Monday, January 31, 2011

Hydro One

The temperature is -18C and there's an alert for a severe winter storm that is to arrive tomorrow. There are reports that there may be a lot of ice that could damage the wires, cutting power. I guess we'll just have to hope for the best if that happens. We'll huddle in one room with lots of blankets if there's no power. We have a gas fireplace but it's controlled by an electrical switch. The only source of heat would be our outdoor BBQ and that's really of little use when it's very cold. Candles might help.

Years ago, when bad storms came cutting our hydro, we just made a fire in the wood burning fireplace. But they are rare now. Many have been converted to gas or electricity because it was to be the best way to save a carbon print. Lately I'm not so sure that we have made the right choice. It seems that hydro is beginning to control everything we use. Although some have backup generators I wonder what would happen in a huge city if the power went out for hours, days in the middle of a deep freeze?

Very recently one large condo complex was without power for many hours during a deep freeze. The tenants had to be moved to temporary shelters. Imagine a city going without power. Where would six million people head for shelter?

Did we really have a choice when everything was quickly converted to hydro? Did we exercise our democratic right to choose the energy means that would support us best? Can we sustain the way we're heading? Hydro One seems to be a monopoly that has me worried.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Be warned.
Today as I browsed through my mail I discovered a very unusual piece of spam that got past the google filters. I'm going to share it because I think this is more serious than I first thought. What worries me is all the trouble the scammers went through to make the sites they created look legit; google maps, clocks, world flags and reference to twitter and face book and sound files, video files, etc. They even include wikipedia links.
 Here's why I believe it's a scam. I was asked to become a site administrator of a city, Markham in my case. It's on the outskirts of Toronto. When I googled this site for more info here's what came up;
"Make Markham you site.  (city).vi networks are for hire for a 1 year or more. Manage your city's video site and earn revenues..."
This leads to a link, . Then on that page another link that leads to " Become a site administrator."
The final piece of info leads to .
What bothered me was it asked for XX amount $ USD .
But it seemed as though there's something more going on. I'm no scientist but my gut tells me there's something very rotten happening here.
Why are they sending this via my photo blog directly to my gmail? And how was it missed as spam?
The people who set up this craziness have gone to a great deal of trouble to include most cities that have now been added to the GPS mapping system and they are using some sort of tourism.php.
HELP I need to know more. This is not good.
P.S. Type in any city in the place of Markham and you'll get a detailed picture of why I worry.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Skeptics

Today I found myself feeling a bit like a grain of sand in the sandbox. I played around in the blog comment box. Perhaps I made light of what ought to have been more serious? That's what my intuition seemed to be suggesting. But then I could be wrong.  What are the odds?

I have never been able to think in a very scientific way like Rolli who was excellent at this. He was once the champ in our provincial math and chess competitions. I rarely got high marks. And I certainly could not be a provincial champ. But I tried very hard. He respected that.

I took another look at the study suggested in Robert's post and realized that the stats were too much for me to really comprehend. I failed. But I have decided to take my failure seriously. I read more carefully and slowly till it became clearer. I had missed taking the quiz. However, I must confess I was enjoying the responses that were generated by Robert's comments.

Words are valued in different ways through our sensory system. It is  our intellect that allows us to play around with them to get a response. But can we predetermine a response? What role does reader anticipation play? The variety of comments that are generated by the Dicken's study are worthy of any blogger's attention! Humour, satire, .....
I scored 75% on the quiz after rereading the blog.
Thanks Robert.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sandboxes 'n Rolli

Rolli = Roland
Born in April 1948, my mom was delighted with the outcome of their celebration of my first birthday. So was my dad. This is one of the very few photos that has survived from his very early years. This was when Rolli was living in Lehrte, his birthplace.
Our parents built a sandbox for us at our home in Bremen. Rolli is sitting near it getting ready to use it. Removing his slippers was part of the routine. Mom was very strict about leaving the sand in the box.
And I loved sandboxes too. It seems they stimulate something creative in us. Memories??

Our parents felt it would be good for us to be enrolled in a kindergarten program at a nearby Catholic Church. During the week we were sent there for a day or two so Mom could work along side Dad while he was launching his language paper, The World and Press (See Raimund, June 2010). I can still remember the hot lunches served to us by nuns in their rustling, long, black and white habits. I wasn't a very happy preschooler there indoors. But I loved the freedom at their outdoor sandbox. I shovelled vigorously one afternoon and uncovered some treasure. Excited by my find, I ran to one of the supervising nuns whom I convinced to come and take a look at my discovery. Treasure should evoke some sort of delight but she became very agitated by what she saw. Grabbing me, she immediately ran towards another nun to share the news of my treasure. But this was not the reaction I had anticipated. I felt uncomfortable without understanding why. Soon the entire staff was excited and too busy to celebrate my find. Their task was to evacuate the premisses as quickly and cautiously as possible.
Later my parents had to explain to me that the sandbox had become a threat from a land mine with my discovery! Darn! My treasure was the remains of some device that could have exploded had I dug a bit deeper. Not a treasure to be celebrated.
Kindergarten ended early that day and remained closed for some time while the entire grounds were checked for further war debris.
My parents decided it was too dangerous for us to go back there and hired a local girl to come to our place instead. She lasted until they moved again a short time later. With that ended our time together in that homemade sandbox.
Rolli, my brother and my close friend, and I spent many hours together till fate changed that.

P.S. I am not a Catholic. My dad was. My mother was Lutheran. I was raised in a liberal environment and encouraged to study all to make my own choice later. Thank God.

Friday, January 14, 2011


   It was a hot August night in 1962. My bedroom windows were open but there was no real breeze coming in. I lay on top of my covers. The music that I was so accustomed to, to fall asleep, had stopped a while ago. My parents had retired for the night in their downstairs bedroom. My brother was asleep in his bedroom across the hall from mine. And my little sister, sharing the room with me, was breathing heavily. She was sound asleep.  I listened to her breathing pattern. It was fast. She was only six. Though sixteen, I tried to imitate it. I figured I could use this pattern to fall asleep. Soon I drifted off.
  I don't know how long I was dreaming but what I was dreaming was very disturbing. I broke out in a panic and sat up in my bed to reassure myself that it was just a dream. It was. My sister was right where I had seen her earlier. I put my head back on my pillow and reflected. Why was I so shaken by this dream? Because I witnessed how my dad was dying of a heart attack right in his bed. It was extremely terrifying. Yet I was just dreaming. No need to be afraid. I spent considerable time calming myself with, "He is young and happy. He just passed a heart check up for his life insurance policy. He is deemed to be in good health."
  I did not know at that moment that two weeks later my dream would turn into one of the toughest moments of my life. My dad died (see 'Heidi' posts of Sept. 2010) just like I had dreamed it.

To this day I am mystified by that happening.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Have you ever experienced it? It is an idea or a dream of an event that has not yet happened. When it does you may be deeply touched by the fact that you were aware of it before it was reality. It is a paranormal phenomena that is being studied. A science examining the state of a possible psychotic mind or ?
Scary moments that I've felt. 
My next opus, to share one or two.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beach Wedding

The little flower girl, the groom's niece, and the maid of honour head toward the wedding gazebo while some of a beach crowd look on. Sharing this glorious moment with spectators from around the world adds an interesting dimension to this special day, January 7th, my niece's nuptial. It was delightful. 

Here are the lovely bridesmaids and flower girl at the gazebo by the beach.

The happy couple faces the Caribbean Sea and exchange vows.
After an official photography session, a small train drove us to the reception area for cocktails and speeches, followed by a BBQ dinner on the beach. It was enjoyed by all, especially hubby who became the infamous "uncle" with his champagne glass in one hand and cigar in the other. He was so funny. Till the wee hours he entertained everyone tactfully!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First Day

   It only takes one nano second after midnight to slip from one day to the next, one decade to the next and one year to the next. It's New Year's Day 2011 and we are blessed with rain. Gone is the snow after a day of unusually warm temperatures (9C/49F). And on this rainy day we are preparing for a trip to attend my nieces wedding in the Riviera Maya. Our flight leaves at 6 a.m.  We'll be gone till next Sunday. Some of you now understand why I feel a bit of anxiety each time I fly with my family. 
   For the first time, hubby's younger brother, wife and three of their five adult kids will be on the plane too. Two are coming from different cities. And there are many others joining the group wedding package. Having not yet met the groom, his family and friends, the first thing we'll do once we have arrived is to have a little get together with everyone. That's so we can at least recognize one another as our paths cross at the various activities in the resort. 
   The weather will warm (26C/78F) and partly cloudy daily for the week and I'm praying ours will be a fun and relaxing trip. If all goes well (no detours,or unscheduled layovers) I hope to be back January 9th. And with " No royals to bail me out if things go bad", I bought travel insurance just in case of turbulence. 

Thanks for all your good wishes and the very generous support. It is a New Year!!!