Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Terrorist Attack on Ottawa

The day is gray and gloomy, which means little electricity or internet on this solar-powered homestead. Therefore, the news came to me via phone text.

A terrorist attack in Canada? In Ottawa? At Parliament Hill? Surely there was a mistake. I mean, we live in CANADA. I can remember during 9/11 when some were concerned that Ottawa would be hit. I lived there and thought "No way. Not Ottawa. Not Canada." (And yes, I realize that it has happened before, but not in a long time. The Turkish Embassy in Ottawa was attacked in 1985.)

No mistake.

Like many who have lived in our amazing national capital, I have spent plenty of time on Parliament Hill and it is easy for me to imagine. And yet, at the same time, it is utterly impossible for me to grasp.

CBC sums it up as: "Parliament Hill is under attack after a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of Parliament's Centre Block. CBC has confirmed the soldier has died, one gunman has been killed and the city's downtown core remains in lockdown."

Dear God, please be with the soldier's family. Dear God, there has been a terrorist attack in Canada. A soldier, a reservist, has been murdered. Downtown Ottawa, including the schools, is in lockdown. They suspect a second shooter is still at large in the city.

Then I do some reading and ... there was a terrorist car attack on a Canadian soldier Monday in Quebec. The truly scary part of that is that the RCMP *knew* that Martin Couture-Rouleau was a problem. Some of his Facebook postings had caught the attention of the authorities and they had met with him and his parents several times. The officer interviewed "said they couldn't arrest him for having radical thoughts." They revoked his passport so that he could not leave the country and fight overseas.

On Tuesday, Canada's domestic terror threat level was raised from low to medium. Low means "unlikely" and medium means "could occur". I suspect it has been raised again. Unlike the US, our terrorist threat level is not usually made public.

There has been a terrorist attack in Canada. In Ottawa.

Those of you in the cities, are you ready to head for the hills yet?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How Many Bags?

So we have been very careful, over the past year, to stay within our garbage bag quota. We weren't paying too close attention to it, but we were pretty certain we were allowed one bag of metal/plastic recycling, six bags of garbage (only one black "privacy" bag allowed), and one bag of paper recycling.

Well, the paper wasn't an issue because we burn all of our paper, and no WAY do we generate six bags of garbage every two weeks. In fact, we don't generate six bags of garbage per month. Anything organic goes to the compost, the chickens, the dogs .... basically, it gets returned to the earth, usually via livestock. That left the two bags of recycling every two weeks.

Now, since we're 9 km from our garbage drop, if we're on the pavement, see the garbage on the curb, and realize we forgot garbage day, we're far too late to do anything about it. So we've missed more than a few garbage days. And then, since you can't carry over missed days, we've made sure to fit our garbage into two recylables and six garbage.

And we've done it. We've managed to miss the past two garbage days, and tomorrow DH is going down with one and a half garbage bags and two recycling bags. We kept thinking that there should have been more allowance for recyclables (some of them are pretty bulky), but the garbage allowance didn't usually seem too bad.

So tonight we popped onto the county website to verify the date (cuz it's been six weeks since we've brought any down!), and he happened to see the guidelines.

Turns out we're allowed 6 garbage, 6 green boxes (compost?) and 12 recycling bags for every two week period. Or, over the space of a year, 156 garbage, 156 green boxes and 312 recycling bags.

Could someone explain to me why any normal household would need to generate 2/5 of a large garbage bag full of *garbage* and 4/5 of a recycling bag every single day of the year? These are not small bags, they're the really big ones.

And I know people do it, because I spoke with the Head of the Waste Management and she said people complain to her constantly that the allowance isn't high enough.

Grumble. Growl. Grumble.

Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Repair. Recycle.

So we gathered up everything we could find that needed to go, and manage to put together another bag of recyclables. One and a half bags of "clean" garbage and three bags of recyclables.
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