Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Want to be in the Frame Too

All week long, I've been posting pictures of our Saturday walk through Mill of Kintail. Now, I wants me some attention too. So, just to prove I was there, here is a sequence of Nikki Dee attempting to climb a tree stump. She has had this climbing business on the brain more about a year and a half now, ever since she saw Jungle Book. There's a part where Mowgli and Bagheera climb a tree to supposedly sleep safely, and she has wanted to do this ever since. Some of you longtimers (notice that I didn't call you oldtimers) may recall me posting her attempts way back when.

Here's a stump that looks climb-able, Buppa.

But I guess I need a little help.

I'm up, but I want to stand.

That's really nice, but now ...

... I want to sit ...

... and just feel smug.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Her

I am continuing with pictures of our ramble through the Mill of Kintail last Saturday: these of just Nikki Dee. I presume you can tell that the girl is an active and fun sort.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Loves

I love me five women, or make that four women and one girl child. At the Mill of Kintail the other day, I was able to take lots of pics of two of these great loves: the oldest and the youngest. These two adore each other almost as much as I adore them. Separated my almost exactly sixty years, they share a joy of life. The older of the two is especially to be raised on a pedestal just now — for making me three apple pies! I'll present the photos without further comment except to say the the last is my fave; sometimes (and not often in my opinion) black and white conversion is just the ticket.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Windows and Doors

It had been quite awhile since we had Nikki Dee for a sleepover, so Friday night was it. We took her out for breakfast on Saturday morning and then for a walk at Mill of Kintail before taking her back home. Cuppa and I both took loads of pictures, so you can expect a few photo blogs this week. The theme of this post is Windows and Doors.

There is a little cabin along the path to the museum. Nikki thought it was pretty exciting to get hoisted up and see me below with the camera.

A window in the museum (or the former Tait house). I have desaturated the brickwork to almost black and white.

This side door must go down into a kitchen of sorts because the ladies auxiliary serves tea and goodies from out of here on Saturdays during summer.

Behold we stand at the door and knock. I also converted the stonework to black and white. I love this one.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Of Ducts, Brains, Flicks and Cursors

It promises to be a most exciting day around here as we wait in eager anticipation for the duct cleaning people to come by. Yes indeedy, we do live life on the edge, but we are desperate after spending all of last winter, or so it seemed, fighting off colds — losing most battles. I guess, however, that we won the war seeing that we're still here to tell about it. I don't really suppose that clean ducts will help this winter, but I don't suppose that they will hurt.

Perhaps we need more than our ducts cleaned, however. Can they do brains too, I wonder. These days I find myself searching desperately for words that should be on the tip of my tongue, such as ... oh, I forget. This makes me a bit nervous because I recall how my poor dad was reduced to calling the sun and moon the "big fella and the other guy." Seriously.

Mind you, Cuppa isn't immune either. As we stood by the patio door looking out at the chilly fog this morning, me in my hoodie, she mentioned that it was going to be thirty degrees this afternoon. When I asked whether that was in fahrenheit or celsius, she stopped to puzzle it out. Eventually, she said, "Farhenheit ... (long pause) ... no ... I mean celsius. I need another cup of coffee." For the record, she did mean celsius, and also for the record, I want to know how it's possible that it will be so hot seeing as it's so cold this morning.

While we're spinning records (as in "for the record"), could somebody please explain to me why I swelter through the first half of the night, even with just a sheet on, and shiver through the second half, even though I have pulled the blanket up. Last night, after sweating through part of my dreams, I eventually got so cold that I went and found my trustworthy hoodie once again. I think it's going to be a long winter.

Finally, for the record or not, could somebody please explain why they can't make good films anymore ... or hardly any? They spend millions (or is it trillions) of dollars per flick and can barely make a good one. This morning just as it happened last week, when I looked at the movie page, I saw only one five star flick listed ... and that was the abominable Inception of which I have spoken before. If that's the best of the lot ... well, I just don't know how to finish that thought.

Finally, with all of your trazillions of dollars, Google, could you devote a few cents to figuring out how to make my cursor not disappear when I am typing and editing these posts? After all, my brain is diminishing and I need all of the help I can get. Trying to figure out where the invisible is located does nothing to help my precarious mental state. Oh, for goodness sakes, the cursor hath re-appeared. Maybe I'm hallucinating, but was it then or now?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Few Pet Peeves

Maybe they're not even pet peeves but just a few things that mildly irritate me. Four have to do with how people drive, and three others have to do with bloggers (other bloggers, not you).

First, my Driving Peeves

1. Slow drivers who speed up noticeably as soon as they reach a passing zone on a two lane highway. They then slow back down the second the passing zone reverts back to two lanes.

2. Drivers who approach stop signs going about fifty miles an hour when I am entering the intersection perpendicular to them. I am always affeered that they might not stop.

3. Cars that sit on my bumper when I'm already exceeding the speed limit on a two-lane road. I don't mind so much if they pass when the opportunity arises, but when they don't, I feel like frightening them just a little by touching my brakes. I don't though; a car is no place for games.

4. This is specifically directed to the guy around the corner who decided to back into his driveway while I had to wait for him. I didn't really mind the waiting, but what was the dirty look all about? Would you have preferred that I didn't stop but plowed right into you? You are a very silly twit. Sir.

Three Peeves Aimed At SpecificBloggers

1. There's a certain romance involved in linking up with another blogger and following him or her. When a stranger posts a comment to my blog I reciprocate, or at the very least I go to his or her blog and decide whether I would like to reciprocate. If we repeat the process a few times, I tend to assume that I've got a regular visitor, and I add this person to my list and begin to follow and not wait for his or her initiating comments. So far so good, but it really peeves me when I never hear from that blogger again even after I comment a number of times. I don't really care who follows me, but let's not do the dance if you don't want to go home with me — so to speak.

2. Then there's the blogger who had an old template that didn't really lend itself to following. So, when he finally updated his template, he sent me a note that I could now follow easily. Except he never bothered to follow me. Really, Mr Professor, you're not all that special that I would find your writing so irresistible that I would follow you one-sidedly with endless devotion. Blogging is at least partly about relationships and give and take. Otherwise, I can find better writers than you in the newspaper.

3. And to you Dear Lady: you've blogged for a long time and we became blogging friends. Then you moved and no one that I know of has ever heard from you again. Have the courtesy to at least say goodbye. Someone else just did that — said goodbye — and I'm really cool with that, but I am somewhat miffed that you stepped into the void without a departing word. Common courtesy, my dear.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

AC and His Unfortunate Mousecapades

I am mainly an essay-style writer, and Cuppa is the story teller. In that vein, I think you would be advised to sit back and read her anecdotes of my famous mousecapades which I mentioned in yesterday's post. Do it. Really.

From Oh No! Not again!

We were merrily driving along the highway going about 60mph when all of a sudden the car began to swerve from side to side. I turned to look at AC and was shocked to see him flapping his arms wildly and banging the steering wheel repeatedly. What the heck was going on? I soon saw that a mouse was running to and fro on his person. Read More

From Mouse in the House

We were in bed early one morning, and I was in a deep, deep sleep. All of a sudden AC sat bolt upright in bed, made an ungodly guttural sound and grabbed his chest. He thrashed about and continued to make horrible sounds. Read More

Monday, September 20, 2010

Of Moose and Mice

Depending on where you live in this huge province, moose hunting season is upon us; different zones begin on different dates. (But let me throw this bit of information out there for warm climate tourists. You will never sight nor hunt moose in Toronto, Montreal or other fine southern Canadian cities. Well, if you do attempt to sight and/or hunt, you will do so in vain. I say this because I hear that it has been attempted by some visitors. It may very well be an urban myth; however, you can't be too careful.)

Not being a hunter, you'd think that the moose season would not be relevant to me, and it isn't except that for me personally, the mouse season is also upon us. It's only a one letter difference after all.

You see, as the weather cools, for some reason local mice begin make a beeline mouseline right into our garage casting longing looks at the basement wall, knowing that there lies a modicum of warmth on the other side.

We've caught four of the blighters in the past week.

I really don't like snapping their little necks and snuffing their little lives like that, but they simply can't be permitted access. It just wouldn't work out. In times past, I've shared both my car and my bed with with mice, and let me tell you that the experience did not work out to our mutual satisfaction.

But I really hate it when the trap doesn't spring properly, like it didn't a few days ago, when one poor little, terrified fella was caught by the cheek.

What to do? He's injured, so you can't set him free. I mean, what do you do?

Fortunately (I guess), I have role models to follow.

For one, I have my father's example, for I vividly remember the cat bringing a trophy in the form of a live mouse into the kitchen one fine day. I was even more shocked by my dad's rapid response of stomping the critter. I never thought of my dad as a quick thinking sort of guy, but he sure was on that day. He stomped with great and fervent alacrity before said mouse could even begin to think of making a beeline mouseline to any sort of nook or cranny. It was a most impressive display by dear old dad.

On another occasion, somewhat later in my life, I saw how Cuppa's dad put a badly trapped mouse out of its misery by holding under the faucet until it drowned.

So, what to do with our poor wee mousie caught by the cheek? Personally, drowning doesn't seem like fun to me, so I opted for the quick, booted stomp.

I hated doing it. I don't like killing. I remember a Clint Eastwood western (I think) where he opines to Morgan Freeman (I think) that it's an awful thing to kill a man because you take away the only thing that he really has — his life (I think). I feel the same way about killing animals and even insects. To wit: I will try to capture a spider who has found its way into our little abode and release it outside. I am also here to inform you that I only take a small amount of satisfaction in swatting the life out of a biting mosquito. So, it was really hard for me to stomp the mouse into oblivion. Really hard: heart poundingly and body-shakingly hard. And if that admission makes me a womanish wimp in the the eyes of blogdom, so be it.

I know that others feel differently about taking animals' lives, but this is the way that I feel. Yes, I eat meat, mostly because I'm too tired and harried these days to figure out how to be a planet and life friendly vegetarian. It would please me if I could or would though.

So that's my little mousecapade. Let's hope that the news of our unfriendly welcome gets around and that any other mice searching for winter warmth take their little bods to one of the many other fine and more hospitable neighborhood establishments.

For a little light relief, I offer you Mouse in the Mug on the Uilleann Pipes. I know I'm reaching, but it's all I've got.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fiddling in the House

Cuppa and I went to our first house concert last night. If my count is correct, 24 fine folk attended, not including the two hosts and two musicians. Such concerts occur semi regularly in this neck of the woods, where there are a lot of fine musicians, and I had wanted to attend one to sample the experience, and for twenty bucks apiece last night, we got our chance. The price was right, the entertainment was delightful, and the dessert provided by the host were to die for as they say ... somewhere.

Both the location and genre suited me well as the house was very local and the genre was a combination of fiddling (several styles, including Swing) and voice by a performer whom I had encountered previously — Kelli Trottier. She was accompanied by Halifax guitarist, Greg Simm who kept us all loose and entertained with his wonderful sense of humour.

The above clip was taken in a little burg in Ontario; Kelli is the second from the right. This is my kind of fiddling. She didn't a lot of that style last night, but I thoroughly enjoyed what she did. (There is some camera shake in the first few seconds, but it soon settles down.)

Below is a clip of Kelli singing with her somewhat renown touring company of fiddlers and violinists, Bowfire. The group very recently performed for Sean Connery's 80th birthday party in The Bahamas.

Both Cuppa and I were pleased with our first house concert experience. My horoscope predicts that I will attend more house concerts in the future.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Takes

I've been updating garden progress periodically as it evolves ever so slowly. We have completed another little job — lining the inside of the driveway border with stones ↑↑. We've also added two Chrysanthemums (as you can see) and two little Daylilies (which you probably can't see). I was hoping to do some renovation in the centre garden last weekend, but I was down with a cold. Given the time of year, I think I'll just make a few notes now and wait for the spring.

School is in. The neighbours with little children gather at the bus stop across the street; everyone stands around in a loose circle. I think it's cute, so I took this picture from my window. ↓↓

Since we had yesterday off from our babysitting gig, we took a little walk in the park after sitting and munching on fries/chips from the chip truck. Since I met our mayor at the truck and compared our chip-enhanced tummies, I have decided to vote for him in the upcoming election. To the point: the walk goes past the local high school and kids were our playing lacrosse in gym class. ↑↑

Further along, a little motor boat passed up and a lady and her dog walking on the other bank. ↓↓

Finally, I thought these geese ↑↑ were kind of framed nicely through these diverging tree trunks. Too bad they weren't interested in posing nicely and were already on the move. Because they were so anxious to be off, I wasn't able to get their names or to have them sign a consent form to allow me to post this. So, I am presuming.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wheelbarrow Photos Found

Perhaps you recall me posting these two wheelbarrow photos last week, the first with Grampa Me with Nikki Dee and the second with Little Me in my grampa's wheelbarrow.

Perhaps you also recall that we thought we had similarly-themed photos of Thesha with her grampa. I had looked through many old boxes of slides in the hopes of finding it — to no avail. However, I picked up one more box the other day. Lo and behold.

These were taken in 1973 at grampa's cottage when Thesha was less than a year old, probably seven or eight months. While I had forgotten about both photos, even Cuppa had not remembered the one with her included ... and Mac the pooch, of course.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Belated Cottage Pics

Even though it's not Christmas, like Cratchit I am a little behind my times with this post. We have been back from the cottage for almost three weeks, but it took me awhile to get around to posting these pictures because I first had to finish working with photos from our Down East trip,. Let's face it; it just had to be done. This batch I like from a photographic point of view.

Chickadee in the Woods
I walked into the woods, not very far in, to see what I could see. Soon, I heard chickadees cheeping and headed toward the sound. They were brave enough to stay within camera distance for awhile.

Chipmunk in the Woods
While I was standing still and taking chickadee pictures, a chipmunk stopped in front of me for quite a long time, trying to take the measure of such a weird, clumsy creature.

Monarch in the Trees
On another occasion, I passed this Monarch butterfly in the trees. Apparently, they have been somewhat scarce in the past few years, so I was glad to see this one and others later on.

Lights from the Planer Mill
Evenings found us down at the planer mill. We'd light candles inside and start a campfire outside. As you can see, it gets quite dark in the country.

Window in Red
There is a garage/shed on the property. I have taken pictures of the front, but this time I focussed on this simple picture of the window in the back wall.

What Lurks?
There is also a picturesque red bar on the property. Again, I focussed on a small area including a window.

The Planer Mill
Every year I seem to take a picture of the planer mill. It really was a working mill up until about fifteen years ago. Now that it has been screened in, we can be indoors away from the bugs but still feel like we are outdoors.

Bench Sward
We call this cleared area Bench Sward because years ago, my nephew and his friends built a Friendship Bench there (to the left of the willow tree in the photo). Although it's hard to see from this angle, we can get down to the river for a swim at one spot. It's a bit of a steep access, but we can manage. It's always cold in the Crowe River, however.

Through the screen, I spied with my little eye Auntie Lychee walking with Zach. I quickly took two pictures: one with the people in focus and one with the screen in focus. They're both okay, but I prefer this one with the screen in focus.

That's about it. Whatever will I think to blog about next?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On Being Crabby

I am not usually like this — being a crabby old fart. Generally speaking I roll through life fairly happily, shrugging off its less than thrilling trials as best I can. However, I frankly admit that a number of things are crabbing me out just now.

  1. We've just begun September, and it's still technically summer, but I am brought low by a cold. It's too early for this sort of nonsense. And that is turning me into Mr Cranky Pants.
  2. Also: as colds go, it's a bad one. Although colds, by definition, always make one sick, this one is giving me a real pummeling. When watching TV, I have to go a rest for about fifteen minutes every hour or so. Having to rest from watching TV is pretty pathetic, don't you think? Would this not make you a little bit cranky too?
  3. Furthermore: it really peeves me that I can't easily do the natural thing to fight a cold: i.e. I can't just go to sleep. That's what normal people do to help them recover. Me? I sleep even less than my usually pathetic amount and that really makes me crabby.
  4. With that in mind, I am am reduced to dragging myself about the house while the garden stands neglected on what should be perfect weather for those chores that I really want to get to while the getting is good because this fine weather won't last too much longer. Sigh and crab.
  5. Saturday, despite having very little energy, I decided that I could handle coffee out followed by a few quick tours of Doors Open Day in a nearby town. I trudged wearily to the first stop, only to find that their doors would open an hour later than everybody else's doors. Why they couldn't have noted the time adjustment on the official brochure rather than post a sign after a wearying trudge is beyond me. Grrr and crab.
  6. We drove to the next point of interest, a former woolen mill that is now, at least partly, a textile museum. The sign out front informed us that we were free to enjoy touring the exterior of the building. Huh? Well thanks, but couldn't I do that any ole time? I mean, do you usually wrap the building in a shroud, so that people can't see the exterior? If we had wanted to go inside, we would have had to pay the usual admittance fee. I'm really crabby about such duplicity. If you don't want to freely open your doors, then don't advertise your site as one of the open doors.
  7. Since the morning had gone so badly, I thought it would be nice to drive to the chip truck around the corner for a little treat. It was gone, probably to a special event, or perhaps it is already closing down as cooler weather approaches. Either way I was crabby. I could have gone to another chip truck as there are a number of them in this town, but I was too tired and crabby to go on a merry chase.
  8. Due to this dadblasted cold, I will not be attending the jam tonight. I have hardly been there for a year; everytime that I have targetted a return date, something has happened — be it ear infection, hearing aid problems or whatnot. Yes, this too is upping my crabbiness index.
  9. I'm also crabby about how tennis, specifically right now the US Open, is broadcast on TV. We like to watch Wimbledon at the beginning of summer and the US Open at the end, with the Canadian Open in between. But why do announcers insist on mumbling year after year? We are forced to turn the sound way up to try to discern their mumbles, and then the commercials fairly blast us through the walls. It's very crab-making.
  10. And for goodness sakes, in this high tech era, can they not figure out a way to decrease the amount crowd noise that the mics pick up and transmit to us while they're commenting after an exciting rally? I can seldom make out what they're saying over the background noise. While I understand that my hearing isn't the best, I must report that when I turn to Rabbit-Ears Cuppa for an interpretation, she is generally shaking her head and shrugging her shoulders in perplexity. CBS pours millions of dollars into covering the event and televising it for us. They pay their announcers a small fortune but fail to gauge their sound in such a way as to allow us to hear the commentators. That's stupid, and stupidity makes me crabby.
  11. While I'm at it, I want to ask what purpose those pre-match interviews serve. The players clearly don't want to be there and only serve up innocuous statements. Frankly, I cringe when these interviews are shown. I told you that I was crabby.
  12. Finally, it really frosts me that we can't watch tennis on the American channel (CBS) but get a feed-over from the Canadian channel that buys the rights to the feed. Even when I choose CBS, I get TSN. On Saturday evening after Clisters won her match, there was still twenty minutes to spare in the time slot. I would have loved to have seen a wrap-up of the day: the thoughts and analyses of various commentators. But no: our Canadian relay (TSN) immediately switched over to regular programming, and I found myself suddenly watching a ridiculous car show about an new economy Mazda vehicle. We have this problem year after year. One year, we missed the end of the tennis finals because it went longer than the time allotted, and we were switched over to some telethon or other. It really makes me crabby to endure this year after year.
  13. On top of all that, I have had to come back to this post about three times to add points that I forgot about whilst typing. It really makes me crabby to do that.

I'm sure I could go on if I really put my mind to it, but this cold is sapping my energy, and I must go rest again. Which makes me crabby.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More On Giving and Happiness

Since I just mentioned it as a key to personal happiness, it was serendipitous to come across this newspaper article about giving in the Ottawa Citizen. Apparently both Canadians and Americans do quite well. I've pasted a few excerpts below, but you can read the whole article at The Ottawa Citizen's website.

Canada ranks third in a global "generosity" survey, in which the key overall finding is that being happy is a greater impulse for people to give their time and money to charity than being rich.

Canadians are on par with the Irish for giving, and surpassed only by the Australians and New Zealanders, according to the survey — the largest ever to study global charitable behaviour.

... it is important to recognize both giving of time as well as money since a simple measure of financial donations would, on the whole, make the wealthiest nations appear most charitable ...

On a regional basis, North Americans — defined by the study as Canadians and Americans collectively — are the most willing in the world to help strangers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Of Grampas, Wheelbarrows and Faulty Memories

While at the cottage just the other week, I chanced to put Nikki Dee in the wheelbarrow and Cuppa chanced to be there with the camera. ↓↓ This photo brought back memories, at least some of which have turned out to be faulty.

Cuppa remembers a photo of her dad pushing Thesha in a wheelbarrow. She might be right, but our box of old slides is so stupidly disorganized that I haven't yet been able to uncover such a gem. I will continue to look and will post if I come across it.

However, be it real or not, her recollection caused me to remember an old photo of my grampa pushing me in a wheelbarrow — or so I thought. But I've been through all of the albums, and I regret to inform the world that (GASP!) my memory is faulty. There is no photo of him pushing me in a wheelbarrow. However, I did find one ↓↓ of me in his wheelbarrow about sixty years ago. I wish he were in it, but alas ...

I so wish I could sit down and have a long talk with my grampas now. There's so much I would like to know: about their childhood, their families, their crossings to Canada, their stories about work, etc. One reason that I blog now is to leave a bit of record behind should my own scions ever wish to know more about the nuts in their family tree: nuts with faulty memories as it turns out.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Odd Milestone

In an effort to win the Inane Trivia Award, I am now abusing my keyboard to inform you of the significant milestone that I have reached. To wit: I have been drinking coffee for a whole decade now.

I don't mean that I have been drinking it nonstop for ten years, barely coming up for breath, although that would really be worth posting. Rather it has been a decade since I decided that I was old enough to consume such an adult beverage.

We had been out west, and I sometimes felt a bit out of it when people in my company were socially sipping their java whilst I twiddled my thumbs. So in September of 2000, I decided to overcome my distaste of the brew and do what decent folk everywhere were doing. Up until then, I had only bothered to taste it a few times, and one sip had been sufficient. I didn't even like the smell of it. Nevertheless, I purposed to grow up.

I began by adding lots of cream and sugar: triple-triples in Tim Hortons parlance. Then it became double-doubles before I settled in at double cream. And that's the way I continue to have it although I suppose that I slide toward triple cream some of the time.

Most days, I have one mug in the morning, occasionally one and a half but seldom two, and that's usually it for the day. Only infrequently I will drop into Tims for an additional jolt.

Come to think of it, I haven't been indulging in that other adult beverage — beer — for so very much longer. What can I say? I guess some of us take longer to grow up.

Aren't you happy that you stopped by for such earth-shaking report? Carry on.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Steps to Happiness

From another blog, I was directed to this video of a TED presentation by Nic Marks about what it takes or will take to create a happy planet. For much of this almost 17 minute video, the material deals with a global view based on statistics etc, but around the 13 minute mark, he begins to highlight five specific actions that we can engage in daily on a personal level. What follows below is what I understood the speaker to say, not necessarily his actual words.

    1. Take time to CONNECT with others. Relationships are the cornerstone of your life.
    2. The fastest and surest way to overcome a bad mood etc is to BE ACTIVE: go for a walk; put on some music and dance etc.
    3. TAKE NOTICE of life. Be aware of the changing seasons, of what people are saying, of your own inner thoughts and feelings.
    4. It has been found that older people who KEEP LEARNING are generally healthier than those who don't. One doesn't have to take formal courses, but it is beneficial to remain curious.
    5. There seems to be a part of our brains that is hardwired to feel good when we GIVE of ourselves.

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010

    Of Smoke and Fire

    Late on Saturday night, I was totally engrossed in The Girl Who Played With Fire (the book, I mean, not an actual female pyromaniac) when I thought I heard a beep. It came to me that I might have actually heard a few beeps deep in the background in the past few minutes, and I had been too absorbed to consciously notice. Naw: couldn't be. I went back to my reading but with a little more awareness. Sure enough, in a moment or two: beep.

    I knew what it was — the smoke detector. It went wonky one night about six months ago when we had visitors staying over, so I knew. Why these things must happen at night and particularly when one has visitors, I know not. I mean to say, in five years in this place, that had been a first. Now, we were having a second incident. At least it was just the two of us this time.

    However, from that experience I now knew what to do: blow some compressed air into the mechanism, and it would magically cease to beep. Not. For once I sat down smugly and comfortably to resume my reading, I head it: beep.

    Okay AC, remove the cover and disconnect the infernal thing. Unfortunately the plug didn't want to budge, so, I had to content myself with blowing more air. Surely it would work this time because with the cover part hanging down, I could access it much more thoroughly.

    Wrong again. Minutes later, it beeped its beeping beep once again.

    This time, the sleeping Cuppa was also roused sufficiently enough to inquire what the heck was going on. She also decided to try to disconnect the thing and it came apart easy peasy, which confirms my mechanical ineptitude for the about the gazillionth time.

    She: back to bed.

    Me: back to reading.

    The detector in the ceiling: back to beeping.

    But the cover was now off, so how in the world could a disconnected smoke detector keep detecting and beeping, I wondered. Maybe there's a backup battery inside it, said she.

    After another beep or two, I wondered whether it might not be the upstairs smoke detector at all. Maybe it was the one the one directly below the stairs on the first floor. I went down and listened, but the beeping didn't seem to be coming from there. Cuppa had stayed upstairs directly below the part still in the ceiling, and she declared that it wasn't the wall part that was beeping but the disconnected part that was now lying on a table. Curiouser and curiouser.

    Regardless, she of the better ears decided it would be prudent to go downstairs to listen for herself while I stayed up, but she could only confirm that it wasn't the downstairs smoke detector. I confess to being quite baffled: wondering how in tarnation a taken-apart smoke detector could possibly be working be it the ceiling part or the disconnected part.

    Idea: maybe it was neither smoke detector but the carbon monoxide detector in the bedroom. So, I went in to have myself a listen. Well, if a watched pot doesn't boil neither does a watched detector detect. Eventually, as she tired of waiting for the next beep, Cuppa also joined me to contemplate the carbon monoxide monitor. After more frustrated waiting, she picked the thing up, carried it to the light where she was able eventually discern a tiny, dimly lit message: Change the Battery.

    So, I hadn't known after all what had been causing the dad-blasted beeping; I had merely assumed that what had occurred once before in the middle of the night was occurring once again. But the mystery had been solved after much drowsy-headed puzzlement; Cuppa headed back to sweet repose and I back to my reading. I am pleased to report that I finished the novel around midnight. Once again, I recommend Steig Larsson to you.

    Upon reflection, it's indeed an ill wind that blows no good. In this case, dear reader is able to come to Raindrops without having to look at any sort of photo whatsoever. Should that not be cause for rejoicing throughout blogland? And don't you find it a tiny bit ironic that all this detector foofaraw occurred while I was reading a book entitled, The Girl Who Played With Fire? Thankfully, on this Saturday night at least, where there was fire there was not smoke.

    Monday, September 06, 2010

    Belated Birthday Pics

    As it happened, my 63rd birthday unfolded in three stages beginning with some cake, ice cream and gifts (remember the obsolete iPod?) with the A Team after we got home from the cottage and before they flew back to Vancouver. After a hectic week at the cottage followed a long drive home to a house in the mess of a major renovation, we neglected to take pictures. That shows how tired Cuppa was because she hardly ever forgets to record these events.

    My actual birthday was a usual day of childcare, but the event was still remembered — with pictures this time. The morning began with candles — on my birthday buns as it were.

    The lighting and blowing of the candles was repeated five times accompanied by five very slow rounds of Happy Birthday. Nikki Dee loves to lead the singing and to be the main candle-blower-outer.

    She is also happy to be the main gift-opener and doesn't mind at all that the gifts are for someone else.

    Last year, I took her and Cuppa to McDonalds for my birthday. This year Zach was sleeping, so we continued to make it a tradition without Cuppa who stayed with him while Nikki Dee and I went out. Maybe someday, Nikki Dee will take me out, or maybe this won't really become a tradition; time will tell. I took more than a half dozen pictures of her, but this is the only time I managed to get her to look at the camera: little impy-doodle that she is.

    It was back home for cake, which she helped Amma to decorate ...

    ... along with much finger-sticking and licking just to make sure it was acceptable.

    Yum. It passed the test.

    Come Saturday, Thesha took us out to breakfast while Theboy stayed home to continue with the renovations.

    And that's about it for another year.