Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Those Crazy Petunias Again

It is just two weeks ago today that I posted Volunteers in the Garden. If anything, those wild petunias are growling even more prolific in the soil-less mulch, even after the long and hot dry spell, which we have recently endured.

I was moved to photograph them again, this time with my camera and not the phone. Once again, I just leaned out the second floor window and looked down.

You can barely distinguish between the volunteers and the planted pot, which is just to the right of the bird bath, on this side of the heron.

That ↑ was as close as I could get with my normal lens zoomed out to 105mm. Later, I put the longer lens on and zoomed it to its ↓ maximum 200mm.

I do have an even longer lens, but I think this was close enough. In point of fact, I think the first photo was the better one as it showed more, although still not all, of these valiant flowers.

I took one more photo, just shifting slightly from the one above.

We can't  seem to stop marvelling at these wild petunias. Hopefully, they will continue to thrive for another month as autumn begins to approach.

Monday, August 30, 2021


So, I posted about an heirloom tomato one day (yesterday) and then the veritable floodgates opened. Look at the bounty, below.

Many tomatoes of various sizes, shapes and colours: red, yellow, orange, and green.

Yup! This bounty was supplied by the same friendly gardener who gave us the heirloom tomato yesterday. There are two of those in this batch, which are seen more clearly on the second photo, below.

I processed the photos according to my whim, particularly the first two.

The first photo ↑ was the whole plenteous batch, which we were given on this occasion. The next photo ↓ is all the varieties in reduced numbers.

Then, I isolated on the yellow one with a long and twisting stem. I like it the best of the three images, but I do like the others as well. Although I have done flower photos a bit in the past, for the most part this kind of photography is something different and difficult for me, so I just stumble and bumble along.

It's a simpler photo, and photographically speaking, simple is usually, if not always, better. It's best to remove distractions and focus attention. This principle works in all kinds of photography.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Heirloom Tomato

Coming fresh from a friend's garden, tomatoes are so much better that supermarket tomatoes. This heirloom variety doesn't look good compared to what we are used to, but it sure tastes good and better than we are used to.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Caturday 30: Especially Cats II

No sooner had I posted my Especially Cats blog last week, when I discovered more pertinent photos. This was because Danica had pulled out a photo album that I had completely forgotten about.

Early in 1994, I had quite a back episode, so I was often seen on floor for sometime afterward. This photo was taken in the same year but many months later, at Christmastime. Sha had just acquired Rocky and brought him over for the day. He must have like the soft, pillowy warmth of my hindermost parts.

On the floor again: I am not sure of the year of the next pic because Rocky is full grown. It may have been ~1999 when Rocky came to live with us for awhile. (He later came full time.) The other cat is Scutter who was beginning to get long in the tooth by this point. 

Rocky again: the box tells me that it must have been Christmastime.

As you can probably tell, Rocky was a favourite. We bonded pretty well after awhile and to a greater degree than most of my cats. I still think fondly of him sitting on my lap while I was reading late at night, and of him looking back if I was forgetting to pet him for too long.

Lacey, on the other hand, prefers Sue, but she does visit me in my chair on occasion. I am somewhat surprised when she does get up with me.

Here she is posing prettily.

Friday, August 27, 2021

JJ's Turn

A few days after Danica's sleepover, it was Jonathan's turn to experience the sheer rapture and joy of overnighting with his grandparents. lol

We play games with JJ -- Uno and Sorry this time.

He was eager to help Amma with meal prep: mashed potatoes one night and egg salad for sandwiches the next.

Helping me with the eggs for Buppa McMuffins in the morning: adding shredded cheese in the photo.

Crafts with Amma: something or other superhero related.

He crafted Wolverine claws all on his own.

We had a game of sock basket. In the video, I say, "Oh boobies," to a missed basket. This cracks him up and then Sue and me too, especially after my explanation and comment.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

It Is Going to Happen

It is going to happen. Not for awhile, maybe not for 4 or 6 months, but it is going to happen.

A year and half after my initial appraisal for my foot, the lag being caused by a certain little pandemic, I finally got in to see the surgeon. This is the report from the x-ray.

Surgery will involve inserting three screws and two plates around my ankle. I don't know how to glean that from the report, below, but it is what I was told.

I was promised that this surgery would take the pain away, and if I understand rightly, some movement. would also decrease. I hope the first part is true. If it is true, I can live with a little reduced movement after hobbling around in discomfort for years. A neighbour has had this very operation by the very same surgeon and assures me that it has worked really well for him.

That is all well and good, but post-op care will be highly problematic, for I will not be able to bear any weight on my right foot for 6 weeks, maybe 8.

The trouble is that I'm 74 (as of next week anyway), and things do deteriorate in older bodies. My left leg, which will be the only one that will be able to bear weight,  is a case in point. There is some difficulty with that knee. It's just a bit wonky, and I don't want to over-extend it to the point where it becomes a big problem.

The hands are somewhat arthritic, so we'll have to see if I can manage with crutches. Or maybe not – read on

How will I get in and out of the tub to shower? How will I manage to get into or out of my chair or bed without overtaxing the good leg/knee? We have stairs. Can I manage? I think so. I have already experimented with going up and down on my posterior, but we'll have to figure out how to get me in a position to do that. Getting up or down to the sitting position will take some maneuvering. 

What devices will I need to assist me? We'll have to figure it out. 

I had a long talk with our family doctor, and there's no pre-op, assessment help available. There can be some post-op home care, but let's face it, it won't be that often, and I will really have to figure it out on my own. I mean, WE will have to figure it out – Sue and me, with perhaps some input from Sha who can may be able to draw on some expertise from people at her senior residence.

We probably need to install a bar for the tub/shower. We should have done that already; all seniors should have one installed, or at least the over-70s should.

Apart from crutches, which may or may not work for me, what else can I do?

I came across a gentleman using one of ↓↓ these.  I  chatted with him about this hands-free crutch. It looks like a good idea, and he liked it and used it well. But it's an expense. What if I go to the expense, and it doesn't work for me? Can I rent one? Perhaps a walker would work better, and I could also use it to help me get in and out of chairs or bed.

So many questions and even worries, but we do have time to figure it out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A Pandemic Hospital Visit

Thinking that every hospital would be the same in these silly times, I did not intend to post about last week's visit to the hospital to see the foot surgeon. However, when I saw an American hospital visit described on a blog, I realized that not all hospitals everywhere are dealing with the pandemic in the same way. That blogger found themselves sitting in a crowded waiting room next to an unmasked person.

The following is how it went for me.

Sue came with me to assist with hearing. We had to get special permission for this. It turned out that I heard the surgeon fine, but getting to him without a thousand "Ehs" and "Pardons" would have been problematic.

We were met at the door where we were instructed to remove our masks, don theirs, and sanitize our hands. These protocols were overseen by a masked and face-shielded young lady. She sent us along to the person in the glassed booth just behind here. He informed us that I couldn't be accompanied, but he then gave Sue a special arm band when we revealed that we had been granted permission due to my impairment. We were then directed us to the second stop, or actually the third, I guess.

There, I finally registered by presenting my health card to another person behind glass who spoke through a microphone. That's where I needed Sue because that was tough on my ears; even Sue had to strain. I was given paperwork to take to the next stage.

Once at stage 3 (or 4 depending on how you are counting) , in a well-spaced waiting room, we presented ourselves to yet another enclosed and difficult-to-hear interviewer who then sent us onto my first actual appointment – radiology. 

At radiology, we were instructed by signage to wait in the background until waved forward to the next shielded booth in the process. Then, within a moment or two, we were sent along to a waiting room where there was plexiglass between seats. Here, as everywhere during the whole visit, every person was masked.

The wait was very short until the radiologist came to collect me. The x-rays didn't take long, and she soon took us into the hall to point the way to the foot clinic. In my initial, pre-pandemic appointment last year, it had been easy to lose our way, but signs were now clear and abundant. We followed #7 signs until we arrived at the next waiting room where we checked in with yet another well-barricaded receptionist.

We only had to wait a few minutes before we were collected by a masked lady who guided us to the doctor's consulting room. He was not only masked but also wore a face shield.

He already had my x-ray onscreen and took me through his findings very efficiently. I could hear him well despite his mask and shield, but I had needed Sue's well-attuned ears to help navigate me to him. 

The surgeon's report can wait for another day, for this is simply to describe my first personal, medical appointment since the pandemic engulfed us.

I felt completely safe through the whole process. I don't think a hospital could possibly be any more careful or any more safe than this one was.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Danica's Sleepover

Both grands were scheduled for sleepovers, the first since Christmas, and I guess Danica got first dibs. Or maybe she just wanted to get it over and done with. 

As I can't help but mentioning repeatedly, it was hot, so we pretty well confined ourselves to the house except for two brief excursions for me and the girl.

She loves tacos and has been waiting expectantly all summer for the new taco truck to open. So, shortly after she arrived, over to the truck we went. None of us were particularly impressed with the fare. I don't plan to return.

That evening, we spent a few minutes talking cameras ↓↓ on the back deck about how to shoot in manual mode. As you may recall, I gave her my old old one last year. She listened politely, but she seems to have lost interest.

We fared a little better on Saturday morning with my bacon & egg, Buppa Breakfast Muffin with hash browns.

After our traditional visit to the drug mart on Saturday, Sue and Danica had a couple of sessions wrapping wire around pretty rocks.

After she went back home, she sent a photo to Sue.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Night Lights at Esso

The hinges to you-know-where are almost white hot these days. With feel-like temperatures of 40C/100F, we are keeping our noses inside as much as we can. Friday night was a tough one for me. I just couldn't settle conformably for very long and gave it up at 4:30 early Saturday morning.

After coffee and puter puttering, I headed out for more of my lights in the night photos. It was hot enough even in the wee hours, but it was bearable. 

The destination that I had in mind this time was the nearest gas station. The refilling truck came by while I was there but didn't disturb my process too much. I do wish that other car hadn't been there (to the right), but I guess the night-employees have to have somewhere to park.

There is busy road just off the left of the photo, and traffic lights are just beyond the cab of the truck. I chose an angle to keep them out of the frame. I like the original result and also processed in b&w, below.

I made the sky darker in the b&w version ↑↑. It wasn't my intention at first, but I liked it that way when I saw it. This ↓↓was another angle of just the pumping area, also chosen to eliminate distracting peripheral lights, at least partly.

That ↑↑ is my favourite photo of the shoot, but I also took this  ↓↓ one of the series of pumps. I only liked this one in b&w, and I am not sure how much I like it even then. Repeating patterns are supposed to be good, And I think I like it.

I took an additional photo of the store that was behind me in the above photos. Giant Tiger is a Canadian discount store, something like Wal Mart only much smaller. I don't mean the company is smaller, which it is, but the stores are much smaller, and in my opinion more likable for that reason.

But the photo doesn't turn my crank. The signage was orange-yellow, so the colour wasn't working for me, but the mono version is kind of meh.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Tall Begets Tall

When Sha and the kids were in Kingston last week, they visited their cousins. Matthew (left) is more our second daughter's age and spent part of two summers visiting us way back when. At 6' 7" he's the tallest person in the extended family.

Danica and Jonathan have met with Rosie and Lukas (right in both pics) several times, but when they last met, Lukas wasn't quite this ... um ... elevated.

Lukas is just 14 years of age, same as Danica. Danica is 5'8", definitely not short, but look at the difference in the photo. Lukas will be going into grade 9 in a few weeks. In 30 years of teaching, I never taught a grade 9 student of his height. In fact, save for possibly one senior student, he might be taller that any former student. I am told that he is almost as tall as Dad already. In Grade 9!!!

His mother is tall. I am almost 6'2" or used to be, and she has height on me, so it is fair to say that tall begets tall.

Look up JJ. ↓↓ Look way up. (Canadians of  certain age will know where I got those sentences.)

But short can also beget tall. This was me with my parents and uncle on my wedding day. This was my whole extant family at the time, and Uncle Charlie (left) only lived for two more years.

Dad's dad, Grandpa Rayner, was even shorter than Dad who maxxed at 5' 4".

Grandma Phillis Rayner wasn't a giant, either.

My grandfather Quinlan wasn't short, but I am guessing that he topped out at 5' 10".  Grandmother Quinlan was another shortie.

So, there you have it. Tall begets tall, but sometimes, short also begets tall, just not typically as tall as tall begets tall.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Welcome to My Pad

I have an older iPad, which suits me just fine. I use it with a Logitech keyboard that sure beats on-screen typing. The keypad also serves a secondary function of allowing the iPad to stay open at a good angle for reading or browsing.

But it has been frustrating the dickens* out of me lately because the holder at the top has worn down a bit, and the iPad keeps sliding out of the case.

Looking online for a replacement was not a task for the faint or heart. As far as I could find, they are no longer available from Logitech. We have a Staples in town where I purchased the original, but they certainly don't stock that model anymore. Neither does Staples online. Amazon had some sort of keyboard, but not this model and the cost was $150 – too rich for my blood, as the saying goes, especially for an unknown brand.

Aha! I did find that the Staples in Kemptville, had one. As far as I can determine, it may have been the last one in the whole province

I went to my store and asked if they would be able to bring it in from the other store? "Ah no. We used to be able to do some of that before the pandemic, but we can't anymore." Say what?!

Also, because the item was to come from a specific store, it could not be shipped to my house either. Let me say that Staples has been very good to me abut shipping items, but apparently, they have have to be available centrally. So, I could order from the store through Staples' general website, but it could no be shipped to me. Go figga.

From first finding the product, I had to wait almost two weeks before I would have the opportunity to drive 61km/40mi, the estimated time by my preferred backroads route being 50min.

I was pretty confident that it would still be available, and sure enough, when I made the order on Monday, I soon received an email telling me that I could come and pick it up. And that's what we did on Wednesday.

We took the blue, rural route, which is also the most direct and also least frantic route. I am not sure why I would have chosen any of the alternate routes, but GMaps initially coded a different one blue as its primary suggestion.

Hopefully, this keypad will last me as long as I need it to although the iPad will require new batteries at some point. With a computer and fairly modern phone, I really don't need the latest and greatest iPad to do what I do on it.
* I looked it up and found that Dickens is really a euphemism for devil in phrases such as "frustrating as the dickens," or "hurts like the dickens." I just use it because I like it. My mother used to say, and Sue and I kiddingly use it from time to time.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Especially Cats

My recent trawl through my mother's photo album to look for photos where I might resemble Jonathan or vice versa landed me on a page of John's (my) Activities.

I possibly helped to paint this chair, in a very small way I am sure, when we lived with my grandfather (until I was seven).

Playing ball . . . sort of, anyway.

There was a note on the page about John and his animals.

The note said, "Especially Cats."

I find this curious because we didn't have a cat, so I must have shown an interest or fondness whenever I did encounter one.

Why I have been drawn to cats more than dogs, especially when we had a dog for awhile, I don't know.

But I guess it runs in the family. This is my dad . . . 

And, this is Lacey. As I write this, she is nearby, apparently sleeping, but really keeping tabs on me because she wants me to take her down for breakfast, or I should say "first breakfast". (Photo on hand that I haven't used before: not taken today.)