Turning 9

On Saturday August 24, Veronica turns 9. Although she’s growing up fast, she has largely maintained her sweet and accommodating nature. She is sort of the glue in the grandkids ensemble – supporting her older brother and being a big sister to Susannah. She’s a stickler for fair treatment for everyone.

Grandpas aren’t allowed to have a favorite grandchild, but that doesn’t apply to a certain ginger cat. Mr. Oates adores her; she is the real “cat whisperer” when it comes to him. He was won over early on by her kindness and gentle ways.

Veronica loves a physical challenge. She had great fun climbing the rock wall on our cruise ship earlier this year, and her early-bird birthday party was at some sort of rock climbing spot. She’s pretty good on the monkey bars as well.

We’ll see her tomorrow after she and her parents have a water park adventure.

She always has had a bit of sassiness in her attitude. I hope that continues. This photo is a pretty good snapshot of all the grandchildren as they project themselves at this point in time.

She’s a great singer and her French accent is impeccable. We had a lot of fun with her singing grace before meals during her recent visit. A tous bon appetit!

Have a great birthday and stay as as sweet as you are, my dear girl.






This summer has been a real mess in the ole neighborhood.

When our houses were built there was no fiber optic cable in Almonte. You either went with copper coax (Rogers) or satellite dish (Bell) for your TV.

In the past year or so Bell has brought fiber optic capability to our town. In the newer (east end) subdivisions they put in the infrastructure before completing the construction. It was a different story for us.

First, they marked all the existing services so we had these annoying little flags all over the lawn playing havoc with lawnmowers.

Next, they excavated a number of spots like this one around the power box between our house and our neighbor. The excavator was a vacuum cleaner on steroids that sounded like a 747. Having this thing around all day was like spending 8 hours at the dentist.

Then they brought in a “Ditch Witch” machine which bored a tunnel underground from place to place. They pulled a plastic conduit sheath through the tunnel. On our side of the street it was a relatively small sheath; on the other side there is a much larger one for future expansion I guess.

After this, they pulled the actual cable through the conduit.

Here is the end of the conduit run. This hole contains a plastic box with more cable that can be strung out to connect Fibe to the house. Not that I am going to use Bell’s service.

After a year or so the Fibe cable becomes generic and any provider can use it. We’ll see if that gives any competiton to the Big Two that monopolize communications in our part of Ontario. Till then, I just hope they backfill the holes and we can get on with life.


Long Weekend

This weekend marks the start of August and is the 2nd of 3 that define the summer. When I was working it was usually halfway through my vacation  –  so the August long weekend either meant we were getting back from a US trip or starting a mini-holiday. A particularly good one was in 1997 when Sarah Maria and I went to Nashville. Another one was a 1998 motor trip to Ottawa.

After we retired we continued with the tradition. The above photo is from an August trip to Montreal in 2005.

And in 2007 we went to Vermont where we visited Calvin Coolidge’s home in Plymouth Notch.

In 2011 it was back to Vermont where we went to the lovely and historic town of Woodstock. Woodstock was later devastated by flooding in the Hurricane Irene disaster. Bummer.

One of our best August holiday trips was to Lancaster Pennsylvania in 2012. Teddy loved the Strasurg Railroad.

And later he got to drive a train of his own.

And who could forget the fabulous airplane ride at Dutch Wonderland – where Veronica cried every time the ride ended and she had to get off.

Lots of memories for this weekend, even if the grandkids are away visiting Dave’s parents now and we are staying home this year. There’s always another time (I hope.)





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