Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Campout Days

Day 1 of our camping holiday was at Redstreak Campground in Radium, BC. I arrived before Thor, as I had less of a long haul to make. So I set up my shade umbrella tent thing and strummed my tenor while I waited for him to arrive. The site we had at Redstreak was massive, totally enough space for my car, his truck and the trailer. We could have had another truck and camper fit in there too. Great spot. And, because it was at the bottom of a hill, it was also quite private. I think it was site E18. The water and washrooms were right there as well, and the washrooms are fully equipped with flushable toilets, sinks and showers. So if you're looking for the camping experience without having to get too many layers of grunge on you, this is the campground for you. The problem is that everyone knows it and you have to call a couple of months ahead to reserve the spot you want, especially if you expect to get a spot over a weekend in the height of the tourism season. 

Thor arrived in "Old Yeller", hauling the '68 Aristocrat (which I just adore) in the early evening. We set up camp and then had some supper before driving over to the hot springs. There's a hiking trail that goes from the camp ground to the hot springs directly, it takes about 45 minutes to go one way. The first night we drove because it was late and dark (and there have been known to be bears and cougars in the area). The second day, we did the hike mid-day there and back. I thought that with my floppy heavy noodly after-the-hot-springs-legs that I normally get it'd be a drag going back to camp after the pools, but it wasn't bad at all.

We decided to go do the one thing in Radium that we'd never gone and done to date.. visit the Visitor Center and explore the Ktunaxa Nations Exhibit. Well, that was dual purposed because I have to do this "cultural diversity training" stuff for work, and that qualified. It was a small display, and we both thought there should be more artifacts and information on the existing artifacts, but it was enough to get a good taste for the history of the Ktunaxa Tribe.  This stained glass artwork was displayed there.

It's not a visit to Radium without seeing our friends, Fern and Graham, who own and operate the Village Country Inn there. They're always smiling, at least when we sit and chat with them, and they run a clean and cozy place. I've just graduated to "hugging" terms with them too, to my surprise and delight. They are nice people. Check out that Diamond Rated award plaque on the wall.. that says a lot!

Redstreak Campground is quite populated with forest critters, and this squirrel decided to eat a mushroom (I think) in my little umbrella shelter that I'd sat in earlier to play guitar. He left his crumbs there. Tsk tsk. At least he didn't poop on my blanket.

There were a few bugs around, and lots of butterflies. This one was attracted to one of our coolers, sat there sunbathing for a while. I think that's a butterfly. If it has hairy antennae it's a moth, right? I dunno. This one was pretty, anyway.

It's always a nice camp out experience when you have a nice fire. Thor said a phrase later on in the week that went: "Little fire - big fire. Big fire - little fire." Which means you can get closer to and therefore more heat from a little fire than you can to a big raging crazy fire. I think that's what it meant.. that's what I comprehended from it. It makes sense. Thor's an excellent fire builder and expert axe-man. Axes scare me, so I'm glad he's got awesome skills in that area. This fire looks like a phoenix or an eagle or some type of large bird in flight, to me.

Leaving Redstreak there were some big horn sheep on the side of the mountain. There are always sheep in Radium. I'm sure there's never been a time when we didn't see them there in 3 years. The difference between that side of the Rockies and the side I live on is the amount of visible wildlife. You hardly ever come across sheep or mountain goats on the Alberta side of the Rockies. But you see them over there. So I snapped this shot out the window as we left Redstreak and headed out of Radium, into Kootenay National Park to make our next stop at Marble Canyon Campground.

To be continued...

Jules :O)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Trees aren't just necessary to life, they are also very beautiful and add such a positive impact to any environment. Whether it's a dense lush forest, or a singular tree, it's there for a reason... to give life and shelter, and to be appreciated. Here are some tree photos from my recent vacation with Thor throughout the Canadian Rockies in Kootenay National Park and Jasper National Park. 

These trees lined our first campsite spot at Redstreak Campground in Radium, BC. They kept us and the vintage 1968 Aristocrat travel trailer totally shaded all day long, as they grew all around the spot we were in. A complete 360 of beautiful tall trees. Boy, does that help when you are in +30C or above temperatures! 

Looking up from the seat around the fire one late afternoon was a treat... don't forget to look up.

As the sun was setting in the east, the trees lit up and almost illuminated as if there was a forest fire, but there wasn't. It displayed very nicely and I enjoyed watching the show.

We did the Marble Canyon hike in Kootenay National Park, and came upon these two lively stumps. We likened them to two partners, eternally entwined together. Awesome to look at and create a story for.

I don't really think I need to say anything about this, except that it can be found in all its awesomeness near the cookhouse of the picnic area at Bow Lake, Alberta, on the Icefields Parkway.

Banff hosts Bow Falls, and this single tree just happily stands upon the edge of the falls and watches the water flow past day in and day out. I'm so glad it didn't get damaged by the flood in June.

In Kootenay, there is a nice campground called McLeod Meadows. These trees are thick and very tall, and they danced in the wind and soaked in the sun's rays as it was setting the night we stayed there.

So don't forget about the trees.

Jules :O)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

in harmony...

For Easter, Thor gave me my Kala ukulele. For my birthday, he gave me this gorgeous Blueridge tenor guitar. I guess he did that because the last few times we've been together, I strummed the bottom 4 strings of whatever guitar he happened to bring with him and quite enjoyed it. I love the sound of the tenor. I have it tuned the same as a 6 string guitar would be, minus the two bass strings, because it's a direct translation from the Uke. The chord names are different, but I know the fingering for lots of them from playing the Uke, so it's just a matter of transposing a little bit. So we're starting classic with easy songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and "Amazing Grace". We played Jesus Loves me last time we were together and totally bluegrassed it out with my tenor and Thor's mandolin. It totally was awesome. I can't wait to get back together and try Amazing Grace that way. Might seem pretty basic to some of you, but for me, who's never touched a stringed instrument prior to Easter, it's exciting.

And... I'm thrilled whenever we play together.. there's nothing quite like creating music together and having fun doing it with the ones you hold dear. Plus, it's exciting to learn a new skill, and have a new form of self expression.

Jules :Ostrummin)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No rest for the vivid...

Last night (or this morning, depending on how you want to look at it) at 3:49 am, I suddenly sat up in bed and threw off my blankets and in a sleep-walk type state, started to slap at the mattress because I was convinced that there was a spider the size of a tarantula (but not a tarantula) crawling on my legs in my sleep. Once I had given my mattress the appropriate beating of it's lifetime, I jolted from my bedroom, proceeded to walk to the kitchen (still in a non-awake yet somehow mildly aware state of consciousness), and turn on and off the kitchen lights looking for more spiders. Once I was satisfied that there were none there, I returned to my bed, slapped the mattress once more, and laid back down and went to sleep again.

Now, I'm not 100% sure how this sleep walking thing is supposed to go. Does the sleep walker usually have a recollection of events? Cuz it's like I'm not awake, but very slightly aware of what I'm doing. Normally, I actually wake myself up at some point, scold myself and take myself back to bed in a fully alert state. Last night I didn't achieve that state, but was still aware enough of what went on to write about it today. It was so vivid and real, yet not real at all. Do I sleep hallucinate? Is that was sleep walking is all about? Being in that alternate reality as if it were really happening...

Anyway.. I hope to not have a disturbed sleep tonight. Cuz that one was waaay weirder and impactful on me than the time I woke up and was folding dish towels and placing them at the foot of my bed.

Jules :Owtf?!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

do you vacation or do you holiday?

  1. hol·i·day  

    A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.


    An extended period of recreation, esp. one spent away from home or in traveling.


    I wondered what the difference between a holiday and a vacation was. Since both are actually synonyms for each other, there's little difference.. a minor technicality on the wording of a sentence, really, although one suggests a singular day of recreating while the other suggests a lengthy duration, and one suggests that it can be done at home, while the other is away from home. So, whether you are taking in a holiday, or going away on a vacation, I hope you get some time for recreation this summer. In a little while, I'll be having my vacation. I won't say when or where, but rest assured, it will be full of adventure, relaxation, exploration, beauty, connection, peace, excitement, contentment, companionship and probably so much more. 

    Jules :Ocantwait!

Monday, July 15, 2013

recent history...

I was looking through my old photos, well.. not OLD.. but from 3 years ago and I came across these 2 that I thought I'd post. They were from my first trip to Montana.

This was actually the sunset on my way home from Montana. I remember thinking that life would never be the same. I was right...

This was taken on my first trek around Wildhorse Island. No matter how you view Flathead Lake, either from the land below, the top of the Island or from the water itself, it is a stunning view. It's such a vast, clear, clean, magnificent lake. It's one of the Heaven on Earth's that a person seeks to find. I've recently learned about the commercial boat tours that will take people to Wildhorse Island.. I was naive before and didn't think they happened there, as any of the times I've been there, it's been relatively uninhabited by humans. I hope as that grows in popularity, the people visiting the island are respectful and keep it clean and natural. It would be a shame to have it so commercialized that it gets wrecked. 

Jules :Oj

Sunday, July 14, 2013


The storm that brushed across my end of the city 2 nights ago was a bit scary.. the clouds seemed to be rotating and swirling, but nothing actually developed other than rain and hail. Still, it was an interesting sky to watch, and quite dramatic. 

The black and white sky was cool looking, it had the slightest glow of golden blue behind it but you can't tell from these pics. The part I liked the best was the hail falling down. I cropped off the rooftops in the below pic because it made the photo look messy.

It's been an active weather type of spring/summer so far. Lots to watch.

Jules :Oj

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Knock knock...

Ok, I just couldn't stay away. I'm like the cat.

My son came up with this concept while we were driving around in the car:

Mom, if I had a booth at a carnival, I would make it a "Joke Booth". I could charge people 25 cents to hear a knock knock joke, 50 cents per other joke, 75 cents for the really funny jokes, and $3 for a joke book that they could have. Of course, then I'd have to have a whole bunch of joke books. But that's ok, because I could just think of jokes all day long and write them down and make my own joke books. Actually, we should do that.. I could make a Joke Booth on the front lawn.. like a lemonade stand only you have to pay for jokes.

..... I didn't quite have the heart to tell him it likely wouldn't be a lucrative business idea.. but I dread the day when I have to sit out front of my house and watch this concept bomb. But then, who knows.. maybe a joke booth would work. People love to laugh. And besides that, he'd probably be thrilled to just even sell one or two jokes at this age. Still... maybe I ought to suggest making it a joke/lemonade stand. It's better than his "rock garage sale" idea, where he just sells rocks.. plain ones, not even painted ones.

Jules :Ohaha)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Last blog post?

YAY for me! I've been just waiting to hit that number! Thanks for the past 7 years, blogger buddies and invisible lurkers. It's been nice having you along for the ride. think I should retire now? 

Jules :O?

Monday, July 08, 2013


Saw this horoscope on facebook and then it made me feel like doing a doodle illustration. Knowing me, do you think the horoscope is accurate? I swear I just copied and pasted it, didn't change it at all.

CANCER - The Beauty (June 21 to July 22) 
MOST AMAZING KISSER. Very high appeal. A Cancer's love is one of a kind... Very romantic. Most caring person you will ever meet in your life. Entirely creative person, most are artists and insane, respectfully speaking. They perfected sex and do it often. Extremely random. An ultimate freak. Extremely funny and is usually the life of the party. Most Cancers will take you under their wing and into their hearts where you will remain forever. Cancers make love with a passion beyond compare. Spontaneous. Not a fighter, but will kick your ass good if it comes down to it. Someone you should hold on to!

Jules :O?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Autism Enigma

I watched this program on tv when it aired last year and it really stuck with me, so much so that I've been thinking about it a lot lately and decided to re-watch it online tonight. I've been in the field of working with Persons with Disabilities for the past 17 years and have worked with people with a great number of different disabilities, everything from victims of stroke, to the most profound levels of Autism. I have worked with People with Downs Syndrome, FASD, Cerebral Palsy, Global Developmental Delays, Mental Illness.. the list just goes on and on. There's not much I haven't seen in this line of work.  It fascinated me when I watched this program for the first time, and I immediately wondered if this would be something that affected my Autistic foster guy. I didn't do anything like going to his guardians and seeing if we could get testing done for this theory in the video then, but tonight I will forward the video on to his mom and see what she thinks.

If you are suffering with problems in your health and well being like memory, focus, concentration, language, socialization, intestinal/stomach issues, enhanced sensitivity to environmental factors, OCD and fixations, maybe to some slight degree, or maybe to some major degree, you are having some sort of Clostridial (harmful bacterial) attack that is sending harmful neuro-toxins to your brain synapses, thereby affecting your body's ability to live, develop and act in a normal manner.

Maybe to some degree we all have a problem with this. The more we eat processed foods.. foods full of steriods, antibiotics, pesticides and hormones, and the more we steer ourselves away from a clean diet of healthy earthy foods, the more likely we are to develop problems within the gut, countless scientists are finding. They are linking this more and more to severely disabling diseases.

Do yourself a favor, watch this 45 minute video, by CBC's David Suzuki in "The Nature of Things".  It's called "Autism Enigma," but what you really should watch it for is a basic and general understanding of how what lives inside of your gut affects you as a being.

I'm not implying that you are a Person with a Disability at all. I'm just saying that at the very least, maybe you should try doing your body a favor by doing an intestinal/gut cleanse and also add taking a strong probiotic to your daily regime. Help your good gut flora to flourish, see if it makes a difference in the way you feel and operate. It can't hurt...

Jules :Oiloveinformation)

Friday, July 05, 2013

Skate Park Grand Opening...

My city has been building another skate park and wanted to have it open in time for Canada Day, but due to all the poor weather we've been having lately, it delayed the opening of it. We've had one downtown for a few years now, but we're busting at the seams, it seems, and we needed another one. So this one is on the north end of town, they had their grand opening today. There was a line-up that moved fast for free hot dogs, drinks, ice cream and chips, police officers that went around giving suckers to kids, a local radio station booming loud pumped up music to wheel to, and the perfect weather day to make this a huge success. 

I really have never gone to watch something like this before. I actually was surprised at how entertaining it was for me. I could have stayed there for hours just watching them all, and would have, but I had Thanan with me and he was excited for a while but then wanted to go. It was totally crowded, and there were all sorts of wheelers there: skate boarders, scooters, bikes.. and all sizes of participants from 5 or 6 years old up to mid-20's, I'd say. It was largely boys and men... and boys with long hair which confused Thanan and made him think there were girls. All of the young people wore helmets, none of the older people did. Thanan was in awe and said "I'm for SURE joining this!"... but I'm not putting money on that. 

I snapped a few action shots. Here they are! 

I was relieved to see that not everyone was wearing their pants down below their asses. Maybe that's a stereotype that's not true. I only saw one teenager dressed like that.

I'll definitely have to go back when I'm just hanging out and looking for something to do to kill some time, or maybe actually go downtown and watch them there, now that I know it's entertaining.

Jules :O)

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Got some figuring out to do...

I have put in 17 years in the field I'm currently working in. I've always done this. I've always been a carer for people in one form or fashion. It's what I love to do, it's what defines me. It's super rewarding and I have always felt a great deal of satisfaction with my work. I am highly praised and respected in my place of employment and I have a great reputation for offering quality care for the people I have worked with.

But recently, I have been feeling closer and closer to burn out stage with my current position. Add to it, the stress that the government has imposed upon this industry that I'm in, and the toll that's taking on my health and well being, and I just don't know if I can stay in my current role.

I looked online tonight for a job that I can do that will pay me enough money to sustain my household, minus my foster guy living here and all of his expenses. I found something that I'm going to think about and figure out over the weekend whether I can afford to apply for it or not. It's still within the industry I'm in and I have a lot of experience doing the work they are describing, so I have half a chance of getting it, if I apply. The thing is, this job I currently have pays me a lot of money and it gives me freedoms with my son to make sure I am able to be there for him as needed. Those two things are pretty priceless, as far as life generally goes. I can, as a single parent, support my family and that is #1 priority. But it makes it nearly impossible for me to replace this job, because it pays so well and offers those freedoms. But for all the good things it gives me, it is stressful and difficult, too.  I'm starting to feel like it's time to do something else, where work isn't always at home with me.

If I don't apply for this one, I am going to upgrade my education and make myself qualified for something bigger and better, so that I can earn the same if not more money than I'm already doing, in a position where I'm still helping people, but where I leave work at work and not have the stress of it being in my home and in my face constantly.

I'm one of those people who is fairly good at a wide range of things, but I don't know if any one of those things is enough to make a different career out of. But I do know that the time to decide what I want to be when I grow up is fast approaching.

Jules :O?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


What is a home?

It's not a couch or a chair or a bed.
It's not a favorite room, or a big screen tv, or a collection of nick-knacks.
It's not pretty dishes or crystal stemware.
It's not a paint color, or wall decor.
It's not carpet or hardwood, or hardwood with a carpet inlay.
It's not a perfectly manicured yard.
It's not a place full of possessions.
It's not a fully stocked pantry or fridge.
It's not a fixed address.

Home is where your heart feels most happy.
Home can travel with you.
Home can be attached to a person instead of a place.
Home is family and love and a true sense of belonging.

When you're with the one you love, you should feel home.

That is what home is.

I hope to be able to stay *home* someday.

Jules :Oj