already left but the winner was there.

I thought that was a great way of running the draw but for some reason, this did not meet the Ontario Lottery rules.

A recent Leger survey found that 50 per cent of Canadians have had more difficulty hearing now that conversational partners are wearing masks, It is even a higher number for people wearing hearing aids (76 per cent), people don’t realize how much they rely on lip-reading. Masks muffle speech, make sounds softer and eliminate high-pitched sounds (s, h, f, t, and th) which are common in the English language.  Some mask materials impact speech more than others. The best ones are the disposable blue medical masks.

Another problem is people losing their hearing aids.  Hearing aids (rather expensive for their size) get caught on the elastic. Hearing aids do have serial numbers and those who have lost the devices may contact an audiologist so they can help track the item. Apparently, there’s also an app for finding lost hearing aids.

So Charles – did you and yours have a MC and a HNY?