The May Long Weekend and Beyond…

2019’s May Long Weekend will not go down in the annals of history as a great one. The day with the best weather was Victoria Day, but that was a cool day with a high of 8 and a wind that cut. A number of my cycling club friends went for rides, but they all reported that they were damn cold. Sunday I went for the ride with the club, and realized when I started riding that it was colder and nastier than I thought it was. Still ended up with a 54 km ride and some good memories, though. Tammy and the kids felt guilted into going for a ride of their own, and my group passed them on 12 Mile Coulee Road just as we had crossed Highway 1A, and didn’t let me forget it for the rest of the day. It was windy and cold and the rest of the day was spent inside. 😀

We did barbecue hamburgers on Victoria Day, but there was no chance of being out on the deck.

I think the neatest thing to happen this weekend was Ian and I playing some music together. Twice over the weekend he sat down at the drum set and I grabbed a guitar and we played some rock music. It was a lot of fun. Makes me want to get my guitar chops back up to speed.

I bought Halo 5 with some birthday money from Dad, and it’s fun to play, but last night when Ian and I sat down to play some Co-op mode, we realized that it didn’t have a Co-op mode. !?!? It’s the only Halo game that doesn’t.

It’s a four-day week this week with two workshops with the National Energy Board (one down, one to go as I write). Then it’s off to Ontario next week for Tech Trek. Then it will be off to Edmonton the following week.

No rest for the wicked. 👿

Schrödinger’s Mother’s Day Post

Schrödinger’s Cat

As of right now, yesterday’s Mother’s Day was both good and bad. We won’t know for sure which it was until the vet calls us today.

Saturday night, Squeak was behaving as though she was not comfortable, and also showed signs of incontinence. That immediately set off the alarm bells: while she has always been trouble when it comes to using the cat box, she had never shown a lack of control before. And she is almost 20 and a half years old. Tammy was very upset and we set up a cardboard barrier at the bottom of the main stairs to keep Squeak on the main floor of our house for the night and however long is necessary. Tammy slept on the couch to keep Squeak company and didn’t get much sleep. In the morning, I held off wishing Tammy a happy Mother’s Day until we’d determined that the cat was doing alright.

We gave Tammy some cards and some prezzies, but the plans for the day had changed, with Tammy taking the cat to the vet and I took Miranda and Ian down to Bow Cycle: Miranda had her Sunday ride, and Ian and I meandered our way back home. When I went to pick her up, I picked up fish and chips for a late lunch (Tammy’s choice) and the cat was ready as well. The test results weren’t complete and that’s why we are in limbo: is Squeak alright or are we going to get bad news?

Squeak exploring the deck

We enjoyed our lunch and played some Minecraft and played some music trivia (can you name that song and artist). Ian made dinner: I helped him make waffles from scratch.

Ian’s waffles

Will Mother’s Day 2019 be remembered as a great day with really nice weather and time spent together? Or…

Updated 4:30 pm

Tammy just heard from the vet, and Squeak is fine!

The tests came back clear. It was probably a urinary tract infection so she’s going to get some antibiotics. Tammy’s on her way to pick them up right now.

Aaaaand… Just like that, it’s summery!

Gotta love life in Calgary. It’s 23 degrees and sunny today. Nothing is growing (yet), but it will be soon. We had a lovely BBQ slupper on the deck this afternoon: hamburgers à la Tammy. And our Chinese neighbors were having a get together too, and they gave us some skewers of BBQed meat to share. We offered some lemon squares in return, but they looked pretty full by that point, and they refused.

Today was a Bow Cyclist Club Saturday ride, so the timing of the weather was excellent. Here’s the scene outside the coffee shop in Bragg Creek:

L to R: Rich, Perry, me, Brett, Chris, Bart, Doug, Phil, Richard and Derek

Richard and I are wearing last year’s kit. Everyone else is in the 2019!

Here’s another picture that I took on the way home. It ended up being almost 110 km under my wheels today. Nice day for it.

Heading back to Calgary through Springbank

Hello from Regina

Here I am in the rectangular province again! This time I am working with the Regina Police Service, who are migrating their crime analysis section from Intergraph to Esri. Day one of the workshop was today, with David H. and Courtnay here with me from Esri. It went pretty well, if a little different from normal. Normally I’m brought in when there is a lot of existing complexity to resolve, whereas this is a situation where there is a lot of complexity to solve, but it’s all planned instead of existing.

Or something like that.

I just got back to the hotel room from dinner. It’s 9:45. Dinner was at 6:30. It was a long, very interesting conversation, but now I’ve got to work to prepare for tomorrow’s session. Here is a picture I took leaving the restaurant. The crescent moon was setting past the flame that was outside Golf’s Steakhouse.

Moonset over Victoria Avenue

Cider is Bottled

It’s been an interesting experience, but now the waiting starts. This morning, Tammy and I bottled the cider.

First bottled cider

It ended up making a fair amount. We had to press some Wild Rose beer bottles into service when it became clear that we had a bit more than we had counted on.

My biggest concerns at this point:

  • Will the end product taste good? Right now, the little sips are… an acquired taste.
  • Will the carbonation work? I’m trusting that there is still live yeast in the mix, and it will convert the sugar in the sugar tablets into bubbles.

Overall costs:

  • Carboy, sanitizer, yeast, siphon tube, gravimeter: $59.39
  • Bottling siphon tip, clarifying agent and tablets: $15.76
  • Capper and 140 bottle caps: $49.77

Major time sinks:

  • Cutting up the apples
  • Juicing

The rest of it has just been short periods of time, racking the cider. We would have been done sooner if I’d bought the clarifying agent sooner, but it’s not a race.

Perhaps We’re Not Coping Well

I think this dip in the weather has taken the wind out of our sails. The days since the snowstorm have been only a couple of degrees above freezing. And today it’s -2 and trying to snow.

Work has been full-tilt, with the NEB and Strathcona County this week among other things and I guess it’s not surprising that I’ve now caught a cold. I hope I feel better before I have to fly to Regina tomorrow afternoon.



Here’s the view out the living room window this morning, May 5th.

About an inch of snow

Winter’s Back!

The spring has seemed to be slow in arriving, and now it’s done a major step backwards. We were warned by The Weather Network that this was coming, but it’s still surreal now that it’s here.

Here’s a time-lapse that Ian took out the front window during dinner tonight:

Then, after we watched Kung Fu Hustle, Tammy realized that one of our bags of yard waste had blown down the street. I, being the dutiful husband, made sure to commemorate the event.

In other news, Miranda volunteered at the Calgary Young Writers’ Conference today. Maybe if we’re lucky, she’ll post something describing it.

In other, other news, I finished my Camp Nanowrimo book today. I actually typed “The End”. That’s the end of the first draft, anyways. I also painted the wall that got torn up when the alarm system was replaced. I decided to go with an echo of the green accent wall. I think it looks pretty good.

The new accent wall


Duet Display

Something new at work today: I have a third display thanks to my iPad Pro.

Duet Display

Yesterday I was having trouble juggling lots of open documents. I was aware of there being different products that allow you to add a display to your computer by using an iPad. Luna Display and Duet Display are two leading solutions. Luna Display has a hardware dongle to make the connection, while Duet uses the regular sync cable. I looked into Luna Display first, but it’s a $79 (USD) solution, while Duet Display is a $14 app.

For $14, I was willing to give it a shot. So far, so good. I had to install an app on my Mac and on the iPad, connect them and it was done.

Of course, a 9.7″ display is pretty bleeping small, but I’ve got my calendar full-screen on there.

Happy Easter!

It’s Easter, and it’s also one of the nicest days we’ve had this spring. It started with an Easter egg hunt, with the kids competing to win a special prize. It was very close: Ian found 63 eggs and Miranda found 68. So she won the Cookies and Cream bunny.

Lots of Easter Bunny loot

We watched the Chocolate Chicken episode of Max and Ruby, followed by It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown! at breakfast. Then it was off for a long walk. We walked up to the library because Miranda had some books in.

Crossing the goose pond on the bridge

We even took the time to walk up the hill behind the library to see the big work of art close up. Still don’t know what it is. The leading theory is they are supposed to be big Cheetos.

Ian and the Cheetos

The turkey is now in the oven, and the stuffing is made. More pictures as dinner approaches.


Well, it turns out that we didn’t take any pictures of the spread. The turkey was delicious and the stuffing worked out really good too. Yams, sprouts and asparagus rounded out the meal. Nom nom nom.

We did take pictures of the cake!


It was a checkerboard cake, which you couldn’t see until the cake was sliced.

Checkerboard inside

Hello from Edmonton

Tonight is the night between days one and two of a workshop with ATCO. This morning was a super early one to get to the bus station downtown for 6:00 am. Mary and I were on the bus to make it to ATCO for a 10:30 start. It was an interesting day, with more than a little chaos in the workshop. For most of it, I was not leading which is unusual. JP was here from Toronto. He is part of the Utilities team and today was focusing on the solution for ATCO. Tomorrow is the solution architecture part of the workshop and I will be in the spotlight.

This evening, our team met at the Marc restaurant for dinner. Afterwards, Mary, JP and I went for a walk down to the Alberta legislature.

Me, JP and Mary

The Leg. JP in the foreground.

I will be on the bus back to Calgary tomorrow evening.