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Scottish Parade 2014

In 1669, Scottish immigrant John Alexander purchased a tract of land which would become the town of Alexandria in 1749. The men who eventually settled the town were also of Scottish descent and so it is only fitting that Old Town (Alexandria) celebrates its Scottish heritage with a wonderful Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend every first weekend in December.

This year’s celebrations include a parade on Saturday, 5 Dec at 11:00 am. The parade features:

Scottish Parade Santa
Santa on parade

Scottish Walk City of Alexandria drummer

Scottish Walk Shamrock and Thistle

Men in Kilts

Men in Kilts

Men in Kilts with Dogs

Men in Kilts with Dogs

Scottish Parade 4 fluffy dogs

...more dogs

…more dogs

and even more dogs...

and even more dogs…

There’re a lot more going on for the Scottish Walk Weekend than just the parade. Click here for more details. All proceeds from the events go to the Campagna Center’s core programs that help children and families.

If you’re coming to the parade with younger children, I recommend going to the starting point by 10:30 so you can see Santa and all the other participants getting ready for the parade. You might even be able to snag a photo with Santa.

The parade route will be:

Parade Route

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Observing people in a city is fascinating to me but I don’t want to be too obtrusive when taking photos. I appreciate those who don’t mind. I once had a woman ask me if I wanted her to walk by again so I could get a better shot (and no, it wasn’t in a sarcastic tone).

People Woman and bikesBikes are very popular in Ljubljana People watching atPreseren Statue in Ljubljana Slovenia II
Resting at the Preseren Statue near the Triple Bridge

People two women and vespaI always say “if you work hard for a rockin body, then by all means show it off” People Smoking
So pretty but wish she’d lose the cigarettes. Smoking is prevalent at the outdoor bars/cafes

People Hare KrishnaHare Krishna group chanting along the river People First date
I’m thinking first date ~

People alone at the cafeAlone at an outdoor cafe People 4 walking
Too much concentration going on

People Music drum and hornsWe came across Brass Against The Machine while walking around Ljubljana. Very entertaining. If you ever get a chance to see them play, go! People Music Festival II
Brass Against the Machine entertaining the crowd. High energy!

Only thing better than people watching is: DOG WATCHING. Ljubljana is very dog friendly.

Dog saying hi to hot dog in bike basket Ljubljana SloveniaDog in Bike Basket Ljubljana Slovenia
“Hot” dog in a bike basket

People two men and a dogTwo men and their well-coiffed pup People Ice cream eating dog
Ice cream eating dog

People Dog waiting for owner
Waiting on pizza

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Mount Vernon Estates is offering free admission to the estate today, Presidents Day 2014 and to celebrate George Washington’s 282nd birthday. It’ll be an all-day birthday salute with the gates opening at 8 am. No doubt the grounds will look especially beautiful with the recent blanketing of snow. My past visits have been when the weather was a little warmer…

Mount Vernon Estate

The Beautiful Home of George Washington

Mount Vernon Camel

During the Holidays, Mount Vernon brings in a Camel which is what George Washington did when he lived there.

Mount Vernon Grounds

16-sided Barn

Mount Vernon with Geroge and Martha Washington

There won’t be any wine today but the twice yearly wine festival is always a lot of fun

IMG_4828

Walking along the trail at Mount Vernon. Dogs are welcome on the grounds

IMG_4843

Heading to the water/dock on the Mount Vernon grounds

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Took a wonderful early morning four mile walk today. It was a little chilly cold but not raining so I’m not complaining. We started out at the Paddington Basin of the Regents Canal near Edgware Road and walked towards Little Venice ~ an especially tranquil and pretty part of London.

Near Edgeware Road and Paddington Train Station.

Paddington Basin ~ Blue Cylinder Footbridge

We came across the realistic looking “commuter” statue:

JP with Commuter

JP with Commuter

Regents Canal is beautiful year round ~ even on a cold, grey winter’s day. The cloudy morning seemed to make any type of color pop and I especially liked the vibrant blue bridges as a contrast to the grey weather.

Little Venice ~ Blue Bridge

Little Venice ~ Blue Bridge

Little Venice Blue Bridge II

Little Venice Blue Bridge II

Little Venice ~ Along the Canal

Little Venice ~ Along the Canal

Skull on Canal Boat

Skull on Canal Boat

Lionhardt Canal Boat

Lionheart Canal Boat

Another Blue Bridge Along the Canal

Another Blue Bridge Along the Canal

There was a definite chill in the air but I noticed a few hints of spring along the way. Gave me hope that warmer weather is on its way.

Another Hint of Spring ~ Daffodils

Hint of Spring ~ Daffodils

Here are my duck and dog photos:

Bird in Water

Bird in Water

Birds in the Canal

Bird in the Canal

Five Guys and a Girl

Five Guys and a Girl

Double Dating Ducks

Double Dating Ducks

A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog

Another Boy and His Dog

Another Boy and His Dog

Shaggy Dog

Shaggy Dog

London has a lot of fit people. No matter what time of day or night I go out, I see walkers, runners or cyclists. Although I’m usually reluctant about taking photos of people, I’ve noticed athletes don’t seem to have a problem with me taking their photo. Can’t blame them for wanting to show off their fit bodies. One woman ran by me and actually asked if I wanted her in the photo. She was ready to pose.

Runners, Cyclists and Walkers along Regents Canal

Runners, Cyclists and Walkers along Regents Canal

Cyclist Along the Canal

Cyclist Along the Canal

Waiting at the Stop Light

Waiting at the Stop Light

Wonder if any of those runners/cyclists rewarded themselves with a pastry from Le Pain de Quotidien like I did!

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Dogs

It’s not a good sign when your laptop makes a sound as though it’s getting ready for take-off or when John asks “what’s that noise” and it’s the laptop 😦   I’ve been attempting to save all photos, videos and documents onto an external hard drive.  Came across some video of Maya with her friend Hoss.  It was a snowy October in 2008 and they both enjoyed romping in the snow:

Big as he is, Hoss was careful not to hurt Maya when they played:

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Grist Mill Dog Park

Ever since our beloved dog, Sport passed away, Maya has been a lonely dog. Since she has socialization problems dating back to her shelter days, I’ve decided to take her to the dog park as often as possible. I’ve been curious about the Grist Mill Dog Park every time I drive to Fort Belvoir but yesterday was my first visit.  It was a “D-” for Maya’s socialization test.  When we first arrived, there was a standard poodle mix there who wouldn’t leave her alone and slobbered all over her. The next dog that came in was even more “afraid” than Maya which caused the other dog owner to panic every time Maya went near her dog. 

Today was much better: three dogs at the park and Maya only growled at the French Bulldog trying to hump her.  The big difference was the calm attitude of the owners ~ proving the Dog Whisperer correct once again.

If you’re looking for a dog park in Southern Alexandria and one which is very close to Fort Belvoir, I recommend the Grist Mill Dog Park.  Pros: 1 acre fenced area with bluestone dust (gravel), a baby pool for those dogs who need to cool down, a water pump and water dishes, plastic bags, lots of trash bins, benches and a fenced entrance to leash and unleash your dog.   Cons: Not all the dog owners pick up after their dog so watch your step.  Also, a Fairfax County dog license is required for your dog.

Walkway to the Park:

Maya at the park:

Clean up bags:

Leash/Unleash entrance:

Lots of space:

For more information about Grist Mill Dog Park (4710 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy ~ between Ft Belvoir and Mount Vernon Estate) and for other Dog Parks in Fairfax County, click here.

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Hooters Benefit a Bust!

I just read that the Los Angeles Animal Services is not going to accept money raised at a Hooters fundraiser called “Hooters for Neuters” ~ there was a lot of pressure put on the Director of Animal Services not to sully the good name of Los Angeles by being associated with Hooters. Personally, I have never stepped foot into a Hooters restaurant and don’t plan to anytime soon but FM assures me that they have great food. It must be good since I see multiple charges from Hooters on the credit card whenever he happens to be on TDY. Something about the ribs being good.

Back to the animal shelter…is it me or does this seem a little too “PC” ~ especially coming from L.A. where every other movie out of Hollywood objectifies or degrades women. Why don’t these “protesters” start with movies, TV and music videos rather than a fundraiser for animal services?! Seems a little sad that the animals suffer for a misguided attempt to be on the moral high ground. There are 19,500 animals killed by Animal Control of L.A. each year, so worrying about a bikini contest, when the women are willing participants and wearing about the same thing they wear to work, seems a little silly to me. My suggestion is throw in a couple of hunks in speedos and we’ll call it even.

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