Saturday, June 29, 2013

Get Your Family Membership Card Today!

Have you become an IKEA family member yet?  You can fill out an application at one of the little ATM like machines in the store.  It's quick and easy and doesn't cost you a cent. In fact, it will save you money.  IKEA Family Members get an e-mail update of what's on sale, and some of those special prices are just for them. That includes the foods at the restaurant. You just show your card to get the discounts.  And if you are an IKEA Family Member your beverages are always free.
Today we had Haddock and Fries for $4.99 with our tea and coffee free.  After touring the store we went back for some Chocolate Truffle Cake for $1.49, and once again the tea and coffee were free.  And you can refill the beverages to your heart's content. So, if you happen to have someone who doesn't want to walk all over the building while you shop, they can sit there and wait for you. 
Heck, you can't even get a donut and a coffee at Tim Horton's for $1.49! Take a moment and fill out that application!

Friday, June 28, 2013

It's a Small World After All

A "degree of separation" is a measure of social distance between two people. Six degrees of separation is the theory that each one of us is connected to each other with only six, or less, people between us.  Like a friend of a friend of mine, knows someone who knows someone who knows you.  Sometimes those chains are much shorter.

I've run into this sort of thing on Facebook a couple of times now.
A couple of months ago the mother of some of our ex-karate students became a "friend" of mine of on Facebook.  Immediately I saw that we had one friend in common, so I checked to see who that was.  It happened to be someone I've never actually met, but have been talking to online since well before Windows took over the computer world. We used to chat by way of the BBS forums back in the 1990's, and have kept in touch one way or another ever since.  It turns out these two women were neighbours and good friends in BC when they were very young. Both now live here in Ontario with me.

More recently a lady I've known for 36 years decided it would be interesting if each of her Facebook friends told us where they were actually born.  I spotted someone who listed Campbellford as her birthplace.  My Mom was from Campbellford, and I still have an aunt there.  I took the conversation into the background, and used the e-mail system to tell her who my uncle was, as I felt he would have been well known there.  It only took a moment before she told me her mom is his cousin.  That meant we were cousins too.  Then I tried to determine which side of my Mom's family we were related on, and by then she had her mom chatting with me also.  It turns out the Mother's grandmother was my grandfather's sister.  On top of that, the Mother said, her mother's grandfather was married to someone from the other side of my mom's family.  So here I have two new cousins, connected to me through both sides of my mother's family.  Actually, there are more cousins out there, since the girl I first found on Facebook has a couple of brothers.  The fun could just be starting.

I asked what the connection was between the girl from Campbellford, and my local friend.  It seems the met through some game online.  It's just by chance then, that I've now gotten connected to this branch of my family.  After chatting a bit we found there are several other coincidences running through our families. It's like a pattern or something.

And I really had to laugh when the Mother left a note on my page last night that mentioned someone else she found on my friends list.  Apparently he is her ex-father-in-law's grandson.  I only know him through the martial arts but it all goes to prove, we are all connected more closely than we seem to think.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Furniture Story -- The Final Chapter

As I've told you before, I bought new furniture in March, but there were a few problems with both the original delivery and the replacement set 

The third time they sent a truck, they just brought me a chair and a loveseat, as I had accepted the replacement couch from the second set they delivered.  The guy came in, checked to see what kind of problem I had with the pieces he was about to replace,  then he went out to the truck and proceeded to pull the plastic off the furniture right there, instead of bringing it indoors first. Good thing he did that too, as he found the same kind of damage. In fact one of the pieces was actually split right up one side.  This means that the store had sent a truck, with two men, to my house three times, delivering a total of eight pieces of furniture, and only one of those was undamaged. (well, there is a flaw with that one too, but it was of a different nature and I didn't notice it for the first couple of weeks).

The store phoned and was prepared to give us a further discount on the loveseat, but they were going to send a man out to repair the chair.  Apparently he had to find the fabric first.  I wasn't sure how they thought he could repair this problem here, and I was somewhat worried that he would make it worse, or more noticeable, especially since I knew they would have a hard time replacing the piece I had. And why did they think they could repair one piece, and not the other, when they both have the same problem?  After some thought, I suggested that hubby tell them we would accept the same amount of discount towards the chair as they were willing to give us for the loveseat.  They immediately claimed they couldn't do that, and offered a much smaller amount. Hubby pointed out that it would likely cost them more than we were asking to send the man and material out here to do the job.  After only a brief hesitation, he agreed, and we were given the added discount. 

When we went in to get the credit card adjusted once again, my hubby looked at the receipt they tried to give him and saw that they had split the amount so that it included the taxes.  He objected, and said they promised us a certain amount and that he wanted the taxes on that amount, not included in it. He pointed out that if someone something back to where he works, they would get back the original purchase price plus the taxes and that this should work that way too.  He must have had enough of this nonsense to have tried for this extra bit, but hey, it worked. 

The fellow took another two weeks to get here to put the protective spray on though, since the phone number we were originally given was for someone who has not covered this area in over two years.  

So, now I have new furniture that is actually mine, and protected, even if it is not in perfect shape. For what we ended up paying for it, when all is said and done, we made out better than the store did, I'm sure.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lepage Ultra Gel - Test One

I keep asking people if they have anything that's broken, and nobody seems least not at the moment.  Those who did said they have used Krazy Glue to fix their things in the past.  In some cases that worked, and in other cases it didn't.  I am testing a gel product from Lepage, that might be just what some of those folks need.  Lepage Ultra Gel a specially formulated rubber toughened instant adhesive that resists impact, shock, vibration and temperature extremes. It is outdoor safe and resistant to moisture and freezing temperatures.
It's good for bonding leather, cork, cardboard, wood, fabric, metal, ceramic, rubber & hard plastics.  Some of these things are usually difficult to stick together because of their uneven texture, or the fact that they may be porous, and would absorb other glues before they have a chance to work.  The gel stays nicely on the surface. You can even apply it to a vertical surface and it won't run, so you can glue things in places where it would normally be a nightmare to even think about trying to stick something..
As a member of The Insiders, a word of mouth advertising network, I was sent a kit and asked to test  Lepage Ultra Gel Control. I was impressed immediately with the size of the sample. They sent me three bottles of the product when I was half expecting a tiny tube.  These bottles come in a patented side-squeeze design for maximum control and air-tight storage. 
 I had two things that had lost the bond between a metal surface and a plastic surface, so today I decided it was time to take this product for a test run.  As I'm a known klutz, and didn't want to take any chances gluing my fingers together, I donned some protective gloves. The applicator worked so well though, that there was not a drop or drip anywhere where it should not have been by the time I was finished.  The bond took place within 15 to 30 seconds. It set within 10 minutes, and will completely cure in 24 hours.  There is no need to clamp anything.  My curling iron and lipstick once again have their plastic handles glued securely in place.

The Insiders also sent me a  something they want me to cut in half and then glue back together again. I'll tell you more about that when I do it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Double Standard

Today, while in Sears waiting for my hubby to try on some new clothes for work, I spotted a woman coming out of the change room.  A few minutes later, another one wandered in there without even hesitating at the doorway.  I checked, and the sign just said "Change Room" but it was the Men's Department, after all, so I didn't quite understand what I was seeing.

Later, as we sat having a beverage, I mentioned that there were women in the change room while he was in there.  He said, "I know," in such a way that I knew he was as amazed as I was.  There were, of course, individual doors on each of the change rooms, but it still seemed strange to see women traipsing in and out of a seemingly designated men's area.  I supposed that they were taking in clothes for their husbands to try on, or something. Hubby said one of them was a mother, helping her teenage son.  I do remember seeing them later at the cash. 

I commented that I sure wouldn't appreciate men wandering around in the women's change rooms, even if we did have individual doors. Of course, men wouldn't do that anyway. They wait quietly outside, if they are around at all. 

Then I started to thinking.  Mothers take little boys into the ladies washroom when they are shopping together. Men never take little girls into theirs. It's all a double standard and I guess guys are trained to accept that early in life.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wine, Food and Tall Ships

I am still running in arrears here. I got distracted by the floods out west. I have friends and family out there in the midst of all that mess so it's hard for me to tear myself away from the TV.  It all makes me very grateful that the catastrophe we suffered here years ago was just an Ice Storm.  I know that was really hard on some people, but at least we all still had our homes and the stuff in them by the time it was over. My heart goes out to all those in the flood zone.

Now to catch up.

Last Saturday we went to the Brockville for the 1000 Islands Wine and Food Festival. This is the third time I've been to that, but it if had been the first time, I doubt we would have ever gone again. I mentioned to one of the vendors that there didn't seem to be as much this year.  She said that that might be because of the date change.  They decided they wanted it to be the same day as the Tall Ships were in town, and when they changed the date, some of the vendors said they were already booked to be somewhere else. Oh, there was lots of wine, but only a few food places and we always enjoyed sampling so many different things in the past.  We did discover the Barley Mow had the best pulled pork sandwiches I've ever tasted so far though. We also took part in another cheese tasting. This one was put on by the Dairy Farmers of Canada.  It was the third time we have taken part in such an event, and we always discover some cheese we have never tasted before that we will definitely be looking for to buy in the future. This year it was the Boursin with Pepper from Fromagerie Bel Montreal, Quebec.  That stuff was so fantastic, I even managed to get another piece of it off one of the spare plates that had been set out.  I have since been instructed, by a chef I know, on a great way to serve it to guests, and when I get my hands on some, I just might have to have some company.

People had been told to park at the Municipal Complex where the Wine and Food Show was, and to take the shuttle bus down to see the Tall Ships.  But the line up was so long for the buses, that hubby decided we would drive down town and see if we could find parking anyway. We lucked out and found a spot just four blocks from some of the ships.  We didn't buy passports to go on board, which was just as well, as those line ups were long too. So while people stood in line and waited to board one boat or another, we walked all over the parkland and got to see them all.  I'm sure the folks in the line ups never got on half of them.  The weather was perfect that day, though I know
some people who went the next day, when it was raining still enjoyed it.  Apparently some of the ships even took people for a 90 minute sail, but those were booked up well in advance, as were the dinner cruises.  We had a really great day.

 I think the lady here is telling the children about the gun, but if you just look at the young soldier, you might think he has other intentions.

Basically, I've only worked my way through half of the photos I took that day so I'm sure I have one I will probably wish I had been able to show you . 

Life just gets in the way sometimes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Doors Open - Smiths Falls

Life has been very busy lately but I want to get caught up over the next couple of posts by sharing some of the places I've been to recently.

Open Doors Ontario is a cultural event that started in 2002. Doors of heritage buildings such as churches, factories, museums, town halls are opened for free tours. The different communities involved thankfully scatter their events over the calendar from April to October, so there is no conflict if you want to visit the buildings in more than one town. Try searching for a town near you by clicking Here.

On June 9th it was Open Doors in Smiths Falls.  We wanted to go and see what was being done to the Gallipeau Centre. That used to be Rideau Regional, a huge hospital complex for the mentally disabled. It housed over 2000 patients at one point, and employed a great many people from around the area. The government decided to close it down in 2009, and put the residents into various group homes. This was not a good thing, by my way of thinking, as many of these people had never known any other home. This facility had many people who were not capable of being integrated into society anyway, which is what group homes are for. 

I understand that there were classrooms for those who could be taught whatever they were capable of learning, and there was a theatre, a gym and a swimming pool, so it was really a community setting where these people could live a life as happy and productive as possible. After the government closed the place up, it sat empty for several years. The Ontario Provincial Police then used part of it while building their new headquarters nearby. Also when there was a big forest fire, or some other such disaster up north, a whole community of aboriginals was moved into the facility until they could go back home.  But mainly, it was completely deserted.

 Then along came Mr Joe Gallipeau, who purchased the entire site and began renovating it with plans to turn it into a seniors village. Construction has begun to turn these institutional buildings into beautiful living space.

He has added those grey extensions onto each apartment.  They are lovely three season rooms, with great cross ventilation.  I'm totally impressed with what he's done with these old buildings so far. 
On the ground floor of this one there will be a doctor's office, a physio therapist, and likely some other kind of medical office. Making such services so easily available to the residents of this new community was a brilliant idea.
Another building, not attached to the apartment complex, is where the pool, gym and theatre are.  The pool has been empty since the place closed down. Last winter there was a grant available through the Aviva Community Foundation, that various communities were competing for.  I was on Facebook each and every day reminding people to get their vote in for the Smiths Falls pool.  And it won :)  $99,000 was awarded to get it back up and running again.  It's expected to be reopened in July, they told us on our tour.  Meanwhile the gym has now reopened, and I see there is another room where they have instructors in such things as Pilates and Yoga, and another room which will be a daycare so people can leave their kids there while they get some exercise.  All that building will be open to the public and anyone can use it.  

The apartments are going to be rented out to people aged 55 and up, and they are renting them as fast as they can reconstruct them....or probably there is now a waiting list to get into them. Each apartment is actually larger than my own house, so I find the rents to be quite reasonable, and everything is included.  The only other expense anyone living there would have to cover would be their phone, cable and internet. I also learned that those services would be free for the first three months if you were the first tenant in any unit, and signed on to Cogeco.   I'd happily live there.  They would just have to have a shuttle bus into town and I'd be all set.
While we were on the grounds of the old Rideau Regional Centre, we also visited the Hart Laundry Services. As I said  this used to be a hospital so they had their own laundry building.  I think they used to also take care of the laundry from the Smiths Falls and Perth hospital too, but when the fascility closed down, they had to take their business elsewhere. Kemptville hospital is now using it though, and so are some of the nursing homes, etc.  It was interesting to be guided through how the system works.  It's all automated, of course, and they seem to have a very efficient system for running through as much as 5 tonnes of laundry a day without using excess water or electricity to do so.

Another building I wanted to see was an old train station that now functions as a theatre.  I could not picture how they did that, so I had to go see for myself.
They used some old girders to help support the place, and built a neat little bridge from the mezzanine to the actual theatre.  I'm quite impressed.  
A guide took us all through the place, back stage, the green room, the workshop, the whole bit. All while a production was actually taking place on the stage.  
A new train station has been built on the edge of town. The theatre is totally manned and repaired  by volunteers. If you are looking for a volunteer job, they likely could find a way to use your talents, so give them a call.

The only other place I wanted to see that day was the local radio station.  I now understand why they moved from a building outside of town into a couple of offices downtown. They simply don't need all the ticker tape and other news gathering equipment they used to need. I tried to get a picture in there, but it was too crowded.

In conjunction with Doors Open, the Smiths Falls Russel Street merchants decided to extend the fun a bit by having buskers and an art show, both Saturday and Sunday.  Shirley Mancino is a renowned artist, who is very versatile. On this occasion she decided to demonstrate various abstract techniques.  While I had personally tried some of what she did before, I did learn a few new tricks.  She's quite entertaining when she's demonstrating....or any other time, I imagine.  I certainly enjoyed the demo, and would love to take one of her workshops. If anyone else in the area ever wanted to go, I hope they let me know.  I'd need a ride to Wesport, where her studio is located. 

In my next post, I'll tell you about the Brockville Wine and Food Show, and the Tall Ships I saw that day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

She Nailed It

Once upon a time I had good strong finger nails. They could grow to great lengths and were easy to file and shape.  Then, about 2 or 3 years ago, I suddenly started to have some trouble. I kept breaking them off, for one thing. That was most unusual as I was definitely not abusing them as much as I used to.  Another thing that was happening was that I would get a little divot in them, in the very middle, at the tip of the nail. Then, when I'd try to file them, they would feather.

I tried Biotin.  No luck.  So, when I went for an annual physical, I mentioned this new nail problem to the doctor.  They usually check your nails, right?  Nails are supposed to be a good indicator of certain health problems.  She made it clear to me that, as difficult as it might be to hear, I was just getting older.  I asked her what it was my older body was lacking and causing my nails to be like this.  Apparently it is common and it just happens. At least, that's the answer I got.

Well, a young neighbour became an esthetician and when she heard the problems I was having she said that my nails had just dried out and that they needed to be moisturized .  I'm always using hand cream but I didn't necessarily make sure that I rub it into my nails.  I tend to use Yves Rocher products a lot, so I basically switched from the regular Arnica Essentiel Daily Moisturizing Hand Cream to their 2 in 1 Beautifying Hand & Nail Cream and made sure I rubbed it into the nails as well.

If I think about it, we had switched our heating system from oil to gas shortly before this problem began.  Gas heat is definitely dryer than oil heat, so now I use hand creams more often.  I paid attention and made sure to massage this new cream not only into my hands, but my nails also.  It wasn't long before I noticed a definite improvement.  Nails stopped breaking, and the little divots also stopped.  I still had to file gently and in one direction only, or I'd end up with feathering, but I was quite happy to see an improvement.

Now that the winter is over, and the heat isn't on (as much), my hands are not as dry as they had been during the winter months and I'm not using the hand cream as often as I was.  And guess what.....I've had divots out of the ends again, and the feathering has gotten worse. So, you see, the doctor was wrong to blame this problem on aging alone.  There is something you can do about it.  Moisturize those nails!  My young friend hit the nail on the head with her idea of how to treat the problem.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Promoting an Author

I have been a BzzAgent for many years and it is a well known fact that word of mouth is a great form of advertising.  I have had lots of experience telling others what I think of a product, service or publication. As a BzzAgent any talk is valuable. One does not need to try to sell the product, or even pretend to like it.  Just getting the word out so that others know it exists is all that has ever been required.

A couple of weeks ago author Sabrina Jeffries came up with a way to use her public to help her advertise.  She put out a call for some street ambassadors to help get the word out about her upcoming publications.  I figured, since I tend to review the books I read either for Good Reads or specific publishers anyway, I might as well apply. This is not a BzzAgent assignment, but with my experience, I figured I could handle it. Well, I was accepted, and am now part of  what she calls Sabrina's Dames and Dukes street team member!

Sabrina Jeffries is about to launch a  new series of books, (the Duke's Men series), and the first book is called What the Duke Desires. It will be in bookstores on June 18th.  In the meantime you might enjoy this exclusive excerpt.

I'd be interested to know what you think. 


What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket Books Paperback (On sale June 18, 2013)
$7.99 U.S.
ISBN-13: 978-1451693461