Stop The Train

The handful of you who read my blog Following A Bold Plan, will recognize this building as the Witch’s Hat in Uxbridge, which sits along the Trans-Canada Trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Witch’s Hat was built in 1904 as a train station to support the rail traffic moving through the area, carrying people and supplies to and from the small surrounding communities, to Toronto in the south.

It’s a train museum now, but was closed on the day Helen and I traveled past it.  Since our good luck was continuing to hold out, that didn’t stop us from getting inside for a look around.  A maintenance worker saw us outside wandering around taking photos, and offered to show us the inside.

Of course we said yes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was Helen’s favourite find

In fact, there wasn’t much inside that captured my attention,  perhaps because it appeared like they were in the process of renovating, with boxes and items randomly scattered around.

I couldn’t even get a decent photo of the front door.

That’s ok … I was more preoccupied with the trains outside anyway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am a fan of large sliding doors though

It’s been so long since I was on a train, is this warning still posted above the steps?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I grew up in a railway town and it was seriously frowned upon to wander around in the rail yard … so this was a treat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m pretty sure the skateboarding sign isn’t an original 1904 artifact!

There was just so much to explore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As patient as Helen is while I’m poking around taking photos, sometimes I have to quit long before I want to just so I don’t take advantage of her goodwill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes!  This is a door!!

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by the Chief Engineer Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.  Check it out, explore, or join in yourself.  Just look for the little blue frog.

Posted in history, Photo Challenges, photography, Things I Like, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , | 63 Comments

I Hear Voices

Lower Don4

{Moan!} … a little too much sacramental wine.  That Sister Mary-Helen is a bad influence!

 

Lower Don1

BRRRR!!  What the hell happened to my clothes?! Quick! Someone grab me a blanket.  {I knew I shouldn’t have trusted that Sister Mary-Helen}

 

Lower Don

Gaaaah – there was a bug in my wine … and I swallowed it! 

 

Lower Don6

Ohhh – my head!  I had the strangest dream I was out with Sister Mary-Helen … and I think she took my wallet.

 

Lower Don2

Anyone else want to lodge a complaint?  Anyone?  I didn’t think so.

 

Posted in Around Toronto, photography, Things I Like | Tagged , , , , | 78 Comments

Leaving a Legacy

A couple of weeks ago, while Helen and I were out exploring the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery, we also discovered an interesting structure a few kilometres down the road.

The Thomas Foster Memorial is located beside a cemetery, and the massive building not only contains the crypts of Thomas Foster, his wife, and daughter, it’s also a chapel where special events are held, including weekend concerts and weddings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When Helen and I first pulled off the road to take a closer look at the Memorial, we were confronted with a tall fence and closed gates around the manicured lawn.

Not to be deterred, Helen fumbled around with the latch and footings that locked the gates in place, … until they finally squeaked open.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love going out exploring with Helen?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unfortunately our luck ended there.

In spite of our best efforts, we were unable to get inside the building to look around.  We kept hoping that someone would be inside – preferably alive – and would offer to let us in for a quick peek … but it wasn’t to be.

The best we could do was peer around the grillwork of the massive front doors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m surprised that the photo I took of the interior came out as well as it did … in spite of the mesh built into the glass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So who was Thomas Foster, anyway?

Well, he was just a local boy who did really well for himself.  He made a large fortune in real estate, and was also briefly mayor of Toronto from 1925 to 1927.

Building the memorial was inspired by a trip Foster made to India when he visited the Taj Mahal.  The memorial was built in 1935/36 at a cost of $250,000.  Based on the calculations at DollarTimes.com, that would be the equivalent of $4.5 million today.

I’m pretty sure it’s equivalent could not be built today at a cost of $4.5 million – certainly not anywhere close to the Toronto area.

This post is part of Thursday Doors, a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.  Norm is a friendly guy hailing from Montreal, and he loves company.  Drop in for a visit, and tell him I said ‘hi’.

*************************************************************************************

This post has been made possible through the kindness of the blogging community.  When I wrote about my technology issues, so many of you responded with best wishes and a few suggestions on how I might tackle my problems.

Joe at The Visual Chronicle sent me a youtube link that he hoped would help solve my problems with Lightroom, and give me access to my photos again.

As it turned it out, it did!!!

That link provided me with valuable information and access to another link with even more valuable information.  The combination of the two gave me the clues I needed to get my photo catalog and library to talk to one another again.

That sudden disruption you may have felt in the earth’s energy on Tuesday afternoon was likely caused by my cry of Hallelujah at the top of my lungs, followed by a brief, fumble-footed Irish jig.

This blogging community is the best, and so is Joe!

Posted in history, New Things, Photo Challenges, photography, Things I Like, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , | 94 Comments

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

DSCF9235

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.

fullsizeoutput_6f

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}

 

 

 

Posted in Attitude, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 113 Comments

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…

View original post 1,765 more words

Posted in Random Stuff | 27 Comments

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.

DSC00035

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.

Posted in Attitude, Family, Memories, Things I Like | Tagged , , , , | 118 Comments

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside the front door

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Posted in history, Photo Challenges, Things I Like, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , | 130 Comments

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

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.

Invictus2

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.

Invictus5

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.

Invictus4

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

Invictus6

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.

Invictus3

 

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.

Posted in Active Lifestyle, Attitude, inspiration, New Things, Things I Like | Tagged , , | 85 Comments

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Keswick7

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.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A hot, hazy day on the shore of Lake Simcoe

Happy *Worthless* Wednesday!

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