Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Happier Place

I am trying to be in a happier frame of mind today as my heart begins to heal, and these photos won't hurt the process. Your comments on the previous post were also helpful and appreciated. Thanks.

One day last week, I made it to our Riverside Park for a little while with camera in hand. Actually, camera was on tripod. I seldom use a tripod, but when I do, it makes me feel a little more serious about the photoshoot.

Although I have displayed a number of autumn photos in this lil ole blog space of mine, and although I think that they have looked good enough, it has also not been the very best autumn for colour this year.

That continued to be the case at the park. Some of the trees hadn't yet turned much but others were already past their full splendour. So it was with the red maples in this photo, which I have seen redder and fuller in leaf in other years. I have been told that some consecutive nights of good frost are required to bring out the reds properly, and that just hasn't happened this year. You can see in the photo that the leaves are almost more orange than red, yet I have seen them wonderfully red in other years.

Nevertheless, I think that photo was still somewhat appealing as are these others that follow. I just need to appreciate what I can, and there was enough for me that day, like this single orange tree overlooking the blue river. This was actually my first photo of the day.

I took this next shot after the previous one but before the tighter shot of the red maples up top, from farther back. I like the path. You can see the variation of the change with the one tree to the left being bare but quite a lot of leaf and even green leaf on others.

As I strolled up, or was it down, the park I strayed from the path to take the next photo. The ground was covered in leaves, and the bright yellow leaves of the one tree seemed well framed by other trees.

On the way back to the car along the path once again, I got down low for a few takes. That is, I put the tripod low and hoped for the best because I don't get down and up so easily anymore. I could use a camera with a tilting screen to make low and high shots easier, but new cameras don't come cheaply. It is said that in future all Canon DSLRs will come with tilting screens. But again, at what price, particularly for a full frame, which is my preference?

When I was taking and processing this final shot, also a low shot, it seemed a bit like an afterthought, but I think I like it best of the lot when all is said and done. I like the path off centre in this case, the colour at the end, and how all of the lines, including the river, more or less converge. If I had centered the path, I would have missed the river. It also would have been fine in its own right though like the third shot from the top, only maybe better than that if I stayed low.

So that was possibly the last stroll in the park at least in terms of colour, or maybe not; we shall see. Whatever the case, too soon all of the branches will be bare, making November a very unappealing month for outdoor photography. Then, we almost wait for snow to make for prettier photos, but the problem then becomes access. Sigh. What will I blog about all winter, all long long winter?

Monday, October 30, 2017

my eulogy and catharsis of sorts

Saturday was not a happy day in this household; in fact, it was downright sad.

For days, I had become increasingly worried about Bella's health.

You remember Bella, don't you? I blogged about her just a few days after she came to us, on March 28th and every now and then afterward.

But on Saturday, October 28th, seven months to the day of her arrival, I felt that she must see the vet. She had been constipated for too long, and I had visions of her becoming extremely sick over the weekend when it would be very difficult to track down a vet. I knew they were only open on Saturday morning, so into the carrier she went: not exactly happily, poor thing.

I was in great fear and trepidation: on one hand, fearful that this would be the time for her to leave the living, but on the other hand, also fearful that she would be given temporary but perhaps invasive intervention only to continue to deteriorate. Neither outcome would be a happy one.

The vet diagnosed her kidneys to be failing and the prognosis was not good. Yes, Bella could possibly be rejuvenated to some degree by medical procedures that would have required anesthetic and subsequent hospitalization. But that measure could only provide temporary amelioration at best.

We couldn't do that to the girl. And so we let her go. We shed tears, just as I am shedding a few more right now as I type this.

I have put this photo on my computer as the wallpaper (background image).

As her name suggests, the girl was a beaut and had a very sweet personality to match.

Bella deeply insinuated herself into our hearts and lives in those seven months. She was almost a constant presence with her need to eat about a half dozen small meals per day with a little laxative mixed into each little offering.

There was much laptime, and wherever she chose to begin the night, whether upstairs or downstairs, I would find her in her little bed in the hall outside our bedroom in the morning. I imagine that had she been able to jump onto our bed and snuggle with us she would have, but it was beyond her. Almost as soon as I would arise, she would call out insistently and herd me downstairs for first breakfast. Yes, the old man and the old cat, both somewhat arthritic, would hobble downstairs together in those very early hours. I didn't mind. And in fact, I wish I could do it for her again.

I have marvelled that we miss her so much after just seven months, but I think it is due to her almost constant presence and companionship. We have had and have loved other cats, but she was more constantly with us if you know what I mean. And so we miss her much, even after such a short stay: too short a stay.

When we got up from watching TV last evening, Sunday, I experienced another flowing of tears because it would have been time for her last little meal of the day. But she wasn't there, just as she wasn't at the door to great us when we came home from JJ's hockey game this morning. (Rocky has been gone for seven years, and I still sometimes almost look for his greeting.)

As a bit of proof of her presence, I offer her final two photos, taken just a few days before her departure.

She had never done this before, but as I was trying to eat lunch, she was able to find purchase on the armrest by climbing over from Sue's chair because she never could have jumped up there from the floor. Of course this made eating somewhat difficult, but I didn't have the heart to shoo the elderly lady away, and so I let her stay there for as long as she desired.

Later that same afternoon, I snapped this shot of her on Sue's lap. I usually come up to my den to putter and quite possibly nap after lunch, and more often than not, when I would come back downstairs, I would find Bella on Sue's lap. (Sue doesn't like herself in the unflattering, harsh light of this phone photo, and I understand that, but at the same time I am smitten with the poignancy of the two gazing at each other in what turned out to be Bellla's last photo.)

So that's Bella's story and both my eulogy and catharsis of sorts. I have tried to make a nice composite from her photos, but sometimes things just don't want to come together properly, which is both disappointing and frustrating, and I gave up the project. I should have taken more photos and had more material from which to draw, but there was always tomorrow for that ... until there wasn't.

In the meantime, more for my record than anything, here is a list of the blog posts that I have written in the past seven months. The penultimate one in the list, All About Bella, gives more or less her complete story as we know it, except for this update. of course.

We Have Cat

The Cat Still Lives

The Cat Takes Precedence

Lady Bella Arbuckle Update

Bella Update

All About Bella

The Cat Got Me

Sunday, October 29, 2017

PA Day With The Munchkins

Friday was the first PA Day of the year (or was it the second?). For those who asked last time, it stands for Professional Assistance, or maybe it was a PD Day which stands for Professional Development. I was a teacher and still don't have a clear understanding of the difference. And I suspect there isn't one.

The kids could have stayed with their step mom and sisters (and they do get along quite well, I hasten to add), but they chose to spend it with us. We were honoured. Naturally. Or is that 'natcherly'?

I picked them up ~9 and brought them over to ours, and Sue had an activity for them right away.

Sue has a box containing some of her father's war medals as well as many coins.

(You may recall that JJ sorted through some old coins form my mother on his sleepover, but this is a different box.)

Here they are, studying the treasures under the light and magnifying glass.

JJ took and processed this photo on his [as in Mom's old] iPhone. I thought he did a great job.

Then they worked separately on crafts and interests.

Lunch preparations: grilled cheese with bacon. They both wanted seconds.

After some quiet, or not so quiet time, post lunch, we were off to the park to skip stones. They had shown an interest one day last summer, but good skipping stones were hard to find. But, believe it or not, I found some at the dollar store, which has become a multiple dollar store. (Remember that Kresge's and Woolworth's used to be 'five and dime' stores.)

The skipping went so-so (although I enjoyed pretending I was young again and achieving some success — somewhat remarkably), but they were able to do other playground and water things before we headed off to Tims for drinks and donuts. We didn't need them, especially donuts, after that lunch, but Tims is kind of a tradition. (Tims is our shortie for Tim Hortons, a Canadian donut and coffee chain).

And that was how our day went, except I will show this picture that Sue and Danica did when Danica was showing grandma the wonders and glories of Snapchat.

Yes, they are both cute.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Will We make It?

For as long as I can remember, Sue and I have resisted turning on the furnace in October. And as far as I can remember, we have never made it to the end of the month.

On Thursday, this reminder popped up in my FB timeline from October 26 last year.

You see, we didn't make it — by 5 days.

What about this year? As I write this on Friday evening to post of Saturday morning, the 28th, the furnace remains off.

But will we make it to the bitter end? I don't know.

Here is the 7 day forecast, but only the first 4 days count, and we are already on day 1 of those 4 days. Monday and Tuesday will have highs of less than 10°, and the nights will get down to near freezing.

For the one country in the world that doesn't do metric, here it is in Fahrenheit. (Alright, that's a dig. I mean you could do it, right? If ya wanted to? You just don't wanna, right?)

So, what's the thinking? Will we make our silly goal?

I am not sure why this has become a thing with Sue and me. It's not as though we really care. I mean to say, if we turn the furnace on come Monday, we'll just shrug our shoulders and carry on as always. I guess it's just a game we play. And always lose. So what about this year? Eh?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Outtakes from the Mill

Since we're in the mood for outtakes these days, here are a few more from our walk at the mill.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


With nothing fresh to post, I thought that I might as well do some outtakes (or extras if you prefer) from previous recent postings.

In an earlier post, you saw the same truck on this road, but it was farther down the road.

Another photo from Gillies Grove.

Three from Eagles Nest

Three from Ferguson Lake Road on the way to Mount Saint Patrick: emphasizing fences from one spot where I pulled over.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Evening Photos

I went to the town's main and lovely park on Sunday, hoping to catch some nice colour there. But I was too late. The sun was too low already, and it was cloudy too, so there was little chance of catching light on leaves.

I did take some photos (you aren't surprised, are you?) looking across to where the sun was setting. It's never the best angle from this park, but one tries anyway.

In a somewhat similar view to the last photo, I applied a warming filter in post and got a nice result. In the film days, you could mount a warming filter on your lens. Now you can do it in post.

After we got home, I went across the street to take a picture of the neighbour's Halloween lights. She's the only one on the block, at this point, who has done this. There are other decorations up here and there on the street but no other lights yet.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

To The Mill At Last

A little tradition has been emerging — taking a stroll at the Mill of Kintail on Thanksgiving weekend.

Well, Thanksgiving was rainy hereabouts, and the leaves hadn't turned yet either, so we didn't make it. But Sha had the kids this past weekend, and the weather was lovely, and so was the colour. So, we took the time to do it.

The kids at the entrance and Danica by the cottage by the entrance

Shots from the woodsy trail

The ceremonial tossing of the leaves

The Goldilocks House (that's just what we call it) is always worthy of a stop and some snaps

Of course there were many more shots, but I try to restrain myself at least a little bit.

I'm glad that we could continue our Thanksgiving walk tradition ... in essence anyway.