Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Shopping in the Byward Market

After work today, I decided to buy some fresh veggies from the Byward Market. It is always a treat to go there, see all the people and the beautiful fresh produce. So much more fun than shopping in a grocery store. 

First, I bought a basket of these lovely Brussels Sprouts - one of my favourite veggies. I like the combination of the green sprouts and the red strawberries side-by-side. 

Further down the street, there were lots of people purchasing fruit and vegetables from the vendors in the row of stalls. It was busy today, probably because the weather was so nice and it is the perfect time of the year to buy fresh produce.

I love the display of these radishes. Tempting, but I wasn't in the mood to buy any today. 

These hanging garlics were also tempting. As were the brightly-coloured peppers. 

Aha! This is what I wanted and ended up buying - a basket of wax beans. I think I was partly convinced by the funky sign saying "Young Tasty Beans". 

On my way home to my apartment, I passed by the Rainbow, a blues nightclub. On the open front door, they have advertised the blues musician playing. But mostly I found the humungous COLD BEER sign very eye-catching, with the arrow pointing inside to entice you. I mean, was there ever any doubt that they would have cold beer in a blues club? Also, when I looked closer, I saw the sign saying "(free brownies)". Now that's intriguing! Why free brownies? I have some theories, but I won't go into them here!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Foire Gourmande - Food Festival - in Lefaivre

On Sunday, I attended the Foire Gourmande in Lefaivre Ontario. The festival was being held on both sides of the Ottawa River, in Lefaivre and Montebello Quebec. People took the ferry across from one side to the other and back again, to sample wonderful food in both communities. 

Despite the rather inclement weather (we were getting the remnants of Hurricane Irene), there were crowds of people enjoying the displays, inside and out. 

Lots of fresh locally-grown produce was available for sampling and buying. 

Inside the main tent, one could sample cheese from St. Albert Cheese factory, watched over by this friendly cow. 

I must admit, I sampled some of this products of this stand a couple of times. Nothing like a small taste of blueberry wine after eating all sorts of yummy food - sausages, goat-meat chili, pastries, cheese curds, .....

This stand was giving out samples of baked beans - delish!

Toward the back of the main tent, these chefs were demonstrating the preparation of various dishes.

Our local NDP candidate for the upcoming provincial election, Bonnie Jean-Louis, visited the festival and introduced herself to people. It was a pleasure meeting her. She is very energetic and intelligent and I was impressed.

And some people seem to like to wear their food. My friend Mac was so pleased with the fresh garlic he got, he decided to decorate himself with it. Nice, Mac! 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Late Summer Party

On Saturday, I went to a party at the house of my friends, Susan and Vlasta. People gathered in the yard behind the house to enjoy food, drink and conversation. It was one of those beautiful late summer days when you wish the weather could always be like this - not too hot, not too cold, just perfect for being outside and looking at the fields and the sky while talking with friends. 

These two handsome men were wearing such great-coloured shirts, I demanded they pose for me side-by-side. 

Vlasta was on duty, busily cooking hamburgers on the grill.

After dinner, as people were enjoying dessert, Terry Gillespie, Peter Measroch and two other musicians jammed for a while. Some people danced, some just listened. This little girl sitting on the floor nearby was entranced.

When it got dark, a mammoth bonfire was lit. Terrific ending to a great party!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

This Morning on Parliament Hill

After a dentist appointment this morning, I stopped by Parliament Hill on my way back to work. The impromptu memorial to Jack Layton was still there and growing, with many bouquets of flowers (lots were orange) and letters and flags and bottles of orange crush. An amazing display of people's grief. 

Hundreds of people were milling about. Some were tourists, but most were people who wanted to line up to go inside to pay their respects to Layton, who was lying-in-state in the foyer of the Parliament Building. The lineup was long and apparently, it took about 2 hours.

I was walking past at the same time as the changing of the guard ceremony. This guy was standing there so stoically in his bearskin hat in the sun. 

The guards were marching one way and I was walking the other on my way back to work. It has been a sad week on Parliament Hill, but today I just enjoyed the sun and the colour and the sense of community with all the other people mourning Layton's death.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hooray For Frogs in the Pond!

There doesn't seem to be any fish in my pond this year but there are lots of frogs. When my daughter Sarah and her partner Steve visited me last weekend, Steve took a ton of pictures of the frogs. One could play "spot the frog" with this photo. I think there are 6 of them!

I am happy to report that the water lilies have recuperated after being nearly all eaten by the muskrats that invaded my pond a couple of years ago. Even one of the pink water lilies has made a comeback. We saw a single pink flower this past weekend - very beautiful. Then, lo and behold, a frog decided to sit on the flower. The guy's got taste. 

This is one of my favourite photos. Peek-a-boo! Aren't frogs great?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fixing the Fish Pond

Everyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with my fish pond. When Peter installed this pond nearly 20 years ago, the only liner for the pond that we could afford was a swimming pool liner which, of course, is bright blue - hardly proper for a fish pond that is supposed to look like a natural part of the environment. But Peter managed to cover up the blue with wood and it looked fine for years. However, the wood has deteriorated and the blue has been exposed. Also, the plastic was damaged by muskrats a couple of years ago and it is starting to crack and tear and there are big holes in it. I have been fretting about how awful it looks for a while now (and boring everyone to tears with my pond woes)!
Last Sunday, Sarah and I decided to do something about it. I wondered if the parts of the blue liner that show could just be cut away and she said, let's try it. So we did! Steve was the cameraman for the event, taking pictures of us while we worked. (Thanks for the pics, Steve).
Here is Sarah about to begin work.  

She started on one corner where the blue plastic was full of holes and in bad shape and cut away with an X-acto Knife. 

Then I lopped some low-hanging branches on a cedar so I could crawl underneath to get access to another part of the pond liner and do my share of cutting.

Sarah crawled under another part of the cedars and continued the work. 

Here I am, supervising Sarah who is leaning over the pond hacking away at the plastic. Don't I look like a mean boss, saying "Get to work!"

Wow! It looks so much better without all the ugly blue plastic visible. Hooray!

Sarah and I posed after all our work with our implements of destruction. A very satisfying job. Now I can sit back and enjoy my beautiful pond.

Monday, 22 August 2011

A Sad Farewell to Jack Layton

Like many, many Canadians, I was very saddened to learn that Jack Layton died this morning. This evening, I attended a candle vigil on Parliament Hill for "le bon Jack". Many people left bouquets of flowers. 

This man carried signs. 

This woman played "We Shall Overcome" softly on her accordion. 

But most people just held candles and huddled together, sharing their grief. I overheard one policeman say he estimated there were over 2000 people there. They were old and young, black and white, dressed in suits and dressed in jeans, rich and poor, all kinds of people from all walks of life. We sang O Canada, we mourned for Jack and for the great loss for our country. 

A woman gave me a candle (with a cup around it to protect it from the wind). It was comforting to hold it while standing with all the other people at the vigil. 

Goodbye Jack! You were a wonderful man. Canada is a better country because of you and we will all miss you. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bringing Out Your Inner Caravaggio

On Friday, my daughter Sarah, her partner Steve, and I went to the Caravaggio exhibition at the National Gallery in Ottawa. The show is a treat for anyone who loves the masterpieces of this period. We had a good time looking at all the wonderful paintings, then we discovered a special part of the show. People are invited to dress up in period costumes and pose as a Caravaggio painting. Two museum staff help you get dressed in a costume, help pose you, and then take your picture. So for a lark, we did! Steve is posing as the rich Roman or Neapolitan, I am the thieving fortune teller in the middle, and Sarah is the woman pointing out that I am stealing a ring or picking his pocket or something while I am telling his fortune.  All very silly!

We struck up a conversation with two women who took their turn posing after us. They wanted to do a painting with an angel in it. As they were getting ready to have the picture taken by the Museum staff, I took this quick shot. They looked great! I recommend trying this if you go to the exhibition. It brings out your inner Renaissance self.

And here are Sarah and Steve, back to 21st Century reality, taking a break outside the National afterwards. Ah! fame as a Caravaggio painting is so fleeting.

Friday, 19 August 2011

A Visit From Sarah and Steve

My daughter (Sarah) and her partner Steve are visiting me this weekend. They arrived yesterday afternoon and, after unpacking, we got ready to go out for dinner. Here is Sarah, showing me Steve's new hat. Love the expression!

We went to Mambo Nuevo in the Byward Market for dinner. It was a beautiful summer evening and we felt like we were down south on vacation, so we ordered appropriate drinks - a margarita, a sangria and a mojito. Yum!

Sarah and I had the Arroz Pablito  - fried rice, shrimp, scallops, mussels.

Steve had the Que's-o Pollo - chicken smothered in an almond cream sauce. He said it was delish!

After dinner, we walked up to Parliament Hill to see Mosaika, the light show on the Parliament Buildings. Sarah took this picture of me and Steve sitting on a blanket on the grass, waiting for the show to start. It was a good show, well worth seeing. 

On our way back to my apartment after the show, we stopped by the sculpture of the Famous Five and I took this strange picture of Sarah. I like the way the sculpture is so tall, it almost disappears into the night. Freaky!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Another Old Work I'd Almost Forgotten

This is a painting I had almost forgotten until I found a photo of it recently, as part of my ongoing efforts to go through boxes of old photos so I can scan them. I did this painting about 15 years ago. At the time, Peter was making a series of sculptures involving things on wheels, including a wonderful piece that we called the Duck on Wheels. I decided to put together the image of this sculpture and the image of a little girl from some drawings I was doing at the time of a girl riding a tricycle. Voila! a painting of the little girl on the duck on wheels. 

This is the maquette of the duck on wheels. At the time, Peter was very interested in ancient children's toys and we had seen a duck on wheels like this in a museum. He made several versions of the duck on wheels, including a fairly large one (about 5 feet tall) that is now in the collection of Jan Geddes. 

And here is the origin of the "little girl". I did some drawings based on old photographs of myself riding a tricycle. (This is one of the photographs and shows me and my brother Paul, circa 1957.) Peter liked these drawings, so I decided it would be fun to combine my art and his art by painting the little girl (myself) on his sculpture. I no longer have the drawings, the painting or the sculptures, but thank goodness I still have some of the photos to remember it all by.