Our Events 2013


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Ruth at May Court


On Ruth's cancer brought her to the Hospice at May Court, which is a beautiful, small, end-of-life facility on the Rideau River, near Billings Bridge. There Ruth has great care, good food, wifi internet and a quiet setting to spend her time. She has had lots of visits from friends and family members. I am there most of the time with her, too.

In the first photo below, in typical Ruth fashion, she shows off her new Newfoundland puffin socks given to her by her niece, Christina. There is also a photo of Buddhist nuns Ayyā Medhanandi and Ayyā Nimmalā chanting with Ruth.

In December Ruth's niece Elli Merkis shaved her head and sold her hair to raise funds for the Hospice at May Court. Photos of the event held at The Atomic Rooster bistro by Liz Shepherd on Flicker. Ruth was enormously touched by Elli's gesture.

At the end of Ruth was still at May Court and so this photo collection is continued on our page.

Ruth with puffin socks 23 October 2013 Ruth with Tinny the tin cat 25 October 2013 Matt, Katia & Ruth 26 October 2013 Matt, Katia & Ruth 26 October 2013 Ruth 26 October 2013 Ayyā Medhanandi & Ayyā Nimmalā chanting with Ruth 30 October 2013 Vicki & Witold with Ruth 03 November 2013 Ruth & her weather calendar from Gwen 03 November 2013 Ruth & Adam 07 November 2013 Ruth & Adam 15 November 2013 Ruth & Nick 16 November 2013 Ruth smoking a cigarette 18 November 2013 Ruth with snow 23 November 2013 Ruth with her System 76 Ubuntu laptop 01 December 2013 Ruth's newly refinished toenails 04 December 2013 Ruth 05 December 2013 Ruth on the internet 08 December 2013 Ruth smoking a cigarette 08 December 2013 Ruth & Elli Merkis 12 December 2013 Ruth with blindfold 13 December 2013 Ruth with Jello 15 December 2013 Ruth & Adam webcam shot 18 December 2013 Ruth 27 December 2013 Ruth smoking 27 December 2013 Ruth & Adam webcam shot 30 December 2013 Ruth & Adam webcam shot 30 December 2013 Ruth & Adam webcam shot 30 December 2013 Ruth playing Scrabble 30 December 2013

Ruth Enters Hospital

Due to her ongoing cancer Ruth has been in the hospital for long stays five times in . On she had to go to the Ottawa General by ambulance as she was in distress and not doing well at home. They have her stabilized there now, but she has decided that her care requirements now exceed what can be done at home and has asked to be transferred to a palliative care facility. This means that she won't be home again.

Her spirits remain good and she has enjoyed visits from many friends and relatives while at the Ottawa General.


Hike To Carbide Wilson's Mill

Adam and his friend Gwen took a mid-week hike to visit the old ruins of Carbide Wilson's 1907 research facility in Gatineau Park.

No nudism sign Trail 36 New signpost Gwen at the mill ruins Gwen with a maple leaf Adam at the mill ruins

Ruth in Montreal

On the weekend of -, Matt came to Ottawa and picked Ruth up to take her to Montreal. Ruth was fairly weak and tired from the cancer and so they all spent a very quiet weekend in Matt and Katia's new apartment.

Photos by Matt and Katia

Teddy Anton Ruth & Katia Ruth & Matt Ruth & Matt

Biking To Pink Lake

With Ruth in Montreal visiting Matt and Katia for the weekend, Adam decided to take advantage of the great autumn weather and do a mountain bike trip up to Gatineau Park, over the Ottawa River in Quebec. His plan was to bring a picnic lunch, bike some off-road trails and see the fall colours. He cheated a bit and took his 27 year steel framed Norco Alpine bike on the O-Train for the first leg from Greenboro to Bayview and saved 10 km, although the final round trip distance was still about 70 km cycled.

O-Train Champlain bridge bike path Poison Ivy Sign Gatineau Park paved bike path Gatineau Park unpaved bike path Adam at Pink Lake Fall colours along the Rideau Canal

Merkis Family Wedding Weekend


Witold and Vicki's son Alex married his fiancee Liz on Friday . Due to Ruth's health issues we were not able to attend the evening wedding, but we did host Nick at our house and made it to the family brunch, hosted by Witold and Vicki, at their home in Kanata.

Nick & Ruth Diane & Louise Eli, Stephanie, Nick & Waal Micheal & Micheal Witold & Ruth Witold, Ruth, Diane & Helen Katia & Matt Ruth Nick, Waal & Diane

Biking The Greenbelt Pathway

After being unable to ride his 27 year old steel Norco Alpine mountain bike most of the summer, due to a shoulder injury, Adam finally got out on the Greenbelt Pathway at the end of summer.


The New NCF Office

Our not-for-profit internet service provider, National Capital FreeNet, just moved from Westboro to Suite 206-1305 Richmond Road, Ottawa, Ontario K2B 7Y4. I dropped by to top up the stocks of free software CDs/DVDs and have a look at the new office.

NCF Office location NCF Office front door NCF Office froint desk NCF Office DVD give-away rack

A Record-Setting Ottawa Pride

The Ottawa Pride Parade set a record for participants; the parade went on for miles and miles. Perhaps most notable was the participation of not just LGBT groups and organizations, but by a lot of big businesses, like the Royal Bank, TD Bank and Loblaws, the Canadian Forces, as well as all the major political parties (except the bigoted ones, of course). Every city department was there, too: Police, Fire, Paramedics, Public Health and even the Public Library and OC Transpo, too. About half the city turned out to watch the parade. It is about the most colourful parade each year in Ottawa.

Ruth at the Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade Ottawa Pride Parade

Out Quadracycling

On Sunday Ruth was in the middle of her radiation treatment, but felt well enough to get out for a short 6 km quadracycle trip. She really enjoyed getting a bit of exercise, as well as some sunshine. It was a nice break for her from being on the couch or in bed and seemed help her leg pain to some degree.

Write-up on Quadracycling in Ottawa

Ruth & the Rhoades Car The Rhoades Car Ruth & the Rhoades Car

A Visit To Witold and Vicki's House

On Ruth went to her brother, Witold and his wife, Vicki's house in Kanata for brunch. Ruth brought homemade cold brewed coffee concentrate and they all enjoyed Witold's German Pancakes.

Ruth & Witold

Matt and Katia Visit


Matt and Katia came to Ottawa for a mid-week visit in Late July. One thing that Ruth and Katia have wanted to do for a long time is some crochet lessons and Katia picked the skills up very quickly.

Matt Katia

Catriking Picnic

Between a month of bad weather, Ruth recovering from her last chemo treatment and Adam spending the some time in the hospital, we haven't had a lot of opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy what should be summer weather at this time of year. Today, even though the weather forecast was far from correct, we managed to Catrike 21 km and had a picnic lunch north of Dow's Lake. We even had ice cream at Hog's Back Park, for dessert! Best of all we didn't even get soaked.

Adam & Ruth Ruth Ruth

Ruth Bakes Bread

Today Ruth did something she hasn't done in a while, baked some homemade bread! Ruth's chemo has actually helped her in that her gluten intolerance has abated for a bit, meaning that she can not only bake bread, but eat it too.

Kneading the dough First rise Second rise The finished loaves of bread

Matt and Nick Visit

On Matt came down from Montreal by train and Nick drove in from Burlington for a short visit on their way to Montreal for the long Victoria Day weekend. While they were here we had an impromptu celebration of Matt's birthday with cheesecake!

Matt & Nick

At The Tulip Festival

Each year we try to make it to the Canadian Tulip Festival as part of celebrating Ruth's birthday. This year the weather didn't quite live up to the forecast, as it was fairly cool and windy, but the tulips were pretty. Ruth didn't want ice cream under those conditions and settled for a Beavertail instead.

Tulip Festival Tulip Festival Tulip Festival Tulip Festival Ruth with her Beavertail at the Tulip Festival Tulip Festival Candy vendor at the Tulip Festival Tulip Festival Tulip Festival Tulip Festival

A Year Without a Haircut

Today marks one year since Ruth last cut my hair. In she had announced that I was going to grow it and I did until when we both cut each other's hair. Since then it has grown 6.25 inches (15.9 cm) and all I have had is two bang trims to keep it out of my eyes.

After a lifetime of crew cuts, I have to admit that long hair has been different, just walking in the wind is a whole new experience. Lots of men my age seem to be growing their hair these days as I see many of them with ponytails - just a baby-boomer retirement effect I think. I have also noticed that random people I met in grocery stores, on the bus, train etc, in general seem to react to me differently. They seem to be more friendly and assume I am more approachable. Now there is a whole subject for a master's thesis! While I was volunteering at National Capital FreeNet's office walk-ins definitely acted as if I had better computer skills because of the longer hair. Funny how that works!

Since she has no hair at all right now due to chemo, Ruth is keen on me keeping my hair long. Personally I want it to get just a bit longer so I can get it all into a ponytail.


Ruth's Tulips

Ruth's tulips burst into bloom today!

Tulips Tulips

Catriking Season Starts

The weather has been good for biking for the last while, but Adam was down with a shoulder injury and Ruth is undergoing chemotherapy, so that has seriously slowed down getting out triking. Adam's shoulder is doing better and so he finally got out for a ride today. Ruth was able to trike a bit in our street for a few minutes.

Adam on his Catrike Speed Ruth on her Catrike Trail

Rachael In Ottawa

Rachael arrived in Ottawa on for a three week visit. On she moved to London, Ontario.

Rachael Rachael

Merkis Family Reunion

To celebrate Ruth getting out the hospital we organized a family get-together.

Ruth Rachael Nick Racheal, Nick, Matt & Katia The family Alexander & Liz

The New Bridge

The City of Ottawa decided that a small bridge over the Sawmill Creek was too corroded to leave up and so replaced it with a new galvanized steel "drop-in" bridge this past week. While on a short walk to have a look at the new bridge, Ruth couldn't resist also having a look at the local non-migratory ducks.

Ruth on the new bridge Ruth chases the ducks

Matt and Katia Visit


Matt and Katia came to Ottawa for a visit!

Matt, Katia & Ruth Matt & Adam

Skiing Resumes

The skiing has been very poor down in the city recently with lots of ice and not much snow. Then on Friday we had a good snowfall and that gave us the chance to get out and do some more skiing over the weekend!

Of course the forecast is for freezing rain on Monday, which just shows that you have to ski when you can do so!

Adam skiing Ruth skiing

Ruth Starts Chemo

In January we found out that Ruth's cancer cannot be cured and that it is terminal. On Ruth started a second chemotherapy series as part of palliative cancer treatment. This will be six treatments, scheduled to end in mid-May.

As part of this treatment Ruth had a PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) inserted to drastically reduce the risk of bruising from repeated attempts to find a usable vein for delivery of the medication and for the drawing of blood for blood tests.

As usual her Buddhism is giving her the tools to deal with the challenges and let her get through this next five months of treatment. Ruth has decided to not continue writing her cancer diary, but instead concentrate on a new book about Buddhism. Adam has been working on updating her book and there will be a new "second edition" for free download once the treatment is all done to update the story.

Ruth with PICC line


Ottawa is finally entering the 21st century and doing testing on a new transit card, part of the Ontario-wide Presto card system. The card will allow internet registration and purchase of fares to be loaded on the card, which is then paid by tapping it on the Presto box in the bus. It even accounts for transfers on one fare. This means no more having to go to the store to buy tickets or passes!

Ruth ordered one of the test cards for Adam and today he got to actually try it out on a real bus trip and, lo and behold, it works as advertised!

Adam with Presto card

More Weird Weather

The unusual weather has continued through the end of January, with very cold temperatures and nothing but ice on the ground, followed by a warm-up to just below freezing on , 15 cm of snow and then a warm front. That brought eight hours of freezing rain on the night of , followed by record high temperatures of +12°C on 30 January, some 7C° above the previous record for the day. It also brought a big melt and lots of rain.

Before this there was no skiing here in Ottawa, due to the ice and lack of snow cover. The 15 cm of new snow allowed skiing for a few hours on before the freezing rain ruined the conditions again. Now we have a solid base of melted ice everywhere and need some more snow to get skiing again.

Adam got out skiing in that short window on the morning of and snapped this photo of the snow.

Trees covered in snow

Weird Weather

Since early January, when the skiing was great, the weather has now turned quite odd. Early January featured lots of snow, light winds and temperatures that stayed below zero and kept the snow frozen. Then we had a January thaw, but not a typical one. Typically these last a day or two and we don't lose too much snow-pack, but this one gave us five days of above freezing temperatures, including two days above +10°! By the time it was done the snow-pack had been reduced to about a foot of solid ice, no good for skiing. The photo below was taken on 13 January 2013 with Ottawa fogged in and temperatures well above zero.

Following the big thaw we had very cold temperatures, down to -22°C and with wind-chills down to -30. Then the weather warmed up, we got some much-needed snow, but then it went far above freezing again and we had a night of rain. Now we are plunged back into the deep freeze and we still need some new snow to get out skiing once again.

Climate change is wreaking havoc with our XC skiing in the city. Like last winter, it really pays to ski while you can, because you never know what the next day will be like.


Great Ski Season So Far

Ski season started early, before Christmas, but the earlier days of 2013 featured lots and lots of snow and the cold temperatures to keep it good for skiing on.

XC Skiing XC Skiing