Hello From Peggy’s Cove

Tonight, I got a chance to get out of downtown Halifax and do a bit of sightseeing. When the second day of the workshop wound up, my co-worker Heather and I drove out to Peggy’s Cove. It sounds like it’s a really busy tourist trap in the summertime, but at sundown on a Thursday in January, it was deserted.

A ghost town in the fog

Crashing waves from the Atlantic and the lighthouse

Heather and I on the way

We then proceeded to Rhubarb, a little restaurant along the way, and then to her house. I got to meet her boys, Charlie and Graham, and her husband Craig then drove me back into Halifax on the way to his curling game.

Tomorrow, I fly back to Calgary. In premium class again!

Hello From Halifax

I am at the halfway point of my trip to Halifax, and it’s been going well. My flight here was nice thanks to the seat upgrade, and now I’ve got another email from Westjet, informing me that my seat on the way home is also upgraded! Woo! 🎉

Last night I tried to be a tourist. This is only my second trip to Halifax, and my first trip was way back in November 2005. On that trip, I really didn’t get to see any of Halifax at all. Unfortunately, it’s not tourist season, and my attempt to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic was foiled. I could look in the window, but that’s not the same thing.

A look in the window of the museum

I did manage to wander around and imagine what the downtown of Halifax might be like in better weather.

Down Prince Street: it’s steep!

Soft light and heritage buildings

The ferry to Dartmouth. You’re welcome, Ian!

My First “First Class” Flight

Okay, it might not have been out of the golden age of air travel, but I have to say that being upgraded to Premium at Westjet was a significantly different experience on the way to Toronto today. It started when I accumulated enough Rewards Points to get to the Silver level at Westjet. Flying in and out of Victoria and Calgary over the last 15 years has always meant better routes with Westjet than Air Canada, so I’ve been slowly racking them up. Then, when I went to check in on Monday morning, I found that my seats for YYC-YYZ and YYZ to YHZ were 1-C and 1-F, respectively. At first, I thought I’d screwed up when I booked the flight and gotten a business-class ticket by mistake. But I ruled that out and then later found the emails from Westjet in my inbox informing me of the upgrades.

I was psyched to get the elbow and legroom, but the benefits were numerous:

  • First on and first off the plane (literally the first off),
  • Bottled water
  • Breakfast (a cheddar and bacon wrap)
  • Banana bread
  • OJ (full tin, served in an actual glass
  • Hot towel (offered, but not taken)
  • The guy across the aisle was having Bailey’s and coffee, so there was more I could have enjoyed, apparently.

In other news, I managed to finally watch the last 15 minutes of Tag, and then I watched The Meg and then the first half of Ready Player One. I expect to be able to watch the second half on my flight to Halifax. I also had plenty of room to have my iPad/Brydge keyboard on my lap, and got an important document and message off to Jacob before my fight left.

I hope I get upgraded on the way home, but I won’t hold my breath.

Wolf Blood Moon Eclipse

So the moon was spectacular (some pics I took) last night. I was messing around with the settings since it has been a while that I have used my Canon Powershot SX50 HS and came to the conclusion I need to start practicing again.

Where’d the Power Go?

Today started well. We got up early and were out the door to go skiing. It was -17 in Calgary, but there was a warm front moving in. The traffic moved well and the highway was bare. At the mountain it was hard-packed, groomed snow with a light snow falling and about -2. Perfect.

Ian and I got seven runs in, including going up the Silver chair. Tammy and Miranda managed five.

Ian near the top

We got coffees and hot chocolates and were on our way home by 11. Then, when I was pulling onto Highway 40, suddenly the Golf’s engine lost power. Like hitting the rev limiter, but I didn’t. I pulled over and restarted the car. The check engine light was on and the car was barely making enough power to get up to highway speed.

Gentle hills were a challenge and on the steeper ones it slowed down to about 30 km/h. The Golf had turned into a Rolls-Canardly: Rolls down one hill canardly get up the next.

We limped back to Calgary. Tammy has dropped the Golf off at Knibbe Automotive, but they won’t open until Monday.

Is the Golf’s ninth life up?

A Shift Back To Winter

Since the bit of snow that we got on Christmas Day, the weather in Calgary has been unseasonably warm and dry. Even our street, which often has hard-packed ice that lingers well into the spring, was clear. It got to the point where we all went for bike rides on Sunday the 13th. I went for a 47-km solo ride, and Tammy and the kids rode 10 km to the library and back.

Yours truly enjoying a mid-winter ride

But this week, the temperatures dove down under freezing and it snowed yesterday. Before the snow was an ice fog, which always leaves the trees in a beautiful state.

Ice crystals on tree branches

Today it’s -17 out there. It’s supposed to be back above zero tomorrow, but we’ll wait and see. I’m off to Halifax next week. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with my air travel.

Miranda’s class went to Bowness High School for a field trip yesterday. She has put her application in to Sir Winston Churchill High School for the International Baccalaureate program for next year, but if that doesn’t pan out, she will attend Bowness. She was impressed by the various programs there, so it’s good that she is excited about Plan B.

In other news, I have jumped back into writing/editing mode. I have three novels that make up a long story, which I started in November 2015 with All Too Human, then followed up in 2016 with Outpost Tyranny and I partly completed between 2017 and 2018 with Who Writes the History Books. WWTHB is probably about 30,000 words from completion, but I decided to go back and revisit everything up to now to ensure continuity and to fix any outstanding edits. I am enjoying that process, and what I’ve done is created a PDF copy of the novels, and I am using the PDF Viewer app on my iPad with the Apple Pencil to make red-pen markup that I will incorporate later. It’s allowing me to scribble quick notes instead of worrying about getting everything perfect. Once I get to where I left off in 2018, I think I will be ready to push through the last part of the book.

This is exciting for me, because it’s been a long time coming, and I can envision the end.


Survived Week 1

It never fails to amaze me how tough the first week of work is after a short, 2-week break. Last week was the first week of our Winter 2019 term and we all we dragging by Wednesday. Admittedly I had agreed to sub for a daytime teacher, so I was doing double shifts (9.30-2.30, 6.30-9.00) Monday-Wednesday. Plus I’m now back to 4 eves a week, but I couldn’t believe the fatigue by 10pm. I also squeezed in either a bike ride or tread milling to keep up the battle of the bulge. I hope the week is better. I only have my evening classes. We’ll see come Thursday at 10pm.

Ian the Movie Maker

We left Ian alone for a few hours today, and the next thing you know, he’s creating little movies with the iPad. The first one is a little story about two boys and one of them is mean and the other gets revenge.

The second one is just a little experiment with special effects:

Pretty darn cool, if you ask me. 🎥


This morning, I was talking to Ian about forced perspective, which is a very old technique to make things look at different scales. We tried some still photos, and then we put together this short clip, Climbing into the Purdy’s Bag. Enjoy.


Kids’ Growth

I’m only a week late, but I remembered to measure the kids today.

I think it’s safe to say Miranda is about as tall as she’ll get, while Ian is just starting into his growth spurt.

Not Fair

I have two full weeks off. And what happens? I get sick twice and hurt my back.

I can’t complain about Dad’s visit: I was feeling well (except for my back) for all of it, but then he wasn’t feeling well for the last day of his visit. We managed to get one day of skiing in, but now I’m suffering with laryngitis.

I suppose I’ve had a pretty good run of good health in the last few years. Since the kids have grown out of the “picking things up off the floor and putting them in their mouths” phase, it’s been better.