Food processor hack

My Hamilton-Beach food processor is about 3 years old.  I use it often enough for me to keep it but not often enough for it to break.  Until last week when the safety lock broke.  The inaccessible safety lock is spring-loaded inside the handle of the bowl.  Aside from the metal spring, the rest is made of plastic.  A tiny nub broke off somehow inside the handle and the whole thing collapsed.  I couldn’t fix it and I didn’t feel like exerting the energy necessary to find a replacement part.  But I had to do something about it because the food processor won’t work otherwise.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work: when the lid is locked in place, it pushes down on the safety lock; the safety lock pushes down from the handle into the base and unlocks the blades.

Without that safety lock in place, it’s a perfectly good appliance except that the blades won’t turn.  I didn’t want to replace the whole food processor for one tiny part.  So I had to figure something out.  Googling gave me the idea of shoving a piece of cork in.  Sounds good but I don’t have a source for a random piece of cork.  But it got me thinking about how I could hack it.

Instead of going in from the top, I hacked from the bottom.  Using locking/clamping pliers, I pulled out the safety tab and clamped it in place on one side.  Then I used Lepage glue to get it to stay.  I left it overnight and then switched to the other side and repeated that. After 2 days and a few extra dabs of glue, I felt I/it was ready to try.

It was a success!!!  I was nervous the whole time that it might suddenly shut off but it didn’t.  I chopped up sweet potatoes with spices and ground beef.  I am safety-conscious enough to make sure the lid is locked before I turn it on.  As long as I am super careful not to hit the buttons while the lid is off, I can continue to use my food processor until a legitimate part gives out.

I love that I own locking pliers!

Live on,


Clean your charge port!

I have not been having luck with cheap knockoff versions of Apple charge cords. They work for a little bit and then they don’t work; they work sometimes but not all the time. Today I got brand new charge cords in the mail. I plugged my iPhone 6 in and the cord worked! And then it didn’t. Then it dawned on me that maybe the problem all these months has been the phone and not the cord. What happens is I plug the cord into my phone and it’s fine as long as it sits just so. The cord can wiggle and if it wiggles too far then the connection is broken and no electricity flows. So I googled what to do about that. Do you know what Google says? Clean your charge port!! The website showed someone using their Apple SIM card remover tool to dig out dust and debris from the charging port. #mindblown I accidentally threw out my tool so I pulled out a paper clip since it’s the same size. OMG! I can’t believe the amount of grunge that came out of that tiny hole! No wonder the cords haven’t been working properly. So I cleaned it out and plugged in the cord…no more wiggle! The only side advice is not to clean it too roughly so you don’t damage the wiring.

The next day, I did it again and discovered more that I hadn’t gotten the first time. This is about half of the amount that came out the day before.

2nd day

Now here’s my beef: I’ve been an iPhone user for years. Why is this the first time I’ve heard of this and only after I went seeking the information?? Is there a Phone Care 101 manual that I never received that would have told me this years ago?

Live on,


Breathing underwater is fun!

I heard on a podcast somewhere about “Discover Scuba” where they let you try out scuba diving to see if you like it before you shell out all the $$$$ for the certification and gear.  And I was lucky enough to hear about this just in time to find out that the Aquarius Scuba in Toronto was having a deal.  $15 instead of $60?? SOLD!!!  Tigra76 was up for the adventure so we went together!

Shockingly, we did not have to deal with any dinnertime traffic in Toronto!  Which made us an hour early for our appointment.  That’s fine; we filled out paperwork and enjoyed looking at the many photos on the walls.

We got fitted for the gear we would need.  There was a training video to watch and a quiz after.  Then the instructor went over more details we needed to know before we travelled to the olympic-size pool where the fun would happen.

Tigra76 and I were so excited that we got there early too. LOL  We followed along while we were instructed on how to put our gear together.  And then it was time to get in!

I have very pressure-sensitive ears.  I have to pop my ears on hills, not just in airplanes.  And it proved to be the biggest obstacle for me while scuba diving.  I usually pop my ears by opening my mouth really wide or swallowing or moving my jaw.  The promoted method was pinching the nose and blowing.  Because I’ve never used that method, I found I am actually incapable of using it.  I tried many times but it didn’t work for me.  So instead I stuck with swallowing and jaw moving so it took me a lot longer than the others to equalize.  But once I was equalized and down on the bottom of the pool, I had a wonderful time just looking around and enjoying the view.  There were other divers there for other courses so I didn’t get to let my inner mermaid out very much.  I did get to swim around a bit but was too concerned about bumping in to other people or losing my buddy.  I was amazed at some of the tricks the instructors could do with water but had no way of asking them how.  It didn’t feel like very long before the session was over and we had to surface.  When my head came out of the water and the mask came off my head, I was shivering intensely from the adrenaline rush.  I looked a little silly while taking my gear apart and putting it all back in the bag.

The best scuba diving experience starts with being relaxed and not stressing out.  Since I tend to be an anxious person, it took me a while to relax.  One of the techniques they teach you is how to clear your mask if you get water in it.  This involves opening the bottom of the mask and forcing the water out by breathing out of your nose.  My two attempts (one at the bottom and one just under the surface) failed.  So when my buddy/instructor, Sam said I didn’t have to do it and could just enjoy breathing through the respirator, I had a much better experience.  That’s when I truly relaxed and enjoyed myself.

Being a person with extreme nearsightedness, seeing underwater was not great even with the masks on.  I am interested in seeking out a prescription diving mask someday.  How cool is it that people without 20/20 vision CAN participate in this sport?

I am very grateful that the company takes photos underwater and posts them to their Facebook page!

Yvonne and I 2

Did I enjoy it?  100%!!  Would I go again? 100%!!  I don’t think I can afford to do the certification any time soon but it’s something for me to save up for.  I wouldn’t mind going and doing another session now that I know what it’s like.  And there is a place closer to home that also does the “Discover Scuba” courses but for about $30 more.  It might be worth it to be able to go again and again. 😉

Live on,



Hidden Creatures summer promotion…completed!

This year, held a summer promotion called Hidden Creatures.  From June 27 through July 25, you earned up to 13 mythical creature souvenirs by finding geocaches or attending events.  I asked my geocrew which souvenir they wanted to get most.  Ok, World Turtle (the top souvenir) it is!  That required 100 finds/attends in one month.

Our first trip was down to Brantford to find all the caches in the telephone geo art series I’d solved back in February/March.  That took care of 49 finds in one (long but fun) day.

We attended two events in the same week and got a group FTF (3 finds).

Our second trip was off to do the Clearview Township challenge.  They held it last year (see here and here) and held it again this year after adding some more geocaches to their hide list.  We also did a few more in the area and that took care of another 22 finds.

Our third and final trip was off to the Barrie/Innisfil/Thornton area to do a few series caches:

First, the backstory: It just turned out to be one of those rainy days that made us realize how non-waterproof our raincoats and clothing were. However, despite how wet we were, the day was warm enough that being wet didn’t make us completely miserable. We’d already found 23 of the last needed 26 when we stopped for dinner. By the time we were sated and ready for more caching, I was actually dry again. We found two other caches in Barrie and needed just one more find.

Now, this last find: I’ve had my eye on this one but never had an opportunity. So I made the spontaneous decision to make this one the last cache for the day. A terrain of 2.5 is easy, right? Well… We parked on the side of the road and pirate_froglet and I looked down at our phones’ coordinates then down at the steep-sided gully. pirate_froglet thought further up the hill made more sense than going down so we hedged our bets and split up. She went up the hill and I carefully made my way down the incline with a trekking pole for support. Trudging/high-stepping through the variety of waist-high grasses and other plants I can’t identify, I made my way toward GZ. Navigating to where I thought the cache would be was not a fast trip by any means. I have become more bold and courageous since I started geocaching last year but, for the first time, I worried that I had made a bad decision. I feared that pirate_froglet would find the cache and I would prove to have been foolhardy. And the trip back out of the gully was not something I was looking forward to. When I finally reached GZ, I then had to find a way in. It became a full-body contact sport and I’m sure it didn’t look pretty, but I was successful. Once inside, relief flooded me at the wonderous sight. Oh, what a glorious hiding spot! And I found it! The quest had been worthy! Maybe it was because it had been a long day, maybe it was because I was getting tired, but this seemed so much more of an arduous challenge than previous logs let on. After signing the log, I took some photos to savour the spot. Then it was time to go. I heaved myself out with a whole lot less sublety than I had going in. Then it was decision time: back the way I came or straight up the side? Going back the way I came would take more time and effort. Screw it, I’m going up the hard way! Using the trekking pole for security, I made my way up until I was close enough to grab libkat59’s hand for help up. Yay, I made it!! And I was completely soaked all over again. Boo.

For future finders, my advice is to wait until fall or winter when there is less vegetation in the area.

And now the stuff I couldn’t put in the log for spoiler reasons: At GZ was a very tall 3-trunked cedar tree. The long branches hung down at a 45-degree angle. Once you made it through the horrendous tangle of branches and vines, inside was a massive cathedral of empty space that I found to be so beautiful. The cache was a camoed peanut butter container wedged between two moss-covered branches just above my head. Sadly, the photos I took after signing the log do not do justice to the real thing. It was a beautiful spot that, although worth the journey, I have no intention of returning to in similar conditions.

The day started out rough but ended on a high note of beauty and accomplishment!

A beautiful evening for geocaching

Live on,


Ordinal linguistic personification synesthesia

A few years ago, I learned about synesthesia.  I was reading “Musicophilia” by Oliver Sacks at the time and a footnote in his book mentioned that there were different kinds of synesthesia.  It caught my attention because it sounded familiar to me.  It turns out that I have a variant of synesthesia called Ordinal Linguistic Personification.  This means that, to me, letters and numbers have genders, ages, and personalities.  From what I’ve read, my personification is not nearly as detailed as others because mine don’t have a story/history.  I’ve also read that some OLP synesthetes have a separate personification for multi-digit numbers, whereas I see the numbers as individuals standing together.

It boggled my mind when I discovered this because I just figured this was how everyone thought so I never talked about it with anyone.  Once I found out about it, I asked family and friends about it.  I am the only one in my group that has this.

When I mentioned OLP to a coworker, she asked for more details.  One of these days, I will actually write down each letter’s and number’s gender, age, and personality.  But, for now, here is a general overview: B is a middle-age butch woman, H is a man in his 60s, 7 is a middle-age man who does not like that he has to be beside 8 who is gay and in his 20s.  For other OLP synesthetes, 78 is another number but to me that’s two characters standing together.

Crazy, right?! Yet another thing that makes me unique!

Live on,


Geocaching in Guelph-Hamilton for Easter weekend is having a spring promotion called Planetary Pursuit.  You have to get 500 points between March 19 and April 8, 2018 in order to get all 10 of the available souvenirs…and, of course, I want them all!  I spent Friday, March 30 to Saturday, March 31 travelling with friends to Guelph and Hamilton to find enough caches so I could get the points I needed.

On Friday morning, we found 3 geocaches in Hamilton on our way to Guelph where we joined the Golden Horseshoe Monthly Geocaching Club for their March meetup.  This was my first big group geocaching experience and I learned a lot about myself and the things I prefer about how I geocache.  Although I walk 3.5 – 5 km to work, I am not a fast walker and do not have long legs.  Therefore, I tagged along on the hike for 18 geocaches before I couldn’t walk anymore because I was trying to keep up with people who walked too fast for me.  After the 18, I had fun being part of the motorcade that drove all over town and sometimes freaked out the nearby muggles.  When it was time to do another 2km hike, we tapped out after having “found” 41 caches.  My geo-trio found 11 more park-and-grab caches on the way back to Hamilton and I got to put my brand new headlamp to the test.  It’s bright!!! 😀  I had 470 points when I went to bed after midnight.

The creepiest sculpture I’ve seen so far! (GC5E9V5)

On Saturday, we slept in and started later in the morning to get the rest of my points.  All three of us were sore from the day before so our geocaching this day was slower and gentler.  We targeted medium-to-large geocaches because they are rare in my home area.  We found a really cute travel bug B&B (GC66H5T), an appropriately-themed Easter geocache for our Easter weekend trip (GC72PRP), and a cute little mailbox in a woodlot (GC67F9R) was my 250th find!!!

Lessons learned from my weekend:

  • I can walk far or I can walk fast but not both at the same time
  • I would be interested in geocaching for 12+ hours but only if I’m walking at my own pace
  • Earthcaches aren’t as intimidating as I first thought.  I found three this weekend and they have made me feel more confident in my earthcaching abilities.
  • The planet has a lot of cool sights to see.  Here is just a sample:

The view from the Escarpment Trail (Hamilton)


See the idiots who just disobeyed signs and risked their lives to get a closer look? (Devil’s Punch Bowl Falls, Hamilton)


I like how the shale leaches colour into the ice at the Tiffany Falls Earthcache in Hamilton (GC5GM3J)

I had a great weekend geocaching with Tigra76 and Mountian Goat!  I’m off to go recuperate now…  😉

Live on,


Victory in a culvert

Remember that D/T 4/4 culvert cache I mentioned in my last post?  I found it!!

We stopped at Cabela’s so I could buy waders.  I had to buy a huge pair of men’s waders because the women’s selection was pitiful.  They fit comfortably enough but will fit even better when I’m not wearing two pairs of pants underneath.  After trying them on in the store, I just stayed in them while I went to pay for them.  We were going right to the culvert next anyway.

Tigra76 had a pair of individual thigh waders and so the two of us headed off into the culvert better prepared for the hunt.  It was slow going because of the steel girders, rushing water, and my dim, old headlamp (I’ll need to replace that next).  My waders have a felt sole on the outside of the boots which helped keep me from slipping around on the algae but I still took it slow to make sure I didn’t end up in the water.

The clue for the cache was “Across from the waterfall”.  At the opposite end of the culvert from where we entered is a small waterfall.  I thought that was what the hint was talking about.  I was wrong.  When we were halfway through the culvert, I discovered that there is another culvert that connects to the one we were in.  That is the waterfall the hint was referring to.  I spotted the cache on the wall of the culvert between Tigra76 and I.  She was able to reach up and grab it.  I’m grateful we were retrieving it for the CO to archive (after we logged our finds) and not having to actually put it back.  That part would have been precarious because it was a fair reach just to get it and then you had to deal with the slippery curve of the tunnel without any kind of foothold to help stabilize you or get you closer to the right height.  Oh right, the CO is much taller than Tigra76 and I.  That might have had something to do with it.  Oh, you lucky tall people of the world.

While walking into the culvert, Tigra76 and I had decided to leave the culvert from the other end, thinking it would be easier.  But once we were at the cache location, which was right in the middle, we weighed our options.  We decided to go back the way we came because the rest of the tunnel was unknown territory and it would be easier going back the way we came because we’d be going with the flow of water instead of against it.  It definitely felt like getting back out took much less time than going in.

Despite the waterproof waders I was wearing, I chose to leave my iPhone in the car.  Since we’d left Mountian Goat (yes, her name is spelled incorrectly and I always make sure to use it that way) on land for safety backup, she was able to take photos of our expedition and safe return.


We got it!!

Oh, what an adventure!!  You can’t see the big grin underneath my “scarf” but it’s definitely there.

Live on,


Courage vs. Competence

One of the best things I’ve learned from geocaching is that I have a courageousness I didn’t know existed.  When it comes to geocaching, I lose my timidity about situations.  I am brave when I geocache.

Today, I learned that my courage needs to be tempered with a higher rate of risk assessment.  Or perhaps some more humility.

Today I tried to reach a D/T 4/4 culvert cache in frigid water that was higher than the tops of my rubber boots.  I probably would have been fine if it weren’t for the steel girders I had to step over since the bottom was a little slippery from algae.  I was about halfway in when I decided that it was too cold to continue; that if I kept going I could get hurt and/or wet by tripping on one of the girders and possibly do damage to my feet from the cold water.  I turned around and made it back out without falling in the water.  I did have one falter at one of the girders but it was just my gloved hand that got wet.  My friends waiting on shore were very helpful getting me back up on land.  I still had water in my boots while I made a beeline for the van where my warm, dry spare socks and longjohns were.  Back at the van, my friends created a shield for me to strip off my wet pants and put on the clean and dry ones.  I put on my fleece socks and, with the heat of the van, I was soon feeling better.  I came home and had a soothing warm shower to finalize the healing process.

Part of my eagerness to try to get this one today is due to the urgency that the CO will soon be archiving it.  And it fills a blank spot on my Fizzy Grid!

I did come somewhat prepared for the challenge.  I just didn’t come mentally prepared for the water to be that cold.  So I’ll buy myself some hip waders before I try that one again.

But, boy, what an adventure!!!

Live on,


My 1-year geocaching anniversary

When our plans to go geocaching last weekend fell threw because of weather, I made plans for us to go out this week to make up for it.  And since Thursday was my 1-year anniversary of signing up for my account, it made a great way to celebrate.  I chose three geocaches close together in a nearby town.  But it was the middle one that I was really excited about because a) it was my first culvert cache and b) it has a 3/3 DT rating which helps me check off another spot on my Fizzy Grid!!

I came prepared with my fleece socks and rubber boots.  The small hill down to the culvert was a little steep.  Holding onto trees didn’t really help when I fell and luged down to the bottom.  No harm done and it saved me some time.  😉  We lucked out that the water wasn’t too deep this time of year but the slimy rocks on the bottom made walking a slow and careful process.  Once you make it to GZ, it’s an easy find.  I admired the view and took pictures while Tigra76 signed the log for us.

We managed to find all three of the geocaches quickly and stop at Tim Hortons for refreshments after.  This mini trip was such an adrenaline rush for me.  I had so much fun!!  This 3/3 just whetted my appetite for the bigger D/Ts!

And two days later, I discovered that falling on the hill bruised my hip and the side of my torso where I was holding onto the tree when I fell.  Oh well, only mild aches and pains and well worth it for the adventure!!

Live on,


So much to know

I am so grateful to my coworker for recommending the book “Island of the lost” by Joan Druett.  Coming on the heels of my new interest in world explorers and geography, this was another great breadcrumb in my trail.  It tells the tale of two different shipwrecks that happened on Auckland Island south of New Zealand in the 1800s.

Five seamen (lead by Captain Musgrave) in the far south survive, astonishingly, for nearly two years before building a vessel and setting off in what would become one of the most courageous voyages of the sea.  Twenty miles of impassable cliffs away on the same godforsaken island, nineteen other seamen (lead by Captain Dalgarno) succumb to utter chaos. Only three will survive.

Not only do you reflect on differences in situation between the two parties but also on how you the reader would fare in their place.  Any conscientious reader should feel immense gratitude for his/her own current abundance.  I will never again take the availability of vegetables for granted!

I have difficulty dealing with the cold here in southern Ontario.  I am known for being cold, especially at work where I wear fingerless gloves year-round.  For the most part, I hibernate in winter and only go out in order to work, buy groceries, and occasionally socialize.  I do not generally “Play” outside.  But since I discovered geocaching in 2017, I am seeking the supplies necessary for me to spend time outside in winter.  Fleece socks seem to be the answer for my feet.  Taking a page from explorers, I am now in search of leather, fur-lined gloves that should fix my cold-hands problem.

One of the main lessons to be learned from the success of Musgrave’s party is the advantage of skills and knowledge.  Having even just basic or minimal skill in blacksmithing, shipbuilding, house construction, and a general intuitive/experimental mindset for making things literally meant the difference between life and death.  How to make rope, soap, clothing, shoes, how to identify edible plants, how to kill and prepare an animal for cooking, how to provide yourself with the basic needs to survive.  I do not have many of these skills but I am grateful that I know how to cook, how to sew, and have the intuitive/experimental mindset.  Putting IKEA furniture together fills me with joy instead of dread.  Being a member of Girl Guides of Canada as a young girl is where I learned a lot of my skills but I also learned from my mother.

Like Defoe’s book, Les naufrages involved as well as enthralled the reader; like Robinson Crusoe, it celebrated the value of hard work and the importance of human labor.  At a time when technological advances were booming, it brought renewed awareness of the blessings of tools and engineering.  It even affected the leisure time of its readers — a fashion arose for such activities as gardening, camping, pottery, sewing, leatherwork, and the keeping of pets.  In the past, these basic skills had been dismissed as the kind of thing our lowly peasant ancestors did to keep body and soul together, but now they became therapeutic recreational activities for educated city-dwellers.

-Joan Druett, “Island of the lost”

For me, this book is an unofficial treatise on why the term ‘Maker’ should never ever be just about modern computing technology.  A 3D printer will not save you if there is no electricity.  Having the skills to make things by hand gives you an advantage over others.  And it could literally save your life.

Sadly, there will never be a traditional geocache on Auckland Island:

Today, the Auckland Islands is a World Heritage Area, UNESCO having assigned the group the highest possible conservation status.  The island group supports the world’s largest populations of wandering albatross and mollymawk and protects the breeding ground of the New Zealand, or Hooker’s, sea lion, now one of the world’s rarest seals.

It is possible to visit there, but only under the most rigorous conditions.  Tourist entry permits are issued, but only if a representative of the New Zealand Department of Conservation accompanies the party.  Landings are allowed only at designated sites on Auckland Island and Enderby Island, the other islands being absolutely off limits.  Footwear, clothing, and gear are thoroughly checked; strict measures are taken against the accidental release of mice or rats; no plants or rocks are allowed to be disturbed or removed; no animals may be closely approached; the collection of specimens or souvenirs is absolutely forbidden; no rubbish or refuse may be left behind, and smoking is not permitted.

-Joan Druett, “Island of the lost”

But perhaps someday maybe there will be an Earthcache?!

Live on,