Sunday, March 04, 2012

Garage completed

Finally, the garage is completed. The siding was put on and the slow electrician came and finished everything he had to do.

It's nice that it's all finished now.
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eight Ottawans honoured for bravery at Rideau Hall

By Tony Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen - February 24, 2012

Gov. Gen. David Johnston presents a Medal of Bravery to Colleen Taylor at Rideau Hall, Feb. 24, 2012.
Photograph by: Chris Mikula, The Ottawa Citizen

Colleen Taylor wasn’t dressed for a water rescue attempt, but that didn’t stop her from saving her neighbour after the woman fell into the icy waters of Jiulia Lake, near Carp.

“I remembering walking out onto the ice cautiously because I had these high-heeled boots on and my leather jacket. I wasn’t wearing any rescue equipment,” said Taylor, 43, an account manager at Champlain LHIN, about the Nov. 28, 2008 incident.

Taylor and her selfless act were recognized at a ceremony Friday morning at Rideau Hall. Gov. Gen. David Johnston presented three Stars of Courage and 43 Medals of Bravery at the ceremony, which honoured eight Ottawans and 38 others from across the country. The Decorations for Bravery were created in 1972 to recognize people who risked their lives to save or protect the lives of others.

Taylor said she also credits her daughter Emma in the rescue attempt of her former neighbour. It was Emma who noticed one of the dogs was in the lake and the neighbour was attempting a rescue. Moments later, the woman fell into the water and Taylor grabbed a dog leash in an effort to rescue her.

“I extended the leash as far as it went, lay down on the ice and tossed it to her. I instructed her to wrap it around her hand and I just dragged her until about six feet from the edge of the ice and then pulled her with my hands,” she said.

“At the time you just do things, it’s very practical and I’m almost embarrassed about getting this award because it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It doesn’t seem like what anybody else wouldn’t do,” she said.

Peter Nesbeth and Lindsy Richardson were OC Transpo Special Constables who didn’t hesitate to rescue a man from a vehicle only moments before it exploded into flames. On Sept. 25, 2008, the elderly man had mistakenly driven his car onto the transitway and afterwards crashed it into a tree near the Billings Bridge transit stop. The constables arrived at the accident scene to find an unconscious man trapped in his car. They pulled him to safety just before the flames erupted.

“I opened up the driver’s side door, the man was inside but he was not responding. I pulled off his seatbelt and basically dragged him out of the car,” said Richardson, 35, now an Ottawa Police constable.

“It was like pulling a heavy rag doll out of the vehicle, there are no leverages or anything,” he said.

Nesbeth said they had followed the errant driver from the east end transitway when he was spotted going the wrong way.

“When I got there the wheels of the car were spinning very fast and there was smoke everywhere. I knew something was wrong,” said Nesbeth, 48.

“I got to the car and there was a lot of smoke, I thought he would pass out from all the smoke. I started pounding on the passenger’s window with my baton, but it broke. So I came around to the driver’s side door and we began to pull him out, but his foot was caught between the gas pedal and the brake. I had to take his shoe off,” he said.

As they began to pull the unconscious man out of the smoky vehicle, an explosion erupted, he said.

“We kind of just dropped him, and we just kind of freaked out, it was frightening. The car then began to go up in flames, so we grabbed him again,” said Nesbeth, adding that the fire department and ambulance arrived shortly afterwards

The story behind bravery awards for three Ottawa police constables is also a gripping one. Const. Karen Mary Desaulniers, Const. Allen George Percival and Const. Avery Curt Flanagan were heading back to headquarters on Oct. 12, 2007 when they heard a call for a van submerged in the Rideau Canal.

It was later discovered that the 50-year-old driver had suffered a heart attack, veered off Colonel By Drive, smashed through a guard rail and plunged into the canal. He was pronounced dead three hours later in hospital.

Desaulniers was the first to jump into the waters. Flanagan and Percival pulled the driver from the van, then all three remained in the frigid water, trying to determine if there was another passenger. “Training mode kicks in and you just kind of go with it,” said Flanagan in a recent interview. “I never really had time to think. You just react.”

Other Ottawa recipients who received Medals of Bravery include Paul George Akehurst and Sgt. Lorraine Fequet.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Governor General Medal of Bravery

Colleen Taylor, M.B.
Ottawa, Ontario
Medal of Bravery
On November 28, 2008, Colleen Taylor risked her life to rescue a woman from a possible drowning, in Jiulia Lake, in Carp, Ontario. The woman had been walking her dog when it ran out to chase a goose and fell into the freezing water, several metres from shore. The woman tried to rescue her dog, but she, too, broke through the ice. Ms. Taylor was driving by when she saw the woman struggling to get out of the water. Moving carefully across the thin ice until she was only a few metres from the victim, Ms. Taylor threw one end of a dog leash to the woman, who grabbed on tightly. Ms. Taylor got down on her stomach and, with great determination, pulled the victim out and brought her to shore.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Coffee and Doggies...

Some more photos from my trip to Ottawa at Christmas.
Freda and Taz, both enjoying sitting on the couch. Haha!

Tawny looking longingly outside, as if to say: Can we go out and play now?

Freda and Tawny and Taz - all happy on a cold snowy day.  It's so funny when Taz sits with his feet off the ground.

Taz is a good boy - he's going to be 9 years old in June.

Tawny is a good girl and she is going to 9 years old in March!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Early and late

When I was putting the blog entry about the garage together, I realized that I didn't take any photos of the garage itself, so I am including a few photos that Freda took with her cell phone.

This photo was taken after the garage door frames were moved. We asked for 9'6" doors, which was the biggest that could fit in the space so that's what she drew on the plans.  The contractor realized that size of doors wouldn't fit because of the chimney, but he built it that way anyway, and then had to go and change it!  Doh!  Note that the window on the far side of the garage is not installed yet in this photo.

This is after the window was installed.

This is the view of the door to the back yard.  Tawny is standing on the steps to the new mud room.

Tawny enjoying sniffing at the Bruce Pit dog park.  A gorgeous day.

Taz and Tawny saying hello to another dog at Bruce Pit.  You would think their tails would get tired, because they are wagging constantly for the entire time that they are there.  Perhaps that's one reason why they are totally exhausted afterwards.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Christmas doggies

It was really nice to be home in Ottawa at Christmas.

Tawny often came and sat right in front of me.  Sometimes she laid down on my feet like she does.  She's a good girl.  It's hard to believe she's going to be 9 in March.  Time has flown by and now she's considered a senior dog.

Snow - Christmas Day
It seemed like the temperature plummeted and the snow started as soon as I got to Ottawa.   When I arrived from Regina, it was raining but it turned to snow on the drive home.

Taz, the big whiny cry baby, loves curling up in this chair, so Freda keeps a sheet on it to try to keep it clean...  Taz is a senior dog too, as he will be 9 in June.  He's been with us for four years now.

Waiting for Freda to come home
Freda was out, either at work or shopping or something, and the doggies were expecting her.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tandoori Kabab Touch restaurant review

We were there for the supper buffet on a Saturday. The place was not too busy although there was a large group there for a celebration.

There were a number of selections in the buffet (veg, chicken and beef) and all were very flavourful and the meat was nice and tender. The papadum had a nice bit of spice to it, and the naan bread was really very very wonderful. The hostess brought around a plate of chicken (not tandoori) which was very tasty and very hot (temperature hot).

My favourite dish is usually beef vindaloo (I like spicy dishes) but my favourite dish at Tandoor Kabab was the butter chicken, it was one of the best versions that I've had.

The only negative I would say is that the curries were thinner than I like.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Painting at Christmas

I had planned to do some work on the house when I was back in Ottawa at Christmas, but I changed my plans on what I was going to do when I got there.

The garage had been framed in and the mudroom was constructed. So it was ready for paint. There were a few nail pops on the wall facing the garage from the construction which needed repair. This was alright, however, since Freda wanted to paint that wall a different colour. I took this photo after I did the nail pop patching, and primed the patches as well as priming the mudroom.

I took this photo when I was halfway through painting the first coat. I took this photo so you can tell the difference in colour. The brown is a nice warm colour and it really looks amazing. Freda did an awesome job of colour selection.

I took this photo after I had completed the two colour coats on the dining room wall, and had started to paint the colour coat in the mudroom. It's a nice, light, warm colour, but looks dark relative to the primer, which is bright white of course....

This is the photo after all the painting was all finished, although there is still some stuff to clean up in the mudroom.

Finally I was able to install the handles on the closet by the front door. I think it looks quite sharp.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Death of America

In pursuit of the lowest prices, the American consumer has driven manufacturing out of their country, as well as all the jobs that go with it.

No wonder the US is having such a rough time...

Walmart Infographic


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Natural Law and Disorder

In the dog owner community, there are two separate yet equally important groups. The people who love dogs and take them into their homes, and their dogs who make life interesting. These are their stories.

(da dum) [sound effect] *

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The day dawned brisk and cold. Half of the lake had been frozen over for a couple of weeks, but the chilly overnight air had caused a skim of ice to form on the entire lake. That morning we had walked around the lake because we had seen a deer sitting in the water at the opposite shoreline with a couple of wolves sitting on the beach watching it. When we got near the deer we realized that it had broken its right front leg when it fell through the ice. The wolves would have made short work of it, unfortunately.

After we got back from a neighbour's granddaughter's christening, Freda decided to take the dogs out for a walk.

Taz's story

It was a chilly day and it was fun running and playing with Tawny and Freda. Then Max came out and we had a lot of fun playing. Then Emma took me up to the house and Mark was upset.

Tawny's story

It was a nice day, a bit chilly, but just exactly like the way I like it. I was playing with my mummy and then there were all these big birds, flapping their wings and it was all exciting, and like, it was so fun, so I started to chase them and it was so fun, I was running and running and it was so fun and and then all of a sudden I was swimming and it was cold and it made me frightened. But mummy came to help me get out of the water, but she went swimming too although she helped me get out of the water after a few tries but she didn't get out of the water. I was scared and mummy was scared too and I went up to lick her face to help mummy but she yelled at me to get away. I didn't understand why she didn't want me to kiss her.

Emma's story

I was visiting my friends next door to Freda's and Mark's and I looked out the window and saw Freda with Tawny and Taz. So I went out with Max because my mom was going to come to pick me up very soon. I was talking with Freda and then Tawny took off to chase some Canada Geese on the other side of the lake. Tawny broke through the ice and was swimming and frightened. Freda went to help her and asked me to go up and get Mark. I ran up the hill to the house and when Mark answered the door, he said "Where is Freda?" and we looked out and could only see her head sticking out of the water.

Mark's story

We came back from Lisa's baby's christening and Freda wanted to take the dogs out by herself. A little while later, the doorbell is ringing and there's knocking on the door and it's Emma. I open the door and Emma says Tawny has fallen through the ice and Freda needs help to get her out. I said "Where is she?" and we looked but all we could see was Freda's head sticking out of the water. I grabbed a coat and some shoes and started to get a step ladder to put in the car trunk to go down to the lake. I was almost ready to go when I heard a commotion at the front door and I looked out to see Steve's new truck on the front lawn and Colleen helping a very very cold Freda into the house. Freda was dripping wet, so I ran and grabbed some towels while Freda stripped off her ice cold coat and clothes. I helped Freda into the bath tub to warm up and cleaned up the puddles in the foyer. I have no idea what happened with the dogs but I think Emma must have put them in the back yard or brought them in or something.

Colleen's story

Steve had just got his new F-150 King Ranch truck and I was driving this pretty truck down to pick up Emma who was visiting Freda and Mark's neighbour at Jiulia Lake. As I was approaching their house, I saw Freda in the middle of the lake and - boom - I saw her fall through the ice as I was watching. I immediately drove down to the edge of the shore and ran out to see what I could do. Freda said the ice was thick there but not to come too close and throw the end of the dog leash to her. It was an extendable leash so I extended it out and threw it to Freda. She caught it after a few tries but I couldn't pull her out because her shoulders were at the water level. Eventually Freda managed to get part of her over the edge of the ice and I pulled her towards the shore. Steve Kayser, the neighbour, had run down to the lake at this time and picked Freda up and put her in the truck. I jumped in the truck and drove up to Freda's house, right over the front lawn and parked in front of the front door.

Freda's story

I took the dogs out after the christening for a play. Dear Emma was visiting the neighbour girls and saw me and the dogs and came out to say hi. A few minutes later, Tawny took off across the lake to chase some Canada Geese and fell through the ice. I could see she was scared and was going to need help to get out, so I asked Emma to go and get Mark and I started to go out to try to rescue Tawny. I was on my hands and knees to distribute my weight on the ice and I was doing well but then the ice broke and I fell into the water. That was cold. That was very cold. That was very very cold. That was very very very very very cold!!!! Then Colleen appeared with her stiletto boots but there were no ropes or sticks or anything. Then I saw the leash laying on the ice where I dropped it when I went onto my hands and knees. I told Colleen to extend it out and and throw it to me which she did. Eventually I was able to catch it but I couldn't get out of the water, even though Colleen was pulling because my shoulders were at the water level. Somehow I got partly out of the water and Colleen started pulling me across the ice towards the shore. I lost my mitten and I was so very cold. Steve Kayser picked me up and carried me to the front seat of Steve's new truck and plopped me in there, even though I was soaking wet. Colleen drove me up to the house and on the front lawn and helped me up into the house.

Those were the events of November 23, 2008 - three years ago. This is the photo of the lake on November 26, a few days later. You can read my original (very short) blog posting here.

Freda lost a mitten when she fell in, and it marks the place where she fell in -- this photo shows that location. You can also see the trail on the ice where Colleen dragged Freda to the shore.

These are the stories but these were all written by me (Mark). I do have notes that I made at the time, but I didn't have them with me as I wrote these stories, so there may be minor errors in detail.

Needless to say, I am forever grateful to Colleen and Emma for their part that day in pulling Freda out of the lake. If they hadn't been there, I dread to think what might have happened.

In 2009, I was reading some of the stories of the new winners of the Governor General's awards for Bravery. As I read those stories, I thought that I should look into nominating Colleen for her selfless actions that saved Freda's life. I submitted a nomination and am very glad to say that Colleen was informed that she will be the recipient of a Governor General Award for Bravery.

You can read about the October 2011 awards here.

* Apologies to Dick Wolf, the creator of Law & Order, for taking creative license with the introductory commentary to his show.