Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Anna: After almost 4 years and a side trip to the east coast, we have finally been reunited with our piano!

The movers had one heck of a time getting it up the stairs to our door. It took six guys, and they were all huffing and puffing by the time it was over. An upright grand is considerably bigger and heavier than a regular upright.

And here it is, half opened up. The front panel under the keyboard comes off, too. If you click on the photo for full size, you can see a problem.

Over on the left, lying above the keyboard, is one of the hammers. As soon as everything we settled in, one of my daughters started running through the keys and discovered there was no sound coming from a B flat key. We opened it up to look, and my other daughter found the hammer lying inside.

I called the owner back soon after we discovered this. When they checked the piano over before picking it up, no one opened it up to look inside. It was wrapped with padding and straps the entire time it was in the truck, so it's hard to know when or how it broke. I'm currently waiting to verify that it wasn't broken before they picked it up. It seems a strange place for a hammer to break - it's the 14th key from the end - but I wouldn't know one way or the other.

Still, it's good to finally have it with us. There's a lot of history connected with this piano. We just have to find someone who can fix it for us.

Now I have to go digging into the storage closet and bring out my old music books. :-D

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cool Catfish

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Today we took in the advance opening event for passholders at the Muttart Conservatory. This was one of our favorite places to visit and take photos until they shut down for renovations. Full set available for viewing here.

Muttart features 4 glass pyramids. Three feature different climates, while the forth is a show pyramid that changes every few months to a new theme. For the grand opening, the theme is, quite appropriately, "All Jazzed Up." This photo is of the central decoration in the show pyramid.

They did a grand job renovating the place! Now that we've moved, it's a handy walk through some parks and across the river on a pedestrian bridge. We look forward to visiting often! :-D

Friday, June 26, 2009

the Muttart Reborn :)

Pass holder day today; general opening tomorrow. I'm thinking I might be going a little more in the next bit :)
- Blogspot is refusing to actually line up these pics, so they're messed up.. I, of course, won't be using the type of language I'd like to describe my appreciation for this software...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: The girls and I have been taking in The Works Art and Design Festival downtown. I've started up a set of photos you can see here.

Going past the food booths, we saw a sign for deep fried Oreos. I know deep frying unusual foods is popular in some corners of the world, but really, who thinks up these combinations? LOL Of course, we had to try some.

They were ok. Nothing spectacular. Worth trying once, but not something we're interested in trying again.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Police horse

Anna: While the girls and I were walking home from the library, we passed the new EPS recruitment office.

Police horses aren't quite what they used to be. ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Arachnaphobe alert!

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: My elder daughter found the most adorable spider in our kitchen this afternoon. She put it on a paper towel so we could take it outside, but I had to get some photos, first!

In some of the other photos, you can actually see that it started spinning some web. Until I cropped and lightened the images for uploading.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Warm cat

Philippe: temps are a little high, and I'm working with metering, and how to properly bracket a shot for desired exposure. :P

My D80 usually overexposes, but in this case the camera metering was severely underexposing; by flipping it up one full stop, I got a useable cat :D

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Originally uploaded by amkb

Yesterday at park day, I was glad my daughter convinced me to at least bring the small camera. It was cold and rainy when we left, but things cleared up a bit by the time we got there.

The baby Goldeneyes have grown a lot since I saw them a week before. Now, they're actively diving to the bottom along the lake's edge, for food.

Usually, the Goldeneyes are extremely shy, swimming away whenever I came closer to the water's edge to take photos. Not anymore! The mother tending to this brood (which may include the chicks of other pairs) was very protective. As I came closer, she would actually swim towards me, instead of way, watching me closely. I watched on mother chase off after some seagulls, while another dove under to chase off some ducks and their ducklings.

This photo is part of a new set I've created on my Flickr page called Urban Wildlife. More will be added soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

An afternoon at Devonian.

Anna: We made our first trip of the year to the Devonian Botanical Gardens. I've got a flickr set of photos here, and I'm sure Philippe will have more to add later on. Things are just getting growing right now, so we'll be sure to make several more trips out throughout the summer and fall. We've yet to explore the entire gardens, which will take a couple more trips, at least.

I had brought both my Nikon D70 and my old Canon S3, in case I wanted to take some video. This turned out to be a good thing, as part way through, the D70 suddenly stopped working. I tried a bunch of things, then waited until Philippe and the girls caught up with me to see if he could think of something else I didn't know about. While I was waiting, I got this photo with the S3.


There are called Shooting Stars and are part of the Plants of Alberta garden.


This is also from the Plants of Alberta garden, and is the shot I was trying to get when the camera stopped working. It basically got busy, as if it were writing something to the card, but wouldn't stop. Even shutting it off or removing the memory card didn't work. Philippe finally took the battery out and put it back in, and that did the trick. I got this photo when we were on the way out. I love the shapes in this one.


This was taken in the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden. Because of how the garden is laid out (narrow stone paths through gravel, with requests to stay off the gravel), I couldn't get down to flower level to use the viewfinder. Instead, I just held the camera out and hopefully aimed the lens at things. I think that worked out rather well. ;-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Anna: For the past few days, we've been hearing an almost constant squeaking/peeping noise outside our front windows. It turns out that a whole flock of waxwings have made themselves at home in the Mountain Ash and maple trees in front of our unit. I got a bunch of photos in their own set here. Or you can click on the photos below.


The first few photos were taken with a 90mm macro lens. This couple were being quite affectionate. They just sit next to each other for a while, then quickly rub their beaks together a few times, like some kind of birdie kiss, then sit quietly a bit longer before rubbing beaks again. Very cute.


Here, I've switched to the 70-300mm lens. Most of these turned out with a "soft focus" appearance. That's pretty much all my fault. While they were constantly moving, I had the lens at max zoom, and my hands were shaking more than usual today. I was afraid none of them would turn out, but I got a few good ones.


I moved from bedroom to bedroom to get the different shots. The birds would move from the Mountain Ash, grabbing last year's berries, to the maple, where they'd sit and preen for a while, back and forth.

Our cats can reach the window by the maple, and Harley was VERY interested in all those birds!


This shot has 8 1/2 waxwings in it. Can you see them all? I lightened the photo to make them easier to see. There were more outside the shot, too. Here's the full size photo, too.