Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada Day Eve

It's a beautiful quiet evening, perfect for BBQ (rack of lamb, if you were wondering) then sitting outside relaxing. I'm writing, Linda is reading. It's been a busy day.

How did this first day of retirement go? Fun. It started at 3am. Yes, the middle of the night for many of you. I was downtown in East village a little before 5am to help a buddy with a photo-shoot. A local politician is already working on campaign materials. Probably they all are. We shot in East Village, Kensington, Crescent Heights, East Village again, and a SW office building.

It was a lot of fun! Mostly I was a Sherpa, packing and carrying and holding. A couple times I was a photo prop "Look at Keith, walk towards Keith", but (thankfully) wasn't in any of the photos. There was real talent for that.

Then into the pool, chasing my buddy Katie. I think she was taking it easy today, since I was able to keep up for 100 m at a time, with a long rest while she swam another 100 m. Then to Resolve to get a print organized for a buddy. I love dealing with them.

Home, a quite time with the cats, then the BBQ. Well, there was some photos in there of my own, and some editing. Buildings are hard, trying to get the right perspective when you're looking up. I've been looking down on these cranes for 5 months, and yesterday I walked around them a bit before going into work.

Tomorrow is going to be the ceremonial sleep in. Count on it. Hope to see you out and about celebrating tomorrow. It's odd, I can clearly remember some of the 100 year celebrations stuff, reading about it and seeing it on TV. The song is running through my mind right now. 50 years has passed so quickly.

Somewhere about then I remember a discussion with my mom about how old we would be in 2000. That seemed like forever away. She did the math, and said I would be 42; an incomprehensible number for a kid. She wasn't even 42 then, since of course she would be 28 in 2000. And her mom was still alive then, and (last I checked) is still around, closing in on 100.

Which got me thinking, and I found the obituary for my great-grandmother. I had not known this. There could have been, but I don't think there is, a photo of her and me, with the intervening generations. Now there could be a photo of my grandmother, my mom's sister, my cousin, her daughter, and her daughter's son. There is a photo with 4 of them.

From the Chilliwack Progress, dated Wed Jan 12, 1966.
"MRS. ELLEN MARGARET CRAWFORD Born on Jan. 2, 1884, in Woolwich, England, Mrs. Ellen Margaret Crawford died on her 82nd birthday in Valley Haven. Rev. B. B. Smyth officiated at the private family service Friday in Henderson's Funeral Chapel. Interment was in the family plot, IOOF cemetery. Pallbearers were four grandsons. Mrs. Crawford, formerly of 10175 Reeves Rd., had resided in the district for 45 years. She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Henry (Nell) Jones, Chilliwack; Mrs. Jack (Jean J Rector, Thorlow Island, B.C.; and Mrs. Irwin (Laura) Child, Sardis; two sons, David W., Campbell River; and Ian R., Jeune Landing, B.C.; nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Re-retired. Again.

And I'm thrilled! Not that I didn't like the Keyera gig. I did. I got in there because a couple people I've worked with before pushed for it to happen. I knew a few people at Keyera from my time at Skystone. It's a small world sometimes.

I was brought in to do a particular task, and was told there would be no contract renewal. The project would be done come hell or high water, and it was. Yay team! I was comparing notes with one of my business analyst buddies. He has had many short term gigs. I've had a few longer term gigs. The Penn West one was out of the ordinary, lasting more than 4 years and continuous rounds of layoffs, with renewal after renewal. It was nice to have one with a firm end date.

It was a little harum scarum at a few times, and there were a few 'Holy Doodle!' moments, and a couple unexpected learnings. I was astonished that Maximo let us add specifications to an asset that doesn't exist, because it created an empty asset. I was expecting an error message because if there's on thing Maximo likes to do on data loads, its give error messages. It all made the 3-day weeks pass very quickly.

I think knowing what I know now I'd have done things a little differently, but that's always the case. Or it should be. I left a document about the next steps. They might ask me to come back later this year or early next to work on a related project. Or not. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, nor am I out looking under rocks for the next gig.

I spent a happy after noon trying macro shots of a wine diamond. The shape wasn't that interesting, but it was a learning experience. Oh, what the heck, even though it's not Macro Monday, here's what they looked like. To give you the scale, that's a wine cork that they're sitting on, about 2 cm in diameter.

What happens tomorrow you ask? I was thinking of doing a ceremonial sleep in, but that's tough for me. Instead, I'm actually getting up earlier than usual, and doing something for a buddy. Should be fun. That something starts at 5am downtown, so we're getting up about 3:30. Quite the opposite of a sleep in.

I say re-retired, because I thought of myself as a retired person (even though I'm much too young to be a senior citizen) after leaving Penn West last summer, and I had a wonderful fall. Now that I'm not going to a day job, I'm anticipating having a wonderful summer. Then there was the year I wasn't working, but I was hustling for a job during that time, so that put a bit more stress on things.

Linda is done working for pay. Working in her garden, or deciding to volunteer for some organization are different. She's still decompressing. I'm not quite ready to never work for pay again. I'm interested in discussing part-time gigs doing interesting work if someone approaches me. Every one of those defers drawing on my retirement savings for another year, or gives me money to buy a fancy lens or go on a photo trip. Gotta love that.

In between gigs, I'm happy to be doing my thing. Photos, and I've been asked to do another event gig. More writing. I seem to be more productive when I don't have a day job preying on my mind. Helping with the gardening. Visiting friends. Getting out for some bike rides, and getting more regular with running again. Lots of things. Stay tuned and you'll hear about them.

A wet rose for you. This is just a warm up. Hint, hint.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Overall garden

My mom asked for some photos of the overall garden. She likes the individual photos, but just wanted to see the whole thing. So the rest of you get too. And yes, I know I forgot Macro Monday. Fear not, there are photos in hopper for that.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Biggest photo day ever!

Some of you already know I was the official photographer at the Wild Rose triathlon yesterday. You can read a little about it, and the 1831 photos here. Which itself links to some pages on this very blog for the photos, scroll down a little underneath the 'What I'm Reading' section to find them if interested. Best you do this on a desktop or laptop, not a phone, and on a wifi network, not your cell plan.

This was my first gig as an event photographer, and I was a bit nervous. I thought really carefully about what to bring. I didn't want to bring my pack with all the lenses, so I narrowed it down to one lens, both batteries, and all the memory chips.

The lens was the Tamron 70-200 mm. It weighs 1470 grams, or 3.24 pounds. Plus the camera adds 770 grams, or 1.7 pounds. Essentially 5 pounds, times 1831 photographs. My arms were tired at the end of the day. Here I am, hard at it. (photo credit Amy.)

The big learning how fast you can burn through a battery. It took about 2.5 hours and 1000 photos. Towards the end of the day I was getting worried how long the second battery would last, and was wishing I'd brought the battery charger and found a place to plug it in. And, of course, remembering it at the end of the day. Or buying a third battery if I'm going to do this more often. Hmmm.

The second learning was to plan my movements a little better. I hadn't fully thought out the consequences of the shorter race going first, with the slowest swimmers starting first.

I totally blew only about 4 dozen shots, which pleases me enormously. Races can be a tough gig because they start so early, and often have brilliant sunshine from just above the horizon. This leads to some harsh shade on faces, and tricky exposure shooting into shadow. Plus those darn people! They keep moving around, and a great shot only lasts a fraction of a second. Eyes closing and a slight change in head position can turn a shot from fab to drab.

There are a few shots I posted that I was iffy about, but my experience shooting some other athletes was that I couldn't predict which shot they might like. There are about a dozen shots I think are really good and a bunch more that I'd be pleased to show to that person and think they're likely to be pleased by.

I love the different expressions on racer's faces. Some of the looks are not what you'd call flattering, and you might not say it was a good photo of them, but you get a sense of their personality and what they're thinking. I think that makes for a better portrait than a bland face covered in makeup or digitally retouched. A couple of the shots are so good I might put them onto my people gallery.

Overall I had a blast and would love to do it again. I was mostly lurking (as much as a guy my size can lurk) for candid shots, next time I think I'd be a bit more open about asking people to pose with their buddies. I did a few of those on request and they turned out well.

When I was talking about the Alberta rose the other day I was looking for this image, and couldn't find it. So you get it now, and have to mentally connect it with the other post. Sorry about that. Not.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The dread Alberta rose

We have an Alberta rose just beside the garage. I'm quite sure it has plans for world dominance or something. It waves it's thorny branches in a menacing way, hoping to drag some prey in. There are roots and shoots springing up in the lawn and down the walk way between the neighbour's house a surprising distance.

Today I learned what it's role model is. The Millarville market has a rose growing beside one of the buildings. I was terrified.

Br'er Rabbit probably lives in there sometimes.

In comparison here's one of our roses. Still getting it's growth.

And another rose bud, a different one. Because I know you can't get enough.

Lastly, an arty shot. There was so much green in it, and I was looking for an alternative view. A few of you may have seen this on a Facebook groups page.

Friday, June 23, 2017

a few more blossoms for you

This is the first of the pink poppies to open. This is the same one I showed gradually opening it's maw, I mean the bud splitting open.

Roses. We have lots, and I love the buds and blooms.

The white peony out front is opening, and the light rain set it off beautifully.

The red peony shows off the water drops a bit better.

I was in the mood for a languid swim this morning, genially waving my flukes. What I got was a full pool with three other people in the lane. One swimming a bit faster than me most of the time, one a bit slower, and one a bit slower than that. I didn't keep track of how far or how fast. It felt pretty good.

There was a run on Wed, 3K in 20:52, feeling heavy and clunky. My legs felt terrible the next day, but feeling pretty good today.

This is going to be a busy weekend so I'm not sure what will happen for a long run. The camera is going to get a workout on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Driving to the mountains?

It looks like this road loops around a bit, and will take you to those beautiful mountains.

Looks can be deceiving. That sign that indicates you have to turn left or right is not kidding. Just past where the road dips down, you come to a T intersection.

Technically, I suppose the road continues on and curves around to the right, but there's some big concrete barricades to prevent traffic. This will eventually become a business access road for the Tsuut'ina, but thats all tangled up with the ring road construction. They say they are going to build a huge medical centre there. If it takes as long as the road negotiations, it will be too late for me. Hopefully they'll get it built just about the time I need it.

Traffic is going to be hell here for the next few years. There are only 2 ways out of Woodbine. One is the road in the photo above. There is major freeway construction already happening. The other is 24th St onto Anderson road. Anderson is going to be widened to 6 lanes over the next few years. Why yes, I'm glad to be retired and not likely going anyplace in a hurry.

In one sense it will be nice to have the ring road done. They've been talking about it for most of my lifetime, and now it's time to spend the money. I suppose with the improvements in technology we will get a better road, and the environment will be treated more respectfully now than say in the 70's. Back then the plan was to bulldoze anything in the way of a direct route and it didn't matter if it was a natural area or a neighbourhood.

In another sense, it's symptomatic of our car culture, and the sickness of it in Calgary. That new road won't take me anywhere I need to go. At best it might take some cars out of my way for the places I do want to go, but I'm not likely to notice. I suppose once it's built it will be easier to get up to highway 1 to go towards Banff. But I'll bet money that it will quickly become just as clogged as all the other roads in town. More roads generate more traffic.

But really, I'm getting my head to a place where we shouldn't be burning fossil fuels. Not for propelling vehicles, or heating buildings or generating power. Solar and wind power are coming on huge, and Alberta gets lots of wind and sun. The quicker we get the coal fired plants shut down, the better. That's not to say I think the oil industry will go away. Certainly not! We need it as feedstock for the bazillions of materials we use in a modern society. And fertilizer to grow food, let's not forget that. And practically speaking, we're going to be burning the fuels for a while yet.

Electric vehicles are getting more and more common. Don't listen to the nay-sayers saying it won't happen. I remember them saying that putting shoulder belts in cars was unnecessary. That nobody would pay for airbags. That fuel injection was impractical for ordinary vehicles. That cars would never drive themselves. The list goes on.

I would be willing to bet that within the rest of my lifetime, gasoline powered vehicles owned by individuals will not exist and it will be illegal for a human to drive a vehicle in city limits except in case of emergency. Anyone want to take me up on it?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I craved a beach

I was channeling my east coast buddies on Sunday. Craving a beach and the smell of the sea. In case you were wondering, there is no sea here. If you came for the waters, you were misinformed.

There are several private lakes, surrounded by expensive homes and guarded by community association employees. If you have buddies, it's possible to be a guest, or you can get in on the practice swims put on by the races.

Then there's Sikome, a public "lake", which I'm pretty sure I could throw a rock across, and I'm a shite pitcher. In years past it was a great place to get a loathsome disease caused by sick kids using it as a toilet.

If you don't mind driving out to Canmore, there's tiny little Quarry Lake, and it's equally tiny beach. Nice water though. Don't argue with the moose or bears that like to visit for a drink. If you 're prepared to freeze your ass off, there's Ghost Lake. Seriously, even in a wetsuit you're going to be cold.

Then there's Glenmore Reservoir. It's a beautiful body of water, no doubt of that, and would reasonably be called a lake if found in nature. It's 3.84 Km2 surface area, and contains 17 million M3 of water. From various places around it you can see the mountains, and downtown, and sometimes both at the same time. However, it's south Calgary's main source of drinking water, and they don't allow swimming. Various forms of non-motorized boating yes, stand-up paddle boarding no, swimming is a big no-no.

Right now the water level is way down in preparation for spring run off. Four years ago we had a huge flood here, and they don't want it to happen again. I went for a walk on what is normally underwater, and channeled being on a beach. Let's just say the experience was less than completely satisfactory, in comparison to Nova Scotia.

It's kind of a pity they don't install a beach there, and charge for admission to cover the costs, even if there is no swimming allowed. There's lots of things to do at a beach that don't involve getting wet.

In any case, here's some photos, showing how deprived I am. How much I miss the two times we rented that beach front cottage in Nova Scotia.

Yes, that really is a paddle boat on the reservoir. It's a replica of the S. S. Moyie. I've never been on it myself.

I had a nice walk for a couple of K on the "beach". It didn't smell quite as nice as the ocean, but it was still a nice watery smell. Afterward I went down to Fish Creek and enjoyed a quiet walk along the river. It's too small to swim, but some people like to splash in it. This is about as big as it ever gets.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Macro Monday, and a followup

Last Monday I was out with the extension tubes and got a bunch of nice macro photos. This one struck me almost more as a science fiction novel cover.

Or this, I could almost see this as a spaceship design.

Some of you want to know how I'm feeling after the half marathon on Saturday. Pretty darned good! I didn't do much the rest of the day, but Sunday I was up and around for a walk with Linda, and stained a section of fence.

Today was a swim, massage, picked up Linda and went for lunch. Afterward I braved the hell of Costco, complete with people that had no concept of other people having a place to be, and wanting to be there. I didn't run anyone down, but it was close for one woman. She saw the dead look in my eyes at the last moment and moved. Otherwise it was going to be a scene from Mad Max with the trophy impaled on the front of the shopping cart.

In the photo surprise department, one of my neighbours has asked if I have a photo of a particular plant, (I'm pretty sure I do), and about how much would a print be. Somehow he had never struck me as an art kind of guy, but his money is the same colour as everyone else's.

I'll leave you with this rose. Linda says it's a Therese Bugnet. Unfortunately it's got thrips that are eating the buds, so this might be the best one this year.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bees, a butterfly, and a ladybug

Sounds like the start to a corny joke, I know. But you get a bit of a compendium today, some of the wildlife that's been captured in my camera recently. In other news I was out for a walk this morning, and my legs are feeling pretty good after the half marathon yesterday

I'm still worried about the bees, but we've been seeing a few more of them lately, so that's good. Maybe they've just got a slow start to the summer. That is the first ladybug I've seen this year. In previous years we'd see many of them while doing garden clean up. We don't see many butterflies, and I'm sure this is the first I've seen of this kind. I think it's kind of handsome in the snappy black and white uniform, with the orange trim.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

It's about time, it's about pace, it's about

Bammy management. I had feared a bammy rebellion going into this race. A week or two ago I was actively debating, what's worse, a DNS, or a DNF? I was having cranky shoulders, muscle spasms in my back such that sneezing was an ordeal, low back stiffness, and sore everything below the hips.

(For the non runners, the bammy is that muscle between the butt and the hamstrings. Or both.)

It was gradually getting better and I decided to run, especially since I had been assured I'd get the best support EVER! And I did. BRBE is awesome like that. The idea was to take it easy, treat it like a long training run.

So first things first. These three photos, what do they have in common?

Look more carefully. Think like a runner. They already know. This is evidence that I sometimes get both feet off the ground at the same time! Yay me! I've been doing this run thing almost 10 years now, and this is the first actual evidence of it happening. Yes yes, I know, it's only ever so fractionally. I don't care. It totally counts. This was about a half hour after the start, so probably about the 4.5 K mark. It didn't last much longer.

Some photos, just because.

This is the last good photo during the race. Shortly after this was a gravel road hill that had the bammies and the hip flexors complaining. I slowed down a little, and never managed to speed up again. I was thinking very carefully about my stride.

Here I am, out on the great long flat bit I scoped out during a photo tour a couple weeks ago. I'm just glad it wasn't hot.

The return of T Rex! I am in serious plod mode here, having gone from just over 7 minutes per K, to just over 8 minutes per K. It was all I could do to reel in some walkers. Linda giggled hard when she saw this on.

My buddy Radar! That was a surprise. It's not every half marathon you see a person in armour, on a horse.

The end is in sight.

And there I am, right about where I thought I'd be. Back in January I'd hoped that number would be under 2 hours.

Buddies Susan and Kevin.

And Linda waiting for me. There are gluten free chocolate chip cookies in that bag.

What's missing from all these photos is Sherpa Michelle. She picked me up early, drove me to the race start, got on her bike to leapfrog me throughout the race to capture many photos of me, and talk me through some of the tough bits. Thank you so very much.

Next race? No idea. I'll be doing photos at the Wild Rose Triathlon, and doing Sherpa and photos for Michelle at the 70.3.