Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I've got nothing better to do

Summer weather has descended on us. It is hot and humid.
I went to the gym today, which tired me out. 
Then I went to a patio for a long cooling beer, which tired me out even more.
But before I got too tired, I went down to the waterfront to watch the sailboats and the swans.

No one invited me onto their boat, so I sat down on a bench and watched the swans preening.

They seem such a happy couple.
and no wonder:  look closely at that soft rock. it seems to be unfurling and waking up
this is poignant as poor Mama has been nesting at the same spot for many years, but it has been at least five years or more since any of her eggs have hatched.
her nest is only about 3 metres from the walkway and is easily accessible
ahhh, look, now we are all preening
swimming is much easier than walking
and it is much cooler in here
Only when I got home did I realize that I had my camera set on a 'speed burst'.
So I have 259 more photos.
Actually, it is kind of neat - reminds me of those old flip books with animation. I keep looking at them and speeding up the slideshow, but I may actually print them off and make my own mini movie book.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday AMuse

will we look at this in 30-40 years and wonder, as we do now with those futuristic views of life made in the 1960s?

Friday, May 27, 2011

planning my weekend

It is almost as if I am going on holiday. I have been excitedly awaiting this weekend. I have the map out and the list of 'attractions' and have been poring over them all week, circling and highlighting, trying to pare down my list of 'must see' and put it all into a reasonable order.

For this is Toronto's weekend for Doors Open. This is where you get the chance to wander around (for free) buildings that are not normally open to the public. In some cases, architects or historians are on hand to discuss the building or the era it was built. There will be photo exhibits, music recitals (organ playing in the cathedrals!), demonstrations and I noticed a few scavenger hunts planned for amusing the younger crowd. It is advertised as nearly 150 buildings, though in actuality there are only 137, and one inexplicable cancellation so really only 136, which to me would be almost 140, but I quibble. For anyone who is interested in architecture and history, this is the event of the year. I have attended many times over the past 12 years and there are always too many sites on my list that I have not yet visited. Some are sadly no longer offered, and the trick is to make sure you don't put something off for too long (like The Don Jail, where for its one year, I lined up for over three hours before someone finally came out and informed us that after a certain point - which was quite a few people ahead of me - we would not be getting in.) And don't waste time revisiting sites - there are just too many on offer.

It is almost ironic really, as Toronto is not known for preserving its history or flouting its architecture. In fact it is quite the opposite as far as the people in charge of such things are concerned. But, for the rest of us it is an insatiable feast.

I think I have my list ready. I purposefully did not book any appointments for today, so I could rest up. It will be seven hours of fast walking and driving around for cheap parking spots and hopping on and off the subway and interminable queuing ...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

a pleasantly wasted day

I had another last minute cancellation today. This would be the third one in the last two weeks. Since I only had seven appointments, this is not a good average. Working part-time has some disadvantages...

Yesterday's phone call a half hour before I was to be at my appointment was rather annoying. We had already changed the time only the night before. Had I known what a busy schedule she had set up for herself, I would have gently convinced her to pick another day, knowing that she would be far too tired.

Really, I would have spent my day differently had I known that I would not be required to head out for an appointment at 7PM. I most probably would not have wasted a pleasant afternoon napping. I may have gone to the gym, or for a long walk. Or maybe called a friend to join me for lunch. I need to renew my membership at the botanical gardens and I might have done that before wandering through the trails looking for birds and wildflowers.  I may even have tackled the kitchen cupboards that I have been meaning to re-organize for some time.

Or, I may have just napped after all.

Of course, I could have done all that, even with an evening appointment. But, my day, as unstructured as it often is, feels very different when I know that I have no obligations. Starting work in the evenings and then continuing a second job through the night means my sleeping and eating patterns are hit and miss. I try to accommodate as much as possible and it helps to know when I am expected to be alert and personable. I am not very personable on little sleep. You'd think only working 4-5 hours a day would be a piece of cake and it might be if I were able to drift off to a blissful 8 hour sleep. I do tend to spend more time thinking about chores that need doing than actually doing them. It helps that I have no-one to account to and can ignore blaming myself.

I love having so much free time. I just wish so much of it wasn't wasted. I seem to be very good at doing that myself, without your cancellations.

Now, I have tea to drink on my balcony. That box of paperwork can wait another day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

wonder of wonders

It was a sunny, WARM day today. So what do you do when the rain finally stops?
I cleared my balcony and then did laundry. Because I put my laundry out to dry on the balcony when it is sunny. And warm.

And then I sorted through my clothes to find something appropriate to wear on Saturday. Y'know, for the RAPTURE. One needs to be prepared. I am assuming that if I am called, I may be wearing the same outfit for eternity (or the next five months). Or will I get one of those white floaty/sexy outfits that the Philly Cheese Lady wears?

Are you prepared? Have you done everything you want to do? Seen all you want to see? Written a will for those poor family members who may be left behind; they will likely need all they can get to help them through the chaos and end of civilization and all that.

Now, to plan my weekend meal. There seems to be lots of bagels and cream cheese in heaven, but I doubt there will be a barbecue, so that is my plan. Grilled salmon and veggies, I think. 

It should be hot and humid and dry on Saturday, finally (and then the RAPTURE comes and ruins it for us) ... with the rains returning for the holiday Monday.

Yes, the rapture. Sure.

see you next week, after all, this is only post #9 for this month

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

out in the rain

In spite of all the continuing rain, construction started yesterday on the 'dream house demolition' site.

And I hadn't seen Chris for about a week. You start to worry when they disappear so suddenly (even though you know that that is in their nature). But, usually about five nights out of seven I run into him by the side of the road...or in the middle of the road. It seems he has found some friends! I'm thinking the other two might be a pair as I've seen them hanging about at different times, but never so close with Chris before. Hmm, I wonder what they have been up to??

(Chris is the one in foreground)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm not complaining, not really

The news and weather channel has been all about the flooding in Manitoba, Louisiana and Quebec. So I guess I shouldn't be whining about the seemingly endless rain we have been having and will continue to have for the next 12 days. We've already had over 56mm of rain over the weekend with around 15-20mm more for each of Tuesday and Wednesday. But that is hardly flood worthy. It has been rather damp and dreary for weeks, though. During the last 30 days there have been only five with no rain.

Can I, instead, complain about the COLD? It is 8 celcius - it should be around 20 at this time of year. I am glad I didn't pack away my fleece yet. And this weekend is the traditional planting of the garden time, when we should be safe from frost. I am in doubt. Then again, I don't have a garden so I am not personally worried. Though, I do like to eat fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms.  The apple and cherry blossoms are starting to rot and some of the grapes could get mouldy from all the rain and won't be very sweet unless we get more sunshine.

I could complain about the price of gas that skyrocketed overnight to a high of $1.419 a litre ... but has magically parachuted down to $1.285 so all those people who thought they might change their driving habits will now not bother. So while I had my 5 hour (one way) road trip when the price was high, at least my 2 hour (one way) road trip today will be with cheaper gas.

Really, I do like to see the brighter side of things. It is sometimes made difficult, though. Because, perversely, I am not looking forward to the dry, hot summer that is predicted. The dry part is fine, but the heat and humidity...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I awakened to the sound of a lawnmower, one of those big riding ones. Interspersed was the lovely sweet sound of birds. Somewhere a cheery, brief conversation wafted up, only to be replaced by a bus rumbling past. Finally the riding mower stopped and for a few minutes there was only the birds singing. Until another mower, farther away, then the whine of a saw... I wondered at the loudness of it all before realizing that my windows were open. Wide open. And a warm breeze floated over me.

Spring has arrived at last. Oh, I know it has been here for awhile, but the feeling and sound of spring has been absent. As has the sight of spring. I was getting almost depressed at the postings of so many bloggers of their daffs and tulips... and now irises and roses when we had NOTHING. But, it seems as if suddenly this week it is all coming together. The flowers are blooming in the gardens, the trees are getting that bright lime green of new buds. The garden centres are opening. And the grass is green and long and needing mowing.

I am fortunate to live surrounded by many trees. They make a great noise barrier, far more than you might expect. So hurry up and fill out and block all this incessant mowing. Please.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

a brief encounter

I was walking down a street in the Byward Market during a lull in the rain when something photo-worthy across the street caught my eye. My camera came out and I aimed and zoomed in ... then waited for traffic to clear. A car pulled up past me and parked and two men got out. They were checking out the parking signs and meter and chatting away in an unrecognizable (to me) accent. One of them noticed me with my camera and made a joke about taking his picture. 

Except he wasn't joking. Suddenly they both stood still and posed and smiled... and waited. Then they resumed chatting and before walking across the street said thank you. Yes, thank you very much. 
I noticed they did not put any money in the meter, but then I also noticed their car had red (diplomatic) plates on it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

rain, rain go away

Spring seems a long time coming.
Last year, at this time, spring had been here for weeks,  
though it is hard to accept that that was EARLY. An anomaly.

And it is Tulip Festival time in Ottawa.  I went to see it last year and there were fears that the tulips would be over before the festival began.  The ones we saw were a little spent and blown out, or battered by the rain.  This year, a very different story.  There are fears that there won't be any tulips blooming in time for the festival (which begins on Friday).  Before leaving Ottawa on Monday, I noticed workers were setting up tents and pavilions and getting things ready.  But any tulips we saw were barely out of the ground.

And as, usual, it rained while I was there.  For the third year in a row.  We did have two warm, sunny, clear days, but it was on Monday with the incessant, pelting rain that I chose to visit the Parliament Buildings with the misty view from the Peace Tower.
(a view of the west block which is still undergoing extensive restoration work.)

It was raining so heavily and I was so soaked that even though the Parliament Hill area seemed deadly quiet and therefore pleasant for walking, I thought I'd head home early and stop off at any town where it wasn't raining to walk around.

Even the ducks came out of the river to paddle around the Eternal Flame (they had jumped out by the time I reached them, but were circling around, ready for the next plunge).

I decided to have dinner in Kingston, a city I'd stopped at very briefly on my last trip to Ottawa and wanted to see more of at a time of day when places were open. This was the first capital of the Province of Canada (in 1841) so they have a nice historic downtown, right on the lake and I remembered that their City Hall was rather magnificent looking and my previous pictures weren't all that great so I wanted to get better ones. 
yeah, the cute tourist information place inside the old train station was also completely covered in scaffolding and green netting while it gets a new roof.
On the upside, it was being used as a polling station, so I pretended I belonged and wandered inside. 
Of course, because it was a polling station, I couldn't take pictures.

When I got home Iooked it up on the internet and here is a virtual tour if you are interested. 

Then it started to rain again.

Sunday, May 1, 2011