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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Real Winter

I quite enjoyed trudging around in the fresh snow, taking pictures in balmy -7 C the other day (that's 19.4 F for those of you on the Fahrenheit scale).  The very next day, I woke up, looked out the window onto another pretty clear day, and contemplated taking some more pictures.  That's when I checked the temperature gauge and went...



It was -28 C, which is even in the minus range for Fahrenheit, that's -18.4 F.  Plus, unlike Bermuda, we have a factor that is reported along with the weather called wind chill.  Bermuda definitely had wind chill, the perceived decrease in air temperature as felt on skin due to the flow of air -- anyone riding a scooter on a January night can attest to that.  But most people I spoke to down there were unfamiliar with the the term.  It is part of the daily vocabulary in Canada though.  On this day, the wind chill temperature reported was -38 C, or -36.4 F.  For my colleagues in Bermuda from Jamaica and the Philippines who were asking about snow and weather here a few days ago...yes, it is 100 degrees Fahrenheit colder where you are than where I am now.  I decided to stay indoors.

For those mathematically inclined, wind chill in North America is calculated as Twc=13.12 + 0.6215Ta - 11.37V*0.16 + 0.3965TaV*0.16 where Ta is actual temperature in C and V is the wind speed in km/hr 10 feet off the ground.  For those of you not mathematically inclined (Helen in Bermuda, this is for you), it means a windy day feels about 10 colder than a calm day, and worse on a super cold super windy day.  Yes...


I decided to look a little closer at the windows, from the inside of course.  One had completely frosted over, obscuring any visibility whatsoever.


But in looking just a little around the edges of my unhappy face in the window, I found the magic of Jack Frost.


 
And especially along the edges, you could see how the frost had crept inside the mesh of the screen window, and gently weaved itself in and around the framework.  Europe has it's climbing vines, Canada has it's climbing frost :)

 
Mission accomplished...I found something beautiful in my day and even my windowman started having a better day.  Again, it's all about perspective.




Saturday, November 29, 2014

Snow Day

"Did you miss the snow?" a friend from Edmonton texted.  "No, I hate snow and cold," I texted back while only midway through the first coffee.  I looked at the outdoor temperature display...-7 C.  Snow was fun as a kid, and in your 20's even when you were out skiing and snowboarding.  In my 30's, I started feeling the cold more, and long days on the ski slopes felt a little less fun.

But, I had noticed some pretty miniature snowbanks on branches outside my window, so decided to brave it and take the camera outside.  Much to my surprise, I didn't need a jacket, a simple hoodie and sweats were more than warm enough.  It was calm and still out, what a difference it makes when the air is dry and there is not even a subtle breeze.  I wasn't sure if what I was seeing counts as hoarfrost, or just gentle snow accumulation, but this is what drew me outside, the tiny snow cystals on tree buds.


Once I was out there, I decided I might as well just enjoy the winter wonderland while the weather is cool and mild.  So I wandered around checking out the little stuff that we sometimes don't have the time, or take the time to do.  Like how the flecks of snow build on only one side of each branch,


Or how one leaf was just not willing to leave its home.  Actually the little branch looks reluctant to let it go as well, frozen in its lifeline grip to the little fellow.


These little shrubs are have more snow volume than branch volume.


There were lots of intricate and delicate formations to be found.

 
But I think this  blade of prairie grass was my favorite. 
 

Everywhere it looks as though life was snuffed out, overpowered and outnumbered by its tiny foe, the snowflake.  A war of the inanimates perhaps.


The larger trees seem to have escaped the fate of the smaller shrubs.


All of the leaves and grass turned yellow long before the snow came, but I loved the burst of life this bit of green moss gives to the winter scene.


Not all is still and frozen though.  Someone wandered these trees before I.  Maybe snow isn't as bad as I remembered after all.

 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Monochromatic Mutterings

When it comes to photos, I like the colors to be true.  I like the original to look exactly as my eyes saw it that day.  I don't like to saturate the colors or amp anything up in software, nor do I like losing any of the color due to overexposure or glare.  And I don't like black and whites in general.  They just never caught my eye, even though I recognized the talent on display with them, and admired artistry in some, I just like color more.  Just a personal preference.

Until the other day that is.  There on Facebook was one of my friends, nominating me for "5 Days of Black and White," where you post one black and white on each of 5 consecutive days, and nominate a friend each day to do the same.  I am not sure if I would have participated had it not been for her photo on that same day.  It is THE black and white photo that actually really caught my eye for the first time, the one that suddenly made me get the point of black and white photos.

Sabine agreed to let me use her photo in this blog, so here it is, Sabine MacDonald's photo of Rommy and Zenero.  Beyond the obvious contrast of a black horse and a white horse in black and white, the light and shadow, a hint of timeless skies, the sheen on Zenero (black horse) and Rommy acting as Zenero's white shadow -- it all just made me go "Wow!"


Rommy and Zenero by Sabine MacDonald

 

I knew I couldn't compete with that one, but decided to turn a storm print from this summer into black and white as Day 1 of the challenge.  At first I wasn't too excited about it, but when a friend asked me to post the original as well, most people preferred the black and white.  In fact, I realized that I did as well.  The black and white brought out a little more detail...for example, there is a second strike of lightning forming to the left of the main one which I hadn't even noticed in the original.



 
Over the next few days, I learned a slow appreciation for the black and white.  I went looking for new pictures.  It may seem like cheating, but when I saw my black cat Aiden sitting on a white kitty condo against a white wall in all his panther cuteness, I snapped a shot just to see.  The eyes are gorgeous in black and white, and the white wall which faded into grey really softened the image.



I also wanted to play with the idea on something really old, something that would have only known black and white photos in its day.  For that I chose the USS Friendship, docked in Salem, MA.  I thought this ship was built in 1797 when I took the photo, but sadly it is a replica built in 2000. 
 
I also wanted to try a white and grey kitten in black and white.  This little beauty was kind enough to model for me.
 

 
I did eventually find something authentically old, less than a century, but aged and warped by time.  The curving stature of an old barn


 
The wings of a monarch butterfly stand out wonderfully in this photo....but it was one photo where i couldn't shake my old longing for the vibrant color of nature.

 


My last modelling attempt was on a fluffy black kitten.  This little guy was not interested in modelling, particularly not being adorable and running through the snow despite how hard I tried to entice him.  the most rambunctious of all the cats around, he was hardly able to sit still long enough for a snapshot.  And he was most interested in chasing my shadow and staying in it.  I think he won, I never did get him in the snow, or fully visible in good light...but he is a cutie all the same



I call this next one...The Helper...because he looks willing to shovel snow for cuddles.

 
And now, back to your regularly scheduled color blog....he is available for adoption

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fun Times With The Book of Lies

Sometimes, you are in exactly the right place at the right time.  And then there is the rest of life.  While bigger centers, like Moose Jaw (Moooose Jaw...which still doesn't make my Bermuda friends laugh as hard as at the city of Regina) formed in the 1880's, my hometown didn't come into existence until 1913.  These little small towns formed along and followed the new railway tracks at pretty regular intervals.  There are 3 tiny towns in a row where I grew up, each separated by about 7 miles of road, railway tracks, and fields.  In 1913, when farmers had to transport grain to the railway by horse and cart, and pick up supplies, this was a day trip.  And so it was necessary to set up all of these very close (but very far at the time) full service little towns.

These towns were filled with adventurers -- they were the first settlers in the area....homesteaders from east, from cities, and other countries.  They lived in sod shacks at first, endured a rugged and isolated life, and worked hard in a brutal climate.  These people were tough.  And although it really is a hundred years ago, my Grandma, who only passed away this January, was born in one of these prairie shacks with a dirt floor just 5 years after the railway came through and the town itself was born.  Of course there was no hospital...and even if there had been, that particular little shack was several miles south of the railway and in between two town sites, so it might have well been on the moon if you were in a hurry.  In my area, all of our grandparents rode horses, knew of people who froze to death, and attended one room school houses.  And it is all documented in the local history books.

When I was a teenager, all of the little towns in the area were celebrating 75th anniversaries of the towns.  In some ways this was good, because several towns would host "homecoming" celebrations, where all former residents were invited back.  There were parades, talent shows, dances, cabarets, and the streets were alive with people for a change.  Several nearby towns were all celebrating in the same summer.  It was virtually a hootenanny.  It was quite fun, for the most part.  The unfortunate part is that this all happened when I was in my very early and most awkward teenage years, and so I had to attend said hootenanny in "coke bottle bottom" nerdy glasses....and a plaid, floor length, period costume for one of the homesteader floats.  I think the cool older kids had a blast though.

In honour of all the homecomings, each area also invited all former residents to submit a family history.  Much to the horror of many of us teenagers, our parents just submitted whatever family photo was lying around all willy nilly, and we are all immortalized in these history books in whatever puffy sleeved puffy haired outfit and associated stage of awkwardness was going on at the time.  Each family recorded the members of their family and their achievements, the family history, and sometimes memorable stories.  In a larger city, personal histories are so easily lost.  But here it is all documented, all self recorded.

Every once in a through the years and during random discussions, someone would trot up the stairs and grab the history book.  What were the names of so and so's children?  Where were they from?  What year did the rink burn down?  The history book might just have the answer in black and white.  However, as I said the history was self recorded and mostly done by volunteer hours, so certain inaccuracies are present.  For example, one small town claims it was "once the world's largest grain market," as it have 7 grain elevators....or 8 if you believe the very next page.  One day in relation to some trivial conversation, my sister was declared wrong per the local history book.  Always one to be strong in her convictions, she declared the history book, "The Book of Lies."  It has been referred to fondly as such by our family for a decade or so now.

I had no interest in the books as a teenager, but I found myself cozied in with a trilogy of the book of lies the other day.  It all started with my Dad watching a WWII segment about Italy on TV.  I thought I remembered that my Great Uncle had been injured in Italy in the war, Dad thought it was in Sicily, and so I was not sure if I had the story straight, if he had made it to the Battle or Ortona or not.  I tried my failsafe -- I googled and Wikied the history of his unit, but digital records don't record a lot of the specifics that far back, least of all who was there.  So, I said "Hey, let's check the Book of Lies!"  Inside were the details I was looking for along with a few pictures.  He had indeed been at the Battle of Ortona, which was after Sicily.  I got to leafing through the pages, seeing pictures of the people I had only known as my friends' grey haired grandpa's -- here they were as fresh faced young men in military caps and uniforms.  Grandma as a newly wed, the great grandparents I never met but who look just like my brother, local newsclippings and stories of "the way it was."  I am old enough to appreciate and enjoy the books now, and gave them a rather thorough go over.  Enough so that the next evening when a neighbour popped in, we all found ourselves pouring over it, and I sat back and heard their tales -- the unwritten ones -- of all the shenanigans of the generation before, as they filled in the gaps about the people they knew and the adventures they had.  And so it is not really a book of lies.  It is a book of starting points, a brush stroke on the canvas of these communities.  A prairie pre-facebook if you will.  I think we all enjoyed remembering it a little how it was, a little how we wanted it to be, maybe just exactly as it was intended in the Book of Lies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Snowbirds

Snowbirds are a big thing in Saskatchewan.  Many of you will think of smiling grey haired Canadians basking in the Florida or Arizona sun with a pina colada when you hear the term.  It is true, many Canadian retirees become "snowbirds," or migratory people who head South when the Canadian winter sets in, returning in the spring.

But there are other types of snowbirds in Saskatchewan.  There are the unfortunate little birds who are still living on leafless trees and snowy branches, not sure if they meant to stay or if they missed the migration.  And then there are these Snowbirds.

Photo by Private Mark Young
The Snowbirds are a squadron of the Royal Canadian Airforce, specifically 431 Air Demonstration Squadron.  They are stationed at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (which always comes out as Moooose Jaw in my head).  The Snowbirds have a history dating back to WWII, when 431 Squadron flew with the Commonwealth Forces under RAF Bomber Command from 1942 to the end of the war.  431 Squadron was disbanded in 1945, reformed briefly once in the 50's, and again in the 60's, but it wasn't until 1971 that it really got going as the entity that we know as the Snowbirds today.  The Snowbirds started doing small, local shows for schools and football games at this time.  The distinctive Canadian Red and White on the Tutor aircraft they flew (but mostly white) is said to have inspired the name, which was selected from an elementary school "name the team" project.  In 1975 they were officially authorized to perform as the Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Team, and Squadron 431 was officially reactivated in 1978.  They Snowbirds have been flying high ever since.

So what makes the Snowbirds special?  They do close formation flying, and perform absolutely wicked aerial maneuvers.  Rolls, dives, loops -- they are the delight of the crowds they perform for.

Photo by Private Mark Young
Take for example, this little move below.  Ever look out the window of a commercial airliner and see another plane coming from the other direction, separated by about 500 feet in vertical and 1000 ft vertical and though "geez that looked close?"  Well, picture this.


Photo by Master Corporal Robert Bottrill
That takes some serious skill.  Top Gun has nothing on these guys.

no photographer credit came with this photo from wikipedia

I remember seeing the snowbirds perform when I was just a little girl, peering up from a sea of bell bottoms and flouncy polyester shirts.  Yup, sometime in the late 70's or early 80's.  They were amazing to me then, and amazing to me now.  Sometimes if you were lucky, you would see the Snowbirds fly over while you were driving to Moose Jaw.  But it was not something I had seen for a very long time.

The day my Lexi cat passed away, I had to drive her little body up to Moose Jaw as there are no facilities for pets nearby.  It was horrible, and I didn't know how I was supposed to hand over my best friend of 17.5 years to a stranger.  As I got closer to the city, I sent up a little prayer, "please let me know you will take care of my Lexi cat."  A few seconds later I heard the unmistakeable roar of a low flying aircraft, which passed over my car and headed directly down the straight stretch of the road ahead.  I watched it steeply gain altitude for a few hundred feet, loop into a dive, and pull out before heading straight back down the road in my direction.  "Snowbirds!" I thought.  I pulled off to the side of the road, got out of the car, and the pilot tipped his wings at me.  I pulled out the camera and recorded this rather low quality video of them coming back for another pass and a barrel roll.  (feel free to skip the first 20 seconds of build up).  The pilot treated me to 3 back and forth passes in all.

video

 

I thought a Canadian fighter jet, a CT-114 Tutor, flown by Canada's finest, was an appropriate answer to that little prayer, an suitable honour guard to escort my little fierce and furry besty to the other side.  Still broke my heart....but one more excellent reason of why I love the Snowbirds.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Blues

 
Happy Monday world.  How are you going to face it today?
 

I am not a morning person.  Nor am a Monday person, even after 15 years of shiftwork where Monday might be day3...or 5, 7...sometimes day 11 or 13 of your work week.  A day off to sleep in, laze late into the morning with coffee and some reading always feels a little extra decadent when it's a Sunday.  And then comes poor Monday, most reviled of all the days.  No wonder they call it blue Monday.

Maybe this Monday has something amazing in store.  The little yellow guy in the picture above is ready and waiting for it.  He has already made me smile this Monday, so we have to give Monday a bonus point right off the bat.

Just in case you are one of the blue guys, want to share some of the ridiculously cute optimism posts I have seen floating around social media these days.  Hopefully they turn more of you blue guys into yellow guys today :)





 
 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Prayers For Rain

I was trying to think of a love song the other day.  Not a flaky cheesy love-to-hate-it love song, but a love song that is relevant.  Like if you had to sing someone a love song, this would be the song you choose.

At first I came up totally blank.  How can I know no love songs?  Are there no good love songs?  Is it just me, did I just spend too much time listening to Megadeth in my teens and 20's?  I traced the windy twisted paths of memory in that melon of mine, and finally came up with what I call a love song.  Except it was by "The Cure."  If you were a Cure fan, you will know they were semi-gothic in some periods, and what one MTV DJ called "the most depressed people alive."  Their music was not generally about happy endings, in fact, it was often downright sad, but I always found it beautiful for depth of feelings and expressions of devotion...even if it never worked in the end.  So my first attempt at coming up with a love song was "To Wish Impossible Things."  If you are killing time and want to hear it, I will put a video link below, don't think the band ever did an official video.


I thought to myself, "That's a terrible love song," and tried to do better.  I came up with a litany of more Cure Music, mostly from the Disintegration album.  Plainsong, Prayers for Rain, Same Deep Water as You, From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea (love the lyrics..."and so we watched the sun come up from the edge of the Deep Green Sea, and she listens like her head's on fire like she wants to believe in me..."  Yup, the Cure references rain and water a lot.  I texted a besty and asked for the first good love song they could name.  The reply came back "Total Eclipse of the Heart."  "That's a terrible love song, it doesn't have a happy ending," I replied.  "No?"  "No, it ends all 'once upon a time there was light in my life,  now there's only love in the dark."  It left me wondering...are there just no love songs with happy endings in the style of music I like?  If there are, why don't I have any on the playlists in my head?  It was a Carrie Bradshaw moment..."Are all the love songs dead?"

And the my inner scientist got going.  It went a bit like this.

Observation:  Most people would agree there is at least a loose association between the music they like and their life.  Do you choose music because it relates to your experience? 

Hypothesis:  The music you choose is related to experience.  But how closely does it relate to aspects of your character, your values?  Does it reflect past experiences?  Does it predict future outcomes?  What do the love songs you love say about YOU?  I hypothesize correlation between music and the past, and even future. 

The experiment:  A Facebook poll.  I put you on the spot and asked for your favorite love songs. 

The Results and Discussion Combined:  Intriguing!  When I asked you each for your favorite love song, 17 of you provided 21 answers.  Some of you gave two and three (you know who you are) answers.  I am not sure if I should attribute this to indecision, being overly enthusiastic about love (which I applaud), being confused about love (understandable), or as an attempt to muddle this very poor attempt to pass off ramblings as scientific evidence (I have already sabotaged that, fear not).  The next thing I noticed was that the songs fell into natural groups.

Group 1:  Amazed by Lonestar, I Need You by Marc Antony, Time In a Bottle by Jim Croche, Love Me Tender by Elvis, Baby I Love Your Way originally by Peter Frampton, Unforgettable by Natalie
Cole, Where Have You Been by Kathy Mattea, and Marry Me by Train.

Group 2:  The Chair by George Strait,  Something About a Truck by Kip Moore, and Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews.

Group 3:  Standchen by Schubert. .

Group 4:  True Colors by Cyndi Lauper, Africa by Toto, By Your Side by Sade, Goodbye Girl by David Gates

Group 5:  Iris by the GooGoo Dolls, Broken by Seether, The World Spins Madly on by the Weepies (the artist name says it all), All About Her by Gord Bamford, and Crazy by Patsy Cline.

Now how does all of this data correlate? 

Group 1.  You probably won't be surprised, but I am going to classify this as "my married group."  Most are married, some are common law, but everyone in this group has been married except in one case and for them it's vitually inevitable.

Group 2, my "country group."  I am not going to lie to you, this was the most confusing group for me.  I read the lyrics to "The Chair" and was totally confused with that and where it came from for a moment.  Chalk that up to my country illiteracy.  But then I got the second country song, which was not about being in love with a truck as I feared, but rather being in love with a moment...and a nameless girl in a red dress.  Then I realized "The Chair" talks about a meeting, and a start, albeit a drunken one.  Crash Into Me made me blush...definitely about a moment.  Now each of the people in this group are in a different relationship status right now.  When I ask myself what puts them in a group together besides these songs, it's that they are all smiling in my memories of them.  Maybe they all get how to be grateful for the moment...be it the first one, a once upon a time, or a now.

Group 3.   My outlier.  This song, of course, has no lyrics.  So I listened to it, and thanks to Hollywood, pictured powdered wigs, corseted decolletage, and a waltz.  Period Romance.  The submittor?  A Group 1'er of course...but one who earned a category apart for originality.

Group 4 and 5 are my "singles subsets."  No one in either of these groups is currently married (if I am wrong you seriously owe me an email), although some in both groups have been previously married.  The difference in my mind between the songs of Groups 4 and 5 is that in Group 4 the songs speak of separation but not severance.  There is a continuity of love despite a physical separation in space.  (Some of you Group 4's owe me an email as well.)  Group 5, quite plainly, speaks of severance rather than separation.  There is grief to that loss.  Heroically, stoically, sadly, love stands alone in these songs.

Conclusion:  So there is a clear association between your current relationship status and the story in the love song chosen (even kinda for those challenging types that submitted 3 different songs from 3 different groups).  We enjoy music we relate to.  But what about the predictive value?  Let's take "Crazy."  Released in 1961, the person who submitted this song loved it long before they could relate to it.  The person who loved Elvis' "Love Me Tender" probably loved it right in 1956 when it was released and was years away from a marriage that is 40+ years and still going.  So does your song predict your fate?  Are my Group 5's doomed forever more?

Absolutely not!  There is predictive value, not in literal outcome, but in personal perspective.  I do think your song, all of your songs, speak volumes about how you think, how you feel.  My group 4's are my calmly independent, perpetual and strong optimists, and they are all going to live happily ever after, whatever happens, just as your plucky songs are living happily ever after on the airwaves.  And my special Group 5's, who live and love deeply and extremely, who grieve acutely, and somedays feel as melancholy as the songs I love (you are definitely "my people") whether in the near or distant future, love has already shaped you, and it will be the most delightfully exceptional person who moves that deep dark romantic heart of yours.

And now that the science is over, the story needs an epilogue.  Obviously, I am a Group 5'er, and a definite Group 4 sympathizer.  And while I deeply enjoyed relistening to 20 years of the Cure while writing this blog, I can leave you on a pluckier Group 4 note, with this song, Summer Rain.  Reminds me of dancing in the rain (in the spring though) on Whyte Avenue with someone who looked a lot like Captain America (yeah, Chris Evans).  Once again, the song preceded the reality.  But that's another story for another time.  Group 5's don't like to reveal tooo much.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Creepy Here, Creepy There

I was Whatsapp'ing with my friend in Qatar the other day.  He had taken a picture of a cool thing he saw earlier that day -- a giant spider sculpture.  "Hey, I know that spider!" I exclaimed.  "It stands outside the National Art Gallery for Canada, in Ottawa.  I saw it in 2007.  Is it the same one?  Is it on tour?  Did they sell it?"  You can't actually hear a sigh on What'sApp, but I think I read one between the lines.  Curiosity peaked, I hit google, and quickly relayed the information.

 
 
The sculpture, "Maman" is by Canadian artist Louise Bourgeois.  Strangely, it is said to be a tribute to her mother, and in the art world embodies fertility and motherhood.  To the non-art people, it is a really cool giant spider that resembles no ones mother, because that would be weird, but it looks gothic and awesome.  Maman has travelled, and spent some time outside Rockefeller Center in New York, in London, and St. Petersburg, Russia.  "You and your fact finding missions," came the reply.  There are indeed 6 bronzes made of this sculpture, and one is currently in Doha, Qatar, just as awesomely creepy as ever.
 
My fact finding mission took me back in to my external hard drive, to 2008 (not 2007 as I incorrectly stated earlier, although I was in Ottawa 2007 as well but didn't make the tour circuit...sadly the facts often prove my memory wrong.).  This got me thinking that I have never blogged about Ottawa.  So many friends from Bermuda visit Toronto and ask me what to do there.  I can't be of much help there, but I always tell them how close they are to Ottawa and to make the jaunt over there if they can;
 
Why Ottawa?  If you want iconic Canadian touristy stuff, this has a few of the must sees on the list. 
 
1.  Parliament.  This is where the peaceful melodrama of Canadian politics takes place.  After 5 years in Bermuda where everything is politics and you cannot escape publicity of the warring political parties, I really like and appreciate the quieter Canadian political front.  The Senate and House of Commons are housed here, and the tower is known as the Peace Tower, commemorating Canadians who have died in armed conflicts.  The flame out front?  Canada's Centennial Flame, lit in 1967 to recognize the 100th year anniversary of the Confederation and still burning bright.
 

And out back, the beautiful gothic architecture of the Parliamentary Library (with snow falling in this particular picture)

 
2.  The Prime Minister's home, 24 Sussex Drive.
 
24 and a maple leaf

Home Sweet Home for whoever is the current leader of Canada
 
3.  The  National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This monument will bring you to respectful silence.  It's towering, cold granite arches and graphic bronze statues depict very acutely some of the horrors and suffering of war.  I believe it is impossible to stand beneath it and not feel moved...but maybe that's just the patriot in me.



Just beyond the base of the War Memorial lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  In Vimy Ridge, France, stand 1603 marked graves of Canadian Soldiers.  The dead were lain to rest, the location marked, but their identities were either unknown or unrecorded.  They are lost to their families and their homeland forever, a final insult of war.  In 2000, Grave 7 in Row E of Plot 8 was selected from Vimy Ridge.  Those remains were exhumed and ceremoniously returned to Canada and buried at the foot of the War Memorial.  This soldier could be any soldier.  A son for sure, beloved no doubt.  A brother, a husband, a father?  The gesture honors all who could not come home.  The site reminds us of thousands of other Canadian sons who lie in fields abroad.  In 2014, a tragedy befell the site, killing Corporal Nathan Cirillo who was providing honor guard to the tomb.  The cowards responsible don't merit any further mention, but you might want to swing by Parliament and congratulate Kevin Vickers, the Canadian Sargeant-At-Arms who shot the lowlife perpetrator dead.

 
4.  The National Art Gallery.  The exterior you saw at the beginning of the post, with the giant spider.  Inside you will be treated to the works of art from centuries past....
 

....and a few more contemporary pieces.  I am not artistically inclined, and from this view, I did not see a piece of art, but rather of piece of work who was explaining to his girlfriend why a black canvas with a yellow stripe was art.

 
The interior of the National Art Gallery
 
5.  The War Museum.  I didn't take any pictures.  I was feeling a little in awe and a lot respectful after the War Memorial and all I had seen in the Capital.  This is a must see while in Ottawa.  The museum covers the history of conflicts Canada has been involved with, and ranges from dioramas on the French and English wars, to tactile displays on WWI and WWII, to videos memorials of soldiers killed most recently in Afghanistan.  A sobering but very important museum to visit/
 
6.  The Museum of Civilization.  Technically you leave Ottawa to see this, but you probably won't even know you did it.  On one side of the river is Ottawa, crossing the river to get to the museum you are suddenly in Hull, Quebec, which is actually just the oldest part of the current city of Gatineau, Quebec.  The river separating the two cities, and two provinces....The Gatineau of course.
 
Totem poles in a stunning lobby
 
I really didn't intend for this photo to look quite like this
 
The Gatineau...dividing two cities
 
7.  The Canals.  Pretty to look at year round, they are popular ice skating paths in the winter.
 
 
8.  The Markets.  Which I have no picture of because I never went, but tourists love markets!
 
9.  And because it's one of the places in Canada where you can lose a small dog in the pile of red maple leafs on the jogging trail.  I didn't have my camera for that, but did take a photo of a few red leaves on the ground, as the type of trees we have out west mostly go yellow and fall rather than red
 
10.  To find all the stuff I missed seeing while I was in meetings :)