"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It Will Get Better

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Accountability...The Theme Of This Post.":

Have you ever considered your knowledge and experience to be a disadvantage because quite clearly you are seriously challenged to get your fellow members on side, Last term there was no hope at all with all the personal attacks, animosity and jealousy that your knowledge garnered, This term the air around your circles is smelling of sweet congeniality and willingness to do what’s right for the tax payers yet still you are faced with resistance to cut the fat, the frills, the 0 value added initiatives and get back to basic government over a mere 50 + thousand minions
It is not a new experience.  Fighting for common sense to prevail has,surprisingly, never been easy.

The best years were when I was Mayor. 

Obviously  knowledge and experience would have to be seen as an asset. It's  another one of those things that never change. 

The anomaly we have had in two recent elections was  a huge turnover in council membership.

The norm is for most incumbents to be re-elected.  One or two newbies  have the benefit of  obscurity while learnig the process.They have  an opportunity to  acquire  skills without drawing attention to the lack thereof.

They still  have to exercise judgment and vote.  Experienced Councillors would still have differences in the past. But background to issues would rarely be challenged.

Municipal staff  generally represent continuity. Institutional history resides with long experience. We do not currently  have  that advantage. Upheaval and disruption have been the operative terms.

Current  Councillors spend an inordinate amount of time in discussion with staff. I can't fault them. They dont have experience and they are trying to acquire it fast

Time is of the essence.  So for now, influence of the administration is out of whack.

Council's  role is authority and control. How is that exercised if constantly seeking advice from the people under council's authority.A council collectively light on knowledge and experience is a definite disadvantage.

Normally even that might not  be too severe a problem.

In the last term we lost experienced staff.  We lost continuity.  We lost our institutional history.

At the same time we picked up  a reputation for a being a bad place of employment.

Ontario has four hundred and forty-four  municipalities.It's a family of sorts. Bad news travels fast.

We are in the process of rebuilding a reputation. Rebuilding is harder than building.

I  do at times despair of ever returning to our traditional political character. Aurora has always been feisty But perish the thought of not even trying.

We do have a council that means to do a good job.

I am nothing if not persistent.

And I have you.

You must tell your Mayor and Councillors, regularly, what you expect. Call them. E-mail them. Greet them in the street and in the supermarket.

Wherever you see them, engage them.  Remind them why they were elected.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Off To A Budget Meeting

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Lively Exchange":

It looks as though the bulk of Aurora taxpayers don't have a word of protest. Was nothing learned over the past few years ? Guess not. Ignorance can be bliss.


I don't agree that the bulk of Aurora taxpayers don't have a word of protest That's why they gave me the job again despite all that was done to  destroy my reputation.

Certainly a great deal was learned over the past few years from the blogs which would not have been known otherwise.

But there is  truth in the last sentence.

When people don't believe they have any control over events,they make a conscious choice not to pay attention. That would be the fifty per cent who regularly do not participate in municipal elections.

I find myself irritated by the amount of  time and space given to events in foreign lands over which I have no control, at the expense of events happening right here in our own neck of the woods.

We had a fantastic turn-out to the Santa Claus  parade on Saturday evening.Thousands of people lined the route. I can hardly believe the number of small children we have in our community once again.

I'm off to a day long budget session ,starting at nine o'clock,finishing at four.Hopefully. Seven hours of hammering and chiselling at figures is a tedious task.Not so tedious, if a difference is being made.

Catch you later

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Recipe Number One

Cooking skills must be kept honed. I don't cook much nowadays. Meals for one and the odd time two, don't call for much activity in the kitchen But my inclinations haven't changed and I'm always happy to cook a favourite for the  special people in my life.

I think the one everyone enjoys most is  meatballs with barbecue sauce.

They are uncomplicated but work intensive. Simple but not inexpensive.

The recipe calls for:

Two pounds of lean ground beef.

" " " ground pork

" ' " ground veal

1.5 cups of finely chopped onion

3 cups of fine dry breadcrumbs.

4 teaspoons salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp nutmeg

6 eggs

3 cups of milk

1 tbspn Worcester sauce.

The breadcrumbs shouldn't be too dry. Not store-boughten. You gotta make them yourself. From bread no more than one day old.

Onions must be really finely chopped otherwise the shape won't come to-gether.

But not chopped to a pulp. Don't use the magic bullet.

Add the ingredients to a bowl in the order written above. Blend seasoning into breadcrumbs first.

Thoroughly whip eggs and milk to a light froth. These meat balls are like small souffles.

They can be made in two phases. First the mixture, placed overnight in the frig and cooked in the morning.

They are better kept warm from cooking ,than cooled and re-heated.

The bowl is more like a basin. The meat goes in first, the onions. the breadcrumbs,the seasoning. eggs and milk are added last. If your wrists are not strong enough to mix with a fork until thoroughly blended, use your hands. They will be cold but the ingredients must be fully blended.

Stretch plastic film over the surface of the mixture and tuck it in at the sides to keep air out. But don't press it down. The beaten milk and the eggs are what makes the mixture light, texture fluffy and the  flavour even..

Place two large plates side by side and keep them sprinkled with flour and salt.  Heat oil to cover the bottom of a large electric fry pan. Or use two pans on the stove.

Heat the crock pot.

Spread double thickness of paper towel on the counter nearby.

I use a teaspoon and the hollow created by closing my thumb for shaping the meatballs. Drop a number on to the flour, roll , then shale in cupped fingers to remove excess flour. Don't put too many in the pan at the same time. You need room to move the little morsels about to cook and crisp evenly.

A single meat ball doesn't take long to cook. But it will take a couple of hours for the whole recipe.

As you move along. more should be waiting  to be dropped into the pan, moved about, lifted out with a slotted spoon, dropped on to paper towel to drain and transferred to the crock pot. It should be on low heat.

The pan needs to be scraped often to remove crispy crumbs of flour and juice from the bottom and leave a clear surface for a fresh batch

The meat balls will stay hot and juicy in the crock pot for as long as they last. Which after the crowd arrives, is not long.

Critical is keeping an eye on grandsons to make sure they keep others in mind.

It would never do to have to say "I had meatballs but you got here too late."

To be sure,there's little fear of that happening. It's an ample supply, though seldom are there any left. My grandson Patrick Buck,the artist,comes from Ottawa for my meatballs and of course to visit his family.

The sauce is  regular barbecue. Onions chopped and cooked to golden translucency in a pot. Ketchup and water,vinegar and lemon juice. Worcester sauce and mustard, brown sugar,salt and pepper and chopped celery and chopped green pepper all flavoured to taste with the vegetable pieces small and translucent.

The sauce can be made the night before. Brought to a fast boil, turned down immediately and left to simmer gently like jam, to a sticky consistency,sufficient to cling to a delicate juicy morsel of meat on a stick dipped halfway, the pan preferably kept hot.

Savoury cooking over a period of hours means smells waft from the house.

Those who know what's cooking are welcomed by the  aroma  the moment they step from the car.

It's a labour of love.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Golden Jubilee

ST Joseph's School on Glass Drive, Aurora,started with four classrooms and last Saturday.celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, an elementary, French Immersion School with Library,a gymnasium, a band and several awards to its credit. a roll-call of principals,hundreds of class pictures and fifty years of striving.

Five hundred people attended and for several hours on a cold and blustery day, the place was hopping with happy, excited celebrants.

A video retrospect of significant aspects of the last fifty years of history was presented. We've come a long way, baby.

Being part of a community means lives touch. Joys and sorrows are shared. Tragedy endures and leaves its mark.

Fifty years produce a substantial roll-call of absent friends.

Which I cannot bear to speak about and no good could come of it anyway.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another Buck Gathering

At my house last Sunday. Five grandchildren were missing for various reasons but  numbers continue to grow.

Four generations were present. The intent was for a garden/pool  party and it happened but interspersed with several downpours.

The Tacoma twins were here. At two and a bit, they are the youngest . They were born here and this was  their second  summer in Canada.It  was their  third family gathering. Thoroughly  at home in the crowd.

Cheyenne and Abigail . nine and five,are  great -grandcildren from Bradford. They also know where they belong.

The two youngest grandchildren are twelve or thereabouts.

When  my first grandchild was born, my youngest child was fourteen

I was twenty-one years old when my first child was born.

That means the family has always been young.

I didn't plan  seven children. I didn't plan not to. I never thought of a child as anything but a welcome addition .The financial aspect was never a factor .

My children are  good parents, constant partners. Their  children are lively,respectful and not estranged.

They respond to the call when the date and place is circulated. They enjoy  each other's company.

The whole adds up to a substantial body of experience in one person's life. Mine.

When someone half or a third my age presumes to suggest.I might be out of touch with modern times
I have  a very negative reaction.

None of my own would ever suggest it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sick Since Sunday

Nine little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and cracked his head
Mamma called the doctor
The doctor said;
No more monkeys jumping on the bed.

 Actually...  the doctor said.  Intravenous.
Mama said no, sick people at emergency
Foul smellimg yellow pills might do
The  size of small  bananas
Swelling down. Infection reduced.
No more monkeys jumping on the bed
Eight more days of pills instead 
In the meantime, no  Blog post.
Better not...Mama said.
Might say something bad or badder than bad
Things might look better in the morning..


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Twins Are Here

For a few days.The place is jiving. I do not remember two year olds being as fast and fascinating as these two are.

 I did not have twins. I thought I could imagine what it's like to have twins. But you can't really imagine what it's really like to have twins.

Having two children close in age is not the same. The older one, no matter how little older, always knows they are older and more is expected of them.

Twins do not have that element of difference. There's only one mother Each knows their rights.

In a short  working career before she became a mother, Vanessa was a teacher in Korea for some months. The children were pre-school . Since she did not speak Korean,  the objective was to introduce  them to  English. Obviously  that  was a challenge.

Since  the twins are first children, there was  no experience with  mothering a single child.Twins are the norm.For them, twins are the norm. For someone watching, twins are amazing.

They are not identical. They are not alike. Not in looks, personality,size, agility, sound or anything one  can imagine. But they are twins. They  have been to-gether every moment of their existence.Nothing they do or that happens to them, happens separately.They have shared every experience.

They are happy, healthy, boisterous, inquisitive, quick and expressive.Twice as much in each as a single child. It seems being two has that effect.

They are a joy to watch. Which is a good thing. Because nothing much else can get done.

I don't have time to edit either