Senior Situation Room by Dawn Ford – Christmas Time Literacy & Tartle – DEC 16, 2014


DawnFord_SSRCFN – The Tri County Literacy Council, which is a community based non-profit organization, offers both community and individual literacy programs. According to their website, they provide to our residents of SD&G free educational upgrading, from Literacy Basic Skills to occupational training courses. They also offer free educational assessments and develop training plans for each individual’s goals.

I remember taking a computer course at TCLC some years ago. Although I knew some basic skills to use the computer, I was lacking other skills which would enable me to make better use of my computer for the things I wanted to do. It is still helping me today.

I remember leaving class to see two big Newfoundlander dogs arriving. They were Therapy Dogs for the ‘Read to Dogs’ program. Children who were having a hard time learning to read, could read to a dog which was non-threatening for them. I believe this program is now available at our local library. The owner and trainer of the dogs, William Ball, gave me permission to pat one of them who was nearby. I gave Molly a big hug and that five year old inner child in me felt like I was hugging a big Teddy Bear. It was wonderful. Imagine how soothing and comforting for those children. When they were reading , they could look up into those gentle big brown doggie eyes . Needless to say, I looked forward to the end of the class in case I could hug one of the dogs .Mr. Ball published a book ,”Life Among the Giants’ about his dogs. I read it twice because it is just a wonderful book and a real treat to read.

TCLC is offering a new program to help seniors entitled ‘HANA’, meaning ‘Home and Not alone’ designed for computer connections for isolated seniors. I spent some time at TCLC the other day talking about this new program for seniors with Dina McGowan, Executive Director and Danielle Bray, HANA Project director, two interesting women who were informative and fun to be with also.

Here is a photo of Dina and Danielle holding the new ‘HANA’ manual:

df tri

The HANA program is for seniors sixty-five years old +. It is a three- fold program. A person will be able to borrow a computer for up to eight weeks. A tutor will be available to offer help either in the person’s home or at the TCLC building. A  manual will also be available with detailed easy to follow instructions. The manual is designed for self-learn at home. People can also access a computer at the local library .

Volunteers are also needed to tutor seniors. For more information on the HANA program or other available programs , go to the TCLC website.



I woke up recently from a very nice dream to hear bang bang bang!! With one eye opened I could see my clock in the darkness…5am. Bang bang bang again!! One side of my brain was asking what that noise could be. The other side of my brain knew exactly what it was or rather who it was and what he was doing: it was, of course my furry little friend, Tiger, big big baby. I had heard that noise many times before but never at 5am. I could see in the dim light his little body at his water dish. He was bopping it up and down with his paw under the rim of the bowl. The only thing I can think of is that he wants to see the water level before he sticks his pussy little face in it for a lap of water. The fall- out from this is water water everywhere!!

I got up to find a wet slipper. I managed to avoid more water so I wouldn’t go flying through the air in a slippery lunge. I got some paper towels and came back to find him happily licking the water on the floor and sitting in it. I had to grab him and try to dry his bottom so he wouldn’t jump on the bed. Also, his fur is so thick and mats when it gets wet. All this at 5 am . Cat for sale! Cheap! (Just kidding of course, except at 5am.)

He has another bowl of water in the kitchen which is very large and heavy without any rim. It doesn’t stop Tiger. He somehow moves it, making waves which he can see. The water ends up on the floor also. All that water doesn’t seem to bother him one bit. I put two bowls out to make sure that if he tips any while I am out, he has another bowl of water available. Maybe ‘Mommy’ worries too much. lol.

They say it is not the pet that is at fault. It is the owner who needs to learn how to deal with an animal. My friends say that Tiger has me trained. If he sits in front of me and moves his mouth , I know he wants food. If comes and cries, he is telling me he used his litter and wants it cleaned out right now. In the late afternoon, he often comes and sits on the floor in front of me and just stares at me. He wants me to groom him and then play with him and his little white mousey on a string. Then he grabs a bite to eat and goes and has a nap. Yes, I guess he does have me well trained.

I read an article recently on the internet about researchers solving the mystery of why ‘cats rule, dogs drool’. It said that when dogs drink water from a bowl, they are messy , sloshing it while cats are neat. Hardy har har!! More proof that this cat thinks he is a puppy!

Sunny Jung, an assistant professor from Virginia Tech and study co-author apparently observed how cats and dogs drink water. The article said that the bigger the dog, the wetter the floor because dogs smash their tongues on the water surface but cats never do. Cats apparently pull water to their mouths repeatedly at a speed of 3feet per second which enables them to drink without penetrating the liquid, according to Reuters. Jung was apparently referring, according to the article, to a 2010 study conducted by researchers from Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In all fairness to Tiger, he is a very neat drinker. The problem is sometimes the prelude leading up to the lapping. They should study him to find out why he does that bowl tipping. I am going to ask the Veterinarian on our next trip. In the meantime, I am looking for a no-tip, can’t- shove, Tiger-proof water bowl.


When I went to see my brother Ron on his birthday at Heritage Heights Retirement Home, he was wearing a beautiful red carnation in his lapel. He loved it. He said it was compliments of Roy Florist. Apparently Roy Florist sends out boutonnieres and corsages to seniors celebrating birthdays and anniversaries to all the nursing ,and obviously, retirement homes in Cornwall, the Island and Long Sault. Kudos for making our seniors’ special days more special.


I attended The Parade of Nations Multicultural Festival on Saturday,Nov. 29th. as a volunteer along with my friend Pat shaver. We were manning the South Africa booth which was a real treat because we learned a lot about that country from the tourisms brochures. It was a wonderful afternoon of music, costumes and singing. There was a band who played music with bamboo sticks. I thought it would be harsh but it was a melodic soft sound like listening to flutes. You could almost hear that kind of soothing music in a movie during a dramatic scene. It was beautiful. Kudos to Marie Morrell and her team for organizing such a varied and special festival for Cornwall citizens to enjoy. You can go to their web site, for more information on this non-profit organization.


I love how Pommier Jewellers have decorated the corner of Pitt and Second. There is something nostalgic about it. I was trying to figure out why it has affected me that way. I think it reminds me of something that is old fashioned and feels like the Cornwall of old when we were kids. You see scenes like that in Christmas cards. It is beautiful. Their store is also elegant, festive and welcoming. Kudos for making Christmas a little merrier.


Another great word I have come across is ‘tartle’. According to the Urban Dictionary on the Internet, it is a Scottish word which means that awkward moment when you can’t remember someone’s name such as when you are introducing them. Embarrassing sometimes. I guess some of us just have ‘tartle’ senior moments. Good excuse anyway.

Have a good week, Dawn

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  1. Great article Dawn. Yes, pets do train us. We may think we train them. But in reality they train us to do what they want when they want. Who is the master and who is the slave?

  2. Dawn I love animals very much and they are funny creatures all of them. I can spend an entire day with them and would love it.

    About Christmas it sure doesn’t seem the same like in past years – so dull and depressing. When I was a child growing up in Cornwall you could hear Bing Crosby’s records over the loud speaker from a nearby church and we kids would all be out playing in the snow until 8 or 9 p.m. and then inside. You sure don’t hear any of that anymore and of course our church was sold. Here in Ottawa it is way too big and no church close to me. The atmosphere is very dull and depressing. This morning we went to Billings Bridge and there was a Santa in the mall and the little children going up to this man. No Christmas music like there was in past years. The super used to love decorating the office downstairs but this year it is dull as can be. Life sure isn’t the same anymore.

  3. Dawn watch your cat with your Christmas tree. I had such a good laugh some years ago when my quilting buddies on the net posted pictures of their cat hiding inside the Christmas tree and they could knock down the tree. Another thing to beware of are the artificial trees that are a poison to animals because of what they are made of. All the best to you Dawn you sure give us some pleasure reading your columns. Merry Christmas.

  4. Jules and Hugger: thank you so much for your nice comments. Glad you enjoy the column. And I will watch Tiger for sure. Merry Christmas to you both.

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