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. 👿

Happy 46th Birthday Simon!

Today is Simon’s 46th birthday. The day started off quite early with Squeak marooning around at god knows when. By the way she was goofing and traipsing around the bed I thought it had to be at least 7. It turns out it was only 6.30 when I finally gave in and checked her bowls and boxes.
After that I put on the coffee and arranged his presents and card while Simon got ready. I put out his maple nut “Goatmeal” Crisp.  He gradually opened his cards and presents during breakfast. He had to do a few things for work, so while he did that I iced and decorated his cake.  Before lunch we went out to get his licence renewed. In the end lunch was a selection of appies followed by his cake – orange with chocolate icing.  We were going to watch Wonder Woman (the movie) while we ate, but lunch required too much attention so we watched it afterwards. Finally both Simon and I did our cycling since the weather has been a disaster today (pouring). Maybe we’ll watch another movie tonight.

Happy Birthday Simon!  I hope you’re having a great day. Love you!  🧡🎂

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

Had to change gears…and vehicles

So it’s been 4 years since I purchased my Mazda 6. It has been a great car and I have considered it “luxury” for my standards with all the extras.

I probably would still have it if it wasn’t for the gas prices jumping up insanely and continuing to climb ($1.61 at present). My car was not bad on gas but having to drive the kids to school and Zach to work started hitting me in the wallet. I started looking for more fuel efficient vehicles. Hybrids and Electric cars were out due to $$$. That left smaller cars. It is crazy how much some vehicles cost for barely anything (mostly paying for the name) I was looking very closely not only at the fuel efficiency but safety standards. Wow the recalls and complaints on some vehicles!!

So I finally settled on a Chevrolet Sonic RS Turbo Hatchback 2018. Got it on the 6th. Same amenities as my Mazda except it has a push button start, computer screen and back up camera (also has cloth seats instead of leather). I miss not having a lock gas cap. The backup camera is going to get some getting used to. I find not having a key is the funniest. I keep reaching to turn the car off but no key! Riiiiight push the button…..

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.