A note for the UK Picks

Posted: January 22, 2017 in Ramblings

If we called it “Jasper,” Chris would not be able to make all the “My big orange Willy” jokes he’s been making for the last 24 hours.

Things you need…and don’t

Posted: January 21, 2017 in Ramblings

Yesterday Chris and I each got the electronic notification that our 2017 car license tabs were due.  $400 for Chris’ car and $300 for mine.  We also spend $175 a month on parking ($100 for the first car and $75 for the second).  And about $800 a year on C’s insurance and $600 a year on mine.

Yet we walk everywhere.

So I did a little math.  I bought that Fiat last April.  Have therefore owned it for nine months.  Not counting the gas expenses, I paid about $1575 over that time frame (insurance, parking, tabs).  I have driven it only 2200 miles.  That is a cost of 72 cents a mile!  That’s insane.

I didn’t bother doing the same math for Chris’ car, but suggested to him that we get rid of my Fiat and have only the expenses for one larger car.  Well…you know us, one discussion led to another, and today we traded in my Fiat and his Range Rover for one new Range Rover Evoque.

We chose to do this because his car had been purchased used and is nearing the end of its warranty, and because they had a new orange one on the lot 🙂  The financials worked out all right, too.  Our new car is nicknamed William (because he’s orange).  But he’s not traffic-cone-orange, more like a pumpkin…so you can call me Cinderella!

(I know some of you already do call me that.  So just go right ahead and keep doing it.)

Pics tomorrow.  Too lazy to go take them now.



Posted: January 8, 2017 in Ramblings
Tags: , , , ,

It’s time for another one of my philosophical rants.

Why does February only have 28 days?  I realize for the true answer to this question I’d have to time-travel back to Caesar’s Rome, when the current calendar was set, but it still bugs me.  Why didn’t they pilfer 2 days from the ’31-day’ months and whack them into February to make it 30 days?  February could still be the leap year month by turning it into a 31-day month in leap years.  It just seems so sloppy.

In “Pogo,” Churchy is constantly trying to reform the calendar (usually into an entire year of October, because that’s when his birthday is), and I read two different sequences about that, last week.  Then today I’m reading John Maddox Roberts’ “The Year of Confusion,” which deals with Caesar’s implementation of the new calendar.  So this got me thinking, and this is why I came to write this post.


Photo Test #2

Posted: December 26, 2016 in Ramblings

This is after the WordPress people gave me some pointers.

Inserting this from the "WP Admin" page works.

Inserting this from the “WP Admin” page works.

Photo Test

Posted: December 26, 2016 in Ramblings

Formerly, a reader could click on one of my photos and see it at its full size.  This doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.  Am examining settings to see if I can get it back to that.

An oldie but a goodie.

An oldie but a goodie.

White Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2016 in Ramblings

Not exactly the traditional kind…but interesting nonetheless!  Hope everyone’s is merry and a bit brighter than this.  Ha.


Foggy view from our bedroom window (which is basically the same as the view you saw last week from the kitchen).

Lake Louise

Posted: December 21, 2016 in Ramblings

Well, our vacation has come and gone much faster than planned.


Heading west on the TCH.

We arrived in Calgary on Saturday with no incident except a slightly-delayed flight, and began the 2+ hours’ drive to Lake Louise.  We were all very hungry, and the Trans-Canada Highway had no rest stops or anything like that for a long way, until the town of Canmore, where we stopped and had “Canadian McDonald’s.”  I didn’t think it would be too different from US McDonald’s, but they had waffle fries (which the excited Alex got) and a burger with a hash brown patty on it (which he also got).  Re-fueled, we drove the final hour to the chateau.


Canadian McDonald’s (at right).  This is in Banff.

The setting is beautiful.  The lake is surrounded by mountains, and everything was snowy and delightful.  (The temperature was -28C that day!)  We checked into our 7th-floor Fairmont Gold room and basically went to sleep, because it was late and we’d crossed time zones.


View from our room!

A strange thing happened to me over this vacation.  Whenever we were in the room, or in other areas of the 7th floor, I felt a tightness around my chest, and my heart thumped dramatically.  Not fast, just really hard!  I was quite worried but Chris listened to it and said it sounded good and strong.  So I tried to ignore it.  We wondered whether this might be due to altitude sickness but the feeling went away when we were on the ground floor, and it didn’t seem like there was enough drop in altitude to account for that.  Lake Louise is, however, 1750m (5742 feet) above sea level…and Redmond is a whopping 13m (43 feet) above sea level!  So there was definitely a difference.

Anyway, on our first morning we got up and went on the Johnston Canyon ice hike.  I was kind of misled on this.  The descriptions say “walk on suspended catwalks across Johnston Canyon” but really they were fenced pathways going up and down the side of a mountain, and I got really winded (and this very likely was due to altitude sickness).  Our guide was a super hiker type of guy and kept pushing everyone to go pretty fast, too.  Alex complained of his feet hurting, so after we reached the Lower Falls, he and I turned back and waited in the parking lot.  Chris soldiered on to the top (another .5 mile) and came back (he said the Upper Falls looked just like the Lower Falls so we didn’t miss much).  He saw a fox.  This fox and some deer on the side of the highway are the only wildlife we saw during the whole trip.

Our guide went on to say that snowshoeing (which we had planned for Monday) would be even tougher to do.  So we cancelled it!  That day we spent walking around the lake on the ice, until we noticed the “Thin Ice” signs, at which point we scurried back to the hotel!  We also cancelled the dogsledding (planned as a Chris-Alex joint venture) because they recommended ski goggles, which we did not have and did not want to buy.  That was a Wednesday activity.

Tuesday we drove to Banff, which is the closest town to Lake Louise, and walked around in the snow, shopped a bit (I bought a qiviut hat because my fake fur hat was very loose and kept sliding around my head), and had lunch at a pub.

But I continued to suffer this weird heart thing.  Each night I had difficulty falling asleep because it made me so nervous.  Last night (Tuesday night) I asked Chris whether we should cut the vacation short; he didn’t think it was serious enough to do that, because this was only affecting me on the 7th floor.

And then this morning he woke up with a sore throat and said “I’ve changed my mind about going home early!”  We scrambled to get new flights, reschedule the shuttle, cancel the remaining cat care, and got to Calgary Airport with 6 hours to spare.  Flew home on a propeller plane (a Bombardier Q400) and got back here around 8PM.  I suppose we will never know what was wrong with me.  It stopped as soon as we got in the car to drive back to Calgary.


Still wearing a hat he got in Portsmouth, despite all the lovingly-handknit ones I’ve made for him over the years…sigh…