I’m back…

I just finished my weekly book review, so I have that out of the way.

I looked around for something specifically Canadian, and finally found a novel called Canadian Hook-up. Little did I know that the Canadian element was the content only, and that the author was an American living in the Midwest. In the absence of anything else, however, I decided to go with it. Hey, it’s sort of Canadian.

The weather has finally warmed up to summer temperatures, although there is rain in the forecast every day this week. I don’t mind the rain, so long as it is not accompanied by thunder showers. The gazebo is located beneath a tall pine tree, which could act as a very good lightning rod.

I have been spending most of my time writing. I do have to have the manuscript ready for editing by the middle of August,at the latest. The editing process generally takes about a month to complete, and likewise the formatting. Therefore, if I want to have it ready for the Christmas market, it must go to print by the first of October.

As I look at the calendar presently, It doesn’t leave much room for dallying.

Before I leave, here is a little anecdote:

I have often said that when you are handicapped, you get your own set of Harpies that busy themselves with making things slip, or stick, or catch in ways that seem impossible. I often think that the front wheels on the walker are made to swivel so that they turn outward while you are going through a doorways. I have even had one occasion when the cloth handle on a shopping bag looped under a stationary bar, and then up over the clip of the seat belt–a sort of “S” maneuver that I could have made money betting people it could be done.

Well, just to prove the impossible can happen: I have a hook on the outside of the gazebo door that I use to secure it when it is windy. Needless to say that this can only be done from the outside. However, the other day I found myself locked inside. It appears that the hook had somehow jumped into place all by itself.  Fortunately, Steve happened to be handy, so I called him to let me out.

More next time.

Ever notice…

The good weather always arrives late? Mind you, spring never arrived at all. Just a pause in the snow, that’s all.

Saturday was the first day of summer, but the first summery day didn’t arrive until yesterday. However, we just have to find our blessings wherever, so it was really a nice day.

I have been putting the pedal to the metal these days, regarding writing. In order to catch the Christmas market, I have to have the manuscript ready for the editor by August, and that’s coming up fast.

The voice activation system is helping a bit, but I don’t trust it for long passages. Whether this will ever come, I don’t know. However, for small edits it’s great. Just highlight the word and replace it in half the time.

However, there is no easy road to writing. The ideas have to be worked out the old fashioned way.

It’s book review day, so I’m writing this at breakfast. I almost begrudge the time away from the novel–especially when I am right in the middle of a gunfight–but consistency is the key to success. You can be good or bad, but you can’t be inconsistent–or late.

Today is predicted to be hot and humid with thunder showers this afternoon. Mother Nature–the old shrew–has decreed we can’t have too many nice days in a row. We’re Canadian, eh.

Finally, I was in a panic this morning. I couldn’t find a bill that fell due today, and I couldn’t remember the amount. That’s when I remembered they had c hanged the due date to the 3rd, so the reason I couldn’t find the bill was, I hadn’t received it.

It’s ‘interesting’ to be getting older. 🙂

More next time.


The weather is it the topic of conversation these days. An F2 tornado touched down about 50 miles from my house, yesterday, destroying nearly 100 houses. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured, but it is all very tragic. Fortunately, we were spared except for a heavy downfall off rain.

Otherwise, the weather is crappy. So far this year, there has been few days one could call  “pleasant” on account of the cool winds of the North, and the rest of the time as being gloomy and wet.

Summer begins this Saturday, so let’s hold we get some good weather out of it. Otherwise, this year Will be a write off.

I am still persevering with the voice recognition program, and it is coming along fairly well. I suppose, if I have to put a number on it, I would say I am at the 85 – 90% accuracy level. The good new is that it is improving as time goes along.

Likewise, I am able to take four or five steps without holding onto the walker. Moreover, I am surprised and pleased with how easy it is. Mind you, I don’t press it. I have made a point of taking a few steps around the bed while I’m making it, and each day I take an extra step from the day before. This way I am making progress at my own pace, while not putting myself at risk

For the past couple of days I have been working on a list of child welfare benefits handed out by the various levels of government. It is an ongoing research, because they are spread over three levels, as well as several programs, departments, and service agencies. In fact, I don’t believe even government as an idea of how much it is paying out for what. It is a haystack made of money.

So far, it covers six full pages which I will publish as soon as I am finished.

More next time.

So where is spring, and where did it go?…

Saturday is the first day of summer, but you wouldn’t know it by the temperature. The weather forecasters in Toronto talk about good numbers, but when these get here they are considerably lower. For example, the forecast for today is 27 Celsius (80.6F), but it feels like 68 – 70. I do hope he gets it right fairly soon, because in another 2 1/2 months summer will be over–perish the thought.

[Up to this point I have tried dictation, but the ambient noise from kids, squirrels and traffic is just too much for the program to cope. Therefore, I have gone back to the old-fashioned way.]

I am working on walking without the walker for a few steps each day, and this morning I tried it with the canes. Not bad. It is mostly to gain confidence, or to get over my fear of not having something to grab onto, because I have been able to put my full weight on the leg for quite some time. Mind you, I only started last week, but already my confidence has grown.

For my friends who might be worried about me falling, I have the chairs, etc., lined up along the ‘race course’ to catch me. 🙂

Today is book review day. I was hoping to dictate at least some of it. By the way, my book review blog surpassed 70,000 viewers last week. Amazing!

More next time.

Not the greatest day weather wise…

But it’s warm, so I’m not complaining.

Still working on learning this voice function program. There is a lot more to it than just dictating. With this program you can do most everything you can do in word processing: Type, format, bold face, switch to e-mail, search the web, etc. etc., all using just speech. However, the trick is learning how to do it.  Right now it’s sort of helpful, but is more of a nuisance until I get into the 98% accuracy rate.

Microsoft almost sabotaged me again. I installed Word 2010 in the new machine, but left the manuscript in the 2007 format. This worked fine until I opened it in one of my other  computers  that still has Word 2007 installed on it. That was when I discovered that when you do this it deletes the spaces  between  words. Fortunately I caught it before it was saved. Otherwise, there would have been no way to save the manuscript– five years and 142,000 words gone in an instant.

The warm weather and being able to get outside is a real delight, but the downside is that the friggin’ kids are outside, too, so it’s like being inside a nursery school. Whatever happened to the idea of afternoon naps?

More next time.

Things are well…

Today we are getting our quota of summer with temperatures in the mid-70s. Mind you, the forecast is for rain the remainder of the week, but for now we will take the good stuff while it’s here to

The voice recognition program is working out very well. It takes quite a bit of training, both for yourself and the program, but I am happy to say that I am getting about 75% accuracy. The other benefit is that it teaches you to speak very distinctly. It was quite comical to see how the machine interpreted my first efforts. Even now it insists that ‘other’ should be spelled ‘author.’

At the same time, it adds a bit to fun to the writing.  You know, something different.

Presently the chipmunks are in a stir–” Miss Piggy,” “Peanut Brain,” and “Mouthy.” My neighbour got a cat, after his dog died, and the “Fortress Gang” are not at all pleased. The problem is that once they get started at chirping they can go on for what seems and eternity, nonstop. For a little animal they can make a whole lot of noise, and it can also drive you nuts.

All the animals and kids around here work in shifts. The birds start first thing in the morning, followed by the dogs, who are followed By the kids, followed by squirrels, then it is back to the birds, etc. etc. It is all a very organized affair.

Speaking of kids, can anyone tell me why they have all decided To communicate he shrieks? The other evening I was working in the house with the door closed, and yet I could hear one kid across the street, behind a house, almost as clearly as I could hear the radio. And if it’s not only you, a lot all over the

in Florida there was an elementary school across the road, and in  my room with the door and windows closed I could still hear them!

More next time.


I’m back and doing things the easy way

I just installed voice recognition software that allows me to dictate my copy rather than typing it. My typing isn’t as fast as it used to be, neither is it as accurate, so this should help both.

I have only tried it a bit on the novel, but I can see how it is going help; Especially since I am in the rewrite stage where I am merely making revisions.

The weather, always a big topic in Canada, is still backward. We tend to get a day here and there that resembles summer, but otherwise it is either sweater whether or inside.

Today the forecast was for mid-70s, but as it turned out it was merely cool and damp. I tried to work in the gazebo for a while, but it proved too uncomfortable. Therefore I’m back in the house.

Getting back to the voice recognition program, I notice that it still has some difficulty distinguishing between certain words. For instance, it can’t distinguish between nearly with them ‘n,’ and merely with an ‘m’. However, it is still faster to go back and make corrections than it is to type the whole word.

Otherwise, there is very little news that would be of any interest. We have an election coming up, but that is hardly interesting news to anyone else. I did my civic duty by marking my ‘x’ while holding my nose, but I hardly expect my vote to make any difference.

More news later.

I’m back…

The tax papers are in the hands of the accountant, and now all that’s left is the weeping.

It really is ‘heartening’ to know that corporations like Exxon and Bank of America pay NO income tax whatsoever. Moreover, the oil and gas industry get $34B in annual subsidies from the same government that milks me for 18% of my fixed income. Now, if anyone can explain the rationale behind that I’d like to hear it.

The weather is iffy. The numbers are good (mid-70s) but yesterday I nearly got my tail feathers wet from a major storm that blew through here, and today its been threatening to do it again.

So, what with preparing my tax papers and writing my book review (yesterday), and trying to find a few minutes for doing my own writing, I’ve been busy.

There is no news worth telling. All is well, and I am enjoying the few times I can get out in the gazebo. I must say, however, that it is not the same as when Doug and I (Doug mostly) built it. We practically lived in it that summer, and the weather was absolutely ideal. Hell, we even slept out there on hot nights! It was like a honeymoon cottage.

Inside we had the barbecue and a patio set, and every morning we would cook breakfast on the grill and have it with our coffee.  Then, later in the day we had our beers from the air-cooled fridge.

Then, someone stole the patio set and fridge, and later the kids and dogs started to invade the neighbourhood, and so now it is like trying to work through a chorus of the “Donkey’s Serenade.”

I suppose the moral of this story is: Nothing (good) ever lasts or stays the same.

Nonetheless, it is still pleasant to get outside, and it’s not snowing!

More next time.