Monday, December 18, 2017

Marshmallow World

The first snows of winter are quite lovely. This picture was taken just last night out my family room window into my backyard.  I like snow until Christmas is over then I'm done with it. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Cards

So we sent out all our Christmas cards, so now I can let people see the designs I selected.

The first card we used for a Sheltie card exchange so I decided that there would be no picture of me on the card.  The second card was for family and close friends so I used the shot of all three of us. 

It's fun playing with all the designs that are available. The price isn't too bad but I wish postage was cheaper as it does get expensive to send out the cards especially the international ones.  I do like receiving cards as well but not many people send cards any more, that's why I joined the Sheltie card exchange last year.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Oh Shoot

A couple weeks ago I made a last minute decision to book a spot at a fall photo shoot. I had planned to get some new Christmas shots done but then I figured we'd already done that.

This week I got the pictures from the photographer. You get 5 images with the photo shoot but I couldn't get it down to just five. I ordered 8 and even that was a tough choice as my original cut was down to 15 of the shots.  I only got a head shot of Keltic, Beckett just looked too solemn and a little sad in his close up shots.

Anyway, here are the shots I selected. I'll be using some of them for our Christmas cards but I won't share those designs just yet.

Friday, October 13, 2017


We read on Change is Hard about Walktober. Well it just happens that we took a walk to downtown Ottawa on the first weekend of October.  We went down to see the new Holocaust Monument that was just dedicated last month here in Ottawa.

Ottawa has a lovely a path system from one end of the city to other. It is called the Ottawa River Pathway and the lands are owned by the National Capital Commission. The Ottawa River Pathway is 31 kilometers long, that's 19 1/4 miles. Of course, we didn't walk the whole thing; we drove downtown and parked near the monument and after we visited the monument we then walked part of the pathway.

Holocaust Monument, Ottawa, Ontario

Eternal Flame

Beckett and Keltic
It's a pretty stark and solemn monument, I guess it should be that way.  It makes you feel like you should be quiet and reflective. I think even Beckett and Keltic felt that way; neither barked while we were there.

After visiting the monument we walked over behind the War Museum and started our walk on Ottawa Multi-Use pathway. It's a paved pathway for walking and cycling, rollerblading too if you want.

On this part of the pathway there were sculptures and plaques telling you about the history of the river. This sculpture is of voyageurs in their canoe. The river was used as the main means of transport in this area for fur traders and explores.

We stopped at this old train bridge for awhile before turning back. There hasn't been  a train on it for many many years; you used to be able to walk on it to cross over to the islands but it got dangerous so the city fenced off the access.

View of Parliament Hill

Canada Geese

Beckett and Keltic with the flowers
That's a problem with the river pathway is that it is linear. You have to decide how far to walk and then you have to turn around and retrace your steps but it's funny how you notice different things even though you've passed that way before.

We had noticed this sculpture of a firefighter on our way over to the Holocaust Monument so we crossed  the street on our way back and found the Canadian Firefighters Memorial.

Beckett and Keltic with the War Museum in the background

I hadn't even known that memorial was there, guess I have to get out an explore our city more often.

All in all we walked for almost two hours, that's the free parking limit on weekends. Where I was parked I don't think it would have been a problem if we were longer but wouldn't want to ruin such nice day with a parking ticket now would we?

Won't you join us for Robin's Walktober?

Monday, October 2, 2017


The week before last I had to go away for work. It was a really tough go; I had to go to meetings in Rome, Italy.  The meetings were for a week but I added a few days afterwards to stay on and play tourist. My sister Annette came along with me again to enjoy a government-paid hotel room, well at least for the days of the meetings; I had to pay for extra days that we stayed.

I had never been to Rome before, it is a lovely city so full of history.   Our trip there was uneventful, unlike the trip to Brussels in March.  We had booked on Air Canada aircraft all the way so were able to do online check ins and we had also paid for one seat selection so that we would be sitting together on the Toronto to Rome leg. We arrived in Rome on Sunday morning. We used the Leonardo Express train to get from the airport to Termini station and then walked to the hotel which was only about two blocks away.  We stayed at the Best Western Premier Royal Santina hotel. After checking into the hotel and unpacking, we explored around the hotel a little.

Hotel room

Grounds around the National Museum

Piazza Republica

Statue to John Paul II

Outside Termini Station
Side entrance to Termini Station
While I was at meetings, Annette had time to explore Rome.  The hotel had a Smart Phone in each room that you could use and one feature she liked was the button already set up to take you back to the hotel. In the evenings we were able to wander about a bit ourselves and it was nice that Annette was able to get the lay of land during the day.

The first evening we went to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Annette had found the Trevi Fountain during he day but hadn't seen the Pantheon.    The legend says that if you throw a coin into the fountain you will return to Rome, so of course we both threw a coin in.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon was once a temple to the gods but was converted to a church and so survived when many temples were torn down. We also went down to the  Piazza Navona on the recommendation of some other delegates at my meetings. We had supper there after exploring the square.

Piazza Navona

Tuesday evening, we took the Metro down to the Colosseum . We had tickets for it on the weekend but wanted to see it at night as well.

Panorama shot of the Colosseum and Arch
Wednesday, already getting tired of pizza and pasta, we headed over the Hard Rock Cafe for supper. We didn't have reservations so we had to wait awhile to be seated but it wasn't too long a wait.
155 County Road 16, 
Hard Rock Cafe Roma

 Thursday, our hosts had organized an afternoon visit to the Engineers museum followed by a reception at the museum. 

Communications Vehicle for carrier pigeons

Engineers Chapel

Model of an ammunition depot


Hail Caesar!
On Friday, our meetings ended early so we were able to get in some sightseeing in the afternoon.

Memorial to Victor Emmanuelle

Romulus and Remus

But as we had booked a Segway tour that evening, we found our way down to the meeting point early and then had dinner in the area. The Segway tour was loads of fun. It was my first time and it wasn't hard at all to learn to ride. While wandering around before our Segway ride, we found a cat sanctuary in some of the ruins.

Ruins with Stone Pines

Lazy afternoon

 Our Segway tour took us back to many places we had seen during the day but they looked so much different at night.
Castel Sant'Angelo

St Peter's

Piazza Navona

Trevi Fountain

Roman ruins
Now with the meetings were over, we had the weekend to see what we had decided were the two main attractions. Saturday would be Vatican City with the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel while Sunday would be spent at the Colosseum and the Forum and Palatine Hill ruins. Monday, we had left as sort of a free day for shopping and packing.

Sunday, we had tickets for the Colosseum. The tickets were also good for one entry for the Forum and Palatine Hill Ruins. The tickets have to be used either on the same day or on two consecutive days so that's another reason we left Monday as a free day.

Stone Pines

Our last day was a Monday, most museums are closed but not churches.  We decided to tour a few churches and then do some shopping. There were still some church services that were going on in the morning so you had to be respectful and not enter those areas.

Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

Monday evening since our flights on Tuesday were not too early we went out and treated ourselves to a very nice dinner and a bottle of wine at Ristorante Target. I would highly recommend this restaurant. A bit pricier than most restaurants in the area but quite worth it.

The trip home went well too. We arrived at the train station, got our tickets and boarded the train with about 10 minutes to wait. We did some shopping at the airport and ate our last gelato in Italy, then made our way to our gate. We had to clear immigration in Toronto but this time we didn't have to collect our checked bags, they were booked right on through to our destinations. We had time in Toronto to have supper before heading each to our own gates for our flights home.

Termini Station

Fiumicino Airport
I do hope the legend of the Trevi Fountain is true!!!