Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Blogger Help is No Help

I cannot access my dashboard except by a roundabout route. I get error bX-96hcvc when I try. This morning I deleted a blog. On Blogger Help several people report this error but get no answers. When I try to post a question on blogger Help myself, it will not let me post the question as it tells me I have too many characters in the box. Believe me, I have cut the report to the bare minimum and I count about a quarter of the characters they say I have. I do not understand what is going on, but, for me, Blogger Help is a complete loss.
Anyone else get this frustrated and switched to a different platform? AC, I know you did, but you are better at the tech stuff than I am. I am just about ready to try anyway.

As of December 4th, no help from Blogger. I am getting mighty annoyed about this.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Of Toes and Turkey Poop

Photo credit: Patricio Lorente

I just read a wonderful rant from a blogger I love, who complained that her house has it in for her. I advised her to make offerings to the household gods to set things right. In my younger days I spent a lot of time that probably could have been better used studying Latin as well as Roman literature and history. The Romans had a pantheon of gods, but the ones I loved were called Lares and Penates, the local and household gods, for which a shrine would be set up in the atrium or dining room and libations poured before dinners and during household festivals. After being properly propitiated, these household gods would make everything go well.

I need to burn a little incense to my own, as well as to the spirits that affect dogs and toes.

We have been dog sitting the YD's doodle. Mostly she is a very easy dog to look after, but she does have some strange attributes. The weirdest is that she is not much interested in food - often at her mealtime she will stroll slowly over to her dish after I set it down, sniff once and wander away back to her bed where she settles herself with a sigh that seems to indicate that the cuisine is lacking tonight. Again. All the dogs JG and I have ever had rushed their dish almost before it hit the floor, curled around my feed during any meal preparation and generally did a poor starving dog act at every opportunity. Not this dog. The YD buys her the most expensive and nutritious dog food available, her doggy treats are delicious liver slivers, and she, mostly, scorns it all.

She has been eating better during this visit and she does adore Milkbones. She also adores turkey poop and sniffs out every morsel she can find, either to eat or to roll in. Early this morning we had a big flock wander through he yard, twenty-five birds or thereabout, and I most unwarily let the [censored] dog out for a quick run just before JG was due to load her in the car to take her back to her mistress in the city. And, of course, she rolled in the nice, warm, smelly poop that the birds had left behind. I grabbed a brush and lots of wet wipes and tried to clean her up, there being no time left to wash her before JG had to depart, but I suspect that the truck window will have to be open as he drives the hour into the city. So, why is turkey poop better than premium dog food? Who knows.

What kind of incense should I be burning? Other than lots.

I hope the Penates do feet. I had to have an ingrown toenail removed on Tuesday last. This has happened before and always I have healed up very quickly and been able to resume full activity almost immediately. After one instance, I was out taking down tubing in the maple bush after two days, with no problems. This toe, however, is not behaving. It has swelled a bit and I am slushing around the house in a pair of overstretched and ancient sheepskin slippers. The only shoes I should be wearing are a pair of runners with a very high toe cap. But I have had to go out to appointments and meetings and I am too vain to go in pale blue slippers that scuff or runners that are usually used for hiking and look like it. So, the toe - middle one - rubs on my dress shoe and stays swollen.

I have a meeting this afternoon. Vanity and common sense are at war. Would the fact that the runners probably have turkey poop on the soles be a good enough reason not to wear them?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Thirty Second's Worth of Distance Run

I was never cut out to be the secretary of anything. Last night I wrote out a set of minutes (ten days after the meeting) for an organization where I am temporary secretary. I had them all done and was spell checking when the word processing program just, click, shut down. The document recovery feature gave me the first five lines when I used it. I went to bed both grumpy and puzzled. This morning I managed to recover a temp file with most of the material in it, re-saved in several formats and watched one format go pop again. Copied to a new document and that seemed to work. I proofed and sent it off in an email to the group. Without attaching the document. Luckily the organization is getting a new, better qualified, secretary next month. So all I have to do is tidy up the files I am using and pass them on. Whimper.

Almost seventy years of working at this sort of stuff has not made me good at it. I am not the right personality type at all. Give me an emergency deadline, hand me a bunch of posters or whatever to design, need something done in a hurry and I will come through. But the neat and tidy, precision stuff (unless it has to do with ems and hairline rule) is not my thing. I think you are born one way or the other. I have two daughters: one of whom is Ms Organized Precision; the other is your perfect example of adrenaline-charged Last Minute Mabel. They have been like this, both of them, from the moment they left the womb. If you kept the infant Ms Organized on a schedule, she was a happy, thriving child. Upset the schedule and she turned into Miss Hyde. The other daughter, hauled around a wet, windy Expo site at three months old, fed at weird intervals, forced to sleep in a bouncing backpack, was her cheerful self all through. Genes rule, I strongly believe. Nurture can only modify what Nature has created.

Not that my Very Organized mother did not try.

I get angry at myself from time to time, especially when I blow something. Especially when I have volunteered to do something that is not in my skill set and end up doing it badly. Sadly, experience does not teach me; I continue to take on stuff, to say yes to things that I really don't want to do, usually just to get them done when no one else is volunteering for the task. I have a fundraising event to run in the spring. If the event were to take place next week, I could just turn in and whack it together. But with several months' leeway on some of the tasks, what do you bet that I let them slide and end up running in circles in the last few days. Also, I don't delegate well. It almost always seems easier to do what needs to be done myself, rather than find someone, explain the task and monitor the results. Oh, well. At least I get to do all the posters and art work.

In the main, though, I manage to tolerate myself. There are things I am good at, that I do well. I hope there are enough of them to balance off the messes I occasionally make. To have patience with myself. Even to laugh at myself. Last night I was stamping around stewing at the computer and my own sloth. This morning I can be amused at the whole sorry mess. Especially since I did manage to recover enough of the job that I did not have to do it twice. Otherwise, I might still be sulking.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

I Am Fed Up with Bell Canada

At the end of April last spring, our area was hit with a major windstorm. The weather had been consistently rainy for some days before the storm, and the ground was saturated with water. During the storm two big pine trees on our road allowance were pulled up by the roots and deposited across the phone and hydro lines, breaking the lines and leaving us phoneless and in the dark. 

Phoneless, because we live in a very rural area where there is no cell phone coverage. We have cell phones but we can't use them here. Well, if I stand on a kitchen chair by the back door and hold the phone over my head, I get a weak signal. Sometimes. We are the last house on both these lines and so the crews usually reach us quite late.

A neighbour phoned the outage in to Hydro and next day I drove the fifteen minutes to our local village where, if I park at the Town Hall, I get a signal. I tried to phone in our telephone outage, but because I was using my cell phone to make the call, I got the cell phone repair. God knows where the woman was who finally understood that I wanted to talk about my land line, but after a long wait while my cell phone battery got lower and lower, I finally reached a person who said that it would be repaired. Ah.

Meanwhile JG got out the tractor and the chainsaws and we cleared the trees off the road and the downed lines. The next day the huge hydro crane trucks appeared and put our power line back on the poles. Great service because the road dips just this side of the pole and the ground was pretty spongy. This is a photo of the road that, although it does not show the dip well, does show the location of the pole. The next pole is 90ยบ left and on our land. Where I am standing is in the turning circle at the end of the township maintained piece and the trail you see is a gravelled strip put in by neighbours.

Here is the next to last pole. See the hydro line way up top?  The saggy thicker line below it is the telephone line. The Bell repair crews showed up just after the Hydro trucks but they decided not to take the heavy trucks up to the last pole because the road was too spongy and, in fairness, the Hydro crew had chewed it up quite a bit. What they did do was reconnect the switch box and lay the lines out along the ground. So, we had telephone service. We figured they would be back when the ground dried up but time passed and the crew never came back.

In spite of my repeated calls to Bell service, as of this writing, on November 2nd, the lines remain looped along the ground. Bell has sent someone out three times now, at my repeated and ever more urgent requests. Each time the someone has been a single technician in a van. Each time the technician promises to report it and send out the big trucks. This has never happened.

Here is what our telephone line looks like.

Lovely. The weight of the lines has now pulled our neighbour's civic address pole back far enough that it cannot be read. The line from it has been buried by the township road maintenance crew. And I figure that the first snowfall will bring the township plough to, at best, bury the lines for the winter and, at worst, tear the jury rig apart.

Leaving me standing on a kitchen chair, shouting, if I want to access the outside world. Or, I can drive into the village. Curses.

I am not happy with Bell.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


She was very well received - the loot bag bulged. I have no idea how long it took for her poor mother to get the makeup on - and then get it off again.
 And she says the wig was HOT! The photo shows a solemn face because she says geishas have to look serene.

But isn't she beautiful.