Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It wasn't so much the WalMart that was the problem. We already have one at the top corner of the city and two others about 10 minutes away in neighbouring towns. It was the location. Right at the already busiest intersection. The one where everyone who wants to get in to, or out of, the GOtrain station to the east, or on to the highways one to the north and the other to the west, or downtown to the south, must endure long line ups to get through. The one that now has three new traffic lights within a half mile.
There about two or three items I go to WalMart to buy, because I haven't found them anywhere else. Or they are just so much cheaper. A few cents wouldn't make me trail up there, but a few dollars will. This allows me to buy more at the more expensive shops for other items.
But, out of equal parts laziness, curiosity, and a desire for my mango flavoured yoghourt, I went to see what the fuss was about. This much closer location is a SuperStore. I didn't realize that made such a difference from the other store that also sells food. This one is a full grocery store, with a deli counter and bakery and veggies and hot stuff and.... I was momentarily seduced. It was, of course all so clean and fresh looking as all brand spanking new stores are. I wandered the aisles and marvelled at the cheaper prices of their baked goods. Noticed that the fresh produce wasn't much cheaper. And that the dry goods were very limited in variety. But that, joy oh joy, they had my Dairyland Vanilla Mango yoghourt.
Then I spied their meat counter with the roast chickens (maybe $1 less, but smaller), and the packaged chicken. There were several that were marked "special" for $2.97. The chicken strips looked okay, the right colour, enough for three or four meals. I decided to pick one up. For that price, I certainly got a bargain. What I didn't get was any flavour. Even smothered in Butter or Korma sauce with extra onions, red peppers and broccoli and roast potatoes thrown in, your mouth asks what is this unidentified hunk of tenderness? Tofu had more flavour than these chicken strips. What did this poor chicken eat? It seemed such a waste of a chicken's life. Your destiny is to provide food but to end up as a tasteless morsel of blob ...
Are there even any nutrients in something with no flavour? (tofu excepted).
Am swearing once more.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Some animals have clearly gone through a remarkable adaptation. Think raccoons, with their deft fingers, keen eyes, nocturnal garbage hunting ways. They will never go hungry. Run over, yes, but starve, no. Do raccoons ever get sprayed from skunks if they both struggle through the same garbage bag?
Where I live there are thousands, if not millions, of rabbits. This could be partly due to the number of foxes in the area. This number is very low. Not a night goes by that I don't see a dozen or so bunnies. There is one fox I know of, but I haven't seen him more than 3 or 4 times in the last year. At one time, only about 6 years ago, there were many foxes to be seen. We even used to have a 3-legged fox who lived downtown. You'd see him loping up Brant St (the main street) almost every night, window shopping, crisscrossing the street from one bar to the next.
I have seen many possums during my nightly excursions, a few mice, toads, some cats and once, a beaver. The best sighting by far were the deer. The first time was winter just after a long ago Christmas and I was walking up to a house, newspaper in hand, thinking: I'm tired of seeing all these willow deer on front lawns when I suddenly realized, one of then was a real deer. He stood there looking at me and I stood there looking at him, barely wanting to breathe. After what seemed like hours, but was probably only a minute, he turned and walked up to the front porch (I should have given him the paper, I know) looked around, then left to walk around to the back. I walked to the porch, turned around and realized there were three more deer just standing on the neighbours' yard. This time I stopped breathing. These animals are HUGE. I have almost run into a group, which was more scary than amazing.
And now, there is a coyote in a beach and ravine area of Toronto that has become rather used to urban life. He has possibly feasted on a few cats (suddenly many cats went missing during a particularly sad month) and found himself a little chihuahua the other day. Now there is some talk of killing the coyote. But, most people in the area are aghast at the thought. It is sad for the little dog (and the missing cats) but the risk of a car hitting a dog is greater than being carried off by a coyote. And the risk of a dog mauling a child is much greater than a coyote attacking a child. And your cat, who roams out all night? Remember the songbirds? Yeah, it could easily have been your cat that got them. Besides, coyotes will help with the mice and rats and skunk population. And the feral cat population. Which will help the songbirds.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Below, we have an adorable Gothic Vernacular next
And one more (because I had so much trouble choosing...)
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
like this Caterpillar who looks ready to chomp on the Living Wall (and the kiddies heads - who squealed with mock fear)
there were live bugs to see
like these grasshoppers
and this monster (rose tarantula) who is apparently very soft and light as a feather and who would explode if she fell even 3" due to her internal organs just floating around that enormous abdomen
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
It's not like there isn't anything happening in my city to attract tourists. We have the Royal Botanical Gardens. There is the Sound of Music Festival, Ribfest, the Festival of Lights. There are conservation areas, movies and music in the parks, an Art Centre, museums, studio tours, craft fairs, and several running events, food events and kids events to keep the locals busy.
but looks nothing like Slany which is an hour from Prague
Petra from near Hamburg gave me a warm winter coat!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I'm not often easily impressed by new electronic gadgets. It takes me awhile. But a couple of months ago I was introduced to an iPhone, and an iTouch. My SIL and I had great fun playing with it. When a friend was telling me about her GPS that she had to get for her new car (that she rarely drives), I tried not to roll my eyes. Really, isn't a mapbook good enough? I have a large Rand McNally for the Golden Horseshoe. If where I am heading is on the awkward bit like the page edge or worse, the spine, I draw myself my own version on a sheet of paper and that usually suffices. I can always Google it beforehand and print off the map.
Then I got to play with the GPS and found out all that it could do. Just telling me something will not convert me. I need actual visual, hands-on proof. I had to concede that the features like distance and traffic delays and where the nearest ATM or gas station is could be extremely useful. It even tells you where restaurants are and what movies are on at the nearest cinema.
So much detail at a touch. I've been in love with this gadget ever since.
Many years ago, on a road trip to Winnipeg, a friend and I were cruising along the blasted out rock and pine tree filled stunning forests of North of Superior when it occurred to us that maybe we should have topped up the gas in Wawa (or wherever it was we left several hours ago, I forget at the moment). We saw a sign pointing down a road to the right that said Logging Camp, Gas Station. So off the highway we turned and drove down the rutted track. And drove, and drove, and drove some more because we were not quite deep enough into the never ending stunning forest. Seriously, we weren't sure we would even make it to the logging camp. Finally, after many, many minutes that may have equalled an hour, we reached what was obviously the end of the road. We knew this because after the few buildings and the gas station and general store, the road looped around back onto itself. The station sold le gaz, the signs were all in French, the attendant only spoke French and didn't understand our attempts at communicating. We filled up, bought a snack and headed back to the highway. By then we both needed to pee and since we hadn't passed a vehicle the whole way we stopped and checked out the lay of the bushes... a big logging truck passed us. We reached the highway and remembered that we needed to turn right to keep on towards the Manitoba border. About 1/2 km up the road, around a bend was a gas station. With a restaurant. And probably clean washrooms.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
and I was a little concerned about finding any good reflections with all the snow around, but yesterday the temperature climbed up to a windy 10C and the comment on the street from everyone you met wasn't, "isn't it warm", but "I can't believe how much of the snow has melted"
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Some of you may not have tired of pictures of snow.
So for you, above, here is your snow covered bridge.
Now, as for me, I have had enough of snow. I am ready for a holiday far away from the stuff. But, I've already had my holidays last summer in England ... which reminded me of the best bridge in Bath.
The Pulteney Bridge
view from the walkway of the Botanical Gardens
and with the city of Bath rising up the hills behind
with the weir in front
and the view of the weir from the bridge
and the sadly desecrated view from the other (north) side from the tourboat
Friday, February 6, 2009
Now I use my cell phone, which has an alarm feature and a person on the other end who gives me a wake up call every night. I know. Shouldn't everyone get a wake up call from their place of work? And if I'm not there an hour later they call back to make sure I didn't fall back to sleep. Which sometimes happens (see above).
I used to always believe that if I didn't have my 9 hours of sleep I was useless. I've learned that I can indeed be useful on less than that. But it can be a struggle. Sometimes, I feel like I am always struggling.
My work schedule is so erratic that it is hard to have any set routine for sleeping or eating. It is a good thing I live alone so I can make my own schedule and change it on a daily basis.
I do not like being awakened by music, or inane drivel from the radio, which often just infiltrates into my dreams, nor one of those clocky deals where the night table accessory rolls around all over the room and forces you out of bed to find it and beat it into quiet submission.
No, my favourite alarm clock has a light that flashes for five minutes before a gentle alarm starts up which increases in intensity before the minute hand finally reaches out and slaps you silly.
Well, that last bit might be made up. I've not tested things that far.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Here we are facing east and that white bit on the bottom is actually Lake Ontario covered in ice and snow.
I haven't figured out how to make these pictures big so click on the image to see
The Trumpeter Swans resting on the lake just further out.
Now we turn our faces to the west, where there is a little sheltered bay
to see what we have really come to take delight in
Out of the way gull ... we're coming in