Thursday, April 16, 2015


Main Entry: dip·tych
Pronunciation: \?dip-(?)tik\
Etymology: Late Latin diptycha, plural, from Greek, from neuter plural of diptychos folded in two, from di- + ptych? fold
Date: 1622
1 : a 2-leaved hinged tablet folding together to protect writing on its waxed surfaces
2 : a picture or series of pictures (as an altarpiece) painted or carved on two hinged tablets
3 : a work made up of two matching parts
"Diptychs and triptychs are a brilliant tool for photographic storytelling. They present two or three images which can be from the same session or they can be polar opposites to show opposition or contrasting ideas."

I have so many photos from last weekend, and it occurred to me to present some of them as diptychs. Of course, I have since been carried away with the notion, So here are a few with a nearer and farther theme. You have seen some of the single photos in the previous post.

Me and Brian (on my left) enjoying a warm, spring day.
Curious Northern River Otter.
Brian lining up shots at Robinson Lake.
Lower Faraday Community Centre: somewhat lacking a supportive community
A Rickety Shed

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Quick Weekend Getaway

Well it was a getaway for me, even if it was only a partial getaway for Sue, who had some things to attend to. The weather was spring-like getting into the mid to high teens, which is something like 60 - 65°F.

It was so pleasant to get out and take a few photos without worrying about numb fingers: just take my time setting up this and that angle. It's the little things, eh?

There were touches of snow in the woods and in shaded spots, which, I think, added a nice touch to photos that can be a bit drab at this time of year.

This is a bend in the Crowe River near Glen Alda, just a few miles up the road from the cottage.
And this is a stand of beech trees that provided a spot of colour on the Glen Alda Road.
After taking the above photos, I stopped at the little bridge over the Crowe and chanced upon this Northern River Otter, who was almost as taken with me as I was of him. But not quite, for he soon had enough of me and went under for good.

Brian and I took a leisurely drive on Saturday afternoon and stopped to take quite a few pictures, including the next three.

The Lower Faraday Community Centre: likely once a school house and quite possibly not used as a community centre for quite some time.

A little island in the little lake off highway 62, south of Bancroft. The lake was still ice-covered.
Just a shed by the side of the road with Brian doing what it takes to get the shot.
Aside from the one above, I took a few others of Brian taking his shots.

We found a very interesting piece of equipment.

Brian in the reeds: this is where I took the photo of the island, earlier in this post.
This was the final stop on our little photographic jaunt at Robinson Lake.

Both this and the previous shot were primarily processed in Snapseed on my iPad. I did darken this one a little bit more when I saw it on the computer, just to enhance the silhouette effect.

Coming home, yesterday, we stopped at a gas station in Madoc, which is ~45mins from the cottage. I was quite impressed (for want of a better word) with this signage. I have a niggling feeling that this guy isn't happy with the local politicians. Of course I could be wrong. lol I see the property is for sale. Any takers?

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Joys of Hearing Loss plus Tinnitus

This morning, no matter what I have been doing, I am aware of three sounds in my ears: unfortunately. It doesn't matter whether I've been breakfasting, waiting at the bus stop with the kids, sitting at the computer, or showering. I continue to hear all three noises.

It's not just this morning, of course; these irritating noises are always present to varying degrees.

There is a continual sort of chirping in my right ear. I have said 'chirping' for want of a better word, but it's much like listening to a field of crickets at night. At this moment, there is also a louder rumbling in that same right ear: kind of like a motor running at a constant pitch. Said motor used to run in my left ear but now has mostly switched to the right side, although it alternates back to the left periodically, mostly when I am in bed. I often wake up with the rumbling in the left ear, but it soon switches back to the right.

The third sound is now constant in my left ear. This one is kind of a dull, bass roar, something like a busy highway or speedway in the distance. Unlike the other two sounds, it constantly changes it pitch or volume (hard for me to tell which). This is where the highway/speedway comparison is apt for cars would change their volume as they vary their distance to the listener.

I have had tinnitus for years now although I have only been aware of it for the past two or three. You see, for a long time I thought I was hearing environmental noises, for it was like a fan or some such running in the background and not too loudly at that. At that time it was just or mainly the single fan or motor noise that I heard, so I truly thought I was picking up something real.

Anyway, I have three sounds now, the most recent being the speedway. And, of course, the others have been getting louder. Sometimes, I am very conscious of the noises, and, sometimes, my brain pushes them into the background — thankfully. They're always there, but when my mind gets preoccupied, I may not notice them.

Then, there is the hearing loss, which actually came first, even though I am recounting it second here. I won't go into it in detail, except to say that I first noticed the beginnings of loss at about the age of 40, and by the age of 50, I was beginning to live with hearing aids. I am now on my fourth pair, although the first wasn't a pair but just a single aid in the worse ear.

Here's the thing. I have learned that hearing loss isn't just a volume thing but also a sensitivity thing. I will miss a lot of words even though they are at the same volume as the ones that I hear.

How you speak to someone with hearing loss is important. As long as the individual has hearing aids, your volume is likely to be sufficient for the most part, although if you are a very soft talker that may not be true for you. What is most helpful is separating your words. If a speaker enunciates clearly and leaves a little space between words, the impaired person is apt to catch almost all of what you say.

I find that hearing loss makes television a bit of a hit and miss sort of thing. I generally catch enough of the dialogue to keep the main thread, but I often miss little details. I then must decide if they seem important to the narrative. If I deem that they might be important, I am likely to ask Sue for clarification. I always feel a little better when she also misses something as it reveals that the flaw was in the production and not the receptor because she has very keen hearing.

When music is playing, the lyrics are pretty much a mystery to me. This is especially true of the more modern forms, which often rely heavily on the lyrics. That leaves me listening to the tune or melody, which is not strong in much modern music — in my opinion, of course.

I don't imagine that the tinnitus noises in my ears helps in the task of being able to discriminate words even though I may not be much aware of the noise when I am focusing on listening.

I hope this helps. Those of us with hearing loss aren't stupid although we can appear to be when speakers have to repeat things, and we, ourselves, certainly begin to feel both stupid and frustrated. The speaker can help greatly by enunciating clearly.

Addendum: As I was writing this, Sue came home, made toast, and climbed upstairs: all unbeknownst to me. Because I had just showered and was alone, I hadn't put my hearing aids back in and was totally unaware of her rambling about the house until she appeared in my doorway.

FYI: I will be absent from Blogdom for a few days.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Early Spring Photos

It's not the best time of year for photography. The snow has mostly gone, and the colour has yet to make an appearance. Many days are still quite chilly and don't exactly beckon for one to linger in the great outdoors.

However, I do sometimes port my camera with me and snap some incidental pictures. A number of my photos, I convert to black and white since there isn't much colour anyway.

These first two were of the mixture of ice, water and rock in the Mississippi River at Almonte: the little town about 10-15 minutes north of us.

The next two are buildings in Almonte. The Barley Mow is a restaurant on the water's edge. It has a nice outdoor patio by the rushing water, and good use is made of it in summer. The second is of the Old Town Hall.

Good Friday was the warmest day in more than 4 months, so Sue and I took a little stroll in our town: Carleton Place.

Above: our reflection in a window of Reads bookstore across the street. Apparently, reading helps one to be reflective. :)

Below: I was taken with this signage in the window of the local Dry Cleaners. There are 3 signs in the window, 2 on the awning (one faded but somewhat visible), and at least 2 in the reflection. There may be 1 other in the reflection of the window, but I can't tell. Anyway, there are at least 7 signs in the photo.

On the next day, temperature plummeted and the wind picked up. We grabbed coffee and a sandwich at Tims and took our snack to the river where we sat in the car and watched the geese. The river is just beyond the background grasses in the photo, but this pair kept busy snacking from the little meltwater ponds. She (I presume) ate the whole time while he (I presume) stood guard. Considering the time of year, she may be in a family way and eating for something like 5. :)

Monday, April 06, 2015

Winter Holiday (part 2)

Here's one more look at our winter retreat early last month. I processed them once home.

In case you are wondering, we hit double digits celsius on Easter weekend (Thursday and Friday) for the first time since November 24 — a 129 day stretch. As I write this on Saturday, we woke up to snow, and temperatures are forecast to stay below 10°C (50°F) more another week.


The garage/workshop lies on the other side of the driveway and is pretty well inaccessible in winter although Brian has obviously made it to the door to have a peek inside.

The converted planer mill is where we like to hang out in decent weather. It's screened to help keep away the biting insects.

Around the Property

Above: a three shot, vertical pano, looking down the Crowe River from The Reindeer Tree.

Below: the front gate during a snowfall.

Above: the apple tree opposite the cottage. The deer sneak here in late summer for snacks. I was in an arty frame of mind when I processed this.

Below: a glimpse into the woods from the old logging road whilst snowshoeing.

Below: the snow looks pretty on the branches.


Just a few photos of Sue and me on our snowshoes.

Okay winter: I am done with you. Hasten spring.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Back at the Cottage

I don't know why, but I never did post photos from our week at the cottage a month ago.

Not having a computer at my disposal, I made a little purchase before we set off. It was a little gizmo to connect my camera to my iPad. I was able to choose photos to upload to the iPad, and then I used the Snapseed app to process them. While the small-screened iPad is not about to replace my large desktop monitor when it is handy, it worked well enough for that week.

Not only do I enjoy taking pictures, but I also like processing them or at least checking to see whether they require a little processing. Usually they do because if you shoot in RAW format, you usually need to do some tweaking. So I was happy to be able to use the tools at my disposal.

From there, I used wireless to continue posting to Flickr for that week. On the whole, I kept expensive wireless uploading to a minimum, but it was fun to continue to post my daily photo, especially as they were current and not a month old as they are now.

So ... here are a few of the photos that I processed on my iPad using Snapseed.

I took this on the afternoon of our arrival. Brian had already broken snowshoe paths for us. The snow was a lot deeper than it looks; if we happened to step off the path, which we did on occasion, we went right down.

The morning sun was coming up behind the cottage after I hauled the trash out to the road.

We are looking downstream along the frozen Crowe River. We didn't walk on it this time,
but we could have.The wire that you see strung across the river is the
last remnant of an old footbridge.
We snowshoed daily. I took this picture of Sue through the branch of a beech tree, the only species that had hung onto its leaves through the winter.

Another photo of Sue on her snowshoes. I liked the diverging paths. I happened to have my wide angle lens on that walk; otherwise, I would not have been able to take this photo — just a part of the scene.
I made use of Snapseed's filters to process this photo of Sue and her sister walking
toward the road on a snowy day.

Brian is the happy forest hiker in all seasons, including bug season because the pests don't prefer him. On this day, he went out snowshoeing long before Sue and I, but he was happy to see us and cut through the woods to join us. Notice the ever present items:  coffee mug and camera.
I could go on, but I will leave it there for today. Next time, I may post some that I processed in the normal way once we got back home. But I was quite satisfied with the iPad/Snapseed results.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Down the Drain with the Soap Suds

My mind went a'wanderin in the shower yesterday. That happens a lot. Sometimes, I think of good blog posts in the shower. But I seldom remember them ... which can be frustrating.

I cast my mind back to 1968. Don't ask me why. Me 'ead kind of works in random shuffle mode, and I never know what tune will play next.

I was back in university and remembering the time near the end of my second semester when I dropped in at my former employer, ITE Circuit Breakers. I had worked there as a Production Clerk for a little more than a year between high school and university and was wondering if they would like to employ me for the summer.

The supervisor that I spoke to seemed warm to the notion and assured me that HR would call, so back I went to school with dollar signs dancing in my head.

After several weeks of hearing nothing, I made plans to enroll in the summer semester and even booked a residence room with the same roommate of my first two semesters.

Eventually, ITE did call back — twice. Apparently, they wanted me after all. But by then, my mind was settled on doing the summer semester. I went on to do 8 consecutive semesters without summer breaks, which got me into the workforce a year earlier.

So with warm water cascading down my back 47 years later, I cogitated how different my life might have been had I accepted their offer of employment that summer.

Teaching jobs were getting tight, and it might have been more difficult to land one a year later, and it might very well have been in a different place.

The increased year in school might have altered the date of our marriage (but not to whom) and what kids I had. Perhaps we would have conceived at a different time, and even if we had had the standard two children, they might have been two different children.

Coulda woulda shoulda: my meandering thoughts signify nothing, and I have no conclusions. I seldom do have conclusions. I just let my mind wander on its random shuffle mode (I say "let" but I have little control) and I never know where my thoughts will take me — except for down the drain with the soap suds

Down the drain is the only certainty in life.