Saturday, April 20, 2019

Caturday 2

Lacey is an aloof puss although you wouldn't think that from these pics.

She loves her treats, and I have used them to get her comfortable to be with me on my recliner. This remains the only spot where she will visit a lap, but I get protracted visits both morning and evening.

She accepts petting here and even seems to enjoy it. But pretty well only here although I can get away with little petting in a few other spots.

But in this chair, she will snuggle down for quite a long time.

The main problem with this is that she pins down my right arm each and every time, which is limiting. In the first pic below, you can see my right hand, for I am right-handed, struggling to access the keyboard of my tablet. It's a recurring theme. You can't see it in the photo, but there is a little table on the right where I can keep my coffee among other things. But, oh no, I can't get to it and must revert to putting it on the floor to my left.

When I was first taming her, I would put a treat on my shoulder, and she would retrieve it. It remains a goto spot.

She's a Charmer

As you already know, because I keep posting about it, Danica celebrated her 12th birthday with us yesterday. The real party will be today when her brave mother will have a bunch of girls over for pizza, whatnot, and a sleepover. But the kids still love their grandparents, and we had our little, understated gathering with presents, cake and Chinese takeaway yesterday.

Aside: I told Sue this morning that I must have Chinese every night now because I actually slept for 8 hours last night AND only had to get up once during the night. Both are some kind of record

Back to the narrative. I took many pics, this time with my little compact camera. I seldom use it, but it's small size plus its built-on flash work well in tight quarters. It's actually a very decent compact camera. I wouldn't say top-of-the-line but it does trend to the higher end.

But I am not going to report on the whole party, not right now anyway. For this post, I am going to stick with candids of Danica turning on the charm at the drop of a hat when the camera turns on her. Needless to say I find this charming and delightful. I don't know anyone who can do it to this extent.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Danica's Birthday Card and Collage

I didn't want to post these images until we had given her the hard copies, but this is the card and also the composite that I made for Danica's birthday.

The front and back


The collage of various photos taken throughout her twelfth year.

Twelve Today

Born 12 years ago today, my love for this girl is deep. I could not ask for a more wonderful granddaughter.

Three Days Old

Since I happened to land on the number three, above, I decided to keep the theme going, below.

Three Months Old

Three Years Old

Two x Three Years Old: she had her ears done

Three x Three

Four x Three: Well Almost

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Returning to the Scene

After visiting the flooded tree and posting that ↑↑↑ photo plus a few others, I knew that I wanted to return when conditions were better.

I had photographed this flooded tree at sunset area two years before and captured this ↓↓↓ which I like, but I wanted to try again.

Sue and I went for a stroll in the park in late afternoon, but I had left my memory card in the computer. So, I returned again in the evening, which I had planned to do anyway.

It was very flooded last night. Someone said that the water rose quite a bit between yesterday morning and afternoon. Concentrating as much as possible on capturing reflections, I got the two photos below. They are taken with the sun a little lower than above which did eliminate some of the funky flares, although I still like the above photo.

Processing was mild (above), mainly photoshopping some of the debris in the pond for a cleaner image. For whatever reason, I decided to used a panoramic crop of modern tv dimensions. Any other processing touches were quite mild.

Below, is slightly different view in which I warmed up the colour balance a little compared to the above photo, but it is still only lightly processed.

It was good to get out after a few days of not feeling too great. I mostly just stood around waiting for the sun to get lower, and that was quite pleasant, almost a meditative thing although that is exaggerating my state of mind a bit. We are into a few more days of rain, so hopefully, I will get another opportunity when the skies clear again.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Experience and Committment

We had Doug the roofer and handyman here on the first and so far only nice day of spring on Saturday. With temperatures soaring to 17C/63F and the sun shining, he picked a good day to do his thing.

He had been by in early November to try to get a handle on our problem, but with snow already on the roof, there was little he could do other than promise to return in spring.

So, what is the problem? Water is leaking into the garage (right photo) and also into the sun porch (left in photo). It has been going on for a long time, well over a year, and no one has been able to fix the leak. We've had more than one roofer up there, and patching has been done, but the problem has persisted.

In desperation, Sue contacted a friend who has lived in the area for a long time, and she recommended Doug. He is an older fellow. He looks older than me, but perhaps he is just weather beaten after working in the elements for most of his life. But he is spry and gets up and down the ladder with ease.

He took his time and studied the situation carefully from both inside and outside the garage. Other roofers hadn't even checked from the inside but just started smearing caulking or whatever substance wherever there might have been a possible problem. But Doug took his time, looked all over, studied the situation to identify the exact problem as best as he could and fixed most of the problem.

But we had an absolute deluge the next night to the point where basements were flooded (not ours) and some roads even had to be closed. Did his patch hold? Mostly. We did have a trickle in what would have been a flood just a few days before. He returned when it was still wet and he could trace the remaining leak, and said that he could now sees exactly where the remaining problems lies. He promises to return for the final fix on a nice day.

You have to appreciate an older fellow who is willing to take his time and do his best to get it right as opposed to a younger run-and-gun fellows who want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Certainly, the years of experience help too.

Monday, April 15, 2019

A Bit of Spring Flooding

On two consecutive days, we found ourselves parked at the far end of the park near the community boat launch. As it often the case in spring, there was flooding beyond the parking lot by that certain tree. I have seen it flooded much more than this, but every year is different.

Both days were on  the dull side, particularly the second day, so I converted the photos to mono.

This is the first photo. The water was too disturbed for a good reflection, but the lone gull added a point of interest.

There was a reflection on the second day, so I photographed both the tree and the reflection and, except for converting to mono,  I processed minimally to capture the bleakness of the day.

While I am at it, here is a photo off to the side of this temporary pond. Once again, there is a gull, and I like the little island in the foreground. I think the three patches of grass on the lower right diagonal make for a leading line and a repeated element. I mean it (and the others above) are not stellar photos, but, to repeat a refrain, it is nice to get out and shoot something.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Photo Outing on a Dull Day

I've been anxious to get out with the camera, but as I have said recently, conditions aren't the best. On Friday, I headed to the little bridge (which you can't see in these photos) and the almost adjacent new pedestrian (old railway) bridge (which you can see in the first photo below).

It was so dull and flat out that I knew the photo ops would be limited, but I looked for little shots that didn't depend on the weather very much. Even then, I knew that they would require more than usual fiddling in post to be at all interesting.

I shot this from the little bridge looking toward the pedestrian bridge concentrating on the rush of water by the foundation. I applied brightness and saturation in post to make it mildly more appealing.

From the access to the bridge above, I fired off a shot of the the roof of the adjacent abandoned building with a pigeon on the chimney. I converted it to b&w among other adjustments. Mono can be a good way to go when the colour is poor.

I also took a photo of the other wall of the same building trying to bring out the texture. I have both mono and colour versions. Take your pick.

Finally, a shot of the water rushing around the base base of one of the foundational pllars of the railway bridge from the bridge itself. With much artistic licence applied.

In normal times, I would likely not have bothered trying these photos, but it was a long winter.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Caturday 1

The Caturday idea isn't original to me (and nothing ever is), for I have seen the idea for Caturday (on Saturday) elsewhere. But I thought that now that we have a cat (again) that I might (sometimes at least) post photos of her on Saturday. I mean Caturday. Feel free to join in.

These two photos are from this past week and taken minutes, or more likely seconds, apart. I converted the first one to straight black while I just partially desaturated  the second image for a subdued look.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Chilly Morning

It has been a long, somewhat housebound sort of winter. Winter is reluctant to depart, and we even had a school snow day this week. Then followed the day that I mentioned previously about freezing rain when we exited exercise class. But Wednesday was acceptable, and I knew the forecast was good for Thursday too.

Unfortunately, the good temperatures were only predicted for the afternoon, but I took the camera out in the morning. I parked near townhall and didn't stray far because it was still darn chilly — +1°C and windy too. Brrr.

I did take a few quick photos. This one looks back toward townhall showing the fence on the bridge. This bridge must be replaced this year (into next, I believe) at the cost of millions for the town.

I took this shot of the clock and towers from the other side completely. I had never really contemplated before that there are 4 clock faces in the tower.

Then I gave up and drove home.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Cleverness of Felids

Let's face it, cats are remarkable creatures. The big ones are the apex predators, but the house cats are pretty awesome too.

Aside from looking beautiful, I mean.

Case in point: when we brought Lacey home, we showed her the litter pan in the basement. She showed no interest at all and went off to explore. Not to worry. When she needed it, she knew exactly where it was — way down there in the basement somewhere. I don't know how she remembered something that she hadn't paid any attention to.

I have seen her and other cats thread their way around objects in tight spaces without apparently looking at the objects. Let's face it, their hind ends are pretty far from their front ends, but they move around objects as if they have some sort of mental map.  Even their long tails miss the objects. How do they do this without intensively sizing up the situation first?

Last evening, I turned around from my computer to see her mesmerized by the bookcase behind me. I don't know what caught her attention, but after two months, something grabbed her attention.

But there was no space for her to get up there.

Except there was. With one delicate, pussy-footed leap, she landed without touching anything. This would be impressive from any cat, but Lacey is a stocky middle-aged puss. How she managed that jump with the impeccable landing, I cannot tell. And she won't tell either.

She roamed around some still hardly disturbing anything. Truly remarkable in my estimation.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Pity Me

Off we went to our senior exercise class last morning. On the weekend I had stripped the lining from my winter coat. It turned out to be premature as I had to scrape the car in the cold yesterday.

At class, I was a thorn amongst roses. Counting the instructor, there were 13 ladies and only 1 laddie. Moi.

I don't know what they all think of this. Frankly, I am not totally sure what I think of it either.

This is not a problem in our Thursday afternoon class although the ladies still outnumber us.

Whilst we were sweating inside, there was freezing rain outside. So, there followed more scraping of ice in continuing cold weather after getting heated up in class. It was not pleasant.

I told Sue that while ladies could complain of childbirth, it is us guys who have the real hard jobs such as scraping in the cold. I am too be pitied.

PS: The sun is shining on my monitor this morning. I always take this as a sign of spring ... even is there is snow on the ground.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Checking the Facts

(The details of this post may leave you glassy-eyed, but I trust that anyone can grasp the overall point.)

Within approximately 12 hours, I came across these two apparently contradictory images (below) on good ole FB. The first is anti-Trudeau, our present prime minster, while the second is not exactly complimentary about our past pm, Harper. These two images  reveal very  opposite points of view.  Is either correct? Can they both be correct?

On FB to comply with my new resolve to disengage, I left the first post alone entirely, but I did make an affirmative comment on the second. I ignored the first post at the time because I didn't want to argue about it. I made a reinforcing comment on the second because about 3 minutes of internet searching and reading, indicated that it was substantially correct. I'd rather make agreeable comments than disagreeable ones.

So, what's the story? The factual story, I mean. I found information on this CBC site. You know, actual numbers. (I am not going to re-post their graph and table now, but they are easy to interpret if you click here.)

To determine if Harper balanced the budget, we need to first examine the financial situation that his government inherited. We need to know the reality before Harper's reign from 2006 to 2015? What I discovered was that, after inheriting significant debt and deficits, the previous Liberal government had run surpluses for about 10 years from 1996 to 2006. In other words the budget was already balanced.

The same data shows that the Harper government also maintained a surplus in its first 2 years of governance before running deficits for 6 years until 2014. In the final fiscal year, 2014-2015, they returned to a very small surplus situation..

Regarding the the first post/image then, did Harper balance the budget? It's a bit of a stretch to claim that when 6 of 9 years ran a deficit. It is rather misleading to imply that his government had to clean up the previous government's financial mess, for that is extremely far from the case. But people will read the post/image and then happily re-post it if it supports their confirmation bias.

What about the second image? Did the Harper government actually run deficits for 7 consecutive years and leave the economy in smoldering ruins? Well, we have already discovered that that government ran a deficit  for 6 fiscal years, which probably can be interpreted as 7 calendar years. We can, therefore, conclude that the claim is substantially correct.

Next, we need to determine if that government added $160bln to Canada's debt. From the table, I was able to add up the adjusted dollar figures to $156 billion, which is  $4 billion off the claim. They may have rounded off or had slightly different figures, but I can determine that the claim is substantially accurate. But then you also must factor in Harper's surplus years which when subtracted from the deficit years means that the overall Harper deficit must be reduced from $160bln to $127bln. That's still a lot of billions, but it is still $30+ billion less than claimed. I conclude that the information is essentially correct but that the claim is somewhat overblown.

Finally, we must address the claim that he left "Canada's books in smoldering ruins." That's really a value judgment at this point, but it seems to be a pretty big stretch.

I will conclude that my 3-5 minutes of digging reveals the first poster to be essentially false and the second to be essentially true if a little exaggerated.

It really didn't take long to find the site, and the graph and table were pretty easy and quick to read. Anyone who is in doubt can check the site for themselves and let me know if I misinterpreted something. But I don't think I did.

To repeat a refrain that I have banged on about before, we live in an era of unprecedented access to factual information which is literally at our fingertips. But human nature being what it is, almost everyone prefers to pass on willy nilly whatever fits their biases and prejudices because it sounds and feels good to them. To say the least, I think this is most unfortunate. We both can and should do better. All you have to do is take a few minutes to check the facts.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Picking up Threads

I am picking up threads from other posts today.

I have talked much about winter although perhaps more often on FB or by making comments on others' blogs. In summary, it was a long and cold winter. But it's over, for on the weekend our temperature climbed to above 10°C/50°F for the first time since November 07 2019. That's 150 consecutive days below 10, which ties us for the 5th longest period. Strangely enough, we actually rose to double digits earlier than the other years (see table below), the latest date being April 24 in 1940. But we entered the single digits earlier than any other year except 1968.

It has been a pleasure to open the windows, at least sometimes, in both the house and in the car. For the first time in a long while, we took coffee to the park. While there was still too much muck and even a little remaining snow cover to make us want to stroll around, it was still a treat to sit and enjoy looking at the river.

Having just written that, I see that we have an overnight freezing rain warning. But it's just a glitch, folks. Honestly, just a glitch.

(Edit: I have since seen more information about even longer winters back in the 1800s, which apparently rank this one at about 15th in length.)


You just never know who is going to read your blog. When I recently posted about last months reading, one of the authors that I mentioned caught it and sent me an email.

Thanks for reading PLAYED TO DEATH and mentioning it on your blog! If you'd like to read the second and third books in the Drayco series . . .

I hope you have a great year with your reading goals! I'm a little jealous, because you are way ahead of me right now.

Best wishes,

Lawson's website:


Then, after mentioning introversion, I saw a this link directing me to 4 TED Talks on the subject.

I was already familiar with the first two talks. I first came across Brian Little (second talk listed) back in 2007 via a snippet on TV NEWS, and I posted about it back then. I was intrigued enough to follow up by purchasing a book by the other introvert interviewed in that segment: The Introvert Advantage, by Marti Olsen Laney, and I reported on it here.

Later, I saw Susan Cain probably via the same TED Talk that is listed first on the page. I also purchased her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Oddly enough, I don't seem to have blogged about it even though this introversion topic has appeared somewhat frequently on my blog, as witnessed by this search link.

I have just watched the third talk about activism and the introvert by Sarah Corbett. She begins the talk by recalling the time that she sought a peaceful withdrawal at a busy concert in a stinky outdoor toilet. She then proceeds to outline how introverts can be drawn into the world of activism in a quiet sort of way. Her understated style was at least partly responsible for helping to persuade Marks and Spencer to offer their employees fairer wages.

The fourth video on the page is not about introversion per se but an example of an introvert: Linus Torvalds, whose Linux software runs the internet and has changed the world. Basically he works by himself in a quiet corner of his house although he has also found ways to interact with scads of people — in his own quiet way, of course.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Our Tour of St Peter Celestine

Yesterday, with temperatures reaching 10C/50F, we headed about 20 minutes north to Pakenham where St Peter Celestine church was to be open for a tour. Locals consider this building to be one of the Seven Wonders to Lanark County, but we had never been inside. So, off we went, even cracking the car windows a little. Yay!

It's a very fine building, built in the Romanesque style often favoured by churches in neighbouring province of Quebec.

While waiting outside for the doors to open, we met a 94 year old man, who was baptized in this church. This photo shows him walking up the aisle with his son. Their height is somewhat exaggerated due to a wider angle lens pointing upward to include as much of the architecture as possible.

The tour guide (although it was more of a static lecture than a typical roaming tour) spoke for about an hour and was tremendously informative and interesting.

We learned that the building dates back to the late nineteenth century and was built by a mostly Irish community under the leadership of a priest named Lavin who was also originally Irish.

My interior photos were pretty quick and very ordinary as well as a little wonky with a wide angle lens, but here are a few.

When you enter the church, before you enter the sanctuary, you are directly under the Eye of God.

Having been refurbished in its 100th anniversary, the interior is clean and authentic. The bas relief artwork (if that is the right description) was restored to its original colours.

The podium is ornate and free-standing, unlike most.

It was a very good tour and lecture. For more information, there are two links included in the text above with more detail, and here is another.