Photo Hunt: Busy

This week’s Photo Hunt challenge is “Busy”.

Friday was Canada’s birthday… Canada Day. In past years, I have gone downtown to take part in the daytime celebrations, usually with my sister, niece, and my Mom. However, Mom just isn’t able to walk and it is always too hot, crowded, and noisy to be really enjoyable. This year, Prince William and Kate are in town and participating in the official celebrations on Parliament Hill, it promised to be much more crowded than usual. I don’t like crowds to begin with. Being jostled and knocked about by far too many people and not being able to see anything, anyway, I just didn’t relish the idea of going. It’s just too busy.

Once evening falls and the crowds get even bigger because of the fireworks… and many of them are drunk it gets insane.

Instead, Mom and I went for a drive down to Kemptville, south of Ottawa and the town where we lived when i was between the ages of 2 and 6. We anticipated that there would be some festivities going on and we weren’t disappointed. We arrived in town just before the Canada Day parade and were able to get a prime spot to set up our camping chairs, in the shade of tree and waited for the parade to begin.

The beauty of the small-town parade is that everyone is really friendly and the streets are NOT busy.

We didn’t stay for the barbecue afterwards but went for a great drive in the country and then got home in tome for a really terrific fireworks display put on by  the recreation committee in our co-op. It was really quite good!

Thus, the end to a busy but not tiring day!

Killing time blowing bubbles

“Here is comes!”

The Canadian Legion (veteran’s association) and Pipe band

Vintage Canadian Tire Truck with CCM bike

Not sure who these guys were protraying

The Strawberry Tarts

And of course, The Shriners

Unusual rainbow

On Thursday (Canada Day), Mom and I stopped at our favourite hot dog and ice cream stand, in Kemptville. While we were having our ice cream, we saw this incredible rainbow. It was a complete bow, and really vivid.

I suddenly realized I had my camera and dug it out but the battery was dying. I was trying to find my other battery which I appear to have lost. The OTHER one was charging at home.

I had to keep letting the camera rest because the battery revives once or twice once it dies, if you let it rest.

I finally got a last shot and the battery died completely.

However, this shot shows something I have never seen before. Below the rainbow are several repeated rows of colour. At one point, there was a reverse of the rainbow below but as it was fading out, there were at least three rainbows right under the main bow.

I’ve enhanced the colour so you can see them better in the photos.

I hate Canada Day…



Okay… I don’t hate Canada Day…. What I hate is having to drag my ass down town on the bus and wade through 1/2 a million people hoping to actually enjoy myself…. which I invariably don’t.

Yesterday, my mother wanted to go to see the festivities. I had been hoping to go and meet up with my sister, wander about, have a meal, and come home. I didn’t want to leave Mom at home but I knew Mom wouldn’t be up to the amount of walking required. So we decided on a modified plan. Shirin and Gabby were going to eat and meet us and just sit at the War Memorial and watch the crowds walk by.

You can’t park anywhere even remotely close to the activity so it required taking the bus at least part of the way.

My niece, Ange, had asked if she could borrow some camping chairs for the day so I decided that we would go to her place, drop off the chairs and park near there and take the bus. We left for Ange’s. Ange wasn’t home… Luckily, when we left home, the bus was just leaving so I anticipated that we would be able to park along the route it takes, get the bus, and then pick up the car on the way home.

While we were waiting for the bus, I discover that Mom has removed the bus tickets that she keeps in her wallet and we have no tickets. Since I hadn’t been to the back, planning on going to the bank machine right near the bus stop right down town, I had a $5 bill and no change on me.

Right. The bus comes and we have to let it pass. Just as well, because Mom also took her pain pills out of her fanny pack and put them in the glove compartment of the car…. Why? I don’t know…

So…. we head back home, get the bus tickets and the pain pills and take the bus from near the house.

The bus we had planned to take was nearly empty. The one we ended up taking was jam-packed and I gave my seat up for an elderly woman who spent the entire ride glaring at me. My arm was aching from hanging on for dear life on the twisting route. We arrive down town and I mistakenly got off one stop too early which put an extra 4 blocks on our walk to the War Memorial which is where I normally meet my sister. This means an extra several stops for my Mom to sit for her hip to stop hurting.

While my Mom took a breather across from my bank, I went in to go to the cash machine. Long line, of course.

My sister called and said that she and Gabby would walk over to where we were sitting and I knew that would give Mom a little extra recovery time.

Shirin and Gabby arrived and moments later, Mom said…. “I’m feeling dizzy”… which is ALWAYS a sign that she is about to pass out.

With the help of a very nice young man selling t-shirts, we got her lying down with her feet up, gave her some water and, thank GOD, she did not actually pass out because that would have meant a trip to the hospital. Finally, after about 10 minutes, she was feeling back to normal and I decided that we should go back home.

Luckily, it is just two short blocks to the bus stop and we were able to walk down there without incident.

Shirin and Gabby left and I took Mom in to the bus shelter where there was a single seat left on a bench but just as we get there, another woman took the seat. Both were seniors but both were much more able than my Mom and I asked “Would it be possible for my Mom to sit?”. The woman who had grabbed the seat before we got there ignored us and the woman who was already sitting glared at us, looked my mother up and down and said “I’m probably as old as your mother is…”. She did get up but she was loudly remarking about “what nerve” I had in “expecting” her to give up her seat to someone.

I said “Oh Heavens! I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your seat!” and we turned away. Meanwhile, she was loudly informing all her friends about how rude I was and how my mother shouldn’t expect to get “special treatment” (what “special treatment” this was, I don’t know. I simply asked if she could sit in one of the only four available seats).

When we turned away, two ladies on the other bench gave up their seats quite cheerfully. I sat Mom down and went back to the woman who was still ranting on to her friends and said “My mother is 85 and recovering from a broken hip. But thank you so very much for feeling it necessary to be so rude”. She was still standing and you could see that she was perfectly fit. She had runners calves for Pete’s sake! She was surrounded by a group of women and it appeared that she was obviously the “leader of the pack”.

How is it that someone who is a senior, herself, could not understand when another senior isn’t as well as herself? She should thank her lucky stars that she has her health and has the luxury of being fit at whatever age she is. Many seniors aren’t so lucky. I could have pointed out that Mom had nearly passed out barely 15 minutes before… I could have pointed out that she has dementia… I could have pointed out that she was just lucky that she wasn’t in my mother’s shoes. Instead, I waited until our bus came and went over to her and said “Thanks for being so fucking rude!”

Not my finest hour but it was better than punching her which was what I felt like doing. She must be some prize at the seniors home.

We are buying a wheelchair.

When we got home, I was still seething so we took the car, Mom, and Mom’s friend, Selene out for a drive to Kemptville.

We had a terrific time.

We stopped for hot dogs at the chip truck/ice cream place we love, and then stopped to see how some of the Osprey nests were doing.

The first one, the adult was out of the nest preening on a nearby pole, allowing me to get a number of really good photos.

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Then, instead of going back along the main highway to Kemptville, we took the River Road and found another Osprey nest that I didn’t know about. An adult and two babies on the nest!

New Osprey nest, River Road

New Osprey nest, River Road

We stopped in Kemptville to get gas before heading home and I spotted a large moth lying on the cement at the pumps. I thought it was dead but it was barely hanging on to life. I put it over in the brush on the toher side of the parking lot. It is a Pachysphinx modesta or Modest Sphinx or Modest Sphinx moth. So beautiful!

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Then we headed home, after stopping to check on the Osprey nest on the East shore of the Rideau River. Parent, and two young actively bobbing about the nest.

We went out to the Rideau Falls to watch the fireworks and it was a terrific show. I managed to get the entire thing in photos, as well as one short video. 500 or so photos!

Fireworks By Moonlight

And that fricking bird is out there AGAIN today chip, chip, chipping!

PhotoHunter: “Flags”

With Canada Day approaching (July 1 – unless it falls on a Sunday at which point “Canada Day” is the 2nd…. except that all the celebrations are on the Sunday which is July 1st and “called” Canada Day, which means that you get to celebrate Canada Day on “Canada Day” and get the day of on Monday which is Canada Day….. unless you are someone who works in retail or a service job… Then you get to WORK  and wait on everyone else who is celebrating on “Canada Day”  — don’t ask….)… I thought I would share just a few of the flags you might see.

If you are wondering at the lack of crowds, that is because there are thousands of people up on Parliament Hill watching the Noon celebrations. Once they end, there are thousands of people out on the streets, painted with flags, wearing flags, waving flags…. Unfortunately, my camera battery died just at the crucial time.

I will be taking more photos, this year. You can check back and see them. Meanwhile, these are from the last few years.

The flag atop the Peace Tower, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa.

The flag atop the Peace Tower, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa.


The RCMP escort for the Governor General

The RCMP escort for the Governor General and Prime Minister

The RCMP escort

The RCMP escort

Flags aloft

Flags aloft

Flags held high....

Flags held high....

Flags held low....

Flags held low....

...and Flags held somewhere in between....

...and Flags held somewhere in between.... (those are my grand-nephews and niece)

But the place that leaving a flag means the most….

... on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the National War Memorial...

... on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the National War Memorial...

By the end of the day, there are thousands.

On November 11th, people leave their lapel poppies atop the tomb. By the end of the day, one can hardly see the tomb at all.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was designed to be approached and touched, not kept away from Canadians. Unfortunately, it’s approachability had led to problems. Some people don’t even know what it is and stand or sit on it. Last year, scandal erupted when drunken louts were photographed and filmed urinating on the National War Memorial. Now, guards stand nearby during events such as this.

Funny true story about the Canadian flag. I was out in Oregon visiting my brother and sister. One day, my brother took me to the University of Oregon where he worked. We went through the library because he heard they were setting up a display on Canada he thought I might like to see.

Basically, it was two library display cases with some pamphlets and books on Canada. Throughout the display cases were a number of Canadian flags, each and every one of which was upside down (the leaf top pointing down). When I pointed this out, my brother laughed and I said that if it was an American flag, he’d be pretty upset. He agreed and we went off to find the librarian to point out this “travesty”… When I pointed out the error, he said… Oh! I didn’t know those were FLAGS! I thought they were just decorations….”

I guess a little research for the display might have gone a long way to helping apprise him of the fact that this was our flag.

My mother’s lawyer, John Matheson, later a Member of Parliament under Lester B. Pearson, was one of those responsible for choosing Canada’s new flag, back in 1965.

I remember Mr. Matheson very well, though I only net him when I was 5 when he hamdled my adoption by my strp-Dad. I remember him because he had been wounded during the war and let me feel the soft spot where he had no skull… true story!

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