Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Here is a graph showing the "14 Day Trend" for Edmonton, Alberta:

The white line is our historical average daily high temperature (around -5°C for this time period). The yellow line is our projected/expected daily HIGH temperatures... Looks like starting Friday the temperature is set to plummet into the realm of -30°C and colder. Time to buy a winter jacket?

UPDATE: Edmonton was the coldest place in North America Saturday night and the second coldest in the world! We registered a new record low of -46°C (-59°C with the windchill). You can read more here: Only Siberia Was Colder (Edmonton Sun 14 Dec 2009)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Larks Still Bravely Singing Fly

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy first full day of Fall Edmonton!

I've done my best to try and enjoy this day - lunch on a patio, ice cream with my hubby and BBQ with family to come. This is gorgeous weather, who knows how much longer it will last? Seize the Day!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Happy 09 09 09!

Did you know that September 9th 2009 is the last of the single-digit dates for another 992 years?

Birthday of a lifetime!

There are many reasons to celebrate/recognize today. We have our own reasons!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Anniversary Trip Part 2

We flew over the Columbia Icefields on the way home

I finally got the pictures from the second half of our anniversary trip in July finished and posted (Part one was our trip to Victoria). We took the train up island, from Victoria to Courtenay BC, to visit with friends and explore areas where I'd never been, like Mt Washington. It was a great choice, lovely and relaxing, like we got two trips in one. In a way I guess that's what we did! You can view the pictures here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And the Enlightened Savage is....

You think I'm going to tell you? Head over to the ES Nation and read it for yourself!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The State of the Nation

I have long been, perhaps more than, a fan of the Enlightened Savage. I, like many others in Alberta, enjoy his contributions to our political dialogue and find them to be always relevant, of a high calibre, honest and fair.

I've been considering all of the differing opinions in this anonymity debate going on in the blogosphere right now regarding the true identity of ES and I have decided that whether or not ES is anonymous has no bearing on my enjoyment of his postings. I wish ES continued blogging enjoyment (for my reading pleasure) and regardless of the outcome of this debate, I remain a proud member of the ES Nation.

And you too can show your continued support by purchasing and wearing Alberta's infamous SavageWear, just in time for the fall fashions.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Anniversary Trip Part 1 - Victoria BC

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with an adventure to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It turned out to be both a perfect bookend to our anniversary trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia last year and a great way to be reminded of our Honeymoon trip five years ago.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel

The Empress Hotel is part of what makes Victoria's inner harbour and downtown area. I couldn't resist taking many pictures of the empress from all angles. The Edwardian ch√Ęteau-style hotel was designed by Francis Rattenbury (the same man who designed the Parliament buildings) for Canadian Pacific Hotels and completed in 1908.

The BC Parliament Buildings at night

At night the BC Parliament buildings are lit up by over 3000 lightbulbs, making it the most spectacular part of the Victoria night skyline (it dominates the day time skyline as well). This is the iconic view that most people associate with Victoria.

Traditional Victorian carriage rides

We almost took a carriage ride around Victoria... It really was fun to be like a tourist in Victoria while on our vacation, doing as the tourists do. But since I grew up on Vancouver Island I just couldn't bring myself to pay the amount of money they were charging the tourists for those carriage rides (99.00 each for 15 minutes!) so every time we did go to get a ride I changed my mind!

Whales are a sight to behold

In sharp contrast to the carriage rides the money we paid to go on our whale watching tour was worth every penny - and I'd recommend anyone going to Victoria do it. For three hours we zipped around the waters off of Vancouver Island (and the San Jaun Islands in the USA) viewing spectacular scenery, jumping the wakes of bigger boats and, of course, enjoying the wildlife. We saw Killer Whales (two resident Orca pods that we stayed with for an hour), seals and porpoises (which were too shy for me to get a picture of). So much fun I wanted to do it again as soon as I got back.

The totems of Thunderbird Park

Thunderbird Park is an awesome greenspace (of which Victoria has a lot) beside the Royal BC Museum and across from the Empress Hotel. It's a lovely place and we enjoyed laying in the grass here together, absorbing the sunshine and watching the people go by.

A Hero's bagpipes return home

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Victoria on our next trip was to reconnect with the history of my unit, The Canadian Scottish Regiment, which has it's home and Battalion Headquarters here. In particular I really wanted to see Piper Richardson's bagpipes, which had recently been found. Richardson won the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when, prior to attack, he obtained permission from his Commanding Officer to play his company "over the top". As the Company approached the objective, it was held up by very strong wire and came under intense fire, which caused heavy casualties and demoralised the formation for the moment. Realising the situation, Piper Richardson strode up and down outside the wire, playing his pipes with the greatest coolness. The effect was instantaneous. Inspired by his splendid example, the company rushed the wire with such fury and determination that the obstacle was overcome and the position captured. Later, after participating in bombing operations, he was detailed to take back a wounded comrade and prisoners. After proceeding about 200 yards, Piper Richardson remembered that he had left his pipes behind. Although strongly urged not to do so, he insisted on returning to recover his pipes." I've often thought to myself I would follow bagpipes anywhere and this piece of history has always been close to my heart.

As you can see we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in Victoria (it's taken me this long to get the photos up online!), which was the first part of our trip. You can see the rest of our Victoria Trip here. Part 2 of the trip should be up soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Giant Leap for Mankind...

I would not be born for another three years, but this event would change the life I was to live. NASA gave me my heroes and fueled many of my dreams. I spent my childhood nights exploring the night sky, peering upwards and dreaming of being an astronaut and where the human race might possibly be going in the future. I didn't have to sleep to dream.

Still, years later, the heavens hold my fascination. I love that I grew up in the space age. Happy 40th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing NASA. And thank you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

My Birthday Boy

Wesley has had a great year - I am so proud of him! I wish him many many more years of happiness and great success!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy Anniversary to my Somebody

I want somebody to share
Share the rest of my life
Share my innermost thoughts
Know my intimate details
Someone who'll stand by my side
And give me support
And in return
Shell get my support
She will listen to me
When I want to speak
About the world we live in
And life in general
Though my views may be wrong
They may even be perverted
Shell hear me out
And wont easily be converted
To my way of thinking
In fact shell often disagree
But at the end of it all
She will understand me

I want somebody who cares
For me passionately
With every thought and
With every breath
Someone who'll help me see things
In a different light
All the things I detest
I will almost like
I don't want to be tied
To anyone's strings
I'm carefully trying to steer clear of
Those things
But when I'm asleep
I want somebody
Who will put their arms around me
And kiss me tenderly
Though things like this
Make me sick
In a case like this
Ill get away with it

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day, Eh!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

That Time of Year Again

Another school year finished! Let the summer vacation begin - and by that I mean could we please have some warm/hot weather, green grass and flowers? I don't know what's up with our seasons this year but winter was too long, spring too late and now we have no rain for anything to grow!

But enough about the weather and more about my Honours students. They both worked really hard this year and I am proud of them! Congrats you two!

Wesley completed Grade Ten with Honours

Raven completed Grade Eight with Honours

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spring in the Canadian Rockies

I finally finished getting all of the photos up from our weekend trip to Banff National Park in April. Duncan and I had an amazing weekend exploring the park together and we really did manage to make the most of our two days there together. Here are some highlights of the trip:

From the Top of the World

I highly recommend a trip up Sulphur Mountain on the Gondola if you are visiting Banff National Park. This was my first trip up and I found it to be the highlight of my trip - the views were amazing! In this picture you can see the Bow River snaking through the Townsite of Banff on its way to Calgary, the famed Banff Springs Hotel and Lake Minnewanka in the distance (top left).

Banff Springs Hotel with Wapiti

Spring is the perfect time of year to see Elk herds. This group of Elk we watched forde the Bow River while we were visiting the Bow Falls. We walked over through the Banff Springs Hotel Golf Course and caught up with them to take this shot. Sulphur Mountain can be seen in the background of this picture, where we also enjoyed some time in the hot springs.

Into the Wardrobe

We found this old/abandoned freestanding gateway alongside the Bow River whilst exploring. We couldn't resist going through it - and into the magical world that awaits those with an adventurous spirit in the heart of the Canadian Rockies...

It's still winter at Lake Louise

We traveled up to Lake Louise to see the Glacier as we haven't been there for about 4 years. We were only half surprised to find that it was snowing there - it is a bit higher in elevation than Banff. The view of the Glacier was mostly obscured by the snow, but it was gorgeous anyway. We enjoyed an amazing meal at the Chateau Lake Louise and headed back towards Banff as the areas around the Chateau were closed due to the spring/winter conditions.

Life on the Edge

The Mountain Sheep of the Rocky Mountains are fabulous creatures and we were lucky enough to find a large herd while driving the Lake Minnewanka Road loop after we returned from Lake Louise. Living remnants of the ice age, these big horn sheep are uniquely suited to living in the Rocky Mountains.

You can see more pictures from our Banff Trip here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness...

Turns out that the first step in preventing the spread of any kind of virus is the easiest for us to do - increase the quality of our hygiene and health habits. This means that simply washing our hands regularly (the CDC recommends that you wash with soap and warm/hot water for at least 30 seconds while rubbing your hands together vigorously) and limiting how much we touch our faces (eyes, nose, mouth) significantly decreases our chances of contracting influenza.

Some other steps you can take to prevent contracting or transmitting the Flu:

  • Avoid sick people and stay home if you are sick (coughing/sneezing can affect an area up to 6 feet around the person);

  • Disinfect surfaces (desks, counters, doorknobs, etc at the home and office)

  • Stay healthy - drink lots of water, get regular excerise, get enough sleep, indulge in a healthy diet, remember your vitamins and reduce your stress;

  • Remind friends and family (even young children) to sneeze or cough into the crook of their arm rather than covering their mouth with their hands;

  • Consider carrying an alcohol based hand sanitizer for the times you can't get to soap and water;

  • Prepare food that you eat with utensils rather than finger foods.

Stay informed about the Swine Flu so you know its symptoms and its severity, its prevalence in your region and what to do if you or a family member becomes sick.

If you live in Alberta and you think you might be sick the provincial government is asking you to call Health Link before deciding to go to a facility. The number is 780-408-5465 (Edmonton), 403-943-5465 (Calgary) or 1-866-408-5465 for all other areas.

Resources for Info:

Health Canada || Alberta Health and Wellness || Center for Disease Control || US Dept of Health || World Health Organization

You can also follow @CDCemergency on Twitter for pertinent updates.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Alberta on Alert for Swine Influenza

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is asking Albertans to take precautions against the influenza virus and help stop the spread of infection.

"We are asking anyone who develops a fever or cough and has recently returned or had contact with someone recently returned from Mexico or the southern U.S., to call HealthLink Alberta for advice BEFORE visiting a physician’s office, medicentre or emergency room."

Albertans can call Health Link Alberta toll-free 1-866-408-5465. In Edmonton the number is 780-408-5465 and in Calgary the number is 403-943-5465.

Read the News Release HERE.

Read City of Edmonton News Release HERE.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Beginning of Wonder...

On January 25th 1985 I saw the Space Shuttle Discovery for the first time. On a three day mission launching the day before, the Shuttle flew over my childhood home on Vancouver Island in BC. I remember that only the second day was clear (clouds are a hazard of living near a temperate rainforest) and I patiently waited outside for the Flyby all by myself.

Since about the age of seven I have spent nights outside gazing at stars and other objects or phenomenon one might find in our skies. I often (and still do) feel somewhat insignificant while doing so, a small being on a tiny planet in the vastness of our universe. This day was no different for me and I wondered about all the things in the heavens that there was to know and discover.

When I saw the Space Shuttle Discovery come into view I was at first excited but I quickly became quite intoxicated with the idea of what I was seeing. There were people on that craft in orbit around our planet and we had put them there. Suddenly, for the first time in my life I felt truly significant. It dawned on me the great potential that we humans, myself included, actually had. It wasn't really the beginning of childhood wonder, but it certainly was the moment that I realized such wonder was justified. If I hadn't wanted to be an astronaut before that moment the dream was certainly set firmly in motion!

I felt the same way seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery again tonight, 24 years later. Obviously, now, I am more likely to find my way to space as a tourist rather than an astronaut but that reality does not dampen the dream that space conjures. This time the Discovery was trailed very closely by the International Space Station and seeing them both together was amazing. As a species we really can come together and do great and wonderful things.

The Story of an Idea

We watched this short video tonight at our Red Cross Disaster Management course. It describes the origin story of the Red Cross movement and the birth of the Geneva Conventions.

When I was in the army we studied military law, the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law - basically the rules of war - from a vastly different (but surprisingly similar) viewpoint than I study it now. Human nature has demanded this body of law evolve (sometimes in leaps and bounds, like after the second world war) because of the new and interesting ways we increasingly find to hurt each other... There is an inherent inhumanity within our humanity, one can not exist meaningfully without the other.

This is both a familiar and unfamiliar place for me. Perhaps it is only my perceived role that has changed within this scenario - to go from a soldier actor to a neutral actor, but it feels like I have come full circle.

Albert Schweitzer (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) said "When Humanity finally learns to control the elements, when the winds will be quiet and the earth can not be torn apart, when there will be no loneliness, no destitution, no war; when the last hungry man, woman or child is fed, only then will there be no need for the Red Cross."

Humanity. Inhumanity. My struggle has always been to find the appropriate balance. You can't have one without the other.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Look Who's Flying By - Updated

Space Shuttle Discovery

The Space Shuttle Discovery left Earth last night on a two week construction mission (STS-119)to the International Space Station (ISS). This is the 28th shuttle mission to the ISS. The timing of this mission favors sky watchers in North America and Europe, so as long as the weather cooperates, here is a list of times you can see the Flybys:


March 26
SS Discovery 9:38pm - 9:40pm 29° W
ISS 9:39pm - 9:41pm 29° W
(Will appear right after each other in the sky)

March 27
SS Discovery 8:29pm - 8:32pm 45° W
ISS 9:39pm - 8:30pm - 8:33pm 44° W
(Will appear right after each other in the sky)

March 28
ISS 9:39pm - 8:57pm - 8:59pm 27° W
(SS Discovery is landing today)


Times are for the location of Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. If you are in another location within North America and would like to see a flyby schedule for your area, use this link.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Dreaming of Spring Time

Vancouver Island 2007
Spring blossoms much earlier in BC

Seems like we will be in the grips of -27°C to -34°C weather for the next little while, with more snow (if that's even possible). I am sure hoping this counts as "in like a lion" because I could sure go for the "out like a lamb" part of March.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I'm Not That Old!

Acting my age... Wait, What's my age again?

Tonight my darling son gleefully told every stranger that would listen that I was turning FORTY. I didn't fully realize the extent of his mischievousness until the cashier at the drug store turned to me and told me that I looked really good "for my age."

I was momentarily speechless, not quite understanding what was occurring, until I noticed that he had turned a slight shade of red trying to stifle his laughter and I put two and two together. "I'm not that old," I informed her, trying to regain some control of the situation - which only made it worse as she backtracked with "oh, of course you're not." So I just smiled.

But what I should have said is that the birthday card my darling, clever son was buying, the one that said "Happy 40th Birthday," was a joke - a mild teasing of my getting older that is all in good fun.

Why I feel the need to reiterate that I am not turning forty (just in case anyone hadn't surmised that yet) I don't know, but I really do.

I am looking forward to the awesome forty year old that will be me when my time comes, but I am not there yet... and what's the rush? I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twitter is the New Blog...

Summer's Daydreams has been around now for six years (cue Blogiversary music). Sadly, in the past three years a couple of jobs I've had made it difficult to blog and I seem to have fallen out of the habit.

I want to blog more, I really do. Often I have all sorts of things and opinions rolling around in my head that yearn to be blogged and discussed. I sometimes regret not blogging about some things that I normally would have been all over... watching them pass by while the blog remains too silent. It's true I have a bit of a time issue these days and finding the time to sit and write a blog post has been a small challenge in itself.

But what I really blame is Twitter. Twitter steals the blog's thunder everytime. Sure it only gives me 140 characters but that is often enough to throw my thoughts out there - quick and easy - and that diminishes the need to blog.

Twitter is the new blog.

So I am going to think about how I can make my blog relevant to me again and try to recommit to it once I do. Hopefully I can set the tone for the next six years of Summer's Daydreams.

Happy blogiversary to me...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tis the Season for Student Politics

I don't know Emily Rowe from Western but this is very clever. Student politics still touches my life for various reasons (mostly Duncan) and I love when it gets entertaining. Boom-Di-Ada!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dare to Dream

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Girl Effect