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Filed in:Our Life

Autumn in Edmonton

October 5th, 2004  · stk

We weren't the only ones that freaked out when it snowed on September 9th, as most of our neighbors said such an early snow was highly unusual. Fortunately, it hasn't snowed since then, but we have had a killing frost (recently, there was a particularly cold night that got down to 25°F). Days have been very pleasant lately - sunny & in the mid 60's to low 70's. The leaves are falling & it seems that every other day, Scott is out raking leaves with Alex (who loves to "help"). The leaves are bagged, then left our for the garbage people. Ultimately, they're composted and the resulting compost is sold to local farmers & anyone who wants it.

The Edmonton Waste Facility had an open house, one weekend in early September and we decided to drive out and have a look. Wow! Edmonton has the largest composting facility of it's type in the World. It's 8 football-fields in size, cost $100MM, and combines 200,000 tons of residential solid waste with 22,500 dry-tons of biosolids (poop) into 80,000 tons of compost each year. That's a lot of compost. We got to go inside this huge facility (it stinks), but is really amazing. There is also a Material Recovery Facility (recycle plant) that processes 40,000 tons of recycled materials, collected from residents, each year. Who knew that as far as waste goes, Edmonton is a World leader? Take an online tour here.

With winter right around the corner, we've been working at doing all of those things needed before the snow & cold come. One of those tasks, was to install a block heater in our mini-van. California-boy (Scott) is very apprehensive about a winter so far north that one needs to install a heater so that the engine block doesn't freeze and CRACK! (That's too COLD for him). He's been dragging his feet about installing the block heater, thinking that denial is the best way to ward off the upcoming weather. Well, when he finally got around to purchasing one and when he went to install it, received a pleasant surprise - the van ALREADY has one (the cord was just buried in the engine compartment). Apparently, ALL Canadian-manufactured autos have one. Good deal!

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Updated: 1-Jun-2005
Web View Count: 5740 viewsLast Web Update: 1-Jun-2005

Grandparents Visit

September 9th, 2004  · stk

Grandpa and Grandma Pilley came out for the better part of a week, with their tent-trailer and Sasha, their dog, in tow. (Well, I guess Sasha got to ride in the back seat, but you get the idea). They had a great visit with their #2 grandchild, Alexandra, who was delighted with all of the extra attention. It's the second Edmonton visit for Gran Pilley, but the first for Grandpa and he got the nickel tour of our new home, shortly after he arrived.

Outings for the week included a trip to Fort Saskatchewan and we all took a brief ride east to see some Plains Bison at Elk Island National Park. It was a nice visit and we're extra thankful, because they sewed and installed a Roman blind in our bathroom. They also gave us two curtain rods for the two remaining curtainless windows (when we moved in there were NO window coverings in the house). THANKS!

Scott was absent for part of their visit, because he had to fly down to California to pick up our Honda Accord, which we've been storing at his parent's ranch. Wouldn't you know, they sold the ranch and are moving into a rental house, temporarily, until they can locate a permanent place.

The cows, sheep, chickens, pasture, orchard, garden, yard, watering and general caretaking has become onerous and down-sizing will allow them more travel time. After all, they're supposed to be retired! Anyway, with the sale of the ranch, the storage option for the Honda evaporated and Scott had to make a trip down to bring it up north. It was a long drive, but he enjoyed visiting with his folks for a few days, as well as stopping by to see an colleague from his oil-company days, now retired and living in Logan, Utah. Visiting was nice, but he missed Alex and Rachel and was happy to be home, after a week of traveling.

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Updated: 15-May-2005
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Filed in:Cycling

Icefields Parkway Tour

September 9th, 2004  · stk

In early August, we packed up the bikes and Oop's tow trailer, headed south, and cycled from Canmore, through Banff & Jasper National Parks, along the Icefield Parkway. It was about a 300 km trip, which took us 5 days to complete. We were worried about Alex and how she would adjust to cycle-touring. We needn't have worried, because she adjusted just fine, as she normally does.

This was our only summer adventure, packed tightly between our big Edmonton move & the start of Rachel's nursing program at the Univeristy of Alberta. We nearly didn't go, because Scott felt there were too many things that needed doing before winter set in. Rachel put her foot down & said she was going to go anyway. "We need to do something this summer. We didn't do anything last summer, because I was pregnant and we won't have much of a chance to go anywhere during the 2 years I'm in the nursing program," she argued. You know what? When she's right - she's right. Scott capitulated and is very glad he did.

We had a great time. Though we started the trip with rain, the sun came out and great weather prevailed all week. The scenery was simply awesome. Alex enjoyed camping and was the talk of the town, as we received lots of kudos from fellow cyclists & auto tourists alike. She adjusted to camping more readily than we adjusted to her getting dirty (it took a couple of days before we stopped fretting every time she headed for a dusty patch). In the end, we learned to relax & though Alex was dirtier, she was happy!

Rachel kept a wonderful journal of our trip and it's posted in on a cycle-touring web site, along with a short slide show.

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Updated: 4-Aug-2008
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Filed in:Our Life

OMG It's Snowing !

September 9th, 2004  · stk

You know those postcards that people send while they're on vacation? The ones that have a picture of a warm, tropical beach and say, "Wishing you were here?" Well, we won't be sending any of those from Edmonton this year. As you can see from the photo, taken in the early morning light, it snowed last night, in Edmonton! Oh My GOD ... it's September 9th!! I guess we won't have to be worried about having a white Christmas this year? Shoot ... Scott's thinking he might get a white birthday (which would be a first)!

This is freaking us out (OKAY, mostly freaking out the California-boy ... the cat hasn't gone out yet, so he doesn't know. He won't be happy, that's for certain. The Oop could care less and Rachel ... well, she is Canadian, after all.) Nope, fun-in-the-sun, been-in-123°F, California-boy is scared he's gonna freeze before the New Year arrives! It's time to install block heaters, insulate the garage, put up the vegetables, get out the sweaters, buy electric socks, plan a Mexican escape and take a steamy, hot shower! Scott never thought he'd be jealous of a duck, but when he looks up in the sky and sees the flying "Vee", headed south, he's thinking, "There go some ducks ... smart birds ... lucky birds ... Damn - wish I was a duck!"

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Updated: 30-Oct-2008
Web View Count: 6161 viewsLast Web Update: 30-Oct-2008
Filed in:Alexandra

Oop @ 10 Months

August 8th, 2004  · stk

She continues to be a delightful source of fun (and frustration)! She is (generally) a very happy baby and has become our goodwill ambassador(ess) everywhere we go. Take her to the grocery store and she gurgles at everyone she sees, tries to make eye contact and even REACH OUT to touch old and young alike. "She's such a HAPPY baby," is what we hear everywhere we go. She loves to laugh and giggles at practically everyone and anything. Though we still hear a lot, "What a delightful little BOY."

As Scott says, "She needs more hair."

She's now standing (supported) and with that, her World has grown proportionally (read: Everything below 3 feet is now FAIR GAME). She's got a box of toys in the living room to play with, but NO ... pulling 100's of CD's off the CD rack is WAY MORE FUN ... or maybe slobbering all over the remote control on the coffee table ... chasing the cat ... or (her new trick) ... CLIMBING THE STAIRS!

The other day, Scott was working on the PCT slide show, in his office, and Rachel was taking a shower. Scott noted that things were WAY too quiet and went to track Alex down. He looked all over the living room, the kitchen, dining room (TWICE), wondering where his little girl could be. He looked in the steamy bathroom - no Alex. Where the HECK was she? Happily playing on the SECOND FLOOR LANDING - pulling books from the bookshelf. Oh MY GOD!! Guess it's time to put up that kid gate.

She bounces to music. "Dances kinda like her Dad," says Rachel. HA HA.

The poor kitty cat can find no rest and spends his days outside, avoiding the squealing, grabby, squirmy, crawling kid. She still loves the poor furry creature to DEATH and anytime she sees him, squeals and gives chase. We used to feed him on the landing, half-way between the 1st and 2nd floors, but we're going to have to find a new spot soon - as this one has now been breached (or should we say - REACHED - though, we're happy to report - Alex DOESN'T LIKE the taste of cat food). At least his food is safe. The same can't be said for his WATER DISH, though.

Alex has had her share of falls and her poor head just seems to take a licking, but thankfully, keeps on ticking. (At least, we think so! Her vocabulary hasn't grown very much - but her VOLUME HAS! She can play quietly for some time, but God forbid if we should try to carry on a conversation with someone - in person or on the phone it doesn't matter - she's got to chime in with her 2-cents-worth ... more like a DIMES-WORTH, if judged by volume. It does help get rid of unwanted telephone calls, however!)

Alex has now made friends in the neighborhood. Neighborhood community centers are a big thing in Edmonton and ours was celebrating it's centennial a couple of weeks ago. They had a big BBQ dinner outside the community hall and we thought we'd go and meet some new folks. Well, we didn't meet too many people, but while we were lined up to get our dinner, we let Alex crawl around on the floor and SHE met lots of people. One girl, Taylor, who - it turned out lives only 3 houses down our back lane - took a real liking to Alex and has been by to visit her, many times. She's brought friends by to introduce THEM to Alex, too. She's not shy and will even change Alex and plays with her nicely. Alex loves it when Taylor comes over - the more the merrier. Our little Ambassador(ess)!

We splurged and bought Alex a wading pool. We used it during our heat wave this summer (which lasted for a week). She loved it - as she loves her baths! Splish splash! We think that she can sink just about ANY boat we toss in, but it's not the toys she loves the most - it's the OTHER things (empty milk jugs, golf balls, anything really that's NOT a toy, it seems).

She still goes to bed easy and wakes up too early, usually around 7 AM ... but sometimes earlier.

She's a delight and a joy. We just wished that we had half her energy and a quarter of her enthusiasm. We never really felt our age before, but we do NOW, watching Alex squirm and move - nonstop.

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Updated: 15-May-2005
Web View Count: 11280 viewsLast Web Update: 15-May-2005