Sunrise, 8:03 AM, Sunset 4:14 PM and counting (only 3 days until the Winter Solstice).
I needed a breather today. Did our weekly videoconference with my parents (although the Internet was a little flakey and we lost the connection a few times), a visit to Granville Island Market. Pork loin stew tonight. Sunny again today, but the forecast is for snow and rain all week long to come.
Some Odds and Ends
I’ve become aware that Canadians (or at least British Columbians) abbreviate words that we’re not used to: felts for felt-tipped markers, homo for homogenized milk (Matt noted this one a long time ago), a parkade for a parking garage, a garburator for a garbage disposal, stats means statutory holiday and appy’s which are short for appetizers. That last one l thought was fun, especially when I saw a club on Granville Street the other day with a sign that read ‘Appy Hour’.
Another difference: Bank Hours and Mail Delivery days: Banks are open late, till about 7 PM at most branches. Mail delivery (which here is called ‘Postal Delivery;) does not take place on the weekend. No Saturday or Sunday, so get those cards and letters off by pickup on Friday or be prepared to wait.
The Canadian version of the US’s Social Security program is called Social Insurance program. I’m currently waiting for my first SIN card (Social Insurance Number — I had a really easy-to-remember Social Security Number, so I hope this new number is a good one). I was pleased by this difference because the Canadian government would have a much harder time bamboozling the electorate the way Bush and his henchman have tried with calling Social Security an ‘Investment Program’, and trying to have every citizen put money into a private investment account that would then serve as Social Security in their retirement years (and of course, if the Stock market goes down or even stays the same, your so-called ‘Social Security Account’ is potentially worth less than you contributed to it or worse, depleted). The way FDR intended it is the more explicit Canadian designation; Social Security was an Insurance Policy that everyone pays into. Your money right now pays for your parents and grandparents. Your children and grandchildren’s generation will pay for you. It’s not ‘every private investor for himself’. We all benefit from the social safety net which is born out of the concept of the Common Good. Call me crazy, call me a Liberal, or in this case, call me a Canadian.
Finally, Pam and I both noticed that at this time of year, around here people tend to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ask ‘Are you all ready for Christmas?’ far more often. Apparently the now famous ‘War on Christmas’ in the US (which is just another one of those Religious Conservative militant rallying cries) never took place here. Unlike Mr. Bill O’ Reilly, I am not enraged if someone says a phrase to me that assumes (or more to the point, does not assume) a religious affiliation. So, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Matunda Ya Kwanzaa’ and finally, may the noodley appendage of the Flying Spaghetti Monster touch you and yours this holiday season.