Technology Hell

I’ve been fighting my way through the fires of technology hell, and have almost given up hope that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Let me start by saying I have a richly cultivated mistrust of machinery in general, technology in particular.

I blame it on being introduced to Dr Who and the Daleks at a young and impressionable age.  Since then I’ve tried to maintain a respectful demeanour with any non-human life forms, albeit in an uncomfortable kind of way.

In my childhood that discomfort was directed towards the family washing machine – which, during the spin cycles, revealed it was secretly possessed – and the large snow graters that cleared the roads in the winter.


Wyevale – June 2017

As an adult, however, most of my deferential behaviour is reserved for computers both big and small, and these insidious monsters have been the subject of my recent descent into technology hell.

For the past couple of years I’ve been working with a laptop that is the biggest piece of manmade junk ever created.  We started off on the wrong foot from the very first time I removed it from its shipping box, and our relationship never improved.

Let’s just say that I eventually reached the point where I neither unplugged or shut down my laptop in the increasingly desperate hope that it would continue to operate with a reasonable amount of efficiency.

The final straw came after a 6 hour marathon call with DELL technical support failed to resolve any of my issues following an automatic software update by Windows 10.

Although I had been a PC user since the early days of personal computing in the 1980s, I was defecting to Team Apple.


Me – the final straw just snapped

It’s been about 2 weeks now since I’ve armed myself with a shiny new MacBook and I feel like I’ve been dropped behind enemy lines without a map or reference guidebook.

Apple language is a secret code of seemingly random hand gestures that makes things happen whether you want them to or not.  For the uninitiated, it’s been unnerving to say the least.

However, over the past week, after spending countless hours bonding with Siri, she has helped me navigate the turbulent waters of backups, moving files, reformatting external drives, and endless other minor details like ‘where the hell are my files?!’

… but there is one thing that continues to elude me – recovering my Lightroom photo library with its catalog.

I’ve been through this particular version of hell once already with the demon PC, and it ended badly.  I eventually had to rebuild the catalog from scratch.  With a library that is now more than double its size from the last time, there is NO FREAKING WAY I’m going to manually rebuild that catalog again.

So until I find a solution to this problem, my access to photos is extremely restricted.


Random photo because that’s all I’m capable of right now.

Which now brings me to my most recent SNAFU.

After spending several weeks and countless hours working on a post for the Cherished Blogfest this weekend, I hit the “Publish” button last night with a sigh of contentment.  That contentment was short-lived because to my horror, WP published a blank post.  Nothing.  Nada.  Nichts.

Nor does it appear that I’m able to recover the original pre-published document.  I just don’t have the energy, or heart, to even consider trying to recreate that post.

Let there be no doubt.  Technology is not our friend and I think I’ve just uncovered its secret long-term mission is to slowly drive us all insane.

For me, that is just as fearsome as the Daleks battlecry of “Exterminate”.

{Note – The Cherished Blogfest has been extended to the end of next weekend.  Check it out, join in … it’s a great antidote to counteract all the negativity permeating the world … like this post}




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Scotch on the Rocks

This story, written by Scotch the cat, on the day the air conditioning failed on a hot day, really tickled my funny bone this morning. I hope you enjoy it too. Happy Friday the 13th!

Bonnywood Manor

A shocking example of climate change, through the eyes of a feline…

Hi, People with two legs!

It’s me, Scotch the cat. I’m on Daddy’s toplap again, the thing I’m not supposed to be on, like the kitchen table and stuff that can break, but I don’t think he really cares right now. He’s in the other room, being very mad, and I’m pretty sure it’s not about me.

It’s been a very scary day.

I didn’t know it was going to be scary or I would have just stayed asleep. But I was up way early, before the dark goes away, running around and knocking things over for my Daddies to find later and then wonder what happened while I giggle. The Larm Clock said something with a 5 in it. I can only count to 5, because of my legs and tail, but I’m taking classes to learn…

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A Time To Give Thanks

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving and a time to be with family and friends to enjoy and appreciate the good things we have.

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life.  Last year I tried to write a tongue-in-cheek piece  that my family didn’t quite *get*, but this year I feel a bit more serious and sentimental.  As it should be, relationships top the list of things I value most.

I’m grateful for my husband of 34 years.  We celebrated our anniversary this weekend and remarked on how quickly the years have raced by.  We remembered the many happy occasions, and the times we laughed even when the going got rough.

Wedding 1983

October 1983

The ugly patches fall away as unimportant.  We survived, that’s all that matters.

I’m grateful for my sons – the two that nature gave me, my future son-in-law, and the one who adopted us.  All four bring an unique richness to my life, and they fill a void I didn’t know existed … until they came into it.


October 2017

I’m so blessed to have sons who want to come home, who want to visit and spend time with us.  We laugh, we eat and drink too much, we tell stories, we support and encourage one another.  It’s the best of what family should be, and it’s extraordinarily precious.

I’m grateful we each enjoy good health.  Our bodies are strong, allowing us to live an active lifestyle.  Upon reflection, that’s even more important the day after a day filled with excessive celebration.

I’m grateful we live in a country that is largely peaceful, tolerant, and genuinely tries to be kind … most of the time.  That’s a pretty tall order in today’s world and the older I get, the more I appreciate it.

I know this entire post sounds trite, like a tired cliché, and maybe it’s just the pumpkin pie talking, but I’m incredibly grateful for all of it.

I’ve been given a great life.  It’s not perfect – I’d like to think a lottery win could solve many of those problems – but there were oh-so-many things could have gone horribly wrong along the way … but didn’t.

This Thanksgiving, I’m simply happy to be here, right now, comfortable in the knowledge that I’m loved by the people who mean the most to me.

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Lucy’s House

I’m going out on a limb here to suggest that the book Anne of Green Gables, and its author Lucy Maud Montgomery, are Canada’s most recognized literary exports … they are most certainly in the top five.

Even in my youth, I couldn’t see the attraction to this freckled, red-headed, and outspoken girl.  Personally, I thought Anne was obnoxious, but the truth is, this character appears to be well-loved around the world.

Helen and I were out on the Trans-Canada Trail this week when Helen casually mentioned that Lucy’s home, where all of her children had been born, was nearby.  Of course that meant we had to make a special excursion to visit this heritage building.


In case you were wondering, O.B.E stands for Officer of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire

Our little side trip brought us to a charming house shaded by the large leafy trees in the front yard … and more importantly, what turned out to be lots of doors and doorways.



The sign in the doorway is an excerpt from Lucy’s diary written during the time she lived here.  In various spots in the house, quotes from Lucy’s diary could be found.

As I approached the front door to take a photo, it suddenly opened and a woman popped out to say hello.  I had thought the house was a small heritage museum, and was now mortified, thinking we were trespassing on the front step of a private home.

Happily, it did turn out to be a museum, and the woman was in the process of conducting a private tour.  However, she invited us inside to look around on our own.

The house was an interesting little rabbit warren of rooms with doors leading off in all directions.

These are my favourite photos from that very brief visit.  Click on any photo to enlarge. Sadly, my photos of the gorgeous old front door were unusable.


Inside the front door


In the kitchen.  To the left, the door way leads to the dining room which leads back to the front hall.


From the dining room looking into the front hall.  I love the vertical slats of this door to the left


Outside, at the back of the house, a pair of old wooden doors

This hiking trip proved to me that door excursions can happen at any time, including when I least expect it … like when I’m sweaty and wind-swept from the trail.  I can only imagine what this woman thought as she noticed 2 unkempt-looking women poking around the front door!

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo challenge hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

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Invictus Games

If you’ve never heard of the Invictus Games, don’t feel badly.  I likely wouldn’t have either if Toronto hadn’t been host to the Games for the past week.

These Games were the brainchild of Prince Harry – of the British Royal Family fame – after visiting the Warrior Games in the US in 2013.  The first games were held in London in 2014, followed by Orlando, Florida in 2016.


Invictus is a Latin word for unconquerable, and to quote the Invictus Games Foundation website:

Many Servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, visible or otherwise, whilst serving their country.  How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries?

The Invictus Games are a multi-sport competition that allows both veterans and those still in active service, to participate in games specifically geared for those wounded in duty.

I had the pleasure of attending the swimming finals and it was every bit of emotional as I expected it would be.  There were 4 categories in each event, based on the level of injury, and the competition was impressive.

Ok – it was actually jaw-dropping.  Although Husband is a long distance swimmer and not a sprinter, even he admitted he could never match these 50-metre times.


Many participants needed assistance in or out of the water.  Blind swimmers were escorted around the pool area, and those with hearing loss had a team member in the starting block to tap them when the starting buzzer sounded.


There was an aspect to this competition I’ve seen only in long-distance events like Ironman.  As if it was even possible, the cheering for the last place person was actually louder than for the first place finisher.  Participants would turn as they finished to clap and cheer those coming in behind them.

My eyes are welling up just remembering it.


Gilles and I were sitting in a large section of very enthusiastic fans from the UK.  None of the 5 individuals around us had a friend or family member participating in the Games … in fact, they hadn’t even known each other until earlier in the week.

They had traveled from London just to show their support, and had been to EVERY event during the past week.  In their own words, they were going home having made many new friends while they were here, and were already planning to attend next year’s Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia


Medal ceremony – Women’s 50 metre freestyle 

It was not a nice evening to be out on the roads.  It was cold, windy, and raining … the kind of Friday evening when it wouldn’t have been hard to convince ourselves to stay home with a bottle of wine.

Instead, I got to experience something that will always stay with me.  I was amazed by the strength and courage of these participants … and very deeply humbled.



My very special thanks to Nancy Teixeira at My Year of Sweat for getting Gilles and I complimentary tickets to the swimming finals.  Since Nancy returned to the work force, her blog has been mostly quiet, but she is still very active on Instagram at @nancytex.

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Gateways To The Lake

Along the southern shore of Lake Simcoe runs a small country-like road with a single lane in both directions – shared by pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.  On a warm summer day, it’s a busy place.

Travelling down this road, one has a beautiful view of the lake on one side and homes on the other.

At one time, these dwellings would have been summer cottages for the city folk in the south, but now almost all of those small summer places have disappeared and been replaced with large, modern houses with 7-figure price tags.

What I find particularly interesting is that this small road dissects the highly desirable waterfront property from its water access on the opposite side of the road.

The shoreline is dotted with private docks interspersed with public beaches.  Many of these homeowners have felt the need to erect signs, and occasionally gates, to advice people that it’s private property and they are not welcome.



In the background are the red chairs on the dock that I featured in yesterday’s post

Oddly, the fencing doesn’t continue all the way down to the lake, which makes me think the homeowner isn’t allowed to completely secure the area.  That means that people – like me – can venture behind the gate and its fencing.


Occasionally I found just a solitary door – without any fencing – that was more of a symbolic gesture rather than a real deterrent.

Now in hindsight, I wish I had stopped to take more photos.

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo challenge hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.  Today Norm takes us to Newfoundland and an ancient Viking settlement estimated to be at least a 1,000 years old at L’Anse aux Meadows.  Check it out.

Posted in Outdoor Stuff, Photo Challenges, Things I Like, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 70 Comments

Worthless Wednesday

This morning my mailbox was full of posts labeled Wordless Wednesday, but my eye kept wanting to read Worthless Wednesday first.  I don’t know why.  I actually like Wednesdays, and always have.

When I was growing up, my father had a small grocery store in which my mother often helped out, especially on days when it was busy.  However, the store was closed on Wednesdays, typical of retail businesses in the 60s.

Wednesday meant my parents wouldn’t be working, and they’d be home.  Because of it, the entire day had a relaxed feel about it, even though my school routine remained unchanged.

Throughout my childhood, I absorbed that Wednesday vibe and still enjoy it all these decades later.

The weatherman says today will be the last of the heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing the past couple of weeks.  So to celebrate this final day of ‘summer’, on a relaxed Wednesday, I offer this photo.

This is where I’d like to be on this last Wednesday in September.



A hot, hazy day on the shore of Lake Simcoe

Happy *Worthless* Wednesday!

Posted in Memories, Nature, photography, Things I Like | Tagged , | 88 Comments

September, And It’s Hot

Don’t let the summer weather fool you.  The calendar says it’s September.

It’s been hot, and it feels odd to have July-like temperatures in early autumn when the leaves are turning yellow and red.

My photo library continues to fill up with memories, but inspiration still escapes me to put words around them.  So for this month’s Changing Seasons, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Hiking forest trails

Cycling trails both near and far

Reluctantly doing yard work


An indication of how unseasonably cool this summer has been, by September, these plants would usually be covering the statue’s face.

… and to end, instead of a photo of Theo this month, a selfie …


A day alone on the Beaver River Wetland Trail enjoying the summer-like weather

Changing Seasons is a monthly photo feature hosted by Max at Cardinal Guzman.

Sadly, after 3 years, Max has decided that at the end of this year, Changing Seasons will come to an end.  I have really enjoyed this challenge and reflecting on the month I’ve had.

For the remainder of the year, I will also be including a photo from each of the prior years of this challenge.  Thanks Max for this great journey we’ve been on.

Prince Edward County

From 2015 – winery hopping in Prince Edward County


From 2016 – Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Island. Built in 1808, it is the oldest existing lighthouse on the Great Lakes. It is said to be haunted.

Posted in Active Lifestyle, Nature, Outdoor Stuff, Photo Challenges, The Changing Seasons, Things I Like | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 83 Comments

Bouncy Fun

In my last post, I promised that I would be revisiting the play area of the fall fair I unexpectedly found at the end of last week’s bike ride.

But the story actually started earlier this summer when Husband turned 60.

I wanted to do something special … but Gilles didn’t want to go anywhere, he didn’t want a party, nor did he want to do anything out of the ordinary to mark the occasion.  All he wanted was to have “the boys” come home as usual for a family dinner.

But an idea was starting to take shape that had all the makings of a Giggle Fest, and with the help of a very good friend, I managed to secure a bouncy castle for the day.

You know we’re all adults, right?  You know, of course, that wasn’t going to stop us.


This is what the backyard looked like BEFORE pandemonium started

There’s a reason why these things aren’t intended for adults. We are over-grown children with too much energy and imagination to spare, and as a result, a simple idea quickly deteriorates into a very questionable activity.  In fact there is an entire TV show devoted to these kinds of scenarios.  It’s called The Science of Stupid.

In our case, the bouncy castle morphed into a makeshift diving platform …


Note – the pool is 9 feet deep here

While I was rather concerned that this little adventure could easily turn into a visit to the ER, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much that I couldn’t breathe.

So, let’s just say that this was my most recent memory concerning bouncy castles.  Enter now the Sunderland Fall Fair.

It was Bouncy Castle Heaven.

… and since it was a fall fair, all the bounce areas had a country theme … well, except for the 5-stage “combat zone” obstacle course.   That just made my jaw drop.  Where were these things when I was an 8-year-old?!

Anyway, back to the country theme ….


The Little Red Barn


The Smiling Cow


What’s a farm without John Deer tractor equipment?


… or other heavy equipment?

So while the adults were inside the arena “tripping the light fantastic” on the dance floor, I was longingly watching the children while they were having the *real* fun of the fair.

This would be perfect for our next party … but I’m going to need a much bigger backyard … and maybe more insurance.

Posted in Family, New Things, Outdoor Stuff, Things I Like | Tagged , , , | 94 Comments

A Little Bit Country

There are many things I don’t expect to find on a weekday afternoon while riding a bike trail in the countryside … and yet, it’s still possible to surprise me.

Fall fair season is gearing up, and over the next month communities big and small will be hosting their versions of a country fair.  I think it’s safe to say they’re usually held on the weekend, perhaps starting on a Friday afternoon.

But I found one unexpectedly being held on a Wednesday.  I took a wrong turn trying to find my way out of town, and there it was!

It was packed with people of all ages.  Small-town-packed, not city-packed … there’s a world of difference between the two.  I can only assume that the local schools and many local businesses were closed for the day.

It had all the requirements of a fall fair.

Judging of locally grown produce:









It’s our birthday this year, and variations of our flag are showing up everywhere!

A Play Area and Miniature Train


There will be more to come on the play area in a later post.  It deserves its own story.

However, my favourite was inside the arena where a live band was pelting out the tunes while a small group do-si-do’d around the dance floor.



This guy on the left was a whirlwind on the dance floor.  Wow – could he dance!!

There was even a fall harvest dinner in the church basement later in the day … but I didn’t stick around for that.  I still had over an hour’s drive to get back home.

I stuck out like a sore thumb while I roamed around the fair – in my bike shorts and sweaty helmet-hair – but I had the best time!

I may have to revise what I might expect to find in a small farming community on a weekday afternoon in September.

Posted in Adventure, New Things, Outdoor Stuff, Things I Like | Tagged , , , | 85 Comments