Look Within Yourself

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The wisdom you seek is always there. It’s when you are off looking elsewhere that you get lost.

What Have The Roman's Ever Done For Us?

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Architecture, Art, Literature, Language (Latin), Sanitation and Sewage, Aqueducts, Education, Irrigation, calendar, coins, cement, bricks, Public heated baths, Turnips, carrots, Paved streets and pavements, Apples, pears, grapes, Benefits (free food) for poor citizens, Roads, Wine, Cats, Towns, Glass, Street Cleaners, Shops, Laws, Public order, Firemen, Police, Parks,
Cabbages, peas, Public libraries, Public advertisements, notices… World Peace…

ANDRomanesco Broccoli!!!

Mmmm I Love Turtles!

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My turtle Raphael came into my life a tad bit unexpectedly and even perhaps a little bit inconveniently… but I am glad that our paths crossed. When I was in Victoria this past April we needed a place to park by the Bay Street Armoury and the only place available was for customers only. So we ducked into a store to justify the parking…  and the store just happened to be a pet store. 

I found Raphael as I was browsing the tanks. His price was ridiculously marked down and curiousity got the better of me and I asked why. I was told that his previous owner had abused and neglected him and his shell had softened and was deformed. Apparently no one wanted him because of that. Then they said something like “we don’t think we will ever be able to find a home for him.” Well, we all know that’s code for “I’m Allie’s next pet” (all my pets are rescue animals) so ofcourse I adopted him.

I don’t usually make these kinds of decisions in this manner (without thinking much of the consequences) but I had fallen for the little guy and was determined to bring him home with me (which turned out to be harder than you might imagine). I know that his shell is supposed to be smooth and that his is all pointy (they call it pyramiding) but I think he is fabulous and now he is in perfect health. He has a great personality and I am looking forward to getting to know him even better over the years.      

True North Strong and Free

rcmp.jpgThe Mountie in Red Stetson and the RCMP Musical Ride are iconic to Canada. It is one of the first things that people think of when they think of Canada. I was a little girl when I saw the Musical Ride for the first time and I still revel in it when I get the chance to see it again. 

It made sense to me to stop into the Musical Ride training school and stables in Ottawa. Actually, to be completely honest I wasn’t sure if I would get off the tour bus for a quick tour or just pass by. Then I saw this RCMP officer outside the building on his horse and I was off the bus faster than I ever realized I could get off! What can I say, I am a sucker for uniforms. 

It's all about your Perspective...

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I’ve learnt in the past few months that sometimes how you see things and events in your world can be so skewed by other influences that you’ll begin to feel a tiny bit jaded if you don’t find a way to get away from whatever is distracting you and re focus on those things.

Sometimes all you need is to look at something from another perspective.

My hotel in Ottawa was close to Sparks Street Mall (a pedestrian mall with public art, heritage buildings and small shops/cafes) and I walked past this building and these lions atleast four times a day. Nothing about them sparked my interest or imagination until the last day I was in Ottawa. I must have observed them from a new angle and that’s when I saw this picture. This picture turned out quite well but I never would have taken it had I not seen it from this perspective.

Reconciliation

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There is only one monument in the world that is dedicated to Peacekeepers - and it is right here in our nation’s capital city - Ottawa. This monument is dedicated to all Canadian Peacekeepers, alive and dead, who have spent time in many areas of conflict around the globe.

Canadian’s are particularily proud of the role our armed forces and RCMP officers play in United Nations missions. Since 1948 Canada has been answering the UN’s call where help is due. Our soldiers do all kinds of jobs; including (but not limited too) policing, election observation, protection of government officials, building new schools and wells, rescue during natural disasters and rebuilding infrastructure afterwards.

24 Sussex Drive

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Mitakuye Oyasin and the lessons they bring

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Pida Miya Tatanka! (Many Thanks Buffalo)

I have a wonderful set of cards called Medicine Cards. Captured within this deck are north american native teachings of the totem animals and ally spirits, hence the name “Medicine” cards. I’ve had this deck for more than 16 years now and have found using it has always provided me with extra meaning to situations, events or challenges in my life. It always makes me think about how the lessons apply to my current life. More recently I have moved away from using the cards in the most traditonal sense and have adapted the concept to my whole life - so now when I encounter an animal in my day I make a point of learning what that totem teaches and then I allow that wisdom to guide my interpretation of the experience I am having at the time. 

Yesterday Duncan and I spent the day in Elk Island National Park which is full of buffalo so it’s really no surprise that I would encounter a bison. In fact, we saw many, mostly at a distance, but a few up close on a couple of occasions, like this one grazing at the side of the road. We were watching him from the van and normally they completely ignore you, but when he turned and looked right at me he made a connection with me. So I wondered what medicine Bison is bringing me right now.

Buffalo teaches us to remain well grounded; to provide abundantly for others; to find the strength to carry on and be in harmony with Mother Earth; to give selflessly from the heart with pure intent; and also, the meaning of sacrifice and the sacredness of life. All life. But above all, Buffalo Medicine is about abundance. It teaches “that abundance is present in your life when ALL relations are honored as sacred.”

I know there is abundance in my life, especially in those times when it is easy to think there’s not. It’s all too easy to start feeling sorry for myself during those times so Buffalo is a great reminder to look at the real meaning in the world around me and stop being so self focused - my first world problems are not (in most cases) real problems. Also I know from many past experiences that you can’t be open to receiving more abundance in your life if you are not recognizing, appreciating and sharing the abundance that it already there.

The other lesson here - to love and treat all of our relations - every person, creature and element - with equal amounts of love and respect - is the real gift I get from Buffalo today, although it is a difficult one to accept. I have been really struggling recently with this in a certain area of my life and it’s upsetting for me to be so torn in this way. This is a gentle reminder that I need to look past my judgements and passionate beliefs and reactions to see the goodness and humanity in everybody, especially when they need my help. I’m still not really there yet (not even close) but I’m going to try to be a better person in this regard, thanks to Buffalo.

Fog of War

 disruptive.jpgHow do you Camouflage a big boat?

Not all camouflage is meant to conceal. A striking example would be the bizzare “Dazzle” camouflage used on Allied ships during WWI and WWII.

The Dazzle pattern seems unlikely camouflage, perhaps even drawing attention to the vessel to some degree. However the purpose of the disruptive Dazzle was to prevent the enemy from estimating important details about the ship, like the size and type, as well as it’s heading and speed. In WWI and WWII, naval engagement was done visually so anything to prevent an observer from accuratley targetting a vessel increased the chance of the ship’s survival.

Changing of the Guard - a slideshow

I know I must be doing something right because when my son saw these photo’s he was inspired and said he would like to serve next summer as part of the Governor General’s Foot Guard (summer employment for the Reserve Force). They are pretty impressive to see in person, thats for sure.