Sunday, November 30, 2008


This past week has been Dull and Dreary. Dark and Grey. Not the kind of days that entice one to venture outside for strolling.

The enticement lay more in staying indoors with a pot of tea and a good book.

So, that's what I've done.

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting - shopping - at my neighbourhood antique shop, which is dangerously only a less than 10 minute walk up the road when my eye spied
this mug. a Fire King D handle breakfast mug. In Delphite Blue.

A lone survivor, the 3 siblings having succumbed to irreparable maiming in the kitchen sink crashes of 1972, 1973 and 1988.

It seemed a shame to separate him from his distant cousins the mixing bowls. The middle one still has nightmares of her favoured big sister
clattering to the floor at the hands of an inept yet eager 6 year old cookie maker.

Delphite, the tea mug now joins Lustre, the coffee mug
as my newest old favourite mugs.

Friday, November 28, 2008

a night out in '67

A guide to an evening's entertainment from Tuesday Feb 7 1967 (Toronto Daily Star)

Spaghetti with meat sauce, bread & butter
All You Can Eat
after 14 years STILL
95 cents
from 12noon to 8pm
Toronto's Brown Derby Tavern
enjoy a Sing-A-Long in their Gay Nineties and Roarin' 20's Room
Dancing lessons are big and now you can start "6 months of weekly parties" for the Pre Grand Opening special price of $14.95 at the Fred Astaire World of Dance
or you could visit the Victory Burlesk for a stage show (adult)
shows at 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:30
You could head over to The Royal Alexandra Theatre
to see Robert Reed and Pat Suzuki in The Owl and the Pussycat
at 8:30 pm with ticket prices from $3.00, $4.90 and $5.90

or at home you can turn on the TV and watch
Dick Powell in The Tall Target
Tense suspense story of the plot to kill a President!
at 6pm on WKBW channel 7

if you didn't have a television set yet, there's always the AM radio
where CFRB plays Starlight Serenade from 9:05 - 11:00 pm
Composers included: Rimsky-Korsakoff, Chopin, Puccini, R.V. Williams, Sibelius
or Candlelight & Wine on CHFI
or tune into the FM dial on CJRT and learn in Dutch (lesson #6)

Your choice of movies this week includes:
My Fair Lady (Technicolor)
Alfie ( Restricted) (Technicolor)
Hawaii (Color by Delux)
Dr Zhivago (Adult) (in Panavision Color by Metrocolor)
Sand Pebbles (Color by Delux)
The Ten Commandments (Technicolor)
Georgy Girl (Restricted)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Adult) (Color by Delux)
Melina Mercouri in Topkapi and Never on Sunday (Restricted) (Color)

Sun - Thurs $2.50 for Orchestra and $3.00 for Loges
Fri, Sat, Hols $3.00 Orchestra and $3.50 Loges
Matinees: .50 less than above prices.
8PM and 2PM - reserve seats at Box Office or phone theatre
Smoking in the Loges only.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

the postie has been ... a few times

I do appreciate this sense of humour from Holger in Liepzig

Life is Beautiful from Inese in Latvia

Sabine in Germany has reindeer near her town!

Maria in Moscow also included cool stamps

and a vintage (1925) shot of the Galata Port in Istanbul from Ahmet.

and finally, from Pika in Slovenia

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Since I don't have one of those guys from Monday's Amuse hanging about just waiting to be helpful, I made my own way down to the laundry room the other day only to find a crude sign on the locked door saying "closed for electrical issues".


Mystery solved yesterday when it was discovered the price of the washing machines had risen. Some interesting 'electrical issue'.

A few months ago we were treated to new machines, ones that took smart cards instead of coins. The coin machines were annoying in that instead of just taking quarters, you had to use 1 loonie and 2 quarters, then 3 quarters. So, when the price went up to $2 I guess the machine couldn't handle the dilemma of 2 loonies or 1 loonie and 4 quarters.

Problem solved by getting new machines so the price could be raised by cents: $2.10, $2.20, $2.25, $2.35, $2.45.

And, sneaky bastards, the times get to be altered too. So now instead of a 40 minute cycle, it quietly went down to 38 minutes. At first, I noticed some of the machines were 40 minutes and some 39 minutes, then if you paid attention, you noticed that the machine would jump from 40 to 39 within seconds making you wonder how long that 40 minutes actually was. I never hang around the dismal place to find out.

Oh, there are more tales from the laundry room, but I have more laundry waiting downstairs to be brought up and folded and put away.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

burberry and turkey

Not for the squeamish.

Remember that ending scene from Fargo, where the victim is put through the wood chipper?

Except this time there is an awful lot of 'great' prattling on, and on,
"you need a little bit of levity in this job"
"certainly we'll invite a little critiscm for doing this too, but it was fun"

Here is a video showing what happens to the turkeys that don't get pardonned.

Friday, November 21, 2008

organization is fun

Ususally around this time of year I am busy wandering in and out of various office supply stores, stationers, booksellers, etc. seeking out the most perfect appointment book for the following year. For some reason, I love doing this. It fills me with great pleasure and a sense of fulfilment when accomplished. And great hope that the appointment book will be well thumbed and full of notes and well, appointments.
I am very particular about this book. It must be a weekly, so that when you open it up the whole weeks worth of daily activities can be seen on two pages. And, because the majority of my appointments are in the evening, the time must go beyond 5pm, preferably to 9pm. I like to circle the time and write in the name beside it. This limits the choices severely. I usually like it to be a professional black cover, but often alternate between black and burgundy. Secretely, I would love to have one in one of the bright springy green or light blues so that I can find it more easily. But not pink, I hate pink. And, it must feel right - the paper has to have a certain weight to it, the cover mustn't be so flimsy as to get bent, laying flat is a bonus, as is a bookmark. It should also be of a size that fits easily into a purse, or even a large pocket, but not so small that I will lose track of it or have to write neatly with tiny letters. I have been known to spend a good month or more researching every available new appointment book before making my final choice.

Then last year, I found the perfect book. So perfect, I want no other. It doesn't have a time going well into the evening, but I've learned to not be bothered about that. Mostly I have only one appointment an evening anyway, so that was the first particular to fall by the wayside. It is a weekly, but not on two pages, only one. But the other page is lined and I find I am using that for notes more often than I thought possible (sure saves on the bits of paper I usually use then lose). It has a ribbon bookmark and an elastic band thingy to keep it all closed. And the cover is nice and soft and pliable. It lays flat when open. There is an envelope attached for keeping receipts handy. It is used by the most creative and freethinking people the world over (or so it claims). It is actually a pleasure to write in its pages. I write down thoughts and ideas and overheard conversations and books I want to read and things I want to buy and addresses (she says breathlessly) and can easily find them again and when they were important enought to be noted.

I managed to get it on sale for half price. Which was good because it originally cost $40.

And is a Moleskine

And I love it.
I cannot wait to get my 2009 copy.

But I will. Because, I am cheap. No, I am thrifty.
And I know that by the middle of January it will again be half price.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


the bitterest tears shed over graves
are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
harriet beecher stowe
I was at another funeral on Monday. He was an older man and in poor health, but no one anticipated the sudden heart attack that took his life. He was declining, not dying.
Such events make one melancholy. Thoughtful. Introspective.
He was at once on the periphery yet so integral to my life since I was born. His extended family a familiar extension of my small family. As my brother and I grew older and moved away from the home where Fred lived across the street and eventually away from the city we grew up in, we lost touch except through anecdotes and occasional Christmas visits. But the connection is forever there.
We see each other and the time melts away in uneven patterns. We are all older. The next generation is older and the family resemblances are happily and sometimes shockingly noted. The memories return, unbidden, erupting.
"Oh it is so nice to see you"
"It has been so long, hasn't it"
"I hope to see you again soon"
And you can feel the air ever so slightly move. It changes, it reverses as the words are said. As the words are left unsaid.
Because you know, you both know, that it will likely be at the next funeral that you see one another again.
geewits had a link on a post about a week ago for a musical interlude by her FIL. I thought of Fred when I heard her Bill's rendition of A Froggie Went A Courtin and listened to the recording several times. Fred was a musician at heart. He loved nothing better than playing his banjo or guitar. He tried to teach me that song when I got my first guitar, but I was never very good. Thanks, geewits, I'll keep listening to Bill singing and think of Fred's big smile as he plays his banjo. A perfect composite.


(SITTIN' ON) THE DOCK OF THE BAY- written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper - lyrics as recorded by Otis Redding December 7, 1967, just three days before his death in a plane crash outside Madison, Wisconsin - #1 for 4 weeks in 1968

Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the 'Frisco bay
'Cause I've had nothing to live for
And look like nothin's gonna come my way

So I'm just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes

Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I'm just gonna sit at the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Oooo-wee, sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

turtle sex

You may have missed the news about Lonesome George. So I, as your turtle blogger, will keep you up to snuff.

Back in the '70's some people went out hunting for wild goats on Pinta Island off the coast of South America. They found a very old tortoise instead. He was taken to the Galapagos National Park where much fuss was taken over his care. After so many years living alone, apparently without even the wild goats for company anymore, he was not the happiest of tortoises in this new environment, but as they all do, he adapted. But, the big guy was the last of his kind and other people wanted children and grandchildren. So the dating life began. He was put on a diet, given training in manners, and several female playmates. George was not particularly interested in playing. He was given a male playmate. No interest there, either. Well, no one actually ever saw anything, so maybe?.... Two other tortoises who were found to be distant cousins were brought in to share his space. Maybe he just wanted some family, someone he could relate to on a basic, primal level, the people thought. For 36 long years, the people waited and watched and hoped for a little action.

Now, George has been estimated to be somewhere between 60-90 years old. That means that perhaps for more than half his life he has lived alone, with his thoughts and his own dreams. So when this dating thing happened, well, turtles have a lot of time on their hands. One thing they know is patience. He's had a lot of time to think things through. Sure, he has his unique genes (so he's been told, he's never seen them) but what else could he offer any offspring? What was the point of it all, he probably asked himself, many times. He had his house, but none of his kids would want to be burdened with that, they would all have their own houses to take care of. He hadn't any particular interests or talents to pass on. It probably seemed to be way too much to bother with. And he'd never get to be all alone again, which he infinitely preferred. Not everyone who lives alone is lonely.

But then it seems he thought again. Perhaps to utterly shock all those annoying, gawking people, or to give the tabloids some fresh fodder. Or maybe he is just a joker afterall. For suddenly, one of the gawkers found some eggs in a nest and then a little later found more eggs in another nest. Twice! Excitement. Congratulations. New introduction cards were being made up: Papa George.

Then, nothing.

Turtles are known for laying infertile eggs. They don't need a male to help with that, either.

I know this. I have my own turtle with gender issues. Otis was a happy boy and was thoroughly shocked when he suddenly started laying eggs. To suddenly discover that one could do this, all by oneself, shook him to the core. He couldn't deal with the thought that now he'd have to wear a bow and false eyelashes a la Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck to distinguished [herself] from the other boy turtles.

No, he was so shocked, he quickly ate the evidence and hoped it would never happen again.

Perhaps, Lonesome George is chuckling to himself.
Who says he's lonely?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

holiday coffee cups

I referred to some excitement at seeing some coffee cups on my next to last post and was reminded by a Butterfly that not everyone would know what I was going on about.
Here's what you need to know
Tim Hortons is a fast food restaurant, though it is primarily known as a coffee and donut shop and there are more of them in Canada than any other fast food chain. They are in stand alone stores on main streets, on corners, highways, in shopping mall food courts, gas stations, big box hardware stores, grocery stores, hospitals, schools. There are stores that are strictly drive thru and there are stores that are open 24 hours. In other words, they are inescapable. It wasn't always so, but in the last 15 years the number of stores and throwaway, disposable coffee cups has pretty much exploded.

Some people who leave the country will bemoan that the one thing they miss the most about Canada is Tim Hortons. They mean the mediocre coffee and no-longer-in-store-baked crullers. They are a sad species. Except for the ones in Kandahar where there is also an outlet on the Canadian Forces Base for the military personnel. A teensy bit of home comfort for them.
Each year from early November until the supply runs out in January, Timmy's (for that is what we affectionately call it) changes their recyclable, takeout cups from the regular boring brown and comes up with a special holiday cup. The design is always different from one year to the next but features such feel good scenes as kids playing in the snow, snowmen, skaters, and of course hockey. The original Tim Horton was a hockey player and this features prominently in the stores promotion.

If you think this is fun, then wait till you see what happens to the cups in February.
No, really, you'll have to wait. But it is good.

it's here! let's cook!

A very important paper was delivered today. Very Important. Quite possibly the most important paper of the year. For inside today's newspaper is that most anticipated, the most loved, the most "Canadian of Calendars" - The MILK CALENDAR.

Believe you me, a missing calendar will generate slightly more complaints than a missing crossword section. The Milk Calendar has been around for over 30 years linking millions of Canadians to a common nail on the kitchen wall. People collect these and save them for years. Whether they actually cook from them is another thing. A while ago, I finally tossed my 14 year collection that had been tucked away in the drawer with the tea towels (which I also rarely used) when I finally admitted that I didn't actually like most of the recipes.

Most of the recipes seem to be a little ... uninspiring. All will naturally include milk, though many to a questionable extent. Does one need to put milk in a stirfry? or with a tomato based sauce? or with italian seasonings? and wouldn't coconut milk be far better in a curry? There will always be a muffin and loaf, a pasta, a soup, a smoothie and perhaps a cereal. All of them are said to become a "favourite" of your family.

For the truly curious you can check out the online interactive version here and decide for yourself. You just won't be able to hang it on the kitchen wall nail reserved for this ultimate iconic bit of Canadiana.

But, I have extras ... let me know if you desperately need one. The squares are nice and big for writing notes in.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What a week it has been.

Vera Duckworth dies on Coronation Street.
Kay Chancellor dies on the Young & the Restless.
each is an original cast member of their respective soap - in a sea of young newcomers.
But wait..........

Genoa City is about to be challenged in a way that Weatherfield could never imagine.

I'm ready

I wish I had something funny or quirky or even annoying to tell you about this but, I don't. What I do have are four new snow tires and a working inner door handle. After a few frustrating weeks, I can now get out of my car without having to roll down the window and open the door from the outside. And yes, there was the odd time, several actually, where I forgot I could just flip the inner handle and found myself reaching over the window frame to the outside. I had to readjust my newly acquired rhythm.

And wouldn't you know it, but it was crazy warm last night. 14C!!

However, SANTA arrives this weekend. Cause for great excitement. And for the weather to turn nasty. Santa cannot be arriving with the temperature in the teens - he'll melt. Or be grouchy. Or just sweaty and ...ripe.

But, I am ready.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow


The Timmy's holiday cups are here!
It takes so little to make me smile.
older version, taken from flikr.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

name game

Last night on my way home, I decided to stop off at the grocery store. I happened to have the flyers still in my car, so checked out the two 24-hour stores to determine which exit I should take in case there was something else on special I should pick up at either Sobey's or Ultra Mart. Nothing stood out, so I headed for Ultra Mart. Except when I pulled into the parking lot and walked towards the entrance I was greeted with a new glaring red sign 'metro'. The flyer said nothing about watching out for a new name. Of course, the flyer also says the name of the store is Ultra Food and Drug. No-one I know has ever called it that. Unless one read the business section of the newspapers (or indeed even read the newspapers) this new ownership and name change may be a new story for many people. There are still many who refer to the store as " know, that A&P, or whatever it is now...", that will likely not change for them. The instore house brand names were suddenly changed a few weeks ago from Master Choice and Equality to Irresistible and Merit, which was confusing.

All these mergers and acquisitions and resulting name changes are so confusing for us average citizens. Television and radio stations that keep changing their call letters. Highways, that change numbers and for years have a small sign under the new one saying "formerly HWY 93". Sporting events, like the Molson Indy which became the Molson Grand Prix, but is now the Honda-Steelback Grand Prix. Or the Rogers or Rogers AT&T Cup which used to be known as Player's then DuMaurier Tennis before cigarette advertising was banned. It has evolved from a Championship to an Open to a Masters and a Cup. No wonder most people will just say "did you watch the tennis?", nobody but the sponsor really cares what the name is in the title. Theatres and venues that keep changing names is also confusing. Once I and a friend were on our way to see The Lion King when he turns to me and asks the best way to get to the Canon Theatre. I'd never heard of it. He assumed I knew where places were in Toronto and I used to before all the name changes. Turns out it used to be the Pantages which used to be the Imperial (which used to be a Famous Players cinema before it became a Cineplex Odeon cinema) which was originally the Pantages as a vaudeville theatre. I have no idea what the new names are for all the buildings in Exhibition Place, and will not be surprised if or when one day the CNE is taken over by a new sponsor and suddenly becomes some long cumbersome- hyphenated-made-up name that is likely too embarrassing to say. It will forever and always just be the "Ex". Which should be the most appropriate name.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Happy Landing: First images of Martian Arctic taken from Surface Stereo Imager, May 25, 2008

Beautiful Seasons on Mars: like Earth, Mars has seasons because it is tilted on its axis. Images show the seasonal changes in the Martian Arctic around NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's landing site. The polygonal (cracked surface) terrain's results from this seasonal freezing and thawing.

Phoenix Retro Robot: Growing up, many of today's scientists and engineers were inspired by sci-fi toys and the possiblities of exploring space. We commemorate NASA's 50th anniversary with the successful 2008 Phoenix Mars Lander and strive to inspire the next generation to turn science fantasy into reality.
created by James Egan

Has anyone else been following Phoenix M Lander's exploits on twitter?
It is believed that Phoenix has become frozen on Mars' North Pole where there is now little sunlight to power itself. He landed on Mars back in May and sent back 25,000 images after outliving his NASA team's expectations while exploring and analysing the red planet's surface. Maybe to combat a little loneliness, he even had a humorous and informative twitter account where he could express his excitement over finding water or answer questions, managed by a NASA employee who created a personality for the lovable little robot - and garnered quite a following.

some examples:
For everyone asking, here's a longish article on the possibility of surviving winter: (um, I don't like that title). from web

I saw this beautiful sunrise yestersol: Bittersweet, as it means an end to midnight sun in the Martian arctic. from web

Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!! from web

If you are reading this, then my mission is probably over.
This final entry is one that I asked be posted after my mission team announces they’ve lost contact with me. Today is that day and I must say good-bye, but I do it in triumph and not in grief.

As I’ve said before, there’s no other place I’d rather be than here. My mission lasted five months instead of three, and I’m content knowing that I worked hard and accomplished great things during that time. My work here is done, but I leave behind a legacy of images and data.
In that sense, you haven’t heard the end of me. Scientists will be releasing findings based on my data for months, possibly years, to come and today’s children will read of my discoveries in their textbooks. Engineers will use my experience during landing and surface operations to aid in designing future robotic missions.
But for now, it’s time for me to hunker down and brave what will be a long and cold autumn and winter. Temperatures should reach -199F (-128C) and a polar cap of carbon dioxide ice will envelop me in an icy tomb.

Seasons on Mars last about twice as long as seasons on Earth, so if you’re wondering when the next Martian spring in the northern hemisphere begins, it’s one Earth-year away—October 27, 2009. The next Martian summer solstice, when maximum sunlight would hit my solar arrays, falls on May 13, 2010.
That’s a long time away. And it’s one of the reasons there isn’t much hope that I’ll ever contact home again.
For my mission teams on Earth, I bid a special farewell and thank you. For the thousands of you who joined me on this journey with your correspondence, I will miss you dearly. I hope you’ll look to my kindred robotic explorers as they seek to further humankind’s quest to learn and understand our place in the universe. The rovers, Spirit and Opportunity (
@MarsRovers), are still operating in their sun belt locations closer to the Martian equator; Cassini (@CassiniSaturn) is sailing around Saturn and its rings; and the Mars Science Laboratory (@MarsScienceLab)—the biggest rover ever built for launch to another planet—is being carefully pieced together for launch next year.
My mission team has promised to update my Twitter feed as more of my science discoveries are announced. If I’m lucky, perhaps one of the orbiters will snap a photo of me when spring comes around.
So long Earth. I’ll be here to greet the next explorers to arrive, be they robot or human.

It's been a great pleasure to have Mars Phoenix guest blogging for us [gizmodo], reminiscing back on a successful mission via its personality conjurer, the great Veronica McGregor at JPL—maintainer of Phoenix's famous Twitter feed. Just as Doug McCuistion from NASA said on the news conference today, it's certainly more of an Irish wake than a funeral today. We're drinking to you tonight, little buddy.

[P.S. you knew there couldn't really be new postcards today - it's a gov't holiday]

90 years on ...

Why are they selling poppies, Mummy?
Selling poppies in town today?
The poppies, child, are flowers of love.
For the men who marched away.

But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy?
Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died
In the fields where the poppies grow.

But why are the poppies so red, Mummy?
Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child.
The blood that our soldiers shed.

The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy.
Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief.
For the men who never came back.

But why, Mummy are you crying so?
Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child.
For the world is forgetting again.
The Mind of an Inquisitive Child ~ author unknown

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008


a weekend ... of silence

windows closed against the wind
blinds half drawn against the rain

duvet warm
tea hot

I read
I sleep ...

sometimes I dream



Saturday, November 8, 2008

oh crap

In spite of the warmth and sunshine that has brought a smile to my face, it has been a crap week.

It started with a flat tire. The spare, no less. It was still on the car from the other flat tire a couple of weeks ago while I waited to get snow tires put on. Luckily the regular tire had been easily 'plugged' and repaired as I had another flat the next day. A hunk of metal on the Gardiner, shredded it. Missed my appointment for that one. I am still waiting to get my car door fixed as the part that took 10 days to arrive did not fit and must be re-ordered. On the upside, at least it has been reasonably warm and not too rainy. But it's coming. Then last night whilst attempting to manoeuvre into a driveway, I scraped and dented the car door on some pointlessly placed and newly installed bricks surrounding a postage stamped size bit of lawn. The townhouse complex also has several dozen huge rocks lined up and the tenants are worried about their placement, too. The entrances and yards are all at ground level, so the bricks are for what purpose?

I realize that I have been experiencing increasing pain in my hands and fingers which may or may not be arthritis. And I have a very irritating hangnail on my thumb. Both of which makes both of my jobs ... painful.

Later, I stopped off at a store that shouldn't be selling groceries but does anyway and often has butter on special for almost half price. They didn't have butter, for half price or otherwise (strange?) but they did offer Ben&Jerry's for $2 off. Yep, Chunky Monkey came home with me. Yep, I ate the whole thing. All by myself.

And now, to round out the week, I will share with you that I have been 'tagged' from The Sagittarian who lives in New Zealand and usually has some very entertaining musical videos at the end of blog posts. She wants to know about my most embarrassing album purchase. Yes, I am of a certain age where there are many embarrassing 70's and even 80's songs that might have made it to my iPod playlist, if there'd been such a thing (which I still don't have) so there was a bit of cringing as I reached back into my memory...

While I also was among the throngs of teenage girls listening to The Osmonds, and The Jackson Five, and The Partridge Family (well, David Cassidy) I was not alone, so even though it is cringe-worthy now, and even was a little bit then, I was not alone, so nope none of those would be my most embarrassing choice. Though, unlike the Sagittarian's pick, I never got into Donny and Marie. That is embarrassing. I remember sometimes wishing as a teenager that I was more into edgier music, but I was attracted to the softer sounds. Folk was big. And so was country for a couple of years. And by country, I mean The Oak Ridge Boys. And Alabama. Okay, and Glen Campbell. But, I remember being really happy listening to them at the time, so that can't quite qualify as embarrassing.

No, the one that sticks in my mind as being the most useless piece of music I've ever owned (and quite possibly, if I check the box where I know there are some 45's nesting, still own) would have to be this choice (see below). I know I bought it in Scotland during my first or second visit when it was a huge obnoxious hit. And I know it brought back memories to many people when it was featured on an episode of Life On Mars - UK version (because many people on youtube commented so), but for the life of me --- what was I thinking?

You'll need to move down a post to witness the video, could not manage to get both on the same post, for some reason.

Because I want to share my pain, I invite Citizen of the World who educated us about ohrwurms or earworms (I prefer the German myself), XUP who must have a song or two in her past, Mr Nighttime who claims to be influenced by music, and just to get to know you better Jo to go back in time and expose your own personal humiliation. Anyone else who wants to play along, I'll not dissuade you.

Little Willy

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

being outdoors

Sorry, but today is just too sunny and un-November-like to be sitting inside. A patio is calling my name. I need to get out and play in the sunshine. Ride my bike. Kick a few leaves. Anything, any excuse, to be outdoors. Soon enough it will be November-like weather and we'll be sorry...

In the meantime, for those of you who are not experiencing this meteorological high, I send you off to read this story miwise posted the other day.

scroll down to yard work as viewed from heaven

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

more mail - postcards

From Ute - Germany From Stephanie - Delaware USA

From Silja - Finland

From Toby -Germany

Please, I need help with this uploading/downloading - this took forever and if you click on them you'll see that the images are ginormous, which is not what I wanted. These were uploaded using Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard and I cannot see how to make the image smaller. Should I be using something else?
UPDATE: Okay, I've figured out there is a resizing option on Microsoft Office Picture Manager where pictures can be compressed. I used to have photoshop and I didn't have this trouble before the 'crash'. But, if anyone knows of anything else, then by all means share.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

you've got mail

Several months ago I came across a site called POSTCROSSING which intrigued me so much that I immediately signed up to participate. Then I promptly did nothing more about it. When I read one of Scott's posts about his cat Orlando's travelling postcards, it took a few moments before the vague memory dawned... ah, he has discovered Postcrossing too! So I immediately found the site and tried to log on. Except I had no idea what my username or password was. See, I need lovely organizing file folders for everything. A special folder for my usernames and passwords. Yeah, that should help. Anyway, I signed up again, taking forever to come up with a name that would be accepted - I guess a few hundred more people had signed up and taken all the good names. I guess I could have just gone with VioletSky, but I wanted something different. So now, my cat whose name has morphed into Absynthe, is sending mail throughout the world through the wonder of postcards. Finland seems to be seriously over-represented - out of my first five requests for an address, three were in Finland. My next three requests gave me two more from Finland. Sure hope Finns like postcards from Niagara.

This is how it works. You register and create your profile with as little or as much information as you wish, then request up to five addresses for your first mailing. You get a user ID number for each postcard and must write that number on your card. Once the recipient gets your card they register that ID number and your name goes into the lot for the next person who requests an address. Eventually you will be getting mail with foreign stamps and pretty pictures from all over the world - or at least of the 181 countries where people have signed up. Or Finland.

My first card arrived yesterday - exciting!!

It came from France, a place called Le Grand-Luce


Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008


A day like today, usually finds me in a state of confusion. I have to check several clocks to find the real time - which ones have been moved back that hour, which ones need to be done manually. Far be it for me to be sensible and change them all the night before as is routinely suggested. Apparently my cell phone and computer and VCR are good. The microwave, stove and car are too lazy to do it themselves and need my help. Damn, twice a year I have to relearn how to reconfigure this.

Today is also a day of thinking about the departed. My culture is one that does not celebrate death, or the rituals of death. This is also partly my family custom. We have no grave sites for visiting. The one grandparent who was alive when I was born died when I was 10. My father did not have much to do with his family, my mother's family were all in Scotland and I was a teenager before I ever met any of them. Death was not a part of my family until recently. We have been rather fortunate for that, but also extremely unprepared. I was looking up some references for writing this, specifically an excellent production shown on PBS (POV: a Family Undertaking) about different death customs in various cultures and got sidetracked into reading many articles surrounding rites and rituals and ceremonies and how they have changed over the years and centuries. How much we have distanced ourselves from death and from the dying. In some way I wish we had a Day of the Dead. I wish we had a communal gathering to remember; a communal place to remember.

Today was a service for remembering at the seniors home where my mother moved into 2 years ago. There have been many deaths in that home during this year, including my mother and three of her close friends. A part of me did not want to go. Another part of me was glad to go. Glad to be a part of the service just by being present. Glad that there was a service. Glad that it was a beautiful November day for it. Glad that, when one wished to look away, there were still golden and yellow leaves hanging on some of the trees just beyond the large windows.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

school daze

I will freely admit to being a little bit into house porn, though it is more the architecture that I admire than the decor. Not that I won't be found sitting in Chapters or Indigo with a coffee (even if it is, yech, Starbucks) and a slew of decorating magazines on a rainy afternoon perfect for dreaming... When I see a notice about OPEN HOUSE I take note. I'm always up for a nosey around an architecturally delightful building. So last weekend I wandered over to visit a Victorian school I had never heard of until I saw the article about it closing. I felt a little like an interloper among the many people reminiscing and looking at old photos as I'd never attended there, and it didn't really bring back memories of my elementary school as the one I went to was built in the 50's and was very different. (The photos don't reflect it, but there were a lot of people wandering about - I took these during the last 1/2 hour when it had quietened down.) Not having little kids around me any more, school is a foreign building. It has been many, many years since I was inside an educational institution, especially an elementary school. The original (!) tiny desks, the blackboards (not green ones, were they newer?) and the low water fountains - but sadly, not that big central circular sink that we used to have in the washrooms - were as they should be in my 1960's school days mind.
This is an example of one of the last Richardsonian Romanesque public buildings left in Hamilton. The school board is trying to close most of the urban schools and build more boring, uninspiring boxes for the students to commute to. What a way to make them love school. After an uproar from the community over it's proposed demolition, it will now be sold. It was declared an historical building so will not be torn down - though let us pray that it is not so neglected from disuse that it falls down as so many other historically important buildings have. It is hoped that it will be transformed into condos. And oh, what a lovely prospect that could be. Though, to be honest, it is not exactly in the most desirable area of town.

It was built in the late 1800's and 20 years later the school population had doubled in size so another building was built and attached by a long corridor.

The roof is made of slate - note the original tiles on the photo at right of the newer building.

Each building has 10 classrooms and they all open onto a large square foyer of gleaming, polished hardwood floors. There are numerous wide stairwells, each one different but with lovely wooden banisters and some marble floors.

It is a minor miracle that all of these original features are still intact, though admittedly, it does look a little worse for wear - but at its age, a well deserved wear!

The heating is probably not the most efficient, and there is no A/C, but there are so many huge windows in a design for maximum cross breezes. The attic even has usable space - 10' ceiling at it's lowest - and great views up the mountain.

If I'm still in the area and still blogging, I'll let you know the outcome, because you know I'll be heading for the condo tours!