Why I Have Been Absent

I am sorry about my absence, but I just haven’t felt like even looking at my computer of late.  As much as I enjoy and relish technology, when it “fritzes” out, I am afraid I become quite the cowardice fool, not wanting to pursue (or even overcome) the inevitable challenges ahead of me.  I don’t think it is age-related, but more of my non-competitive nature that would probably cause me to throw the contraption over the nearest cliff were I not married to a “ballast” who keeps me on a more worthy track!

Mark “doctored” my little laptop, coaxing it to once again come to life. It worked splendidly for a day, happily responding to Mark’s every command. As soon as the dear little computer was placed into my cold, clammy hands, however, the screen went black and it failed to respond to me no matter what action I tried.  Naturally, as soon as it was again in Mark’s possession, it cheerfully obliged. Dirty rotten laptop!

Just to add a little insult to my (already) injured being, my cell phone decided to join the class of non-functioning technology. I went out by myself Saturday evening to the store. Mark and the kids were left behind, watching television. I went to a couple of stores and just relaxed, enjoying my “alone” time. I should have known I would pay…one way or another!

I had forgotten my little cell phone in the Explorer when I went into the stores. It was only after I had returned home that I remembered the little device was tucked into one of the car’s niches. I trudged outside to grab it, thinking it felt terribly cold.  As I looked at it, I saw that it wasn’t flashing its little green beacon at me as normal.  I tried to turn it on….no go. I had never seen it behave in such a fashion, so I immediately took its lifeless little self to Mark. He tried a soft reboot, a hard reboot, removing the battery.and replacing it…all to no avail.

At this point, you cannot imagine how my technology esteem had sunken to an all time low.  Mark assured me that everything would be okay, but I would be hard-pressed to believe that any of my “toys” would ever work again. Thankfully, my faithful Nikon camera was fine, but I became so disillusioned, I would not even take my normal little walks to search for new photos!

On Sunday, Mark called the cell store and they said there were no techs to examine the phone until 10am on Monday. As Mark talked to the associate at the store, the associate divulged that the tech would first look for signs of “moisture” damage.  This threw me into a frenzy…..my last cell phone showed signs of moisture damage and it was a major production to get it replaced!  I was totally convinced that my phone would be deemed damaged by the big “M” word and I would be left “cell-less” for several days, awaiting a “new” re-manufactured phone to arrive.

As it worked out, Mark was convinced that there was no moisture damage and my little cell phone would be replaced.  Optimism certainly does make one feel better.

On Monday, we went to the store and within 45 minutes, I was walking out of the store with a brand new box containing my brand new cell phone! You have no idea how thrilled I was.  Nearly delusional! As we were sitting in the store awaiting the arrival of my new phone, a man came in to see one of the new models of phones offered by the company. The display model had been removed only a few minutes before when Mark complained that it was not working!

The sales person took the fellow over to the display where a photo of the said model was posted above the now empty display unit.  I watched as the sales person explained features and such to the interested customer. Then, the customer took up a little empty plastic container and looked it over and over. My sense of humor let loose and I began to giggle uncontrollably…..a photo of the phone….an empty plastic holder….come ON! I have no idea what was said, but by the time the customer left, I was nearly on the floor, beside myself, laughing like a mad woman! By this time, Mark could no longer contain himself as I made silly little comments and gestures, pretending to be a customer trying to *imagine* the phone of my dreams! It was (very) shortly after this that the new phone was given to me and we were on our way. Mark was thoroughly convinced they wanted to expedite our departure so as not to disturb any future customers. I, on the other hand, think the phone was just ready……it really matters not, as we haven’t had such a good laugh in quite some time!

This morning, I decided I had better post again on my blog, and so I am!

After filling the bird feeder, I looked outside the bedroom window to see my friend, the little Red-Bellied Woodpecker fly up from the feeder! I had not seen it there before, and my hands were shaking as I reached for my camera. I took one photo through the window…the red coloration is more accurate in this photo than in previous ones.

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As I cracked the window just a bit to try to photograph the woodpecker, it turned its head toward me, then flew off! That woodpecker is just so very shy. The finches certainly don’t seem to mind my presence very much and the little Goldfinch in the foreground seemed to even look into the camera for me!

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My laptop is now no longer celebrating “wirelessly”, but rather has a lovely little “dongle” attached to a cable dangling from a USB port.  The laptop no longer blacks out on me, but rather, runs very well.  It is undaunted by the new ornament, and could care less that it caused me such undue stress.

All  I can say is, Mark certainly is a much more persistent (and industrious) soul than I!

I Am Back!

Mark took the laptop apart yesterday, and although he said he really didn’t spot anything wrong, he “reseated” a few parts.  He flipped the machine over, tested it, and voila! Everything is back to normal. Amazing, I say….He said that from time to time, things just need to be unscrewed, dusted off a bit, and put back together once again. Who am I to argue?

I had some photos I took on Thursday. It was a funny sort of day, weatherwise.  The winds were constantly blowing, although not necessarily blustery….We had gotten snow overnight and as I was clearing off the driveway, I grabbed my camera to capture the snow as it blew off the branches of the trees.

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As you can see, the snow came off the tree in “clumps” that kind of resembled little snowballs falling. As I watched, a good gust of wind came along….this time, one would have sworn it was *really* snowing. But, no, it really was not.

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I finished my task of snow removal and went inside the house. I placed a big can filled with seeds into the birdfeeder, and the birds swarmed the side of the house. I really enjoyed this photo of four Goldfinches in the tree just enjoying….well, just enjoying life, I guess!

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Later in the afternoon, guess what? The snow began falling….and,  I don’t remember when I have seen such BIG flakes! It looked just like the snow falling from the trees earlier!

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It’s funny how our animals are a reflection of ourselves. Many of the Scottie people I know say that their Scotties hate the snow and cold.  When I ask them (the people, not the Scots) if they like the winter, I always get an emphatic “NO!”. Case closed!

How do I know that Angus and Murphy enjoy the winter? Take a look at them dashing through the snow!  Too bad we don’t have a fenced-in yard, as it is awkward trying to handle two frolicking Scots getting all tangled in their Flexi-leads!

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We all smiled as Angus the Abominable Snow-Scot entered the house, icy cold snow dangling from his beard and skirt!

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We kept snug and warm inside all day, but boy, did I miss my computer! Mark is going to do some more work on my laptop today so it will do automatic transfers of my photos to the main computer….more withdrawal!

Frustration Abounds

My little laptop is still not feeling very welll…yesterday, while Mark was diagnosing, the naughty little thing refused to act up. Instead, connectivity was miraculously restored…Yes, you know….just like when you take your vehicle to the dealership for a malady, and as the technician stands there patiently listening to your description, hood up in the air, the thing acts perfectly. No problem…..until you turn the corner and everything begins once again!

This whole scenario began on Tuesday morning. As I was working on my laptop, the screen suddenly went entirely black! I recalled Mark explaining not more than two days before, that I really needed to backup my photographs by placing them onto the main computer which runs backups every night. My heart felt as though it had sunken to the floor, but I bravely hit the button to reboot. ..thankfully, the little laptop rejuvenated, coming up just as it should. Shortly after, I told Mark about the problem, knowing he would know what to do.

Yesterday, Mark ran the laptop for many hours with it responding well. Then, last night, he advised me that the connectivity was no longer working.  He told me I could run a wire and use it that way, but I was too tired to go through all the work to connect. After using the laptop wirelessly, who would want to wire up?

The respite I got afforded me the time to actually sit still for some time to watch the movie Amazing Grace. This was the movie produced in 2006, dealing with the abolition of slavery in England, due much in part to the tireless work by William Wilburforce. I enjoyed the movie and was stirred beyond words at the end when a bagpiping band marched forth playing the song Amazing Grace. I have no idea why, but when I heard a marching band perform like that, tears flow.

Mark listened as I explained what happened to my laptop the other day, and after its behavior yesterday, he thinks it is a cable running between the mother and daughter boards that is suspect. Did you know your computer has a daughter board? hehehe

Well, here’s to today! Hopefully……

A Quick Little Note

I am posting this from my cell as my laptop lost its networking ability yesterday. (gasp, choke, gag!!!)

Dr Mark will take a look at it a little later…amazing how lost I feel without my little laptop! I will never forget when our Sony Vaio was *sick* a few years ago…I went out to Mark’s workbench and found it in what looked like hundreds of tiny parts. By the end of the day it was good as new.

For now, I am unable to comment on blogs powered by Blogger. It must have to do with settings. Hope to be back up and running by this afternoon!

A Little Excitement Today!

This afternoon, we needed to take a little trip to Staples (office supply store) to purchase some tax software. Yes, April 15 isn’t *too* far off, is it? Mark had spotted a good deal on Turbo Tax, so he wanted to pick it up while it was on sale.

We pulled into the plaza where Staples is located, and Mark and Ben went in ahead of me. I had to gather up some wrappers and cups from the truck to throw away. Mark and Ben entered the store and after visiting the waste receptacle, (yes, everyone on the face of the earth laughs hysterically as I refer to the “trash can” as the “waste receptacle”!) I walked over to the door to enter the store. As I was about to enter, it became apparent that the automatic sliding door was not sliding! An employee came to the door and pushed it open and told me to come on in..

Mark was sitting near the entrance past another set of doors, waiting for me. We were advised that the power had gone out in the store and they were using battery backup.  Thankfully, Mark had called ahead to the store earlier, so we had most of our goods waiting at customer service when we arrived.

Mark wanted to shop, but the girls there were so anxiety-ridden as they told us we had better shop quickly, as the backup power might not last very long. They also told us that because of the power loss, we might not be able to use a credit card for our purchase.  At this point, Michelle called on the cell phone (she wanted to sit in the truck instead of coming in with us) wanting to know if we were aware of the firetrucks in the parking lot.

We decided we had better just pay and go back later to see if the power was restored. We made our purchase and walked out to find three firetrucks parked not too far away from our truck.

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Well, I told my dear readers that I don’t go anywhere without my camera! We watched the firemen for a little while…two men were up on the roof of the building, while others waited below. We were told by one of the firefighters that something had made a “loud banging” noise on the roof just a few minutes before we entered the store.

We finally pulled out after a few minutes and went to another store we had planned to visit.  We went back to Staples about an hour later, and evertyhing was back to normal. The girls told us that a transformer blew on the roof above a tanning salon, shutting down the power. They said that the firemen found the faulty transformer with some sparks and flames beginning to flare up.

We shopped for a couple more items and then were on our way back home…another exciting little shopping trip under our belts!

Back to “Normal”

The kids had another little break yesterday, as it was Martin Luther King Day. They had made arrangements for a friend to come over for a few hours, so the three kids had some fun listening to music. I had not noticed that the kids are a bit hard-of-hearing before…I wonder how many times I asked them to turn the music down…….

I began dinner yesterday morning, placing a roast on the stovetop and letting it cook all day. All I needed to do to finish up was place potatoes in the oven to bake and I also made some dinner rolls. A very easy day, foodwise!

Mark and I watched an afternoon Buffalo Sabres hockey game. The Sabres just seem unable to snap out of their losing streak. They had traveled to Phoenix for the game, and once again, they lost. It is disheartening, watching this team that was so unstoppable last year.

The kids went outside before dinner, and when I was going to call them in for dinner, they were nowhere to be found. I called up into the woods…it was actually getting dark, and there is no lighting in the woods! As I listened, I heard them coming towards me.

Mark and I ate dinner in the office, while watching the game and the kids ate in the dining area. Sage’s dad came by to pick him up at about 7, and after finishing up watching the game, I was too exhausted to do much of anything! I felt as though I crawled up the stairs at about 10 and went to bed.

I was awakened at 12:30, feeling as though I was going to die! My stomach hurt so badly, and I just felt as though something was “rising up within me”! Let’s just say I was sick for about an hour, then fell back asleep once again. I was fine this morning, so I am thinking I must have eaten something that made me dreadfully sick to have recovered so quickly.

After Sage’s dad came by to pick him up last night, I was able to pop outside for a few minutes to capture a photo of that fantastic moon! It has been putting on such a display lately, looking bigger than I have ever seen it!

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The kids are back to schoolwork today, so things will be more peaceful than yesterday. Ah, back to the “norm”!

Wow!

Today has been a real chiller, weatherwise! The temperature never climbed very much and the winds were quite brisk!

This morning, while Mark was in the shower, I decided to sit in the rocking chair in the living room where the fire in the woodstove was so warm and inviting!  The chair is located near the window where the bird feeder is hung. As I was about to sit, an intensely red patch of color on an oak tree outside caught my eye. Yes, it was “HER”!

We have an infrequent Red-Bellied Woodpecker who comes around to partake of the sunflower seeds in the feeder.  I stood watching her, then bounded up the stairs to get my camera. I raced back down the stairs and she was still there.

This bird is more than shy when it comes to humans or maybe even movement near the window. One day, when I spotted her from the upstairs bedroom window, as soon as I placed the camera near my face, she took off in a huff, not to return again! I figured since the rocking chair sits in front of the window, if I balanced myself on the chair, perhaps she wouldn’t be so flighty. The bad part about this is that I was shooting through the window…I knew that if I were to open the window, she would be gone right away.

These pictures are certainly not very good, but you can make out her features. The distiguishing difference between the males and females of this species is the male’s red “cap” extends from above his beak all the way to the nape of his neck. The female has a break in between, so she ends up with two red patches.

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We went out this afternoon, as Mark wanted to do a little shopping. We traveled quite a distance, and when we went into Sam’s Club, the kids said they wanted to stay in the truck with the Scotties.  While Mark and I were in the store, Michelle called on the cell to ask if maybe she could call her friend who lives near the store. We had initially told the kids we would hurry, but Michelle called back again in a few minutes to tell us that Joey was there in the parking lot….she said no need to hurry as the three of them would sit in the truck and talk.

After shopping, the kids asked if perhaps they could go to the theater to see a movie. We looked to see what was playing and they decided to go see a Veggie Tales movie just for grins….While they went inside, Mark went into another store while I stayed in the truck with the Scotties. It was so cold, but since Mark has an inverter for the truck, I was able to use my laptop and it kept my lap warm! I had brought some warm blankets, and the Scotties snuggled deeply into the fluffy down-filled blanket as though grateful for the toasty warmth!

After the movie, the kids wanted to go to Taco Bell, so we hopped over there for a bit.

On the way home, blowing snow was a force to be reckoned with….Mark took it easy, but other cars flew past as though nothing would slow them down. With temperatures in the single digits, there is little the snowplows can do…most compounds they put on the road do little when it is this frigid!

As we came into one area, a vehicle was sitting on the side of the road with a different light flashing on its dash. We wondered what it was doing, but as we progressed,  we passed two firetrucks, an ambulance, and a volunteer firefighter in a pickup. Mark surmised that someone had slipped off the road and they were searching for the vehicle. The very thought of this sent chills up and down my spine. Anyone trapped in a vehicle in this cold could freeze to death in a pretty short period of time.

We got home after 10:30, and after being out in the cold, we were happy to be greeted by coals in the stove and warmth in the house! This was a fun day. The kids were able to meet with their friend and Mark and I didn’t feel any pressure from them, as they were happy to be doing something different. An impromptu meeting was just the ticket!

A Quiet and Peaceful Day!

Today was a pretty chilly day here in the Bristolwood.  We settled on staying inside and working on paperwork and office-type work.

One of the first things I do each morning is feed the birds. This morning,  they must have been terribly hungry, as they flew right near me as I placed the seeds in the feeder! Afterwards, I took my “perch” in the bedroom window and took this photo of a few finches all feeding inside the feeder!  One day, I counted nine little Goldfinches all feeding in the box!

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I didn’t get very much paperwork done today, but Mark told me he had a couple of shows he had recorded that I might enjoy. Because of Mark’s love of hockey, he has a 52″ widescreen television as it is much easier to see the puck!  The TV is also a high definition model, so the Hi-Def shows are exceptional. Because Mark is a bit of an audiophile, he has great Bang and Olufsen speakers hooked into the television to make one’s experience even more entertaining.

The first show I watched was entitled Over Ireland. It was a Hi-Def program which basically was shown from a helicopter view, flying over Ireland, highlighting many of Ireland’s features. The show was amazing. Seeing the sheer rock cliffs was fascinating….there was so much to see, I know I will watch that show again just to drink even more in!  The second show featured Dublin.

As we watched the shows, I told Mark I really would love to visit England, Scotland, and Ireland.  The only problem as I could see it, was that we would have to spend considerable time poking around! 

I did manage to do a few chores, but I honestly haven’t had such a leisurely day in a very long time!

Carly called late this afternoon, and we talked and chattered away. As I was talking, I looked out the bedroom window and saw the most splendid colors in the sky!

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I guess both sailors and shepherds would agree this sky was a delight!

Later, I went up to the “convenience” store to pick up a pizza and chicken wings. For the first time ever, I decided to photograph the ski mountain at night!

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I took this shot without a tripod….I was pretty impressed it came out as well as it did! This is just a small portion of the entire area. It is pretty impressive, and this “city on a hill” is what casts the reddish-orange sky I have captured from the bedroom window located about 2 miles away! For this photo, I parked in the parking lot for the mountain.

It is pretty cold outside…about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, or -12 degrees, Celsius. The wind is picking up some, so it sure is nice to be safely tucked away inside the house with the woodstove keeping us warm and cozy!