Sunday, 28 February 2016

Lily, Camera Shy

Lily seems to be camera shy.

I was trying to get a picture of her beautiful eyes, love the color, but she kept looking away and then my batteries died, of course.

Being a Good Neighbor


My Lily girl, is fed once a day. I always assumed that the process of eating, sort of primed the system, in that what goes in, must come out. Once a day.

That's what happened on the first day, but yesterday was a bit different. Maybe it's the snacks I give her in between meals.

Yesterday, when we were out for our last pee trip before bed, Lily had another poop. Not so strange, it's nature, and a biological function. But, it was late, and it was dark.

If we had snow, (not that I'm asking for a snow storm, it's just a comment) I would have been able to see her pile of excrement, and picked it up.

As it is, the light from the door only reaches the path, and does not extend into the yard. I did make an effort, with bag in hand, to keep the neighborhood clean, but it was impossible to see, and I was afraid of making a misstep.

This morning it is so beautiful, I can't believe it's February. The temperature is plus seven, Celsius and the sun is shining, blue skies overhead. Definitely feels like spring but I fear winter is not finished with us just yet.

Lily and I ventured outside. I was searching the grass, (in front of my neighbor's place, of course), and finally found the deposit from last night, and "scooped the poop" so to speak. 

Lily was wandering close by and, as she'd been fed already, did her morning business. Good thing I have that container of doggy bags hanging on my mailbox, ready when needed.

That's our morning chores all taken care of, and we have the whole day with this beautiful weather ahead of us. I see another walk in our future. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Pet Therapy

Lily and I just completed our nightly circle of the court. It's a beautiful night, the sky is clear, the air fresh with just a touch of a breeze. We use the leash when away from the door, as Lily has lost whatever hesitation she had on arrival and is in full curiosity mode. (I just wish she'd been taught to heel, might be easier).

Word of warning if you're thinking of getting a dog. There are a number of tales about dogs, like the size of their paws indicating how big they'll grow, and big dogs leave big piles. I'm picking up some big piles of poop, but the little container of bags works quite well.

I've had more exercise, and more fresh air in the last few days than all of last week. I guess Pet Therapy is a true thing. I talk to Lily, and we have routine little love fests throughout the day.

We were out this morning, sans leash, when my 88 year old neighbor came home. Lily did a meet and greet, and I was glad she was careful and didn't actually bang into the poor woman. I quickly got the leash on her and had her in control.

Right now, she's curled up on her bed, sound asleep. I'm heading to bed myself, to watch the rest of the hockey game. Score's tied at the moment.

I think we'll need to have one more quick trip out before we call it quits for the night.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Lily, the House Guest

Lily, my visiting animal house guest has settled in. My daughter reassured me she was a timid dog and wouldn't wander, but I wasn't so sure as I believe in a natural curiosity. I have a collar and leash for her, just to be on the safe side.

Last night it was cold, and the wind was blowing something fierce. I thought a trip outside was in order before we called it a night, and as it was dark, didn't think she'd go far. She also didn't pee.

When I got up to the bathroom about three A.M., Lily stood at the door, staring at me, until I let her out and found myself standing outside while she did her business. I noticed my neighborhood is really quiet at night.

This morning I gave her breakfast and figured she could do with a trip outside, a little exercise. I had purchased a throw toy and tossed it out into the corner of the backyard, shared by four of us on the court. Lily ran to the toy and right on past, then she hurried around the yard checking everything out.

She was off the leash and I was concerned she might run out into the court, but she stayed close, and as she doesn't seem to understand the concept of toss and return, watched me 'fetch' that new toy.

I remembered from my old doggy days that there is a cause and affect reflex in dogs. If you feed them, they'll have to poop soon after. Lily reminded me of this when she stood at the door, again staring at me until I got the message.

I got to try out the cute little dog waste bags that come in a roll in a small container. Cute, and a handy idea. I picked up the pie of poop in the bag, tied it off and started a garbage bag of waste in my outdoor bin. Good thing it's cold out.

We're now warm and cozy inside, Lily asleep on the rug and me resting in the chair. So far, so good.

Cadence Rhythm

There is a commercial on television for the Tangerine bank that depicts a series of pictures of people at work. The background music caught my attention because of the repeated rhythm. It reminded me of the movie images I’ve seen of soldiers in fitness training, jogging, singing and stepping in unison.

I can’t help but tap my feet when I hear it. Here’s the original commercial.

This made me curious, what is a cadence? As a non-musical person, I know nothing of chords or beats or notes. I just know what I like. But I did some research.

A cadence is a rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words.

The first time it was used in the military was in 1944. The particular rhythm used was created by a soldier named Willie Duckworth. Recordings were sent to World War II troops overseas by the U.S. Military as it was felt the chanting would build up the spirits of weary soldiers.

The infectious appeal of cadences is used to motivate and coordinate people who might not have anything in common. Cadences get members of a group to stay in step, keep up. It helps with breathing and cardio if you sing and manage your breath at the same time.

Here's a real military example, the Navy Seal Cadence…How’d ya earn your livin’

It's catchy, all this left, right, left, right.....and it does work to keep you going. I just don't have anything I can repeat that is a colorful as some of the cadences I viewed in doing my research.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A House Guest

I remember a week or so ago, when my brother posted on Facebook that he and his wife had spent a day cleaning house because they had company coming. I have company coming today, but I haven’t cleaned a thing. I figure all my cleaning will be done after my company leaves.

That’s not to say that my company is messy, or a slob, or that I don’t care enough to prepare for her, but my friend Lily won’t care, one way or another. Lily is a dog.

I’m dog sitting for my daughter, and I have been looking forward to having a pet again, and basking in all that unconditional love that a pet can give.

I’m prepared, have lots of dog treats, a new toy and a thing that dispenses bags for doggy cleanup.

Lily and I go way back. She spent most of her time with me when she a puppy and for that first year or so. I used to love how she would sit at my feet for hours. After a time, she’d give me that sad eyed pleading look.

I knew what she wanted, and would pat the empty sofa beside me and say okay. Immediately she would climb up and settle herself in, and rest her head on my leg. Ah, doggy love.

I’m just glad she’s not that exuberant puppy anymore, she’s now eleven years old, so has slowed down a bit, content to spend her days quietly. Still, it should be an interesting week.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Bit of Book Humor

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you know I am a die- hard fan of the “In Death” series of books written by J.D. Robb, otherwise known as Nora Roberts.

The main character is Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a New York City homicide detective. The books are set from about 2056 to the current book in 2060. The futuristic stuff is believable and adds to what is basically a murder story.

In the very first book Eve meets her future husband, Roarke, a self-made billionaire. Each book that follows highlights their relationship, how it changes and develops from the beginning, how these two people find their way into a strong and supportive relationship.

In the newest book there was a bit that really made me laugh, and because I read like a writer, I marvelled at the author’s ability to make these two characters a constant delight. They are never stagnant or cardboard, but always interesting, and full of surprises.

The segment that made me laugh…

Eve’s friend Mira calls her to a crime scene where her husband, Dennis, has been attacked, his cousin, beaten, but now missing. The missing man is wealthy, powerful, and political, so his whereabouts draws her attention. Is this a kidnapping for ransom, payback, what?

Eve, along with her Expert Consultant, Roarke, arrives at the victim’s home to talk to the wife. She’s, well, a bitch, and barely gives Eve a moment of her time, let alone any attention to the message that her husband may be missing. Her manner is rude and demeaning, and it makes Eve angry, as she’s just trying to do her job.

The woman tells her security to “get that riff-raff out of here”. Eve has a temper and it’s seething, and held in check, barely.

In the elevator, Roarke says to his wife. “I’ll be Riff.”
It took me a second, as it did Eve. I laughed as I continued to read. I think Eve responded (I didn’t go back to find the exact words) “So, that makes me Raff. Why do you get to be Riff? Because it comes first?” As easy as that Eve’s temper is defused, still seething with resentment, but not so volatile.

I love when there are humorous spots in what might be an otherwise very serious story. And I love when it shows two people who love and understand each other so well they know their moods, their feelings, and can respond in just the right way…to help, to show that understanding.

As I continue to read this series I can see the changes in each of the characters, as they grow and change, as it should be, as that’s life.

When I pick up one of these books, to reread or to continue along in the series, it’s like a visit with old friends.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Food Memories

I was shopping with my daughter and granddaughter one day, and had just loaded the car with groceries. It’s a true fact that grocery shopping makes you hungry. Don’t they say to never shop on an empty stomach because you buy more?

It must be true, my granddaughter was complaining about feeling STARVED and wanted some Crazy Bread…from the Little Caesars, beside the grocery store. Mom relented and we sent the kid in to purchase us some bread.

The smell of fresh bread, butter and garlic filled the car, and we sat for the next few minutes, eating bread sticks dipped in marinara sauce.

My daughter and I looked at each other and had the same memory. “Remember the bagels we used to buy in Toronto?”

I was working in a small nursing home on Keele Street at the time. One of our physicians was an older man, Jewish. He came in one day with a bagel, loaded, and told me where to find the best bagels in the city. As the bakery wasn’t far from one of the outlet malls we shopped at, we gave it a try.

The place was called Bagel World, and it’s on Wilson, just west of Bathurst. It’s more than a bakery, but at that time, some twenty-five years ago, it was, and most likely still is, a neighbourhood gathering place. The dining room was on one side, the bakery/deli to the other.

It was like another world, and we felt more like tourists than with any sense of belonging, but what can I say, were new to the city and everything felt strange.

We bought these large twisted bagels, and ate the first of them in the car on the way home, they were that good. I’ve never seen, or tasted any like them, which is why the memory is so strong. I looked up Bagel World and found it still exists, and has many other locations, both within the city and in Vaughn. If you ever go by one, you should stop in and give it a try.

(The one on Wilson has a great big bagel on the sign, hard to miss. Enjoy.)

Monday, 15 February 2016

Hyphenated Names

I was reading this morning, and one of the characters had a hyphenated name. Appropriate for that character, I suppose, as his mother and father were the heads of a large company of the same name.

But what happens when a person with a hyphenated name marries another person with the same kind of name?

Joe Blow-Jones marries Jane Doe-Smith. Does their child become Bob Blow-Jones-Doe-Smith? How does that track? Joe’s mother was a Blow, his father a Jones, and Jane’s mother a Doe, her father a Smith?

In our family, the mother’s maiden name became the son’s middle name. I think that is a respectful way to honor the name without all that hyphen business.

I took my husband’s name when we married, and kept it after we divorced because it was the same as my children. It made things simpler all around. I suppose, if I had married again, I would have taken my husband’s name, and dealt with the varied names in the family.

Is that part of this, that couples are not married, but join their names for the children? Mary Smith and John Jones have a child, out of wedlock, so to speak, maybe from a common-law relationship, and name their offspring Sam Smith-Jones. Sam then marries Suzanna Johnson, and she becomes Suzanna Smith-Jones. If instead they had just lived together, would their child become Gary Smith-Jones-Johnson?

I’m confusing myself, and all this because I read a name in a book. I’m old fashioned, and hope this name stuff loses its popularity. If not, all those forms we have to fill out in our lifetime will have to be redesigned to hold more letters. 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Technology Tyrants

I was beginning to think that my electronic devices had it in for me.

First, my tablet died. I’ll admit I didn’t use it very much, and when I tried to problem solve on line I figured I just had a bad battery.

Next, the laptop went dead screen. It was truly done and gone, but it was older, and I’d let the viruses in, so my bad.

I knew I was being bullied by my electronics when my Kindle went dead when I was half way into J.D. Robb’s newest book.

I have the new laptop, with virus protection, and fully expected I was going to have to buy a new reader, and wondered what happened to all the books I’ve downloaded. So I went to the Amazon site and found a Help section, and lo and behold, I got the Kindle working. I finished the book last night so all is well with my world.

Since I’m on a roll, I tried the same help technique on the tablet, and it worked. I don’t know what I did, maybe there was some magnetic storm over my house creating havoc with all things electronic, and it’s moved on, or maybe I was just holding my mouth wrong. Who knows, but at the moment, we’re happy, virus free and in working order.

Time away has not made it any easier to do those 4Pics One Word games on the tablet. I need a different kind of help button there.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday.   Yeahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Or not.

Fifty years of this final showdown of the season’s best. I remember when it began, and my father watched it on TV. Football was a constant in our house, as my Dad had been a professional player when I was little, and he never lost the love of the game.

I don’t understand the game, never bothered to learn, maybe because I never had a son who played. Not that that’s a good reason, I still don’t understand what ‘icing’ is in hockey, and goodness knows I went to my share of hockey games with my son.

(It may be some deep seated issue, back to the fact I was a girl and not the more desired male child. But that’s a whole other issue and being the boy, I understand, was not necessarily the easier way).

Fate is a strange thing. You probably wonder how I went from Super Bowl to the wonders of fate. I was thinking about football, and my Dad’s career. Once signed with the Cleveland Browns, he was traded to the Buffalo Bills. From there he moved from the NFL to the CFL…the Canadian Football League. He ended his career there, with the Toronto Argonauts.

I once took advantage of the free weekend on, and looked up my father. I discovered the NFL Draft, listing him to go to the Green Bay Packers. I never knew about this, and thought it odd because Green Bay had always been one of his favorite teams. The timing was such that he obviously made the decision to move to the CFL instead of to Michigan.

When I was reminded of this today I’m left to question what went into making a decision like that, to move the family (then only the two girls, the son born after, in Canada) not only further from its roots, but to another country.

Football at that time did not pay the mega bucks it does today. Players needed a second career, something for the off season, and for when they retired from the game. Fate again. My father worked very successfully in the insurance business, his entire time spent with the same company. He never made specific use of that college degree he earned before entering the world of professional sports.

So many decisions in life, paths taken, or paths untraveled. I wish my father was still around, so I could ask him about all of this. Just my curiosity. It was the way, back then, that parents never talked about adult stuff like that with their children.

So much information about our roots is lost with each generation. Things unknown, or kept secret and/or forgotten. What I wouldn’t give to sit down over a cup of coffee with my parents, and the chance to ask the questions that will, unfortunately, be forever unanswered.

Maybe this is why I try to share the family stories with my kids and grandchildren, enough has been lost already.  

Technology Over Time

My Dad had been a pro athlete, and remained an avid sports fan after his playing days ended. He watched televised sports all weekend, football his first choice, but he followed tennis and golf (games he played) and even some basketball and baseball.

As kids, we got to watch Saturday morning cartoons (black and white in those days) as it was not a prime sports time. That was pretty well it for our weekend viewing. Greatest day ever was when we got a second television.

Moving ahead it was color TV, then VHS, DVD, High Definition and my-can’t-live-without DVR.

My grandmother was born in 1899. I used to marvel at the changes she had lived through in her lifetime. As a child living in the hills of West Virginia, she saw her father, a doctor, make his rounds on horseback.

Science and technology have moved ahead in leaps and bounds, and I find myself experiencing what she must have felt, that things are changing faster than I can keep up.

For those of us who didn’t use computers in the workplace, our knowledge can be limited to what’s required for us to use the internet and the various forms of social media.

We have cell phones now (or I should say some, most, people have cell phones). The ability to talk, text and message, no matter where you are, or where the other person is, makes one always available, and makes privacy and peace and quiet seem a thing of the past. My simple land line with call-message and call-display seems archaic, but not as bad as the old black dial phone of my youth.

And then there’s television. As I write this I’m watching a show I’ve saved on my DVR, my digital video recorder. I have a flat screen TV with high definition, and way too many channels to choose from.

My Dad would be amazed if he could see the sports channels available. He’d be sports all day, all the time. It would have been my Mom who needed that second set.

Hey John, I think there’s a bit of that old saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” here. You are your Father’s son. What are you going to watch when football season is finally done with the Super Bowl this weekend? 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Blackout Territory

It had to happen, and it wasn’t as if I hadn’t had plenty of warning. My laptop crashed, the dreaded death screen, all black, nada, nothing.

The first day I felt like I was in withdrawal, restless and jittery. I didn’t know what to do with myself. No Emails to check, no Facebook, no Pinterest, and no games. It was an eye opening experience as to how much time I spent on those sites, frequently bouncing from one to the other at different times throughout the day.

I knew I should have taken the laptop in to have it checked, for some virus or whatever, but that meant I’d be without it, and yet, there I was without it anyway.

Of course, now that I was without the computer, I had the urge to write, and was doing so longhand. I wrote a number of blog posts, and will edit, and add them over time.

I picked up my new laptop on Tuesday, and faced the irritating task of entering all my favorite sites, updating my Favorites List. That meant digging out all those web addresses and my passcodes. And connecting to the internet.

I faced my first challenge, being unable to connect to the internet. The laptop said I was connected, that the problem was between the modem and the laptop. How could this be? What could it be?

I ended up calling my provider and they checked, and made the connection. Isn’t it amazing how that works? So, I’m back in business. I like to think I learned a lesson and will keep an eye on my online time.

It was more than a virus, the old laptop was done, not able to be repaired, but just in case, I have an anti-virus program on the new one. Another lesson learned.