Developed out of existence

I was reading a magazine that had three related articles about the development we are experiencing here in Alberta. The first article was questioning the lack of foresight on the part of the urban planners. It is a well written article, but one that is maybe a bit late in coming.

Calgary is Alberta's largest city, Edmonton, the capital of the province and between them they have experienced growth of 29 percent in just five years. They are both ranked as The Most Wasteful Cities In Canada! This is not something to be proud of!

To give you an idea of the size of these cities, lets compare shall we (as the article did) to New York City (all the Burroughs).

NYC: Pop: 8,274,527 Area in Sq Miles: 303.3
Calgary: Pop: 1,019,942 Area in Sq Miles: 280.5
Edmonton: Pop: 730,372 Area in Sq Miles: 264.2

Yes, NYC was settled in 1624, while Edmonton and Calgary weren't settled until 1795 & 1875 respectively, but we nevertheless have to stop growing out and start growing up! The entire population of Alberta is still less than half that of NYC by the way, it is: 3,497,881. Here are the Wiki links to Alberta and to NYC for those that like links and stats.

One obvious problem in trying to curtail the outward expansion is turning the publics thinking away from "outdoing the Joneses". Yes, the government has to take a big chunk of the responsibility for allowing the expansion in the first place, but the attitudes of the oil boomer's and their disposable incomes also needs to be changed. Just because you can afford a 5000 Sq Ft house for your 2.5 children, doesn't mean that you have to live in one! I admit, I am not much good at this, I can't see myself living in less than the 800 Sq Ft I now occupy and I could (and have) easily occupy many more Sq Ft.

The next article was about how we are plowing under our farmland and turning it into urban sprawl. It speculates that by 2105 the land between Edmonton and Calgary will be one continuous ribbon of industry and residential development. Only 5 percent of Canada is capable of producing food and only 0.5 percent of that is class one soil. What we do here in Alberta does have an effect on the rest of the country, according to Stats Can ¾'s of the dependable (class 1-3) agricultural land is concentrated between AB, SK & ON. In 2001, 6.5 percent of AB's class one land was occupied by urban development and you can bet that number has grown since then. It points out that when the grain trade is removed from the picture, Canada is a net importer of agricultural products. For example: we import 85 percent of our vegetables here in Alberta. That is just sick!

The last article in the magazine talks about farmers markets. I love farmers markets, you can get anything there and the veggies are the best. The author talks about her own experience running a stall at a farmers market and how since the boom has hit, they (she & a partner) are no longer making a profit. Nor are a lot of other folks at the markets, simply because they can't afford to hire help and still keep their prices low enough that people will buy. People are accustomed to buying produce at the grocery store, never mind that it comes from California and was picked before it was fresh and artificially induced to grow in the first place – it's cheaper! Yes, but it has no taste! Um, by the time it gets here anyway.

My cousin Leah (The Goat's Lunch Pail) pointed out in her blog yesterday that we are throwing away tons of food in this country. If we continue in this manner we will develop ourselves right out of existence!

Have a thoughtful day everyone.

P.S. I probably stole some direct lines from the articles mentioned - don't tell anyone.


WWC - Water and One

It's Tuesday and that means it is time once again to play the Weekly Word Challenge, hosted by the lovely and demure Tink from Pickled Beef!

This weeks words are WATER & ONE! Let me tell you, water was not easy to do. All the fountains in the city are still shut down, and while the river is open, I didn't get a chance to get there to take a photo of it. (I hate not having a car!) Still and all, I managed to get a few shots - click on each to see them enlarged, or don't and look at them small.


Water comes from the sky frozen and white (most of the year), then gets pushed to the side of the road. When it starts to melt, you get slush and some interesting reflections in the resulting puddles.

Another water puddle and reflection.

This is the puddle in the underground parkade and you can see the sky reflected between the ceiling beams.


There are five ones on this clock.

One rabbit, I almost stepped on him!

Part of the sign at the apartment complex.

There will be a history lesson later in the week to explain this.

So, there are a few of the pictures I took. To see more (you know I took more) click on the Flickr box in the top right hand corner (or here). Several of the people that do the WWC have joined a group in Flickr to post their photos.

If you would like to join in the fun, stop by at Tink's blog and she will give you all the details.

Good Day all.

P.S. Next weeks words are Three & Fire - should be fun!


Must be spring!

Look at what I saw last evening!

Listening for worms.

And coming up with them!

You can see the worm wrapped around his beak if you click on the photo.

Then today, it is back to cold and miserable. Such is Alberta weather!

Good evening all.


And so the snowy goes...

The Sun has come out, the temperature has risen. Of course the wind chill is still awful, but it will help to speed the snow along it's way. Of course, it also negates any benefit that might have come from the snow in the way of moisture for the ground.

I thought that this looked really neat the way the snow has slid off the arm of the chair and is still hanging there.

This is the end result of the snow on the pots, I think we got around 35 cm (14 inches) and drifts up to the moon! Update: I just watched the news, the official snowfall was only 29 cm - over the winter we had 28cm which then melted. (11 - 11.5 inches)

If you look really closely you can see the bunnies ears, inside the safety of the tree (bottom left).

I don't know what type of bird lives here (some kind of sparrow?), but they were nest building before this all began. Yes, there is another hole behind all that snow. I don't know if I should go and brush the snow off, or if I should just leave it alone. Any suggestions?

I just realized the cones from the tree are obscuring the view of the top hole a bit too.

Good evening all.


WWC - Five & Wind

The diabolical Tink, from Pickled Beef, is our charming hostess for the WWC each week. If you think you might be interested in being tormented by her word choices, pop over and get the details from her blog.

This weeks challenge words are:


This is what it looked like about five days ago.

This is the first 5 (or so) centimeters of snow on five pots.

Five, 5 pence coins.

And some more coins with 5's & five different countries.

Only two, 5 Ore coins from (I'm guessing) Sweden.

Old 5 cent stamps - lots of them.

Prettier 5 cent stamps.

Wind (blows)

The True North Strong & Free

Little did we know this wind was going to bring in soooo much snow.

The other flag is Alberta's Flag.

Wind (up)

The key on my travel jewellery box - Plays: (I Did It) My Way

When you wind the key and open the door, the little plane flies around to: Fly Me To The Moon

The key for mom's old jewellery box - the ballerina broke off years ago - and I can't remember the tune.

You can wind the blinds open and closed with this.

And of course, you need to wind up a top before it will spin.

I might have been able to get a kite picture had the snow not arrived when it did. Oh well, when the weather gets better, I may just have to venture further afield than my apartment and the block it is on.

Good Day all.

Okay, I totally missed the fact that we are doing elements - so the wind up pictures are off the wall - oh well.

Who asked for this?

Well, better snow in April than snow in June! This was yesterday:

This was this morning - it has about doubled!

Especially noticeable on the pots.

The worst thing is I have to go out in this! I have pneumonia or something and have to go to the doctor, then the pharmacy. Not having a car is a bit of a blessing and a curse...I don't have to drive in this, but I do have to stand out in it waiting for buses that are guaranteed to be late today. *Sigh* (cough, cough)

Update: Well, I don't have pneumonia - just bronchitis. The Doc put me on antibiotics and Prednisone, so I should feel better fairly soon.



As some of you know, I am a breast cancer survivor. During the treatment, I took pictures of my lack of hair and the sparse growth and so on, with my really crappy web cam. (It has since gone to a very nice home at the eco-centre.) However, I have been playing with the pictures and since I got a proper camera have taken a photo of myself. This is rare, because I do not like to take pictures of myself, but as part of the learning about the camera, it had to be done. Besides, an Aunt wants a recent picture.

Then lo and behold, my sister The Bag Lady got tagged the other day to do a meme whereby "you describe your life with 6 words, or a photo or cartoon, then tag 6 other people". Well, she didn't tag anyone, she left it open and I thought, well, maybe I should put this composition out for people to have a look at. It only describes the most recent period of my life, but there it is.

So, there I am, from bald to now! Like Sis, I will not tag anyone, but if you feel like playing go right ahead.

Good afternoon.


Toe Tagged

My Sister, the Bag Lady tagged me to do this meme, where I have to tell seven things about myself. I also have to tag 5 of my fellow bloggers in the process. I have to state the rules, which are as follows: tell seven random and/or interesting facts about yourself, then get 5 friends to play along, and put links to each other's blogs.

So here goes:

  1. My sister's name is responsible for me having eaten a bug when I was less than four years old! I think it was a worm or caterpillar or something, but I was younger and so, did was I was told to do. She got me again a couple of years later, when she told me to lick the door handle of the house. I can't remember why she wanted me to do it, but I did and was then stuck there in the cold until mom got home from shopping. Of course, mom had to go in the front door (which we never used) and then get hot water to remove my tongue from the door handle.

  2. I am asthmatic. Mom & Dad and fortunately my elder brother R knew this! Here I am innocently playing with a friend, running and laughing (in the house) and being eleven and pestering my brother, when out of the blue, I can't breathe! Good thing my brother knew what was going on and was able to calm me down and get my breathing back under control. I would love to blame the asthma on the bug my Sister made me eat, but alas, I think that was after they found out.

  3. Treatments back then were very unpleasant, I was given a pill that a horse wouldn't swallow and the most vile green cough syrup, that made me gag each and every time. So, someone came up with the idea of wind instruments. It is a wonderful idea and we are a very musical family. Next thing I know, dad brings home a clarinet and we put it together and he teaches me to play “The Streets of Venice” by ear! This was not a good thing! When it came time to learn to read the music (which I already did a bit from piano lessons and choir), I relied on my ear too much to tell me if the note was correct. I switched to trumpet a couple of years later and did the same thing – I learned to play taps and revile by ear before classes began. By high school, I figured I had better just stick to singing.

  4. I am an alto. My sister is a soprano, mom was a soprano, brother R is a tenor, brother G is more of a baritone, but he doesn't sing much and dad was a tenor/baritone. Growing up we all sang, at family reunions we sang, we sang when we traveled and when we camped. Dad and mom knew all sorts of old songs and taught us harmony by example. I took to the example of harmony like a drowning man to a life raft. There was a time when you could sing a song that I didn't know and by the second verse, I would have found a harmony for it. Growing up in a one high school town....you all get the same music teacher! I learned the tenor part while brother R was in the choir, then learned the soprano with Sister two years later. Then it was my turn, I thought I had the alto part down, but alas no...I kept drifting into the soprano and the tenor parts – in the atrium of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy! For anyone interested this link has all kinds of interesting info about the Basilica. Ah, yes, we were singing Alleluia by Randall Thompson. Sadly I can't find an online recording of it for you to listen to.

  5. Hops is a vital ingredient in beer! I am allergic to it. More than two swallows of beer and it wants to return from whence it came! Needless to say, I was never a cheap drunk – back when I was drinking. Why are you no longer drinking? Well, I had a little nervous breakdown and then was on some pills and drank and my body wasn't happy and since then, I can only have one drink to be sociable. Any more and I break out in hives and itch like crazy!

  6. I almost died when I was but a teenager. It would have been a messy train/pick-up truck accident. It was the dark of the moon, out in the country and we were speeding driving down a hill that had a train crossing at the bottom. The type that is just two boards in an X and a stop sign – this is the country after all, no need for lights. It was also spring and everything was covered in mud. No reflectors on the sides of the train cars, the X was so mud spattered you couldn't see it at all. I could see this flicker every few seconds and mentioned it to the driver (the country boy who knew all these roads), he said it was nothing. A minute later it dawned on me that it was in fact a car on the other side of the tracks and that there was a train there. I had to tell him twice before he would believe me! We wound up stopped in time, but we were sideways in the road and the other passenger in the truck could reach out the window and touch the train! Mud and gravel are slippery when you slam on the brakes.

  7. I can whistle a tune. I have a very vivid memory of sitting over the arm of the couch and dad teaching both the brothers and sis & myself how to whistle. The oldest brother G is the best whistler in the family. R is pretty good and I can make the tune recognizable, but poor Sis. She never got the hang of it when we were kids. I practiced and practiced at it. Just like learning to lift only one eyebrow. I was a bit older then, but I remember sitting on the bathroom counter staring into the mirror and holding one brow down with my fingers and lifting the other, until I could feel which muscle to use. I can't lift the other one independently though.

So, there are seven (or so) weird things about me. I am going to be totally lazy though and not tag anyone deliberately. If you blog is on my blog roll and you have not already been tagged by someone else, you should do it. It was fun dredging up some of these memories. Give it a whirl.

Have a good day all.


WWC: Close up & Background

Wow, this weeks words were a challenge! What to take a close up of? What the hell to use as background?

Then I was out shopping, waiting for the bus and I noticed across the street, something that would have been a GREAT background photo. I pulled out my phone and snapped off this picture. You can barely make out that there is a house roof behind the gravel.

The city is finally getting around to extending our Light Rail Transit and there is construction everywhere! When I saw the pile of gravel (taller than the house), my heart went out to the people who now have it as a background. Too bad the photo didn't turn out! I was on my way to buy my new camera and the closest I have come to there since, is the other side of the high rise you can see on the right. I might get there again before the pile is reduced too much, but, who knows.

So, now on to the photos I took with my new camera!

Close up:

Can you guess what this is?

This was an accident how it focused this way, but I like it.

This was not an accident and I really like it.

Sibu, first thing, when I sit down, has to be cuddled.... he likes to be close up!

This is over the back of my head.
Then he winds up sitting on my shoulder facing the computer screen. (WARNING! The blog administrator strongly advises against clicking to enlarge this photo, serious damage could occur to your retinas and/or monitor! The Blog Administrator accepts no responsibility for any damages incurred should you fail to heed this warning!)

This was him trying to figure out the camera.


This is the background of my apartment complex.

And across the fence, the background of the school.Background traffic noise.

Background people noise, waiting for buses.
The temporary bus transfer point, while the regular one is being reconstructed for the LRT and the mall itself is undergoing renovations. Major background noise and smells!

Background music.

Background music player.

Did you enjoy? Maybe you would like to participate next week? Then stop over and see Tink's blog Pickled Beef and get all the details on joining the fun.


Well, I finally did it!

I went and purchased a new camera! I have been playing with it since I got home last night and so far, I am very happy with it. It is an Olympus SP-550UZ, it has 7.1 Mp and 18 X Optical Zoom. Now, it is going to take me some time to figure out all that it can do, but here are a few of my first photos with it.

No flash, in my living room, with some zoom, last night.

Around noon, I stepped out onto my patio and zoomed all the way, then had to back off. I think it is about 20 feet to the tree.

Maximum zoom, click and see the craters! The little ones!

About 20.30 hrs looking West (duh) down my front road.

I had to climb to the third floor landing to get this shot, but I like how it turned out.

I tried to get another shot of the moon later, but it must have been possessed, all I got were these ghosts!

Note to self - buy a tripod.

Well, not bad for the first few shots! I hope to have a better grasp on it by Tuesday for the WWC. I know that it will take a lot longer than that to figure out the manual settings and all the other things it can do, but, I will be taking fabulous photos before you know it!

Good night all.