Monday, June 25, 2007

What about the Dog?

It takes planning to travel with a dog and sometimes you have to travel without. I've always thoughts kennels were barbaric. So my dogs have never been kenneled. There was always Mom and Dad or friends who would take care of the fur baby. But times change and with the option of never going any where or kenneling looming, I started researching. Apparently times have changed. There are kennels with play times and walk times and cuddle times.

Friday we headed for Calgary and a trial run at a kennel. So with our always amiable Irish Terrier, Rourke, loaded in the back we headed out. The Pet Planet people had assured me that there would be a minimum of six play times a day. Dogs are allowed to run in groups in a fenced yard. If that didn't make my dog nut, dog happy - nothing would. Of course, there was also body massage, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, pedicures and daycare if we wanted those options. Not this time. It's only a weekend visit. His suite, as it's called, is a four by eight room with cinderbrick walls, to give privacy, and wire mesh doors, wide hall ways and no stacking of suites. I go in with Rourke - it's surprisingly roomie. I can stand upright with plenty of room. He's given a raised bed that looks like a small trampoline. I put his blanket on that with his duck and he's curled up before I'm ready to leave.

How did he make out? Well, he didn't drag me from the resort. In fact he didn't seem anxious to leave the dog play yard - I had to coax him out. He was exhausted but untraumatized. Yep, dog kennels have really grown up. And by the way they don't call them kennels anymore - they're resorts and your dog is on vacation too. And in this case, I think he really was.

Safe Travels


Rourke post vacation

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Al Capone is alive and well

Been thinking about a road trip for awhile. Almost went to Nit's yesterday. Nit's is a Thai restaurant in Moose Jaw. Nothing special about the ambience but it has fabulous food. No Canadianized food here, it's the real thing. But it's not just Nit's that's a Southern Saskatchewan icon. The name Moose Jaw is famous - no I'm serious. We once met a group of Americans who were on a journey to see the place called Moose Jaw. They were fascinated by the name. They'd found it on a map and had to check it out. To me it's just the little city with the funny name. I boarded there for a few months while I went to school but back then Moose Jaw was only a small, charming little place. Now it is the home of Al Capone. You heard me right. Since my youth they discovered a labryinth of tunnels under Moose Jaw's Main Street. The tunnels of Moose Jaw are famous and well worth a visit. Interactive tours run daily, hosted by exuberant tour guides who ensure you get right into the action. So whether you believe or nor that Al Capone fled the law, riding the rails until he got to the little town of Moose Jaw - you've got to spend a day in the tunnels, running three steps ahead of a man called Al, dodging bullets and playing a card game or two with a few unsavory characters who may threaten to turn you into fish bait. And, you can end the day with a massage and soak at the mineral spa. Next time I go, I'll write you a story about the day I was there, maybe it'll even be a romance.
Next roadtrip - Calgary. I'm going to a writer's workshop. Stay tuned.
Safe travels

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Be Prepared

You'd think having gone through Girl Guides so many years ago I'd remember - "Be Prepared". I believe that was the motto. But this week's picture is a good example of not being prepared.

It's rare to find a patch of prairie these days. Most of it has been cultivated or developed in one way or another. Today we found that little piece of heaven. Because that's what real prairie is, heaven. Wild barley and rye tickle your legs, spearmint's spicy scent and imprints of the past whisper on the breeze.

And then it happened!

The camera's battery died.

So this trip all I have to offer is a rather dark photograph of what was really an incredible prairie scene. You'll have to imagine the wild roses, clumps of sage and camomile and the tall grass that hides it all. I remember a long time ago we had picnics and sat cross-legged, unseen by the outside world. I'd take a picture to hold that memory but did I mention the battery?

Be Prepared.


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes."- Marcel Proust

Friday, June 8, 2007

Strangers in our Midst

Traveling takes us to other worlds, ideas and people. Sometimes we don’t have to travel far. Today was one of those days. The last day of the working week and I was restless. In the lobby of the building where I work, I saw him playing solitaire. That’s what he does most days. But usually he is unnoticed, sitting worn and winkled behind a desk that is almost hidden in a corner of the lobby. You have to be paying attention to see him, and sadly, most of us aren’t. We’re caught up in other conversations or thinking about our lives, our problems.

He is building security. The man who makes sure that during our working day we are safe from mechanical malfunctions or unauthorized visitors. He does his job in the background and his world rarely touches ours. Today, in my bored and restless state, I began a conversation with him. And I made a discovery. We share an interest. He is a stock market buff with an enthusiasm that eclipses mine. His knowledge of historic facts and his ability to link them to future possibilities was a totally unexpected delight. Who knew that a simple question about what was news in the local newspaper would lead to a discussion on finances?

When was the last time you had a conversation with a stranger?

Safe travels


Friday, June 1, 2007


Today we begin. The first of hopefully many travels. Today we went to Plentywood, Montana. A road trip, just a short little jaunt to pick up Fat Tire beer. Don't you love some of the new names of beer and wine? Fat Tire, Fat Bastard, Wild Pig, Moose Drool, the list is endless. But back to the trip. Under two hours puts us on foreign soil. Foreign soil that doesn't feel all that foreign. Southern Saskatchewan blends into northern Montana, the only obvious indicator the border crossing.

Today's border crossing only emphasized how small our world has become. The customs officers looked at the passports and saw the Cambodia stamp from two years ago and began to ask questions. Not questions regarding our eligibility to visit for an afternoon in the United States. But questions about what kind of travel destination Cambodia was and if it was a place they'd be interested in visiting.

There are travellers everywhere and you're sure to meet them in the most unlikely places.

Safe travels


"The border means more than a customs house, a passport officer, a man with a gun. Over there everything is going to be different; life is never going to be quite the same again after your passport has been stamped."- Graham Greene