Monday, January 31, 2022

Tidbits from a Boring Life

A theme that I picked up from someone whom I follow. Grab it if you wish.

Time I woke up: I got up with the cat all over me at 5:20 after 6 hours sleep. Once I awake, or am awoken, after 6 hours, there is very little chance of going back to sleep. This was the cat's second visit, but I managed to get back to sleep after her 4:20 pestering. I keep going pretty well during the day if I can get 6 hours plus a 10 minute afternoon nap. If I get only 5 hours for a few days, particularly if I also miss my little naps, I can get very tired and a bit grouchy.

First thing I did upon waking: The very first thing was to start the coffee. I then washed my face and hands, also doing a hot compress for my eyes. After that, I put on my socks and sweater. I may have done that before washing. I sometimes do and can't remember the exact order this morning. Those three things are almost done concurrently, so I am including them all.

I feel compelled to also mention the very next thing, which was to sit at the computer and hand-feed her highness. This ritual is why she gets me up in the first place. Yes, we do this. She then goes off for a nap and leaves me up all bleary-eyed.

Today's weather: Although it is not quite as cold as some days, it is still cold at -22C/-8F. I was feeling the cold more than usual, so instead of taking off my thin nighttime hoodie and putting on my thick daytime hoodie, I put the thick one over the thin one. I even took a selfie (or three) for other reasons, not even knowing that I was going to use it for this post.

Can you see how impressed I am with the temperature?

Last thing I read (not on the Internet)The Heron's Cry, Ann Cleeve (audible version). I quite enjoyed it and look forward to it being adapted into a series, as was The Long Call.

Last thing I read (on the Internet): Reports and analyses of the hockey game last night and various tweets about the truckers' protest (Canada) and the Australian Open. (My fave, Nadal won after being down 0-2. Too bad I couldn't watch it.)

Last text I received: Sue was asking me about subscribing to a new streaming platform.

Last text I sent: I replied to the above, wondering where the heck I could stream Unforgotten, series 4, which is a big favourite series of ours. It Later turned out that Unforgotten isn't on that stream. So where is it?

Last website I visited: Aside from Blogger, I did look up a french toast recipe from I don't feel like making it this morning, though. Cereal, it will be.

Last show I watched: We are watching Vincent on Prime. The best recent series was The Missing, series 2, on Prime. Tonight we will watch Vera, series 11, episode 6 (sadly the final episode for now).

Last thing I said: I agreed that we should look into that streaming service.

Last thing I ate: I had some potato chips last night while watching the hockey game. I shouldn't have because they resulted in some nighttime sweats. This can happen, and I know it, but I sometimes take a chance anyway because it doesn't always happen. I've been up for more than 4 hours, so I should go down for cereal soon. I am not exactly hankering for it, though.

What I was doing an hour ago: Sitting in my chair under a toasty, electric blanket  and catching up on social media, including my Flickr posts and also those of friends. That was all on my iPad while I was also procrastinating about taking the cat downstairs for her breakfast, which I did soon after.

Current whereabouts of the other members of the household: Sue is doing her thing on her computer that is set up in a little corner of the bedroom. She may be in the midst of posting a photo to her 365 group. 

One thing I crossed off my to-do list today: It's a little early to accomplish much, but I did take a last look at today's blog post, about the convoy, before posting it. I am writing this one on Sunday for tomorrow, Monday. I am usually a day ahead and often several. I almost always write in the morning. Writing a blog post is an accomplishment after all.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

About the Pickup Convoy

Trigger Warning: If you are rabidly supportive of the trucker convoy, this post may upset you. That being said, although I am strongly opinionated, I don't think I am too offensive.

Disclaimer: These are my thoughts about the protest before it reaches Ottawa  and not what is actually happening at the moment, be it good or bad. The post reflects what I think of the reason for the protest and also for the way that the protest is being implemented. At this point, I don't know what will happen, but I fear that there will be bad things.

Acknowledgement: Political protest is extremely important to a viable and functioning democracy. The truckers have the right to peaceful protest. However, I think this one is very poorly conceived and could go very wrong..

Here We Go↓

As I write this on Friday, truckers are descending upon Ottawa. As you read it, on Sunday, they are here, which might mean that I will need to post an addendum or even another, separate post. Or perhaps not because it is the concept that I find ridiculous, and I can post about that now.

This is the reason for the protest as I understand it. The Americans are not permitting unvaccinated, Canadian truckers to cross the border. As a consequence, our government decided to impose a vax mandate on our truckers. 

Let me say that the vaccine mandate makes sense to me.

Some are against mandates of any sort, but I am all for almost anything that keeps most of us safer. Also, in this case, it is a mandate that will help keep the economy moving to bring us the things we both want and need.

Keep in mind that when I write almost anything as I did above, this is in terms of COVID and the measures to combat it. I am not saying that anything goes now or at any time. The pandemic is something new, huge and not just any old thing, and we're still figuring out how to deal with it. 

I am not worried about a mandate such as this at this time, for generally speaking, strict government interventions just don't happen and will never will.  No Canadian  government is going to say "You'll all be safer in bulletproof vests, so you all have to wear them all of the time." There is no slippery slope here, for COVID is a unique and, hopefully, one-time event.

Mandates are not new, for at one time, governments everywhere decided that from then on we'd have to wear seatbelts. Now we all wear our seatbelts contentedly because it is the law but also because it makes sense. This vaccination mandate also makes sense. If you want to work for the government or any other employer, they have the right to expect you to act safely for the benefit of all. This truckers' vaccine mandate is just like that in my opinion.

Let me point out that most truckers, are vaccinated (it is said to be 90%), and those like the non-protesting trucker below, think the protest is "ridiculous" (his words). I wish that I could embed the video, but I don't know how, so here is the tweet that will lead you to it, and I'll post what he said, below, in italics.

It's ridiculous. We need to be vaccinated. You want to bring it back and forth across the border? Yeah? You want a job? Get vaccinated.

I have a few more thoughts about vaccinations before I get back to the protest itself.

We have  90-year-olds rolling up their sleeves for a 4th dose. Five-year-old children are bravely getting their first jabs. What then is the problem with this small group of truckers? For as we have seen above, it sure isn't all of them: just a minority.

Also, we're not working in the dark here, for the vax has proven benign after literally billions of jabs.  It never was experimental. Even if someone was leery at the beginning, how many billions of jabs does it take for people to give up their unscientific notions?

The data shows that more than half of the world's total population has been vaccinated. That is more than 4 billon people, who have been fully vaxxed (two doses, I assume), and more than 10 billion doses have been administered overall.

That's a lot of billions, but this isn't enough evidence for these big, burly truckers. What is the problem? Do they not follow the science, or are they just afraid of the needle?

However, as much I have gone on, I didn't really intend to make it mostly about vaccinations and mandates but more about what I think is the silliness of the convoy. 

Truckers are driving long distances, some from as far away as the west coast. It is more than 3500km/2200mi from Vancouver to Ottawa They are hoping that they can do something to overturn the vaccination mandate at the end of the gas-guzzling journey, but they are mistaken.

They seem to think that if they can talk to our unelected Governor General and then also get our unelected Senate onboard, that they can somehow overturn the will of our elected parliament. What?!

I do think that is absolutely dumb to spend a week driving an empty truck across Canada in winter and wasting time and fuel for a reason that makes no sense. And while that is dumb, I fear that the protest has been hijacked by fringe elements. I hope I am wrong, but this seems to always happen.

Most of the trucks that I see aren't even the big rigs that are the carriers being affected, for there are many more little pickups than big rigs. I tell you this for free; pickup guys are not the ones being affected by the mandate. I grant you that there are probably some guys in pickups who are, otherwise, legitimate truckers. In any case, pickups driving aimlessly around the capital are simply not not going to impress many people. In addition to the waste of time, money and fuel, the optics, especially the pickups, are all wrong.

Could it be that a large number of drivers, particularly the pickup drivers, are rednecks spoiling for a fight? I don't know the answer, but I ask the question, for I fear that they been inspired by the infamous January 6 insurrection. As some proof of their ill will, this is what one member of parliament has posted.

The convoy crew have told me I will be jailed, charged with war crimes and sent to hell.
Now we are being warned they are targeting our staff and our homes.
I have work to do in Ottawa and my staff are there to help people through this pandemic.
I will not be intimidated.

— Charlie Angus NDP (@CharlieAngusNDP) January 27, 2022

The evidence seems clear to me, that the convoy has largely become a trail of redneck pickup drivers. If you think me harsh, some trucks have been seen flying the Confederate flag — in Canada, of all places.

Whatever you and I think of the original intent of the convoy, which in my opinion was not clever to begin with, the protest seems to have been hijacked, and I don't think it is going to go well. These things seldom do. But perhaps I am as wrong about this as I am about most things.

I am not sure what the original organizers truly believed that they could accomplish (perhaps get wealthy on the 8 million dollar GoFundMe pledges?) other than driving around the city, inconveniencing people, getting into mischief, and pissing off good citizens.

But this is Friday, and I don't know what is going to happen. Mainly, I think it is all really dumb. Just roll up your little sleeves and get the jab. It's free and it is over in a jiff, and you can take a minute afterward to wipe your big tears away.


I am seeing some funny stuff like this ↓ though:  funny, but with a lot of truth. 

Someone did write that they were putting up PortaPottys for the boys. Yeah, you can bet that they are more than 90% boys.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Caturday 34: Lacey Washes Windows

In winter, our felid has been known to wash windows when it is very cold and when condensation forms at the bottom of the pane. It seems more to her liking that what is in the bowl. It's colder for sure and fresher too, I guess.

Here are 22 seconds of the girl washing the window. The clip ends with a surprised look at the camera.

Happy Caturday!

Friday, January 28, 2022

Rated Highly and Humour Explained

It seems that no one thought it funny yesterday that a guy inadvertently but in effect posted that his mother was an owl. 

"Every time I see an owl, it reminds me of my mom." You seriously don't see a twist there? You don't see that one could legitimately glean that his mother was an owl?

I am rather flabbergasted, but, of course, humour is a funny thing (pun intended).

Speaking of puns, here a few of my recent ones on uknowwhere. I do skip a lot that I see, but these two made the grade.

I'll be here all day, folks.


Not funny, but I will tell you about my non-post, which I had set for yesterday.

Like almost everyone, I became captivated by Worldle. I played for 11 days and wrote about how it is played and how I was doing.

Then I decided that I didn't want to play anymore, or not every day, at least. So, I didn't post what I had spent some time writing. Oh well.

It is a good game, however, and I recommend at least familiarizing yourself with it.


On yet another tangent, let me tell you that we watched The Missing, series 2, on Prime.

It had been a while since we had seen series 1, long enough ago that we had all but forgotten the plot. But at least I had a positive vibe about it and the protagonist. So we watched series 2, and I expect that we will at some point watch series 1 again because, by then, it will seem mostly new.

Fabulous tv: a good mystery set in 3 time periods although mostly just two after the intro. As the time switched back and forth so did the characters (not that it was necessarily new characters, you understand) and locations. Aside from the plot itself, it was often a bit of a mystery as to whom we were seeing at any given moment and in what time period and location. However, that was mostly in the early episodes, and it did all make sense as we settled into the series.

It is a British production featuring mostly English characters but a French detective, and it takes place outside of Britain, mostly in Germany in this series. Frankly, it was great tv. My only criticism is that I couldn't find English subtitles for those little scenes that were spoken in other languages. They were, however, short, few, and far between, and in a context, in which we could usually get the gist.

The Missing is a British anthology drama television series written by brothers Harry and Jack Williams. It was first broadcast in the UK on BBC One on 28 October 2014, and in the United States on Starz on 15 November 2014.[1] The Missing is an international co-production between the BBC and Starz.[2] The first eight-part series, about the search for a missing boy in France, was directed by Tom Shankland.[3][4] It stars Tchéky Karyo as Julien Baptiste, the French detective who leads the case, with James Nesbitt and Frances O'Connor as the boy's parents.[2]

The second eight-part series, about a missing girl in Germany, was directed by Ben Chanan. It was broadcast in the UK, on BBC One, from 12 October 2016[5] and in the United States, on Starz, on 12 February 2017.[6] Tchéky Karyo returns as Julien Baptiste, with David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes as the girl's parents.

Both series received positive reviews, with critics praising the cast, especially Tchéky Karyo's performance, and the storytelling. In February 2019, a spin-off series titled Baptiste was broadcast on BBC One, again starring Karyo and written by Jack and Harry Williams.
If you are not clear by now, I recommend it highly. When it was over, I sat there for a minute and said, "Wow!" more than once.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tickling the Funny Bone

Humour is weirdly variable in both people and cultures. I recall a fellow teacher observing this after he spent a year as an exchange teacher in Switzerland.

I've never spent time in another culture, but I do observe a significant variation between people.

The other night on fb an ac acquaintance posted this, and it absolutely cracked me up.

I showed it to Sue. It did nothing for her. Nothing.

Sue tends to laugh at visual humour: slapstick, for example. Somebody falling down or hitting their head tends to crack her up.

I seem to be tickled by juxtaposition, for want of a better descriptor. I think that's where word humour comes into play: when you might expect one word, but a different one is used. There is cleverness involved in word humour: a surprise because what you experience is not what you expect.

I find a juxtaposition in the owl photo. I don't expect an owl to remind him of his mother, for it makes it seem like his mother was an owl. I do know what he meant, but his clumsy wording (there we go again with the word play theme) invokes a very different idea, There is a twist: a juxtaposition between mother and owl. It is hard to explain, for it either tickles you funny bone or not.

So, what tickles your funny bone?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Family Costume

On the weekend, Shauna asked us if we had some plaid apparel that she could wear at work for Robbie Burns Day, which was yesterday. Sue gathered some items, which included my hat and a shirt. Yesterday, Sha sent us this photo.→

I believe this is the Stewart tartan, or more probably knockoffs.

I even have a mask of that pattern.

While you might think there's a pattern to my purchases of this ... um ... pattern, it was completely unplanned, for all items were purchased separately with no theme in mind. ↓

I can't remember whether the shirt or cap came first. I know that the shirt was either a birthday or Christmas gift from Sue. The hat, I purchased because I was looking for summer weight caps, which I was having trouble finding. I did find this one along with a blueish tartan from the Scottish and Irish shop.

Then when COVID came along, I looked for something other than plain masks and found one online ← .

One day I wore the cap and mask to grocery shopping, and I got a thumbs up. I didn't recognize the masked person but assumed that she recognized me and was just greeting me. After getting a few more compliments during other excursions, I figured the thumb was an expression of approval. Indeed, I remember becoming almost disappointed when I didn't receive a comment in those early days of the pandemic.

I have worn the shirt and hat together too as in this ↓ one of our myriad car-coffee-selfies. This was was taken last April in a bit of a celebration after Sue's initial C-vax.

Then, last Mother's Day, we had yet another outdoor and distanced celebration, and Danica  tried on the shirt and hat, looking much better in it that this old fella. So, as you can see, it has become a bit of a family costume.

At the time, I put the two version together in a diptych.

I stopped wearing that mask some time ago because it was only a single layer type. I purchased some double layer masks which also have a pocket for an additional filter. 

Lately, when I enter a store, which is seldom and for a short duration, I wear an additional good quality paper mask over the cloth one.

These are the times that we live in, but I am rather plaid (pun) that me and mine to continue to remain healthy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

I Come from Munchkins Mostly

While messing around in ye olde photo album for other photos, I came across these and thought that I should scan them while I was at it.

While I refuse to muck around in Mom's falling-apart album again right now, I think this↓  photo was dated 1920. If so, my mother was only 6 and my grandfather was 39. He is the one with the big X on his chest. There have been times when I have photoshopped mom's markings away, but I am starting to find them endearing.

It was taken in New York on a building site where my grandfather was working as a bricklayer. My grandfather worked in NYC for 7 years before retuning to Montreal. I am not sure how many of those 7 years the whole family lived there, but I know that it was for some of them.

While I am tempted to say, "Just think, I could have been an American,"  of course I wouldn't have been because my parents wouldn't have met, and there would not have been a Me. Not that I would have missed myself had I not existed, just as I will not miss myself when I cease to exist.

Here is another photo that Mom has scribbled on, taken 20 years later in 1940. From left to right: my two grandmothers (paternal and maternal), Uncle Charlie, and Mom.

What a family of munchkins, with my mother looking the tallest at the grand height of 5'1". I think my paternal grandmother (far left) was somewhat taller until polio left her with a dowagers hump. At least, I think it was polio. I never heard her complain though, and I think I would remember for she lived the longest of my grandparents — until I was ~17.

I never knew my maternal grandmother, or at least I don't remember knowing her because she died when I was 2. I note that she was wearing a coat above and another below, both photos looking like they were taken in warm weather and she not looking warm at all.

So that's three-quarters of my gene pool. Only my dad and his dad are missing. They were also short. I am the 6' and almost 2" exception. The bricklayer grandfather was also tallish, I think about 5'10".

Monday, January 24, 2022

Winter Excitement in The Great White North

Friday morning was eventful. I have already posted of the temperature (-32), but then it got very interesting. This will be a little difficult and somewhat lengthy to describe and narrate, but I think some of you will find the snow removal process interesting.

When it gets dark at night, I close the blinds in my den. I really don't need to because there is nothing much to see and nobody much to see this nothing. Still, I close them while I am puttering away in the evening, but before going to bed, I open them again. Believe it or not, I do it for the cat who may want to look out during the night. I don't even know if she does this in winter, but she does in summer when it's not stupid cold and the windows are open. 

Come morning, I get up when it is still dark, so I close the blinds again until it gets light. Then, I re-open them.

Are you scratching your noggin wondering why AC is telling you this?

Well, it is this. When I opened the blinds on Friday morning, I saw a big truck going by, and then another. I deduced that they were clearing up after Monday's big snowfall. I was right, for as I craned my neck to look up the street, I could see a big tractor blowing snow into a truck The other trucks in the line would take the place of the first truck once it was full of snow. That truck would then drive off to dump the snow somewhere.

Too bad. I was too late to get photos, but it eventuated that I would get another chance. In the meantime, here is one of a truck full of snow, which I took a bit later.

When Sue arose and came in for coffee, I described what I had seen, but as we looked out, behold there was more. This time, I would be able to witness the whole process. I will try to describe it, but bear with me, for it might be difficult to follow.

During the night, they had cleared our side of the street. Now they were doing the other. At this stage, they are not plowing the street itself but removing the snowbanks at the sides. These snowbanks had pretty much reduced the streets to one lane as cars had to pull over as close as they could to the sides to let each other pass.

I will try to outline the process in numbered form to help us both keep track.

1. What I had seen early in the morning was the first pass on the other side of the street. You can see that the far sides are sheared pretty straight before this second pass. Look by the driveway off to the
left, past the snow in the middle, to see how straight the side is.

2. You can also see (both above and below) that the plow had already begun the second pass by scraping another layer into the middle of the street. 

3. This gave the little tractor space to do a bit of cleanup by the driveways.

4. By the next photo, a plow has returned and pushed the pile from the middle of the road back to the edge but not right to the edge because there is still room for the little tractor to work. (I missed that pushing segment as there was much faffing around with phones and cameras, and that plow went by very quickly.

5. We then saw a a colourful plume approaching, highlighted by the rising sun behind.

6. As the next two photos show, the plume was from snow being blown into a truck. In the second photo, the spray was past us, so we were no longer catching the backlight from the sun.

7. We counted eight more trucks following the blower, all waiting for their loads. How many had already left the queue to dump snow wherever, I don't know. 

8. The neighbour across the street captured the blowing part on video and posted it on FB. Here is the link: . There is probably a way to embed it, but I don't know how that works, so I have just given you the link.

Wait! Maybe I have figured out how to embed. Let's see if it works.

From FB posts, I know that this process was being carried out concurrently in at least one other location in town and maybe more for all I know. It's a very expensive task because all of those trucks and probably even blowers and plows have to be contracted for the job. Yes, this gets paid for through property taxes.

As we were watching, we saw the little yellow tractor knocking over someone's marker and also depositing a boulder right in their driveway. As it turned out, it had also done that to us during the night. Our neighbour, the snow angel, contacted us and told us not to try to deal with it. He soon came over to take care of both the boulder and the sign.

This is what passes for winter excitement in The Great White North.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Nth Degree

Even though I can't post this until Sunday (because I have a Caturday post scheduled) I simply must write this on Friday while it's on my mind.

You see, my mouth dropped open when I saw the temperature that Alexa was showing this morning: -32, if you please. I won't bother converting because Fahrenheit or Celsius doesn't much matter when it gets this cold as the two scales are not very different from each other. Minus 40 is where they become absolutely identical.

I swear that I don't always do this, even in winter, but I continue to sleep in my hoodie these days. Generally, when I arise in the morning, I remove it in favour of my thick sweater, which also has a hood. This morning, I kept both layers on.

We've been in a deep freeze for weeks, but this seems like a step beyond today. Fortunately, there is nothing in the 14-day forecast that is quite this cold although some nights will come close. Unfortunately, there is still much cold weather looming as temperatures will not rise above freezing for at least the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, Sue continues to follow her daily photo prompts, so we did brave the cold yesterday in search of things blue, and if possible, also praiseworthy.

Out we went. These are the pictures that she took although I have done some cropping in some cases to get them to fit neatly.

With all of these choices, she posted the hospital sign, which was her first photo of our little excursion.

Meanwhile, we stopped for a coffee. The drivethru lineup was long and slow. I should have taken a  picture.

So, we took our Nth car selfie while imbibing our Nth cup of coffee in this Nth lockdown of of this interminable pandemic that seems to have gone on for N number of days.

I did get out of the car long enough to take this ↓ photo. Hurrying in the cold with bare hands, I am very pleased that it turned out quite well. There was a snowbank between me and the scene, which I was careful to keep out of the frame.

The ice shelf continues to grow and form some interesting shapes, but with the cold and snow, I won't be photographing those shapes as well as they deserve.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Caturday 33: Kittens Scaling the Heights

(I have appended information at the end of the Caturday section for those asking about the faces in yesterdays post.)

When I was a teenager, my dad worked in the greenhouses on a nursery, and we lived in a little cottage on the premises. Meanwhile, the owners had a much more stately house on the other side of the property. 

At the time, there were three cats: a mother black cat and two mixed cats that were still juveniles. They were outdoor cats that the owners did feed. They weren't exactly wild, but they weren't house cats either.

Somehow or other, I was able to further tame the smaller of the two young cats, and they other one came along for the ride.

My special cat was a bit of a runt. She became very pregnant, and I assume that she died in delivery, for she was never seen again. I still feel bad about that or about whatever happened to her.

Her sister, however, thrived for at least several years. She had a number of litters. I also feel bad about that, but I was a kid, and a cat was just a cat on a nursery. Now I know that it would have been merciful to spay the poor thing, and I feel some resentment that the adults would not have done the humane thing. But they didn't know any better either, back then.

That's the background, and this is the very short video clip that brought it back to memory.

The kittens climbing up the lady's leg reminded me that one of the kittens once did the same to my mother. Unlike the lady in the clip, my mother was closer to yowling than smiling because she wasn't wearing rugged blue jeans. Nobody much did wear jeans in those days although they are now a fashion statement, and the more torn the better.

Perhaps, I will look for some old kitten photos to scan for another Caturday.


Some of you asked about the gallery of faces in yesterdays post. Since there is no good way to respond to people on Blogger, here is an explanation. (Responding has always been a problem on the Blogger platform.)
The piece was originally commissioned by the National Capital Commission for Canada’s 125 birthday. It was gifted to Mississippi Mills in 2017 to mark Canada’s 150 birthday.

It consists of a structure similar in the shape of the dwellings indigenous peoples in eastern Canada lived in before Europeans arrived.

Attached to that structure are faces from all over Canada that were cast in glass to represent the diversity of Canada. When it was installed in Almonte, another six local faces were added to reflect the surrounding community.
This is the photo that Sue chose to post on her 365 challenge. It's of Jeela Palluq-Ataguyuk.

As best as we can glean, here is the story:  
Jeela Palluq-Ataguyuk was an Inuit lad from Iqaluit who committed suicide, leaving his parents bereft. It seems that his father, Jeela Palluq-Cloutier has written children's books featuring his son. Youth suicide has been a problem in some northern Native communities.

Friday, January 21, 2022

The Icy Tree

On Sunday before the big snow on the next day, we took a little drive. Sue wanted to look for some photo ops, and after more frigid days, it seemed like a good idea to take the car on a little spin, especially since we knew that it wouldn't be drivable in the storm that was about to ensue.

Sue wanted to get some pictures of the faces on this installation in Almonte. 

I didn't even look at them but took these photos and a few of the four Canada Geese sitting on ice by the edge of a bit of open water on the river. I fired off a few pics but deleted them when I got home as there was nothing noteworthy about them.

Before leaving the parking lot, Sue wanted to take a picture of the church through the frame of the trees. I tried this once before a long time ago and knew that it would be a messy photo, but I took a shot anyway rather than just standing there with my bare face hanging out. Not that a bearded face is ever truly bare.

On the way home, while driving through the little hamlet of Appleton, I glimpsed, in passing, an icy tree on the other side of the river. It resulted from the spray of water falling over a small dam. I felt compelled to stop for a photo, which I later converted to b&w.

That's ↑ the zoom, but I like this ↓ photo better because I like the old building in the background. I can't remember for sure whether the building was a power station or a mill, but I think it was the former.

It was a nice day (the calm before the storm as it were), and there were blues in the sky, so I may also process these photos in colour. Even if I do that, I have a feeling that I will always prefer this mono version. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lingering Storm Effects

Once the storm Monday's great storm was over, many effects lingered. 

For one thing, we all had to dig out. That was completed in our driveway by the following morning, for when I looked out the window, I saw that the contractor had made his second pass sometime in the night. Two factors made a second clearing necessary. One is that it kept snowing and drifting after the first pass. A second factor is that the town plows had blocked us in again.

Although we had been dug out by the next morning, many weren't, so the school buses were cancelled for a second day. Then there was another overnight snowfall that rendered conditions messy enough to result in 186 cancellations or delays on the third day. Indeed, I had to shovel the driveway before I headed off for our weekly grocery pickup. Well, I guess I didn't have to, but there were a few inches of accumulation, and I hate to drive over the snow and compact it and make if all bumpy and rutty for the next two months.

Sue stuck her head out to snap a photo when I was just about done.

It becomes a major achievement ti throw the snow up to the top of the bank.

Then, I had to be a bit careful on the drive to the grocery store because, speaking of bumps and ruts as I was, there were plenty of those on the roads. When I arrived and called pickup to let them know that I was there, they asked if I could park by the doors and not in the designated spots because they were fidning it difficult to push the carts through the snow.

They also alerted me that they couldn't supply the apples, cauliflower and blueberries that I had requested. I put this down to transport being impacted by the storm.

When Sue was unpacking, she called me over to see the potatoes. They were rather small. I am speaking of the four front potatoes in the following photo. The one at the back is of normal size from a previous pickup and just shown for reference: two from this order are half-size and the other two are half again. I'd just as soon, they hadn't bothered.

We are also left with prodigious snowbanks although the one across the street, below, isn't as high as ours, which I'll post at the end.

So, what am I doing over there, and to what am I pointing? Perhaps this ↓ will help.

I am using my cane to point to the yellow marker sticking out of the snowbank. The marker is attached to a fire hydrant and is there as a visible clue to the location of fire hydrants in winter. They will come around and dig out around the hydrant, but all of the aftermath work does take time.

Finally, this is Sue by our pile.

She actually likes to get out and shovel and usually beats me to it. I am sure that some of the neighbours think me both lazy and mean to make her do this, but at least is it harder for them to see Sue and cluck their disapproval when the snow is so high. lol

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

My Mind Drifts Way Back

What is it about the bathroom that causes my mind to wander into tidbits that you would think I should have forgotten more than five decades ago? I never know what will pop into my head when I am brushing my teeth or showering or . . . 

Mind you, the way my mind works, which I admit to not actually working too well, this phenomenon can occur anywhere at any time: driving the car, grocery shopping, peeling potatoes, or watching a less than gripping tv program. I might very well even lose concentration and go off into space while writing a post.

. . . Now, where was I?

However, this time I was, indeed, in the bathroom when the lines and music of a song from 1959 popped into my head. as you will read below, it did well enough on the charts for a time, but I don't imagine that I've  heard it much since then. The fact that it faded from society quickly is probably not a bad thing.

I speak of the states song, Delaware, by Perry Como. 

"Delaware" is a popular song, written by Irving Gordon. The song was published in 1959 and has references to 15 states of the United States. The states were portrayed, in the form of puns, as: Della wear, new jersey, Calla 'phone ya, how ar' ya, Missus sip, mini-soda, Ora gone, I'll ask 'er, taxes, Wiscon sin, new brass key, Arkan saw, Tenne see, Flora die and misery . . .

The hit version of the song was recorded by Perry Como on December 28, 1959.  Wikipedia

Apparently, one is not permitted to post the lyrics although people do. I shall spare you the whole song, but you can read the entire lyrics here if you so desire. If not, you can hear them in the subsequent clip, below, which is not a long one. Meanwhile, I present you with a few of the puns.

Oh, where as ore gone, boy ...
She went to pay her taxes,

Oh, what did della wear boy ...
She wore a bran' new jersey

Oh, how did wiscon sin, boy,
She stole a new brass key,
Too bad that arkan saw, boy,

As poorly as they read, they do come off better in the actual song by Perry Como. It's not a very long clip, thank goodness.

So . . . I would have been 11 years old when the song came out. It stuck with me because, even then, I have an affinity for word play, even though, having lived a sheltered life, I didn't yet know what a pun was. Unlike Samuel Johnson, who claimed that puns are the lowest form of humour, I consider word play to be clever. But yeah . . . one can go overboard, and Delaware may be an example of that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Right Walloping

When we our first big snow of the winter finally arrived, it was a really big snow. A doozie, as a matter of fact. A right walloping.

With a prediction of a 4 bag of chips & 15 hot cocoa storm, I had hoped that Shauna would not try to drive to work, but I knew she would.

We are in the pink: 4 chip bags and 15 cocoas.

Shauna, is the executive director of a retirement home and doesn't feel that she can expect her workers to go in if she doesn't. But she lives a half hour away — a rural highway half hour away, if you please.

So, she did try: shovelled her driveway, got onto the highway which is only a block away, drove a mile, turned around because she couldn't see the road.

It was so bad that they actually closed that highway about an hour later. You know that it was a serious storm because they don't close highways for a mild or even moderate storms around here. Or even normal heavy ones.

I had been disappointed when I got up at 6 because the snow didn't seem too thick then because I couldn't see any snow on the trees. Mind you, I also could see that the major road behind us was snow covered and not plowed.

An hour or so later, our window views were getting obscured by the heavy fall although the view had lifted just a little by the time I took these photos from the front and back windows.

Then I zoomed in on the cars out front.

A little later, neighbour was blowing the driveway. That is quite a blow!

The neighbour on the left, above and not the guy blowing. contacted us early on and told us that he would shovel the walk. We would have done it, but he  likes to help, and we like him to help. We call him our Snow Angel.

I opened the garage long enough to catch him in the act just before he finished.

Our contractors didn't get around with the tractor until late. There was little point starting their rounds until the street plows had made their first pass. After they were done, we went out to shovel the walkway again as well as the looser snow that the plow (actually big blower) hadn't picked up on the driveway. As you can tell by the blue tinge, evening was encroaching.

Sue gets rid of a shovel full.
Most of the snow had not been there previously.
Mind you, a lot it was thrown by the blower.
It didn't all fall in place yesterday. lol

The sidewalk is something closer to the actual accumulation, and you can see that it drift got deeper to the let of the shovel.

This may have been the biggest walloping since we've been here. At least, I don't think there has been a bigger, single storm. The chips and hot cocoa were good, though.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Mary Mary Quite Grammary

 A few days past, in this post, I mentioned consulting Mary with a bit of a grammar puzzle. It wouldn't be the first time.

Mary is somewhat older than I and was a proper student and teacher of English. I assume that English was her main university subject, but I've not really asked. She taught the subject when grammar was still a formal part of the curriculum.

I studied geography and taught that subject exclusively for ten years. It was in my eleventh year of teaching that enrollment trends eventuated in me teaching English. I was miffed at first to have to teach outside of my subject area, but I learned to really like it as the years went by. There were six such years before I found myself exclusively teaching geography again. Truth be told, I think I was a better teacher of English than geography — at least in some respects.

When I began to teach the subject in the early eighties, the formal teaching of grammar was no longer in vogue. Nevertheless, I did try to teach myself the basics or at least drum what I already knew deeper into my brain. I hope that my appreciation of grammar and writing shows up, at least a little bit, here on my odd, little blog. I do take a lot of liberties in my writing style for effect, and because we are not composing formal essays with rigid rules, I feel at peace doing that.

It's not that we totally neglected grammar back then, but it was taught more incidentally and, supposedly, in context as needs required.

I had checklists for students, in several classes, that they would keep in a writing folder. If I noticed a sentence fragment, for example, I could tick it off on the checklist (or have them do it). The problem could then be addressed in some way. Yes, I actually stood at the blackboard going over certain things, such as sentence fragments, when the occasion warranted. And I quite enjoyed reprimanding them for committing the dreaded comma splice error.

Getting back to Mary, she knows her stuff much better than I do, and when I struggle over the right way to write something, I have been known to turn to her, as I did in this case:

Here is two seconds of her being cute, blast her royal furriness. (I want to say are two seconds, but I think is is correct as it is one clip that is two seconds long. Are you there Mary? Note: Mary is my grammar guru.)
Indeed, Mary was there and disagreed with me:
I would use the plural, as 'clip' is only understood in that sentence, making the 'is' sound wrong. Go with the flow, as they say. Whatever you use, actually, would not be a catastrophic mistake.
So there you have it. I agree that the 'is' doesn't sound right, which is why I asked. While I accept Mary's verdict, I also consider that 'I' often sounds right when 'me' would be grammatically correct, and I still wonder, just a little bit. 'Lay' is another word that tends to sound appropriate to our ears when 'lie' would be the proper usage. But the verdict is in, and abide by it, I must.

I have told Mary that although Grammar Girl is, quite famously, taken that Grammar Granny isn't.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

My Ordeal Five Years Ago

Five years ago on this day, I was in the hospital, but just the ER and only for a short period of time.

I couldn't have told you that this is what happened exactly 5 years ago until, just for interest sake, I clicked on my January 2017 photo file to see what was up. Although I hadn't realized what I was about to see, I do remember the situation well and not with fondness. I just didn't remember that this is the exact anniversary.

It began a few days earlier on Friday. It could have even started on Thursday*, but I am not positive either way although I lean toward Thursday. However, this initial photo is dated to the 13th, and that date —  Friday the 13th — does seem more appropriate for this narrative. Whatever the day, we were watching tv at suppertime when my lower back became very uncomfortable.

It became so painful that the only slight respite I could find was from kneeling on the stairs and assuming a rather awkward position.

Doesn't the boy look pathetic?

The pain went on all weekend. I spent a lot of time in this ↑ position and had many hot baths. I found that an extremely hot bath might provide some relief for about an hour, and if memory serves, I may have had up to 5 baths on one of those days. Why it worked, I cannot say, but it was a blessed, if only a temporary, relief.

Although, the attack began on Friday (or perhaps Thursday*), I was still in something approximating agony on Sunday night. I recall that Sue, in some desperation, called the provincial health hotline. All they could advise was to go to ER. From what I can gather, that is all the hotline can ever advise. I refused to go (see footnotes for an explanation), preferring to see our family doctor on the next day. The consultant heard me tell Sue in no uncertain terms that I wasn't about to comply, and she advised calling an ambulance after I suppose Sue said that the trip would be problematic. I said a firm no to that as well.

On Monday, Sue called the doctor and set up an appointment. Whether she called before or after I urinated a brown, gucky substance, I can't recall.

What I do recall, is taking a bottled sample of that urine to my appointment with the doctor. She just about had a conniption and promptly called ER and told them see to me right away. As head of ER, she could do that with authority.

They put me on IV and lay me on a bed from where I stared at the ceiling ↓ with some concern .

If I look a little morose ↑ it may be because this ↓ is what I had too look at directly overhead.

To me, it was a very gloomy painting of a dove flying up to heaven. I assure you that a sick person in a hospital bed does not need to look up to see a bird ascending to heaven.

To be honest, however, once I had passed that brown urine, I started to feel better, so I could smile ↓ — I think at seeing the humour in the juxtaposition. You may as well look on the light side of life if you can.

Aside from the IV, I was placed there to wait for am emergency opening for an ultrasound scan.

They found a small kidney stone or two, but the stones haven't bothered me in these five subsequent years. Another more recent scan has indicated that I still have at least one kidney stone. At the time, although I hadn't noticed it, I had apparently, passed whatever stone has caused all of the pain.

That evening, the family came over, and my world was good again although I may look a little wan in the picture.

But all of that kneeling on the stairs had done quite a number on my poor knees.

My family doctor also referred me to the urologist. I think I had a CT scan and another ultrasound, but some things mercifully begin to fade from memory.

* Although the photo data reveals that Sue took the first, stair, picture on Friday 13, I starred Thursday, above, for I think that it may have begun then. It seems to me that I remember thinking how unfortunate it was to have occurred on Thursday because my doctor doesn't hold office hours on Fridays. If  that is the case, and I think it is, it means that I spent three-and-a-half days in severe pain.

** Before you all chide me for refusing to go to the ER, I just couldn't imagine even getting there in that condition, and I further couldn't imagine being forced to wait to be attended to in the agony that I was experiencing. Despite the pain, I had some confidence that I wasn't at death's door and that I could wait to see my doctor on Monday. She is very good at being prompt, and I knew that I wouldn't have had to wait interminably in acute discomfort.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Caturday 33: Lacey Likes Plush

After having the temerity to feature other cats and even a dog last week, I am trying to repair bridges with Lacey this week by featuring just  her. Whether she can forgive me my lapse is yet to be determined. I need to get out of her dog-house so to speak. 

I would say cat-house, but that has other connotations, doesn't it? I mean to say I have never been in what is sometimes referred to as a cat-house, for I have lived a very sheltered and circumspect life. And if Lacey had put me in an actual cat-house, there is a question about whether I would ever want to leave.

Ahem: shall we get right onto the narrative of Lacey Likes Plush.

I keep a blanket on my chair in all seasons. In summer it stays under me to protect the fabric and me from the pickiness thereof. Well, I do that in winter too, but I also have one to go over me to keep me warm. It is plush and heated.

Just the plush is enough to attract the cat. 

I swear that she had hardly bothered with my chair for months, but almost the instant that I put the plush blanket on it, she was drawn like a moth to a flame. I don't know what attracted her when she just sauntered by the chair as only she can saunter, but she knew something was different and that she'd like it.

The blanket in question is the red one. Do you see how I have tried to keep her away from settling herself on the char, even trying to block her access with a cushion?

I don't mind her on my chair. She can sleep there all night if she wishes. But I like to use it at times during the day. And I don't like to shoo her off once she is there and settled.

It seems that nothing will thwart her: not cases of pop, sweaters or what have you.

Here she is at my feet whilst I read your blogs on my iPad. But that's okay because she never sits on people for a long time, about ten minutes being her limit.

Here is two seconds of her being cute, blast her royal furriness.  (I want to say are two seconds, but I think is is correct as it is one clip that is two seconds long. Are you there Mary? Note: Mary is my grammar guru.)

Now, about cat-houses . . .