November 22, 2007

Winter has arrived.



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

Tuesday morning I wrote:

Sitting at my desk this morning I glanced up and over my monitor. A troupe of dancing angels met my eye, just outside the window. Straight –laced angels they were, tall and willowy, gathered thickly together, swaying in unison just this side of the pine bough. They paid me no heed as they hung there enjoying the scenery, suspended at the border between domesticity and natural chaos. Such visitors come to call on special days, days of wonder.

If one gets technical about these angels, one might say that they are actually a reflection in the window. They are a reflection of sunshine glowing through closed vertical blinds opposite. That is what logic would have me believe, and science too if I was listening to it. But today is a day of wonder and I am not listening to logic or science. Today the angels are gathered outside my window.

The weather has turned suddenly. We woke this morning to falling snow. Pine boughs were laden with white and swaying in the cold wind. It seems winter has arrived.

Although Attila did not like the sourdough bread made with my original starter, he does like my latest sourdough loaf.

“What has made him change his mind,” you might ask.

Several days ago I separated out a cup of the starter and put it into separate Mason jar. To this batch I added rye flour rather than unbleached hard wheat flour. This starter seems much more active than the original and aroma is much less acidic. Attila likes the sourdough bread baked using the rye starter. We both agree that it is delicious.

Earlier in the autumn a researcher in Scotland collected some information about my maternal ancestors. He sent along copies of census pages, marriage registrations and birth registrations. Finally the information in these documents has been transcribed into my database. It is a good beginning, but one crucial element remains a mystery. My GG Grandfather is a mystery man. I can find no trace or record of his birth or his death, after ten years of searching. I will not give up the search and have requested microfilms from the Archives of Ontario to further my investigation. What I do know though, is that he was not born in Scotland. It is something that will help me narrow my explorations.

There are companies that raise the business bar. For instance, a piece of software I use every day offered a free upgrade. The new version of the software had a few issues on my computer and a few other customers were having a similar problem. I queried the issue on their software forum, tried all the quick and easy fixes recommended by other customers and when none of them worked wrote an email to the support staff. They responded the same day with a few requests, and I sent them a crash log from my system. The problem was identified and solved within the hour and the support team posted a do-it-yourself, easy solution to the forum for future reference. Business practice doesn’t get any better than that. No hype; no apologies; just fast, efficient and effective action.

Last evening Marketplace (a Canadian TV program that explores the marketplace in Canada) did a feature on high speed Internet service, comparing Bell, Shaw, Telus and Rogers, Attila and I stopped what we were doing and sat down in front of the set. Bell high speed Internet service did not fare well in the comparison, rating significantly below the others. Calls to Bell Canada made by the commentator of the program did not result in a resolution to the problem. There was a time when you could rely on Bell to provide reliable, reasonably priced service.

We have had three difficult issues with Bell Canada over the past year or so, each problem the result of errors made by Bell Canada employees. The errors were understandable, human kinds of things that happen when the tools provided for the staff aren't up to the job at hand. I found the resolution process time consuming and extremely frustrating.

Hope the biggest wigs at Bell Canada get it right soon, a lot of jobs will go down with the company otherwise.

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Worldly Distractions

Snow falling through the pine trees.
The world as I saw it this morning.

By the Easy Chair
The Lanark Society Settlers
By Carol Bennett

"Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs."
Albert Einstein
US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

Light Snow
Temp -5.3°C
Press 101.4 kPa / falling
Visibility 2 km
Humidity 81%
WindChill -12
Dew Point -8.1°C
Wind Speed N 21 km/h gust 30 km/h

Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."

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