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With a large winter storm that brought us over 44 cm of snow on 21-22 December, it didn't take us long to get our skis waxed and get out skiing. The conditions on Sunday, 23 December were pretty much perfect with a solid multi-layered base over a foot thick and several centimetres of powder snow on top of that. Then, to make matters even better, other skiers had beaten us to the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetlands and set tracks for us!
With Matt and Katia in Ottawa for a short weekend visit to collect their snow tires, a spontaneous brunch was organized at Cora's on Alta Vista on a very wet Sunday morning. Aside from us and Matt and Katia, Christina, Alex and Liz were there.
Our cycling season is usually done by the middle of October as colder weather sets in, but this year we were out riding our Catrikes on 12 November as a warm front brought us a daytime high of 21°C. Climate change isn't all bad, although given a choice Ruth would rather be skiing.
On Thanksgiving Day the weather was so nice that we took a bus to Place d'Orleans and then did the 12 km round trip hike for a picnic at Petrie Island.
In early October we finally did some painting and completed the main upstairs bathroom.
Ruth's cancer treatment went on all spring and summer, ending in September. She wrote a book about the experiences, entitled The Topic of Cancer. Her treatment in 2012 was not successful and was continued in 2013.
We did a nice 45 km Catrike trip today on the NCC pathways in Ottawa. It was a little cool in morning as it got down to +5°C overnight, but by the middle of the afternoon it was a pleasant +22°C outside and we had to shed out sweaters. The photo was taken at the Rideau Canal locks downtown, where we stopped and ate our picnic lunch that we packed along in our panniers. Ruth's blog entry.
Ruth set a goal of triking 300 km this year and, despite losing most of the middle of the summer to cancer treatment, managed to complete her distance on 2 September! Her blog entry.
Ruth's sister Diane came to Ottawa with her son Michael and they made it to our house for a pleasant afternoon tea. Nick and Rachael joined us for the family gathering.
Matt & Katia came to join Rachael here in Ottawa with us for ten days and brought their cats, Anton and Teddy. Then Nick came up for the August long weekend, so we had six of us and two cats here! On Saturday we all went out for lunch together.
The warm, dry weather has continued through July. The grass is all brown and we are in a state of drought, but it has made for a great biking season so far. Today Adam & Rachael biked the 70 km round trip to the Aylmer Yacht Club for a picnic lunch.
The weather has just been amazing this July, warm and dry. Today Adam & Rachael decided to bike the 30 km of the completed Greenbelt Pathway.
Today was a beautiful day and so while Ruth rested, Adam and Rachael did a hike. Rachael wanted to do a hike downtown and back as a challenge and so we set off mid-morning, had lunch downtown and then walked back, for a total trip of about 24 km.
Today Adam and Rachael decided to give Ruth a break and bike to Lac Leamy for a brief picnic. We actually carried on north to the lookout at the Gatineau River for a total trip of about 70 km.
We picked a really beautiful day to wander through Commissioner's Park and take in the tulip beds at the Canadian Tulip Festival.
Both of us have been growing our hair since August 2012, but today Ruth decided she needed hers cut short, so I did as well.
With her college year done Rachael decided to come up to Ottawa and stay all summer to help out with Ruth's cancer treatment. We have all been doing some long hikes and even a quadracycling picnic that involved some swinging.
In April Ruth was diagnosed with cancer. At this point it was pronounced treatable and she was scheduled to undergo radiation and chemotherapy over the spring and summer.
We often get a bit of snow in early April here in Ottawa, but this year we had temperatures of nearly 30°C in mid-March. Now we have snow in late April. The climate is certainly getting unpredictable and unstable.
Ruth finally got her own zafu. For the uninitiated a zafu is a special mediation cushion.
Ruth says about it, "The crescent shape gives me good leg support and really cuts down on the pins and needles I sometimes get in my feet. The cushion is also very firmly packed (with buckwheat) and so also really helps me with keeping a proper meditation posture. It works for me on more than the physical level. It's easier to focus on meditation when you're not fighting a slowly curving back, sleep or stiffness from forcing yourself to stay upright."
We both do quite a lot of volunteer work here in Ottawa. Ruth volunteers with the Ottawa Buddhist society and on Yahoo Answers, while Adam volunteers at National Capital FreeNet, COPA Flight 8 and on Wikipedia.
The first picture shows Adam with his NCF shirt and Ruth's NCF waterbottle - just supporting the cause! The second shows Adam at a Monday session at the NCF office fixing a computer that is used for DSL modem configuring and testing. On Fridays he mans the NCF office front desk, answers the phones, tests and configures modems and writes help pages there, as well as fixing the odd computer.
The week of 19-23 March we had unseasonable warm weather that set records by a wide margin each day. We had temperatures in the range of +27°C each day, when the normal daytime high is +5° and the records were in the range of +15°C. We normally don't get started on cycling until mid-April here, but the snow quickly melted and so we got our Catrikes out for a couple of really early trips. We figure that if we are going to have climate change then we have to make the best use of it.
Ruth wrote a couple of blog entries about this:
Skiing has come to a halt in the last few weeks as the freezing rain and then thawing temperatures turned the snow to ice and then water. But we recently had a snowfall of some 12 cm and this restarted our ski season. Today we went out into the greenbelt and broke trails there under bright blue skies.
Fresh snow gives the opportunity to see signs of wildlife and we saw lots of tracks from rabbits, squirrels and, as shown below, coyotes.
Ruth's older sister Barbara died suddenly and the funeral was held in Burlington, Ontario on 11 February 2012. We travelled to Burlington with Matt and Katia and during the weekend met up with most of the family who were there for this sad event.
This winter has been a real challenge for XC skiing, with any small amount of snow always followed by lots of freezing rain. Today was no exception as a warm front brought 3-4 cm of fresh snow to cover the ice everywhere and allow a bit of skiing. But the half decent conditions didn't last long, as they were followed by hours of freezing rain once again. This year you definitely need to get out skiing at the right moment or else miss the opportunity completely.
With poor skiing weather and snow conditions this year so far and Ruth being down sick, she hadn't been able to get out skiing until today, when we went for a short run in the Wetlands.
We had a bit of a long fall in 2011 and that meant that skiing was somewhat delayed. But by New Years Day there was (just) enough snow for a 5 km ski in the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetlands. With Ruth housebound with conjunctivitis, Adam went skiing alone. Ruth will have to make up the kilometers later!
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