Thursday, June 30, 2022

Another Sign Shoot

It's the final day of Pride Month. Sue and I got to Linda's new sign, draped ourselves in the Pride flag and took some photos.

The sign's message is: "It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do." Behind us is a photo of one of the well-known couples in town, but we placed ourselves in front of their picture for our purposes.

We had chosen a day and time when the weather was supposed to be overcast because I know from experience that, otherwise, photos here become extremely contrasty. Unfortunately, the forecast was wrong, but we continued with the shoot regardless. In edit, I did my best to reduce the contrast, so you can imagine how the the original ↑ may have looked. Shooting in these conditions drives me crazy.

However, we did go on to take some Sue photos. Her photo challenge was long exposure, blur. She waved the Pride flag while the shutter was open for 2.5 seconds.

Then, she slowly twirled her colourful umbrella for 2 seconds.

I am still disappointed with the lighting, but I do like the concept. Maybe I can use the idea at another time and place.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Another Very Early Photoshoot

On Saturday evening, I checked the morning forecast. When I saw that there would be a mixture of cloud and sun around sunrise, I was so tempted that I set the alarm on my watch for 4 o'clock.

One trouble with summer photography is that the sun rises so doggone early and sets quite late. I wanted to be to my location at least a half hour before the actual rising. Mostly, I find it preferable to take photos before the actual sunrise, for that is when you may be very lucky.

Fortunately, I was only travelling a few minutes from home. I was hoping for some good sky effects over a nearby pond.

Before I reached the pond, I saw a very appealing sight. One of the planets (I am told it was Venus), could be seen fairly close to the crescent moon. The sky was blue above but orange below and along the highway and its lights.

I composed as best I could and squeezed the shutter at 4:43, about 35 minutes before the rising. You can barely see the Venus, especially at this resolution, but I love this serendipitous image. 

(If you wish to seen Venus better, this link will take your computer to my higher resolution Flickr version of this photo. You can then press Z to zoom to full screen. Then, you can also press next or hit the ← to go forward to see the second image. But you need to press the space bar to get out of zoom mode first.)

By the time that I shifted over to the pond, peak sky effects were gone, but this result is pretty good too. You can see how much lighter it was 12 minutes later, even though it would still be 20 minutes before sunrise.

I think it was worth missing another hour or two of sleep. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Holder et Moi

As you know, Sue takes a lot of photos in covering the story of our lives. Naturally, she continued to do so on our little bike excursion (yesterday's post). She did lament both during the ride and subsequently that biking with the camera was problematic if one wished to keep it handy for snapping photos.

Some time after writing but not even yet publishing yesterday's post, I saw ad ad zip by whilst I was scrolling through fb. It was for a phone holder for a bicycle.

Did I purchase it? You bet, but ya gotta wonder 'cause it seems too targetted to be a coincidence.

Meanwhile . . . Sue concluded her latest photo-a-day week with high-key portraits of moi.

Being vain and full of hubris, I can't help but publish a few. So here ya go. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Oldsters Go Cycling

One would tend to think that cycling would not be a conveyance for two seniors with mobility problems, but it worked for us when we got out the bikes for the first time in two years.

As you know from my relentless whinging, I have a bit of a foot problem, and you may also recall that Sue took a recent tumble that has left her ankle a little too sore to walk far.

We are not generally unhealthy or incapacitated; it's just that walking any sort of distance is currently problematic.

Sue wondered if we could cycle, not for long distances but enough to get to the park around the corner.

We made it to the bench not too far inside the park.

The bench overlooks the river. No, we don't see much river through the summer foliage, but we see some.

We consumed a little lunch on the bench, and, for a change, we took a selfie.

Afterward, we rode farther along the trail that you see behind us in the above photo. 

While I can't foresee us making a major trek, cycling does give us an option. We'll keep it short and close while we monitor how we're adapting. If it goes well, we might go a little farther afield but not very far, I don't think.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Fog-Diffused Light

Thursday morning was to be a good morning for the aligning of five planets plus the moon (image just below, but it's not mine). This wouldn't occur again until 2040, by which time my corporeal matter will, almost certainly, be returning to the earth. 

What I might have seen on a clear night

The configuration would best be seen about an hour before dawn. I set my watch to rumble me at 3am.

I then checked the weather forecast, saw that it was going to be overcast, and turned the alarm off. Missing the sighting and photo op wasn't about to bother me too much, for it was more of a mild curiosity than a keen interest.

When I awoke at 3 for one of my twice-nightly jaunts to the commode I looked out the window and, through bleary eyes in the dark, thought I espied fog. 

Since photographers kind of dream about fog, I wasn't able to settle back to sleep very well, for it would be a nightmare to miss the opportunity.

I gave in and arose sometime after 4, confirmed the fogginess, and headed out without even bothering to brew my usual jolt of java.

The actual goal that I had in mind, was for me to be stationed at the other end of this ↓ little back bridge to photograph car headlights coming toward me from out of the fog. I would have to position myself at that far end because it is presently a one-way bridge, going in the direction in which my camera was pointing in these photos.

You may want to click to see it at least somewhat larger.

The fog, although not very apparent in the darkness of these two images, was really diffusing the light from the streetlamp, and I quite liked the effect, which is why I stopped where I did. I like the outcomes well enough. I often drawn to low-key photos, and I quite like both of these.

I did go on to set up on the other side, and, eventually , a vehicle did come along. (It was very early, so I had to wait awhile). I snapped the picture but didn't much like the result, so I am not going to inflict it upon you.

I didn't want to linger because the wait for the first vehicle had been long enough. I also thought that I had a good photo but saw that I didn't when I got the images up on the monitor. I moved on to a different location, but I didn't like those images either.

It's just as well that I stopped to take the two unplanned photos because the more planned ones, both at this location and another, didn't work out all that well.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Not All That Palatable

Before moving on to other posts and topics, I must say a bit more about our restaurant visit described in the previous post, for I forgot to mention my sweetened eggs. It is so typical of me – both the eggs and also the forgetting – that I simply must share.

The Gastropub restaurant has good food, but their coffee is strong, to say the very least. Now when it comes to coffee, I am just a cream sorta guy. My formula is to use enough cream to render the coffee beige. But that is hardly enough for the Gastropub's very strong brew.

So, I did what I simply don't do and added sugar. When our cups were refilled, the sugar packages were gone, so I added sweetener instead.

I had a sip and decided that the cup required a wee bit more sweetening. I picked up teh opened packet again.

It was then that I suffered from one of my many customary brain cramps, for after picking up the package, I proceeded to sprinkle the contents on my eggs.

Yes, this is the kind of thing that I do. I am not proud of these mindless moments, but I am not all that ashamed either. We have to own what we are, eh?

Fortune did its bit though. For one thing there wasn't a whole lot of sweetener left in the package. For another thing, I had already consumed most of my egg. For a third thing, I didn't quite douse all of the egg that was remaining.

I am forced to admit, however, that sweetened eggs are not all that palatable. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Last Minute Patio Breakfast

The morning dawned overcast and temperate. Since Sue and I hadn't made it out for our usual Father's Day breakfast, it seemed like a good day to remedy that lapse. There would be no sun beating down on the patio at the Gastropub, yet temperatures should be mild and enjoyable.

We made a last minute decision, but as we were just about ready to head out the door, Barb called and asked if we wanted to meet for coffee. She then agreed that breakfast would be a fine idea.

We four enjoyed both the ambiance and the company. (All of today's images are phone photos.)

A pano photo to capture the my three compatriots plus the river

Sue took this one ↓ of Bob and me.

I think I looked rather splendiferous in orange and my wacky new Cool-Ass Grandpa socks.

I stylized this photo of Sue into a b&w, high key photo.

Meanwhile, inspired by Danica,  the master of the selfie, I took some time out from the chitchat to snap some selfies. In these, I chose to keep the adorable subject in colour but make the background b&w.

And that's what Johnny and Susie and their friends did on a whim, yesterday morning.


What is it about this place that makes me want to play with photos? I have just rediscovered this photo of me by Sue from our last visit way back in September.

Selective Colour

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Little Big Thing

It's a good thing that I called the pain doctor on Tuesday to verify my appointment time for Wednesday. He had called me a few weeks prior to follow up the first appointment one day while I was in the car, so it was possible that I might have erred somewhere along the line . I was all but certain that we had scheduled the next appointment for June 22: certain of the date but uncertain of the time because my G-calendar got a little muddled because I am who I am.

They didn't even have me listed, but the nurse said that he does that sometimes – forgets to record an appointment that he makes. I guess we're kindred spirits, the doc and I. He affirmed that he wanted to see me regardless. So, Sue and I hit the road at 9 o'clock yesterday for the Perth hospital where he is stationed. I was done and exiting the hospital not long after 10.

I had waited to be referred to this doctor for two years because the pain in my testicular area had yet to be pinned down and dealt with. When surgery for an inguinal hernia didn't help, my first urologist did an ultrasound followed by a CT scan. He found no apparent cause!

He then referred my case to this pain doctor. That was in 2020 just as COVID was smacking the world as we knew it into confusion. Things got complicated and backed up, and I didn't get in until  two years later, just last month,.

Meanwhile, urologist #1 retired. He could never find the cause of my problem, but he had referred me to the pain doctor for what he thought it might possibly be. Before I got to Pain Guy, however, I had finally gotten in to see the replacement urologist: urologist #2. She diagnosed a neurological cause and prescribed nerve meds. You might recall that those were the pills that caused me to smell non-existent gasoline. They also didn't help to mitigate the pain. She prescribed another medication before she too moved on. Sigh.

Pain Guy had me begin the new pills that urologist #2 had prescribed before she departed. I took them for a month before yesterday's second appointment. He proceeded to take me off the meds because they were accomplishing nothing while possibly negatively affecting my sleep. I now have a new prescription that won't attempt to alleviate the condition but will, hopefully, dull the pain when it occurs.

He opines that there is a rather small and deep spot that is causing the problem. Surgery doesn't seem to be an option and, if attempted, would run the danger of causing even more other problems.

So, that's the result from seeing the pain doctor, who like my urologists seems to be at a loss except to hope that the new pain meds help to get me through the tough times. He is concerned enough to follow up by phone in a week or so. If he forgets, as he seems prone to do, I am to call him in two weeks.

I won't see my third and and newest urologist until late autumn, so I will have quite a lot of time to see if the pain meds help before I consult yet another doctor.

Fortunately, over the years, I have found a position that usually minimizes the discomfort while I sleep, except on nights when I get to much tossing and turning. As long as I don't walk much, I can also keep the pain at an acceptable level during the day. It's walking that tends to cause the pain to flare up, but maybe the newest meds will help. 

I can't tell you how miserable it is to feel pain in that particular region of the body when all I want to do is just go for a little walk. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's not all that bad at any one moment, but it is both chronic and extremely uncomfortable and dispiriting to experience discomfort in that particular area. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

AC and the AC

On Monday, I posted this ↓ on fb for no reason other than I came across it and thought it was funny.

Later that day, somewhat surprisingly, it became necessary for me to call my credit card company. I thought of the cartoon quite a lot, while I was on hold for a rather long time just to make a two-minute call.

We had made the rather sudden decision to have both an air conditioner and a furnace replaced, and we had also decided to use the credit card and score the concomitant points in the process. The phone call would be simply to inform them that I would be making a very large transaction on the next day: the kind that might set off red flags had they not been alerted..

Who knows if it was the right decision, for both appliances were still working. The AC was limping along, after all, but it had been diagnosed with an irreparable problem and was living on borrowed time. (Just to clarify, I am referring to the other kind of AC and not to moi although, truth be told, I am limping along as well. Quite literally.)

We had been warned about the impending dilemma of whether to replace one or both for a couple of years already. The furnace was still holding up, but at 15 years, which is considered to be its normal lifespan, its future was highly  uncertain. Replacing both appliances now at the same time would result in some savings over having to replace them separately in the near future.

We reasoned that if it would become necessary to replace these units next year or the year after, and it likely would be, we might as well go ahead with the job and expense this year. We reasoned that whether we were to pay the piper now or in one or two years down the road would make little difference, especially considering that costs forever escalate and never decrease. 

Another consideration was to possibly avoid last-minute emergencies such as having the AC conk out in the midst of the world's worst July heat wave ever or the furnace perhaps giving up the ghost in the midst of a January deep freeze.

The final point was that we seemed to be getting a pretty good deal to do it now while the company still had some gaps before the impending summer rush.

In our mid-seventies, both units should last until we hit 90 or even beyond, and one doubts if one will live that long anyway.

We made the decision to just do it on Monday, and, by gosh and by golly, they would be here with bells on, the very next day. 

And that is why I sat on hold with the credit card company for a long while after posting that toon in the morning. Thinking of said toon, however, helped to keep me in a tolerable frame of mind whilst I was forced to sit and listen to the incessant messages that my call was important to them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Nothing Solstice

Happy Solstice after a not so happy night that had me waking up in a puddle of sweat at 2. If that wasn't enough, there were cramps at 3.

Since I was up, I made to get ready to head our for a solstice sunrise photo. Then I saw that it had rained and likely would again. Further to that, I realized that the sun would not make an appearance this morning. I gave up, played my morning Wordle, and decided to start to compose this, which is surely to be a masterpiece. Not.

It's now almost 5:30; the sun has risen, but it hasn't – if you get my drift  . The decision not to head out was a right one. This is a remarkable thing in my life – if you know what I mean.

I got Wordle in 5, by the way. It could and should have been 4, but I changed my mind about the word that I was going to use in the 4th round. Alas, it is yet another instance of not being right about something.

But the second round of Father's Day was quite right last evening.

Shauna brought chicken, potato wedges, Caesar salad, and cake.

They also came bearing gifts.

The kids had made a card and put it in a lovely little envelope. The trouble was that they forgot to insert said card into said envelope. I will get to see it at another time.

Empty Envelope

There were three packages to open. The first was a pair of socks. I know what you're thinking: "How banal." But they're not.

Cool-Ass Grandpa

Then came a T-shirt. I know what you're thinking: "How banal." But you shall see that it isn't.

Shauna had texted me this humorous message some time ago, and I thought then that I might get it on a tee for Father's Day. But then I forgot. And then I remembered.

Fun stuff.

There was also a can of cashews, renewing a tradition from the distant past. My father used to give me cashews on some occasions; now, daughter is resuming the practice.

As we sat around chatting, Lacey visited JJ and then moved over to give Danica some lap time. She likes the kids. She only tolerates me and only because I am the one who takes care of her wants and needs.

I hope you have a good and right solstice wherever you are.

Monday, June 20, 2022

A Cooler and Shadier Head for Father's Day

Father's Day was just about like any other day here.

Except . . .

there was a little something extra. 

What could it be?

It was a brand new chapeau – a Tilley hat.

I wore it a little while we enjoyed a little breakfast in our little porch, and Sue took this little picture.

I also wore it later when we did our thing and had coffee in the park. Believe it or not, it had been awhile since we had done that. We might have opted for an outdoor picnic, but the wind was rather fierce.

Sue wore her Tilley hat too.

I already have a Tilley hat for summer and one for winter, but this is an Airflo model with a band of mesh near the top, which you probably can't see at these resolutions, but I can see when I enlarge the photos in their original format. Said mesh might render it a little cooler. More importantly, it has a wider brim that will provide my battered face with a little more protection. The crisp newness will also be nice. That being said, the old one s still in excellent condition, despite it's long life, and will continue to serve a purpose. Tilley hats are guaranteed for life after all.

Of note: if the previous two photos look over-exposed, they are – quite deliberately and in camera too: not in edit, I hasten to proclaim. They were exposed this way because Sue's photo challenge for this week revolves around high key photography.

If you are wondering where Sha and the kids were, they will come over for a little extended Father's Day celebration tonight. Quite appropriately, they were with their dad on the weekend.

Finally, I feel that I must say something about the stitches (yesterday's post). A few of you commiserated with me for the discomfort that I must be enduring. The truth is, however, that I haven't felt any pain at all, neither during nor after the surgery. I find this quite remarkable and expect it is because I am quite hard-headed. (Note: I am not really.)

Sunday, June 19, 2022


It's no laughing matter, but the procedure left me in stitches.

After two days we were to remove the original bandage, apply warm water, pat dry, smear with Vaseline, and cover again. Of course, there had to be a picture before the re-covering.

After the offending carcinoma was removed, they pulled the surrounding skin and stitched. I don't think there will be much of a scar. If there is, it doesn't much matter on this ole head.

This procedure is to be repeated for one week. After that, I am to continue the regimen outlined earlier for two more weeks but will not be required to wear a covering-bandage in the house. However, I have been told to still cover it up for another two weeks when I go outside.


As an afterthought, and since it is Father's Day, I will post a picture of my dad.

We had recently moved from Montreal to Toronto where he grew flowers in this greenhouse and others. we lived in a little cottage on the nursery property just opposite the greenhouse.

He would have been in his early fifties, which is about the same age as I was when he shuffled off his mortal coil at the age of 86.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Beside the Trail just before Sunrise

On Monday morning, whilst I waited for the run to rise over the trail, I stepped to the side and took a few photographs looking toward a farm field through a clearing. Last year, I did take a number of direct photos of that lane and field, so I was content to photograph from this limited angle on that morning. It gave me something to occupy myself for a few minutes while remaining very close to where I had decided to photograph the sun over the trail.

It is four minutes from the first to the third photo, but I think you can see how the scene was brightening quickly. The sun was just about rising off the right of the frame in the final image.

It is much easier and usually better to keep the actual sun out of the frame as we have in this series as opposed to the the trail series from two days ago, but I may return for another trail photo as I have a slight variation in mind from those earlier photos.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Life is Good

10:00 Shauna pulls into the driveway. We get in: me in the front, Sue in back. 

11:00 We are in the waiting room on the 4th floor at the Mohs Surgery Clinic. We sip on the one cup of coffee that we brought in. It's Sue's coffee. I didn't want one because I don't want to be trudging to the bathroom all day. Nevertheless, I take a few sips.

This was taken a few minutes later in our room

11:25 Sue and I are both in the room where we were told that we might spend a long and indeterminate amount of time. In this case, a long time means hours, not days; it cold be a long day. The nurse is asking me many questions about my health. I answer "No" to so many questions that I feel very healthy.

11:35 The tall, lean surgeon enters the room and explains the procedure that we have already read about. She looks like a younger version of our tall, lean family doctor. Strangely enough, they are both called Gillian although this doctor's versions begins with a J. She instructs me to get on the table.

In the next few minutes, she will examine the spot on my right temple, freeze it, and excise a layer of my skin. She informs me that the procedure will be painless; the only thing that will hurt will be the needle to apply the freezing, which doesn't hurt much at all.

11:47 We are done with round 1. I am to apply pressure to the bandage for 10 minutes.

11:57 The sample is already on its way to the lab to see if they got it all. I get up to wait, possibly for 2 hours or longer to get the result.. If not, they will repeat the procedure as many times as necessary until the cancerous spot is completely gone.

After snacking on peanuts and a granola bar, I sniff around online; mostly I listen Elizabeth George's latest Lynley novel: Something to Hide.

Sue is double-tasking — reading and crocheting a square for her next Christmas quilt. It will be her 4th peppermint afghan, after completing a different one last winter.

2:25 Good news: they got it all on the first try. They will re-freeze the incision area and stitch it  up.

2:40 After stitching, she applies liquid nitrogen to two spots, one on my head, the other on my nose. The nose has been done once before and probably the other spot too, for I have had several spots frozen in the past decade or so. I don't feel the spray up top, but the one on the nose just about made my eyes water.

2:45 We're done and waiting for Shauna to come and pick us up. She had just settled at her boyfriend's house after completing a few runabout chores.

3:30 The three of us are at Swiss Chalet for a quarter chicken dinner, the first in about 3 years. In past times, we would drive into the city once or twice a year, but then Covid came along. I am feeling quite chuffed to have the procedure behind me and to be where I am with my wife and daughter.

Life is good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Sunrise over the Trail

I had another of those nights: up by 3 and mostly awake for up to an hour before that. I passed an hour or two listening an audio book. Eventually, I saw dawn breaking and thought to go out and try a sunrise photoshoot that I'd had in mind for about a year.

The Trans Canada Trail, now officially The Great Trail, passes near our place, so it didn't take much of a drive to get to the spot that I had in mind. 

From Wikipedia

The Trans Canada Trail, officially named The Great Trail between September 2016 and June 2021 is a cross-Canada system of greenways, waterways, and roadways that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. The trail extends over 24,000 km (15,000 mi); it is now the longest recreational, multi-use trail network in the world. The idea for the trail began in 1992, shortly after the Canada 125 celebrations. Since then it has been supported by donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and all levels of government.

The sky was a little too blank for a topnotch sunrise photo, but of course, I fired away regardless. I mean, if I am going to be in place by 5AM, then I am going to try to come home with something. This ↓ is my first at a moderate telephoto distance, just before the sun came directly into view.

Here it comes in a closer zoom. The sun is beginning to light the trail.

It's over the trail now; I am using a long zoom. I think this is my favourite photo of the four. 

You see the problem, don't you? Although I blended a dark and lighter exposure in all of these photos, the sun is still blown out. This is not necessarily a terrible thing, but had there been a little more cloud cover, it may have turned out better – not too much cloud though, otherwise we'd obscure the sun. Picky picky. 😎

I took one more photo: horizontal, with the sun just slightly higher.

While I had wanted the sun right in the middle, directly over the trail, it was getting so bright that I decided not to hang around any longer. I think I should have, but I get impatient, which is not a good thing for a would-be photographer.

Maybe I will try again someday. I wonder what conditions will be like at the actual solstice. In some years I have gone out for a solstice sunrise, but it will depend on weather and sleep.

Whatever happens, I am glad that I made the effort to finally carry out what had been in my mind for some time.