Tuesday, August 1, 2017


A couple weeks ago I noticed some grass sticking out of the Alberta Spruce outside my window. Well for the past few days I have been entertained by the comings and goings of these two. Watch in the front door and out the back.

I think they are feeding a brood in there. Hope I see when the babies fledge.

Monday, July 10, 2017

MosiaCanada 150

Yesterday I went down to an event being held in Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau, Quebec.  Unfortunately this event was not dog-friendly so Beckett and Keltic had to stay home.  The event was MosiaCanada 150 and is a display of sculptures all covered with plant material.

I almost didn't go. I set my GPS for Jacques Cartier park and it got me there after a fashion even though it tried to turn me left twice where there was no left turn allowed. We get to the park and the police were there with the roads blocked off because of the crowds of people. I was in the wrong lane and ended up back on another bridge back to the Ottawa side of the river. At this point I thought I might as well go home and try another day but while trying to get out of the downtown core I decided to park in a parking garage and walk back to MosiaCanada.

Walking back across the Alexandria Bridge I could see dark clouds to the west and again I nearly turned back but decided to keep going and hoped if there was rain it wouldn't be too bad. We've had a really wet spring and summer so far this year.

I got to Jacques Cartier Park and there was a long line up to get in.  It seemed to be moving quickly so I got in line. I figured if it took too long I could just leave. It did move quickly and it was just for a security check of everyone's backpacks or bags; just a sign of the times we live in. Once inside, although there were lots of people, it didn't seem that crowded.

The sculptures were set out in two connecting loops. Each of the sculptures was sponsored by a province, city or other group. I went around twice, the first time around I went quickly as it was still threatening rain. And it did rain, so I took cover, as did many other people, under the grand piano. I think it was the only sculpture I didn't get a picture of.  We got kicked out from under the piano but not until the rain had mostly stopped.  By then it was clearing so I went around again this time reading more about many of the sculptures.

Mother Earth
Another view of Mother Earth

Blessing of the Good Omen Dragons

Joyful Celebration of the Nine Lions

Red Foxes sponsored by Charlottetown PEI
Puffins sponsored by Nfld and Labrador

Wisakedjak and the Creation of the World - see the turtle?
Another view of Wisakedjak
Muskox sponsored by the North West Territories

Don't they look real?

In Flanders Fields, the Poppy

Odyssey and Hope
After the second time around, it was getting rather late and I still had the walk back so I headed back across the bridge to Ottawa.

Alexandria Bridge

Parliament Hill
By now it had cleared up nicely and it was actually rather warm out.  I got home later in the afternoon than I had planned and my Achilles was a little sore so I didn't get the lawn mowed. MosiaCanada is running until October so if you're thinking about a visit to our capital, it's certainly a sight you have to see. It's free; just be prepared for some walking to get there if you go on a weekend.

If you want to see all of the pictures I took at MosiaCanada,  check them out on my FaceBook page.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Canada Day!!

It's our sesquicentennial, our country is 150 years old!

Beckett and Keltic went to Parliament Hill to celebrate. They are wearing Canada 150 bandanas but they are really hard to see.

We got a better shot with our Canada 150 tulips.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Boys from the Hood

I took the boys to see part of their hood today, otherwise known as Parliament Hill.  It was very hot when the sun was out but not too bad when it clouded over. We got downtown before 10 am and walked around for about an hour and half. Bad Mum I didn't bring water once again, Luckily at the locks, the Parks Canada office and museum had dog bowls out.

Beckett and Keltic with the Peace Tower

Yes, we would like to vote.

Beckett and Keltic became part of the scenery when they sat on the chair by Emily Murphy, one of the statues on the Hill. You can read about her at the link above and about other women who fought for the rights of women in Canada.

We spent quite a bit of time sitting in the shade wherever we could find it.  Beckett and Keltic were quite a hit with many tourists and even the tour guides on the Hill.

You're in our shot!

Will they never leave?

We walked down to the locks and walked from one end to the other and back.

Looking toward the Ottawa River

Looking back to the Chateau Laurier hotel
Then we walked over the the National War Memorial where we saw the changing of the sentry on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.

Beckett and Keltic at the War Memorial

Sentries on guard

Changing the sentry.

We then walked the Sparks Street Mall before heading back to our car.  I'm sure Beckett and Keltic will never forget that it was ribfest and I didn't buy them any.  We got home before any of the rain started which was a good thing.

You might not have noticed but Beckett and Keltic are wearing their Canada 150 bandanas. The shot on Parliament Hill was the one I really wanted to get and I certainly didn't want to go down on Canada Day weekend, just too crazy that weekend.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Down Home

Well, it's been awhile since I sat down to write a blog post, I'm falling behind. Perhaps I'll have more time in future as now every weekend will be a long weekend. I'm starting my transition to retirement this weekend; for the next two years I'll only work four days a week.

Any way last month, my sister, brother-in-law and I went to to Halifax, well Dartmouth actually, for a family weekend.  My youngest niece was getting married on the 12th of May. She and her family are Mormons so we were not be able to attend the ceremony itself, we decided to see if my mother's brother and his wife were available to spend some time with us while we were in town.  Not only were they available but they invited us to spend the weekend at their house. Had they not been available I doubt we would have gone.

We flew down on Thursday getting in around 9:30 pm.  We had a great time sitting up and chatting with my Aunt and Uncle who we hadn't seen since my father passed away. We were able to sleep in the next day as the wedding ceremony wasn't until the afternoon.  By the time we arrived at the Temple, my sister, her family and the bride and groom had already gone in. We waited with other guests in the waiting room for their sealing ceremony to be completed. The bouquet had one of my mother's brooches on it so that in a way she could be there too. Afterwards many many photos were taken before we headed off to a restaurant for the wedding dinner.

First Kiss

The bouquet

The dip

Karen, Keaton, Kayla and Kevin, the bride and groom with Kayla's parents

The restaurant was small but we had the whole upper loft area for our group. My youngest sister and her husband who have been travelling the US this past year had worked their way back to Canada and joined us for dinner. The dinner was very nice. There was a choice of  four dinner entrees along with cakes for dessert. It was the first time we had met our youngest great-nephew Haig Arthur the 4th.

Maureen, Steve and Aunt Helen

Juanita, Joe and Baby Haig Arthur
Saturday, we headed over to Halifax, we took the ferry over.  I was born in Halifax and went back there to go to university but this was the first time I ever took the ferry from Dartmouth to Halifax.  We walked along the waterfront to Pier 21 which is now a museum to immigration in Canada. In the 20's and 30's it was a large immigration centre for people who came to Canada by ship. After taking a tour of the museum we had lunch then headed back along the waterfront to meet Maureen and Steve at the Lower Deck pub.

On the ferry

Halifax Harbour

Waterfront walk

Citadel Hill

Local Brew

After a beer with Maureen and Steve we headed back to Helen and Terence's where we had the classic East Coast lobster supper, a little less expensive to have at home than at a restaurant.

Sunday afternoon, some of my cousins, two of my mother's brothers and her youngest sister came over along with other members of the family. We had a lovely pot luck supper.  It was great to see everyone. I'm sure I hadn't seen  my cousins' children since the kids were little now most of them are adults.

My sisters and me with our Aunt Helen

Uncle Terence
We flew back home on Monday. Hopefully it won't be as long until we see them again.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Short Season

We started the Spring 2017 season off with a trial at Absolute Agility. I had entered both Beckett and Keltic in three events.  Beckett had two Snooker runs and one Master Jumpers; Keltic had a Master Jumpers and then later in the day two Advanced Standards.  We got there early but the event was running late because the facility had been nearly flooded out by the spring thaw; lots of effort by the arena crew and with the sump pumps running they kept most of the arena dry. Courses still had to be modified to avoid the muddy parts of the arena. I only went on Sunday and people said things were already much better.

Beckett ran very well. He Q'd the first snooker run and if I had run the second snooker run they way I walked it he would have Q'd the second run too. I got myself in a position where I had to rear cross a tunnel and Beckett, with eyes in the back of his head, turned around in the tunnel and came back out the entrance for a refusal and a whistle from the judge.  He ran a very nice Master Jumpers too but I stopped too abruptly thinking he had committed to a tunnel but Beckett stopped too and spun getting a refusal on an otherwise clean run.

I had started out just fine but as the day wore on my Achilles tendon began to bother me. Next up was Keltic, in the second Master Jumpers.  He ran beautifully but I didn't pick him after tunnel #  12 and he got sucked into the decoy tunnel for an elimination.  My Achilles tendon by now was very painful, I did some volunteer jobs leash running and bar setting and it got progressively worse so I decided that was it. No use rupturing it I thought, as that would take ages to heal.  Poor Keltic, we arrived at 9:30 in the morning and his 34 second run was at about 4pm; all day in a crate for that.

Master Jumpers 2
 This was the course as the judge designed it but because of the muddy parts of the arena all the courses had to be flipped and tweaked. One of judges didn't have the opportunity to re-do the course maps so we had to make do with the original ones and trace them out on the backside.  The hand drawn maps gave you the flow but the tweaking in the ring meant you couldn't really decide on your handling until you walked it.

Mirror Master Jumpers 2

We had our next trial the very next Friday, only four days later. I spent the evenings icing my tendon and hoping I'd be able to run.  I had entered Beckett in 4 Steeplechase runs and Keltic in two Gamblers. Beckett needed two qualifying scores for his Silver Expert title which in Steeplechase is 50 qualifying scores. I ran the first run and my tendon did not feel great at all but we got a Q. I decided to wrap it. I had brought sports tape but forgot scissors so I used vet wrap. I hoped he would do it with only two runs but in the next run I handled one jump badly and Beckett back jumped it. The tendon felt much better wrapped. On to Steeplechase 3, this one looked nice and it ran well for us, the place where Beckett began to spin, I knew would happen. If I had been a little faster I could have gotten in a blind cross there and avoided that spinning.

I pulled out of Steeplechase 4 so that I could rest my ankle a bit and so that Keltic would get his runs. Keltic ran well; I even ran out of things I had planned to do in the first opening.  The first Gamble I knew he wouldn't stay out with me on the other side of the dogwalk, but he did do a nice dogwalk so maybe the winter training was not in vain. The second Gamble we had a chance, if he would just go to the tunnel but no, he wouldn't. I have to work on getting him calm in order to do the gamble, you see when I sit him down he goes right out the first obstacle without hesitation.

So that's it for the 2017 spring season, I had hoped to do more before the Regional Championships in June but I have to be able to run to play agility so it's better to let the tendon heal.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Herding Day

Spring is coming, maybe doesn't seem like it but it is.  One of the local photographers has joined up with a woman who teaches herding.  While you are having your herding instinct test done, Erika will take pictures.  The picture in this year's advertisement is my Keltic. I loved this shot so it is one of the digital images that I bought.

This picture always reminds me of the movie Babe where the pig is asking the sheep if they would kindly move along.

You know the code Baa ram ewe, Baa ram ewe....

Saturday, April 1, 2017

In Like a Lion....

March came in like a lion but it didn't go out like a lamb instead we got more snow, but at least we didn't get anywhere near the snow they were calling for. It's actually still snowing in the picture below but this is what we woke up to on 1 Apr 2017 and no it wasn't an April Fool joke.  Tomorrow  is supposed to be sunny and warming up a little bit.  Let's hope that's the last of the cold deary weather.

I went to Brussels for work in March. I left Ottawa at minus 16C and when we arrived in Brussels it was plus 15C: talk about a difference.  The trip was an adventure in airplane travel. My sister decided to come along and flew from Calgary to catch the same flights as I had booked out of Toronto. While she was waiting to board her flight in Calgary she checked the Toronto airport departures web site which said that our flight to Brussels was cancelled.  I thought it was just a mistake on the web site. I departed Ottawa a few hours later and was issued a boarding pass for the Toronto to Brussels flight. We get to Toronto, and yes, the flight has been cancelled. By the time I got into the terminal, Annette was already on the phone with Air Canada and had us rebooked through London Heathrow that night. We were told to go to Brussels airlines to get our baggage and to recheck it through on our new flights.  We go to the Brussels Airlines counter, talk about disorganized, no one was telling anyone anything.  After waiting in line for awhile we were told that an Air Canada agent was coming up for those of us who were waiting for luggage, we waited and waited and finally Brussels Airlines took us back down to the baggage area and to Air Canada. Air Canada said it was not their problem that they had already transferred the luggage to Brussels Airlines.  The Air Canada agent did try to call back up to the airline counter and then went up himself to see what was going on. He came back down and said our luggage would be on carousel 1 or 4 in about 20 minutes, we waited 40 minutes and still no luggage.  Now we had to go to get through security for the London flights, we got through and then had to wait to see if we actually made it on to the flight as our boarding passes were just marked GTE. Thankfully both Annette and I got seats.  We got into Brussels no problem but our luggage didn't. We reported it to Swissport, the company that handles lost luggage for Brussels Airlines, they assured us that 95% of luggage is found within 24 hours. We weren't so lucky, ours didn't show up at the airport until Wednesday morning and so was delivered to the hotel probably around lunch time. Three days of wearing almost the same clothes, thankfully we had both packed a few things in our carry-on bags.

We had wonderful weather the whole week; too bad I was in meetings every day but it made it nice for Annette who was able to walk to all the places she was going to; she had purchased a Brussels pass which gave her admissions to many museums.  We were able to pick that up on Sunday for her so that she didn't have to hunt around for the tourism office before heading off to any museums.

Courtyard outside our hotel window

Mannequin Pis was dressed up for the ending of the book fair when we first arrived and for St Patrick's Day on the Friday before we left.

Grand Place at night; the weather was so nice we were able to eat out on the patio.

We had some free time on Friday afternoon together for some shopping and just being tourists.  Happy to say the flights back were better, although it took so long for the bags to be transferred to the baggage hall in Toronto that Annette very nearly missed her Calgary flight. She made it but the bags arrived on a later flight. My next work trip is to Rome, Italy; Annette is planning to come along on that trip too.  And I plan to take some vacation after those meetings.

It was Keltic's fifth birthday while I was away so we had to celebrate it after I got home.  No homemade pupcakes just store bought cookies and treats but I don't think he minded.

So hopefully the worst of winter has passed and we will be able to enjoy a nice spring. Some sunny warm weather will certainly help get rid of the snow and dry things out.

Today is the anniversary of the creation of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the title "Royal" was officially granted on 1 April 1924,  so I flew the Air Force Flag outside this morning.  This flag came from the radar station, CFS Baldy Hughes that I helped to close down in the 80's. Technology had made those radar systems obsolete but small units like that were so much fun.