Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We're Pregnant!!

While it's been a pretty quiet summer here with not much in the way of blog updates, there is one big event we've been dying to share. Yes, we're pregnant!!...or more accurately, Lisa is. It's a little too early to tell whether it will be a boy or a girl but for us it doesn't really matter. We had been planning a child for some time now but with two moves in less than a year and the new home and all the adjustments (and a few stresses) that that brought along, it got put on the back burner for a little bit. Finally though, it seems all my little soldiers were lined up and swimming in the right direction.

We are both very excited and looking forward to the big day in April. This will be my first biological child, so to say that I'm uber-excited would be a bit of an understatement. I've delved into a good book on pregnancy to help prep me for all that is to come. I am now familiar with the term "Braxton Hicks" and know that under no circumstances am I to make any comments about hips, back sides or boobs over the coming months. The book also suggests avoiding the phrase, "Now she's eating for two." Humour aside, though I plan to be as informed and as involved with the pregnancy as I can be. We are both looking forward to the new addition to our growing family. Because of the daycare, we have a total of 4 play pens in the master bedroom. I get a chuckle out of it every time I see them there lined up against the wall. Hopefully, we will only need the one but we're nothing if not prepared.

Will it be a girl? Will it be a boy? Too early to tell yet though we have names picked out already. We will post further updates of course as things progress.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Community In Bloom

With all the big oil sands developments just a short jaunt up the highway here, many people here are only too well aware that to rabid environmentalists out there surely this community is viewed by them as the anti-Christ. Which is why I find it heartening to see that Fort Mac is among the 5 finalists for this year's Communities in Bloom. I'm quite familiar with the Ontario contenders of course, having been to them quite a few times. Kawartha Lakes is actually quite close to where I grew up. Ontario sentimentality aside though I think that Fort Mac, despite how it is often portrayed in the media, has this competition hands down.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rethink Yourself

Last month I wrote this post in response to a publicity campaign by a group of environ-MENTAL groups aimed at deterring tourism to Alberta. It would seem though that their campaign, instead of scaring people off, has actually accomplished the exact opposite. Numbers of visitors to Alberta's government tourism website are actually way up. It seems that people want to actually check things out for themselves other than blindly accepting what this motley collection of groups has to say.

Come on now, there really is more here than just oil sands. Yes there is the Oil Sands Discovery Centre and tours of Suncor, but fort McMurray has a rich history and is definitely not the one-horse town that it is often portrayed as. Sorry, but what I find especially galling about this campaign is that, well, look where it comes from: the United States. Um, given that the US is the world's biggest consumer of non-renewable energy, how about stop fueling a demand for it? Then, not only would there be less need for our oil but the need for all the pipelines to the US that you guys also moan about would become unnecessary AND we would be spared all your silliness. You don't live here. You have no respect for our community or people that live. You are only interested in exploiting the Wood Buffalo region to push your own agenda. The simple fact is that American hunger for oil would occur regardless of where in Canada it was located. Northern Alberta just happens to have the fortune (or misfortune, depending on how you look at it) of having the world's second-largest recoverable reserve of oil on the planet, located on its doorstep.

There actually is a campaign website, Rethink Alberta. I won't dignify it with a link but feel free to look it up if you wish. Hint - predictably, the answers to the 8 little quiz questions they start you off with are either Canada or Alberta. How predictable. The group makes the bizarre accusation that the US is somehow victim of campaigns designed to keep it addicted to what it terms "dirty oil". Look, I know you guys have FOX News and subjected yourselves to 8 years of George Bush there, but really, try to think for yourselves. It's OK, go ahead. You can do it. Instead of wasting money on a campaign against Alberta, why don't you stay in your own country and start by addressing your concerns to the big oil company headquarters down there. How many oil companies have headquarters or offices in Texas or the Gulf Region?

Following the introductory quiz on the group's website is a page with a pledge, to the effect that the reader will not visit our fair province until three conditions are met. In a similar spirit, I thought I'd toss out my own pledge. I pledge not to visit the US until you stop fueling a demand for oil and then turn around and blame Canada for supplying your demand, clean up the Gulf (the world's biggest oil disaster I should point out)and stop burning coal (the pollution from which then finds its way over the little patch of Southern Ontario where I grew up).

The area covered by the oil sands IS NOT the size of England as the group likes to state. As a matter of fact the entire Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is comparable in size to Switzerland, which in turn is smaller than England. Kindly do some research first. I could go on and on about other errors and twists of facts (and if your familiar with my Nunavut blog you know that I just might) but for the moment I do want to thank these idiots for the increased traffic to our tourism websites and greater interest in our region.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Into The Woods

I wandered past this dilapidated building a few days back, the same day the photos in the previous post were taken. The metal fence in front of it ruins the effect a little, but the the impression I got was of an old homestead tucked away forgotten on the side of the hill from the city's earlier days (though I'm sure it's probably of a little more recent construction).

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Earlier in the week I had an opportunity to explore a new pathway that led down the forested slope of on the edge of our subdivision to the river. The pathway comes just above the water intake plant pretty close to where we were when we've taken most of our other pictures of the Athabasca. Hopefully I'll make it back to this particular vantage point later on this winter when there is less foliage blocking the view but here you can catch a glimpse down into the valley along with part of the new bridge currently under construction.

This picture isn't as good at showing the downtown core but it gives a better view of the original blue metal bridge built during the '60's.

I have it on good authority that this particular area is also a good spot to catch views of American Kestrels. While I didn't see any on this day (a number of Grackles gave me a pretty good fly-by though), I definitely plan to re-visit here with my binoculars the next chance I get.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Atari Anyone?

Clearing out a closet under the basement stairs in preparation for a yard sale, Lisa came across a bit of '80's nostalgia. It seems that when the previous owners moved out, they left behind an Atari game system. I used to have one as a kid growing up so my interest was piqued immediately. Included along with the system were a set of controllers along with a number of games. Remember Defender and Missile Control? Yup, we got them. All in all, it was a neat little find. We haven't had time to set it up to find out if it works or not but we're hopeful. I'm not sure if we'll hang onto it or not but even if it doesn't work I'm sure it's still worth something to someone. Any takers?

Sunday, August 1, 2010


It's been interesting to see how the foliage of the two ash trees in the front yard have changed since we moved here...

from mid-April...

to early May...

to late May...

to today.