2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


quaco light

This is West Quaco Lighthouse, and one of the very few photos in my album that is a little photoshopped. I was into that for a while, two years ago.

Quaco is one of my two favourite lighthouses. The other being Nubble Light in Maine — the most photographed lighthouse in the world, or at least, so they say. I’ll come back to that another time.

The other day, my husband was going through old photo albums and came across a really old picture of Quaco lighthouse … it still had paint on it and looked so fine. I wish they could do something about it … the setting is absolutely fabulous but not many people seem to know about it.

Last night, I was working on another post for today, but I feel that it’s still a little premature so I’ll just let it hang around the drafts folder for a couple of days or so.

For the first time in, I don’t know how many, days, we’re seeing blue skies and sunshine! The fog we had stayed unusually long and was to thick I couldn’t see the street down below. This might be a day for some picture taking.

Here’s Quaco, in case this picture made you want to visit…


this is also Saint John! I took this photo during a photo walk we had a couple of years ago. A photographer’s nightmare, one would think?! Here it’s almost impossible to get a clear shot of a building without power lines. Of course, you can always manipulate them with the help of Photoshop or whatever editor at hand, but in this case, I wanted to show it as it is.

This summer, they’re fixing up Union Street (not in this photo), and I hear that all power lines will be buried. That’s a good start. The traffic situation uptown … especially around lunch hour … is insane, due to this road work, but I’m sure it will be really nice once they’re finished in October/November. Saint John is not only the Captial of Fog but also of POTHOLES. The roads are atrocious and to drive on aforementioned Union Street you should have at least a 4X4 or some terrain vehicle.

Doesn’t matter … I love Saint John anyway … it’s a gem!



These last few days, there’s been some re-arranging going on — both in my ‘real’ surroundings and my digital world.

When we moved in to this apartment, having emptied and left the house in Quebec, we had the chance to start from scratch almost, as we brought very little stuff with us. We said to each other that this place will be entirely for us … arranged with no regards to «what others might think» — we don’t have any plans to entertain here in this little apartment. So … only what was convenient for us, no matter what it looked like.

The drawing room is shaped like an L. One part is the dining area, nothing much to do about that part. Then there’s always the TV-set … you get sort of stuck with that, unless you have very long cables ‘n stuff. Besides, I don’t think we’d placed it elsewhere anyway. This picture is from when we’d just moved in and didn’t have any stuff at all. Dining area off to the right… outside the picture.

Gerry has some back problems, so he wanted his desk and a good, ergonomic chair. I wanted a couch, witch lots of cushions where I could curl up as much as I wanted. This was placed in the middle of the room, which caused a space to be unused … not taken advantage of at all, behind the couch. This has irked me, because that space tended to be a place where you put stuff that you didn’t know what to do with.

At the time, I had the desktop computer and that got a room of its own. Guess that worked alright … even though, deep down, I didn’t feel all that good about having to go in to another room each time I wanted to go online even though I had my little ‘sanctuary’ in there.

Then my laptop came into play in September, two years ago. When I unpacked it, I put it on the coffee table in front of my couch, and it never left. I’ve spent two years on that couch, I was almost growing roots there.

To make a long, tedious story a little shorter, we’ve now moved my desk into the drawing room … that space is now fully taken advantage of … by me! I have a very nice «computer corner» here behind the couch, I can still watch TV at the same time when I want to, or gaze out the windows. It was very hot [still is] when we made the move — I was sweating gumdrops, but I felt very pleased with the result.

Before I got totally lost in the description of our computer spaces, I mentioned the digital world too. Well … I don’t know how many of you who use Gmail as your major email client, but I’ve done that since day one. Now Google is going to do some general overhaul of the interface so that you’ll get the same experience no matter which part you’re in … Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs even Blogger … and you can already get a preview of it in Gmail by changing the theme. There’s a post about it here. So I did that, and it looks great. The bar with the buttons follow you down as you scroll, for one, which is very convenient.

WordPress released a new theme last night, that I’ve applied to my blog here. Usually I find something that I don’t like about those themes — most often that the main column is too narrow for my taste, or the navigation bar is pitch black. This new theme was all to my liking.

Do we need another social network?

Tuesday, Google released Google+ to a small group of Beta testers. I said to a friend ‘I’m so glad I’m over that type of stuff … a couple of years ago, I would have been all over the place, looking for an invitation’. This wasn’t entirely true — yesterday … the more I read about it, the more curious I got. It didn’t take long before I had my grappling hooks out, looking for an invitation. Eventually got one from some journalist in NYC, so now … instead of blogging as usual this morning, I checked out Google Plus.

So far, I feel that it has great potential. I just wish it had come earlier, instead of their other sorry attempts at social networking [Wave, Buzz]. This could have been a great thing, but I just don’t see people migrating in droves from Facebook where they have all their friends and games.

One of the things that used to make me feel a little uncomfortable about FB is that I have very different groups of people on my list. I have ‘real-life-people’ … be it family, former co-workers et cetera, people from here in Saint John … and also a large group of ‘online buddies’… people that I’ve met online over the years. Okay — a while back FB introduced ‘groups’, which made it a little easier to post to the different groups but I don’t know that it has really taken off.

In this new Google+ they chose to call it ‘Circles’. You can make up as many different circles as you want. For example, I have a big group now, of people from way back in the heydays of FriendFeed, that I’ve reconnected with. That’s a lot of fun! But as the invitation system starts to work again, I’ll be able to invite my friends and online buddies.

I’m in no way finished exploring this … just wanted to write a few lines about it as I saw the WordPress team’s suggestion for today. I don’t know the answer to the question … ‘need another social network?’ I don’t need anything, but I’m always up for something new, especially when it comes from Google. It’s nicely integrated with my Gmail, so  that I see a discreet number in the top bar, telling me how many new posts there are in ‘my circles’.

«Sparks», is something that one could turn into a filtered news feed. That’s something that I’ve missed in my Twitter stream, where I’m subscribed to a number of news sources.

Like I said … I wouldn’t foresee any greater migration from Facebook, BUT I think there are people who are getting fed up with it, who are beginning to feel it’s getting old … irked by the constant alterations of the privacy settings. For them, this could be a great, new alternative!

For the moment, I can’t invite anyone — I think they got overwhelmed last night, so they shut down the invitation system for a while.


Yesterday, was nothing out of the ordinary. It was hot but a little hazy, we went to a beach, came home again, watched TV.

I think it was around 11 o’clock, the fire alarm out in the corridor went off! Last time that happened was about two years ago and that time was the first time I heard that alarm. Then … that time … I was sitting in the room where we have the a/c, had the door closed, when I heard some faint kind of ‘ringing’. After a while I stood up to go and find out where the sound came from. That time it was something in the laundry room … a dryer that was over-heated, I think.

This time, I knew right away what the sound was. I get immensely scared but kept my cool. We went out in the corridor, checked the stair wells but couldn’t smell any smoke. Back inside the apartment, I dragged out the transport cage for McDuff and put him in there … told Gerry to bring him, money, car keys et cetera. Grabbed my purse where I have all important documents, and went down.

Met the super downstairs and he said it was most likely a false alarm. We stood outside … a few people … when our buys from fire-house No. 5 arrived. One truck from downtown came too, so there were three of them at one point. This is a really big apartment building, and this could have been a huge distaster.

What was striking now, about all this, was how FEW we were there! There are 160 units in this building and we weren’t more than ten, twelve people outside?! Another thing is … only here on our floor there are at least two or three people who would need assistance. I don’t know if the older people ever woke up from the alarm — I think it’s not very loud.

It was nothing, and the firefighters left after only a few minutes, but it was a reminder! How often haven’t I thought about this during those nights when I don’t fall asleep right away — about what I would grab if there was a fire. This time I would have come away with my cat and my purse. That’s good for a start, but in this case I would have had time to put both my laptop and camera in the backpack. There are other things too … all the DVD:s with pictures, for example, little souvenirs… Somehow all this should be crystal clear — perhaps a ready-made, big bag just waiting… What was more intriguing was all the people who didn’t even get out, many were standing on their balconies, asking what was going on!

Outside the elevators they have put up signs about what to do, where to go … where the fire escapes are, and the extinguishers … there’s one right out side our door … so I think it’s pretty well organized that way. It’s the people who need to think more about it!

This blue jay I put in here merely as a ‘decoration’. I was so happy to see him the day before yesterday … it’s been ages. I had peanuts, but he wouldn’t come down because there were too many kids there, running around, yelling.

Be safe, bloggeroos!

when sleep won’t come

Last night, I just couldn’t fall asleep. Somehow, I sensed it almost right away, that this would be one of those nights. The humidity is pretty high so that didn’t help.

For the longest time, I remained in bed and my thoughts kept wandering. I even thought about blogging, and what if I’d come up with a topic that everyone is interested in … I mean, really interested — so that they’d flock to my blog, waiting for the next post LOL ! In one way, it would be kind of cool — I’d get lots of comments to reply to. My next thought was ‘what would people really be interested in??’ If I knew the answer to that one, I’d really have it made.

When you live in a big place, you easily get the impression that they’re only interested in themselves and if you’re in a small village they seem to be interested in other people … their neighbours. The smaller the place, the higher the level of gossip. I remember a couple I used to know … each Saturday, they went to have supper with his mother, a few kilometres away from where they lived. She suggested to him that they should start taking a walk there instead of taking the car … so that perhaps the heavy supper would settle on their walk back. He thought about this, and said ‘no’, he couldn’t do that … not because he didn’t want to but because they’d had to walk past the farmer’s house and then the farmer would think they had been drinking and couldn’t take the car.

That little story goes to show how people care about other people’s thoughts in really small places … whereas in a big city nobody would care at all! Both concepts of living have their advantages I guess — the freedom of doing whatever you feel like in the big city, compared to the sense of security you get in the small place, where everybody knows one another. The loneliness that the anonymity could bring … you’re never as lonely as in a big crowd … the annoyance of constantly being judged in the little ‘fish bowl’, where people never forget.

I’ve tried them both. Well … not a really big city, of course but still … fairly big. My home-town is small … the mentality there used to be like the little village, almost. With the job I had, I knew a tremendous amount of people. Being away for a few years causes you to lose the grip and of course, as time goes by you age too. Once I moved back there after four years, and it took quite some time to get back into the swing of things … but I did, eventually.

It sort of tickles my mind to think about what it’s like to live in an immense city like New York City. I would think that when it’s such a huge place and so many people, it must be broken down to smaller units … blocks, perhaps. When you watch TV-shows like Seinfeld or DOC [the one with Billy Ray Cyrus] you easily get the impression that it’s all so friendly and they all know one another 🙂

Thunder & Lightning

We had a bit of a thunder & lightning storm here yesterday. As we sat at the kitchen table, watching it, it struck me that this would have been the ideal time to make an attempt at lightning photography — it wasn’t raining! I’ve never even thought about it before, I didn’t even go out on the balcony to try but instead I spent some time last night, reading up on it.

We live on the top floor of the building and there’s no roof over the balcony. Most of the times there’s heavy rain and strong winds associated with those storms. That came much later yesterday. Saw some spectacular lightning bolts as we have a panoramic view of the neighbourhood.

It wasn’t any big, huge thunder storm. Nothing like when we were here, just visiting, before we moved here. We stayed in a cheap motel and one night we got a real, good thunder & lightning storm. The building shook and it’s one of the two thunder storms I remember the best. The first one took place in Florida when I was there with Mum.

When I was a kid, I was terrified of thunder. I was outside when it struck a nearby transformer and I fell to the ground. Nowadays, I’m not as scared … I do have a healthy respect for it, but I like to watch them. How small you feel when the forces of nature are at play!

Now, after all my reading yesterday, I know theoretically how to set the camera. Should we ever be as ‘lucky’ again, to get a thunder & lightning storm without rain, I will try. Having read all that, I still think that many of the great lightning shots we see online are pure luck.

Here’s an old picture … it’s of Lac Saint Jean in Quebec and I shot it with our very first, little camera. It’s one of my own photos that I really like and I remember well what it felt like when I shot it. There was a thunder storm approaching, everything was completely calm … and quiet! Nothing was moving … it was like everything had been put on hold.

This Sunday has just started, and it’s foggy. It’s still a blank slate…