Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Before the Crowds

Before being gobsmacked by the crowds at the Festival of the Maples, we met Brian and Heather at Wheelers. After a leisurely and chatty breakfast over pancakes, sausages and plenty of maple syrup, we ambled about the property seeing what we could see. The women did their thing, and Brian and I, the amateur photogs, did ours.

So, what I have to offer today are your basic wandering around pictures. Occasionally, I would catch a glimpse of the ladies and take a shot — mostly of their behinds as it eventuated.

Heather was enthralled with the alpaca who made cute sounds to her.

I wished he was a llama, for then I would have called him god and said, "Behold the llama god."
And I would have thought myself clever.

They are looking at an old Model T, which I have posted several times previously. This time I ignored Tin Lizzie.
I hope she forgives me.

In the far distance, the ladies check out the blacksmith shop and saunter by various farm relics.
And here are the Brian pics as he wandered about snapping this, that and the other thing.

I think Brian was checking the picture that he just took of the alpaca (and not the llama god).

Walking behind a setup of the ancient method of boiling maple syrup.

Brian checks out a shed containing an old-style syrup boiler.

This is the inside. The sign over the furnace informs us that it could produce 3 litres per hour.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Festival of the Maples

We had company on the weekend, and one of our activities was to take in the Festival of the Maples in Perth. We were in total shock at the crowds on Gore Street as Canadians swarmed to this early spring outing after being cooped up all winter. There are many coats in evidence as the day started cool and rainy, but the weather was warming up nicely by this time.

I am not a street photographer, but I became one for an hour or so on Saturday. Here are some of my shots from our stroll.

The above may be my fave of the day, but I also like the next one. Do you think the guy is put out with me? Are you taking a picture of ME?  lol

This vendor ↑ looks glum, but maybe he was just tired. I think the next fellow has a great look

Although he doesn't look like the type to me, this guy ↑ needed a cuppa, but this vendor ↓ was happy counting his money.

Not to forget the pretty ladies, she ↑ seemed to be searching for anybody who wanted to take a studio tour. And what a pretty dish ↓ I spied in the crowd. I wonder who she is.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pity the Bus Driver

Curiously, as I was just a few moments ago, trimming my toenails, (shall we pause while you relish that picture?) the first few notes of a tune went thru my head. While that in and of itself is not too monumental, the tuned turned out to be Battle Hymn of the Republic. And perhaps that is not too difficult to imagine either, but my words to the tune were "Our bus driver has a belly full of beer."

We sang that once or twice when we went on school trips when I was a kid: not that we went on many in that era, but we did go on a few excursions. Strangely enough I never heard that sung on any school buses that I have been on since then. I  rode a school bus to school (where else?) for 4 years after moving from Montreal to the outskirts of Toronto, but I never heard the song. Mind you, when you take a school bus everyday, you are not giddy with excitement. And the song would get old really really quickly, doncha think?

As a teacher, I have also taken kids of fields trips of various durations, but I can't recall them bursting out into song — any sort of song. Mind you, they were mostly high school trips, and high schoolers have other possible mayhem to keep them occupied.

Why I began to hum and think of this after more than fifty years whilst trimming my toenails, I know not. My mind is a strange and frightful place. I don't drink much beer, and I haven't been on a school bus for almost 15 years — and then just for a one-day field trip.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The crocuses bloomed last week, and they are pretty well history already. I am not much of a flower photo sorta guy, but since crocuses mean the end of winter and beginning of spring to me, I always try to get a few shots if the weather permits. What with rain, snow, clouds and wind, I don't manage get photos every year. I sure didn't last year, but managed a few this year.

And then there are the children, who felt that watering was necessary despite the wet spring. With a dixie cup no less.

There were also pebbles to be attended to, but not watered.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Birthday Breakfast

That's ↑↑ coming in the door on her birthday on Friday, bringing our weekly stack of flyers in from the mailbox. We knew we'd all be going out to dinner that evening, but we also wanted to do something special in the morning, so we headed out to Tim's for breakfast. Well, we had breakfast, while all she wanted was a donut and smoothie ↓↓ after having already eaten at home.



While grandma and grampa finished breakfast and sipped their coffee, Dani opened one, little present.

Anything fairy is good and happy-making.

Grampa was pretty happy too and joined Danica in making a goofy face.

Rest assured that Sue will post many more photos, but I wanted to nab the breakfast pics.

Before I leave, here is another recent picture that has noting to do with her birthday, but, since I have it ready ...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Six Years Old Today

I know that I posted her birthday earrings earlier, but today is her actual birthday. I went thru the archives to find photos of various ages and stages. At the top left is one from her first few days if life. The large photo on the right is very recent. What a treat this little girl has been. I am so privileged to have had so much time with her.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Table Talk

I think that, more than most people, my mind whirls around in weird circles and off into weird tangents. I never know what will pop into it, or out of it rather, completely out of context.

To wit: Sue has been re-organizing her jewellry work area way down there in the basement. Space is at a premium, so she rigged up an old piece of board on top of containers which were on top of a futon for times when her desk is already full. She doesn't require this space continually, but since it's a pain to rig up, she leaves it up.

At the same time, we have ordered some new living room chairs, and we have been contemplating how to arrange them and if we need new end tables and/or a new coffee table.

At first blush ... as well as the second, third and fourth ... these two happenstances would not appear to correlate, yet my mind made an odd but happy leap just recently.

As we sat in the living room, Sue brought up the end table talk once again.

But my mind didn't go there.

No. At the mention of table, my mind tripped back to a fold out metal table that my mother had in her basement many years ago.

So, in a terribly non sequiturish sorta way, I replied to Sue's question about end tables by referring to this other table.

Oddly enough, she thinks it is a perfect idea because it would be a larger and firmer work surface that could easily be put out of the way most of the time. So, she went online, saw that such devices are still available, and plans to purchase one at the first opportunity.

So, in this case, my somewhat malfunctioning brain was actually helpful.

It happens so rarely that I though I should blog about it.

Idol Thoughts

Do you still watch American Idol? We do although our first exposure to Nicky Minaj sent us scrambling for cover.  But I digress.

Even aside from Nicky, the show has been different this year. They are down to the final five contestants, and they are all girls ... or women if you prefer.

In just about every other year, the first few to go home are women ... or girls if you prefer. This is so, even though they are often better than the boys ... or men if you prefer. (We could say gals and guys, or lads and lasses, or blokes and sheilas or ... )

Not this year. After five weeks, each and every ... er ... um ... blokey-guy-lad  has been sent packing, and only ... er ... um ... sheila-lady-gals remain standing or sometimes sitting.

I am so relieved that Lazaro was finally sent home. From his parting song, I figure that the boy can sing, but this was not evident during the competition when I was often seen to be grimacing during his performances. AC does not have the most finely tuned ears in the world, but oh my goodness! As I opined to my lady, I think he has a decent voice but a tin ear.

Anyway, catastrophe averted. I was having visions about Lazaro hanging onto the sympathy vote and winning the whole thing. The Idol executives must have been having fits over that possibility.

Meanwhile, Nicky Minaj really needs to get off Janell's case, whose main fault in Nicky's eyes seems to be that she is not Kree. The other judges aren't that nice to her either. She seems sweet enough on stage, but maybe she is a misery in person and the judges don't like her. Who knows? However, I think she will probably do as well as any contestants and better than most in her post-Idol career.

I have Candice and Kree down as the faves, but they don't have the optics of the other three (pardon me while I picture Amber's legs or Angie's dazzling smile or Janell's cuteness), so who knows how JQ Public will vote.

Before I wander off, let me ask you if you watch the other two vocal competitions — X-Factor and Voice — and how you rate the three. My take is that Idol is the most compelling but X-Factor has the best staging and Voice the most gentility. However, I don't prefer the judges sniping at each other in X-Factor, and Voice is a bit too in-studio for my taste and does not seem to have genuine judging. So I guess, I prefer Idol ... except maybe for that really weird judge.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Guess who got her ear's pierced on the weekend? No, it was not AC, cute as that might be.

It was something Danica wanted for her birthday next week, and her wish came true on the weekend. Mom and Grandma took her into the city on the weekend to accomplish the task.

When they came back to the house, I wanted to take some pictures, but Danica was high and not in a mood to pose primly and properly as is plain from these photos. The one above and the one directly below are my faves, but I am posting a few more as well.

No doubt, you will find the rest of the story over on Sue's blog.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

AC's Attempt at Personal Hygiene Goes Awry

Oh the trials and tribulations!

Last night found me leaving the house at 11PM to visit the nearby pharmacy.

To obtain floss.

Here's the story.

Like a good boy old curmudgeon, I was following my usual practice of flossing before bedtime. I have been using J&J floss (to the far left in the photo) for decades, but they seem to have changed their formula because the floss simply shredded in two of my tight-fitting teeth and got totally stuck.

It was not pleasant, and the more that I tried to re-floss to get the threads out, the more threads got stuck.

Other measures were required, and my first attempted solution met with failure. No, the Water Pik was not able to blast the tightly stuck floss loose.

Next, I tried to pull the floss out with Sue's tweezers (bottom) — to no avail.

I was preparing to live with the inconvenience during the night and to look for a different brand of floss in the morning when I realized the pharmacy was still open.

Out I went ... and returned with two purchases — Oral-B Superfloss and G.U.M. floss (see photo, back middle). Superfloss is the kind that you stick and pull thru the teeth from the side above the gum line when you can't get the usual floss to go down between your teeth. It helped to remove some of the threads but not enough.

So, I tried the G.U.M brand, which I purchased thinking that it might be tough enough to get thru my teeth without shredding and thus compounding the problem. I extracted only a few inches of floss before the thing jammed up and would yield no more. The little that I did get out seemed to do some good, but I still had some floss stuck in my teeth. No amount of prying and cajoling yielded me any more floss.

I was getting quite hot and bothered by this time.

After almost giving up in despair, I remembered that I had a small container of another brand of floss in my travel bag. This was courtesy of my dentist, who kindly gifts me with floss and a toothbrush after a visit when I have re-mortgaged my house to pay for his latest luxury vacation.

I extracted a little, used it, and moved some more threads from the offending teeth. But I needed to give it another go to remove the final but obstinate miscreants.

Lo and behold! Hadn't all of the floss rewound back into the container?!

Fortunately, I was able to pry open the container with my handy dandy Swiss Army knife (too bad I had been unable to accomplish this with the G.U.M floss earlier), and extricate some more floss.

After about two more passes, my teeth were clear of the damnable floss threads although I confess that my gums were bleeding a bit after all of this attention.

I am so grateful for incidents such as this for giving me something to blog about other than my charming grandchildren whom I'm sure the work has come to hate after all of these years of countless pictures and my concomitant doting .

Friday, April 12, 2013

In Memory

I posted the original colour version of this photo a few weeks ago when I realized that Mom had died ten years ago already, but I prefer it in b&w. Mary passed away in the wee hours of April 12 2003 on a rainy day. Coincidentally, today, I can't see out my window because we had an ice storm last night. She was 87 and would have celebrated her 88th birthday had she lived for another month. She lived well and on her own until she fell just a few weeks before her parting. We were actually visiting our daughter, Shauna, here in Ottawa when she had her fall, and it took us a few days to get home as our car was in for repairs. Friends had her in a seniors residence by the time we got home; we soon had her transferred to hospice care as she was failing fast.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Back Online

Hello World!

Due to a hard drive failure, I have been been quieter than usual on Blogger lately. But I think I am more or less back up to speed.

We've seen a number of passages in the past week or so: Roger Ebert, Margaret Thatcher, and Annette Funicello. I am still here, however, and, in the wake of Easter, my computer has been resurrected. Aren't you pleased?

We are finally having some decent spring weather. By that I mean milder and not rainless weather. One out of two ain't bad. We are, however, possibly expecting another snowfall in a few days time. We usually do get a good April snowfall — a last shot from Old Man Winter. Even if it does snow, it will soon melt.

Danica was invited to a fairy princess birthday party on the weekend. She is wearing her crown in the above photo. I imagine that either Sue or I or both will post pictures of the whole ensemble at some point now that he computer is once again functional. Great expression, eh?

Meanwhile, I will include several photos below that I had ready to post before the Crash of 2013. These were from Easter when they both received iPods. She is into it more than he is, however.

AC out.