Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Touching Account

I am sitting here gulping, for I have just read one of Real Live Preacher's anecdotes. It was published on The World According to Chuck; there is a foreword by Chuck before the story begins. It is a story about a baby, Everett Joseph Smith, who was born prematurely and who died shortly after. If you haven't already done so, go, read, and be touched.


Good On US

Last night, Canada took a giant step toward legalizing Gay marriages. It passed through the House of Commons by a 158 to 133 vote. Now all that is required for it to become law is a perfunctory nod from both the senate and the governor general. We will be only the third country, after The Netherlands and Belgium to legalize Gay marriages, and that makes me pretty darn proud.

I do understand the reluctance of many to embrace this change. Marriage, after all, has a certain history and certain connotations. But we simply can't continue to shackle equal opportunity and equal treatment by hiding behind tradition. In Canada, Gay marriage has already been de facto legalized in most provinces by Supreme Court decisions. Discrimination against minorities simply does not legally conform to our Charter of Rights.

The world changes — sometimes even for the better. Most modern, developed nations are becoming more inclusive towards all sorts of minority groups, and I don't think many bother to argue that it is a bad thing. Just this past week, for example, in the case that inspired the film, Mississippi Burning, an 80-year-old Arkansas Klansman, Edgar Ray Killen, was sentenced to sixty years in prison for the infamous murders of of the three civil rights activists way back in 1964.

Just as many still do, I once had my doubts about Gay marriage. I wondered why it was so important in an era when hetero marriages are failing by the bucketload and when all sorts of couples are opting to live in common law relationships? My daughter, however, gave me the answer by pointing out the fact there is no relationship that is equivalent to marriage. Living together is not the same. Therefore, everyone should have the right to enter into such a union.

Of course, she was right, for I have heard this very theme preached in evangelical churches. I have heard them preach that only marriage provides true commitment, that it actually gives people a greater freedom to be themselves in a way that no other relationship does. I say, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you make that argument for hetero couples, then it must apply to Gay couples as well. You can't make the argument selectively. You either believe it or you don't.

It's a difficult leap for many, but it's the right thing to do. Of course, this will not affect hetero couples in any way. They'll get married as they always have done and be just as happy and not feel at all besmirched by the fact that a Gay couple across town may be also be reciting their vows. Let's put away our fears and embrace this progressive development in a spirit of generosity and inclusivity.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Inserting Photos

The new picture insert method seems to be working well for people. Not only can you insert photos directly into your blog by clicking the icon, but you can place them left, right, or centre. If you find that your layout gets a bit messed up (with a big space at the top), you can try this solution suggested by the Blogger folk.

For me, however, Hello will continue to be my preferred method. Using the direct insert method, as I did above, Blogger seems to resize the photos according its preferences, which may not be my preferences. Hello, on the other hand, gives me a lot of control over the size.

After Sue's comment (thanks for that), I had another look at inserting pictures. You can choose amongst three sizes: small (200px), medium (320px), and large (400px). The above photo is 320px.


Monday, June 27, 2005

No Shangri-La

I was surprised to read Gina's comments about our postcard yesterday. She lives in California and writes about how green the vegetation looks in our card. Like many others, I have often thought of California as the almost-perfect environment, except for the odd earthquake. But I suppose that such does not exist — although I still have it in my head that New Zealand would be pretty darn close.

When my maternal grandfather migrated to Canada from England, one of his brothers emigrated to New Zealand. For a long time there was correspondence between the two countries. The families would exchange calendars, and it always looked so darn perfect there that I was a fan long before The Lord of the Rings brought the land of the kiwi to the attention of the rest of the world.

On that long-ago night when I asked Cuppa to marry me, she actually feared that I was about to break the sad news that I had decided to decamp to New Zealand. I'll never get there, but I don't regret my choice, for I have found the almost-perfect woman, and there is no Shangri-La anyway. It's like the old saw about finding the perfect church: "If you do find the perfect church, don't join, for if you do [join] it won't be perfect any longer."

However, if I ever win the lottery, which I won't because I seldom remember to purchase tickets, I think I'll take Cuppa and head to the antipodes for a few months and experience the best of both worlds — marriage to the world's best woman and spending quality time in a pretty, darn great geographical environment.

On our last evening with the kids in Ottawa, we went for a little walk in a park by the [Unmighty] Mississippi. I used Cuppa's camera to take the above shot of the westering sun. As the next photo shows, it was still quite light outside, so I used Photoshop to fake a later-hour sunset.


Saturday, June 25, 2005


The good news for me, and the who gives a darn news for you is that my back felt well enough to venture the eight-hour drive home today. Not only that, but I managed to do more than half of the driving.

Here's the bad news. Because it was so hot today, we had the AC (as in air conditioner and not Anvilcloud) on all of the way today. That affected our gas consumption considerably. When we drove to Ottawa over three weeks ago, the weather was cool and we didn't need to use the AC. Without the AC on, we managed to drive from Woodstock to Tweed — about 4 hours (220 miles, 350 kilometres) — before refuelling, and we still had some gas in the tank when we did stop to refuel. Today, on the return trip with the AC on, we needed to refuel 66 kilometres (40 miles) earlier, and we were running on fumes by then. That's quite a difference!

While I'm not exactly prepared to forsake the AC, I don't feel terribly proud of squandering resources and contributing (even more than I already do) to pollution and global warming. Yes, I do believe in global warming, Virginia, as does almost everybody on the planet except the present administration in Washington and its more ardent supporters who wear their blinkers ever so proudly. (Sorry, ardent supporters; I shouldn't get all political like that, but I can't help myself at times. Please forgive and resist throwing flames.)

AC has always been expensive. Even in the home, it seems to me that it costs us as much or more to lower the temperature 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit in a hot summer month than it does to raise the temperature 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in a cold winter month. The difference is that it's pretty well a case of survival in winter, but it's all about creature comfort in summer.

And yet, I am unwilling to shut it off. What does that make me? An environmental charlatan?


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Posting Pictures

If you refer to this page, the good Blogger folk will explain a new way to post photos to your blog. Despite being announced, this feature does not seem to be activated on my blog yet, but it might work for some of you. Also, for those who have trouble with wrapping text around your photos, there are also some tips on the same page.


Rick Mercer is Blogging

Canadian readers might like to know that Rick Mercer has a blog, called strangely enough, Rick Mercer's Blog. He's the irreverent and comedic star of Monday Report who doesn't seemed thrilled about the program's move to Tuesday. I still fondly recall his Talking to Americans and even got some mileage out of it in my last year of teaching. What I like about this endeavour, aside from the writer himself, is that he is just using Blogger/Blogspot and fumbling his way like the rest of us. He has refrained from hiring template designers, using expensive software, and setting up his own domain. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but this modest foray into blogdom is just sooo Canadian ... eh?

Don't worry folks, despite the last few posts, I can't see Raindrops ever becoming a news blog. I think that I just happened to come across three newsy items that seemed worth sharing.


Socks Appeal

My family thinks me abnormal because I'm a socks kind of guy. I have even been known to wear socks to bed in cold weather, and I almost always wear them through the day, even on a hot summer day. However, when I read the following snippet, I conclude that I must be smarter than I look.

The experiments also reveal a surprising fact: both sexes find it easier to have an orgasm when they keep their socks on.

Draughts in the scanning room left couples complaining of "literally cold feet", and providing a pair of socks allowed 80per cent, rather than 50 per cent, to reach a climax while being scanned.

Read the whole article.



I read this in the local paper yesterday, but I haven't seen much about it elsewhere. It's a human interest story well worth reading. The long and short of it is that a pride of lions rescued and stood watch over a young Ethiopian girl who was being beaten repeatedly. Once they chased the men off, the lions guarded her until human rescuers arrived on the scene. Read the story here.

On the personal front, I am still battling back spasms. I'm not at all sure why they have reappeared after leaving me in peace for many years now. I'm trying to rest up enough to make the long trip home within the next few days.

Requested postcards have all been mailed, except those to Karla and Rainy Pete. I bought 'em, misplaced 'em, and haven't been up to hunting high and low for 'em just lately. But I haven't forgotten — yet! Just give me time, eh?


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day Treat

To the best of all of our recollections, we have not been together as a complete unit on Father's Day since 1997. By coincidence, we are all in the same city at the same time this year, so we were all able to get together on Father's Day: the best gift by far.

This is it, the whole darn clan, at least on my side of the family: The Boy, Butterfly, AC, Cuppa, Lady Bug, and Power Puff. I have no siblings, and my parents are deceased. We are a small family but a great family.

I am happily surrounded by all my children. I consider The Boy and Power Puff to be my children too.

With my two birth daughters, Butterfly and Lady Bug (note: Cuppa helped immeasurably with the birthing part).

Yes, Cuppa and I are still romantically involved.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Angels & Demons

(He of the bad back is blogging whilst recumbent on the floor; bless his little heart. It's not that easy either.)

If you're looking for a good summertime read, you could do much worse than Dan Brown's Angels & Demons. It's Brown's other book, actually written prior to his mega hit, The Da Vinci Code.

Without trying to give too much away, let me say that the two books follow the same formula: so much so that, in a sense, if you've read one, you've read the other. Both feature protagonist Robert Langdon, an academic and expert in religious symbology, and in each he is aided and abetted by an attractive lady of genius intellect. While the two female co-protagonists share similar intellects, looks, and personalities, their academic specialties differ to suit the plot. There are numerous other similarities as well. Both involve the Catholic Church, highly powerful and secret organizations, fast-paced plots, very condensed time frames, infiltration, and treachery.

Of the two, I prefer Angels & Demons. I found it very difficult to entirely suspend my disbelief in The Da Vinci Code. My main stumbling block was Brown's theory of The Chalice; it was a rather gargantuan stretch for me. However, any book of this type requires suspension of belief, and I was better able to go with the flow in Angels & Demons. While light and frothy in a sense, it is also very cleverly and shrewdly contrived ... as is, despite my reservations, The Da Vinci Code.

If you are one of the ten people on the planet who hasn't yet read this novel, and if you are in the mood for a fast-paced romp through Rome and the Vatican, you should adding Angels & Demons to your nightstand collection.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hitchhikers and Egg-layers

After busy times, hot weather, rainy weather, and bad backs, we finally got back out on the bikes yesterday and did about 50k of trail riding. This trail, as do many, traverses an old railway bed and has lots of long, gentle grades with a 20-25 metre differential between the top and bottom. Although these slopes are gentle, they are long and sufficiently demanding to cause us two oldies lots of sweat, tired muscles, and achy knees.

Dedicated to Swamp and Rurality who can probably both identify this sucker and tell us what time it got up that morning, just by looking at the moss on its back. (I jest, of course.)

We spotted this turtle laying eggs on both parts of our round-trip. She seemed to be on her third 'laying hole' on our return trip. Why she would choose 'to lay' on the hard, gravel bike path is beyond me.

On the whole, it's a good trail that, apparently, eventually connects into downtown Ottawa. It would be a heckuva trip, though. The trail is wide enough for us to ride two abreast and is kept in pretty fair (ie smooth) condition. But it's $%^# buggy, at least at this time of year. For much of the journey, I had numerous deer flies hitchhiking on my helmet, but it wasn't until we were almost home that I got a few bites on the arms. Perhaps it had something to do with my rather slow speed near the end of three hours of pedalling.


Postcards Out

You may have missed it because it was obscurely hinged into a long catch-all post a few weeks ago, but I offered to send postcards to those who requested them. As of yesterday, June 14, the cards are in the mail. Let's see how long it take them to find their way into the deep south and across the ocean.

If you did miss the post and would like a card, click my email address in the sidebar and send me your snail mail address. Do this soon, if you want a postcard from Ottawa because we'll be returning home early next week (I think).


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My Theology

Whoda thunkit?

Here I sit: a fundamentalist-bred, charismatically-raised person, exuding all of the following liberal, theological traits. At one time, I would have scoffed at the notion of ever obtaining result like this (see below). At one time, I was so sure. At one time, I knew almost everything. Now, I know nothing and believe little.

Actually, it astonishes me that intelligent people with backgrounds like mine never waver, never doubt, never question. There are tons of these people out there. They are as intelligent as I and probably much more so (for it's hard not to be), but their minds don't go in the same directions as mine. They are not wrong to be like this; I simply find it hard to understand how they could be like this. Perhaps, in a way, I envy their faith and conviction, but, on the whole, I think I'd rather be me.

You scored as Classical Liberal. You are a classical liberal. You are sceptical about much of the historicity of the Bible, and the most important thing Jesus has done is to set us a good moral example that we are to follow. Doctrines like the trinity and the incarnation are speculative and not really important, and in the face of science and philosophy the surest way we can be certain about God is by our inner awareness of him. Discipleship is expressed by good moral behaviour, but inward religious feeling is most important.

Classical Liberal




Modern Liberal


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox




Reformed Evangelical


Roman Catholic




What's your theological worldview?
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Blogger (as in Blogspot) people beware. Unless you modify the code, it might knock your template askew.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Destinations, Goals, and Targets

I have been starting to think about our modern obsession with goal-setting. For a long time, I have been leery about this phenomenon. When I was a department head, I'd be asked to meet with the principal near the beginning of each year. We would chat and review my goals for the upcoming year. While my real goals were always to teach well and to, somehow, survive the ordeal, I always had to think of something more politically in tune with expectations.

I have come to believe that the current, goal-setting fad is somewhat of a sham. If you have to sit down, scratch your head, say "Hmmm, what shall my goals this year be?" then I don't think they are genuine goals. There temporary targets at best. You invent them to keep the boss happy because, at the end of the quarter, year, or what have you, they are somewhat measurable.

Somehow, I can't believe that past generations who have accomplished much, sat down and wrote out goals. (That's another thing. They are supposedly not real goals unless they have been written down and a time frame has been set.) I can't imagine that Einstein brainstormed and decided that "Say, I'd like to reinvent the discipline of physics by such and such a date." But he managed to do it.

Surely Einstein's intrinsic goal was to probe physics to its depth because that's what his intellect and inner desire drove him to do. He had real goals, a genuine inner drive to plumb the mysteries of the universe. That's my opinion anyway: that goals are real, part of the fibre of who we are. When we need to sit down and write our goals for the next semester, we are identifying targets of some description, but they exist mainly as justifications or placators of sorts.

I recently began to renew my contemplation of all this while I was riding the local bicycle trail the other day. I thought of how we had been content to do our 30 klicks last year. We never even contemplated pedalling any further than that. Part of the reason was that was how far the trail went and that there was a town at the end where we could grab a coffee and sit by the lake before turning back home. It was a tangible destination.

That the trail and the trail-ending-town existed where they did was very good in a way. We were provided with a destination that, perhaps, caused us to pedal further than we might otherwise have done. I can recall our first trip out there; we would pedal for five klicks or so and stop to evaluate. "I'm feeling fine, How are you? Do you want to keep going?" If there hadn't been a discernible destination awaiting us, we might never have ridden that far.

On the other hand, that same destination probably kept us from expanding our horizons. It put a cap on our thinking. That's where the trail ends, so that's, obviously, where we should stop. It wasn't until this year that a new destination began to emerge. I began to think: "It would be nice to take a group bicycle trip ... someday." It was then that I realized that they would go a lot further than 30 klicks per day. So, we thought that, perhaps, we should make it a target to try to go 50 klicks, just to see if we could and to see how we might stand up to the increased distance.

Once we broke past the mental barrier that the town at the end of the trail erected in our minds, the horizon began to seem limitless. Well, why not try 60 klicks? "Hmmm ... we were fine at sixty, so let's go for seventy." Now that we've gone past the trail onto rural roads, there are all sorts of possibilities.

Anyway, to work towards some sort of conclusion (for any bloggers who might possibly have stuck with this rather lengthy ramble — and thanks for that by the way), it was this that got me to wondering about goals in general: are goals, destinations, and targets good or bad, helpful or limiting, genuine or false constructions that serve to appease modern management theories? I suppose that they are or can be all of these things.

I tend to conclude, however, that what passes for goal-setting in modern parlance has to do with our superficial need to make progress, our need to get somewhere and to measure our success. It seems to me that we people of the modern rat race pant to reach destinations but that we are seldom content to stop and enjoy ourselves once we have reached our goals. We fall prey to the well-seeded myth that the next purchase or the next holiday or the next promotion will bring satisfaction. Actually, each of these things might help to satisfy, or at least help to be part of our satisfaction with life and with ourselves, if given half a chance, but it seems that most people just keep on striving and striving and that they seldom stop to appreciate where they are, what they have, or what they have achieved.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mississippi Heat in The Great White North

Talk about hot!

Yesterday morning, Cuppa and I decided to walk down to the river to peruse the little Farmer's Market. Drenched in sweat, we did make it as far as the river but reneged on venturing further along to the spot where they hold the Saturday market. We made a futile effort to sit on a shady bench to cool off before walking home, but hordes of mosquitoes quickly moved in for the kill, so we quickly moved on.

It was only in the low thirties here (high eighties Fahrenheit), but the humidity was so high that it felt more like low forties (low hundreds Fahrenheit). Frankly, I don't know how those of you who are southerners stand it. Having said that, I am sure that we become somewhat acclimatized, for I have met southerners in Canada who were wearing jackets when I was wearing a T-shirt.

Friends of Butterfly and The Boy took us all out on Lake Mississippi on their pontoon boat. It was quite lovely on the lake, but as soon as we hit the shore for a picnic supper at their cottage, the sweltering resumed and the mosquitoes descended yet again. We drenched ourselves in insect repellent, sat very still, and eventually began to feel more comfortable. As darkness descended we boarded the pontoon for a most pleasant trip back home.

Above and below are evening photos of Lake Mississippi, taken from the cottage.


Happy Anniversary

Butterfly and The Boy vowed their vows one year ago today. Cuppa and I are very happy that these two fine human beings found each other and a life to share.

If you haven't done so already, you can see lots of wedding photos on this page (look on the side panel for links when you get there).


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Not Meant To Be

Some things just aren't meant to be. These things frustrate us at the time, but they are good, nevertheless, because they provide amusement in retrospect.

Butterfly and The Boy were all dressed and ready to go out last night when she suggested that I take a picture. It's amazing how such a simple request can become so problematic so quickly.

I hadn't used my camera for a while. Pictures that I have been posting lately have been taken on Cuppa's portable, little Elph. As things turned out, so is the above photo.

Plan A Fails : Thinking that I might get a better background outside, I posed the couple in front of a large bush. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! It was so incredibly hot and humid outside that my lens fogged right up. I grabbed a kleenex and wiped, but the lens kept fogging faster than I could wipe. Not only that, but the kleenex left all sorts of lint residue all over my lens. In an effort to deal with both the fog and the lint, I started wiping with my shirt, but the lens continued to fog. Unfortunately, by this time, the mosquitoes had tracked my fine scent and were swarming me unmercifully. Meanwhile, the couple was already running late, so we switched to plan B.

Plan B Fails: Back in the house, I fired a couple of shots, looked at the results, and scratched my head. The flash had fired, but the colouring was terrible, and the photos were blurry. Thought I: "Ah ha! The batteries are failing. There is enough juice to fire the flash but not enough for full power." Take a moment; switch batteries; no result. As I stood staring at my camera perplexedly, Cuppa whipped out her little Elph, took a couple of shots. The couple departed whilst I was still scratching my noggin.

It was only then that I had the presence of mind to recheck the batteries. Sure enough, I had put one in the wrong way! Having made the correction and taken the time to clean the lens properly, I took a few experimental pictures, and everything worked fine. Far too late for the shot that I had wanted, but it's always good to figure out what really happened and to know that you're not going completely crazy.

Sometimes, things are just not meant to be.


Friday, June 10, 2005

The Other, Unmighty Mississippi

There is a nice bicycle trail nearby Butterfly's place (see photo above), and we were able to get out on it twice earlier in the week. Then, we had some inclement weather followed by two days of respite for my tender back. Don't worry; it only hurts when I move.

We didn't go very far on our two bicycle outings, only about 20k, but on the return leg of the second journey, we stopped at this park (see photo below, which is a stitch of two photos) for a picnic lunch. We were overlooking the Mississippi River [sic] which flows only several blocks from Butterfly's house. Nice view, eh (which is Canadian for huh)?


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Busy Times

Mostly for the record, I present a less than scintillating blog that briefly chronicles our busy weekend.

Thursday: We travelled for seven hours from one end of the province to the other. At one point the bikes on the roof rack slipped about a little giving us a wee bit of a scare, but we were able to secure them and carry on without mishap. Our American guests arrived at Butterfly's shortly after we did, and we spent the evening chatting and getting reacquainted.

Friday: We hit the Parliament buildings by 9:30 to see the wonderful Changing of the Guard. Not! Although the website assured me that this summer attraction began in June, it neglected to mention that it only began near the end of the month. Sigh. This was probably what I most wanted our guests to see.

J, P and Cuppa at the Parliament Buildings

However, we were still able to tour the Parliament Buildings. With Parliament in session and, therefore, The House of Commons being closed to visitors, and the library being closed for renovations, the tour was not up to previous iterations, especially considering that the security checks took longer than the tour itself.

On a very hot day, we followed the Parliamentary tour with a walk to and around the Byward Market and a nice lunch at the Aulde Dubliner. We ordered a side dish of poutine, a Quebecois concoction of fries, gravy and cheese curds, for our guests to experience for the first time. One should try this artery-clogging dish at least once. They do it best in Quebec, but the Aulde Dubliner did a creditable job.

Then, we visited The National Gallery where we all toured the European section in a state of sleepiness after the early morning, the heat of the hottest day so far, the extensive walking, and the somewhat heavy lunch. However, we recovered to some degree after a brief timeout for refreshments after which J and I toured the Canadian section while the ladies hit the gift shop. I love the Canadian section and The Group of Seven.

Another highlight for me (everyone else missed it) was the completely recreated chapel. I had seen the chapel previously, but this time there were about fifty speakers on the periphery playing a quiet type of religious music. It was quite a poignant, moving experience.

Then, in another exceptionally bright, tactical move, we drove home during rush hour.

Saturday: Having done more than enough walking on the previous day, we decided to do a driving tour of some of the more rural areas.

AC, P and J at the park by the Rideau Canal in Merrickville

We saw a swing bridge at Burrits Rapids along the Rideau Canal, shopped and lunched in touristy Merrickville, splurged on chocolate at the Hershey factory in Smiths Falls, and did a quick drive through Perth before returning home for The Boy's birthday bash. It was a most pleasant party that carried on in one form or another until almost midnight.

Cuppa and P in the Museum of Civilization

Sunday: We visited the Museum of Civilization for a very pleasant but somewhat tiring afternoon before returning home for supper and an evening of conversation. For whatever reason, as much as I might enjoy them, museums and art galleries tend to fatigue me significantly, but, having said that, let me add that I consider the Museum of Civilization to be a must see attraction in the capital region. The Canadian section is especially well done as you travel through our history in realistic settings that make it an experience and not just the viewing of artifacts in display cases.

P in some of her funny Canadiana regalia

When we got home, we found that Butterfly had done the nicest thing — gone shopping and put together a grab bag of Canadiana goodies (mostly with flags): pins, T-shirts, funny hats, socks, neckerchief, tattoos, a luggage label, a Maple Leaf alarm clock, one shot glass, one moose, and a box of Jos Louis cakes.

Monday: Our guests departed early, and Cuppa and I did some grocery shopping in the morning to replenish the poor Butterfly's larder to some degree. We found a bicycle trail (you just knew that we would, didn't you?) in the afternoon. It's a rather nice trail, but it was an extremely windy day for biking, especially in our semi fatigued, post-weekend state. We didn't set any distance records, but it was good to get back on the bikes for a little spin about the countryside. (We did that again today too — Tuesday afternoon.)


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Hostess

Not to brag, but my little one has grown up to be a most wonderful woman. On the weekend, she hosted both us and our American guests in a gracious, relaxed, and considerate manner that made us all feel very welcome. In between our comings and goings, as we showed our friends about town, she also managed to throw a great birthday party for The Boy. I am not sure how she manages to accomplish all of this with such great facility, but she does.

She's a good kid — obviously takes after her mother.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Happy Bird-Day

This is my son's-in-law (aka The Boy) birthday. He is thirty-one robins old and loves to splash around in the bath with others, particularly with a certain Butterfly who is somewhat modest and prefers that a photo of her in the bath not be included. He is a tweet fellow, and Cuppa and I wish him all of the best on this very special bird-day.

PS: For those who care deeply about these things, Cuppa and I are enjoying a fine but busy time here in the capital. For those few who requested postcards, I have not forgotten, but, believe it or not, I cannot find one any of mounties, which seems mighty strange to me. If I don't find any soon, I will make appropriate substitutions.