The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Reviving Our Vinyl

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For Valentines’ Day my sweetie wined and dined me at Mandarin Restaurant and what a fabulous meal it was. The new Mandarin in Niagara Falls was booked to the hills and because of the special occasion accepted “Reservations Only”. We had booked for 4:00 pm (the other alternative would have been 8:45 pm and that’s a bit late even for Nat and I), and it was just as well. The place was packed when we arrived and after some confusion with everyone else in front and behind us having a 4:00 pm seating, we were escorted to a table in the back where we were surrounded by other couples. Each reservation was allowed 1 hour and 45 minutes for their dining experience, and that was plenty for us. We don’t like to linger too much and we’re not big eaters, but we managed to have a nice glass of wine with our meal and the entire evening was delicious. Plus they have the biggest, fatest, juiciest chicken wings I’ve ever had!! We arrived home and settled in for the rest of the night – including Nat watching his beloved Leafs finally win a game. Happy Valentines’ Day, Dear!!

The past couple of days we’ve also been in the throws of setting up our little recording gizmo – Nero Audio Suite – in order to finally get all of our long play record albums, cassette tapes and 45’s recorded or transferred into our computer and eventually burned onto CDs. We’ve had some challenges, to say the least, in getting set up. As the program is for “Windows” only and not Mac, we pulled out the old laptop (which was in our closet gathering dust) and I wiped the hard drive clean by re-installing Windows XP. A good clean slate.

The connections were easy enough to make. We stumbled a couple of times with  the sound card in the old laptop – it’s getting dreadfully slow – but after re-reading the instructions it finally dawned on us what we were doing wrong. I will admit, however, that the instructions can leave a lot to your imagination, but then again, what little gizmo these days comes with really clear instructions? I’ve also managed to find a lot of help by Googling “Nero” and its amazing what’s out there. Whoever you guys are, thank-you!!!

Our situation involves the turntable, the receiver, the Nero Audio Suite and the laptop. We had a lot of trouble getting the sound right – we had a recording but no sound. We had sound coming from the receiver but not the computer, we had sound coming from the computer and the receiver but no sound in the recordings, etc., etc., etc. So we started fresh again this afternoon. We set the laptop back to its default settings, we restarted and re-installed the Nero Audio Suite and we went line by line and what to our surprise, the whole thing was in good working order. In my zealousness to get things going and thinking I knew what I was doing, “Little Miss Anxious” (moi!!!) had reversed the sound cards in the laptop from what the instructions told us. Duh!! So for the umpteenth time we listened to  An Innocent Man (Billy Joel), as it was being recorded into the computer. We didn’t adjust any of the noise levels and left things as they were and went ahead and burned a CD.

The Nero instruction booklet indicated that you could only burn to a CD-R and not a CD-RW, as some CD-RWs could not be played back on some listening devices. But we went ahead and burned a CD-RW only because this was a learning process and we wanted to see what happened. Well, much to our surprise the CD-RW played in perfect order on our new little stereo unit we had purchased in Florida a couple years back. AND it was perfect. Billy Joel never sounded so good. We both grinned from ear to ear. We had succeeded. We were also excited as we could now finally get some of Nat’s old albums that can’t be found anymore into the computer and burned to a CD for posterity and for transferring to our iPods if and when we wanted. I can also now preserve all of our 45 records and tape cassettes and finally be able to go down memory lane whenever I want. At least I know how to get a CD from a Windows computer to MAC – for me, that’s the easy part. It was getting the vinyl records transferred to CD that was going to be the stumbling block until we found this little gizmo. So here’s to gizmo, gadgets, technology and all that stuff. There’s not too much else out there that can’t be done and I’m loving every new little thing I can find and/or use.

Between Nat and I we both have a lot of vinyl records, cassette tapes and 45s, so I’m guessing I should be busy for quite some time. Not knowing about all of this wonderful technology and it not being available at the time, I’ve also given quite a lot of my old vinyl to dear sister, Michele, who is an avid collector and music lover. Do you think she’d give me some back???? Love you, Michele!!!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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