Thursday, 23 March 2023

Komputer Kaput

Just letting you know that my computer died two nights ago and that's why there has been a delay in getting your comments released from moderation.

My computer guru is assisting me in getting up and running again, and in the meantime I've gotten a tablet to work on, so I'll still have email and other internet services like Blogger. But this will slow me down a bit, and there won't be any photos or illustrations.

I will answer your comments and visit your blogs as soon as I can. Off to work now 🙂 

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Close Encounters of the Puzzling Kind

Not long ago, I was in our local Value Village store, which is a second-hand store selling everything you'd ever want. The things are donated by the public to the store, credit given to charitable groups, and then sold back to the public. It's a good system to keep stuff out of the landfill and I love looking around. It's also where I buy nearly all my reading material and clothing.

This particular day I was looking through the ladies' clothing. I heard a young voice behind me say politely, "Excuse me, do you think I'd look good in this?"

I turned to see a boy of about ten or so, holding a scrunched up article of clothing. I couldn't tell what it was, but there wasn't much of it, which made me think it was either a bathing suit or a small top. It was hot pink with a fringe, that much I could see.

I didn't know if he was seriously asking or trying to get a reaction, so I said the first thing that came to mind, hoping it was ambiguous enough not to offend him if he was serious or make me look foolish if he wasn't. What I said was, "Oh yes, excellent" and he looked a bit surprised and turned and left.

A few minutes later, I heard kids laughing, and saw him with two girls of about his age giggling and darting through the aisles. Later still, I saw him staggering around in ladies' high heeled shoes and laughing.

So, my question to you is:

What would you have said if you had been me?

When you saw him again (and again), would that have changed your response if you could go back in time?

Picture something about this colour, but smaller and with long fringes. Scrunched up in someone's hand, so you can't tell what it actually is.

Friday, 10 February 2023

GOW and the Telephone Company

In case that acronym is too obscure even after you've read the post, it stands for Grumpy Old Woman.

I've been trying to set up pre-authorized payment for my mother's telephone bill.

Once upon a time this could be done by sending a blank cheque with "VOID" written across the face of it to the company.

Apparently this can no longer be done. All thier pre-authorized payments are set up using online banking with a debit or credit card.

To arrive at this answer, I had to do the following:

1) I called the customer service line yesterday and spoke to someone who did not understand my question, so eventually I said I would go online to make my enquiry

2) I started a chat session today with, first, a chatbot, then with an employee who did not understand my question, and when asked to connect me with their supervisor, told me THEY WERE the supervisor and it wasn't the telephone company's fault they didn't accept voided cheques to set up PAPs, it was imposed on them by Canadian Payments Association

3) I checked the Canadian Payments Association online, which by the way is actually called Payments Canada and which still allows (as far as I can tell) the use of a voided blank cheque to set up pre-authorized payments

4) I sent an email to Payments Canada to verify suppliers can still accept this method and to ask if they are obligated to use it if the customer asks for it; they will get back to me within five (5) business days

5) I started a second chat session with the telephone company, got the chatbot, got the service rep, got nowhere, asked for their supervisor and was connected with a "case manager" from the "resolution team", who eventually told me that the voided blank cheque method is not accepted by them.

Okay, that's fine. They've made a decision to disallow one method of setting up a payment and I suspect they have that right, just as a company can decide they are not accepting cash or debit cards or credit cards.

But I think there must be a sizeable number of people out there who don't have on-line banking. It's not just the very elderly. It's anyone who doesn't have reliable internet or who just doesn't like technology. That may include quite a few baby boomers, and as we kept getting told, we are a huge freaking cohort at the moment.

I was hoping to make this easier for both my mother and myself, because she tends to lose the bills and end up paying late charges, and because if something happens that she can't or won't sign the cheques as her dementia worsens, I will have to pay them myself.

I am not picking on the telephone company for this one reason only.

I have dealt with them before on various matters and been dissatisfied with their faceless, soul-less approach to the people who pay their salaries, bonuses, and shareholder dividends (i.e., us, their customers). 

I fear I am shouting into the void, though.

I do realize the service reps are not to blame.

It's just so frustrating on the customer end.

Hence the blog post. I feel less like I am shouting into the void😄



How has your week shaken out? Doing any frustrating tasks? Lemme know in the comments if you like. Misery LOVES company, so they say. Hah.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Mozart . . . Chicken

No, this isn't some kind of new and crazy recipe.

I never expected to be posting again so soon, but I loved this so much I wanted to pass it on.

From blogger bluebird of bitterness and YouTube, here is .....


The man is a genius 😆

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

It's Been a Minute


Hello, my fellow passengers on this blue orb.

I apologize for just stopping blogging without an explanation. I did write a follow up post on the hurricane we experienced back in September. But I found with each passing day all I wanted to do was forget the dang storm, so I never posted it. 

And I didn't feel like writing about anything else that was happening either. Some of it was private, some of it was depressing, and overall I just felt completely out of energy.

Then December came, and as much as I thought I'd be okay with this, the second year after my husband's death, the memories of the worst of his cancer decline came with it. The weight of those memories crushed me more each day until the anniversary of his death in early January had passed. It felt like I was submerged deep underwater for weeks, only coming up for air now and then, the rest of the time living in a vast roaring silence.

It feels like I am surfacing more often now, and things are getting back to some kind of normal. I'm back to work again, the lonely holidays are behind me, and we in the Northern Hemisphere are that much closer to the end of winter.


Speaking of winter, ours has been very mild so far, with more rain than snow. My mother has had to stay with me only once, and that was for a problem with her power line, not a snowstorm. Those overnight stays are very difficult for me, and I think they are also difficult for her, as much as she enjoys getting out for a bit. A day away from home (for her) and a day of managing dementia behaviors (for me) is too long for both of us.


You might remember that this time last year my Meredith cat was diagnosed as having a cancerous mass in her chest which was pressing on her heart. The vet said she probably had only months left to live. After six months, Meredith's health seemed stable, so I got the vet to run her bloodwork again and do a new X-ray. Her bloodwork again ruled out any obvious medical cause for her water intake or trembling episodes, and the comparison X-ray showed no change at all in the mass.

Now, seven months after that checkup, she is still drinking as much as ever but she's eating well and is as active as ever. The vet and I are wondering if the explanation is in her history. Before we got her, she had been struck by a car and seriously injured. Our vet fixed her up; however, no one ever came to claim her, and she was re-homed with us. The impact may have cracked some bones in her chest and the mass showing on the X-ray is simply the overlay of new bone, and may have been there for years. Also, she has always had some unusual twitching of her face and front paws, perhaps brain damage of some kind. Maybe the obsession with drinking water is caused by further deterioration of the brain. Or maybe she is developing cat dementia as she ages. Anyway, the stone that lived in my stomach for months following her first diagnosis has gone away (for now). If she eats every four to five hours, night and day, it seems to reduce her trembling and the vomiting that often followed. The night feeding coincides perfectly with the time I have to get up to hit the bathroom each night, so that's convenient. Not being able to be away from home for more than five hours is not so convenient, but I manage.





My Lucy cat is doing okay too. Last fall, I took her to the vet because she was limping more than usual with her arthritis, and because she was wheezing more than usual with what had been diagnosed as asthma a number of years ago. The vet felt she should go on some kind of pain medication, but one of the recommended meds would interact with the steroid she was taking for the asthma, and the other pain med came in enormous pills and I could not get Lucy to take them, even disguised in a Pill Pocket or in stinky fishy food or any other way. (Remember, this is the bitey cat, so I didn't even try to give the pills by hand.) I took her back to the vet a couple of months later and explained the problems I was having. It was a different vet this time, and in discussing the need for a steroid she asked me to describe Lucy's wheezing. It turns out that it wasn't wheezing after all, it was something called "reverse sneezing" and cats do it to try to clear irritants from the back of their throat or respiratory passages. So Lucy was able to be weaned off the steroid. At the same time, the vet recommended we try her on a new once-a-month injection of a pain medication called Solensia. It's expensive, but it seems to be helping. There was a chance of a side effect (bothersome itching) but she doesn't appear to have it. The best part of all is that her appetite is less without the steroid driving it up, she has become somewhat more willing to play (she has always been a very serious cat, something I suspect stems from her life before she came to us), and she has lost one whole pound (which is almost 6% of her weight) since dropping the steroid and going on the pain medication. If she can lose another pound, she will qualify for a lower dose shot, which will cost half as much. Yay!





I also have lost weight and I'm very happy about that. It started with the hurricane. I was so stressed out and we had such limited cooler space that I was eating about half of what I usually eat. I was also more active, clearing branches from the yard and fetching for my mother, instead of reading and watching YouTube. The weight fell off, about a pound a day. Not what you'd call healthy, but I really didn't feel like eating. The takeaway for me was that I can indeed lose weight, I just have to ... wait for it ... eat less and move more. Insert slap to the forehead here. I knew the theory, I had just been having trouble putting it into practice. Mind you, I am still having trouble putting it into practice but I now know that it can be done with x calories and x activity and that keeps me going a lot of the time. I feel so much better having lost 7% of my weight so far. Yay again!





I hope you are all doing as well as can be expected under the current circumstances of a continuing pandemic, accelerating climate change, a horrible global economy, and renewed war in Europe.

Uh oh. I can't leave you on that note. Here are some funnies.


You might need to hit Control+ for the first one.





(Just kidding)


So tell me, how are you all doing? Let me know in the comments.

Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year? It may be too late for fireworks but it's never too late to tell you I hope 2023 treats you well. Do not despair if it has so far only punched you in the face; there are still 346 days to go.

I will leave you with this thought.


Sunday, 9 October 2022

Unpacking the Hurricane

Hurricane Fiona was reclassified as a post-tropical cyclone by the time it hit Nova Scotia, but everyone here, including government agencies, is calling it a hurricane, and I will do the same for the sake of convenience. Sustained winds reached 165 km/hr in some places. The destruction was felt primarily in the northeastern counties and Cape Breton. I live in one of those northern counties, and there are still a significant number of people who have been warned not to expect their power to be restored until as late as next weekend -- three weeks in total without power. There were so many downed power lines and so many trees in, around, and tangled up with those lines that it has been a laborious process to get it all fixed. Our province's power crews have been helped by others from across Canada and northeastern New England (in the USA), and the military has also contributed manpower to move trees and do other tasks. I realize that this hurricane, like so many others, brought much worse conditions and results to countries further south. But for us, this was a record storm and a sobering reminder that this could be our new normal.

The roar of the wind at the peak of the hurricane was incredible. The wind was coming from the north, hitting the back of our house full on. It sounded like a locomotive was passing behind the house -- for four hours straight. Not long after it reached that pitch and volume, I heard a very loud tearing noise. It was the power line from our house to the street, pulling away from the house. There was no sleep for me until the wind decreased somewhat. I couldn't even bring myself to lie down. I sat in a chair to be ready -- for what, I don't know. I have no idea what I could have done if the wind had torn off the roof (it happened to other people) or caused some other kind of damage or imminent danger. At dawn I was able to see that my neighbour's tree had split down the middle, with one side bringing down both their lines and mine.

The smell throughout the house during the storm was of smashed leaves and torn branches. It was the most exotic, intoxicating, and eerie smell I have ever experienced. It felt like the storm was trying to come right in the house. I don't think I will ever forget that smell. The next day, the north sides of people's homes were littered with pulverized bits of leaves. They stuck to windows and siding and needed to be removed by brush or broom -- a laborious process but one I also found meditative and comforting. The day was sunny and warm -- typical of weather here following hurricanes or tropical storms -- and quiet except for the buzz of chain saws all over the neighbourhood.

Seven of the trees in my back yard came down fully or partially. That was the story all over our county. People started cleaning up the day after the storm, making piles of branches and trees and sawn-up tree trunks at the curb, awaiting town pickup. As the week went on, nighttime temperatures started dipping to zero. My brother came from three hours away, bringing us a generator and heater. The next day he drove here again with his chain saw which he used to fell and cut up six of those trees. Together, we carried or dragged almost everything to the curb, although he did most of it as I had to keep checking on my mother. We spent two days doing that.The following day my son came from two hours away to finish the job. Anything not at the curb when the town crew came by would have had to be removed by homeowners at considerable expense. I'm grateful for the help I received to avoid that expense.

I was told by those who saw it personally that whole sections of trees along the highway were either flattened or broken off partway up their trunks, all in the same direction, north to south; lines of trees along country lanes were toppled across the lanes, again from north to south; and crews had to use earth moving equipment to push downed trees away so the power company could get to downed poles.

The only damage to my house was a row of shingles that came off, the shattering of the mast for the electrical connection, some siding at the point of connection, and one downspout. I felt very lucky to have been spared worse damage. My mother's house was not affected at all except for a small insulator which broke free from the place where it had been bolted to her house (and which caused a delay in her power restoration). If only I'd had my chimney inspected prior to the storm (a job I had in fact contacted a company to do prior to Fiona ever forming in the south), we could have been comfortable using the the wood stove. But I was not about to add chimney fire to the chaos and destruction.

More to come.


Smashed leaves at my back door


One of my downed trees

Some of the damaged lines in front of my house, backlit by a beautiful sky at dusk. Normally there are two bundles of wires coming from the right side of that post, one to my house and one to my neighbours' house.


I took more pictures; unfortunately, it was twilight and they were very blurry. I didn't check them because it was so dark by then and we had no lights. Ah, well. Them's the breaks.

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Still Kicking

Just a brief post to let you know we are all well here. 

We just had our power restored, twelve days after Hurricane Fiona hit.

It's been a long, loooooooong twelve days, my friends.

My mother stayed with me and is still waiting for a repair to her house power line. That is supposed to happen within the next few hours.

I feel for those who are still without power.

It was a storm for the record books.

More later.

Thursday, 22 September 2022

It's Going to be Breezy and Damp in Donkeyland


Hurricane Fiona is headed toward the Atlantic Provinces here in Canada. It's a storm that we are being "strongly encouraged" to "take seriously" because the prediction is for category 1 sustained winds and category 2 gusts, along with significant rainfall.

I am not looking forward to this, nor is anyone else. And yet here we are. Nature wins again.

I am scheduled to have the new bivalent vaccine tomorrow just as the storm begins in earnest. I'm not sure whether to go ahead or not; I've read that some people are experiencing extreme tiredness for 24 hours afterward. It feels a little risky to chance that during what is being called "an historic hurricane." But I've looked at the available appointments for rescheduling, and there is nothing in the near future. My last shot was in January, so I am keen to get another as soon as possible.

If the pharmacy doesn't cancel the appointment due to the storm, I will probably go ahead with it. 

My mom is going to stay with me for the duration. Maybe she can look after me! As long as she doesn't let the cats into the same room together, it will be okay.

If I'm not answering comments for a few days (starting Friday afternoon) it will be because we have lost power. I'll be back as soon as I'm able.

Being vertically challenged, at just under five feet in height, I felt special when I found this meme (with apologies to the tall people reading):


Of course, tall people also dry out first once the rain has stopped 😄

I know that Marie of Island Musings with Marie is facing this in PEI also. Good luck, Marie.

For the rest of you, I hope you have no storms looming, and have a good weekend.