Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Billowy Clouds

Ooh - I fell in love with this cloud this week.
Sad, but true!

A short while later, the rain-heavy clouds blew over and you could see the bands of water falling ahead of us.

Have a great week.
More SkyWatch Friday? Click here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Flowery My World Tuesday

More photos from this week's road trip. And this Tuesday, I am seeking help.

I wish to use and abuse my good readers for some floral knowledge! Please holler if you know the names of any of these ....

This lilac coloured beauty was using other plants for support, beside a rushing river ..... is it a kind of harebell?

..and in a pine forest ... isn't this bark just gorgeous? Again, I could not find any pictures with bark like this - it was very mature and tall version of most of the trees in the area - a tree with needles in bundles (but I forgot to count how many).

I'm frustrated that I haven't mastered macro yet - are these little blurred flowers orchids? (also under found on a forest floor while out walking off the beaten track)

A weed or a wildflower or a bit of both? Bright blasts of colour regardless.

And what are these feathery frongs at the water's edge? Will they flower?

Have a lovely week folks.
Click here for more My World Tuesday pictures from around the world

Road trip for the Victoria Day long weekend...

We headed out from Cochrane in Alberta to Kimberley in the south west corner of British Columbia. As the crow flies, it should be fairly quick journey, but those big mountains get in the way, so we had to put up with a four-hour drive along some of the most beautiful highways ever. It's a tough life.

The devastation caused by the dreaded pine-beetle runs for miles and miles and is a very sobering sight.

The whole eco-system must be changing as some animals and insects move to a new neighbourhood, and yet other creatures move in to the decaying and changing forests. Maybe it's an up and coming area for some kinds of insect yuppies?!

But it's good to see the little saplings making a bid for freedom - I wonder how many decades this will take to fix? Nature is great at sorting itself out, but it will take years for these dead tree carcasses to fall and rot down and feed the ground again.

We pass some mini hoodoos on the way down Highway 93.

Fantastic ripples in the rock.

We were staying with some friends who have bought a townhouse up by the ski hills of Kimberley.

Welcome to Germany!

Kimberley is a old mining town that decided, like many small towns, that it needed to re-invent itself to avoid closure and rot. Ski-hills and associated facilities were re-vamped, the old mines and railway are now a tourist attraction and the town decided to re-launch itself on a Bavarian theme. I don't really know why, but a town offering bratwurst and schnitzel in the shadows of the Canadian Rockies certainly offers a new theme!

And the nature ain't bad either ...

In fact, I was determined to hunt out some wild-life. I need moose to complete my photo album you see. Any moose out there?

Well, no - lots of deer - more than I have ever seen actually - absolutely everywhere.

A bad, blurry picture of a large heron-type fella - don't ask me for species.

And a cute picture of a fluffy squirrel - probably not that unusual really, but he's not quite grey, and he's certainly not black - not like the squirrels I am used to seeing around my way these days.

And my piece de resistance .....

My first black bear !

Again - slightly blurry photos, but one doesn't walk up close to these beautiful creatures and disturb them from their current meal, for fear of presenting oneself as dessert.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

When there's no time for photos, or a life!

Blogging has been on the back burner somewhat over the past month. Suffice to say, the snow has melted, the landscape is green and Alberta is looking pretty pretty these days. I'll be back with photographic evidence soon.

I have no life. I work, I sleep and I taxi children around. Much like millions of other parents who are in the middle of hockey, football or skating season. I seem to have spent the past month curling the hair of daughters, teaching them how to apply mascara and eyeliner, and actually telling them to put on more make-up and lipstick! They are 10 and 12 years old, and no, I haven't quite gone off the parenting rails yet.

It is dance competition season and in order to sparkle sufficiently for the judges, one must slather on the make-up in alarming proportions, and grin wildly while not forgetting one step.

I am verging on feeling very uncomfortable with the whole thing - it reminds me a little of those awful American beauty pageants for four year olds, with all the whooping and clapping pushy mothers on the sidelines, living vicariously through their poor suffering but eventually insufferable children.

I am not a good dance mother. I don't live and breathe this life, but rather suffer through dance season. I don't belong to the right cliques and my children so far are not bitchy, pushy, little madams. And they will soon be advised in the error of their ways if this ever happens!

But Daughter Number One loves this game and would sing, dance and act 60 hours a week if she could. She has some talent and the stamina, if not a little over-sensitive, and I'm just along for the ride. Daughter Number Two enjoys it but is not competitive at all, and just likes all the dress-up and music.

But you know what - it keeps them fit, socialized and gives them confidence. So what if they don't want to take it the limits? It costs a small fortune, but I am so proud of what they achieve. And if they want to dance till they are 20, and it keeps them off the streets and directs their energies away from the usual teenager distractions, I'll grin and clap, and slap on more lippy in the name of happy, healthy kids!

Monday, May 10, 2010

You gotta love Costco

Costco. A shopping phenomenon like no other. A "Cash and Carry" concept for the discerning customer! It is, I do declare, a very dangerous place that magically makes you part with at least $400 per visit, even though you only went in there to pick up some shampoo and have a wee look around. It should carry a Government Wealth Warning.

CostCo affords you the luxury of being able to purchase a giant pack of 1002 toilet rolls of which there is no conceivable way you can house them all - so you go around your home, manically shoving them into random cupboards, and then promptly forgetting where you placed them ... thereby running out of loo rolls at inopportune moments and feeding the need to go out to buy another giant pack of bog paper - and a five-man tent complete with sleeping bags and an air bed.

Where else can you buy frozen apple pies that don't actually fit into the freezer, 52 rolls of sellotape for the price of 3, a 14' trampoline that must be purchased today because there won't be any left in stock when you go again next month, and a 24-pack of mixed fruit juices where the Banana & Berry remain languishing in the pantry 'cos no-one actually liked those ones?

And now you can now take spontaneous shopping mistakes to another level.

Something for the weekend madam?

Like I say, you've gotta love Costco!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My World Tuesday - my "week" really ...

Following on from last week's weather report, I'd like to report that not much has happened at all - this week feels much the same! I am like a shampoo commercial - just rinse and repeat!

So - from melting blankets of snow, to green grass and sunshine - Spring was poking it's little nose out to check all was clear. Blue skies returned. All was well with the world.

But this is April in Alberta afterall. We've given "April Showers" a miss this year - and just gone full steam ahead into "bleuggghhh season".

Too calm to last? Of course it was. Last Wednesday evening, another snow storm blew in, and a biggun' too. Coming in sideways, it was.

By Thursday, the schools were closed, three sets of sirens were heard going up the hill behind my house (after which, funnily enough, the RCMP closed the road), and I couldn't get out to work anyway - so myself and Daughter Number One had a snow day at home, with hot chocolates all round. A chance to catch up on some laundry (I sure know how to live it up, don't I?) and some emails. Oh, and a chance to try and bury the dogs. They were hilarious actually. The snow was a deep as them and they were like bouncing gazelles trying to run across the park.

By late afternoon, the storm had blown off in a southerly direction to bug someone else and the blue skies returned. Snowmen began to sprout up everywhere. This must be a new Spring species - do they grow in your area?

Having bunked off work on Thursday, I couldn't get away with any more hours off, and these were the driving conditions on my way into the office on Friday morning. All good fun, eh?

And by Friday afternoon, the white stuff had virtually disappeared again. It's like a 24-hour flu.

By the way, if you want to lose weight quickly and re-gain your hourglass figure - I'm sure I've still got one under here somewhere - take a tip from the snowman (snow woman? snow person) here and just stand out in a mild Spring sunshine for one day and one night, and you too could be slim and lovely in no time. The pounds literally melt away. Far more satisfying than exercise (pah, dirty word) or counting your calories, don't you think? (Though by Saturday morning, I must admit, he/she was looking rather anorexic so maybe this weightloss program is a little drastic - and by Saturday afternoon they'd disappeared altogether - maybe it was something I said).

Hey - guess what - another week, another snow storm. I am really sounding repetitive now.

This one was blowing in about two hours ago.

The mountains do their disappearing act again, as the clouds force their way across the foothills one more time.

I promise not to post more weather reports again - unless, of course, it gets interesting or my camera starts twitching again.

So for My World Tuesday this week,
who knows what the morning will bring?!