Gone! 100 feet of skyline loveliness

Working in the flowerbeds at the side of our house, the sunny solitude of Cedar Hollow was broken by the noise of a buzz saw.  Alas!  Two men were on an aerial platform cutting down the beloved white birch tree behind the neighbour’s house across from us.

The nursery the white birch held for baby squirrels would have been abandoned weeks earlier, but what fun it had been when we occasionally saw the black squirrel ascend or descend from its leafy abode!

The beautiful design of the birch’s bare branches was sometimes lit up by the morning sun. Frost, too, added its touch of charm to every twig.

Will we miss this elegant tree?  You bet!

Here is the modified skyline now viewed from Cedar Hollow.

 

 

 

Springtime Blush

Spring seemed to delay its arrival in southern Ontario this year.  However, it only took a few warm days before the buds on the magnolia tree down the crescent began to swell, and soon treated us to a magnificent display of its fragile beauty!

 John and I took pictures from different angles.

This shot is similar to a branch of magnolias in Waterloo that I saw some years back and attempted to capture its loveliness in watercolour.

Take a peek:  http://mcdonaldart.com/florals/magnolias

 

 

 

 

White queen of the woodlands!

Here is one of the patches of trilliums in our garden that you saw in their bud stage in the previous blog.

As lovely as these are, there is nothing like seeing them blooming in their natural habitat.  After a roast chicken dinner together, John set out with us to carry on a Mother’s Day tradition, one I had enjoyed as a child.  Into the woods we headed, the Homer Watson woods, entering from a pull-off on Old Mill Drive, a few minutes from our home.

Before us, reigned the white queen of the woodlands, trilliums—our provincial floral emblem!

One never tires of beholding their pristine beauty―but―such beauty can actually be hung on a wall:

http://mcdonaldart.com/prints/florals/comelyComrades.htm

Partway down the trail, John found a chair with a back on it.

Lloyd and I also enjoyed a pause.

Of course, other spring flowers were discovered―blue, yellow and white violets, dogtooth violets, may apple umbrellas, bloodroots―and my favourite, jack-in-the-pulpit.

 

We didn’t try to dig up any leeks as we had transplanted some last spring into our garden.

More perfect weather, you could not have ordered.

Thanks, Mom, for starting this wondrous Mother’s Day tradition!

 

A 4-day pop-up wonder!

Last fall, I divided a clump of trilliums that was spreading toward the asparagus and started a fresh patch.  Four days ago, I checked the spot where they had been planted.  Bare ground.  Perhaps they didn’t survive the transplant.

The last day of April, the temperature struggled up to 18 degrees. May decided to make her arrival something to celebrate and cranked up the heat to 27!

Checking the same garden patch today, the trilliums had not only poked through, but were in bud!  How is this possible? Two weeks ago, our region was shivering under a 4-5” hard blanket of white stuff—bestowed during a 3-day ice storm of freezing rain, ice pellets, snow, what have you!

The day following that storm, when we were rounding a corner, driving into Cambridge, a frightening loud sound screamed overhead! The load of rock-hard snow on top of the car slid off and careened to the ground!  Thankfully, there was no vehicle to our right.

And now, here in a quiet corner of the garden, a welcome white miracle is happening—a 4-day pop-up wonder!

 

 

 

Scottish sky over Waterloo

 

Have you ever seen the same sky twice?

Sure, you have―whenever the heavenly dome is clear blue and there’s not a cloud in sight. And this can happen any time of year.

On the first warm day of April, the 23rd, there were still large mounds of snow lining the streets of Kitchener, left over from a prolonged ice-and-everything-white siege that beset us the weekend before. But on this day, the temperature soared to 22 degrees, causing us to shed our sweaters when sitting on the back deck.

Driving to Waterloo, I was amazed to see a white and blue Scottish tartan high above us―woven from two vertical jet trails and three horizontal ones.  Spectacular!

Ice Storm’s Tiny Café

Checking on the icy conditions during the three-day ice storm, Lloyd saw a robin leave our front step and scurry along the sleet-covered cobblestones.  I scurried, too, camera in hand, to photograph his footprints through the front window.

Not long afterwards, Lloyd spied the robin back on the porch. In a small patch of grass that had been uprooted by a skunk or some other critter, exposing black soil at the edge of the porch―Robin Redbreast was busy pecking away at his ‘dinner plate!’ The birdfeeder nearby didn’t offer the right menu, thank you very much.

Snow-dusted,  plump Robin Redbreast paused for a moment . . . before heading down the path.  I have a hunch, don’t you, that he won’t forget the tiny café at Cedar Hollow.

“He is not here”

I have never tasted more delicious quiche than the church ladies served on Good Friday at the congregational breakfast. Menfolk were obviously pleased when the volunteers promised to keep making pancakes—and they did! Syrup produced in local woodlots was maple at its very best! Trays of fresh fruit or yogurt cups filled with red and blue fruits were in abundance, together with glazed slices of cinnamon rolls. Such were the gastronomical goodies served at Heidelberg Bible Fellowship—where the sound of Mennonites’ clip-clopping horses is never far away.

The table centrepieces were three weeks in the making. Afterward, young Ezra Koch asked if I would like to have the one he made. How long do you think it took me to reply?

The “Case for Christ” DVD was shown, portraying the life of former atheist and editor of the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel. The empty tomb—portrayed by this garden centrepiece—was the key factor in dissolving his unbelief.

This Good Friday marked 25 years since our son Daniel drowned in a canoe accident. The words spoken to Martha in Bethany, Israel, are our greatest comfort:

“Jesus said unto her,

I am the resurrection, and the life:

he that believeth in Me,

though he were dead, yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me

shall never die. 

Believest thou this?”

John 11:25-26.

 

Aroma Therapy

 

Someone gave us a teensy sample of maple syrup in a glass jug not more than 3” high.  It now sits on the bathroom vanity.  One of our hostas near the side door produces white, lily-type flowers with a delicate fragrance.  Each morning I pick one of its lilies and deposit it in the little jug.  Throughout the day, I pause to pick it up by its round handle and inhale the lily’s refreshing scent.  A sniff resets one’s core gently, pleasantly―aroma therapy!

2016-08-10-Hosta Lily-Aroma Therapy

False prairie sunflowers are blooming along the backyard fence.  I’m 5’5”.  How tall do you think they are?  Goldfinches enjoy pulling seeds from their golden centres.

2016-08-08-Height of false prairie sunflowers

Too many fires have been in the news lately―Fort McMurray, California, barn fires, and even a local field of wheat―unheard of to us.  A sunset recently enflamed the pines behind us―thankfully only with fiery colour!

Day is done

Gone the sun

From the lake

From the hills

From the sky.

All is well.

God is nigh.

Sweetly rest.

2016-08-06-Sun setting on forest-cr

 

 

 

 

Safe Places to Sip

 

A few days ago while reading in the living room, movement caught my eye.  A hummingbird was sipping from the throats of the blue streptocarpus flowers dangling from a wall planter by the front door.  In and out of the funnel-shaped flowers he went, evidently enjoying each sip.

2016-08-01-best-streptocarpus

The last day of July, we spent the evening on the back deck by the pond with our son, John, enjoying the moderate temperature.  As dusk began, a hummingbird tanked up for the night, sipping its way around the mophead of scarlet bee-balm flowers, one tubular petal after another.  In the daytime, he usually takes only a sip or two . . . and then flies off.  Not last night.  Apparently, hummingbirds need to store enough energy to see them through the night when they remain in an almost stupor state.

2016-08-01-taken July 26-1hummer at bee balm

This morning, we finished our coffee on the back swing, reading one more chapter together in the book “Called Out” by Janet Boynes.  Lloyd saw a chickadee high up in the clump of false prairie sunflowers, safely sipping water from a chalice. If only I had the camera with me!  The large leaves enfold each other where they join onto the square stalk, forming a deep dimple or chalice.

At Cedar Hollow, the chickadees and other birds have several spots to drink from: a stone bird bath in both the front and back yards,  a rock basin in the back yard on the ground next to the steps, and, of course, the pond.  Loveliest of all, though, are the living chalices high up on the green flower stalks.  Can you see the water line near the base of the leaves on the stalk at the right?

2016-08-01-Chalice in false prairie sunflowers

2016-08-01-best close-up from top of chalice

Where do you slake your thirst these days?  With the horrendous, violent events occurring in rapid succession around the globe militarily, environmentally, and politically, have you felt the need of a fortifying drink in some safe place?

Years ago, when a Samaritan woman went for water at a well in Sychar, a Man at the well said He could give her living water.  In the conversation that followed, the identity of the Man became evident. She went back to the city and invited her people to come hear Him themselves. They came. Have you said what they said in John 4:40-42?

 

 

 

Hip, Hip, Hooray!!

When hanging up the freshly filled hummingbird feeder after breakfast, I saw two wrens flying around the Cedar Shake birdhouse on Black Pole Lane.  Does this mean that the dead wren found a few days ago may have been an intruder and not Lord Wren’s partner?  Let’s hope so.

Do you remember when we purchased a Smart car a few years ago that every chipmunk in the neighbourhood had to have a ride in it?  They didn’t exactly ask for one, but that summer, we caught 22 chipmunks in a cage, and taxied them out to their new country digs.

Last year, after Lloyd’s knee replacement, we didn’t resume our limo service.  And guess what?  We didn’t have to!

This morning, shortly after I saw this chipmunk . . . . .

2016-06-20-Chipmunk ready to eat something

. . . . . he was in hot pursuit of a trespassing chipmunk!  Ka-poosh!!  Did he chase him off in a hurry!  There won’t be 22 chipmunks around here this summer!  High-tailer, that’s his name,  has established his home somewhere under the Dutch windmill.  Woe betide any chipmunk who steps his foot inside of Cedar Hollow!  After securing the premises, High-tailer was as thirsty as a camel!

2016-06-20-chipmunk-3 drinks from rock basinHe must have been napping in his burrow when the resident Song Sparrow decided to take a bath in his rock basin, High-tailer’s basin, mind you.

2016-06-18-song Sparrow takes abath in rock basinNot everyone around Cedar Hollow gets all worked up, though.  Often as not, you’ll find Jeremy taking a snooze, dangling his fishing line in the pond.

2016-06-20b-three waterlilies and 1 bud

 

Deadly Terrorist Attack at Cedar Hollow

At 5:45 this morning, I was awakened by the melodious singing of one of our wrens.  A bit later, I heard a red squirrel chattering in its high, squeaky voice, and at the same time, a wren’s low, staccato chut-chut-chut-chut . . . the kind of scolding sound it makes if you walk too close to its home.

I went out right after breakfast to get some cultivating done in the flowerbeds surrounding the pond before the day got too hot.  On the gravel, I made a gruesome discovery.  Lying motionless . . .  dead . . . face down . . .  was a little brown wren!

Did I actually hear the terrorist attack taking place?  Was it the red squirrel?  Or was it one of those wretched trespassing cats???

When Lloyd buried its tiny body in the woods, he noted that one leg was missing.

We heard wren song now and then throughout the day, wondering how he/she could sing after such a tragic loss.  Or was he/she singing–going on line, so to speak–because that is its only way to attract another mate?

Well, the gangplank is up at Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane, and the nursery is furnished . . .  waiting.

2016-06-20-gangplank up & waiting

Question:  Is a wren more valuable than a sparrow?

Jesus speaks in Matthew 10:29-31 – “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”

Stupendous reality.  I wasn’t the only one who saw the little wren on the ground.  God saw it!

And while you try to comprehend that, Jesus continues with these words, which reveal His omniscient mindfulness of you and me:

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

 

Sold!

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That is definitely the wren’s motto.Try as he might, some pieces of lumber just refused to go into his building project, and fell to the ground.

2016-06-10-Y-shaped sticks are a real challenge

 Some choice bits of material were hand picked from beside the steps leading to the pond.

2016-06-10-foraging for twigs

After adding each plank to the gangplank or fetching a pillow or two for the nursery, Lord Wren paused on top of the house to sing!  Now, what would our world be like if construction workers paused frequently to belt out a song?  What if a policeman sang an aria while on the beat?  Mind you, if it was classical music, the streets might be cleared of ne’er do wells.

Lord Wren’s contracting efforts were not in vain.  On Saturday, June 11, Lady Wren arrived at Cedar Hollow.  She inspected the white house nearby, Chateau de la Gourde, but let him know at once that Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane was definitely her choice of residence this year.  See her on the fence?  Lord Wren quickly tacked up the SOLD sign!

2016-06-11-Lady Wren has chosen home

Today was the kind of windy, cold day when a bowl of chili would taste awfully good.  All kinds of birds thought so, too, and took their supper at the front yard feeder:  chickadees, a flock of gold finches, a rose-breasted grosbeak, a mourning dove, song sparrows, cardinals, and a nuthatch.  They are a congenial bunch.  You don’t hear any of them saying nasty things like, “Get your elbows off the table, buddy!”  They just share the diner with whoever flies in.  The wrens don’t join them, however.  They’re not interested in sitting in a pan to eat. They couldn’t sit still long enough, if they tried!  Supper must be FRESH, and caught on the wing!  Oh yes.
2016-06-13-Trio-gold finch, rose-breasted grosbeak, doveThe chipmunk ferrets out any seeds that chickadees accidentally drop as they carry their dinner to a branch on the nearby pear tree to hammer out the nutmeat.

2016-06-13-chipmunk

Housing Market is Hot!

The spring of 2016 see-sawed back and forth here at Cedar Hollow.  Winter itself had been reluctant to put in an appearance.  However, after all the white stuff had vanished, and the goldfinches had donned their summer jackets, winter decided to give it one last blast.  Whether they looked silly or not, the goldfinches were determined to dine at the snow mounded feeder in their summer apparel.

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Rose-breasted grosbeaks paid us a one-week visit during the third week of May.  It was hard to believe that their outfits had no resemblance to one another – certainly not that his and her look.  Their song is similar to that of the robin:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Rose-breasted_Grosbeak/sounds

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The real estate market in Kitchener this spring is the hottest it’s been in years!  Ordinary houses, some obviously in need of repair, receive multiple offers, and sell almost immediately at prices exceeding the seller’s asking price.

Cedar Hollow is no exception.  This afternoon, Lord Wren looked like he would be putting offers in on two houses at the same time.

He is a funny little fellow.  He first put in an appearance on May 29th, but just long enough to warble, “I’m back!”  Like the last two summers, he spends the morning singing here and there in the neighbourhood, sometimes far away, sometimes nearby.  It’s enough to give one the jitters, hoping he won’t be coaxed into residing elsewhere.

And then, after four o’clock, Lord Wren shows up at Cedar Hollow.  Here he is sprucing up Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane:

P1270065After each installation, he renders a brief chorus.

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Now, where on earth did that piece of railing go?

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“Say!  I wonder if Madam Wren might like the Château de la Gourde?  There’s no telling what tickles a lady’s fancy.  I better work on that, too.”

P1270095

“And if you think preparing multiple houses for my lady love’s inspection and her final selection is a breeze, you’ve got another think coming, buddy!

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At the end of the day, Lord Wren let the whole world know that he was definitely interested in Château de la Gourde, nailing his offer to its front door for all to see:

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Strange.  Lord Wren has completely ignored the Swiss Chalet on Walnut Avenue. For the past two summers, that is where he and Madam Wren raised their young ones.  Maybe they thought the red squirrel didn’t comply with the neighbourhood’s noise bylaw.

If Madam Wren chooses Château de la Gourde, it is closer to the deck swing, and will be easier to photograph.

(Over ten years ago, we planted bird gourd seeds in the back corner of the yard.  Lloyd built a wall trellis for them to climb on.  As their white flowers are pollinated by night-flying moths and insects, Lloyd went out by the light of the moon with a Q-tip and dutifully smudged pollen from one blossom to another, which resulted in several beautiful gourds.)

The song sparrow has witnessed the wren’s antics before at Cedar Hollow.  She nonchalantly prepared to refresh herself with an invigorating bath – not just once, mind you, but twice!

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Click below to hear her songs:

htps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdaE7eaayKM

 

 

 

Peeping Through

Two days ago, Lloyd and I sat on the back deck licking ice cream cones.  The ice had melted from the edges of the pond, and the thin layer in the middle grew a bit thinner as the sun warmed our shoulders.  It was only March 9th!  Unheard of!

A pink knob of rhubarb took her first gulp of spring air today.

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Delphiniums planted from seed last spring near the wall by the sidewalk garden are eager to get going.  They’re determined to beat last year’s production of tall flower stocks.

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Before Mrs. Coon gets too busy with spring house cleaning, we hope to catch her in the wire cage I took out of the upper shed this afternoon.  It seems she evicted the skunk, and hung up her own shingle above the hole dug under the front corner of the shed.  As soon as we can relocate her, we’ll fill the cavern with rocks.  Hopefully Mr. Skunk will realize he’s not welcome at Cedar Hollow.  Sorry, old chap.

Production of a Music Video 

Jessica, a Conestoga College student in Television Broadcast and Film, contacted us to see if she could borrow our studio to produce a music video.

That very morning, I had begun calculating the expenses McDonald Art occurred during the past year, and realized that having no figures to enter in the Advertising line of our income tax form wasn’t great.  In her appeal to local artists, Jessica stressed that whoever could loan their studio for her filming work would be given credits, she would include photos of their art.  With her production going on YouTube, that would mean free advertising!  Why not go for it?

Jessica arrived at ten this morning, and began hauling in equipment and props, assisted by Tanya, her mother.  Shortly after, Brandon, an actor from Toronto, arrived with his costume changes.  The story is woven around a struggling artist, who became dissatisfied with his work, but eventually found meaning and purpose.

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The title of the six-minute production will be, “The Son and His People,” with original music by Danielle Robert of Toronto.

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I had made a large pot of Cheeseburger Soup a few days ago, so Lloyd and I insisted they stay for lunch and share it with us.  We couldn’t have asked for more polite young people to have in our home, and thoroughly enjoyed our conversations with Tanya, Jessica’s attractive mother.

Tanya was drawn to Lloyd’s sculpture of the black-and-tan coon hound guarding his weary master who sat down in the woods to catch “Forty winks.”  She happens to own a redbone coon hound!  When she was a child, she loved the movie, “Where the red fern grows.”  A redbone coon hound was featured in that story, and she determined that some day, she would own such a dog.  She had to order it from the States.  We admired the beautiful orange-red colour of Daisy’s coat, and could almost feel her silky, floppy ears when Tanya shared her photo.

Jessica has more filming to do in Toronto on Tuesday in order to complete her two-year course by April.  We wish her all the best in this challenging, creative career . . . one that offers the opportunity to influence the world!

 

Pioneer Memorial Tower, Kitchener

At his newly installed bench turntable, Lloyd is sculpting an item for the homey cotton batting scenes that decorate homes at Christmastime – the Pioneer Memorial Tower.  When the sculpture has been completed, battery-powered lights will twinkle from its windows and balustrade.

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This morning we set out to take a few more photographs of the tower in order to check the height of the roof as compared to the rest of the structure.  As I opened the car door, I heard my first robin of 2016!!!

In the snow at the side of the path, we spotted a few fresh deer tracks.

Further along on the right stand the remnants of the Doon Mill erected on the banks of Schneider’s Creek which flows into the nearby Grand.  It was built in 1839 by Scottish settlers. (You can see the trail we continued on – not more than 6 min. from our home.

2016-02-27-Doon Mill of 1839

No doubt this tree flourished at the same time as the water-powered wheel served the community of Doon, grinding oatmeal, flour and barley.  Now a handsome condo for coons, its penthouse comes with a sunroof!

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Our approach hustled off a small gaggle of Canadian geese.  I managed to photo-graph the last three before they scuttled down the bank.  See the tower behind them?P1260859

Geese tracks

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The tower, built of smooth field stone with a “Swiss” copper roof, was erected in 1925 to commemorate the arrival of the Pennsylvania-German pioneers between 1800-1803.
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Winter at Last!  Arctic Blast!  Won’t last!

Factoring in the wind chill, tomorrow will feel like minus 32!  Lloyd and I will not be venturing out.  We’ll put the fireplace on and listen to Pastor Doug Searle on Bonaire.  www.bonaireibc.org.   Have you heard anyone with such a listenable style and original content?   John thoroughly enjoys attending this church.  He and the pastor often go scuba diving together.

Here in Kitchener, Ontario, November through January was practically winterless.  Without snow, the camera simply had nothing to do—only leafless trees and bare ground outside.  In fact, it sulked in the rocking chair by the window so long that its batteries ran down.

However, I scooped it up pretty fast this afternoon when I saw this:

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The hawk must surely have been hungry, as the next thing he did was hide in a low branch of the pear tree.   How he thought he could get out quickly enough from the thicket of branches to catch anything is beyond me.

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Maybe he also decided it wouldn’t work.  Soon he flew out and soared away.  I hope his GPS gets a short circuit!  I hope that he completely forgets how he got to this bit of bird sanctuary, don’t you?

Mr. Cardinal is a frequent visitor, brightening up Cedar Hollow whenever he comes by for lunch.  Normally a ground feeder, he has found the pan catches delicious sunflower seeds, and he doesn’t have to go about foraging.  Fast food at McDonalds!  Of course!

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3rd Winter on Bonaire.  Who’s Counting?

John’s car is once again parked in our driveway.  If winter decides to get serious during his February-March sojourn in the Caribbean Netherlands, we won’t have half as much driveway to clear! 

Jasmine, his social Tonkinese, is the cat in residence on the 11th floor of Queen’s Place, getting requests to go here and there for a visit by folks other than the two parties on that floor who volunteered to care for her during his absence. 

With the Canadian dollar dragging its boots, John realized he wouldn’t be eating in many restaurants this time around, but would have to resort to cooking.  I made up a booklet titled Bachelor’s Cookbook, with easy-to-fix recipes, many of which are family-sized, so he won’t have to cook every day. 

Friends found John a modern ground-floor unit at Stay and Dive.  It has a kitchenette, air conditioning, barbecue, small outdoor pool, and private front porch, and is located close to other dive shops and friends at TWR.  (John’s unit is the middle one.)

2016-01-31-Stay and Dive

His dive tanks awaited him, which were stored on the island . . . along with thrilling adventures in the incredibly beautiful waters of Bonaire!  Thrilling adventures also await those who dive vicariously with him. . .  by means of his blogs:

www.facebook.com/sirjohnamcdonald
or
www.twitter.com/johnapollos

Computers Have Likes, Preferences. You Better Believe It!

After the painting of Shorty and Diesel was shipped to Utah, the studio became a temporary workshop of sorts. Tables were cluttered with drills, screwdrivers, levels, and tools of all sorts.  The bathroom next to the studio was being renovated.  It was about time.

In opposite corners of the studio, two easels patiently hold canvases, waiting to be worked on.

2016 got off on its second day to a frustrating start!  Non-stop computer problems.

Did you know that computers have personalities? likes?  preferences?

Knowing I had signed up to take the introduction to the InDesign course from Conestoga College online, John’s Christmas gift was the installation of 16 GB of RAM to increase the speed at which the office computer performed.  It promptly went into pouting fits, freezing up every few hours!  Forcing it to shut off by holding down the ON button until the screen darkened was a scary business, a procedure that was a last resort, and one that was hard on a computer.

Its next antic was to scare the wits out of me!  Red, quivering, horizontal lines shimmied up the monitors in menacing columns, freezing the computer again!  Yikes!

It could be that it needs a new video card.  That was the consensus this time.

Lloyd became a whiz kid at unhooking the tower and hauling it up to the repair shop, not to just one, but now to a second shop!

$100 later and a new video card, the computer is as rebellious as ever!

It must need a new hard drive, was the next conclusion.  How could the hard drive be worn out?  It was only 16 months old!  Give me a break.

A 2-tarabyte hard drive was installed.  The greenbacks are flowing.

Computer carries on with its usual tantrums, freezing up!

The receptionist at the shop lamely said, “Your computer just doesn’t like the RAM.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” I replied, incredulously.

Whoever heard of a computer not liking something?  It’s mechanical, isn’t it?  Just a bunch of metal, wires, chips, screws . . . all that electronic stuff, geek stuff!

When I informed John that I was ready to heave it out the window, he initiated a three-way call with the technician.  Surprise!  The technician assured John that the RAM he had purchased was perfectly good, and that the first repair shop had installed it properly.

I dug out a trusty magnifying glass, and read the puny–sized company name on my old RAM of 6 GB:  Kingston Technology. 

“Kingston is reliable.  That’s what I have in my computer at home,” the technician said.

Wheeler-dealer John asked if the technician would swap out the RAM he had bought, and exchange it with his shop for KINGSTON RAM.

“Sure.”

Nimble Lloyd pulled out the wires for the umpteenth time, and up to the shop we went again.  How many trips was this?  Who’s counting?

“Leave it with us overnight so we can see if it still freezes up.  We’ll call you in the morning.”

Next morning, no call.  Doesn’t this generation ever keep their word and have the courtesy to call back?

I pick up the phone again.  “It’s fixed,” was the reply.

So . . . the receptionist’s comments about my computer not liking the RAM weren’t so dimwit after all!  Computers do have personalities, likes and dislikes.   The fact is that there are no absolute standards when it comes to the manufacture of computer parts.  What works in one computer might not work in another brand’s tower.  (Thought you’d like to know that comforting tidbit.)

Back home once again, the question quickly became, “Where is everything?  Where is One Drive?”

I had spent hours uploading things to One Drive after getting an upgrade with Rogers for unlimited bandwidth.

Where is the expensive InDesign software we put in that blew our budget, and that I couldn’t enrole in the course without?

Where is my email?  Where’s this?  Where’s that? Help!!!!!!

“Don’t worry,” John assured me.  “Let me come in on TeamViewer.”

Click.  Click.  Clickety click!  He pulled in things from who knows where, and old programs came alive once more!  What is he, a wizard?

“Call the technician and ask him where he put One Drive,” John instructed.

The technician had gone for the weekend, but he would call us Monday morning.

No such luck.

Three-way call once more.

Thank God for John’s Let’s get it done authoritative tone. I was no longer in a civil state of mind.  The tech agreed that if we brought up the old (ridiculous term) hard drive, he would put it in as a data disk, and at no extra fee.  Why hadn’t he done that in the first place?  Yes, we could come right up.

Yank.  Yank.  Yank.  You bet, Lloyd is a speed freak now at dismantling this box of junk.  My lack of a sense of direction can even tell you how to get to the repair shop without getting lost!  Why, we could get there blindfolded!

By this time, we’re no longer hauling the tower up the flight of stairs to the repair shop.  No, the receptionist can jolly well come out and carry it in, thank you very much.

When she began telling me about downloading everything into OneDrive, I must have looked like a veritable troll. (My oldest sister always told me she could read everything on my face!)  For once, it was an advantage. The receptionist quickly realized that I was not about to countenance any further delays, and trotted me back to the technician.  He agreed to download the 169 GB to OneDrive at no cost.

“Leave it with me, and I’ll start the download right now, and it will run overnight. It should be done sometime tomorrow.”

I’ve heard that line before.

Checking in the next morning, Friday, only a third had been downloaded, even though I was told the process ran all night. Yes, they are open on Saturday. . . . . .

By now, I am two weeks behind on the online course.  John leaves for his annual scuba diving vacation in one week. I had hoped to be well on the way in the course while he was still available to bail me out, should I get stuck.

When I was put together, I wasn’t wired with a sense of direction, and there is no way one can be installed.  The other wires that would equip me to be tech-savy didn’t get put in either.

I try to remind myself that at least my attempts to brush colour and shapes onto canvases – which those who view them often express a sense of wonder and joy at – is something to be thankful for . . . something not of my own doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do ’em Proud!

Early December, I picked up two gift boxes of amaryllis bulbs.  Photos on the boxes promised luscious tropical blooms.  I could picture them already!

Before Christmas, I decided to pot them up.  Inside the first box, a grotesque stem of amaryllis stared back at me, scrunched inside its dark tomb.  White as chalk, the stem, of normal thickness, kinked sidewise as far as the box allowed, bud and all.  Carefully, I put the bulb in its pot, and tamped the packaged earth around, letting its shoulders stand free.  The disappointing sight was placed on the wide kitchen windowsill.

It was too late to change the stem’s horizontal posture into an upright one.  It would simply break.  In a few days, its bud began to open.  Sunlight soon brought pink colour to its cheeks!  It bravely continued on, opening three other buds, which now matched the beauty of the pink blooms on the box!  I’ll call this bulb Ama.

The bulb in the second box appeared normal, with a hopeful tip of green showing on its crown.  It caused no concern, and was duly potted up and watered, and set beside its deformed cousin. I’ll call this one Ryllis.

What was surprising was the energy and determination Ama displayed!  Shortly after being planted, she began to produce another stem.  Yes, she would uphold the pride of the amaryllis family, and, this time, she would not be pitied by anyone who saw her!  She would do ‘em proud! 

Meanwhile, the normal bulb, Ryllis, sent up healthy looking leaves, long, tapered green ones.

Daily, I rotated both flower pots.

Altogether, Ama displayed five full-sized blossoms atop her second stem!

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Ryllis has been a flop, literally.  Twice, some of her gangly leaves flopped over, and had to be cut off, leaving her now with one leaf and no flower stem. She’ll end up in the green bin, that’s what.