Monday, April 30, 2012

Gratitude Monday--Vulcanized Edition

My friend Sylvia and I went went to ComicCon in Calgary over the weekend. We got to see many famous people. We got to go to the Star Trek TNG Reunion Saturday evening. We survived the lineups and got in the event all three days.
I have many new things for which to be grateful because of it.
For today, let me say I am grateful for the time I spent with my friend.
I bought the T-shirt at the Vulcan tourism booth at ComicCon. It holds one of my favourite lines from Star Trek's original series:
"Spock, are you out of your Vulcan mind?"

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday --Ice Wall

This is the ice wall on the Kootenay Plains west of Rocky. It's well used by ice climbers and tends to stay intact well into June.
There's a path beside it for those who wish to hike up the ridge.
I've done it. I recommend it.

The ice wall becomes a mud wall in summer as it is spring-fed. Despite that, it is climbable in the summer. Start on the side path and  and then switch over to the drier parts of the mud wall.
It has good rest spots with spectacular views.

For perspective, here's a long view of the wall.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


"Is today Thursday?" I would ask from time to time when young.

"All day if it doesn't rain*." my dad would invariably reply.

It's not raining here today, so I guess it's Thursday.

*If you don't get it, say Thursday quickly so it sounds like thirsty.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Safe For Now

Along the David Thompson Highway.
Alberta is safe for now.
Premier Alison Redford was returned to power with enough of a majority to do most of what she wants to do.
Danielle Smith was elected and can now lead the Wildroses from the legislature. We can see her in action holding the PC's feet to the fire for not being conservative enough.
The Wildroses have enough seats to worry the Redford government in the way that a dog worries cattle.
This is healthy and good.
Redford accepts climate change is real and that human's take their fair share of blame for it. Smith said the science on this was unclear.
This leads me to my post title. Though hardly in the clear, Alberta's natural beauty and (mostly) fresh air and (many) clean (appearing) streams are (moderately) safe for now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gratitude Monday--Election Edition

This is only wild rose I want to see blooming in Alberta

Today is election day in Alberta. I am grateful I live in a country where I can vote without fear. 
That said, I do have fear this time. I am scared the Alberta Wildrose Party will take the helm of the province and send us reeling back in time a few decades.
Leader Danielle Smith is a smart woman who knows how to present herself and the party ideas. Some of them sound good on the superficial level. Give them some critical thought and we can see that white guys believe they speak for everyone and are listened to by everyone unlike those ethnic people, gays and lesbians do not need protection (and by inference do not deserve same) and that the jury is still out on climate change.
She will, however, balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the ill while patting us on the head and handing out $300 cheques.
But this is Gratitude Monday and I'm getting away from my point.
I am grateful that by tomorrow we'll probably have a viable Opposition in government for a change. And that means no matter who gets the nod from the voters there'll be others on the job to keep them reasonably honest.
I am grateful I live in a democracy, but I do wish more of us would use it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday -- Lone Man

A  lone man near a deserted streetcorner in Guatemala City.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bearing Greetings

My husband carved this bear's head. He put it up by the front door thus encouraging people to think carefully before they ignore the "No Trespassing" sign.

Here's a closer view of Jaded,  who Mike said would be  Jasper's grumpy brother, if he had one.

A noted about the sign on the front step. Ken MacKenzie made it out of horseshoe nails and gave to Mike. However, I had Mike add a nail when he put it up as an apostrophe, thus changing the plural to a singular possessive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alberta Election --Thank You, Allan Hunsperger

Albertans go to the polls next Monday. It is very possible that after 41 years in power, the creaky old Conservatives will be ousted in favour of the new, shiny Wildrose Party.
Wildroses are, in general, disaffected Tories. Some are former Tories kicked out for speaking out. For others, the Conservatives were simply not conservative enough.
This brings me to Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger, a pastor who has offered up for public consumption his views on gays and lesbian.
If gays and lesbians go about their lives he has written: "You will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.”

The blog post he put it in has since been taken down.
He also doesn't like it that Edmonton's public school board has made efforts to welcome gay and lesbian students. He has an honest belief that gays and lesbians can and should change.
You can read more about his interesting  world view.

He's scary. His thinking disturbs me.  I don't want to live in a province where someone in power thinks this way.
Why in the world would I thank this man?

Because we're being shown what Alberta will look like if Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith becomes Premier.
She's sticking up for her candidate and his right to his personal opinion, and she's twisting it to make him look like a victim.
Sure, he has a right to believe what he wants, but please don't insult my intelligence by saying it won't colour the policies of a Wildrose government. He's not the only candidate who feels this way.
Smith has said her government will respond to what Albertans want. This kind of thinking will bring out those who feel the same and who will make it known what they want.
So thank you Candidate Hunsperger for bringing this to our attention while there's still time keep you and yours away from power.
Vote Early. Vote Often.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gratitude Monday --Winging It

I am so grateful I have this photo.
It's an oriole in a tree at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
The trees by the hotel were filled with birds, notably hummingbirds, in the morning. A few orioles stopped by for a drink as well and I was tickled silly to see them.
We apparently get orioles out here in Alberta on occasion. I'd never seen one before this acrobat acrobird, and that made it a double pleasure.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo - Finish Friday -- Chocolate Grows On Trees

Food of the Gods

This is a cacao pod in the wild in Guatemala.
Theobroma Cacao, the scientific name for it means "food of the gods." 
Few if any disagree with this designation.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gratitude Monday-- The "Husband - Made" Brand

Very, very tasty.
My husband likes to bake. He hasn't had much of an opportunity lately as work has been busier than anticipated. This is not a complaint, it is but an observation.
Easter presented him with time off and he put it to good use. He made a Flan de Coco or Coconut Custard from a Puerto Rican recipe.
The "Husband-Made" brand is my favourite brand of baking, and for it I am grateful.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Photo -Finish Friday --Mayan Ruins

Many of the Mayan archeological sites were covered to prevent damage from the sun.

I regret I can't recall which site this is from, nor what it is, but every time I see it I crave pie.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gratitude Monday -- Now and Then

I've had a camera since sometime in my teens. I've taken photos as often as I thought about it and I am happy I did.
When I went to journalism school I learned how to operate a 35mm SLR and my pictures improved. I took my camera everywhere, as we were told to do, for many years.
I'm glad of it as I have pictures of places and friends and things. I can look back on them as see how much the person place or thing has changed over the years whether it's apparent to the naked eye or not.
Today I have digital cameras and while I don't take them everywhere, I do see that they get out and about fairly often.
I like them, although nothing can take the place of a hard-copy print and the negative from whence it came. They're great to find again and hold in one's hands. I find it easier to go back to the moment when I hold a print rather than when I see it on my computer screen.
Yes, of course I can make prints from digital pics, but I don't. It seems a waste for some reason, mostly because it is easier to play with them on the screen and make several copies at no cost.
All that's great, and I am grateful for it. But it is not today's point.
Photos are a great way to keep track of the passage of time, and growth and change, but more than anything, they are anchors for us. They are reference points from which we can hang a memory, an occasion, a life.

Below are two photos taken nearly a quarter-century apart of a place in the Sandhills near Fort Assiniboine. It is known locally as Horseshoe Bend for the way the Athabasca River bends in the valley. If you wanted to find it today you'd ask for Athabasca Lookout.
This is from an August of about three years ago. In the left hand corner of the picture you can see a bit of the river if you know where to look and you know that it's there.

This photo from October 1985 was taken from about the same spot on the hill. The bend in the river is obvious. The hill is still mostly sand.
In the upper right hand corner I can see where Clearwater Creek, which ran by our farm,  joins the Athabasca River. I am grateful I took these photos then and now for the record of time, and for the memories they bring me.