Friday, December 30, 2011

Art Journal

I have friends who do art journals, so I thought maybe I'd give it a try myself. I don't do it every day, but when something catches my interest, or I want to try something new, I now have a place to play where there is no pressure to succeed. 
I didn't have a proper journal when I started, so I just took a strip of good watercolour paper, and folded it accordion style. This was my first entry. The birds were borrowed from a photograph by Chris Cochems.

When I did get a proper journal, I wasn't sure what the pages cold handle, so I started with a watercolour wash, and then switched to the water soluable pencils. 

Watercolour pencils are fun, and you can take them, and a journal anywhere.  I drew this girl in front of the TV.

Hmmmm.....the scans are showing up things that aren't as obvious in real life.  Oh well, like I said, this is just play.

I've never been very good at drawing freehand, but I took a little webinar recently that had me draw from a grid. I did much better at that.

The journal has other things in it too, like when I got some molding paste, I messed around with it to give texture to an entry. Today I tried my first acrylic transfer. I'm not sure if I succeeded or not, and I'm not sure I'm finished with it.  This Christmas I noticed that several of the envelopes were decorated with various images, so I tore them off and arranged them on a page to make a little collage. 

There is no great art here, but I'm learning lots of new techniques and I'm doing something artistic almost every day now, instead of just once a week.  That's bound to help me progress eventually.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody!

While the rest of you are celebrating this fine Christmas morning, I'm actually relaxing and enjoying a peaceful weekend. My Christmas has been postponed for two weeks this year.  That's the soonest I can gather my entire family under one roof, so I'm quite willing to wait. 

Actually, once all the rest of you get to relax, I will probably start running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  While I do have my tree up, most of my gifts aren't even wrapped yet. In fact, I just bought some needed wrapping paper yesterday. We took my oldest on out for lunch at Swiss Chalet, just so he would feel like some special event happened at Christmas. He's being so gracious about the delay, it only seemed fair.

I also finally picked up a turkey yesterday, since I saw a nice sized one at a very good price. We won't be eating that today.  We'll have a special treat of Cornish hen though, and we have some other goodies to make things a bit festivel. 

So, next week, while all of you are basking in the after Christmas glow, I'll still be wrapping, and baking and making my meat pies and getting ready.

Christmas isn't a date on the calendar, it's more of a state of mind and a feeling in your heart.  May yours be everything you wanted it to be.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keep Your Feet on the Ground!

I've done it again. Saturday I slipped on the Post Office steps and am totally amazed I didn't break a hip, or anything else for that matter.

I have had a number of falls in the past couple of years. Thinking about it, three of them have been on that same hip so I must have good strong bones. The other two were face plants. One of those left me with road rash on my face for a couple of weeks, and the other one left me with tender knees for at least a year.  I  likely should have visited the doctor for both of those falls, but I didn't. And when you fall on a hip and don't break it, you just feel lucky and don't bother to seek medical help then either. 

But this time it's different.

The steps were cement, and my feet went out from under me, so I fell like I would have on flat land, but with the corner of each step connecting with various parts of my body.  I not only landed on my bottom on one step, but the edge of a step hit me on my backside one step higher. That's the one I would have expected to shatter the hip bone.  Another step got me across the back of both legs, so I have bruises there too. One ankle is also bruised, but I'm sure I didn't hit that unless I bounced and don't remember it.  My left arm connected with another step higher up, and my shoulder was bothering me a lot for a couple of days too.  Basically, if it was on my left side, it hurts.

The thing that's concerning me the most now though, is an internal pain. I mean, I know I took quite a jolt, and likely shook everything up inside. While the bruised areas aren't bothering me at all, this internal discomfort is likely worse than it was a couple of days ago.  It's not so bad that has me running for pain medications, but it's somewhat uncomfortable.  I've never experienced this with any of my previous falls so I decided maybe I should get checked out, just in case I did damage to some internal organ.

The weather man is calling for freezing rain.  Just what I need when I want to walk across town to the Medical Centre. (I don't drive).  It was slippery conditions that caused this fall, and I'm not ready to try my luck again quite so soon.  I decided to call Telehealth Ontario, to ask if they thought I needed to see the doctor, or if I could get away with bed rest.  The first interviewer was very nice but quickly decided I should talk to a registered nurse. The nurse was on another line, but called me back within a few minutes. She asked me a series of questions, and then gave her recommendations. She said I should see my doctor within the next 24 hours, and that if I decided to take something for the pain, Tylenol was the safest thing for someone my age. 

I called the doctor's office to make an appointment, and I think that saying Telehealth Ontario told me to actually got me in sooner. The timing means I'll have to cancel, or postpone an appointment I already had to get my hearing aid fixed tomorrow, but this is likely more important.  Now watch the pain magically disappear before I get there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chatelaine Cookie Testing

This week I have been testing a Chatelaine recipe again.  Usually I have a list of them and have to choose at least two to test, but this time it was just one recipe and we all tested the same one.  All I can tell you about that, at this point, was that it was definitely the easiest thing I've ever made, and that it was a big hit with the hubby.  In other words, it will be added to my recipe file for sure.

The last test I did was for the Christmas cookies, which I expect will be in the next issue of Chatelaine.  Maybe not though, as I now see they have them up on their site.

The first one I did was a refrigerator cookie.  We taste tested them and decided my old recipe was better, so the second roll of them is still in the freezer.  They will look pretty on the Christmas platter, but I doubt that I will make them again.

The other one I made was called Chocolate-Date Truffles, and it was really fiddly, and because of that, I figured I'd never make it again. That was until I tasted them. Oh my, but they are soooooo good!  I suggested a method that would help with the construction of these, but I see they have come up with one of their own.  If cooling the mix down first doesn't work for you, just oil your hand every so often, so the mixture doesn't stick to it.

As you see, I rolled some in nuts, some in coconut, and left some plain. That makes a nice variety, even if you don't have other cookies to put on the plate.

I had a friend who had a hip replaced just about the time I did all this testing.  I took her over some of these treats and she loved them so much she has even volunteered to come and help me, so that I will make some more.  I think I'll take her up on that too, so she can take half of them home. They are so good I'd have a hard time staying out of them. It would be better if I shared the batch, just for my waistline's sake!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stir Up Some Imagination

It's the middle of November and some of us are starting to think about Christmas shopping.  Do you have little kids on your list this year?  I just want to remind you about something, in case you do.

My youngest grandson came for a visit this weekend. He's not quite 3 yet.  We have lots of toys here, left over from when my own kids were small. I keep an assortment of them in my linen closet, where they are easy for the kids to get at. As is usually the case, many of the toys were out of the closet in no time, and scattered all over the living room. I don't mind this. I love to watch kids play.

Now this particular little critter thinks it's great fun to hide. He'll go under the kitchen table, or behind a chair, where, in either case, it is very easy to see him.  But if you pretend you can't, he will sit very quietly for much longer than anyone would ever expect. He's normally a very busy little boy.  

He was playing in the living room, with the toys, and occasionally deciding to hide.  Then he went to the closet, I assumed, to see what it was he had not dug out of there yet. But he got awful quiet, so I went to look.  He was gone.  I called him and got no response.  He was hiding again.  He did a much better job of it this time, as he took all the remaining toys out of the closet, put himself in, and then quietly closed the door.  He likely dusted the closet out for me in the process, but he not only had a new hiding place, but a fort of sorts.  He was quite happy in there for a while.
Then, when he came out, he discovered that an empty cereal box made a good ramp for his Monster trucks to jump off of.  That amused him, and Grandpa for quite a while too. 

What I'm saying to you people is that it takes the simplest things to amuse little people.  You don't need to spend big bucks to make them happy, or to get good play value.  Little kids are quite capable of amusing themselves if you provide something that they can use to kick start their imaginations. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tim Horton's Tasteless Commercial

There is a new Tim Horton's commercial to promote the lasagna dish they have just added to their menu.  Three people gather for lunch. Two men and a women.  Now, look at it from the new politically correct standards.  There's a woman, a person with an obvious ethnic background, and a white guy. It used to be that we would say there was a token woman, and a token ethnic person, but by now we are so used to seeing this sort of gathering that it doesn't immediately sink in. What does sink in rather quickly is that the white guy is made to look somewhat idiotic in this commercial.

For years I've been hearing that it is becoming harder and harder to get a job is you are a Canadian white male.  Apparently that's because various businesses and services now feel the need to hire a certain number of woman and people from various ethnic groups so that they cannot be accused of discrimination.  In a way, this is reverse discrimination against an otherwise fully qualified white male as it makes that many jobs less available to him.

I do hope this Tim Horton's commercial is not a sign of things to come. It will make it even more difficult for the Canadian white male population to secure a job, if they all become type cast as the least intelligent creature in the population.

What's up with that Timmy???

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Non Subscription

Sometimes magazines offer a free issue to get you interested in their publication.  I often accept these offers and even if I can't handle a new subscription at that point in time, I do make note of the magazines I might like to have later on.  I'm a magazine junkie, and always have at least four subscriptions at any given time.  I also really like free reading material, so if something is offered for free, I'm likely to take it.

The thing is, in recent years, the publishers have taken to sending the invoice before the free issue has even arrived.  This bugs me to the point where I have been known to send them a note telling them that while offering a free issue is a great way to advertise, sending a bill before I've even seen their publication kind of counteracts their good will intentions. 

Last July I decided I would accept the offer for a free trial issue to a magazine I have never seen before.  It only comes out 4 times a year, so I knew I likely had to wait a while before the next issue would arrive in my mail box.  As I've now come to expect, the invoice arrived.  I put it aside to wait for the magazine.  When it came I would decide whether to pay it or cancel the possible subscription.  The magazine didn't come but a second invoice eventually did.  That's when I let them know that I was still waiting for the TRIAL issue. 

I got an e-mail with an apology, telling me "A trial issue does take about 6 to 8 weeks so it should be arriving by the end of this month. Please hold on to the notice and disregard any due dates on there until you receive the first issue."

Another month went by and yesterday along came another invoice. This one said that if I have not sent my payment within the past 30 days they will suspend my subscription.  Well, of course I had not sent the payment, as I still had not seen the trial issue.  By this time I'm sure they have no intention of sending me anything until I pay for it.   If I'm not getting the issue they promised, perhaps I'd never get the ones I pay for either.

I sent them another message, once again explaining that I still had not received the trial issue yet, though I ordered it in July.  No matter how you look at it, that's definitely more than 6 to 8 weeks.
I suggested they cancel the order as even if I like the magazine, I don't think I like the service.
And they did.
Apparently they don't understand that a trial issue is a good selling point and now they have lost a customer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Unusual Halloween

I got on Facebook last night and asked the question, "Where are all the kids?"  They were more than half an hour later getting started, and few and far between.  By the end of the night, I'd had only 56 total. And come to think of it, there were no cars on the street either.  That's a good thing, safety wise, but also means the parents in the outlying countryside didn't bring their kids into the village either.

News reports apparently stated that it was expected that there would be fewer kids this Halloween than there ever has been in the past 40 years.  I had noticed that there didn't seem to be as many children around as when I was raising mine, but thought that was because the population of my village was aging.  I guess there was an age group that didn't bother to reproduce for a while there.  Thankfully, I see lots of babies these days, so I guess I can expect more kids at Halloween in a couple more years.

In the meantime, I had a bit of fun anyway.  My Red Hat chapter gathered at a local restaurant yesterday morning to have a Witch's Breakfast.  We let our Red Hatter's protocol slide for the day, and came dressed as witches instead.  Being Halloween, most of the people in the restaurant never even batted an eye, but we did manage to amuse a few people, including ourselves.  We might have to try this again sometime in the middle of the year, just for the shock value alone.  That could be fun.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tortilla Soup

In July we went to Herbfest.  Among other interesting things we saw there I found someone selling packaged soup mixes that appealed to me.  I do make soup from scratch but there were some interesting ideas among her products. Determined not to buy more than one, I finally settled on the Tortilla Soup mix.  It contains nothing but good stuff:  dried black beans, dried corn, red and green bell peppers, spices, salt, garlic and green onion.  All you do is add some canned tomatoes and water and within half an hour you have a very tasty soup.  We put some broken tortilla chips and grated cheese on top and enjoyed it very much as our supper last night.  This package, by the way, comes from Victoria Epicure Inc.

I'm now searching for a recipe to make my own.  If I don't find one I like as much, I'll be ordering in a supply of their packaged stuff. I like it that much!

Meanwhile stand by for Chatelaine's issue with the great Christmas cookies I tested a couple of months ago.  It should be out anytime now, as they just contacted me to see if I still wanted to test recipies for them.  I'm looking forward to the next culinary adventure.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hats and Hosta updates

You may remember that during the summer I got invited to sit and paint in a  beautiful hosta garden as part of a fund raiser. People who would also be going for a lovely tea in a local church basement toured the garden throughout the afternoon.  I had never tried to paint in public before, and decided, since acrylics dry much too fast for me outdoors, that I'd work in watercolour.  Well, I didn't think it would be very interesting to have others watching paint dry, so I got three different hosta paintings started before I arrived, and then worked on which ever ones were dry enough to proceed.  It was an interesting day for me, and I hope those wandering through enjoyed it too. 
I never would have had the courage though, if it had not been for the fact that we were supposed to wear hats, since the event was called Hats and Hostas.  I have a hat that I thought would get more attention than anything I was painting, so that gave me courage. 

Summer is over, but I thought I should share those paintings, now that they are finished.  Tell me, do you like one better than the rest? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creative Spirits

Halloween is coming, and that means lots of different kinds of spirits are floating about. The artistic spirits in Merrickville just held their 27th annual Artists' Guild Studio Tour and I had to go check out a couple of my favourites.

Claudette Hart, also known as the Gourd Lady, used to be a potter, but now she has turned her hand to gourds instead. Before that she was a teacher, and in this segment of the CTV Ottawa Morning Show, she proves that she still knows how to get even the biggest kids to do as she tells them.

Claudette had guest artist Heather Snow at her house during the tour again this year.  Heather is a highly imaginative artist and you never know what she will come up with next.  Last year there was a tower of teapots that totally fascinated me. This year she was working on a gauntlet made entirely out of old silver spoons and forks.  What is she going to come up with next?  You could keep an eye on her webpage to find out.

In keeping with all this creative spirit, I decided to try my hand at a multimedia piece myself.  While I'm not known to be one of "the artists" in these parts, I had a lot of fun and it didn't turn out badly for a first attempt.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trend Micro Update

I have been using Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security for a month now It has generated a monthly report, to let me know what it has been able to prevent.  In the past month it has apparently blocked 9 Web Threats and terminated 1 Unauthorized Change.  It has also eliminated well over a hundred cookies I didn't set up.  It left the good ones though, and I was still able to be recognized by all my favorite sites.  This report can easily be expanded to see exactly what has been eliminated.

This morning I decided to finally do the System Tune up. I had been putting that off as I wasn't sure just what it would change.  But I see it created a Restore Point, so if I find things don't work as they should, I can always put the computer back into the state it was before it got tuned up. 

Well, the tune up freed up 4.07GB of space.  That's a lot, and I'm impressed.  But it also got rid of what I consider to be my good cookies.  I find I now have to log in to the many sites I go to that require a password, as the system no longer automatically recognizes me. I hope I can remember all my passwords, or I'll have to have those sites e-mail them to me.  Once I'm in, of course, their system will remember me again....until the next tune up anyway.  Trend Micro lets you schedule that for once a month, but I'm not sure I'll allow that yet. 

Another thing I notice is that I now have to type in the URL's I go to on a regular basis.  I have not had to do that in a long time, as Internet Explorer 8 remembers those for you, and auto finishes the web address. Well, I'll have those all reestablished soon too, as I do tend to go to many of the same sites day after day. 

One wonders though, since I now see the green highlighted go ahead and click links quite clearly, how I managed to hit so many possible web threats.  Well, okay, so I get a lot of newsletters with links and yes, I enter a fair number of contests, and.....okay so I admit I did hit a few of those grey links as well as the green ones. I did see some links highlighted in red, and avoided those though.  One has to wonder how much trouble I got into before I had Trend Micro to protect me!

I am a BzzAgent and this has been an update on my original blog posting on this product.  If you should happen to want to try Trend Micro Titanium yourself, use the discount code "BZZ30"

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Whole New Look

For years my brother and youngest son have been commenting that they can't believe I still have a 19 inch television.  My house isn't all that big, and it fit in well, and I could see it, so it was fine for me.

Recently a friend was moving from her big house in the country to a much smaller place in the city.  She had a TV to get rid of, and she offered it to me.  My old TV was starting to get lines at the top of the screen, but I would have lived with it for a while yet, as this isn't the best time of year for me to be spending money on a new replacement. I asked her what she wanted for her used one, and she told me she just wanted to get rid of it. It wouldn't cost me anything, but I would have to come pick it up on a specific date. 

I saw it and it looked good, and worked fine, so I lined up my hubby and son to help get it home.  It's a 27 inch conventional style television and weighs much too much for me to have been of any help at all. 

This is where the problem came in. I didn't have a stand to put it on.  It was too big for the stand I had been using for my 19 inch one.  I decided to try FreeCycle, and put out a request.

I quickly got two responses.  The first one sounded promising, but when we went to fetch it, it turned out to be smaller than the one we had previously been using.  We stopped by the son's place and found out he still had the old stand he got from us years ago.  But when we got it home, it was too small too.  We had an old desk in the garage, so we dragged it in, and set the TV on that. It just barely fit.  The little legs under the TV were half on and half off at the edges of the desk,  and I worried that this big front heavy TV might be easy to tip over if our little grandchildren came to visit. 

The desk was 30 inches high, and we found ourselves looking up.  Having this larger TV was like having an elephant in the room, especially with it up in the air like that.  The second offer I had from FreeCycle was for a cabinet but it stood 33 inches tall.  It was obvious that wouldn't do either. I started looking at stands in the stores.  They are now made mostly just to support the newer flat screen televisions.  And even then, it would cost more for one of them than it would cost me for a new TV of the size I was used to.

I likely would have decided to upsize my TV the next time we bought one, but I'm sure glad I found out about all this now, as it would have instantly cost us a lot more than expected, given that we would have needed a new stand too.  It's one of those things I never thought about before.

Luckily, one of the ladies at my paint class is also planning to sell her house, and she had just the thing at her place that she was more than happy to part with.  So now the 27 inch television has a new home, and I think it looks fine sitting in my TV corner.  There is no place to put the VCR or DVD player at the moment, but we don't use them often anyway, so that's not really a problem. 

Will I buy a new large TV someday?  That's a question I still don't have an answer to. But you can be sure it will have a flat screen so we can put it on a proper stand.  At least now I know I'll have to work that into the budget when the time times.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fair Trade Squirrel

I was given a pot of tulips for my birthday last spring. I've been meaning to plant those bulbs this fall, so I'd have flowers in the garden next spring (assuming the deer don't know enough to come looking for them).  The pot was sitting out in my flower garden.  It had been there all summer as I had let the tulip leaves sit in the sun gathering strength for next year. 

Well, it's now officially fall, and the squirrels are busy gathering food to get them through the winter.  Suddenly some smart squirrel thought to check the pot for bulbs.  He found one and took it away to hide, then came back, tipped the pot on it's side, and made sure he got every bulb that was in there. 

He was so grateful, he brought me a gift.  A beechnut was tucked neatly into the corner by my doorway.  I'm not sure that was a fair exchange but I don't remember a squirrel ever trying to pay for what he took before.  Maybe this one is part pack rat.

Now, I notice that he's decided to check out the rest of my flowerpots too.

And to think I used to only have to worry about the deer!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Luring the Public

This week Walmart is advertising a Black & Decker Bread Maker for $38.  This model is regularly $79.96 and I suggested my hubby go get this thing and put it away for me for Christmas. It's not something I would buy for myself, but I did think it would make a great gift....for both of us actually. 

Well, we were out shopping yesterday and there was a Walmart nearby, so we went over there to look for this gadget. We found the housewares area and walked up and down those isles numerous times. There wasn't much sign of any organization there, and the darn thing could have been anywhere within a couple of isles. We could not find it, but my hubby eventually located a store employee.  This was amazing to me as I couldn't see any sign of one. In fact, the man he found didn't look like a store employee to me, and I later asked how he knew he was one.  It seems he had some sort of key or something hanging around his neck, and was spotted gathering up empty shopping carts.  Hmmmmmm.......

Anyway, this fellow consulted the flyer, and then looked around too.  He ended up saying there was a big truck unloading at the back door, and perhaps this item was still on the truck.  He also said he couldn't be sure of that until after the truck was unloaded. But he did assure me that they would have some.

That shopping trip, by the way was 12 miles to the west of me.  Today, we went 12 miles to the east, where there happens to be another Walmart.  We went in to see if we could find the bread maker there.  Well, the isles were definitely better organized, but once again we discovered we could not locate the item in question.  A store employee was more easily located here also, but she just said they didn't have any. 

So, why is Walmart advertising a product they are obviously not carrying?  I think it's just a trick to get me through the door.  I don't usually shop at Walmart, and I've once again been reminded why.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer is Over

How was your summer?

Mine felt really short. It got off to a late start, with lots of rain.  Then the bugs came and after that it got too hot to do what we like to do most....Geocache. 

You know fall is upon us when people start to clean up their gardens. I've only recently started on mine.  It's way overgrown from the past few years of ..... laziness, I guess. 

Actually, I suffer from something they call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I used to be very active, and my garden was beautiful. Every year it got a little bigger. I would divide some perennials and always have some left over after finding homes for as many as possible.  I'd dig up another piece of land and plant them there. Then my life changed, and after no more than 30 minutes just deadheading the plants, it's like someone pulls the plug on my energy supply.  The garden has now gotten way ahead of me and I don't like how it's been looking the past couple of years. 

My energy levels have not been bad lately (knock on wood) and the weather has been nice, without being overly hot, so I decided to just go dig and see if I can improve at least some corner of this tangle of plants.

I started at the far end of the strip out back. There is a peony there, and I won't touch that, but almost everything else is being uprooted.  Some of it I don't even remember what was growing there.  I saved wee bits of that, and discarded the rest. I moved  one patch of columbine over to be with the rest, and moved one small bunch of iris over next to the peonies, as I know they bloom about the same time.  The bigger patch of iris got dug out yesterday.  I just put them in a bag, and can plant them anywhere, any time or give them away. I do have lots more of that particular colour.  Right now, I suddenly have a bare spot large enough to transplant part of the old fashioned rose that's living at the corner of my vegetable garden.  I'll let the man handle the digging and moving of that.  It's prickly and he's tough.
Did I say vegetable garden?  Ha. It hasn't been that for several years now.  The deer always got more of whatever I planted than I did, so I gave up.  The birds kindly planted some blackberries, and I've let those grow. I usually get enough berries to make a few nice desserts and still put some in the freezer for winter months.  That's a much better harvest than anything I ever tried to grow in the way of actual vegetables. 

I do put a net over the blackberries,  to protect them from the birds.  Mind you, the birds still sit on the upper vines and push the net down so they get a good share.  All the berries I get, I notice, come from underneath, where I have to carefully reach my hands through the thorns to get them.  The easy ones on top are all gone. The robins this year didn't even seem to mind sharing with me while they were there.  They just stayed there, looking at me while I picked my share a few times.  I wish I'd had the camera with me for that.

While I usually really enjoy the fall colours, this year I find I'm sad to see the leaves changing. I guess I just don't feel like I've had enough summer yet.  The weatherman did promise us an unusually long and warm autumn.  One can only hope.....

I'm ready for Indian Summer. Bring it on!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In Full Test Mode

Last week I was testing Chatelaine recipes, and  this week I'm testing Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security.  I'm not only an official recipe tester for Chatelaine magazine, but also a Bzz Agent.  The best advertising is always word of mouth so I have been supplied with this new security product so that I can try it for myself, and let the rest of you know what I think.  I don't have to convince anyone to like a product. I just give my honest impressions. 

The first thing I notice is that the links are now all highlighted on every page I go to.  Green means it's been checked and is safe.  Grey means it's questionable, though that might just mean Trend Micro hasn't actually checked that link yet.  I did see one Orange link so far, which seemed to be a caution.  I imagine a truly dangerous link would be Red, but I don't know for sure as I have not come across any of those yet (and hope I don't).
I find this rating system especially helpful when in Google, Facebook, Twitter, newsletters or any other place where there are numerous links to to the unknown.
I installed the program earlier this week, after uninstalling my Spybot, ZoneAlarm and Avast programs. When I tried to get rid of Spybot, I saw this.
Hmmmm......Blog spot is making some changes and I'm currently unable to enlarge that to the point where you could read it.  Here's what it says:
"We were  not able to reproduce the alleged incompatibility, and Trend Micro was not able to produce an explanation either.  We therefore have to assume it's request to uninstall Spybot-S&D is just unfair competition.
The Anti-Spyware Coalition defines software that uninstalls other security software as possible malware. Do you really want to trust software that reduces your system's security to improve their shareholder value?

You can reinstall Spybot-S&D after installing Trend Micro should you tolerate their patronizing and want to continue uninstalling Spybot-S&D."

I'd like to point out that Trend Micro did NOT attempt to uninstall anything. I uninstalled all previous protection myself before installing the new product.  It is my experience that these things do not always work in tandem and I wanted to give it a fair chance.  Mind you, I don't know if it would have tried to remove it if I hadn't done it first.

I don't know if I'll reinstall Spybot yet or not.  We'll see....

This morning I had a notice that there was a monthly report ready.  Well, since I haven't had this thing for a full month, I reduced it down to the past week (even though I haven't had it that long either).  It showed I had a Web Threat at some point.

I investigated that further, and found that this report shows me the URL the treat originated from, and that it was blocked.  I don't recognize it, though I do remember an unexpected pop up at some point.

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security also has a lot of other functions too, including Parental Control.  That might come in handy when my grandsons visit. 

So far, I'm liking it.
I'm going to do a full scan later today.  I wonder what that will find.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mapping in Uncharted Waters

I'm copying this entry from my geocaching blog.    My original geocaching blog had a good following, and this blog does also, but I since I could not connect the two I created a new geocaching blog, connected to this account.  People aren't really finding that one so I may give up trying to keep the two separate in the future.

I have acquired a new GPS.  I have a cyber buddy who recently became interested in geocaching, after listening to me tell my tales for the past 4 years.  When he showed me some screen captures of what his gadget could do, I knew it solved my problem.  Normally, when we go geocaching, I print off a stack of pages for the caches we want to find.  Sometimes we don't do all of them and I store the left overs in a binder.  The binder has become rather full, and really, that's a big waste of paper and ink if we never go looking for those caches....or if I get frustrated looking for the right ones and print off new ones. 

My friend's new GPS is a paperless model. That means that he can see whatever is on the web page, right there on the GPS.  He does not have to print off a hard copy like I have had to do.  He also downloaded some more detailed maps, and I can tell you that the maps that come with these units don't show any of the back roads we would normally be travelling, or for that matter the highway that runs through my village.  Oh sorry, it's now a county road....but still, it should be on there.

I had been considering getting either a laptop or a tablet, so we could look up caches where ever we might be.  Of course, you can't always get a signal, so I was hesitating.  Until my friend showed me his Dakota20, I didn't know you could get a paperless GPS.  He had told me what he paid, and thought he got a good bargain.  Then suddenly GPS City was advertising the Dakota20 for a lot less than even my friend paid. And the sale was only good for a couple of days.

Well I have a GPS, so at first I ignored the sale.  Then I thought a bit, and realized the main reason I wanted a tablet, or whatever, was so we could go geocaching where ever we might be.  The GPS was certainly a lot cheaper than a tablet or a laptop, and it would save me a fortune in paper and ink as well.  I quit hesitating and ordered it.

Then the fun began. My friend insisted that I would find the Dakota20 a lot more useful if I downloaded a better map.  There are some you can buy, and there are some you can get for free. I opted to try a free one first, but the Canadian ones were no longer available for direct download so it was suggested I get one by something called Bit Torrent.  What the heck is that?  I went to watch the video that was supposed to guide me though that, but it started out by trying to get me to download the thing that had been disabled.  So much for that.  My friend jumped in and sent me a couple of map files to try, but he didn't tell me how to load them, no matter how many times I asked.

Now, let's consider that I have found at least 209 caches so far, without the aid of a fancy map.  That includes the 4 I've located since this new gadget arrived this week.  We could carry on as we always have, and I'd only have to print a map of the area we were about to cover.  That still saves a lot of paper and ink.  But I'm stubborn, and decided to keep trying, just to see if a fancier map would really make that much of a difference.

Today I finally figured out how to do it.  It took me 3 days....and I used to think I was pretty good at this technical stuff.  When I opened that map though, it wasn't any different than the one I already had....other than that it didn't have the geocaches I'd loaded onto the other one.  Back to square one. But at least now I have a clue how to get the maps to show up on the GPS.  I'll try the other map file tomorrow. I hope loading and deleting multiple maps doesn't fragment the drive on the GPS as that could slow things down.  This is new territory for me, so if you have any advise, I'd be happy to listen.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fair Results

I recently mentioned I was asked to sit in a garden full of hostas and paint for the afternoon.  Well, this was certainly an new experience. I've never painted hostas before, and I've certainly never painting where others could watch me before either. 
I just finished the first of 3 hosta paintings I started for that event.  It was rather an ambitious undertaking, and since I finished it just in time for the fair, I decided to enter it to see how it would do.  Usually I win something for my paintings, and that's always a great way for me to get the encouragement I need to continue. I've never pretended to be an artist, but I do like to paint.
Well, this one didn't win anything at the fair. 

Actually, the acrylic one didn't either. I was more surprised by that as I really thought it would catch someone's attention.  Oh well. Maybe there was a lot more competion this year.  That's not a bad thing, since when I first started entering paintings in the fair, it was because the quality of what I was seeing there was such that I figured these people just slapped some paint on some paper at the last minute, just so they could enter something.  It made me feel like I had a chance, and I did well.

Now, I know that I'm a lot better now than I was then, so it's not that I've gone downhill, but rather that the competition has gotten better. That's certainly okay with me.  It makes for a much better show.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Change In Nature

I have an apple tree in the back yard. About this time if year it starts dropping apples and I go out and pick them up. I sort them into baskets of those that will go directly into the trash, and those that I may be able to get some good bits off of, to make apple sauce and the occasional pie.  I haven't sprayed the tree in years, due to windy conditions, so most end up in the trash.

The trick as always been to get out there first thing in the morning and get all the new apples picked up. If I waited, the wasps, slugs, ants, and crows would beat me to them and it's amazing how quickly they gobble them up.  The squirrels also help themselves, and one year I even found proof that a bear had come to check out my tree.

One year we had been away for a few days and when we came back there were more than the usual number of apples on the ground.  I went out to get them later in the day, when there were lots of wasps about. I got a bucket and a shovel, and I carefully scooped up the apples and dropped them into the bucket. When the bucket was full, I'd slide the shovel through the bucket's handle and pick it up that way so it would be a safe distance away.  As I was being careful, the wasps were still with the apples as I took them to the garden and dumped them there. 

I had made several trips when my hubby came around the house and spotted me. I could see by the look on his face that he was alarmed. Here I was, in my shorts and sandals, totally surrounded by wasps flying low to the ground.  I was afraid he would excite them so I quickly told him to calm down and go away. I told him I was fine, that I'd been there, doing that, for the past half hour and I was in no danger of being stung unless he got the wasps excited.

I think of this now, as I've just come in from picking up apples. There were no wasps.  None. No slugs or earwigs either.  Heck, this year the crows aren't even bothering to sit in the tree and pick at the apples until they fall off. Only the occasional squirrel has helped himself to an apple this year.  That's fine with me, but I'm finding it very strange.  Where are the wasps?  For that matter, where are the slugs and earwigs?  And why have the crows suddenly decided my apples aren't worth the effort? 

Ha.  Come to think of it, I haven't bothered with them myself this year.  Any I've picked up have gone straight to the trash. I have only tasted a couple of bites off of two of them so far, but have not even thought about trying to cook some up. When the tree was in full bloom this year, a big wind came and blew most of the blossoms off.  Usually I'm all worn out from processing them by now.  Luckily for me, there aren't many out there this year.  Maybe I'll look forward to a good crop next year.  Maybe I'll have to fight for my share again.  Maybe......

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back on the Job

I'm an official recipe tester for Chatelaine magazine. (see Working in an Official Capacity and  Kitchen Experience ). 

I turned down the last assignment because it was for gluten free recipes, and I didn't want to have to buy strange flours I'd never use again.  I told them that and also told them I hoped that wouldn't knock me off the list for future assignments. The recipes I didn't want to test can be found in the September issue.

Now they are lining up testers to do some baking, I can only assume is for the Christmas season.  I was contacted and I jumped at the chance.  I was sent 10 recipes and I have to bake at least 2 of them. I didn't have too much trouble narrowing down which recipes I'm going to try. I may do as many as 4, but I've only got a couple of weeks, so we'll see.  I can't tell you any more than that.  You will have to wait patiently until the issue comes out to know specifically what recipes I tested. 

Let's just hope I don't gain too much weight taste testing along the way.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I've Run Out of Time

Well, I said I'd try to take you along with me on some of my rambles, and I managed to get some of them in here, but not everything.

If I didn't mention The Basket Case in Morrisburg, I'm giving it the highest rating for where to have lunch, or even just dessert. It was the first time we've ever been there, and you can be sure it won't be the last. 

If things like Whiskey Apple Cake, or Raspberry Port Cake (it's chocolate) don't tempt you, then maybe a nice piece of quiche and a lovely salad for just $6.99 might get you in the door.  As you can see, the walls are lined with local art, and there are other lovely gift items at the front of the shop too.  Well worth a stop, even if you aren't hungry.

We did locate a Stone Cold Creamery in the Tim Hortons across the street from where we saw Sir John Eh? on Friday night. (our previous search) The play was in an old stone church and it was quite hot in there, so an ice cream treat seemed like a perfect way to end the evening.  It's a good thing we were hot, and that the ice cream was good. These treats cost us over $11....but now we can at least say we tried them.
We had the medium size in a waffle cup.  You can get a smaller one, in a normal paper cup for somewhat less.  Mine was raspberry ice cream with blueberries and strawberries mixed in. Hubby's was vanilla with crushed oreo cookies, chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. There were lots of other choices and apparently you can even just tell them what you want and they will mix it to your specifications.

We also took in the Sheep Dog Trials, down near Kingston on Saturday. This was an extremely well organized event, and if you have never been, I recommend it. There were more than just sheep dogs there, and if you wanted something a little more exciting, there were wolves and tigers and eagles and other interesting things to see.  I'm not sure I'd have put my small child in the front row. This tiger may have been just a young one, but those kids still look too much like tiger food to me.

I've run out of time and while what I've shown you is not everything I saw and did over the past couple of weeks, I hope you enjoyed going along for the ride

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sir John Eh?

A couple of years back a cousin of mine tried to convince me that we were related to Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister.  I had not heard of this before, and decided to try to find the connection.  My great grandmother was Catherine Macdonald, but if you've ever looked at the Macdonald family you would immediately notice that there are an over abundance of Johns, James, Hughs, Alexanders and Catherines.  It's not easy to keep them all straight, but I'm sure I did rule out any possibility of any direct line relationship.  His only son that survived to adulthood, Hugh John Macdonald, who became the Premier of Manitoba married, but had no children. That was the end of the family line on the male side, and any females would, of course, have changed names upon marrying. 

I've been asked to check out lines from Sir John's brothers, or even his father's brothers. I will if I ever get time.  But really, I suspect my cousin's parents just told her that to make her feel special.  I remember my own Dad telling me I was a direct descendant of some Greek royalty, but I don't believe that's true either. I'm sure he just wanted me to feel like a princess.

Last night we went to see a play called Sir John Eh? which was advertised as a musical comedy.  There was music, and the odd funny bit here and there, but mostly it tried to pass on historical bits about Sir John and his life and career.  He was a bit of a scoundrel and a well known drunk.  Here's a wee excerpt from the play:
John A.: I never took bribes for my own use. I may have spent a few tax dollars at Mrs. Grimason's tavern. On my constituents. It was the custom of the day. Courtney: But you did takes bribes.
John A.: To pass along to others. Of course. Wheels don't turn if they don't have grease. Buy a man a drink, you've got his vote. Unless he's a Methodist. Make him a senator, he's yours for life. Bribery is an essential tool of government. Let me give you an example. (Sets the scene) I was fresh from winning the election in '87, giving my usual "Canadians have spoken their minds" speech - "Not for sacks of Yankee gold," sort of thing ...
Shortly after that the modern day character named Courtney blamed Sir John for setting a precedent for all the politicians we have today.  A bunch a corrupt bunch of liers, was the gist of what she called them.  And it was all his fault!

The play went on to indicate that he managed to impregnate the above mentioned Mrs Grimason during a time when both his first wife and her husband were still alive. In fact, the play made it look like his wife died while he was at the tavern for the night.  He went away for several months and and when he returned  he had married a woman that the play indicated was such a snob her nose dented her forehead.  He claimed that was his biggest mistake, as he would rather have taken up with the widowed Mistress of the bar.  That may have just been part of the play too. Who knows?

I'm no longer so sure I want to find myself related to this fellow, though apparently he was quite acceptable as a man of the day in which he lived.

I do like one of his sayings, and will try to remember it when things go wrong.

"When fortune empties her chamber pot on your head," Sir John A. once said, "smile and say we're going to have a summer shower."

The way the world is going lately, it sure feels like that chamber pot has been dumped.  And hey, we could use those summer showers right about now, right?

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Bit of False Advertising Leads to Adventure

It seems Tim Horton's now has Stone Cold Creamery at some of their locations. I've got a coupon so that if I buy one ice cream treat, I get another one for free. I knew there was no ice cream at any of the Tim Horton's around here, so I put in my postal code and did a search for the nearest location where this would be available.  The search came up with two possibilities.  One was on Bank Street in Ottawa, and the other was in Elgin Ontario, which is down highway 15 toward Kingston. I couldn't believe that, so I double checked it. 

It was decided that today would be a good day to go geocaching, so we decided to go to Elgin for an ice cream treat.  Of course, once we got there, there was not only no Stone Cold Creamery, there wasn't even a Tim Hortons.  That really was no surprise, but it's strange that the search engine brings it up as if there were.

Now, if I had clicked on the little bubble, I would have seen this....

And that would indicate that I needed to go all the way to the 401 to get the ice cream. But for some reason it still says Elgin Ontario...which is not near the 401.  Just a sneaky way to get people to go to Elgin perhaps?

Anyway, we did some geocaching, and then dropped into the local restaurant to have a cool drink.

No, not that kind. 

The geocaching part of this story can be found at

Vendors Everywhere I Go

Sunday we spent a few minutes at Merrickville's Canalfest.  There were the usual craft vendors, silent auction, Voyageur Canoe Race and, of course, musical entertainment. 

One thing I notice, at all the craft fair events, is that there are an over abundance of jewelry makers out there this year.  The only interest I have in those stalls is to see if anybody has come up with something different that I might like to try making myself.

A few of them sell interesting beads and pendants, as well as jewelry. It's just a good thing I have enough stuff around the house waiting to be strung up as it is, as I've seen some interesting ones over the past few days. I have been able to resist, however.  Next year, when I'm looking for such things, there won't likely be any.

It was too hot to stay long, and I had grocery shopping to do, so we set off to Kemptville.

First stop on a Sunday is always the Kemptville Farmer's Market.  There are a lot of different farmer's markets in the area, and I like to visit them, when I can.  I think the Kemptville one is the best though.  There is always a wide variety of vendors there, and there seems to be a lot of good sampling to be had too.  I experienced pickled jalapeno peppers (I saw "Pickle" and it was green, so I got a surprise when I tasted that!), a couple of different shortbreads (I liked the one with the toffee bits), and a few different kinds of strange looking cucumbers and tomatoes.

The highlight of this market trip was these interesting vegetables are grown in Oxford Mills by Luke Swale.  I was told that they plan to grow something new and different every year.  Check out their website at . Personally, I'm bookmarking that one.

I came home with a nice loaf of bread and an assortment of freshly dug potatoes.  I likely should have made off with a few of those cute cucumbers too.  Oh well, maybe next time.....