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R - Roaring Reverse Rapids or Falls
Posted On 11/02/2017 22:35:27

On one of our travel adventures with our dear friends, in 1998, we headed to the eastern part of Canada, hoping to visit friends in the maritime provinces. It would be our first visit to that area, and from what we were told by friends, there would be a long list of very interesting places that we could visit, if we did the 3000 mile road trip rather than take a plane. Being tha int all of us were “retired”, our travel time was not limited by responsibilities back at home.

We weren’t disappointed! We visited many places that we had only read about... my husband’s hometown in Manitoba, the nickel mines in Sudbury, Ontario, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Montreal Olympic Stadium, and Pier 21 in Halifax, where my husband’s father landed when he immigrated from England when he was 19 years old, and all alone.

A very unusual spot that we visited was the reversing falls and rapids on the Saint John River in Saint John, New Brunsewick. The rapids, or "falls", are created by a series of underwater ledges which roil the water in either direction, causing a significant navigation hazard, despite the depth of water.

I must say that we didn’t take a boat ride on the river (we could be referred to a “prairie chickens”), but it was fascinating to watch the changing flow of the river. We heard later that the tourist ride didn’t last for very many years because the boats were hard to handle when the water depths kept changing. Whitewater kayaking has now become a challenging sport on the river, but I would never consider trying that either. A seat at the edge of the river, with a great view was enough for us. I did take quite a few pictures, but the quality wasn't the best, so I scanned this picture from a postcard that I purchased when we were there.


There is a lot of information about it online, and if you are interested, get 'Google' to help you. The best way to understand how this phenomenon works, is to be there.

Here are a couple of links with information that I had saved in my photo albums.

Info on Reversing Rapids

Tags: Nature Travels

Q - Quips and Quotes
Posted On 10/28/2017 05:24:07

Here I am, at the “dreaded” ‘q’ letter. However, when I saw the book that my husband was reading, I knew exactly what I would write about. He was reading a book entitled “Uncle John’s Triumphant: The 20th Anniversary Edition of the Bathroom Reader.” Now, don’t laugh; to some folks, that is heavy reading! There are 598 pages in the soft cover edition, and it is hard to hang on to when trying to read in bed, especially when the reader is half asleep. Personally, I haven’t tried it; I have too many other “important” things to read on my computer.

Now that I’ve come up with a couple of ‘q’ words, I went to a dictionary to find the definition of them. This is what I learned…

Definition of Quip: a clever usually taunting remark; a witty or funny observation or response usually made on the spur of the moment.

Definition of Quote: to speak or write (a passage) from another usually with credit acknowledgment.

Here are several examples, by people whose names that you probably recognize:

Winston Churchill, well known for his wit and unexpected responses, was asked by a reported if he was prepared to meet his Maker. Churchill’s reply was “I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

If you ask me anything I don't know, I'm not going to answer - Yogi Berra.

Never have more children than you have car windows - Erma Bombeck.

I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it - Charles M. Schulz.

In my ‘never-to-be-humble-opinion’... Dr. Laura.

Can you tell the difference between a quip and a quote?

Now I’m thinking that I should have picked a different ‘q’ word. I could tell you a story about some quills and our dog. Perhaps next time!

Tags: Humor Writers

Posted On 10/26/2017 14:11:39

I have always had a deep fascination with cameras and photos, now evidensed by the bookshelves and boxes filled with photo albums. My mother had a Kodak box camera when I arrived, but took only pictures that she could afford to have developed. I still remember the film, rolled on a spindle, and carefully mounted in her camera. I believe that there were 12 pictures on a roll, which was then taken to town, to the drug store to be developed. She would carefully preserved each picture in the family photo album, anchored with photo corners on black pages. To this day, the quality of those photos remain sharp and clear.

When I entered Nursing Training in 1958, there were only two in my class who owned a camera. Colored slides were the new format, and I took lots of pictures. In 2008, when our class celebrated our 50th Anniversary, I scanned the slides to digital files, and burned them on CDs as a gift for my classmates, which was happily received. It was a timely decision, because the colors had faded over time. I’m sure the CDs are tucked away in many a “memory box”.

Picaso was my digital tool of choice, and even though it has recently been replaced by bigger and better software, I still use it, along with Google Photos. There is so much to choose from these days, and I’m sure that we all have a variety of favorite tools on our computers.

Postcards became one of my “unexpected and delightful” hobbies. I didn’t even know that people actually collected postcards until several years ago, when hubby and I dropped in on an Estate Sale. It was the last day, and we didn’t expect to see much of interest, but... you never know what will catch our eye!

In a back room of the house, I spotted a large shoe box filled with very old postcards. An attached note stated that the cards had been collected by a World War 1 soldier, serving in Europe. The price for the collection was $70.00. I told myself that the price was the reason the cards were still available; who would ever pay that price for used postcards?) A staff lady of the company in charge of the sale approached me, asking if I was interested in the collection. Yes, it is interesting, because of my love of “anything” vintage, but I couldn’t afford the price. She asked if I had any cash in my wallet, because she was open to offers. I checked, and I had $12.35. She told me that I could have the card collection for $10.00. Why not, I told myself; it would be a cheap bit of entertainment for my curious mind.

The more I learned about postcards, the more I realized that I indeed found a treasure. Small books of sepia photos, with onion skin paper separating each photo, and hand-colored photos were in the collection of many locations in Europe. There were also postcards of areas in Canada, that the owner had collected during his training days. Two cards in particular caught my eye... one was taken at a coal mine in my hometown (noted on the back of the card was where the owner had worked as a teen), and one of the Banff Springs Hotel, built in the late 1800s by Canadian Pacific Railway. The postcard was dated 1907, and the hotel was less than half the size that it is today. Wow! Being that I had been doing consignment selling on Ebay, I decided to see if that card would be saleable. In one week, I was paid four times what I had paid for the whole collection.


Tags: Camera Hobby Photography

O - OpenOffice Offers Options
Posted On 10/19/2017 06:20:17

I have been hooked on computers for years, starting in 1983. I don't remember what, if any, software came with my first computer, but it didn't seem to take long before I learned that Windows was the recommended operating system, unless I was going to university or living in Seattle, where Mac OS preferred. Microsoft Office was recommended to me when I became a serious learner of word processing. It was expensive at the time, and there were segments that I wasn't interested in learning.

Windows kept upgrading, needing my software to be upgraded too, and then there came my desire to learn graphic design. CorelDraw was my next major purchase. Again, I had to learn the vocabulary and tools available. It's one thing to read the instructions, but I also had to have a dictionary within reach so that I could understand what I was reading.

My computer skills are self taught; no formal instructions for years, but I progressed to doing contract medical transcribing, and then my home-based graphic design business, When I retired, I no longer needed to design graphics, and the saying “Use It or Lose It” became a reality.

Now, with a more casual approach to computers, and limited income, I began to find tools online that are free. My first big “find” was OpenOffice by Apache. It is every bit as good as MS Office and it is FREE. It is loaded with options, more than this computer “junkie” will ever need. I still love to learn, and there are many opportunities to be creative (with a little bit of help of many Free online tools).

Thanks to TC and his Cloudeight newsletter, filled with good advice, there are many opportunities to keep learning.

Tags: Computers Software Cloudeight

N - Napping is Nearly Normal
Posted On 10/10/2017 21:42:43

I’ve given myself a bit of a rest from “talking” on the computer. So many things have been “happening” at our home, that when the end of the day is in sight, we catch ourselves napping in front of the TV or my computer. By late evening, after several short naps, I’m ready for a bit of computer time, to answer emails and send a few text messages across the ocean before heading for bed. That’s when I wish that I didn’t take so many naps during the day.

It was a beautiful autumn day when friends of mine took me to the mountains for a birthday lunch. The clear blue skies and the vibrant autumn colors were “eye candy” for me, but when I got back home, I sat down to tell my husband about our day, but fell asleep before I had finished. Two days later, we had the first snow blizzard of the season; no more blue skies and no heat in our house. We had no need to turn on the heater all summer, so the timing of this event was perfect…NOT! We’ve also been waiting for the installers to come and finish the installation of solar panels, but weeks have gone by without seeing any evidence of installers or explanations for the delays. Winter is almost here, and they won’t want to do the installation on our roof when it’s cold. So… to keep calm, and stay civil with that company, hubby has unscheduled naps! However, we are determined to not allow it to be our “new” normal.

A few medical appointments (requiring more naps, I think), and several more to come this month, have been unusual events for both of us (thankfully, nothing serious). I’m wondering if I should request a long nap after getting a tooth pulled next week? I probably won’t be doing much talking for a day or two, and it will give me time to work on my new computer “project”.

I’ve also been on a learning curve, even late at night, spurred on by my normally frugal husband. He was determined to buy a nice birthday card for me without me knowing about it (I was in the same Walmart as he was), so he quickly browsed for a lovely and suitable card when I was in a different department. He didn’t check the price until he rushed to the cashier, and later told me that he spent a bit over ten dollars… on a small paper card with a  plastic heart on it. The text was wonderful, but it would have been a lot cheaper if he had bought a whole birthday cake!!!

Now he’s thinking that there would be some value in having a computer, if I could create and print greeting cards that we could deliver in person or in the mail. He sees nothing personal about online greeting cards, especially for some of our contemporaries who don’t have a computer. I managed to have paper cards in envelopes, to hand-deliver to each family member attending our family Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday. The adult grandchildren were impressed with the creations by their Nana.

Tags: Lifestyle Goals Family

M - Mona's Making Music
Posted On 09/23/2017 18:26:19

My apologies for writing a blog so soon after the last one, but something happened at our place yesterday, and it is perfect for my next “M” blog. First a short preamble to my story.

When hubby and I were travelling to the city a couple of weeks ago, he asked me an unusual question. He asked if I ever miss playing the piano, and wished we had another one. I said I didn’t think about it very often, and I had taken up with another keyboard it was a rare opportunity for me to play a piano now. Sometimes I wished I could escape the sports stuff on TV and retreat to my piano in a quiet room, but that was no longer an option for me.

When we downsized about 20 years ago, we didn’t have room for my piano, even though it was very special to me. It was a gift from my maternal grandfather when I was four years old. He even offered to pay for my piano lessons, until we moved to the city. Our son said they would take the piano in case their toddler children would someday enjoy playing the piano. It never happened!

Two years ago, our son and wife became “empty nesters and decided to downsize. They asked if I would be upset if they didn’t keep the piano. They met an immigrant family in another city whose daughter was doing very well in learning to play the piano but there was no piano in their home for her to practice. Our son thought that my piano would be a treasured gift to that family, and I agreed.

Now back to the activities here yesterday…Our son called and said,

 “Hi, Mom. Are you doing well? I’m wondering… have you ever purchased an electronical keyboard after you gave your piano to us?”

“We’ve thought about it,” I said, “but never got around to it. Why are you asking?”

He told me that if I would like a piano, he has one for me. He had just sold a house in the city, and the client moved but left an electronic piano in the house, telling him to do whatever he likes with it. When I told him that I would love to have the piano, he arrived at our home in 15 minutes, with a Roland 88-key electric piano and matching bench in the back of his truck. His buddy who came along to help unload and move the piano into our house. I quickly learned that I have a new challenge… I have to relearn much of what I used to know about playing a piano and an organ. Now I have a combination at the touch of a button.


No need for any birthday gifts this year… I’ve been blessed!

Tags: Music Piano Gift

L - Lake Louise
Posted On 09/22/2017 16:29:13

There are times when we discover, through the eyes of visitors, that we live almost “next door” to one of the world’s treasures of nature, Banff National Park. We have extended family members living in England who have visited several times, both summer and winter, and a ‘must see’ location is Lake Louise.


Lake Louise is at the foot of a glacier, and in the summer, the scene from the chateau on the edge of the lake is spectacular. There are hiking trails around the lake, a chance to view some bears when you ride the gondola, some Adirondack chairs on the front lawn, and shopping areas in the Chateau. A village has been developed near the late with many condos, making this a destination vacation location.


When our visitors come from England, they prefer to come in the winter so they can enjoy snow related activities. They rent a condo in the mountains and drive to our home for visits and a home cooked meal, or we drive to their location and join them in some activity that we can watch. At Lake Louise, they can ice skate on the lake, enjoy ice carving events, take a ride in a horse drawn sleigh, and enjoy a great lunch by windows overlooking the lake


We live about 80 miles from the lake, and never think of taking the drive there on a sunny day. It’s sort of a “been there, done that” attitude. Shame on us!

Tags: Vacation Winter Summer Chateau Hotel

K - Kids, Kellogg, and K-Mart
Posted On 09/12/2017 12:00:52

I wasn’t looking forward to arriving at ‘K’ in this alphabet challenge until last night… in the middle of the night! What do you do when you can’t sleep? I get out of bed so I don’t wake up my hubby, go to my computer (in another room so that I can turn on a light), make myself a cup of coffee and start to read. I do most of my reading on my computer now, books or articles, because the printing is bigger and the page is brighter. Reading tends to make me sleepy, and I often sleep the rest of the night in my recliner.

When our children were young and we lived in the city, they would always make sure that there was some “Snap, Crackle and Pop” and marshmallows in the pantry, so that I could make their favorite cake, rice crispy squares. Rice Krispies by Kellogg was also the breakfast cereal of choice, and their favorite cartoon gnomes. Now, if we still like them, Kellogg has them packaged and for sale near the chocolate bars in any convenience store.

Our two children were born just 13 months apart, and both were still in grade school when we moved to the country.  Their growing years took us on two different paths. Our daughter was a “groupie”, same select friends, same hair styles, same preferences in clothes, same expensive tastes. Our son worked hard at being different. He had a ton of friends, didn’t enjoy team sports, preferred motor bikes instead of horses, and had no use for the “in” labels in clothes. If the trend was T-shirts, he preferred plaid button shirts, if the hair style for guys was long hair, braids, or unkempt, he kept his hair short and well trimmed, and whatever was the ‘best’ label of the month in jeans, he preferred to shop at K-Mart. As for us, the parents, it seemed that there were far too many differences between them, and our job was to try to keep the peace.

This year, both of our children are celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary, and they now are the best of friends. Even though they live almost 800 miles apart, they keep in touch and get together as often as possible. Both have been great parents; our son and his wife are now “empty nesters”, and our daughter has three wonderful girls in their teens. They love clothes, have a constant parade of friends in their home, play team sports, and there is no K-Mart so they shop at consignment stores and Goodwill.

By the way, never once did we have a four-legged kid or the parents on our acreage. We preferred cow’s milk.

Tags: Teens Shopping Friends

J - I'm a Jazz Junkie!
Posted On 09/09/2017 01:08:57

I am a lover of music. If you have read my profile page, you already know that, and I haven’t change since I posted it.

I was brought up with music in my veins. My grandfather gave me a used Heintzman upright grand piano when I was four years old, and I started piano lessons shortly after. We lived on a farm so it was quite an effort for my parents to get me to my teacher’s dairy farm some miles away. My lessons continued with the same teacher until our family moved to the city when I was eight years old. When I earned my certificate for grade 10 music, focusing on classical music, I switched to organ lessons. I was asked to play in the worship services at our church. My parents made arrangements with a church across the street from my high school so that I could practice in the mornings before school started. Most school days, I was at the church around 7 a.m., giving me about an hour and a half of practice time before school started.

I had little opportunity to play the piano when I went into nursing training, but whenever I was able to go home on days off, my mother always enjoyed the time I took to play my piano for her. The piano stayed in their home until we had room in our home. When we downsized our home, the piano moved to our son’s home, thinking that our grandkids may be interested in learning to play it. No luck… they were into sports and other things, and music was supplied on CDs and DVDs.

It was the gift of an electronic keyboard that helped to change my focus on music. I loved the “jazz” setting and learned to improvise music in my memory to a jazz beat. I was hooked. Our home is rarely silent, especially when I am home alone. Music fills the air, sometime with volume cranked up for Gaither Homecoming Southern Gospel Concerts, and other times with soft and soothing instrumental music. When I’m home alone, out comes the jazz music, I am a junky! Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall, both well known Canadian jazz piano players, are at the top of my list, but I also enjoy many other well-known jazz musicians… Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few. When you have some time, visit my page for some smooth and soft jazz.

What kind of music do you enjoy?

Tags: Music Jazz Gospel Classical

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