Bang head here….

So…. yesterday, a technician (Jergen) turned up to fix my internet which was suddenly not working…. Not only did he fix it, he added a dedicated line directly to my computer and one for my office phone which significantly speeds up my internet service but also means that I don’t have to add DSL line filters to all of my phones, TV, etc. I was very pleased. Not only was he very good, he was very personable but very fast and very nice. Internet is working fine…. Apparently, the reason the internet service was interrupted was because when the initial guy came last week and hooked up my FIBE service (fibre-optic) he hooked the fibre service to the copper line and when someone came out to unhook the copper service, they simply unhooked it thinking I was hooked to the fibre-optic line… I wasn’t.

Later in the day, I went to make a phone call. My office phone isn’t working. Since the other phones in the house are working, I reasoned that the new jack was the problem. Apparently, there is a problem in connecting my phone to the jack. Jergen did a great job in not only reconnecting me but also in ensuring my internet service would be faster and more reliable…. But, since he’s an internet tech, he made a tiny mistake and didn’t make sure the phone line was working. I called Bell, again, and made an appointment for this morning for a technician to come and fix the jack. During the afternoon, I was out with my niece and Mom took a call from Bell. Since she has Alzheimer’s she couldn’t recall what they said, just that they had called. This morning the technician didn’t show up.

I called Bell and was told that someone down at Bell had “checked my line and seen it was working” so they cancelled the call….

So…. I had to make ANOTHER appointment for tomorrow for a technician to come in and fix the office phone. I am afraid to go out in case they try the line again and find “it’s working” so cancel the call a second time.

This after stating to numerous people that Bell has always been great in ensuring fast and reliable service. I know this is a frustrating hiccup but just a hiccup.


After going on about how great and how fast my new internet service is, Friday it went down and I lost a day’s work, which is HIGHLY problematic for me… Not only can I not just go into the office because I can’t leave Mom all day but because being on contact, my call-up requires that I be able to work a certain number of hours. It is the end of the fiscal year, I have a new call-up in the offing, need to get my contracts signed and sent in (which I need the internet to facilitate) AND need to justify my existence before the end of one call-up and the beginning of the next. They can’t figure out what the problem is but it isn’t the new modem (I hooked up the old one and the same problem exists). It isn’t the DSL cords because I have used 15 different DSL cords in a variety of different configurations in different phone outlets (which also negates it being a particular plug). And the technicians say that no other complaints in the are have been reported on my block… I was told by a number of the call-centre people that any cord will do and by the last guy that I HAD to use a short cord….

They are coming tomorrow morning to see what the issue is.

Meanwhile, apart from the work issues, I feel completely out of touch and can’t upload my images, cant check my email, and can’t even play the games I am used to killing time with. It’s like being unable to get into your bathroom and you keep forgetting and keep trying to open the door….

I am currently as my sister’s posting this.

Sunday Drive

My friend Cat and I went for a drive with Mom, today. It was a beautiful day!

We drove out to Burnstown, between Arnprior and Calabogie to a little restaurant, The Black Bird Cafe.

The Blackbird Cafe, via Calabogie B&B

It’s a pretty little restaurant and the food is wonderful, if the servings a bit large (doggie bag!). There are regular menus for lunch and dinner and on Sunday they have a roast beef special (reservations recommended), and specials on the board. I haven’t been for dinner but lunches have a large selection of wraps and a number of other entrées. Last time, both Mom and I had the Salmon Wrap, with soup and a salad (a thick soup with Chorizo sausage), and I had a cheesecake with guava (I think) topping.

Today, I had the Blackbird bacon cheeseburger, with salad and soup (Tomato and sweet basil), and chocolate cake (huge serving of cake!). Mom had the Smoked Salmon wrap, again, with soup and salad. Cat had steak wrap, with soup and salad. Total was $70, which included a glass of red wine for Mom, tea for Cat and myself, and a soft drink for Cat.

The Salmon wrap which is LOADED has spring greens, cucumber, cream cheese, and capers is fabulous!

My burger was good, though, in retrospect I’d probably have picked a different meal, not because it didn’t taste good but it just didn’t hit the right note for me. The burger was juicy and flavourful and was topped with cheese, a home-made salsa sauce, cheese, greens, and tomato and arrived on terrific home-made Ciabatta bun. I think I should have ordered the Blackbird Club sandwich.

Cat was pleased with her steak wrap “It was juicy and DELICIOUS!”. She doesn’t use mayonnaise, but I’d have liked to try the horseradish mayo.

After lunch we had planned to drop into the art gallery next door, and the gift shop but they close at 5, I guess and we missed them… Next time. Instead, we drove up past Calabogie Peaks (die-hards were still skiing). to the Madawaska Dam. I was looking for the turn-off to skirt over to Khartum and double back towards Arnprior… but I missed the turn (both on the way up and on the way down) I still can’t figure out where the right turn is BECAUSE, of course, THERE ISN’T A SIGN……

Next time…



Photo Hunt: “License Plate(s)”

This week’s Photo Hunt theme is “License Plate(s)”.

These are War Amps key tags, dating from 1963-1985. War Amps Key tags raise funds for The War Amps of Canada. War Amps began in order to provide artificial limbs and rehabilitation for returning war amputees. Eventually, the program turned their attention to assisting child amputees, through The Champs program. The key tags are registered to the donor. You put them on your key ring and if you lose your keys, the finder can drop them in any mailbox and your keys will be returned to you (it works… I list my keys once and got them back this way!).

Originally, the tags were registered to your car license plate. Eventually they turned to a serial number, both to widen the target for donors to non-car-owners and because license plate numbers no longer change on a yearly basis. You can see the change on the tags in the photo. Now, rather than a metal and plastic tag, you get a plastic tab (as well as a window sticker). Towards Christmas, they have another fund-raising drive, offering address stickers.



Spring Ahead…

‘Tis the season for the clocks to be turned 1 hour ahead.


Photo Hunt: Machine(s)

Bear with me..

Yesterday, I was harping on about this monstrosity which is in the final stages of completion. It is a refurbishment of the Congress Centre/Westin Hotel complex in the downtown core. What isn’t conveyed in the second photo is the size of the building compared to the surrounding landscape. In fact, it looms over the road beneath it and the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. How and why city council permitted this hideously grotesque building to be built at all is beyond me. I don’t “get” fad for “squashed can” architecture. I can SORT of see when you have the ability to see them at a reasonable distance, but not looming over you, dwarfing the viewer. Personally, I think this style of architecture looks like an explosion in a model airplane factory.

I feel claustrophobic in the vicinity of this thing. AND… prior to refurbishing the building the existing Congress Centre was underused, partly because parking is a real problem in the area. It stands beside a main commuter route which was often at a standstill at rush hour because tour buses loading and unloading had no adequate stopping area so they blocked the right-hand lane. From what I have been able to determine, this HUGE problem has not been addressed at all.

Historically, the area which is Colonel By Drive, south of Rideau and Wellington was the terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway line, at Ottawa’s Union Station (The station still stands, off limits to the general public and used only for government conferences…. once every few years) When they built the new Ottawa railway station further from the city centre, the disused tracks were removed, and the entire area backing onto Rideau Street was stripped of the Railway-related buildings, as well as the old main Post Office building. The old railway beds along the Rideau Canal were replaced with a driveway and parkland matching those along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway on the other side of the Canal. In the 1970s, the land was slated for development and the Rideau Centre was built. As was predicted by those who opposed the redesign of the area, traffic became a nightmare, with the routing of 18-wheelers through the downtown core all day long in a convoluted route. Every new development to the area, from the US Embassy on Sussex Drive to the demolishing of the Daly Building (a building of architectural importance — replaced by condominiums) to the Congress Centre refurbishment has made travelling through the downtown core difficult and unappealing.

So, basically, the city has a billion-dollar monstrosity which will probably be a barely-used white elephant which will continue to cause traffic problems and make the downtown core even less attractive and less human-friendly.

So… here is the “Machine” part of my posting.


The shell

The site back in the 1920s (red rectangle)

My kingdom for a muzzle…

On Tuesday, Mom and I had our appointment with the chiropractor, downtown. I dropped Mom off and then parked. I passed one of the usual panhandlers who have their spots in the area, a young man with his lovely Pitbull-mix. I cannot recall her name. I keep forgetting. She is the sweetest girl and while I am not a big DOG person and not a BIG dog person, there are many dogs who I get along with really well. This is one of those dogs. She is gentle and very laid back in her approach. She isn’t the sort of dog who jumps all over you she just sits and lets you pet her. She greets all the “regular” visitors to their spot quietly.

The young man told me that the day before, he had walked her through the Market area and a policeman had stopped him. He impounded the dog and he was forced to bail her out because she wasn’t wearing a muzzle. One of the women who works in the area drove him to the pound. He was issued a warning.

I was unaware that since 2005, Ontario has had a Pitbull ban. No dogs are to be bred and, while any dogs born prior to the law coming into effect are permitted, no younger dogs will be permitted. They have to be spayed or neutered, muzzled and on a leash no longer than 1/8 metres long.

  • Pit bull owners are required to ensure their pit bulls are in compliance with the amendments and regulations.
  • The full text of the regulations can be found on the e-laws website. The text below summarizes certain key elements of the regulations and is not authoritative.
  • By October 28, 2005, pit bull owners will have to have their pit bulls leashed and muzzled in public and comply with sterilization requirements.
  • The regulations stipulate that restricted pit bulls be muzzled and leashed unless the dogs are on their owners’ enclosed property or on enclosed property occupied by another person who consents to the pit bull being without a muzzle or leash.
  • Among other specific requirements, a leash may be a maximum of 1.8 metres long.
  • Muzzles should be humane, but strong enough and well-fitted enough to prevent the pit bull from biting, without interfering with the breathing, panting, or vision of the pit bull or with the pit bull’s ability to drink.
  • All pit bulls must be sterilized by October 28, 2005.
  • If this would require a pit bull to be sterilized before it reaches 36-weeks of age, the owner may wait until the dog reaches that age to have it sterilized.
  • There are limited exemptions to the sterilization requirement if, in the written opinion of a veterinarian, a pit bull is physically unfit to be anaesthetized because of old age or infirmity. See the regulations for further details.

So… okay. Dogs have to be muzzled. He can’t afford to buy a muzzle. So I said that I would buy him one for her. I went to PetSmart, the pet superstore chain. They don’t carry any muzzles except the mesh-type for smaller dogs. They sent me to Pet Valu, a smaller chain. They only carry the mesh and a sort of fabric one. Both are not the kind required for Pitbulls.

The Pet Valu DID have a single plastic/rubber “cage”-style muzzle. It was on sale because they are phasing them out. I got probably the last in the city. AND I don’t know if the thing will fit!

So… they have a law which owners are expected to comply with but then you can’t purchase the muzzle in order to comply!

I went down to the spot where the young man sits and he wasn’t there. I hope that he’s there tomorrow and that the muzzle fits and that it isn’t to late.


Charlie Sheen…

If you go to the town square, stick your head into the guillotine, pull the rope and chop your head off, it isn’t the fault of the crowd that gathered to watch you do it….

Salted nuts…

When I went to bed last night it was raining… This morning, I heard the snowplow out in the lot when I woke up. We had (supposedly) 3 cm overnight. In fact, it looked more like 10 cm (4″), judging from what was on the roof of my car.

Sometimes the plow comes by and does a sweep of the lot and then comes back in the evening to clear the whole lot. We get a call to move our cars before they come. I was hoping it was just a sweep because I could move my car into the visitor parking opposite and when they are done my part of the lot, I could move it back. Since one end of my section of the lot is the snow dump, they will often clear my area completely and I don’t have to move my car when they do a complete plow…. Not to be… Moments later, we got the call to move our cars. However, to GET to my car, I had to shovel the walkway down to the garbage pad and handicapped parking spot, the little ramp and then across to my car.

Then, of course, I had to clean 10 cm off my car. Never fails, too, there won’t be a breath of air until you start brushing the snow off the car and the wind picks up and you get a face and cleavage full of snow…

The view from here

After moving my car, I went to my sand and salt bucket and began salting the walkway. On the second trip, I hit something hard and round in the bucket. When I dug it out, I discovered a hazelnut. I guess a squirrel was taking the easy way out instead of trying to dig into the earth in front of my house. I expect he/she will rebury it in the same spot. It should be nice and tasty, being already salted!

Nuts to you


Photohunt: Self-portrait

This week’s Photohunt theme is “Self-portrait”… I have a few… as in “a lot”. Here are a few favourites.

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