Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Single Photograph

"Use what talents you possess:
The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."
- Henry Van Dyke -


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tune Time – I’m Already There

This 2001 tune from American country music band Lonestar spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

The song's narrator is a man who is on the road, and the lyric explains how he feels and how his family is responding to his absence. This also explains how much the man loves his family, and how much they mean to him. He then says that he will always be there for them in spirit, even though he is separated from them physically. The song became associated with the September 11, 2001 attacks along with family members being deployed and returning from deployment, and has been heard many times on Good Morning America.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Sunny Side Up

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days."
- John Burroughs -

This week’s end of the week smile is all about the beauty of autumn...



Have a great weekend.

Book It - The Husband

This week’s featured book:

The Husband
Author: Dean Koontz

Overview:

“We have your wife. You can get her back for two million cash.”

Landscaper Mitchell Rafferty thinks it must be some kind of joke. He was in the middle of planting impatiens in the yard of one of his clients when his cell phone rang. Now he's standing in a normal suburban neighborhood on a bright summer day, having a phone conversation out of his darkest nightmare.

Whoever is on the other end of the line is dead serious. He has Mitch's wife and he's named the price for her safe return. The caller doesn't care that Mitch runs a small two-man landscaping operation and has no way of raising such a vast sum. He's confident that Mitch will find a way.

If he loves his wife enough. . . Mitch does love her enough. He loves her more than life itself. He's got seventy-two hours to prove it. He has to find the two million by then. But he'll pay a lot more. He'll pay anything.


My Comments:

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a thriller that reads like a roller coaster ride with no brakes. The story moves quickly and the twists and turns seem to never end. You’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time wondering what’s going to happen next, and why this mild-mannered man has been targeted. The only disappointment is the ending, which seems a little bland compared to the rest of the book. You’ll understand what I mean if you read the book. But all in all, it’s worth reading.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Time For A Visit To Another Town

It’s been awhile since I took you on a tour to another area, so let’s head over to beautiful Perth, a town located on the Tay River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario, Canada.

 
 
With its population of about 5,800 residents, Perth is located about an hour away from where I live, but it took us much longer to get there since we stopped every few minutes along the country roads so I can take photos. Of barns. Of animals. Of whatever caught my eye. Or my husband’s eye. He actually watched for interesting photo opportunities and pointed them out to me. You gotta love a partner that will do that for you.

 
 
According to information from Wikipedia, “Perth was established as a military settlement in 1816, shortly after the War of 1812. Many of the first settlers were military veterans on half pay, while others were military veterans from France, Germany, Poland. Italy, Scotland or Ireland who were offered land in return for their service.”

 
 
Also according to Wikipedia, “near the town is the home of world show jumping champion Ian Millar and Millar Brooke Farm where his great horse Big Ben (1976–1999) is buried.” Big Ben was a famous show jumping horse that won world championships, and went to the Olympics, on behalf of Canada. In 2005, the town erected a bronze life-sized statue of the horse (Big Ben) with Ian Miller riding, in John A. Stewart Park on the banks of the Tay River in the downtown area. The photos in this post are taken in that park, but unfortunately, I don’t have a shot of this statue. Next time...

 
 
While researching for information, I also discovered that “Perth is also the site of the first installation of a telephone other than Bell's experimental installations. A town dentist, Dr. J. F. Kennedy, a friend of Alexander Graham Bell, installed a direct telephone connection between his home and office. By 1887, there were 19 telephones in Perth, with a switchboard in Dr. Kennedy's office.” Pretty cool info, huh?

 
 
Perth is a modern community with old-world charm that is well worth a visit. Because we took so long to get there as we dilly-dallied on country roads, we didn’t have enough time to explore more of the area. We spent the vast majority of our visit hanging around the park. So, I guess we have no choice but to return at some point. Works for me.

 
 
John A. Stewart Park with its majestic maples, beautiful gardens with summer blooms and the serene and historic Tay River is one of the most picturesque parks I’ve ever run across.

 
 
While sitting on a bench in this five acre park, we had the rare opportunity to glimpse a bat flying around within a few feet of us, and then dive down and skim the surface of Tay River several times to get its fill of water. Apparently, this is how they drink. It was one of the most amazing things to witness. Truly, a once in a lifetime experience.

 
 
We spent a limited amount of time in this area, but it made a huge impact on us. I hope you enjoyed the quick glimpse of Perth, Ontario; one of Canada’s prettiest towns.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Animals See The World

I ran across this interesting and hilarious video, and obviously had to share it with you. I roared with laughter at the vacuum scene. So very true of my black cat!



It really is all about perspective, isn’t it?

My black cat, Nacho, who is terrified of the vacuum.

"I see vacuums..."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today's Trivia - Lawfully Wedded Man And...Er...Pillow

True love, it seems, comes in many forms, including linen.

Huh?

Sometime back in early 2010, Lee Jin-Gyu, a Korean man, married a pillow. That’s right...a pillow. But not just any pillow, folks; it’s a life-sized, huggable pillow (known as ‘dakimakura’) adorned with an image of a popular Japanese anime character.


Apparently, the nuptials were held in a special ceremony presided over by a bona fide priest. In honor of the special day, Lee got his bride a brand new wedding dress and took her to an amusement park for their honeymoon.

Just when I think I’ve heard it all...

But hey, the guy seems happy, so who am I to judge?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Midlife Crisis? No, Thank You

“Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.”
- Tom Wilson -

Apparently, most people will experience some form of emotional transition between the ages of 40 and 60 – an experience that is better known as a midlife crisis. This crisis happens to us when, as adults, we fully realize our mortality and become aware of how much time we have left on this earth, and that life is certainly more than halfway through. Maybe even more than that for some of us.


Well, I’ll be 48 in February, which puts me right in the midst of this probable process, but it hasn’t happened yet. And hopefully never will. Plus, you know, I just don’t have time for this nonsense at this point in time. One of my daughters is still in the adolescent stage – she’s only 15 – and I need to stay sane focused enough to deal with the teen angst that is part of that period. If I go off the deep end, I won’t be there to deal with the snarky attitude, moodiness, the rolling eyes, exasperated sigh and know-it-allness, and someone else will have to step in for that responsibility. Hmmm...[scratching head]...doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.


Or maybe I am having a midlife crisis on a mild level and just haven’t noticed. Is that possible? Although it certainly wouldn’t be much fun if that’s the case. If I’m going to have a midlife crisis, I want a full blown, down and dirty one. Drop everything, run away from home, get on a plane, backpack through Europe and explore the world type. No wimpy little crisis for this gal. If I’m going to have one, damn it, I want one that will rock my entire world.

But...then I’d feel guilty about leaving my kids behind.

And my husband.

And the pets...

*Sigh*

Maybe I’ll just stick to dying my hair in a different shade every three months.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tune Time – That’s The Way I Like It

Remember this 1975 song from KC and the Sunshine Band? It was considered risqué at the time because of its obvious meaning behind the title as well as its chorus with multiple “uh-huhs”. But despite all that, it was very successful. I still enjoy listening to it, now and again.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Sunny Side Up

“By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one,
you'll become a philosopher...and that is a good thing for any man.”
- Socrates -

-----------------------------------
op•ti•cal il•lu•sion
noun 
optical illusions, plural


1.An experience of seeming to see something that does not exist or that is other than it appears
2.Something that deceives one's eyes and causes such an experience

-----------------------------------

This week’s sunny side up is a picture of a really cool optical illusion.

Is this a courtyard or terrace? You decide...
Pretty cool, huh?

Have a good weekend!

Book It - The Birth House

This week’s featured book:

The Birth House
Author: Ami McKay

Overview:

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of Rares. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing. Dora becomes Miss B.'s apprentice, and together they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labours, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives. Filled with details as compelling as they are surprising, The Birth House is an unforgettable tale of the struggles women have faced to have control of their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine.


My Comments:

This is a sweet story of human tenderness and endurance. It’s not a very fast-paced novel that you will zip through; it’s more like a fine wine that you will savour slowly. A book you can cozy up with, especially on those cold days that are coming up. In this gracefully written novel where tradition collides with science, Ami McKay has put together a lovely story about birthing rituals, friendships, heartache and the strong bonds in a tight-knit community.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It Was A Great Summer

It’s surprising how quickly summer has passed, and it saddens me to say goodbye to it, but at least it was an amazing one. And I have thousands of photos to prove it. Some of which I will share over the next few weeks and months. My husband and my camera have been my best companions on the day trips in and around my beautiful city. We have traveled east, west, north and south of where we live, and have enjoyed discovering some of the most beautiful places. Now, if only those lottery numbers would come in so we can travel the world...


But today, my traveling will go as far as my back yard where chores are waiting to be taken care of; chores that are way overdue.


Flower pots and garden ornaments need to be emptied, rinsed and stored away.


Flower beds need to be checked for weeds and tidied up.


And the few vegetables that are still hanging around need to be picked.


So off into my garden I go today...another magical place. I wish you all a lovely day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Restoring My Faith In Humanity

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”
- Mahatma Gandhi -

A couple of weeks ago, as my husband and I were headed back home from our walk, I spotted a tiny and adorable little frog sitting on the side of the road. I was convinced that a car would eventually squish him, and felt a desperate need to do something about the situation since this little critter was totally oblivious to the danger he was in, and probably blissfully happy in his spot.

Darn it, I can’t just leave him here. I wish I had something to move him with to a safer spot.” I said to my husband, and sighed as I shook my head. “Can you believe that just the thought of this little frog possibly being hurt will ruin the rest of my night?”

My husband just smiled. He knows how I am.

I looked around and just a few feet ahead lay a plastic cup that someone had discarded on the grass. For once, I was grateful for litter bugs. I picked up the cup, walked over to the frog and attempted to scoop him up. But he was having none of that. Instead, he hopped back up on the sidewalk, back onto the grass and then continued hopping toward the green space behind our neighbourhood that also has a creek running through it.

I sighed in relief. “There. He’s on much safer ground, and now I can relax.” Followed by: “I can’t believe how overly-sensitive I’m becoming as I get older.”

I shook my head as we continued home. My husband kept smiling.

I’m very sensitive about animals, but there are a few that tug at my heartstrings just a tad more than others. Frogs are one of them. They call to mind a horrible memory of animal cruelty from my childhood. For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you’ll remember the story about the teenage boy that picked up a little frog, placed a lit cigarette into its mouth and kicked it into the water just to impress his friends --- and all this cruelty was committed right in front of my young eyes. It left me upset and traumatized for the longest time. I may have been too young back then to do anything, but I’m old enough now to help an animal in need. Thus, the need to help this little frog.

Thinking about that day in my childhood, and thinking about the horrible things that people do to animals and to each other, shatters my faith in humanity. But every now and then, I run across something that helps to restore it. Like the video below...



There is a lot of goodness in this world to help counterbalance the heartlessness. And I’m so very grateful for that. Perhaps there is hope for our species. I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Today's Trivia - A Chandelier For Supper? Sure, Why Not...

Perhaps one of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever run across is about a man that deliberately consumed indigestible objects. Born in 1950, Michel Lotito, a French entertainer, came to be known as Monsieur Mangetout ("Mr. Eat Everything”).

His performances included the consumption of metal, glass, rubber and an array of other materials. His bizarre diet included 18 bicycles, a pair of skis, 15 shopping carts, 7 televisions, a computer, 2 beds, 6 chandeliers and a Cessna 150 (airplane), which took him roughly two years to eat.

Mr. Lotito - The Human Goat
Lotito broke all the items he consumed into small pieces, and drank mineral oil and large quantities of water while he swallowed them. The oil and water acted as a lubricant, helping the items slide down his throat. He claimed he did not suffer any ill effects, even after he consumed materials considered poisonous. However, he stated that bananas and hard-boiled eggs made him sick.

The strange diet got Michel Lotito into the Guinness Book of Records, under the section of unusual skills. It is estimated that from 1959 – 1997, he had eaten about one ton of metal. He died of natural causes in 2007.

My only question to this man would be: Why???

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Sunshine Award and Some Favourite Things

Quite awhile back, Kay, author of Georgia Girl With An English Heart, presented me with the Sunshine Award .

The rules for this award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them. (Thanks, Kay! I’ve linked to your blog, so others can discover the sunshine that you spread.)

2. Place the Sunshine Award in a post or on your blog. (Well, here it is...)


3. Answer some questions about yourself. (Coming up below...)

4. Nominate 5 - 10 other bloggers. (I’m going to stick with 5)

5. For the bloggers that you have chosen for the Sunshine Award, remember to comment on their
blogs and let them know about their Sunshine Award! (I tend to be lazy with this, so if you’re nominated, you’ll see it in this post. If you show up for this post. I know. Lazy. Sorry.)


Now, for the questions and answers section:


1. What is your favorite color?

Blue. But it wasn’t always this way. When I was a kid, my favourite colour was purple. I even had a purple winter coat one year that I adored. Blue took over when I hit my teenage years, and it’s been my favourite ever since. It reflects two of my most beloved things: the sky and the ocean. Many shades of blue appeal to me, but indigo, midnight and royal blue really catch my eye.



2) What is your favorite animal?

Because I am a huge animal lover, I expected it would be impossible to answer this question. But it wasn’t. I have an intense love for white tigers. They are majestic and striking creatures. In China, the rare and elusive white tiger is valued as the god of the west, Baihu, and is associated with the fall season and metal. White tigers appear often in pop culture as symbols of strength, beauty, and distinction.



3. Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

In general, I’m not much of a fan of either of these social circles, but since I never use – or intend to ever use – Twitter, but do have a personal page of the latter, I guess Facebook it is. And although I don’t care much for the personal accounts on Facebook, aside from receiving some news about friends, or sharing photos of events, I do like the pages that you can create for your company, your blog, your hobbies, news, etc...



4. What is your favorite pattern?

I really don’t have one. I’m more of a solids kind of gal.



5. What is your favorite number?

I have two actually. 4 and 7.



6. What is your favorite day of the week?

Friday. The weekend is just getting started at that point. Once you hit Saturday, you’ve already lost some of that time.



7. What is your passion?

The world. I am overwhelmed by the vastness and diversity of this planet of ours, and if I won the lottery, I’d travel till I dropped. There is so much that I would love to see. Mountains. Oceans. Cultures. People. Exotic animals. Nature. Life. The world and all it has to offer. With a camera in hand, of course. Oh, and the husband, too. Someone has to carry my camera equipment, no? [snicker]



So there you have it, folks. More of my secrets revealed. Now, let’s get to the nominees, all of which are terrific places to hang out at. Make sure you visit them if you haven’t already.

Joy, author of Canadian Garden Joy

Dirtynailz, author of Digging RI

LaelShine, author of Soular Sister

Liza, author of Good To Grow

Katharine, author of Just A Thought

And finally, if any of you above don’t do awards, don’t worry about it; you don’t need to post this on your blog, participate in it or even mention it. Just know that I thoroughly enjoy your site and hope you continue to be part of the blogging world for quite some time to come. And by mentioning your blog here, it gives others a chance to discover the wonderful things you have to offer.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tune Time - Everybody's Got A Story

This song is the title track of Amanda Marshall's third album ‘Everybody’s Got A Story’. The album was certified platinum by the CRIA selling over 100,000 copies across Canada. This is my favourite tune from Amanda Marshall, a fellow Canuck. I had the pleasure of watching her perform this song at one of her concerts I attended years ago in Montreal. She’s a tiny little thing with a big – beautiful - voice.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Book It - One For The Money

This week’s featured book:

One For The Money
Author: Janet Evanovich

Overview:

ONE FINE MESS

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash-fast-but times are tough, and soon she''s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family...

ONE FALSE MOVE

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie''s bail bonding company. She''s got no experience. But that doesn''t matter. As does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father''s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water-wanted for murder...

ONE FOR THE MONEY

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn''t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she''ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight-and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man...


My Comments:

I owe the discovery of this book to my older daughter who happens to be just as much of a bookaholic as dear old mom. She highly recommended that I give this one a try, and told me she was absolutely certain that I’d love it. So I took her advice, and she was right: I loved it!

Janet Evanovich has a whole series going on with Stephanie Plum, the protagonist in all the books, but this is by far the best one. This quirky, fast-paced and highly amusing story will have you laughing out loud and looking to get started on the next book in the series. Read this book if you haven’t already. It’s a lot of fun!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Doll With The Red Raincoat

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."
- Charles R. Swindoll -

We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, so toys were not something that we had a lot of. Not that we really cared, mind you. We preferred to play outdoors, and aside from those rainy or very cold days, no toy had the power to keep us inside. There was a great big world out there for us to explore, and explore it we did.

But despite our adventurous spirit, and the fact that the financial status of most of the families I knew didn’t allow for such luxuries, my mother did, nonetheless, believe that we should have some toys to play with. And somehow or other, she always managed to find a way to get us some.

She was a very practical and efficient woman, and if there was a thrifty way to accomplish something, my mother would unearth it. One way was shopping in ‘five-and-dime’ stores (if you’re as old as I am, you’re familiar with that term). The other way was cereal box top mail-ins.

Remember those?

I’m not sure when things changed and companies stopped offering toys in the boxes, but when I was a kid, there were two wonderful things offered by cereal companies that were an important part of my young life:

1) Toys directly in the cereal box that you fought over with your siblings, especially if it just happened that the toy tumbled into your bowl when you poured your Alpha-Bits or Rice Krispies or Honeycomb. “No fair. Mooooooommmmmm.” The other kids would call out. And a battle would ensue for the cheap, plastic prize. Until mom took it away for good. From everyone. But you could avoid all this is you were a little enterprising and dug out the toy from the bottom of the cereal box, which is always where it seemed to be stuck, when no one was around. Then, of course, you feigned surprise and disappoint at the breakfast table when the box came up empty of a toy. Not that I ever did this.

2) Toys that you sent away for by mailing in the required amount of cereal box tops.

And one of the best mail-ins of my childhood occurred when I was about four years old...

The doorbell rang one morning while my brothers were at school and the mailman handed my mother a package. My mother’s face beamed as she thanked him, and after she wished him a nice day and closed the door, she turned and handed the package to me.

“It’s for you.” She said.

For me!

It was enough that I was excited about receiving my own mail – such a grownup thing to do - never mind the elation I felt when I opened the package and found a doll inside complete with accessories --- clothes, shoes and handbags. The most memorable thing about this doll that became so precious to me was her red raincoat and hat. I don’t have a clear recollection of any of the other accessories, but that ensemble, for whatever reason, remains a vivid memory. Perhaps it was so pretty that I kept it alive in my mind.

Years passed before I finally understood that my mother had secretly saved many cereal box tops to order that toy for me. In the back of the cereal box, there had been an offer for this doll with her accessories and with enough box tops and a small amount sent in to cover postage and handling, you were able to send for her. My mother had done just that. She was that type of parent, always finding ways to add special touches to our childhood.

The joy I felt that morning is immeasurable. That little doll with her red raincoat and hat is a memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Thanks to my mother.

Do you remember a special toy?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crocheted Food

Crocheted food has to be one of the cutest things I’ve ever run across. And you know I just have to share my discovery with all of you in today's post.
















Aren't they just lovely?

Most of the photos above were found here and here.