Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

SundayStills - a day in the life

The rhythm of my day has changed with the nicer weather.
It starts at around noon, when I head out for a walk, which seems perfect for this week's Sunday Stills challenge. No more than four photos to visually describe your day. And no archives.

So, it is Friday and my walk begins. I pass by this Ukrainian Roman Catholic Church to get downtown. My favourite pub is across the street. It is my favourite mainly because it has a big wraparound patio, with a view over a quiet side street of this church.

And conveniently located next door to this pub is my fitness club
where I will end my workout by treating my aching muscles to a steam bath

before heading on to the coffee shop for a bite to eat, a coffee and an hour or so of my new book.

And what is a day without a sighting of the ducks?
So I continue my walk down to the waterfront where I find several newly arrived long tailed ducks are being buffeted by the waves.

Repeat as often as necessary for optimal well being.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

and then there is laundry

sleeping Oh yeah.

She looks all innocent.

and then she throws up all over the bed… again.

Now we are on $35.99/3kg cat food for her poor tummy.



apparently, we are feeling better.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the other side of the bay

The Waterfront Trail (with Pier 4 Park) is just ahead and around the bend. first we travel over this bridgeMcQueston Bridge

and from a vantage point at the near end of the bridge we can see where we are headed

click on the pictures to embiggen for maximum viewing pleasure

McQueston view

it is still a bit early for the yachts to be in the water, though I met a few people undressing their boats, feeling hopeful…

Pier 4 yachts

as were these fishermen. but wait, see the choppy, brown water? it was rather windier than I anticipated

outside Discovery Centre

making it hard taking pictures, though entertaining to watch the gulls struggling to stay aloft. this little guy was taking a well deserved breather.

outside Williams Coffee Pub

see how these bronzed figures had to struggle to hold down this massive sail?


and yes, all these pictures were taken on the same day, just in slightly different directions and with two different cameras.

we’ll start at the … less pretty end. the part with the ships and the steel plant in the background. the paths are level and wide enough for pedestrians, cyclists and roller bladers.

far end

we pass by The Discovery Centre, which is probably quite interesting. it was closed by the time

discovery centre

I finished my coffee at the coffee pub. on the plus side, it was exciting to realize that the sun was still high in the sky at 5pm.

coffee pub

lots of seating is provided for a resting view of the yachts that will eventually be berthed

pier 4

before we wander over the hill that will take us to this side of the park

bare trees park path

where we find ourselves a little beach.


but remember, we are still in the most industrial part of an industrial city. from ships to trains in about 5 kms of what is actually a wonderful green space.

crooks view


now, I have to walk back to my car…

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Paralympics came to a rousing end yesterday. For the first time the official title was the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It was difficult to find much coverage, but if you did, you would have found it to be just as thrilling and inspiring as the other Olympics.
The national broadcaster here didn't make a big effort to have the events available on television which, I think, was a mistake. Afterall, if millions of people who would not normally watch sporting events watched the Olympics, simply because it was THE OLYMPICS, then why would we not watch the Paralympics for the same reason. Add in a few background stories of the athletes (which they did to tease us during the Olympic coverage) and some detailed information on the skills and techniques needed for each event and the ever amazing technology that helps guide these athletes in their sport. I think people would watch. And be thrilled.
There was an outcry when CTV did not plan to broadcast the Opening Ceremonies, so they relented and made it available only to parts of British Columbia. An even larger outcry ensued and later, a seriously edited version was broadcast the following night for the rest of Canada. Now, they have realized there is lots of interest and made the Closing Ceremonies live on tv
This has been more exposure than ever before, and sadly, it does not look as if Sochi will continue the trend in 2014.
A big congratulations to all these elite athletes.
Here is but a brief sampling of some of the Paralympians from around the world.

Lauren Woolstencroft - Canadian Skier 5 GOLD Medals!
Cameron Rahles-Rabhula - Australian Skier - Bronze in Super G
Anna Turney from Great Britain came in 5th
barely 4 years after becoming paralyzed in a snowboarding accident
The Norwegian curlers continue the new tradition of the loud pants
but Canada still won this rink and the GOLD

US wins Sledge Hockey GOLD over Japan
Yoshiro Nitto wins Japan's first and second ever GOLD
(all pictures from the internet)

MondayAMuse will return to its regularly scheduled spot next week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

SundayStills - Orange

Orange at Canada Blooms
flowers... candles... cushions...

and the ubiquitous free orange bags from one of the sponsors

see more at SundayStills

Saturday, March 20, 2010

time for a pause

Really? You all want a pier?
Judging by your unbridled enthusiasm, it does make me wonder what sort of image you all have in your heads of what a pier, in an industrial city, in Ontario, in March, might be like.
I had my appointment at the gym with my personal trainer who, after making me do one too many reps of abdominal exercises, said that if I was going for a long walk then she wouldn't make me go on the elliptical machine. Great. I had a free afternoon and with the dire weather report of a vernal equinox timed end to this record breaking warm spring-like weather running through my head, I headed out to the waterfront. Just for you.
But, you will have to wait until I sort through the pictures.
In the meantime, I will tell you about this.

I was at the flower show on Thursday and wandering through the marketplace section, looking for free samples new and interesting things, when I came across a tea merchant stall. Ever since I taste tested fresh, exotic, blended loose leaf teas, I have been unwilling to go back to the store brands. Last summer I was introduced to Yerba Mate tea. It has more antioxidants than green tea and has many health benefits. But mostly, I liked the taste.

But then I saw the display of gourds and metal straws, I immediately thought of Betty in Paraguay. Betty had casually mentioned in her blog about having tereré. Then she had to explain what it was, which you can read here. (Or you can check the link above for Yerba Mate).

Anyway, I thought this was pretty neat to learn about the South American way of drinking this tea out of a gourd with a straw (bombilla) last week, then to actually find them. And I love meeting people who are so excited about their product. He happily opened as many jars of tea to let me smell as I wished all the while sharing information about the flavours and differences and benefits. And he was excited that I had just learned a little about these strange cups.

It was just too interesting to pass up, so I had to buy one. I was instructed how to 'season' the gourd (fill with hot water and let it sit overnight), how to fill the gourd with the tea leaves and how to drink from the metal straw. That metal straw had me a little worried.

I bought a Mango Yerba Mate and a Lemon Rooibos tea to try. One teaspoon into the cup. Fill with hot water. Let it sit - keeping the metal straw out of the hot water!
My gourd has been seasoned and the tea steeped...

It is difficult to get around the idea of drinking something hot through a straw. This is not meant for fast consumption, but for savouring.

The straw makes for a more intense flavour.
Almost in the same way that drinking through the little hole in the takeout cup lids will do.

This might take a bit of getting used to.
I wish I had a bigger gourd...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

where you get to choose

An accident on the highway, actually two accidents, one in each direction, turned my 10 minute drive into Hamilton to a 50 minute journey. Fortunately, my friend was able to take a later lunch. On the way home, with still almost an hour before my next appointment, I took the most direct city street heading in my direction. I had less time for strolling with my camera, but thought I would decide on the way whether to stop off at the cemetery, or the waterfront, or find an antique shop or ...

I found myself travelling through a stretch of the city that I was not all that familiar with. I don't know if it was the brilliant sunshine, or the warm 21C! or the good lunch and interesting visit with my friend that made me happily more aware of my surroundings, but I found a multitude of photo ops as I drove. I was under a bit of a time restraint and the sun was perhaps a little too intense for many shots, so I made a note of specific places to come back to.

I continued on towards home with a brief stopover at the marina where I take all my pictures of the swans and ducks (with the much appreciated bridge from the Sunday post). But, between last Sunday and today, most of the swans had taken off - about 150 had already gone, leaving only 40 in the bay. I counted less than a dozen ducks, though there could have been a few more hiding or drifting. It is always sad when the swans migrate from this winter haven, though a few do remain behind all year.

So I need a new focus for my photo walks.

And I have decided to take you on a walking tour.
I drove through several different areas today, all well worth a visit. Now, they are not all 'picturesque', but definitely photo worthy.

Bearing in mind that, besides perhaps one person, none of you will have any idea what each area will elicit, I'll let you pick one at random for our inaugural tour of Hamilton.

So, where would you like me to start?
  1. 'Barton Village'
  2. 'Jamesville'
  3. Dundurn Park
  4. Pier 4

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday AMuse

Most of us will have to go through that bi-annual ritual of the time change. For us in North America (except Saskatchewan) our clocks were moved forward this weekend.

So, here are some ideas if you need help waking up in the morning.

This pillow uses a 'LED fabric substrate' below the surface to wake you up using light.

although this guy looks like he has a bit of insommnia, or is dead.
It also functions as a clock...

See how it turns you into a cartoon figure?

Or you may want a scented clock...
this little porker wakes you up with the smell of bacon

You might want to keep the dogs in another room.

or my new favourite this Verbarious Clock
which spells out the time. click on the link and you will see how it works,
the demo clock will set itself to your time

I do wonder why it takes so many words to say "midnight" in Russian?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

SundayStills - sunrise/sunset

A few months ago, I decided I was tired of working all night and having so much of my daytime hours disrupted. So, I quit one of my paper routes. It didn't take long before I discovered the flaw in that plan. I would now miss all those glorious sunrises! And I chose the warmest, driest, winter in decades to decrease my workload, but that is okay. The sunrises though, I really missed.

I do have hundreds of great sky shots in my files, but this week's challenge of sunrise/sunset specifically said "no archives".

So, I stayed up every morning to capture a sunrise.
This sunrise was the only that tried really hard to add some colour, but even it faded almost immediately from the exertion.

Then I tried for a sunset, hoping this overcast sky would add some drama.

Sadly, the sun was actually setting farther off to the right and the cloud cover evened itself out and blanked out the last bit of sun. Still, it is a pretty dusk scene so I am including it.

One night I managed to catch a quick glimpse behind the highrise buildings.

And then it started raining on Friday... and has not let up.
So check out the other SundayStills contributors and see what magnificent skies were happening in their corner of the world this week.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I could have posted a photo...

I had just finished work around 5 am and decided to stop off at the local plaza that has a 24 hour store to pick up some stuff for breakfast. There are always a few cars that seem to park themselves overnight with no hassles, but the parking lot is large enough to accommodate many cars. I pulled up towards the store where I saw one car parked. It was a very dark smoky grey, almost black, with tinted windows. If you aimed your headlights at the right angle towards the side of the car, just before noticing the several antennae, you might see a slightly lighter smoky grey outline of POLICE written on the side. This is not a post about police cars being designed so as to not look like police cars, which are normally white with blue and red lettering and several lights sticking up from the roof. This is about police cars sitting in an almost empty parking lot with exhaust fumes coming out of the vehicle. And no driver, or occupant sitting in said vehicle. Unless someone was laying back with the seat in a reclining position, it seemed to be empty which was a slight cause for concern - one can not be too wary when spotting an unmarked police vehicle lurking in the dark with an absent driver.

However, mystery solved when he was spotted at the checkout counter of the drug store. Buying a snack and chatting with the cashier, he was. Another customer and I had a little discussion about this after he left the store. None of us had quite the nerve to confront him on the minor issue of his idling car (which brings a maximum $5,000 fine). The other customer wished he had one of the bookmark things the cops hand out as a 'reminder' to not idle to put under his windshield. I wished it had been a bit lighter (the dawn, the tinted windows and the obvious POLICE sign on the car) and I could have taken a picture to send to the newspapers as was done recently when a city councillor parked in an handicapped spot.

Yes, it does seems there are different rules...

I was given a 'warning bookmark' when a cop drove past and I was delivering newspapers to this very same store. Yep, ran out of the car into the store, dropped the papers in the rack and ran out before the automatic doors could close on me. Seems, I should turn off the ignition every time I make a delivery.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

age is relevant, or not

Barely 3 weeks ago, the last surviving Canadian Veteran of WWI, Jack Babcock passed away at age 109.
On Sunday, the oldest Canadian and American woman, Mary Josephine Ray, died at age 114 years, 294 days. On the same day, the oldest African American woman, Daisey Bailey, also died at age 113 years, 342 days. She became the fourth oldest person in the world when, in January, another 114 year old, Maggie Renfro, passed away.

And with them go all their memories of an era very few of us can imagine.
Hardships, endurances, loves, wars, inventions, agonies and ecstasies.
We are amazed by the speed and intricacies of the internet.
They were amazed by the invention of electricity.

My parents both lived to their 90s. My father had health issues for most of my life, several of which could have claimed his life, but didn't. He spent many years in and out of various hospitals, but no matter how many times he wished to die, his body stubbornly continued to fight death. My mother had a few health issues, though none of them were life threatening until the last two weeks of her life.

With such genes coursing through my body, I hope I have invested wisely. One of my greater fears is outliving my money. I have no children to take me into their care (although that is never a guarantee) and no spouse to resent my dependence on them (also not a guarantee, though more likely than not to happen).

We've all seen the statistics for our respective countries - we are an ever aging population the world over.

As an aside, while writing this, I was also doing laundry.
There is a bookshelf with a variety of reading material to be shared.... this is what I found sitting on top.
Art Linkletter himself is still alive at age 97!

I am not sure I would want to live to 114 years. Or even 100 years. Though getting that letter from the Queen would be nice. Oh wait, she'd have to live to be 132...

In the meantime, I just want to make it to next Sunday.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

SundayStills - numbers

house number  school memorial ww1 corner stone license plate

hymn board timmy's store 1tagged swans

no words, just numbers. found on my walks.

see more numbers from other SundayStills contributors here

(If anyone else wants to join in, next week's challenge is sunrise/sunset. I think I can manage that!)