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Get with it Canada Post

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Is it true Canada Post considers charity prepaid return envelopes as parcels? Here in Windsor, Ontario, this has become a reality.
Unfortunately, we ordered prepaid stamping from Canada Post. This service, if it worked, would provide a donor with the option to place their stamp over the prepaid indicia. If they did so, this would save the charity more money.
So what are indicias?
On the Canada Post website: https://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/indicia/default-e.asp?ecid=murl10005746
“A Postal Indicia is a marking that identifies the service name and the customer number. It must be printed or applied to each mail item when paying by commercial account.”
What benefit for the charity is derived from using an indicia? The cost charged to the charity is less than the domestic letter mail charge.
So, thinking we would be saving money for our charity, we had our printer arrange for the indicia on our return envelopes. Some donors would save the cost of the stamp. Some other folks would be happy for the convenience.
So what went wrong? Numerous donors have been calling us to ask why we have not deposited their donations to our bank account. The answer is Canada Post has not been directing the envelopes with indicia’s to us!
We cannot put cheques into the bank that Canada Post has not delivered. A few pieces of mail that had a postage stamp overlayed did arrive.
When we contacted Canada Post, in a plea of the genuine need for our donations, they were not helpful. They gave us a stock answer that theirs was an “essential service” and direction to their website. The website advised that “parcels” would be delayed.
How do return envelopes to a charity that feeds the homeless and hungry become parcels? Canada Post refused to answer that question!
We advised Canada Post that our charity is also an “essential service,” but they did not bother to reply.
Yes, indicia’s belong in the “business mail” category, yet isn’t there at least one sympathetic employee at Canada Post who can process the envelopes to enable us to continue to feed the homeless and hungry?
Canada Post would benefit by charging our charity a fee for every indicia-stamped piece of mail they deliver. That said, they had better not bill us for an item they have not given to us!
I repeat, Street Help Homeless Centre is an “essential service,” and Canada Post needs to respect that. We have asked Brian Masse MP’s office to look into this matter.
Stay safe and well.
Christine Wilson-Furlonger, Administrator

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Perplexing Particulates

Toilet paper with shadow.
Toilet tissue casting it’s shadow.

I have often noticed how tissues and toilet paper cast-off millions of tiny paper particles when removing from the box or tearing from the roll. You can readily see them if the sunbeams are streaming through a window behind you.
I don’t particularly appreciate inhaling these tiny particulates.
To spare me from buying every brand out there to eliminate the offenders, can anyone recommend less annoying products? My lungs and pocketbook will appreciate your help!

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Unplanned deliciousness

No tomatos in the sauce.
Homemade hot sauce and wild heirloom tomatos!

Homemade hot sauce! 20 hot peppers from my garden, 1/2 of a lemon (skin and all,) one and a half cups of mead vinegar (I brought back from Gatineau Quebec,) 1/2 half teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt (didn’t get to go to the Himalayas yet,) and three cloves of home-grown garlic! Added bonus, look at those lovely brown heirloom tomatoes that sprung out of my compost heap!

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When things need to be explained more thoroughly

Do not use oil or butter in popping chamber.
The warnings are clearly written on the plastic chute!

This hot air corn popper came in with donations at our homeless centre. I immediately wanted to take a photo of it!
I was instantly reminded of a neighbour from long ago. She was a beautiful young lady, a girlfriend of a local doctor.
She came knocking at my door and asked to borrow my corn popper.
I like being neighbourly, so I showed her how to put the corn kernels in the chamber of the machine. I explained the butter was placed in the removable dish at the top.
I cautioned her a second time as she scooped it up not to put butter in the chamber of the machine.
She knocked on my door the next day. Oil dripping from the popper onto the hallway floor.
I exclaimed, “I told you not to put butter in the chamber of the machine!”
“I didn’t!” She responded indignantly, “I used white margarine.” All I could do was retrieve the destroyed corn popper from her greasy hands.

© Zora Zebic 2019

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My hot pepper jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly
A tiny jar of hot pepper jelly.

Have you ever wanted to make hot pepper jelly?

I did, and so I did just that today!

A scorching red pepper from my garden along with green, yellow and orange sweet peppers from the grocery store.

Not altogether homegrown, but close enough for me. Perhaps next year I’ll grow some sweet peppers.

Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 4 cups of sugar, one packet of liquid pectin along with 1 3/4 cups of apple juice sums up the other ingredients.

Now I wait for the jelly to set. Once done, I’ll spread some on toast with cream cheese.

© Zora Zebic 2019

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Trying to be neighbourly

Am I stressed right now? Heck YES.
I am in Amherstburg at our little house, adding the finishing touches to our financial report. We hope to mail it out on Wednesday.
My brother runs into the house, yelling, “Call 911 somebody just cut his hand off!”
I was horrified thinking my brother meant my husband, and in his anxiety couldn’t say who the injured party was.
It is not my husband. I thank God when I see he is running behind my brother to offer help.
I also have run out of the house and already dialled the emergency number. The operator is on the phone. She wants to know the exact address, and I am telling her I am rushing, despite my asthma to the neighbour’s house.
I arrive and find the injured man has had his injury wrapped by another man. The dispatcher tells me an ambulance is on the way.
A man, whom I will guess is a family member screams at another neighbour and me. “Get out of here. We don’t need an audience.”
The lady beside me says, “I’m a Personal Support Worker I just came to offer help.”
I say to the man, “I just called 911.”
Another woman, I also think is a family member tells me the hand was not wholly cut off.
I realize these people are traumatized and leave the scene.
I hope the man will be okay. I’ll end this with a prayer for him.

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The vacated cross

A large crucifix was donated to our Street Help Homeless Centre of Windsor.
We attached it to the doorway leading from our dining room to the kitchen. Some folks commented it was a rather crude depiction of Christ but, I felt it was folk-arty and deserved to stay in place.

A cross with an image of where a plaster cast image had been affixed.
He has arisen!

I had not paid attention to detail and had I done so I would have noticed there was no door stopper. It was inevitable the crucifix would slam against the wall causing the plaster cast of Jesus to lose his head.
Many ideas, including mixing more plaster and slightly elongating the neck to carpenters glue were suggested. I thought we should go along a different path. Ultimately we removed the remaining pieces, and the end result was astonishing!
A volunteer remarked the cross was odd without the figure of Jesus attached. I smiled and said to her, “In reality, Jesus is no longer on the cross. I think it is a great visual Easter message.” She said to me, ” I like how your mind works!”

INRI Crucifix
Crucifix with Image of Jesus Christ

Another donation of a crucifix came in the other day. We have put a door stopper in place to protect the new image of Jesus. We will establish a place of honour for the vacated cross, along with the words, “As our Lord Jesus Christ no longer hangs on the cross, so does this cross depict.”
Albeit late, Happy Easter everyone!

© Zora Zebic 2019

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Donut-eating-etiquette

A finger used as a donut holder.
Donut-eating-etiquette!

Sitting at my desk typing and from the corner of my eye, I see a free-floating donut! I look leftward and see my friend’s daughter has developed a unique and simultaneous process for consuming donuts while using a keyboard.
The young girl said, “It’s okay to type with one hand but, I’d rather invent a way for donuts to float. My typing speed would be much faster!”

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Why are we eating parsley and spinach?

Yellow flower pot with green parsley sprouting.
Parsley sprouting in a yellow flower pot.

I’ve learned from movies, and television shows that canaries often died in the mines in days of old. The reason for this is if the canary died, it was too dangerous for humans to enter – poor little canaries.
I have a love for both indoor and outdoor plants all year long. My husband lovingly calls my window ledges crowded with plants my forests!
A few years ago we rescued two adorable cockatiels the owner had named Rocky and BooBoo. We have become very attached to them, so it is no wonder I became concerned when recently the birds started munching away on my plants.
I looked up which plants were safe and which were poisonous. I expelled many from the reach of these two little plant vandals out to our house in the country. Of course, I don’t mind them eating their fresh salad!
As spring has almost sprung, it has become time to start the edible forests that will be transplanted outdoors when the weather permits. It is fascinating to watch the tiny seeds sprout into micro-plants that will, in a short time produce delicious veggies for our table.
My curiosity of safe-for-cockatiels plants inspired me to look up all we have planted so far. Imagine my surprise to learn that parsley can be deadly for our birds! Deadly?
This information made me hand the tiny treacherous shoots to my husband, who took them to our house in Amherstburg where they will be banished until they can be brought outdoors for transplant.
I’m not a scientist but I ponder on the fact that the gas in mines can snuff out the lives of birds, yet humans have no concern about eating parsley.
Some of my research online has led me to other pages that say spinach is also deadly as like in parsley there is a thing called oxalic acid. When birds ingest too much, it can be fatal.
I’m not taking any chances; these two veggies have got to go!

© Zora Zebic 2019