Friday, December 30, 2011

Frosty Patterns

Frosty Patterns by susanvg
Frosty Patterns, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Frost paintings hide the view as arctic temperatures embrace the city. While outdoors, the wind strokes faces with its icy fingers, indoors all is warm. A cup of tea, good company and time to relax.

My sunny amaryllis, newly opened, chases away thoughts of the cold.

Amaryllis

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Music in New France

Music in New France by susanvg
Music in New France, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Les Idées Heureuses concert
It was a delightful afternoon of music and dance from New France. With the exception of one piece, there is evidence that the music played in the concert was played and enjoyed in the early to mid 18th Century in New France (now the province of Quebec). Manuscripts of the pieces, many by French composers, others composed here, were found among the belongings of some of the early settlers.

Life was not easy for the early colonists who braved cold winters and other hardships. But they did have music, both secular and sacred as well as dance to take their minds off any difficulties. The wealthier settlers enjoyed balls and other entertainment, much as they would have in France.


Dance in New France

We had to brave rather frigid temperatures to get there, hardly the same kind of hardship with our modern winter clothing and modern heated vehicles. And then we enjoyed this concert, all done in costume, with excerpts of letters from a widowed colonist to her son. Madame Bégon described life among the well-to-do in her many letters. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wintry Stream

Wintry Stream by susanvg
Wintry Stream, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Another gentle snowfall has changed the landscape to wintry white. We walked at Bois de Liesse. Despite the small amount of snow, cross country skiers were out shushing through the trails. This stream has not frozen and a lone duck swam in the frigid waters. I hope its downy insulation is thick.


Swimming Through

Friday, December 23, 2011

Then Some Snow

Then Some Snow by susanvg
Then Some Snow, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Snow fell softly most of the day, dressing trees in bridal finery. With frigid temperatures expected, it should stay around for Christmas. The snow brightens everything up, even at night when the light from street lamps creates frosty diamonds.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Icy Branches

Icy Branches by susanvg
Icy Branches, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Treacherous weather leads to beauty when the sun shines on the icy branches. The frozen rain that coats the branches, now drips down belatedly. Winter does not seem to want to take hold this year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Emily Carr et ses amis

Emily Carr et ses amis by susanvg
Emily Carr et ses amis, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I love to come across public art. This one was new to me. It is a sculpture by Joe Fafard - Emily Carr et ses amis. I am a fan of both Fafard and Carr and it is nice to see an artist pay hommage to another.

Emily Carr was born in 1871. She certainly didn't follow tradition. A painter, a writer and a non-conformist, she is known best for her paintings of British Columbia, particularly those done in the Kwakiutl villages. You can learn more about her here. If you search for images on Google you will find many examples of her work as well as photographs of the artist herself.

Joe Fafard is a contemporary artist. I have photographed a cow he did, which lies near the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal. The cow has recently been moved around the corner and now lies on grass. Learn more about Joe Fafard here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sculpture in Progress

Sculpture in Progress by susanvg
Sculpture in Progress, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Finally some cold weather. Flutissimo played a concert at the Marché de Nöel in Vieux Longueuil. Usually the outdoor area is full of snow and ice sculptures. The snow has held off and the rainy weather would have washed away any ice. So today some blocks of ice waited for these ice sculptors to turn them into wintry creations.
  Ice Sculpture
Earlier in the day the blocks stood ready. Despite the lack of snow, people were in the festive spirit -shopping at the kiosques for hand made items, gourmet local food items, locally produced goods. As we arrived early for the concert, I was able to wander around. I now have a cosy hat for the cold weather made of alpaca wool. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Singing Tree

Singing Tree by susanvg
Singing Tree, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: December 16, 2011


Walking, I heard a singing tree. Its branches were full of a chorus of birds. Their voices sang of the sunshine whose rays still spread some warmth. Cold weather is coming, but the birds just enjoyed the moment.... as did I.

Climate Change

Climate Change by susanvg
Climate Change, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: December 14, 2001

Still no real snow. And I'm angry. The Harper Government puts economy before everything. Short term solutions for long term disaster. They have backed out of the Kyoto Accord, try to say that the tar sands are not only ethical but environmentally OK. It is an embarrassement to be Canadian.

November was unseasonably warm. December has been unseasonably warm. And this is no longer an anomaly. We have had several of the warmest years in a century just in the last decade. The climate IS changing, whether Harper wants to acknowledge it or not. And we all have to do something to pull in the reins before massive flooding leads to economic hardships in many parts of the world, before climate change leads to drought in other parts of the world. There was a time that Canada led, not just followed. Canada could be an example to others. Instead - if the US isn't on board we won't be either.

Sure, I want people to have jobs. But we have to start thinking longer term than the next quarter of the year. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Let your MPs know you are not happy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gone

Gone by susanvg
Gone, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.

There was a house here. In fact, I knew the people who lived here. I'm amazed that people would buy a house only to demolish it and build anew. I understand renovating; I understand adding on. But to pay the price for a property only to totally demolish is astonishing to me.

We'll see what appears, how it fits in with the neighbourhood. I can't help but feel a little piece of history is missing. I like the fact that my house has been lived in by others. I hope the next buyers will value some of the little touches I leave behind and then put their mark on it. Houses carry history.

Centaur Theatre

Centaur Theatre by susanvg
Centaur Theatre, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: December 11, 2011

I walked past Centaur Theatre on my way to dinner in a restaurant. I have photographed it in the day time. It has a very different feel from a night time shot. This year I have been going to the plays. Next up: In Absentia by Morris Panych. Although the acting has been good in the last two plays I saw, I did not find the plays very satisfying. But in Montreal, it is important to support English theatre.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cyclamen

Cyclamen by susanvg
Cyclamen, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Delicate petals hover over the leaves of the cyclamen, like butterflies waiting to land. I delight in my indoor garden where some new plants have joined my old stalwarts.

My Christmas cacti have been good to me, flowering one after another so I can appreciate each plant's blooms.

Schlumbergera

My summer garden bloomed in profusion - it was the mass of colour I appreciated. But indoors I treasure each flower. Such detail to examine and marvel over the myriad of patterns flowers can take.

I am tempted by the flowers I see for sale. Like an insect, I am attracted by their colours; they lure me in. Can one ever have too many flowers in a home? I don't think I have yet reached that limit!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moon Rise

Moon Rise by susanvg
Moon Rise, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
How do you capture the moon. So often I am enchanted by the moon hanging low in the sky. I reach for my camera, but the image in my brain is so much clearer and majestic than my camera can capture.

I never seem to have the right camera or right lens to share the scene I am seeing. I guess that is a major difference between me, the casual hobby photographer and the professionals. They check for nature's phenomena - times of sunrises and sunsets, times of moon rise. I just happen upon these things unprepared.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Memorial

Memorial by susanvg
Memorial, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Today is the twenty-second anniversary of the massacre at the École Polytechnique. I wrote about it before.  Out of this sad event, Canada enacted a gun registry. Now the "Harper Government" wants to sack the long gun registry, as it is, according to them, not fair to hunters and farmers. Odd that no one thinks registering a car is not fair but guns should be exempt. The police would like to keep the registry; they say it helps them know if there are guns present when called out. You can learn more here.

The government of Quebec wants to start its own gun registry and wants the records for Quebec owned guns. The Harper government wants to destroy all the records, which the tax payers have paid for. This government does not represent me.

We will remember the women who were killed and will, in their names, continue to fight for the conditions that prevent violence to women.

We will not forget
Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz


Park to Remember

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker by susanvg
Downy Woodpecker, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
A walk on Mount Royal always brings delight. The bird feeders have been filled, bringing chickadees to peck at the seeds, while underneath the squirrels gorge on the seeds that fall.

This downy woodpecker, visible without the foliage was flitting from branch to branch, foraging. He was pecking at the smaller branches so the rap-tapping was quiet.

Through the Branches

The air was nippy, with most walkers bundled in winter jackets, hats and gloves. The occasional jogger trotted past in shorts. I admire their fortitude and think back to my youth when I had to wear a tunic to school.  It was not chic to wear long pants under your tunic (even though you had to take them off at school) and knee socks were in, so I foolishly shivered while waiting for buses, with my bare legs under my just over the knee-length tunic. That was about the last time I have given in to fashion over warmth!

I love the way the bare branches open up the view, making buildings and the river visible. It's an ever-changing place with our many seasons.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Imprinted on the Sidewalk

Imprinted on the Sidewalk by susanvg
Imprinted on the Sidewalk, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: December 1, 2011
It's funny to think how these footprints may be interpreted far in the future. Now we study dinosaur footprints. What will these squirrel prints tell future archeologists?