I climbed 58 steps to the top of an outdoor platform for exercise, and to take a look around this very flat part of the world. After a moment or two this Merlin began diving on me, likely protecting a nearby nest. A moment of searching did not turn it up, and since my presence was an unnecessary (and obviously unwelcome) distraction, I decided to stop looking and take my leave.

It was interesting to learn, among other things, that they take over other birds’ nests.

Achilles’ Bentley glows brightly.

We let go of Achilles Saturday. He quite abruptly became lethargic. Had difficulty standing, refused food, so we went to the emergency vet.

The exam revealed that his pulse was thready, she was unable to clearly his heartbeat, his paws were cold. Something sinister (the vets’ exact word) was happening. it would have taken extensive testing and diagnosis to find out what was going on. Considering his age (14? 16? More?), aggressive action was problematic. We made the hard decision to let him go as gracefully as possible.

When we adopt a dog we implicitly make a bargain that we will be a responsible owner, which includes making difficult decisions.

This is the part of that bargain that really sucks.

Nonetheless I would not have it otherwise. As my brother wrote this morning, ‘It really sucks that our dear four legged friends will almost certainly die before we do. Even knowing that I would not give up the love, affection, friendship and fun they give us.’

The Bentley is a forehead blaze common to Australian Cattle Dogs and ACD crosses. When an ACD goes on ahead, the ACD world says ‘His (her) Bentley is glowing brightly.’

Chili’s glows brightly now.


No pretty picture

No pretty picture today, instead some things to ponder. I invite my Facebook followers to click the link and read the full post, to click the links in the post to learn more.

Is it impossible to consider that some places which have been built within my lifetime may – should – go to seed or be abandoned altogether?

Once upon a time we thought it impossible, unthinkable, that people would willingly live in a place where they could not reasonably walk or ride a bike to go get a bag of milk. That major cities would declare bankruptcy, that a state would teeter on the edge. Well, here we are.

If Strong Towns has it right The Growth Ponzi Scheme, a land ‘development’ mode largely dependent on debt- and growth-fueled development, may have passed its prime. I find their message very persuasive. Their nonpartisan, nonpolitical approach contends that making places less car-oriented than is often the case now makes them more human-oriented, more profitable, more sustainable. Strong Towns maintains that in the long term, the inability of the suburbs to afford to maintain their infrastructure without subsidies or debt financing may dictate that some places will prosper, some will hang on, and some will drift into a state of neglect, disrepair, and abandonment.

Although Strong Towns focuses on the United States its message is relevant to Canada and Canadians.

I’m happy to be a Strong Towns member. I’m also happy living in a small rural town where I can choose to walk, bike – or drive – to accomplish many of lifes’ chores. Is it a Strong Town? It could be stronger, it could be much less strong.

It’s said that there are problems and there are dilemmas. It’s also said that problems have solutions and dilemmas have outcomes. Unwinding The Suburban Experiment in the least painful way for everyone invested in it is probably a dilemma.

Back on Thursday.

Right and responsibility

Today’s post is more ‘serious’ than usual. I exercised my right and responsibility to vote in today’s federal election. Some of you know that I moved from Texas to Canada in 2007 and became a Canadian citizen in 2011. This is the first federal election in which I am eligible to vote.

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I was blessed to grow up in a very politically aware family. We watched the network news every evening, read current affairs magazines, were encouraged to be aware of politics as well as social and world events. At our dinner table, dinner was served, then discussion which was often about politics and current events. I skedaddled home from school to watch the Watergate hearings which laid bare the paranoia of a President; the evidence brought out essentially forced Richard Nixon to resign in deserved disgrace. Growing up as I did I was aware of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Preston Manning, Joe Clark, aware of Brian Mulroney and the Kim Campbell debacle, Jean Chretien declining in 2003 to join the coalition to unseat Saddam Hussein (that act of conscience and independence made a huge impression on me).


My parents imparted the lesson that voting is not only a right, it’s a responsibility. It went beyond the ‘If you don’t vote you can’t complain’ trope. It meant being educated about the parties and their platforms, the candidates, the issues, comparing all of this to my beliefs and conscience. And participating in our representative democracy in the States, now in a parliamentary democracy. While all elections are important this one is particularly important. I was, am, very pleased to be able to vote.

Sometimes we can become complacent, take things for granted. Being an immigrant, a new citizen, has helped me remember sometimes to not become complacent. I am very fortunate to live in Canada, where the hydro is reliable, I live in a safe community and country, do not have to worry about military coups, juntas, despots, barrel bombs. Where I can exercise my right and responsibility to vote my conscience freely without fear of reprisal, and believe my vote counts.

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