For Those Wondering

For those wondering whether Magellan carried salt as one of his provisions for his round-the-world voyage (1517 – 1521) . . .

The list of equipment shows utensils of iron and copper, and the provisions included seemingly ample quantities of wine, olive oil, vinegar, beans, lentils, garlic, flour, rice, cheese, honey, sugar, anchovies, sardines, salt cod, salt beef, and salt pork.
– Armada de Molucca, “The Great Explorers”, Samuel Eliot Morison

 . . . the answer is, “Yes, but integrated into cod, beef, pork, anchovies, and sardines.” Me, I might have traded some of that salted cod for more wine, since a vanishingly small amount of the former is a sufficiency for me, and what constitutes an ample amount of the latter is in the mouth of the drinker.

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Wasp Wings

I’ve mentioned before how the camera shows me things I can’t otherwise see:

  • By getting me closer
  • By stilling the inherently flitty
  • By giving me the gift of time to look

This week’s wasp photos weren’t tack sharp of their heads and antennae and hairy bodies (Wasps have body hair? Who knew?), but I got several good looks at their wings. As with dragonflies, they have amazingly delicate stained-glass-style wings that at the right angle catch the light. That’s not my first observation when they’re diving into my glass of wine in the backyard, crawling over my plate of food, or buzzing my head, so again, thank goodness for cameras.

3-photo collage of wasp wings showing structure and colour

And from another day . . .

Close-up of wasp showing body hair and membranous wingsNose-to-nose with a wasp

And finally, a wasp with what appears to be restless-leg syndrome . . .


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As I gathered up my stuff before exiting the examining room I saw this sign above the table. I apologize for the fuzziness.

Sign urging patience in doctor's office

What a good reminder for impatient patients, eh? Stop for  a moment to consider why the doctor might be keeping you waiting. Some day, that person who needs extra time could be you. True dat.

And yet . . .

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Avocado’s Number

No, no, get a grip, Isabel. It’s Avogadro’s number, and I haven’t thought much about it since I first encountered it in high-school Chemistry class, lo, these 50 years ago now. Nor did I know much about it even back in the day.

I never knew, for example, that Avogadro was an Italian lawyer’s last name, or if I did know, it did not stick.

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The Philosophers’ Stone: Redux


Imagine that.

Each of these Walmart wedges carries only one message, not three.

Photos showing the other two sides of the Philosophers' Stones

So much for the puzzle of trying to figure out the sequence. But a new puzzle emerges. Who would pay $13.97 for just one philosophical statement?

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Buddy & Me: Hello? Isabel?

Does deadline-driven work attract driven people? Maybe. Present company excepted, of course.

When I look back on life in Proposal Land, I wonder why I ever worked like that. On the rare occasions that I venture back, I find myself doing it again.

This concludes the virtual book-launch for my memoirs. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Buddy & Me: Hello? Isabel?


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Buddy & Me: If You’re Going to Fight

Working with other people means encountering behaviours formed by (or reinforced by) backgrounds different from our own. Sometimes that’s hard; sometimes it’s just funny. It’s usually mutual.

Buddy & Me: If You're Going to Fight


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The Bug Days of Summer

As we edge into September, it seems the dog days of summer may be behind us. In Ottawa, this is when I start to get edgy. For someone with seasonal instincts honed in Alberta, the trees are still too green, the flowers still too flowery. It isn’t that I want autumn to be upon us, exactly, but it feels like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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The Philosophers’ Stone

Drat. Now I have to go back to Walmart.

I was printing some photos — I know, very 20th century of me — and while I waited for the magic machine to spit them out, I wandered off to buy furnace filters. I know, I do know how to have a good time.

On my way back, I stopped dead in my tracks. I mean, who expects a philosophical moment at Walmart? And in Home Decor?

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