Monday, November 26, 2018

Winter Came Early

An Early Winter

Winter showed up early this year. Snow has brightened up the dreary November days. It may not be here to stay but it has lingered.

Winter Dressing
Photo: November 16, 2018

There is always a feeling of magic with the first real snowfall. The world seems redecorated.

Formerly Ogilvys Window
Photo: November 20, 2018

The magical feeling was echoed by what used to be part of the Ogilvy's windows; now it is in front of the McCord Museum. These (and many more) playful characters move as they go about their "work" - this is part of the Mill in the Forest. Another window can be seen inside the museum. Learn more

Winter Pompoms
Photo: November 21, 2018

I like the quiet of a fresh snowfall. The same amount of rain makes me want to seek cover while the falling snow makes me smile. Cold weather, when I'm well-dressed, gives me energy.

Photo: November 24, 2018

While it may look much warmer, the temperature still hovered around 0C (32F). The squirrels were enjoying the ornamental crab apples. It was a perfect day for feasting.

Much of the snow melted yesterday after freezing rain and rain, but more is forecast for tonight. The city will once again look clean and white.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fall's Frenzy

Beaver Lake
Photo October 14, 2018

In October Mother Nature seems to send a little madness, painting and repainting the trees. A once staid scene in sensible green slowly breaks out into reds, oranges and yellows.

Perfect Day

Each day brings changes. My eyes feast on the riot of colour.


The sun saturates the colours.

Photo: October 26

Ivies join the colour changes before leaving buildings barren.

Sunlight in Autumn

Slowly the yellows predominate, glorious on a sunny day. But grey skies seem to be more frequent.

A Leafy Carpet
Photo: November 3

The magic of autumn is slowly ebbing as grey, rainy days set in. While October featured reds and oranges, the landscape is slowly moving to sepia.


Up on Mount Royal, the fallen leaves carpet the ground. On the first day after changing the clocks it is noticeable how by 3:00 the shadows are long as we enter into a period of early sunsets and long nights.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Across the Water to the Festival Theatre

Photos from October 5-7, 2018

Even grey skies cannot erase the sparkle of being in Stratford, Ontario. This is a trip my daughter and I like to do together and this year was particularly nice.


In addition to spectacular theatre productions (we saw 4 plays in 3 days: Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Coriolanus and An Ideal Husband), we love to wander along the river and through the town. It is small enough that we walk everywhere. The swans have been around as long as I remember (and that goes back many years - I first went to Stratford with my parents when I was twelve). More and more other water fowl have joined them. However, only the swans spend the winter in special quarters in Stratford. In early April they are released with much fanfare and a parade.


There are many ducks who also enjoy both the water and the banks. They are unperturbed as visitors walk by. And the many Canada geese seemed to be using the playing field and water as a staging ground to begin their flight south.

Adult and Adolescent Swans

We saw one cygnet - almost as big as its parent. From what we read in an online pamphlet, the young swan will not be white like its parent until it is two.


Ideas and influences planted when one is young can grow through life. The first years I visited Stratford fostered a love of the place which only grew as I got older. In the Festival Theatre the fanfare announcing the show will soon begin always puts a huge smile on my face, the walks by the river/lake bring a sense of peace. And, after so many years, I have watched the careers of so many actors from early years to retirement - the finest Canada has to offer.

It is a place that connects me both to my parents (they went in the early years when the plays were performed in a tent) and connects me with my children as we have enjoyed performances there together. Connections bridging generations and centuries as Shakespeare continues to be so relevant to us today.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Out of the Habit

Piles of Pumpkins
Photo: October 1, 2018

When I posted daily I got into a rhythm of taking photographs, uploading them and then writing. This year I totally lost that habit as you can see by the paltry number of posts. Other things pile up and seem to take precedence and the less I commit to this, the easier it is to put off posting altogether. While I have taken fewer photos, I have still managed to get a number up to Flickr, which is where I have been posting photos since 2005.

Autumn Reflection
Photo: October 1, 2018

Time to stop and reflect... I am not yet ready to totally abandon this blog.

Fattening Up for Winter

A joy this summer into fall has been watching the ducks in the park grow from tiny ducklings into the adult you see here. Soon they will be gone for the winter. 

How to make writing part of my life again? I like the feeling the camera gives me - a chance to stop and observe, to record and remember, to focus in on both the image and the moment. When I was employed in the education field I thought a lot about the importance of consolidating learning through reflection. The blog lets me go back to photographs, to have another period of focusing, of thinking of the story the images tell and how to connect them and for me to connect with the images in a new way.  Food for thought.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

A Weekend in the Eastern Townships

Looking Down Towards North Hatley

Photos: August 3-5, 2018

Sometimes one just needs to get out of the city and walk among the trees. Despite the heat it was good to walk along a dirt road and enjoy the wild flowers.

Pink Flowers

The cultivated flowers were pretty too. It's always a pleasure to see the colours and, in many cases, to see bees enjoying the pollen.

Abbaye St-Benoît-du-Lac

One reason for our weekend away was a concert at l'Abbaye St-Benoît-du-Lac. Les Boréades did an all Bach concert in the heat - not the best weather for baroque instruments. While we were in the abbey, a thunder storm passed through adding a little percussion to the music.


The main chapel is fairly modern, having been completed in 1994. Exposed metal beams stand, an internal skeleton holding everything up.


I liked the rhythm of this passageway which was closed to the public.

Chapel on Lake Memphremagog

The abbey is located on Lake Memphremagog - a beautiful setting.

In Mont Orford Park

On Sunday we took a short hike in Parc Mont-Orford - the hot, humid weather really affects the energy level.

Water Lilies

Still - it was lovely to be among the trees, to see the lake and the peaceful waterlilies, to hear the birds and to smell the many forest aromas.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sultry July

Orange Flower

It has been a hot July with humidity making it feel even hotter. There have been a number of days with temperatures over 30°C (86°F) but feeling like closer to 40° (104).  Thank goodness for air-conditioning. Though we did often enjoy suppers on our balcony. I don't know how those without AC cope.  Some rain towards the end of the month greened up the grass again. But often, it only increased the humidity.

New Duck Family

This pond is shallow. Even the ducks looked for shady spots to stay cool in the water.

Bottom's Up

Moving slowly, stopping to enjoy their antics, parking oneself on a bench in the park under a tree - all strategies to stay cool and still get outside.


Flowers, too, were a reason to stop on a walk. Just be in the moment and forget about the heat.

The View from my Walk

When the mornings were cooler I managed a few long walks up the hill in Westmount where I was rewarded with a view over part of the city out to the river.

The Sun Whose Rays

While this sunflower stood up straight...

Tired of the Heat

Others, like me, had had enough of the heat.

At the Redpath Museum

One can always cool off in a museum (though not this one! - The Redpath Museum was built in 1882 and there is no air conditioning). I went to hear Lynn Kozak, a McGill classics professor, do a one woman (with a little help) show of part of The Iliad. She has been doing a serialized performance of the complete Iliad over 30 weeks. You can see videos here.

Bees are Welcome

And so July has gone, but the hot weather remains. I will venture out to check out the ducks, linger near flowers, to run a few errands, to return home to a cold glass of water and a feeling that I have not yet let summer get the better of me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Magical Moments

Like a Mirage

I'm just home from my annual week at CAMMAC.  Every year has its magical moments whether they be those that Mother Nature produces, concert highlights or the feeling when a piece you have been working on with others comes together.  There are always surprises like a 90 something woman belting out a song complete with a few dance moves at the Tuesday evening cabaret evening or the 5 year old violinist playing in a morning concert. Age does not matter - we come together with our shared love of music.

This year the weather was brutally hot with high humidity. I wandered down to the boathouse early one morning. Looking across the lake towards an island, this house seemed to appear out of the mist as if it was a mirage.


There is definitely magic in the mist with mysteries slowly revealed.

Sunset on Lake Macdonald

Days are very busy at CAMMAC. There seems to be a constant buzz. Time spent near the lake help bring a sense of peace. What better time than the end of the day to stay in the moment, to watch the sun's last rays paint the sky and the lake.

Bach in the Woods

A number of cabins like this one are scattered in the woods. I had two classes each day in this one: Bach. Most of the cabins and studios are named after composers. There are windows on 3 sides so the woods are very present as we play music.

Wild Flowers in Phases

I try to put aside time for walks but with the soaring temperatures I only managed to walk once. The wild flowers bloom by the side of the road. I walk bathed in nature.

Violin and Baroque Flute

We get treated to 3 concerts each week with the finest early music musicians Montreal has to offer (and they are our teachers for the week). In this informal setting the musicians can try things they might not in a more formal setting and players from different ensembles mix and match in the concerts. This is a most appreciative audience. What happens is nothing short of magical.

Baroque Dance

Baroque dance with live musicians and done with a sense of humour. Marie-Natalie introduced many characters (Les Caractères de la Danse de Rebel). She worked her magic transforming herself into an old man, a young woman and many different personalities.

Evening Concert

There is no doubt in my mind that CAMMAC's Early Music Week is a special time in a special place. And now while I smile about the memories, does anyone have a magic spell to cast out the ear worms, the snippets of music that linger in my ears from the different classes I took during the week?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

In the Countryside


I spent a weekend in rural Quebec - mainly playing and listening to music. I did manage a bit of a walk in the countryside - a welcome beginning to a day of sitting.


The auberge where I was staying had a lovely flower garden. Another bonus was it was really off in the country offering perfect night skies for viewing the stars.


This woodpecker made its presence known with its rhythmic pecking at the pole. I hope it found a source of food. I am sure the metal part provided nothing.

Typical Quebec House

The village where the music workshop was held, Saint Camille is tiny, little more than a crossroads. All around it are farms. It's good to get away sometimes, out of one's daily life, out of one's usual setting to devote time to a passion - music.


Concerts were held in a former church. All benefit. The participants enjoyed the bucolic atmosphere and shared their talent. The community enjoyed the music and joined the participants for some social activities. Win - Win