Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Concert

It's Nate's Christmas Concert today.  Here he is all set to go to school.  Let's hope his outfit makes it to the 1.30pm unscathed.


Friday, September 30, 2011

The mackerel run

I happened to find myself down on the waterfront this afternoon, and saw something quite amazing.  Well, maybe it was only amazing to me, because no one else seemed to be paying any attention to it.  


You can just make them out in the photo above.  At first I thought it was just a school of them, but as I continued down along the waterfront, I realized that they were everywhere along the waterfront.  Mackerel, lots of mackerel.


The water was boiling with fish, and no one else seemed to notice or care.  I of course have only seen things like this on TV, usually on some BBC documentary hosted by David Attenborough.  I've seen schools of fish while scuba diving, but never anything on this scale!  And in the Halifax Harbour of all places!  The very same harbour where raw sewage was still routinely being discharged into as recently as 2000.  There's actually life in there?! Real fish even!  Not horribly mutated fish-like creatures with two heads and three eyes, but actual real fish!

lots of mackerel

It's almost enough to make this pessimist think that there might just be a little hope left in this world yet. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stinky Nervous Chuck

A baby bird, sitting by the side of the street.  It didn't look hurt, but it didn't look like it was capable of doing much else besides sitting either.  That was the situation Friday morning, when I went to get Nate back from Kiddy Capers.  Nate had gone off to play with some friends in the park, so I went back inside and found a small plastic tub, stuck some holes in the top of it, and put the little thing inside.   Nate carried the bird all the way home.

When we got back, we called Hope for Wildlife and they told us that this time of the year it was very common to find young birds on the ground.  They suggested we take it back to where we found it and it wouldn't be long before it's parent showed up.  So we transferred the little bird into a cardboard box, and packed some snacks and walked back to Larry O'Connell.  We set the box down right where we had found the bird, took the top off and crossed the street and waited.  There were lots of birds about, but not one came close to investigate.  After almost 2 hours, we packed it up and walked home.  In all that time, the little bird had just sat in the box, calling every once in awhile.  

Another call to Hope for Wildlife to see if someone could come and pick up the bird, and we got some cat food to feed the little guy in the meantime.  I was all set to go find it some worms, but I was damned if I was going to chew one up for it first!  The cat food option sounded much more appealing.  Apparently baby birds get fed by their parents every 20 minutes.  So we started to feed the little fella as best as we could.  After a few hours he seemed to perk up and was even happy to perch on my finger while I fed him.  Didn't seem to mind being handled at all.   Patty had already dubbed him Stinky.  Nate decided he should be called Nervous because he was probably nervous when we first brought him home.  I called him Chuck, cause that was what his little call sounded like to me.  

Later that evening, a volunteer from Hope for Wildlife stopped by to pick up Stinky Nervous Chuck, who turned out to be a baby robin.  She seemed to think that he was in good shape and would probably do well.  I hope so, he was a sweet little bird and I think we all kinda miss him now that he's gone.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It tastes suspiciously like...


It's been three weeks since I bottled the home brew, and while it hasn't felt extraordinarily long, that time didn't fly by either.  I had intended to wait four weeks before cracking one open, but today seemed like as good a day as any.

I am happy to say bottle #1 went down very nicely.  A nice pale ale, fruity up front with a nice hoppy finish.  I doubt if it'll win any medals, but I won't be pouring it down the drain either.  Only sixty-six bottles more to go.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

New glass

eyes, originally uploaded by J J Justinsen.
Shot with the SMC P-FA 50mm f1.4 which I acquired on ebay April 10. Took a bit of time for the money to clear through paypal, but it finally made it here on Tuesday.

I think I am really going to like this lens. Should come in really handy for the 100 stranger project I'm working on.

Friday, April 8, 2011

When a reflector arrives in the mail, it's time to take some photos

Shot with my SMC Pentax-M 1:1.4 50mm, with a gold reflector to one side.  I think they turned out rather nicely.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Family dinner at Two If By Sea

We had a family day today, so we took Nate across the harbour to Dartmouth to see his buddy Zane at Two if By Sea.  By chance, we found out that there had been a cancellation for the family dinners that they'd started hosting.  Date night!

We had a fabulous time!  Great food, great hosts, and we got to meet some really great people as well.  New friends we hope to see again soon!  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Backyard birds seen in 2010

I have been meaning to post a list of the birds I saw through 2010, mostly for my own records.  As with most things these days, it kinda fell by the wayside.  Since I find myself with a few minutes to spare, and since working on photographs isn't going too well with these old glasses of mine, I thought I'd get started on that bird list instead.

There were of course all the usual suspects:

Blue jays
Black capped chickadees
American goldfinches
European Starlings
Downy woodpeckers

But a few of  these birds also made visits to our backyard last year:

Dark eyed Junco
Northern flicker
White-breasted nuthatch
Purple finch

But probably the most interesting bird to visit was a lone female ring-necked pheasant.  If my dad had not been there with me to witness it, I might have not believed it myself.  I thought it was a cat lurking in the brush waiting to ambush some unsuspecting bird, but then it popped out into the yard and it was most definitely not a cat.

In 2009, we saw a lot of common grackles, but they all but disappeared from our yard in 2010.  Looking forward to what we'll see this year.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The universe might be trying to tell me something Part2

I think the universe is telling me I may need writing lessons.  I guess I've been taking the easy way out lately and I've let the pictures do the talking in most of my recent posts.  Writing about the events of one day has taken me much longer than I had anticipated.

But back to the universe and how it's been communicating with me in the last few weeks.  If I didn't know better, I think it might not like me going to work.  Prior to this week, I've only been in to work for 2 afternoons out of a possible 8.  If I told you why, you'd probably think I was making it all up!  

Just a combination of things happening, conspiring to keep me away from work.  Nate got sick and Patty was travelling.  Nate's grandparents got sick and Patty was travelling.  Then just when I made it back for one afternoon shift, I had to call the very next morning to say I couldn't make it in because Nate got sick again.  This eventually led to my being sick.  By the time this whole business with my glasses rolled around, I was starting to get a bit of a reputation at work for not showing up.  Apparently my two co-workers were not taking any chances and had already arranged between themselves to cover my shift!

In any case, I guess it all worked out in the end.  I made it to both my shifts this week, and in doing so, made a little boy cry yesterday afternoon.  Poor fella, it broke my heart but I was only playing along with his mother.  What is a guy to do when he's put on the spot like that?  I hope I haven't traumatized him and forever altered the course of his life.  What if that's why I was supposed to stay away from work?  I may have forever changed the fate of the world!

You might laugh, but you weren't there and you didn't see his little face crumble.  All that hope and faith suddenly dashed. 

Fracking universe!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The universe might be trying to tell me something Part1

I was about to take Snoopy out for a walk yesterday morning, when I realized that my glasses were sitting on my face oddly.  One of the nose pieces had come off.  Actually the piece of metal that held the nose piece had broken off.  I retraced my steps and eventually found the piece that broke off on the bathroom floor.  

In the meantime, Patty had already been on the phone to 4 or 5 different optometries and found a place that could solder the pieces back together again.  It wasn't going to be pretty, but it would buy me some time till I got a new pair made.  So I hopped in a cab and got myself over there.  A nice lady took the pieces from me and told me that the repair would probably cost $10.  No worries.  Ten bucks is a deal considering I am blind without my glasses.  I had to work that afternoon, and I wasn't relishing the thought of calling in to say I couldn't make it, again (but that story is for Part 2 of this post).

The glasses disappeared into a back room with the nice lady, and I took a seat since I really couldn't see anything.  I heard an exclamation come from the back, followed by 'Oh my god!'.  The other two staff members disappeared into the back and I was now all alone out front.  I could make out words like plastic, glass, interspersed between lots more 'oh my god's.  Another customer entered the store and one of the women came out to greet her.  I managed to snag her as she passed and I asked if everything was alright back there.  No, not really she replied and she went to meet the new customer.  

For the next little bit I heard phonecalls being made from the back, the occasional 'oh my god' and I began to suspect that my glasses were probably in worse shape now than they were before.  A few minutes passed, and finally a woman came out with my glasses...or what was left of them.  The lens had shattered when she tried to remove it from the frame.  Poor woman, she was visibly upset and kept saying how sorry she was.  But she had a plan.

So, she got me some contact lenses to try on, while she explained to me that they were getting new lenses for me.  It would take a few days of course, given my short-sightedness.  So the contacts were just for the time being.  I haven't worn contacts in years now, but these were surprisingly comfortable and I could see again.  I even got to pick out a new frame, and then she asked me if I had a new prescription for my lenses.  Quick phonecall to Patty and those were emailed over.  

I left the store with a rather big smile on my face.  When my glassed broke that morning, I wasn't really looking forward to having to spend what would probably amount to $500 to get new ones made.  By some bizarre twist I am getting a new pair of glasses, with my new prescription for free.  I feel like I just have won the lottery!  I'm also wondering just how far I can take this...you know, like the next time I have to get a new pair of glasses.  I might just have to snap that nose piece off myself and take it in to get soldered.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good dog

When Nate woke up this morning, he called me into his room and told me his tummy didn't feel like it normally did when he woke up.  Then he threw up.  That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day.  He got me to make up a bed for him on the sofa, and spent pretty much all day there.

At some point during the day, Snoopy abandoned his favourite spot on the back of the other sofa by the picture window and curled up with Nate.  I think it was his way of making Nate feel better.  Nate said that Snoopy was taking care of him.  It reminded me of when Nate first came home and became the newest member of our pack.

We were living in Vancouver then, and Snoopy had been number-one-son for over a year and a half.  We were of course concerned about how he would react to the new addition.  Would he feel threatened and perceive Nate as competition or worse a snack?  We needn't have worried.  Snoopy took to him right away, and made it his job to look after Nate.  

He would wake me in the middle of the night when Nate was crying and we were slow to respond.  He would come into Nate's room with me, and if I was having a hard time settling him back to bed, Snoopy would run back to our room to rouse Patty.  It was almost like he was saying 'that guy hasn't got a clue what he's doing, you better go give him a hand'.

Whenever I took Snoopy out for a walk, the first thing he did when we got home was to check on Nate. He would run over to the bassinet and peek over the top,  and if Nate was not in there Snoopy would run upstairs and check the crib.  He would not do anything else until he had found Nate.  

When Nate was old enough to start walking around the dog park, Snoopy was his constant shadow.  He was never far from Nate, not even when there were other dogs to play with.  He watched over Nate.

Snoopy, sticking close to an under-the-weather Nate.

I'd always meant to write a post about how great Snoopy was when we first brought Nate home, and maybe I have already?  I forget.  But watching Snoopy today brought back all those memories, and when I snapped the picture above, I already knew what I was going to do with it.

Good dog Snoopy.  Good dog.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nate turns 5

Nate turned 5 yesterday.  We started the day off with crepes for breakfast, followed by some presents.  The rest of the morning was spent getting ready for his party.  There were cakes to ice, fruit to slice, wiener rolls to bake, and a house to make presentable.  It was pretty close in the end, but we got it done and I think everyone had a good time.  

Happy birthday bubba!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter fun

Nate and his little red sled, which turned out to be the fastest thing on the slope.

The long climb up.

Coming down.

Going over the top

Catching some air.

I think he's having a good time.

A bit of snow at last

These are mostly for my brother's benefit, sorry you missed all the snow Kev!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Force

I realize that it's already February and I haven't posted an entry yet.  Unfortunately, this posting is a bit of a cop-out.  No photos, no thoughts, just a video from Youtube.  Having said that, it is rather enjoyable.  I find it amazing just how expressive that little guy can be, even with a mask on.

Given all the doom and gloom that has been in the news of late, this makes for a nice distraction.