RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Feline Friday – #97 – comfy places

Freddie

We all have our own unique ideas of comfort. Some like to be in the middle of everything. Others might prefer to be tucked away in a private space on their own.

Apparently, Freddie was in the mood to be where the action was. As if my desk wasn’t already cluttered enough and difficult for me to find anything, the Giant Cat came along and made everything impossible. Okay Freddie, now you have my attention…

On the other end of the scale, Frankie was looking for a solitary spot where nobody would bother him.

Frankie

It seems Frankie orders items from Amazon based on the size of the box they are shipped in… he doesn’t much care what the items are as long as the box is agreeable.

Even better is when the item is packed in brown paper… so much nicer than that awful plastic bubble wrap. Such a lovely way to pass the afternoon hidden away from prying eyes.

Hmmm, you’better be good, Frankie, or I might be tempted to return you to Amazon!

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Canadian Rockies – Day Five – Banff and the Bow River

canadian rockies

Overnight there was just enough rain to clear the skies a little. Still a lot of smoke but we could see some details. Why couldn’t this have happened the day before? Well, we had to be grateful for this gift at least.

canadian rockies
In the morning we drove along the shores of Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake. Click image below for slideshow:

 

Next we visited Cascade Gardens near the grounds of the Banff Park Administration Building. Click image below for slideshow:

The big event of the day was a raft trip floating along the Bow River. I didn’t position myself very well as I was seated directly opposite my friends so I had to dodge around their heads to get a clear shot. In the raft you can’t move around too much without everybody going overboard! And my camera is not waterproof…

Our guide on the river, like all the guides we encountered on the trip, was very knowledgeable and personable. I believe this young man was from New Zealand. As a member of the British Commonwealth, apparently you can spend two years in each Commonwealth Country (including New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and of course, the UK) on a work Visa so most of the guides we encountered were from those countries. Wish I had known that when I was younger!

Click image below for slideshow:

 

At the beginning of the float trip I accidentally changed the picture style to black and white and didn’t realize this until we disembarked. I was ready to jump into the cold waters I was so mad at myself. But when we got back into town we found a camera store and the young man showed me how to change it back to color. I’ve never seen this B&W setting before! I was mortified. Luckily I always shoot in RAW and JPEG and he assured me the setting didn’t affect the RAW files… saved! Well, I learned something…

canadian rockies

We ate lunch at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. You can see it in the slideshow above.

And this is what the town of Banff looks like when the smoke clears. Not too shabby!

candadian rockies

 

 


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Canadian Rockies – Day Four – the road to Banff

canadian rockies

Percheron horses at the Ranch-Bar-U

It’s hard to keep track of the days when you are on a tour, but I know day four was Sunday. We left Waterton heading for Banff through the Kananaskis Valley.

We stopped at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site to admire the Percheron horses.canadian rockies

It was a very smoky day and we had 236 miles (380km) to travel. A lot of the scenery looked like this with bales of hay scattered around fields.

canadian rockies

As we came nearer to Banff the scenery changed to more mountainous views. But still extremely smoky. Only with RAW images and Lightroom was I able to see any kind of detail and color in the photos.

canadian rockies

canadian rockies

We didn’t make a lot of stops so these were taken through the bus window which is why the foregrounds are fuzzy.

canadian rockies

But you get the general idea of how rugged the territory was.

canadian rockies

We rode the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. The summit is 7486 feet (2281m) above sea level. The highest point in Los Angeles County is Mount Baldy (Mount San Antonio) at 10,064 feet (3,068 m). So I wasn’t too impressed but a good height nevertheless.

canadian rockies

Too bad there was no view. I had to work really hard in Lightroom to get any kind of details to show.

10,064 ft (3,068 m)

But this gentleman seemed to be enjoying the view of the smoke!

We watched a 15-minute video that showed us the spectacular scenery we SHOULD have been seeing!

canadian rockies

There was a nice wooden trail out to the next peak but I wasn’t about to test the limits of my vertigo to see smoke and more smoke.

canadian rockies

Our hotel for the next two nights was nothing spectacular but we were centrally located in the town of Banff. canadian rockies

For me this was the most disappointing day. It reminded me of the 70s and 80s in LA when the smog was so bad in the summer I couldn’t even drive. I didn’t need to pay good money to be reminded of that.

But I did enjoy a wonderful Louisiana catfish dinner at Tooloulou’s restaurant in downtown Banff. That was the highlight for me. I don’t think my friends were that excited.

 

 

 


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Feline Friday – #96 – view from on high

Frankie and Freddie

Cats love high places, that’s for sure. And the more precarious those places are, the more they like it.

One of their favorite locations is on the loft wall. See upper left corner of photo above. It’s a great view into the living room downstairs. Upstairs they can watch me in my office and keep an eye on what is going on out on the roof deck.

Freddie and Frankie

Heights scare me so I was definitely not a cat in a previous life. Maybe an elephant with my feet planted firmly on the ground.

What bothers me about this idyllic photo is that at any moment Frankie the Bully could take a poke at Freddie the Gentle Giant who could lose his balance and fall into the living room. But I can’t be supervising them every minute so I have to let it go.


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Canadian Rockies – Day Three – Going-to-the-Sun Road

going to the sun highway

Day three of our trip to the smoke-filled Canadian Rockies our motor coach took us to St. Mary Lodge and Resort on the US side of the border. We boarded Red Jammers, restored vintage touring coaches from the 1930s. We traveled on Going-to-the-Sun Road which is closed during the winter because of snow. But this year it was closed half way along because of fires. So our journey ended at Logan Pass Visitor Center in Montana.

At Logan Pass Visitor Center we had time to roam around. I always enjoy an opportunity to get out and stretch my legs. We were close enough to the mountains that it was possible to see some details.

Then back on the Red Jammers. Originally built for sightseeing in the US National Park System, these 25-foot long touring coaches with individual doors for each row, were restored in 2000 by the Ford Motor Company and are the only remaining buses of their kind in operation today. Just touring in the coaches was fun in itself.

We returned to our hotel in Waterton, Alberta, a very sweet little tourist town that I could see visiting again. We decided to eat at the same restaurant with a river view where we had enjoyed dinner the night before, Bayshore Lakeside Chophouse, attached to the hotel.


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Feline Friday – #95- Frankie in a sling

Frankie in a sling

 

FurryFido Adjustable Pet Sling/Dog cat Sling Carrier for Cats Dogs Bunny, Up to 13 lbs with Extra Pocket

It’s been getting more and more difficult for me to work on the computer. As soon as I sit down Frankie comes flying across the room and lands on my desk, keyboard or my lap and interrupts everything. He inserts unintelligible sentences into my emails. He changes the settings on my computer and then I can’t reset to my defaults because I don’t know what keys he used to make the changes!

He also climbs all over me, digging his claws into my arms and chest and shoulders, wanting to be as close to me as possible.

Something had to be done.

I found the above sling carrier on Amazon and out of desperation I decided to order it. I really didn’t think he would use it as attempting to stuff him into his cat carrier is next to impossible.

frankie cat slingTaking photos with my phone is not my forte but I think these give you the general idea.

The first time I attempted to get Frankie in the sling was a bit of a struggle, but once in he seemed to like it.

frankie cat sling
frankie cat sling

The bag is reversible. The outside is a nice grey and white zigzag design and the interior is black with pink stars. Maybe when he’s inside the sling he thinks it’s night time!

frankie cat sling

The first couple of days when I stood up with him in the carrier he jumped out. But yesterday he stayed in all the way down the stairs to the kitchen. I was able to let go of the sling and let it hang at my hips which gave me two hands free to get a cup of coffee. Then he stayed in all the way upstairs. A little while later I went down to the kitchen again and he stayed curled up inside the bag!

I am totally amazed that this works but now I can type on my keyboard, send emails and work on my photos with no interference from Frankie! He weighs 12lbs (5.4kg) so the sling that holds a 13lb animal is perfect for him and gives him room to move around. Thank goodness this isn’t Freddie as he is my giant cat weighing in at 17lbs. No way I am putting him in a sling to carry around!

Tonight when I put the sling around my neck Frankie came over and crawled in on his own with no help from me. He put his head in first, then his front legs went in, then his back legs and tail. Wow, this is a total success beyond what I would have imagined.

As I am sitting here typing he is curled up in the sling (on my lap) dead to the world! I could not be happier!

frankie sling

 


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Canadian Rockies, Day Two

Prince of Wales Hotel

Prince of Wales Hotel

What happened to Day One? Well, that was getting there. My alarm went off at 2:00am. I called for my taxi at 4:21am and arrived at LAX ready for the 7;25am flight. We landed in Calgary around 1:20pm after a change of planes in Salt Lake City. That evening my three friends and I met our tour guide and the other 40 people on the Caravan tour.

 

Waterton Lakes National ParkIn the morning we left Calgary for Waterton Lakes National Park. The trip there was well, let’s just say it was hazy!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Looking down at the town of Waterton

Thank goodness for photographing in RAW format and photo processing in Lightroom with the “dehaze” function and some other tweaking!

Waterton Lakes National Park

This is what the scene above actually looked like!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Another view of the Prince of Wales Hotel

I was told there were approximately 500 wildfires raging across Canada.

Waterton Lakes National ParkThe smoke was so thick I heard it was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Flower bouquets at our hotel

 

Once settled in our hotel, we embarked on a cruise of Waterton Lake.Waterton Lakes National Park
The world’s first International Peace Park, formed in 1932 by combining Waterton Lakes Park in Canada with Glacier Park in Montana. These two parks form Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a celebration of friendship between Canada and the US. Let’s hope!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton  Waterton Lakes National Park

Even though it was very hazy I made the decision I was going to keep snapping away and hope I could bring out some of the details in Lightroom when I got home. That turned out to be a great decision.

Waterton Lakes National Park

The cruise was very peaceful and just what I needed after the frenzied day before running for flight connections and getting to the hotel in Calgary. And previously that day we had a long, very boring bus trip from Calgary to Waterton. Compared to all that, this was truly blissful.

Click on an image below for images of the lake cruise

You’re not seeing double, I just wanted to show this image again to point out this photo of the line cut to demark the border of the US and Canada.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

I liked this photo showing the “Thumbs Up” Canadian flag!

Waterton Lakes National Park

I always love reflections on the water.

Waterton Lakes National Park

We arrived at our destination on the Montana side of the lake. We were able to stretch our legs for a while. Click on an image below.

Then back on the boat to Canada!

We enjoyed a delicious dinner with a beautiful view. Then back to our hotel room.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Our patio furniture

Lovely view of lake from our room

View of the lake from our room. We sat outside for a while in the evening, sucking it all in.

And last, the three lovely ladies who made my trip so enjoyable!


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Feline Friday – #94 – farewell to P-55

frankie

Frankie is contemplating his next big project. Perhaps photographing elephants in Africa or bears in Alaska… or hummingbirds on the balcony? A nap always helps to rejuvenate the creative juices!

p-55 mountain lion

National Park Service

And in news from the Santa Monica Mountains, mountain lion P-55 sadly passed away recently at three years old. His claim to fame was crossing the 101 freeway at least twice. The cause of death can’t be determined because he was too badly decomposed by the time he was found.

Read the full article here.


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day eight – morning: The Sistine Chapel

English Martyrs

I’m skipping ahead to day eight but I’ll be back to pick up days six and seven… sorry, there’s no avoiding it!

Yes, I’m looking at the Sistine Chapel ceiling. No, I’m not in Rome… still in Worthing!

English Martyrs

I’m at the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring-by-Sea.

English Martyrs

The ceiling is at 2/3 scale of the original Michelangelo painting in the Vatican. The colors match the newly cleaned ceiling in Rome.

English martyrs

The work was painted by Gary Bevans, a sign writer who is a parishioner of the church. He is a natural artist with no formal training. After a parish pilgrimage trip to Rome in 1987 to attend the Beatification of 85 English Martyrs, he gained permission from the Vatican and the bishop to reproduce the ceiling in Worthing.

english martyrs

Several years ago my friend JM and I enjoyed a two-week, two thousand-mile trip of Italy. Our first visit to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel was very rushed so our tour guide could get us to the gift shop! So as J and I had planned some extra time in Rome at the end of the trip, we visited the Sistine Chapel again on our own. We sat for a good hour looking up at the ceiling. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

English MartyrsWith this reproduction you are much closer to the ceiling and it’s easier to see the details, even at 2/3 scale. It’s certainly impressive.

English MartyrsThe project took five and a half years to complete in the evenings and weekends. Gary also had to continue his full time day job. And spend time with his family!

English MartyrsIt was most certainly a labor of love.

English Martyrs Three volunteers were working in the church when I was there. They were all really lovely people. One of them gave me a tour of the church and told me the story of the ceiling. As I told them I was considering moving back to Worthing, they gave me some recommendations for real estate agents to talk to (which I did) and some ideas for the neighborhoods that might suit me the best.

English MartyrsI enjoyed the visit to the church and recommend it to anybody who might be visiting the area. I didn’t get a photo of the outside of the church. The building was not what I expected… not the least bit pretentious… I would describe it as a country church. I almost walked past it.

English Martyrs

The English Martyrs window. The Roman Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation were men and women executed under treason legislation in the English Reformation between 1534 and 1680.  In 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Lovely.

More images from the church:









English martyrs

This painting is a modernized version of da Vinci’s the Last Supper. Local people from the parish were used as models.


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Feline Friday – #93 – Smile, you’re on Amazon!

amazon smile

Freddie, Frankie and I are too busy killing fleas to take time out for photos today. We haven’t had fleas here for at least five years. This year the fleas have organized their armies and invaded the house.

I applied a couple of half doses to the cats earlier on but it’s time to get serious. It’s extremely humid here and those fleas are in heaven.

I ordered a bunch of flea supplies on Amazon so this seems like a good excuse to spread the word about AmazonSmile. Maybe everybody already knows about this, but maybe not…

Through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. I chose SPCALA, a Los Angeles based animal rescue organization. So far I haven’t met a product that wasn’t eligible.

AmazonSmile offers the same products, prices and service as Amazon. So why not take advantage of it? You just have to remember to start out each time at AmazonSmile instead of Amazon. I still forget sometimes.

Happy Friday! Be cool, be dry, be flea-free!

(Just in case somebody out there is wondering, NO I am not getting compensated in any way for this plug for AmazonSmile!)