Saturday, 25 February 2017

Saturday Photo: Winter Seating--But Not for Long

Last Sunday Lukas and Thomas built an igloo in the backyard, and the snow was knee deep in the parks.  Not much chance that anyone would have been tempted to sun themselves on these benches either.

But climate change is blowing through and the snow is melting rapidly.  Outdoor skating rinks which are frequently open until mid-March are now closed in many neighborhoods. 

A shame, or as that guy South of Border so often tweets:  Sad!  Would that he wised up about what's happening to this world, but to nobody's surprise it looks like he won't.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Saturday Photo: Snow, Trump, and Swinging Left

This photo has been posted before, I think, but it's one of my favourite winter ones and since we've had a nice bit of snow this last week, it seems appropriate this morning. 

The snow and the photo both fit right into the world as we've known it, but at the moment the ground is shifting under our feet, and we don't know what's going to happen next.

A climate change denier is now head of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the president of the United States is either getting crazier and crazier or just showing his true nature, take your pick.  Things are somewhat better here in Canada, but we can't help but be affected by what is happening South of the Border.  Even our handsome Prime Minister seems to think he has to make nice with The Trump in order to keep trade relations from being damaged.

But it's going to be hard to do business as usual.  We should stand on guard, as the song has it.  So should the whole world.  Which is why I've signed up for Shift Left, an interesting movement that is going to try to win swing seats in the US Congress for the Democrats.  The idea is for people in safe districts to help out in the nearest swing district.  In our case that's one in Upstate New York or another in Upstate New Hampshire.  Don't know yet just what I can do concretely, but it's worth trying.  Here's the link: Swing Left

By the way, it looks like the tree is leaning right, but it all depends on your point of view.  From the other side it would indeed be swinging left! 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Saturday Photo: Valentine Hearts, Maylis de Kerengal, and Donor Pledges

 It's a couple of days early, but here's a Valentine  heart to enjoy, made with a not-too-steady hand in Photoshop.  Nice to know that I don't do much cardiac surgery, right?

As it happens, though, I've been reading the wonderful novel by Maylis de Kerengal, variously called Réparer les vivants (in French) or Mending the Living (translation by Jennifer Moore) or The Heart translation by Sam Taylor.  In it, a young man dies and his heart and other organs are donated to others.  Sounds gruesome, but it is exalting.  The French is poetic, evocative and engrossing, while the translations (why there are two, I haven't been able to determine, but both are quite good in their own way) carry the reader along through all the agony of the young man's family and medical professionals who will see that he lives on in others.

In France, organ donation is the default situation: a person must opt out, or it is assumed that he or she has agreed to have organs donated.  In North America, the reverse is the norm, so that unless one has specifically signed a statement approving donation, they won't be.  I'd always been a bit ambivalent about this, and while I've signed the statement on my driver's license agreeing to donation, I had no strong position.  After reading the novel, I'm far more positive.  Read it, and check out where you can sign up. In Canada: here.  In the US: here.



Saturday, 4 February 2017

Saturday Photo: Winter Fun--Thank Heaven for Urban Parks


Didn't have a camera with me this week, but this one taken a few years ago captures the spirit of Montreal in the winter.  I picked up both the grandkids (Jeanne on Tuesday, Thomas on Thursday) early and took them to play in the parks near their houses for a while.  The days are getting longer which meant that Jeanne could skate without problem until after 5 p.m. (and Thomas could "skate with my boots" at Parc Macdonald until even later.

Cold, snowy weather is what makes this place interesting this time of year.  January was the warmest ever, of course.  I know there are much graver consequence of climate change, but, selfishly, I hope that we don't lose all this.

By the way the parks where this family is frolicking as well as Jeanne's and Thomas's are set down in densely populated neighborhoods.  Great city planning!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Saturday Photo: Sun?

I'm tired of cloudy winter days.  Give me really cold weather, a good dump of snow every week or so, and I'm happy.  But gray skies?  No thank you.


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Saturday Photo: Not My Photo, But An Important One

This is Chico Mendes, the Brazilian organizer and environmental champion, who was murdered in 1988.  The photo is by Miranda Smith, who documented some of his activities that were instrumental in setting up reserves where the rubber tappers in the Amazon rain forest could live and work. 

His death was a tragedy, but he is an example to us all of what a few good men and women can do when they buck the odds. 

We're going to need many more like him (who, one hopes, will not meet the same end) in the coming four years.

As other protester said, keep the faith, baby!


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Saturday Photo: Brrrr, But It's Not as Bad as on the Greek Islands

Rather nippy this morning--down near -20 C (0 F)--and on my walk this morning I saw two things that I wished I had my camera to record

The first was a trio of tiger-striped cats sitting in a window, looking longingly at the outside.   The second was a battered umbrella which had apparently given up the ghost during Thursday's rain, and then became frozen in a puddle upside down.

But because I didn't have my camera  with me, you'll have to take my word for it. The windows here at home looked rather like the one in the photo, though.

But we are prepared for cold weather, we have central heating and scarves and heavy coats and boots.  Winter is an inconvenience not a disaster.

The case is quite different in  refugee camps around the Mediterranean, with snow falling on the Greek Islands, in fact.  One of our young friends is involved in a project to help pregnant women, new mothers and their families in the camps, and has put out a call for financial help.  Check it out here: CRIBS.