Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Things I See That You Probably Don't See

On Sunday, I kept checking the conditions out back, wondering how difficult the driving would be should I have to go out, and I saw a sight that you probably don't see when you look out of your window.

A snowmobile parked just outside on the road. The guy got out and walked across the road.

What do you think he saw?

He saw that the snowmobile trail was over there on the other side and that he should be on that trail and not on the road. So he got onboard and drove across the road to where he should have been in the first place.

On Monday, driving was better, and I didn't have to go far anyway. My outing started when Alexa reminded me that I was to pick up Danica at school at 9:45 after her exam. However, when I got to school, she wasn't there because her exam had been set back a day after school was cancelled last Friday. It didn't matter because I had a few other errands to run anyway.

Now, for what I saw out front that you probably don't see where you are — snow and very little road. As I began to back out of the driveway, I could see a pile of snow, but I couldn't see much road and whether vehicles might be approaching.

It was the same looking the other way. There are two piles. One is at the edge of the driveway; the other is between the sidewalk and the road. Actually, it is on the road, making it narrower.

The snow piles present quite a visual barrier, so it is important to ease out gradually and cautiously because you can't see very far up or down the road until you are pretty well on the road.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Seniors and Kids

I wrote Trying to Keep Calm a few days ago about Shauna's trip to the train station and our reluctance to travel in the snow. She drove herself, left her car at the train station, and we drove it back to her house in good weather on the next day.

Yesterday was her return day, and the snow was even worse. In addition, she reported that she was coming down with a cold — and, hopefully, just a cold if you know what I mean. I have a surgery scheduled for Wednesday, so I didn't want to be exposed within the confines of the car because I didn't want to take the chance on it being cancelled.

With both the weather conditions and the possible health conditions as factors, we were in a bit of a dilemma. One option would have been for Sue and I to drive both cars down, so that Sha could then drive herself home. But that would have meant that both Sue and me would be driving in bad weather and that one of us would be driving an unfamiliar car as well.

We stewed over this problem for a long time, but it turned out that Shauna was able to contact her Ex who agreed to pick her up.

When she got home, the entrance was not properly cleared although she had asked the kids to take care of that little task. So she had to do a bit of snow shovelling after a busy weekend.

I observed that one should never to rely on either seniors or kids.

It's Monday, our usual family dinner night, but in light of the impending surgery, we'll have to renege on that too.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Another Winter Setback

Someone has begun a new photo group on Facebook for townies. We met last week for coffee, and we were due to meet up yesterday at the Mill of Kintail for a shared photowalk.

But it is winter.

Sue and I arose at 6 and set out at 7:30 for the 8 o'clock meetup. After few minutes we turned back, for the roads were snow-covered. Of course, we could have made it, but our general policy is to not make an unnecessary trip under those conditions,  I turned around.

We were treated to quite a sunrise, so Sue took these from the car.

I knew that we would miss the best of the light by the time we got there, but we headed to the pond anyway. Unfortunately, I was right about missing the best of the light, but one clicks the shutter anyway. First my photo and then Sue's.

We picked up coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and headed to the parking lot by the river.

Sue got a picture, but whatever light there was soon faded, so we drove home to finish our coffee.

We did make the most after our disappointment, and there will be other opportunities to get together with the group.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Caturday 46: The Time the 10 Minute Cat Lost Track

Lacey is a 10 minute cat.

If she visits Sue, she's there for 10' and then she's gone.

JJ comes to visit, and he gets 10'

If I let her out in the screen porch in good weather after breakfast, she stays for 10' at the most. There have been two exceptions in which she has gone to sleep under a chair. Not being programmed to expect her to do this, we assumed that she was somewhere inside. One time, we left her there all night (Not from after breakfast. It was summer, so no real damage was done although Lacey was probably hungrier and thirstier than usual that morning.)

She has decided that she should visit me in my recliner, almost daily after lunch. If I go to the computer first, she will usually hang about until I see her need and go to the chair.

Once again, she lasts for about 10'. Me too. I pet her nicely for awhile, and then I offer her a treat, She accepts and leaves me alone.

But one time, maybe it was in December, she stayed long after the treat. She even remained in place after a second treat. I lay back because I was done with the petting, but then she had a long wash, and after which she went to sleep on me. I didn't sleep, for I can't sleep on my back. If I do happen to drop off, I snore almost immediately and wake myself up. Before you feel sorry for Sue, I'll have you know that I don't snore in bed because I am a side-sleeper.

And that is all I wanted to share on this Caturday, but I have a attempts at daddy-catty selfies with her on my lap. It wasn't easy for me to extend my arm enough to get us both in the frame, and then I couldn't access the shutter. I set the timer for 10", composed the picture, and just as the 10" were up, the rascal turned away.

I was amused.

This attempt on another day worked a little better, but neither of us look terribly impressed.

I tried one more time again yesterday. I think I need a selfie stick.

It's easier to take pictures when the kids are here and Lacey visits them for 10' on the couch.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Trying to Keep Calm

Thursday Morning, 6:30

I sit in my comfy chair whilst yet another snow storm rages. But my mind is not as comfortable as my body, for Shauna will be navigating the highway in less than two hours.

She will be off to catch the train at Smiths Falls, which is a half hour distant. The weather has me worrying. She does drive a half hour to work in all sorts of weather, but some storms are worse than others, and this one seems to be one of the worser ones. When I look at the major road from our bedroom window, I see that it is still snow-covered., and while the highway will be better, it will not be perfect.

We used to live three hours west of Toronto, but now we are close to three hours east. Sha plans to meet two old buddies in Toronto from the west for a fun weekend. You would think that taking the train would sure beat driving, but she has to get to the station first.

I had agreed to drive her, but when the weather forecast became known, she took pity on me and declared that she would drive herself and park her car at the station. While I am glad to be relieved of the task, I do worry about her safety. I don't think that planning trips in January is the wisest idea,

Twenty five years ago, in January, I drove a U-Haul truck for twelve hours across Ontario. The weather wasn’t too bad west of Toronto, but the last two-thirds of the trip on the eastern side was on the wretched side. Not only was I driving a truck, which I had never done before, but I was pulling a car on a trailer behind the truck. Sue, who was driving behind me, could see the trailer swaying at points as we passed multiple cars in the ditch. What a drive that was!

Now, twenty-five years later, I sit here relieved that I don’t have to make a little, half-hour trip in a car. What has become of me?! Verily, I have become a wimp.

So, I will be anxious for the next two hours until I learn that she has arrived to the station safely. I will post this tomorrow (Friday) and add an update below.

. . .

Sha was confident when she texted us before starting out. "It’s snow. I’ll drive carefully. Many many cars and plows have been on the roads. Trails will be made."

By 9:30, she was on the train . . .

. . . and ready to enjoy breakfast shortly afterward.

With relief in my heart, I think that I can leave both my worries and further minutia about Sha's trip behind.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Monday Morning Continued

To continue my photos from the weird but magical morning that I posted about here yesterday, I drove around another corner toward the little back bridge. That's an old factory on the left.

The bridge is to the left of a section of the trail that I posted about yesterday. When I saw this lady walking along the trail, I waited until she was framed between a gap in the tress. She was obeying the sign by the way whereas snowmobilers might be tempted not to heed. (Actually, I don't think this is a problem, and the pedestrians and snowmobilers do have separate lanes.)

Behind the building in the first photo (above), there lies an impressive tree.

From the bridge, I took a photo looking across the river. The low sun was lighting a patch in the branches.

I later took another photo looking between the factory and an adjacent hut. It is so-so and probably could have been better if I had tromped through the snow to a better vantage point. However, I was sticking to the plowed road, thank you very much.

While I might have eventually found myself in the great outdoors anyway that morning, the sudden texts from the kids got me out for sure and to an area that I might not otherwise have thought to explore.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Weird but Magical

Monday morning was a bit of a weird one.

Unhappily, it was one of those mornings that began at stupid o'clock with cramps. It peeves me a little that pizza is doing this to me. We like to have it as a treat once per month, and this one has caused some gastro problems. At least that's what I think caused them. As I told Sue, I don't expect or require too much out of life, but surely an occasional pizza isn't asking an awful lot.

Then, it got weirder. Danica texted and wanted me to pick her up at school because she had somehow spilled some oily makeup all over her slacks. I was still in my PJ's, but I was up and out within 10-15 minutes.

After taking her home and then back to school, I thought to take advantage of the latest snowfall as it clung prettily to the branches. I made a couple of quick stops and will post some photos, below, once I have ceased my deathless prose.

Then, it was off to the grocery store to shop for Monday family dinner. Whilst making my way around the aisles, I got a text from Shauna wondering if I could pick up JJ while I was dropping off Danica. Of course, it was a bit late for that, but the boy wasn't feeling well, so I wrapped up my shopping and headed back to school.

Once I got home and had carried the groceries in, I had to take care of a most anxious pussy cat, who was decidedly past her breakfast hour. Sue said that she had been howling a fuss in my absence.

This was my first photo and the one that I had in mind when I drove to this location. It is a bit of the recreational trail that passes through town as it extends a long way both north and south from here — almost 300k in all For some reason, I don't mind the signs and, maybe, actually like them with their splash of colour.

Following are two houses near the same spot. It was just a matter of walking 50 feet or so, either way from the trail in the above photo. The first is an attractive house, but I like the composition of the second photo.

I hopped back in the car and drove around another corner, but I think that I will leave those picture for another post.

It was an almost magical, winter morning despite the weird start to the day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Rough Game

After two months of no hockey photos, I took my camera to the second game in less than a week. It was a tough game and quite a loss for the boys. Even though hockey is designed to be a non-contact game at this level, much chippy, rough stuff goes on. This is true against some teams more than others, and Sunday night's opponents were one of those teams. Our guys are usually well-behaved, but they got their share of retaliation penalties, and their coach was not pleased.

I took this photo of the entrance before I went inside. As you can see, it was another snowy evening.

I stand in the corner of the rink and photograph whatever action comes before me, and I don't always get photos of JJ, but this is one. He seems to be doing a fancy cross-over step.

I guess this is my favourite photo of the game, but I didn't get too many to choose from. It's the unique contortion that appeals to me. That's Danica (right) and her step sister in the background.

These were okay too,

Win or lose, I hope the next game is a little less rough.

Monday, January 23, 2023

More WInter Photos

I've had a few rather wordy photos lately, so here we are with just three photos from a little jaunt to the park. The snow was a bit deep where I was on the periphery, and the sightlines were limited, but the photos are okay, I think.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

She’s Come Undone

Sue’s world has been really unravelling lately. 

But it is fairer to say that she has been unravelling her world, or at least unravelling her crocheting, for this is what I saw the other night after 10pm.

Sue has crocheted a number of afghans over the past five years, and they have usually been fairly advanced patterns. But they haven't been as advanced as the weaves in the Celtic Cable project that she chose this time.

Beautiful, eh? But difficult. She chose it not just for its looks but also to learn new stitches — seven new ones.

Learning, she was, and she got through the first panel (below) or set of stitches or weaves with a little patience and perseverance. 

But then came the extra-difficult middle section comprising 11 different rows involving 3 different repeated rows of stitches weaving together.

Without describing it in blow-by-blow detail, largely because it is beyond me but also because it is not necessary for this post, here is the gist of it.

She had to rip out some of her work on seven different occasions for a total of 17 rows of 158 stiches each. In all she unravelled 17 rows, the longest two being 7 and 6 rows. That's a lot of unravelling.

It was the last unravelling that left me to take that first photo sometime after 10 o'clock that night. What a mess of wool I saw as I stumbled into the room as she tried to unravel the unravelling which I guess could be termed the ravelling by that time. So, she was now unravelling the resultant mess of the unravelling. Sheesh!

As you can tell (again referring back to the first photo in this post) she had already been trying to sort the topsy-turvy wool for some time. Since she had enough other wool for the project, I suggested that she just cut her losses and begin with a new skein.

Alas, my lovely wife can been an extremely stubborn determined person, and she was having none of it. While she always precedes me to bed by an hour or two, I left her to it that night. I dozed off in my chair, but when I stirred just before midnight, I saw that she had finally retired. 

In the morning, Sue capitulated by doing some excising but also saving much of the wool.

She wrapped the reminder into this tight ball on the right.

As I sit and type this on Saturday morning, she only has a row and a half to complete of these damnable 11 rows. Of course, she will have completed them long before I post this tomorrow, Sunday, morning. From there, she must repeat the first panel that I showed three image above, after which there is a border-edging to be done.

At 1:13pm, Sue announced that she had finished that dadgummed section. It wasn't exactly a victory shout but more of a gigantic and tired sigh of relief.

As you can gather, the finished product won't be ready anytime soon, but it should go much easier than this middle section, for it is a repeat of the first panel.

Lagniappe: Thankfully, Lacey stayed away from the wool, unlike the cat of this old woman.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

A Very Canadian Night

Thursday evening was ultra Canadian. It began to blizzard about two hours before JJ's hockey game. But we hadn't attended many games, and I hadn't photographed any at all for two months. I am not sure how that happened, for I had been doing one or even two per week, and then there was a great nothingness.

So off we went. I took the first photo after the game. There wasn't a mountain of snow, thank goodness, but it was otherwise as miserable as sin.

You go out in the cold, sit in a cold arena to watch boys playing on cold ice (as if it could be hot), and you go back out into the even colder night afterward in the teeth of a blizzard. You do your best to scrape the car windows, and then you shiver all of the way home because the car hasn't warmed up yet. Brrr.

But I do have photos.

Very early in the game, one of our guys scored, and I managed to catch the puck in the net. I did get a photo of a subsequent goal, but it wasn't as good of a shot, so I am not going to post it here. (I like to keep the number of photos that I inflict on you to a somewhat reasonable number.)

The next photo is an unusual goalmouth scramble. Usually, the players are all globbed together, but they are arranged in kind of a distinct line here, and the two boys on either side complete something of a T shape.

You have seen me take shots of the boys skating toward the camera, but this time, I included the benches. I like it as a change.

From the back of the net, I decided to include much of the arena, especially vertically.

It was good to get back to it, and while it was a frigid drive home, I admit that it was short.

Friday, January 20, 2023

More Winter Photos

I have told you how cold it was around last weekend, but The Sue Must Go On, so to speak. Her photo prompts keep coming, and sometimes her inspiration is to be found in the great outdoors. This is good because it gets me out too. The first picture shows how 'needs must', and you do what it takes to get the shot.

We decided to go up top of that ↑ bridge. I thought the winding path looked interesting enough to photograph.

Up top, I took a photo similar to many that I have taken before, looking upriver, toward townhall.

Winter does not always offer good photo ops, but freshly fallen snow helps . . . if one can stand the cold.

Your unscheduled lagniappe for the day is a collage of two of the above photos plus the one of Sue (Snow Queen) from earlier in the week.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

In the Heat of the Night

They often begin ~9:30, which is about an hour before I retire for the night. I don’t know why I begin to experience heat surges around that time, but they have been occurring fairly regularly recently and can last for hours.

It is difficult to know how to deal with them. Yes, I can and do open windows, as I did, even when outdoor temperatures dropped to -18C/-1F on two consecutive nights. (By the way, those are the only two nights that caused the furnace to kick in. We have the nighttime thermostat set to only activate at 15C/59F, and up until those nights, the indoor temperature had remained above 15, and therefore, the furnace had remained asleep.)

The heat waves are difficult for me to deal with, for the heat is internal and not reliant on the ambient temperature. But one tries regardless, so I open the windows and remain as uncovered as possible. But my reality is that I do have to stay lightly covered even in simmer, for air on my skin at night is an unpleasant sensation for me. This is partly because I have some sensitive cold spots on my shoulders and shins and partly because I am weird. 

Anyway, the point is that when I open the windows to cool the house, my bodily stupidity is such that I still have to keep myself covered to some degree. 

I did that last night and fell asleep in my chair just in my clothes and sans covers. even though the windows were a little bit open on a frigid night. When I moved to the bed an hour later, I pulled up the sheet but kicked aside the two blankets. A few hours later, I pulled up one blanket, and by morning, I had both of them over me, for the surges tend to subside as the night wears on. It's a very fine balance between warm and cool.

So far, I have just described heat surges, but night sweats can also be a problem, and it is not unusual for me to have to fumble about in the darkness to change my shirt in the middle of the night. This was happening so consistently, that, for the last week or so, I have made it a point to really cut back snacks and sugar intake. I have also abstained from evening munching. That seems to have helped the sweats: not entirely but largely. However, the heat surges remain.

Look up night sweats in men online, and you will find andropause as a probable cause. But really, I am 75, so my andro has surely been pausing for quite some time, and this problem is relatively recent — at least to the extent that I have been experiencing it recently. However,  I don’t know what else it can be because it is, apparently, not as connected to diet as I had supposed.

It is different during the day. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to give myself the opportunity to nap. It didn't work, but the point is the house was at a warmer daytime temperature; the windows were shut; and, I was also more covered than I had been the night before. There were no waves or sweats; there was only a very pleasant warmth.

If you have made it here to the end, I congratulate you for your dedication. I really shouldn’t have inflicted my personal problem on you, but, partly at least, one hopes that writing will lead to clarity and, perhaps, a solution. Alas! It doesn't seem to have worked.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Three Snow Pics from the Weekend

On a cold day after the snowstorm, I was able to take a few photos. In each case, I was at a distance with at least a snowbank between me and the subject. Thank goodness for zoom lenses. The first two were from Riverside Park, and the last from St James Park on the other side of the river. My preferred photo is the first one.

Snow is pretty enough, but man-a-livin, it was cold out there.

Oh . . . let's make it 4. This is from the same park as above.