Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Occupations Myth....

I know that it is easy to have preconceived ideas about people in certain occupations. For one thing it makes life easier to believe that doctors exist to heal, teachers live to educate and writers strive to create, chronicle and/or entertain.

However, we have all met doctors who are artists, teachers who are entrepreneurs and writers who are freelance detectives writing about their adventures.

I must admit that I get a little irritated with people who presume that everyone one who knits is an unemployed grandmother, sitting at home just waiting to be asked to knit someone a sweater. This is the perennial image that was reiterated again this year by WWF for their sweater day on February 7, 2013.

OK, most people have probably just seen (older) women knitting, at home, in the evening, with family. It is a sedentary activity, which doesn't seem very intellectual and the product - often socks - is well, pedestrian.

Few realize that there is an industry out there that provides yarn, patterns, tools (needles & gadgets) to these knitters. That there are teachers, synonymous with entertainers, who make a living by spending several weeks a month (every month) travelling to yarns stores, craft markets and various other events to teach/entertain for a living. There are knitters who design for books, magazines and famous design houses. And there are knitting themed travel excursions, trade and consumer shows and a huge on-line community that caters to 2,000,000 knitters world-wide - a good number of knitters make a living organizing and participating in these events.

There are also authors who have published books based on their knitting community and there are knitting blogs that rival the Huffington Post for daily hits - one of these happens to be a male knitter and a Harvard graduate.

In fact, it is rare in my knitting/business circle, that I would encounter anyone without a basic university degree. Many have advanced degrees - a Phd from Cambridge or multiple degrees - engineering and an MBA for example. Somehow they have all found a creative outlet in knitting and sought to make it their life's work.

As focused as I am on the niche market of knitting, I am as guilty as the rest of the world for wearing blinkers as far as other occupations are concerned. For example, I could never imagine a vegetarian butcher, or an manicurist with a Phd. I think that we can all see the many layers within our own niches and perhaps fail to see the layers in others, because, there is just not enough time in the day and creating categories makes our life easier.

Well, I had my eyes opened today. I go to a hairdresser about twice a year. Although, I hate cosmetics, I recognize the need to be "presentable." So, I managed to find a hairdresser a few years ago that was very good at her craft and very interesting to talk to. I had an appointment today and in the course of our conversation, I found out that she was planning a holiday in August - this was not the expected trip to the cottage or a convenient "packaged" vacation - Cathy has planned a road trip on a motorcycle across Canada to BC to see her son and 3 grandchildren. She then plans to go on to the Black Rock Desert in NV before coming back to TO. She will be travelling on her own, with just a sleeping bag and a few essentials. She has already bought a 2007 Kawasaki bike and is waiting to get her license to ride it.  I was in awe. Cathy went on to say that she was used to travelling on a shoestring and that she once went to Greece for a few months with just her handbag, which also carried her flute.

Freedom to ride - at any age!!

I am still in shock.  This is an adventure some people dream of, but few ever do. Having known Cathy for a while, I'm sure that she'll do it and I have the greatest respect for someone who follows their dreams. I begged her to do a blog on-line, but she said "no." that this was just going to be her and the earth and the moment. I want to live her moments!!

So be on the look out for a leather jacketed grandmother on a black motorcycle, who just might be someone's hairdresser. She is fulfilling a dream, that many with occupational status, degrees and much more, would love to do.

Motorcycle Thunder Bay - gotta get a hog!!

Have an awesome day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sea Slugs and Pontiffs

I just had to repost a column by Tabatha Southey. It's a satirical essay on why she believes that the Pope has stepped down. It's hilarious.

Here's the link from the Globe and Mail and here's the article

There has been much speculation around Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. For a week now, rumours have swirled on the Internet that the Pope is retiring within the Vatican City to avoid arrest in some kind of lawsuit. Then, Thursday, the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica reported that the Pope decided to resign Dec. 17, the day he received the findings of a probe into the “Vatileaks” affair, including allegations of a network of gay priests and the blackmailers they’d attracted.

Meanwhile, it was disclosed that Pope Benedict has undergone heart surgery, providing a reasonable explanation for leaving any job – except the one of being God’s chosen representative on Earth.
The Pope cited his “incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me” in “today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes.” This was the same week the producers of Maker’s Mark announced they were lowering the alcohol content of their bourbon: Here was the leader of the Catholic church bemoaning his inability to adapt to a changing world. Has everyone forgotten their brand? Since when did the Catholic church agonize over its inability to respond to change? Not responding to change is what the church does best.

But then, on the heels of the Pope’s announcement another story broke, almost as though he’d sought to get in front of it – a story I like to believe is more likely to explain his hasty retirement: A team of Japanese scientists has announced the discovery of a sea slug that has a disposable penis.
Sea slugs are hermaphrodites. As human knowledge grows, God’s occasional whimsicality with sex organs is something the church has had to confront. An animal with both sets raises questions for a church so particular about gender roles. And given that Pope Benedict XVI’s predecessor, John Paul II, took the position that animals have souls, the soul of a sea slug in a body possessed of two sets of sex organs might have been a worry to the pontiff.

Sea slugs mate with both sets of sex organs, concurrently. I imagine (reminding you that sin lies not in the desire, but only in acting upon that desire) that double-sex must be a pretty tempting proposition, one that could lead many a sea slug astray. Twice. And at the same time. Sea-slug Craigslist postings must be novella length. Questions abound: Does the involvement of four sex organs automatically make the most mundane Monday-night, post-“let’s-see-what’s-on-Netflix” sea-slug encounter an orgy?
I’m guessing that the church would sanction that, provided the sea slugs really concentrated on what went where, with no funny stuff – but remember, sea slugs live underwater, and are at the mercy of the currents. Two pious sea slugs could be lining up their organs just fine, by the book, and then suddenly a large tuna, say, could swim over them. The poor little things could get flipped around in the act of procreation and suddenly they’d be having a big, gay, tuna-induced orgy. One wave and the purest of sea-slug couples attempting to form a blessed union might inadvertently find him/herself and him/herself in an aquatic version of Satyricon.

I’d like to believe that while these things weighed heavily on him, like other popes before him, the Pope grappled with their theological implications, as was his lot, until news came of a sea slug that, post-coitus, drags his/her penis alongside him/herself for 20 minutes before casually discarding it and then growing another one within 24 hours – and that proved too much. Consider the moral issues a detachable penis raises: If one of God’s creatures uses a different penis every time he has sex, is he a virgin each time? Would any sea slug drawn into the service of the Lord have to stop being a priest for the 24 hours she didn’t have a penis?

All of this would be enough to throw any pontiff into spiritual crisis, but, what’s more, the sea-slug penis in question appears to be covered with tiny spines that scrape out any competing sperm inside the vagina-like organ of his/her partner as he himself attempts fertilization. Thus, he disposes of his rival’s seed when he ditches his used penis. We’re confronted with a removable penis that is also an effective, though selective, form of birth control. What Pope wouldn’t feel overwhelmed?

Word has it that Benedict will issue a decree speeding up the process of appointing his replacement. While the pontiff is fatigued, he recognizes that there must be guidance – during this, the age of the disposable penis.

The picture is of some naked bivalves (mussels). It's the best I could do :)

I hope that I haven't offended anyone. I was raised a Roman Catholic, so I have a bit of an inside track :)

Have an amazing day!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pussy Willow

There were buckets of pussy willow at the market the other day. I love pussy willows - they just whisper (whispurr) Spring.

From a site for free poetry

Tiny little pussy willow
Softer than a baby’s pillow
Sometimes when I stroke your fur
I almost hear you purr.
Author Unkown

And from the "crazy cat lady"

When my brother was born, one January - well over 50 years ago, my mother received a flower arrangement with a few sprigs of pussy willow in the bouquet. After the flowers had died she put the pussy willow stems in water to sprout. In the Spring, she planted the fragile twigs in the garden, close to the house for protection. Well it didn't take long for them to grow into a massive bush that threatened to uproot the entire house. They may seem like innocence little kittens, but pussy willows, like cats, spawn!!

Have a productive day!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Making Tracks

Yesterday it was milder so I could get out for a walk, because I didn't have to negotiate the ice!!! On really treacherous days, I wear "Trax." They're something like braces that you put on your boots to keep from slipping. They're not pretty and when you are on a dry surface, they slide all over the place - damned if you do and damned if you don't :)

Trax in the sun.

In spite of the light snow, the walking was easy and I could take a look at the tracks that others had made.

You never walk alone!

This borders on the poetic - "walk where I walk," "follow in someone's footsteps," "ships passing in the night," "walk a mile in another's shoes."

Maybe the Easter bunny warming up!!

or Yeti cruising :)

Have a thoughtful day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Infinitum Nihil.....

After posting this morning, I began, as usual, to think about my next blog. I like musing, planning and posting because it takes me away from the realities of the day - housework, or work-work, grey skies, cold...the list goes on.

So you can imagine my dismay when I couldn't think of anything, nothing, nada!  I had decided earlier that if and when I reached my nadir, I would write a post about "nothing" - you know the "void" the absence of anything and that would be it - my swan song or post.

I was desperate, the internet with its vast array of everything, held nothing, at that moment, I could relate to (to which I could relate). I began researching the void!! This was not easy, so I took a break and read the morning paper. There was all the usual news - happy, sad, indifferent - almost too much to comprehend and definitely too much to distil into a small blog post.

I was about to give up when I came across an article about Woody Guthrie, written by Sylvia Tyson. Given that I am a great fan of folk music, I read the entire article. In addition to being a singer and composer, Woody Guthrie was also a novelist. The article was about a book that he had written in 1947 which had never been published, that is, until now. The reviewer suggested that the novel probably would have been censored, at the time, because of two very graphic passages, the first a 20 page description of sex between the husband and wife and the second a detailed account of the birth of their first child.

Those who know Woody Guthrie would understand that neither scene was included in the novel to either shock or titillate, as Sylvia says. In fact she goes on to say that the first scene was "so intensely personal, yet so rawly poetic and metaphorical, that it takes your breath away." The novel is titled "House of Earth" and it will be published by Johnny Depp!!! or at least his publishing company - Infinitum Nihil, under the umbrella of Harper.

Depp established "Infinitum Nihil" to be a home for "authentic, outspoken, and visionary ideas and voices from authors both celebrated and unsung." Depp has a deep (no pun intended) interest in American mavericks, as well as roots music. As an actor, he has brought to life many a folk hero, now his publishing company will give life to manuscripts that may also have been forgotten.

The video is a poem written by Bob Dylan as a tribute to Woody Guthrie. One of the first contracts for Infinitum Nihil was "The Unravelled Tales of Bob Dylan" by Douglas Brinkley.

Infinitum Nihil means "Nothing is Forever." Imagine being rescued by Johnny Depp!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Qwerty who...?

I have decided that I am not a poor speller. My problem with typos stems from the arrangement of letters on the common keyboard. Why anyone would put "f" so close to "d," such that any word that ends with a "d," often ends up ending with an "f" - are you still with me? So what should have been "I did it "- becomes "I dif it" or something like that.

Similarly putting the "p" beside the "o" creates errors, such as "sp you think ypu can type?" or worse. I did a little research on the construction of the typewriter keyboard. Wikipedia has an extensive description of the evolution process. A lot of the decisions about where to put letters depended on the early mechanics of the machine and its ability to "jam." Hence more frequently used letters were separated so their keys would not interlock.

Letter arrangements were also made to facilitate two-handed typing for speed and again to avoid jamming. I know it is all really about the mechanics, not the semantics.

Qwerty - standardized keyboard arrangement

I did enjoy the note at the beginning of the article from Wikipedia about the standardization of the keyboard across all patents. Can you imagine if every company that produced a typewriter and subsequently a computer keyboard had a different arrangement of letters?

For some reason the creators of the calculator and the telephone number pads never spoke, because as any accountant will tell you, after a day of number crunching, when you pick up the phone to dial home, you usually end up dialing a wrong number. Conversely, if you have been on the phone all day, and you have to balance petty cash at 5:00pm, it never balances the first time :)

phone keypad - notice where the #1 is
Phone keypad - notice where the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are.

Adding machine keypad - notice where the numbers 1, 2, and 3 are.

Just one way to explain our topsy turvy world. BTW if you missed the explanation of Qwerty - it's the first 6 letters of the first line of letters on the keyboard.

Have a good one!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Macaron a Day

I am blessed (if I don't mind putting on weight) with having four French bakeries within walking distance of my house. Three of the four are within 100yds of each other - maybe the 100yd diet :) Well, I spread my patronage around to all four. Yesterday I was in Thobor's on Mt Pleasant and I couldn't resist the macarons. I didn't buy any, I just took a picture or two of their display and promised myself, another day. Here they are...

Macarons a.k.a. Macaroons

The variety is endless. Some of the flavours that Thobor's offers are Lavender, Pistachio, Earl Grey, Raspberry, Coffee, to name just a few!! I googled "macaron" and found that one of the other bakeries, "La Bambouche" is hosting a charity macaron day March 20, 2013 in aid of the Red Door Family Shelter. Here's the link -

Macarons a.k.a. Macaroons are delicate confections made of egg whites with a tasty filling. Think Oreos with meringue rather than a cookie dough and a yummier filling. Here is the wikipedia link to a rather detailed history of the origin of macarons. There is even a suggestion in the article that these biscuits could be made with foie gras. Well if you can use foie gras, you can use bacon!!

Macarons at Thobor's

Something to brighten a Winter's day

Have a colourful day!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Word Wars....

So "gravid" and "aracana" duked it out on and it seems that "arcana" won for the word of the day - Feb 20, 2013. "Arcana" is the noun and "arcane," the adjective. The original internet language, HTML, is often referred to as an "arcane" code.

Arcana/Arcane means mysterious, difficult to understand, awkward. HTML is all of this and more. Anyone who has set about to create a website has run into HTML. It is long. It is laborious. But it is apparently easy to index on the receiving end, and therefore it was used by the government group, that started the internet.

I created one of my fist websites in 1995 in barebones HTML - hypertext markup language. It seems such a long time ago - almost 20 years and still very little has replaced it.  I am now working on a site in "Buddypress" and I have to go back to those barebone days and write a lot of code so that I can change the font, for starters, in the "theme" that I am using. "Sigh"

I didn't have a picture for HTML - more textual that graphic :) So I went back to Onelook and found that one of the words in contention today was "sapid." It means tasty. OK I should be able to find something "tasty" in the house to photograph. Some definitions suggested "tasty," as in savoury and others didn't seem to care. Onelook gives you one page with a listing of 27 different dictionary definitions for the same word - and I thought that I was a "word-o-phile" or is that "weird-o-phile" :)

Now this is 8:30 in the morning and I am rushing around trying to put together a still life shot before my husband comes down for breakfast, because he thinks that I'm a little nuts anyway. Here is savoury -

Then I rushed around some more because I needed "sweet," just in case. I decided that I could photograph a teacup from my mother that I had kept and never used, but really liked. Fortunately there were 2 teacups because the first one had a crack in it, which I hadn't noticed and it leaked tea all over the counter. After a quick clean up, I was onto the cookies. I don't keep cookies in the house, but I did have a few left over from a Christmas a while ago - (mental note - clean out the cupboards), so here is sweet.

I improvised a saucer and got both pictures taken before my husband came in with the paper. Whew!! I know, I really am a little crazy :)

Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Just your average everyday word. Doesn't it just roll off the tongue :) I found it on a fascinating site Every hour this site generates 5 words that get an unusually high number of searches.  The site also lists reasons why these words might be popular, at that particular moment.

Yggdrasil - pronounced (igdrazil) - was the most popular word yesterday. It comes from Norse Mythology and means - great tree of the universe - a huge ash tree whose roots and branches hold the earth, heaven and hell together. The word apparently was searched a lot because in the news a dance company was using it as a theme, a Viking folk group had just released and album by that name and a Malta based gaming group had used it in some capacity.

You just never know what the world collectively is thinking at any given moment, but "onelook" might be able to give you a hint. Right now, as I am writing this blog - 7-8:00am EST, the most popular word is "gravid," which means "in an advanced stage of pregnancy." It is also used to mean loaded, burdened, heavy.

I guess I'll just have to wait until tomorrow to find out if this remained the most popular word of the day or if another surpassed it and why.

The picture is my "Yggdrasil." It's not an Ash tree, it's a Maple tree and it may not hold the universe together, but trees keep my body and soul together, plus the birds love them, even without leaves.

Have an awesome day!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter Distilled...

As Winter drags on and I hear the freezing rain clicking outside, I am reminded of a phrase that appears often on my FB wall - "choose to be happy." I really have to remind myself that I can't let the elements interfere with my "celebration" of life!!

I had to remind myself of the phrase yesterday too, even though it was a holiday and we went to The Distillery District as a outing. It was still about -5C with a wind. However, I did get some pictures.

Although they were taken yesterday, I am posting on a 24-hour day that starts about 8:00am one day and finishes about 8:00am the next. This is my excuse anyway, for posting yesterday's pictures as today's in the challenge.

I love the old bricks. This was on a wall of a building marked "Stables." I can see, in my mind, the horse drawn wagons, hauling whiskey to the "pubs" before prohibition.

This is possibly a chute for grain to be milled. They used wind power rather water at this plant.

I couldn't shoot the grill of the truck because there were garbage cans in front. This heritage site has some lovely features but there is a nagging sense that much will be destroyed because of encroaching development. Already there are 3 or 4 very tall glass condos surrounding the tiny enclave, with more in the works. And even though they have kept some facades, they have taken down others and put buildings with great glass walls right on the cobblestones - much has been lost.

Oh well, time for a cup of tea!! Tomorrow is another day!!

Have a great one!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

3-D Printers...

I may have written about 3-D printers before. They have come down in price, such that they are almost affordable for the average family. These printers actually create 3 dimensional objects, such as, wrenches, bicycle chains and probably knitting needles, to name a few.

Just as our regular printers lay down ink to produce pictures and text, 3-D printers lay down resin, metal, ceramic, even human tissue to create objects. Here is an article about the printers. I googled 3-D printers and was amazed at how commonplace they seemed to have become. That's the speed of light at which we are all travelling - read an article one day, that sounds like science fiction - turn around the next day and your brother-in-law has one.

As pdfs have changed the print industry so too will 3-D printers change the way we live. If you read the article, you will have notice that 3-D printers can create guns - by-passing various gun registry programs. They can even create human organs - very freaky!!

Any 100 mile program on sustainability will become obsolete. People will be able to exist on items created within 100 feet. One of the first things to do, I think, would be to move to digital locks, because anyone could create master keys - Paranoia runs in the family!!!

Have an uncomplicated day!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Some days are just like that..

I almost forgot to post today. I am finally back at working on this website that I started in October, when I ran into all sorts of compatibility problems, such that I had to uninstall everything and start from scratch again, except that my login had somehow become invalid and I couldn't just start again. Well, some things on-line are really not that easy.

However, this morning, I was zipping along, until I tried to embed a video on the home page - more glitches. Finally I decided to take a break and go to IKEA to get some blinds. Some how, after years of "making do" with the blinds we had - today was deemed a "blind crisis day." So I got to go to this mob scene  (do people not have lives?), while my husband went to the pet store to get a collar for one of the cats - easy for him!!

Did I mention that with the wind chill it was about -15C. Why everything has to fall apart on one of the coldest days of winter is, I suppose governed by Murphy's Law.

Have an uncomplicated day!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Under the Light...

It's about 8:30 on a cold Saturday morning and I am surfing around looking for a blog topic. I tried "Word of the Day." There were some interesting ones, if you take a look at the words around today's word as well - peripatetic and mellifluous are two, I could work with. However, I also like to have a picture to go with the blog and nothing came to mind to go with either word.

Then I went to "Event of the Day" and the only event I bothered to remember was that on this day in 1859 the French Government  - passed a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch. I don't know enough about music to write at length about sound frequencies - other frequencies maybe :) I was surprised, though that it required a law. I thought that the musical scale just "happened" like flowers. I guess not.  It makes you wonder what music was like before 1859.

Me somewhere - maybe Britain

Next, I went to "Quote of the Day" and found the usual inspirational quotation, of which I receive several hundred a day posted to my FB wall. Finally I went to "Poem of the Day" and spent about an hour on a favourite site - Poetry 180 and decided to use the first of the 180 poems listed, as a blog topic. It's by Billy Collins and says a lot about how we should approach poetry.

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

"Tyger Tyger burning bright..."

My pictures were suggested by the first few lines of the poem. They are slides from a time - long ago and far away, when I used to teach poetry in high school. I held them up to the light!!

Have an inspired day!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lobster it was....

My husband came downstairs yesterday and said that because it was Valentine's Day we should do something special for dinner. He suggested lobster - my thoughts exactly. I offered to pick up a baguette and the lobster since he has been really busy at work lately.

The supermarket just down the road always has a good supply of live lobster and they will steam them for you, if you can wait 15 minutes or so. I have never cooked a live lobster - I know, I'm a wimp!! I got to the supermarket about 5:00pm and since no one ahead of me had ordered lobster,  I just had to wait for my 3 to be cooked and I was home by 5:30. I wrapped the box in a blanket to keep the lobsters warm and set about making french fries from scratch - we do them on a cookie sheet in the oven - a little less fat. I then made the salad while my husband set the table. I don't have a lot of fancy dishes so the drawn butter is in small coffee cups - oh well. To me it's more about what's on the plates than the plates!!

It was a wonderful special dinner with our youngest - who loves lobster too - a great end to a very grey February day!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Dinner

It's Valentine's Day. However, I did have a usual mid-week dinner planned - Lentil Soup - not very romantic or celebratory - is that even a word? In the back of my mind a little voice keeps saying, "Lobster, lobster." But who has lobster on a Thursday Night?

When the kids were little, we used to buy them cards and little boxes of chocolates on Valentine's Day.  We would try to make it festive - there are so few opportunities to fancy up winter after Christmas, that any excuse to make a fuss was seized!!

Maybe because we are down to just one child in the evening for dinner, that we've stop being festive - but really lentil soup - though tasty - it's a little pedestrian.

Well I have about 8 hours to re-think dinner, buy a card, some flowers for my husband and some chocolates for the two kids still at home.

I actually checked the arsenal and I do have enough lobster weapons for 3, if we share the nut (claw) cracker.

Hmmmmmm can we be wicked and have lobster on a Thursday?

Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Slideshows and Video

A year ago I bought a MAC because it had IMovie. I had tried video editing software for my PC and just ended up frustrated. IMovie made life much easier. I am fascinated by video, especially if it is not staged, but makes an interesting comment on life.

Since June of last year, I have been part of a planning committee for a "knitting retreat" this April - 12-14. It's a weekend where people, who like to knit or crochet get together to, take a few classes, eat some great meals and just have a lot of fun!!

Ten of us have met once a month at a restaurant - Marche - in Toronto to plan this weekend. I took some video of our meeting yesterday and posted it last night on Youtube for the group to approve, before I put it on our retreat's blog. Well, I have had a comment already on the slideshow from someone just browsing YouTube.

Here it is.

I think that it is a wonderful example of people working together. I am pushing myself to do more video on a regular basis - it just brings text to life!!

Have an animated day!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Amorphous or Structured..?

Amorphous is an interesting word.  It means without a clearly defined shape or form. To me this is not a negative. I actually think that this is how the creative mind works. An idea starts out as an amorphous thought - something that is not clearly defined. Then it grows and starts to create its own structure, it's own identity.

Yes, you can impose form and order on an idea, but then you might miss something - an extension, that could give it another dimension. Perhaps this is why "think tanks" are a productive way of problem solving. Someone throws out an idea and others add to it, thus growing a thought into a structure that might work.

"Go with the Flow" people have flexible personalities. They are not rigid and can therefore change to fit in or accept a situation, possibly slowly changing it to their liking, from within. I know that the single celled Amoeba is often described as "amorphous" because it can change its shape to fit the circumstances. However a single cell or idea will grow, developing into something ironically quite structured.

The picture is of a few mustard seeds. It is definitely an amorphous "arrangement" and the configuration will change with the slightest breath. Plant any of these seeds and they will grow into a structured plant that will produce more seeds. The seeds that aren't harvested with be blown by the wind, planting themselves in random places, growing and reproducing or naturalizing, as a botanist would say.

I wonder if being amorphous is better than being structured. Or maybe we just need to balance the two. After all, structured cells will change with the environment and morph slowly over time.

Have an unstructured day!!

Monday, February 11, 2013


Yesterday, I posted thinking that it was the 42nd day of the year and I wanted to have a post about the number 42, because it is the meaning of life according to "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy." I was thrilled to think that the meaning of life was a Sunday.

Well I was wrong, which in itself says a lot about life :) So now Monday morning is really the meaning of life - which maybe the reason so many people leave it - life that is.

Now if bacon were the real meaning of life, may be people would hang around a bit longer, may be not given its high fat content. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

No wonder life is so hard to figure out!!

Have an amazing day!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Forty Two

This is day 42 in the 2013 blog-a-day challenge. I decided to post about the number 42 today because it is the meaning of life according to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Fortunately it falls on a weekend this year.  I always think that weekends are more about life or at least the fun "things" in life. I know that lots of people have spent tons of time trying to decipher the meaning of 42 as it applies to life.

Here's my take on it. Perhaps the meaning of life is just as random as Adams' choice of the number 42. Put another way. Life is a random collision of events, objects and people thrown together because of the chaos that we are all in :) Please post your ideas.

Here are 42 things involving the number 42, that you probably didn't know, or at least didn't know all of them :)

1. Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert died aged 42; they had 42 grandchildren and their great-grandson, Edward VIII, abdicated at the age of 42.
2. The world's first book printed with movable type is the Gutenberg Bible which has 42 lines per page.
3. On page 42 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry discovers he's a wizard.
4. The first time Douglas Adams essayed the number 42 was in a sketch called "The Hole in the Wall Club". In it, comedian Griff Rhys Jones mentions the 42nd meeting of the Crawley and District Paranoid Society.
5. Lord Lucan's last known location was outside 42 Norman Road, Newhaven, East Sussex.
6. The Doctor Who episode entitled "42" lasts for 42 minutes.
7. Titanic was travelling at a speed equivalent to 42km/hour when it collided with an iceberg.
8. The marine battalion 42 Commando insists that it be known as "Four two, Sir!"
9. In east Asia, including parts of China, tall buildings often avoid having a 42nd floor because of tetraphobia – fear of the number four because the words "four" and "death" sound the same (si or sei). Likewise, four 14, 24, etc.
10. Elvis Presley died at the age of 42.
11. BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs was created in 1942. There are 42 guests per year.
12. Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear's spaceship is named 42.
13. Fox Mulder's apartment in the US TV series The X Files was number 42.
14. The youngest president of the United States,Theodore Roosevelt, was 42 when he was elected.
15. The office of Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt is called Building 42 of the firm's San Francisco complex.
16. The Bell-X1 rocket plane Glamorous Glennis piloted by Chuck Yeager, first broke the sound barrier at 42,000 feet.
17. The atomic bomb that devastated Nagasaki, Japan, contained the destructive power of 42 million sticks of dynamite.
18. A single Big Mac contains 42 per cent of the recommended daily intake of salt.
19. Cricket has 42 laws.
20. On page 42 of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jonathan Harker discovers he is a prisoner of the vampire. And on the same page of Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein reveals he is able to create life.
21. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Friar Laurence gives Juliet a potion that allows for her to be in a death-like coma for "two and forty hours".
22. The three best-selling music albums – Michael Jackson's Thriller, AC/DC's Back in Black and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon – last 42 minutes.
23. The result of the most famous game in English football – the world cup final of 1966 – was 4-2.
24. The type 42 vacuum tube was one of the most popular audio output amplifiers of the 1930s.
25. A marathon course is 42km and 195m.
26. Samuel Johnson compiled the Dictionary of the English Language, regarded as one of the greatest works of scholarship. In a nine-year period he defined a total of 42,777 words.
27. 42,000 balls were used at Wimbledon last year.
28. The wonder horse Nijinsky was 42 months old in 1970 when he became the last horse to win the English Triple Crown: the Derby; the 2000 Guineas and the St Leger.
29. The element molybdenum has the atomic number 42 and is also the 42nd most common element in the universe.
30. Dodi Fayed was 42 when he was killed alongside Princess Diana.
31. Cell 42 on Alcatraz Island was once home to Robert Stroud who was transferred to The Rock in 1942. After murdering a guard he spent 42 years in solitary confinement in different prisons.
32. In the Book of Revelation, it is prophesised that the beast will hold dominion over the earth for 42 months.
33. The Moorgate Tube disaster of 1975 killed 42 passengers.
34. When the growing numbers of Large Hadron Collider scientists acquired more office space recently, they named their new complex Building 42.
35. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has 42 illustrations.
36. 42 is the favourite number of Dr House, the American television doctor played by Hugh Laurie.
37. There are 42 US gallons in a barrel of oil.
38. In an episode of The Simpsons, police chief Wiggum wakes up to a question aimed at him and replies "42".
39. Best Western is the world's largest hotel chain with more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries.
40. There are 42 principles of Ma'at, the ancient Egyptian goddess – and concept – of physical and moral law, order and truth.
41. Mungo Jerry's 1970 hit "In the Summertime", written by Ray Dorset, has a tempo of 42 beats per minute.
42. The band Level 42 chose their name in recognition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and not – as is often repeated – after the world's tallest car park.

Hopefully you are parked on a Pleasant road for the duration!!

Have a stellar day!!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Snow Cones

I was feeling a bit cabin fevered yesterday. By noon it had been snowing for 24hrs and we had more snow than we knew what to do with. I went to work in the morning but decided to leave at noon, before I got really snowed in. The city plows do this neat trick of clearing the main roads by filling in every driveway and parking lot exit. So I almost couldn't get out of my spot.

Then on the way home, my windshield wipers decided that they'd had enough and just gave up. Fortunately I just had a few blocks to go. But I did have to get out at every stop light and wipe the snow build up from the window - It never rains but it pours - well, you get the idea.

I debated walking to the bank; but then I thought "nah," this could be done another day. So now what to do. Yes I could read, or knit, or do some housework - perish the thought. Surfing was easy and my MAC was open anyway. Maybe a little music to soothe the soul.

I started out with John McDermott. Here's Loch Nagar

However as the day wore on, and that closeted feeling became more intense, the music choices moved as well. At the end I was listening to some fairly obscure Welsh folk songs from Cerys Matthews. Here's Myfanyw.

You have to be in that sort of crazy space. Finally I took pictures of the snow from the back window. The sun should shine tomorrow, so I'll try to get some better shots, before I'm blinded by the light!!

Coneheads in the Garden
Above are the garbage cans and planters. Below is the BBQ - for frozen dinners, of course!!

Have a great day!!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Night Rabbits.....

Before Christmas, my son had a friend staying over for a few days. Well one night Alex went out to get some snacks from across the street.  The kids all use the door in the fence at the back of the yard to get to the shops, because it's quicker.  When he got back he said that he'd seen a rabbit in the back yard. It made me wonder what type of snacks he was getting.

I was always under the impression that rabbits were diurnal, like squirrels, and therefore they wouldn't have been out at night. I know that we have a lot of critters in our yard - raccoons, skunks, even the odd rat, but a rabbit - never. I dismissed the incident and presumed that he had mistaken a raccoon for a rabbit.  It did make me think, though, of all those stories about imaginary rabbits and I resolved to keep a closer eye on what they were drinking and smoking.

A few weeks later, my eldest came home one night and said that he had seen a rabbit in the back yard. I still wasn't convinced. It was late. He'd had a few drinks. It must have been something else. Well, last night my youngest came home and said that he had seen a rabbit in the backyard. This is the kid who can spot seven or eight deer on a road trip, even if we hadn't seen any.  I was about to dismiss his story, when he pulled out his phone and showed me a picture.

Now I might have thought, alien creature, if I hadn't seen rabbit tracks all over the garden, in the snow.

So now we can add rabbits to our menagerie. I wonder how they are surviving in the cold. I hope that it isn't someone's pet who has escaped.  Oh dear now I have another animal to worry about. Rabbits are actually crepuscular - meaning that they are active at dawn and twilight. I think that there should be a crossword society for people to post those impossible words that no one ever uses unless it's 47 down and starts with a "C." :)  Then again I could start an Easter bunny society....maybe.

Have a wonderful day!!!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Sally Forth...

This is not about the comic strip, sorry.  It's about a device in medieval castles that I have totally misunderstood. I know, why should I worry about not understanding a bit of architecture that was in use 1,000 years ago, well, because I'm a masochist - enough said.

Anyway for years I always though that the "sally forth" - an obscure exit from a medieval castle - was a way of escape. For example, when it looked like you weren't going to beat the enemy, you could just slip out the back door and run for the hills.

Not so. This obscure little doorway was actually used by the defending army. They would sneak out this exit, circle around and come up behind the enemy, thereby running a counter attack - very clever.

We actually have the equivalent of a Sally Forth in our back fence. Our yard is very close to a major crossroad, with lots of small shops and pubs. Many of our neighbours have put doors in their back fences to allow easy access to these conveniences. When the kids were little I didn't want them slipping out a door onto a busy street, so we just built a regular fence.

Well as the kids got older, they found that when they got off the bus, it was quicker to slip through the apartment's parking lot, hop the fence to our yard and voila they were home. The alternative was to walk the equivalent of three blocks, and come in through our front door. Clearly this wasn't going to happen.

However, when they started coming home after midnight, the fence wasn't as easy to climb in the dark and very difficult in a mini skirt and heels, so we decided to put in a door.  This was not easy, without maybe re-doing the entire fence.  However, one clever carpenter was able to create this masked doorway through the slats of the fence, which, although small, was better than the peril of climbing over the fence.

We don't use it to exit and then circle around to run counter attacks on the neighbours :)  but we have used it to avoid a neighbour or two on the street who would inevitably engage us in an unwanted conversation, if we left the house by the front door.

Either way having a somewhat "mysterious" exit/entrance at the bottom of the garden, is the sort of irregularity that I enjoy.  Life is too short to always do the expected and predictable. Create a little mystery in your comings and goings.

Have an imaginative day!!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Button pushers.....

My youngest is a "button pusher" in more ways then one. Now-a-days, he usually just pushes my buttons with arguments, as to why I should pay him more money for just "being."

When he was little, though, he had a penchant for pushing physical buttons - usually the wrong buttons - whenever he saw one. Once when we took him to get his hair cut, he pushed the button on the computer that ran the shop's program for creating invoices and receiving payments. He managed to shut down their whole system and no one there knew how to get it back up again. We left the shop with the stylists frantically calling head office for help!! It was very embarrassing!!

Yesterday he was in the office helping me move some furniture around and today, I noticed that the button to lock the filing cabinet had been pushed in. The filing cabinet was locked! I had no idea where the key was! In fact, this happened once years ago and my brother-in-law at the time, whom I suspected had skills beyond those of basic carpentry, opened it for me.

Now I had to figure out what he had done. I tried a few generic looking keys - no luck. Usually when all else fails, I use a knitting needle, even this didn't work. Finally I tried a nail file - Voila!! It worked!! Ironically, the file was from a manicure set that said "button-pusher" had given me as a gift a few years ago, interesting.

Try this only, if you own the lock. I don't want to be accused of abetting any breaking and entering :)

Have a wonderful day!!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

"A penny for your thoughts....."

Yesterday Feb 4, 2013, the Canadian government phased out the penny. I know other countries have done it and survived. Britain obviously, at one time, phased out the farthing and the half penny (pronounced hape-knee) before it went to an entirely new monetary system, which axed the threepenny (pronounced threp-knee), sixpence, half crown, crown and guinea.

"Spend a penny" is a polite term in Britain for having to use the washroom, because you had to put a penny in a contraption on the outside of the door to a washroom stall, in order to open the door and subsequently use the toilet. Hopefully you always had the right change! I think that most of the public washrooms in North America are free, so phasing out the penny shouldn't effect daily ablutions.

Most stores are rounding to the nearest nickel, either automatically, or manually. The girl who served me in The Second Cup yesterday got it all wrong and rounded to the nearest $5.00. She had actually short changed me $5.00.

Change, however small, is always a trial. I understand that the government will save $11,000,000.00 by not having to mint any more pennies. Probably just a drop in the bucket for them.

So I guess that I had better round up my copper coins and cash them in before they change the expression to "a penny saved is a penny burned" and I lose the few dollars that I might have had by saving all those pennies :)

Have a thoughtful day.

Monday, February 04, 2013

When's Easter?

I was often called upon to explain how the date of Easter is determined each year.  It was sort of my party piece - OK I don't lead a very exciting life.  Now, however, with Google being the source of all information, at anytime, I am rarely asked to "recite." Alas, I did enjoy the limelight as fleeting as it was.  Well I can still rhyme off the names of the 12 apostles in three seconds flat!! Any takers?

For the record and whether you want to know it or not, the date of Easter each year is as follows: Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs after March 21.

And also for the record Easter is the name of a pagan goddess of Spring. Her followers often presented her with little round loaves or buns marked with "X"'s. Interestingly enough, if you turn an X a quarter turn to the right, you get a cross and if you add currents and cardamon to the loaves, you get Hot Crossed buns.

Just a very obscure bit of information that I have retained over the years. Funny how one can remember items like this and forget to buy bread and milk :)

Please share any obscure bits that you have remembered.

Have a great day!!

Sunday, February 03, 2013


I'm embarrassed to say that I use Go-Daddy to register domain names. I knew about their commercials before I went to their site and I thought that I really shouldn't be supporting a company that so blatantly uses females for "fun and profit."

However, when I was searching around for an inexpensive site to park a few domain names, the best I found was Go-Daddy and at least I could remember their name.

Also when I have had to call them for tech support on an issue or two, I have always had some charming young man at the other end of the phone walk me ever so very politely through the various steps, that I couldn't find a thing to dislike about them.

One of my websites registered with Go-Daddy. I guess that I exploit lace for fun and profit.

So here I go again, renewing the few domain names that I have decided to keep - you got 'em - Go-Daddy!!

Have a super day!!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Thirty Three.....

Ok I want to know who compiles all this data. This is day 33 in the 2013 blog a day challenge and as I was looking for a blog topic, I thought why not write about the significance of the number 33. Why not indeed.  Here is more information than you ever want to know about the number 33.


1. In Mathmatics it's a semi prime number and owing to the fact that I know very little about mathematics, I am easily impressed. So when the article associated the number 33 with words such as aliquot, Gaussian, Blum, reprodigit and stormer number, I knew that I was in another world :)

2. In Science
    a) 33 is the atomic number of Arsenic. I read Agatha Christie and I knit so I know a lot about Arsenic.
    b) There are 33 vertebrae in the human spine. This number has strength!!
    c) 33 figures (no pun intended) in a lot of astronomy. I will never be able to look at the night sky again without a calculator - probably should have married an accountant :)

3. In Religion
    a) The number appears in the three major religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is the numerical equivalent of the Star of David, the word Amen and it is important in the arrangement of Islamic prayer beads. Catholics also had a Pope, John Paul I, for 33 days.
    b) For Christians in general, Christ died at the age of 33 and completed 33 miracles before his death - a hard act to follow.
    c) The highest rite of the Freemasons is 33.  Maybe a little like the meaning of life - 42 - minus 9. I know it has no meaning, maybe a little like secret societies.

4. In Sports
   a) There are so many 33's in all the major sports that I have lost count. All I know is that Wayne Gretsky was number 99 - makes you think.

5. In History
    a) Events that happened on or near the 33rd parallel of longitude were, the start of the American civil war, the death of FDR and JFK, plus the detonation of several atomic devices, to name a few.

6. In General
    a) There are many minor associations with the number, which could be major, if they are close to home for you. The most significant seems to be of a beer in Viet Nam during that war.  Enough said.

OK it's down to the bare bones of blogging and it's only day 33 - there are 332 more to go and if this were a leap year it would be 333!!! The picture?  Well I couldn't find anything that said 33 in the house, so I did what every good mathematician does to solve a problem. I added 3 + 3 and got 6 - problem solved!!!

Please post any significant "33's" in your life !!!

Have a happy 33rd day of the year!!!

Friday, February 01, 2013


Tricoter is French for knitting - pronounced "tree-co-tay."

OK with my last post I am "out of the closet." I knit. And for some reason yesterday was a very busy day for posts on FB related to knitting. Here's what happened:

1. WWF - World Wildlife Fund has been promoting National Sweater Day - not to be confused with National Sweater Girl Day which I think is a Sports Illustrated "thing." Anyway WWF has Ryan Gosling in a knitted sweater with the title - Voulez-vous crochet avec moi (ce soir). OK that's for a crocheted sweater. Really sex sells.

2. I suppose that they could have chosen another celeb - maybe one a little kinkier - any suggestions - and had the same promo for a knitted sweater - with Voulez-vous tricoter avec moi (ce soir) - maybe "trickier" sex sells even better.

3. Then there was the flash mob scene celebrating this woman in Holland who has knit 550 sweaters since 1955 and stored them in her house. Some videophile found her and created this amazing scene of all these people wearing her sweaters.

I guess that she's out of the closet too or at least out of the house!!! Now to raid some other closets and see what's in them.  This is much better than storage locker wars :) Can't wait to video the bones in "them thar" closets. It's just amazing what you find, when you decide to tidy up!!

Next to finish that sweater started in 2005. I've got 7 days!!

Have a sexy sweater day.