After the storms of last week, yesterday and today have both been bright and sunny. The trouble is, that in winter these gorgeous days mean low temperatures. This morning, it was a chilly -27 Celsius in my little corner of the world.
I finished my entry for the local short story contest this morning and got it ready to drop off at my local independent bookstore. They open from noon to 4:00 on Sundays and since I have warm clothes and the exercise is good for me, and it looked so beautiful out, I decided to make the trek on foot. The temperature when I left home was a brisk -23 Celsius so it had warmed up some.
The worst part of the walk was the condition the sidewalks are in. Under all that snow is glare ice. When the sidewalk plow operators did their thing, they took too much snow off in places leaving skating rinks exposed. Even the sand they spread as they went along missed many of these treacherous places.
I took advantage of the beauty of the snow and ice on the trees, reflecting in the sunlight and took a couple of pictures with my phone on my way home.
The last time I checked the temperature, it had climbed to -16. According to the weather forecast, it’s supposed to get up to a balmy -13 this afternoon.
Since returning, I’ve made the changes my editor sent back to me and while I’m writing this post, I’m formulating my next assignment from my editor.
And what did it bring to Eastern Ontario? Well, let me tell you it wasn’t pleasant. Mother Nature got a head start on the fun and games with a day of freezing rain yesterday. This morning, it was just rain but with the ice on everything, it froze when it made contact. Then it changed to snow. Huge flakes to start with! Now the snow that’s falling is in really fine ones.
Our power was up and down at work this morning. We have a generator which kept some of the offices up and running. Payroll/document imaging (my office) was one of them. But even the generator kicked off a couple of times… and right after we’d just managed to get all of our programs opened.
Just before 3:00, we were given the go ahead to leave because the latest prediction for restoring power could be as late as noon tomorrow!
Now you might think I’m weird, but I was hoping that the power would be off at home for at least 24 hours. I have a gas stove so could cook (can’t use the oven), I have a gas heater that doesn’t require electricity to work. It lights like a propane/gas BBQ, and when we switched from oil to gas some years ago, we asked for the old-style water heater rather than a power-vent one, so we would have hot water. I have candles, lots of flashlights and plenty of batteries.
Possibly even more important, my son has a power inverter for his car so I could charge my laptop and my Blackberry (it needs charging now so best do it before my wish does come true).
So what did I come home to, you ask? This…
My poor Juniper tree is bent right over under the weight of the ice and the heavy, wet snow. It’s been through many an ordeal so I’m not sure if it will come back again.
All of the trees are feeling the pinch of the sudden blast of winter and I don’t think they are liking it too much. While it may look pretty, it sure isn’t good to drive in, nor walk in or just generally be outdoors.
And the best is yet to come! The temperature is still hovering around the 0C mark. The flash freeze is coming and by tomorrow it will be -20C. Brrr…
Every night before heading off to bed, we barricade the couch to keep the dog off it. It’s not just the hair but he licks himself and it and leaves huge wet spots. We used to put a couple of chairs up on it every night but over the holidays we needed said chairs in the kitchen. And the two chairs played host to two of my stuffed animals. That meant we needed a new way to keep the dog off the couch and this is our solution!
And yes, he in the middle is one of the Kodak Colorkins. He’s been around since my son was small (he’s now in his 30s.) He won him when he was a young lad. I still remember driving home from the Camera Centre with Klakki riding shotgun, belted into the seatbelt, naturally.
The dog doesn’t bother with them (yet) so they’re a good way to keep him off the couch and except for Klakki are lightweight making them easy to put up and take down.
And this really isn’t just a nightly ritual, it’s anytime we’re away and the dog is alone. Currently, during those times he ends up wearing his cone, too, so that he doesn’t scratch his ear that was recently operated on.
I can finally say that I got my Christmas tree up and decorated, although things didn’t go quite as planned. I ended up moving all the furniture out of its’ normal position so I could have the tree out far enough I could walk around it as I decorated. This distressed the dog to no end because his bed wasn’t in its usual location and worse still, it was rolled up! I managed to move a few things around a bit more and spread out his bed onto which he promptly settled on. A couple of bruises later, as a result of bumping into things, I had the lights strung and the angel on the top. Phew.
As the tree took shape, after each string of lights, I paused and took a photo. It was on one of these passes across the room that I rubbed against the dog the wrong way and he let out a huge hound yelp. It didn’t take long to discover the reason for his discomfort. The entire flap of his right ear was engorged… with what, we didn’t know. I called the vet and luckily they had an opening. So we made a flying visit there. The poor beast has had chronic ear problems for as long as I can remember. It was explained to us at the vet’s that he’d broken the blood vessels in his ear shaking his head. But with his history, and the size of it, it was going to require surgery. They were very good with him and drained what they could out of his ear, and sent us home with the same pain medication he’ll be on post-op. So tomorrow, I’ll take my poor wee conehead and drop him at the vet’s on my way to work and then pick him up after.
You can really see in the bottom photo how swollen his ear flap is and they’d drained it. Basically, it will continue to swell until they can get in there and repair the damage. Poor boy. The cone they put on him yesterday is clear and he hasn’t tried to pull it off – not once, unlike the opaque one he had after a previous ear surgery.
Thankfully, the pain medication is keeping him comfortable. We gave it to him yesterday afternoon at 5:00 and he won’t get any more until the same time today.
His biggest problem right now is he can’t drink out of his dish with the water bottle. He tried yesterday and knocked the bottle off and we had water all over the place! All is not lost, we keep the bottle filled and on the counter so we just have to make sure his dish has water in it.
What is going to bother him the most is not being allowed to eat in the morning. Nothing after 8:00 tonight. He’s not going to be best pleased so say the least.
After our flying visit to the vet’s, I finally was able to finish decorating the tree. You can view the video I created here.
This afternoon was the annual Santa Claus parade here in Brockville. Today was mild enough we could enjoy watching it go past our front door outdoors, although the air was damp with rain. Thankfully, the precipitation held off until the parade was over and has still held off.
In previous years, the night before a parade, the city goes along the route leaving temporary NO Parking signs then on parade morning come back and turn them to face the streets. They didn’t do that this year so there were a number of cars parked along the route making it difficult for the entrants to navigate… especially the huge tractor trailers (or lorries as my UK friends refer to them).
The Brockville re-enactors start every parade and are sent well out ahead of the rest of the parade because they’re marching and take time to fire their guns at regular intervals throughout the route.
This year’s event had almost seventy entries! So it was a long time before it ended. In typical Brockville parade fashion, it was well strung out and this year that problem was compounded when floats couldn’t get around corners and had to back up and go ahead many times to succeed without hitting vehicles.
No Brockville parade, no matter the season, wouldn’t be complete without at least one pipe band. Usually, the local band and/or Spencerville are in attendance among the others but this year neither one were in attendance. We did, however, have the Rob Roy Pipe Band from Kingston.
Among the cartoon characters putting in an appearance today, were those modern stone-age families… The Flinstones and The Rubbles.
The following picture is mostly for the benefit of my UK friends. Much different from the snub-nosed (or as we call them here cab-over) they’re used to seeing on the roads. The company both my husband and I work for pull 53′ trailers and during certain times of year pull two of them that length in a train! Good thing the latter are only allowed on the motorways between Toronto and Montreal. And if there’s an accident which causes a road closure, they can’t be detoured. They’re parked until the road is re-opened.
And what’s a parade without horses and other animals. A horsebreeder from Mallorytown entered with three of their steeds and the Ontario SPCA (our local branch) brought a few dogs out for a walk. Any that were wearing Blue coats are up for adoption.
Somehow, I don’t think my dog (aka alarm dog) would be best pleased if we were to bring another one into the house. And I can’t say as I blame him. He’s ruled the roost for quite some time now… beginning when he lived with my daughter next door and came here to play in the backyard. My friend, Chris, and her family will remember him from the day they visited us when she came to Canada.
Santa’s float was one of the ones that had a difficult time navigating around the corner enroute to our location – all because of a parked car. When the float passed us, my husband noticed that the lights on the right side of the trailer had been pulled off all because someone needed to get the “perfect” place to watch the parade from.
We’ve been back in the house for about an hour now and the dampness is finally leaving my bones. Now that Santa has come and gone, has it put me in the Christmas spirit? Not yet, but closer. Colder temperatures and snow would help. And now that I have the winter tires on my car, I say “bring it on!”
On Saturday, November 19th, I’ll be attending another of Brian Henry’s inspirational and motivational writing workshops in Kingston.
“Writing your life & other true stories” workshop, Sat, Nov 19, in Kingston
Writing your life & other true stories
Saturday, November 19, 2011
1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Lions Club, 935 Sydenham Road, Kingston. (Map here.)
Have you ever considered writing your memoirs or family history? This workshop will introduce you to the tricks and conventions of telling true stories and will show you how to use the techniques of the novel to recount actual events. Whether you want to write for your family or for a wider public, don’t miss this workshop.
Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He teaches at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Moncton. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published.
Fee: $32.74 + 13% hst = $37 paid in advance
or $35.40 + 13% hst = $40 if you wait to pay at the door.