Monday, February 27, 2012

From the Train in Casselman

From the Train in Casselman by susanvg
From the Train in Casselman, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I'm usually walking along this street, sometimes waiting for the train to pass. Today I was in the train, going from Ottawa to Montreal. I couldn't help but thing of those who lost their lives yesterday in a tragic ViaRail derailment. My heart goes out to their families. Somehow, today, I felt the engineer took extra care each time we switched tracks. Nothing is known yet of the cause of yesterday's accident. 

  From the train over the river

It's always good to cross the bridge onto the Island of Montreal. Although a half hour still remains of the trip, it feels like home is close.

From the Train - Storage

Trains don't always follow the most scenic routes. I'm not sure what these hold, but we passed several varieties of storage facilities.

From the Train - pulling in to Montreal

It's good to see the skyline of downtown Montreal and know that arrival at our destination is only minutes away. I enjoy train travel but as Dorothy said, "there's no place like home."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter

Winter by susanvg
Winter, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Freshly fallen
Pristine snow
Blankets the field
Winter still
Has hold of the land

A Slice of Lime

A Slice of Lime by susanvg
A Slice of Lime, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It's amazing how you can dress up water or sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime and suddenly it turns from simple to special. Refreshing - even on a blustery day.

Friday, February 24, 2012

City Hall at Night

City Hall at Night by susanvg
City Hall at Night, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Walking in Old Montreal, I enjoyed the lighting on the buildings. I was astonished to find that virtually all the restaurants on Place Jacques-Cartier close in the winter. The square is still pretty in winter and though the buskers aren't there, I would have thought there would still be clientele for the restaurants.

We did manage to find food around the corner and at least were rewarded with a lovely concert in the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours by Les Boréades.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Without Words

Without Words by susanvg
Without Words, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I tend to react to art as to whether I like it or I don't. It's a gut reaction, an emotional reaction. I don't pretend to know whether it's good or mediocre.

There was something about this one that struck me as whimsical. A literate person? He's easy to read? He's like an open book? He just sits there, perhaps mulling things over.

It's great that the museum has so many pieces of sculpture outdoors, accessible to all.

Yellow and Blue

IMG_0047 by susanvg
IMG_0047, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I love when people add a little individuality to homes. The colours just brightened up the street. These are modest homes on a modest street, but they are obviously cared for by the owners.

I also noticed the "No circulars" sign in the windows. They, like me, are tired of the amount of paper that comes in, only to be put directly into the recycling bin.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Enjoying the Sun

Enjoying the Sun by susanvg
Enjoying the Sun, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
The temperature rose above 0C (32F). My friend and I weren't the only ones enjoying the warmth of the sun. This little guy chattered at us until we found where he was located. Then he kept an eye on me as I took his photo.

The squirrels were taking advantage of the weather to forage for food. It has not been a winter for long hibernation. While Eastern Europe freezes, we have had a warm and weird winter.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

1920s Apartment

1920s Apartment by susanvg
1920s Apartment, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
As I continue my hunt for an apartment to buy, I keep this building in mind. This venerable apartment building was aging and no one seemed to notice. Suddenly the board realized that extensive repairs were needed and the contingency fund had been under funded for years resulting in large assessments for all the owners. You can read about it here.

We'll be checking out the financials of any building in which we choose to buy. I don't want surprises like that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Citrus

Citrus by susanvg
Citrus, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It's working! Sunshine to chase the cold away. I love to cut into citrus fruit. The burst of aroma fills the room.

I could never manage the 100 mile diet. There are just too many things I like to eat that come from far. Life without oranges? coffee? chocolate? spices? tea? While I try to buy local when I can, I am not ready to give up these delights.

Monday, February 13, 2012

That Time of Year

That Time of Year by susanvg
That Time of Year, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I've been laying low. A cold has invaded. It's nothing serious, but it sure knows how to make one feel low energy.

I think I need to buy some sunshine: oranges, strawberries and other warm weather items. I'm sure that's all it would take to chase away the last of this seasonal visitor.

Looking Over the River

Looking Over the River by susanvg
Looking Over the River, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
A bench for a warmer day. With temperatures hovering around -15C (5F), I didn't stop long to admire the view. Despite the sunshine, the wind had a cold bite.

Instead, I went to hear a concert by A Due (Vincent Lauzer and Marie-Laurence Primeau). The concert was held in L'Entrepôt, an old stone building built in the 1830s as a brewery. Inside is a modern concert hall. Always inspiring to hear these young musicians.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cafe au Lait

Cafe au Lait by susanvg
Cafe au Lait, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Brunch is made better with a big bowl of café au lait. Mine came with a surprise. After I took this photograph I realized that the swirl looked like a bird.


Bird in my Coffee

Serendipity  - it was definitely an accident. But so much in life is like that. It's those unexpected surprises that brighten a day.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pirates

Pirates by susanvg
Pirates, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
We decided to go for dinner before the concert. The restaurant we used to like was closed so we dropped in on the one next door. What a hoot. What used to be based on the theme of New France is now a pirate restaurant. There is a cover charge for the entertainment. All the serving people "work for the pirate boss." There was a game area (we were given card money), a singer, people circulating as various characters. The serving staff played their parts well.

It was quite a contrast to the concert we attended next - Clavecin en Concert with music by Couperin. Though the director of this concert series, Luc Beauséjour,  has quite a comic streak. Here is his promo video (in French and music)  for the concert.

Piping in the Store

Piping in the Store by susanvg
Piping in the Store, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Tradition! This store has had a tradition of a piper playing through the store every day at noon. We caught the tail end of his music as he made his way up the escalator. In summer he goes outside the store.

Rumour has it that this store may be transformed as it merges with another. Will this tradition remain? I, for one, certainly hope so.

Cello Duets

Cello Duets by susanvg
Cello Duets, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
This year Arion has hosted a series of lunch time concerts which feature both long time members of Arion as well as young musicians. Jaap ter Linden, a frequent guest conductor, played a concert of cello duets with Kate Haynes who is now often heard with various early music ensembles in Montreal. This is the third concert in the series that I have attended. Each one has been a delight, especially in the great acoustics of Tudor Hall.

Both cellists have a warm tone. I love to watch them play. Jaap ter Linden's face is as expressive as his playing. Kate Haynes plays with grace almost like a dancer. A treat of a concert! This series shows there will be no shortage of amazing musicians in the future.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Standing at Attention

Standing at Attention by susanvg
Standing at Attention, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I was in the local cemetery. It sits on prime real estate on the slopes of Mount Royal. A road snakes up the hill through woods. One section is home to the graves of fallen soldiers - these are from the second world war. While in other parts of the cemetery, the graves are more haphazard, here they are lined up with military precision. Even in death they stand at attention.


Buried Again

Other stones are half submerged in snow, the inhabitants buried twice over. But above life continues. Birds flew over, enjoying the bright sunshine while a red fox trotted through, stopping now and then to leave his scent. It is a peaceful place, good for a meditative stroll.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Orchid

Orchid by susanvg
Orchid, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It's the little things in life that make me happy. Flowers in winter is one of those things. This beautiful orchid came from my spouse. He was born without the flower gene - but he knows how much it means to me to have flowers around, so he bought me this.

I used to have several orchids, but somehow I got an aphid infestation and despite my efforts with soapy water, alcohol etc. I finally had to get rid of about 6 orchids. Those that survived have not bloomed in a while, so for a while my life has been devoid of these incredible flowers. Now I can once more marvel at their intricacy on a daily basis. I never tire of their beauty. New Orchid

And that visit to the market last week - here's the orchid that came home with me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Side View of Customs Building

Side View of Customs Building by susanvg
Side View of Customs Building, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Always nice to see a building lit at night to highlight its architectural features. This is the former Customs House in Montreal. It was built between 1912 and 1916.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fresh Bread

Fresh Bread by susanvg
Fresh Bread, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
To quote Gilles Vigneault "I went to the market, mon petit panier sous mon bras..." (my basket under my arm). Sometimes I need a pick me up in winter. I needed some groceries, but supermarket shopping is certainly not a pick me up. So off to the market I went to soak in the colours and the atmosphere. At the market, each stop is an interaction with a person - a little chit-chat along with the transaction.

First stop was the bakery. I steered clear of the exquisitely rich pastries and bought a fresh organic bread. And then off to the butcher. There are at least 10 butchers in the market. My favourite is the organic butcher. Good food for the weekend.

Root Vegetables

Everything tempted me, but I managed to keep my purchases to a reasonable amount. Root vegetables were tempting. Maybe next time I'll think about making a pan of roasted root vegetables.

Fruit from Everywhere

There was every kind of fruit available. Some must have travelled a great distance to get here. We are fortunate to be able to partake of such bounty, but I do worry a bit about the carbon footprint.


Flowers to Brighten a Day

And in winter - I need flowers. I bought an orchid (to be seen another day) - the first since my infestation of aphids. At least it was grown in Canada, so I can enjoy its double green-ness.

It was certainly a mood boost setting the stage for  a delightful weekend.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trail Mix

Trail Mix by susanvg
Trail Mix, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Nuts and dried fruit are a staple in my house. A handful (or three) is always a great pick-me-up between meals. This mixture contains goji berries. Their bright red colour seems almost artificial to me. They have reached "superfood" status with claims of their benefit for everything from diabetes to malaria.

I'm always a little skeptical about claims such as this. That is except for any positive claims about dark chocolate. That, for sure, is a superfood - even if just because of its intense taste. It's a mood enhancer.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Encased in Ice

Encased in Ice by susanvg
Encased in Ice, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I woke to see the world encased with ice. The snow had a crusty layer which cracked as I walked on it, breaking through. Cars had a layer of icy glass over them. Everything crunched.