Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Friday, June 10, 2011

It'll stop... eventually

I realized on Monday that this is the first time in 18 years that we haven't had a pet in our home. It is also the first time in over 30 years that I haven't had some kind of pet.

We adopted Sam in 1993, the same year we got married. We picked her, and her "brother" Quincy, at the Ottawa Humane Society. I'll be honest and say that she wasn't my first pick. I had seen a solid grey kitten but it turned out that she had ear mites. They said they would give us the drops for them, but because we were getting two kittens, we'd have to buy more to treat the other cat at the same time as a preventative measure. I continued my search and noticed a black and white kitten. She stuck out a little more because she was a little larger than the other kittens. In the end, she was smaller than most cats and I couldn't have chosen a better cat. Or maybe she chose me; that's how it works with cats, isn't it?

We picked the names for Samantha and Quincy while we sat in the car at the Blair Animal Hospital, when we took them for their first visit to get a checkup. I don't remember why I chose "Samantha". Perhaps because it could be shortened.

I had other cats when I was growing up and none lived as long as Sam. We had a famiy dog, Peanut, who also lived to around 18 years old.

I took a break from surfing the web on Monday night and got up to get a cup of water. Without even thinking, I glanced over to where she would normally be lying on the floor, waiting for that familiar little "Mrrr?" as she would get up to follow me. Her floor space was empty.

"Oh yeh... right."

In the kitchen, as I finished filling my cup, I looked down at my feet so I wouldn't step on her if she was sitting behind me, waiting to ask for food.

I then instinctively looked to where her bowls used to sit, to see if she still had food, and they weren't there.

I heard noises, again, later as I was sitting at my computer. Not imaginary noises. I'm sure it's just the house settling, but the first thing I assumed was that it was Sam hopping off the couch or the automan, or playing with a toy... and then I remembered. It gave me goose bumps.

The other evenings this week were more of the same.

I keep replaying Sunday's events in my head. It's like a bad dream. She has a problem with her foot. They'll fix it. We'll pay a big vet bill. We'll all go home. That's how it was supposed play out.

We had canned food and an unopened bag of dry food that we bought from PetSmart a week or two ago. Sandra called them on Monday and they let us return it. I went to the Humane Society web site on Tuesday morning and made a donation.

For such a tiny furball, she sure left a big hole in our home.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

7/52 — Week 9

I have plenty of photos for this week, and didn't have much difficulty in choosing which ones to post. Oddly enough, it turns out that all of those I chose were shot today.

First up, is my son hugging our cat. Our cat is 17 years old. My son is 15. It's only been in the last two or three years that she let anyone, aside from my wife and I, go near her. She used to be extremely timid and cautions of our kids. I'm pretty sure she lost her hearing in the last two or three years, which seems to have contributed to her calming down. Sounds weird, but I can't explain it any other way. She'll even sit in his lap as he uses the computer. They're best friends now.

Sam watching the bird feeder and "chattering" at the birds.

Today I took a trip out to Rideau Falls, with the hope that I'd be able to shoot massive chunks of ice piled up at the bottom of the falls. They did the ice blasting last weekend. It was not to be. Maybe I'm still too early?  It was damn cold with the wind coming off the river though.

A closeup of the cool ice formations at Rideau Falls.

I saw a couple of workers on the bridge just before leaving Rideau Falls. I think what they were doing was thawing the sluice gate with hot, pressurized water.

There's a somewhat humourous story to these next two. As I drove to Rideau Falls, I passed a cool, snow covered tree that I thought would make a great photo. I decided I would stop on the way back and shoot it. So I did. Kinda.

In the winter, there's only one parking lot open along the Rockliffe Parkway and I knew it would probably be a fair walk to get to the tree. I parked and walked. And walked. And walked. In foot-deep snow. I kept thinking it had to be "soon". I couldn't find the damn tree. Either that or it looked much different than what I saw when I first passed it. After about 30 minutes of wishing I had brought my snow shoes, I knew I had to be mistaken about what it looked like. On the way back, so my walk wasn't all for nothing, I shot some of the trees. This isn't what I saw, but it's still cool nonetheless.

Looking back to where I went...

At least I got some decent exercise. I also realized that it didn't tire me out as much as it used to, when I smoked and was more out of shape.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Name change? WTF?

Yep, I changed the name of my blog. And I added a fancy new graphic that took all of two or three minutes to throw together (subject to change). It took longer trying to figure out what code in the blog template forced it to be centered. *sigh*

So now the name matches the domain name.

I recently started digging into my family ancestry and figured that naming it with my own name might make it easier to find, should I ever decided to break off with some family tree stuff here as well.

Incidentally, you can also get here using I thought that would also work, but apparently it doesn’t. I must have messed it up.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Who stole my little boy? And who is this man in my house?

Everyone says “Kids… oh my god, they grow so fast!”

It wasn’t until around Christmas that I realized how much of an understatement that is. They don’t just grow fast – they grow incredibly fast.

Since last summer, my 14 year-old son (soon to be 15) has changed from a whiny little kid, who could bring tears to his eyes simply by telling him he was losing computer privileges, to a deep voiced (and getting deeper), hairy-legged, long-haired monster with a Sidney Crosby moustache (circa 2009) who could probably come pretty close to taking me down in a wrestling match.

Where the hell did my little boy go?

Where did the time go?

I am still shocked every day that I see him, or when he opens his mouth.

I can’t help but feel that I have I have somehow missed a year or two of his life during this transition. Seriously. I got ripped off.

Let this be a warning to parents who have children around the same age. If they still look like kids to you, enjoy every moment you can… because one day you’re going to blink and miss it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things that I remember about my Dad

I remember once when we were visiting friends of our family, we were in the backyard playing badminton... it was hot and I asked him for a sip of his beer. I must have been like 11 or 12 years old. He let me have a sip and I remember not liking it.

One morning, when I was really young, my Mother woke us up and warned us that my Father had been in a fight the night before. He got punched in the face by some thieves breaking into a car in downtown Montreal. He thought they locked themselves out of their car and checked to see if they needed help. Not his brightest moment. He was greeted with a punch to the face, breaking his dentures and causing a deep cut above one of his eyes that required stitches. For weeks, while he waited for new dentures, he had to eat soft food. He got the soft toast in the morning. He called it his "wallopy bit".

His favourite beer was Molson Export.

He had THE smelliest feet ever. After a day of work, his feet could stop a herd of bull elephants in their tracks. And kill them.

He had a mole, dead center, on his back. It looked like a Jelly Tot stuck to his back.

I remember the first time my Dad said "Fuck". We were driving in our car and some kid threw a snowball at it. It startled him and he said something like "What the fuck was that?". It was eerily quiet in the car after that, when he realized what he said. The second time I heard him say it was when I visited him at work one day. Someone came into his office to ask about some changes on a set of plans, or something like that, and he mumbled "They don't know what the fuck they're talking about..."

My Dad was my best man at my wedding. On the morning of my wedding, I was sitting in the Minister's office talking to the Minister while we waited for my Dad to arrive. He was late. Apparently, in all of the confusion of who was driving who, and when, my Dad was forgotten. When he finally arrived, he rushed into the Minister's office, wiping the sweat from his brow, and said "Jesus, it's hot out there!" He then noticed the Minister, remembered where he was, and said “Oops… sorry!”. The Minister responded, "That's ok, we say that a lot around here."

He would always wear his kilt on New Year's Eve. I have a picture somewhere of him wearing it to walk our dog, one New Year's Eve.

I remember cutting off all contact with him after he left my Mother and all of their debts. As a result, he never got to meet either of my children. He lived in Louisiana, so it wasn't too difficult. Still, it’s not something I’m proud of.

I remember calling him when he was in the hospital, in the days before he passed away, and letting him speak with his 3½ year-old grandson for the first time. It was also the last time. I heard later that he was so happy.


My Dad passed away after a very short battle with liver cancer and all the hell that goes in December 1998. If you have a few bucks to spare, please make a donation in support of my participation in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life scheduled for June 18th. Any amount is greatly appreciated, thanks!

Click here!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week 17 - Our Lights

Our Lights (17/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
A pretty sad photo of our Christmas lights this year taken with my cell phone.

This is actually the first year that we put lights up. It started off with two strings along the eaves-trough and around the window. That ended up looking rather pathetic. So we picked up two more strings of lights and I ran them down the drain pike, and along the bottom edge for the house.

I plan to take a better photo and put it up soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 14 - Dad

Dad (14/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
Ok, I’m cheating on my photo of the week again.

I didn’t take this photo. I scanned it a couple of years ago from one of many that my Mom had in a shoe box.

This is my Dad. He passed away from liver cancer in 1998. Yesterday would have been his 71st Birthday.

May he rest in peace.

Miss you, Dad.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 8 – Faces of my children

I discovered the collage feature of Picasa. :)

These are all of my two children, Kyle and Kaitlyn.

Faces of my children

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week 3 - Silver Queen Mica Mine

After a few days camping with friends earlier this week, the photo of the week comes from Murphy's Point Provincial Park. This is an old building that served as an office and sleeping quarters for miners at the Silver Queen Mica Mine.

Silver Queen Mine Office and Sleeping Quarters

I loved the contrasting colour of the wood beneath the windows. If you'd like to see more photos of our camping trip (and surrounding areas of the Silver Queen Mica Mine) click away!
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 1 - The Ice Cream Man!

This will be a bit of a repeat for anyone who follows me on Facebook, sorry. :)

Most of my childhood was spent growing up in Saint-Bruno, Quebec. I have many memories of hearing the Ice Cream Man's truck coming down the road. Any kid within earshot of the music would stop what they were doing and run into the house yelling "The ice cream man! The ice cream man! Can I get one?!" Sounds cliche, but that's the truth.

I haven't heard nor seen any ice cream truck in Ottawa since we moved here in 1982. Ice cream vendors on modified bicycles, sure. But even they're pretty scarce these days.

Last Wednesday, our daughter came running into the house yelling "The Ice Cream Man is pulling into our bay! A real ice cream truck!" Could it be?

We all went outside to take a look and sure enough, there he was.

The Ice Cream Man! (1/52)

The music was different and it sounded more digital, than the old bells and chimes, but it did look very much like what I remembered as a kid.

He parked in that location for about 20-25 minutes. The longer he was there, the more people came out to buy and soft ice cream cone, sundae or banana split. Not just the pre-made ice cream bars, or popsicles -- the soft ice cream, with the option of chocolate dipping and nuts!

I remember as a kid, how he would fill the cone and then flip it upside down and dip it into the container of chocolate sauce. How did it not fall out of the cone? I remember a friend re-enacting the procedure with his own ice cream cone, and seeing it fall to the hot pavement.

For some kids, this will be one of the highlights of their summer. The summer that the Ice Cream Man came to their neighbourhood.

FYI, my wife got me one -- chocolate-dipped and covered with nuts. Yum! :)

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Dad : 1938-1998

My Dad passed away on this day 10 years ago. The exact date is somewhat debatable. The death certificate says December 3rd, at 11:35 pm which is December 4th, 12:35am where I live, so I was always treat it as the 4th.

Anyway, although we weren't exactly on very good terms when he passed away (long story), I do think about him every year around this time. Tiny memory snapshots of the past come to mind. I could sit for hours trying to focus on them and dig deeper.

Here's a few...

Around my late pre-teens, I remember we visited some friends of the family. My Dad and I were out in the backyard playing frisbee or throwing a ball around. He did something to annoy me. I tried to kick him. He grabbed my foot and lifted my leg up, causing me to fall over. I never tried to kick him again.

Many years before that, I remember waking up for breakfast and my Mother telling my sister and I that something had happened to my Dad the night before. He had been downtown at the pub with his friends. As he left, he saw some guys trying to get into a car. Whether he was being a smart-ass or not, he approached them and spoke to them. For being nosy, he got punched in the face, leaving him with a cut over his eye that requires stitches, and broken dentures. For the next few weeks, he had to eat soft food that didn't need much chewing. I remember my Mother would cut the toast into three strips and he'd get the center strip because it was less crunchy. He called that his "wallopy" piece.

My Father was my best man at my wedding. I remember decorating the rented Cadillac on the morning of my wedding and then sitting on the curb to take a smoke break. My Dad came out and asked me how I was doing. I guess I was nervous, and he could tell. He said "Here..." and handed me a beer. Good timing. He sat down beside me. He assured me that everything would be fine and the day would go off without a hitch.

Later that morning, I was at the church and waiting in the Minister's office. My Dad was nowhere to be found. It seems that in all the commotion of who was driving who to the church, my Dad was forgotten? The ceremony was beginning to run late. The door opened and in walked my Dad, wiping the sweat from his forehead with his handkerchief. The first words out of his mouth were "Jesus, it's hot out there!" He then noticed the Minister was also in the room. Looking a little embarrassed, he immediately apologized. The Minister replied, "That's ok, we say that a lot around here."
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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Maritime Trip - The Final Chapter

We woke up in Edmundston this morning at 6:00am, loaded the truck, went for a quick breakfast at the hotel restaurant ($3.99 breakfast special!) and hit the road by around 7:30am.

We stopped a few times for bathroom breaks, and once for lunch in Drummondville. We were home a few minutes after 4:00pm, 3880kms later. We would have been a little earlier but we decided to make a quick stop at the Beer Store not far from home. :)

We found it rather amusing that we saw more Ontario licence plates in Peggy's Cove than we did on the Ontario side after crossing from Quebec into Ontario.

There an obvious difference between Ontario and Quebec drivers and Nova Scotian drivers. Drivers in Nova Scotia are way more patient than those from Ontario and Quebec. It's like night and day. In Ontario and Quebec, they tail gate you in the fast lane until you change lanes. I never saw this happen in Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick for that matter. Drivers in the Maritimes will also stop and let you enter a lane on any road. That's a rare occurence in Quebec and Ontario.

There were a few things that we never got to do, like visit PEI and whale watching. I'm sure we'll be going back soon.

All in all, a very fun, and successful vacation! It was a little tiring, but I'm sure we'll recover in no time.

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, August 8, 2008

Maritime Trip - Day 9, Hopewell Rocks (and more from Day 8!)

First an addition to Day 8's fun.

The weather did remain nice, so Colin and Sherri let Kaitlyn and Kyle ride their horses.

But first, they had to brush them and clean their hooves (the horses, of course!) :) The kids seemed to enjoy helping to care for the horses. Kaitlyn took to it like a pro, but I think Kyle was a little nervous being around and so close to such a large animal. I think he did pretty well though. Colin and Sherri showed them what to do, and how to do it, and they did it.

Once the horses were saddled up, Colin and Sherri rode them first to make sure they would behave, which didn't take very long. After some instruction on how to ride and how to dismount (especially in an emergency) they lead the horses for a short walk with the kids on them and then let them take over on their own. I was so proud of them. They listened well and did as they were instructed. The smiles on their faces said it all. I think this had to be the highlight of their the whole vacation, and I can't thank Colin and Sherri enough for taking the time and having the patience to teach them how to ride. Thanks guys! :)

On to today's fun.

We left Mount Uniacke this morning; I think it was around 8:00am and began our long journey to Edmundston, NB, but with a side trip to Hopewell Rocks.

We arrived at Hopewell Rocks shortly before noon, which was our plan because low tide was at 12:09pm. After paying the $20 Family admittance fee, we followed the path to the various lookout points, on our way to the many stairs leading down to the beach. The view was incredible! This is definitely something you have to see.

After what seemed like forever, following the trail, we arrived at the stairs leading down. And there were many of them. There was a warning sign at the top of the stairs advising of what NOT to do, and to make sure that you made it back to the stairs before the tide came in, which was still hours away. The funny part (or maybe not so funny if it happens to you!) of the warning said that if you don't make it back, not to panic, but to find a comfortable rock above seaweed level, sit down, and wait 2-3 hours for the tide to retract. WTF? That sure doesn't sound like fun, but if you're dumb enough to wait until the last minute to get your ass back to the stairs, you deserve to wait it out for a few hours. I would imagine that something like that rarely happens, because the have people walking and supervising the beach.

The walk along the beach was amazing. You can't really put it into words, it something that you have to see for yourself, at least once in your life. (Or before these massive structures erode and tumble... which I assume is bound to happen sometime in the future)

Many of the natural "bridges" are roped off for safety, in case anything falls. There is, however, one that you can walk under. That was pretty cool.

The ocean floor is pretty muddy in some places. Mud is very fine and smooth. It seems many people don't pay attention to the warnings and walked all the way down near the water where it was the muddiest, so they could walk around in it. Our kids stayed away, and chose to walk barefoot in some of the smaller muddy pools closer to shore. After about an hour walking around, we made our way back to the stairs and up, then rinsed off the kids' feet at the taps they had for that purposes, then walked back to the main entrance to grab a quick bite to eat at the restaurant. I think we were back on the road for Edmundston around 2:00-2:30ish.

The drive was long and tiring, but after a couple of short stops for coffee, snacks and gas, we arrived safe and sound in Edmundston at 7:45pm (again with my outdated GPS indicating we were off-road for 100kms of the trip after passing Fredericton. Piece of crap. ZERO engine troubles once again, thankfully.

After checking in to the hotel, we drove to Greco's Pizza, which the hotel clerk said was about 2 miles down the road. Downtown Edmundston is pretty nice. Small with an old-town styled, and diagonal parking spaces along the main road in town. Everyone here seems to be French too. All the signs are mostly French as well.

Our hotel is pretty cool. I guess it's more of a "motel". Our room has an outside access door, and our truck is parked right outside that door. Loading up the truck in the morning is going to be easy. Especially since we didn't need to take everything out of it.

After pizza, Sandra took the kids to the pool for a quick swim, while I sat here and posted pictures on Facebook. They weren't gone very long. She said the pool was busy, no lifeguard, and kids running around seemingly unsupervised and that stressed her out.

Everyone is in bed at the moment as I type this out. I think I'll step outside for a quick smoke and then hit the sack. We plan to leave early tomorrow, after a 7:00am breakfast, for the 8½ hour drive home.
Zemanta Pixie

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Maritime Trip, Day 8 - Fisherman's Cove & Barnacle Bill and Friends

We (except Kyle) woke up really early this morning. Sandra heard a dripping sound in the room we are staying in at Colin and Sherri's place. It was coming from the ceiling and turned out to be the sink in the bathroom above. After Handyman Colin repaired the plumbing, we all left for Fisherman's Cove.

On the way down, we passed "John's Lunch" diner. Colin noticed it first and said he heard they had the best seafood. Coincidentally, I had also been told before we left that I had to stop there for lunch. So, that's what we did!

The verdict? We all agreed that it was the best fish and chips! We ordered the 2 piece fish and chips. It's a good thing we didn't get the 3 piece because the portions were quite large.

After lunch, we headed to Fisherman's Cove and walked around. It's very touristy and not what you might think of as a functional fishing village. Regardless, it was a good visit and we came home with 5 fresh lobsters to cook for tonight's supper. Mine has a few barnacles on it, so I named it "Barnacle Bill" (what an imagination I have)

The truck behaved perfect for the drive too, so we're feeling a little more comfortable about the trip to Hopewell Rocks and then Edmundston for our 1 night stay before hitting the road for the last leg home.

Our kids are hoping that the rain holds off this afternoon so they can get a ride on Colin's horses. We're also hoping for no rain so we can boil the lobster over Colin's "redneck" firepit. :)
Zemanta Pixie

Maritime Trip, Day 7 - A day at the beach, and truck problems

(For Wednesday, August 6th)

Today was a day at the beach with Colin, Sherri, and their two dogs, Burrito and Taco. Although it was cloudy, there were sunny patches, so we took our chances. We went to Rissers Beach, which was down near Bridgeport. I can't recall the last time that I went to a beach on the ocean and it was beautiful. I loved the sound of the waves and the fine white sand. The kids had a lot of fun.

On the drive back (which was a couple of hours) we had a moment of panic. We were about 30 minutes away from arriving back at Colin and Sherri's place, driving along the highway, when the truck started to vibrate when accelerating. We had 2-way radios with us, so we asked Colin to pull over at the next off ramp. Something didn't sound right with the engine -- it appeared to be misfiring. Not a good thing when you have over 1000kms to drive home in a couple of days. There were no warning lights on the dash, so we were puzzled. We shut the engine off for 5 minutes to let it rest. When it started again, everything seemed fine. We got back onto the highway, made a quick stop at the ASS (Atlantic SuperStore), and arrived back at Colin and Sherri's house without any further problems. We're taking a trip downtown today (Thursday) to the Fisherman's Cove, so we'll see how it goes and keep our fingers crossed.

We're definitely not going to get to PEI this year. :( The truck scare pretty much sealed that decision. Even if it hadn't, I don't think we'd have time to really enjoy it. We'll stop at Hopewell Rocks on the way to Edmundston, stay a night there as planned, and then continue home on Saturday morning.
Zemanta Pixie

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Maritime Trip, Day 6 - Peggy's Cove & Lunenburg

The weather looked not bad, so we decided to visit Peggy's Cove today!

The drive along the coast was awesome! Very hilly and windy too. We arrived at Peggy's Cove and parked at the information office. It's free to park there, but you'll end up walking to the lighthouse. It's worth it though, just for the scenery. If you plan on eating at Peggy's Cove, you could pay the $5 parking fee nearer the lighthouse because it seems they'll give you a $5 coupon to use at the restaurant. Nothing wrong with breaking even.

The view from the rocks is too cool. Lots of tourists, but it wasn't terribly crowded. We even saw a seal bobbing not too far off shore, and a dolphins off in the distance.

While we were there, we had to go looking for a geocache! :) It was quite a trek along the rocks, but the kids enjoyed stopping and looking for sea life in the shallow pools on the rocks. As we got near the geocache, we saw another family where the cache should be. I could tell they were geocachers because their young son was holding a GPS. We stayed back to let them find it and re-hide it before going for it. As my kids rifled through the cache contents, the other family's son was watching us from a distance. We ran into them later and the father asked us if we were geacachers. I told him we were and asked them where they were from. They said "Ottawa" (or more specifically, Stittsville). What a small world. Then we ran into another Ontario family in the parking lot and stopped to chat with them. The big Sens sticker on the rear windshield attracts a lot of attention! :)

After leaving Peggy's Cove, we stopped at the Swissair memorial along the highway. It's a very nice spot for such a sad and unfortunate accident.

We continued on to Mahone Bay. We didn't really see much, other than driving through it -- with a quick stop at the candy store for my wife and kids. It would have been nice to stay longer, but our goal was Lunenburg and the Blue Nose II. I think the family was a little tired after the long drive and lengthy walk along the rocks at Peggy's Cove.

Finally, we made it to Lunenburg and the Blue Nose II was tied up at the pier. This place must be hell in the winter time. Some of the streets are steeper than I've ever seen! I swear the one we drove down must have been close to 45 degrees. We parked down near the Blue Nose II, which cost us $3. It was free to get on the Blue Nose II (free is good!) We could only walk around the deck, which didn't take very long. The crew were working while people toured, doing painting and other maintenance.

After a stop at the Halifax Store for souvenirs, and grabbing some fries to go, we headed back to Colin and Sherri's.

For supper, we went out for pizza at Uniacke Pizza -- yum!

Later in the evening, before hittin the sack, Colin and I went outside and stared at the sky. They were clear and the stars were awesome. The more we stared, the more stars we saw.

We're not sure if we'll make it to PEI this year. Since it wasn't part of our original plans, time is going to be too tight. Plus, we still want to visit Hopewell Rocks on the way back.
Zemanta Pixie

Maritime Trip - Day 5, Halifax

(For August 4th, 2008)

The weather wasn't looking very promising, so we decided to stick to downtown activities -- mostly indoors.

First up was the Maritime Museum. I don't think Kaitlyn enjoyed it as much as Kyle. Lots of ships and related stuff that bored her.

Then we took a short walk down to the pier to grab some food. We had lobster on a bun. Not bad, but mine was really slim on the lobster. :( We got rained on while waiting in line for our food too.

Back at the truck, munching on our lunch, the rain eased up and the skies no longer looked threatening, so we decided to head to the Citadel.

Our timing couldn't have been better. We were just in time for a guided tour AND to see the rifle practice, which only happens once a day. After the tour, and the rifle practice, we walked along the wall perimeter of the fort and got some pretty cool shots of Halifax.

Sandra said the Citadel was much more enjoyable than she thought it would be, and the kids seem to really enjoy it as well.

That pretty much wrapped up our day!
Zemanta Pixie

Monday, August 4, 2008

Maritime Trip - Day 4, Mount Uniacke, BBQ, & Beer

(For Sunday, August 3rd)

Not a very busy day today.

We drove to Halifax and walked along the pier. I really wanted to see the HMCS Sackville. When I was in the Navy, I spent a couple of days on that ship chipping rust, in its early days of restoration.

It's a lot smaller inside than I remember it. I know that back then it had been modified for use by the Sea Cadets, but has now been restored to its former glory.

We had planned on going to the Maritime museum as well, but time was running short. A friend that I hadn't seen in 18 years was coming over to Colin and Sherri's place for a BBQ at around 3:00pm. Rather than rush through the museum, we grabbed a bite to eat at Wendy's, and then headed back.

Around 4pm-ish, Darren arrived, along with his girlfriend Paula, his daughter, her son and daughter and a friend. Colin's horses were a big hit and he got some free labour from Darren's daughter and Paula's son. They wanted to shovel horse poop from the stalls.

It rained lightly on and off, unfortunately, but I think everyone still enjoyed themselves. Burgers were eaten, and beer was drunken!

After Darren and his troops left, Colin, Sherri and I sat around Colin's home-built fire drum and continued to drink until the wee hours of the morning. By the time we hit the sack, we were soaked from the rain.

I'm not sure what's on the agenda for today. The weather doesn't look too bad. Cloudy with sunny breaks and a chance of rain. I think we're going to head back downtown and visit the museum.
Zemanta Pixie

Maritime Trip - Day 3, Saint John to Digby

(For Saturday, August 2nd)

We got up early at the hotel, thanks to the alarm and a wake up call. :) Within the hour we were packed, checked out of the hotel and loaded into the truck... and on our way to the Ferry. It was recommended that we get there an hour before sailing, which meant 8:00am. We arrived just a little after that.

There were quite a few cars and trucks ahead of us, but the guys directing the cars into the ferry had us moving between the different line ups, trying to get the best fit into the ferry. We ended up driving straight to the back of the ship, which meant we would be one of the first out once it arrived in Digby!

Once we were aboard, we went and got some breakfast -- eggs, sausage, toast, home fries and coffee! Yum!

After breakfast, we made our way up to the deck to look for whales. We didn't have much luck. The seats in the lounges were all taken too, many by people lying across two or three seats. For half the trip we sat or stood outside. I didn't mind much because I was hoping to see whales. :)

Half way across, the kids managed to scooped 3 seats, so they sat inside with Sandra.

As we approached Digby, we spotted some harbour porpoises. People were saying they were dolphins, and I suppose they could have been, but since it was in the harbour, I'd put my bet on the porpoises.

The drive from Digby to Mount Uniacke was nice. I wanted to drive past the decomissioned CFB Cornwallis to see what it's like now, compared to what it was like back in the mid 80's when I was in the Navy. The tank and plane are still outside, across the street, but the font gate has been completely rebuilt and is now and RCMP office.

We continued on to Mount Uniacke and arrived at Colin and Sherri's place at around 3:30pm.

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, August 1, 2008

Maritime Trip - Day 2, Saint John, New Brunswick

The day started off with Sandra waking up before the rest of us, going out and coming back with Timmy's Coffee! YUM! The weather was gloomy, rainy, and of course, wet. The weather forecast even said showers with a chance of thunder showers. It wasn't looking like it was going to be a nice day to go anywhere.

Thankfully, that didn't turn out to be the case! It was cloudy for most of the day, but didn't rain again and was warm. The sunny breaks were very welcome too!

We started off with a quick trip to Zellers so Sandra could buy a bathing suit so we could go swimming in the hotel pool later in the evening.

We then went to Fort Howe. The place was deserted, which made it a little more enjoyable. Plus, it was free, and free is good when you're doing the tourist thing. :) There wasn't too much to see, but it's supposed to have the best view of the city and the view was pretty good.

Next, we were off to the Cherrybrook Zoo. It's very much like the Papanack Zoo in Cumberland, but with a much better layout. (Compared to the last time I went to Papanack years ago) They even have a section with animal statues representing specied that have become extinct. As we walked around, we could hear a roaring every once in a while. I was pretty sure it was the lions or the tiger, but Sandra had to ask one of the employees. He confirmed that it was indeed the lions. He said they're very loud, and even more so when he's working in the building at their pen. It was kinda spooky.

After a quick lunch at the mall, we went to The Reversing Falls. We got there at around 1:30pm, which turned out to be "High Slack". That's the only time that boats can travel from the bay and up the Saint John River, or vice versa. While we were there, Kaitlyn and I walked up to the park near it to find a small geocache. We found it quickly.

Back to the hotel we went to drop off the truck and then we were off to the New Brunswick Museum since it was a short walk from the hotel. Unfortunately, we got there at around 4:00pm, an hour before closing, so we kinda rushed through the exhibits. We were also told that taking photographs was not allowed. That kinda sucked. Half way through, Sandra asked one of the employees why that was. She said that we could in fact take pictures, but without a flash. Apparently camera flashes affects the artifacts. We didn't bother anyway. It was pretty cool though, especially the whale bones and fossils.

After the museum, we walked up to the Loyalist Burial Grounds. Again, free. :) It seems like somewhat of a teenager hangout too. We walked around and read a bunch of grave markers. From the looks of them, they were at one time all knocked over and some broken since they are now sitting on concrete blocks and some are held up with metal bars. Many are very difficult to read, having endured hundreds of years.

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at the Marketplace. Lots of fruits, veggies, meats, fish, and assorted craft stuff all in an open covered market. Boring for me, but Sandra wanted to see it.

As it was nearing low tide time for the Bay of Fundy, we headed back to the hotel to get the truck and drive back to the Reversing Falls to see the effects of low tide and the Saint John River. That was pretty cool. Rapids and whirlpools forming and disappearing.

Back again to the hotel and we went down to the mall beneath it to get some supper at the food court.

We wrapped up our day with a swim in the hotel's pool and a good 10 minute soak in the heated whirlpool. Soooo relaxing!

I have to say that today really made me hate our car GPS even more. It's so damned slow in updating as you drive and doesn't accurately indicate how far you are from the streets you're supposed to turn on, so I ended up missing many turns because you think it's the next street. I drove around more of Saint John than I wanted to. On streets like they have here in Saint John, you really need a fast GPS.

Again, I have to say that the people here are awesome. Drivers stop and let you pull out in front of them. People are friendly everywhere you go. They don't give you a fake smile and greeting like many do back in Ottawa.

Tomorrow, we hit the road once again. We'll be waking up early so we can arrive at the Princess of Acadia Ferry Terminal for 8:00am, an hour before sailing. Three hours or so later, we'll be in Digby and on our our way to friends in Mount Uniacke! The weather forecast once again doesn't look promising. Hopefully we luck out and get a day at least as nice as today. We're really hoping to spot some whales during our sail across the Bay of Fundy!