here in our nation's capital, the very seat of power from which all things good flow across the canadian shield, over the plains to the grateful west, is where my sister carlynne and her husband dan have decided to make their home. a wonderful place to visit.

first things first. kylie and carlynne and i poked around the parliamentary grounds.
at the front door to the halls of power, a unicorn sticks his tongue out at you, the citizen of canada.
from the top of the peace tower (the big pointy one).

the locks behind parliament. an important shipping lane for all the $$ arriving from out west and all the redundant paperwork exiting parliament hill destined for the rest of the country. note the ship stranded on the right.

dan, chris and i took dan's hunting rifle and bow out to the shooting range for a little target practice. dan had his bow set to full hunting strength and i was only able to draw it once.
the gun was much easier to load, but being a winchester .300 it had a pretty fair kick.

whilst the men where hunting styrofoam turkeys and deer, carlynne and kylie were luring unsuspecting geese with bread and then snapping their necks to cook them up for dinner. sooo much better than the styrofoam ones.

that night, after all our redneck activities, we attended the ottawa symphony, which was enjoyable, but the NAC does not allow cameras. after the symphony we walked down elgin street to observe the drunk children and eat poutine.

the next day we went for a wander in the gatineau region of quebec, once again in the company of the intrepid chris and katherine.
the leaves were lovely, although in the gatineau there were more on the ground than on the trees.
out in the forest we met 2 angels, who pointed the proper path to the persevering pilgrims.
as well as the benefits of newfoundland made mittens.

chris collapsed at the top due to extreme exhaustion and dehydration, but he got better.

while at the lookout we formed a rock band and took the opportunity for a band shot. EP pending.

good bye gatineau.
meech lake, of accord fame.

after our taxing journey, we stopped in lovely chelsea for an amazing fish and chips and chamblis noir, finishing with the french grandmother special - tart sucre.

the final day in our long weekend was spent touring a different part of ottawa, looking at the art museum, the market and the royal canadian mint.
in the mint proper, we were not allowed to take pictures, but we WERE allowed to pick up a real gold brick, weighing in at ~$450,000. i accidentally nicked it with my thumbnail, but they wouldnt sell it to me for a discount.

after an extremely healthy dinner we spent our evening obtaining the newly available H1N1 vaccination for kylie, carlynne and dan. i had to apply a bit of pressure to get kylie vaccinated despite being out of province, but she got it in the end. somehow we accidentally skipped the line as well. not sure how that happened, but we didnt feel too bad.
yes, i do think you should all go and get vaccinated as soon as it is available. your personal risk from H1N1 is very low, but as a population it is a problem and i hope you do your part to help out your country and its overburdened health care system. the vaccine itself has been demonized on facebook and in inane discussion forums, but i believe it is safer than unimmunized exposure to H1N1.

after our personal successful vaccination campaign we opted to celebrate with poutine, milkshakes and ice cream sundays, thus negating our extremely healthy dinner.

after that it was goodbye carlynne and dan, hello montreal!



some good friends of ours, darren and kathleen, recently made the trek across the rockies to come visit us and to attend a david crowder concert. it was a quick visit, but we were able to spend some quality time with them.
darren is a camera buff, so we took them out to the forest so he could practice his art.
i love the trees on the mountains east of cultus lake. these are some of my attempts to capture their splendour. i havent seen darren's yet, but i know he got some nice shots.

niko took good care of our guests and did his best to make them feel welcome. darren and kathleen enjoyed him and appreciated his foibles; at one point darren picked up my camera to record niko in his makeshift lair under the table. kathleen grew up with dogs and they are thinking of getting a puppy soon.

having darren around inspired me to fiddle with my nikon a bit more.

now we are across the continent in ottawa, staying with carlynne and dan. it is beautiful here and we spent a sunny day today in the hills of gatineau with chris and katherine. more on that to come.


Thanksgiving Indeed

We spent Thanksgiving weekend in Victoria with Marc's family (minus Dan and Carlynne). Pete, Bette, Julie and Lowell were supposed to arrive on Saturday morning but unfortunately Air Canada Jazz's computers went down for the day (as did the ferries, oh the transport weekend woes) and they did not arrive until Saturday at dinner. We went to pick up their race packages for the 8K, somehow I think I felt a little strange about it . . .

Oh there, that's better . . .

The race packages were at the Empress hotel and Marc got this great shot of the promenade.
And this one of a church downtown.
The next morning bright and Pete, Bette, Julie, Lowell and Marc set off to run their 8K race. Shareen, Gillian and I were the official picture takers.

Lowell ran by first.

Followed soon after by Marc.

Julie soon raced by (she is in the green shirt)!
Then Pete . . .
and Bette.
The official photographers, they certainly don't look as tired as the runners. ;)
Afterwards we had a lovely lunch.
Followed by a visit with Marc's extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins. Some of his cousins and his uncle Tom had run the half marathon and marathon. They certainly looked great for having run so many km that morning!

That evening it was present time! It was Julie (and Carlynne's) birthday last Tuesday and we had picked this apron up last year in Holland, thankfully we remembered where we had stuck it and actually remembered to bring it!
We also received some unexpected gifts for our bambino. This great blanket that Shareen sewed and some books and a bib. (Yes that is for the baby, although I probably could have used it later at dinner.)
Birthday dinner for Julie at Milestones . . .

On Monday we celebrated Thanksgiving with some of Shareen's friends. A great time was had by all and the food was excellent!This article that was in the Globe and Mail the other day about a family of Bhutanese refugees who recently came to Canada reminded me why I should be so thankful to live in the country I do and why refugees like this make our country a better place to live. Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!