Sunday, February 22, 2009


For those that don't already know, we are adopting another dog. Her name is Cleo. She belongs to our friend Viki, but they can't live together anymore because Viki is moving into a condo. A dog like this needs room to run around (and boy do we have plenty of that!). When she gets here (weekend before Easter) I'll take some photos, but in the meantime I've borrowed these ones from Viki's blog (I hope that's OK, Vik).I think that no matter what kind of dog Cleo was we still would have taken her because she was the beloved pet of our late friend Ric.So, the cats are going to have to make a few adjustments, but as long as no one tries to eat each other I'm sure all will work out fine. Xena has loved every single dog she has ever met, so I'm not worried one tiny bit about that. The only part we still need to figure out is how the heck are we going to transport these 2 when we go travelling? Our Toyota pickup isn't big enough, I don't think.

I made this little video to show Cleo her new digs (pun intended). I hope she likes it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

exposure merging

This is something Kevin introduced me to. It's called "Exposure Merging". You bracket your shot (it's a setting on the camera which takes 3 successive pictures, each with different exposure levels), then run the photos through the software (he uses Photomatix) and it does all the work. It merges the 3 into one and I gotta say, it's pretty impressive.

I've been messing around for days and days, in Flickr and Picasa, trying to make them presentable, but it's a pain (I'm not the most patient person for learning new stuff). So I'm just going to lay them out here.

Kevin took a bunch of photos (and I'm dying to see them all merged), but these are 3 that he did while he was here.
Cool, eh? Oh, and by the way, see the tree in the centre of the picture with a cross arm hanging from it? (Well, actually, it looks more like a stick than a tree. And it's attached to that building). That's the tree that fell down only a few days later.

In this next set, you can see me on the veranda taking pictures of Kevin taking pictures.
They don't quite "pop" here as well as in full blown uncompressed mode, but hopefully you get the idea.

I've just got to find a way to do this in Linux. And spend some time with it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

and they ran anyway

Even with injuries and not feeling their best, Sara and Janet finished the First Half Marathon yesterday (it wasn't their "first" half marathon .... that's just what it's called). Sara sent me this picture from her phone.WOOT - WOOT !!!!

Check out Carol's blog for some pictures. She was at the finish line and got some great shots.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sara and Kevin's visit

I know that was 2 weeks ago, but it's taken me this long to get the pictures together. I'm slow ... and easily distracted. I've been fooling around with other photo stuff, trying to learn some new things and also trying to get some video working. Anyways, that's all for another post.

Sara and Kevin were only here for a few days, but I think they had some fun. We picked them up from the airport in Prince George and Xena couldn't stop hugging them both all the way home.Activities included a snowshoe trek to the top of the bluffs on our eastern border (more pics on Art's blog).Can you see that crazy cat Boose following them? She went the whole way. Crazy cat.It was a sunny but windy day and biting cold. Even more so up at the top. I think Sara was saying through those clenched teeth something like "alright already ... can we keep moving please?"Another bit of fun is burning stuff. Seems to be something guys like to do .... I don't know. We have a big pit where we dump scrap wood and any kind of junk that's burnable.sorry for these pictures not being really great, but I was a long way away, using my zoom lens and the smoke was blowing towards me.It looks like the fire is going up Kevin's arms legs and arms.and it's trying to attack him ... in a not nice way.barbecued dog? (don't worry. no people or animals were hurt in the making of this story)This was a few days later. The pit finally cooled off and it snowed a little more. By the way ... see the very top of that highest hill in the background? That's where they hiked to the day before.Sara, Kevin and Art are looking at a row of sheds, one of which is built around and held up by 3 trees. They were discussing how one of the trees didn't look so good.Since then, that tree did in fact fall down in a wind storm. Turns out the building was holding IT up. How it missed doing any damage is a miracle. Check out Art's blog for some pics.

Kevin got a very nice new camera for Christmas and he brought it along. Because it's so new he doesn't have any extra lenses for it yet, so I loaned him mine. One of the mornings was particularly beautiful as the sun was rising. The snow was pristine and the light was stunning, so he grabbed both camera bags (his and mine) and the tripod and traipsed out into the fields.He took some gorgeous pictures (which I will show you in my next post) and while I stood on the veranda of the house I took pictures of him taking pictures.Food is also a big part of our get togethers with the kids. We always eat well and have fun with it. This particular item is probably NOT weight watchers approved, but it was DAMN good! We lovingly refer to it as Bacon "crack". Don't even show me the nutritional label.

Friday, February 13, 2009

searching for Buddha

I watched a show on TV the other night titled this. Got me pondering. So I pulled out one of my books by the Dalai Llama and read a little. Then I did some "google-ing" (gotta love Google). So much to learn. Among the many things that appeal to me, I love the sense of humour .....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

star gazing

Have you been seeing a super bright star in the western evening sky lately? I saw it 2 nights ago and it stopped me in my tracks. At first I thought it was a plane, but it was too bright and not moving. I got the binoculars, but I couldn't focus very well. It was kind of exciting, and when I asked Art he calmly informed me "oh yes....that's Venus".

I did a little Google. Found some interesting stuff. On Feb.27, the moon and Venus will appear next to each other, so I'll be out there with the telescope and my camera (you never know).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

rubber boots

When Art's other daughter, Treena, was little she had a pair of red rubber boots. When I saw these in Burns Lake last summer I thought it would be a cute Christmas gift for her.She said something about wondering if they came in adult sizes, so today I did some "google-ing" on the subject.

There are plenty out there, by the way, but what I found even more amusing were these .... Crocs boots. They have the Crocs logo, but don't seem to be on the official Crocs website (what's up with that?). But they are here. I won't be running out and getting a pair anytime soon, but maybe some of you other Crocs lovers are interested.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cover Girls!

This is the cover of Running Room magazine. That's Sara on the right and her sister-in-law Janet on the left.

They wrote an article together for the January 2009 issue (click the pic to open a pdf ... their story is on page 48 of the magazine ... 26 of the pdf).
To everyone's surprise, there they were on the cover ... of November ... in French. But still. That is way, WAY cool!!

They also had their pic in the Nov/Dec (English) issue .... page 8 of the magazine, 6 of the pdf (click the pic to open pdf)

They ran in the Kelowna Half Marathon, where they met John Stanton. He encouraged them to write their story and submit it to the magazine.

I'm so PROUD of you, Sara. One day I would love to be running alongside you.

a little more about the Rangers

After my last 2 posts about the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol, I sent them an email giving them links to my blog. They posted those links on their website and now I'm getting visiting readers from all over. That's pretty cool, I think.

I'm continuing to track their progress and read their journal entries. Apparantly there is NO SNOW in Hudson's Hope and they had to be "trucked" past that area. That's considerably north of us and they have no snow?! Craziness. Today they will cross into Alberta. I wish them a good journey.

Check them out here, and track them here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

I couldn't do much else all day yesterday but watch the Rangers' website. I didn't want to miss their approach. But they seemed to be taking forever. At one point Art made a quick trip to town and it's a good thing he did because there was flagging all along Savory Road and a big red arrow spray painted on a snow bank at the end of our driveway directing the group along the road. They weren't going to come through our fields after all. I was somewhat dissappointed. Maybe one of the neighbours refused passage.

So, I kept an ear open because I figured it would be impossible to not hear 35 snowmobiles approaching. After all, the local yahoos can be heard for miles when there's only 2 or 3 of them. Their machines have that terrible ear shattering wale that bounces all down the valley (I abhor that racket).

I kept listening and watching, but only every once in a while there'd be a faint far-off sound of a skidoo. When their SPOT showed that they were just 2 km away, we hopped in the van and went down to the end on the driveway.(green box - our land, red circle - our house, black dotted line - pipeline (original route), orange symbol - Rangers' location, blue arrow - us)
Armed with 2 cameras and a camcorder, Art and I perched ourselves and waited. Savory Road does a little curvy thing right where our driveway comes out, so it was a good vantage point. After a few minutes some machines came along, but only 5 or so. A few minutes later, another 5. And they were ever so quiet. Turns out they broke into smaller groups to travel and we'd caught only the last 2 groups. Missed everybody else. DRAT! Oh well, we got some good pictures.I felt very proud to see these people. If we were ever lost in the barrens, these are the guys that would come looking for us. They get my respect, admiration and support. Cops, too. Totally.

And it was so nice to have 35 snowmobiles go through and we hardly even knew it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

the army's coming through

We're getting very excited around here today. I'm busy charging all the camera batteries and emptying their various memory cards to make room. These guys are coming through .....
"The 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group"
. They are on a training exercise and making a trek from Kitimat, BC to Churchill, Manitoba on snowmobiles. (I think they actually started on Northern Vancouver Island, but this is the leg they're on now.)

I have to admit that when we got a call on Friday night from the local snowmobile club asking permission for these guys to cross our land, I was more than skeptical and somewhat annoyed. I thought it was B.S. (you know how I feel about those ski-dooers).

They were supposed to come through on Sunday, but we saw no one. As we were taking Sara and Kevin back to the airport in Prince George yesterday, there was a piece on CBC Radio about this very thing. They interviewed a couple of the Rangers who explained what they are doing.

So, it's for real. Now I'm excited. I'm glued to their website where they have a link where anyone can track their progress. They have a SPOT (we have one of those....I've talked about it here on my blog before). Too bad Sara & Kevin had to go home and will miss it. These guys will be passing something like 20 feet in front of our house.