Monday, November 30, 2020

A Good Day

It was a good day. Saturday, I mean.

First, Lacey Cat woke me up sometime after 5 o'clock. While that might seem to be not so wonderful at first blush, it sure beats waking up at 3 as in yesterday's post. Having slept for 6+ hours rather than less than 4 hours was a good thing.

And she did it my purring in my ear. I really appreciated that because I have a significant loss of hearing. The loss mostly gets covered up by hearing aids during the daytime although not completely or perfectly. But I certainly don't sleep with the devices. However, she got so close to my ear that I heard the purr anyway. And a cat's purr is a very fine thing, especially when I don't hear it often (even with hearing aids).

The good times continued to roll later when we took a trip into the city. There, I was able to obtain a $400 rebate on my camera -- the one that I just had to re-purchase after I drowned the initial one. (My Two Thousand Dollar Photo if you're new and interested.)

I got the rebate because it was Black Friday (weekend), and that's how much the camera was reduced for a few days. When I had purchased the camera, I was told that there was a 30-day, price-matching guarantee included, so I was able to claim the reduced price.

So yeah. That was really nice.

Kudos to the store that told me of the offer and also told me to keep my eye on the website. The salesman even reminded me just a few days before Black Friday. Now, that's cool.

The only slight downer was the drive in to the store. It's not that it went horribly, but this was the longest drive since we had installed the snow tires. OMG! I hate snow tires! They are so freakin loud on dry pavement. I find it most unpleasant.

Not that the tires ruined my day or even came close to it, but they are anything but pleasant.

Now, if I only had the gumption to bother to take photos with this camera, but I am not very motivated.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


What follows are the banal ramblings of a sleep-deprived brain. They are of no interest to anyone but me, and I am not even sure about the me part. But I have gone to the trouble of writing it, so here it is.

5:47 is the time on the clock -- the Alexa clock lol -- as I begin to write this post. In the morning, that is.

When I decided that I might as well get up rather than lying in bed, hoping against hope to get back to sleep, the first number on the clock -- the Alexa clock lol -- was 3. Just 3 o'clock.

So what have I done in those two hours?

First: coffee.

Then I checked email, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and blogs. I think I read six or so new blog postings. And then I wrote two (the Friday and Saturday posts), and now I am writing this.

I have also processed an image, and posted a photo to Flickr after perusing posts made by my contacts.

I saw that my most recent photo (inserted below) made it onto Flickr Explore. That is when I go from my normal 100 to 200 or so views to perhaps 1000s. I am at 1,569 views for this photo, and it is early. I am not really concerned by the number of hits since it really depends what photo happens to make it to Explore, and it is not always the best photos that get there -- more likely ones that have piqued someone's interest. I guess the Explore overseers liked the rusting truck and the background sheds in this instance.

Out Standing in her Field

I then moved from the computer to my chair, opened the iPad, and played two games of Sudoku. I did well on the Hard level, solving it in something like 13 minutes, well below my average time which is closer to 18 minutes. I consider any time under 20 minutes to be a victory. I mean extra victory since solving a puzzle is a victory, and solving one without errors is a bigger victory. Solving one without errors in less than 20 minutes, is a very good victory.

When I say errors, I basically don't make them. Not ones based on mistaken logic anyway, or not very many. I do make silly errors such as having my finger over the wrong number. For example: this morning on the medium level I intended to hit the 8 key but left my finger over the 3 key. I do this too frequently, and it drives me crazy.

The Hard level, however, was an error-free victory this morning in close to record time.

Medium level didn't go as well. I play that level without making notations to make it more of a challenge. Mostly, I have tended to do better at Medium with no notations than Hard with notations. Until lately, that is.

Recently, I have been concentrating better on the Hard level but losing track on the Medium level. This morning, I made two of the mistakes that I mentioned above -- having my finger over the wrong number. It's a lack of concentration that sometimes occurs when the games are going easily as they were this morning.

Now, it is 6:01. What shall I do for the rest of the day in which I am bound to be somewhat listless after a short night?

It will be several hours before Sue is up which is when I will make a big pot of coffee. I just have a single serving of coffee (tassimo) when I first get up. I had that around 4 this morning.

It could be a long day after that short night.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Past Cottage Photos

I am not getting out and about much lately to take new photos. It is November after all. Although we have had some snow to lift the landscape a bit from the bleakness of bare trees, I haven't been too inspired to head out with the camera.

But I have done some looking through old images, usually ones that I bypassed at the time.

We last visited the cottage owned by extended family in autumn 2018. Changing conditions likely mean that will have been the last visit.

But I did take many photos back then, and although I edited many at the time, I have found a few that I had neglected.

This is one. It's of the rapids on Eels Creek.

The background (above) was in fall colour, but along with its brightness it was distracting me from the flow of the water, so I converted it to mono, darkened the background, and highlighted the whitewater.

The next image is just a bit of grass with a touch of frost.

Once one gets into the bushier hinterlands, red squirrels become dominant. The grays and blacks of the urban areas are nowhere to be seen -- at least not by me. This reddy was on a birdhouse across the lane from the farmhouse where we were staying.

That autumn, my sister-in-law set up various scenes with seeds etc to attract blue jays for photo ops. I got quite a few photos. This is one that I had previously overlooked.

We had a lot of fun with the jays and various fun feeding stations. At the time, I did post of some of the setups that Heather created: The Blue Jays Many Splendid Eating Venues. There, you can see the rest of this setup, but there are other creations, including a village. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Reassurance Needed

This probably never happens to anyone else but just the aging me, but I ask anyway.

Do you ever draw a blank when thinking about something that you otherwise do automatically?

No? Well I do.

Yesterday, I experienced the craziest blank ever.

I couldn't find the ? key!!

Now this is something that I have done on autopilot for I guess more than three decades, which is how long I have been regularly using computers. I didn't do much typing before that, but I was a pretty early user of computers.

But I drew a blank yesterday. Because I stopped to think about it, I guess. I hope.

It worries me a bit that this occurred.

But the fact that I can remember this a day later -- both the incident and the location of the ? key -- is positive. Right?

Please tell me that I am okay.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

I Take Alexa Shopping

What I really wanted to post yesterday, before I got sidetracked with snow removal, was the best thing about Alexa.

Yes, I know that nobody who doesn't have Alexa cares or can see the point. I was also that way until I found the way, the truth, and the ... ahem ... got carried away there.

To reveal to all how dumb I am, this use eluded my pea brain for almost two years.

What use is that AC?

Thanks for asking. It's having Alexa make my shopping list.

You see with three versions of the dear lady (or whatever)  I can call out anywhere in my domicile, "Alexa, add carrots to the shopping list."

And she does.

Except I would probably never tell her to add repugnant carrots. I will buy them if my other and real lady so requests, but I think I shall make Sue be the one to actually add them to the list. Bluck, or is it blech to carrots? Actually bleach might taste better than carrots.

Yeah, so I got sidetracked again.

Say what?

Wherever I am, I can ask Alexa to add an item, and the sweet thing does just that. No searching for pencil and paper to howls of, "Where did I put that *^! list anyway?"

It's a great thing, and I ask you not to sneer. Yes you, sitting at your computer rolling your eyes.

Behold, I then go to the store, open the Alexa app on the phone, and there is my list.

As I shop, whenever I add an item to the cart, I tap to my phone check it off, and said item drops off the list. See that? Alexa declutters as I go.

In the good old days, like about three weeks ago, I would carry paper around the store, but I wouldn't carry a pencil, so the list never changed, and I could miss things. I really could. I am very adept at things like that. I am not adept at much in this world, but I do have some small talents -- such as missing items on a list.

So, it works out great, and as you can possibly tell by now, I am quite chuffed over this (using quite in the North American sense of very and not in the British sense of fairly).

The only caveat, and it is a small one, is that I can't organize the list the way that I would prefer. In the old-fashioned (as in three weeks ago) paper method, I would more or less write my list according to the store's floor plan, but I can't find a way to so organize Alexa. 

But I still gotta love that gal ... er ...robot ... app ... whatever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thar She Blows

I have more Alexa blogging to do today, but first we have more snow and a blower.

We've had another snowfall that is big enough to bring out the blowers. Actually, that is not entirely true, as it probably isn't big enough in normal circumstances, especially with rain soon to come on the heels of the snow. But our contractor decided that his crew needed the practice, so out they came.

There are at least three different contractors working our little neighbourhood. Oddly, on one shared driveway, they have two different contractors. Our neighbours across the street have the same contractor as we do, and I happened to be looking out when he came by.

I didn't have a camera ready at hand, but I did have my phone. If you squint, you can see the machine blowing the snow from the driveway onto the yard

Then it was our turn. He is about to back in. I don't envy these blokes having to twist their bodies to back in all day long. I especially don't envy them because my body has great difficulty doing this now, even once and briefly at that.

Then they blow the snow as they drive forward.

You may have noticed that is also garbage day. Finding a spot in winter can be difficult. In other seasons I put it out on the edge of the yard on the house side of the sidewalk, but as snow piles up on the lawn, I can't do this in winter. On most pickup days, I can place the containers at the side of the driveway, but knowing that the plow was coming, this morning, I couldn't do that. I was able to find a little spot between the sidewalk and road. It was actually on the road but on the pile of snow between the sidewalk and the road. (Maybe I will explain at another time.)

Back to Alexa but in light of taking up much space already, this will not be the full, intended post.

I just want to say in passing that she is reminding me to do my exercises. But I have found a new feature. I can just tell her to remind me again in a half hour. Well, I could pick any time, but I chose a half hour -- twice. 😅

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

My Helpful Daily Reminder

We have had Alexa for almost two years now, it first being a Christmas present. If memory serves, we later purchased a second unit for downstairs. I was then gifted a third Alexa last Christmas: one that has a screen and connects with the doorbell that I was also gifted. 

The doorbell has a camera which, in theory, should come in handy when we are upstairs and the bell rings. The problem is that once we hear the ring, Alexa takes a little too much time to connect, so I don't use it for that function often. Still, it does warn when someone approaches the door, and I can also hear the ring up in my den, so it is still very helpful.

Other than that, I haven't used Alexa to her potential. About the only regular thing that we have her do is to ask the trivia question of the day. I don't always manage that because the reminder comes on the downstairs machine, and we are both usually upstairs in the morning, I in my den and Sue in her computer corner in the bedroom.

I have more recently, however, asked Alexa to remind me to do morning exercises. Since I can easily spend a day forgetting, this helps, and I have been much more consistent. Assuming that I don't have another morning chore, I exercise around mid-morning. But if I have something else scheduled, it will also tend to be mid morning, so I will eschew exercising on that day. If it is like today, however, I will at least get out to the grocery store and get some exercise trudging the aisles.

I do a few stretches followed by an in-place one mile walk (as in the video, below). On alternate days, I do a few lifts with 5lb hand weights. With a bad foot, I find it easier to walk in place that walking outside, seemingly because lifting the leg is easier than pushing off to stride forward.

The routine is on YouTube and is 15 minutes long. I will post it below. There are other routines that can be found, but this is enough. It is something anyway.

I do have another helpful Alexa thing to post about, but I will plan to do that tomorrow as this post is long enough for one day. As we are more secluded in winter, blog topics may be harder to come by, so splitting the topic will give me filler for another day.

Monday, November 23, 2020

First Winter Storm

Despite the title, it wasn't really a storm. I mean, what kind of a storm is it when the school buses aren't even cancelled? But it was the first significant snowfall and enough to bring out the plows.

Of course, this leads to the everlasting problem of the driveway getting plowed in by the town plows. So, we await our contractor to return. You can see that they've plowed once.

Sue got on the phone to seek assurance that they would be back. Yes. They have been delayed because the snow was very heavy, and their machines clogged up twice. If we need to get out before they returned, we are to call, and they would get here sooner.

I did wander down the driveway, still in my PJs where I took a photo of the tree that you also see the the above photo. The yellow arm is up in case the fire hydrant gets buried in the snow. The town does come by and clear the hydrant from time to time.

After making my oatmeal, I headed upstairs and took a few photos through the window. First: the same tree.

Then I photographed Paul shovelling out. He had already blown the driveway and was now shovelling where the blower wouldn't easily fit.

I then went to the back window.

The flower pots are frozen and covered. Sometime in May, they will restored to their purpose. I messed the focus, but what the heck.

Finally, a tree out back. The wires are just reality. Eh?

Once we get a significant snowfall at this point in November, it tends to stick until March or even April. Looking at the forecast this one could possibly melt later in the week and over the weekend. I hope so. It makes the long winter a little shorter less long if it can keep clear until December.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Editing to Pass the Time on a Sunday Morning

 It's going to be a long winter. Photographically speaking anyway. 

Of course, November is particularly bleak with its bare trees and dull skies with no snow cover as of yet. (Maybe tonight, though.) It's not that winter around here provides an abundance of opportunity, but it does provide some. And there will soon be Christmas lights too if one can find an evening with snow and not too frigid temperatures.

But still, opportunities will be much more limited than say in spring when the flowers and blossoms emerge and for certain than in autumn where even usually banal scenes can look quite wonderful.

So it is that this morning, I found myself playing with old photos. Maybe I could re-edit them and whether I like the result or not, I could have some fun in the process.

I already liked this photo of the dock on a foggy September morning in 2018.

But I thought that I could bring a little more life to it. I didn't want a big change, just a bit more pop. You may find it difficult to notice the difference, especially at Blogger resolution. I did want the difference to be subtle.

Then, I worked with a concert photo of the guitarist leading the clapping but giving me the stink eye. This was the out of camera photo. This is what you can get in a concert while nailed to your seat.

Even back then, in July 2019, I cropped it and converted it to monochrome. All I adjusted this time was to darken the background a little more to almost pure black, thus eliminating all distractions.

Finally, I really went to town on the next image -- a candid from 2019 -- of someone with whom I am acquainted.

I decided to crop big to turn it into a portrait and then convert it to mono. I also decided that I wanted to make it gritty.

It kept me amused for awhile.

Now I must dress and exercise. Sigh.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

That Was 55 Years Ago But I Am Coping So Far

I sometimes get texts from Danica when she is at school. They are not frivolous and always pertain to math. While she has been pretty competent with the subject, she is now in grade 8 and sometimes gets stumped by the algebra that they are getting into.

Yesterday, she was having difficulty with finding the unknown length of the side of a triangle when she knew one side and the total area but not the other two sides. 

The perimeter of the triangle was 140cm and one side (the hypotenuse) was given as 50cm.

If the unknown base length was 5 times the unknown height, what is the actual length of the base.


                                    look over there ==>

As you can see if you can read the tiny text, I tried to get her started but had to leave for awhile.

Later, I got back to her with how I would solve it. As you can see my answer was 75cm.

I don't always know all of the steps that her teacher might want, but as long as she gets the concept, she can frame it the way that they want.


Later, when I presume she was struggling with homework, I received another problem. I often am late getting around to responding since I am not always by the phone. Even though I might be on the computer, I am not on an Apple machine. Our phones are Apple, however, so I am not always aware enough of new messages to reply directly. You will see that by the time I got around to this one, she was in the car.

This problem had to do with the a rectangle. She was given that one side was 12m and the area was 240m2. If you were to fence the area, how much fencing would be required?

I never did get around to showing her the final answer, but I was able to show how to find the length of the other side, which was 20.

So two sides of 12m = 24m.

Two sides of 20m=40m.

Total length of the fence would be 24+40=64m.


I do find it gratifying that she is reaching out to me, and I am pleased that I remember enough math to help her.

For now, that is.

I last took math 55 years ago, so I don't imagine that I can go beyond the basics. I mean what is a binomial anyway? And I am not sure that I know what a quadratic equation is nevermind having to solve one. 

This is grade 8 work, and I think it is tough for that level and beyond my own grade 8 math 60 years ago -- according to my weak memories anyway. I probably wouldn't even be able do grade 9 anymore.

Maybe if I needed to get up to speed, or if Danica needed me to, I could re-school myself. When it gets to that point, perhaps I could borrow her math text although all of these problems seem to be on worksheets. 

We'll have to see how it goes, but I am liking the mental challenge for now . . . and communicating with Danica too, even if it is via texting.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Pandemic Dilemmas

Dilemma One

We have been to the cafe a few times and felt fairly safe. But those few visits began when the virus was pretty well under control around here. Now it isn't.

But we went because I wanted to update my gallery by adding a few autumn images. We sat and drank our coffee but couldn't get at my pictures because people were seated by that wall. As we sat and waited for an opportunity, I began to feel apprehensive. There were only a dozen of us in the place. We were seated at appropriate distances, and the ceiling is high, so the danger really was minimal. 

But who knows in this situation? I was beginning to feel uneasy. A part of me realized that the situation was almost assuredly safe, especially since our particular region is not exactly rife with the virus. But it is that almost that got to me. Suddenly, almost didn't seem almost good enough.

So we left, returned near closing time, and did what we had to do in an almost empty place with just one worker present behind plexiglass.

It will soon be time to consider putting up winter photos. I'd hate not to, but I just don't know. An additional consideration is that we have wanted to support this proprietor through all of this. I think she has been hit hard, both mentally and financially.

Dilemma Two

The next day, yesterday, I experienced yet another pandemic-related dilemma.

I had an appointment to have my snow tires installed. This is normally easy. Drive the few blocks, sit in the waiting room for less than an hour, pay the man, and leave.

But in these times, I didn't want to hang about in their small waiting room for up to an hour.

It was cold out, so I didn't want to sit outside. There is a bench, but waiting for up to an hour in below freezing temperatures was something that I couldn't bring myself to contemplate.

I could have walked home, but you know about my foot thing. It would take an effort. It would be one thing if it were only a one-way walk, but then I would have to do it again later to pick up the car. For sure, I could do it, but also for sure, being a wimp, I would rather not.

At about 5:30AM, I decided to message Bob to see if he would pick me up and take me back home. He agreed.

Why text so early at 5:30, you ask? Because I had been up for two hours already (sigh), and the problem was gnawing away at me. Knowing that Bob is an early riser, I decided to settle my mind.

Bob is very accomodating. I knew he would want to help unless he had another commitment. That greatly relieved both my mind and my body.

Easy things ain't so easy in the pandemic.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Christmas Shelf

Sue has put up the Christmas decorations. My favourite display is the shelf over the tv.

I have never been able to figure out how to capture the shelf properly it in a photo. My tripod certainly wouldn't extend that high so any shot from it would be at an angle, and I didn't want that. I could try holding the camera over my head, but, somehow, that doesn't appeal to my photographic sensibilities. 

After years of this, I finally thought about setting the tripod on the stairs? The angle wouldn't be the best, but at least the camera would be on a level with the shelf, and so the perspective wouldn't be too out of whack. The tripod would also help me to get a cleaner image than I would get by handholding the camera in the dark.

Not bad really, considering the angle, lighting and the balancing act on the stairs.

The lights change colours, at least the centre strip of lights does. The ones at the end stay yellow. This photo is, perhaps, not my favourite colour, but I think I like everything else about it best such as exposure and perspective.

I kept changing the colour and taking more photos. The above pictures were blends of different exposures to try to adjust better for the lighting. The following two images are just single exposures, but they are satisfactory. At least I think so.

Sue changes the decorations seasonally. Sometime after New Year, red and white for Valentines will be go on display, still combined with snowmen and such because winter will still hold sway. Then Easter and spring will follow before summer and fall as the circle goes round and round. But Christmas is the best. I wasn't in the mood for Christmas until the displays went up, but now I am.

I am playing Christmas music at the moment as a matter of fact.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A Doggone Close Call

We decided to take a chance and have Shauna and the kids over for a short visit. They had been in our bubble, but when the kids returned to school two months ago, we decided that it would be prudent to keep our distance. Since their schools seem to be remarkably virus-free, we decided to chance a meeting. We would still take the precaution of masking until we were seated at an appropriate distance.

To mark the first in-house visit in months, I thought I would try to take a timelapse video. I set up the camera with the wide angle lens in a small space between the kitchen and dining room, looking into the living room. The time lapse would capture everyone getting seated, removing our masks, and interacting.

I got it set up and pressed the shutter button to begin the time lapse when I heard the troops entering.

Oh oh. They brought the dog, Lola. She bounded right into the kitchen with great exuberance, heading right toward the tripod that she would surely knock over and send my new (same as the old) camera flying. Yes, the camera that I just bought (again) a week earlier after drowning the original two months ago.

With my life or at least my camera's life flashing before my eyes, I lunged in desperation, tackled Lola, and managed to avert a catastrophe or rather a dogastrophe.

I am sure that my reflexes are in decline, but they served me well enough on that day. Yay for grandpa!

Then, we had a nice visit.

Phone Photos

JJ and Dani

Dani and Lola, who had also knocked over the lamp in the background.
It had been straightened by this point, but we kept in on the floor until Lola left.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Belief Perseverence

Cognitive Dissonance is the term that I had been looking for in yesterdays post.

I had written the post on Sunday evening and couldn't come up with the term. Monday morning didn't bring clarity, so I just went ahead and posted.

But vitamins helped. lol

Yes they did. I was downstairs doling out the vitamins wondering whom I could ask for the right term. I thought of someone, but then cognitive dissonance popped into my mind of its own accord. Then, two commenters (thank you) also proferred it as a possibility.

An example from Google.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition), they are in a state of cognitive dissonance.
The definition and example don't apply completely because in the case of the COVID patients which I wrote about, they still refused to believe that they had COVID, or even that COVID existed, despite all of the evidence pointing to it. In their case, they didn't hold two conflicting beliefs but refused to accept reality despite the evidence.

Then Mary G suggested belief perseverance aka conceptual conservatism. She supplied the Wikipedia description (below), and it seems to fit. 
Belief perseverance (also known as conceptual conservatism[1]) is maintaining a belief despite new information that firmly contradicts it.[2] Such beliefs may even be strengthened when others attempt to present evidence debunking them, a phenomenon known as the backfire effect (compare boomerang effect).[3] For example, an article in a 2014 article in The Atlantic, journalist Cari Romm describes a study involving vaccination hesitancy. In the study, the subjects were concerned of the side effects of flu shots, and became less willing to receive them after being told that the vaccination was entirely safe.[4]

While cognitive dissonance is a catchier phrase to me, belief perseverance is the more apt term in this case, and those who saw Mary's comment seemed to agree.

*Mary G lives in the same region as I and the only one among you whom I have met. We have come across each other by chance twice while roaming about the hinterland. We have also met once, purposefully. She blogs, less frequently than most of us at Them's my Sentiments.

Monday, November 16, 2020

I Can't Remember

 I came across a Twitter thread from a nurse. While you would think that the Trumpists who were infected with COVID might have a Come to Jesus moment, apparently that would be a bridge too far.

I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm.  They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that “stuff” because they don’t have COViD because it’s not real. 

Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them.  And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again.

I know there is a term for this: when people are presented with information that is contrary to their beliefs but they cannot rationalize it. It is driving me crazy that I can't remember what it is. The closest I can come is confirmation bias, but that's not it in this case. Maybe you can help me. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunday Listlessness

I wasn't going to post today. I don't have any fresh photos, and we are experiencing the beginnings of freezing rain, so I will remain housebound. I am a little at sixes and sevens, for I finished a book last night, from Hoopla, which is connected to our library. But I can only get three downloads per month, and I have reached my limit at only the halfway mark. So what shall I do today?

I have been contemplating subscribing to Kindle Unlimited, which I haven't really looked into. I do have many Kindle books, but I understand that the Unlimited version is like a library and that you don't keep the books. That wouldn't bother me.

Then I received an invitation to Scribd, which I guess is like Kindle Unlimited, but you can also access audio books. At the moment, we have Audible, which is about $15CDN/month, but Kindle Unlimited wouldbe separate and another $10-15/month.

Figuring out online costs in Canada can be problematic. I ordered something for $29 just a few days ago. It was from a Canadian site (supposedly, anyway), so I assumed it would be in Canadian funds. With tax and exchange added to the American price, it came to $43. 

Many sites will figure out that you are Canadian and give you Canadian prices on the fly, but this one didn't, and American currency rules the day.

Speaking of ordering online, Sue was eyeing a pair of winter boots on a 30% sale. But you have to be careful because the pair that she was ready to order were not on sale. There are so many gotchas.

In better news, I received an email that I had sold another photo, this one from my gallery at Sue's hairdresser. This was the second sale of Squirrel's Delight at that venue.

I shall have to print a replacement for that blank spot. I wonder what it should be. Should I print an autumn photo or hang a winter photo, which I would probably do in a few weeks anyway?

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Little Photos

While we are still eschewing restaurants, we do sometimes drop into the cafe, Visits aren't long, and the place isn't exactly congested, so we take our chances. Since I display some of my prints there and because the owner is local and has struggled during the pandemic, it seems like the right thing to do.

I never expect to sell prints, but it does happen on occasion, and we noticed that this one was gone.

As always, I was a bit surprised to sell a print but particularly this one because it very low key (ie dark) and doesn't look as good to me on the wall as opposed to the computer. But someone liked it. You never can tell.

Strangely enough however, I had planned to hang the same print at my other gallery (if you can call it that, which you can't, but it sounds good). I left it in context in the photo, so that I can know just where it is a hanging a month from now, or even tomorrow in the case of my lame brain. Speaking of a month, I should really get some winter photos ready to display.

After taking that print to the gallery yesterday morning, I drove by what we call the back bridges and thought that I may have spotted a potential photo in passing. I drove home for my camera and returned. It turns out that what had caught my eye in passing wasn't really that promising. 

However, there were bits of colour lingering here and there, and since I was there, I tried a few compositions. At this point, one tends looks for smaller scenes because the grand ones are long gone: like this little tree, nestled under a larger one.

Just a leaf on a branch with the river and trail bridge blurred in the background.

A bush framed by the arcing branches of a larger tree with a carpet of fallen leaves before it.

As modest as these photos are, there is something satisfying about finding these little, non-obvious opportunities and having them turn out as well as they have.

Friday, November 13, 2020

The Bloom is on the Roses

When I saw that the Rotary Club was fundraising by offering a dozen roses for just $25, it seemed too good of a deal to pass up. I ordered a dozen for Sue and then thought to order another dozen for Shauna. Sue's were to be pink and white, and Shauna's yellow.

They both came red, but that is fine.

Would this batch open properly? The last rose bouquet that Sue received didn't. They just flopped over.

These opened, and when the late afternoon sun highlighted them by streaming its rays through the patio doors, I got the camera out.

Macro photography isn't my forte, but I took a few photos that I am happy with after some cropping and processing.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Last Hurrah

It is over as of today, but we just had about a week of historic weather. This time, the historic weather was good.

Lasting as long as it did, our November warm spell was really a 1 in 100 year event, or close to it. I read that we had similar temperatures in the 1930s, but I don't know if the warm interlide lasted as long then.

Parks and recreational areas that normally would have almost been forgotten in most Novembers were quite busy. While folks were, perhaps, not quite as euphoric as in the first warm spell after a long Canadian winter, we were, nevertheless, pleased and grateful.

On Tuesday morning, when I looked at the forecast, I realized that it would almost certainly be our last day for a park meetup. I seized the opportunity and invited Nick for a final (I presume) outdoor coffee klatch. This necessitated hauling out and unbagging the portable lawn chairs that we had already put away for the winter, but it seemed a small price to pay.

Nick lives somewhat close to the park, and he likes to walk, so I stopped for coffee for both of us, set up the chairs, and still had time for a selfie while I waited for him.

Nick arrived; I put away the phone, and we chatted. While I am not a great chatterer, Nick is never lost for words, so we had a fine hour or so.

While I didn't take any other photos on that day, Sue and I had walked the park just a few days earlier.

Even the fallen leaves will soon lose their colour

The birch trees across the river are ever appealing

That photogenic tree that hangs over the river.
Part of it broke off earlier this year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Lest We Forget

In a year when I hadn't expected to be able to photograph any new Remembrance Day images, I saw this tableau while driving past a farm field. It was a completely serendipitous discovery, seen on a random drive.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Remembering the Remembrance Vigil

Tonight would have been the night that the cadets held a vigil at the Cenotaph, at least I presume that it would have still occurred if not for these odd times. They have held this for the past few years, sometimes in perishingly cold weather. Ironically, the weather would have been very nice for them this year.

Monday, November 09, 2020


I was startled! I had been reading a Ruth Galloway Mystery in my comfy womfy chair when an incident in the narrative shocked me into a realization. The protagonist, Ruth, had just been given a poetry book by a suitor, and Oh My Goodness! had I not recently received a poetry book in the mail?

Yes, I had! The memory surfaced. I remembered clearly that Doris had sent me an email to notify me that her poetry book would be coming in the mail. I then recalled, perhaps less clearly but recalled nevertheless, removing her thin parcel from the mailbox. That was where my recollections terminated. I had no further remembrance beyond that.

I promptly forgot about the book without even opening it. What did I even do with it? A mild panic ensued. Did something happen to it? Did I still have it? Did the thin package get tossed somehow? That would cause me to feel very badly.

Immediately, I had to stop reading to find the answer. It was in the first place that I looked: a place where I normally stack my various bills until I am ready to deal with them. Phew! 

Because I had already known what was in the package, I had no pressing need at the time to explore the contents. Having something or other else on my mind right then, I put it in the pile and there it lay, out of sight and out of mind.

I emailed Doris immediately to acknowledge the gift and thank her for it, lest she think that I was a total ingrate. It hadn't been that long, for I had probably received the parcel just last week, but still, I should have acknowledged the gift promptly.

Just how long would the book have remained there in the pile if the incident in the novel hadn't activated my memory? Probably until month end which is when I tend to open accumulated mail: sometimes, not even then.

My mind is a busy place. It is not that I am thinking great thoughts, for they are mostly rubbish. But it is still busy in there with all sorts of flotsam and jetsam swirling about. It is not so much that I forget things in their entirety but that I require something to jog my memory and cause a certain item to be extricated from the swirling debris.

This happens frequently. Sue will associate something trivial with the memory of something else: an association that I wouldn't normally make. Once she reminds me of the connection, of course I remember (well, not always, but you know what I mean), but I had needed that specific reminder to exhume it from where it lay buried in my brain.

Minds and memory are funny things. I have met a few people in my life, sometimes almost just in passing, who have learned my name immediately upon meeting and have never seemed to forgotten it. My tire guy is one. I see him just twice a year in most years -- in autumn to install the snow tires, and in spring to remove them. Yet, he has always greeted me by name. After some years, I made it a point to try to remember his name. I think it is Paul. But I am not certain, even after making a special effort.

On the other hand, I recently took my phone in to have the battery replaced. The proprietor told me to come back in an hour to pick it up. When I did that, he just looked at me blankly, apparently having no clue who I was, not even by sight. While I have a poor memory for names, I am pretty good with facial recognition, but not this guy. After an elapsed time of just over an hour, I had been wiped from his memory banks and needed to supply my phone number for him to look up the work order on his computer.

I am pretty sure that memory is not a function of intelligence but the result of how different brains are constructed. In my case, the memories seem to be there but lay at great depths and require a special hook to dredge them back to the surface.

Now, what did I do with that poetry book?

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Tamarack Colour

The tamarack (larch) trees are about the only leaf colours remaining at the park. They are the one conifer that will change colour and eventually drop their leaves.

Not that I am exactly wishing for winter, but snow on these trees can be pretty to see.

Meanwhile, temperatures will remain close to 20C for 3 more days in this very unusual, November warm spell.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

My Two Thousand Dollar Photo

This photo can be said to have cost me more than $2000 to shoot: too bad then that it is really such a very ordinary photo.

Wanting to take a picture looking down the river to the right, I had waded into the river. But I actually didn't get very far until I realized that I wasn't prepared to go any farther. So, I stopped, set up the tripod, and took the picture that you see, above.

I decided to pick the camera up off the tripod to have a closer look at the image. Disaster ensued, for the motion caused me to knock my cap off my head. It landed to my right and began to float gently down the steam.

When I made a futile motion to grab my cap, I dropped my camera to my left. It took me a few seconds to lift it out of the water, and that turned out to be the end of the camera.

Not knowing for sure that was to be the end and hoping against hope, I took it home and did the rice thing -- to no avail.

After two weeks of hoping in vain for the rice thing to work, I took it into the camera store where I had purchased it. While my extended warranty would not cover replacement for water damage, it would at least cover sending it off to Canon for evaluation.

Whatever was going on at Canon, it took seven weeks for them to decide that it was a write-off.

What to do then?

As part of the extended warranty that I had bought, the company would cover up to 20% of the cost for repairs for owner-inflicted damage.

The camera store came up with an offer, which I accepted, and after 10 weeks, I finally have a replacement. It is the same camera model as the old one, and let me tell you it hurts to pay another $2000 for the rather expensive camera that I had already purchased just over a year ago.

Accidents happen, but this was a very costly one.

Friday, November 06, 2020


Juxtaposition can be funny or at least odd. When I saw this photo on social media, of course I had to repost it.

It reminded me of another juxtapositional sign that I encountered personally.

We visited a restaurant late one evening.At that sparse hour, there was no need for the ubiquitous Please Wait to be Seated sign at the entrance, so we found our own table. When it was time for me to visit the facilities, I encountered a sign like this (below) on my way to the washroom.

Now, that ^ is customer service.


Thursday, November 05, 2020

Mind Boggling

There are things which boggle my mind. American politics, or perhaps I should say society, is one of these things.

There is also . . .

In case you can't tell, I am referring to the cart abandoned just next to the corral.