Monday, April 26, 2010

My World Tuesday - Geocaching Part Two

Attempt Number One at this geocaching lark was a bit of a wash out. Well, perhaps washout is the wrong word. It was a snowout.

So let us try again.

First, stare at the GPS thingy and then start hunting around the (hopefully correct) area ....

A-ha! What's this hiding here?

Yay! Success - an official "find".

Oh, bless! Some child gave up his Hot Wheels. Now that's dedicated!
Various mini goodies inside and little writing pad to sign in and say that you have visited.

So excited at actually finding something, we head off for another one a couple of miles away.

A hidey hole in a tree, tastefully modelled by Daughter Number One, with Daughter Number Two looking somewhat perplexed.

And what's inside? Yay! - another success story.

Husband is hooked on this new game. I suspect it may be time for some more difficult caches. You know - half-way-up-a-mountain type difficult.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scenic Sunday - A week in the life of Alberta Weather

Who would want to be a weather presenter on a TV channel in Alberta? Seriously - how would you ever really know? The climate here is, scientifically, truly fascinating stuff and we have some of the most changeable weather on the planet.

Mind you, I reckon you could predict whatever weather you like, and say anything at all to your viewer - you have an 80% chance of being right, within a 48 hour window!!

Monday was fine - cool and nearly warm - relatively speaking bearing in mind I am coming out of an Alberta winter here! About 13 degrees I think.

Spring is officially here now.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were just bloomin' marvellous. Literally. It was warm and sunny, 23 degrees with a light breeze. Just heaven. Dig out the t-shirts and sandals. Far too lovely to be sitting in the office, that's for sure.

Leaves are leafing, buds are budding, and tulips are, well, tulipping.

Friday was a little cooler, cloudy and the winds were picking up.

But by early evening, the clouds had blown away to leave a gorgeous clear sky and beautiful colours at sunset. Time to wash off the patio furniture and fire up the BBQ.

BANG!! Saturday. Helloooooo?!

I disappeared into a Mall for two hours on Saturday afternoon (to do "the" bra shopping - ladies you will be pleased to hear I was successful!).

When I came out, this is what greeted me. My cropped trousers and near-bare feet were none too impressed.

The drive home was a soggy, 1-degree blizzard of huge snowflakes - a wet sleety snow coming down fast.

And then by this morning, in the clear sunlight, the garden - and of course those tulips - were covered in a 3-inch heavy layer of new snow.

Which is melting fast in the warm sunshine and perhaps by tomorrow there will probably be no sign that any of this happened at all.

We'll be back to 12 degrees - the garden will have had a good watering, and the budding alliums will shake off the shock of such a chilly weekend and we'll all be back to normal, whatever that means.

'Till the next time.

Have a great week!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dances with Humans - My favourite pastime

I love it when we take The Boss for a walk.
Well, OK, yes - he drives us to some great places first ....

.... and then we take him for a walk.
We are meticulous with our duties to sniff every single stone and leaf, stick and bit of dried up poop....

... then we run up (and skid back down) the hills among fantastic tree roots.
What a playground! Who could ask for more?

I do my "wistful" pose as I stare off into the middle distance, attempting to look mysterious and sexy ...

...when actually all I am trying to do is drum up enough courage to dunk myself into this bloody freezing river.

And finally, there's nothing quite like rolling around in some grey, filthy dust when you are soaking wet.
Roll, twist, squirm.

It's wonderful for your complexion - and the back of The Boss's car.

He truly loves me at times like this - I can see it in his eyes!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Watery Wednesday

Melting and dripping snow, frozen again during a dramatic overnight drop in temperatures.

Popsicle branches beside a mini dam.

Moving water frozen again mid-swirl. Delicate as a dragonfly wing.

And icy lines in the surface of a pond - such a fragile layer, but pretty patterns.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Scenic Sunday - or is it?

A few more photos taken from one of my lunch time walking sessions. I'm not sure that "scenic" is the right word to be using on this cool, sunny Sunday, but the photos do hold some points of interest!

These were taken just slightly north of the downtown core, overlooking Calgary city centre.

Looking to the west, the office and apartment blocks rise up from a flat river valley.

And though a still grey-ish brown vista right now, it's great to notice just how many trees there are around these 'burbs - they look kind of feathery at the moment and you can take a guess at how different this place may look at the height of the summer. I shall return later in the year and take a comparative photo.

If it has been a much clearer day, the Rockies should have been peaking along that far right horizon.
Looking eastwards highlights more construction - there are a couple of major projects on the go at this time. And see those cranes in the middle-left?

This is where they are. Now I'm the first to admit that a construction site is not the most "scenic" thing I could show you today, but I'm liking the shape emerging - a kind of curvy three sided tower. I'm not sure if this will be another glossy, glass high rise but whatever finishing product is used on the outside surfaces will have a major impact on how good the final building appears.

The officey centre blocks of Calgary are very tall and glossy and glassy - shiny towers built on the back of the oil booms and a multitude of other administrative centres. However, my eye is always drawn to the shorter, older buildings peppered in between.

It is my mission this summer to get out on foot to find some of the hidden history. There are a few buildings about 100 years old that are still in good repair and looked after, and I'd like to show some of those to you another day.

Have a great Scenic Sunday.

The "Out" place

Last night we went to the "Out" place .... have you ever been?

It's the place where adults go. No, there's nothing kinky about it (well, I suppose there can be sometimes) but it's the place where they go to socialise, to eat, to enjoy themselves without children.

So, we went there too. The without children part is crucial. We met some friends in a restaurant. See, there's another important word - restaurant. It wasn't a diner, it wasn't a cafe and it wasn't a drivethru. A lady offered to take my coat, and didn't hand me crayons and a word search puzzle in return. She gave me a simple and beautifully printed menu and a linen napkin, and I didn't see one soft drink in the place with a plastic lid and a straw.
One often catches glimpses of the "Out" place when you are with your children but you try to ignore the urge to get sucked in. It's like a whole parallel universe that exists and you are aware of little wormholes, offering the sights and sounds of sparkly animated people sitting in that unfamiliar relaxed pose, at a bar, or out walking - and look, they are holding hands! There are no noisy little people in view - can such a place really exist? Nah! And you go back to concentrating on wipe-clean surfaces, lost socks and the electric motor project you need to finish before Monday's Grade 5 assessment.

So last night we dined peacefully, able to finish complete, like, whole sentences (I know!), and absorb a quiet dignified atmosphere of clinking glasses, leather chairs and foodstuffs made with real basil leaves. I doubt there was a Build-a-Bear or a chicken nugget within a mile of the place.

Next we went to another venue. I know, I know, I'm showing off now, but it was a theatre. Just a little theatre, hosting a one-man improv show, but he was such a laugh. His name is Kevin Tomlinson for anyone interested, a UK guy, who did a wonderful show walking the audience through the seven stages of life, from birth to death.

He started off by getting the audience to write a one-line lyric from a song onto a small piece of paper. The papers were then randomly scattered all over the floor of the stage area, and he commenced his monologues. He changed clothes and wore superb masks for each character. Every now and again, he would scoop up a piece of paper and insert the lyrics into his conversation, and take the show in whatever direction he felt like.

Of course, this was very funny, witty, smutty, silly and he is one clever and talented gent.

"And my father said to me, just before he died" ... (pick up lyric) ... "he said to me, son, It's Raining Men, Halleluja, It's Raining Men .... and then he died"

"And at that moment, I felt like Jesus, on the cross, and as I looked over to the other guys on their crosses, I said Shake Your Bum Bum, Shake Your Bum Bum"

"And what did the bully at school say to you Graham?"
"He said C'mon Rude Boy, Can You Make It Hard Enough?"
"And then what happend Graham?"
"I said to him Mmm, You Sexy Bitch"

"And daddy is moving away? Where is he going? Who is he going with?"
"Well, your father told me Puff The Magic Dragon, Lives by the Sea ... that's it, he's going to live with an old dragon in BC"

And so it went on, so funny .....

This is a clip to show you who Kevin is:

And at the end of a truly pleasant, grown-up evening we bid farewell to our friends and drove home to the children. We opened the front door to our real life and closed the door to the "Out" place for another little while, satisfied with enough memories to keep us going until next month when we plan to see Eddie Izzard. This could become a habit you know.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bra shopping!

Oh Lord - it's a task I can put off no more. Me boobs need some new uplifting support.

Anyone else out there hate shopping for new bras? No need for the men to respond here, unless you really want to, or have a great story to share - in which case, please let rip with all the juicy details.

Now - I should start off by reminding you that I am British and therefore my bust has been lovingly looked after, lacily dressed and received unfailing support from Marks & Spencers for as long as I can remember. With matching knickers of course. You've got to match. M&S is synonymous with women's underwear. There is no other.

I should also add (to great sighs of relief, no doubt) that there will be no photographic evidence of my own on this particular entry. Any weird voyeurs out there will have to make do with cut and paste adverts.

So - I live in Canada now - where M&S is no more. I have managed to last nearly three years without purchasing a new bra here. Now, before you all log off, horrified at the thought of my ancient underwear, visualising some grey-just-about-hanging-together bit of knackered fabric holding me in place, I would like to state for the record that I have purchased new bras on several occasions in those three years. But I cheated and bought them in the UK - just picked up replacements of the same ol', same ol' when I was back there for holidays ('cos that's what you do when you go on holiday, isn't it? Fill your suitcase with new bras. OK, that's just me then).

So I have been scouting out the talent, so to speak. I have dismissed La Senza which appears to stock the same "t-shirt" bra in 73 colours and would never normally frequent stores like Walmart for boob coverage because I have a snobbish aversion to cheap fabric triangles wrapped in clear cellophane.

Independant, pretty stores are built for petite women with no need of anything bigger than a 34B. So that's me out then.

I took a recent glance around the lingerie department at the The Bay - where the range and choice is vast, if not a little pricey. All the recognisable, international brand names in a variety of colours, leopard print fabrics (I'm too old to get away with the trashy-sexy-possibly-a prostitute look), bras of seemingly improbable designs and then there are the matching knickers for a mere $80 each.

Now all I have to do is just hazard a guess at the most appropriate cup size I am aiming for (cos those ladies that measure never get it right anyway) , and then take a selection of about ten bras into a changing room. Then begins the battle to wriggle myself and my boobs into submission - all the time trying not to dislocate a shoulder or scare some small child when the changing room curtain wafts open, releasing the girls into full view.

Speaking of bra designs, have you seen all the names for bras these days? No wonder I am feeling daunted at the prospect. Who invented padded bras then, eh? If there is one thing I do not need, it's extra fabric stuffed down my blouse.

And push-up bras? Plunge bras? Cleavage is good in the right circumstances, but boobs shoved up under my chin is neither flattering (because I have three chins there already) nor comfortable. And I really do feel sorry for the poor bloke or girl who thought they were getting the real deal, but when they got back to the bedroom, the real tragedy collapsed somewhere down near the belly button. It's just false advertising really.

And how come my hair doesn't swish gently in the breeze like this blonde purring madam? And if the wind machine was going that strong in the studio, where are her chilly nipples? See, false advertising. It'll come to no good.

Balcony bras ? They're the ones I used to be able to wear one bra and three cup sizes ago. I was vaguely cute and pert once. It was a Wednesday in 1984.

Sports bras? Oh sexy mama!! Bloody marvellous invention when you find the right one though. Not that I advocate exercise too often. It's not good for you, and the red ring left around your rib cage when you remove said sports bra is like a branding symbol for about 24 hours, due to the incredible grip and feat of engineering it had to complete when you dared to jump up and down, go running or touch your toes.

Racerback, demi cup, convertible, diamante straps, hooks, clips and gel padding...My head hurts!

C'mon ladies, I can't be the only one that dreads this one particular shopping expedition. Share your boobalicious stories with me and give me strength to brave the lingerie department once more.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My World Tuesday - Cochrane Ranch, Alberta

Come with me as we take the dogs for a walk again.

This is the Cochrane Ranch, a 60 hectare park area owned and preserved by the Town of Cochrane - about 25km north west of Calgary, Alberta.

Say "howdy" to the Man of Vision, a huge bronze statue watching over the town of Cochrane. He is a little bit famous (if only in this wee town!) and has been subject to much scrutiny and comment in recent months as the Town tries to utilise this very traditional "western" image and re-invent itself with a new modern logo.

Our foothills prairie grassland extends over hills and pathways,with the Rockies a permanent point of snow-capped reference in the distance.

The last slivers of icy platforms are being carved away on a daily basis as Spring marches on. Not strong enough to hold a small nosey dog, as the soggy paw prints in the boot of my car will show.

It is an area perfect for walking, jogging and biking, or just strolling and is used year round, whether sun-drenched or snow-covered (or both). Summer kid's camps, family parties and BBQ's and the Saturday Farmer's Market will all arrive soon.
Wooden beams mark out the old foundations of the first cattle rancher's homes - they arrived in 1881 and set up camp.
Pictoral displays are made to tell the story of those early settlers ...

... though I suspect we are given a rather limited view of the effects on the native people in this area.

And while it is all still a bit brown and bland in this first week of April, the prairie crocus will be out soon, and the landscape will turn lush and green for the summer months.
A little glimpse of an area just 2km from my front door.
Have a great week folks.

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