Friday, February 5, 2016
One perk of going to concerts is they take place in different parts of the city. Last night's concert was in Old Montreal. We strolled through the streets (in this weird winter of ours, I was wearing shoes not boots - unheard of in February). As we walked up from the metro station we approached Notre-Dame church, one of the older churches in Montreal.
The cobblestone streets add atmosphere as does the way the buildings are lit. Despite warm for February temperatures, there are far fewer people on the streets than in the summer months. It is nice to walk without the constant jostling of tourists.
Place Jacques Cartier had fire pits set up. The logs crackled and the warmth was cheerful. Down in the old port there is an outdoor music festival (not my kind of music). I am sure the participants welcome the warmth of these stations after spending time outdoors.
After the concert, which was lovely, by Pallade Musica we walked past City Hall on our way back to the metro. It is lit up almost to excess. Tomorrow's concert takes me to another part of the city.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
I was once an avid knitter, having created over three dozen afghans which I presented to many friends and relatives. My mother always had a project on the go - most much more complex than anything I have made. She dressed us all in her handmade sweaters. I never tried anything that had to fit. Afghans, scarves, ponchos (it was the 70s) were my specialty.
This afghan was my big challenge - a complex fisherman knit pattern. It was a gargantuan task but I did it! I made it for my husband who died just a couple of years later (1982). It languished for a while in a cupboard as did my ardor for knitting. And then finally, I started to use it. A few years ago I started to knit a bit again and am now thinking of embarking on a new project. Maybe I'll actually try my hand at a sweater.
Handmade articles come with so many memories, of the creating, or the one who created it and of those who used it. The combination adds extra warmth as the stories weave together with the stitches. As I lie under the afghan, embraced by its history, I can feel my mother's guidance when I learned to knit, my own struggles with the complexity of creating, my love and loss. And the new stories created since I pulled out the blanket and started to use it again.
Monday, February 1, 2016
That shining ribbon of light is the St. Lawrence River. Montreal, an island, sits in it. Hidden from view all summer, from this vantage point, when the leaves are off the trees in winter, the river appears. It is the gateway into the interior of North America with ships now able to bypass the Lachine Rapids which stymied the early explorers, and travel via the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes.
My mother was born in Russia before the revolution and came to Canada in the 1920s. I remember her telling me that she had learned about the river in school - probably as they studied the geography of the world. She was excited to actually see it. I often think of how it must have felt to be an immigrant at that time, to know you were never going back. Connections with the past were via mail which could take many weeks to arrive. How instantaneous everything is now as we connect through our devices and not only hear but see our friends and relatives from far off.
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Garlic is a flavour I love. And garlic with basil is even better. Tonight's dinner was pesto: pasta, small scallops and lots of lightly cooked vegetables - all coated with pesto. Very tasty!
A side dish of salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing rounded out the meal. Life is good.
I love to walk through Old Montreal, with many buildings from the 19th century. Many are carefully lit at night to show off the architecture. This one feels like a horror house, with its red lighting. Instead of enhancing, it detracts.
I much prefer the the way this building is lit. One has a sense of its elegance.
Friday, January 29, 2016
Westmount Square, a four building complex (2 apartment towers, an office tower and a lower rise building) was designed by the architect, Mies van der Rohe. In some ways I like the clean lines and the way the buildings seem to float on the ground floor lobbies (see below).
There is a shopping concourse underneath. Some years ago, skylights were added, breaking up the marble walkways outside. Although it is nice to have some natural light inside, I am not a fan of changing the architectural integrity.
My parents lived in this building in the 1970s for about 5 years. My father was a building developer and he loved feeling he was living in a building designed by an architectural icon. They moved out, not because they didn't like the building, but because the gentleman upstairs had insomnia and would play his piano above my parents' bedroom at all hours of the night, pounding his feet on the floor. Unfortunately he was a friend of the owner of the building so complaints did not get very far.