I try not to whine, but really, it is snowing again! And I can’t help but feel aggrieved!

Yesterday was a baking day. I baked a Orange Loaf for Attila’s lunches, and Mincemeat Squares for my breakfasts. The loaf took one and half hours to bake! Very strange, but I think it might have had something to do with the cup of crushed pineapple I added to recipe, just for fun.

My web sites have been keeping me occupied. They are a lovely way to provide community service. I receive email messages and requests from all over Canada, and enjoy hearing from so many diverse and interesting people. My sites are a public service, so I figure I am the poorest philanthropist that Canada has ever produced! I had hoped that my ethical standards would allow my projects to provide a living wage, but alas, I have discovered that if one wants to make money, one must make it a priority. Thus the word philanthropy comes into play. But the rewards have been very rich, in creating and disseminating goodwill, and in making a difference where I think it counts.


What is it with the attitude some people exhibit from positions of public service?

Our District local government branch offers monthly baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables for sale at a reasonable price. A public service, funded in part and managed by the District local government branch. That would be MY tax dollars. Also, there are a few companies involved, there is financial gain involved for those companies. The basket is presented as a public service, not as a handout.

Apparently, according to their web site, some locally processed foods form part of the offering. That wouldn’t suit me, as I will not risk my life eating food prepared by strangers. My situation is somewhat unique, and as usual the onus is on me to reconcile my reality to the wider world. So on Monday I called the contact person at the government to ask about the proportion of processed food in the baskets. I got an answering machine with a voice message recorded by a young woman who spoke quickly and sounded put out that she had to bother with telephone calls. I was left with the impression that my call was an irritating annoyance. Politely I left my name and number. She did not call back, no one did.

I called the local government branch again today and, after hearing the irritated voice on the recording again, decided to press 0 for reception. Maybe the annoyed employee who recorded the message is away on vacation? I thought I’d ask. Another machine, and a list of who to contact if I was a recipient of various social services. This voice at least was benign. I am not a recipient of any social service. I left another message, and unfortunately I was a bit miffed at that point. It came across in my message I am afraid. No wonder the people in “social services” experience unpleasant reactions from the people they serve. If they used common courtesy from the get go, a callers dignity need not be insulted.

The District local government wants to sell a product, touting that they are contributing to the community. But the District local government branch does not answer the telephone with such glowing enthusiasm; nor does it respond to customer inquiries in anything like a timely manner, if at all, although I live in hope.

I suspect we will not be spending money on this basket, although the web site urges community participation to keep the program strong and healthy. The program administration does not seem to be doing its part, and I, for one, do not spend money where I am not welcome. There are many local retailers and farmers who treat me with dignity, even pleasantness, when I spend money on food; they will get my business. I will probably save money as well, because I don’t have to purchase processed food I cannot eat, as part of a “basket”.

With such “support” from above, I wish the volunteers on this basket project the very best of luck. I encountered no “attitude” amongst the volunteers.

Worldly Distractions


-5 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -5.5°C
Dewpoint: -6.0°C
Humidity: 96 %
Wind: NW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -7


“The happiest excitement in life is to be convinced that one is fighting for all one is worth on behalf of some clearly seen and deeply felt good.”
Ruth Benedict
1887 – 1948

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I retired from a public service position, one in which I was in direct phone contact with clients, customers, whatever one wishes to call them. No matter what, no matter how abusive, I maintained an attitude of first, courtesy, then second, how can we solve this problem…I hear you, I understand how frustrated you are, let me see what I can do to make it better.

I did this every day for 35 years, realizing that though for me it was the same (or similar) call over and over, for the callers it was usually their first time with a complaint, concern, something they needed. I reminded myself over and over to be patient and understanding.

When I did get frustrated, between calls, I get up from my desk and go for a walk. It would have done no one any good for me to take calls and work on problems unless I was in the right frame of mind.

SO when I call a public agency, I expect the same courtesy and understanding, not an attitude.

All of the above is to say that I understand entirely how you felt, and that I wish it had been a better experience for you.

P.S. When you say “locally processed foods” I wonder what they mean by that…I would be a bit put off, too.