Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Geocaching on the Bruce Trail

This is Margaret, Barb and Jane.


When they aren't geocaching they are nurses, but that doesn't come into this blog other than the fact that I wasn't too worried about what would happen if I tripped and broke a leg.

And yes I was out on the Bruce Trail with them because I want to learn how to become a geocacher, too!

Barb found the first cache.



Inside the box there were several trinkets. 

The idea is that if you take something out of the container you should
replace it with something else.

And there is always a journal at each cache.

In the journal you write your name and the date before you put the whole
thing back for the next person to find.

Jane is holding the cache she found and looking at a toy that was inside
the box.

She is likely thinking about her five awesome grandchildren.

Margaret found one too. 


She found a 'travel bug' in her cache. 
An English Hippo!
Travel bugs are considered very special by geocachers and unlike the small items you can take  home, these can't be traded in for something else and

They must be passed on to another cache.

Did I mention that Margaret is a bee keeper?
We went to see her bees before we started our hike
but they were in a collective bad mood because of the rain
so we didn't get up close and personal with them.
Margaret also has blue bird houses she keeps in the Short Hills.
I think maybe I should quit complaining about Bell Canada and
Google+ and get out and do something worthwhile with my life.

But until I find my true humanitarian calling I might just be a geocacher
for awhile.


I found a travel bug, too!

You can learn more about geocaching at http://geocaching.com



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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Too Cranky


For two weeks I had nothing to say. 

This week-end I can't shut up.


When I read Diane C.'s comment after my rant
about what a fascist organization Google+ is,

a dim light came on in my head.

Or maybe a light came on in my dim head - 
this week it's been hard to tell.

Then when I was washing my dishes and looking out the
window at our neighbourhood dumpster diver do his daily

poke through the trash I remembered something about a
message from Google+.

I think they asked if I would like to either a) sell them my soul or

b) let them do something with comments on my blog.

Being the agreeable sort and bound for Hell anyway
I agreed without much thought.


So there you have it.

I erred.

But if you think I'm going to apologize to Google+ you're

I'm way too cranky for that.



Jahvoll Mein Herr Google+

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)
Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator) (Photo credit: Aray Chen)

I am so sorry I signed onto Google+.

And I feel even worse now that I understand my signing

on means that my old blog buddies have to set up a Google+

profile to comment on my blog.

Joining Google+ is easy enough. 

You segregate your online contacts into circles called 'friends',
'acquaintances' or 'family'. 

Presumably 'family' is where you put anyone who is extremely


Anyway -  that part is like a false front on a building.

Behind the scenes things seem rather manipulative, i.e., I keep

getting messages from Google+ that people I have never followed
are 'following me back' and then of course I feel obligated to add

them to my circles.

 And you can quickly lose control of what is happening to your blog site.


Sometime in the last week or so bossy Google+ took over
a North End Journal from its parent, user friendly Google.

No comments come to me except through them now.

It feels like being in a face book forced labour camp.

What I'm saying is that I did not, to my knowledge give
Google+ permission to go into Blogger and make such
changes on my blog.

I don't like Google+ and my advice is to stay away.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thrown away

I was going to buy forever things this year.

Invest in clothes that were made in Canada.

Good stuff that would last a lifetime.

Or maybe two.

I'm talking about clothes I could leave in my

will seeing as 'forever' at my age isn't that long.

But I needed some t-shirts.

It's getting warm out there.

The discount store* that bills itself as "Canadian"

And I did what I had promised myself I wouldn't do.

I bought two t-shirts @ $4  each.


Definitely not forever clothes.  

Clothes I could putter around in.

Walk the dog in.  

Throw away clothes.

After I washed them I read the labels.

Throw away clothes

from a place where they have

throw away workers.

*FYI Giant Tiger sells clothes made in Bangladesh.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Trouble on the Home Front

Before I bought this small, older condo structural damage
had been discovered in some of the other units.

The company that manages the complex had already hired
engineers to assess the situation.

The nature of condos is that when you buy in, you buy in to all of
the units.  In other words you are responsible for maintaining the

integrity of all of them.

The problem is that I didn't know about the upcoming assessment
and signed the ownership papers a week before the engineers

submitted their final report.

To tell you that I was shocked to get a bill for $6,000 a few months
after I moved in would be an understatement.

This week my insurance claim was denied on the basis of dates -
i.e. nothing was finalized when I purchased my home so there was

nothing the condo management company had to put in the status
report  that would have raised a red flag.

Morally they were wrong.  Once they knew every owner was going to
be on the hook for a big bill there should have been a disclosure to

potential buyers.  In my opinion.

Anyway, I'm not in a good mood. 

I'm tired of people with whom I need to talk not returning my calls
and people with bad news calling back so damn promptly.

I haven't given up. 


Time to dust off the sword of honour and justice.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eatin' High on the Hog

Cover of "Canadian Bacon"
Cover of Canadian Bacon

What the heck is Canadian bacon?

I've wondered about it for years.

Americans talk about our bacon as if it drops on
the tundra like frozen manna.

I finally asked Travis Erwin of  Bacon, Beer & Books. 

He's from Texas and posted a pretty funny blog about
Canadian food yesterday which you can read here.

This is how he described Canadian bacon to me:

What is called Canadian Bacon here is not like our regular

It's sort of like ham and some pizza places just substitute
ham but what I call real Canadian bacon is different.

It has the look of ham but is thin sliced or shredded and is
best when crispy on the edges with just enough saltiness to

bring out the fine pork flavor.

The light dawned. 

I think.

But what say you, my fellow Canuckians?

Are we talking something exotic, delicious and totally

unavailable in Canada or are we talking ...


humble peameal bacon??

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"All The Banks Do It"

Royal Bank of Canada's previous logo (the crow...
Royal Bank of Canada's previous logo (the crown was removed). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2007, according to McLean's Magazine, the CEO of the

Royal Bank of Canada took home over 



But this year, (although his salary has increased since '07),
the CEO was not a happy camper.

There was still some loose change out there.

So he and his henchpersons found a loophole in Canadian
law that allowed them to fire a bunch of Canadian bank workers

and replace them with foreign workers who would work for peanuts.

But one of the Canadian workers blabbed to the CBC and soon
the news of corporate greed was spread across the land.

As outraged as most other Canadians I phoned the bank.

"Other banks do it too," said the Service rep.


I suppose he thought I'd go away happy when I heard that.

Instead I began the long process of disengaging from the
Royal Bank.

I joined a Credit Union.

It has taken quite a bit of my time because I bank online
and have my bills withdrawn electronically.

And the dust won't settle on the whole process for a few months
I'm sure, but the hardest part is over.


Losing my two tiny little bank accounts isn't going to bring RBC
to its knees.


But I'm standing taller today.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Yankee Doodled

English: A graphical representation of a typic...
English: A graphical representation of a typical Butler's Rangers soldier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Englanders were not happy Pilgrims when Old Englanders
sent them the bill for the Seven years War.

As a matter of fact they were downright cranky about it.

They did unfriendly things like confiscating a man's property and
burning his house down if he did business with the British Army

or sat on the fence politically. 
Sometimes they hanged him and left his family destitute. 

To escape the dangerous mobs many Loyalists fled to New York City. 

It eventually became the last British stronghold in the 13 Colonies. 

In a scene that must have been reminiscent of the expulsion
of the Acadians, the British evacuated thousands of people out of

New York harbour before the Continental Army entered the city.

About 30,000 refugees were taken to the Maritime Provinces
and about 2,000 were settled in Quebec.

7,500 Loyalists escaped by travelling overland to the British

outpost at Fort Niagara.

Once there many of the men joined Col. John Butler's Rangers and
fought back against the Continental Army.

Unfortunately for the Loyalists wherever they ended up
there was no going home again when the war ended.

People who had lived comfortable lives in New England had to start
over in the Canadian wilderness with nothing.

The border between Canada and the US was decided by the

Treaty of Paris at the end of the war.

Canada, with a population of less than a million, was composed of angry

French people, angrier refugees from the US and a large number
of totally pissed off indigenous folks.

The 19th century could only get better. 


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Thursday, April 4, 2013

No Crying Wolfe Please


It sounds so biblical. 
The kind of place where there would be a lot of smiting
of foes while seven eyed lambs having seven horns
warn of the impending Apocalypse.


I was so disappointed when I learned that the battle for what
eventually came to be known as Canada took place on

Sept. 13, 1759 in a field owned by a farmer named Abraham Martin. 

But I was so grateful someone long ago had the presence of
mind not to call it 'The Plains of Martin'.


The Seven year's War continued to rage in the New and Old Worlds
after the expulsion of the Acadians. 

The French decided that it was too dangerous to send more
troops to New France because getting them there meant crossing

the ocean and there was only one country that 'ruled the waves'
in those days and it wasn't France.

They decided to keep their army in Europe and fight like the dickens. 

They reasoned that when peace came they would trade some of

their newly conquered European possessions to get back what

they had lost in North America.

I'm sure that plan looked great on paper.

But in the end France had nothing to trade.

So when French General Montcalm died from wounds suffered
on the Plains of Abraham French hopes for an empire in North

America died with him.

The British General, Wolfe, died too, but that didn't matter, he,
(supposedly), died happy because the 4500 British regulars had

crushed the 4500 ill-trained French militia.

But then the Brits made a BIG mistake.

Figuring all of those Puritans and Pilgrims in the 13 colonies
would be happy to see the end of the French and their Papist

ways, they sent them the bill for the war.

But the 13 colonies weren't happy about this.

It was 1763 and they weren't happy at all.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Louisiana Cajuns

The British didn't plunder, rape and pillage Acadia.

As a matter of fact they rarely even dropped in for tea.
Usually they just pounded on the front door and rattled

their sabres. 
They wanted one thing from the French in Acadia

- an oath of loyalty to the English monarch.

The Acadians said the best they could do was a promise
of neutrality.

The British gritted teeth under stiffened upper lips and

let it go.  Several times, in fact.

Then as luck would have it war broke out and the Brits found
200 armed Acadians in the first French fort they pulverized.

The men swore they were forced to fight and the British bought
that story the way Churchill bought "Peace in our Time" from

Neville Chamberlain in 1938.

They gave the Acadians one more chance to swear loyalty.

And once again the Acadians refused.


6,000 Acadians were forced onto ships in 1755.

By all accounts it was a dreadful scene along the beaches
as they were being moved out.

The men were often separated from their loved ones.
(Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline tells the story here.)

By the time the expulsion was over 15,000 had been
forced onto ships and away from their homes.

The original idea was to scatter them among the 13 colonies
where they would be assimilated but most ended up in Louisiana.

And before the new 'Cajuns' had shaken the dust of Acadia
off their shoes

New France was gone.

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