Coins Of The Realms

SDC10548

My coin collection started innocently and modestly enough, with a few older Canadian coins. Then, as described in my ‘Penny, lira, etc.’ post, I was tricked into collecting foreign coins. Slowly but steadily, over the (many) years, I’ve added coins to both groups, till now I don’t count my coins, so much as weigh them occasionally.

I have almost 600 foreign coins, from over 100 countries around the world, some of which no longer exist, as well as numerous Canadian and American coins. The five binders shown above include Canadian and American coins, as well as bills, and total just over 47 pounds.  I store them on a closet shelf, next to the wall, directly over the support bracket, so as not to collapse it.

SDC10776

Clamshell 2 x 2s come in various sizes, for various coins. They are folded over a coin and stapled shut on three sides, then the unit is inserted in a plastic sheet with 20 pockets.  Soon after I got started, I received some helpful tips from a couple of old collectors/dealers.

CCI_000016

I buy mounting sheets with reinforced holes, because the weight of 20 coins can tear unprotected sheets. If you’re collecting sequentially dated coins, and one always follows the next, they are inserted into the sheets and forever remain there.

If I get another Spanish coin, I might need to now give Portuguese coins their own page for enough room. My coins can move around.  One dealer advised me to trim the bottom corners of the 2 X 2s at 45°, so that they would slide into the tight pockets easier.  Clipped bottoms and unclipped tops seem ‘unfinished’ to me, so I trim all 4 corners, creating little square ‘malls’ among the coins on the sheet.

SDC10740

Staples holding the 2 X 2s closed, protrude in small bulges at the back, causing an already bulky assembly to take up even more room. I have a special pair of pliers, with which I crimp them flat, ensuring smoother insertion and retraction, and less volume.

cci_000018

The arrangement of my foreign coins in my catalogs resembles a giant M on a world map.  They start at the bottom of South America, work their way up past Panama and the Caribbean, and throw a quick wave at the USA and Canada with a couple of odd/special coins.

They cross the Atlantic, through England, Ireland, Scotland and the Channel Islands, and work their way across Europe. They then dodge the rocket attacks in the Middle East and flow down the body of Africa.  Returning, they trudge eastward through Russia and China, and down through South-East Asia, to Australia and New Zealand.

My foreign coins have taught me much about geography and history. Separate regions are arbitrarily jammed together to form the likes of Czechoslovakia.  Countries are split apart, like Germany, or India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  World economy, and that of individual countries, changes coins from gold and silver, to brass, steel, nickel and copper, all the way down to aluminum.

My little digital camera will not take good photos of individual coins, but I have some bright, flamboyant foreign bills/notes I hope to show you later. To some of you, these are not ‘foreign’, but merely coins of your realm.

Paper Or Plastic?

 

That used to be the question when grocery stores asked how you wanted your purchases packed. Now, here in Canada, it could be the question of how you want your change.

In my Funny Money post of about a year ago, I mentioned that Canada was switching over from paper money, to bills made of polymer plastic.  Working from the Hundred, they’ve finally changed all the bills over, down to the Five, which is the smallest Canadian bill printed, since we replaced the One and Two-Dollar bills with coins several year ago.

Often kidded by Americans about our “Monopoly Money”, I thought they, and perhaps other non-Canadians, might like to see the changes.  These are the most recent, non-plastic 20s, 10s and 5s, first the fronts, and the backs.

SDC10603 SDC10605

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the new polymer versions, again, first fronts, then backs, showing the uneven-shaped clear strip, the security strip, and (hopefully) the holograms.  The first thing I found is that they “talk” to your computer/scanner, and refuse to resolve, to prevent color-copier counterfeiting – after the third try, and checking the computer, and then the scanner.  I finally had to use the digital camera, upload to the computer and hope that they publish.

SDC10599  SDC10600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At our income levels, hundred-dollar bills don’t enter the house very often, but thanks to a son who lives at home and doesn’t have to rely on government pensions, and the wife’s stash from selling candles, we have the three most recent iterations of the fifty-dollar bill, the ten-year-old, pure-paper version, the modified version with the security strip, and the new, all-polymer edition, bottom to top.

SDC10606

SDC10608

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite some snide, condescending, redneck comments about our cash, Canada doesn’t even come close to having the most flamboyant bills.  I have some very pretty, and colorful, foreign examples with my coin collection.  Perhaps later I could publish pictures of bills from places where it’s a good thing you’re already wearing sunglasses.

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode One

 

FARMERS MARKET

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is where it all begins – again. I told the daughter, LadyRyl, that I wanted to get some lollipops for Cordelia, and her Mom.  I envisioned a couple of the big, patterned, disc-shaped, sugar-type suckers, and a bouquet of the smaller, ball-type, suitable for making porn with.  Smarter than her Dad, Ryl suggested that nothing says Canadian, like Maple Sugar, and I should take along Maple lollipops to the American ladies.

I recently saw an article on MSN.ca, which listed The Five Farmers’ Markets in Canada, which you just shouldn’t miss.  One was the Jean Talon Market in Montreal.  Another was in Vancouver.  The third one listed was the St. Jacob’s Market, actually located at the northern edge of Waterloo, ON., our Twin City.

Say Hello to my little Maple – anything you want. So, off to the market we went, to get some Maple lollipops.  The above picture, and the right-hand one below, is of the original, 30-year-old market building.  It was made of BC Douglas Fir – but before fire sprinklers became mandatory.  Last Labor Day it burned to the ground.  They still have not determined the cause.

Management quickly assembled a canvas-clad Quonset-hut type building, and began plans for a modern, safe building, elsewhere on the site. Totally uninteresting from the outside, here are some crowd shots, some from the outdoor, vegetable sales area, and a couple from the crowded interior.  Note the 20-foot, helicopter-rotor ceiling fans.

SDC10651SDC10649

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC10652    Farmers Market - long

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want Maple anything, especially lollipops, this is the man to see. New-Order Mennonites, Edgar and Irene Gingrich own a nearby Maple woodlot.  Two or three days a week, depending on the season, he is at the market, as well as making farm-gate sales, and distributing to local stores.  The world map on the left of the photo is for people to put pins in, to indicate their home towns.

SDC10650

This sucker bought his American-bound suckers, elbowed a couple of gawking tourists out of the way, and escaped the rush, now (more or less) ready for the trip. Here’s a couple of shots, proving how sweet Canucks can be.  I hope the ladies agree.  Stop back to find out.  Coming soon to a website near you – Star Drek, Episode Two – The Wrath of Archon.

SDC10656                         SDC10657

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, I’m taking and posting more photos with my little digital camera. The first digital camera we owned could only take and hold 8 photos, until you bought and installed a chip which allowed it to hold another 64.  I knew that there were a bunch of shots on the camera, the last of which the wife downloaded for this post.

I wondered if we (she) should eliminate most/all, to give me room to take lots of pictures during this trip. I must remember to take batteries, but I did not want to run out of space.  The wife just pointed to the monitor screen.  There were 79 pics on the camera, but that only took 3% of the space.  Ain’t technology grand??!

Wasted Days And Wasted Nights

SDC10558SDC10579

 

 

 

 

I may be wasting my days, but I didn’t waste Friday Night.  I went Cruisin’.

SDC10578SDC10568

 

This was Kitchener’s annual Cruisin’ On King Street night.  It’s listed as the largest in Canada.  Last year they had 408 cars, stretched out on both sides of eight blocks of the downtown main street.  Since then, they’ve redone the main drag, narrowing the paved area and widening the sidewalks to make it more “Pedestrian Friendly,” so they had to cap it at 330, although another 15 or 20 classics joined the big drive-through, and then sneaked away, up the side streets.

SDC10565SDC10567

I got there early enough to get several clear shots in the park staging area.  One they get jammed together on the street, dripping with gawkers, good photos are hard to take.

SDC10580 SDC10572

 

 

 

These are a couple of the first cars I owned, from the My First Cars post , obviously.  This first is actually a 1939 Chevrolet, indistinguishable from my Pontiac, except for badging.  Imagine the same size and shape, including the bullet-hole decals – only in Coca-Cola Red.

SDC10559

 

This is a 1956 English, Austin A60 that I replaced the Pontiac with.

SDC10575    SDC10576

Here’s a couple of my favorite type of Corvette, the Scoopside.  The first is a rather blah, cream-on-cream, but the red-with-white scoop shows some flair and contrast.

SDC10573  SDC10577

After the first dozen pictures, my little digital camera started screaming “Low Battery!”  I had to keep turning it off till I found another worthy subject.  Having to conserve power, I photographed only the older and more interesting cars.  ‘60s and ‘70s muscle cars don’t do anything for me.

SDC10557  SDC10574

Here’s a resurrected dinosaur from the Tailfin-aceous Period

SDC10571

SDC10563   SDC10562

SDC10561  SDC10560

20140712_180502  20140712_180526

I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I did seeing the real thing.  I felt like I walked a hundred miles.  I may not do this again.

Xmas Cookies (Memories of Christmas Past)

Good morning Peter.  This post is for you, and any others interested in food in general, and our Christmas cookies in particular.  You can’t pull them off the screen, so get your own breakfast before we begin.

I apologise for blurry photos.  This post is a learning experience in publishing pictures.  It runs down a long way.  I wanted large pictures for detail, but there’s not much text.

1

Cookie Nests 2These are cookie nests – chocolate drops pushed into balls of dough.  Our chiropractor and his family prefer milk chocolate, while we like the darker.  I took the picture below first, before I realized we had one light one left.  We also made a batch with mint chocolate drops, but apparently the last of them followed the daughter home.

2

Cookie NestsMore dark chocolate cookie nests.  Even with a fast digital camera, I manage to get fuzzy photos.

3Maple Sugar Shortbreads

These are the Maple Sugar flavored shortbreads.  The wife found a correctly-sized maple leaf cookie cutter, and I used a small steel cookie spatula to lightly carve in fake veining.

 

4

Meringues

These are some of the hard meringues, two of each flavor.  Grated dark chocolate and hazelnut ones on the bottom left, almonds and Skor Bits at the top, and chopped cherry and coconut at bottom right.

 

 

5Oat Delights

These are the Oat Delights.  No-bake cookies, they’re easy to make and yummy.  Put grated chocolate in a glass bowl in a pot with a bit of boiling water in the bottom, to melt the chocolate.  Mix in the other ingredients, dollop out in spoonfuls on waxed paper, and let set.  These, and the meringues above, are the no-flour cookies the grandson can have without allergy problems.

6

ShortbreadsTrue Scottish shortbreads, just like Grandma used to make.  After much practice, Granma Ladybug makes them just as good.  Five different basic shapes – winter mitt, holly leaf, Christmas tree, star and plain circle.  The pictures don’t show as much detail as I’d hoped.  Again, I used the cookie spatula to cut in a cuff line on the mitts, a center vein on the holly, a Chrysler star out to the vertices of the star, and just an X on the discs.  It makes them easy to break into four mouth-sized pieces.  I used the end of a chop-stick to indent small holes in the Christmas trees, to simulate decorative balls.

 

7Spritz

These are some of the spritz cookie shapes I pushed out of the cookie press.  You may notice that some of them were from the first batch, and got a little too brown.  They’re not burnt, but are not cosmetically acceptable as gifts, so we get to keep and enjoy them.  As you can see, different sized and colored decorative balls (dragees), mini M&M candy, as well as slivers of red and green glazed cherries are used to brighten them up.

8

Sugar Cookies 1

A few of the shapes of iced and decorated sugar cookies we made.  Making and baking is quick and easy.  The icing and decorating takes far longer, but we use the time for some family togetherness, silliness and stress relief.  Note the results my steady hands produce on the candy canes.  The wife sprinkled a little of the Maple Sugar on the reindeer to produce a fur effect.

9Sugar Cookies 2

Some more of the iced sugar cookie shapes.  I can slather red, green or white on wreaths or snowflakes.  The son helps his mom dress up the wreaths, bells and Christmas trees after she’s done with reindeer.  She puts names on all the stockings.  The dressing of the boy- and girl-cookies falls mostly to LadyRyl.  These are just the extra ones we bake in case one of the ones intended for gifts might break, so these are the plain ones.  If I’m still around next Christmas, perhaps I could slip a couple of pictures of the more ornate ones in with a post about motorcycles or sewage disposal.

10

Thumbprints

These are called thumbprint cookies, glazed cherry halves pushed down into walnut coated dough balls.  Of all the cookies we make, by a narrow margin, these are my favorite.  I could, but don’t, eat these by the dozen.  There is absolutely no taste difference between red and green cherries, and my mouth can’t see….but I like the red ones. Granma Ladybug is partial to the green ones.

11

Yule Logs

Last, but not least, we have what we call Yule Logs.  The dough is similar to the spritz, cookie nests and thumbprint.  (They are all shortbread types.) Form small cylinders and bake, next day, someone with a steadier hand than mine (see The Wife, above) dips them in more melted chocolate, and puts them aside to cool and set.

 

Granma Ladybug said that my contribution to this industry is my ability to put the cookies in the oven, take them out to cool and then pack them into the containers.  Wife says without this assistance, she would be very hard pressed to do this.

We feel we can do this for at least one more year, and hopefully beyond.  Friends and family enjoy these, but our caring Chiropractor and his family receive the single largest donation.  They are overly generous in return.  Half a fruitcake goes along to ride shotgun.  No photos were available because it’s shy and wishes to remain anonymous.