Friday, November 26, 2021

Silly Old People

It isn't Christmas yet, so what were Sue and John up to?

Guess what! They're all empty.

Huh? Why?

Well, Sue put together another fun photo op.

Linda changed her sign again, and off we went.

Despite the fact that the car was full, we didn't have nearly as many boxes (actually mostly bags) as it seems in the two pictures with the sign. But through the magic of Photoshop, I was able to make it look like many more. If you look carefully, you will be able to see that some parcels make 3 or even 4 appearances.

Here's another collage.

We are just 2 silly old people.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

One Chickadee January

Despite not attracting any birds on our recent forays to the woodland, in the past we had a great experience – or more accurately, a series of memorable experiences over a few weeks in January 2005.

We went to the cottage in December 2004 and remained for much of January, with a break at Shauna's over Christmas. Sha lived within a few hours of the cottage while we lived 6 or more hours away.

Wanting to make it a little more festive in the wilderness, Sue festooned a tree with a Christmas garland of popcorn and cranberries. It was upon our return early in January that the bird magic happened.

That was when Sue decided to put apple slices and peanut butter on the branches of the same tree. Or maybe she started this before the break and simply resumed the practice. I can't remember for sure.

We weren't looking for or expecting the close encounters that ensued, and I don't remember exactly the first step. I do think that a nuthatch was the first one to land on Sue's hand. At least I believe that is what happened, and the sequencing of photos from back then seems to indicate that I am correct. 

Here s/he is. This one had an orange breast. Another variety is white. I have attached a photo of one of those at the end of this post.

Although the nuthatch broke the ice, the chickadees were very quick to follow, for it sure seems like the very same apple in Sue's hand. She is in the same place too.

Once they began to visit, they came in droves, or so it seemed. 

Shauna visited for a weekend and was overjoyed to be blessed with visits.

Heather also received the blessing.

Et moi.

It got to the point that if we left the cottage with the peanut butter jar, they would land on the jar almost immediately. I wish I had a picture of that. Not only that, but we would sometimes be followed on our walks around the extensive property of more than 100 acres.

One day I put some peanut butter apple slices on my head, shoulders and both hands. I was hoping for five birds for a photo. It didn't happen although I think there were once three, and there may have been other flittings. Once again, I don't recall for sure.

Here's what we did capture.

Even though the peanut butter was on apple slices, I distinctly remember getting pecked on my bare scalp, and it did smart a bit.

It was such a joyful experience. Too bad it seems all but certain that it is not going to happen here. However, we do cherish these memories, which I love revisiting. It has been quite a long time since I looked at these photos, and I feel warm pleasure all over again.


And here, we have the other kind of nuthatch from the same winter. I can't remember if it landed on our hands. I don't think it did, but it was a long time ago..

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

No Birds and Few Photo Ops

We were back with apples and birdseed on the weekend.

At this spot, two nuthatches were flitting about, but neither landed. Nuthatches can be just as bold and tame as chickadees although they don't come in numbers. Not it my limited experience anyway That was the most colourful tree on the path in the background, so I wanted to include it. I did move back and took another photos that included her extended hand, but I still liked this one better.

I looked around for other things to photograph. I did the alligator sign again, closer-up this time. It's a local joke. There was once a marshy area in town that had a similar sign for many years until the land was built upon. This sign should be forever safe from builders for it is in a designated park. 

I looked around diligently, for I am told that there is always something to photograph. However, that doesn't mean the photo will be very good. It is good to look around and try though. In this case, the birch tree stood out from the background gloom, which I darkened in post, for effect.

Here a rather pathetic fir tree is trying to make a go of it. Poor thing. I guess it could be Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.

I saw very white fungi here and there, including on the edge of the felled log.

There were a few leaves with still some colour here and there, and I thought to show that. But then I decided to convert this to b&w. I rather like it.

And that was it for feeding the birds this week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Toofies and Waterworks

As a prelude to my dental appointment last week, I was thinking back to my first dentist in Montreal: Dr Cloutier, probably in 1955.  It was a one-person operation. You'd walk it, sit in the chair; he examined your teeth, and started to drill – without freezing, may I add. That's the way that it was. I was 7, and they were baby teeth, and I don't remember the process being unduly torturous. Perhaps time has been merciful and mitigated my memory.

Nowadays they are major businesses. This one involved the dentist plus 6 others as far as I could tell. There were sometimes two at the main desk – one to take your money, and one to pick you up off the floor. Let's say that the bill was flabbergasting.

I must say that it was painless, but after an hour and a half in that chair my old body was feeling less than happy, let me tell ya. I had to halt the proceeding and get up to stretch. Shortly thereafter, I had to suspend work again while I left the dentist and technician sitting in the room for a few moments whilst I visited the loo.

My body puzzles me and drives me to distraction. I took the first appointment: 8am. Knowing my body. I refrained from drinking all night, I didn't have my morning coffee despite getting up two hours earlier. I had gotten up twice during the night, and then I went twice before going to the dentist. When I got there I went again, just for good measure.

I thought that there wouldn't be a drop of water left in me after more than 12  hours without fluids, but after 90 minutes in the chair, I felt ready to burst. You would think that it might have just been my mind playing tricks on me at that point, but I am telling you that it was pretty well a gusher and not just the few paltry drops that I had been expecting. Where all of that came from after all of those hours of depriving myself of fluids is beyond me.

But listen to this: I went again as soon as I got home, not much more than a half hour later. I'm sorry, but I have to utter a hearty and perplexed WTF? right about now.

It had been a fairly major appointment. After not visiting a dentist for two and a half, mostly COVID years, I had developed 4 cavities around old fillings, and I had to also deal with the chipped tooth that I had lived with for more that three years. Amazingly, there wasn't a cavity in that tooth, which is what I had been most concerned about.

In future, I will break it up into two appointments should I ever again require than much work. But I shouldn't have this happen again once I get back to regular checkups, for this amount of maintenance is unusual for me, Thank goodness.

Now, I feel that I must work one more thing into this post that is related in an odd way.

I have been wearing my iWatch to bed on most nights for the two-and-a -half months that I have had it primarily in order to use a sleep app. I don't need to do this, for I am not too stupid to figure out how many hours that I have slept. But it also tracks heart beat and how much it drops as well as sleep rhythm. Those two things – resting heart rate and sleep rhythm – may be the same thing. I am not sure right now, and it doesn't matter.

To get to the point, an hour or so after my appointment, I dropped Sue off briefly so she could make an appointment with her hairdresser. While she was inside, I checked my sleep app, or maybe it sent me a message. I can't remember which.

Guess what?

Since I had been all but stationary in the dental chair for a protracted period of time, the app had added the two hours to my sleep time. That is despite the fact that I had gotten up two hours prior to the appointment and then driven the office. 

And that's all I have to say about that. I thought it might tickle you, however.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Bananas, Gym Bags, and Tires

It was green, or at least about 90% green, bur I peeled it anyway. 

I had bought bananas two days previously and suspected that this bunch was ripe, despite the colour. I was right, for although it was still 90% green it was also 90% ripe.

I can't tell with bananas any more. Green can be ripe, yellow can be overripe and getting mushy.

Not so very long ago, I would purchase green in summer because they would ripen quickly in the hotter weather and yellow in winter because they wouldn't. Now I have no clue and just guess.


Yesterday morning (as I write this), I was sitting in my easy chair, doing whatever on my iPad, when Danica called. We almost never phone in this family, preferring to text, which is much less intrusive, so I wondered what was up.

She asked what I was doing, and I described what I wrote above, so I shan't bother repeating it. BTW don't you just love shan't? Nobody uses it anymore, but my English grandfather did, and I remember that these 70 years later and am chuffed both to remember and to use it.

Danica takes the bus to school but had forgotten her gym equipment at home. In this quadmester system she takes gym for about 2 hours a day until near the end of January. They use a quadmester system during these COVID times to reduce student contacts. The kids take only two courses at a time. That will assist in tracking should there be an outbreak. Hopefully, they will return to semestering next year. . . . Well, hot off the press, the latest news is that they will probably return to the semester system in January.

She explained that she had forgotten her gym bag at home and described where I might find it if I could see my way clear to assist her.

Of course, I would do just about anything for this child, so I told her I would get dressed and drop her stuff off at the school in probably about 20 minutes.

Sue did the same, for if the bag hadn't been where Danica had thought, we would have had to hunt for it, and this guy isn't the best at finding things.

But it was where Danica had said, and we did get it to the school where she was waiting outside for us. I think we were even there before the bell.

Poor kid is in high school, but due to COVD restrictions they have no lockers, so it becomes easy to forget to have all of your supplies with you at all times. Some restrictions are just overkill when we're all double vaxxed, including the kids over 12, especially when they also wear their masks all day. Another update: the vaccine has just been approved for kids over 5 and over.


That phone call was just after 8 o'clock, and I had a tire change scheduled for 9. I said to Sue that I was glad we had thought to put the tires in the car on the previous evening. We keep a lot of stuff in the trunk, and cleaning that out and also getting the tires in would have put us in a bit of a time crunch. We likely could have managed but were glad that we didn't have to.

They were incredibly fast with the tires. I had almost no sooner settled down to a Sudoku game than it seemed they were calling my name and demanding a small fortune in recompense for their travails on my behalf.

Indeed, if my memory is correct, this service now costs $20 more than it did at the same place for the same job, 16 years ago for my first tire change there. It almost a 60% increase. Sadly, I'm not sure if my pension has increased even by 6% in that time.


Although we've  always lived in the same province, we didn't usually bother with snow tires at our previous residence. We lived in Sarnia, just an hour north of Detroit. I know it seems odd to reference an American city for a Canadian location, but it makes it easier for Americans to get a rough idea, most of whom know little about Canadian geography. Indeed, we were almost directly north of Motown, just on the other side of the river, for both Detroit and Sarnia are border cities. 

Winters were somewhat milder there, and we didn't generally bother with snow tires. Here in Eastern Ontario, winters are longer and once the snow sticks, often by the end of November, it sticks until mid-March and has occasionally stayed until April. Snow tires were almost a first purchase when we moved here.

Hockey is Back

It took 630 days, but on Saturday, I photographed my first of Jonathan's hockey games since March 01 2020. Or if you prefer, the elapsed time was 21 months + 3 weeks, or 90 weeks, or 15 107 hours.

That's a long time between clicks, folks.

That's how much effect one lil ole pandemic can have. The 2020 season was cancelled although the boys still practiced and played intra squad games with no one able to watch.

This season, they have been playing for a month or so, and I had attended one game. But I took the camera to this one. Thankfully, I didn't completely forget how to use it.

I didn't wander around like I used to, however, and restricted myself to one end of the rink, the end where there was no crowd whatsoever.

Even then and as required, I wore my mask as much as I could, but I did pull it under my nose on occasion because my breath was fogging up the viewfinder. I was far enough away from everyone that it wasn't a problem, except if anyone were to notice and want to make an issue of it. But as I said, I did try to abide by the rules as much as possible. Besides, you can't get in arena in the first place if you're not fully vaxxed, so I was not too concerned.

Onto the photos. The first is of JJ with his back to me during warmup. He's helping to clear the puck from the net in the second photo.

Some kids are more involved than others. Number 14 is one such boy, and he is in both of the following photos.

Another player, carrying the puck.

I am mostly looking for action photos, but I like this boy looking at the ref, waiting for him to drop the puck. Maybe I will try to do more of these.

Of course I could easily post twice as many, but I will show better judgement. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Works Better for Me

I am experimenting with new hearing aids. They are the over-the-ear kind as opposed to in-the-ear aids. The over ear ones are pretty tiny now. My dad used to wear big honking ones, but in the past mine have been ones that go in the ear.

The thing is that these new ones don't get along very well with the masks that we still need to wear a lot. You come out from inside, begin to remove the mask, and the hearing aides flop and dangle. Someone in town recently found one lying on the ground. I don't know how you couldn't tell that you had just lost a hearing aid, but someone didn't notice the loss. I once found one too, but that was an in-ear model, and FB helped me to find the owner promptly.

The biggest problem I have encountered with the hearing aids getting along with a mask is at our Monday exercise class where we have to wear masks throughout. However, we can remove them briefly while we hydrate, but all too often they half came off. Hearing aids being jarred about was driving me crazy.

Then my ever observant wife, saw a fellow who had a strap that allowed him to fasten his mask around the back of his neck.

She found some on you-can-guess-where dot com, and they work a lot  better for me.

I am even more of a sui generis sorta bloke than ever.