Saturday 30 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Waiting for 2018, But Not for Barbecue Season

The year isn't over but some people can't wait until the weather is better.  At the moment it's minus 24 C (about minus 13  F) and has been like that for days.  Supposed to continue for another week, too. 

But obviously these folks want to get a jump on summer...or maybe they just didn't get around to putting things away. 

Must point out though that it's possible to barbecue in this weather.  Lukas did it on Christmas Eve, turning out Swedish potato sausage cooked perfectly.

Friday 22 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Merry Christmas and All That

I've posted this photo before I think, but it seems particularly appropriate as the year turns on its solstice hinge.

Supposedly there will be a few more seconds of daylight today than there was yesterday.  Good thing to know, even though we're not likely to seem much sun, given snow in the weather forecast.

But when the sun does come out, it will shine on sheets of white, multiplying its light.  And light is something that is sorely need, in both the literal and the figurative sense.

This is a winter of discontent, perhaps the worst in a long time.  Hard to keep the faith but we have to, or else the loathsome ones will win....

That said, let me wish everyone some pleasure over the next few days, as the year ends and a good part of the world celebrates--well, what does it celebrate, actually?  Our Jeanne says it is love, and I'll go along with that.

For more thoughts about 2017 and wishes for 2018, here's the link to my holiday blog.  Blessings on us everyone, as Tiny Tim said.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Christmas Cactus as the Holidays Approach

I have two Christmas cactuses that have bloomed for at least 15 years, sometimes twice a winter in fact.  But I've never had such an abundance of blooms as this year, on the one that flowers in December.  (The other one blooms in November and maybe in March.)

Don't know what I did right this year, but it is a pleasure to see the flame-like flowers covering the plant.  An early holiday decoration.

Saturday 9 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Sil, a Tradition

Must confess that the photo dates from a few years ago, but in the refrigerator right now are 24 salt herring, waiting for me to get my act together and make marinated herring, or sil.

This is one tradition that comes from Lee's family that I really like.  Takes about 10  days after you start the marinating process before the sill is (or is it are?) ready to eat. But the result is definitely worth waiting for.

In recent years I've had trouble finding salt herring around here.  Last year I persuaded a wholesaler to sell me some: quite a production as the company is run by a pair of Hassidic Jewish brothers who were amused by my plea that I needed salt herring for Christmas as was their staff that included a couple of very French Canadian office workers and several Muslim men who looked after the fish.  This year I tried to find a place closer to home, and did, finally.  The fish seem a little smaller than last year, but at least I didn't have to do as much running around...

So, while there's no snow on the ground, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least in my refrigerator...

Saturday 2 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Sunrise, November 30, 2017

Well, actually the sun had been up officially for a good half an hour, but when I was out Thursday morning, it was just peeking around Mount Royal.  The leaves are finally off the trees, but there is no snow on the ground.  Just sere grass and light glancing across the little frost that collected over night.

There are many cities farther north than Montreal--London and Paris to name only two.  I don't know how I'd last in them: short days get to me.  Right now I'm hoping for snow soon, since what light there is on winter days is magnified when there's snow on the ground.

Saturday 25 November 2017

Saturday Photo: Start of Construction

The photo was taken about a year ago when construction began in earnest for the new Université de Montréal satellite campus.  What I wanted to show was the concrete delivery in the background, because I was beginning to think about Rock of Ages: How Concrete Built the World as We Know It.

Happy to say that the writing has begun now: have a plan and about 20 pages written.  Will take a while longer, but it's nice to think that I'm on my way.

Saturday 18 November 2017

Saturday Photo: November Skies, Meteors and Visual Pollution

There's been some talk about the possibility of a good meteor show from the Leonids tonight: here's the link to The New York Times story about meteors showers in general, with specific reference to the flurry of meteors that we might see during the period when the earth passes through the region of the solar system full of cosmic junk.

But it's become impossible to see much of anything in the night sky in our neighborhood as residents put up more and more outside lights. I remember seeing Orion on winter nights as I put the car away in the garage, but this week, while I thought I saw the brightest star in the constellation, I had to guess at the rest.  Thomas told me that he and his Dad had seen a planet last weekend--Venus, to hear him tell--but it's very hard for a little guy these days to wonder at the starry sky if he lives in a city.

The wintry wonder of skies like the one shown above are some consolation, I suppose.  With the leaves off the trees, the parade of clouds across the sky is more apparent.  But even scenes like this are menaced.  Earlier this week we had three days of air pollution alerts, occurrences that had become much less frequent when regulations against burning trash and fire places came into effect.  But the climate is changing, as we all know, and other factors have come into play....

Saturday 11 November 2017

Saturday Photo: Concrete, the Material That Builds Our World

This week I really got rolling on the newest project, a new book to be called Rock of Ages: How Concrete Built the World As We Know It. Making plans to attend a big convention of concrete types, looking at the photos I've taken over the years, reading a lot of notes, and trying to start writing.

This is one of the more humble uses of concrete, improving somebody's parking space.  There are a millions more, and I'm trying to bring some order into my presentation.  Should be an interesting challenge!

Saturday 4 November 2017

Saturday Photo: Full Moon, Clear Skies

The forecast is for rain but the full moon is hanging around just now.  Nice to see....

Saturday 28 October 2017

Saturday Photo: Pumpkins...and Pumpkin Pi

Just returned from scouting pumpkins.  Thomas and Louis (5 and 17 months) are coming over today and we're going to make a pumpkin, or maybe two.

We currently have two tiny ones and two small ones, chosen by Jeanne when she was here earlier in the week.  She left with three small ones for herself and her parents.  She also chose the ones we have: I was surprised that she wanted the smaller ones, but she was the one who got to decide.

Not sure what Thom will think though, hence the scouting trip.  Funnily, there seem to be very few medium sized ones around--a few tiny ones and several enormous ones in the stores. 

Well, we'll see what the boys decide.  And afterwards we'll have the prospect of several pumpkin pies, which are favourites around here. As is this terrific jack o'lantern carved a few years ago by some talented folk.

Saturday 21 October 2017

Saturday Photo: Hibiscus in October II, Inside

The plants were brought in, there was a little frost Tuesday morning, but the temperatures shot up considerably at the end of the week.  Because of this--or despite it, take you pick--one of the hibiscus celebrated by sending forth another flower.

Should be interesting to see if the plant continues to be so colourful.  At the moment, we're just enjoying have the green inside, as the trees finally begin to turn colour. 

Climate change is really weird.  We haven't had to turn the furnace on yet this fall, and didn't run the air conditioner very much either this summer.  Maybe this Montreal is becoming a more temperate climate?

Saturday 14 October 2017

Saturday Photo: Hibiscus in October

For years I've had two hibiscus bushes that have bloomed perhaps a half dozen times when the conditions were just right.  I put them outside in the summer, but even then blooms are rare. This year, however, things are different.  They've spent four months in their usual vacation place, in our shady little patch of front garden, and in the past few weeks they've been blooming.  At the moment, they have three flowers (I couldn't get them all in the photo) with a few more buds still to go.

Two things may account for this.  First, I did put some composted manure on them in early August, because their roots had begun to show, but I've done that before with no real results. 

The second factor is more important I think: for the first time ever I've kept them outside well in October, and the light coming through the overhanging tree branches is lower and  more intense. 
Is this one of the upsides of global warming?  Will we have other falls where the temperatures match or exceed those of July and August?  No idea, of course, although the prospect of climate change gives me chills.  What I will do is bring the plants in next week, before the frost which is forecast for Monday night.  In the meantime I'll enjoy the blossosm.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Coming Soon to the Atwater Library: Road through Time

Hope to see you at 12:30 p.m. Thursday October 12 at the Atwater Library when I'll be talking about  Road through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move (University of Regina Press.) This image of Persian charioteers (as imagined in the 19th century) will be one of those I'll show as I talk about the first roads, warrior's roads, modern roads, and where they may be leading us now.

Saturday 7 October 2017

Saturday Photo: Happy Thanksgiving...

A little fall in the air, finally, with some leaves turning colour!  Nice...

This weekend in Canadian Thanksgiving, a feast I like a lot.  The idea of giving thanks to some Supreme Being doesn't appeal to me, but I think it's good to occasionally stop and reflect on what one has.  We're lucky to live in peace in a country that is more good than otherwise, to have family and friends, and to be able to eat our fill.  Personally, I have been very lucky to be able to follow my star with the help of some wonderful people.  Thank you!

And tomorrow we'll all have a lovely meal chez Lukas and Sophie.  It's the first time they've hosted the feast.  It's great that they stepped up to plate when I hesitated because of uncertainty about a small health problem (which has more or less resolved itself, thank goodness again.) Merci and bisous à tous et toutes....

Saturday 30 September 2017

Saturday Photo: Stars on Earth--Asters

Before the rain we had on Thursday, our little front yard was filled with bouquets of native asters.  The flowers are a lovely shade of mauve, and bloom at the very end of summer. 

They're part of my wild, Darwinian garden in which I strive to have something low-maintenance in bloom from the time the snow melts until a good freeze levels things.  For the week or two when the asters overlap with the best of the golden rod, the effect is quite wonderful, I think.

We'd gone through a long, hot dry spell after a wet spring and summer, and the flowers were thriving with a little watering from my soaker hoses.  But the temperature dropped Thursday night, and thunder storm blew in for a few hours.  A few of the clumps of asters suffered from the hard rain so the effect isn't quite what it was.  But the change in the weather is a good one, and long overdue....

Saturday 23 September 2017

Saturday Photo: Belles dames Or Painted Ladies?

Somewhere in there are a couple of lovely butterflies.  At first, when they appeared in mass about a week ago, I thought they were Monarchs, but it turns out they are what are called Painted Ladies in English or Belles dames in French.  The differences are obvious, when you see them side by side, but if you're not a butterfly expert, they're hard to distinguish.

Needless to say, Montrealers have been delighted to see so many of the beautiful creatures flitting around in these amazingly warm last days of summer/first days of fall.  All very normal, we're told.  A spring and summer that led to great success for the butterflies when it came to reproduction, plus this unusually warm weather after a wet summer.

Okay, I'll accept that, and not let my climate paranoia lead me to worry that the reason I haven't seen anything like this before is not a harbinger of more damage to the planet.  So I'll keep my comment to a linguistic one.  The names for the butterfly in French and English say a lot about the cultures--or what the cultures were in the 19th century when many plants and animals were catalogued.  Quite simply, something lovely in French could easily be named Belle dame, but in English a moralizing quirk led to Painted Lady which we all know is up to no good.

Would that the French are right!

Saturday 16 September 2017

Saturday Photo: Rock of Ages, How Concrete Built the World as We Know It

This is the week that I start work in earnest on my next book, tentatively titled Rock of Ages: How Concrete Built the World as We Know It. Now that the major revisions to Different: Places that Should be Alike That Aren't Alike  (due from University of Regina Press in Fall 2018, if all goes well)  have been sent off, it's time to change gears.

Not that I haven't been thinking about the topic for a long time.  During our trip this summer, one of the things I wanted to see was Grand Coulee dam on the Columbia River, which for a while was the biggest concrete construction in the world.  But one of the things I forgot when I was thinking about the hydroelectric potential of dams is the massive effect irrigation with water from the projects. 

Concrete is essential for getting water to the countryside.  Without canals lined with it, the water so carefully collected behind dams would simply sink into the earth without the desired effect. 

This is a photo of the outlet canal at Grand Coulee.  I haven't yet researched just how the irrigation system works in this part of Washington state, but you can see the kind of countryside the river and its channeled water runs through.

More later....

Saturday 9 September 2017

Saturday Photo: Le Jardin botanique, Montreal's Jewel

A good friend is visiting from out of town and we did something we hadn't done in a long time: visit Montreal's Jardin botanique.  What a delight!

Our friend had spend some time around here in the early 1970s, but she said she'd never gone there then, and I realized, too, that until I was in my late 30s and had kids, I never went looking for the loveliness of gardens.  But when the children were small the garden was free, and one of our favourite winter outings was to spend an afternoon in the green houses.  Quite wonderful to be in a tropical atmosphere when it's snowing outside!

Since then we've gone through phases when we visited frequently, but lately the press of work and other projects have pushed the Jardin to the back of our schedules.  This visit has revived our interest, and I'm sure we'll be back soon. Here's a link.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Saturday Photo: Or What Happens When the Internet Lets You Down

No picture this weekend, to show my profound disappointment that we didn't have internet for 24 hours this weekend.  Amazed at how much we have come to fit regular views of news sites, Facebook and e-mail into the fabric of our lives.

Things are back to normal, which means I can waste more time than I should following links to interesting sites....

Saturday 26 August 2017

Saturday Photo: Bees....

My overgrown, mostly-indigenous garden of perennials has been hosting a bumper crop of bees this summer.  Glad to see that, given the current worry about the fate of bees in the wild.

But last night a few wasps decided to check out the sausages I was barbecueing.  Not so welcome visitors, but I guess all part of the web of life, or some such.

Saturday 19 August 2017

Saturday Photo: Pear Harvest

It's been a wet, rather cool summer but the two pear trees in our backyard have loved it.  There are more pears than the squirrels can eat, and I harvested those I could reach this week.  Not that they're terribly tasty, but getting fruit like this in the middle of the city is pretty cool.

My neighbor Nicola, with whom we share our harvest particularly since they get a lot of down fruit on their side of the fence, said she makes a purée of the pears, freezes small portion,  and then uses them to make pear mousse.  Sounds like a winning idea.  As soon as the pears are ripe enough (and you have to pick them before they're ripe) I'll do just that.

Saturday 12 August 2017

Saturday Photo: The Grand Antonio, and Electricity

One of the grandkids favourite stories is that of The Great Antonio, a Montreal strong man, by Elise Gravel.  He pulled buses with his teeth and other feats of strength.  Gravel's illustrations are delightful, and obviously made a big impact on not-quite-five Thomas.

When we were doing a little morning walk-about near Grand Coulee dam on our recent trip, he got very excited, pointing toward the hilltops and talking about the Grand Antonio.  The adults couldn't figure out what he meant, but then it dawned on us: the high tension pilons carrying electricity from the dam.  They look a little like someone flexing his muscles, I agree.

You could probably do a nice turn on that: how electricity makes the world run, and how it magnifies the strength of all of us.  But I think I'll just be delighted at a little boy's imagination. 

Saturday 5 August 2017

Saturday Photo: Dry Falls and the Forces of the Earth

On our trip West in July, one of the most interesting places we stopped was at the Dry Falls State Park where the ancestral Columbia once ran.

Or maybe it wasn't the Columbia, exactly.  What is certain now is that  an enormous amount of water  surged over this precipice as the Ice Age ended and an ice dam burst, letting free the impounded waters of a massive meltwater lake.  The result was a catastrophic flood (or floods) and this dry, empty landscape which followed.  The dark rocks, by the way, were laid down in another geologic event that staggers the imagination: the great volcanic episode which saw lava spread over hundreds of thousands of acres for perhaps a million years.

All this puts our particular problems in  perspective.  We are screwing things up royally, but our presence on this planet is likely to be only fleeting.  The rocks remain.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

This Just In: Full Page, Back Cover Ad for Road through Tiime in the NYReview of Books!

It was a quiet evening yesterday until my husband shouted from upstairs that I had to take a look at the new New York Review of Books.  So I scurried up to find a full page, back page ad for Road through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move!

Wow!  I had thought maybe there'd be a little publicity some place, but I certainly didn't expect this! Do hope that it introduces the book to a much wider audience.

Saturday 29 July 2017

Saturday Photo: Fiat Lux at Grand Coulee Dam

Back from nearly two weeks in British Columbia and Washington State with kids and grandkids.  Many excellent adventures, you can be sure...

This photo was taken just as the sun was rising on Wednesday downstream from the dam itself.  I like the combination of the sun and the power lines: truly fiat lux. both solar and electric.

The Columbia River and it dams are under threat from interests that want to privatize them.  Terrible idea!  Here's the link to a good story from The New York Times about the situation.

Saturday 8 July 2017

Saturday Photo: The Western Edge of the Continent

Summer is vacation time, and I'm thinking of the trip we took to the West Coast a few years ago.  This is photo taken on Vancouver Island, showing the abundance of the sea.

We're headed out that way soon, and I can hardly wait!

Saturday 1 July 2017

Saturday Photo: Fruit!

We're not quite there yet (the photo was taken a couple of years ago) but it looks like we'll have a bumper year for raspberries and pears--if the squirrels aren't too hungry.

The problem with urban gardening isn't that it's in a city. No, it's the high density of critters who like the garbage that's left out, but really prefer to eat what you try to grow.

Some years ago I gave up on tomatoes, and now only have flowering annuals, and the fruiting plants that I put in before the decision.  But this looks like a year when perhaps there will be even more than the beasts can eat, perhaps because of the rainy spring.  The cherry tree across the lane is loaded with fruit, while in our yard I've rarely seen such promise.

Now if it would only be sunny for a while to let everything ripen...

Friday 23 June 2017

Saturday Photo: Bonne fête nationale, Happy St Jean Baptiste Day

So, I'm actually posting on Friday, not Saturday.  That's because it seems like the weekend already.  Jeanne's school was finished yesterday, so she and Elin spent the night, after a picnic with Louis and company.  It wsa Louis's first birthday, and Thomas's soccer team, the Barracudas, also had a game.  A very pleasant evening!

Tomorrow is Quebec's Fête nationale, formerly known as St-Jean Baptiste Day.  When I finish posting this, I'm going to put up our Quebec flag, which, of course, featured the fleur de lys, the blue iris.  I do this not because I'm a Quebec nationalist, but because this is where we have chosen to live, and I want to signal that we (and other immigrants) should be included in all fête nationale celebrations.

Saturday 17 June 2017

Saturday Photo: Another Invasive, and One Not So

The perfume of Russian olives fills the air these mornings.  A bit like the scent of orange blossoms, it lingers all day.  I love the trees hardiness, as well as the smell.

But not everybody does.  Russian olives were introduced as wind break plantings early in the 20th century, and found conditions right to spread widely.  British Columbia is only one jurisdiction that considers it an invasive nuisance.  But around here, it's reached the limit of its natural comfort zone, and so grows in a well-behaved manner.

The Japanese maple, which is also beautiful right now, is much harder to grow.  I've tried, and in the end decided that I'd thrown away the $75 or so I spent on the small tree, because it simply did not appear when the snow melted the next winter.

But this gardener on The Plateau has succeeded in putting the two trees together wonderfully.

Saturday 10 June 2017

Saturday Photo: The Beauty of Invasive

Maybe 20 years ago I bought a couple of columbine plants at a time when I wanted to switch to annuals in our small garden.  They have thrived, and are now in bloom  in front and in back of our house...and also in several other yards along our street.

I've done a little selective transplanting, but never onto to neighbor's property, so it would appear that at the force that through the green fuse drives the flower (to quote Dylan Thomas) has spread these lovely, complicated flowers.

Does this make them "invasive?"  Perhaps.  If so, what a lovely kind of invasive plant.

Saturday 3 June 2017

Saturday Photo: Making up for Lost Time with Two Photos from the Gaspé

Just spent a great week on the Gaspé peninsula with Lee.  It was part work, but mostly play and we had a wonderful time.  The weather was cool and windy, but sunny--apparently a rarety this spring. 

So here are two photos from the trip.  One is of L'anse au griffon, and the other of the weirdly amazing concrete figures that Marcel Gagnon has created, coming out of the St. Lawrence at Ste-Flavie.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Saturday Photo: Forget-me-nots in the Grass

I don't believe in lawns, so the little one we have in our small backyard is strewn with many plants other than grass.  Among them is mitosis or forget-me-nots which are in bloom extravagantly right now.

Never forget how lovely they are...

Saturday 13 May 2017

Saturday Photo: Green Rain after the Real Rain

The photo actually was taken a few years ago, but it looks like this outside today.  The maple trees are dropping their little flowers (drupes, I think, is the proper name) and lawns, sidewalks and gardens are covered with this lovely yellow-green rain.

No hard real rain is in the forecast which is good news for those struggling with high water from the last weeks of heavy precipitation.  Of course, things would not be nearly as bad, if people hadn't built on flood plains and wet lands.  As my mother used to say, just because you build a house on a swamp, it doesn't cease to be a swamp.

This house is on high ground, and it was built in a time when folks knew that low land could spell trouble...

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Goodreads Giveaway Winners Announced!

The Goodreads Giveaway  for Road through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move ended on the weekend.  Here are the winners: Kal Adler, Steven Telly and Muayad Aldarweesh.  They should be getting their copies soon.

And for those of you who didn't win, but who would like to read the book anyway, it should be in any good independent bookshop and here are links to on-line places: McNally Robinson, , and,

Saturday 6 May 2017

Saturday Photo: Getting There....

This is the week the trees leaf out, and in spite of the rain they seem to be on schedule this year.

Lovely to see the green...

Saturday 29 April 2017

Saturday Photo: Shameless Self-Promotion Department

This is what the book looked like at the launch a week ago.  Since then I've talked about writing it at the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival and am now getting ready to go to Librairie Clio for Authors for Indies day.

Quite a week!

And for those who'd like to read the book, here's the link to the Goodreads Giveaway.  Only a little more than a week to enter to get a free copy!

Saturday 22 April 2017

Saturday Photo: Standing Room Only at the Launch Party for Road through Time

And a good time was had by all!  Librairie Drawn and Quarterly was packed Thursday night when we celebrated the launch of my latest book, Road through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move.  

It was such a pleasure to see old friends and new friends, including people I hadn't met before, in factThe flowers were from Ted Phillips, a true gentleman, and the photos were done by minha amiga brasileira Alice Mascerhenas.

Thursday 20 April 2017

Official Launch Tonight!

Just a reminder to my friends who haven't already heard: we're having the launch party for Road through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Librairie Drawn and Quarterly, 211 Bernard West, in the Mile End district of Montreal.  Come and help us celebrate.

And this just in, a great review in Library Journal that ends: s:  "VERDICT This accessible work about an integral aspect of human life is a must-read for all interested in society, past and present."

Saturday 15 April 2017

Saturday Photo: First Walk in the Cemetery in a Long While

Beautiful day today. Almost certain that it will eventually be spring! 

This morning I took a walk in the Mount Royal Cemetery for the first time since the fall--in the winter you never know where the ice will be so I tend to avoid walking there.  But today there is even a little green grass and lots of water in the stream that runs down from the top of the mountain.

Thomas asked Lukas what we are celebrating this weekend, and he replied after a moment's reflection: "Spring."  A good enough explanation for us cultural Christians, I think.


Saturday 8 April 2017

Saturday Photo: The Port of Montreal, Ice-free in April

It used to be that just about now the first ocean-going ships would make it up the St. Lawrence to Montreal.  Before then travel on the river would be dangerous or impossible because of ice.

The arrival marked the beginning of trade on the river, and stepped-up life in the city.  Since 1840 the captain of the first ship has been awarded a prize for his exploit, first a top hat, and after 1880 a gold-headed cane.  Accounts from the time say that crowds gathered in the port to greet the ship, as frequently more than one captain tried to be the first  in port. 

This year, however, the prize went to a Liberian-registered tanker  that arrived shortly after midnight on January 1.   The port has been open to year-round shipping since 1964 thanks to ice-clearing strategies.  And recently climate change has meant less and less ice on the river even in the dead of winter.

The photo was taken April 3, a glorious day when not much snow was left in sunny places and it would have been relatively easy to manoeuvre a ship into its berth.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Saturday Photo(s):Me and Me and Me

A friend sent me one of those silly tag things this week: you're supposed to post  a photo of when you were younger on your Facebook page, and then challenge anyone who "likes" it to do the same.  Well, I got as far as finding the photo of my sister and me taken about the time we road the Greyhound from San Diego to Eastern Washington state, a trip I write about in Road through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move. (I'm the older child, and my flaming red hair photographed dark.) But then I ran out of steam, particularly because the people who "liked" the photo, are not ones, generally, who take to this sort of challenge.

So it stops with me.  But I thought it would be fun to post that photo as well as two others.  One was taken more than ten years ago by Terence Byrne for the Montreal Review of Books when my novel After Surfing Ocean Beach came out.  The other is one of a suite of photos taken by my friend Anne Richard who has reinvented herself as a photographer.  The occasion for the photo session was coming up with a good one for the promotion of Road through Time.   Rather like them.  Lee says I look old, but then he's been with me so many years that perhaps he sees me as I was 50 or more years ago.  One thing he does notice, though, is how my hair has changed colour.  Arctic blonde, not red.  But so it goes...

Sunday 26 March 2017

Saturday Photo: Last Snow? Good Thing Easter's Late

Surprise!  A little snow on Friday that stuck to all the trees most beautifully.  It's gone now, and the sun is high in the sky, so perhaps we really are on the path toward spring.

It is the season of rebirth, but I expect it will be a while before we see much green.  There have been years when the snowdrops were up at this point, but not this one.

As Jeanne and I noted yesterday, Christmas was exactly three months ago.  We barbecued on Christmas Eve, but not yesterday.  Will see if it's nice enough to do so on Easter, which is still three weeks away.

Saturday 18 March 2017

Saturday Photo: Getting Rid of It...

Lots of snow here this last week.  It's always a surprise, but March can bring lots of the white stuff.  Here's a photo taken a few years ago when they were cleaning in front of our house.

Most of the snow clearing gets done at night, now.  Cost cutting reasons, I suppose, which also may lie behind the massive mess on Tuesday night when hundreds of people were stuck on major autoroutes.   

Subcontractors  were responsible for keeping the stretch of highway clear, but didn't have as the trucks and other equipment available they were supposed to have working.  The huge tie-up was aggravated by lack of coordination and refusal of people in authority to take the initiative to get things taken care of.

Sad, as 45 would say.

Saturday 11 March 2017

Saturday Photo: Coming Up for Air...

The snow in front is nearly gone, except for the fine dusting that fell yesterday.  It's cold--minus 22C on the back porch when we got up.  But the days are getting longer and the time changes tomorrow.

Amazing the way we all change the most intimate details of our lives when the world goes from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time and back again.  But time is really not as capricious as that.  It rolls on, indifferent to our cares.  The rocks in my sort-of Inukshuk come up for air as the season heads for spring, and tiny tips of green begin to show where the snowdrops will burst forth a couple of weeks from now.

Saturday 4 March 2017

Saturday Photo: The Waters of March...Canada and Brazili

I've posted this before, but I like the photo a lot.  It's March and the snow is/was melting.  (I say was, because we're quite cold today so there won't be much of that.)

In the southern hemisphere, it's fall, not spring.  For a long time I thought the Tom Jobim song, The Waters of March referred to our season, but it turns out that the spring rains in Brazil announce a massive change for the better, the greening of the world after the hot summer.  Here's what the original sounds like. A wonderful song that can span the globe from top to bottom!

Saturday 25 February 2017

Saturday Photo: Winter Seating--But Not for Long

Last Sunday Lukas and Thomas built an igloo in the backyard, and the snow was knee deep in the parks.  Not much chance that anyone would have been tempted to sun themselves on these benches either.

But climate change is blowing through and the snow is melting rapidly.  Outdoor skating rinks which are frequently open until mid-March are now closed in many neighborhoods. 

A shame, or as that guy South of Border so often tweets:  Sad!  Would that he wised up about what's happening to this world, but to nobody's surprise it looks like he won't.

Saturday 18 February 2017

Saturday Photo: Snow, Trump, and Swinging Left

This photo has been posted before, I think, but it's one of my favourite winter ones and since we've had a nice bit of snow this last week, it seems appropriate this morning. 

The snow and the photo both fit right into the world as we've known it, but at the moment the ground is shifting under our feet, and we don't know what's going to happen next.

A climate change denier is now head of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the president of the United States is either getting crazier and crazier or just showing his true nature, take your pick.  Things are somewhat better here in Canada, but we can't help but be affected by what is happening South of the Border.  Even our handsome Prime Minister seems to think he has to make nice with The Trump in order to keep trade relations from being damaged.

But it's going to be hard to do business as usual.  We should stand on guard, as the song has it.  So should the whole world.  Which is why I've signed up for Shift Left, an interesting movement that is going to try to win swing seats in the US Congress for the Democrats.  The idea is for people in safe districts to help out in the nearest swing district.  In our case that's one in Upstate New York or another in Upstate New Hampshire.  Don't know yet just what I can do concretely, but it's worth trying.  Here's the link: Swing Left

By the way, it looks like the tree is leaning right, but it all depends on your point of view.  From the other side it would indeed be swinging left!