Monday, April 29, 2013

Been There, Done That, Got it Myself...

It's that time again, time to get something for hubby's birthday. Since he buys anything he wants, owns most electronic items in triplicate, doesn't care for extravagant clothing and has a backlog of experiences (tickets, gift cards, vouchers etc.), I am, as usual left with a dilemma.

He likes lots of attention and lots of gifts. Who doesn't? The problem is, how can you get someone lots of gifts when they already own everything?

I bought him a telephone case a few days prior to his birthday last year. His dollar store phone containment specials seemed to either disintegrate or spew cell phones into the vast cosmos of lost items. The last time he lost his phone, a nice lady from points north of Superior located it in a scenic lookout parking lot. Fortunately, she tracked us down and returned it. The time before, he wasn't so lucky.

I no sooner got him a nice leather phone case with snap closures to avoid such mishaps in the future, when I heard him announce "I have to get another cell phone case tomorrow".

Tomorrow? Tomorrow? It wouldn't be his birthday for several more days. I handed over the case just to be on the safe side, said, "Happy Birthday" and was informed that the case was a business cost and thus not really a gift. I came up with some alternatives although they weren't memorable.

So now what? Going to a Yankees game in the Bronx was a possibility. After all, he wanted to see the new Yankee Stadium. I guess he thought it was a good idea too. He bought the tickets himself yesterday.

I'm at a loss. Any ideas, clues, thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps he'll see this and come up with some himself. On the other hand, that's no fun. I'd like to think I can be creative enough to think of something myself.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Old Woman, New Look

I missed the hippie years. I missed them by only a few, but I missed them nonetheless. I was not a participant in Woodstock although I remember the music...brown cover, two record LP. I'm not certain whether the correct spelling is hippy or hippie. I suspect the former is more likely a body shape, the latter, a description of a participant during a memorable era.

Recently, I informed hubby that I'm going to change my "look". After all, I'm old now and can do whatever I want. Nobody will think it's weird. I'd barely be noticed in a big city. In this small town, they'll just label me eccentric. On the other hand, I doubt I'll fall into the category of the fellow who walks around in the wizard costume or the jogger with the knee length Santa beard and long hair.
I showed hubby the look that I'm going for after seeing a similar outfit in a magazine. He gagged, sputtered briefly, bit his tongue in restraint and informed me that it would be fine, "around the house." Nope. Style is style. Once I commit, it will have to be all the time.

So where do hippies fit into all this? I can only imagine that the "look" I'm going for will be a combo of hippie, gardening diva, shabby chic and just plain...Annie Hall meets Iris Apfel. I would have been a wonderful flower child. I feel deprived.

I'm excited. Long gone has been the need for thematic socks, earrings and shirts. Gone also will be the senior retiree tees, yoga pants and polyesters. Sandals, baggy dresses and covers, harem pants, handkerchief and car wash skirts, layers of fabric, linens and perhaps even the occasional hat will become the norm. I'll work with items already in my closet, and although it's a look better left to the long and lean of the population, I don't care. I want to dress this way. I've never been long and lean...not at the same time anyhow. I never will be.

Think I won't do it? In the immortal words of everyone named Trudeau, " Just watch me!"

I found a few Canadian garment sites to model myself after. The official look is called "avante-guard". Rather than Hildegard, perhaps I'll change my name to Avanteguard. 



Oh....and lets not forget these shoes. Wonder if they come in shoe box widths?


Monday, April 15, 2013

Something Fishy's Going On...Or Not !

I noticed an annual event listed in last Thursday's newspaper. I've always been curious about it so on Saturday morning, I decided to go and investigate. I found nothing more than a truck and a retired letter carrier named Jim. He informed me that for the first time in forty years, this event was cancelled. Forty years! Imagine. This year, I finally went and it was cancelled.

So, what was cancelled and why?

Every year in early April, volunteers are asked to come to Cobourg Creek and help five ministry personnel with the trout. High school students are able to earn community service hours. Curious onlookers have opportunities to photograph and learn. Anyone with hip waders can assist. They weigh, measure and help the trout by creating a human fish ladder. This enables the fish to venture further upstream, beyond a waterfall to spawn. Fascinating. Last year, there were 400 fish helped over the waterfall using nets and pulleys.

I continued to quiz Jim and learned quite a bit. The water was too high and rushing too fiercely on this day for any fishy activities. I asked when it would happen. "Next year", Jim responded. I was disheartened but not dissuaded. I wanted pictures. I headed toward the falls and watched as the fish repeatedly beat their heads against the rushing wall of water in a futile attempt to fly.

 After a few hundred attempts at pictures, I actually managed to capture some fish photos with my camera. I climbed rocks, perched on a concrete dam barrier and clung to tree branches.
View from the top down
Making a run at it
I think I can I think I can....
Perhaps a giant leap?
Missed again
I'll try to attend next year. On the other hand, do I really want to watch the people or did I see the best part....the fish?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oh Poop!

Yesterday, I picked up the local paper and dilligently read its contents. I noticed that someone had written a letter to the editor about dog droppings and the useless by-law forbidding unclaimed doggy doodoo in our area. Drat! Double drat!

It's difficult enough coming up with topics for my monthly column. It's even harder sending my submission in almost two weeks before it's due to be published. Some time ago, I already had to abandon a piece, or should I say replace a piece that I had written about the demise of our Canadian penny. Now someone scooped me and complained about non-scooped poop.

Fortunately, it was a small letter. Today, one day later, my article appeared. Yayyy...not only is it in the paper, it's already online and can be viewed at the link below. It might work directly, or perhaps copy and paste will be necessary. If worst comes to worst, it's possible to go to Northumberland News and type my name into the search box.

As I pored over yesterday's paper, I noticed something that I hadn't considered essential for my bucket list. It is however, interesting enough to me, that I plan to go, view and take photos of this activity. It's definitely blog material. What is it you ask? Well, I'm afraid you'll have to wait and see.

My next blog will be most certainly be entitled, "Something Fishy's Going On".

Friday, April 5, 2013

Going, Going, Gone....

When you live in a small town, seeing downtown shops close, sadly, often seems commonplace. There are some which are there one day and gone the next. Others mysteriously hang on despite their apparent lack of customers and almost non existent store hours. There are shops which sport the "& son" sign appendage suggesting that they are an established local family business. Sometimes there's a date above the entrance....since 1980. This would indicate many years of successful business practices and if you are under the age of twenty, woahhh .They've been around
f-o-r-e-v-e-r,  since grandma and grandpa's days. More often than not, there are storefronts with paper covering the glass, closing out sale signs, and for lease opportunities peppered between the ever profitable and successful bank buildings. 

Then there are the bigger chain stores....hardware, groceries, office supplies, sundry items. Recently, one of the larger chain stores in our town closed its doors. The Canada wide Zellers stores are no more. Although they were bought out by Target, a U.S. chain, we will not be the recipient of such a store. Our town is too small a market. I happened to be at the right place at the right time on Saturday as I witnessed the end of an era.

The signage is now gone.

Today, I went to another of our chain stores, The Bargain Shop. Once again, I was disappointed to see that the stores will be closing. The entire CHEX news team, well, one young woman (Morganne Campbell) with a small car, a camera and a microphone which she set up herself were in the parking lot reporting on this latest economic casualty.

Apparently, this location will close at the end of May or when they run out of stock...whichever comes first.

So is it a sign of the times, or is it just inevitable growth and change?

It caused me to think back. How many now defunct stores could I recall from my childhood? A few that come to mind were Sayvette, Kresges, Woolworths, Miracle Mart, Towers, Steinbergs, Food City and Kmart Canada.

Who can add to my list?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Newspaper Article

My newspaper article for March was a reworked blog that I had written previously. I shortened the content to comply with my column requirement of 400 words. Today, I discovered a perfect cartoon to accompany the column. I have included it at the end.

Is It Essential, Is It Loved or Is it Just “Stuff” ?

As I excitedly told a friend that the 2013 Northumberland County dump voucher had arrived, she responded with, “I’m starting to worry about you.”

There’s something satisfying about recycling by donating good used items to one of the many charitable thrift shops in town. There’s also something liberating about ridding ourselves of needless junk by trekking to a dump site.

It seems as though we spend half our lives trying to amass “stuff”. Then, it takes almost as many of our older years to rid ourselves of these same items. If we don't downsize early enough, it becomes overwhelming. If we don't bother at all, the daunting task of cleaning up after us is a burden that is eventually left to family members.

By “stuff”, I'm referring of course to all those inanimate treasures which we once thought we needed and are still lingering. There are the knick knacks, the silverware, the travel souvenirs, the now obsolete electronic devices and more. If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would realize that there are very few things in our possession which we can't live without. The larger the house, the greater the area of the property, the more we seem to accumulate.

Most people only use twenty percent of what they have. The other eighty percent of possessions are taking up space. Fengshui philosophy is helpful and clear. If you don't use it or love it, get rid of it. The problem with having too much "stuff" is that it drains us of energy. We often waste time looking for things we need, or spend money replacing things we already have and can't locate.

The argument that "it's a keepsake" or "I'm saving it for my kids", often doesn't fly. Rather, it's an excuse for us to hold on to things. In fact, our children rarely want any of our outdated furnishings, household items or knick knacks.

People sometimes find it difficult to give items away when there are emotional components or strong personal memories. We have to detach ourselves when we look at the objects. And that's just what they are, objects. We’ve all heard the expression, “take a picture, it lasts longer.” I have personally done this for some of my belongings. Interestingly enough, I’ve never felt the need to look at those photos.

Downsizing, trash and recycling companies are becoming big business as they help relieve us of our "stuff", and of course, our money. It costs to accumulate what we have and then it costs to get rid of it. The impact on the environment is a whole other issue.

How do we figure out what we really need and love and what we can live without? Here's a start. If you could only keep a few of your personal possessions, what would they be? Would any of us select a Death Valley snow globe, a pair of designer shoes or an ice cream maker? I’ll let you decide.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Funny Spam

I suppose there are people who fall for this although, it's beyond me why. Tonight I checked my email. Tempting as it is to claim my share of this guy's millions, I will refrain from doing so. Furthermore, I will NOT visit their web page. Some scams are just too obvious.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I saw your email address during the course of my research today. Mr
Name is Allen my wife and I won a Jackpot Lottery 11.3 million in july and
during the process my wife passed away as a result of cancer illness, we are
donating the sum of 1.million dollars to 6 lucky individual  over the world and
if you received this email then you are one of the luck recipients and all you
have to do is get back with is so that we can send your details to the payout
bank. Please note that you have to contact my private email for more

You can verify this by visiting the web pages below.

Allen and Violet Large