Tuesday, May 31, 2016

On My Balcony

On My Balcony

I managed four posts in a row without flower photos. So here we go again - back to the flowers. I went to Atwater Market and bought a couple of pre-planted pots for my balcony. Now when we eat outside, I can admire flowers no matter which side of the table I sit at.

On my Balcony

With very different colour schemes I can enjoy quite different moods - the quieter more meditative pink and purple vs the fiery colours above.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Playing in Concert

Notre Dame de Bonsecours Church

Photos: May 29, 2016

Flutissimo played our final concert of the season at the Chapelle-Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours. This church is a jewel. It is built on the site of the first church in Montreal. This church was built in 1771 over the ruins of the original one which was ravaged by fire. The church is sometimes referred to as the sailors' church. It is the church closest to the port and in the nineteenth century sailors would come to pray before getting back on their ships for the next long ordeal. At the top left you can see a carved boat which hangs from the ceiling - carvings left by sailors.

Stained Glass

Beautiful stained glass windows can be seen on both sides of the church.

Our concert was well-attended and well received.  Attendance was boosted as it was Museum Day in Montreal and this was one of the many places that opened their doors to the public. Attached to the chapel is a museum dedicated to the life and work of Marguerite de Bourgeoys. It was her inspiration that caused the first church on this site to be built in 1675.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Family Day


Photos: May 28, 2016

My children are long past the family day activities which take place each year in the local park, so it is not really on my radar. As I walked through the park on my way to do some errands, I was delighted to see the many people enjoying the many activities which were going on.

Giant Truck

As I entered the park, I was met by an enormous truck - my head barely reached past the top of the wheels. Once in the park, I saw soldiers. They had set up a zipline across the "lagoon" and there was a long line of children eager to try it out.

Helping on Family Day

This fellow was waiting for the men at the other side to send back the harness so another child could zip across.

Part of the Zipline

It was delightful to see the joy and  friendly interaction.

Family Day

While I did not explore the whole area, I did walk past tables of people selling handmade goods, others sharing information about local organizations - a real sense of community and festivity.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Evening at the Supermarket

Evening at the Produce Aisle

Photo: May 27, 2016

The heat of the day dissipated a bit after the rain, though the humidity was high. Evening heat is never as bad as the heat of the day. We walked late in the evening to pick up a couple of items at the supermarket. In the late evening there  are fewer people manning the store, but no one seems to be in the same hurry - no cars lining up to get into the parking lot, no jockeying for space in the aisles. Just a few shoppers and a "go ahead of me - you just have a couple of items - I have a basketful." It's a mellow time.

Live Music

Live Music

Photo: May 26, 2016

I went to a retirement party for some colleagues and there was live music. The band was quite good - playing a nice variety of music but, for me, it was way too loud. You couldn't carry on a conversation without yelling in your neighbour's ear. I like to dance, but I just could not go near the dance floor. I should have brought ear plugs. I know I am particularly sensitive to loud noise; I am aware of the possibilities of hearing loss and, with music being such an important part of my life (both playing and going to concerts not of the popular variety) I want to be good to my ears. With stories such as that of Brian Johnson of AC/DC being told he risked total hearing loss if he continued playing with the band you would think that musicians would learn to turn the volume down a bit. But no - so I will have to dance in the confines of my home with the music at a volume I like.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Seeing Flowers Everywhere

Every Colour Blossoms

I'm trying not to write about flowers but they are popping up everywhere. Our sudden summery weather has meant the landscape changes daily. Where there were barely leaves starting, the trees are full; where there were flowers, now there are just leaves and where there was nothing there is now a profusion of blossoms. Nothing lasts in spring time. It is a time of mad growth and change.

Pinks and Lilac

Lilacs perfume the air. You can smell them before you see them. Temperature went up to 29°C (just over 84°F). My body takes time to adapt to heat (usually by trying to escape it).

Cool Spot on a Hot Day

I search out shade, sometimes crossing back and forth across a street as I walk searching out any shade. Walking through the park, I know the shady routes.


Some flowers also seem to relish the shady spots. Forget-me-nots found a perfect spot to flourish.

Tra la! It's May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev'ryone goes
Blissfully astray.
Tra la! It's here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
Merrily appear!

(from Camelot - lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More Ottawa

Glass Towers

Photos: May 23, 2016

While I love the reflections of glass towers, I am also aware of the problems for birds. Many die crashing into glass clad buildings as they do not realize it is not open sky.

Reflections and Distortions

I like the distortions and patterns  - which is the building, which the reflection?

Double Tulip

A nice walk in the afternoon and more tulips...

Canada 150

The hot dry level is causing them to dry up. They won't last long in this spring turned summer weather.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ottawa's Tulip Festival

Who Moved the Tulip

Photos: May 22, 2016 - One Rogue Tulip

The tulip display stems from the World War II. It was Canadian troops that liberated the Netherlands. In addition, Queen Juliana and her daughters spent part of the war in Canada. In fact, her youngest daughter was bort at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was temporarily made part of international territory so that her baby would not be born as a Canadian, but would only get its citizenship from its mother - thus be born solely Dutch. In gratitude for their Canadian stay, the queen sent the first of an annual shipment of tulips to Ottawa.

Tulips and More Tulips

It is impressive to see the big swathes of tulips in large beds.

Hairy Tulip

You can see every variety of tulip from this hairy looking one...

Ottawa's Tulips

to these double tulips that looks almost like roses.

Tulips and Blossoms

The tulips, combined with the lilacs and many flowering trees makes for quite a spectacle.

Spring in Ottawa

Tulips in Ottawa

Photos: May 21, 2016

Each year Ottawa plants over a million tulips. Large beds can be seen in many parts of the city. These red and white tulips were bred for Canada's 150th birthday which will take place next year (July 1, 2017).

Blossoms near the Church

Last weekends colder than average temperatures have been followed by this weekend's above average temperatures. Spring is in overdrive with everything that can bloom racing to open.

Peace Tower

I had to add a photo of the Peace Tower - to prove that these really are photos from Ottawa. Slightly camouflaged by the trees is a crane. Every building on Parliament Hill seems to be undergoing repairs and renovatiosn - cranes and scaffolding are ubiquitous.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Makey Makey

Playdoh Fruit Piano

I spent my morning at the Canada Wide Science Fair, helping to man a booth for LEARN. We had some kits on display that we use in our Creative Maker Spaces. It was fun to see the students play with the makey makey "piano". Their eyes lit up when they realized that they could play notes on play doh and even fruit. I always asked why they thought it would work and got a variety of answers. With enough prodding I got them to think about electricity and circuits. The younger students were stunned to realize that the electricity could pass through them to their friends.

I did not get a lot of chance to visit the student projects. It is very impressive to see the variety and the depth of the work they did. There is definitely hope for the future.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

More Spring Colours

Flowering Trees

Blossom time - the air is slightly scented.


Every shade of pink can be seen from dark to very pale.

New Growth

The leaves are a spring green - that bright new looks.

Blossom Time

No more winter white nor skeletal trees - the boughs are heavy with spring splendour.

Spring Green

Soon the delicate lace of leaves will be filled in. The greens will darken - an antidote to the coming hot summer days.

The Colours of Spring

Tons of Tulips

Photos: May 18, 2016

I was really going to write about trees - the many greens and pinks, but as I walked to my study group at McGill I passed too many magnificent flowers. Spring is a succession of flowers. This riot of colour delights as I walk. Tulips galore in every hue.

Purple Iris

The deep purples of irises are emerging. I take a moment with them to stop and focus and admire.

One Petal Down

This normally hidden design - an added bonus. I love to start my day with a long walk. When I have a destination I am more likely to set out. It's another good thing about attending the study group - a good walk to start my day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gardens and Flowers

Growing Vegetables

May in Montreal is planting time. These boxes sprang up near a church - a vegetable garden in the making. I'm assuming the wiring is to keep out squirrels. We'll see how effective it is as the season progresses.

Bleeding Hearts

I can't let the season pass without following the spring flowers. Their season is so short. Spring is a season of constant change with new wonders each day.

Taking time to enjoy each change. Moments to be mindful and just stop and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wearing Gloves Again


Photo: May 16, 2016

Gloves, ski band, down vest, jacket - all necessities as we went walking. A couple of days of below average temperatures had people bringing out the warm outer wear again. The tulips have stayed closed, preserving the warmth. Sunshine and predicted warmer temperatures will open them wide again. In the meantime, I was glad to have these gloves in my jacket pocket - and then - on my hands! The early morning brought a few flakes of snow and more fell north of Montreal. We seem to get three seasons in one week - the wintry chill, the warmth of spring and temperatures forecast for the weekend up to 26°C (79°F).

Monday, May 16, 2016

Music from Andalusia


Photos: May 15, 2016

We attended a concert of secular music of around the fifteenth century from Andalusia which featured three local music groups. Each performed music from a different cultural group (or at least from the three cultures that co-existed there until the end of the fifteenth century). One Equall Musick performed Spanish songs accompanied by lute and recorder.

The instrument above is a qanun (a kind of dulcimer). It is found in the Middle East, Central Asia and southeastern Europe. It is played by plucking the strings. The player wore picks on his thumbs  - amazing how quickly he could pluck using just his thumbs. He was part of Lamia Yared's group which performed Arabic songs. The arabs had been in Spain, in Al-Andalus, from the early 8th century until they were driven out at the end of the 15th century in 1492 (familiar date?) by Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon.

Oud and Lute Players

Another group of people that lived in Spain from about the sixth century were the Sephardic Jews. Their music reflects both their own heritage as well as the Arabic and Spanish influences. The oud (above right) was used in both Arabic and Sephardic music. The group ESEM (Ensemble Sépharade et Méditerranéen) performed the Sephardic pieces. The Jews were also expelled from Spain in 1492. Any who remained had to convert to Christianity and many still faced persecution for not being Catholic enough.

Music brings people together - three cultures sharing one concert, groups sharing musicians with other groups. An evening of shared pleasure - the opposite of the conflicts that appear elsewhere.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Natural Lawn

Natural Lawn

How did some flowers get categorized as weeds and others as decorative. I think this lawn looks delightful with its bright yellow dandelions and purple flowers. When I had a house, I diligently pulled up the dandelions lest they send their seeds to my neighbours but I often thought it was silly. Why is green better than yellow? If I were running a golf course I would try to have perfect greens, but lawns do not have to conform to a "standard."

Weeds or Flowers

I rather like the randomness of this lawn with a variety of colours and shapes. I smile at the wild flowers!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Up on Summit Park

And Another White Trillium

I made a little detour on my way home to check on the trillium situation up at Summit Park. They are blanketing the forest floor, in a hurry to catch the light before the leaves on the trees fill in.

A Profusion of Trilliums

I'm always amazed by their numbers and their very short season. I guess it makes them more precious.

White Trillium

I'm always in search of the perfect picture - but each flower has its charms.

Erythronium Americanum

The trout lilies (aka Erythronium Americanum) are also flowering, sharing space and the same short time with the trilliums. They seem like shy flowers, usually bending their heads down.

Erythronium Americanum

I wonder what they are trying to attract on the forest floor.

Growing Everywhere

I have to celebrate these short visits. It marks the true arrival of spring - the season that seems to be in a rush.