Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Images of Alberta, Canada

The pictures shown here are places I visited in Alberta. As you can see some of the pics are of winter scenes, but as the year unfolds, I'll try and post summer shots of the area.

This winter image is at the Crowsnest Pass in Alberta.

As well, this image is at the 7/11 store in Coleman, Crowsnest Pass in Alberta. Notice that the gas price fluctuates from that to over 95 cents a litre. Between now and summer, the price is sure going to skyrocket. This 7/11 is one of the best places to buy munchies and goodies to eat when travelling on the road.

Downtown Black Diamond in Alberta - a small town that has a lot of goodies and souvenirs for the visitor passing through.

Okotoks, Alberta - this town is one of the fastest growing towns in Alberta. Great food and lot of stores to shop at.

Calgary Airport on a wintry and cloudy day – this city is one of the best places to visit – unreal shopping and dining and many places to see.

Sunset at Nanton Alberta – one of those farm towns with an interesting appeal to travellers.

Wind power at Pincher Creek, Alberta. The windmill is huge when viewed up close – an Alberta landmark.

Fort Mcleod, Arena, Alberta – a town with a lot of first nation heritage.

Brocket, Alberta - one of the cheapest places to buy gas in southern Alberta.

Lethbridge Clock, Lethbridge, Alberta – a city with lots of stores and attractions for the visitor to see, do and shop in southern Alberta.

Monday, April 10, 2006

April Showers of Tears, Impressions and Joy

April is in its second week and rain showers have been falling down on this hometown of mine. Black clouds swirl and move slowly across the horizon. Into the distance, the sky is beginning to darken of nightfall. Fog and clouds roll in, hover and drift silently over the mountains and valleys.

Outside on this empty street at -2 Celsius, the wind howls and blows whiffs of air that makes my face shudder of coldness. My spring jacket cast little warmth to my body cold of April wind that is like a Prairie winter breeze. I close my eyelids and blink several winks before I rub eyes and make haste walk from the elements towards the home.

A sense of joy engulfs my well being as I walk indoors. I am euphoric of happiness and a sense of peace fills my spirit and I am treasuring the moment of having to walk in to a warm building.

By the window, I sit and gaze at nightfall. Far away in the distance, lights of amber tweak and twinkle to light up the night sky. Silhouettes and figures move about on the streets beyond. The nearby homes are bright of light shining from windows as small chatter echo from teens walking by.

Slowly, my mind wanders and fades into dreamland. I close my eyes; I hear voices. A voice faint of noise, but familiar of tone is calling me. I look over, stare at the figure, smile, wave a gesture of acknowledgement and begin to walk long paces and run toward the person of sparkle and beauty. I reach over to give hug, but the phone rings and I am startled by the noise. I open my eyes, gather thoughts and walk slowly to pick up the phone. The phone message light clicks on, but the caller leaves no message. I turn around to my right and look at the wall and thought I had seen the vision I just had in my dream state, but it was only an impression of that special someone whom I had respect and held dear to my heart and soul - that special someone that gave me the breadth of life, but has left this planet into another existence of bliss and happiness.

I blink my eyes for moments and then rub my hand over them to wipe the moist off the eyelids and whisper, “I miss and love you mom.”

Tears of joy stream down my eyes as I walk over to the table to pick up papers of tissue. I am overwhelmed of calm and joy.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fools, Daylight Savings & Road Rage

Got up this morning at 5.40 am and changed the clock ahead an hour. It is daylight savings time. It’s good for spring and summer. Next year there is talk about moving daylight savings time to the second Sunday of March. Since the US is going that route, Canada is going likewise. But there is so much speculation about the changes, and I am wondering if all the Canadian provinces are going to join in and follow suit. We will have to wait and see.

I like daylight savings time because there is still daylight around 10.30 pm during the summer months. There are still places in BC and other areas of Canada that doesn’t follow daylight savings time. It was different to go for a walk at the non-daylight savings time areas and notice that darkness was falling in around 9 pm. Even though I enjoyed the BC vacation last year, it made me realize that this was the case of darkness falling so soon.

April Fools day was yesterday and luckily there were no real pranks pulled on anyone that I have heard or know so far. It is a good thing then. Yesterday, gas prices were up again to 93.9 cents a litre. It was only a couple of weeks ago that gas prices were down to the 82 cents a litre. Even though gas prices are going up to anticipate the spring and summer driving, the gas prices will keep going up - maybe to a dollar. I am sure it is not going to slow down others and myself from driving.

Of an interesting note, I watched and saw a motorist getting angry at another driver on the street. I don’t understand why some motorists go into fits of road rage when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. I know they are trying to go from point A to point B. But why sweat it out on another driver who happens to see things in a different light. I was in an Alberta city yesterday and time after time road rage between drivers was at the brink of a full scale blowouts. What compels these drivers to do this kind of driving is beyond me. I suppose we are only human but that isn’t a good enough excuse to scream, yell and make hand gestures at the other person. Are these humans losing their sense of reality? We don’t own the streets and highways; we just pay taxes and to drive on it.

I know that road rage is not only happening in Alberta, but across Canada and perhaps extend to the North America and Europe. What I do know is that I like to drive safe from point A to point B. If some motorist wants to drive like speedy Gonzales and so be it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Spring Break is Here

Spring break is here and I’m going to make the best of it.
Even though the weather isn’t at its warmest, I’m going to take advantage of the time-off and do the things that are fun and enjoyable.

Some friends have already left the country for the week off of leisure time, but for me I’ll just do a little bit of travelling here within, shopping, dining out and most of all, relax, ski and enjoy life.

The time-off is a welcome thought. I know of a song that says, “we’re here for a good time, not a long time, so have a good time, the sun won’t shine everyday …”, and I am going to do just that.

Life is interesting. One moment you’re having a great time and the next, you maybe feeling kind of run down with the flu, stressed out or overwhelmed with trivial issues. It seems to be a revolving cycle. The good thing is I’d try to stay away from the things that place havoc on life, but if it comes my way I will try not to dwell on it to the point where it consumes my life.

However, the time off is a good thing. It’s nice for a change not to get up in the morning and have to get ready for work. But what is good is that I’ll get to do some aerobics and weight training for well being and health. That I won’t complain, but accept it as a way of life.

For many, spring break isn’t in their schedule, and I can feel for that and as well to those who don’t have the means to enjoy the break. But for me the opportunity is here and I’ll take it and make use of it.

It’s a nice change to leave aside the woes of everyday living and let it be of what I am going to live and enjoy life for this week.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Still Snowing in March

Just when I thought the March weather is going to be nice and warm, the snow starts falling again just like the last two years. Snow started falling yesterday and it seems like it doesn’t want to stop just yet. Although the temperature was at -5C, it isn’t pleasant to be out there driving on the highway, when visibility isn’t at the best of times to see.

Aside from that, the snow piles are here, there and everywhere in my hometown, it is getting higher and higher. It is more than four feet high in places and higher yet where the heavy machinery (loader) has pushed the snow up to about 10 feet high. It has been a while since I have seen snow this high. If the snow continues to fall, it is going to be a nasty spring season, when the snow melts. But I’ll try not to dwell on stuff that hasn’t happened yet.

March in more ways than one is an unpredictable month. In the past, this region has had good and bad weather. We have had real warm temperatures and now it is minus ten degrees outside and it is going to get colder in the next while. If you are an outdoors type of person this kind of weather is a welcome thought, but to those who dislike outside winter sports, it may be depressing news to hear of.

But the good news is that the ski hills will remain open for a bit longer. I don’t mind the winter months if the temperature remains constant. Only when the mercury dips below -25C is when I would rather stay indoors.

For now I’ll enjoy the comforts of staying indoors until it is time to venture outside for a purpose. At noon today it is the first time I have seen a crow fly by and I think it is a sign of spring is near. The last time I saw these birds were during the fall season when the weather was nice and warm then. All through January and February the season has been fairly cold and I think the birds had been avoiding the area. Hey, maybe it is a good thing, but the down side to it is they are pesky creatures. They prey on the small birds which isn't nice.

Anyway, I am looking forward to a month of good weather, optimistically.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Coldest Day of Winter Yet

I thought yesterday was the coldest day of around -20 degrees Celsius with a wind chill factor of -20 Celsius blowing in your face, but this early morning the mercury was reading at -30 Celsius and that doesn’t look good. With the wind blowing in your face again, it is going to be real freezing out there.

I went outside and stretched out an extension cord, plugged it into the wall socket and hooked it up to the car block heater. In a couple of hours I hope the vehicle starts. I heard on the radio that the temperature was going to drop down, but I didn’t think it was going to be this low. It just looks cold outside and it even feels cold indoors. The furnace heater is rumbling away making noise as it heats the home. I thought I’d check the water bleeder line to see if it is turned on or the indoor water lines would freeze and break, but it is on.

Outside, the half moon casts brightness onto the Canadian sky on this Friday, February 17th morning. Right now, the clock reads 5 a.m., and I am in the process of writing this. For the last couple of weeks, the weather had been good and the temperature was relatively mild. It was only in the last two days, it got really cold and I am reaching out for more clothes to put on. I hope the weather will soon go back up for the good. I remember many years ago my friends and I went skiing on a cold -28 Celsius weather. Only the ski patrollers and us skiers were downhill skiing. In hindsight, it was crazy to be out there on the hill, but we had a great time then. I don’t think I want to do that again.

The funny thing about the cold weather is that after a few days of really cold weather, you tend to forget how cold it is when the thermometer rises just a little bit back up. You think it is not as cold any much more. It’s a way of life out here. You complain when it gets a little cold, but complain a lot more it gets really cold.

All I know is that I am going to try and stay as much as I can indoors till the weather turns into bright sunny days with at least zero degrees weather or plus digit temperatures. Now that’s the way I like it.

In the meantime, I’ll try not to freeze my face and fingers when I do go outside.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Living the Good Life

You know I have been fortunate to live a good life so far. All is good so to speak. I can’t really complain of how good I am living life in a way that not only makes me happy, but my health is without a doubt good in more ways than one. It’s almost like living the dream of doing what makes one feel at peace with oneself.

No, I didn’t win the lottery or become rich in material wealth. What I have going for me is trying to live life and enjoy what I have and make the best out of it. At one point in my life, I wanted to be a rich person and have all that money can buy, as well as flaunt money, but over time I realized that money alone doesn’t buy happiness and peace. Some folks may dispute my logic, but we as human beings have different views on what money can do for us.

Although money has power and influence to enrich lives, I feel good of what I have to live life in a healthy lifestyle than abuse money and its power that in the long term, you pay the price of its wrath. I enjoy my state of well being enough that I really wouldn’t want to change anything.

I just can’t imagine those who struggle on a daily basis of trying to find food to eat for a day, let alone finding shelter and money to survive. It must be a real dilemma for the poor to live life the way they only know how. I feel pity for the poor, but that's the way life is. In more ways than one, your destiny of life to rags or riches in this world is determined by your place of birth. For me my life has been a fortunate and blessing to be here in Canada.

I must admit that life is very good for the majority of us folks living here in this part of the world. The weather on average is I must say is fairly moderate in all the seasons. Hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters are almost unheard of, except for the odd tornado in the some Alberta provinces and Ontario. Otherwise the climate is relatively calm. Some folks may take living in this country for granted, but when you look at other nations and their woes, I prefer and like what I have and would want to trade to live in another country.