Monday, September 30, 2013

Went sailing.

Got a call Saturday night from a fellow I used to sail with a few years ago before our European Adventure (as good a term as any) wondering if I had changed my email address?

Well no, but I just hadn’t checked in for a time.  It happens.  I think his note was number 75 down the list. Oops.

I might have just a couple too many subscriptions?  Whatever.

Seems he wanted to know if I wanted to go sailing on Sunday?

I had to get back to him, since we only have the one vehicle,  but after we got that sorted out,  I was good to go.

So, for the first time in five years, I was out on Lake Ontario yesterday.    Eeeee!




I took the little camera.  I wasn’t about to cart around the Nikon.  If they made the kind of case where you just flipped down the front to take a picture,  remember those?  I probably would take it on the boat.  Just the same, there’s only so much room in the sink for everyone’s water bottles,  wallets, watches, keys and so on.  All the things that you’d rather not have end up at the bottom of the lake? 

And um,  I no longer wear a watch on the boat. 

But let’s not go there.


Had to do at least one self portrait.  




The gentleman next to me looks extra grumpy,  but he’s a gentle soul,  trust me.

I think he might have been a little uncomfortable due to his proximity to that winch right there?  Just a thought.

Anyhoodle,  I did take a couple more pics.


Here we are leaving Bronte Harbour.







Following everyone out to find the committee boat…



When we were first heading out to the “race course”, (it’s a big lake, and they can set out a course most anywhere) it didn’t look all that promising.  A little bumpy and almost no wind.  

Not.  Good.


That’s kind of like when it rains at the drag races, not much is going to happen.  And for sailing,  it’s just about the worst torture there is.  You need wind!

I can recall times when the committee boat would motor half way to Rochester,  trying to find some wind for us to race in.  Sometimes that would work,  but there was also that sense of relief when they’d finally give up, sound the three blasts (race cancelled), we’d all fire up the auxiliaries and race to the club house.   

Um,  they got beer.



But then yesterday just before the first gun, we got lucky and it picked up,  as you may note from our boat speed.


That was on the second leg.

The theoretical hull speed of a C&C 27 is right around 5.5 knots.  So that’s just about all she’ll do.  We have hit seven,  on the back side of a wave,  that kind of thing,  but you’ll never do too much more than six on a steady blow.  Five and a half was as much as we could get on the “fun meter” yesterday. 


All in all it was an awesome afternoon.  It’s racing, but I think I mentioned that.  We weren’t just out for a pleasant jaunt down to the bridge and back or whatever. 

The thing too with racing is,  and how shall I put this?  It’s best not to f**k up.  Pardon my language,  but that covers a broad range of things that can go wrong.  There’s a bunch of planning that goes on,  both on the boat and on the race course. 


We were flying spinnaker, and how shall I put this?  You need to know your shit.   If you get just one line out of place, it can get….*interesting*.  I was working “the pit”,  which means hoisting and lowering the headsail, spinnaker, dousing it and repacking it.  You find out the first time you go to hoist the thing again whether or not you did that right.  There’s no “do overs” either.

I honestly didn’t see how we did in terms of results, nor do I really care, but there were a host of those in our fleet still finishing long after we crossed the finish line.    So we might have come in second or third?  Meh, whatever. 

I just figure,  as long as we don’t come in dead freakin’ last,  then at least that’s somewhat gratifying.


Possibly as a result of having not messed up,  the skipper offered me the helm for the way in.  Sure, what the heck.

It was pointed out to me that there were boats still on the race course,  but I’ve been at the helm enough times to know which end is up.



In addition to which,  motoring the boat into the slip means I don’t have to remember how to put everything away. I don’t think that would have been an issue though, since everything had come back into my pea brain up to that point.

As I was quick to mention early on in our outing,  “I might not remember what I had for breakfast, but I can remember stuff from five years ago.”  

It’s all about the long term memory, and if that ever goes, woe is me.

I was just a tad tired and hungry by the time I got back to the Ponderosa,  but that was OK.  Did I mention, I didn’t f**k up? 

*yes Bob, you did,  now shut up*


I suspect that I’ve used my quota of boring words for today,  so this’ll be about it.  Hope you had a fine weekend.

We’re all good here.


Thanks for looking in.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Well, that was depressing.

Ever since the day this house was built,  it’s never been anything close to “maintenance free”.   Actually,  the idea of maintenance free probably didn’t come along until not that long ago,  but still. 



I’ve stuck in a picture here that I took way back in March of 2008,  at least I think that’s when it was.  It was still winter conditions,  so if the house looks “sad”,  then we’ll blame it on that.

There’s no longer an elm tree out front, since it had to come down in the summer of 2010.  We weren’t here for that one.  Just saw the pictures on the Book of Face.  Felt bad for that elm tree, as it had managed to survive the “Dutch Elm Disease”,  but then packed it in much later.  Maybe the same disease,  I’m not sure? 
It did a decent job of shading the house too,  but was also a ready access point for raccoons. 

We won’t go there.

The story goes that,  the cedar “veranda” on the front of the house there was really quite lovely when the house was first built,  but of course it being cedar,  and the fact that the previous owner did nothing to preserve it meant that it was already pretty sad looking when we moved in here in ‘92.  In all fairness, it’s an overwhelmingly large amount of work,  and he (this would have been my father-in-law) had other things to occupy his time.  Like trying to make a living to feed his seven kids.


Anyway,  I won’t go into all the reasons why it was built that way, except to say that,  in Bavaria, (Germany) Tyrol, Salzburg (the province) Vorarlberg, Carinthia (all in Austria) down into Slovenia,  you will indeed see homes with this chalet type of look about them.   And you know what?  That’s just fabulous.  I’m happy for all those folks who have to treat their cedar every few years.  Probably all the while wishing they had stucco or vinyl siding. 

Let me just cut to the chase here.  We had a visit on Friday with a Dude from a renovating company,  and I’ll simply paraphrase the results of our investigation.

“Why sure we can fix up the house to be maintenance free and look fabulous.  All you need to do is simply give us every last cent you have.”  

Well isn’t that special?

I actually woke up early this morning out of an already fitful sleep wherein I was dreaming about this proposed renovation.  And draining our bank account.

So we have to make some decisions,  and we don’t want to use someone else’s money,  and my suggestion of five gallons of gas and a match wasn’t one of the choices.

Besides,  there’s so much stonework,  that probably wouldn’t work anyway.   Plus, I did do all that work on those new windows.  And the sewing room.  And the washroom,  and the office.  Let’s not forget the kitchen, dining room….

OK so,  forget about my “solution”.





Now, for some other depressing news,  we discovered yesterday that the football pool at the pub had been shut down.


This football pool is an annual thing that happens at a number of watering holes in these parts,  and the word is that,  “you gotta give the money back.”

For my part,  I’ve never really had a huge desire to get into the football pool,  mostly since it always seemed to me to be too much like “homework”.  You have to make all those picks,  and then you might like to watch a game or two, to see how “your team” is going to make out.  I don’t like that kind of commitment. 

I mean, I start to get a bit antsy half way through a formula one race,  so hanging in there for two or three football games over the weekend?  Too much pressure.

Hey, maybe that’s why I like drag racing?  It’s all over within a matter of a few seconds, and I can go back to being semi-comatose.

Just the same,  it was fun to offer unsolicited advise, which is not a foreign concept for me.  I’ve been known to offer my “help” on the curling rink, when the fact of the matter is,  I don’t have a f*cking clue.    But hey, on that particular outing,  we came in second!  I mean, c’mon!  Cut me some slack!  And there weren’t just two teams either!

Have you ever tried curling?  It’s not as easy as it looks,  trust me.  And no, I don’t curl.   I’d like to keep my hips “unbroken”,  thanks.   I fell once.  Had to wear the “tiara”.  That was enough.


Oh,  and you’re probably wondering why, oh why does the pub have to “give the money back”?   Well,  *ahem* running a football pool in the Province of Ontario is not quite legal.   And you know,  I always wondered about that. 

Apparently, there are “inspectors” going around from the LCBO,  or maybe it was the LOTO Corporation?  There were conflicting stories. 

And here’s the thing, it’s going to take a bit of “cypherin’” to figure out who gets what. Just to sign up a team at the beginning of the season was a hunnert bucks. There were something like 140 teams,  plus a small amount to put in your picks every week.    Um ya,  that 14 grand!  Just for starters.

Oh, it’ll be interesting.

Further to this saga,  the story is that there was a “clamp down” about 20 years back,  at which time the LCBO simply confiscated all the loot.  Bastards.

So at least this time around,  everyone gets their dough back.  Well,  it was either that or the pub would have their license yanked.  Not much of a choice there.

Oh man,  when the “revolution” comes!   Not sure whom we’re going to line up first.


So I guess we have an “it’s all about the choices” theme here? 

Well no, between that and “depression”,  I think I’ll go with depression.


Enjoy your weekend. 

Keep it between the ditches.


Thanks for stopping in.






Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A different kind of envelope from the Gubbermint.


Usually when there’s one of those brown envelopes from “Da Gubbermint”,  it’s from the “Revenuers”.  And it’s not often anything close to good news.  Thankfully, as a result of the whole “Ex-Pat” experience,  there’s an accounting firm that has been retained to sort through that nonsense.  Just the same, I tend to not open them,  just to avoid the stress. *shudder*


Hey, at one point we were getting tax letters from three different countries.  Helps if you can read Dutch, German and of course English.  There’s something about “taxese” in Dutch and German though, that can be quite perplexing.  Sure glad those days are over.


Anyway, this one had a different “heft” to it.

You believe that, right?


“Look Honey, you got some money”,  was my greeting for T.C. when she got home yesterday. 

So, for those of you south of the 49th,  there’s this thing called the Canada Pension Plan.  We call it CPP for short.  Anyhoodle,  T.C. decided to start collecting hers.  

I don’t recall the math involved, but waiting until you’re 65 offers very little financial advantage.  Nowadays you can go on the line and see just how much and for how many years you’ve made contributions.  Apparently I was “self employed” during the time I worked for Arby’s Restaurants.    Not sure how the heck that worked, but the contributions were there, so that’s the main thing.  I do seem to recall that we had someone doing “the books” who was not necessarily the sharpest tack in the box. 

I guess I should have been paying closer attention.  Silly me.


I started to take pictures of the omelette I made for dinner last night,  but I guess I got sidetracked.  Hunger seems to do that to me.


Never hurts to cook up some bacon,  chop it up and put it in.  Having some extra cooked bacon on hand is also a good thing.  After all,  “The Swine is Devine”.  I don’t remember what cook it was who said that,  but it’s something that stuck in my pea brain. 

Sorry all you Vegans. 

Don’t misread that as “Sorry FOR all you Vegans”.  You can certainly decide what you want to put in your pie hole.  It’s whatever works for you.  So, good for you.  Everything in moderation is a pretty good guideline.


My hidden agenda was to try and get rid of the lingering smell of garlic from whatever it was that T.C. cooked up on Sunday.  Some sort of Beet salad with garlic and something and something.  I think.  I don’t know.  I didn’t have any.  Mostly a texture issue.  She was kind enough to leave me some “uncorrupted” beets that I had with my dinner. 

I do have “texture issues” with certain foods.   Lobster comes to mind.  I quite like the taste,  but there’s just something about the texture that doesn’t do it for me.  So I’ll pass.  Gah!


In other “news”,  I sold our bike rack today.

Hadn’t planned on it, that’s for sure.  And well, the money hasn’t changed hands yet, and as this is a person whom I know,  I did offer the caveat that she should come and look at it,  and not just look at a picture.  If it doesn’t work for this person, then that’s perfectly OK.

No harm, no foul.



There it is.

It’s certainly well built,  and I’ve been hanging onto the thing since I sold my pick-up truck (*sniff*) in 2008.  Had it tucked away in the back room of the shed.  Thought I’d be using it again someday.  Again, silly me.

It spent most of its time on the back of the motorhome, since we never did have a “toad”.  Just the bikes,  but they were North American style bikes.

I’d certainly be able to get my current bike on the thing (you know, “New and Shiny”?)  but the way Travelling Companion’s bike is built,  it’s neigh on impossible.  Hers is a proper “step through” style,  and I can’t begin to figure out how it would go on such a rack.  This is why most European style bike carriers are built as a sort of platform onto which the bikes sit,  all the while strapped in. 

Kind of like this idea:

bike rack


It just so happened that one of my Facebook friends was looking for a bike rack,  and we struck up a dealski.  It’s going to a good home, so I’m willing to part with it.   You know, a fellow and his things?  It can be tough to give up some sh*t.   I’m just sayin’.


I’m thinking we’ll likely end up with something like this:

bike rack2

Seems like it would work on a Mazda Miata, but I don’t think that will be in the cards.

We’ll see.

And….that’s about it..


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for looking in.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Great Book Heist.

Well,  for me it was admittedly more like “pilfering”,  but for the two gentlemen with whom I went on this little expedition?  Well, it’s just a good thing we didn’t have to carry the books too far. Then it was a matter of finding a place to either have just a coffee or maybe breakfast, where we’d have enough room to spread them all out and compare notes.  And expectations.

Last week at the pub,  the subject of the annual sell off by the Hamilton Public Library. came up.   I was intrigued.

Hey, if you can buy hard covers for three bucks?  Soft covers for a buck?  Never mind that,  how about DVDs and CDs for a buck? 

Can’t beat that with a stick.


This was my tiny bit of loot. 

Each of the other two piles were considerably bigger.  These two “pub buddies”,  as I’d like to call them,  have formed their own “book club”.  There’s just the two of them,  but they get a kick out of it.

Meh, why not?

I would offer to join,  but I’d never be able to keep up with them.  No, seriously.  These guys can devour books.  Me?  The attention span of a gnat.

I tried not to bite off more than I can chew or in this case, read.  Plus, I didn’t have the patience to go through the scads of CDs available.  One of my co-conspirators scored a Bruce Springsteen CD for a buck, among many others.  “You can’t beat The Boss for a buck.”

Unfortunately, in my haste to get out the door in the morning I didn’t take along a camera.  Dough head.  It happens.  It was kind of a flea market experience,  only without the musty smell.  Well, except for maybe some of the more “studious” book buyers.  We won’t go there.

By the time I got home in the early afternoon,  it was just a wee bit too sunny on the west side of the house to do much in the way of window work, so I left that until this morning.  I did manage to scrounge up some drywall,  as my sister-in-law let it be known that there was lots to be had in her garage.  So I have no reason to not start on the ceiling, except for the fact that the weather is still mild enough to sort out the windows.


You know the routine.


I have to say that,  my motivation is really not all that high,  but I don’t want to leave them for one more season.  The sun and rain have beat them up quite a bit, but since it’s wood, I can sand it down and put on some fresh finish.    That’s the theory.

Not much else going on here at the Ponderosa.  Just plugging away.

Let’s hope this weather keeps up,  although last night it went down to the low single digits.  I had thoughts of putting on the heat,  but our bedding is such that I quite often end up getting too warm.  Sure wish we had had something like that back on the farm.  There were some nights I damned near froze.  I’d have so many blankets on top I could barely move,  but it didn’t matter.  If only there had been down comforters.  Mind you, even if there were such a thing, I doubt we could have afforded it.  I mean, we ate well since it was a farm, but all those things like, having clothes to put on our backs? Or shoes on our feet?  That was a challenge, but we survived.

Well,  pitter patter.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Well, that was a fun afternoon.


But first, here’s some fluff:

I couldn’t quite understand why Travelling Companion was so willing to give some of our bedding away to Daughter Number Two.  I mean not that I care, it’s just that I thought the cupboard would end up being a little bare.  Can’t just keep putting the same sets back on week after week because I mean, that’ll never do…


Little did I know.

See,  they got the “old” stuff,  because she wanted to break out a new set. 

I’m pretty sure I did all the unpacking too.  Where did this come from? 


I honestly don’t remember when she bought this set,  but I do know it was in Vienna, or somewhere over there.  The price was in Euros and the directions are below.




Did you get all those instructions?  Doesn’t even matter whether or not T.C. can read it or not.  Not part of her deal.  I’ve been doing laundry around these here parts for neigh on 30 years,  so it’s just as well I can read the German.  Glad I got that degree.

Far be it from me to get all that excited about bedding, but let’s just say, once you go with the “good stuff”, you’ll be hard pressed to go back.  That’s all.  You can keep your hundred thread count, cheap-assed cotton with the little lumps. 


Anyway, about yesterday…..


Well, it turned out all fine and dandy.  But it was one of those times when there’s at least a moment or two when I came close to committing some sort of “computer crime”.  I don’t mean the kind where the RCMP show up at the door either. 

No, I’m talking about putting my fist through the screen.


Computer rage


Or worse.


But hey, it’s always best if cooler heads prevail.


As you may be aware,  we had an entire day of rain yesterday.  It becomes a challenge to get in and out of the house without making a huge mess,  so the choice is to simply stay in.

Well,  Travelling Companion did have an appointment with her doc in the morning, so we had to brave the elements.  We have plenty of umbrellas. 

She’s having something done about her knees.  But I’ve been reminded on more than one occasion, “Don’t be talking about me in your blog!”, so that’s all I can say about that.  I’ll maybe briefly touch on it in a few weeks.  Treading lightly here.

Anyway,  it rained and rained.   Could have used it back in July,  but that’s the way she goes.

So here’s my little tale of woe.  Well as I said,  it turned out OK,  and judging by the fact that I’m using the computer,  that’s kind of self evident.

See,  I was looking for a particular media file,  when the P2P program that I was using came up and said, “Hey, there’s an updated version, here you go…”   Or something like that.   And “P2P”  stands for “Peer to Peer”.   You’re welcome to read up on it here if you need to.

And you’re probably thinking, “Oh that looks dangerous!”, and I suppose it could be,  but unless you’re running decent anti-virus software, you’re open to most anything,  even if you only click on the local Church website.  There be bugs out there!   So the idea of “safe surfing”,  is overrated.

I’ve used this particular program for a few years now,  and there have been a couple updates,  so I thought nothing of downloading the latest/newest version.

Big mistake.

Well,  there was no way of knowing that I was getting a little “will not” right along with the program. 

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with a “will not”,  but it’s a turd hanging off yer ass, that refused so go the way of its buddies.  Hence,  a “will not”.

I think the preferred computer jargon is something like “malware”?   That sounds more appropriate.

I noticed right away that I had another icon in my tool bar thingy down at the bottom of the screen,  and I certainly didn’t put it there.

Then when I went to open Chrome (web browser,  for those who don’t use it),  that’s when the fun began.

See, this little gem is called,  “Search Protect”,  which is a huge misnomer,  since it hijacks your browser and tries to send you to another site.   Well,  I was having none of that.


The thing is,  trying to remove the program wasn’t working.  Tried it,  and the computer froze. 


So, we punted out Chrome,  since it was attaching itself to Chrome,  which then took me to the web site of the Mother Ship,  who wanted to know why oh why I was getting rid of Chrome.  Like they care. 

But still,  the “will-not” wasn’t going anywhere.  

Fortunately for me,  I still have good old IE as a back-up,  and as is the case with most of these little dilemmas,   the answer is out there on the net. 

Turns out if it’s “running”,  which is what it’s always doing,  there’s no getting rid of the little bugger,  which is what brings us to the next screenshot.



system config

Anyway,  long story short (well,  shorter) you have to go in there and unclick that little bugger,  and THEN you can remove it.  Yessss!

Piss off, little bastard program!!


Took me a while,  and I lost count of the number of times I had to restart the computer,  but it’s all good.

We’re back to using Chrome,  and I was delighted to discover that the Mother Ship had nicely stored all my bookmarks/favourites or whatever you call them,  up there in their cloud.  Or big shiny computer farm. Or wherever.  Who knows?


Of course,  T.C. was completely unaware that I was in here trying not to pull out the rest of my hair,  which is probably just as well.  I prefer to suffer in silence.  I wasn’t about to give up though,  dammit! 


Meanwhile back here on earth,  it’s more of the same.  You know, “what shall I fix next?”  

I do have pictures, but really?   Once you’ve seen one window taken apart,  you’ve just about seen enough.


Enjoy the rest of you weekend.  Careful what you download.


Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

OK so, I don’t get out much.

It’s been pointed out to me by two different folks that Home Depot does in fact carry smaller sheets of drywall.  Small enough to fit in the trunk of the car.  Oh goodie.  No, not being sarcastic.

Thanks to Bonnie and Rick.  They don’t know each other, but they both had the same suggestion.  It’s a crazy thing, this being on the line.

I guess I’ll head over there after supper.

In my defence, (and you knew there would be one) I haven’t had cause to go up and down each and every aisle of Home Despot since coming home from Austria.  Any time I’ve needed something, I tend to go in, get what the hell I need, and get out.  It’s some sort of “commando” style of shopping that carries over to the way I also shop for groceries.

If it doesn’t fit in the basket that I picked up at the entranceway, then I’ve bought too much.  Sometimes there’s not even a basket. That way, I have to soldier right past all those irresistible deals.

And don’t misinterpret what I mean by “commando” either.  Underwear is highly recommended.  Preferably clean,  but now we’re getting off topic.


It seems I spent most of the day waiting for finish to dry.  That’s all I remember.



I did do a little “out and about” in the car.  You know, pick up dry cleaning, drop off some metal bits at Thompson Metals (those pot lights I took out) and drop off the box of used Tassimo discs at the UPS store. 

There’s a place that recycles them,  and all I need do is print out a shipping label and take the box to a local UPS store.  Kinda neat, really.  We were putting them in the recycling to go out to the curb,  but I called the region to enquire about that,  and it turns out they just pick them out again and give them the heave, so at least Terracycle has come up with a use for them.  Much better plan.


The other day I decided that it was about time to replace a sanding belt that I’ve been using for neigh on a decade (maybe more).  I knew for a fact that there was no such critter at Home Depot (trying to do a segue but it’s not working) but we have a place here in town that does “Industrial Supply”.   The company is called S.B. Simpson, and although I couldn’t exactly find the belt on their website, when I called up,  the fellow whom I spoke to knew what I needed.  Seems that 6” x 48” is a common size. 

I just so love it when first of all,  they know what you’re talking about and then,  they do have what you’re looking for.  No mysteries.  Not when it comes to tools,  thanks.



So in another decade or so,  I just have to remember where I got the darned thing,  and hope that they’re still in business.  It was only six bucks!  I figured it would be way more,  but then again,  I don’t get out much.


Hope you had a fine day. 


Thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Window of opportunity.



That might be ever so slightly lame,  but a feller runs out of titles eventually.  I suppose I could have done another “Wordless Wednesday”,  but that’s a challenge, since I’m usually itching to blab about something.  Or nothing.

The Weather Man says we’re supposed to have a couple warm days,  but I still waited until almost noon to start on the other side of the kitchen window.  Not that I don’t trust Meteorologists or anything.  I mean, they so know what they’re talking about.

See,  this is my slight “problem”.  I do tend to have little projects that get put off or slightly sidetracked.  Not earth shattering stuff mind you, like forgetting to lower the control rods in a nuclear reactor.  That would be bad. 

I’m just talking about little things.  Too numerous to mention.  Maybe some sort of maintenance thing.  A bit of trim that’s missing.  Do I need a “punch list”? 

Oh Gawd no. 

Speaking of little things,  and that whole messing with drywall over your head thing,  I wanted to show you this:



This is one of those “Old Caretaker” tricks where, if you don’t want plaster or drywall dust going all over you or the room,  you poke a hole in some cardboard and use it as a great big ashtray.  Since I already had a hole in my template,  that’s what I used.

Of course, allowing the cardboard to spin with the driver?  That would be bad.



And of course,  I did get out last night and pick up some new lamps of the proper voltage.

And the holes?  Well,  it occurred to me that I do NOT have any bits of drywall hanging around.   Cr*p!

I’d really rather not have to buy an entire sheet.  Not sure what I’d do with a four by eight sheet of drywall getting in the way and becoming a haven for the spiders. 

Hm, *thinks* I do have the back room of the shed that I want to finish off (see “unfinished crap” above),  but it’s not really on the agenda for the foreseeable future.

There’s other unfinished crap that takes priority.

I had a small piece squirreled away once upon a time, but when we moved to Europe in 08,  I did a major purge.  Like I mean, truckloads.  And I know it wouldn’t have been bothering anyone,  but I just didn’t want so much stuff under foot.  Besides, unless you’re going to lie drywall flat,  it doesn’t do well being stored for long periods. 

Meh, I’ll figure something out.

Travelling Companion has promised she’s going to take tomorrow and Friday off.  Still has to go on a call in the morning, but that’s not a big deal.  Not so sure we’re going to actually do anything, except maybe torture ourselves in the “garden”.   

It’s supposed to rain Friday (see section above about the Weather Man) so maybe we’ll go to the pub together?  Like, in the car?

What a concept. 

My beer intake will be severely compromised, but I’ll suffer.


Anyhoodle,  I’d best go and check on my pasta sauce.  No pictures.  Sorry.


Keep it between the ditches.

Thanks for stopping by.




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Paring down that list.

Well fortunately, we don’t have an actual “list”,  which is a good thing.  It would be too overwhelming.

It’s more like,  I get up in the morning and formulate a thought or two as to what I *think* I’d like to do that day. 

Something like that.

First of all,  the temptation was there to go back to bed,  since it was a wee bit cool last night in these here parts,  and there was no danged way I was firing up the boiler.   It’s supposed to go up to 23°C tomorrow!

The temperature on the thermostat was reading 66°F this morning,  and I hadn’t yet switched our duvets over to the heavy duty winter set.  Got that sorted out this morning already.

That same winter set was the ones that we actually  doubled up (there are snaps) when we spent our first winter in Europe, in the Netherlands.  It wasn’t so much the location,  as the fact that the house had no heat upstairs other than one vent in the bathroom.  I mean,  that was a good thing,  since then the bathroom would be warm,  but you had to keep the doors closed or it was all wasted.  Coldest winter they had had in ten years.  Just in time for us.  That was special.


Some time after lunch I worked up my courage to tackle the chandelier. 

Let me tell you this.  No matter how much you go over it in your head, there’s bound to be something that goes a little sideways. 

I had lined up two of the screws such that they would be driven into the ceiling joist,  but of course I managed to turn the stupid thing just enough such that I was trying to do that with the one screw that was a half inch shorter. Gah!   I just had to replace that one shorter screw with a longer one is all.  Got a certain amount of an upper body work out, and you would have never known it was cool in the house this morning,  that’s for sure.  Just a couple drops of sweat.


This is the bonehead’s guide to hanging such a critter by yourself. 

So just how the heck to you keep the support on,  and still reach through to put in the screws? 



That was my attempt at a “Eureka” moment.  It’s all I got.

Then after it was secured to the ceiling, I just needed to retrieve the little stainless caps that I had squirreled away in the shop.


I can’t remember what Travelling Companion suggested for dinner,  but I knew where those things were.

Why is that?  I know I was listening to her, but it’s gone. 


Anyway,  now all I have to do is fix those two holes where I took out the pot lights.   No biggie.  (he says)





Oh, and I can’t very well light it up yet either,  since I don’t have lamps that are the proper voltage.  As soon as T.C. shows up here with the wheels,  I’ll nip over to Home Despot.


Hey,  that only took me six months!  It’s not like we were using oil lamps in the meantime. No sense in rushing these things, y’know.


I suppose I might even put it on a dimmer?  Meh, we’ll see.


Bean salad!  That was one of the things.  I don’t remember the other.   A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

I’d best get on with it.


Thanks for stopping in.



Monday, September 16, 2013

The Terry Fox Run.

First time for me,  but for some of the volunteers and participants, they’ve been doing this for years and years.  You find this out when asking the runners how many years they’ve been participating.  It was on the form.  Some bit of information that needed to be gleaned.  I suppose it’s an interesting tidbit to know,  but I didn’t exactly ask why we needed to know.



I was at first a little puzzled as to why the registration tables were kind of stuck down at the end of things, but when faced with having to count several hundred dollars, or even making sure I didn’t bugger things up too badly, I was quite happy we weren’t sitting any closer to the DJ.  Not that the music was overly loud or anything,  but any port in a storm.

And speaking along those lines,  it was sure a good thing that the wind didn’t pick up, since it wasn’t exactly a blistering hot day.  You can see the folks there on the right have wisely gone with the “papoose program”.  I managed to keep from getting hypothermic, but I did notice that my fingertips were beginning to be a little less cooperative as the morning wore on.

This year for the first time,  bikes were not allowed to ride along,  which came as a bit of disappointment for a couple families.  But that bit of information was fairly common knowledge, so I think maybe they hadn’t really checked?  It was “on the website”. 

Whatever.  Isn’t it a “Terry Fox Run”? 

Too bad really,  but apparently there was a bit of tom foolery in years past with kids showing up on bikes and basically being idiots.  I’m not sure what the answer to that one is,  except to maybe stipulate that biking would be OK, as long as it’s “Families only”?   I suppose that would work, but it’s not my call.

My pictures kind of suck.  I don’t have any of the actual start of the run,  since the start line was way over at the other end.  Again, no complaints about that.  There were several hundred participants, but I have no clue how many.  Maybe over a thousand?  I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.



Of course, there were groups, entire families, and individuals.  There were a couple groups that had gone around among their co-workers and collected some serious coin (like in the thousands) with their respective companies willing to match whatever they came up with.  This was when I was quite happy to have very few distractions,  since on each occasion a large chunk of it was cash. 

On the other end of the spectrum,  we told all the folks who donated “on line”,  just how much we loved them!


I mean,  I don’t mind counting cash.  I’ve counted mountains of it over the years (restaurant work etc.) but usually in a locked room, when it’s really, really quiet.  Just saying.

Oh, and where I don’t have to worry about having a slight breeze blow a couple fifties across the parking lot.  Didn’t happen, thankfully.


Hopefully my registration partner and I didn’t make too many goofs,  although we were informed of any misdeeds fairly early in the proceedings.  Hey, if I don’t get asked next year,  I’ll know why.  I don’t think that leaving one little box empty on a couple registration forms will get me punted out of the program though.  The word is that a couple run locations had to be cancelled due to the lack of volunteers.  Kind of sad really, but it happens.

I’m sure Terry Fox would be just blown away by how many places world wide raise money and get out and run.  It’s kind of awesome!


Anyhoodle,  it’s just another Monday here at the Ponderosa.

I figured I’d get back to my light removal/whatever project.  That chandelier isn’t going to put itself up.


But first I have to locate the wiring, all the while ripping out the two old lamps.  Well, there’s not really that “old”.  I think I did that installation in something like 2001?  Didn’t know at the time that we’d be buying a Swarovski Crystal Chandelier in Vienna….that needs to go in the middle of the room….where there’s no box.  *whimper*


I’d just like to point out that,  cutting drywall/plaster/what have you over head,  really really SUCKS.   I still have drywall dust on me.  Didn’t suck any into my lungs at least.

Please also note the “light fixture removal tool” there on the ladder,  also known as bolt cutters.  I got tired of wrestling with those suckers.


And there we go!


No wait.  That’s just the template. 

There’s still no wire right there, although at least I found the box where the old lamps had been connected.  Yippee. (note enthusiasm)

I was never overly keen when it came to math or arithmetic back in school,  but thankfully I did get a kick out of geometry.   Came in handy figuring out that template.   It’s best if it’s simple geometry though like, right angle triangles and such.  Don’t gimme no cosines!

Now, if I’m really lucky,  two of the support holes just might line up with a floor joist.  Oh ya baby!  

That’s the extent of the excitement in my life today. 



Keep those sticks….oh never mind.



Thanks for stopping by.



Saturday, September 14, 2013

A head wind both ways.

Should have known,  but I naively thought I’d at least have a tail wind on the way home last night.  Didn’t happen.

This was one of the misunderstandings about cycling in the Netherlands.  Folks would figure that,  since it’s so flat,  cycling is easy.  Well,  cycling is easy because of the infrastructure,  but the country is flat, which means the wind is almost always blowing.  Why do you think they went with the windmill program all those centuries ago?

Below is a fine example of our *wonderful* bike infrastructure here in Burlington:


I just shake my head.

That “waste of perfectly good white paint” that you see on the roadway there,  is supposed to be a “bike lane”.  Of course, there’s no physical barrier between the bikes and the cars, so one idiot texting, and you’re toast. 

No helmet is going to keep you out of the hospital.  Or the morgue.



This wheelie bin was out in front of “Roseland Bowl”.   Now, since I don’t consider five pin bowling to be actual bowling,  I can see why they’re too dim to know what a bike lane is supposed to do.  Not that it matters.

“Stupid is,  as Stupid does.” 

People actually go there?  Must be some kind of front.


I briefly went out yesterday morning in my shorts,  but that didn’t last long.  There’s some kind of a pun there, but let’s not get side tracked.


So, on the brighter end of things,  my jeans still fit.

Well, sort of. 

Put it this way, they’re not going to be falling off my ass anytime soon.  I did switch up to the ones with the stretchy waist band for the bike ride to the pub.  You know, just for the extra roominess. 


It’s more of a “BB” challenge.  The two Bs being,  biking and beer.  Not enough of one, and perhaps just a wee too much of the latter?  Has to be, since I’m not scarfing down huge meals three times a day,  but let’s not get all “true confessions” here or anything. 

I can see your eyes starting to glaze over.

It was pretty cool in the abode last night,  although I certainly wasn’t aware of it after coming in off the bike.  A little exercise will do that.   Too early to fire up the boiler though,  since the temps are going to climb up again to something closer to room temperature over the next day or so.  I’ll be trying to knock off a couple more outside projects before digging out the mittens.


Have a fine weekend.


Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A little project in the fore noon.

I was going use the term “Bake to Hork”,  but I’d have too much explaining to do. 

I’m sure I’ve mentioned one of my former Caretaker-type associates, who only made it to grade three in the Azores?  Kind of makes learning a second language (English) a bit of a challenge.  He got by though.  Although,  there were times when I would go along as “interpreter”, and I don’t speak Portuguese.



A number of years ago, I slapped up a couple cupboards in the laundry room (for lack of a better term) and didn’t quite get finished.  Well, something like that.

I had put up the one cabinet with a set of doors on it,  and then had this *bright* idea to use some left over bits and put a skinnier cabinet right next to it.  There’s a chimney right there,  so I was sort of working around it. 

Meanwhile,  having one side open has been something that’s been one of those minor annoyances that I decided to sort out this morning.


It just didn’t look right,  and there’s all that dust.

See,  if I had just left well enough alone with the one on the right,  I’m sure that would have been just fine. Why do I do these things?


But,  it was probably worth the effort to re-familiarize myself with installing European style hinges and such.  I mean, I *have* the tools, it’s the knowledge that has started to wither up,  so a little refresher never hurts.


I had said when we left Europe that I really didn’t want to do any more ironing. Darned if I didn’t forget that I’ve had an iron in my shop for the last 20 years.   I guess I forgot about that “iron-on edge banding”. 

Still don’t want to iron clothes.  Thanks.



Now in theory,  it’s always preferable to have the cabinet in the shop when you go to make a set of doors for it. Unless of course, you have some CNC type of arrangement set up,  where you’re making them by the mile and sawing them off.  This is just one set of doors.  But still,  I likely could have taken the stupid cabinet down off the wall,  and saved myself a little back and forth.   Or, up and down.

I suppose the exercise never hurts.


I managed to wrap things up by lunch time,  which was a very good thing, since I was starting to get a little faint. 


They don’t line up as well as I would like,  but like I said,  I should have taken the cabinet off the wall.   I discovered that the one on the right wasn’t actually all that plumb, (*blush*) so I fine tuned it a little.  The thing is, it’s loaded with stuff,  and I just wasn’t willing to take it all out. 

Hunger can do that.


The next major issue will be the installation of our new washing machine.  It could be simply a matter of taking the old one away and plugging in the new one,  but I have this idea in my pea brain that I want to fine tune the whole arrangement.  I’m gonna do it too,  dammit!  The first set up is slightly half-assed,  and was never quite what I wanted.   Plus, over the years, the “kids” have seen fit to use the laundry tub (who uses one of those anymore?) to clean paint brushes,  and it’s kinda gross.  No pictures.

It’s not like I’m taking our clothes down to the lake and pounding them on a rock or anything. The “old” washing machine is still working, but we’ve had its replacement for a few months now because there’s a bearing in there that’s lived its life. 

It was a short one too. 

I can’t say I’m impressed with Whirlpool.  Definitely some sort of “planned obsolescence” going on there.  Bastards.

Seems to me we bought the pair of those machines in 2003, (washer and gas dryer) and Daughter Number Two told us a couple years ago already ( I think ) that it was starting to make a funny noise.  Paid some money to have it looked at,  with the diagnosis being that it wasn’t worth making it right. 


So we bought a replacement.  Of course, being as I have this certain way of looking at things, I’d like to get as much life out of the old one as possible.  The rattling sound it makes doesn’t seem to be getting any worse,  but I know that I need to face up to it, and simply take it away and give it the heave.


Anyhoodle,  I’m still waiting for this big bad cold front to rumble through.  Still pretty sticky out there with the humidity this morning at something like 98%.  Can’t get too much higher than that.

Need to air out the shop.


Brain empty.  Gotta go.


Thanks for stopping in.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just a few words for this Wednesday.



twin towers


It’s just a small image,  so I don’t think there’s much point clicking on it.  I thought I’d go with a nice “before” picture.

And there’s not too much else to say that hasn’t already been said.

I will say this though, whatever it was you were doing on that day,  will forever be indelibly etched into your memory.  I was painting our kitchen. Something called Havana Brown, I seem to recall. I had torn apart the old kitchen, since I was renovating, (like that’s a stretch) and the walls were completely blank, so it was a good time to paint.

Travelling Companion called me from work.  Told me to put on the TV.  You know the rest.


But hey!  I have me a segue! 


Today was the day to get our paint tinted.  Yay.

Please note, there’s no exclamation mark after the “Yay”.  Did you catch that?


Seems we’re in the “it’s time for some new paint” cycle.  Oh yes kids!  The wonderful “pea soup” that we’ve had in our living room, dining room, hallway (oh Gawd, it’s everywhere) is going to have to go!  And guess who gets to do the painting? 

Don’t misunderstand,  I quite like the “pea soup”.  It really is “wonderful”.  I thought it was wonderful.

However, and all you gentlemen out there need to pay attention to this,  whatever paint colour I like,  doesn’t matter.  

Repeat after me,  “I have no opinion when it comes to paint colours”.  

There.  (just keep saying it over and over)

In the mean while,  I still have that bloody chandelier to put up in the dining room,  so one thing at a time.  Plus, I had better start with the living room ceiling,  just to be on the safe side.  I see a few issues.   Also need to repeat after me,  “paint the bloody ceiling first”.


Today was my day to have the car and run the roads,  but I was quite done with that program by about noon time.  Of course,  it was just a wee bit too uncomfortable outside for doing much of anything except dashing from the air conditioned car to the air conditioned house.  And silly me,  I removed my window unit air conditioner from my shop just a few days ago.  I mean, heat wave?  C’mon, what are the chances? 

Pretty good,  as it turns out.

Of course, as I type this,  the temperature is falling outside.  We’ve had a “Thunderstorm watch”.  Or maybe it was a “warning”.  So that was it for our “heat wave”. 

Technically,  it seems to me that you have to have three days of being over a certain temperature for it to be considered a “heat wave”.  I’d look it up,  but we won’t need to know that bit of fluff until next June. 

I’m going to go with that.



I was hoping for some really cool clouds,  but nothing was really developing.  That’s all I got.

On the way up to Milton to the Company that Cannot be Named,  there are a couple level crossings that can mess with you a bit.  We were lucky this morning,  since I spied a great long freight train a little farther up the tracks after we had crossed the first one,  but there’s another crossing on the way into town that can be problematic.

Seeing this however,  was a bit of a first.

Couldn’t figure out what that Dude was doing on the tracks.



Turns out he was not only on the tracks,  he was “ON” the tracks,  and was coming onto the roadway at that crossing.  Didn’t take him long,  and the barriers were already up by the time I got there.  I always thought that would be cool to drive your vehicle on the train tracks.

Well, until there’s a train coming,  but I imagine that have some kind of system for that.  Sure hope so, anyway.




Rather than go straight home,  Travelling Companion and I decided to have someone else slap some food down in front of us,  so we stopped in at The Raging Olive for some dinner.

We rarely bother with menus, since we both know what we want already at the precise moment when we decide to go there.  And I’m going to screw up the word order (again), but it’s “Greek Chicken Salad”.  Or is it, “Chicken Greek Salad”?   It doesn’t matter.  Our waitress knew what we wanted.  The only thing on there that I don’t eat is the olives.  Yes I know,  it’s “The Raging Olive”,  but I don’t like olives.  What can I say?  I just pass them over.

News flash.  It’s neither.  I just went to the site and looked at the menu,  it’s “Greek Grilled Chicken Salad”.   OK then, forgot the “grilled” part.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Whatever,  it was awesome.  But really? That’s too damned many words.  “Gimme that Chicken Greek thing!”  (dammit!)

No, we’re polite.  Really,  don’t get the wrong idea. 

Note: You should never, ever be rude to the person who is about to bring you your food.  Not if you want to stick it in your mouth at least.  This should be one of those little life lessons.  Just thought I’d mention it.  Aren’t I helpful today? 


That’s about it for today’s big adventure.  Um, pretty sure that would be the “sarcastic font”?   If you’re not asleep by now, God bless ya.


And remember, (because it’ll be hockey season soon enough) keep your stick on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How is that fair?

This whole “blog-o-sphere” thing is a bit of a strange critter.  When folks whom you don’t know from a hole in the wall comment on your blog from time to time,  you start to get to *know* them.  Sort of.

It’s hard to explain. 

We banter back and forth?  We give advise/information?  But we never meet.

Anyway,  that’s why when I read that a certain fellow’s wife had died suddenly, it was something that made me stop and think and well,  feel a little sad.  I mean, there are others who have commented who have actually met these fine folks,  and I’m only out here in the periphery.

I’m mostly “on the periphery” I find.


There’s no getting around the inevitable, but in theory you’d like to get a little older,  maybe get to the point where there might be some sort of assisted living involved?  Not that that’s for everyone,  mind you.  

But to just slump over in your chair without much of a warning?   That ain’t fair.

Let’s drop it.


Meanwhile,  back here at the ranch (it ain’t really a “ranch”, trust me)  we are indeed getting our heat wave. 

You can slag off the weather man all you like,  but they got it right today.  That’s what?  One day out of how many?  We won’t go there either.

So that meant I figured I had better get that one last outside *thing* over with yesterday.  The front window was still missing its trim. *blush*


You have to understand,  I’ve had the trim milled and finished for *ahem*,  a few days now?  I just haven’t been overly motivated.

First of all,  any work on that window involves balancing on a board straddling two ladders.  So THAT’S sure motivational!   And then there’s the up and down.

I was actually a little lame this morning….

So whenever you think my blog entries are a bit “lame”?   Huh?  Huh?   Wakka wakka.


OK, never mind.


The thing too is,  it’s the biggest window I (we, really) have installed, so the trim pieces are of extra generous proportions. 

Oh goodie.





Just means being a bit resourceful. I guess that’s the word. Note how it’s suspended over the drill press?

See,  after I get all the pieces sized to fit,  I like to put them together and hang the whole thing at once.  Then you know your mitred corners are going to still be mitres when you install them.   Simple, really. 

Well,  mostly.


But, let’s cut to the chase.  We’re done!


Well,   with this house,  as with most any house,  we’re never really “done”,  but getting that trimmed out was a good thing.  If I ever do get “done”,  I’ll probably have to start at the beginning again. 

*news flash*.   That’s not gonna happen.


So,  since it’s been mostly an indoor day,  we’re back to throwing a couple bananas in the mixer.



Somebody has been missing her “breakfast” these last few days,  so I had to get it together.

Thrilling stuff,  huh?




Hope your tickers keep on ticking.


Thanks for stopping by.




Monday, September 9, 2013

I accept!

The challenge,  that is.


Now, before I continue,  I should mention that this brainstorm popped into my head way back on Saturday night.  But I thought, “Meh, I’ll just hang onto this.”  since it wasn’t going anywhere by itself.

But I did some clicking here and there on the net,  and I’m not letting all that “hard work” go to waste,  dammit!

*If I think of all the time we spent as students in the library at McMaster,  looking at actual….books!  Man oh man, how the times have changed.*




It must be some sort of left over from getting that, “Liberal arts education”,  but when challenged about something I’m pretty sure that I know to be a fact,  I just can’t leave it alone.


Someone is wrong on internet

I had to put that one in.  Sorry.  Just makes me chuckle.



Of course,  you CANNOT believe everything you read on the net.  Just saying!  You have to put things in context.  Look at various sources.  You know.  Do research??  That’s really what it’s all about.

This was true way back in the dark ages when we had to read these things called “books”,  and try and glean information.  Some authors were out there in left field.  (what’s so wrong with being in “left field” anyway?  That’s where most hitters hit the ball.)


So here we have it:

Vegans look away.  Those are cuts of beef.

beef cuts

Of course,  since this is something that I stole off the net,  it’s not a terribly good picture or anything, since it won’t get that much bigger if you click on it.

However,  for the full story (it’s in German,  sorry) we do have a website at our disposal.


I give you,  all the cuts of beef.

Here you go.


I do wish I had stumbled on this one a few years ago,  since I used to stand at the counter at Radatz,  (the butcher/deli) wondering just what the hell I was buying.  Or should buy.

I mean,  I do the same when I’m standing at the counter at Denninger's, but at least I’ve picked up a few snippets when it comes to cuts of meat over the years,  and whatever they’re offering is in English.  It does help.


In the meanwhile of course Bea,  way over there on Campobello Island,  had pointed out that well,  I might be “mistaken” (my term) about my recollections about buying meat in Vienna. 

Chances of that being the case are extremely high.  I’ve been known to “make up sh*t”,  but hey,  I did win that Trivia contest a few months back,  and have the windbreaker to prove it.  I thought it was a bit of a miracle,  but once in a while there’s a glimmer of synaptic activity in my pea brain.


So, having my confidence in my recollections utterly shattered (you can insert the sarcastic font in here, by the way)  I thought I’d have to see if I couldn’t find some sort of proof of what I saw,  and bought.  Or, *thought* I saw?  Was it all a dream?  Did we ever live in Vienna? 


Whether we want to call it “malapropism”,  which is an awesome word by the way,  or just gibberish,  the bottom line is,  the Viennese speak “Wienerisch” ,  which I will attempt to put into some sort of phonetic version thus: Veenerisch.   Got that?

I’m sure there are all kinds of two dollar words to describe “Viennese”,  but it’s sort of a German version of “Newfie Speak”.    I’m not sure what the equivalent would be south of the 49th,  but perhaps trying to understand someone giving you directions “down in da bayou”,  would be close?


I’ve engaged in brief conversations with those who spoke to me in Viennese,  and I’ll just emphasize that it was indeed brief.  My internal language processor was working overtime,  let me tell ya. 

Even the Germans in the Company that Cannot be Named, listening to those of Austrian origin who were trying their best to speak something that was understandable, would point out that, The German Language was in fact, not really being spoken. 

Kinda tough to carry on business too,  by the way.

But hey, languages evolve, which is probably why they try to get everyone to use English….


So I think we can put it to rest.   I did in fact,  buy “Lungenbraten”,  which was a totally made up word by those darned Austrians. 


Meanwhile,  on the home front.  I have a couple pictures of some food,  and something close to food.



This was from Saturday night,  I just liked the way the vapour was coming up off our pasta meal.   Oh, and it was quite good too. 


On the other end of the spectrum of all things edible,  we have (had) these abominations that had been passed off as “cookies” or “biscuits” or something.  I think the *thing* was that,  they were “gluten free”.  OK, whatever!

Well,  I’ve had stuff that’s gluten free,  but that didn’t mean it was free from taste,  or so nasty that you couldn’t even take another bite.


I left them out last night for the Raccoons.   They cleaned them up.




There we go.  Took care of that.  Note all the paw prints.

Man, those guys will eat anything!

For those of you unfamiliar with this little green bin,  we have a means of disposing of our compost here in our municipality.  This includes meat, fish, bones, plus the usual stuff that you’d put into the compost.  We do have a garden composter as well,  so it’s not like all of it goes out. 

The beauty of this concept is,  we no longer have the issues with vermin in the garden composter that we’ve experienced in past.  The rats don’t give a rat’s tiny behind about grass clippings or weeds.  Plus,  I’ve suspended the green bin in such a way that it is difficult to get into.  Difficult,  but not impossible.

Them Raccoons are a cleaver lot.

Daughter Number Two told us a little story about some sort of trapeze act?  Didn’t get any photo evidence,  but she was so impressed,  she was almost willing to take the two circus performers out a nice tray of goodies.



We’re supposed to get another short heat wave,  so I’d best get busy.


Keep it between the ditches.


Thanks for stopping by.