Thursday, February 23, 2017

Movies in Almonte and Jonathan on a Limb

They're doing it again — Hallmark is making a Christmas movie in Almonte: the third one in the past few years.

I have mentioned one in the past, and I have embedded a trailer for the second, Love on a Limb, below. I can probably find the full movie on YouTube, but it might be gone by the time I post this, so I'll resist the temptation.



Love on a Limb was based around the protagonist attempting to save the town's beloved oak tree. In real life, and I suppose in the movie, the tree was cut down.

This is of special interest to us and many others because it has been well climbed upon.

This is Jonathan on the very same tree, sometime before the film was shot.


Another one on that tree when he was even younger.


Of course, tree-climbing is not new to Jonathan. I could post many climbing pics, but here is perhaps the most recent one from last September: this one was taken at Blakeny Conservation area, just north of Almonte.


Back to the current filming, from which I managed to digress. It will be called A Christmas Festival of Ice. I have found a link to it on a local news site. As usual, the film will pretend that Almonte is an American town: in New England to be precise.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stuart McLean in Almonte

Not all that long ago, I posted a YouTube link to a Hallmark movie made mostly in Almonte and a little bit in our town, Carleton Place.

Our town is a growing bedroom community town where the four lane highway highway leading into Ottawa becomes two lanes going west away from Ottawa. Westward, the highway becomes a very rural road, almost desolate for long stretches, until your near Peterborough, more than two hours away. So, if you want to live in a smaller town but within commuting distance of Ottawa, Carleton Place is just about at the feasible commuting limit. Therefore, we are growing perhaps too quickly with many new subdivisions and even box stores which didn't exist ten years ago.

Almonte, just ten minutes north of us wouldn't be a very much farther drive into the city, but because it is somewhat farther and because it doesn't have the same access roads, it has maintained more of its little village atmosphere.

So, that's a little refresher on Carleton Place and Almonte: now for the Stuart McLean connection.

Stuart McLean was Canada's radio storyteller, something like Garrison Keillor in the USA. I would give the edge to Stuart, but the two have somewhat different vibes, so it might not be fair to compare them.

McLean would take his show, The Vinyl Cafe, on the road, particularly during the Christmas season. Sue and I have attended two of his Christmas concerts, one in Sarnia and one in Ottawa. But what I didn't know is that he also hosted one in Almonte.

His Almonte concert features a wonderful description of Mill Street, which is the town's main street, in which he compares it rather poetically to a well constructed sentence. Listen to the first ten minutes here, which also includes an explanation of why a village in Ontario adopted its name from a Mexican general (near the nine minute mark).

This must have been one of Stuart McLean's last shows before he was forced to take a hiatus due to ill health. Unfortunately, the hiatus became permanent, and he passed away last week. He will be greatly missed.

The Vinyl Cafe show always ended with a story about Dave and his family. Dave owned a little record shop called, you guessed it, The Vinyl Cafe. This story-ending is also true for the Almonte episode with the narrative beginning at about 26:49 in if you're interested. You will find that his stories are funny but also poignant, often tugging gently at the heart strings near the end.

The most famous stories in my recollection are The Christmas Turkey, which is the second story in this clip beginning ~24:50 of the broadcast. I also remember Renovations, the first story of the program being the one that I have in mind. But there are tons of good ones that could keep you going for quite awhile, many of them linked at the bottom of the page of which I have posted, and you can click MORE at the very bottom for ... um ... more stories.

I hope you enjoy some of his stories if you are new to them and have some good nostalgic moments if you are already familiar with Stuart McLean and The Vinyl Cafe.

Note: Evidently, Hallmark likes the ambiance of Almonte because they have shot two movies there and have another one planned. I posted about one the films back in December: The Rooftop Christmas Tree. The links keep getting deleted, but this one works at the moment. Otherwise, you can search for the title, and you'll probably find more links.  I may get around to the other movie because it has a family connection of sort. But not now.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Let Me Tell You About My Night

It's 7:07. and I am brewing my second cup of coffee — okay a second mug, and fairly large mug at that because it is a breakfast blend. This is not normal; one mug is normal — not two. But then again, there was nothing normal about my whole night.

I'm not entirely sure what time I went to bed and sleep, but my best computation is that it was ~11:30. While my bladder usually forces me to go on two nighttime excursions to youknowwhere, it is usually not as early as 1:30. But it sometimes is, and I can count on getting back to sleep.

But not last night.

After my trip to youknowwhere, I was restless and uncomfortable and then spent two hours going from our bed to the guest bed and back to our bed before giving it up for a lost cause.

So, at 3:30 I was up drinking my first mug of java, making toast and puttering on the computer. I posted a photo to Flickr and put together a photo blog that you may have already read here. Then I did some reading on Free Will and supreme court decisions that depended on a notion of free will as opposed to Determinism, followed by a video documentary on Darwin, which seemed rather appropriate with it recently having been Darwin Day.

It was then around 6:30. Was I get sleepy? "Perhaps, I shall go to my recliner to see if I might get a few zzz's." The mind then wanders as the mind will, and I think to myself: "Self. Did you forget your sleeping pill last night?"

It seemed to me that I had double-checked once before bed, but did I check the wrong night? Do I recall checking Tuesday when I should have checked Wednesday (note: I am writing this on Thursday morning after Wednesday night)?

So, I checked. Sure enough, there were two pills in the Wednesday compartment: one sleeping pill and one Celebrex. Well, no wonder my legs seemed sore because I had also neglected my morning Celebrex pill and had put the soreness just down to just forgetting that one. So, I had missed two arthritis pills.

Unfortunately, that is how a night without a sleeping pill goes for me. In my case, it is not usually the getting to sleep but the staying asleep that is the problem. It's not a strong pill, but it is enough to dampen the wildness of my aging brain and give me a half-decent night of sleep.

Except when I forget to take it. Strangely, the pill doesn't work then.

I don't forget often — sometimes months go by between memory lapses — and when I do forget , I usually figure it out much earlier. But last night, I was so sure that I had taken it that the possibility didn't even enter my mind until 6:30.

I rather think that for me at least, this puts to rest the notion that a sleeping pill is just a placebo or psychosomatic. Because I had thought I had taken it, but my body knew that I hadn't.

Perhaps I will take two tonight.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

No Spring Flowers Here

We had a snow day, which we define as a day when school buses are cancelled, and we had another day when the buses could very well have been cancelled. We've had a lot of cancellations this winter, so I guess that's why they didn't cancel on the second day. Sometimes, they end up cancelling based on the forecast, and the weather doesn't get too bad; at other times, they probably could be more cautious, but I can see why there's some pressure to keep the schools running at full vigour after many cancellations. (Would it be possible for me to write some form of cancel any more than I did? I should cancel my use of cancel.)

As I see photos from my blog friends of spring flowers emerging, I am sure that you'd like to see how things stand in the good ole Ottawa Valley. Keep in mind that we've had snow on many of the days of the past three weeks but not always like the two dumpings this week.


↑ The path to our front door kept getting narrower and narrower.

↓ The hydrant across the street is almost obscured, and would be more so if good neighbour hadn't shovelled a little path to it. You can see why they attach those extenders in winter.



↑A view from the street. That's JJ burying Danica in the distance.

↓ A few closer views of the burial below.




↑ She totally covered, and JJ is quite pleased.

↓ She emerges. What fun!


↓ Now it's his turn.



↓ JJ begins to emerge, like a monster form the deep.


At had to go to a business just off main street. This ↓ was the driveway entrance.


Finally, some video clips of the kids having fun in the snow while waiting for their somewhat delayed school bus. ↓ Plus some neighbourhood snow removal.

Friday, February 17, 2017

YO! IT'S DANI'S 2017 OFFICIAL Q&A!!!

MY PEEPS! It's me again! Dani here!! Yes I titled the blog post.Valentines day is tomorrow, for me, not the publish date, and it's a SNOW DAY!!!!! So! Let's answer some questions AGAIN!!!!!! YAY!!!!! THANKS FOR THE QUESTIONS!!! LET'S GO!!              




Q: Tell us about your school this year, Danica.

A: I love my new school! We have sports teams, morning announcements, ( by students including ME!) and other AWESOME things, celebrations, and different types of days.


Q: Good job on your post, Danica. Tell us a book you like.

A: I adore a book I received at Christmas, "Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret." It's such a nice book.


Q: Other than that, I think the favourite books and music questions have been asked, what about films, has that been done yet?

A: I never really got asked on my Q&A's. I recently watched the "Lego Batman" movie. It's pretty good and I love it, but it's not my favourite movie. I can't think of anything else, so it's 13 going on 30. My favourite TV show is Friends. Ross and Rachel forever!!!

Q: I was going to ask, what do you think of snow? But I think I know the answer!!!

A: Well, I love to have fun in it, but this happens:

SnowpantsgloveshatbootscoatWHY!! SnowinthemallWHY!!!


Q: I'm interested to know which provinces you have visited and which are next on your list.

A: Been to: Ontario, Quebec.
Going to: New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on my way to P.E.I. I think there is one more province, but I'm unsure what it is.

Q: As well, you must be so excited about going on a cruise. It is amazing! Maybe you will keep a journal so you can do some travel blogging after your cruise-- that is really fun.

A: Yes! I'm very excited! And you read my mind about the journal, but had a FANTASTIC idea about the blog. Why not! Hopefully I'll remember, because it's not until December.

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Thanks for the questions! Feel free to ask some more!







Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Afghan Explained

A little while ago, I posted some pics of Sue's incredible afghan and hoped that she would eventually do a blog about it. Well, now she has, and I am cross-posting it here.

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Well, it has taken me a while to get back into blogging, but life has been busy, and I thought I would take a little vacation from blogdom.  It didn't take long for something else to fill the gap though, so life didn't get less busy, just  a tad more relaxing.

AC posted a blog about the Peppermint Afghan I made for Shauna's birthday, and asked me to do a guest blog about the creative process for some of you interested bloggers out there.  So here goes....

Some time last fall Shauna sent me a picture of a Peppermint Afghan, and jokingly suggested that I  make her one.  I thought the pattern was beautiful and worth looking into to see how difficult it might be.  Maybe, just maybe I could do it.  After some searching  I discovered it was a free pattern from Red Heart wool  so I downloaded it.  What a surprise to find  5 long, detailed pages of instructions sitting in the printer tray.  After one attempt to read through it I knew it was beyond me.  I couldn't make head nor tail of  most of it.  Sigh!

Luckily I noticed a link to a video on the web page, and it was just what I needed to walk me through each and every step of the pattern.   It was over an hour long, and I watched it over and over again as I inched my way through the pattern.

After watching the video a few times and getting the pattern etched into my brain,  I went in search of some wool and a crochet hook.  What an adventure that was.  A local craft store had wool on sale, so AC and I set off with pattern in hand.  I had no idea how to read the instructions on type of wool, weight, how many balls to buy etc, so stopped many ladies in the wool section of the store to ask if they were knitters, and would they please help me with this pattern.  Most were very helpful, and as AC and other husbands patiently stood by, very kind ladies wandered around the wool department with me, helping me choose the right weight, and number of balls of wool I would need.  After an exhausting hour or so, we finally walked out of the store with a big bag of red and white wool. Sheesh, what an ordeal.

Now the real work or fun, would begin.

The first step in the process was to make 42 peppermint circles.  Rows 1 to 10 were the same for all 42, so once I got that pattern in my head, it was clear sailing, but row 11 was different.  So, I made all 42 circles up to row 10, then set about completing row 11 on each one.

I needed 10 circles with pattern 1 for row 11; 10 circles with pattern 2 for row 11; 9 circles with pattern 3 for row ll; 9 circles with pattern 4 for row 11; 2 circles with pattern 5 for row 11; and 2 circles  with pattern 6 for row 11.  Are you confused yet?

A picture of motif #1.  The lone circle with the red edging shows the finished motif or circle up to row 10.  The group of 9 shows the finished motif with the unique white edging.  

Reverse side of the motif.  The red and white wool is not stitched together, just woven along the underside.  

The pattern also called for 30 small square motifs to intersperse in the design when sewing the afghan together.    They were all the same, so once I got to this step it was easy peasy!  Sort of.
Once I had all the #1 motifs completed I knew I had to work out a system to keep all the different numbered motifs clearly marked and separated to make it possible to put them in the right order when sewing the project together.
To keep myself organized I set up 6 bags each labeled with the motif number, and colour coded each bag and motif with different coloured wool.  This was a very important step, as each numbered motif would be placed in a different location on the afghan when I started sewing it together.   Yikes what a puzzle.

If you look closely, you will notice the different coloured threads on each circle.  
Each motif had to be placed in a specific order with the small square motifs between each row.  I had to lay them out on the bed, tie them together at the corners, then move it to my lap to sew it together.

I had extra wool left over, so I added the red and white boarder,  but it was not called for in the pattern.   
I started work on the project in November, and at the end of  December presented Shauna with a bag of wool, a picture of the afghan, and a few completed  peppermint circles along with a note saying the completed afghan might arrive by her birthday in 2017.

Surprisingly I got it done ahead of schedule, and presented it to her at dinner one night in January.
Looks great doesn't it?

Lots of room for us all to snuggle down under.
Now that I know what I am doing, I might make another one.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When it Snows in Canada

When it snows in Canada...

Canadians go driving ...



and shopping ...


and some even drive into the city to go to a movie.



Let the record show that I was not among the Some who drive into town to see a movie. I mean I admit to not being very bright, but I wouldn't have been keen on making that trip.

A  n  d ... just because I am posting this on Valentine's Day, here is a corner in our place as a wish for a happy day to you. To fit with the day better, at least in my mind, I repainted the walls ... in Photoshop only.

I never noticed how the lamp is not quite centered under the mirror.