2020 started off as planned and then deteriorated to a quiet time back home at the acreage. If this is normal it will be okay, if lonely and a bit on the dull side. We are grateful we and our family are all healthy. My university gap year turned into thirty years. Hopefully the Covid gap year limits itself to about a year.
January – We started the year by winterizing the water system and then leaving for Edmonton to fly to Nicaragua where we helped a bit with Medfest, the annual Way of the Cross, medical outreach.
November – Got to use snow blower for first time. Read a lot.
We can’t be with family but get nice pictures of the kids making Christmas cookies and other activities. We have a few Zoom calls. Drove to Edmonton and back on a warmish day and exchanged gifts and visited briefly in the driveway. The days are short and the drive is long so you experience both a sunrise and a sunset.
Mostly hung out and read, but managed to get some walking in and most days brought two pieces of firewood from the north edge of the property. That takes about twenty-five minutes and on many of the days we continued walking on our paths. The snow is not bad if you keep it walked on.
In the late 1980's we moved to Vancouver for eight months to work on the design of and equipment purchase for the pulp mill in Meadow Lake. We had rented a place in Richmond but stayed downtown at a hotel until our furniture arrived. The first night was a Wednesday and we drove out through the unseasonable February snow to the Richmond church we were going to attend. The kids attended Awana. I joined the choir that night, as well. A couple of weeks later visiting with somebody after service they mentioned they had only been attending since August not a long time like we had been. What do you mean? We’ve only been here two weeks. But you’re in the choir. We are only here for eight months we don’t have time to wait to get involved.
I have participated in church choirs a bit both before and since. This year was a bit different. The choir for the Christmas concert was virtual. Dwayne sent the words and a recording of John singing the baseline. Normally if I am standing next to a good base I go with the flow and quite often nail it. On my own not so much. Even with the base line recording in my ear I couldn’t even come close. It was dreadful. After a couple of fruitless days of making new videos of me singing poorly alone I realized it was not going to get better. Dwayne said send it anyway and graciously included it in the final mix. The others drowned me out and the final result was not bad. The Christmas Eve service was on line. Here. The kids, as usual stole the show.
Christmas Day we drove over to Debbie and Ernie’s, presented them with a cake and ice cream at their doorway. After standing on their porch and singing "Happy Birthday Jesus" we retreated to our warm car and drove home. Instead of turkey and trimmings we had pizza. Pizza? How keto is that? Very. If you do it right.
Tips: Turn the pan over and trace around it with a pencil on the parchment paper to get a better cutting edge experience. Or, fold the parchment paper four times, put the pointed end in the middle of the pan and cut accordingly. I found that distributing portions of the crust material around the pan and pressing it down with the back of a fork worked better than dumping it all in the middle and using my hands. The goal is to have an even thickness out to the edges of the pan when you’re done. Our oven seems to do a good job with fifteen minutes at 450 for making the crust and, later, when the toppings are on, to go 10 minutes at 425.
One-minute low carb muffins – ran across this keto recipe. It’s quick and easy. 60 seconds in the microwave. 30 seconds to set. Run a knife around it. Dump it out on the plate and slather with butter. Tips: works better with a bigger mug than the first one I used. Put the mug on a saucer. You’re going to need one for the muffin anyway.
Ordered Allulose to replace the dwindling supply on hand. Allulose is an artificial sweetener that I like. Some sugar substitutes can cause spikes in insulin and the same biochemical reactions you are trying to avoid. Others have poor gut reactions in some users and others are suspected of long-term negative side effects. My understanding of allulose suggests it as a reasonable sweetener while on a ketogenic diet and that it may actually reduce glucose levels. But what do I know. Not much. So don’t take advice from me. You may want to do some research if you were not aware of Allulose before now. It was new to me this year. Here's Peter Attia's take on Allulose.
Books of This Month
The Fifteen PercentCanada LinkUSA Link is a biography of Terry Giles with a foreword by Dr. Ben Carson. It is in the self-help genre, but I read it more for the insights into growing up in the gang world of Los Angeles and overcoming that environment.
Jack Conner's second book in the Atomic Sea series, The Engine of RuinCanada LinkUSA Link is a phasmagoric science fiction with heroes and villains and a trail of adventure that keep's you wanting to read the next book in the series.
I first ran across Dr. Jason Fung on YouTube. He is a Canadian medical doctor specializing in kidney disease and has the ability to take complex subjects and make them accessible to us non-experts. The Cancer Code: A Revolutionary New Understanding of a Medical MysteryCanada LinkUSA Link stayed interesting from front to back depite its dismal subject matter. As a matter of note, I borrowed this particular book from the library. Many of the other books I mention were bought on sale through BookBub daily e-mails. If a book interests you there are other options than the price shown on the thumbnail. Click on the link and see if it is cheaper on Kindle or if there are second hand paperbacks available or ask Amazon to notify if it comes on special.
Artic RescueCanada LinkUSA Link is a World War 2 memoir, a firsthand account of the sinking of HMS Glorious. The Glorious was what passed as an aircraft carrier at the time. Basically a cruiser with a flight deck built on top. It was fatally outgunned by a pair of German battleships off the coast of Norway and the crew ended up in what passed as life rafts at the time - rubber air-filled ovals with open web bottoms. The author sat with his mates waist deep in the frigid water of the North Atlantic and waited for rescue.
Crisis (Kelly Turnbull book 5)Canada LinkUSA Link by Kurt Schlichter is the lastest Kelly Turnbull novel. The first four are available through the Meadow Lake library. After I read the first four for free I thought I owed the author something. Your mileage may vary. If you are interested in outrageously funny right wing fiction about the dualing Blue and Red states after the fictional break-up of America check one out.
Andrew Grant is the pen name of Lee Child's son. Andrew collaborated on the latest Jack Reacher novel. His novel RunCanada LinkUSA Link is a move right along corporate espionage adventure novel.
Dad’s Maybe BookCanada LinkUSA Link by Tim O’Brien is a collection of essays that Tim wrote over a period of years as advice to his sons. I found it a bit repetitive and disjointed. According to Tim he couldn't get up the courage to not go to the Vietnam war. it seems to me that once he had been there he never really left. I'll check out his first book on that war. It's probably better. Will let you know.
Before Michael Chricton was a famous author he developed his craft writing under the name of John Lange. After his death they were re-released with both names on the lurid covers. BinaryCanada LinkUSA Link is the first of several. Okay writing. You're not going to gain weight from high calorie ideas.
The Blind SpotCanada LinkUSA Link by Michael Robertson is a cyber punk thriller. First in a series. Usually sold cheap or given away to get you hooked. I was.
The Opening ChaseCanada LinkUSA Linkby Cap Daniels is a brain candy espionage and adventure story. Again, sold for cheap or free to get you hooked on the rest of the series. I wasn't. The book was okay as a stand alone.
Rhysa Walker's The Chronos Files series on time travel is entertaining on a winter's evening. Time’s EdgeCanada LinkUSA Link is book two.
The DentistCanada LinkUSA Link by Tim Sullivan is a British Police procedural. DS Cross, the lead detective, is on the spectrum. The author keeps you guessing right up to the end.
Ken Follett started writing thrillers, but is now known for writing historical fiction. Fall of GiantsCanada LinkUSA Link is the first of a trilogy covering the span of the twentieth century. It was eye opening to me in its coverage of the first world war and how people were shamed into joining up and then led to their deaths by totally incompetent leadership. The rise of Bolshevism in Russia has parallels today in North America. Spoiler alert: it didn't end well.
Tim Sullivan's The CyclistCanada LinkUSA Link is another British police procedural with DS Cross. Suspensful page-turner.