I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Foggy Drive
December 27, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

14 lb baby born in California


photo courtesy of KTLA News

Oh my gosh! Congratulations to the happy parents and sister on the safe arrival of their little bundle of joy. You can read the full story here and story with video here.


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Monday, December 29, 2008

Random Act of Kindness


Laneway
December 24, 2008

We were recently hit with a couple of storms that left a good amount of snow on the ground with no signs of quitting. Overnight on the 23rd we were hit with wet snow and freezing rain turning what snow we had on the ground into a shoveling nightmare. The laneway was filled the morning of the 24th so had his morning coffee then got dressed to start shoveling enough that we could get out. With more nasty weather predicted we had decided to leave early for the kids. He hollered "Honey, come see this!". Expecting the worse I rushed up the stairs to be greeted with this view. One of our neighbours had plowed out our laneway! What a wonderful and very much appreciated surprise! Thanks to this random act of kindness we were able to get on the road sooner than expected arriving at our destination while it was still daylight. What a lovely pay it forward.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Blessings


The year 2008 has been very busy indeed. Along with being busy it came with a few bumps and glitches like watching the marriage of one couple who are friends break-up and dealing with more plumbing issues but it has also been filled with many blessings. For that I am very grateful.

We enjoyed a wonderful vacation in sunny Florida in January. It was not extravegant but it was relaxing and a heck of a lot of fun. February was rather uneventful. March brought weather and plumbing problems including a close call with now parents to youngest grandbaby crashing their vehicle on their way home to the baby shower. We were very blessed that everyone was fine even though the vehicle wasn't. April brought us a beautiful little bundle of joy in youngest grandbaby and she is just a little sweetie always ready with a smile. In May we vacationed in Las Vegas. June, July and August we boated. Somewhere in between we successfully renovated the kitchen as a DIY project that was very challenging but we survived. In mid June we bid a tearful parting to one of our kids who after a very long wait was able to get the clearance to move to Wisconsin. In July we watch as they said their vows starting a new life together. We also got the wonderful news that a new grandbaby would be arriving in April 2009. September, October and November were rather uneventful. December has been a whirlwind of constant being on the go with traveling to Wisconsin and east to the other kids where we spent a few days at Christmas. In between we did a fair amount of entertaining.

So looking back on 2008 on this last Sunday of 2008 we have been blessed with family and friends, great neighbours, good luck, a roof over our heads, food on the table and the ability to travel. We have had the immense blessing of being able to share in both grandbabies lives, watching them grow and develop their own little personalities. At the same time we have enjoyed watching our kids as they moved into their next stages of life. There were a few times where I'm sure we were blessed from a few angels looking down as well. We've been warm, comfortable and despite the worsening economy we are fine. As 2008 draws to a close and we look forward to greeting 2009 we look forward to the new year with all its hopes, dreams and blessings.

May 2009 bring you many blessings,

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The bathtub Test


The Bathtub Test

During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the
Director "How do you determine whether or not a patient should be
institutionalized"

"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer
a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty
the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use
the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug.
Do you want a bed near the window?"

~author unknown



Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Friday, December 26, 2008

Grandbaby's Couch


Grandbaby Couch
December 25,200

Santa brought oldest grandbaby a new couch for her bedroom. It sure looks compfy, doesn't it?

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Snowdrift
December 21, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Monday, December 22, 2008

Mac vs PC





You have likely seen these humorous commercials involving the Mac verses PC debate. I think they are hilarious! As a bit of a background, I learned computing on Unix then had to learn Mac. Our second home computer was Windows 3.1 based and we worked our way up from there. There were a lot of things I liked about Windows but over the years there were a lot of thing I didn't like especially when I had to run several security software applications just to deal with security issues in Windows. A few years ago I made the switch to Mac and now have an iMac with Duo core that is partitioned for both Windows XP and Mac. The Windows partition is never allowed online and is essentially used for genealogy. I use Legacy Family Tree Deluxe which still is not available in Mac format and I have not found a program that I like better so need Windows. I use Mac for anything online and most daily computing activities. Ok, so back to the commercials.

I find these commercials humorous on a few levels. First PC which actually means personal computer is implied to mean Windows and for the most part that is what people mean. So by definition any home computer regardless of the operating system is a PC including a Mac. It's an exercise in semantics! Now if you look at the characters in the commercial there is the old, geeky, conservative Windows verses the new, preppy, progressive Mac and they make use of every stigma possible to get that across in the characters. The concept of complex and easily broke (Windows) plays nicely against simple and unbreakable (Mac). And just when I thought they couldn't get any funnier they come up with animated Christmas versions designed after the older children's Christmas classics. Too funny!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friends & Family


This time of the year everyone seems to bustling about buying into the consumerism ideal and glitter of the holiday season. They are so absorbed they forget to say please or thank-you, they forget to be courteous and considerate drivers and they forget that family and friends are more that about buying the latest, greatest whatever. They forget the true meaning of Christmas. I'm sorry but this is one of the things I detest the most about the holiday season and it will always put me in a horrible mood so I deal with it by avoidance.

I love spending time with family and friends anytime of the year but during the holiday season it always seems a bit more special. Last week we visited the kids in Wisconsin knowing for the first time since our kid was born we physically would not be present Christmas day. Since then we have talked several times on the phone and will be calling Christmas day because even though we won't be there physically we will be there is spirit. Christmas morning the phone will be passed around amongst the sibs and their spouses spreading the love that no present could ever replace.

Times are changing so it is easier for Grandma and Grandpa to travel this year than it is for the kids with little ones. We will wake once again to the excitement of little ones because Santa came. In our eyes we will relive the memories of Christmas mornings when our kids were little while forming new memories as the little ones discover their meaning of Christmas. Oldest grandbaby was home this weekend. Presents under the tree were all toys and Grandma's Christmas lights had to be on even during the day. Still pushing Grandpa's button to turn him on [a mole on Grandpa's neck that when pushed springs him into Grandpa mode] and helping Grandma in the kitchen as well as sampling Grandma's homemade cookies were the high priority. I have to tell you there is no present in the world that could replace the memories of raising our own kids then being able to share in the lives of our grandkids. Family is something so many take for granted without realizing what a true blessing they have!

Friday night we hosted a larger holiday party for friends. It would have been larger but the weather did not co-operate. One couple in attendance has been friends since the time we were double dating all those years ago before we got married. They are still our best friends and we wouldn't have it any other way. If you talk about old friends being gold this couple is 24 carrot in every sense of being friends. They have been there through all the ups and downs. Their kids played with our kids and all the kids remain friends. Like us, their marriage is strong and they work hard to be good, supportive examples to their kids as they begin their lives as grand parents. They are a true blessing in our lives that could never be replaced! Other friends in attendance are what we would consider both gold and silver because we haven't known them as long but they would drop everything to come to our aid if we needed it. They bring warmth, laughter, support and companionship into our lives. Friends are blessings that just can't be replaced.

So in this time of holiday hustle and bustle, stop to count your blessings. Your family and true friends don't care whether or not you can give them a gift. They don't care if you they drop by and you are still in your pj's or if you have gourmet coffee or if you even brushed your hair. They care about you! They care about how they can help you, how they can support you, making you happy, how you are doing and simply sharing in your life. And that is a true blessing. The best thing you can give in return is to be a caring and supportive family member as well as a true friend. Share your smile, your compassion, your advice (in small doses), your support and simply share yourself.

Happy Blog Your Blessings Sunday, the last one before Christmas. May you enjoy all the blessings your loved ones have to offer. May you repay those blessing ten fold! It is the greatest gift you can give and it costs nothing :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Billboards


Freight Billboard
December 12, 2008

Road trips in general are perfect fodder for blogging. From the author's point of view a road trip provides a whole new theme to blog about for a few days. From the reader's perspective they get to see the trip through the author's eyes and perhaps discover something interesting about the author that they didn't know before. Where but on a blog can you stretch out a three day road trip into well over a week's worth of posts? Part of that is possible because I took a lot of pictures and part because I only use one picture per post.

My husband really enjoys driving so for the majority of road trips we take he drives and I'm the navigator/photographer. The camera sits on my lap ready for action any time I see something interesting. Billboards are interesting, some more than others. From an environmental perspective I don't like them. They are visual pollution that many municipalities are restricting or prohibiting. At some point they will likely go the way of the dinosaur. In comparison to other advertising mediums, I doubt billboards are all that cost effective anymore. I like taking pictures of the more interesting billboards and advertising. On the other hand some of them are rather neat as in the billboard pictured. This billboard had working lights to simulate an actual locomotive.


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Friday, December 19, 2008

The Accident

No Words
December 12, 2008

As we drove past the accident scene I snapped a few pictures. As morbid as that sound, these types of pictures serve as a constant reminder to always be diligent when driving and remember that you can be "dead right". The scene itself was horrific! The car pictured had the front end completely burned. The jaws of life had been used to get the occupants out. This car fared better than the other two involved in the accident! My heart and prayers go out to those involved in this tragedy as well as their families.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Delay


Emergency Crews

We have a lot of travel experience yet it still amazes me some of the seriously bonehead ways of other drivers. We were traveling along Michigan's I-94 in some rather nasty road conditions. There was no doubt that visibility was greatly reduced and the road conditions were icy. For the most part drivers were slowed down leaving plenty of space between themselves and the next vehicle. Still there were those "I'm important" drivers that insisted on passing in a passing lane unfit to drive in and more often than not would hit the brakes to get back into the better driving lane. I shuddered each time I saw this. It would only take hitting the brakes a little harder than they thought or hitting an ice patch or dry pavement to send the car spinning out of control. What really bothered me is when it was clear there was a problem ahead so traffic was stop and go.

Honestly what is it with some drivers who feel they still have to put others at risk when it is obvious that there is a problem ahead. It doesn't matter how many unsafe lane changes, horn honks, near accidents or obscene gestures they make they are not going to get where they are going any faster until whatever is slowing the traffic clears. These folks need to seriously chill and be thankful that they are not the cause for the delay or the cause for complicating the delay.

We were in the stop and go traffic for a good 40 minutes when we finally arrived at the scene pictured above. It was a horrible accident with lanes blocked and obviously with serious injuries and one or more fatalities. So to the people in such a rush to get through the blockage that they put others on the road at risk, I hope you took a good look at what the delay was all about. Thank your lucky stars it wasn't you and realize your day was 100% better than the day the occupants of those vehicles involved in the accident were having!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Second Accident
December 12, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Visiting


On the Road
December 12, 2008

We left early Friday morning on our long journey to visit the kids in Wisconsin. They are still waiting for the travel documents that will allow them to travel into Canada so they won't be home for Christmas this year. The problem with traveling that distance this time of year is always weather. The weather determines the best travel days meaning being prepared to change plans at the last minute. We watched the weather channel daily to see if there were any larger weather problems that would interfere with our travel plans. We loaded the car with unwrapped presents as wrapped presents are frowned upon by US Customs, our luggage, a small cooler holding homemade peameal bacon and a case of home canned foods for the kids. It was very important to us to bring the taste of Canada to the kids. Our kid was born and raised in Canada and the spouse was born and raised in the USA. I know there is a bit of homesickness so a bit of home cooking along with peameal bacon (method here) and can of Tim Hortons® coffee will ease some of that.

After clearing customs we made our way towards I-94. Despite the weather reports for dry road conditions we were traveling in snow flurries and the glare from headlights on the road indicated there was ice. My husband is an excellent driver with a tremendous amount of driving experience. He's a calm, careful and courteous driver so when all of a sudden he said "Oh God" I was startled! Looking up I saw just the end of what he saw. An 18 wheeler must have hit ice in the oncoming traffic lanes was coming right at us but the driver yanked the wheel just in time which jack-knifed the trailer sending the poor driver careening the other way across 3 lanes of traffic into the ditch. My husband called 911 to give the location (I-94 exit 125) while I worried that traffic coming up as it happened likely hit the side of the truck and prayed that everyone involved would be fine. It was the first of three major accidents we would see on this leg of the journey. Shortly after that accident the road and visibility conditions degenerated to that pictured. We drove in the lake effect snow conditions for about 100 miles. After that the weather cleared and we continued on without further weather delays.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Law of The Garbage Truck

One of the neat things about your email inbox is you never know when a gem of wisdom will appear.  A friend sent me the following gem of wisdom a couple of days ago.  I thought I would share it with you.

The Law of The Garbage Truck
=============================
One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport.
We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!

The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled
and waved at the guy; and I mean, he was really friendly.
So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...... 'Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.'
Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

~Author Unknown~


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Invisible People (The Homeless)

As we enter the holiday season we need to be mindful of those less fortunate than ourselves. These are very trying times for many with more layoffs, job losses, home foreclosures and rising cost of living. Even if you cannot help financially you can donate your time to help those in need. I found this wonderful video produced by BetterWorld4YouAndMe on YouTube regarding those less fortunate and how to help. It is 7 and a half minutes long but is well worth watching. I hope you enjoy it.




Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Rose of Sharon
July 8, 2008


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Announcing My Newest Blog


Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I introduce my newest blogging venture, Canadian Perspective. The idea for this blog has been on my mind for quite some time but it brings back vivid memories of two years ago about this time that I was setting up my fourth Blogger blog, Garden Gnome at Home a blog that came to be at the urgings of an online friend. Back then I was a fairly new blogger with less than a year's experience of blogging under my belt on my other blogs. I still feel some of that doubt with setting up this new blog but feel confident with my blogging experience this new blog should do well. Over the next few days there will be a lot of changes to the new blog so if it looks a little funny when you stop by please stop by again. It will likely take me a couple of weeks to get everything smoothed out. Here is the introductory posted to my new blog.

Welcome to my Canadian Perspective blog. I am an experienced blogger who currently writes blogs under the following topics: cooking, gardening, personal journal and homemaking. My online nym is Garden Gnome or GG. You can read more about me in my profile. I am a very proud Canadian who loves my country very, very much. I am very blessed to live in such a beautiful country! While the fact that I am Canadian comes up over and over in my other blogs I wanted to create a clearly Canadian blog that will show Canada as I see it from my eyes. I want to show what Canada means to me in all its beauty, uniqueness and so much more.

Setting up a new blog is always a scary yet exciting venture. First and foremost is whether I can write and present information in such a fashion that others are interested. Second is can I design a blog that meshes with the content both in design and layout. Colour is a very important component as well. So while I have this idea swirling around in my head of what direction I want to take with this direction, time will only tell if it will be successful. The final concern is always time. Finding content does not seem to be a problem for me but finding time to blog the content is.

I hope you enjoy this blog and thanks for visiting.

Garden Gnome
© 2008


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, December 07, 2008

In a Funk



I've been in a funk for the past week or so. For me that is a good thing! I've come to realize that funks pass and behind them there is always renewed creativity. It is as if my mind is saying hey I need a break but trust me on this one. Not only is a funk itself a blessing for me recognizing what it represents is also a blessing. It forces me to slow down, do a bit more pondering and give my mind the break it needs. We can all use a mental break from time to time to get those creative juices flowing.

May you have a blessings filled week,

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Well Read Cat

Look Who's in the News Again
November 25, 2008

I introduced Emma yesterday. Emma is a well read cat who enjoys keeping up with the latest news and for good reason. She had to browse the real estate section to help her Mommy and Daddy find a new home. She also has to keep her Mommy and Daddy up to date with the current events because they have been very busy over the last few months. Emma asked me to tell you that here Mommy and Daddy do not ever dress her up in funny outfits or make her do silly things although she cannot make any guarantees that youngest grandbaby won't do either. She's happy that youngest grandbaby can only crawl right now!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Friday, December 05, 2008

Emma


Emma
November 25, 2008

Cat blogs are very popular likely because cats tend to do cute things or get themselves into some very interesting predictiments. Unfortunately our beloved cat who was about 18 years old is now in kitty heaven and we have no pets for me to brag about. So I asked the kids to send me pictures of our grandkitties.

Emma is the proud parent of the Mommy and Daddy of youngest grandbaby. She is a rescue cat who spends most of her time indoors. Pictured with Emma is her favourite toy that Grandma and Grandpa bought her when she was a kitten. It is a toy Canadian polar bear. She takes it to bed with her each night then in the morning carries the polar bear out to the couch before going back for a late morning nap. Emma is also very fond of playing with the Mardi Gras beads Grandma and Grandpa bring her from Las Vegas and tin foil balls. She loves taking long naps and rough housing occasionally with her Daddy.

Emma has had a very exciting year. Youngest grandbaby arrived in April and in October the family moved into their new home. It has lots of stairs for Emma to play on and lots of windows for her to watch passing vehicles. It also has lots of hiding spots to get away from youngest grandbaby who is now in cruising mode. Emma is taking everything is stride enjoying both youngest grandbaby and her new home.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh Canada!

Canada Flag


There are some topics I intentionally try to keep off of my blogs and politics is one them. Like many Canadians I have been watching our politicians in action. We are living in uncertain economic times and Canadians need a strong and stable leadership. It would appear that is not going to happen for some time. Canadians have effectively rejects Stephan Dion and we are one step closer to a coalition. Stephen Harper has vowed to stop a coalition take-over (details here) but he really isn't showing any substance.

Let me remind each and every Canadian:

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

(French)

O Canada! Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux.
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix.
Ton histoire est une épopée,
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

A coalition government over democracy is not the road we want to go down.


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Evening's Promise
October 13, 2008


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lazy Day


The Cabin
November 10, 2008

Today has been about as lazy as it gets and for good reason. Yesterday I woke with an ear ache so took the initial steps to get relief. By evening it was obvious that hadn't worked as the symptoms increased so went onto using hydrogen peroxide. This morning I realized it was getting worse instead of better so increased the hydrogen peroxide and my husband is picking up antibiotic ear drops on his way home. So I really haven't felt like doing much.

Much of the day has been spent analysing our energy usage on PowerSaverPlus and playing with Photoshop®. I do the energy analysis each fall just to see how well we have done in our goal to reduce our energy consumption over the past year. I'll be blogging about that late tonight on my homemaking blog but in the mean time I am very happy to report our energy usage (electricity, natural gas) is almost half that of the average home! In reality our energy usage is less than half but it's nice to know we are on the right track and I like being able to get a few more tips to add to our winter home improvement to do list.

I admit to being a computer multi-tasker. Just ask my husband! I was working in Photoshop® for this picture while dropping on Entrecard, reading email, doing the energy audit and doing several searches. I played with several filters on the original picture of the cabin using several layers. I like the overall effect. Photoshop® never ceases to amaze me!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Memories


Have you ever thought what a blessing memories are? I have. I think that is one reason why I love scrapbooking and genealogy. Both preserve memories for the future generations but at the same time they trigger emotions that remind me of the times that have already passed. I cherish memories even though some are not as pleasant as others. Each of these memories are blessings in their own right.


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photoshop® For Real Life


Oops!
November 26, 2008

Anyone who reads this blog or my other blogs have already seen a lot of Photoshop® in action. I use this program daily which I still find rather amazing considering up to a couple of years ago I used it solely for resizing photos. It all started with wanting to make a custom blinkie. You know those little blinking graphics on websites and blogs with cute little sayings? Since then I have come a long way with my latest Photoshop® achievement being creating a rather humourous photo at the request of my husband using three different photos and several techniques. Unfortunately I cannot post the actual picture here because it shows the three musketeer aka hunters with the deer behind them all put onto a different background. I must say I am rather pleased with myself! Next to that I'm rather pleased at how the new backgrounds and headers came out for my blogs. Since so many have asked how, I put the method I used on my homemaking blog. I still have to do a fully customized background for my cooking blog but the header is custom made. Making the backgrounds and headers were so easy to do that I will be using this method quite often in the future.

What I really need is Photoshop® For Real Life as you can see from the oops. With a few clicks this mess would have been cleaned up from the comforts of my desk. My desk would always be tidy and the house would always be in order. I could click away any physical imperfections and have perfect hair every day of the week. I could change the colour of our rooms at whim, add accessories as desire and quickly click away any problems. Those grey November days could be warmed up with a couple of clicks to add bright sunshine and a filter to warm the tones. I wouldn't have to buy new clothes or shoes because a click or two I could have a different outfit every day. A click or two would mean perfect food at least visually all the time. No more crooked muffins. Now think about all the possibilities. Yep, I'm convinced I need Photoshop® For Real Life so it's on my Christmas list this year.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Sunrise Through Trees
November 23, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Monday, November 24, 2008

CSI


CSI Cast Season I

One of my ultimate favourite television series next to the Law & Order series is CSI: Criminal Scene Investigation so you can imagine my great pleasure when I discovered one of our satellite channels basically shows CSI most of the day. HGTV and Foodtv have taken the back seat for the time being. I'm in seventh heaven! I can catch up on CSI episodes I haven't seen yet and surprisingly judging by this week that is a lot. I have to say I was disappointed to see Warrick Brown leave last season and even more surprised to hear why. I'm glad to see Sarah come back this season. Here's hoping that she will stay. That's where I'm at on the original CSI. On CSI: Miami I really like Horatio Cain much to the dismay of one of my girlfriends who seriously detests the guy. His mannerisms can be irritating but that makes it so much more likeable. CSI:NY has to be one of my favourite spin offs with Stella being one of my favourite characters.

There is a reason why these types of shows appeal to me but I'm not quite prepared to share why just yet...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hard Economic Times



Everywhere you look the topic at hand is the current economic times with a heavy emphasis on recession. The writing has been on the economic wall for quite some time yet for whatever reason many folks refused to believe hard times could be right around the corner. I hear the fear in their voices and the words they write. At the same time I see some of the folks displaying the most fear refusing to cut back on spending in any capacity so that confuses me. Even when you've cut back as much as you think you can there is always opportunities to cut back further.

Frugal tendencies might not seem like much of a blessing. I have no idea whom I inherited my frugal tendencies from but I am very blessed to have them. They have served me very, very well over the years. I have done my best to use these tendencies to benefit our family and I know some have been passed on to not only the next generation. I hope they will pass these and perhaps add to them to the youngest generation in our family.


Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sad iPod


Sad iPod
November 16, 2008

A few years ago our children gifted us with an iPod for our anniversary. My husband was elated and set about filling it with songs. Even though it will hold pictures and videos the primary function quickly became music. About a month later the iPod had a horrible submersion accident causing what we thought was instant death but after leaving it alone for 4 days to dry out, the iPod sprung to life! My husband set about making the car and boat iPod friendly. A Bose sound dock joined the iPod must haves. The set-up resides in our bedroom when not in use.

My husband took the sound dock and iPod to hunt camp. The guys could listen to music 24/7 the entire trip without ever hearing the same song twice! It worked perfect fine during hunt camp but Sunday night when my husband set up the sound dock to play while drifting off to sleep to be greeted with the sad iPod icon for no apparent reason :(

What I love about Apple products is their support both online or by phone. It appeared we might have to take the iPod to the Apple Store for repairs. Monday morning with the help of Apple Support we went through the various tips to get the iPod working again to no avail. Nothing we did worked at first and it was very frustrating but by Wednesday night we thought it was to the point we could try restoring the software. Thursday morning the much awaited for check mark appeared but that's it. I let the iPod charge all day thinking the battery might be going but it charged nicely. When my husband arrived home we set it up to sync. Amazingly we were able to restore all the music, all 8 days worth. Oh happy, musical day!

Oh and I did notice this time took 4 days to restore as well. Hmm, 4 must be a lucky number...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Friday, November 21, 2008

The Doe


The Doe
November 11, 2008

The hunting members of the group had been unsuccessful until Tuesday when one of the non-hunting members looked out to see a doe within a few yards of the cabin. Without over clothes or even putting on safety gear the doe was felled a short time later. Considering there were other hunters in the area this likely wasn't the smartest move on their part even though hunters likely would not be that close to the cabins. They put on the safety orange vests and hats before going into the woods to retrieve the deer. The traditions of the hunt camp are that everyone shares in the meat from the kill and part of that year's kill goes to the next hunt camp to bring good luck for another successful hunt.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water Rejuvenates


Stormy Skies
November 10, 2008

The hunt camp cabin backs onto a small, peaceful Northern Ontario lake. Vacationing in a location on the water is lovely but better still is being able to live on water front property year round as we do. Still if our friend ever decides to sell the cabin we would be first in line to purchase. Not that the opportunity is likely to arise as these types of properties tend to be passed down through the family. There is just something about living on the water that has a calming effect on the soul. Oh sure sometimes the water is rough due to storms but even then there is beauty. Sitting at the water's edge on a sunny day letting the wind blow through your hair while the water sparkles as it dances is a pleasant way to spend the day.

If you don't live on the water take every opportunity you can to rejuvenate your body and soul by spending a few hours as often as possible sitting buy the nearest water source you can. Pack a lunch and sunscreen as well as a comfy folding chair. Then find a nice quiet spot where you can soak up all the benefits of the water. It's a good time to reflect and ponder Don't forget your digital camera! Enjoying the rejuvenating effects of being near the water is not just for nice weather either. Try visiting on a rainy day or during the winter with snow on the ground. You would be surprised at how much this inexpensive activity can do to make you feel wonderful.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Silver Birch
November 10, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inside the Hunt Cabin


Warm & Toasty
November 10, 2008

I have to tell you that I love both the look and feel of wood! It was the secondary selling feature for this house only out shadowed by the location. The inside of the hunt cabin is finished almost exclusively in wood giving it a warm, cosy and homey feel. The main source of heat is Old Betsy here and believe me in Northern Ontario that fire needs to be stoked quite often. The wood stove is utilitarian so you don't get to enjoy the ambiance of the fire but that's ok as the primary purpose is supplying efficient heating for a cabin that really could do with some sealing. The cabin is closed for the winter primarily due to location. It lies in a area that receives higher snowfall and the owners live quite some distance from the cabin meaning they would have to travel treacherous winter roads to get there and then the road conditions could always worsen while they are there. So hunt camp is the shutting down the cabin for the winter trip as well. Until next year...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Log Cabin


Hunt Cabin
November 10, 2008

In the past couple of entries I spoke of my husband going to hunt camp. This really isn't a camp as in Boy Scouts with tents and roughing it but it is more rustic than home life. The group of guys that go all all good friends with one of the guys from the group owning the log cabin. A couple in the group including my husband do not hunt and have no desire to do so but go along for the camaraderie. My husband and another good friend tend to act as the hunt camp cooks.

The cabin is a log cabin heated with a wood stove. That means the main small room is warm or even hot when the fire is stoked up but mornings can see the cabin quite chilly if the fire dies out through the night. Log cabins tend to be rather leaky letting in both cold air and rodents especially when they are used seasonally. This cottage is no different in that it would need some serious winterizing to use it during the cold winter months in Northern Ontario. It was considerably colder there than at home and they did get snow overnight the first night there. Extra warm clothes and blankets were a must even though it was early in the cold season.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Independence



This past week my husband went to hunt camp. Now I could have stayed home and in many respects that would have been a very easy choice. Instead I decided on a whim to go visit the kids, parents to oldest grandbaby and parents to youngest grandbaby. I called the kids for driving directions, carefully packed clothes and toiletries checking everything twice, tossed in the laptop and iPod® Touch, the cell phone, the chargers, a bag of goodies for the kids then I checked everything again. I made a final round through the house making sure everything was secured and set just right. Then I was on my way for the very long drive of which I would make without a stop unless absolutely necessary. A few hours later as I turned into the driveway of parents to oldest grandbaby I gave myself a quiet pat on the back. I did it! In that instant I realized I had regained a bit of independence lost and that was a real blessing for me. It might not seem like a lot to others but to me it was a huge step forward. What a blessing!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ungrounded


Morning Moon
November 6, 2008

It has been a rather interesting week for me although my blogs did not really reflect this. My husband left last Saturday for hunt camp so I spent a couple of laid back days by myself then headed up to visit the kids. The first stop was the home of oldest grandbaby where Grandma had the wonderful opportunity of learning all the new tricks of toddlers. Trust me on this one there is only so many times Grandma can watch Dora the Explorer or play chase the nakked baby game but Grandma found a lot of other ways to entertain a precotious toddler. Then oldest grandbaby was lost! Grandma and Dora (yep a large replica doll) had to go on an adventure find grandbaby bringing a lot of squeals and giggles from the couch as we searched. Finally we found grandbaby which was a very good thing because her Mommy and Daddy would have not been happy with Grandma if we hadn't found grandbaby!

Wednesday after a lovely meatloaf dinner Grandma and grandbaby cooked, Grandma loaded up the car and headed to visited youngest grandbaby thanks to the very useful driving instructions from Mommy to oldest grandbaby. Driving around the GTA after dark is not something I enjoy doing because of night time glare and missing turns but the instructions were clear and concise so I was able to find my way quite easily. I arrived at the home of youngest grandbaby in time to enjoy little miss who was supposed to be getting sleepy but decided that sharing the latest baby entertainment with Grandma was a bit more important. Talk about a little cutie! Great big eyes with a ready grin that goes from ear to ear then up to make sparkling eyes is just simply adorable. Grandma visited with grandbaby and Mommy while Daddy worked on the design for a mural for grandbaby's new bedroom. Grandbaby played the I want your attention now! game with Daddy by peeking over the couch back then letting out a squeal. This little one is crawling a bit but the indications that walking is going to be preferable over crawling.

The weather turned nasty Thursday so Grandma decided to leave a bit early as Grandma doesn't like driving in slippery conditions. Besides Grandma was getting very tuckered out and had canning to do before Grandpa arrived home. But first Grandma had to unwind...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Colours of the Wind
October 22, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day 2008

I come from a strong military family with ancestors that were instrumental in shaping the history of Canada. I grew up surrounded by relatives who had fought for this country. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice and while they are no longer here they live forever in our memories. If this video does not bring tears to your eyes, nothing will. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we honour our fallen with 2 minutes silence from shore to shore of our great nation, Canada. Please join our nation in showing our respect and how thankful we are for enjoying the freedom they fought so hard for.



Remembrance Day Tribute
courtesy of
Global TV Edmonton

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Monday, November 10, 2008

Look Twice Save A Life

Sunday I came across TheBikersVoice.com while dropping my card for Entrecard. The blogs is asking that the following post be reposted to bring awareness that motorcycles are everywhere. This post really hit home! We are not bikers although my husband had a motorcycle several years ago when the kids were young. At the time he was both self employed and was also working in another job outside of the home. One day he was coming home from the job when a transport flew past him causing the motorcycle to become airborne for a few seconds. The for sale sign went on the motorcycle that night! So when you are out there on the road, please be courteous to other drivers and take extra caution for motorcycles. Please drive defensively, considerately and safely so that both you and others on the road can arrive home to their loved ones.

Look Twice Save A Life
Motorcycles are Everywhere

I saw you hug your purse closer to you in the grocery store line. But you didn't see me put an extra $10.00 in the collection plate last Sunday.



I saw you pull your child closer when we passed each other on the sidewalk. But you didn't see me playing Santa at the local Mall.


I saw you change your mind about going into the restaurant when you saw my bike parked out front. But you didn't see me attending a meeting to raise more money for the hurricane relief.




I saw you roll up your window and shake your head when I rode by. But you didn't see me riding behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window.



I saw you frown at me when I smiled at your children. But you didn't see me, when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless.



I saw you stare at my long hair. But you didn't see me and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love.




I saw you roll your eyes at our Leather jackets and gloves. But you didn't see me and my brothers donate our old ones to those that had none.



I saw you look in fright at my tattoos. But you didn't see me cry as my children where born or have their name written over and in my heart.


I saw you change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere. But you didn't see me going home to be with my family.



I saw you, complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be. But you didn't see me when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane.


I saw you yelling at your kids in the car. But you didn't see me pat my child's hands knowing she was safe behind me.



I saw you reading the newspaper or map as you drove down the road. But you didn't see me squeeze my wife's leg when she told me to take the next turn.


I saw you race down the road in the rain. But you didn't see me get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date.


I saw you run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time. But you didn't see me trying to turn right.


I saw you cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in. But you didn't see me leave the road.


I saw you, waiting impatiently for my friends to pass. But you didn't see me. I wasn't there.


I saw you go home to your family. But you didn't see me. Because I died that day you cut me off.




I was just a biker. A person with friends and a family. But you didn't see me.



Repost this around in hopes that people will understand the biker community..


EVEN IF YOU DON'T LIKE US, RESPECT OUR RIGHTS TO RIDE WHAT WE CHOOSE AND TAKE A FEW EXTRA SECONDS TO BE SURE WE ARE NOT IN 'YOUR' WAY


Please Note: The author of Look Twice Save A Life was not given on TheBikersVoice.com post.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sharing Knowledge


This past week I have been up close and personal with Adobe Photoshop® as I gave each of my blogs an updated look. This is a program that I used occasionally simply to resize photos up to about 2 years ago. Now I use it almost daily. As I was tweaking away at creating backgrounds, headers and other graphics for my blogs it amazed me at how far I have come with being able to use Adobe Photoshop®. Now I am a quick learner and likely would have mastered a lot of my current skills with this program on my own at some point through experimentation but mastering them faster was made possible through the help of many wonderful people online. Many people have made Photoshop® tutorials, brushes, patterns, videos and so much more available online, free of charge simply because they enjoy sharing their knowledge. There are Photoshop® forums and Yahoo groups where some of the friendliest people you will ever meet are will answer questions, troubleshoot and freely share their knowledge of how to do a particular technique using Photoshop®. These kind souls who give freely of their time to help new users of Photoshop® are a real blessing. My thanks and appreciation goes out to each and everyone of you.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's official!


Mommy to oldest grandbaby had an ultrasound for soon to arrive youngest grandbaby. It's official! Youngest grandbaby is a ________!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned for more details on this little one. We are extremely excited as this will be our third grandbaby. I tell you your own children are precious and awesome. Grandbabies are all that and more!

As parents we were so blessed to watch our children grown from tiny babes into mature, responsible and delightful adults. It seems like only yesterday they were little ones. It amazes me to see the wonderful people they have become. Now all but one have become parents so we get to enjoy grandbabies and grandchildren who are teenagers. And the circle of life continues :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Update 2

By now you have a good idea of where I'm going with the design for this blog. I hope your eyes weren't too strained and I thank-you for your patience. Those who know me know that I'm very much into scrapbooking. For some unexplained reason I didn't think to use my digital scrapbooking skills for designing my blogs even though I use a lot of those techniques for the photos. Last weekend I found a website that was doing just that. Looking at the lovely backgrounds it immediately dawned on me that I could easily make my own designs using Photoshop. So I sat down and started tinkering. The background and header you see are the end result. I hope you like it.

There will me more changes throughout the afternoon and evening but most will be rather subtle tweaking. I will let you know when the changes are complete and again I thank-you for your patience.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


under construction

Updating: Later today I will start doing a complete make over of this blog so you will see some weird things going on as I test and tweak. It's not your eyes. Elements will appear, disappear or move to new locations. Don't worry as things will soon be back to normal with a whole new look after the dust settles.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


I Want Stanley
October 18, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

autumn


Autumn Beauty
October 22, 2008

We are now well into autumn! While the air is turning chilly and the days are getting shorter there are still enough nice days to get a good amount of outdoor winterizing done as well as simply enjoying being outdoors. The fair aroma of wood smoke coming from nearby chimneys mingle with the distinct smell of autumn. Leaves flitter and dance their way to the ground on calmer days or whip about in a frenzy when the winds are stronger. The water takes on a cooler look yet still sparkles when the sun graces us with it's presence. Waterfowl make their presence known both in the water and overhead. We really are very blessed to live in such a beautiful area in our little corner of planet earth!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Monday, November 03, 2008

updating blogs

Sorry, no picture today. I have been quite busy most of the day updating my cooking blog. It is still a work in progress that likely won't see completion before morning but it is getting close. I've learned a lot today with all the tweaking so that's a good thing. In celebration I even made a new 125x125 ad for the cooking blog! If you have the chance to stop by, please let me know what you think. This blog and my homemaking blog are next on the adgenda but I will make announcements when I start the updates.

Updating is always difficult especially for someone like me who really likes to stay with the tried and true. All four blogs while they have distinctive features can benefit from a little pizzaz. There's frustration when you try a background and it works one way but if you try it another way it does. There is the tediousness of creating graphics, testing and then retesting, tweaking and retesting before you get just the right look. There's annoyance at checking the links in the sidebar to make sure they are still working. There's the hard look at elements as to whether they are doing what you want or not. There is sadness at finding out a program like BlogRush that you participated in and gave up part of your blog real estate to has up and shut down. It is equally frustration when you have widgets that are designed to bring traffic and or advertising to your blog only to find out they serve inappropriate ads or they are being run by extremely anal control freaks dictating to you what you can and cannot do on your own blog despite the fact that they are where they are today because of us bloggers. You have to decide whether or not to remove the widget or not and that is not always an easy choice but some are making it easier. Then there are the advertisers but for the most part as long as you are not doing anything illegal they don't dictate what you can and can't blog about. At the same time you do have to stay on top of them so that the advertising fits in with the theme of the blog. Well all of this is part of blogging and that means the blog by default is constantly evolving. And that is where I'm at this week.

I'm a blogger :)

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Daylight Savings Time Ends


Don't forget to change your clocks and check the batteries in your smoke detectors.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

well alrighty then, watch the speed

This just in courtesy of email:

The O.P.P. are cracking down on speeders heading into Toronto For the first offense, they give you two Toronto Maple Leaf tickets. If you get stopped a second time, they make you use them.

Nuk! Nuk!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

waterfall


Waterfalls at Kewadin Casino Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
October 21, 2008



Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

hockeytown


Joe Louis Arena
Detroit, Michigan
Oct. 18, 2008

Early Saturday afternoon a friend called asking if we would be interested in going on a casino bus trip, 3 days and 2 nights. We were thinking about that when he called again with tickets to the Detroit Red Wings vs. New York Rangers hockey game. You certainly do not have to twist my husband's rubber arm to get him to go to a hockey game especially when his beloved Wings are playing! We hurried to get on the road for the long ride to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Part of the fun going to hockey games is getting there in time to watch the pre-game warm-up while eating Little Caesars pizza. The game itself did not disappoint with the first goal about 30 seconds into the game by the Wings and the final goal about 30 seconds into overtime also by the Wings. The Wings won 5 - 4!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Friday, October 24, 2008

ssssssshhhhhhhh!

mouse2


My apologies for not posting but we have been away. Saturday within minutes of each we were offered free tickets to the hockey game and a free three day bus trip for two for Tuesday through Thursday. All I can say is wow! We already had plans for this weekend so the entire week has been rather a total write-off as far as blogging goes. Monday I canned raspberry jam and applesauce while I did the last minute packing and travel plans. With everything finished I snuggled into bed to dream of fairies, gnomes and lots of other neat stuff. But wait...

About 3 am I woke with a start. Now that's nothing new to wake at that time but this was different. Unfreaking believable! I shook myself awake then shook my husband awake. It was true! There was a flipping mouse in the house!

Somehow this mouse had got past the sealing of every crack and crevice, copious amounts of expandable spray foam insulation, shrink wrapping the house as well as very explicit signs saying "No Mice Allowed" and armed mice slaying gnomes! Even our answering machine clearly states if you are a mouse "do not leave a message". This mouse had even by-passed the lovely mouse buffet I had carefully set around the perimeter of the house carefully guarded by mouse skulls on the fence posts.

Well now at 3 AM and somewhat half awake yet being forced to function it somehow dawned on me that I needed to protect the food in the pantry that wasn't in plastic or glass containers. I've been busy with canning so some foods coming in were not in plastic or glass. So I bolted from the bed, stubbed my toe on the way to the craft room, dumped the huge Rubbermaid® bin of yarn stash and hauled the bin downstairs to fill with anything a mouse could chew through. My husband to show his support stubbed his toe while plugging in the electronic devices and making a lot of noise. Apparently stubbing your toe hurts when when protecting the food supply is not your primary objective! I think the mouse thought we were a little too loud or something. He either left or hid while we got another hour of sleep before being out in the chilly morning to meet up with the tour group.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Autumn Leaves
October 18, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Friday, October 17, 2008

smart puppy

I received the following cute story in my email. I have taken the liberty of using a different puppy image.

-----



An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard; I could tell
from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was
well taken care of.

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head;
he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the
hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: 'He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?'

-----

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Evening Beauty
Oct. 13, 2008

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

toxic people


Here's Waldo!
Oct. 10, 2008

If you have followed this blog you will know I love wall art so I'm going to make a few comments before going onto the main topic for this entry. We found Waldo! He was on one of the bridge abutments on the lift bridge we had to go under before reaching the marina. As wall art goes this one is striking because of the contrast however it loses a lot of points because it is obviously a stencil and really not a well done one. It was cute though.

Friday night we settled in at the marina enjoying the beautiful Indian summer. Saturday a couple of late arrivers docked. Well within 10 minutes of docking one of the women who we have know for a few years and her husband is a real sweetheart made it very clear that she was greatly aggigated but this time I was the object of her furry! I managed to say hi when she just flew off. Without saying a word I got my husband's eye and we headed back to the boat where I talked. We figured it was just a fluke because we had seen this type of behaviour from her in the past. Nope, it wasn't a fluke and by the time we left she actually had her little group of girls over by themselves doing that childish schoolyard thing that mean "I'm talking about you and you aren't part of the in group" thing, I seriously could not believe this and that is just for being polite and saying hi? She was horribly nasty making snide remarks anytime I was in her presences. So knowing it had nothing to do with this particular trip, I thought back to the last time we boated and she was there. It was as far as I can figure August of 2007 and again nothing comes to mind that could have set her off. Prior to that it would have been the May long weeked of 2007 and again nothing. So I'm baffled. Neither one of us can come up with any explanation for her sudden vicious and nasty behaviour.

Today I had a chance to reflect and I honestly think she is one who falls into the category that they are not happy unless they are in total control of everything. The moment they aren't, anyone in their pathway is going to get the outfall regardless if there is no reason. They are bitter and always on guard to find fault and reward you with a sharp tongue. She reminds me strongly of some folks I have met online who revel in spreading nastiness and hard feelings. In both cases these are toxic people. They don't care how or who they hurt as long as they inflict pain and quite often I don't even think they know why they are doing so. They aren't happy unless they are hurting others. Every time your thoughts turn to them trying to figure out what the heck set them off yet one more time, they are getting exactly what they want. They are eating at your heart and soul.

I'm sorry but I don't have time to deal with toxic people. Taking the high road is always the best course of action when dealing with toxic people.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008


Monday, October 13, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving

-----

Garden Gnome
©2006-2008