Saturday, September 28, 2013

This Will Warm the Cockles of your Heart

Yes, I am away at the cottage, but I was directed to this video the other day and thought I would use Bloggers scheduling option to pre-post it . After writing my Empathy post a few days ago, this is an example of something that set me to dabbing at my eyes: the story of  ...

Daisy - the Little Pup Who Believed

(from Wiktionary)
cockles: to provide happiness, to bring a deeply-felt contentment

17th century, Unknown, possibly due to resemblance of cockles to hearts. Alternatively, may be corruption of Latin cochleae in cochleae cordis ventricles of heart or of Irish Gaelic origin. Possibly also inspired by mollusks opening when exposed to warmth, notably cooking.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Just when I seem to be blogging more seriously and frequently once again, it's time to part with the keyboard and head to the country for a few weeks. We are pretty well forced to leave the internet and social networks behind out there in the boonies, so I'll "see" you when we return -- getting towards the middle of October if all goes according to plan (a big if).



For those who are newish here, I am adding a few pictures taken from around the property: property which is not ours btw.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Observant Dawdler

What a unique little fellow is our JJ. Not that I have exactly been close to a plethora of little ones in my life, but there have been a few, and this guy is uniquely different. I know we're all unique, but some are unique-ier than others (feel free to use uniqueier at will). Such is the case with his non-stop sister, but it also true, even if less noticeably so, with Jonathan.

The boy is incredibly observant. To wit: when he was quite young, he startled us my stating that the top portion of power towers are shaped like cat faces. I don't think too many people have seen it that way, but I see it every time now.

When I change the tires on the car from winter to summer tires of vice versa, he is the one who notices. As he examines the tires more closely ...
"What's the H on your tires for Buppa?"
 "Well that stands for Honda, JJ"
 For quite awhile afterward: "Looks Buppa, there's another Honda."
He's also the one to notice when Sue gets something done to her hair, and there are so many other examples that a grandfather in his dotage simply can't remember. He notices her "nice blouse" or "pretty shoes" and is quite willing to help her look for a sparkly top at Winners.

Sue just put out a seasonal decoration for autumn. It was a pretty, painted dish that used to belong to my mother. JJ commented on how nice it was and even remembered it from last year.

This quite possibly goes hand-in-hand with the reality that the boy can't be rushed. To the consternation of time-oriented adults, he dawdles and mozzies about (how do you spell mozzies anyway?) taking all sorts of little things in all the while. Walking around the block with him becomes an exercise in patience, and let's just be truthful and say that there's so little exercise involved for me that I tend to avoid it.

Anyway, he recently was quite taken with the treasure chest (kind of a manly jewellery box) on my bureau and wanted to know about it and to have a good look. I've had this thingamabobie since I was a teenager -- a gift from my parents (ie my mother because fathers don't really shop doncha know) one Christmas, and I'll likely have it until the day when the roll is called up yonder (although since I am an atheist, if there ever is such a call, I am sure I will be left behind -- the infamous series says so). Anyolehow, down came my treasure chest thingie, and JJ  afforded himself a nice, leisurely examination of both the container and its contents.

He's quite a dear boy, really. He's not at all like his grandfather. Lucky kid.

Take Your Time Jonathan and Examine Every Little Doodad

Monday, September 23, 2013


Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another ...
That's me, you know: an empathetic sort of guy. Kind of a sentimental slob. At least at times.

I can remember bawling my eyes out over a death scene on some Walt Disney show when I was ~11. I can no longer tell you the name of the particular show, but it involved a lingering death scene with a schmaltzy farewell by he who was about to part from this veil of tears. I had to leave the room for a wee bit of a sniffle (alright, it was a full blown sob), and my dad followed me to tell me that it wasn't real. Well, I knew that, but it got to me anyway.

I'm still a bit that way. Some of the reality singing and dance shows leave me wiping my eyes when they feature a person on who has overcome much adversity.

And it's just as well that Oprah is off the air, because some of her stories would also find me dabbing discretely at the corner of my eyes.

So, there you have it. I am an older guy, but not a crusty older guy. Go ahead and make fun of me if you want to. It doesn't matter because I don't cry for myself, just in empathy with others.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dinner Guests

I fell off my easy chair long enough to invite the extended family over for dinner and then to cook for them. I received much attention, especially from Danica, who is featured in these photos. Sue will likely post some others.

I seemed to get quite a bit of lap time. I didn't mind too much. At this point she was asking me the days of the week in French. She had already listed them in English and wished to write the French names beside them

I wish I could remember why I looked so puzzled, but this is not an unusual look for me.

Of course, a busy girl can only concentrate for so long. This is how life with Danica goes. I swear, she could tire out 10 consecutive babysitters in short order.

We have our moments though. She's the pretty one btw.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Old Man in the Window

Once again, this morning I looked out my window to see the kids lined up at the bus stop. I feel like I am becoming Mr Weekes.

When I was about the kids' age, old Mr Weekes lived in the row house next door. We'd always see him looking out his 3rd floor window. I assume that he didn't get downstairs much.

I am sorry to say that I and the other kids would sometimes make faces at him. I feel very bad about this now. I would feel bad anyway, but I feel even much more badderer because at least a few times he was nice to us, by tossing down some parcels of candy.

Kids can be cruel, but I am thankful that at least no one has made faces at this Old Man in the Window yet as I gaze at the kiddies from my window. JJ even saw me this morning and waved.

From my Old Man's vantage, I snapped this picture because Danica was being her motherly self by helping Chloe get her shoe back on. She's such a sweet child.

Meanwhile, JJ and the boys weren't looking overly exuberant as they contemplated the upcoming day. This bus stop is heavily dominated by boys.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Coping Mechanisms

Now, ladies and gents, I don't think I'm quite yet a doddery old fool, but I do find myself requiring more lists and reminders these days.

For example: yesterday I had an appointment at the hospital for X-rays at the undivine time of 8:15. So, I put it in my Google calendar knowing that the Good Googlers would send me an email reminder.

But wait a minute! I was supposed to be at the hospital 20 minutes early. Hmmm, that's 7:55; I'd better calenderize that as well.

So ... I should leave the house at 7:45 — better add that.

That means I should get up at 7:00, so onto the calendar it goes.

Are you counting? I had four reminders for one event.

I generally have no problem awaking by 7, but just to be sure, I decided to set the alarm on my Playbook and place it beside my bed.

Well ... while I was at it, I thought that I might as well set my iPod alarm. Double insurance.

Come morning I didn't need the alarms and likely not the reminders because having gone thru the exercise they were pretty prominent in my mind. But I think I was more relaxed and confident having taken the precautions and probably slept better.

Later that day, we decided to have the extended family over for supper. In the afternoon, having already done much prep, I needed to rest my sore back before tackling the next stage of preparations, so I reclined in my Lazy Boy and stuck my earphones in to listen to a podcast. I was pretty sure that I would remember to get up in a half hour to attend to the next item on the list, but I decided to set the iPod timer anyway. Not that I exactly fell asleep, but that half hour sure zipped by and I was pretty startled when the alarm went off, so it was a good thing that I took the precaution.

Such are the coping mechanisms that I use to try to keep my feeble and aging brain in check. But perhaps my absent-minded self always needed such reminders, and now I have become smart enough to figure it out? Yes, that's it; I'm smarter than ever. Uh huh.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hug break

This is the second week that we have been completely kid-less. The parents drop them with a caregiver across the street in time for the morning bus and pick them up before supper. From my window, I can check on them from time to time, and I can even snap a picture from my window.

Yesterday morning, I decided that I needed to have a little kid-time, so I went out to visit with them for a few minutes before the bus arrived. They was all over me, hugging my leg and wondering why I can't take them to the bus stop anymore. It was very heart-warming, I can tell you. Absence sometimes does make the heart grow fonder.

We will get back on part-time kid-duty next month after Thanksgiving, but we are enjoying a little break right now. It is more of a break than a vacation so far because we have both (but Sue especially) been down with the first virus of the season. It sure didn't take long. We caught it from the kids sometime during their first week back when we were still minding them before and after school.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Rainy Day Video

There's nothing quite like a rainy day at the cottage. I've combined a few clips from rain at the cottage. It's only about a minute long, and there's some thunder and even a flash of lightning that you'll miss if you blink — about 45 seconds in. For some reason, it may want to play more of my YouTube clips, so just tell it to stop — nicely. Always be nice to Google. They're watching.

We lost power for a few hours that day. They seem to lose power easily up there.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Evening at the Cottage

Let's return to the cottage one final time, shall we? Hmmmm? This time to look at more evening photos, but not of or near the planer mill.

I didn't realize that I had taken two versions of this first photo looking toward the garage but several nights apart. They were taken close to the same time, but the light was quite different.

Another photo of the same garage but from the other side of the fence: probably taken at about the same time as the first, above.

The same fence again, or part of it. The garage would have been to my left as I look toward the shed and barn.

On our last evening, the clouds suddenly lit up beautifully. The laneway from the road to the house is in the second photo, as is the house itself.

Speaking of the house, here are two night photos.

Now comes the real problem: with no kids about these days and being done with cottage photos, whatever will I blog about.

Perhaps silence would be good for the soul?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Riverwood: Evening Photos Around the Planer Mill

I previously posted some early morning photos from our recent stay at the cottage, but I would hate to neglect evening.

Here are a few from in and around the planer mill.

The first was taken thru the screen and highlights both the sunset and the blooming goldenrod.

This is another view from a different window, showing part of the window frame this time. The house is off to the right.

One can sit in the rustic willow chair to enjoy the view.

Sue did just that for awhile, while waiting for the photographer to enjoy a glass of wine with her -- red for me please.

Sue moved the wine and a lantern to another spot, which was great for a still life.

From the outside looking in.

Finally: a view from the side toward the field.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

JJ Goes to School: Day is Done, Home Again

JJ's first day of school is done; the only thing left is to see him safely off the bus.

Dropoff is on the other side of the street from pickup. Most of the same older crowd awaits.

Here he comes with a smile on his face. Sister is still chatting with someone behind him.

Still smiling.

Like sister, when she first went to school, he forgot to drink all day.

Although Danica no longer has to be reminded, she is still a thirsty girl.

A smug glance in the mirror after a day at big boy school.

Getting impatient because Mom promised to buy a good boy treat.

Time to go shopping.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

JJ Goes to School:On the Bus

After family pictures, it was time for all five of us to head across the street to the bus stop. Quite a crowd had gathered, including some other extra adults who were also sending their boy off for the first day.

JJ received much special attention, especially from sister who was more worried for him than he was. Her recess and lunch would be in a different yard, so she wouldn't be there to help him. And what if he got on the wrong bus after school? It does happen.

A blurry grandmother was also quite solicitous.

But, the boy was fine.

Soon it was time for the line to form.

Danica helped guide JJ to the bus.

Climbing the stairs to a fine education.

The adults lingered for a few minutes. Sunglasses may have helped some to hide a tear or two, but that wouldn't be anyone that I know.

Sue was doping a happy dance though.