Mom’s recipes

The other day, my mom got ants in her pants and decided to make her lemon chiffon cake in a bundt pan. Except she left out the lemon and added chocolate! Chocolate chiffon? Maybe. What really surprised me is her recipe book. I’ve seen it every time she’s baked ever since I can remember, but for some reason, I saw it with new eyes this time.

20180408-130233 4m6c4703.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 17-40mm 1:4L @ 40mm, 1/80, f/4, 1600 ISO

Isn’t that something? Talk about a relic. I just love it.

I’m sick, but it could be much worse…

I feel terrible. I’m sick of feeling terrible and I’m upset that I haven’t written in a while so here I am, against my better judgement.

This winter has been terrible in terms of illness. Most people I know have been sick multiple times. I can’t remember if this is my third or fourth time.

It started with a sore throat. The next day it got worse. I described it as a raging sore throat. The day after is was somewhat better but I thought it best to get things checked out. Happily, it wasn’t the throat infection I was expecting, but rather it is 98% likely to be some unknown viral thing that my immune system would take care of in a week or so.

So what is the other 2% chance? Strep! The dreaded streptococcal pharyngitis1. They took a throat swab and told me that if it was strep throat, they would be in touch in a day or two. Happily, that time has expired.

What blew my mind is something else the doctor told me about strep. He told me that not only is strep throat miserable, but it can lead to much more serious things. Chief among them is acute rheumatic fever2. This is particularly nasty because it can lead to rheumatic heart disease. The body attacks the strep bacteria of course, but this can cause an autoimmune reaction resulting in the body attacking the heart itself. According to Wikipedia,

Chronic rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is characterized by repeated inflammation with fibrinous repair. The cardinal anatomic changes of the valve include leaflet thickening, commissural fusion, and shortening and thickening of the tendinous cords. It is caused by an autoimmune reaction to Group A β-hemolytic streptococci (GAS) that results in valvular damage. Fibrosis and scarring of valve leaflets, commissures and cusps leads to abnormalities that can result in valve stenosis or regurgitation.3

So you catch a bacterial illness and it damages your heart! How messed up is that? Even worse is that rheumatic fever is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in India and sub-Saharan Africa4. That’s astonishing to me.

Happily, I’ll be having none of that since what I have isn’t strep. Thank goodness!

And a word of warning … if you follow those links to Wikipedia, be ready for photos of infected throats. I don’t recommend it.


  1. Wikipedia, “Streptococcal pharyngitis,” retrieved April 8, 2018
  2. Wikipedia, “Acute rheumatic fever,” retrieved April 8, 2018
  3. Wikipedia, “Streptococcal pharyngitis: Rheumatic heart disease,” retrieved April 8, 2018
  4. Wikipedia, “Streptococcal pharyngitis: Prognosis,” retrieved April 8, 2018

Mom, again

In this latest instalment of ‘crazy shit my mother says,’ I’m sitting and watching television when the phone rings. Mom picks it up and from her side of the conversation I figure out one of her medical specialists is calling to book an appointment for next year. Given that it’s March, it’s a long lead-time, but not unexpected for reasons I won’t get into here.

Before she hangs up, she says to the medical admin person in a cheery voice, “Okay, I’ll see you then … if I’m still alive!”

No more daylight saving time

I wrote my MPP a couple of days ago:

From: Rick Pali
To: Wayne Gates
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2018 6:01 PM
Subject: DST

Wayne, it’s time to ditch daylight saving time. How can we make this happen? The two time-changing events each year are simply not worth the benefits we get in exchange…

Rob Nicholson has made me accustomed to no response or having to fight to get one, so I was delighted to receive a reply today:

From: Wayne Gates
To: Rick Pali
Date: March 14, 2018 at 5:45:30 PM EDT
Subject: RE: DST

Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for reaching out to MPP Gates on this important issue, and for sharing your concerns with MPP Gates. He had an opportunity to review your email, and has added your concerns to his notes on this file.

As you may know., NDP MLA Thomas Dang in Alberta recently introduced a Private Members’ Bill to abolish Daylight Saving Time in Alberta. He is currently leading a public consultation on this bill across the province. He has received widespread support from families with young children and members of the agricultural sector. I can assure you we will continue to follow this issue.

Kindest regards,

Shannon Mitchell
Constituency Assistant – Casework Manager
Wayne Gates MPP (Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie)
Critic for Transportation

I’m glad I wrote because I knew nothing of Thomas Dang and his Private Members’ Bill. He ran a survey1 and 82% of the 26,000 recipients wanted daylight savings time to end. I absolutely believe that. I’m not sure I know anyone who would be sad to see it go. The most ridiculous issue2 people have raised is the start time of hockey games. Save us from the pox of sports.

The only possible issue is some areas considering dumping the change like the idea of staying on DST all year rather than maintaining standard time. In effect, they’re moving one time zone to the west. If most or all states, provinces, and territories stop changing from standard time to DST and back every year, those areas staying on saving time are going to mess things up. I suspect they’ll also revert to standard time eventually.

I hope the results of the public consultation are positive and Alberta makes the change. Then I hope we in Ontario quickly follow.


  1. Michelle Bellefontaine, “‘We need more time’: Alberta bill to end daylight saving time on hold,” CBC News. April 3, 2017
  2. Daniel Stilwell, “Alberta Daylight Saving Time bill to get further study,” Global News. April 5, 2017