Monday, March 25, 2013


One of my tenants gave me a good chuckle when she pointed out that I have more boots than women have shoes.  I never really paid much attention to just how many pairs of boots I own until I stood back from the doorway and realized just how many were taking up residence in my front foyer.  In my defense, they all serve a utilitarian function rather than a vanity function.  Two pairs of summer work boots, my winter work boots, my Sorels, a pair of winter boots for my days off and another pair of winter boots I own just because.  If memory serves me correctly, I also have another pair of Sorels and a pair of rubber boots somewhere down in the basement somewhere.

For the record, I own one pair of running shoes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Definite Model Potential

In case you're not privy to my Facebook page, here is a re-post of one of my favorite photos of Gabriel. Okay, so every photo is my favorite, but I especially like this one.  Gotta love those eyes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 with chopsticks

I was well into my teenage years before I felt comfortable wielding a pair of chopsticks and a young adult before I required a taste for sushi.  Not so for the boy.

Of course its okay to cheat every now and then when good food is involved.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

You Can Always Count on the Government to Let You Know Where You Stand

It is with a great deal of disappointment and frustration that I hear about the Alberta government's decision to cut the $300 million slated for upgrades to Highway 881 from its 2013 budget.  It really is ridiculous that our region, in many ways the economic engine for not only this province, but the entire country, should have to be short-changed with such pathetic highway routes.  Our two local MLA's, both members of the governing PC's, really should give their heads a shake.

While Highway 63 is slated to be twinned by 2016 (I'm still holding my breath on that), Highway 881 also plays an important role in our region.  Not only does it provide an alternate route to Fort McMurray but it also provides vital road access for the smaller communities of Conklin, Janvier and Anzac, all three of which I've been to.

This past winter season has been pretty bad in terms of fatalities on both highways.  I know I haven't really blogged about it but there was a period of time where it seemed I heard about accidents every other day.  It reminded of the issue of suicide I dealt with on an all too regular basis when I was living in Nunavut.  After awhile, you just become numb to it.

I wonder how many fatalities it will take before the government truly wises up?  I really hope 114 is enough.  That's the total number of fatalities that have occurred on both 63 and 881 from 2003 until the present, according to the Coalition for a Safer 63 and 881 website.  You can see a map plotting all the accident sites here.  Too many red crosses....too many.  Those 114 deaths work to about one per month.  And again, these crosses only represent accident sites, not casualty numbers.  I've driven on every stretch of 881 and 63 in the region and its difficult to wrap my head around how many accident sites I've been by in even my short time here.  Very tragic and sad.

Of course our local MLA's have lived here much longer than I have so what do I know?  I'm sure we'll hear the whole spiel from them about how "Well, Fort McMurray is my home too and I find this all very troubling"  yadda yadda.  I'd like to think that if it really mattered, they would have stood up for our region and done a better job and making sure these sorely needed infrastructure funds weren't gutted.  But then, we've been stuck with the same government here since the Ark so really, what can you expect?

Yup, you can always count on government to let you know where you and your community stands in the grand scheme of things.


Saturday, March 2, 2013


I meant to do this post earlier in the week but just got a bit busy so here goes...

With Highway 63 as our only land link to the rest of the province it handles a lot of big loads heading to the many oil sands projects in our region.  I've lost track of the number of times I've encountered wide loads and other impressive and unusual objects making their way along the highway.  I can only imagine the logistics involved in getting some of those loads to their final destinations which is why I find the story of "Modzilla" fascinating.  What exactly is Modzilla?

About a week ago I starting hearing through the grapevine at work as well as an online forum about a ginormous load which would be making its way up Highway 63  from Edmonton.  It left last Monday and was due to hit city limits in the wee hours of Friday morning, though apparently it got delayed along the way and actually passed through here early this morning.  The load is reported to be twice the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool,  about 85 metres long, 11.5 metres high, 8.9 metres wide and weighing a mere 780 tonnes.

I entertained notions of heading out to see it (my inner 10-year-old came out in spades) but not knowing exactly when it would pass by the bottom of the hill here plus the fact my camera is lousy at night photography plus the reality that I did have to work this weekend made this impossible.  I have no idea exactly what this particular vessel was for, only that it was heading up to the project at Kearl Lake.  I'm hard-pressed to think of any other places in Canada where a motorist would encounter something like this while out for a drive.

While I wasn't able to see the vessel in person, I was able to come across some photos of the rig as it made its way up the highway, which you can find here.