Earth Day


I celebrated Earth Day this year by finally getting rid of some of my old electronics.  My daughter-in-law Amanda’s school was having a fundraiser by recycling electronics so she asked me if I had any.  Boy, did I have some!  I still had my first old desktop computer from 1997 !  I had 3 old bulky computer monitors, 2 hard drive towers, one keyboard,  an old VCR, a dysfunctional DVD player, 2 printers, and a bag of assorted parts.  The entire back of my car was stuffed full when I took them up to Amanda.

Electronics Recycling

Electronics Recycling

Every day I do my part for the planet.  I heat my house with wood to reduce my carbon footprint;  I have a solar domestic, hot water system for my home;  I have a ‘recycling center’ under my kitchen sink (separate paper collection; plastics; compost; and ‘garbage’ , mostly packaging);  we have power bars on all our electronics which we can turn off when not in use;  and we never leave lights on in a room after we leave.  My municipality collects compost every week and every second week for regular ‘garbage’ and alternately paper recyclables or plastic recyclables.

Car packed with recycled electronics

Car packed with recycled electronics

Today, my sister Faye and I did our part for the planet to celebrate Earth Day by shopping at several thrift stores and buying a few new-to-us items.

I hope that today, Earth Day, we all consider our impact on the planet and take steps in our own way, to protect our beautiful world.




The Good Ol’ Hockey Game


Last evening my Sister Faye and I went to see the Ottawa Senators play the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.  I’ve already written about growing up in a hockey-loving family during the 50’s and 60’s – we used to watch the ‘Original Six’ hockey teams play every Saturday night on our little 12 inch black and white television.  Our family always cheered for the Toronto Maple Leafs while our next door neighbours in the semi-detached house beside us were Montreal Canadiens fans (there was alot of banging on the wall during hockey games in those days lol).   I’d always fall asleep on my mother’s lap …….

Faye 'punching out' Ottawa

Faye ‘punching out’ Ottawa

Since I moved to Eastern Ontario 32 years ago, I became an Ottawa Senators fan when the team was given a NHL franchise in the early 1990`s.  I still love the Toronto Maple Leafs……….. when they’re NOT playing the Ottawa Senators lol!   For the last few years, ‘my die-hard Leafs fan’ Sister Faye comes up for a visit when her team just happens to be playing my team.  So we usually go to a game rather than watch it on TV.  We proudly walk arm-in-arm each  wearing our teams’ jerseys.

Faye - Supper @ Scotiabank Place

Faye – Supper @ Scotiabank Place

Last night, we decided to have supper before the game right inside Scotiabank Place at Frank Finnigan`s restaurant.  I made reservations the same day that I ordered our hockey tickets online.  The place was absolutely packed with people 3 deep at the bar and a line-up right outside the door.  When leaving the restaurant  straight into the arena, we were met by two security guards whose job it was to search our purses and scan us with a metal detector.  We noticed that everyone else who used the main entrance did not have these increased security measures……. hmmm.   After supper, we had an hour to walk  before finding our seats for the game .  I would say that there were more Toronto Maple Leaf fans proudly wearing their team jerseys than there were hometown Ottawa Senators fans.   The ‘Battle of Ontario’ was on!  All fans were jovial albeit defensive of their teams prowess and skill.  One lady had a shirt saying “Leafs Suck” and a sign “Stop Whining Phaneuf” (Toronto’s captain) lol.   It was a sell-out crowd of 20,500 people.

Toronto vs. Ottawa Warm-up

Toronto vs. Ottawa

We were up in the nose-bleed` section as usual and had a great view of the Toronto goalie for 2 periods.  It was a fast and furious game with a fight in the first period that actually seemed more like a dance!  It’s nice going to a game in person, but we miss the television play-by-play from the commentators on Hockey Night in Canada on CBC.  And I wondered during the intermission how a person gets their Zamboni driver’s license……  The family beside me were Ottawa fans and the family beside my sister were Leafs fans – all the children were well-trained by their parents in the appropriate cheers or boos.    There was a standing ovation for several Canadian Forces personnel introduced on the jumbotron and a tribute to Boston with the singing of ‘Sweet Caroline’.

"I wanna drive a Zamboni!"

“I wanna drive a Zamboni!”

The Toronto Maple Leafs won 4-1 over the Ottawa Senators.  I was a bit stiff from not jumping up for goals – Faye wasn’t.  After the game, we made our way down to the empty players benches at ice level.  An arena ‘host’ was there just waiting for us and even asked if he could take a picture of us with our camera – I think he gets asked that a lot.  We wandered around waiting for the parking lot traffic to die down a bit.  Even then, it took us about a half an hour just to get out of the parking lot.

Leafs vs. Sens ticket

Leafs vs. Sens ticket

Faye’s all happy today because her beloved Toronto Maple Leafs have officially made it into the play-offs.  It’s abit iffy for the Ottawa Senators – they are near the cut-off and have to win this week or they’re out.   Faye and I will be watching all the games on TV this week, with bated breath.  Then next week a whole new world opens up as the 2013 National Hockey League play-offs begin.  Who knows, Toronto may just win the Stanley Cup this Year, after a 46 year drought – miracles DO happen you know!  lol   BUT……



My ‘Lake of Shining Waters’

This morning when I woke up, I was greeted with one of my ‘Top Ten’ favourite sites to see in the whole wide world :  my ‘lake of shining waters’.  No, it’s not the lake from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables .  It’s the Rideau River out in my backyard, freed from winter’s ice and greeting me with light sparkling like diamonds dancing off its surface.

My 'Lake of Shining Waters'

My ‘Lake of Shining Waters’

It’s a joy to behold after a long winter.  It’s the promise of spring and summer to come  (even though we’re supposed to get 15 cms (6 inches) of snow tomorrow.  Ugh!  Oops, I’m sorry – I promised I wouldn’t mention the “S” word anymore this spring).  Every single time I see that sparkling water, I’m reminded of Anne of Green Gables  – it’s why I call this beautiful site, the Lake of Shining Waters.  My oldest daughter Kristi and I used to watch the Anne of Green Gables movie in the 1990’s as well as all the sequels, over and over again.  We loved it SO much that when we went on a road trip to the maritimes in 1997, we HAD to visit the Anne of Green Gables home (National Historic Site) in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island ( ) and the  nearby ‘White Sands Motel’ (officially known as Dalvay-by-the-Sea).

Anne of Green Gables house, Cavendish, PEI

Anne of Green Gables house, Cavendish, PEI

I was beginning to wonder if the river’s ice was ever going to let go this spring!  It seemed to be taking a lot longer this year – last year’s break-up was a full 3 weeks earlier.   The channel in the middle of the river is the first to show water in a tiny sliver.  As the days go by, this ribbon of water gets wider and the ice along the shoreline begins to melt.   Lately, we’ve had a few very windy, rainy days which always help it along.  A few nights ago, there still seemed to be alot of ice right out to the channel, but when I woke up the next morning after a night of rain, the ice was all gone!  I guess that the increased water level helps too.

When I took some photos this morning, I was even more blessed with one of my ‘top ten’ favourite sounds:  the whistle of a distant train.  I doesn’t get any better than that!

My 'Lake of Shining Waters' , Rideau River



Fixing my Garage Door

I just got finished fixing my garage door.   Four days ago my garage door suddenly wouldn’t come down.   I was on my way out with my son, driving him to work, so I just had to leave things until I got home.

Garage door opener Motor re-attached to ceiling

Garage door opener Motor re-attached to ceiling

Upon inspection, I realized why the automatic garage door opener was rejecting my attempts to close the door, over and over again:  the bracket which holds up the door opener motor had slipped off the screw holding it to the ceiling rafter……….again.

Okay, it’s my fault entirely because this happened to me last fall and when I noticed it right away, I simply got out the ladder, climbed up and re-hooked it back onto the screw promising myself I’d reinforce it.  But I didn’t do anything further – I got busy with wintertime stuff and every time I went into the garage, I was reminded to fix that!    Oh boy, this time, I didn’t notice what the problem was right away and in my hurried state, I just kept pressing the garage door opener over and over again.  Bad idea.  The cable on each side of the garage door unravelled and popped off the drum!   Ugh!  I got out my old (very old) 1950’s wooden step-ladder and climbed up to rewind the steel cable back on the drum on each side.  I was pretty proud of myself because it seemed SO easy……..piece of cake!  Oh and I re-hooked the motor bracket back to the ceiling.  I figured it was all fixed so I pressed the remote to make it work and ……oh my goodness, it sounded like the whole thing was breaking up!  The cables came back off again!   I thought at first that the entire track must have been bent.

Cable unravelled

Cable unravelled

I had to call my other son Darin to come over because I couldn’t lift that heavy wooden garage door.  Over the next few hours, I would rewind the cables back onto the drums and try it again unsuccessfully.  I gave up – temporarily – and went inside for the night.  When Melvin got home from work, I had him help me slowly lower the door after I disconnected the cables from the bottom of the door.  NOW it was time for some heavy duty……..internet consultation.  When I’m stymied like this, I like to consult the internet ( or google search).  First of all, I had to discover exactly what the parts of the garage door were called so I could then search for a solution to my problem.

Cable wound on Drum

Cable wound on Drum

Who knew there were drums, steel  cables, and torsion springs?  I had to understand the problem I was dealing with, then contemplate a solution.  Ah ha!  I thought I’d figured it out, so I went out to the garage and re-attached the cables to the bottom of the door.  Good, I thought, that must be it!

With the automatic opener disconnected, I tried to lift the door manually and it was like a dead weight glued to the floor – no way!   Hmmm, I stood there and looked at everything.  “Why does that torsion spring at the head of the garage door look so tight?” I thought.  Maybe I’ve got this backwards!   Maybe I need to reconnect this cable with the door UP so that when it comes down, the spring loosens up!

Brilliant!  But all I had to do is get the door up again…….that bloody, heavy door.  Even with Nellie’s help we barely raised it off the floor and darn near broke a toe.    So again, when Melvin got home, he lifted to door up while I propped it with 2×4 pieces of lumber to hold it there.   I spent the next two hours winding the cable around the drum after I got it re-attached to the bottom of the garage door, which was only a foot away from the drum when raised.  I found an assortment of sizes of wood and a pair of vice grips to help me slowly lower the door manually,  3″ at a time.

Propping us the Garage door

Propping up the Garage door

Up and down I went – with the cable attached it was easy to go up now.  But every time I did, the left cable came unraveled from the drum!  Grrrrr!  Okay, what is the reason for this?  Could it be simply because I was pushing and the automatic opener wasn’t pulling?  Hmmm.  What have I got to lose, I thought!   So I plugged in the automatic door opener ……….. and ran out back, hiding behind the door just in case springs and cables flung off while it was being lowered.  I held my breath, said a little prayer, and pressed the button.  Eureka!  The door went down without a hitch!  I couldn’t believe it!  I pressed it to go up and no problem!  And down again, then back up again!  I took a deep breath and felt very proud.  But I knew that it wasn’t over yet.  I wasn’t going to end this day until I reinforced that motor bracket (that keeps popping off) to the ceiling.  So I brought the drill inside and charged up the battery.  A few hours later, I went out to the garage and climbed up that rickety old wooden ladder and screwed a piece of wood into the ceiling then screwed the bracket to the wood!

In the 22 hours since I fixed it, the garage door has worked smoothly.  Fingers crossed!  Here’s hoping for many more years of service – I did discover that you are supposed to do annual maintenance to garage door hardware.   Who knew!?!



P.S.  Over 5,000 people have now read my blog from 35 countries around the world!


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