I had a full day of birthday adventures on Saturday, starting with the Lake & Shore Days parade, which is the small community parade that takes place every year. The "floats" are usually very small, homemade affairs- like the one below- by local businesses and organizations, which is half the fun.
The Trail Association made a good showing, with ATVs, walkers, dogs and horses:
Shout out to the Conservatives; the local Liberals just drove by in a car, waving and the NDPs were no-shows, but the Conservatives got into the spirit of the thing, hopping up and down excitedly in the Tory Dory:
After that, it was off to York Redoubt for a picnic lunch and a fun afternoon walking the trails and poking into the old buildings and tunnels.
After this, I was taken out to dinner and then for ice cream to finish the day off. A good time was had by all.
"The reflections on a day well spent furnish us with joys more pleasing than ten thousand triumphs." -Thomas a Kempis
While on the Island, we visited the national historic site of Fort Amherst. It was originally a French garrison and community called Port-la-Joye, established in the 1720's but it changed hands a couple times in the interminable wars between the French and British during that time period. In 1758, the French surrendered following the Siege of Louisbourg (in Nova Scotia) and that placed Port-la-Joye permanently in the hands of the English. This is when the expulsion of the Acadiens took place. They replaced the rather primitive French stockade with a new, much more solid fort, guarded by 18 cannons and surrounded by a dry moat. They named it Fort Amherst, after Field Marshal Jeffrey Amherst who was Commander-In-Chief of the British forces in North America. Though the fort is no longer standing, the dry moat is still there, surrounding a field full of sunken hollows, which mark the places where the cellars of the fort were.
Standing on the hill where Fort Amherst once stood, you can see why they built it at that location: there's an excellent view of the land and ocean in all directions, and it overlooks the narrow part of the harbour.
Even without the fort still standing, it's impossible to look around at the earthworks and not picture the soldiers and others who would have dug them out, built the fortress, and served there. They, like Fort Amherst, are now gone, but the evidence and memory of their presence in this place lingers on.
Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind. -Nathaniel Hawthorne
Well, the movie Unplanned has come and gone in Canada now, for the most part. Some independent theaters have extended the film's run, but Cineplex, which was screening the movie in most regions including my own, had only agreed to run it for a week and wouldn't extend it, despite the film playing to full theaters. This was disappointing- if not unexpected- but still, props to the CEO of Cineplex Canada for standing up to the shrieking abortion fanatics who were trying to keep the movie from opening. He pointed out in an open letter that Canadians are free people who can watch- or choose not to watch- what they want. This of course did not sit well with the rather ironically titled "pro-choice" side, which made it clear the only choice they are interested in is that of women choosing to kill their unborn babies. Women (and men) should not, however, be allowed to choose to watch a movie which questions the morality of abortion. Unplanned tells the story of Abby Johnson, who was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic- and had had two abortions herself- as she comes to realize that they aren't just disposing of a bit of tissue: they are destroying a life. The film is careful to portray some of the abortion clinic workers as genuinely believing they're doing the right thing, and shows some of the pro-life people being truly unpleasant. But the movie is clearly and unapologetically pro-life and that's driving a lot of pro-abortionists crazy.
Unplanned In Edmonton, Alberta
Numerous members of my family and friends have gone to see Unplanned and frankly, it's an emotionally wrenching experience. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to seeing it. I'm 100% pro-life and don't need to be convinced. I've seen horrific pictures of abortions and know exactly what they are and what they do. Nevertheless, I went. I felt compelled to go: first of all, because those of us who believe that every child has the right to life need to demonstrate it with our pocketbooks and show that, if they film it, we will come. Secondly, a very determined effort was made by pro-abortion zealots to keep Unplanned out of Canada, with everything from protests, to threats of boycotts, to threats of violence sent to independent theater owners. Maybe it's my general contrariness, but this sort of thing just hardens my resolve to do exactly what they're trying to intimidate people into not doing... don't tell me what to do. Most mainstream movie critics either ignored the film or panned it, because of course they did. I read one who accused Unplanned of being inaccurate, saying it exaggerated by some weeks when a baby- excuse me, fetus, could feel pain. Is this true? Maybe, but even if it is, it's irrelevant. If someone enters your bedroom and smothers you while you sleep, it doesn't become less of a crime because you didn't feel anything. Pain- or the lack of it- doesn't determine whether or not aborting a baby is moral. It's either a child with a right to life or it isn't. The ability to feel pain doesn't magically turn a preborn baby into a person endowed with rights. In any case, much as I find their arguments disingenuous, anti-science, and tiresomely predictable, I would never try to censor anyone's words. They can say what they want on this and any other topic; just make sure that I am accorded the same rights and freedoms. Much creepier is how various members of the Liberal government weighed in, approving of the efforts to restrict access to the film. Justin Trudeau's "Liberal" Party- a misnomer if ever there was one- is openly and unashamedly hostile to anyone who doesn't support unlimited abortion access right up until birth. They have made it clear that being pro-life invalidates our Charter rights as far as they are concerned. Trudeau has banned anyone who opposes abortion from running for/serving in his party. The Liberals also had a pro-life woman removed from heading up a commitee on womens' issues because, being pro-life, she apparently couldn't have anything valid to say about any issues of concern to women. Because- apparently- the ability to kill our children in the womb is the only thing that defines us as women. The "Liberals" have gone so far as to deny access to government grants to organizations unless they are willing to bend the knee to Big Abortion. Pray tell me, how is any of this pro-choice? Several Liberal MPs have spoken out against allowing Unplanned to be shown in Canada: one of these is Melanie Joly, Trudeau's Minister of Tourism. To be fair, she is from Quebec, and they seem to love Big Government up there- the bigger, the better (Quebec just passed a law making it illegal for people to wear religious symbols to work). Justin's father Pierre Trudeau once famously said that the government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. Mme. Joly and her ilk, however, are quite positive that the government has a place in your theater seat with you. Here's her tweet on the subject: Conservative fundraiser @Guzzo_Vincenzois supporting anti-choice by airing “Unplanned”. This is not a question of freedom of expression, but a political decision that is dangerous for women’s right in our (Canada). The @andrewscheerConservatives are showing their real colours again. I don't generally respond to much on Twitter- frankly, what's the point- but was feeling ornery enough that evening to tweet a reply: I am a Canadian woman; we are not a collective and you don't speak for me. It is alarming that an elected official thinks it's her place to decree what Canadians should/shouldn't be allowed to watch. Decide for yourself & let everyone else do the same.
So to sum up, there are basically three reasons why I went to see Unplanned. First of all, I'm pro-life and, in the rare instances that a movie comes out which supports that cause, we need to show that there's a market for it. Secondly, I will not be intimidated by militant abortionistas who seek to deplatform and shut down their opponents rather than debate them. And finally, when our own government seeks to overstep its power by appointing itself arbitor even of what media and entertainment we are allowed to consume, it's my duty as a free Canadian to say, "I'm going to watch that movie because it's my bloody right to do so."
Well, I'm off to a friend's wedding today. I was asked to make the top tier of the wedding cake, and handed it off yesterday. I only had to bake and frost the one layer, because the rest of the tiers are cup cakes, which another of my sisters is making.
She sent me some pictures of them in mid-production:
I didn't even have to really decorate the cake other than pipe borders on it, because a third person is making fondant flowers to go on the cupcakes and for the top of the cake too, so that they match. Once the cake was off my hands, I figured that my duty was done and I could go to the wedding with a carefree heart. Alas, it was not to be. My sister (who is also the maid of honour) texted to inform me that one of the volunteers supposedly preparing the food between the wedding and the reception had unexpectedly dropped out. My dear sister assured the panicky bride that I wouldn't mind stepping in and putting salads, etc. together. Sigh. I don't really mind, but it means I'll have to miss the pictures being taken of the wedding party which, again, I wouldn't mind except that they're being taken at the Dingle, which I haven't been to in quite a while. I was looking forward to being there again and wandering off while the photographs were being taken.
The Dingle is officially named the Sir Sandford Fleming Park, after the man who donated the 95 acres to the people of Halifax. For those who don't know, Sandford Fleming was a Scottish Canadian engineer who designed the Intercontinental Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway. In his spare time, he established the standard time zones, designed Canada's first postage stamp, and helped found the Royal Society of Canada. Fleming kept a summer estate on Halifax's Northwest Arm which he called The Dingle (a dingle is a wooded valley). He donated the land to Halifax in 1908, but everyone still calls it The Dingle despite the official name change. The centerpiece of the park is the Dingle Tower, which was built in 1912 and has two lovely stone lions flanking the entrance.
As I said, I don't realy mind helping with the reception. I just hope it's not like my sister's wedding a few years ago when the church lady who was heading up the food prep for the reception went on a power trip and was ordering everyone about like a sergeant major. A little of that goes a long way. Hopefully not a sign of things to come, but here's a scene from the 1991 movie Father Of The Bride, starring Steve Martin. Which is, of course, a remake of the 1950 film Father Of The Bride starring Spencer Tracy.
One of my nieces had her first birthday recently; here is the gift I gave her- a teddy bear I sewed a while ago, and- of course- a book:
A friend of mine had a King Arthur themed party for one of her kids, and made sword in the stone cupcakes:
I bought this book for my Dad's birthday as he is a big fan of boxing, especially from earlier eras.
My Mum's birthday is also this month, and I picked up this pretty little necklace for her. Next stop is Chapters to get her a book.
One of my sisters also has her birthday this month, and I got her the complete series of Firefly, the 2002 Sci Fi/western. She really enjoys the show and was disappointed when it was taken off of Netflix.
I also made a personalized bulletin board for her:
Got my ticket a few days ago, and went to the Tattoo on Thursday night.
I arrived in downtown Halifax a little early, so took a short walk. I followed the sound of bagpipes to the Grand Parade Square, where the a cadet pipe and drum band was playing:
Then it was off to the Tattoo... love all the marching bands!
Soldier race: had to disassemble, then reassemble a jeep and drive it away.
Irish & Highland dancers:
I always end up tearing up at some point- frequently several points- during the Tattoo. This year was no different. There was a moving tribute to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and also one to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. The film footage combined with the swelling music & choir brought me to tears. As did the lead up to the finale when there was a tribute to Canadian soldiers through the years, culminating with footage of soldiers reuniting with their families on their return from Afghanistan. I'm a fairly cynical person, but this stuff destroys me every time.
Well, I went to the waterfront after lunch to observe the Canada Day activities. Unfortunately, a steady rain was falling and most events had moved indoors and were really crowded. Large crowds in enclosed spaces aren't my thing, so I didn't stay around for long. I did, though, take a walk through the Dartmouth Commons, then took the ferry over to the Halifax side of the Harbour and walked the boardwalk as far as the Seaport Market and bought some supper from the vendors. I didn't take many pictures because I was holding an umbrella while outside, and then there were a lot of people in the market. I did manage to snap a few, though. Dartmouth Commons (you can't tell, but it's raining):
A misty ferry trip across Halifax Harbour:
I then headed back home because I assumed that the fireworks would be cancelled, but early in the evening the rain stopped and, though it was still cloudy, the fireworks were a go. I went back out and met up with some of the family to watch the display:
“...[F]ireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.” ― Jan Struther, Mrs. Miniver