Tuesday, March 31, 2009

television is on hold for the season


It's that time of year again. The nesting season.
The Peregrine Falcons are back. The have settled into 'their' ledge in the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Hamilton. A new and improved webcam has been set up (see link in sidebar) and as usual, I have it on most of the day watching and waiting...
Madame X is back for her ninth year and has just laid her first egg (as of 29 March)!
(Update: 2 eggs as of 31March)

Peregrine Falcons are known for site fidelity. This will be Madame X's ninth year in Hamilton and Surge's fourth, and the 15th year the same nest site on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel has been used.
Madame X was hatched on a bridge on Pennsylvania Route 309, the Cross-Valley Expressway in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Banded as a hatchling on 7 June 1999 she was known to the falcon watchers in Northeast PA as 'Runaround Sue', a name suggested after she was found running along the expressway guide wall one morning. We are keeping the folks in Pennsylvania posted on Madame X's progress.
Hatched and banded in Etobicoke in 2002, Surge spent at least part of the 2004-2005 seasons trying to establish a nest at the Burlington Lift Bridge. In 2006 he replaced the male at the Sheraton nest and has been in Hamilton since.

- from HCPP website

I also found a webcam (from I know not where or I'd be able to credit and thank them) of a Bald Eagle's nest somewhere in Oklahoma. A great closeup of the eagle sitting there, looking around at the world, waiting... That link is also in my sidebar. If anyone else knows of any other birdcams, you know I'm addicted to them and will add them to my favourites (and my sidebar). Because I have nothing better to do with my time. Really, I don't. The housework can wait.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday AMuse

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - pet nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years --canine or feline attendance is not required. The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'niture.
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, they are an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: Dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3. Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and...
11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children

Sunday, March 29, 2009

SundayStills - landscape

Let's face it, the landscape isn't very lush at this time of year.
Dull, muddy browns and greys abound.

And, unfortunately, this is also a part of the landscape around here

It's a bit hard to see in this light, but that is the lake beyond.
The waterfront parkland will soon be filled in with another huge 9 storey condo building.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Photo Hunt - Hands

This week's photo hunt theme is "hands".
I didn't check the theme in time, and since my hands weren't doing anything interesting...
here are the hands of the newlyweds from the weddings I attended last summer (with more flower shots, because we all need more fresh blooms!)

freshly married hand

newly married hands

for more interesting takes on hands from around the world check out PhotoHuntSaturday

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My miniature garden...
first viewing
to be continued...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

is pink a colour to love

If you were to ask me what is my least favourite colour, I would answer unhesitatingly: PINK.
And yet, this photo above shows some of my most favourite things.
(click on image to biggify)

Have a look at that tea cosy. It is more than a cosy, it is a tea duvet. Wouldn't any teapot be happy to be swaddled in such a lovely thing? As I was leaving an antique store, I spotted this and simply had to have it. I had been craving tea lately and this seemed to be the perfect thing to cheer up any dull dark winter's day. And cheering it is.
The mug is one I bought in Glasgow many years ago. It has a Mackintosh Rose on it and I am a sucker for anything with this rose. This small mug gives me a connection to my far away family in the UK as I have discovered, while poking around each of my cousin's kitchens over the years, that every one of them also has this same mug. For some reason this makes me smile (not least for the razzing I have taken because of my obsessive collecting of anything Charles Rennie Mackintosh).

This journal is not really pink - it is fuchsia. It says so on the label inside. It is so soft and pliable and lays flat when opened. A joy to touch and to write in. I went back and bought another for when this one is filled. I want to get back into handwriting my thoughts and plans. I take these thoughts with me when I go out wandering and end up at cafes or parks and need something portable and a little flashy (so I don't forget it as I have done before) and one cannot journal in just any notebook. A list can be written on anything. My life needs suppleness.
The pen is probably the most recognizable of the pinks. The Breast Cancer Awareness Pink. I normally feel a shudder at the bubblegum colour of it. But this little item is enough to remind me. Remind me of the one who gave it to me. Who is now 3 years free. I think of her every time I pick up the pen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Stills - Lines

Today's Sunday Stills challenge was LINES.
My view is full of lines. Here is a closeup.

Burlington Canal Lift Bridge

There have been five different moveable bridges located on this site since 1830. The present bridge was opened in 1962 and carries two lanes of traffic across the canal. The canal, at the western edge of Lake Ontario, was among a series of waterway projects begun 200 years ago, to provide navigation from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean. Today the Burlington Canal remains a busy waterway, although with the recent shutdown of Stelco by US Steel, it may be less busy.
The bridge structure is a tower driven, moveable bridge with a vertical lift of 110 feet. The navigation season usually runs from late March to late December, so any day now the first of the approximately 6500 vessels that will pass through will be appearing.

The underside of the bridge on a day with no traffic.
That's what the other bridge, the Burlington Skyway, right beside it is for.
For more Sunday Stills from around the world.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photo Hunt Saturday - yellow

Today's PhotoHunt theme is yellow, and I found some yellow when I went to see a bit of Spring at Canada Blooms yesterday.

This little one was quite happy to play in the giant sandbox all by herself, pretty dress and all.

Maybe she'll grow up to one day create this

Here I will share my dream backyard sanctuary.

which will have a daffodil lined walkway
and plenty of my favourite spring flowers, tulips

can you smell the freesia? heavenly.

see more yellow themed photos from around the world
by going to PhotoHunt
for more photos from the show go to Sightlines

Friday, March 20, 2009

how much fun is that

I was despairing of ever emerging from this deep, dark, dungeon I had dug myself into over the winter. My social life was suffering. All of my own doing, I must admit, as I couldn't find the energy or enthusiasm to do anything that involved getting dressed and heading outdoors. (unless I was getting paid)

Then, a couple of weeks ago, round about the time I was getting quite bored with my own company, my brother phones to tell me they are coming down for my birthday. This is a rare treat. In fact, I had given up inviting my family to visit, as it never happened. Not even when I moved to live nearer my brother in the hopes of more get-togethers before they moved out of town did they ever stop by. Never have they come just to see me. This meant a massive spring cleaning. Which was good in many ways. I feel so much better now in my less cluttered space, having frantically gotten rid of anything I couldn't find room for. Anyway, the visit came and went, they discovered for themselves that the 1 1/2 hour drive (in ideal conditions) is quite doable in a weekend (as it certainly was for me going the other way...) and are now making plans to come back for Easter and again in the summer. It took almost 12 years of living here. And the fact that now there are only us left and no parents to bind our visits.

Last week, I went to visit one of my mother's friends and had an interesting visit with her and next week it will be to see another of her friends who I know misses their nightly chats. This weekend I have the garden show, the Live at the Met opera at the cinema, then a dinner date to round it out. Then, on Thursday morning when I went into work, I saw a notice that I had won tickets to see Disney on Ice! Wonderful - well, you know how excited I get when I win a coffee, so this was a true over-the-moon-excitement. I have a friend who loves this sort of thing, so I told her she and her husband were invited and I would try to find a fourth for our night out. Things were really looking up for a socially exhausting weekend.

The notice said to contact my district manager to arrange to pick up the tickets. But there is a changeover in managers this month and the one I was directed to was on holidays, so I left a voicemail message. This morning (Friday morning) I went into work and the new manager was there meeting everyone. He had been on holidays (were both away?) and knew nothing about it, but there was an envelope in my mailslot. An envelope with four tickets to Disney on Ice. For Thursday night. Last night. How stupid is that?

It's a damn good thing at least the sun is shining today.
It's SPRING and I'm off to the Canada Blooms, to dream away my cares and woes.
Photos to follow. I promise.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

lacing up

My hiking boots were needing some less bedraggled laces and I knew I had some in a junk drawer. So I dug them out and unleashed them from the package to discover they must have been about 8' long*. Really, I must either start reading the labels better, or get around to learning just how long a mm is (it's been over 30 years since we went metric, I've had the time, I'm sure...)

Not wanting to waste them, even if they did likely come from the dollar store, I set about figuring a way to use them. Without tripping over the ends. Somewhere in my bookmarks, I had a site for shoelace designs. Creativity was beckoning me. In small measures.

I am usually pretty lazy when it comes to lacing up my shoes, and can be quite dyslexic enough just with the usual criss cross - I have been known to cross criss halfway up. But these lacing patterns just look so cool, I thought I should challenge my dexterity.

for more interesting lacing patterns see sneaker freaker
these were my favourites.
*yes, I've been known to exaggerate

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday AMuse



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Stills - water

It has been a lovely spring day and Abby has been sunning on the balcony in the sunshine.
Violet has been entertaining all weekend and strolling along the streets in search of an outdoor patio.
Me, as a cat, I have simple needs - a bowl of water and I'm good. Here I am, having discovered that drinking from my paw is so much neater than slurping straight from the bowl. It shows a certain amount of dexterity and finesse, don't you think?
This week's challenge was water. See more SundayStills takes on water by going here

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A bit of spring cleaning this week.

Have been busy working so that I can enjoy the weekend.

Have yourselves a chocolate. On me.

tulip photo from Southern Living

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

smells like

I was all set for my bath the other week when I noticed I had no bar of soap. Can't use shower gel, it's a bath. Need soap bar. No problem, as I knew there were several bars tucked away from a previous bulk buying frenzy of 'buy 2 get the 3rd one free' variety. Couldn't find them. Every time I have a good tidy I seem to lose things, especially those bulk bought items. Keep searching. Can't even find the cream soap I also have tucked away... Bath water is getting cold, so I decide to use those luxury bars that I've got in my socks and underwear drawer as a sort of pomade. Am not sure where it came from, most likely from when I cleared out my mother's apartment last year.

So now, my bathroom is smelling particularly spring like.
And well, lovely, really.
I know, you're probably thinking it smells like your grandmother.

Lily of the Valley. Yardley's.

Something you don't see very often. In fact when I did some research for writing this I couldn't find any in the two Shoppers Drug Marts I checked, which is where I was sure they would have some for the older ladies who cling to their tried and true favoured brands.

I love this smell. I'm using it all the time now. It isn't too cloying or too sweet and fake. It lasts forever. No wonder people think of their grandmothers. Throughout the day, I will move an arm and get an oh so subtle whiff of lily of the valley and sigh, contentedly.

This made me wonder when this particular scent went out of favour. In fact when flower scents went out of fashion. Lavender is still around, though usually mixed with something else. But for the most part the scented soap industry has veered off towards the fruits. And like juice, there is often a combination of fruits of the anti-oxident variety with acai and goji thrown in. Pomegranate, blackberry, mango, passionfruit, lime and ginger are popular. It is like they are trying to make their shower gels and lotions sound healthy. Food that gets absorbed in your skin?

My kitchen always smells of fruit with the dish soap. I must admit though, that I usually just buy whichever colour goes with my decor. So I have grapefruit scents wafting every time I wash a dish. There is key lime waiting in the cupboard. Unless I've lost that one, too.

But my bathroom smells of SPRING.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

springing forward

There was a shift in the air today. I flung the windows wide open.
Well, metaphorically speaking. I actually just slid them across, but I like the idea of flinging them open. I've always wanted to live in one of those large Paris apartments with huge windows that have a latch and open outward onto a little balcony. I can see myself, long flowing gown, flinging open the tall windows onto a street scene below, Paris skyline above with the Eiffel Tower in the distance, someone riding a bicyclette, waving some flowers in one hand, shouting up to me that he has croissants...

Oh, sorry. I'm back.

The breeze that blew in was fresh and smelled of ... S P R I N G!

Spring Forward.

The clocks will move ahead an hour this weekend, far earlier than we are used to (3 weeks earlier). But maybe that will mean Spring will follow quickly with flowers, and birds, and more sunshine, and warmth...

Until two years ago, the time changes came about on the first Sunday in April and again on the last Sunday in October. Now it is the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

Blogger ate my post where I tried to be both witty and informative about Daylight Savings Time. But really, I'd just as soon go back to my fantasy than rewrite it all.

Now, where was I ...

Paris ... spring ... croissants ... coffee

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

where I dream of escape

One of my favourite 'cooking shows' is on again and every Wednesday lunchtime I make a large pot of tea and stretch out on the chesterfield and float away ... to the canals of France.
With Rick Stein's French Odyssey.

It doesn't matter how many times I've seen each episode, or that I will never attempt to recreate any of his recipes, just listening to him enthusiastically describe the ingredients and the cooking method, humming along to the the head-bopping, toe-tapping accompanying music, watching the tranquil scenery unfold as his barge put-puts through the canals of Southern France into the most picturesque countryside and villages gets me drooling. And weeping with jealousy.

He is brimming with passion at everything he sees and tastes. So many of these 'reality shows' are so earnest as to be painful to watch. This is one example that takes you into the tv with him, "the constantly changing vista: sometimes a ruined chateaux, rolling vine-laden countryside, yellow fields of corn. The utterly serene pace of life."

"Coming into a village is particularly easy on the eye… The Canal du Midi was built when the waterways were the deluxe form of transport --- so that unlike entering a modern town by train, past back gardens, graffiti-daubed walls and rusty factories --- travelling by French canals you go through the best bits: …under elegant bridges and alongside towpaths with pretty houses, right into the centre."

He mentions frequently that things move at a leisurely pace and that locals take their time to experience and savour the finer things of life. Lunches and dinners were always enjoyed leisurely, with always just enough and no more. There is a French saying that one should always leave the table wanting more. This is suppose to be one way to keep yourself trimmer - though it doesn't look like it worked on him. Perhaps, the barge trip was a little too leisurely?

I'm sure it is not all so perfect as the series suggests.
But it does looks so unbelievably romantic.

I need a glass of wine.

Someone please make me a cassoulet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

where I make a plan

Right. So the other part of the story of the marathon on Sunday, the part you don't see in the photos, goes rather poorly. I couldn't find Sylvie in that silly looking running gear with the crowds at the finish line (we have only met in person once, but still email and talk on the phone since she temporarily gave up blogging [as Urban Animal]). But, I forgot to put her phone number into my cell phone, so instead of wasting more time, I thought I'd run home and get it. It was only 3 blocks. I used the time I needed to look up the number by catching my breath. Once the panting stopped and my heart rate returned to something a little less hectic, we connected and I sprinted back to our new meeting spot. I ever so gently steered her towards the nearest bench. My legs needed to sit. I can still feel a slight stitch in my side.

How sad is that?

Yesterday, I wandered over to the Y. Just to visit a friend, have a coffee, while I thought, again, about joining.

This morning, after work, I went inside.
Monthly payments will come off my credit card.
I had a 10 minute ride on the bike and a slightly shorter time on the treadmill.
I surveyed the other machines.
I wrote down the schedule of classes I want to take.
Yoga this afternoon.
Made a beeline to the steam room.

Now, I must rest.

Feel free to quiz me on my attendance record.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Stills - motion

Sometimes, Life gets in the way of having fun
We run and run, trying to get away
Sometimes, Life is the fun
we run and run to keep up

and when we reach the finish line

it should be with a joyous smile and laughter and a feeling of pride.
(cheering on my friend Sylvie, on her first half marathon.
she's not in these shots, but had a great finish time!)
see SundayStills for more photos on this week's theme of motion