Thursday, March 31, 2016

De Agony of DeFEET

Although aging beats the alternative by a long shot, it sure tests one's good humour on occasion.

Today, found me at the Pedorthist for about my 4th adjustment to my orthotics in 6 months. We just h.a.v.e.n.t b.e.e.n a.b.l.e to get it right.

In case you don't remember (because I almost don't remember and maybe I am misremembering that I once posted of this) I am lacking some cartilage in my right foot. Oh, and I am the lucky recipient of bone chips in my ankle as well. It all stems for a very bad sprain about 30 years ago. It took me quite awhile to get over it, but then the foot was pretty good for about 20 years.

About 10 years ago, although it didn't get too bad, until about 7 years ago, it started to hurt when I walked, and I eventually got the above results — missing cartilage and floating bone chips. I have avoided surgery (fusing bone where cartilage is missing ) because I cannot fathom how I could possibly manage to not put weight on that foot for 6 months. There's just no way that I can see myself hopping about on one foot at this age with that other knee not in the best of shape.

So now my orthotics have to work to help relieve the pain as well as perform their original purpose of ameliorating plantar fasciitis (heel spurs). It hasn't been going well, which is why I keep going back for adjustments. I am resigned to the reality that I will always have to endure some pain when I walk, but I was hoping to reduce it. Time will tell, we may have succeeded today. If not, it will give me another chance to whinge and whine to you at a later date. You see, if one blogs, there is always a bright side to misfortune.

I was going to proceed to tell you about yesterday's appointment with the audiologist, and title this post with something like Head to Toe or Top to Bottom or Stem to Stern, but this entry is long enough already. So let me get back to you on that Head part, will ya hon?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Guest Blog!

Hi. Danica here. Some photography! How neat! Let's take a look!!!

Me in the morning. Thought I'd do a little photography. I took that...
                                      Finches came! Of course I took a shot of the
                                      cute little Finches. Building a nest!

                                      Hope you liked my short little blog,
                                       I wish I could get my own!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Birthday Celebrations

Back in Sarnia, Sue had many friends who all seemed to want to celebrate her birthday in some way such as taking her out for coffee or having her over for a ladies afternoon tea. It got to the point that I used to joke about the celebration having become a month-long event rather than just limited to one day.

In our first year in this town, without scads of friends, I made sure to do something of note for the whole birthday week at least in my best attempt to continue the tradition.

Now, we kind of make a joke of it. If we go out for coffee anytime in March, we say that it is part of the birthday celebration. We went out for breakfast last week, and I guess that really was part of the celebration as we likely would not have gone otherwise. Then, I made a western omelette for brunch on her actual birthday ... and you get the idea.

Sue plays it up and makes it fun as she does life.

Then, we had two weekend events with Sha and the kids. On Friday, we went over for the official supper with cake and gifts. On Saturday, we picked up Sha and the kids and went to one of the local sugar shack establishments. Tonight, we'll have an Easter supper, once again with Sha and the kids, and, what the heck, we'll call that part of the birthday too. And we may have company in the next few weeks — family coming specifically for a late birthday treat — so the celebration isn't over yet.


Before leaving for the kids' on Friday, Sue stopped to smell the hyacinths while wearing
a birthday scarf gift from a distant friend.

Then it was time to open gifts. Apparently, this was an exciting one.

A nose-to-nose moment with JJ.

Then came the cake. Danica was the official bearer this year and helped to blow out the candles.

After supper, the kids entertained us with an impromptu fashion show. JJ really got into the presentation with lots of groovy moves. (Can I still say "groovy"?)

On Saturday, we headed to Temples Sugar Camp for brunch. Just about everyone in the county seemed to think it would be a fine thing to do on a warmish and sunny Easter Saturday. I had to circle the parking lot numerous times before I was able to find a spot. Inside, we lined up for almost a half hour before being escorted to a table. Sha saved our spot in the line, and it was nice enough outside for the kids to play.

They were intent on chipping the ice from Thursday's ice storm from the railing. (Sue in the background.)

Then, they played on the boulders. Overhead is the tubing taking the syrup from the trees to the boiler.

Once seated, we were pleasantly surprised to be served by a former neighbour, whose kids rode the same school bus from the same stop as ours. She's the one wearing the bunny hat in the background in this photo of Sue and JJ.

Danica was quite pleased with the situation.

For brunch there was french toast, pancakes, sausages and waffles (not all items for every person, I'll have you know). It was good, but the kids were ready for some exercise after our nice breakfast, so I took them, or rather they took me, for a walk around the slushy trail while the ladies stayed by the restauant in their fine clothes and footwear.

There are a number of little bridges built to protect that the tubes carrying the syrup. You can see the tube in this photo. Danica decided that she needed some solitary poses on the bridges.

It was a good celebratory weekend in a good celebratory month. We can't remember Easter falling on the same weekend as Sue's birthday, which was right on Good Friday this year. Next year, Easter will be in mid-April, when we will not expect to see snow on the ground. However, if we go to the sugar camp as part of Sue's birthday celebrations, as we often do, we will make sure to do it on a weekday.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy 69th

It is that special someone's 69th birthday today, so I printed her this collage depicting her flashing back to family and memories.

These were photos that I already had digitized and on hand, so I did miss a couple of people: namely her mother and a sister. But everyone else is there.

On the left: a recent photo in which I picture her gazing back over time.

Top Row (left to right)

1. Sue, her dad, baby Shauna (along with Mac the dog).
2. Sue and our other daughter, Allyson.

Middle Row

1. With her brother, Larry, who passed away almost a year ago.
2. With her two grandchildren, Danica and Jonathan, four or five years ago.

Bottom Row

1. Me pinning a corsage on her although I don't remember the event — perhaps a church banquet.
2. A fairly recent photo with sister, Heather, the author.

There was a time in Europe of the Middle Ages when March 25 was considered to be the beginning of the new year. That changed to out present practice when universal, modern calendars were adopted. If you have read Tolkien, you may remember that he still used March 25 for New Year in The Shire.

Happy 69th to a great lady, and the love of my life. May your new year be grand and glorious.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Last Snowfall ... Maybe

With the official arrival of Spring, the weather has gotten worse. First it got colder, and then we had snow. School buses are cancelled today for a combination of snow and ice, even though it isn't too bad out there yet.

I did go for a short wander yesterday to take a few pics of what I hoped to be the last snowfall. It was the type of snow that stays on the vegetation for awhile, and such photos can be effective. I didn't go far, just around the corner, but here they are.

Our neighbours tree before I went on my little ramble, below

Monday, March 21, 2016

Preorder The Clay Girl

About a month ago, I wrote a post called Heather is Taking Off in which I bragged about her and her book to be published in the fall.

Things are moving along. Heather now has an official cover (see image to the left).

It is now listed on Chapters-Indigo, Amazon Canada, and Amazon USA where it is available for preorder with a projected date of October 01.

Apparently, in the fullness of time, there will also be an audio version

Following is the publisher's blurb.

A stunning and lyrical debut novel

Vincent Appleton smiles at his daughters, raises a gun, and blows off his head. For the Appleton sisters, life had unravelled many times before. This time it explodes.

Eight-year-old Hariet, known to all as Ari, is dispatched to Cape Breton and her Aunt Mary, who is purported to eat little girls. But Mary and her partner, Nia, offer an unexpected refuge to Ari and her steadfast companion, Jasper, an imaginary seahorse.

Yet the respite does not last, and Ari is torn from her aunts and forced back to her twisted mother and fractured sisters. Her new stepfather, Len, and his family offer hope, but as Ari grows to adore them, she’s severed violently from them too, when her mother moves in with the brutal Dick Irwin.

Through the sexual revolution and drug culture of the 1960s, Ari struggles with her father’s legacy and her mother’s addictions, testing limits with substances that numb and men who show her kindness. Ari spins through a chaotic decade of loss and love, the devilish and divine, with wit, tenacity, and the astonishing balance unique to seahorses.

The Clay Girl is a beautiful tour de force about a child sculpted by kindness, cruelty, and the extraordinary power of imagination, and her families ― the one she’s born in to and the one she creates.

Friday, March 18, 2016

March Break Grandsitting

It's still March Break hereabouts, but Sue and I will be taking life easy peasy after three days of grandsitting. While it is bright and sunny today, it was mostly cloudy and often rainy during the past three days, which kept us indoors.

During the mornings, our event was at Home Depot, where they had crafts for the kids. Free. What a great way to spend a few hours. Good on Home Depot.

Danica was about to do her second project of the day after helping a younger girl to do hers. She is such a sweet and helpful girl.
Here are Danica and her protege, earlier, painting up a storm.
This is JJ's finished version of the project. He and grandma worked on it together.
A photo of the scene with selective blurring to protect the innocent.
We would then go home for lunch before heading off for a session of public skating.

Danica is doing better.
JJ continues to do well. His father is taking him to a tournament today, where he will play three games.
I had the shutter speed set too low, but the blur gives a sense of motion.
I played with some in-camera double exposures and managed to get Dani and JJ superimposed on the same frame.
Another double exposure: Sue superimposed over the arena background.
Finally, for today: Sue and Dani in one of her respites. 
Maybe I will get back to you later with some video clips.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tromping Through the Woods

While I am not too sure that one is technically tromping if one is snowshoeing, I like the word, so I am going with it (in the title).

Traditionally, with Sue and me, winter has been a favourite time to go to the cottage. Snowshoeing through the woods has always been an enjoyable activity. You get exercise, beauty, and no bugs.

This year, I found the lifting motion hard on my legs, so it was less enjoyable. Perhaps I did too much too soon, as I thought on the third and last day that it was going better with the old bod.

Whatever the case, I hereby, forthwith, and thusly presentest thou with a few photos. With the melting, they are not as glorious as in some years, but they are still good enough IMO.

First, a few shots of the woods and trails. Then, some people shots.

Perhaps my fave shot with the leading line and nice light
A pano looking downriver with the Reindeer Tree to anchor the scene
There was still some snow on boughs
And also snow on bare branches
Snow and lichens (?) on a fallen log
Onto some people shots. With my legs in some pain, I was always bringing up the rear, but that afforded some opportunities for occasional not-too-bad bum shots. :)

Getting your ducks (or people) in a row, nicely spread out and somewhat offset

I waited to catch the group heading around the corner

Then, I waited to frame Heather between the trunks

Brian, Heather and Elu in formation
Sometimes, I had the trio ... er, quartet (sorry Elu) ... stop and face the camera. Life is more than bums after all. :)

I told them to do something ... and they did ... something

I thought that having them stop and pose under the snow-laden, fallen tree was a good idea. None of us considered the safety factor. Bad Elu showed me what she thought of my picture-taking by turning her back — as if I needed another bum shot.
And so, we come to the end of snowshoeing in 2016. We did it for three days before conditions became too slushy in the mild weather. Even on the last day, it was so warm that I hung my coat on a tree partway through the tromp.

At this stage of life, one wonders if I will be around or if I am around if I will be physically able to tromp next year. Gotta make hay while the sun shines — or rather make snowshoe tracks while the snow lasts.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Last Days of Winter?

We managed to get to the country for the tail end of winter. I am not so deluded as to think that winter is totally done, but it seems to be the case that the worst is over.

We arrived on Saturday, and mildness was already in the air both then and on Sunday, but by Monday, it was really warming up. By Tuesday, we gave up trying to snowshoe anymore and simply went for a walk along the road because the snow was getting too darn mushy.

Still, we did catch some winter in those first days, and I was able to snag a few photos. Today, I will show some from around the property. Later this week, I will take you for a snowshoe walk in the woods.

There was plenty of inside time. Brian was able to work on his photos while Sue did some crocheting. I read and Heather worked on her journal.

Brian has glasses to help correct his colour blindness, They work better out-of-doors, but he was trying them inside.

Sue glances up from her crocheting.
Icicles could be found in abundance.

 hanging from the shed

between the wood crib and the garage

on the south side of the garage
hanging from the snow
Views in opposite directions from close to the same spot.

Looking back toward the cottage (farmhouse)

Looking toward the barn and river
It was a short but good little break from the routine.