Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Spine Poetry

Book Spine Poetry by susanvg
Book Spine Poetry, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
For the end of poetry month - some book spine poetry. I scanned my shelves and came up with this just for a bit of fun.

The books:
The History of Love         by Nicole Krauss
A Suitable Boy                by Vikram Seth
Fair and Tender Ladies        by Lee Smith
The Favorite Game         by Leonard Cohen
Two-Part Invention         by Madeleine L'Engle
A Proper Marriage          by Doris Lessing

Sunday, April 29, 2012

John Redpath Mansion

John Redpath Mansion by susanvg
John Redpath Mansion, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Demolition on this building started in 1986, one hundred years after it was built. It was stopped when Heritage Montreal managed to get an injunction, but in the 25 years since it has been left to decay. Sad to this this stately building crumbling. The owners want to completely demolish it and build condominiums. This may still happen. After all, there is not much left of the once stately property now.

In the 1960s, many such buildings were demolished to make way for high rises. Now we are a little more careful with our heritage, but this one will probably not survive.

Learn more from Heritage Montreal
And an article from the Montreal Gazette

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On a Clear Day

On a Clear Day by susanvg
On a Clear Day, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Spring softens the cityscape with its gentle greens. A delicate curtain begins to close, hiding bits of buildings, obscuring what was once in plain sight. From up here I can see far, but other views are now cut off as this delicate lace grows into a thick canopy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First Flowers in Summit Park

First Flowers in Summit Park by susanvg
First Flowers in Summit Park, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Sometimes you just need to take a walk in nature to clear the head and unwind. I've had a workman at my home for a few days and the noise and constant presence have been getting to me. But when you walk and hear the birds singing, the woodpecker knocking away on a tree and see all the signs of spring, the cares disappear.


Slowly the flowers are opening. New growth, new wonders, new delights.

Monday, April 23, 2012

CBC Montreal

CBC Montreal by susanvg
CBC Montreal, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I am an avid radio listener and almost always have my radio tuned to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). The quality of the journalism is excellent and there is quite a variety of shows. Not all are my taste, but they are trying to appeal to a variety of  audiences. No matter where you go in Canada, you can tune in to the CBC. It lets you hear viewpoints from different parts of the country; it supports musicians through the recording of live concerts; it ties the country together. As a public broadcaster, it does not have to kowtow to the whims of advertisers and so can allow for a large diversity of opinions as well as present stories without being censored by the fear of losing advertising. CBC was a major supporter of Canadian culture.

That was then... Our current government, led by Steven Harper, does not like the CBC. They have slashed funding considerably. Many job cuts are imminent; recording of concerts will be greatly curtailed. This trickles down to less funding for musicians and the arts in general, less investigative journalism, less regional news etc. For television, this means fewer made in Canada shows, more reruns and, of course, less work for actors and anyone involved in the broadcast industry.

Private networks, beholden to advertisers cannot offer the same level of commitment to Canadian culture, nor do they attempt to cater to a variety of audiences. Money, the bottom line, is what counts and that does not lead to support of the arts. Rather it caters to the lowest common denominator.

to learn more about the cuts

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day by susanvg
Happy Earth Day, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I'm clearing out a lot of files. It's real spring cleaning. I came across this piece of art done by my son in elementary school. It seemed like just the thing to post on Earth Day (which should be every day).

I'm trying to archive - photographing a lot of things which used to take up space and recycling. It's time to lighten my life. It is time-consuming to do, but a great feeling when our big recycling bin is full each week. I don't need to be so anchored down in stuff.


So here are some virtual flowers (they are real in my garden) to celebrate the Earth and to celebrate, at least in this part of the world, the rebirth that happens each spring.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Old Water Pipe

Old Water Pipe by susanvg
Old Water Pipe, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: April 17, 2012

Montreal's infrastructure is aging resulting in sudden emergency repairs. Last week the water was turned off in my neighbourhood for a day while they repaired a leaky pipe. It certainly reminds one how much we depend on water. Work continues there with large holes in the street still exposed.

We went to a restaurant before a play and encountered yet another such emergency. It is hard to imagine this pipe bringing clean water. The restaurant was functioning without water for a few hours, but the meal was still delicious.

Spring is Unfurling

Spring is Unfurling by susanvg
Spring is Unfurling, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Spring - each year new growth surprises with its speed and elan. Gardens wake up and get to work. No need for intervention, they know just what to do.

A Shot of Blue

First comes the carpet of blue scylla which spread haphazardly where they please. No matter how many get dug up inadvertently as I plant a few annuals later in the season, they still seem to multiply.


Forsythia open their sunny blossoms, a yellow splash that brightens the garden.

Ah, spring! That season of ephemera. All the more to be appreciated for the temporary nature of each phase. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rialto Theatre Montreal

Rialto Theatre Montreal by susanvg
Rialto Theatre Montreal, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
What a treat on Saturday evening! I went to the Rialto Theatre to see a production of Pygmalion by Rameau, performed by the Mont-Royal Baroque Collective. Just seeing the theatre was worth the price of admission. It was built in 1923 and is a mixture of faux baroque and art deco.

A Little Baroque

My photos just don't do it justice. It served as a movie theatre until 1990. It was recently bought and restored. Now it is being used for concerts of every variety to dance shows and who knows what else is on the horizon?

Art Deco

It has been set up in cabaret style on the main floor, with a bar and tables. Hors d'oeuvres were served before the concert and drinks were available for purchase. Unlike with concerts in traditional theatres, people lingered after the concert to order and drink and chat.

Collectif Baroque Mont-Royal
Some of the musicians and cast of Pygmalian

As to the concert, it was delightful. This group is new on the Montreal scene. It is made up of young musicians, many of whom are recent graduates from McGill's Early Music programme. Music and baroque dance in a minimally staged performance - in this amazing theatre all made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls by susanvg
Empty Bowls, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: Saturday, April 14, 2012

I went to a fundraiser: Empty Bowls. For a modest price you could get homemade soup in a ceramic bowl and then take the bowl home. Local potters donated bowls. It was so popular this year that they ran out of soup and bowls before the event was scheduled to close.

Money raised will go to local food banks. A simple concept that was very effective. See this item on the CBC site.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Silhouettes in the Window

Silhouettes in the Window by susanvg
Silhouettes in the Window, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
These two felines are learning to live together. One has been with my daughter for a number of years, the other just joined her. They are negotiating territory and slowly getting closer.

Both are females and that makes a big difference. They seem to know that fighting doesn't solve anything, that sharing is part of life and that comfort and sunshine are some of the things that matter in life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls by susanvg
Spring Rolls, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
These spring rolls were served at a Vietnamese restaurant. I love the way the translucent wrapping lets you see what is inside.

Sometimes I wish people were equally transparent - open to saying what they mean and not using language to confuse. I think we could connect more easily and find the delights inside each person's soul instead of playing games that interfere with true relationships.

Monday, April 9, 2012

All Curled Up

All Curled Up by susanvg
All Curled Up, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
For this feline, comfort comes first. He knows that a seat vacated is always warm, so my office chair was the perfect spot to curl up.

I have taken to warming up a "magic bag" for him. He cuddles onto it, his body hit keeping the bag warm much longer. Spoiled cat? You bet - but he is a senior - homing in on 16, so a little heat must feel good on the old joints, though he is still quite spry.

This is my 1001st post - 1001 stories like Arabian Nights - but my stories will go on.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Evening Glow

Evening Glow by susanvg
Evening Glow, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I love the changes that happen when the sun is low in the sky. Colours change and trees turn golden. It never ceases to take my breath away.

Just outside my window, the setting sun painted its fiery colours on the trees. A warm bit of magic to bring in the holidays.

Wishing my online friends a Happy Easter, Happy Passover and happy anything else you happen to celebrate around this time of year.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Asparagus by susanvg
Asparagus, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Asparagus is definitely one of my favourite vegetables. While I don't aim for the 100 mile diet, I do feel a bit guilty when they come to us all the way from Peru. We are now eating Mexican asparagus. It will be a while before the local crop is ready. With more seasonal temperatures growth has slowed to a more normal pace. But I am enjoying this Mexican treat.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sitting in Natural Sepia

Sitting in Natural Sepia by susanvg
Sitting in Natural Sepia, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: March 31, 2012

Walking through a symphony of sepia
The ground is slowly waking up
Sending out new sprouts of green
Textures stand out
In this monochrome setting
I smell the waking world
Fresh and crisp
In the cool April air

Spring Forest

Monday, April 2, 2012

Report of an Accident

A Car Hit the Stop Sign by susanvg
A Car Hit the Stop Sign, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Friday evening as we were finishing dinner, we heard a long squeal of brakes followed by a loud crash. As we heard others going to help, we thought it best not to add to the crowd. Emergency vehicles arrived fairly quickly. This occurred just around the corner from me.

It seems two cars were drag racing (my neighbourhood is very residential). They must have taken the turn at quite a clip (there is a stop sign) as one car hit the stop sign, bounced off the stone wall and came to a stop in the middle of the street and burst into flames.

Remains from the Car Fire
Burnt spot where one car ended up

I am not sure which car hit which, but the second car skidded onto a lawn and landed up (part on its side is what I heard) against a house.

One Car Met this House

Fortunately it hit the chimney. I would hate to think what would have happened if it hit the gas entry. It seems no one was seriously hurt. I don't understand why some youth think it is OK to behave in this manner with no thought to possible repercussions.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Wee Dram

A Wee Dram by susanvg
A Wee Dram, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
We're consolidating. No more second home in rural Ontario, we now live in one place. A celebratory wee dram of very fine whisky from the Highland Park distillery (bought last summer in the Orkney Islands). Smooth, smokey, sumptuous. It's worth visiting their web site if you want to learn more about whisky production. Of course, there is nothing like visiting the distillery itself. The Orkneys are well worth a visit.

Definitely NOT Florida

Definitely NOT Florida by susanvg
Definitely NOT Florida, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
My car dealership moved and with my brakes making a grinding noise, I paid the new location a visit. On my walk to get the metro I passed this building - a palm tree mural on the side of a place that features nude dancers - definitely not the most scenic (at least for me) part of town.