Friday, February 29, 2008

Blink navigation

I am a very independant person and don't like having to ask for help. There are times however, when it is prudent to reach out for a little help. These times include finding yourself in an unfamiliar setting or in the middle of some sort of blockade/construction/reroute.

No matter how well you plan ahead, you have to expect the unexpected. There have been times when I've planned my days errands and bus route connections only to find that the bus has been rerouted or the stop moved. If the new route/stop is off of my familiar path, it is very easy to become disoriented or even lost. I've had construction/street repair workers stop what they are doing and help me navigate safely to a more familiar route up to a block away. Very helpful souls.

If I am standing at an intersection that is not controlled by a light or the light is out, I've had drivers roll down their window and yell "It's safe to cross now lady!" This option is greatly preferred to those who honk or wave and assume that I know they are referring to me! One time I was standing at an intersection where an officer was directing traffic after an accident had put the traffic lights out. It was noisy and I couldn't hear him, nor could I see him motioning to me to come across. After a few minutes, he litterally stopped traffic, ran over to me and personally helped me cross safely! Now that's what I call "serve and protect"!

If I go into a store where I am not familiar with the layout and/or where to find a specific item, then it is usually faster to find customer service or a cashier and ask for assistance. If I know I will need assistance, I try to go early in the morning before they get busy and have even phoned ahead in some cases. Generally, the staff are very obliging and more than willing to help a customer. I've had clerks who have spent 20 - 30 minutes helping me go through all the Hallmark "Shoebox" cards, look for the perfect gift or find specialty items at a grocery store.

Then there are the clerks who really make you wonder which of you is blind. Several years ago, I went into a local discount store and asked a cashier where to find a certain item. She pointed in the general direction and said "Over there" Hmm... that makes sense. I couldn't help myself and said; "Excuse me, could you point a little louder please?" (I assimed she would get my meaning)

She pointed again and said "OVER THERE" in a louder voice. I was obviously speaking to the employee of the month! One more try. "Excuse me, do you know what this white cane represents?" She thought for a second and said; "You can't see?" Ah there may be hope. "Exactly, now would you please tell me where to find the item I came in for - without pointing and saying over there!"

Even with my low vision I could see that the lightbulb in her brain was finally lit and she realized how stupidly she had treated me. She appologized and called another clerk to take me to get what I needed.

I know it is easy to get complacent in a sighted world but the reality is there are millions with or without white canes who don't always see clearly. Your job as a sighted and supposedly inteligent human being is to be observant and be willing to step up and offer relevant/useful info to those of us who need a little help from time to time.

Honking your horn, shouting or pointing is not useful information to the blind/blinks of this world. We are visually impaired and the majority of us are NOT deaf.

Ah the joys of being visually impaired!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Vinyl Cafe

Every weekend, I listen to "The Vinyl Cafe" on CBC radio. Depending on how early I'm up, I will even listen to the Atlantic or Eastern feed on the computer on Saturday mornings. The host of this hour long program is Stuart McLean, a master humourist and storyteller. He plays an eclectic mix of music and places a strong emphasis on Canadian music.
If you go to; you will be greeted with this overview on the main page:
The Vinyl Cafe is a radio show heard on CBC Radio in Canada, on selected public radio stations in the United States, Sirius Satellite Radio channel 137, on Podcast and live online. The show is written and hosted by Stuart McLean and features stories, essays and music (both live and recorded). The Vinyl Cafe stories are about Dave, owner of the second hand record store, and they are collected in books and on CD. The stories also feature Dave's wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie, and assorted friends and neighbours.The motto of Dave's store - and of the radio show - is: "We May Not Be Big, But We're Small".
From the main page you can click on any of the features to get more info. Some of those features are the "story exchange" (listeners submit short, true stories that may be read on air), tour dates, store, and special features ("last dance" and the annual "Arthur Awards").
The "Arthur's" are an annual awards show that Stuart and his team have created to celebrate the importance of the unimportant. The Arthur's are named for Dave's dog, Arthur. You nominate whoever you want in whatever category you want and tell why this person deserves an award for whatever it was they have done. It could be something as simple as the neighbour who shovels your walk for you without pay, the bus driver who is nice to everyone no matter what or the stranger who went that extra mile to return a lost item. It's entirely up to you!
The stories about Dave and his family and friends are highly entertaining and also very touching/thought provoking. Stuart always finds a way to balance the humour with the humanity and the world around us. A word of warning though, Never eat or drink while listening to a Vinyl Cafe story. You never know when Stuart might throw in a line that will have you laughing so hard that you almost choke.
Stuart takes the show on tour several times a year and is embarking on a western Canada tour during March. Check the site for a show near you. The show in Winnipeg on March 18 is being taped, to air at a later date. I've never been to a Vinyl Cafe concert but it is on my list of things I want to do someday. For now I'll have to settle for listening to the broadcasts.
I highly recommend that you click on "how to listen" and select one of the methods and give this wonderful show a listen. You'll laugh, you'll think and find your foot taping to the music. Whether you listen while working or relaxing, it is a refreshing break from this hectic world.
P.S. Thanks to a ticket giveaway on the Vinyl Cafe Facebook page, I did get to go to a live concert here in Winnipeg in February 2012. You can read the story here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Men In Trees

One of my favourite prime time shows returns to the air tonight at 9:00 central (10E/P). I loved "Men In Trees" from the first episode last season. It has a small but loyal fan base, but then again, ABC has moved the shows' time slot so many times that only the most loyal viewers can find it. They have never really given this show a fair deal.

Season 1 had 22 episodes but they only aired 16 in North America and promised us 27 (6 from first plus 21 new) for season 2. Well the writers strike (which I was in support of) has destroyed that scenario, so we are only getting19/27. 11 new episodes will air over the next three months. There is no word yet on whether or not ABC will pick up the show for a 3rd season. That decision won't be made until May, so it is up to the viewers to watch and let ABC know that you want this show on the air.

So what is "Men In Trees" about you ask? Well, one of the best descriptions I've heard is this - If "Northern Exposure" and "Sex and the City" had a baby, it would be "Men In Trees"! I never watched NE or SitC but I know the concepts of both would definitely produce a great show like MIT.

MIT is the story of a relationship coach, Marin Frist, who travels to Elmo, Alaska on her lecture tour and winds up staying and falling in love with the small town and its' quirky residents. The town has only about 300 residents, mostly men. The show is shot in and around Vancouver and Squamish, BC so it takes full advantage of the coastal and mountain beauty. The show is actually considered a dramedy which is a cross between a drama and a comedy. MIT delivers on both fronts with great plots, character studies and laugh out loud moments.

You can read all the episode recaps, character & bios, music, video clips etc. at;

For the status of other prime time shows, post writers strike, please check this link. All dates/shows listed are subject to change and the page is updated on a regular basis.

And please, check out Men In Trees Wednesday nights on ABC and also on CITY TV in Canada. It really is the best show you've probably never seen!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I enjoy watching Rachael Ray. I get some great ideas for recipes and she has some interesting guests. One of her regular segments is called "Stump the Rach'!" She has a guest, show her some unusual gadgets and she has to guess what the purpose of the object is. Sometimes it is fairly obvious what something may be used for... but then there are some items that you just can't help but let your mind wander to the extreme!

Last Wednesday (Feb.20, 2008 was such a day. Her quest was hottie Enrique Iglesias. One of the objects that he showed Rach was what looked like a bright yellow banana shape with an opening at one end. "Can this go on the air?" Rach jokingly asks. The audience roared as they were wondering the same thing. After a few more snickers and a little playful innuendo, it was revealed that it goes on your pot handles!

The website that sells "The Banana Handle" says;
BANANA HANDLE The appealing non-slip handle
grip You've never seen a chimpanzee burn himself
on a hot pan, have you? Of course not. That's because Banana Handle's heat-resistant silicone construction
protects hands, both human and primate.
Slide the ripe yellow peel onto any pan handle and

you're ready to cook, hands down.

I'll admit that the "idea" of a pan handle holder is actually pretty good. With certain kinds of pans, such as cast iron this would be very handy indeed. I'm no prude - by any stretch of the imagination - but a "banana" shape? How can you NOT let your imagination go "south"!!! I'm sure that was part of the inventor's/manufacturer's plan to get attention. Well I'm sure that sales will be up firmly after gaining national exposure on "stump the Rach",

Okay, so I took a few obvious shots, but come on - I only wrote what you were thinking! So for even more interesting objects and gadgets check out;

Be warned though that some of the gadgets om these sites are definitely intended for a more mature audience.

Where do people come up with these ideas and HOW do they convince other people to actually sell them! It boggles the mind, but then again it got our attention!


Monday, February 25, 2008

The Young And The Restless Wiki

I LOVE "The Young and The Restless"! I won't answer the phone or the door when it is on. I have the VCR set to tape if I'm not home in time to watch. In twenty years, I've only missed a handful of shows.

A friend got me hooked back in the fall of 1987. I was visiting a good friend and he looked at the clock and said; "Oh, it's time for Y&R". I said I'd leave, but he insisted I stay. I wasn't crazy about getting into another soap, as I was already watching "Another World" (and so was he!). Of course I knew nothing of the story lines, but he filled me in during commercial breaks. Over the next month or so, he pretty much filled me in and got me hooked. The characters were intriguing and the plots were "slightly" more realistic than other soaps. After awhile he stopped answering my questions and said, I'd just have to keep watching and I'd learn as I watched.

He was right of course. Creator Bill Bell was a master of storytelling and often used flashbacks to re-introduce the past to the present stories, Mr. Bell left the show several years ago and has since died, but his legacy lives on. The show has gone through a number of changes since and sadly, not all have been good.

The most glaring error was the hiring of Lynne Marie Latham to helm the writing team. She focused on characters rather than story lines and basically attempted to re-write history. The fans hated it and have been very vocal about it on wiki's, blogs and forums. Well, our prayers were answered earlier this month when she received her pink slip after the writer's strike ended. We all have our fingers crossed that the new writers that have been added will restore the show to its true glory and make Bill Bell proud.

Y&R fans are some of the most loyal and vocal people I've ever met. In October 2007, I found the Y&R Wiki and started reading the threads (subjects/questions/thoughts) that were posted by the members. Wow these people are loyal!. If you ask a question it is generally answered within a few minutes by someone with a great memory. You don't always agree with other people, but you don't judge them by their opinion.

I signed up for a free membership and created a screen name and started posting. Hey this is cool! I actually knew the answers to some of the questions about show history that were being asked by newer viewers or a slightly faulty memory!

For some reason Canadians get to see episodes of Y&R on Global TV a day ahead of USA viewers on CBS. It is often tempting, for some of us, to spill the beans and let our friends know what is coming up. For the most part we resist although we do hint and post teasers. One friend even sent me a recipe but I kept my lips shut. It really is hard to keep quiet especially when it is something juicy! I've said I will talk for good quality dark or bittersweet chocolate but haven't receives any yet.

I've learned a lot, laughed a lot and shared a few tears with my friends on the wiki! It really is a great community. It can drive you crazy at times, like when several threads with pretty much the same subject/question are started. Not everyone has figured out how to use the search feature to look for keywords and characters. We all have our favourite/least favourite characters and plots.

Personally, I only reply/post to about half the threads that I'd like to as it is just to hard for me to type and read that much info without my eyes driving me nuts. I find the red thread titles very hard to see and the boxes for composing posts and messages very small. I've tried typing posts in notepad or outlook and then copy/paste into the compose box but that is only useful if I know I'll be making a longer post. Some posts start out short and then take on a whole new life as I type.

I've made several friends on the wiki and have invited them to view my blog. Some are concerned that I won't be posting on the wiki anymore. Far from it - I will still be checking in a couple times a day and if I feel I have something to say I will post a reply or start a new thread. You are not getting rid of me that easily! If I don't post on the wiki for awhile, rest assured that my warped wisdom is only a click away. I know several have visited and I hope they continue to visit, invite a friend and feel as free to comment here as they do on the wiki. Just remember that I moderate the comments, so behave yourselves folks! I can make your post disappear!

For more info on the Y&R wiki;


Sunday, February 24, 2008


As most of you know, I am a chocoholic. Nowadays, I can pass on most commercial chocolate bars. There are still a few that I'd find really hard to say no to, if anyone offered to share. These include; Smarties; M&M's; Kit Kat; Coffee Crisp; Crispy Crunch; and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

However, there are a few types that I WILL NOT SHARE!

1) plain dark or bittersweet chocolate
2) dark chocolate and burnt almond (Hershey or Cadbury)
3) Terry's Chocolate Orange (dark chocolate!)

I found a very cool quiz that determines what kind of Terry's Chocolate Orange you are at;

You rank 32 short phrases on a scale of 1 - 5. 1 being "not me" and 5 being "yummy", then submit your answers for results.

Here are my results:
Which Terry’s Chocolate Orange are you? You scored as a Plain Chocolate Orange
You are a Dark Chocolate Orange, seductive and lush. The darkness attracts and consumes you. It may not be as pretty or sweet as everything else, but its honesty
is refreshing.

Plain Chocolate Orange 94%
Chocolate Orange Bar 81%
Not a Chocolate Orange 69%
White Chocolate Orange (Snowball) 69%
Chocolate Orange Segsations 56%
Milk Chocolate Orange 50%
Tangy Chocolate Orange 31%
Mint Chocolate Orange 19%

The %'s behind each type of Terry's chocolate represent how likely you are to eat that type. Personally I would only even consider eating the first two types which are both dark chocolate. I would have to be incredibly desperate for a chocolate fix to consider the others! I knew I'd be a dark chocolate, but it was nice to have it confirmed in such a "scientific" poll! So take the challenge and let me know how you rank.

Well this post was a lot more work than usual, so I think I'll stop for some chocolate!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Favourite Movies - part 2

There are a lot of movies that I have enjoyed over the years. I shared some of the comedies and mysteries yesterday. Today, I'll let you in on some of my favourite romance (serious and comedic) and drama picks.

I've always enjoyed Meg Ryan's romantic roles such as: "When Harry Met Sally" 1989; "Prelude To A Kiss" 1992; "IQ" 1994; and "Kate And Leopold" 2001.

Meg was also great in "Sleepless In Seattle" 1993 and "You've Got Mail" 1998 where she co-starred with Tom Hanks.

Tom has starred in some of my fav's such as; "Philadelphia" 1993; "Apollo 13" 1995; "Cast Away" 2000; "Road To Perdition" 2002; "Catch Me If You Can" 2002; "The Lady Killers" 2004; "The Terminal" 2004.

In the category of "Fairy Tale-esque", I have two picks;
"The Princess Bride" 1987 hilarious and romantic with an outstanding cast!

"Everafter" 1998 stars Drew Barrymore in a great version of a Cinderella story.

Drew is also quite enjoyable in; "See You In The Morning" 1989; "The Wedding Singer" 1998; and "50 First Dates" 2004

Other favourites include;

"Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon" (1970) starring Liza Minnelli, Ken Howard and Robert Moore as three disabled misfits looking for love and acceptance.

"Somethings Gotta Give" 2003 Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson

"Secondhand Lions" 2003 starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall and Haley Joel Osment in a great coming of age story with adventure, humour and love

"The Notebook" 2004 A real tear jerker with James Garner and Gena Rowlands

You can find more info on these movies and many more at; or

There are a lot of great movies out there. I've only listed a few of mine and I barely scratched the surface. Someday, I'll post a list of old black and whites that I enjoy. For now, I'm sure that I've tweaked enough memories to send you to your stash of VHS or DVD's or your nearest movie rental store .



Friday, February 22, 2008

Favourite Movies - part1

I haven't gone to a movie theater in years. I can't stand people talking during the movie - unless they are telling me a visual detail that this old blink missed on screen! I prefer watching a movie at home on the couch and being able to hit the rewind button to catch what I miss. I'm probably one of the few people left who doesn't own a DVD player! But I still love watching movies.

The Oscars are this weekend and since I haven't seen any of the nominees. I started thinking about old movies that I have on VHS (mostly taped off movie channels in 90's). I looked through my list and came up with several suggestions for your next "movie night". I don't know how many of these are on DVD but a good rental place should have some of the titles. You can always keep an eye on TV listings for them as these have all been on at various times over the years.

Peter Sellers;
"A Shot In The Dark" 1964
"The Party" 1968
"Being There" 1980
"The Fiendish Plot Of Dr. Fu Manchu" 1980

"Purple Rose Of Cairo" 1985
(Mia Farrow and Jeff Daniels)
"Maxie" 1985 (Glenn Close, Mandy Patinkin and Ruth Gordon)
"Harold And Maude" 1971 a very dark comedy, but wickedly funny if you are in the right mood! (Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort)
"The Villain" 1979 (Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, Arnold Schwarzenegger...) - this is a western take off on Road Runner cartoons but funny if you are in the mood!
"Boris and Natasha" 1992 (Sally Kellerman and Dave Thomas) This is a spin on The characters from "Rocky and Bullwinkle" but funny if you are in the mood for something silly.
"The Cheap Detective" 1978
(Peter Falk and Ann-Margret)
"Clue" 1985 (Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn...)
"The Couch Trip" 1988
Dan Ackroyd and Walter Matthau)
"The In-laws" 1979
(Peter Falk and Alan Arkin) This is the original - not the remake.
"Roxanne" 1987 (Steve Martin) Watch if only for the nose jokes!
"Pete 'n' Tillie" 1972
(Walter Matthau and Carol Burnett)

Any movie co-starring Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau!

A lot of the early James Stewart (non western) movies such as
"Harvey" 1950 or any of the ones he did for Hitchcock such as "Rear Window" 1954, "Rope' 1948 or "Vertigo" 1958 are also very good.

As you can probably tell I love the old comedies and mysteries. I've never been a big fan of westerns, action or sci-fi but, hopefully you will find a few of these funny or worth the rental!

For info on any of these movies check out or

I also have several favourites in romantic comedies and "chick flicks" but I'll save those for tomorrows post!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't talk to strangers!! Our parents drilled this into our thick little skulls when we were kids. But if we don't talk to strangers then how are we ever going to meet new people and make new friends?

Okay, you can speak when spoken to, but be polite! Ah geez do I have to be nice? That takes all the fun out of it!

So we grow up and move out on our own and suddenly there are a lot of strangers around and you aren't always lucky enough to have a friend nearby. You have two choices; 1) become a hermit or 2) take a chance and speak to a stranger.

You take a chance and start talking to the obvious people like a neighbour, the guy/gal at the bus stop. a nurse, a pharmacist, a bank employee, someone at the office or at a store, Your nervous, so you start with the weather or you comment on something to do with the reason you are there in the first place. You may not know their name but it feels good to talk to someone.

Sometimes you get lucky and there is an instant rapport. You realize that you share a commonality and - voila! - a new friend! Sometimes though, it takes a while to develop that bond. After months or even years of chit chat, you realize that this person has become a good friend. You started guardedly and gradually, you both let down the facade and allowed the other person to see the real you - faults and all. Surprise, Surprise = they've seen the real you and they are still there!

If you don't talk or run into your friends for awhile you start to wonder how they are doing and if everything is alright. This can even apply to the people who cross your path on a regular basis like a bus passenger or a customer you see regularly then they disappear for awhile. Did they move? Holidays? Is something wrong,,,?

It's nice to be missed. It is also nice to walk into a place of business and be greeted by name and treated like a friend rather than just another customer. A lot of people say that isn't likely to happen in a big city, but I disagree. There are businesses that I frequent, where I am welcomed and greeted by name. That may be partly because I bring homemade chocolates every Christmas, but I prefer to believe that these people are my friends and that they look forward to seeing me as much as I do to seeing them.

I've been lucky since moving to Winnipeg. I've made several good friends over the years. I'd be lost without them. Your real friends are the ones who love and support you no matter what, They listen to your stories, your joys and your woes. They will lend an ear or a shoulder. They make you laugh. It isn't always easy to tell your friends that you love and care about them - especially the guy-gal friendships - it can get weird if the other misinterprets your meaning (now there's a subject for a future post!).

I do love my friends. I think they all know that, whether I've said the words or not. You've been there through some rough times. Some of you have been part of my life forever and some for only a few years. You've made me laugh. You've enriched my life beyond my dreams. You've looked beyond the packaging and taken the time to see who's inside. You've allowed me to get to know you and welcomed me into your life. You've left a footprint on my heart - in a good way!!

Life is a book. Some people are there for a paragraph or a chapter. Some weave their way in and out of your life and some are there to the final page. I want my friends there through the final page. So please take care of yourself, stay safe and know that you are loved and cherished as an important part of my life. Good friends are hard to find - and even harder to replace!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I've always had low vision. I've been legally blind since November 1990. I've lost more sight since then, and it continues to slowly deteriorate. I don't see as clearly as I did even a year or two ago. Yes, I take meds and see specialists on a regular basis, but medically there really isn't anything that will help.

I still love, appreciate and marvel at the beauty of a sunset, or the brilliant colours of autumn. It takes me longer to see the beauty of spring. The buds on the trees aren't apparent to me until a couple of weeks after most people notice. The same with flowers, I don't see the subtle and delicate beauty. Fresh flowers are wasted on me. Yes, I can smell the aroma, but I'm just not a fan of floral scents.

One of the things that I miss the most is seeing the faces of the people I love and care about. I've never really been able to see the details of their faces. Even before 1990, I had trouble with visual detail, but it is pretty much impossible to see the finer points now. I can still see some things like height, build, hair colour, glasses and if a man is clean shaven. If I normally see you in a certain type of setting, I will probably be able to find you if it isn't too crowded. But if our paths cross in a different environment, I likely wouldn't notice unless you spoke to me. It has always amazed me when people spot someone they know across a crowded mall or on a bus as it drives by. How wonderful it would be to see that much detail!

Some people may think that it's good that I can't see them that closely, but I disagree. I wish I could see the colour of their eyes, the shape of their nose, cheekbones and jawline. Do they have dimples, freckles or laugh lines? If I look at a photo of someone, I use my reading glasses and a strong magnifier to see detail more clearly. There is only so much detail that you can see in an average 4X6 photo. Real people aren't too crazy about you getting that close to them unless you are in an intimate relationship!

I got my first VCR back in the late 80's, Over the years, I have often taped, then paused the picture so I could see the detail more clearly. It was the only other way I could get a close look at a face. But my friends were never on TV, so I never really knew what they looked like.

Since I started using the computer, I have often used some of the magnifying features to look more closely at pictures of things and especially at peoples faces. There are magnifiers that allow me to take an image and enlarge it to a size that I could see more clearly.

I think it would be wonderful if I could look at the faces of my family and friends that closely - to see the beautiful and handsome faces that are a part of the incredible souls who enrich my life. Scary to some, but it would be such a gift to me to see detailed pics of the people I care about and who care about me.

So here's the deal. Most of you either have pics scanned or digital pics on your PC. Would you be willing to e-mail me a decent quality pic(s) of yourself so I can see what others see? I swear on my love of chocolate that I will NOT alter, post, publish, share or distribute the pics in any way. This is strictly for me to see you more clearly.

This isn't a joke. I really do want to see what you look like while I still can. Hopefully, I will have sight and all of you in my life for many years, but we don't know what tomorrow brings. If you want to send me your pic - and I hope you do - then please send it to my personal e-address (not the one for this site).

Here's hoping that I SEE you in the near future!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I hate typing! Always have. So why did I start a blog where I have to type? The simple answer is I'm nuts. But seriously, this is a great way to express myself, vent and allow others to get to know more about me. Sometimes it is easier to write your thoughts out than to actually have a conversation. This way, you have to post a comment, e-mail or talk to me if you agree or disagree with something I've written. Sure , this site has only been up a few days but nobody has told me to stop. So there!

Anyways, I tried to learn to type back in Grade 10 in Typing 102. I had more sight then but it was still a real pain. You see, my left eye has always been the good one. The desks that our school had were set up with the typing book on the right side. There was no way to properly set up a book on the left side. We didn't have large print books either. Trying to type while turning to my extreme right to see with my left eye was something only a contortionist could do. I used to walk out of class with a sore back and a knot in my neck every day. They finally managed to set up a make-shift desk for me but I still had to crane my neck to see the print. I almost flunked that course. The only reason that I didn't is because I had an understanding teacher who allowed me to take my final typing test from a word test near the beginning of the book rather than where the class was near the end of the book. I got 25wpm and the only "D" on my report card in high school.

I didn't touch a typewriter again until the early 80's when mom and I worked on some family history projects. By that time "White Out" was readily available and I even had a typewriter with a black/white ribbon for corrections. Funny, it was always the white that ran out first....

Well after that, I didn't touch a keyboard until October 2006. I've tried a couple of computer typing programs but still not having much luck. I have a 19' monitor but with my reading glasses, I have to be about two inches from the screen to read most things. I do use zoom and magnifier functions for some things but it isn't always the best solution.

I was never that great at spelling either, I always kept a dictionary handy, even if I was just writing a short letter to someone. You have no idea how much I love spell check! Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the spell check function to work on this blog site, but I also know I'm not the only one who has had issues with this function lately.
There is an upside to all of this. By making myself do a bit of typing every day or so to keep all of you educated/amused, I am very slowly getting more familiar with the layout of the keyboard and not looking at the keys quite as closely. Patterns of keystrokes for words are becoming easier. It still takes a long time for me to write a post. This one has take me about 45 minutes to create,type and do a manual spell check, but I figure in a couple of years I should have this typing thing down!

Feel free to tell me to stop blogging at any time.


Monday, February 18, 2008

I read an interesting article in Saturday's Winnipeg Free Press. It was titled "How do I love thee? Let me do the chores?"

Here is a short quote to give you an idea of the article;

"I think most men aren't aware of how powerful these efforts can be," says Joy Davidson, a New York-based sex therapist.
"If you said, 'By increasing your help with daily chores by 30 per cent, you'll increase your sex frequency by 50 per cent,' how many men would dismiss that? Probably not too many."

Hmm... I think they may be on to something here. I'm single but I hate doing the cleaning and other chores. I do clean on a regular basis, but am I a good housekeeper? Well I'm not a slob but I'm no "Bree Van de Kamp" either. I think I'm somewhere in the middle. By the time I can actually see the dirt, the dust bunnies have built condos! I usually feel the dirt/grime long before I can see it. So having a guy around to help out with the chores might not be such a bad idea.

According to the article, the fringe benefits are pretty good. Would having a man around make that much difference? Unless, he was raised by a smart mother who taught him how to cook and clean up his own messes, then probably not. I've known men who can barely boil water, let alone put dirty clothes in a hamper. They are more trouble than they are worth!

Okay, I don't want an "Oscar Maddison" or a "Felix Unger" Something in the middle would be nice.

He'd have to do his own ironing, mending and hand washing for clothes. I own an iron but rarely use it. I haven't touched a needle and thread since Grade 11 back in the 70's! If I can, I usually offer to bake/cook for someone who will iron/mend/hand wash clothes. He'd have to be able to cook too. And I don't mean opening a can or heating something in the microwave! Preparing meals and other chores would be a lot more interesting with a man helping out.

There are drawbacks to any situation though. Is he capable of remembering to put the toilet seat down? That is a must if you are going to be with a blink! I am sure I could come up with several more drawbacks if I put my mind to it, but right now all I can think about are the fringe benefits!


I wonder what the male equivalent of a french maid's outfit is?


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mom's Stuffing

Sundays are generally the same routine for me. I get up by 8:00 and watch CBS Sunday Morning. It is a long running news magazine show that has a really great variety of segments from arts, entertainment, current events and a whole lot more. I watch it while I have breakfast, do my workout or read the paper.

I also spend part of the morning doing food prep so I can prepare a full meal for my Sunday dinner. I love to cook but usually do larger meals on Sundays. That way I can freeze individual servings for use on nights when I just don't have the energy to cook. Tonight I am cooking a turkey breast roast and making my mom's stuffing recipe.

When I was a kid, I remember mom making the stuffing for a "bird" and my brother and I taking cereal bowls and eating the stuffing before she could put it in the bird. She always said she could never make enough stuffing to fill all the birds - especially the two live ones. I still find myself nibbling on the stuffing before it goes in the oven. These days, I rarely stuff a bird, I just do it in a casserole dish with a couple of chicken breasts on top.

Mom never actually had a recipe written down for the stuffing - until about 20 years ago. You know how all these great old recipes were passed down. It was always a handful of this, a bit of that. I wanted a more defined recipe. One weekend when I was at the farm, I had mom roast a bird. While she made the stuffing, I had her actually measure everything so I could write out the recipe and make it myself. I still pull out the recipe when I make it, but I have learned to "eyeball it" and it is still the best stuffing I've ever had! I just have to make AND save enough to actually cook some!

Mom's Stuffing

8 cups bread (white or whole wheat) cubed or torn (I use day old - not stale or dried)
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (1 1/2 teaspoons chicken in-a-mug bouillon/powder dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water)

Mix the first six ingredients together, then drizzle margarine over top. Toss gently to coat all. (This is when I start nibbling, but try and resist!). You can stuff the cavity of a small bird and bake or place stuffing in lightly greased casserole dish and add chicken broth for moisture. Stir gently till broth is evenly absorbed. Cover and bake in 350F oven for about 45 to 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Stuffing should be slightly moist.

Yummy hot or cold. Freezes well. This recipe can also be doubled or tripled depending on how many "birds" you're feeding!



Saturday, February 16, 2008

Surviving a Manitoba winter can be a challenge - especially if you are visually impaired. For some "crazy" reason Manitoba Public Insurance won't allow legally blind people to drive. I've been co-piloting for drivers for years and love telling people where to go - but they won't let me behind the wheel! If you are lucky enough to be able to drive you probably don't get how hard it is to get around. Yes I can take Winnipeg Transit and I do on a regular basis but if I stand in the bus shelter to stay a little warmer while waiting for my bus, then I LITERALLY cannot see the bus coming and the driver may not see me in the shelter, let alone know that I want that particular bus. Sometimes a stranger will tell me which bus is coming but I can't rely on that.

So for those of us who are blind or blinks (legally blind) we put on an extra layer and stand AT the bus stop and enjoy the winter elements in all their glory! If the bus is more or less on time (hopefully we remembered to call Telebus before we left home), we should only be standing there a few minutes. This may not seem like a lot of time but when it is -30C with a windchill of -45C that can get a touch nippy!

Walking to and from the bus stops isn't exactly a picnic either. Were the sidewalks plowed evenly? Is there ice under that layer of fresh snow? Have the mounds of snow on the boulevards (courtesy of street plows dumping there) been knocked onto the sidewalk or has the sidewalk plow made another pass to clean that up? Are the streets and walkways icy? Depending on how cold it is I'll have to put my hood up which means that I can't rely on my hearing to help me navigate safely. The more layers that you have on, the harder it is to move and keep your balance. My glasses keep fogging up. Even with sunglasses the sun and/or white snow and/or the exhaust is making it impossible to see. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

Sounds like fun doesn't it? Yeah right - but thousands of us brave the elements this way on a regular basis. We don't want to be dependant on the kindness of strangers to get from A to B, but you can help.

If you're driving, don't try turning while pedestrians are trying to cross and don't stop so far into the intersection that we have to walk into oncoming traffic.

If you are standing at a bus stop and see someone with a white cane or a guide dog ASK if they need any assistance finding the right bus.

If you are walking and see a blind person/blink move out of their way. Depending on that persons level of sight or mobility, they may not know you are even there until they run into you.

Common courtesy - yes - but when it's cold or we're in a hurry we tend to be a little less than "Friendly Manitobans" Yes spring is coming (which creates a whole new set of problems - to be discussed at a later date!), but we still have several weeks of winter left. So let's be careful out there!

Venting is good. Thanks for reading and thanks for stopping by!


PS: sorry for any spelling errors. Blogger spell check isn't functioning at the moment.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"The Rooster Crowed At Midnight"

This was the title of an old episode of MASH back in the day, but it is also the title of this post. I have a talking watch. I only use the talking feature if my eyes are really driving me nuts. It also has an alarm mode which I rarely use. Several months ago, I had new batteries installed and I then reset the visual and audio times.

I went to bed at 10:15 Thursday night and fell asleep fairly quickly. At 12:00, I was awakened by "It's 12:00AM Cock-a-doodle-do Cock-a-doodle-do..." It would have stopped in a minute but I got up, went to the living room table and turned it off because the crowing was driving me nuts. I'd forgotten how damned annoying that rooster could be! I must have accidentally activated the alarm function while I was out running errands in my multi-layered -45 Windchill attire on Thursday morning. Oh well these things happen right? So I crawled back into bed and ... yup... stared at the ceiling 'cause I'm WIDE awake! So what do you do when you can't get back to sleep - I got up and turned on the computer and started writing this post.

Normally the rooster crowing is somewhat amusing. It's a tinny sounding "Cock-a-doodle-do" but in my head I hear Foghorn Leghorn saying "I say, I say now, It's time to get up now ya'hear, ya' hear me now?" Okay okay I know I'm nuts but this is news - how??

As many of you know, I am one of those people who NEEDS sleep - at least 8 hours - preferably 9 and I don't function too well on 1 1/2 hours unless it is an afternoon nap! So let's just say that I'm REALLY glad for spell check! Now if I can only figure out how to use this toolbar... then I have to roast a rooster!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hello and welcome to my blog! I've been thinking about doing this for awhile and finally decided it was time to join the millions of others who "blog"!

I've learned a lot about computers and surfing in the last year or so and I've found a lot of interesting web sites. Rather than keep all this great "wisdom" to myself, I've decided to share my thoughts with you.

To protect my privacy and yours, I have decided to make this site "by invitation only". That means that you can only view the contents and comment if you have a "Google account". It is very simple, just provide an e-address, create a user name and a password. Then log on to see what I'm rambling on about next.

You may find a few thoughts, my opinion, a joke, a recipe, new music suggestions, a new TV show to watch or an old movie to rent. It might be light or it might be serious but I hope you will visit often and let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions. (realistic AND clean!)

PS Don't forget to bookmark this site!