Thursday, 27 December 2012

Spending Christmas with Family

Christmas is a wonderful time to be with one's family. I was in Toronto for Christmas visiting my son and his family and my daughter and her partner. We did lots of family things together, like last-minute Christmas shopping. In this picture, my grandson Max is looking at all the people in the mall while my grandson Charlie is looking up at all the brilliant, glittery Christmas decorations.  

We also decorated the Christmas tree. Be careful boys! You are going to tangle Daddy up in the lights.

We wore Christmas hats and had a party. Here Max and Charlie are on either side of their Auntie Sarah.

We decorated Christmas cookies. They were almost too pretty to eat!

I spent a lot of time cuddling my new granddaughter, Georgia, who is not quite 2 months old and a real little doll. One of the best Christmas treats of all!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Long Ago

This photograph was taken many, many years ago when I was a very little girl. I am in the middle of the picture, holding the new doll I got for Christmas and looking (longingly) at my brother Paul's new drum set. I distinctly remember that I preferred the drum set and would rather have gotten that for Christmas than a doll. Meanwhile, my sister Marilyn, on the right, has her foot on my leg. I put up with a lot from my sister. Ahhh! the joys of Christmas. Hope everyone has a happy one and that Santa is good to you! 

Monday, 17 December 2012

What Every Fashionable Woman Wears.....

They may not look all that fashionable, but these wonderful devices are indispensible in the part of the world I live in, with the kind of weather we have been having lately.

They are called Yak Traks, and you stretch them on over the bottom of your boots or shoes. They are amazing and give your boots real traction on the ice.

There - ready to go walking on ice such as this 2-inch thick patch on my front deck. I wore them this morning when I went to work and didn't slip once while all around me, people were sliding and falling.

We had another nasty onslaught of freezing rain last night and this morning. I think this one was worse than the bout of freezing rain we had a week ago. It created glare ice on the roads and sidewalks and walkways, like this one. It is frightening to have to walk on this stuff. But now I have my wonderful Yak Traks and I feel really secure. Fashionable or not, they are what every woman should wear on treacherous ice like this.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Carollers in the ByWard Market

We had another nasty storm in Eastern Ontario this Sunday, with snow first and then freezing rain on top of that. I wasn't happy because I had to come back to Ottawa a day early to avoid driving in the bad weather. To make the best of things, I went for a walk through the ByWard Market. Suddenly I heard Christmas carols and, when I turned a corner, there was a group of singers, standing in the cold and the blowing snow-mixed-with-ice-pellets, giving shoppers a bit of Christmas cheer. They were so brave - it really wasn't a nice day to stand outside and sing - and their songs really did cheer me up. Several other passers-by also stopped to listen. God rest ye merry gentlemen (and gentlewomen, too)!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

It Was A Moody Misty Morning

This is the time of year when we get great fluxes in temperature and all sorts of dramatic weather. This morning, we had a freezing mist that hung over everything, covering the trees in a white fuzz and hiding the tops of buildings in a grey smear.

It was a black-white-and-grey world when I approached the bridge I cross every day.

Despite the grey and damp, the ubiquitous brave bicyclists were out, refusing to give up their favourite mode of transportation. I was just happy that the warmer weather had melted most of the ice from Monday's freezing rain storm and it wasn't so slippery. But it would be nice to have some sun to chase away this foggy damp and lighten the mood of everything.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Upside-down world

The Ottawa River was so calm and clear one day last week that you could see perfect mirror images of the trees in the water. It looked like a beautiful upside-down world.  

Monday, 10 December 2012

Some Really Nasty Freezing Rain

This morning, people in Eastern Ontario woke up to find that freezing rain had fallen during the night. Everything was coated with ice, like this tree branch. The icy roads were really dangerous but a lot of salt had been spread on them, so they were just slushy when I took this photo.

The freezing rain continued to fall as I walked to work. People hid under their umbrellas and walked very carefully because the sidewalks were like skating rinks and quite treacherous.

Amazingly enough, some people continued to ride bicycles despite the weather and you can see the bicycle tracks on the ice in this photo. I managed to keep from slipping by finding patches of snow to walk on and railings to hang on to. Freezing rain is really nasty stuff - let's hope we don't have any more this winter.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Participating in Amnesty International's Write for Human Rights

December 10th is International Human Rights day and Amnesty International has invited people to participate in its Write for Rights marathon between Dec 7-16. This is a truly worthwhile event where people write letters to various governments to demand justice, respect and protection for human rights and an end to human rights violations. A friend of mine hosted a write-a-thon at her house and I was pleased to join in this event with several other people. We sat and wrote letters for a couple of hours. During this time, I wrote a letter to ask for justice for an unfairly convicted prisoner in Taiwan, to ask for assistance for a woman in Guatemala who was brutally attacked after she spoke out regarding water rights for her community, and to ask for a national strategy for Indigenous women in Canada who are victims of violence.

This photo shows three of the writers posing with a poster saying that we support the people of Bodo, Nigeria, whose land is being polluted by two oil spills from a Shell Oil pipeline. Shell is not addressing the problems caused by the leak to the health and well-being of the people of Bodo. This is just one of many injustices in the world today, and I feel it is important to write to governments to demand that the rights of people are upheld.  

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Holiday Tree at the National Gallery of Canada

Today, the National Gallery of Canada had a tree lighting ceremony. Hundreds of people gathered to watch this event. The tree was huge and had thousands of decorations and lights. At exactly 6:30 p.m., there was a countdown and everyone cheered when the lights came on. It was like a big party.

I had ample opportunity for people-watching. There were many children and I really enjoyed watching this little girl, who was having a good time just dancing around in circles all by herself. (Unfortunately, the picture is very blurry, but the lighting was not good in the hall.)

Meanwhile, these two young women were sitting on the floor, sketching. My guess is that they were art students.

I was playing with my camera, trying to get some decent pictures despite the terrible light, and somehow or other, I managed to get this weird effect. I rather like it - it looks like a black and white photo even though it is in colour.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Sunset in a Frame

Some of the windows in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa are quite spectacular and reach from the floor to the ceiling. Recently, I was in the National and was excited to see a gorgeous sunset through these windows.

The sunset was framed by the window, appropriate for a place devoted to the contemplation of Art!

The view of the sunset in the frame of the window changed as I got closer.

And finally I was looking at the sunset through the window with no frame around it. The Ottawa River reflected the dying light of the sun and the buildings looked like black silhouettes against the sky. It was a beautiful sunset from any view, framed or unframed.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sunset on a Long Country Road

Some of the country roads in Eastern Ontario are very straight and, if one finds a good spot to view them, they seem to stretch a long, long way, off into infinity. I took this picture one late afternoon, just as I was leaving the house of a friend of mine. I was talking to another friend and she suddenly said "look", and pointed off toward the sunset. It was quite beautiful with the road glowing in the distance and the trees just black silhouettes against the fading blue sky. A gorgeous peaceful early evening in the country!