Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lists and Restrictions

It is good to be home even if I have a long list of things to do.  We all have errands, chores, etc. waiting for us when we return from being away from home for several days.  I am detailed about these things and try to put them in order of importance.  This becomes a joke because I end up doing the easy things first, always.  I am currently down to my last load of laundry.  Mail and bills are all done.  Birthday gift for granddaughter is wrapped.  Food has been replenished and produce bins cleaned.  Photos are sorted and many deleted. I have not looked at the weedy flower beds, but since it is currently raining pretty heavily, I feel no guilt for that.

We set Calgary as our base of operations.  We were going both east and west from there.  Years before we stayed in Canmore which is the gateway to Banff National Park but this restricts touring to the park itself.  This year the park entrance fees were all waived because it is Canada's 150th anniversary.  

The weather was perfectly warm, mostly hot some days!  Banff was flooded with tourists (mostly from Asia) and Canadians.  The main attractions had little if any parking and we finally tried the major features on a Thursday early in the morning just to get in.  The remote trails and lakes were more available.  

Everyone above is waiting in line to see the waterfall up close through a hole in the rocks at Johnston Canyon.  When we came here years ago there was only a handful of people.  Not exactly the experience one hopes for on a mountain vacation.

In addition, further south and west there were hundreds of large and small forest fires.  Some started by lightning storms and others by careless campers.  Ranchers had evacuated leaving behind sheep and dogs to watch the sheep and only taking a few horses.  Large parts of the park were closed due to that.

The air was not difficult for breathing and you could just barely smell smoke, but when the wind shifted the scenery disappeared.  My eyes were red the next day.  Fortunately, later in the week, we got rain followed by some lovely scenery.

To make things even tighter all the Bears were down by the valleys eating the berries to get fat before winter and those parts of the park were closed off with "crime" tape.  Of course, the bears were not following the rules and sometimes pulled away the tape to get at more food.  One local Canmore woman who jogged each morning with her dog wandered into the restricted area and was attacked (only slightly injured) by surprising an eating Bear.  There was some talk about her being charged for entry into a restricted area, but then the Park realized the tape has long disappeared and she would not have known.  What an insult that would have been, a wounded shoulder and then a Park fine!  Park Rangers do not get paid enough.  It was an adventure.

I had seen the popular spots (Lake Louise, Bow Lake, etc.) years before and did not care, but my son and DIL had not, so we braved the crowds.  Quite frankly I could have closed my eyes and imagined I was back in NYC, it was so crowded in those places.  We spent some days going to the eastern "badlands" area and even those places were well visited.  Maybe everyone who had planned to come to America decided Canada was more friendly.

Next a view of the "cowtown" of Calgary.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Addiction 2

I am packing and one of the first things I did was pack my camera, lenses and batteries.  I do not leave until tomorrow.  I am going crazy without my DSLR and the hummingbird is visiting over and over and over and over again.  Yep, it IS an addiction.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

On the Road Again

Among bloggers, I am perhaps considered more "wealthy" than average. Perhaps that is true according to data for family incomes and savings, but I still carry with me my poorer roots and realize this financial security is a blessing and I do donate to many causes. 

Thus, I am off again on a trip with my son and daughter-in-law. We are headed to Calgary and with some good luck for stamina, we may join them on some Banff hikes. We have been there before on our own about 8 years ago.(?)  It is a fresh air cow town and fun to visit if you live on the East Coast, as we do.  We will be gone for a week.  I am more focused on spending  time with these two people that I love so very much, I  really do not care where we go or what we do.  The Banff National Park is magnificent.  I met a young man there years ago and we are still friends on FB!

In September we are off to Europe for a river cruise.  (I told you we have money, but just wait until  this bubble market crashes!)  

I hope to share interesting stories and photos and not just travel stuff.  We will see.  I am so sick of this administration and its promotion of fear and  barely hidden white supremacist agenda, that is a relief to get away from the news.  The cable network is so addicted to this President and his crazy tweets and routine lies.  It is important stuff, but they can drill much deeper into our nation and tell the stories that affect regular Americans, if they get off the crack of shocking headlines.

Anyway, I shall return and will find time to read blogs if  not  post!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017


I am sure that we all have addictions of some type, whether it is that piece of chocolate before bedtime or looking for our cat before that first coffee. If the addiction is small or inconsequential we may call it a bad habit or tick, and if it is bad for us we know it and must find a way to shut off the endorphins provided or compromise our life greatly. If the addictions are rewarding to others we call them talent.  Someone I know is addicted to listening to others problems and solving them, and he is pretty good at it.  If not rewarding we may call them annoying or a bit crazy, like grandma's insistence that hanging the laundry at an exact time of day prevents rain.

I have a number of addictions, but certainly taking photos or editing photos each day, is one of them. I cannot take a walk around the yard without thinking about the way the light or shadow falls, the movement of some creature, the pattern of some botanical miracle, and then wonder how the camera lens could be framed to capture the feeling that I get when my eye falls on the object or scene.  This cosmos below was a quick capture this morning and I only adjusted the lighting levels.  The undulations of the petals of the cosmos are addictive.

I am most annoying when walking through a city as I want to stop and hide in a corner for a while and capture a zillion candids of all the activity or frame a neat story I see.  It is not as much fun when they know you are taking their picture as you hurry by with your 'pack', but there are indeed a million stories in those eyes.

The result of this "chasing the light" is thousands of photos that must be deleted. If I am honest with myself the majority of my captures are mediocre at best. The few good ones are most certainly derivative and the best is a happy accident if I am truly reflective.

Above I wonder if this street performer loves to mime and act and be the center of an audience, or does he do this so he can eat for the week?

What is your small or big addiction?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Another "On a Dime"

It is easy to forget how fragile life can be when we are busy meeting the goals of the day, checking off the items on the list, or crawling into the life of some fictional character through a book, TV show or movie.  Yes, we may get interrupted by a bee sting, but unless and until we get a nasty allergic reaction, we tend to be strong and impervious and move on.

Hubby was working on our boat one afternoon a few days ago.  We had had some problems with the pump and I think he may have been checking that.  I was upstairs working on photos, which I do a lot.  He called me on his cell:

"You might want to come down and see this.  I have already called it in."

I grabbed the nearest camera and it had a telephoto, which was both a good thing and a bad thing.  I was unable to capture the true vastness of the plume of smoke, but I was able over the time to zoom in on the volunteers from our fire department that finally arrived, although sometimes a blurry zoom due to no tripod.  Hubby said he had heard a small explosion/pop as he was stepping out of our boat and turned to see what I saw below and that the emergency operator, who took his call a minute later, said he was the second person to call it in!

Neighbors up a few docks on our side of the river had seen two young people heading to the boat in flames and screamed at them to back off which they did.  There were small explosions from various containers going off while we waited for fire rescue.  Boats have fuel compartments and docks sometimes store fuel, so fires like this can be dangerously explosive.  People do not usually smoke in boat yards.

The fire was just a dock's width (about 5 feet) from the boat in the foreground.  I am still wondering if the hull on that boat was bent by the heat.

It took the firemen almost 15 minutes to arrive because as those of you who live on coastlines know, the roads are never straight but usually narrow and our fire station is only a couple of miles away.  They had to haul that heavy hose from some distance I am guessing.

Once they got the water on the bow and into the middle, the smoke began to immediately change to white and the heavy water brought it down onto the river.

We were surprised that the dock had not been so compromised that firemen could walk out and attack the fire from the side and rear.  You can see the platform on the stern is still burning.  Yep, they are brave...or oblivious.

They had pretty much put out the fire by the time the rescue boat arrived with its water pump.  No one was hurt, and we did not know the owners, but someone had said they appeared to be out of town.  This type of boat can cost from 25K to 50K, so I am hoping they were insured!  The very next day the hull was hauled away to protect future navigation.

Life changes on a dime even if you are not paying attention.

Friday, July 28, 2017

People of New York, My Version

My photoshopping of some of the candids I took of folks on the streets of New York City.

The blonde lady seemed to be providing instruction to the two other women while they sat on a park bench.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Miscellaneous Fun Stuff

I could have spent longer in New York City because much of our time was programmed with little left for serendipity.  I did not even get a good street crowd scene when we were rushing to see "Wicked" and had to cut through the long lines of fans waiting in line to get their tickets for "Hello Dolly."  It seems that Bette Midler's understudy had been carrying the lead role while Midler was vacationing in Hawaii for two weeks. (Hawaii vs. New York City...wrap your mind around that for a bit.)  Anyway, she was obviously back because the street was so full even cars could not go by!

The Schubert Organization is one of the oldest theater companies in New York and has two corner theaters above on "Schubert Alley."  The brothers were very good businessmen and "by the mid-twenties, the Shuberts owned, operated, managed or booked over 1,000 houses across the United States."  I think their successful history might make a good musical.  One of the brothers had his home and offices in that top floor above.

Notice all the gum in the photo above!!

As a lover of books, I was happy to see that our first hotel had a small library in the lobby.  My granddaughter, who is not really an avid reader, checked it out.  We were staying at The New Yorker which has an Art Deco style.  As some of my readers know I love the Art Deco with its curves and homage to nature.

Above was taken from our hotel room window.  Just a hint of the architecture.

I also stumbled across the New York City Public Library and had to check it out.  New York City has reduced the crime and homelessness substantially in Mid-Town and I was glad to find the library much like any other city library.

I keep hoping by exposing her to books that she will want to read more!

We changed hotels the last two days to use some points for another brand hotel and ate breakfast in their "Bistro" which also had shelves of books above our heads.  Notice anything unusual?

Any good book person would have caught it before even getting that early cup of caffeine.  It annoyed my anal-retentive personality to no end.  One of the books above is upside down!  As a friend pointed out, they could also have used some book stops to keep the books from leaning.

It was a rich trip.