Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Short Season but Sweet

Short Season but Sweet, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Some things taste better because the season is short. Fresh cherries only get here for about a month, but in that time I savour their wonderful taste.

If  life is a bowl of cherries, it sure doesn't last long. The season is short, and they disappear from the bowl rather quickly. Or is it that life is sweet and we have to savour every bit of it?

The Old Empress

The Old Empress, originally uploaded by susanvg.
I had to pick something up in this neighbourhood, so I stopped to snap a picture. In my youth, this was the Empress Theatre, built in 1927. According to Wikipedia, the decor was influenced by the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. The theatre has had many incarnations. It was first a burlesque theatre, then a movie theatre (how I first knew it). Then it was converted into a dinner theatre. Following this it became a repertory movie theatre (Cinema V). A fire gutted it and the building has fallen into disuse. There have been proposals for its resurrection, but so far money has not been available.

My connection to this building is quite personal. For a number of years I took dance classes on the second floor, two and sometimes three times a week. When the theatre was being converted into a dinner theatre, we briefly had to move our classes onto the stage. Then, we moved to another building. When the building was later transformed into Cinema V, I went to movies there. It's sad to see the old Empress abandonned. I hope somehow, it can be restored and become an asset to the community.


Purple, originally uploaded by susanvg.
I feast my eyes on flowers as the variety blossoming changes from day to day. I don't know the name of this one, seen in someone's rock garden. I love the spiky petals. This is a flower with attitude.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Fly, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Photo: May 29, 2011

Water droplets, still a constant in our lives - but we live with droplets, not hail, not tornadoes, not hurricanes. And, unlike the nearby Richelieu Valley, we are not experiencing flooding. Everything is lush. The grass seems to grow faster than you can mow it. Leaves are reaching their fullness. It is just people who wilt under the greyness.

Sunny days are coming. I'm off to the market to get those annuals that fill in the holes in my mainly perennial garden.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

When Will the Sun Shine?

When Will the Sun Shine?, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Photo: May 27, 2011

One rainy day followed by another. These outdoor tables sit idle - no takers for lunch in the rain. While the lawns are lush and green, I have not been tempted to plant annuals. It's just too soggy!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Olympic Village 1976

Olympic Village 1976, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Photo: May 25, 2011

Built for 1976, this was part of the Athletes' Village in the 1976 Olympics. It is now apartments. It is set in a lot of green space beside the Botanical Gardens, a municipal golf course and near the Olympic stadium.

City Tulips

City Tulips, originally uploaded by susanvg.

Photo: May 24, 2011
Our previous mayor had been head of our Botanical Gardens. While he had other shortcomings, he did help beautify the city. There are many flower beds on the medians of roads sporting tulips. In other places, large tubs of flowers are deposited in late spring so that flowers become part of a more concrete landscape.

I managed to snap this photo while stopped at a red light. With our cold, rainy May, the tulips are hanging around.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Neighbourhood Visitor

Neighbourhood Visitor
I came home to find this fellow (or gal) in front of my door. It had tipped over the garbage can and was selecting from the menu it found there. I'm not sure what exactly it was munching on, but it was not pleased that I had disturbed its banquet. These are usually more nocturnal animals, but this one was having the early bird special at around 6:00 p.m.

Raccoons like our neighbourhood. At one point I had a family living on my roof, under a deck - a mother and seven babies. The deck is gone, so it is no longer a good nesting place. But I have seen night time marauders checking out the local garbage cans.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Lines, originally uploaded by susanvg.
One thing I like about following people on Flickr is you see a wide variety of subjects for photography. One of my contacts, mikecogh from Adelaide, often posts industrial photographs - photos of those places that are not particularly beautiful.

I was at an art gallery in an industrial part of the city. On exiting I noticed these lines and shadows and thought it might make an interesting photo. When I turned and looked back at the stairs I was on, I shot this.


Getting into the rhythm of seeing the interesting in the ordinary. So these photos are dedicated to Mike.

Flûte Alors!

Flûte Alors!, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Flûte Alors! is a recorder quintet, made up of young (at least to me) musicians. But don't be fooled - their technical expertise is astounding as is their musicality. The concert was part Bach, part jazz and was held in a café (hence the beer bottle). The performance was polished and fresh at the same time.

It is particularly fun for me to hear them as I have followed some of these musicians since they were young teenagers. They have a CD coming out any day now - I'm looking forward to getting my copy.

Fire Escape

Fire Escape, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Photo: May 19, 2011

Old buildings are being converted to new uses. To respect new fire codes, additions like this fire escape have to be added. At least here, the building has found a new purpose. In the 1970s many buildings were demolished to make way for new, bigger, modern structures. A city has to grow, but I am glad we have preserved some of our history.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

James McGill

James McGill, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Photo taken May 13, 2011
I sometimes walk through the campus of McGill University. This sculpture of  James McGill was placed there after I graduated (some time in the last century). With the grey rainy days we have been having, he seems appropriately dressed for the weather.

McGill left a bequest for the establishment of a college which ultimately bore his name.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Every day a new delight. My bleeding hearts have started to open, their hanging charms dangling like from a bracelet. Flowers come in so many shapes and colours.

Tulip in the Rain

Rain has settled in for another dreary week. But everything is growing at warp speed. Trees that were bare now sport new pale green garbs. Everything that can bloom is pushing out flowers. My colourless view from my window has changed to technicolour!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Forget-me-nots, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Funny how flowers can have memories - or at least memories attached to them. Forget-me-nots always bring me back to the country place my family had while I was growing back. They seemed to be growing wild and would appear each summer. My mother loved to gather wild flowers and put them in a vase on our table.

She later suffered from dementia. Forget-me-nots are the flowers of the Alzheimer's Society. When I see them now, they have that double memory. So I really liked that these flowers were framed by a heart. How can one ever forget one's mother. She lives in my heart forever and hopefully, through me her love, her warmth and her wisdom will be passed on to others.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Huddled Up

Huddled Up, originally uploaded by susanvg.
This poor little fellow was huddled on the fence. I was quite near and he didn't budge. I think it must be a young pigeon, perhaps newly fledged. I hope he will thrive.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Red Trillium

Red Trillium, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Another walk in the woods - this time at Bois de Liesse. There are places where the forest floor is carpeted with trilliums. There are even a few red trilliums.

Forest Floor

It is a treat to walk among all these flowers. Growth is happening quickly now. The leaves have started to spread. Soon the canopy will spread over the forest.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trillium Season

Trillium Season, originally uploaded by susanvg.
I think one special aspect of spring is the ephemeral nature of the flowers. Scylla, so prolific just a week ago have almost all died off. Daffodils have bloomed and tulips in the sunnier spots have opened. But it is the forest flowers I love - the flowers that belong here, that have not been brought from other places. The trilliums blanket the forest floor, blooming while the sunshine still reaches them, before the leaves open and shade the ground.

Violet Patch

Dogtooth violets with their downward drooping faces add their sunny colour.  Summer flowers last, though blossoms die off, more grow to take their places. Spring flowers have a short season - take time to find them for they are not here long.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Preparing the Fields

Preparing the Fields, originally uploaded by susanvg.
As I sit writing this a pungent aroma is wafting in through the windows. The farmers are preparing the fields for planting.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lawn Ornaments

Lawn Ornaments, originally uploaded by susanvg.
I spend some time in a small town in eastern Ontario. Lawn ornaments can be found in profusion. These are just a sampling of some I passed on a walk today. It reminds me of my daughter when she was about 8. She loved the tacky items found in dollar stores. And if one china animal was good. Ten were definitely better. One year she proudly presented me with a pair of swans, a pair of cats, a pair of sheep, a pair of deer and three rabbits (I guess they had already begun their prolific breeding). She developed more discerning taste...


Dandelion, originally uploaded by susanvg.
It's interesting how we view certain plants. This dandelion is in my garden (not for much longer). Here we view them as weeds, but Italians like to harvest the young leaves and eat them in a salad. You can find dandelion greens for sale in some grocery stores. I was at a restaurant where they were not only offering fiddleheads (lightly sautéd they are a bit crunchy and taste fresh and springy - it's hard to describe taste), but also ramps. I looked up ramps - wild garlic. There was a site from Tennessee which described ways to eliminate them. They were viewed as weeds (though another site talked about a ramp festival there). Here they were sold as a delicacy. In Quebec they can only be harvested in small quantities for personal use, but may not be picked in provincial parks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Ferns Unroll

The Ferns Unroll, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Growth happens so quickly this time of year. Little bumps unfurl until they are leafy ferns.

Small Beginnings

In forests, people pick the early fern shoots known as fiddleheads (usually the ostrich fern). They are quite tasty. They have to be cleaned well and then cooked thoroughly. As only the tightly furled shoots are edible, harvest season is short.

Here's a link to Fiddlehead recipes as well as information about picking them (I let mine grow and buy fresh fiddleheads at the grocery store).

Monday, May 2, 2011


Daffodil, originally uploaded by susanvg.
The daffodil's sunny face looked down, turning away from the grey day.
 It's hard to feel gloomy with the bright spring flowers opening. My garden is coming to life.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What is your Pleasure

What is your Pleasure, originally uploaded by susanvg.
What better thing to do on a warm May afternoon than walk to the ice cream store! Then comes the difficulty of what to choose. I now have an affinity card for the Crémerie Evelyne. Now only eight more visits (4 if I always go with my spouse) and we'll get a free ice cream!
Crémerie Evelyn

When my kids were 10 and 12, I took them to France. We were in the town of Cabourg in July and the temperatures were in the mid 30s C (mid 90s F). On the main street the cafés would move their freezers out on the sidewalk. They were filled with the most amazing sorbets. In the heat we were consuming them daily - and I have to admit there was one day when one in the afternoon and another in the evening was needed to cool us down. The cafés also had cards which were stamped with each order. With three of us it was easy to fill it up.