Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hobbies: Casino Mania!

Today, with the best interests of my readers at heart, I took myself off to our local casino on a trip of research and discovery.

No, not for my own pleasure and enjoyment, but simply to scope it all out and find the reason why so many seniors are always in there!

And if you believe that story, I've got a parcel of swampland in Florida I can sell you too!

Ok, so I do go to the casino once in a while, I admit. And I love it!

I do however, only go once in a while and have some little tips and observations to share.

First of all, our casino's here in Ontario are mostly located at our horse racing tracks.

We do have a few bigger, Las Vegas style ones within a couple of hours of my home, but I like the little ones the best.

They are a comfortable place for a person to go by yourself because they have security guards to help you and if you're uncomfortable walking back to your car, they'll go with you too! Video cameras are everywhere so nobody misbehaves for long and there is a sense of community sitting side by side with another stranger with a common activity.

My most frequented is in London, Ontario at the Western Fair Grounds. They have 750 slot machines only with denominations of 5 cents to five dollars. (No gaming tables.) It's a pleasant little place with a restaurant, lounge and free coffee and serve yourself soda kiosk. Waitresses circulate and the security guards all smile and say hi. (I think they are made to try to catch everyone's eye.)

The scene today. Of course it was freezing outside. Inside, they have a coat check and really huge, clean washrooms. All the staff is seriously nice and if you want, they are always glad to show you how to use any of the new machines and explain all the ins and outs.

tip 1- Only take the money you want to throw away and some sort of ID in with you. (You can't accept a big win if you don't have ID.) If you take any of your credit cards or bank cards, the urge to use them will be too strong. If you leave them in the car or at home, by the time you collect them to gamble MORE, your saner side will have surfaced to save you!

tip 2- Make sure you eat something! They pump those places full of good air and smells and anything else they can think of to keep you glued to the same machine for weeks! Eating does two things. One, makes you think better and two, gets you off your butt, away from the slot machine. If you can't afford the restaurant, then go over to the racetrack side and they'll have sandwiches and muffins over there.

tip 3- Get a membership card. They do give some freebees away and you might as well get them as well as anybody! Also for every penny that slides through the slot, you get a tiny little percentage back in points, which can be redeemed cash value or for free food in the restaurant.

tip 4- Give yourself a time limit. My limit is normally how long it takes me to get home before Dick does after his work!

tip 5- Remember, it's just for fun. Do not ever think you can pay the bills with your winnings. Look around you while you are there and see all the folks who are pounding machines and are desperate because they've gone over their limit!  Expect yourself to lose every single time and if you expect this, you won't ever be disappointed and the odd time you might win a nickle or two, you'' be on cloud nine!

So! To end my story. I donated $40.00 to the province today. (They say the money goes for healthcare.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lost Arts: Split Rail Fences!

For many years everywhere we drove you could see split rail fences.

In our north country, pioneer farmers used whatever was on hand and metal fencing being so expensive and mostly unavailable, the farmers cut cedar trees and split the trunks, layering them for miles and miles of fences. Very little else was needed for construction and the wood was free! They also gladly cleared the land of aromatic cedar forests so they could plant crops. The wood weathered slowly and lasted for years!

If you drive the Bruce peninsula, you can still see and walk nature trails through thousands of acres of cedar forests and they are a marvel!

These fences became in vogue when I was a girl. Of course they fell out of fashion. In, Out. In, Out. Enterprising folk traveled the north, bought and dismantled existing fences and trucked the weathered wood south to landscapers and lumber yards where it was sold at a premium.

I can't recall when I last saw a brand new cedar fence and was delighted when this one was constructed just before Christmas.

Isn't it just something!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Travel: Finding Medical Help!

Oh my gosh! You worst fears! Here you are in another country and you are sick!

Well, you'll be able to whip out your laptop and find good old Lucy's Blog and look up how to find a doctor in a foreign country!

Be prepared before you travel and save yourself some hassel. Dick and I never travel without our laptop, but, last year when we went to the Barrett Jackson Auction, we didn't bother to take it with us to Vegas, because we knew we just wouldn't have time to use it. Las Vegas is one thing, but if you're going to north Timbucktoo and you don't speak the language, you better go prepared!

Your Embassy or Consulate can provide you with a list of appropriate doctors and hospitals in their region. Before you travel, look up the phone numbers and locations for those in the areas you are visiting.

Our Canadian Government also recommends purchasing travel insurance and frankly, if you don't you are an idiot to travel without it. 
If you have existing medical insurance, check to make sure it will cover you in the country you are visiting. For instance: our wonderful Canadian Health Insurance that everyone is so envious of, will cover my having a heart attack in Florida, but only up to what the same service would cost here in Ontario. (If a hospital room was $200.00 a day here and $500.00 in Florida, they would pay the $200.00 and I would have to cough up the rest.) We are lucky that our work coverage will pay most of the rest.

CAA and AAA and likely BCAA all have travel insurance you can buy. Your bank as well and also the up and coming AARP or in Canada CARP. 

Who wants to worry about this kind of stuff, I know! But better safe than sorry!

There's a list of Canadian Offices abroad, by country, can be found at the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website.

Good Links:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Government Know How! AKA What? I've never heard of that!

Archives of Ontario

Houses the documented memory of Ontario and is responsible for managing, storing conserving, arranging, describing and providing access to the province's irreplaceable documented history dating back to the 1700's. The current inventory is valued at $340, million and is held in trust for the public.
The Archives currently holds records created by offices of the government and the private sector, as well as a growing volume of records in other media (electronic records, film, photographs, video, audio-tapes, maps and drawings.)
The records of the Archives of Ontario are used for many kinds of research. For research on your ancestors, looking up the impact of provincial government policies,
find out when a particular company started operation, when a building was built, or how the earliest settlers lived.

The Catalogue can be found at:

Through this site, visitors can also access online exhibits and databases relating to archival records and photographs.
The Archives of Ontario serves researchers daily in person in their reading room, by mail, email, fax and by phone.

Phone: 1-800-668-9933

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Mother's Scrapbook

This is my mother's scrapbook... or one of them anyway. I recall there were more, but I think my sister has those.
(That would mean it was 'our' mother's book!)

The first page had these cute clippings!

Does anyone recall this little pooch to know how old the book is?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hobbies: Big Trucks!

Many men who earn their lonely living on the road will make their  truck a special one, hot rodding it or customizing it and Dick and I find them beautiful!

This is a local truck that only makes a couple trips a week. They also show it in custom truck shows that you can find a summer long. They meet at fairgrounds and racetracks and polish their rigs til the stainless and chrome shines! They have truck races each year in Sparta, Ontario and also run after dark. You should see how the lights all shine! It's like any carnival you ever saw!

This truck always holds this place of honor in the yard right where everyone can see it driving by.  This was taken on Sunday and it is normally parked just so!

It's a Peterbuilt.

This is nicknamed a Flat Top. Notice all the lights across the top of the cab?

We believe a young fellow drives her, hauling steel stateside.
The big box on the back is where you'll find a bunk.

The huge polished stainless canister on the side is one of the air filters.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you can find awesome sights everywhere! All you have to do is look!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cottage Wise

You want to buy a cottage or retirement home?

You want a large family monster you can fill with comfortable sofas and grandchildren and that enormous vintage dining table you saw last week in the antique store...

...and your partner wants a tiny, one bedroom elf house that isn't big enough to swing a cat in!


I think it's time to sit down together and discuss the pros and cons and just what is it yer lookin' fer sweetheart? 

Let's talk about some of this stuff and I'm not going to do it all at once on ya either! 

Today's word is SIZE.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word size may refer to how big something is. In particular:
First of all, you need to figure out what size of house you'll need when you move. No, not where you want to live, because different locals offer different sizes of houses. You can't find a one bedroom cottage at a prestigious address just as you can't likely find a castle in a small lake village.  So you'd better figure out what size of habitat you'll require of compromise on.

Do you want to fill it with furniture or have no furniture to buy?
Do you have forty two grandchildren that will all come over at the same time and you need bedrooms instead of sleeping bags on the floor?
Do you want to spend all your time cleaning or can you afford a cleaning staff? Can you find cleaning staff in the area you think you're going to move to?
Does what you have now suite your lifestyle?
Are you capable of looking after the size you're looking for?

Size. It's always meant more to men than women, but it's the first step to take when relocating and you need to figure it out before looking for a home.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Five Little Beeps

The whole world is one huge, hairy annoying beep these days and I 'm going to vent a little.... just as a treat for you in todays' post.

And you all know what I'm talking about here...

This morning was certainly a normal one with Dick getting out 'o bed about 5 am and me about 8. So, by the time I get up, he's had a couple of hours out in his lazy boy surfing the old web and sometime around seven forty five, he decides he's sleepy again, lays his chair back and goes soundly asleep. (Remember I just said when I wake up it's eight?)

Now, I don't know about you, but when I wake up, my whole being screams to first wash my face, second brush those pearly whites of mine and third DRINK COFFEE!
So before hitting the bathroom, I click on our awesome Cuisinart coffee maker, (which I pre-load the night before,) and by the time I'm out of the Loo, nectar of the gods is ready!

...And when the water is completely empty and the pot is full of nature's goodness, yes, you know what's coming, the damned thing goes BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!
Yes, Five, count them five (%&@#) times!

Dick flings his chair to the upright, grabs the arms of the unsuspecting chair and in a fashion quite similar to a bull in a Mexican fighting arena, flings his head from side to side searching for the location of the offending noise.
I am also alarmed because his eyes stare wide, I can tell his heart is pounding and I guess even after six years of owning the same pot, he's still alarmed by waking up to the sound of five beeps!

I want to wage war on this modern world we've created of warning beeps.

Since we did our renovation and bought all new appliances, this is the list of beeping things we have just inside our own house: Washer, dryer, coffee pot, frig when the door's open too long.... stove when it reaches temperature and then again when the food's cooked....

And then outside is a whole bunch of other stuff!

Absolutely, hands down, Dick's most hated is our coffee pot, but mine has to be the beep that the whole population of North America seems to find absolutely necessary is the one in your car. Don't you all hang your heads now... the one that honks your car's horn when you press that lock button on your key fob?

I find it so annoying and invasive to be sitting in my recliner, one of my neighbors come home and yep, you've got it, Honk! (We always wave!) You're walking across the mall's parking lot and all you can hear is honk! Honk! And then there's the people who think they have to double check everything and they press the remote oh, six, seven times?

Whenever I sold cars for a living I would take just two minutes in the presentation to show the new owners how the fob would actually turn off the horn and they would invariably all say: 'How would I know the the car had locked?"
(Eva, you can picture this, can't you?) And I would grit my teeth, smile my best car salesman smile and explain that they would still be able to hear the door locks go thunk when they used the button on the armrest.

I would also and I guess it was desperation really, plant the suggestion that on some older cars, the locks stick and just because the horn would blare it didn't mean the locks had activated! (And wasn't I always sorry to have suggested there might be a future problem with their new car!)

I would like to rid our world of the offending and I do mean offending beeping and honking! It's nothing but downright noise pollution and I want it stopped! Now!

Strap on your sandwich boards and hold your placards high and let's march on the nation's capital....

Oh wait! Something's on TV I want to watch...

"Dick! Make some coffee! Desperate Housewives are on!"

What are the beeps in your life? Let me know!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day: A whole beginning!

Day one if this whole new year! 

The family has just 'left the building' and the cat has crawled back out from under the bed. 

I am logged in and Blogging... all is well!

What will will get up to in this next 365 days you ask?

We will talk about finances for old folks like us.

We will discuss the ways of the world.

We will do some traveling here and there.

We will talk about the perfect house to retire to.

We will share some laughs, some experiences and some history!

It'll be great, won't it!

Tomorrow I start. Tonight, I'm just going to my Lazy Boy and try to digest the pie!