Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Christmas Present With Added Benefits

I have wanted a tablet for a while now but was still in research mode. There are so many to choose from and I was finding it all very confusing. iPads are popular, but I felt I wanted something with a USB port.  As even I  didn't really know what I was looking for yet, I certainly didn't ask for a tablet for Christmas, so I was totally surprised when I opened the package containing it. What I found was an Asus Memo Pad.  At first I didn't know what I was looking at as I was unfamiliar with that brand.  It was only after I actually opened the box itself that I got excited.  I've had a few of days to play with it now and find that it does everything but wash the dishes.

It also does a few unexpected things if a finger happens to touch something unintended, and I don't always know how to undo what it does. Tablets don't tend to come with instructions, so you learn by doing.

The first day I was testing out the camera and after a few successful pictures, I somehow slipped into video mode and every time I tried to take a picture, I ended up with a video instead. Each time I thought I had it straightened out, it produced another video. At least I had already learned how to delete these unwanted files. Finally a call was made to my son, as his wife has one, and he uses it a lot too.  Mine is a newer model, so they didn't really understand what buttons I was seeing on the screen here, but some things they said clued me in, and I suddenly realized that the red button that I had been pushing was the record button, but the camera icon on the screen (which I simply thought indicated I was on the right screen to take pictures) was actually the camera's shutter release. Duh....

I had accumulated a few new icons on my desktop, as I had downloaded a couple of apps and a game. They also appear among the app library on another page, so I assume the ones on the desktop are shortcuts. I didn't know how to eliminate them from there, but hoped I'd learn how to thin them out if the desktop got too cluttered over time. Somehow I also accumulated a language translator button, that I may never need. I have no idea how to get rid of that, and sometimes it's a bit of a nuisance.  Then suddenly, last night, the screen I am normally faced with when I turn the tablet on changed completely, and so did the one next to it as I scrolled backwards. I don't know how that happened, or how to undo it.  I'm not sure yet, if it's a good or a bad change, but I figure, if I screw things up too badly before I learn to use the tablet properly, I can go visit my son's house and learn some tricks. Happily he lives only twelve miles away. My grandsons (ages 5 and 9) each have an iPad and I figure if they can learn to work a tablet, so can I.  If all else fails I can hit the reset button and return it to the way it was when it came from the factory.

I used to say I learned something new on the computer everyday, and that it was good for my mind. Well, maybe I had gotten a little too comfortable with the computer lately. This tablet has put me back in learning mode.  I'm enjoying it greatly, and loving the experience of exploring all the possibilities this little gadget presents.  Already I believe the Asus Memo Pad was the right choice for me.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas To You All

Yes, I still say Merry Christmas. I even have a hat that clearly has Merry Christmas Eh embroidered on the front of it. Nobody seems to mind. In fact, I've even been thanked for showing my Christmas spirit.  I believe it's only the politicians who want us to switch to saying things like Happy Holidays.  I also think those politicians should learn to listen to the people, because, clearly, we don't agree.  Last time I checked, I lived in a country where we still had both freedom of speech and religion. 

Recently I painted two successful portraits, and then got over confident and tried to do one of someone I know in one of her many costumes. It is just a small painting and I discovered that if you are off by even the tiniest fraction of an inch on the features, you end up with someone else. I couldn't give it to her, as I had planned to. I liked the painting anyway, so I came up with this alternative use for it.  It makes a lovely card, don't you think?

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Christmas Present From President's Choice

Have you applied for your new PC Plus card yet?  They have been advertising it on TV a lot lately, so I got myself one.

The first time I asked for one they gave me a post card that had a web address on it. But that was meant to sign up a PC financial card to this new system, and was not the new points card itself.  While I have their financial card, I found I don't really like charging for groceries and getting a shock at the end of the month. I just wanted the points card.  The next time I went they gave me the right one, and they activated it right there, so I even went home with points from that day's purchase.

I looked online and discovered they have a very well designed website. Each week you "load" the products that earn points onto your card account from the website. The products offered will be more and more in line with the type of things you buy on a regular basis. Over time the system keeps track of your preferred products, so it can tailor the sales, and the site to you.  There are recipes on there, based either on what's on sale that week, or the products you tend to buy, or both. It's your choice. You can make out a meal plan, and have the site issue you a shopping list. I think it may become one of my favorite sites to visit. 

As for the points, they add up far more quickly than I would expect.  I have just gone on my third weekly shopping trip and already I had enough points to cash in for $20 off my grocery bill.   That was perfect timing, as we all know that Christmas extras add a lot to that bill. I feel like I got $20 off my turkey this year, and that feels like an early Christmas present from the President's Choice people.  I'm already a quarter of the way to being able to cash in more points.  You have to reach the $20 level before you can cash in, but you can wait and add more in $10 increments if you chose to.  Apparently you can even add other family and friend's cards to the same account so that you can pile up the points even faster. I'm not sure who would agree to that, unless several people within a family all do the shopping and this way no points would be missed out on. 

At this point I have to say, if you don't already have one of these PC Plus cards, go get one. 
And thank you Presidents Choice.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cyber Week Adventures

In the past I have purchased various things on line, but I have shied away from clothing.  One never knows just how something will fit, and it's hard to judge the quality of something from a picture online.  I didn't want to be out the shipping costs if the item needed to be returned.

 I have a favorite store where I've bought a lot of my clothes for many years. It used to be in the mall that I frequent in Ottawa. It seems the mall decided it needed that space for something else so my store disappeared. There are still a couple of other outlets for this store where I can go, but I'd have to make a special trip to get to them. My shop decided to get in on Cyber Week this year.

The Cyber Week sales were too good to resist. I do, after all, know my size at that store, so I jumped in and tried to buy a pair of my favourite cords for just $19.99 on Dec 4th.  These cords are normally about $65, though I would never pay that much for them, and usually wait until they go on for half price, or something.  I had already decided I wanted another pair this winter and was willing to wait until the big sales after Christmas. The problem with that is the colour I want may be gone, or the size I fit into could very well be sold out.  This Cyber Week sale was too tempting to pass up.

It went smoothly. I picked out a colour, after a bit of hemming and hawing, then chose the correct size and went to cash out my purchase. There I discovered that they were deducting an additional 30%, so I went back in and picked out another pair in a different colour.  By the time I had cashed out, the total came to $40.41 including the shipping and the taxes.  That's just fantastic, and I was all ready to mark my calendar to go shopping on Cyber shopping at the same time next year.

Then the invoice came in my e-mail and my VISA was being charged at the full price.  The total came to over $111 so I fired off an e-mail saying that I'd just made the purchase at their sale price and they could either send me a corrected invoice or cancel the order.

I waited for a few hours and got no response.  I checked my banking and saw that the full charge had indeed showed up on my VISA account.  I decided to phone them. The lady was very apologetic. She said the computer had a glitch in it and she was recalculating my total, even as we spoke. The final total, she told me, was $54.16.  I mentioned that that was not what I had seen when I put the order through, and she said, "But there is shipping."  I knew the shipping had been included in my total, but was relieved to have her at least get the charge down to a  more manageable amount.

The lady mentioned during this conversation that my address was a postal box, and she wanted a street address. I gave that to her, grumbling to myself that now I'd have to be at home to receive the parcel.  All my other online purchases come by regular mail.  I really hate being held captive by delivery people.

I went back in to the site and investigated.  That's when I noticed the 30% off was just supposed to be on regularly priced items, so that was another computer glitch, and explained why her total was different from mine. I admit I had not been expecting that extra 30% off anyway, but it did cause me to go back in to get another pair, and I will be bringing that up to their attention when this is all finished.

I decided to recreate the purchase, and was prepared to capture screens along the way so I could prove the final total I had been originally shown.  I usually print that page, but saw the confirmation e-mail arrive and foolishly closed the site before I opened the e-mail. As it turned out, the deal was so good that my colours and size had already sold out so I couldn't duplicate the order after all. I guess a lot of other people liked that extra 30% off too.

I put that order in a week and a half ago, and I have been watching the VISA charges ever since.  They were very quick to put the charge through,  but it took them over a week to correct it.  I never did get a response to the e-mail I sent the first day.  No new invoice arrived in my mail at all.  I did get an e-mail that the parcel had been prepared for shipment and that I would receive a further e-mail from Purolator telling me the tracking number when they were ready to ship. 

I saw when Purolator put a label on my package on Dec 10th.  I waited for it to show up all the next day. When it didn't arrive by the end of the day, I tracked it down, and saw that it was returned to them with a notice "Attempted delivery - incomplete / incorrect address provided."  I had personally given the address to the online order lady when I called about the original invoice, since she wasn't happy with the post office box number. Could she have written it down wrong?  Now I had to contact Purolator and find out what the problem was. You do that by way of an online chat, and it was now too late in the day to reach them. I made note of the time that the office opened in the morning and made sure I got online with them early enough to get the parcel back on the road that day.

When I asked what the problem was,  I was told, "We need a unit number and a buzz number."

I had brain fog for a moment there. I had no idea what she was asking for, and stared blankly at the invoice. I was just about to ask her where I should be looking when it dawned on me, they thought I lived in an apartment!  That's silly.  If the truck had come down my street, it would see there are NO apartments in the area. I told her that, and once again gave my address, going so far as to tell her I was at the east end of the street.  She said she would send it out the following morning...Dec 13th.  So getting online with them first thing in the morning wasn't going to help after all.  I was going to have to wait another day. But at least I knew I was being allowed to escape from the house for one day.

I don't know why I looked later that day, but it appeared, by the end of that day, that a total of four attempts had been made to deliver my pants. I still had time to get someone on the chatline this time though, and I did that.  She assured me that there had only been one delivery attempt so far, and that the other reports were because the warehouse scans everything on a regular basis. She asked me a couple of questions and I explained, once again, that there are no apartments here. I live in a single family dwelling.

So the order I put in on Dec 4th took until Dec 13th to show up at my door. The label on the package indicated that they didn't know whether to go east or west on my street, even though I had told them (but the driver must have called that in as there was an additional label that had nothing but the word "East" on it).  This is also foolishness, since my street is exactly 3 blocks long, and there is only one block west of the main street,  so my house number could not possibly have been in that direction. I think some of these drivers are getting paid to joy ride, wasting gas without actually looking for the address on the lable.  How else would you explain all this?

I just looked at the tracking site again and I see that the driver has entered the fact that he has now delivered the package. He did spell my name wrong though.  It's a wonder he found the street, let alone the house!

My first internet purchase of clothing has been quite the adventure.  It cost me more than I intended, and was very hard on my nerves at times. Still, I got a good bargain in the end.... even if I did end up with two pairs of pants instead of just one. I'm not sure if I'll ever try this again though. We'll see how adventurous I feel next year at this time. In the meantime, I think I'll stick to the actual stores, even if I do have to make a special trip now and then.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Technological Dinosaur

I started with a Commodore 64 and I used to type in games and other programs out of magazines. This was a great way to learn some Basic Programming as I would always make some typos, and while trying to find the problem, I often learned what various commands did.  I was able then to create a little program of my own, that enabled my hubby to shave hours off a monthly task he did at home as part of his job.  I was quite proud that I had learned enough to be able to help him in that way.

As time went on, I was able to help various friends do the things they wanted to be able to do on their computers, and even became a Newbie Helper on the 50Plus chat room. I was pretty good at that as I was able to get 80 year olds, who had never had a computer before, to understand and implement what I was telling them.  And all that was done online, though the chat window, or sometimes by private message.

Times have changed however, and the technology has been developing so quickly I have had trouble keeping up with it. I'm still working on an old Windows XP machine (which I will cling to as long as I possibly can). I also now have a second hand laptop, but I seldom use it as I find it awkward to type on, and often revert to the two fingered method (and I really don't want to do that).  My young grandsons both have  iPads, and I'd love one, but I'm not sure it would suit my needs. I want something with a USB port, so I can load geocaching way points on it if we find ourselves with some spare time while away from home.  Today there are so many different tablets, and I hear they don't all do the same things, so I'm leery about choosing the wrong one.

Recently my house phone got short circuited by a snow storm and I had to resort to using my cell phone.  I was on a pay as you go plan, which accumulated so much credit that Telus finally decided to let me use that credit if I switched over to a monthly plan instead. Now I don't have to top up every month. But when I turned the cell phone on the other day, I got an automated message from Telus saying I had to top up or I'd lose my balance. I started to reply to them, asking why I  needed to top up when I had already had a message from them recently that told me I didn't need to do that because I had over $......oh wait a minute, how do you type a number into a text message anyway?  I don't have a fancy phone with a built in keypad. I don't have a smart phone, or anything fancy at all.  My phone is the most basic model because, as I said, I don't use it for anything. My hubby uses it as a way to track me down when we get separated in a mall. He calls to ask me where I am.

While I fooled around trying to figure out how to text numbers, (and I still don't know) I got an incoming call from my hubby (he is the only one who has my number). He would have been calling to tell me when to expect the Bell Telephone guy who was supposed to come and string a new line from the pole to the house so I answered the call and immediately lost the text message I was labouring over.

When I finally got land line phone service restored, I immediately went online went online to the Telus site. I'd been without the internet for 3 days by that point, suffering, as one of my Facebook friends implied, from a severe case of withdrawal by that time.  I'm usually good at finding things online, but I discovered Telus are very good at hiding their contact information.  I finally found a chat box, and had a lovely chat with someone who assured me that the message I had received was just an automatic thing and that it would be the last one I got like that. I wasn't going to lose my balance after all. (Darn, what was that person's name in case the money disappears tomorrow and I have to get back to them?) 

I asked, since I had contact with a live person, if my new monthly plan (which gives me 50 messages or texts for the same $10 I've always paid) still included voice mail.  I was asking because I had spotted something on one of their web pages that said "Add Voice Mail" when I was hunting for some contact information.  I had earlier tried to retrieve some voice mail and couldn't get in. The phone was not recognizing the password I'm sure I've always used.  The nice person at the other end quickly decided to reset my password for me, and told me how to access it, and what to do when I did. I disconnected, thinking all was well.  I tried to get into my voice then, as I now had two messages to retrieve, but the password she had given me did not work either. Obviously she must have typed it in wrongly at her end, and I'm going to have to connect with Telus again to straighten that out.

This weekend I was at a party, and even though there where ten of us gathered at one table, several of those were busy socializing on their phones instead of with each other.  I have even seen people actually texting while jumping around on the dance floor, and for the life of me, I don't know how they managed that!  I have a hard enough time getting away from my computer as it is, so I'm pretty sure I'm better off not having such a gadget that kept me connected all the time. Not that I'd ever learn how to use it properly anyway.    

How I went from being so far ahead of others technologically, to being so far behind, is beyond me.  I doubt I'll ever get caught up now.   I've turned into a technological dinosaur. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

There Ought To Be a Law

There has been a lot in the news over the past year or so about cyber bullying and the damage it does. Sometimes young people will point out the flaws in others as a way to feel better about themselves, and give themselves a sense of power over the one they are bullying.  Others often join in on the side of the person perceived to be in power.  After all, if they stand against him, perhaps they will be next.  Bullying has been going on since the beginning of time.  Many of us have been bullied at one time or another,  but in recent years, because of technology, more people can get in on the act of bullying a person, and often it's not even easy to tell who is doing it. This has caused more than one young person to break, and take their own lives.  As a result, there is now an initiative to prevent cyber bullying, and it's often not tolerated, and may even be against the law in some areas.

However, though adults have come to understand the need to protect the children, they have not taken a good look at themselves.  What makes media bullying any different from cyber bullying?

Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford was caught doing things he should not have been doing. The media, as is it's job, brought the drug and alcohol abuse to the attention of the public.  Of course he denied it, as would any kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  But the media, like a dog with a bone, pursued him until he finally admitted his guilt.  That should have been enough, but yet each day there is another news story about this man as those in the media insist on digging up more dirt. Now the American night time talk shows are having a field day, and the story, which should have been local has gone world wide. A man who might have seen the light and gotten help may now forever have difficulty finding a decent job because of this kind of coverage. 

Mr Ford is obviously an addict, but even if he were not, by now I'm sure the relentless pursuit of media would be enough to drive most any man to drink.  Addiction is considered an illness in today's society, but the media seems to be determined to push him over the edge.

And of course, there's also Justin Bieber, who the media can't seem to leave alone these days either.  Maybe kids learned how to cyber bully by watching what the press does.  Journalists, as adults, should be more responsible and set a better example.  Their job is to report the news, not relentlessly hound  people by reporting every move they make, or have ever made.

To the journalists out there, I say, back off. Let the addict heal, and the teenager grow up. It's your job to report the news, not destroy lives and livelihoods. What you are currently doing has passed beyond reporting and is now bullying.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Human Microprocessor Isn't News to Me

Today I read an article in Yahoo News called 'Microcomputers' Live Inside the Human Brain.  I'm not sure why they think this is a new discovery.

As we all know that the brain is a very powerful computer, but what some people don't realize is that you don't always need to fuss over a problem to solve it.  Just like computers often run programs in the background, once the brain is fed the information and left to do it's own thing, it too can work on solving  problems in the background, while you go about doing other things.  It will present us with a solution when it's finished.

Take for instance the fact that earlier this week I was looking for my watercolour pencils and my journal. They should have been in my art bag, but they were not.  I sometimes take a smaller bag with me to a drop in group where I occasionally do artistic things. They were not in that bag either.  I asked at the drop in if anyone had found them, thinking perhaps I'd left them behind the previous week. I knew I had used them there at that time.  Still, there was  no sign of them, there either.  When I mentioned that I had checked both my bags others got into a conversation about all the bags they have too.....one for exercise, one for art, one for bowling, etc, and the conversation went off in all kinds of directions from there.

 I figured I'd either lost the art supplies, or they would show up eventually, and thought no more about them. Then, last night, just as I was about to fall asleep, my brain solved the problem.  When I had gone to the drop in the week before, I had another event to attend immediately afterwards, and I had taken a different bag containing things I needed for that.  It was one that I never take to the drop in so I had forgotten about it entirely.  But my brain had not forgotten, and though I was not actively looking for my art supplies, or even thinking about where they might be, the computer in my brain put two and two together, and presented me with the answer, when I least expected it.

I related this story to some friends this morning, and was immediately told about the time one of my friends took something apart, and had the devil of a time trying to put it back together again. He eventually gave up. But that night he had a dream about how to put it together, and that solved the problem.  The computer in his brain has worked it out for him and presented him with the answer.

I remembered years ago when I had been trying to learn how to do the afghan stitch.  It's a form of crochet you do on a very long needle.  All the stitches are gathered on this needle as if you were knitting instead of crocheting, and then they are worked off again until you are down to the usual one stitch.  I read the instructions and tried to do what they said. That didn't work. I read them again and tried to work the  instructions one at a time, and still it didn't work.  I figured there was something I just didn't understand, so I took the problem to my mother-in-law. She was well experienced in both knitting and crocheting and I thought she could just show me how it was done.  She had never heard of the afghan stitch, so she read the instructions and tried it herself. She couldn't do it either.  She asked me to leave the book with her so she could figure it out, and I did, but she eventually gave up and we were no further ahead.  Just like in the two cases above, I let go of the problem, but my brain apparently did not.  A few weeks later I had a dream, and when I woke up, I knew how to do that afghan stitch.  The computer in my head worked out the problem and found a way to teach me.

Sometimes when I'm working on my computer, it doesn't respond as quickly as I'd like. Then I tend to press a button, or several, or the same one several times. This only confuses my old computer, and makes it harder for it to sort out just what I'm after.  If I had been patient and left it alone, it would have finished the required task much more quickly.

Many of us have been told in the past that if we have a problem we cannot solve, we should walk away from it.  Often the solution will present itself.  That computer that sits on top of our shoulders can work on the problem with out you fussing over it.  Ask the question, leave it alone and often the answers will come.  You just have to be patient as sometimes, like with our electronic device,  it takes a while for the information to be processed. The little microprocessors are working even when the main brain is focused on other things.

Like I said, I'm not sure why they think this is a new discovery.  I figured it out long ago.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Give a Child a Jump Start on Life

Several years ago I had a friend who was trying to raise a couple of kids on welfare. Every once in a while she would hear about some families in her situation that got some sort of benefits she had no idea how to get access to.  It's just another example of the fact that there are all kinds of agencies and programs out there designed to help people, but they fail to let the very people who need them know how to apply for them.

One day, when I was at Tim Hortons with another friend, I saw the poster about the camps they send kids to.  I asked a lady who was working there how one applies for these camps.  She didn't know, but she said she would get the manager for me.  Apparently the manager wasn't sure how to go about that either, but said she would find out and happily give me a call when she did. Well, by that time the friend who had the children who would have benefited from such a thing had moved away, and the kids were nearly grown up, so I didn't bother to pursue it.   I did make a point of telling the manager and her worker about my friend who never knew how to apply for such programs, and suggested that they find a better way to publicize it for those who need it. They should at least have access to the application forms when someone asks about it.

A computer search gave me the information just now, but many people who struggle to make ends meet do not always have computers.  As it turns out parents cannot directly apply to have their children attend these camps. Children are specially selected and referred by schools and community organizations who work with the economically disadvantaged.  That's nice, but I do know some families do the best they can to cover up the situation they are in, so perhaps the schools aren't always aware of all the children who might be eligible.

The program I have become especially fond of lately is the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program. It is meant to remove the financial barriers that prevent kids from participating in organized recreational activities. Jumpstart will supply funds to help with equipment needed, or the fees to take part in sporting activities because participating in such programs increases a child's self esteem  and a chance at success in life. If your family needs this kind of help call 1-877-616-6600.

One hundred percent of customer donations to Jumpstart go directly to help kids in financial need participate in organized sport and recreation.. The amount of the benefit to the families needing it directly relates to how much money is in the fund, and how many people in any given area apply.   As someone who runs a karate club,  I've seen this program in action more than once.  The parents applied, and the fees were paid directly to the club. Kids who might not have been able to attend were able to continue their classes uninterrupted. Next time you see that little display by the Canadian Tire cash register, offering little balls or whatever, drop a bit of loot in the box. You could even make a donation online.  I guarantee you will be doing something good for some children in your neighbourhood.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mother Nature Paints Too

Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been the time for our last walk in the woods. The weather is often good, and the tree colours are lovely.  This year I didn't think it was going to happen, but it did.

I don't often have family here for Thanksgiving, but this year seemed to be the time. We scheduled the meal for Sunday, and decided to take in one of the art studio tours on Saturday.  There were three available to choose from.  One was in the Westport area, one in the Almonte area, and the third in the Perth area.  We decided to do the Perth Autumn Studio Tour as it was the only one of these we had not done before.  It took us up highway 7 as far as Maberly, and then down some back roads.  That's when the colour started to get better, and the terrain more interesting too. Some of those roads had major hills and curves.  Hubby commented that he thought the snowplow driver would have fun back there!

While most of the studio tours we go on take us to the artist's homes, this one took us, more often than not, to their barns. There were often four or five artists displaying their work at each stop, which mean there was not as many stops. That also likely meant less running around in the back country.  There was quite an assortment of different kinds of art, as well as the usual painters.  Dunn Sohn works with wood, and creates not only interesting shaped cutting boards, but also turned and sculpted pieces as well. My hubby was quite taken with his rocking chairs. They certainly had some nice lines.  Scott Dobson created fascinating Garden Elements out of anything from old fence posts to shutters, or a combination of the two.  John  Schweighardt is a stone carver.  He not only creates stone statues for outdoors, but also the most beautiful bowls and sinks you are going to find anywhere.  There were a number of potters, print makers and woodworkers, a weaver, a jeweler and a canoe maker as well as the usual painters.  Of the painters, I was especially taken with Wayne Williams, who not only uses both watercolour and acrylics, but also incorporates a bit of collage here and there, just to make things interesting. I intend to incorporate some of his methods into some of my future artistic attempts.  I already have a subject in mind to try it on.

Of course, while out hunting down art on back roads, we had also loaded some geocaches onto our GPS to find along the way.  I was sure that one in particular was going to be right at one of studios on the list, but when we got there, it was still .2 miles down the road.  Apparently a place known as Fieldworks was discovered by some other geocacher during a previous studio tour, and he decided it would be a great place to hide a cache.  When we got to the studio where I thought it was going to be, we were talking to one of the artists, who asked us if we had been to Fieldworks yet. When I told her we were planning to go there, as we were geocaching, she said the guy who had placed that cache had just gone out the door. It was too bad we missed him by such a short period of time.  What we did spot while talking to Susie Osler though, was a strange old stove.  I stooped to take a picture of it, and she said she thinks I'm the first woman ever to do that.  I mentioned that I like to blog my adventures and show unusual things found along the way.  If you have ever seen another one like this stove, do tell me about it.

So, off we went to Fieldworks, not really knowing what it was, but really just looking for the cache.  Well, hey, this is when I actually got to do my annual walk in the woods after all.  At this site, which is both a large field and some woodland, artists come and erect "artistic installations", for lack of any other way of describing them.  There are weird and wonderful things scattered throughout the site.  Just go for a walk and see what you can find.  Not all of it will make sense, but there are some very inventive minds at work here.  The displays are changed or added to seasonally, so there will always be something new to discover, and I'm sure we will find the time to go back and explore the site again and again.

While we saw lots of art created by people, Mother Nature had definitely been out with her own paint brush as well. That's what always makes Thanksgiving weekend special to me.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Marriage - The Sign of Love

Recently we had the privilege of witnessing the most amazing wedding.  I knew it would be different, but I didn't know it was going to be so incredibly special.

A young friend of ours is an interpreter for the deaf. That put her in position to meet her new husband who is a member of the Canadian Deaf Curling Association.

I knew there would be sign language at the ceremony, but I didn't expect it to be quite the production it turned out to be.  The ceremony was conducted in English, but as the groom's friends and family were French, there were two  interpreters. One signed ASL to interpret the English being spoken, while another signed for the French people in attendance who could not hear.

The bride and groom both spoke their vows, but also signed them.  I have never seen vows exchanged in such a beautiful manner before.  Hands and facial expressions can convey so much more than a nervous voice can.

When it came time for the rings, the groom turned to his sister, who was acting as the "best man" but she just ran her hands down her dress and shrugged her shoulders.   There were no pockets in the dress, of course.  She turned to the groomsman behind her but he just raised his hands skyward, to indicate he didn't have them either. He turned to the next in line who did the same, and so it went all the way down the line of five groomsmen. The final one searched his pockets and looked a little panicky before also indicating he didn't have them. I sat there thinking, "Oh, oh, he was supposed to have them and forgot them someplace." But no, he produced them and the rings were sent back up the line up to be put on the fingers.  The minister, quietly said, "I think that was planned."

Then it came time for the minister to introduce the new couple to those in attendance. Music was playing in the background.  Suddenly one of the bridesmaids,with her bouquet clenched in her teeth, seemed to have a bee in her bum and started wiggling around.  Pretty soon the rest of the bridesmaids were also in motion.  It spread to the groomsmen and then the bride and groom and finally even the minister got in on the act. It was a flash dance!
 At the reception, when it came time for the new couple to arrive, the other members of the Canadian Deaf Curling Team donned their curling shirts and swept them into the room..  That was a surprise for the new couple, but it was a wonderful way to usher them into the reception.

During the evening, at both the wedding and the reception, there was a lady who would gracefully use sign language to "sing" a song. She used exaggerated graceful flowing motions to sign the words, and effectively sing without making a sound.

  At one point the bride and groom actually got up and "sang" a special song to each other, in this same manner.

As the minister so aptly put it, everything went off with only one hitch....the bride to the groom.

Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Discovery Tour

This is definitely the season for artist studio tours. There were several available last week that we didn't get a chance to see, so we decided to take in one of the ones that was on this weekend. We got off to a late start though, as we got called in to perform some grandparently duties first. So when we did set off, I chose to head for Kars, as that's the end of the Discovery Tour that we missed out on last year.  While we only managed to stop at 3 places, we got to view the work of nine different artists.

The first one was Barb Desroches, who paints in watercolour, acrylic and oil. I had met her at the North Gower Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago but what I didn't realize until we arrived at her home was that I have known members of her family for a very long time. Her brother-in-law and his entire family used to come to our karate club, and we were thrilled and surprised to run into them in her home.  I loved her work, and took note of some of her techniques to try for myself. I found her prices quite reasonable too, and would have loved a long conversation on how she comes up with these figures but the place was popular and I didn't get a chance.

At our next stop I did have a very good chat with artist Marie Paquette, who hand builds clay objects and does free-form brushwork with some fascinating results. She took the time to explain the wood firing process to my hubby, who asked specific questions, and gave me a very animated talk on how she accomplished some of her paintings.  This woman really enjoys her artistic processes, and it shows in her work.

In the back room the whimsical glass pieces of Frantic Farms were on display. While there were definitely a couple of things, like the chicken and the fish, which could happily live in my home, they were, after all, made of glass, and would not last long around here.

By the end of the day it was the work of Moira Law that inspired me the most.  I saw the techniques she employed, and know how to do them, but have never attempted to put them together in quite the same manor.  Now I'm itching to find just the right photographs to play with and perhaps take my art in a totally different direction.

I really appreciate the artists I talked to this weekend, as they were willing to share freely their ideas and talents.  As one of them put it, "It's always great when we can inspire each other."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Geocaching from Cornwall to Kemptville

I mentioned that we went geocaching last weekend, along with visiting some Doors Open sites the Cornwall area. I had hoped to get back to you about all that earlier this week, but I've been a bit under the weather. Hopefully you will forgive me if I post a lot of pictures.

Across from the Cornwall Jail was another Doors Open site at the Cornwall Community Museum.  It had a strange mix of stuff among it's collection.  Some of it was really old, while other things were very familiar to me. For instance, while there was some furniture that was likely from the early 1800's,  the bedroom set was the exact one that my parents had, all the time I was growing up, so it was more like something from the 1940's.  I really could have used the apple peeler that's attached to the front of the table in this picture this past month or so.  My apple tree has had me very busy.

We started our geocaching in the park there, where we found a real assortment of birds gathering by the shore.

Being in a park, they must be pretty used to people, as you could get pretty close.

 They were probably all waiting for someone to throw them some food. 

Up the trail a bit, after we had turned away from the St Lawrence, we discovered a nice clear little stream..

We followed that upstream and found it quickly turned into a series of pretty little waterfalls.

And it wasn't long before we discovered the source of this nice clear water. It was all coming out of a culvert.  I'm not sure how far the water flows underground from here, or where it actually comes from as we couldn't go much further in that direction.

We discovered that there was construction under the Cornwall bridge, and that's where the GPS wanted to take us.  We decided we had found enough treasures at this site anyway, and moved on.

Our next stop on the Doors Open tour was the St Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre. 
While interesting, it doesn't actually let you anywhere near the big power dam.  So after exploring their displays, and looking at the dam through binoculars, we went downstream just a bit to the site of the old canal....the one that was in use before they flooded the seaway to make the current shipping route.

If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you will see that the old canal gate has long since rotted out.  The water is all at one level through this canal now anyway, since the flooding of the seaway that put villages underwater,  got rid of the rapids in this area.

The old dam at the canal is still there to walk across though.

And the old gears that used to control the water flow are really quiet interesting to view.  There is a series of them, all across the structure.  I love that they have been painted turquoise.

We did locate the cache at this location, by the way, and went upstream a bit from there to look for another one. However there was a fisherman right where we needed to go to hunt that down, so we'll look for it some other time.  I'd happily explore this area further some other nice day that we happen to be in the vicinity.

On the way home we picked up a few more. There was one at a site in Winchester Springs, where there used to be a hotel and spa, because of the healthy natural spring waters.  That's all gone now, which is a bit of a shame, since reportedly Sir John A. MacDonald even gave a speech from the balcony there at one point. The area where the cache is hidden is a bit of a mess, so I don't have a picture for you from there. There is a lovely mural and plaque there though, to fill you in on the history.

We stopped and found another cache  in Winchester, at a hidden graveyard.  My hubby, who works in that town, and actually lived there for several years in his youth, didn't even know this place existed.  The graveyard is tucked into a field behind a local business.  There is no outward signs to tell of it's existence. While some of the stones are standing in the field as one would expect, there is also this row of stones tucked under some woodland growth. They seem too close together and were probably moved there.  One wonders if someone planned to use the field for another purpose, and if the bodies are still where they were originally planted.

We took a back road to Hallville, to avoid the ongoing construction on County Road 43.  We decided we might as well try for the Hallville Hollow one again, though we had no luck last time we went looking for that.  Just about when we were going to give up again, it suddenly made it's presence known.  This cache manages to evade many seekers, but really, it's just where it should be, and it is not even a tricky hide.  I guess it just blends into it's surroundings rather well.  It wasn't me that found it.

Our last cache of the day was a quick little park and grab along the highway on the way home.  That would be a great way to end the day if we had not stopped and looked for one near Walmart.  Basically there were too many people around, and I suspect this one is in some kind of sneaky container.  We'll have to check that out some other time....though I doubt there will ever be a chance when there is nobody around.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Doors Open at Cornwall Jail Produces A Spirit Orb

We took in Doors Open event in Cornwall on Sunday.  We were also prepared to do some geocaching along the way.  That basically means we didn't see as many Open Door sites as we might have otherwise, but we had a really good time and saw a lot of interesting stuff,  most of which I'll tell you about later in the week.

What I really want to tell you about was our first stop at the Cornwall Jail.  That was a bit of an eye opener.  It was in operation until just 2002, which I found rather amazing,  as it's very primitive.  If more jails were like that, perhaps people would try harder to stay out of them.  I'm sure anyone who was in there at the time that it closed felt like they were being sent to a resort when they got transferred to a newer facility.  I'm very sure people in that area didn't noisily break into homes at this time of year with the idea of spending the winter in jail, like they used to around my village before the local minimum security jail was torn down.

Many of the cells in the Cornwall  jail are just wide enough for the bunk....a thin mattress on a wooden platform. There was no space on either side of that, and only enough room to stand between the end of it and the cell bars. 

As horrible as that sounds, I think I might prefer it to the ones meant for two. That had a bunk bed set up, a toilet and a space narrow enough for one person at a time to pace the length of the bed.  What if you got locked in with someone who was likely to torment you, or perhaps someone who was criminally insane? The shortage of jail space in those days meant everyone, even juveniles and women, where thrown in together. 

This jail was built in 1833 and used to be a maximum security facility, but later became a place where the prisoners would spend two years less a day.  I'm sure such an experience straightened out the lives of anyone who survived it. Because of the conditions though, many didn't. Rumours of restless spirits within the walls are plentiful. 

Let me show you around a bit.  This is the main operations room.  The three panels on the right must have let them know where alarms were being set off, back in the days before 911.

The exercise yard isn't very big either. And though the prisoners had access to the open air, they were also still totally walled in and had no place to see the outside world.  I'm pretty sure that courtyard could get pretty hot during the summer, with more heat radiating off those stone walls.

If a prisoner had a visitor, the prisoner was locked in this little cage and used the phone to talk to the person on the other side of the wall.

A paranormal group did some research there, and there are photos posted on the wall of some of the phenomena they spotted.  Orbs seems to be fairly frequent, and when I was looking over some photos I took, there, without doubt was one of those orbs.  I'm fascinated, and will be doing some research on the subject.  Some people say they are caused by reflections off the dust motes in the air.  If that were the case, I'd expect to see them in many more in the pictures I took, rather than just the one.  Others say the appearance of spirit orbs in a photograph may indicate a spiritual being attempting to communicate with the photographer.

The one I captured was near the floor, in a deserted corridor. If you click on the picture you should be able to see a larger version of it, which might help you see what I've circled there.

Let me zoom in on that a bit.

 I'm not sure why I pointed the camera in that direction. Something told me too, and I'm certainly glad I listened.  Maybe something was communicating with me after all.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wedding Gifts in the Digital Age

Once upon a time, when a couple got married, they were young people just leaving their parent's homes. People showered them with wedding gifts as they had a new household to set up and needed just about everything. Today things are different.  While many people are marrying for the second or third time, even new brides are often in or near their thirties, and have been living in their own homes (with or without their intended husbands) for quite some time.  Their household is already set up, or they are about to combine two. Either way, they don't really need an influx of new stuff, so wedding gifts are much more difficult to buy.  Of course, you can always just write a cheque, but what's the fun in that?  Somehow giving money has always felt so impersonal to me.

Of course, I've heard of gift registries before, but I've never seen any evidence that anyone ever used such a thing until just recently.  The digital age has made wedding planning and gift giving so much easier.

A young friend of ours is about to get married. While we still got the traditional invitation by snail mail, it came with  a card directing us to a website at www.mywedding.com .  There we could see the whole story. We could read about the proposal and see pictures of the engagement. Not only does the site tell you where and when the wedding will be held, there is a list of who will be taking part in the upcoming wedding and a complete schedule for the activities of the day.  I wouldn't be surprised if the actual wedding photos ended up being displayed there also.  In this digital age, you can also RSVP right there, online.

There was also a link to a gift registry that was set up in a way that made it so easy for us to give a gift without ever having to actually go shopping. Couples can simply list the things they need, and you get to choose the item and how much you want to contribute towards it.

This couple is one of those that already have well established homes and didn't need a lot of stuff that would likely just go into storage. They decided that they would like to go on a lovely honeymoon, touring Europe. The registry listed such things as airfare, hotel nights, romantic dinners, a boat ride, a train pass, and even wine and cheese.  The only things for their home that they put on the registry were a new couch and a washing machine.  Dollar amounts ranged for $8 to $75 with a box to choose multiples of these dollar amounts if you wanted. So all you had to do was choose how much to give and what you felt like aiming it towards.  I wondered what would happen if not enough money was directed at the airfare or the hotels.  Would the trip still be on?   As it turned out the money went directly into the bride's Pay Pal account, where it would accumulate, separated from any actual bank account for the time being. This means they can likely spend the money however they choose when the time comes.  We at least had the chance to participate in their dream, and contribute to which ever gift idea appealed to us most.  That was much more fun than just writing a cheque.  I highly recommend this site to all of you who are now planning a wedding and don't need that extra toaster.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Geocaching Helps Us Find Real Treasures

 It's been a strange summer. Normally we do a lot of geocaching, but this year it was either too wet, or the mosquitoes were in attack mode, or the poison parsnip was everywhere we looked and we didn't want to take the chance of brushing up against that. We did get out a couple of times though.

Yesterday we went to visit friends at their cottage, and picked up a few caches on the way back. Nothing special about any of them. Except for one at a totally unkempt graveyard, they were all along the fence line on the road we were traveling. 

But last time we went out, we discovered a few treasures, and I don't mean the ones they hide in the caches. Just outside of Brockville we found a  beautiful garden that's open to the public. They call it the Garden of Hope and Serenity, and if you visit, you will quickly learn why.  This is someplace we have driven right by many times in the past, without knowing it was there. It was well worth the stop, and I'm sure we will return again in the future. 

Closer to Lyn, on the same day, we made another amazing discovery. Tucked back in the bush, out of sight, is a beautiful waterfall that we would never have even guessed existed, if we had not found it on one of our geocaching treasure hunts. We found ourselves at the top of it, but you can be sure we will go back and find a way into the bottom sometime, as I believe there is a cache down there that we didn't get to.

The waterfall and the garden were both wonderful treasures, and one of the main reasons we love to go geocaching. It's not what you find in the cache, it's what you find along the way. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'm Ready For a Sticky Situation!

As I told you, I was recently involved in a word of mouth campaign for Lepage Ultra Gel through The Insiders.  Basically, they sent me the product to try, and each time I told any one about it, or got into a discussion about glues and mentioned it, I would then go to their website and report that interaction.

As with a lot of campaigns where people are excited to get started, I suspect this one fizzled out near the end and The Insiders were likely not getting as many reports. They decided to hold a contest to stimulate more activity. The prize was one of three Lepage Toolboxes, full of goodies from the Lepage company.  I managed to win one of these.  It arrived this week.
It's a  nice sturdy plastic toolbox that I will likely use for something other than storing glue.  Inside I found 2 large Pritt Glue Sticks, Premium Quality White Glue, No More Nails all purpose construction adhesive, 100% Adhesive Putty, which fills and seals, Fun -Tak Mounting Putty and 100 % Glue (multi-purpose).

I also still have two unopened bottles of the Ultra Gel, so I'm ready for anything now, that needs to be fixed or stuck together.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Human Vacuum Cleaners

"Did you even taste that?" I heard my daugher-in-law ask my grandson. Then seconds later she asked her husband, my son, the same question.

My apple tree is throwing apples at me so fast lately that sometimes I simply don't have enough room to freeze another pie, so I share it with someone. On this particular night, I had decided to share a pie with my youngest son and his family.  The guys just inhale pie, it seems, as it was gone in an instant.

I know I used to tell my hubby that I didn't want to go out to dinner with him as it would cost too much for the 30 seconds it would take him to clean his plate.  Okay, so maybe I exaggerate a little, but he was really good at wolfing things down. I thought, at the time, it was because he came from such a large family that he felt he had to eat his share quickly or one of his siblings would get it.  Now, seeing both our son and grandson make a slice of pie disappear before I've even swallowed the first bite, I wonder if this is an inherited trait, or if all males eat like this.  It's not a learned skill, as I'm sure I had managed to slow my hubby down at the dinner table and don't think his son learned this trick from him.  But then, I could be wrong.

It was nice to see my daughter-in-law react the same way I do when this happens though.  I'm sure she understands something the guys simply don't.  It takes us women a long time to make a pie, or create a perfect meal, and when it disappears within seconds, we wonder it it was really worth all the effort.  Just because the food disappeared doesn't mean we feel appreciated. 

So guys, take note.  We women folk don't take the fact that the food disappeared as quite the compliment you might expect. You may have told us you love what we have set before you, but we can't help but wonder how you even know what it tasted like.  We want to see you enjoy all our hard work.  Take a bite and savour the flavour.  If you like the food you can make the experience last longer if just take a little more time to enjoy it.  And then we will enjoy making those special things for you too.

Excuse me. I see there are more apples here waiting for my attention.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Vacation 2013

I've been on vacation.  The plan was to go east this year.  We thought we might make it to the Maritimes but wanted to take an American route this time.  Normally we drive through Quebec and New Brunswick if we want to go to Nova Scotia.  Last time we did that, we were enjoying ourselves doing what I call The All Saints Tour in New Brunswick (Saint Stephen, Saint Andrews, St George, St John and Saint Martins) and never did get to Nova Scotia. That's how we like to travel though.  Pick a direction and go exploring.  This time we figured that if we even got to explore a bit of the Maine coastline, that would great.  As it is, we didn't get that far.

Rumour has it that it's cheaper to travel south of the boarder.  That rumour comes from Americans trying to get us down there to spend our money.  Don't believe a word of it.  Yes, the gas may be cheaper, and if you are going mainly to shop, you might find some great bargains, but if you are traveling you are not going to find it nearly as convenient or as cheap.

We crossed the boarder from Ontario into New York, but there wasn't much to see until we hit Vermont. That's when we discovered Champlain, at the top end of Lake Champlain. It's a beautiful little spot, with a large marina, and not much else. We
thought we might enjoy exploring the area, so we looked for a place to stay, even though it was early in the day. We found a fair size motel, with a sign that said "No Smoking Rooms" but the windows were so filthy that it would be easy to imagine people had been chain smoking in there for the past ten years without anyone ever cleaning the windows.  We didn't see anywhere else to stay, so we stopped at the town office and inquired.  The answer to the question of if there was a place to stay in town was met with a rather emphatic "No!"  It was suggested we go over the bridge and drive about 50 miles south through the islands. 
Apparently the people of Champlain don't realize they could easily turn their little town into a gold mine if they opened a few shops and created some places to stay and to eat..

The first few places we priced wanted $185 or more for a room. We just want a place to sleep, people!  By the time we got to Burlington and tried a couple more, we discovered that was not only the going rate, but that rooms were filling up fast. We hauled out the CAA card, and managed to knock the rates for the first night down to $165.....plus tax.

Then we went looking for a place to eat.  We had already discovered that many of the restaurants and gas stations south of the boarder were no longer in business. I have been told  that is because of the economy, but if that were so, why were all the hotels asking so much for a one night stay, and why were most of the vehicles parked outside from the various states, and only a
few from Canada?  It was really hard to find a place to eat.  We did notice that there was no shortage of pizza joints still in business though, and in the end we were directed to one that served other things.  So we ended up with fish and chips. The fish appeared to be the frozen packaged kind from a supermarket, but it was priced like it was the catch of the day.
Thankfully the hotel provided breakfast, and you can bet we made sure we got well fed before we left there the next morning. I made myself a blueberry waffle and followed that up with eggs and sausage and a yogurt, then washed it all down with tea.

We discovered we could tour the Ben & Jerry's ice cream plant, so we stopped to do that, and were rewarded with a decent sized sample.  We didn't need to look for more food until that evening, when we stopped in St Johnsbury but once again we drove around and around town looking for a restaurant that was still in
business.  The first one we tried was listed in the hotel's booklet as where you could get 15% off if you showed them your room key. Since we found that the CAA card didn't help reduce the room rate as much  as the previous night, and the price was even higher, we thought that  little discount might be useful. It turned out the restaurant was another one that had bit the dust.  We finally stopped a lady walking down the street and asked where we might find some food.  She directed us to a friendly little place where we were finally able to get our first decent meal, but it was no cheaper than it would have been up here.  Actually, I'm sure it was a couple of bucks more per plate.  Mind you, we were starting to discover American restaurants really load up the plates. The servings are huge! 

Once again, we were glad to eat the provided meal at the hotel in the morning.  We stocked ourselves up pretty well, I must admit, since we didn't know if and when we would find someplace else to eat.  We planned to stop and explore The Flume Gorge so we had a pretty good idea of the area we wanted to stay the following night. Mind you, if we had traveled the longer Canadian route, we would already have been in the Maritimes by then, but as it was, we were exploring and had just crossed into New Hampshire.  We decided to try booking ahead, and went looking for places on the computer.  I found a couple of suitable spots but we didn't want to take any chances using a credit card on a strange computer, so we tried phoning the booking number instead.  The person on the other end couldn't seem to find the same hotels as I had, and kept mentioning highways that we couldn't locate on the map.  I think we were both looking in a different state, or something, but apparently this idea wasn't going to work.  I made note of the hotels and the addresses though, so we could look them up when we arrived.

The walk through the Gorge cost us $15 each, but it lasted a couple of hours and I'd recommend it.  Mind you, it was my kind of trail.  I always say you cannot go on vacation with me unless you are willing to climb rocks or a multitude of stairs.  This was definitely that sort of trail. Before we reached it, we also took a nice free walk along another trail to The Basin.

'When we got to Lincoln, where the motels were, we found the first one I had chosen was full, but got a room at the second one. The price was more in line with what we would pay for a big chain hotel on our side of the boarder, but was definitely cheaper than what we paid the previous two nights.  It was also very musty.  It was easier to find a place to eat our dinner this time. The hotel guy named two places, and we set off to find one of them.  Though reports were that the food was good, it was a very strange menu, with very high prices.  We decided to try the other place instead.  So did everyone else in town, from the look of things.  The place was packed, and so were the plates when they arrived.  Though this may have been our cheapest hotel, it was also our most expensive restaurant.  I think I finally learned though, that when an American  menu has a Light section, that doesn't mean Light as in low calories or fat, but rather smaller amounts like we might see in the Senior's or Children's selections.  I'll remember that next time we go. That might not be enough for me up here, but I suspect it would be down there.

The hotel had basically the same breakfast available, but you had to heat it up yourself, in a microwave on the counter, and there were no coffee machines in the rooms. All that apparently costs an extra $75 at a hotel that smells better.

The weather man predicted a major storm in the area for the next day, that would chase us through the mountains if we proceeded east.  He also predicted an even bigger storm that would hit the east coast and cause it to rain most of the week.  I checked the weather back home and decided our best option was to try to get out of the area before the storm hit, and just head for home. It turns out that was a wise decision as the weather at home didn't interfere with anything we decided to do here. Meanwhile a man my hubby spoke to this week reported that he had just come from the east coast where it rained almost all the time he was down there.

 Did you notice me say "next time we go"?  We can basically get back to where we left off in one day, and get to Portland Maine in just another 2 hours, so yes, we will try this again.  We traveled route 2 and saw the scenery, but went home by way of the freeways, which is much faster.  Next time we will go by way of the freeways at least as far as Montpelier.  We'll take a back road through the mountains down to Lincoln and stop to see The Lost River. That will satisfy my rocks and stairs on a holiday requirement.   I have a different hotel all picked out in Lincoln, and can book it from home before we leave.  We'll sleep over and start out fresh for the drive through the mountains to the coast the next day.

I'm already looking forward to it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lepage Ultra Gel - Final Tests

I'm running out of time, so I'll combine these latest two tests of Lepage Ultra Gel into this one post. 

The wire had come out of my bra cage.  For those who don't know what that is, it's a mesh bag with wires in the bottom and in the lid, to help it hold other laundry away from delicates so that things like under wire bras don't get bent out of shape if you throw them in the washing machine.  Okay, so I know they are meant to be hand washed, but really, who does that?

First I had to thread the wire back into the lid. Then I would normally just stick one end of the wire back into the tubing on the other end, but I've done that numerous times and it just comes back out.  This time I decided to try gluing it in place.  The tricky part came when I had to try and get the newly glue covered end of the wire into the tubing at the other end, without it sticking to the mesh bag in the process.  Without the glue it's not too difficult to insert one end into the other, but since this glue catches so quickly, I sure didn't need to get my fingers in the way. I am a klutz, remember, and I had no wish to glue my fingers together, or to anything else, so I found it a little awkward, to manipulate the wire with my fingers moved so far back into a safer position.  But I did it, and it looks as good as new.  It still has to go through the laundry a few times before I declare it a success though.  I expect it will hold at least as long as the original glue did, and I'll happily repair it again if the need arises.  In the meantime, this lovely sample of glue has just saved me $10.

Next I fixed something that I've wanted to fix for a couple of years now.  We have this old pedestal table that my hubby's grandfather made by hand. When I say by hand, I mean he used hand tools, like a chisel to shape the grooves. I doubt he had anything fancy to work with. Things may not be symmetrical, but that just adds character to this family heirloom.  The problem was that every time I moved the table, to vacuum under it, or for whatever reason, the legs of the pedestal would loosen off to the point where you could easily see almost an inch of all the pegs that held them on.  I always had to get down and shove the legs back in place before trusting that table to hold my lamp and plants again.

I turned the table upside down and took a look.  Each leg had three pegs holding it to the centre post.  The pegs were round and any other glue would likely have run and dripped off one or two before you got the third one done.  I was able to squeeze the glue in place around each peg, and shove the legs back on.  I left the table in its upside down position for several minutes while I went off to do something else, but when I turned it over, the legs stayed where they were supposed to, and I do not anticipate any further problems.  In this case, I saved my hubby some work, as he had promised to fix the table and I was able to do it for him.

Now that the time for experimenting is just about over, I have finally found a friend with several things that need fixing.  I likely won't have time to do any of that before the reporting time is over but I certainly enjoyed doing these experiments and telling you about them for The Insiders.  I hope I was able to satisfy them so I can get in on another campaign soon.