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This morning as I browsed news stories on the Ottawa Citizen’s site, a strange message came up:

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Are they off their rockers? Have they been eating too many hotdogs at Ikea? Are they high on nitrates? Just because the New York Times did it successfully, does not mean readers/surfers will do the same.

Free local news is available in multiple formats. Why would I pay to look at news articles that are freely available in other publications on-line? Why are you proposing this at the same time that government workers are losing their jobs?

My blog links have now been updated to demonstrate my displeasure at being forced to pay for something that should be free. If you told me that I would never have to look at another ad, maybe I would consider it.

Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!

It was a departure from the usual scene at Movies on the Beach. Instead of kids screaming and kicking up sand waiting for the movie to start, adults were out of the chairs kicking up their feet on the dance floor. And we had finally discovered Ottawa’s Ras Lee Reggae.

On a Friday evening in July, waiting for Harry Potter to begin, we’d heard the Maria Hawkins band perform on the patio at the Westboro Beach Cafe, run by the Newport on days the beach is open and the weather is fine. And on a Sunday evening, we’d cycled by and stopped to listen to a Latino band performing at sunset. But we’d never been by the beach on a Saturday evening. And it was the article in Saturday’s paper saying that the city is closing its beaches at the end of the weekend that made me think about heading down for a beer to watch the sun set. We had no idea that Ras Lee had been playing every Saturday night since the beginning of June. And clearly the band had established a following. Read the rest of this entry »

Have I blogged about how much I love our folding bikes? It’s just so much easier to fold them up and put them INSIDE the car instead of having to put them ON the car. Read the rest of this entry »

This time it wasn’t the smoke detector at 4:00 a.m. It was construction workers at St. George’s Church backing up – beep, beep, beep – then scraping the pavement to load up dump trucks.

I had thought you had to stop construction work at 7 p.m., but apparently it’s 10 p.m. Even Ashcroft, one of Ottawa’s most hated developers, doesn’t continue working past 7 p.m. So it was incredibly frustrating to learn that because it was a first offence at this location, they could continue all night if they wanted. By-Law was not going to send an officer to shut them down. Instead, some bureaucrat would eventually get around to sending them a form letter warning them not to do it again. And clearly this company knew this, because they continued making noise well after 11 p.m.

All the NIMBYs in the neighbourhood had no problem picking on Ashcroft when they bought the convent, but why weren’t they badmouthing the nuns who sold it for a huge gain. You know, the ones that don’t pay taxes because they’re a religious organization. After all, the nuns could have donated it to the city as a gift for the community that they lived in for so long.

And let’s not forget the NIMBYs cried foul when they saw the design for the site because it would block the view of the convent. That’s right, the convent that nobody could see because there was a huge wall around it. Then when Ashcroft said the walls needed to come down for safety reasons, the message suddenly changed to “you can’t tear down my wall!” Well I’d like the NIMBYs to criticize the church and its contractors for knowingly working more than an hour past the time allowed by by-law.

Which leads me to question why we assume that developers are the only ones who bend and break the rules? I only need to look across the street and listen to the noise last night, a night where I should have been able to sleep with the windows open but was forced to turn on the A/C to block out the noise.

Come on St. George, be a better neighbour!

After listening to the debate between the neighbours about the best cheap breakfast within walking distance, we decided to stay in this morning and have more of my homemade muffins, some yogurt, a banana, juice and coffee.

Our Frommer’s book guided us around Beacon Hill. It is on a hill, but nothing like San Francisco. We did discover old gas lanterns, including ones with emergency pulls for fire alarms on Mount Vernon Street, At the small Louisburg Square, we saw two hidden statues and the corner house where Senator John Kerry lives with his wife.  I almost fell numerous times on Acorn Street, an old cobblestone back alley with beautiful flowers cascading out of window boxes. Independent shop  and cafes with clever names filled both sides of Charles Street. With our Beacon Hill walk completed, we needed to find out way to the next wall: the North End. Read the rest of this entry »

Our morning started with freshly brewed coffee, my homemade mini muffins (banana and maple walnut), and orange juice. We brought our bananas with us, and headed over to Massachusetts Avenue to take the T from Central station. It was pretty straightforward once you remember that to get to Boston is “inbound” and coming home is “outbound”.

We decided to get the 7-day pass for $18, because a one day pass is $11. The woman at the ticket booth was incredibly helpful. She left her booth and joined us on the unpaid side, asked how we were paying and then set us up on one of the machines.

We headed in on the red line to Downtown Crossing to start our partial tour of the Freedom Trail. We found our way to Boston Commons and the Public Gardens. The gardens have a pond / lake where you can take the “white swan boat” around the lake. The boats are powered by pedals by the “captain. They looked pretty cheesy and we didn’t see anyone using them. Read the rest of this entry »

When we went to bed last night, the plan was to leave around 6:30. I woke up twice during the night, first around 1 a.m., then again around 3:30 a.m. About 20 minutes after I fell asleep the second time the smoke detector in our bedroom started beeping, every 30 seconds really, really loudly.

After three beeps we were both fully awake, and I was on the computer googling why it was making the noise. It’s hardwired into electrical so there’s no battery. And the three detectors , one on each level, are linked so that if there’s smoke in the basement, it will beep upstairs. But the strange thing was that only the upstairs one was beeping.

Eventually we figured out that the lifespan is seven years, which just passed, and it needs to be replaced. By then it was about 5:00, and we only had an hour to sleep before the alarm would start beeping. On the plus side, Wellington was extremely happy to have play time on the kitty condo at 4 a.m.

We’d debated our route from Ottawa to Boston, and eventually decided to go to Montreal, then down through St-Jean-sur Richelieu, through Vermont, New Hampshire and into Massachusetts. We decided if traffic on the 40 was bad, we would switch to  the 20. But traffic was surprisingly good. In fact it was better than the last time we were there on a weekend.

The experience crossing into Vermont was different. We’re used to the Prescott/Ogdensburg crossing, where we’re never asked more than a few questions and rarely have anyone ahead of us. The crossing at High Point was busy and slow. And despite being in the U.S., the signs were bilingual, and so was the Homeland Security official who checked our passports. Read the rest of this entry »

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