Thursday, June 30, 2016

Round and Round to Lethbridge and Back

 In a few other tidbits of the summer past (yup, still blogging about the last one), figured I could do a highlight reel of the rest of the month of August and move into some very late fall blogging.  To start with, this little birthday duo arrived in my mailbox for my birthday.  If you don't know the Awkward Yeti cartoon, you are missing out on the best humor the medical profession has to offer.  Each "character" in the cartoon is an organ.  Sometimes they are friend, sometimes they are foe, and heart and brain are truly two opposites that attract.

Shortly after they arrived, in true heart fashion, the plastic, passport and laptop came out and heart had me convinced to book my flights to Canada!  Brain is usually notably absent when heart makes credit card purchases.

The we had some time to reflect on the recent surgeries.  Below on top left image 1 you can see what a meniscus tear in the knee looks like, should you find yourself with a torn meniscus and be wondering what it might look like inside your own 'kneeball.'  That little 'flame' of cartilage causes a ridiculous amount of discomfort and instability for its size.  Image 2 is what it looks like after the old nip and tuck.  As for images 003 and 004, apparently the inside of your knee isn't supposed to be furry.  That, my friends, is what decades of volleyball, badminton, track, martial arts, jogging, cycling, and a bundles of skydiving joy gets you....early arthritis.  As a special favor, they lawnmowered that off and shaved off some bone too...and now my knees make funny sounds when I walk.

For those of you wondering what a 'bucket handle tear' in the meniscus looks like, that little fella was captured in the next image below, on the other side of the same knee.  Turns out if you get one of these, you are having surgery, no way around it.  That little fold over tear was the reason I couldn't stand or walk on that leg for the whole year between the accident and surgery.  Before...and after,

So I took my freshly fixed knee and decided to try my hand at some wedding photos.  This lovely is my first bridal photo ( young).

And the bridesmaids are definitely some lovely young ladies.

And that's a wrap!

Wedding candid.

Now Lethbridge is the home of a pretty fabulous structure -- the Lethbridge High Level Bridge, or the Viaduct bridge.  Constructed in 1909 to get the coal from the mines to market, this 107 year old bridge is still one of the longest and tallest bridges of its type in the world.  Remember the Hurricane Gulch Bridge I blogged about on while riding the Alaska Railroad's Hurricane Train?  Well that amazing bridge is 206 feet above  the water below.  The Lethbridge High Level is 314 feet tall, and 1.6 km long.  So it's a pretty amazing structure.

And being back on the prairies means being prepared to see a little bit of wild and a little bit of wacky at random intervals.  For no discernable reason, I drove up along side what may or may not be a displaced loch ness monster...because there isn't a lot of lake or loch action in the middle of all this farmland.  (See also the blog Monuments of My People -- prairie people seem to build their own modern totems across the grasslands...giant easter eggs, impaled helicopters, giant sausage never know what you'll find).

The prairies can be a bit timeless.  Sometimes people leave things somewhere knowing they will be there when they come back.  Apparently that can be a few reincarnations later.  But there is honor in the prairies.  It's not yours...leave it be.  This truck will likely stay here forever.

Sometimes I miss that prairie stability.  Or maybe it's just Canada Day tomorrow that's making me a little homesick.  I hope everyone back home has their picnic baskets, camping gear, and weekend plans fully packed for Canada's favorite summer weekend!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Stuffed Bears and Hungry Panthers

One little salmon doesn't seem like it should be enough to stuff a thousand pound bear...but this little guy looks like me after Thanksgiving dinner!

I can just hear it now...,"grrrrrr, gr-rowl, rowl rowl grrrr."  Translation "Ugh, I ate too much.  I can't do anything now but lie here."

"Nothing to do but lay flat out on my belly and hang my head in overeaters remorse.  It definitely feels better to lie on this hump of earth."

"Never again.  Tomorrow I will eat slower, I swear. "  This poor bear is out for the count after his dinner.  It was kind of fun watching them eat -- not an activity it would be advisable to do in the wild lest you wish to become considered a threat to the main course, or worse, dessert.

I realized that I often encounter a similar situation with the wildlife at home.  Yup, talking about my Panthers.  Here you see my houseguest and friend Shibby trying to feed a frantic Panther standing on hind legs reaching up a picky paw for its dinner.

After overeating, Panthers too have an afternoon nap and let it all hang out.

The skinny Panther never seems to overeat, but dinner and sunbeams are cat kryptonite, and he too is rendered immobile after dinner.

Soon the two Panthers melt into one pile of cat and lay dormant until the next feeding.  Salmon is heir favorite too.

And that, finally, wraps up all the pictures I took while Siobhan was here on vacation last August.  The blog has fallen a full 10 months behind.  I think I took a lot less pictures in the winter, so maybe I will catch up again in a months.  But that's a wrap for now.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dinner Show at the Bear Kingdom

After a long day,  Mr. Bear finally gets his long awaited salmon.  It may not be exciting watching a bear eat a fish, but in the curious world of the internet, someone is probably interested in this, and I photographed it, is the bear dinner show.

These two bears are named Joe Boxer and Patrone.  They are best buddies and cozy up to dine together.

Someone wasn't quite as hungry as they thought they were...or maybe they were planning on stashing it for a midnight snack.

Of course, it doesn't take many bear bites to finish off a fish.  Now you see it... you see half of it.

This is Hugo.  She's a girl bear.  An inland coastal grizzly, smaller than the brown or Kodiak bears she shares a space with (Joe Boxer and Patrone).  She goes off somewhere a bit quieter for her fish snacks.

This was an adorable webbed footed non-duck creature that decided to join the bears for a while.

Hugo liked her fish, I swear!

Definitely don't want to be on the wrong end of those claws, adorable girl or not.

And this is how trouble brews.  When one bear covets another bear's fish.

Hugo heads for higher ground with her snack while the bigger Kodiak says "watch this."

Crisis averted by a little time on the scratching post.

But then it appears post supper boredome sets in.

The birds figure it's settled down enough to swoop in above a den for the scraps.

But's time for bear folly.  People say bears can move shockingly fast.  Indeed they can.

I hardly had time to snap two shots before they raced out of site.  Those fat bottomed bears can really move.

That was it...nothing but dust and the thundering of 1000 pound joggers.

Fear not, it was a short chase and all three were friends again.  Lesson:  bears are insanely fast.  Another good day at the wildlife conservation center.