Welcome to Plaid Eggnog!

Welcome to Plaid Eggnog!

Jun 28, 2011

Churches and Post Office going way of Dodo?

Chris Selley's op-ed piece in today's online National Post celebrates the idea that, now that they are back to work (yay, Julie's 1st Mail-Day in a couple weeks!), Canada Post needs to radically rethink its business model because its old one is "terminally screwed." He says, "Canada Post is vinyl in a digital age." He suggests, in the words of another metaphor, that maybe it should go the way of the dodo.

He considers and dismisses arguments in favour of its survival (the supposed "romance of letter-writing"; letter carriers as de facto "neighbourhood watch").

But he can't quite imagine a mail-less world. Because: "There’s always going to be a post office, always going to be a way to receive a birthday card, wedding invitation, magazine or whatever few things per year you really need to get your hands on."

Let me rewrite that sentence in the context of another institution near and dear to my heart: There's always going to be a church, always going to be somewhere to baptize / christen / dedicate your child, be married, buried, or whatever few spiritual things per year you really need to do.

In  my experience, that is the assumption of many. The church will be there to provide a service when I need it, they think, and until then I can ignore it. So, come Sunday, the seats are mostly empty.

I wonder how sound that assumption is. Here in Hudson Bay, our little town has 10 churches. Two only have services once a month, with a minister who makes an 8-hour round-trip to participate. Rather a far cry from the New Testament church, I think. A third has not had an ordained leader in years. A fourth has a part-time, non-resident pastor.

On my darker days, I fear our little Anglican church is next in line, what with our attendance down more than 30% in the past 5 years.

Mr. Selley says that Canada Post needs a radical new business model. What about the churches, I wonder? Many, including a few local ones, have become dependent on fund-raisers to meet ever-increasing costs. Not sure I'd call that a new business model, although it does tend to turn the churches from their traditional role as providers of charity for others into consumers of charity from others.
  • Are our churches headed the way of vinyl records and the dodo?
  • Do we in the churches need a new business model?
  • Does that necessarily imply a new or different spiritual model?
  • What might that look like?
  • To what extent is a union of two churches of different denominations (e.g. Anglican and Lutheran) into a single congregation a new model vs a variation of the same?
  • Are 10 churches too many for a town of less than 2,000 people?
  • How important are ethnic, cultural, historical, linguistic, or theological differences between congregations? Are any of them non-negotiable in joining together?
These are a few of the questions that came to my mind as I read this op-ed piece, ones that also appear sometimes when I awaken in the middle of the night.
What are your thoughts?
--Steve P

Jun 25, 2011

Afghan from Great-Grammie Page

This photo of Helen Page, Steve's grandmother, was sent to us by Steve's parents. The package also included this baby afghan, made by Grammie Page herself.

Why is this so special? Two reasons...

First, because Grammie Page actually made the baby afghan for Steve's birth, 40 years ago. Pretty nifty, eh?

And secondly and more seriously, because Grammie Page passed away earlier this year. So this gift was a message of love from her to Great-GrandBaby Golding Page, even though the two will never meet in this world.

A prayer to commit Grammie Page to God, until we meet again:
Loving Father, we pray that nothing good in Grammie Page's life will be lost, but will be of benefit to the world; 
that all that was important to her will be respected by those who follow; 
and that everything in which she was great will continue to mean much to us now that she is dead. 
Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her. Amen.

Jun 21, 2011

Dr Seuss from Sarah

Here's what arrived in our mailbox one day recently - before the postal strike, that is. (Grrrr!! Hope that strike ends very soon.)

It's a hardcover Dr Seuss book, for Baby Golding Page. Julie's cousin, Sarah, sent it, along with a card and nice personal note.

We both love Dr Seuss - but we only have two others of his books. And this book was one we didn't know at all. Way to go, Sarah, and thanks for the great gift! :-)

Jun 20, 2011

Baby Lambskin from Catherine & John

Here's the lovely baby lambskin that was given to us by friends Catherine and John. We're keeping it safely in its container, because we think that Gryffin the Welsh Terrier would just love to get his paws - quite literally - onto it! :-)

These lambskins keep baby warm in winter and cool in summer, and they come from Australia and New Zealand. You can find out more about them at the Auckland Baby Lambskins company website.

Jun 19, 2011

Our Clergy BBQ & Baby Shower

The Rev'd Gethin Edward, priest in our neighbouring parish - Tisdale, 120 km from Hudson Bay - and his wife, Meg, kindly hosted a clergy BBQ and shower for us at their place yesterday.

We had yummy, homemade burgers, two kinds of wonderful salads, and excellent conversation, thanks to their great hospitality. And, of course, that of their charming sons - Steven, Crispin and Sam.

The pièce de résistance of the whole meal, though, was the amazing cake that Meg and the boys made. It was in the shape of Noah's Ark, our nursery décor theme. The water was lemon-flavoured and the ark itself chocolate, with an ingenious chocolate wafer roof of Meg's creation. The cake was completed with a "?" candle - signifying that the question of boy or girl will be a surprise for all.

Sam gave us the full tour of the ark before we cut the cake. So it's fitting that he's there in the picture with us. Isn't he a cute little guy?

And then came the gifts...in the photo, you can see the lovely fuzzy velour sleepers and other onesies from the Rev'd Pat and her husband, Allan, all in one of Julie's favourite themes since childhood - dinosaurs! (Any other dino fans out there?) 

There is also a baby monitor from Gethin & Meg, straight from our online Sears registry (thank you, guys!), plus an assortment of wonderful books from Bishop Michael and Kathy. The Seuss book was Steve's childhood favourite, and Goodnight Moon has been a fave for Julie since her "Books, Children & God" course at Regent College years ago.

A big thank-you to all of you who came, for the gifts of course, but especially for celebrating and being excited with us! :-) 

Jun 18, 2011

Welsh Scones / Sgonau Cymreig

We made Welsh scones for the first - but definitely not the last - time yesterday. Here is the recipe, for those of you who have kindly requested it.


  • 8 oz flour
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1 egg 
  • milk
  • 2 oz sugar (optional)
  • 4 oz dried fruit OR grated cheese (optional)
Set oven to 450 or Mark 8. Sift flour, cream of tartar and soda in bowl, then cut in butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in sugar for plain scones, or sugar and dried fruit, or omit sugar and just add cheese. Make a well in the centre and add beaten egg. Stir in enough milk to make a soft and slightly wet dough. Turn out onto floured surface, then flatten dough gently with hands to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Form into 2-inch rounds, handling as lightly as possible. (Batter should make 12.) Place on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden, checking after 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve plain, or with your favourite topping.

- modified from Welsh Teatime Recipes.

Jun 16, 2011

Drawings for the Nursery by Monique & Ricardo

For part of our nursery décor, we asked some children we know to make pictures on the theme of Noah's Ark. They're sending us their raw art, and we'll frame the masterpieces for the walls.

Here you see the first of these pictures to arrive - the artwork of Monique and Ricardo, children of Julie's friend and penpal, Daniela, in Germany.

Great work, Monique and Ricardo! :-)

Jun 15, 2011

Baby Gifts from Page Grandparents

Here are a few more baby gifts we've already received (on behalf of Baby Golding Page, of course!). This time, we're showcasing the cool new wheels Baby's got - wow, a "car" already and they aren't even born yet! ;-)

The stroller is from Baby Trends, and it's a 3-wheeled, all-terrain model that we chose specifically for our needs. It will get Baby through the snowy sidewalks that we have for half the year here in Hudson Bay. Plus, it will introduce Baby to off-roading on badland gravel trails, in places like our fave hiking destination, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in North Dakota.

Note, too, that there's already someone hitching a ride with the new wheels - that's a little stuffed doggie that came with the cute doggie sleeper, also seen on the stroller.

Jun 13, 2011

Good Year for Steve's teams

This morning, Steve is basking in the glow of the NBA title won by his favourite team, the Dallas Mavericks.
He has been a Mavs fan a long time - all through the dismal early 90s when they flirted with losing the most games in league history.
So it's all the more sweet to celebrate their first title today!

Of course, Steve has enjoyed cheering some of his other favourite teams that have done very well in the past year.
Here's hoping all the success won't go to his head!

How about you : who do you cheer for? How do you celebrate when they do well?

Jun 11, 2011

Steve makes nursery wall hanging

Here's Steve with his Noah's Ark wall hanging for the nursery, made yesterday. :-)

More Noah's Ark nursery décor coming soon, including:

  • commissioned painting by artist friend, Laura Gendall
  • framed prints of our own animal photography
  • pictures made by Minnesota nieces Aimée (4.5) & Olivia (almost 2), for their new cousin
  • and more!

Jun 10, 2011

Updated Baby Needs List

Today, June 10th, we did another update to our lists of what Baby Golding Page has and needs. Here are the links:

What Baby Golding Page Already Has

What Baby Golding Page Still Needs

Baby Gifts from Golding Grandparents

Julie's parents, Gary and Nancy, have sent Baby Golding Page several gifts, big and small. Their two large gifts are a regular-sized crib and this portable mini-crib (pictured). It will be perfect for our extensive car travel for work and personal reasons.

In the crib, you can see an assortment of smaller items - some clothing from the bilingual Gagou Tagou line, a Noah's Ark bank and storybook to match our nursery décor theme, a cute rattle toy and an irresistible monkey that we can't help but rub on the head, whenever we pass.

Stay tuned for more gifts...

Jun 3, 2011

Our Gifts for Baby Golding Page

Since we are showcasing the gifts that all you kind friends and family are sending for Baby Golding Page, we thought we would show you a few of the things that Mummy and Daddy (aka J&S) have bought. :-)

In the photo, you'll see Mr Crabby, the hooded towel (Daddy's find), and a soft little lamb (Mummy's find). Also, one of the outfits we bought (both of us chose that one).

We also have a Beginner's Bible, with bright pictures, and stories appropriate for toddlers.

But the pièce de résistance is our full Bible, our most important gift. This Bible is the New International Version - for all you translation nerds like us, it's unfortunately not the 2011 updated version, but we'll get one of those in time, too. (Mummy insists that 1st Corinthians must be read in the new NIV's Gordon-Fee-influenced translation from the Greek.) And it is a great children's Bible, for about up to age 11 or 12, as it stars some of our favourite kids' characters - Veggie Tales! You can see Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber there on the bright green cover.

Jun 2, 2011

Baby Gift from Sister in Sweden

Another fantastic international package has arrived - this time from Julie's sister, Cecilia, in Sweden. See, Julie and Cecilia have been writing since they were both 11 years old. They've met 3 times (twice in Canada and once in Sweden), and they now consider each other sisters.

The green coat is velour and came with matching pants- and note the "born 2011" tag. :-) The red and blue outfit is inspired by the famous Swedish children's character, Pippi Longstocking.

Oh yes, and not pictured are some goodies for Mummy and Daddy...some wonderful Swedish candies, including giant Marabou chocolate bars to feed our addiction.

Gifts are coming fast and furious now...stay tuned!