The thought that another decade was ending really snuck up on me. My 5th decade on this planet is coming to a close and my 6th decade is ascending quickly on me. My father was born late in the 1920’s; 2020 will be his 11th decade, and my mother enters her 10th decade, I wonder how they feel about it. Perhaps my life has been more hectic than normal this year; it may have been a year of survival event by event, the realization that we were heading into the 2020’s did not hit me until a week ago.
My year-ends used to be marked by tearing out the year end music charts from the newspapers. I used to buy all the newspapers to make sure I didn’t miss a single one – whether I listened to that radio station or not. Now, there is not a souvenir music chart to be seen in print by December 31st. I hope the years of charts I have saved will survive and will demonstrate how different it was only a few years ago. I hope that in the newspapers I buy on December 31st this year I might find a “end of the decade” best chart.
It was a political banner year for me, and this is not just by judging success and accomplishments, but by measuring what I have learned about the people in politics, whether they are friends or foes. As great as the 8 weeks in Barrie-Innisfil was, I am sure some of my plans may have run counter to what was done before and not have been what were expected. I can say in all honesty that I learned more from the volunteers than they would have got back from me. The volunteers were fabulous!
The work done for John Brassard in re-electing him by almost doubling his margin of victory was a phenomenal experience; however, we had to temper that with the Conservatives not forming government, it was a difficult few weeks to get through. When all the staff came back to Ottawa from across Canada, I could tell many of my colleagues felt the same way. Happy to have won, but still sitting in Opposition.
The challenge I had to work through (and still do) was that both the Liberals and the NDP lost seats but there seemed to be no pressure for either Trudeau or Singh to step down. Rather it was Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, someone I have known for several years, that made the choice to step aside. Leadership races can be exciting, but they can be divisive as well – I don’t think we every really resolved differences following the previous conservative leadership took place in 2017. I hope the 2019 race fixes that.
It has been quite a year seeing friends and former co-workers deal with challenging health situations. Some have been comfortably sharing publicly their trials, tribulations, successes and relapses. I am grateful for them for sharing everything as I am more than happy to offer my prayers for good health and best outcomes. Sadly, the list gets longer each year.
This year I added my name to the list as I had a moment with prostate cancer. I am not one to say “f*@k Cancer”, I know others are and that’s OK. My father has beaten prostate cancer – I knew I would be a likely candidate to have the signs and chance that I would be diagnosed positive. Like others, I had to go through weeks waiting for the for the ultrasound and then the biopsy and further for the results. I received good news, of the samples taken for the biopsy cancer was found to be in one of the 13 samples – and at less than 1%.
I got lucky, so many others don’t, and I am so thankful for outcome I was given a few months ago.
Turkey in our home is an event, an all-day event. With thanks from my former Mother-in-Law we have never had a bad turkey at Christmas. The day starts with the turkey in a brine, overnight if the turkey was frozen or for 5 hours if it’s a fresh turkey. A few years ago, we started getting our turkey from the Glebe Meat Market, I was introduced to them through Daybreak Housing. Daybreak would receive turkeys as a donation for our tenants Christmas dinner and I would cook one of the five birds.
This year we began before 7am; the turkey goes in the brine; the stuffing is prepared and by 11:30am the bird was in the oven. It was stuffed properly and all that we needed to wait for the 4 hours cooking time and the proper temperature was achieved, but that seemed to be a problem. After what was an hour longer than normally required to cook, we took the turkey out.
Everything else was ready to be eaten, the turkey seemed to have taken its time.
The craving of the turkey proved to be not only a problem but also a resolution. For a 16 lb. turkey it seemed to be all skin and bones. Where was the meat, where was the juicy breast meat? It seems to have melted away I was quite concerned – dinner was going to be a disaster. More eyes were obviously needed.
Four of us stood and looked the turkey, we were perplexed – something was not right. In fact, something was not the right side up! Maybe I was just not thinking, or not remembering or really had no idea what I was doing but I had placed the turkey upside down in the roasting pan – what?! The breasts weren’t able to cook and brown sitting on the bottom of the roasting pan.
We managed to get well fed with correctly cooked stuffing and turkey by carving the meat after we flipped the bird and popped it back in the oven for another 30 minutes. It was a miracle and delicious! I know I am guaranteed to be reminded of this for years to come!
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