Thursday, 23 March 2017

We have a new vacuum!

It's a miracle! New carpet
With 3 cats, we really need to have a working vacuum. I've regaled my faithful readers with the story of the new carpet. I reviewed an excellent book on the history of carpets: Revere, Glenn; All About Carpets
A new carpet needs an excellent working vacuum!

About to vacuum said new carpet, the old vac got sick. It dates from 2005, as I recall. I took it apart, cleaned it out, replaced the bag, and all was not well. I'd replaced the belt a couple of months ago. The carpet book says you must vacuum a carpet regularly as it increases its life.

Long story short, hubby bought a new one in February. It is amazing! Hooray for entrepreneurs. He took the initiative, researched it, and went for it. (You can read a bit more below!)

Image result for dyson vacuumIt was on sale, $100 off. It was a goodly chunk of change, but with vacuums you get what you pay for. I had to put it together, but it was pretty easy. Then I used it on the carpet... It is so light, much easier to navigate amongst chair legs, and when you want to use it in a tight corner, the red handle lifts out, and you can use the wand for suction. For anyone with a bad back, it is priceless.!

You can see what the vac picked up. All I have to do is go outside, pop a button in the orange top, and the bottom of the canister opens, and out falls the cat hair! You can see what it picked up the first time I used it. I was shocked. It is amazing. And I'm worth it!

Shoddy goods

This one is a great story. Sir James Dyson began inventing a better vacuum. Unlike many of the products in the big box stores, this one is a quality item. It does what he says it does.
I am highly offended by stores, like CheapMart, selling shabby goods. A lawn mower that stops working after a year. Clothes that fall apart. They demand cheaply-made goods, which ends up paying someone in a foreign country a paltry sum to work in a shabby factory. That $10 t-shirt,or cheap tie people crow about, means that foreign workers aren't paid a living wage. Then there are the costume jewelry products, which poison its wearers.

Toxic jewelry: Cadmium found in Ardene, Aldo products - Health ...

Sir James Dyson

This UK engineer inventor wanted better than this. In the late seventies, he began researching a better vacuum. He had to sell his vacuums through Japan, online, since the big companies did not want the buying of filter bags to become obsolete. He founded Dyson in 1993. Following his success, Hoover copied his design, and he sued them, earning a whopping £4 million in damages. Hah!

He has done very well.
According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2016, his net worth is £5 billion,[3] 
He's also opened a technology institute in the UK:

"The Dyson institute will fill a vacuum in education"
This will help to plug the severe shortage of engineers, but more importantly equip students with the mindset of risk-taking that is so central to the success of his company.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Critters, cats, cardinal, clocks, Cervidae, and curling


We still have art on our front window, thanks to the grandies. As I look out at the deer eating my bird seed, three things come to mind. 
1) I ought to change the bird feeders. The deer are way too used to it, and spring is coming. They like my hostas.
2) I can't take good photos with the drawings on the windows!
3) Daisy wants in!


As I watched the yard, there was a silence after a shadow passes across the yard. The hawk, on its way by.

Daisy is happier with the melting snow, as well as the warmer March temperatures. We've had several good walks.


Caitlin found a man who could repair our cuckoo clock! It sat in the cottage for many years. The kids have fond memories of it during our summer visits. He also fixed our mantle clock. I'm so happy. The cuckoo clock was in the cottage for 40 years. The mantle clock plays Westminster, with a beautiful sound.


As I looked out into the backyard, I spotted what must be two yearlings, twins, grooming one another! So sweet!
Twins from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.


Hubby is watching Women's Worlds Curling #WWCC2017! It keeps him off the street! Sadly, the games are on at 9 p.m., 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., most days. We can tape it. TSN doesn't show anything other than the Canadian women playing, even a big game. This morning's game is against Sweden.

Sweden is 6:1; Canada is 7:0. We have to eschew the news until we watch the game. It's tricky! JB delivered Meals on Wheels, with the radio on, but avoiding sports news all morning!

The is how they repair the stone. I thought it interesting.

Our Rachel Homan, Team Canada: Gets Cracking! They have ads everywhere, these days!

And, yes, I know you don't like curling, Red. You're much more likely to be out skating or birding, but it keeps hubby amused. I spent Monday resting my knee and watching the US hearings regarding the FBI/NSA and Russian wiretapping. It's entertaining, spooky, and fascinating, all at the same time. Methinks it is all unravelling.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Grandsitting March Madness: Going Home

I thought I was done with posts, but then remembered I had photos on the camera I had not yet processed. My knee is better, thank you all who asked. It was a day later I discovered my elbow was sore. Thankfully, I was wearing my long coat and that cushioned my fall somewhat.

They left on Friday, and the place is so quiet! I know why people age 60 shouldn't have kids, though.

Grandsitting March Madness Day 1

Grandsitting March Madness Day 2
Grandsitting March Madness Day 3
Grandsitting March Madness Day 4
Grandsitting March Madness Day 5


Great hilarity ensued. They were fantastic helping pack up the car.

A last goodbye. Annabelle misses her!

Poor Grampa was about to leave, they needed one more photo-op to demonstrate how sad they were to leave!!! Such drama queens! I know they were happy to get home.

A fun afternoon on the frog pond.
Jos on the frog pond from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Book Review: The Girl at the Bar

Nicholas Nash
Nash used Firefly Books Publishing. You really need a strong editor if you use a self-publishing, on-demand agency. I offered some suggestions, as well as editing help to a friend who is entertaining the idea of publishing a book.

It's not a bad read. There is tension, suspense and lots of intrigue.

The plot entertained.
The sex scenes were over-the-top for me, but that's what some people want! I just skimmed...
The violence is typical of the male mystery authors, I believe. Again, I skipped through some of this.

There is some interesting science.

My hubby has cancer, and in our journey managing his cancer, I've done some research on cells and the wild cell growth of cancerous cells. The science is believable, and seems sounds, as far as I know! State-of-the-art cellular research, to combat cancer cell growth, was the goal of the characters. It was intriguing. We know how much big pharma screws those requiring expensive drugs.

I drew examples from a book I reviewed on cancer, I've reviewed three on this topic. It helped me understand the what goes on at the cellular level. (Johnson, The Cancer Chronicles)

The characters were clearly differentiated, and well-developed. I cared what happened to them. There were strong females role models, including female scientists. This is heartening, my daughter having her M.Sc.! The characters were from various ethnic groups and cultures, which is the norm in science. I appreciated that.

A couple of edit fails: commas in particular. It drives me nuts. I loathe having to go back and reread and wonder the intent of the dialogue.
"That's odd, wouldn't you say?" Roberta asked as she check on Timothy again who was surprisingly silent today evening. 
She was asking Gustav to give her a promise. And he giving a promise to Christie.
 Promise me Gustav.
I promise Christie. 
"Julie speaking." should be "Julia, speaking." when she answers the phone. She is not Julia Speaking!

Some of the alignment was off on some pages. It was centre-aligned, except for a couple of alignment fails (p. 331). It's disconcerting, although most people wouldn't notice it. Mind you, I have a lot of eagle-eyed retired blog buddies and/or teachers who read voraciously!!!

Nicholas Nash is an avid reader and traveler. He credits interesting moments from his life, entertaining stories he’s heard, unforgettable people he’s met, and striking places he’s traveled – as well as his creative, nagging alter ego – with penning his first novel, The Girl At The Bar. Nash resides in New York City with his wife and three children.

Coincidentally, a comma was used in a court case.

Commas are important!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Grandsitting March Madness Day 5

Grandsitting March Madness Day 1
Grandsitting March Madness Day 2
Grandsitting March Madness Day 3
Grandsitting March Madness Day 4

Well, the last day of our week ended with a bit of a bang. It started at 7:00, with Wild Kratts!


Isabelle poured up her orange juice, which looked green in the jar. "First we stir it to dissolve it all." Then she pours right to the top: "I'm being very exact." It was a fitting St. Patrick's Day drink!
I'm adopted, but her paternal great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandfather were born in Ireland, one in county Mayo.

9:15 Time for a quick read. Isabelle, in grade 1, is a voracious reader, just like her big sister. She read a few pages of Harry Potter to me. I love how they change as they grow! She loves the Hannukah book, and read Mulberry Street to herself. She likes grampa's cartoon books, too. The Big 5-0.


While Jos did homework, Isabelle rebuilt one of her airplanes. She added to the wings. Explaining, "I'm going to do an experiment. I'll add these, and see how far it goes with the added wings, compared to the one with regular wings! I'll test it one more time."
She marked the distance traveled with clothes pins. "So, I think this way is the better way!"

She's a great scientist!
Her airport hangar that she, Jos and I built yesterday, is the place where she stored the DVD clicker!

10:45 a.m. Packed, dressed, hair brushed, our work is done: movie time! Ever After: A Cinderella Story, a different take on Cinderella, with Angelica Huston. That was deemed boring. We switched to BRAVE! It was fun, even though I'd only taped part of it!

Then, a break for lunch! Veggies and then, they made their own sandwiches.

Daisy is exhausted, although she found time to chase her tail on the railing, much to Grampa's chagrin. She slipped, and nearly went over.

After lunch, Grampa had been shopping, again. "Close Eyes!" with the Irish Viking! Daisy was interested. There was something for Momma and Papa, too!

After the movie, outdoors they went. "You insisted," they said! No coats. I know. It was warm in the shelter of the southward-facing deck.

I talked them into sweaters, and they both ran back to the house for mittens, sigh. A snowball fight ensued. Thankfully, I used to play softball!

As Jos and I were hanging out on the bench, Isabelle swung around us, going down the hill into the forest, and snuck back behind us to fire a snowball. The planning and patience amazes me! She circled around, almost 360˚, to get us!  I knew she was coming, but didn't expect her from Oliver's Lot.

Outdoor play from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Down to the frozen frog pond, again. They went deep into the forest.

The Afternoon Ended With a Bang

Eventually, at 2:00 we thought we'd go back, Izzy was already up the hill. I had a tragic slip on the ice, and fell on my knee. I hobbled up to the house. A bit of a change of plans: we were going to meet with their parents in Stittsville. Instead, Grampa drove them into the city, while I stayed at home, rested, and iced my knee.
March Break is over!