Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lambs Down

Carleton Place has a one day event every year. Because we have Canada's largest (or is it only?) wool grading station here, the festival makes sense. It is also a bit of a play on words, as Ottawa's stadium is called Lansdowne.

The border collies doing their thing is always an attraction.
The wool grading station is in the background.
Of course, there are all sorts of displays and booths that have nothing to do with wool but much to do with having fun.
Sue likes to look at clothes, whether they be for her or Danica,
This makes her happy
There is always a sheep shearing demonstration, but I will refrain from captioning each photo. You're welcome.

At the end, the children are invited to touch the newly shorn sheep.

And we'll likely see and photograph the very same thing next year.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer, Pool Time, and a Chain of Memories

This week's Comeback prompt has to do with summertime memories. As I wrote (below) about the single memory that came to mind, my mind was led to a chain of like memories. It's funny how that works. There is nothing deep and introspective about this post — just a string of memories unleashed by the first one.

Nelson was my buddy from about grade 3 through grade 9 although we went to different schools in the last two years. After about grade 5, he no longer lived around the corner but several blocks away, but we were both on our bikes a lot back then so going back and forth was easy peasey, despite the increased distance.

For several summers, we would jump on those bikes and cycle another distance in a direction away from both our houses to a public pool — at Barrie Park. In my memory at least, we did this almost every weekday afternoon for a few summers, but possibly not in the last one or two that I lived in Montreal as we grew into teenagers and our interests evolved, or perhaps mutated is a better word.

The pool was always crowded on those hot, summer days, but that didn't bother us as splashing, cavorting and jumping in were more important than swimming.

Back in the late fifties and very early sixties, I am thinking that admission was probably anywhere from 10 to 25 cents per session, so it was a pretty reasonable rate for an hour or two of fun under the hot summer sun.

With that, I spin off into another memory, but it also links with swimming and another best friend. This aquatic memory has nothing much to do with summer, and it occurred not in childhood but in my teenage years, and it was in Toronto and not Montreal.

Once again, I'd go swimming regularly, once or twice per week with my then best friend, Stuart. I am pretty certain about Tuesday evenings and seem to recollect that we also went on most or at least some Thursday evenings as well. After swimming, we would almost invariably head to a burger joint, Sony's, on our way home where we didn't have burgers but did order fries — with vinegar. We both doused our fries with vinegar (it's a Canadian thing), and the first few inhalations, tended to induce a bit of coughing having just been breathing chlorine infested air.

Those are two good memories with different best friends in different places at different times. I am no longer in contact with Stuart but am still somewhat in touch with Nelson. We went for decades without seeing each other and even lost touch. One day before the internet really took off, yet another friend brought a CD database of phone numbers etc to a PD Day meeting. I looked up Nelson. found his address, wrote, and he wrote back.

 A few years after that, in 2000, Sue and I motored across Canada and we met up with Nelson and Shirley in Jasper National Park where we had another pool-related  activity when they took us to Miette Hot Spings. What a delight to enjoy the hot springs rimmed by the Canadian Rockies in the lingering evening dusk of the north. I absolutely loved being in the Rockies that, for me, topped even the Grand Canyon.

Sixteen years later, Nelson and I remain in contact: not frequently, but we send birthday and Christmas cards and exchange the occasional note at other times. Perhaps we will meet up once more before our times on earth are up. That remains to be seen.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Showy Lady's Slipper Orchids of Purdon

Purdon Conservation Area is the best part of an hour from us, but it has quite a colony of lady slipper orchids that reach full bloom in mid to late June. There is a boardwalk nestled into a swampy area that was not too swampy when we visited last week because it has been mostly dry here this spring and early summer.

As you can tell from the sign at the entrance, it is considered to be one of the seven wonders of Lanark County. Yeah, baby!

I am not very good at taking flower photos, or at least I wasn't on this day. Most were poorly focussed, but I manage to salvage a few shots although I was quite disappointed in myself that day.

There were a number of photographers milling about. We must be an introverted lot since most work in isolation and don't even acknowledge one another. If I am the guy making contact with others, it's really weird, since I am about the most introverted fella on the planet. I didn't say, shy, I said introverted; there's a difference.

I did take a few snaps of others, and Sue took a couple of me and I one of her.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mississippi Riverwalk Trail

When I write about living near the Mississippi River, I usually think to remind folk that we don't live on that Mississippi but the one in Eastern Ontario that flows into the Ottawa River and from there to the St Lawrence and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. No Gulf of Mexico destination for this Mississippi. No siree.

So, now that we have that settled (I know, this is a repeat for some long-standing visitors), I am here to take you onto our Mississippi Riverwalk Trail. I also ask you to excuse the redundancy of walk and trail, but around here we're nothing if not redundant.

It starts just around the corner from us although don't care to have a naming sign at this end and runs adjacent to the river for almost 6 km. For the most part, the river is somewhat hidden behind bush or swamp, but it's accessible in several spots. Regardless: whether you can see the river or not, it's a pleasant place for a stroll, and in decent weather, I tend to do a section a few times per week — which basically means that I only get there about three times per annum. Just sayin ...

Being the camera nerd that I am, I more often than not have one of my toys tools with me.  Let us begin.

One place where we can see the river, near a road overpass.
In a section of gloomy swamp, the sun hit and lit a handful of the hundreds of grass seed heads
Poor photo but bedrock is close to the surface hereabouts and outcrops right here
I don't often see fishers out there, but on Saturday I saw these three with one more out of the frame. Curiously, they were all lined up facing north.
In another swampy area, I found a few irises blooming. I don't know
if these are genuinely wild irises or cultivated escapees.
Either way, I found them delightful.

Dead trees reflecting across the water. Possibly afflicted elms?

Another view of the [unmighty] Mississippi
I recently purchased a new compact camera, partly for me when I don't want to carry my DSLR and partly for Sue to carry about whenever she wishes (the DSLRs being a little heavy for her). It has a feature that I am playing with to see how useful it might be. What happens in this one mode is that I can shoot a still, and the camera will record some video around the still. It will then magically put all of one session's clips into one longer one. I think it's potentially a great way to record a day's events without any editing.

This was the result of one outing on the trail. I went a little overboard, but I am still getting used to it and wanted to experiment.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Music and Me

When it comes to music, I am a bit of an oddball. Well, I guess we don't have to restrict my oddness to music, but still ...

One oddity is that I am frequently making music in my head. Sometimes it comes out aurally in singing, humming or whistling, but it's in my head a lot a lot. Maybe that's odd in itself, but when you counterbalance that predilection against the fact that I seldom listen to music (I mean as a constant background when I am doing other things), you might agree to the fact that I am an odd duck.

I guess my infrequent listening seems even odder to the younger set who can scarcely seem to do anything without musical accompaniment. A few years ago, we drove through a very scenic region along with younger folk. I would have been pleased to simply absorb the grandeur, but the young folk simply had to have music playing almost constantly, some of which didn't seem to jive somehow with the rest of the experience.

But to each their own. (And don't you wish that English had a third person, singular, gender neutral pronoun?)

So, if it's odd that I do music so much in my head but don't often listen, my musical tastes may seem even odder to you.

You see, the genre I like best is roots music from the Celtic subgenre: like that of this video that I took several years ago. We have had this group, The Elders, at our Celtfest celebration twice, and I link them here as somewhat representative of the genre although I could choose many other groups. This is an instrumental number featuring the fiddle (it really gets fast at toward the end), but they are heavily into vocals as well.

Back more than fifty years ago, I was exposed to a summer replacement program on TV, Don Messer's Jubilee, which featured eastern Canadian roots music, including fiddling. The toe-tapping rhythm impressed me at the time

Decades later, I was exposed to another Down East group, The Rankins, and their sound spoke to me to the point where I went to two of their concerts, and I don't go to many concerts.

Then, when we moved to the Ottawa Valley, just over a decade ago, we discovered a Celtic festival in a nearby town, and we have returned to Almonte Celtfest every year since. On our first visit, I remember sitting on the hillside, appreciating the ambiance, and thinking, "I'm home." The Elders (of the above video) were the first [main stage, big] group that I heard at Celtfest.

The genre doesn't have to just be about fiddle although the fiddle is king, and the instrument once had a status somewhat similar to the guitar today. It seems to be making a bit of a comeback even in popular music for I sometimes see it used in popular shows such as The Voice.

For a few years in my dotage, I tried to learn the fiddle, and I just wasn't very good. I did work up the nerve to post this clip back in the day. I shouldn't have, but I might as well be real and show you just how bad I was. Don't judge an older beginner too harshly, alrighty?

Phew! Do your ears hurt after that?  Just remember that it's a hard instrument and that I never made it past the beginner level. I did enjoy it though, and that's important. Oh yeah, sorry about the wordy intro.

The timing of this music theme in the Comeback group is good because Celtfest 2016 is just around the corner, and the festival is still thriving and growing. This year, it will expand into a Friday night session as well. First, it was just a Sunday afternoon concert; then it expanded to Saturday evening before growing an all day Saturday event. This year they've added Friday night to the mix.

What fun! I'm sure that I'll be posting about it in a few weeks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jonathan Narrates The Black Knight

Jonathan has been in a creative mood lately. He comes in in the morning, sits at the table, and begins writing and illustrating a story. Same thing after school. He's done three of them, the latest being the longest.

Sue taped him reading his finished boot, The Black Knight. Apparently there is to be a sequel.

There are three videos below. The first is of him reading the book with him on camera. This is followed by a second reading in which you can see the book as he turns the pages and not JJ himself. The third clip is the same as the second except that in the second version, I edited out Sue's clarifying questions. The third version in unedited.

Let the record show that Jonathan is author, illustrator and narrator of The Black Knight. He is seven years old and just completing first grade. He is my grandson.

No, I don't expect strangers to follow through and watch all of all clips, but you might like to so a bit of hit and hiss here and there. Or not.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Riverside Park: Our Oasis

Nice weather (granted it's only two days a year) will often find us at Riverside Park, which as the name implies is  by the river.

This is our favourite spot to sit or at least the view from our favourite spot. Even on a hot day, we can almost always find comfort in the shade of the trees.

On most summer days, there is activity on the water from the venerable canoe club, which would be somewhat behind us in the above photo. On this day, I shot this girl kayaking through the grasses. To be perfectly clear, I was shooting through the grasses, and she was on the water. I like the semi bokeh effect of the grasses.

Looking back upstream a little later, here are two paddlers turning around where the river begins to widen into the lake or, actually, where the lake begins to narrow into the river.

This gentleman caught me trying to sneak a picture of him fishing. We waved and chatted a bit. He knew he was out of season and threw his catch back — not that he caught anything that day but he had on the previous day, or so he claimed.

This couple was also enjoying the shade, so I surreptitiously snapped a photo when we were leaving.

It was even hotter the next day, so back we went to almost exactly the same spot. There were more clouds in the sky, but it was still lovely.

The local high school is just behind us, and a gym class was out canoeing that day. Here they are coming into shore at the end of class. Not every high school has a boating option outside its back door.

We went for a little stroll on this day. This is the path that winds through the park. It is wide enough for grounds crews to drive on, but otherwise it is just for strollers and the occasional cyclist.

At the far end of the park, we found this couple sitting in the shade. A few years ago, the town planted shrubbery along the edge of the river, and it has grown too tall, so the lady had to stand to see what was happening on the water. They really need to trim these bushes.

We visit the park with some regularity, and I don't always take photos because they are pretty much the same every time, but sometimes I click away anyway.

Oops: I forgot this photo of a gull taking off. I lucked out as I took it from my chair.

Friday, June 17, 2016

When I Was Gone

While I did manage a few posts during both my sickness and the computer's, there seems to be a big gap. So, here we go with some updates, muchly in pictures.

Although my computer had been acting up for several weeks, it really went AWOL a few days before our long weekend on which we celebrate Victoria Day, which is celebrated on the Monday before May 25. For this reason, it has become known as May 24th weekend although I can't seem to remember it ever occurring on May 24th. At some point in time, the kids took to calling it May two-four because they like to go camping and drink cases of 24 brewskies.

Back in 1969, we got married on the Saturday of May 24th weekend: on May 17, with Victoria Day being on the 19th that year. So, we try to do at least a little something to commemorate the weekend every year. This year, we went to the cottage — for just a day because with both blackflies and mosquitoes in their ascendancy we would be kept indoors, so a day to catch up was all that was needed.

It was Heather with whom we wanted to catch up. You may recall that she is my soon-to-be-published, sister-in-law author. She had just attended the big Booksellers Convention in Chicago where her book received quite a lot of buzz. It is almost unheard of for a new Canadian author to get invited to this major America trade show, but she was and while there, received many invitations to visit American cities once the book comes out.

Here we are, Heather and me on the tiny screened-in sunporch: open to breezes but barricaded from the bugs. I am holding her publisher's fall catalog where her book made the cover. Good stuff.

Occasionally, I stuck my head out the door, just long enough to snap a few photos. I pretty much take these same shots on every visit, but it was certainly all I could get to this time. You just don't want to mess with blackflies. For those who don't know about blackflies, they come out in spring by the ever-luvin hordes, and they are small enough to get everywhere such as in your eyes, ears and mouth. They can bite too.

Garage/Repair Shop with the red barn in the background. We did see an unusual sighting in the area to the left in the photo, just across the lane from the sunporch. A moose visited for a little nibble. Sadly, we didn't get a photo, for a passing truck soon scared her off.

Another standard shot: pretty much out the back door, looking past the back yard to the old barn.

The red barn again, through the gate.

We went on Saturday, and came back on Sunday, and that's when I first felt a twinge in my back — while unloading the car. However, the next day, holiday Monday, is traditional gardening day in these parts as you can almost be sure to escape a late frost. Almost. It worked out this year.

We did our bit by going to the garden centre — two garden centres actually. I and my back stayed on the sidelines for the most part (but probably not enough) while Sue searched giddily for flowers for her pots.

Sue looks happy enough on this winter's over weekend.
This is what our front garden looks like on May 24. The tulips are still blooming, the forget-me-nots are flourishing, and the ground phlox are in full vigour. Of course they are all well done by early June, and we wait for the early summer flowers to bloom. They're a bit slow coming this year because after one hellishly hot weekend, it has been rather chilly around here.

As an afterthought, I add this photo of the backyard. It has always been such a mess back there, that we have covered the whole yard with layers of cloth superimposed by mulch. It's a small yard, and with a tree, lilac bush, birdbath, flowerpots, chairs, deck and some rock arrangements (not seen in photo), there is enough to make it interesting.

The kids had a PD Day somewhere in there, with their main activity being learning how to make a lunch at the local grocery store. They seemed to enjoy it. Sue took this pic when she dropped them off. We had some of JJ too of course, but this one of Danica was the best photo.

Along with my previous posts, I think we are more or less up to date, but I will post this one photo strip which was taken on an outing to Montreal with their dad. They found an old-fashioned photo booth that seemed pretty doggone awesome when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and this is the result.

What a pair of monkeys!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Memories Begetting Memories

I have owned this bookmark for ~60 years, and I remember when and where I got it. In the interval between then and now, it keeps disappearing and reappearing, but somehow it has remained with me for 60 years in all of my moves: Toronto, London, Sarnia, and now Ottawa (ie Carleton Place).

The most recent disappearance occurred about 6 years ago. Oddly, it has just been recently that I have wondered where the heck it had got to this time.

Setting up the new computer last week had me rummaging hither, thither and yon for this that and the other thing such as old installation CDs. That searching caused me to see the need for cleaning up the closet just a little bit. In said cleanup, I came across two old laptops, including a relic from 2001.

However, in the carrying case for the newer relic from 2005, I found a book; when I removed said book from the case, behold! out fell the bookmark.

Although the book cover looks familiar, I can't say that I truly remember the book. But from the date of the accompanying magazine stored alongside the book, I have to say that the whole caboodle has been hibernating since 2010. That jives with my memory of purchasing the next-to-most-recent-nearly-and-dearly-departed computer, which arrived in the latter part of 2010.

I bought it, the bookmark, about 60 years ago at a Sportsman Show in Montreal. Mabel, my best friend's mother took me, Nelson, Doris (his sister) and Myra (Doris's friend) out for the day. We went by bus and luxuriated home in a taxi, and I kept worrying about what the outing was costing the lady.

I don't recall much else about the day, except that in addition to buying this piece, I also purchased a Chicago Blackhawk crest. I was a Montreal fan, and not a Chicago fan, but I liked the crest, and the Blackhawks still have a great uniform, even if it is no longer politically correct.

The crest has long since disappeared, but memory tells me that both items cost 50¢, which was a fair whack of dough for me in those days. My allowance was 10 or 15¢ per week, but I assume that I was given some extra spending money for the day.

I also remember Nelson purchasing a cowboy hat for $2 and talking about it on the way home in the taxi. He said something to the effect that he had thought I was nuts for my purchases, and then didn't he go and spend two bucks on a hat (which I don't recall him ever wearing again).

Memory is a strange thing. It is said that you only remember something if it has an emotional impact on you. So, the event must have meant something to me. When I last rediscovered the bookmark those six years ago I asked Doris if she remembered the day, but she was totally blank, so it had no emotional impact on her. I must ask Nelson this time (although I may have done it before and can't remember), but I expect that it will be blank for him too.

Oh, by the way, and before I go, I want to note a connected memory. At the very top, you see the name, Caughnawaga. Actually, you can't see the whole name anymore, but that's what it said. Then, you see an Indian head, for Caughnawaga was an Indian reserve near Montreal.

I remember driving to the reserve for an evening church meeting. It was a little house meeting, and my dad had been asked to give the sermon. Another man, Danny Pazutto (sp?) brought his accordion, and he also drove us there and back in the vehicle that he also used as a taxi.

Since I am recording memories, I may as well go full out and say that my Dad's sermon never finished properly. A lady in the small congregation had an epileptic seizure, or so I presume it being that, and the service ended prematurely.

One more connected memory: back at our own church, we had the quaint custom of doing a [Jericho] march-around offering every Sunday morning. On more than one occasion, Danny, who sat closer to the front and by the aisle, would surreptitiously slip me a candy as I paraded by after tossing my nickle into the basket. Maybe we had made a connection, or maybe he simply thought that I was a bit deprived as my parents weren't exactly rolling in the dough. There's no one around to ask any more.

It happens every now and then that I wish I could ask about this or that, but no one remains. So, one piece of advice is for younger folk to ask of older folk about anything that they might possibly want to know. While there is still time.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Last Best Book

Sue loves her books in audio form. For the past three years, she has subscribed to, where for a monthly fee, she is able to download one book per month at somewhat reduced rates. She has built up quite a library, For the most part, I prefer to read in the old fashioned way — although sometimes in the newfangled digital sort of variation.

In the past few months, I have borrowed quite a few online books from the library. It has been quite nice to download a book from the comfort of my armchair. Sometimes, they are available instantly, but, at other times, I can put them on hold. The library then sends me an email when a book becomes available, and then I have another instant download.

I do prefer reading at my own pace, which does go faster than listening, but there is something to be said for occasionally sitting back and having someone read to you, especially when that someone is usually a pretty accomplished narrator.

Last fall, Sue obtained Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith, who is really JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame. I am here to tell you that she writes a good mystery too.

Her protagonist, Cormoron Strike, is a disabled (as in missing part of one leg) Afghanistan vet who has his own struggling detective agency in London and who manages to solve cases that the police fumble. This third Strike novel begins with his assistant and partner, Robin Ellacott, receiving a severed hand in the mail.

Sue actually obtained the book last fall, and I put it on my winter reading (listening) list. I thought that I would savour it during one my winter colds or flues: except that I didn't get one, so I kept putting it off. Finally, back in April, I had had enough of waiting and decided to listen in full good health. I am here to declare that I was well rewarded with an absorbing, well narrated story.

I read mysteries mostly. I find that whether the book is top notch or more mediocre, I can at least trust it as, for one thing, good will triumph over evil. In a series, I get to know and like heroes such Thomas Lynley (Elizabeth George), Inspector Banks (Peter Robinson) or Superintendent Gamache (Louise Penny), and their stories keep going. I like the sustained relationship. Of course, there are scads of other series, but these seem to be the big 3 in my mind, although I suppose that I now add Galbraith/Rowling to that list.

So, I am choosing Career of Evil by Galbraith (Rowling) as my favourite recent book. Your choice: read or listen, but I do recommend that you stop and listen to a good story every now and then. This book will stand on its own, but one might as well start with The Cuckoo's Calling followed by The Silkworm.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Since I have moaned and groaned and whined and whinged about my computer for more than month, I am here to tell you that I am back on board with a new one.

Due to back problems, I went into town two weeks later than I had intended and dropped a wad of cash and here we are -- working from the computer rather than the iPad, which makes life so much easier. Mind you, I'm terribly glad to have had the iPad, especially during my convalescence with my back. As previously posted, the hours with Longmire were a great diversion.

It has been three weeks since my back went out, which brings to mind the joke: "I am so old that my back goes out more than I do." While it's not 100% (and never will be), I am getting around reasonably well as I continue to exercise restraint, which is pretty much it for exercise right about now.

Back (unintended pun) to the computer: it takes a little work to get a new one up and running, but I have my main programs on, and I have my files available on an external hard drive. At USB3 speeds the load time is pretty darn good. They are on the external drive until I figure out how I want to organize them on this new system.

Meanwhile, during the past week, our drought has broken. On one day, we received more rain than we had in the previous 47 days, and it is raining again this morning. The downside is that the grandkids are camping this weekend or are supposed to be.

Early on in my back problems, before they became so bad, I accompanied Sue to the nursery and stayed on the sidelines taking pictures and video clips. This clip (see Sue do all of the work) is of our arrival and planting back home. I was experimenting with a feature where you take one photo, but the camera (somehow) takes a few seconds of video leading up to the photo. It then magically puts the clips together. It seems like an excellent way to record a day without much work, and it keeps the clip fairly short too.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Running Off a Cliff and Out of Time Itself

As usual, I approach questions like this with great perplexity: "What would you tell your younger self?"

Although I would kind of like to tell that young fella to zig at some junctures instead of zagging, one has to be careful. Assuming that you like yourself and your life now, would you really want to mess with this outcome? Because you don't know how one small course correction could have altered your life, and you may not then have become the person you are in the place that you now are. Do yo really want to mess with that?

Assuming that such a meetup could occur, I am stymied by the logistics. If my two selves could meet, I can well imagine the younger and good looking self to take one look at this older, decrepit self and run screaming in horror over the nearest cliff. And then my older self would never have had a chance to exist, and we would have a paradox in time.

Would my older self simply vaporize as the younger self plummeted to his doom? Depending on the timing, my two daughters would never have existed and neither would the grandkids. That makes me sorrowful now although neither I nor my scions would have been here to miss ourselves. (Curse you KG; you are making my head hurt.)

Although like everyone else, or so I imagine about everyone else, I replay the past with some regularity, but I am afraid that it never changes. Neither do I except in glacial slowness. For I both am and am not the man that I used to be. I am a conundrum.

"It's a wonderful life." Oops, bad allusion.

Saturday, June 04, 2016


mired: to be stuck as in mud

Yes indeedy, I have been well mired lately: pretty much stuck by more than one factor.

We'll begin with the computer, shall we?

You may recall that I have moaned about computer troubles on previous posts. But at least it was usable back then. For more than the past two weeks, it has lain dormant.

Whilst I have been keeping up with blogs on my iPad to some degree at least, I am not particularly disposed to typing out posts on this remarkable device -- except now I am.

More than a week ago, I was set to drive into town to purchase a new one. That was to have taken place a week ago last Wednesday. But my back was feeling a little worse for wear. I had been having spasms since the previous Sunday, and they weren't getting better.

The next day, Thursday, it was even worse. By last Saturday, I could barely move without being in some sort of agony. I resorted to pushing my computer chair around for support when I had to visit the unowhat. Then daughter came through with a borrowed walker. I could really put my weight on it, and that helped a whole lot.

But I was really mired in bed for a few days.

While mired in bed, I resorted to watching Netflix on my iPad. I watched Longmire. (I trust you see what clever thing I have done here.)

I had previously watched a few episodes with Sue, who did not love the program, but when I dialed back in, I was hooked. I finished season 1 and moved on through 2, 3 and 4 in fairly short order. It was sooo captivating with lots of character and drama. The plots weren't totally circular as they are in some tv dramas but kept progressing; some plot lines actually came to an end while others came to life.

It was good stuff. I found that to be Longmired was a significant relief from being computermired and backmired.

So, how was this for an iPad post?

BTW, after two weeks, my back is getting there, but I still have to be careful. The computer? My SIL now has it as his place and is trying to sort it out. I still expect to purchase a new one when I feel up to driving into town, but maybe the old one will get fixed.

But please don't tell me to buy a Mac at 2.5X what I will have to pay for a new PC. I know that your heart is n the right place, and I commend you that you are able to afford a Mac, but ...