A Blog Topic Can Keep You Current-Even If You Aren’t Interested

Background: When you have a blog you can see some of the ways people find your site.  They may google a certain topic-for example, “scotch and chocolate” and since there’s a blog about that subject on my blog they may click on my site.  I understand how that can happen.  Some searches though come in through a bit of a tangent and one search that started to appear recently was about Canadian rock and guitar/singer/songwriter legend Randy Bachman.  He spoke at the Ottawa International Writers Festival this fall about his new book “Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Stories”.  

Gossip Search:  I noticed searches over the last while that were not about plain ol’ Randy Bachman or about his book but they ran along the lines of “Is Randy Bachman separated?” or “Who is Randy Bachman dating?”.  What is this, I thought.  I have no business in Mr. Bachman’s personal life, nor am I particularly interested.  However  just as once in a while one might peek at that gossip magazine when in the line up at the local grocery store, I found myself wondering what was up.  If I find that this blog leads me to the equivalent of reading gossip magazines, then it’s time to call it a day on the whole thing.  

I’m sure you aren’t interested-you don’t look at tabloids, or read articles about the lives of people in the public eye.  Just to keep you up to date though the question about Randy Bachman’s marital status seems to have an answer.  And if you click on the link, I’ll know someone is interested.  You can run, but you can’t hide.  


Being Behind the Curve Can Put You Ahead

Technology: a true story

I have owned an iPod for several years.  It was a gift from my husband who thought it was time for me to come out of the dark ages when it came to music listening devices.

An oldie but a goodie

 I have used it over time-certainly not maximized it but used it.  In this life beyond flat-out work, I thought it would be handy to take the iPod to the gym.  During a visit to the local Apple store I asked if there was a carrying case for my ol’ iPod.  The “Genius” at the store could hardly wipe the smile off his face.  While he didn’t say it outright-what I took away from his response was ” Are you kidding?  That thing is an antique.  They manufactured that iPod before I was born”.  

Apple Can Find You

When you buy a product from Apple and you register for warranty, they can find you.  We’ve changed provinces since the iPod purchase but recently I got an e-mail from Apple:

Dear iPod nano owner,

Apple has determined that, in very rare cases, the battery in the iPod nano (1st generation)may overheat and pose a safety risk. Affected iPod nanos were sold between September 2005 and December 2006.

This issue has been traced to a single battery supplier that produced batteries with a manufacturing defect. Apple recommends that you stop using your iPod nano (1st gen) and follow the process noted below to order a replacement unit, free of charge.

Moral of the Story: It Pays to Be a Luddite

I plan to follow the process and return this stone age iPod and receive another iPod Nano. It appears the replacement will be another 1st gen so the Apple Genius at the Apple store probably won’t have accessories for me.  I was hoping for a new one-it’s the size of a large postage stamp.  How many 1st gen iPods are still around?  Where do you think they went-are they all attending some group therapy sessions for unloved and unwanted technology?  

MASS MoCA-Not a Large Specialty Coffee

Not all that long ago we took a road trip.  We journeyed quite a distance into and across the states of New York and Massachusetts.  We were well inland during the trip.   It was late fall and there was some colour left in the trees-all in all a pretty drive.  Parts of the drive that were not so scenic were the many deserted warehouses and factories-sitting derelict and sometimes vandalized.  They tell of a time, decades ago, when those building housed vibrant industries and employed many people.  One building that has been rejuvenated and beautifully so is the former factory that now houses the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art or Mass MoCA  in North Adams, MA.  It is the largest museum of contemporary art in the United States.  The museum is on the site of a former textile printing factory.  As you walk up to the museum you come upon trees in an unusual spot.  

Larger than the patio upside down tomato plants

There are several buildings and floors of exhibits.  The exposed brick and hardwood floors provide a wonderful background for art.  

The exhibit One Floor Up More Highly by Katharina Gross was housed in a space that is as large as a football field.  

One Floor Up More Highly exhibit

Three floors in the main building displayed wall art conceived by Sol LeWitt.  The exhibit will be at MASS MoCA for 25 years-you have plenty of time to see it.  LeWitt‘s wall drawings were usually executed by people other than the artist himself.       I compare it to designing Vogue sewing patterns and then others make the outfit.  He would use teams of assistants to create his works. Between 1968 and his death in 2007, LeWitt created more than 1,270 wall drawings.  The art and the manner in which it was created is remarkable.  We thoroughly enjoyed the museum and plan to return to MASS MoCA.  A good to do that might be after May 2012, there will be an exhibit of Canadian contemporary art – Oh, Canada .  If you plan to go to North Adams, let me know, we have some thoughts on accommodation.  

Have you ever seen Sol LeWitt’s art?  I think we may have seen it in other galleries.

Sol LeWitt

Sol Lewitt

It may not change things…but it’s cathartic

A Take on Retirement by a Columnist

Yesterday I read an interesting viewpoint put forth by Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail.  She wrote the article after 92-year-old Andy Rooney died one month after leaving work.  I must say I was a bit disappointed in her take on things since she appears to be saying that people are only fulfilled when working flat-out. And basically they should do so till they die.  So many people don’t bring home a paycheque-by design or by destiny. What of them?  

Being beyond full-time work means not having to rush off to work with a response to an interesting media bit in your head.  It sits there and likely dissolves quickly as meetings and commitments and work things trump the outside world.  A couple of responses to Wente’s column were published today (mine included).  It’s important to plan for life beyond full-time work-no argument there.  There are many ways to lead a fulfilling life and contribute to society.  It is an individual choice (if you are fortunate).  

And While I’m At It

Today is our wedding anniversary-number 37.  Yesterday I got a letter from an institution that had requested proof of marriage stating they don’t recognize the only document we have had for all those years.   It is a certificate from the church.  That certificate has been used and accepted whenever it was requested for almost four decades.  So off we go to swear an affidavit.  I did call customer service at the institution-they answer quickly and they are courteous.  He did give me some rationale while I relayed my perspective.  He thanked me for “complaining in a classy way”.   Funny how you know nothing will likely change but you are glad to be heard.  

My husband said, with this opening, perhaps he can get out of being married.  I gave him one of my mother’s lines:  “You never had it so good.”


The International Writers Festival wrapped up recently in Ottawa.  I took in several events.  It is wonderful to have some time to do that sort of thing when one is beyond full-time work.  I have eyed the events at the Festival over the years and always found reasons why there didn’t seem to be the time to attend.  Now, I have scads more discretionary time-ah, it’s heaven.

True Story

  • University of Saskatchewan, college days

As an undergrad student at the University of Saskatchewan many years ago, there was a period over a couple of years when a group of us hung out together.  Some of us were in the College of Pharmacy, one in the College of Engineering and another was pursuing a degree in history.  The fellow who was in history came with a nickname, a self-proclaimed nickname, he was “Cleveland Thomas Ohio”.  We called him Cleve.  Our group enjoyed going to movies, drinking beer, playing cards and shooting the breeze. We had a great time together.  I distinctly remember how Cleve regaled us with stories of kings and queens of long ago. He put them into a tale where he made the past come alive.  I recall thinking “why can’t I see that when I read history” for I was one who had to memorize history for it would lay flat and lifeless on the page and it wouldn’t stick in my brain.

  • Life and careers

Cleve continued and earned a number of degrees at the U of S.  For a time he was a teacher.  I saw him a few times over the years and would hear of his growing accomplishments as a writer over time.  

  • Ottawa International Writers Festival 2011. 

And so it was that this college friend from decades ago came to our city to read from his latest book,  A Good Man.  I combed through photo albums to find pictures of those days so long ago.  The best I could do were pictures from a Hallowe’en dress up party (I hope it was Hallowe’en-either that or we had a weird sense of fashion).  Our youthful visages did not yet show the lines of life we now sport. I made copies of the photos and off we went to event. It was delightful to be at the reading and listen to the interview that followed. As he read I saw the accomplished novelist and short story writer and I also remembered the undergrad student.  Afterward we had a little visit, the author and me. Cleveland Thomas Ohio is no more.  He is the winner of two Governor General Awards and he has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada along with many other recognitions that former history student, Guy Vanderhaeghe.  He’s still full of good stories and good humour as you can see.  

Cleve (okay, it's really Guy) and me


Friday Food-Simply Biscotti #9

The ninth sweet treat from the dessert counter at Simply Biscotti

Lemon Meringue Tart

Lemon Meringue Tart

Calories burned: bike ride on a sunny November day to enjoy coffee with friends and the lemon meringue tart= 350

Calories consumed: in a lemon meringue tart=299

Looks good….until I raided the leftover Hallowe’en candy.