Friday, May 24, 2024

Jet

For as long as I can remember, I've seen this object along the four-oh-one on my way to and from Toronto, and I've always wanted to stop and check it out. Much like the Big Apple that smiles at you as you drive by (and, a couple of years ago, I finally stopped at that attraction and captured a few photos).

It's near one of the places that we have a usual scheduled stop along our travels, along Glen Miller Road, at Trenton-Quinte West. This object is hard to miss, set up next to a Ramada Inn. It's a CF-5A fighter jet that looks like a couple of poles have been stuck up the exhaust ports of the engines and leaned at an angle, as though it was climbing.

The fighter is part of a memorial to remember those who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The RCAF Base Trenton is nearby, along a bay that leads out to the St. Lawrence seaway.

I stopped long enough to grab a few quick shots, while DW and Kid 1 waited in the car. At home, I applied some dramatic editing. Here's my best of the bunch.


What about you? Are there some roadside attractions that you've often passed along a roadway and have always wanted to stop but never have? Let me know.

Happy Friday!



Thursday, May 23, 2024

Beer O'Clock: Tuesday

I know: it's not Tuesday.

Perhaps, I should have broken tradition and posted my beer review a couple of days early, instead on my usual Thursday. I started posting Beer O'Clock reviews on Thursdays because I thought that if anyone was interested in picking up the reviewed beer for the weekend, particularly if the beer is available at your friendly neighbourhood LCBO or in grocery stores, you would have Thursday evening and all day Friday to get your hands on the brew.

I post on Thursdays for you, my friends. You're welcome.

Last week, I wrote about a brewery that I stumbled upon in Toronto's Kensington Market. Though this brewery had myriad cans of varying styles, some labels stood out for me.

And while today's brew came in a pretty bland can, it stated the type of beer that I particularly like, especially in warm weather. And this week, we certainly got a good dose of warm weather.

Let's take a look at this ale a bit more closely, even though today is Thursday.

Full confession: I swiped the glass in NYC.
Tuesday Saison (5.3% ABV)
Burdock Brewery
Toronto ON

Appearance: Hazy yellow, like a cloudy lemonade. A thick, fizzy white head that settles to a solid, foamy cap.

Nose: Lemon citrus and something that initially hit me as vanilla but was gone before I could pinpoint it. But it was also somewhat candied.

Palate: A mineral bitterness and more lemon citrus. A flinty (aka peppery) finish.

Overall impression: This is close, but not quite a classic saison. It seems to be missing any distinguishing spices, such as clove, opting for a more lemony signature, and the hops were more prominent than any mineral character. And while it's not a common characteristic, I often get banana on the nose of a good saison.

But I still enjoyed Tuesday. It was clean, refreshing, and had good flavours. It's possibly closer in character to a Belgian-styled farmhouse ale, where I might be more used to a North American saison.

Nevertheless, I'd drink this one anytime.

Beer O'Clock rating: 🍺🍺

Unfortunately, I couldn't find Tuesday on an LCBO search so it seems that it's available only at Burdock Brewery. Fortunately, I head to Toronto fairly often and Tuesday seems to be part of the brewery's regular stock. If you're in the GTA, head out to Kensington Market and pick some of this up.

Any day of the week. They're open daily, 11am to 11pm.

Cheers!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

So Much

For a guy who has bad lungs and runs out of breath just putting on his shoes, I did so much over this Victoria Day long weekend, but I regret nothing.

I might feel it for a few days but I regret nothing.

The big thing that I was preparing for was Saturday's CT scan at the hospital in Renfrew, which I spoke about yesterday. But what I didn't mention was that, since I had lots of time on my hands, after my hospital visit, that I thought I'd take advantage of it and explore a bit of the town.

I had thrown one of my D-SLRs into the trunk of the Niro, before heading out, and so I thought I'd head into the downtown core and walk along the main street. Coming directly from the hospital, you drive along Raglan Street North, toward Bruce Street, and you can see the main street and all of its old buildings, town hall, and shops.

When I crossed the street, Raglan dipped downward and I soon saw that a river separated the north part of this street from the south one. If there had been a bridge at some point in the town's history, there was no sign of it now.

I parked the car and walked down a footpath, toward the river, and came across an old mill. This was the perfect spot to start taking some photos before making my way to Raglan Street South.


After wandering the town for about an hour, I got back into the car and decided to head homeward. But I also decided to stop in another small town on the way home—Arnprior—to take some more pictures.

I was tired from my visit to Renfrew so I spent no more than a half hour on John Street before getting back in the car and heading straight home.


Saturday night, DW and I wanted to see the sun set so we drove downtown, stopping on the way to pick up some food and having a little picnic at the parkland near the Chaudière Falls. It was so lovely.


Sunday, DW, Kid 1, my mother, and I made our way to Carp for breakfast. It's a bit of a hike but not much farther, time-wise, than heading for breakfast downtown. And it was great to spend time with my mom, while my father was off with some of his friends.

Back home, we did some yard work but I then fitted our Niro with our kayak roof racks. I was a bit winded after loading up the kayaks, with DW's help, but I knew that once on the water, it would be relaxing. I'm rarely winded by paddling in my kayak.

We met up with some friends, in Spencerville, and paddled a 12-kilometer, round-trip stretch of the South Nation River, where we saw and heard all types of birds and other wildlife. We also met some other kayakers along the way.


Afterward, the four of us drove to the St. Lawrence and had dinner on a patio that looked out toward the bridge that leads to the US. It also looks out to the large, concrete grain elevators that are a bit of an eyesore, but the weather was so nice and the company even better.

Before heading home, we drove to the Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site to catch the last bit of sunset and the start of blue hour. This was where the four of us were supposed to be to watch the solar eclipse but we ended up driving to Granby, Québec, instead.

The lighting was great. (The bugs, however, were not-so great: you can see them in some of the photos.)



On holiday Monday, DW and I headed out early to check out the flowers and birds at Fletcher Wildlife Garden. Not many flowers have bloomed yet but there were folks working in the gardens and mowing the lawns. We hope to return in a few weeks and see how things progress.

There were a few birds and I took some photos but nothing worth sharing, yet.

We then went for breakfast in Little Italy before doing some grocery shopping and returning home for more gardening, but my energy levels were waning. I had to stop and take several breaks through the afternoon.

We uncovered and started up the barbecue for the first time this year, and as soon as dinner was out of the way, I only had enough energy to sit on the front porch and admire the lawn and gardens while the sun hung low.


I actually had to rest and recharge before I could find energy to write this post. If you've stuck to the end, I appreciate you doing so.

We did so much on this long weekend. Likely, more than I've done in a while. But if I could do this much with bad lungs, I can only imagine what I'll be able to do once my doctors figure out what's wrong with me and fix it.

Here's to the rest of the week.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Breathless

Toronto was against me.

I was doing so well, leading up to my trip to visit Kid 2 and some friends who came up from Pittsburgh. My cough had really subsided, such that I hadn't had more than one or two coughs an hour.

I know that this doesn't sound like a lot of coughing, and it isn't, but before I started using inhalers, I was having coughing fits at least two or three times every minute, all the time. My lungs had become sore and I was prone to headaches throughout the day.

But with the course of steroids and other inhalers, my lungs were settling down. I was even thinking that, come my appointment for a CT scan, my lungs would show much improvement.

And then I went to Toronto.

We tend to leave our car in one place during our visits to this city. We either walk to where we want to go or we take public transit. Being able to tap a sensor on a bus, tram, or subway with our smartphone makes getting around so convenient.

Mean streets of Toronto.
We spent a lot of time outdoors, wandering the St. Lawrence Market area, Kensington Market, Yonge Street, Dundas, and other places. I was more concerned about breaking in my new Vessi shoes than in running out of breath. We even went to a Korean karaoke bar—a norae-bahng, they're called—on our first evening, after dining at our favourite Korean restaurant.

My lungs felt fine, though I only sang three songs.

By the afternoon, on Saturday, my coughing increased. At first, not enough to bother me but by dinnertime I found myself taking my Ipratropium-Bromide inhaler—something I hadn't needed in over a week but had packed, just in case. I used it three times that evening and by bedtime, I was coughing so much that I went to bed with a pounding headache.

On Sunday morning, my lungs felt heavy and I was still coughing. I was glad to be heading home after breakfast and couldn't wait for my upcoming CT scan to discover what it is that makes it so easy for my lungs to go from feeling better to feeling worse.

Throughout last week, I felt like crap. I had coughed throughout the night, on Sunday, so much so that I was exhausted on Monday morning and ended up taking the day off work. Not great after an already three-day mini vacation.

My lungs hurt all last week and I would become short-winded after such easy tasks, like walking down a flight of stairs, or taking a shower, or even bending over to tie my shoes. Walking upstairs would have me panting as though I had just climbed a long, steep hill on my bike. I would get light-headed and have to rest often.

This weekend, I finally went for my CT scan. It was the fastest medical appointment I've ever had. I arrived about 20 minutes before my scheduled time but the receptionist checked me in and took me to a waiting room outside the imaging room.

The lung specialist had referred me to the Renfrew Victoria Hospital, about an hour's drive from home. He said the wait times for CT scans at this Ottawa-Valley hospital were a small fraction of the wait times at an Ottawa hospital and that he felt that the technicians were superior.

So, I had only just sat in the seat in the waiting area for about 10 seconds when the technician called my name. She led me into the room and onto the bed that would move me in and out of the donut-shaped scanner. Within a couple of minutes, we were done.

I was back in my car and the clock on my dashboard told me I still had 10 minutes before my scheduled appointment. Awesome.

I'm really hoping that the results will give the lung specialist a clear picture of what's going on and that we can find a way to get my lungs back to normal—not just how they felt before I went to Toronto.

Wish me luck.