Learning Something New

You know that saying, “You learn something new everyday” that people throw around when they learn something new? Well, I’m not sure if I do actively learn something new everyday, but today I did.

This morning I was having breakfast with my paternal grandma and two aunts, and my mom, who are all over the age of fifty (sorry ladies, it’s pertinent to the story!). We were talking about my having to work instead of going to the craft sale that they were going to. I said something about how there wouldn’t be many people out on a cold Sunday afternoon. My one aunt responded with, “Is it cold here? It was warm at home.” They drove an hour and a half from PA (and area) to Saskatoon. She explained that she had looked at the thermometer at my grandma’s place and it had said it was “10 degrees.” I looked at her slightly confused and said, “1o degrees ABOVE zero?’ She said that it was, indeed, what she meant. I contemplated it for a few seconds and said, “Well, it’s at least -15 here.”

This spurred on a conversation about weather and the Celcius vs. Fahrenheit “debate” after my grandma talked about Trudeau changing everything from Fahrenheit to Celsius. I tried to debate with her about how “it makes more sense that the freezing point be zero than 32 degrees.” All of these women argued that it made sense to them that freezing was 32 degrees.

Somehow we got to talking about how when grandma says it’s 10 above or 10 below that she is referring to 32 degrees. This blew my mind because in my mind of minds, I thought she was referring to 10 degrees below ZERO! Apparently, all of this time that I had been saying, “It’s forty below,” or something like that, anyone over a certain age thought that I was referring to Fahrenheit when in my mind I was referring to Celsius! Conversely, when someone said that same thing, they were probably referring to Farenheit.

The thing that I learned today was that you don’t say “10 below” when you are referring to “-10 degrees Celsius” because it actually means Fahrenheit. Apparently these two things just are not the same. So when my grandma says that it’s “10 below,” I really have no idea what that means. I think I liked it better when I thought she meant -10 degrees Celsius.


Politics on the Prairies

I have always said that Saskatchewan is bipolar in terms of politics. On the provincial level, the two big parties are the NDP and the conservatives (and whatever name they are running under). I can’t help but wonder if it’s not because of our extreme temperatures. In the winter, it can get down to -50oC and in the summer, it can reach up to +40oC. While we do spend a lot of time in between, we spend the duration of our time speaking about the extreme temperatures. It seems very much to represent our political views in this province. We’re either hot or cold. We love something or we hate something. We’re left-wing or we’re right-wing.

My other theory is that our family background tells us where we will stand politically. On my dad’s side, my great-grandfathers decided to “agree to disagree” on politics. My grandmother’s father being a lifetime member of the CCF (the old-skool NDP) with his being from Sweden and all. My grandfather’s father was a Liberal – “middle of the road” I suppose. In my family, we don’t really talk politics. My parents never used to tell each other how they voted and we weren’t allowed to discuss it. However, since I’ve become quite politically involved and very open and loud about it, my parent’s have disclosed how they have voted. While they generally agree on the fact that there really is no great party or candidate, I’m not sure that they always vote for the same party. Nonetheless, voting in elections has always been a priority for me, even if it is to abstain from picking one party.

I have to admit that I have left-leaning tendencies in a lot of ways. Ultimately, though, I don’t really like any of the parties. There are some good individual candidates, but rarely do I think “YES! That party stands for what I believe in!” Basically this is the case because I believe our political system is flawed. Our country is too vast and intricate for any one party to possibly represent everyone. I believe in smaller parcels of land. Maybe our city counselors and Rural Municipalities should have more of a role in the federal and provincial political system. Maybe everyone needs to take some lessons on how to get along with others and how to compromise. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I think that everyone in this whole country should learn that from a very young age. However, this will never happen in our current political and economic system – capitalism feeds on the fact that people don’t get along and that people think of themselves first, even if it is at the expense of another person.

I believe in compassion, compromise, trust, relationships, and love. We are all human and we’re all just trying to make it. Why can’t we all just get along?

All I’m saying is “give peace a chance.” What party believes in that?