Monday, June 30, 2014

Gratitude Monday–Bursting With Thanks Edition

 The cold water valve in our RPOD burst.  After reviewing a few choices including using it without running water or giving it away my husband decided to fix it himself.
He insisted far and wide he was no good with plumbing and noted the area he had to work in was tight. After plenty of consideration and muttering he decided to replace several pipes and parts.
It took a few hours and involved buying rings and valves and pipes and a crimper, but he did it. The replacement parts are of superior quality to the original cheap plastic. We tested it. No leaks, and the pump cut in and out as it should.
His determination saved us hundreds of dollars, incalculable frustration, and the use of  the RPOD next weekend as opposed to next month if we'd taken it away to be fixed.
I am grateful my husband has fixed our  RPOD.

MikeThmpsnCrk 002

Friday, June 27, 2014

Photo-Finish Friday -- Along The Parkway

This scene is in Banff National Park. It's the stopping point for the Weeping Wall, but this is a fine scene in its own right.

Please click to get the big picture.

  WolfJuneNikon 030

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gratitude Monday–It's Not About The Fish

Yesterday was a brilliant blue day topped with warm sunshine.
To respect and honour this first full day of summer we went fishing.
The Elk Creek Pond is a rehabilitated gravel pit along the Forestry Trunk Road at Elk Flats, west of Rocky.It's in the first range of mountains and it is a spectacular, peaceful spot.

Clouds moved in on the way, but the sun still shone. Fish jumped in the pond, taunting and teasing us as we cast our lines and tried different lures.
A few other people, mostly families with children, showed up soon after we arrived. They enjoyed the moment as only families with children can.

We didn't catch anything.
We never do.
And fishing really isn't about the fish.

It's about a peaceful spot in the mountain dressed in the deep green of summer. It's a peaceful pond stocked with trout who jump for insects, or joy, or for any reason a fish can think of to rise out of the water and slap back in on a warm, sunny day.
It is time together making yet another memory, and for all this and more I am grateful.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Photo-Finish Friday -- Sunset on the Caldera

CycladesNikon 091
Santorini, Greece, is famous for its sunsets.
Please click to enlarge.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Choose Fight

Diseases and disorders have metaphysical components.  Each has spiritual reasons for manifesting, and addressing the reasons goes a long way toward healing.
Yes, or course, working on the physical level alone can work, but you'll only get something similar later on until you deal with all the underlying causes.

Among the reasons in my case is conflict and its avoidance.
I'm hardly alone. Very few people like conflict of any sort. I have a few in my life who seem to like it. Those people are bad for me so I avoid them.

My cancer is in the first or root chakra. The red one. The one that makes us choose fight or flight.
I usually go with flight. I would rather find away to avoid fighting. Over the years I've gotten good at it and good at burying conflict, too.
I like to remain calm, detached even. This is okay, because matters can still get dealt with. But those other times when I just avoid standing up, speaking my mind, those are the ones that spiritually grew me the tumor.

I saw a very talented medium the other day and learned many, many things.
As consequence of that consultation, the days of walking away are over.
Instead of turning my back I will nurture my backbone.

I choose fight.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A View Down the Parkway

WolfJuneNikon 037 Looking southward along the Columbia Icefields Parkway from near the top of Sunwapta Pass.

Please click to get the bigger picture.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Gratitude Monday–Cancer, My Ass!

The above is my attitude and my battle cry.
Last Friday I learned I have bowel cancer, and I am grateful.
Because it all went very quickly and knowing is better than waiting.

I made a medical appointment on Monday for June 27, the earliest available.  I was told at the time to call at 08:30 any morning to ask about cancellations.  On Tuesday morning I went for a bike ride and thought about it. For days I had been seeing in my mind a  particular doctor examining me. It was not the one  I was to see on the 27th. When I called Tuesday the doctor who had a cancellation that morning was the one in my mind.

He sent me to the lab for assorted tests and set about setting up a colonoscopy appointment for me. He called the lab while I was still there, directing someone to direct me to a woman at the  hospital who provides info to day surgery patients.
She wasn't in, but called me a few hours  later to tell me the procedure was set for Red Deer Hospital on Friday.

I learned right away about the mass and that it appears to be curable by surgery alone.  The doctor took a sample for biopsy and is setting both CT scan and surgery for me.  If is hasn't moved past its current location everything will be sorted out on the table.
If not, I'll deal with it.

I've lost a bit of the extra weight I was carrying due to being on heart meds. I have a good appetite and plenty of energy. Ironically, I look and feel better than I have in years.
I have started in on fruit and veggie smoothies so my body will be healthier and be able to repair itself.  I've done some research and will do more, and I refuse to worry until I have something worth worrying about.
For all of this, I am grateful.

Cancer, my ass!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Photo-Finish Friday-- A Trip to the Rockies

WolfJuneNikon 006 Along the David Thompson Highway (Hwy 11) west of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.

Please click to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Trip to the Falls

We stopped at Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park on Saturday.
It's a lovely spot and a definite attraction, but for too many people the real attraction is to hop the fence and get as close to the falls as they can.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gratitude Monday -- Wild Beauty Edition

I saw a wolf.
I love wolves, always have, but I rarely get to see them.
Husband and I left early Saturday morning for a day trip to Jasper to see who we could see in the wild.
We saw this wolf on Highway 11 about 10 or so minutes east of the Banff National Park gate.
We watched for a few minutes and were able to get some photos. I also shot some video.
I think they are beautiful, and misunderstood.
Wolves they mind their own business and do not attack humans as a rule.


This was a grand treat for me and I am grateful.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Photo-Finish Friday --Moonrise over Syros

CycladesNikon 029 The near-full moon shines down on Syros, Greece.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Stakes on a Plane

The world of  public marriage proposals has always bothered me. Why do you need to make such a big deal of it? Are you scared she'll say no?
I can only guess this must be the real, underlying reason for them.
Oh, we can get all dewy-eyed and romantic about it.  He wants to shout his love from the rooftops, share it with the world, we tell ourselves.
I call it ambush and I want it to stop.
I was ear witness to one at ComicCon in Calgary a few years ago. This was the big ComicCon, the event that reunited the cast of Star Trek: TNG.
He popped the question during the intermission between the buildup to the reunion and the actual taking of the stage of the actors.
She said yes. The crowd cheered.
That particular proposal was fine. It was a grand nerd on nerd moment and I am happy for them.
But I and others were trapped with nowhere to turn on a recent flight to London.
Our eager suitor was so insecure –I believe—that he had the First Officer announce from the flight deck that a gentleman has a special request of a lady.
Suddenly a plane full of strangers are right there in the big moment with you. You are about to be asked to marry and the whole plane is waiting for you to say yes.
What choice do you  have?
Saying no, even if you want to, will cause huge embarrassment to you, to  him, and to everyone who had to be along for the ride.
The suitor knows what's at stake: his happiness. He wants her and in his mind the best move is to go public.
Maybe he can't afford some of the big deals we see on YouTube or even the evening news, but he can have hundreds of people rooting for him.
And he did.
We were near London, but still over the water, I think, when he made his request. He was a few rows ahead of me. I had a glance at the ring.
She said yes.   We know because the First Officer announced it later on.
I choose to believe she wanted to, but I can't help but think she felt blindsided. She had nowhere to go and if she'd said  no there'd be pitying looks, or dark mutterings, or what have you from her fellow passengers.
Maybe I am wrong about public proposals. Maybe it isn't monumental insecurity that propels a man (or a woman) but rather the sweeping dizzying overwhelming all-encompassing love that makes the asker want everyone to know it, be a part of it. He or she may just have so much love it must be shared.
But I don't think so.
Whatever their reason, I hope they put as much effort into the marriage as they do to the proposal.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Athens, Olympics, and Stadia, Oh, My!

The news has been full of Olympic news lately, mostly with countries bowing out of bidding.
They have good, solid reasons for it.  It's an economic disaster for them. What a city needs to host this event bears limited relationship to what a city needs.
Take Athens, for instance.
Facilities built for the Olympics are unused and crumbling.
Interestingly, this stadium in Athens built thousands of years ago looks like it's ready to use.
2014-05-12 001 005
Thousands of years old and still in better shape than the stadia
constructed for the 2004 Olympics.

They money sunk into these sites could have gone to way better use like proper infrastructure, cleaning the city up, and getting a handle on its horrible stench.
I'm sorry, Athens. I love you, but you stink.
The Plaka (Old Town) I knew from the early 1980s is virtually unrecognizable today.  It is restaurant after restaurant after tourist trap.
I eventually found my way from Syntagma Square to some of my old haunts, but it was not the same. Not that it should be, of course, but it was crowded, filthy, and overbuilt.
I presume it was done in preparation for the influx of people for the games.  One cannot blame anyone for doing this.  Opportunity came and they jumped on it. Who wouldn't?
That said, the facilities built for then are a blight on the cityscape now. Athens has no need for them and there's no money for their upkeep. Unlike the ancient stadia,  these will likely never be historic sites.
They may serve as historical lessons,  but not the kind of site one dreams of seeing.
Meanwhile, (animal lovers please take a breath) the stray pussycat population of today in Athens is barely a whisper of what it was in the 1980s.
2014-05-12 001 123
Master and Commander
They were everywhere underfoot at the outside eateries back then. Today, they still come by, but I only saw two or three at a time. Thirty plus years ago one would spot a dozen without even trying.
On the good side, when the government tried to get rid of the stray dogs prior to the Olympics the people got upset. They banded together, adopted the dogs, and put collars on them. These dogs still wander, but they are fed and loved and very friendly.

CycladesNikon 260
Athens has gone to the dogs.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gratitude Monday–Coasting to Gratefulness

We took a pleasant morning's walk along the coast of Paros during our Greek Islands holiday.
Being on vacation is enough to be grateful for in itself, but the walk was one of my highlights.
We set out from the village of Drios and ambled along a path for as long as we felt like.
It was warm with a welcome breeze and the walking was easy.
Best of all it was just the two of us. Those are the memories we want to have and for them I am grateful.