Sunday 29 March 2015

Spring Is The Time For Change

Even if the weather isn't really cooperating here, spring has arrived. It's a time for growth and renewal and renewal is vital to every single human being.

Did you know that the human body is estimated to have 37 trillion cells in it? Those cells are constantly replenishing and reacting to each other and their environment. That got me thinking about my environment and how I was affecting my 37 trillion cells.

Then, that thought got me thinking about how difficult the concept of connection with the universe is in a metaphysical sense and how easy it is to understand in the case of a disease such as cancer. I have no difficulty accepting that exposure to external toxins can cause one of my cells to mutate and start the whole process of creating a malignancy. Why then, is is so hard to understand that exposure to good things can affect my life at a cellular level? I've read Biology Of Belief by Bruce Lipton twice and it all makes sense to me while I'm reading it. Incorporating it into my daily life isn't quite so simple.

I decided to share my theories with a girlfriend. These conversations always begin with me saying, "So the thing is ...". That's the cue for my friends to seek the nearest exit because they know nothing short of convincingly feigning a massive heart attack will get them out of hearing my latest ponderings on life. Be thankful you are cyber friends and can simply X out of the conversation.

"So the thing is, Liz, all we need to do to affect our lives is change one thing, one time, one day. All our 37 trillion cells will react to that change. That doesn't seem so hard does it?", I say.

Liz must have considered this one of my least zany theories because she created a visual reminder of it for herself and posted it to her photography blog The Little Things In Life. If you want to pin it, please click on her site and pin from there.

In the spirit of spring renewal, I thought you might want to join Liz and I in changing one thing, no matter how small, one day in the coming week.

We'll be like chicks coming into a whole new world while we are experiencing something new.

Maybe take a different route to work, eat something you've never had for breakfast or go someplace you've never been. Or, how about listening to a genre of music that you are unfamiliar with? Try meditating or exercising or changing the time you go to bed and get up.

If you're up for it, try something big. Enroll in a class or ask that guy you've been sweet on out for coffee. Say no when someone asks you to do something you don't want to do. Just say no and don't explain yourself. Ekes! In fact, say no to this idea of mine, if you want. "But, the thing is .... Change one thing, one time, one day and every cell in your body will know it and it will respond to that change.". If even one of your 37 trillion cells thinks this change is exciting or even mildly interesting, that's a whole lot better than all 37 trillion thinking the stress you are feeling means they have to send out signals to your adrenal glands that the body is under attack and needs defending, isn't it?

Cats have no problem with this concept. In fact, they are the masters of it.

Clara Jane saw me set these Easter decorations out and said to herself, "This is new. I've never slept here before, with these exact things in this exact spot".

And, she settled right in to give it a try.

The fuzzy, little chick didn't respond to the big, black cat snoozing there. Maybe the chick didn't recognize the danger or maybe she was so excited about the new world outside her Easter egg shell that she wasn't a bit afraid.

I'd love to hear your ideas for change and, if you find that changing one, little thing makes you feel better, it would be great to hear about it in the comments!

I'm sharing this with Inspire Me Monday

Monday 23 March 2015

Getting Photos Out Of Old Albums

I've been whittling away at a bad weather project. Like everyone else, I used magnetic photo albums in the '70's and 80's, only to discover the photos have become stuck to the album pages and can't be easily removed. There's nothing magnetic about those albums; the tiny stripes that held the pictures in place are glue.

The adhesive has dried out and is causing the photographic paper to deteriorate. The pages themselves are not acid-free and are causing more damage to the photos. The icing on the cake is the plastic cover, which is further corrupting the photos. The photos become brittle and the colours fade or change. There's no question that they have to come out. I can save you a little research time by directing you to a good video showing how archivists deal with this issue by clicking here.

The first thing I did was take the pages out of the albums and remove the plastic sleeves. That buys a little more time for working away at the project. No matter how many videos you watch that say the removal will be easy, it won't!  The ones I'm working on right now are particularly difficult to remove because they are home developed and the paper is thinner than the usual professional paper. I have the negatives for these pics and can risk some experimentation. I recommend taking a good photograph of your pic before you start, or you could scan the pic to be sure you have a copy in case anything goes wrong.

These are my tools. ~

I split open the pages so I could get at the back of the album sheets. ~

Then, I lifted a corner of a photo and slid a piece of dental floss under it. I tried waxed and unwaxed floss and couldn't see any difference in performance. Gently pulling the floss back and forth in a sawing motion begins to release the photo from the glue. ~

Applying heat to the back of the album pages every so often, helps to soften the glue. You can put the pages in the microwave, after removing the plastic cover, for 15 sec. intervals to soften the glue. Anything longer than that runs the risk of scorching the photos. Overall, the hair blower did as well and was less risk.

In some areas, the floss couldn't budge the glue and I had to resort to using a sharp knife to pry the photo off. This usually took some of the album paper with it. ~

You want your photos to be lying face down on a natural linen or cotton cloth to ensure you aren't corrupting them with even more chemicals.

It's critical to do any lifting with a knife with the photos face down. If you try to lift the photo up from the sheets, instead of the sheets up from the photos, you will get wrinkle lines and cracks in your photos.

These removed photos are from the same album page and are the same home developed type. The one on the left is badly damaged by removing it facing up and the one on the right came off with a slight bend on the upper left corner, where it was lifted to get the floss between the photo and album page, by removing it face down.

This is a time consuming, sometimes frustrating and painful process, but worth it to save precious memories.

I'll go to the trouble for a picture of a well loved though very bad runaway dog (that cost me a fortune in dog catcher fees) and my baby girl who's all grown up now!  I hope this gets you started on preserving your precious photos.

I'm sharing this with Wow Us WednesdaysShare Your Cup ThursdayCreate It ThursdayShow And Share

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Today Is Uncle Simon's Day

I'm one of those gals that calls herself Irish, though I've never set foot on the 'ole sod. Nor, had my mother or Grandma ever been to Ireland. For all that, they stayed as Irish as Irish could be. My Canadian-Irish ancestors stayed within tight-knit Irish communities, married other Irishmen and, even two generations back, spoke Gaelic. My mother and one of her sisters were the first to 'marry out' as her family put it.

I was living like any other typical Canadian girl when a serious illness had my brother in a hospital a long way from home and my mom looking for someone to take care of me. I think I was 6 or 7 years old at the time.  She sent me to a great, great uncle's farm, in an all Irish enclave near Owen Sound, Ontario.

It was a scary, old farmhouse and a scary, old couple would be my hosts. I sat on the edge of the bed that night and listened to the "Oooooo" moans of ghosts that were surely trying to get in through the darkened window. It was a scene right out of Wuthering Heights and I was scared nearly to death.

Down the hall came my ancient great-great Uncle Simon, heading to bed before Aunt Cassie, for he always had an early start to his mornings on the farm. 

"And why would you be crying, mavourneen?" he said in the thickest of Irish brogues.  At least I recognized mavourneen as an endearment that my mother used. "It's nothing but the bawling of an old, blind cow that's walked into a fence in the dark. You wouldn't want Cassie to be on at me about getting rid of her because you made a bit of fuss, would you?"

Suddenly, I wasn't afraid anymore and Uncle Simon told me he would take me to meet the old cow in the morning.

"I'm thinking you'll be needing a playmate while you're here. I'll have my son Clem bring his girl down from his farm over a space. She's a sprightly, wee thing and has the nackiest little lamb that follows her about."

How I loved that farm, from that moment on. My cousin and I jumped from the hayloft into deep piles of hay, wandered through fields of sweet grass to pet the gentle, blind cow and cuddled a litter of barn kittens; all with a frolicking lamb in tow.

My mother cried when I came home because she couldn't understand half of what I said. I was speaking Gaelic!

I lost the bit of Gaelic I'd learned, but I never lost Uncle Simon's love and respect for the animals that provide us with the food.

How am I doing, Uncle Simon? I gave blind Gertie a pretty good home, I think.

I was an adult when Aunt Cassie died. Uncle Simon was as old as the hills and still on the farm. He certainly had some form of dementia. My aunts were upset at him crushing soda crackers and trying to light them in his pipe. Worse yet, he kept asking who had died and, when he finally realized it was his wife Cassie, he horrified them by saying, "She was a good girl.  I always liked her." 

To them, it showed a lack of feeling but to me it was that quiet man's way of saying he cared and he was constant in that caring. I thought of him saying the very same words to explain his devotion to an old cow. He said things in a simple way, but he felt them deeper than many a more eloquent man.

So today I celebrate St. Patrick's day with an homage to roots, families, farms and animals. It's the heart and soul of Ireland, transported to another grand land! ~

Let's all take a cup of tea, light a pipe or raise a glass to all the wonderful Uncle Simons, who teach little girls how to live in the world in love and harmony.

Happy St. Patrick's Day dear Uncle Simon! "Is tú mo ghrá.  I love you".

Saturday 14 March 2015

Where You Been Maureen?

I haven't run off to the South Pacific to get away from the coldest winter on record in Canada.  I wish!

So many people I know have had the pipes burst in their homes and municipalites have been battling frozen or burst water mains. I was lucky enough to only have a frozen bathtub drain to deal with. And, if you are a cat named Clara Jane, helping with plumbing repairs is a total riot! Watching that rag that's plugging the overflow shoot out every time the human uses the plunger on the drain is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.  For me, trying to plunge with one hand while I hold the rag in the overflow with the other, isn't quite so much fun.

The poor chickens were trapped in the coop for two whole weeks, so they didn't get frostbite, and it's only in the last few days that I know it's 5 o'clock by them clucking and staring at the house, demanding their supper.

Rukmini, Elizabeth, Kay, and Maddy think staring at the gate will make me magically appear but Viv takes the proactive route of squawking at the top of her lungs, from the highest spot she can find. ~

You'll notice Anne Boleyn is not there. She has passed on to the great coop in the sky. Dear Anne, who was nearly pecked to death at her former home and would have to be put down if my girls wouldn't accept her. Anne, who overcame her fears and made friends with Kay.  Anne, who never laid an egg in her life but stood guard over the other chickens while they laid theirs and wouldn't take one step away from the nest until I came to take the eggs. She was the first alert when predators were in the yard and ran to my door, squawking, to get help. I miss her.

None of that explains where I've been though, does it?

Well right in the middle of an insufferably cold winter, when it's taking your life in your hands to stir out of doors, the screen on my laptop fritzed out. I'm trapped in the house, cabin fever is a definite possibility, and I have no computer to help me while away the days!

This laptop is not worth paying a repair bill and I can't afford a new one, so a nice, computer savvy guy offers to try and fix it for me.  Yay!

Before you come down too hard on him, I'm the one who told him to break a piece of the frame off so I could get at the wire that was loose.  A little wiggle and I had a monitor again. I've taken the fix a step further by jamming the pen in to make sure the wire stays in place.

Don't you just love the pen jammed in right beside the Don't Touch!!! warning on the monitor? I may be the first blogger in history to die in the line of duty.

Oh well, all this frigid, computerless time has given me lots of opportunity to get projects done and I'll be talking your ear off about them all.

That is, right after I take advantage of a mild day to go out and see if I can salvage my snow destroyed boxwood hedge. ~

I'm off to catch up with all of you now.