Thursday, March 3, 2011

Coyotes in Trenton

not a Trenton coyote, but looks the same :)
Driving home from the Metro a few days ago I saw a coyote on Dundas. At least I thought it was a coyote, by process of elimination (wolf? In Trenton - nah!, not red nor long-eared like a fox, definitely not a dog of any kind - look at the bushiness of its tail...).

Today I read in the local paper that there have been coyote sightings around the area I saw my guy. It is thought that there may be coyote dens in Hanna Park and on Mount Pelion because they are wooded locales. People are even feeding them!!!

Coyotes are dangerous! Don't feed them! And for goodness sakes, don't approach them! (Here, coyote, c'mon, boy....)

We are asked to report any sightings, but that will lead to them being killed by the gun-wielding powers-that-be as well as, no doubt, the gun-wielding lunatics-that-be. So, I'm not phoning mine in.

I wish we all could live in harmony! Sigh.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Belleville safest city for drivers

Belleville's No. 1!

Allstate's 2010 Ontario Safe Driving Study released its stats on the 50 cities surveyed for the report. The 3 year study shows that Belleville had the lowest frequency of car collisions in all of Ontario. The highest? Brampton. Ajax, Maple, Thornhill and Toronto came in at 49th, 48th, 47th, and 46th place.

Driving in Belleville a couple of times a week, I can attest to its safety. Of course, Trenton is even safer, but it wasn't studied by Allstate. Trenton drivers are the most polite, considerate, friendly people I've ever been privileged to share the road with in over 40 years of driving. Granted, I learned to drive on Long Island and spent my early driving years driving to and in New York City every week!

Moving to Toronto brought more of the same and I learned to become a competitive driver, always looking for alternate routes to get around traffic and knowing the streets and their ins and outs like a cab driver. Every drive into the thick of things became a game of survival of the quickest thinker.

Fast forward to Trenton, where drivers let you in, flash their lights at 4-way stops to signal "you go first", slow down at yellow lights, don't tailgate, and generally use their cars for the very reasons cars were invented. Of course, there are a few exceptions - most often young men (and sometimes women) in pickups - but they are merely a blip in the drivescape that is Trenton.

Belleville, a pleasant 20 minute drive away, and Brighton, 13 minutes away - two of my favourite places to go  - are both driver-friendly.

The Allstate study is yet another happy reason to live here!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another day, another poutine!

Today's poutine comes to you from Mike's fry truck. It used to be my favourite poutine, but now TJ's is. Mrs. Clarke (TJ's) closed a little early today, so Mike's it was.

Youngest son and I were on our way home from Starbucks. It was the last day of their 2 for 1 special and I took him along for double grande creme brulées with whipped cream, which were so yummy and warming on this chilly day.

On the way home, driving alongside the Bay of Quinte on Hwy. 2, we talked about this and that and enjoyed mom and son time (I probably far more than he!) during the trip. He's such a fine young man! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Canadian Tire

My shopping experience at Canadian Tire is often, nay - usually! - fraught with frustration.

Today I went to purchase a pot, a cooking pot which was on sale at 70% off. On my way to the pot aisle, I passed by the silicone oven products, like baking sheets, muffin, cake and loaf pans, etc. There at half price - $4.99 instead of $9.99 - were two rose-shaped muffin trays (I keep wanting to call them tins, but, of course, they're silicone, so that doesn't make sense), the bottom of each cup molded into the shape of a top of a rose.

I put them in my cart, found my pot (and a small frying pan for my daughter) and proceeded to checkout. The rose-muffin pans rang up as $8.99 each. I pointed out that they were supposed to be $4.99. The cashier went to look, called me over, and indeed, they were $8.99, a clearance price.

Only, they had been placed above the $4.99 sign, which I (and probably others) assumed, without putting on our reading glasses to see the fine print describing the item, went with the rose-shaped pans. All the other silicone containers were on sale at half price.

So, all right. Did I want them? asked the cashier. No, I didn't. She had to call in a manager to process the refund and, after obtaining the printout, asked me if I wanted a copy. Well, sure, since she seemed to have a couple in her hand.

So, without telling me she had to go across the store to the copy machine in order to make one (!), off she trotted. She returned with a copy in print so small, no one but the eagle-eyed could read it, even with glasses. (Why was the copier set to print so tiny?)

I'm telling my tale only to illustrate the niggling little irritations which fall into each of our days. The cashier was lovely and efficient (except that she could have told me she was leaving to make a copy, not just handing one over, giving me the option to say not to bother). I have trouble standing up for long periods (like 5 minutes), so waiting became an ordeal for me. I had already put my cart back, so had nothing to lean on.

Canadian Tire and I have a love-hate relationship. I have bought so much stuff from them over the decades and much of it has broken, either right away or soon after purchase. It's a hassle to drive back, so I put it off until it's too late to get a  refund.

The products that I have purchased that have been really good are few. Still, I'm attracted to the store every time their weekly catalogue arrives with its sales items prominent on the front and back covers. There's always the urgency of getting there early the first day of a weekend sale, in order not to 'be disappointed'. They've got their marketing technique down pat.

I wish I weren't such a glutton. I still have the table saw I bought at Canadian Tire 6 years ago (at great savings) under my bed , unopened.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baltic Christmas Fair

Today was a beautiful day. I left Trenton early in the morning for Toronto, and the drive was smooth and uneventful - in other words, perfect!

Youngest son helped me set up my table at the Christmas Fair in the Estonian House (my home away from home) and I tried to arrange my wares in a pleasing, accessible way.

I am not good at tablescapes, and although I've been displaying things at shows, fairs, and conferences for over 40 years, I still suck at it! What I need is a good sales table designer.

The day went so well, and a lot of friends and acquaintances were greeted and chatted with. Many folks don't know I make jewelry and knit things, so it was a revelation to them to see me with hundreds of pieces of handmade earrings, bookmarks, necklaces, legwarmers, etc.

Two halls at the Estonian House had Christmas fairs going concurrently, so there were a lot of people there and lots of children to enliven the atmosphere. In other parts of the House brownie meetings were taking place and Estonian kindergarten was in full Saturday swing, so when the kids were picked up, many parents took them through the fairs.

Some of my best customers are Brownies and Girl Guides. They love buying things with the colours of our flag - blue, black, and white - and they love my bookmarks.

Ironically, when I sell at craft shows that mostly seniors attend, I repeatedly hear "Oh, I don't read anymore" when they see my bookmarks. At craft sales with child shoppers (I'm amazed at how they pull out 20 dollar bills to pay for their chosen items), my bookmarks attract young girls as flowers attract bees. Mostly 8, 9, 10, and 11, these lovely girls are voracious readers who inhale books.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Trenton Craft Guild Christmas Fair - Day 2

Mike's poutine
I played with it, separating the curds from the fries, to see the
shear amount of cheese curds Mike heaps on his 'regular' order
The best part of the day was the poutine I ate after the craft fair was over. Mike's portion of curds is about half the size of the package of curds I buy at the supermarket ($5.58) or gas station's store (same amount - $3.99).

I snapped before-and-after pics after pushing the fries to one side and the curds to the other just to assess the amount of cheese that comes with a regular order. I had already eaten about 10 fries and several smaller bits of cheese curd before I took the 'after' pic. This costs $6.25. If Mike's charges tax, I don't know about it, as it must be incorporated into the price.

Oh, and how about the Trenton Craft Fair?

I sold one bookmark at the craft sale. Today's total: $8. Together with yesterday's $36 (5 bookmarks), I made $44 in sales. I didn't sell a single pair of earrings, nor any necklaces, bracelets, or legwarmers. The two-day table cost me $75. Cost of my materials: $10-$12 dollars. Cost of labor: $0. Last year at this event I totaled around $175 in sales, with the cost of participation being the same $75.

All I had to sell then were bookmarks, legwarmers and scarves. No one bought any legwarmers or scarves las year, but a number of people bought bookmarks. One enthusiastic lady chose 9 or 10 bookmarks to give to her friends at work as little Christmas presents.

I don't think I have the personality for such fairs. The ebullient 20-somethings across the room from me did quite well. They also happened to know everybody who came by. That helps. I did really well last year at a sale where I knew everyone. That same sale is coming up next weekend. I'm hoping for good results.