Saturday, 18 March 2017

Saturday Photo: Getting Rid of It...

Lots of snow here this last week.  It's always a surprise, but March can bring lots of the white stuff.  Here's a photo taken a few years ago when they were cleaning in front of our house.

Most of the snow clearing gets done at night, now.  Cost cutting reasons, I suppose, which also may lie behind the massive mess on Tuesday night when hundreds of people were stuck on major autoroutes.   

Subcontractors  were responsible for keeping the stretch of highway clear, but didn't have as the trucks and other equipment available they were supposed to have working.  The huge tie-up was aggravated by lack of coordination and refusal of people in authority to take the initiative to get things taken care of.

Sad, as 45 would say.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Saturday Photo: Coming Up for Air...

The snow in front is nearly gone, except for the fine dusting that fell yesterday.  It's cold--minus 22C on the back porch when we got up.  But the days are getting longer and the time changes tomorrow.

Amazing the way we all change the most intimate details of our lives when the world goes from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time and back again.  But time is really not as capricious as that.  It rolls on, indifferent to our cares.  The rocks in my sort-of Inukshuk come up for air as the season heads for spring, and tiny tips of green begin to show where the snowdrops will burst forth a couple of weeks from now.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

Saturday Photo: The Waters of March...Canada and Brazili

I've posted this before, but I like the photo a lot.  It's March and the snow is/was melting.  (I say was, because we're quite cold today so there won't be much of that.)

In the southern hemisphere, it's fall, not spring.  For a long time I thought the Tom Jobim song, The Waters of March referred to our season, but it turns out that the spring rains in Brazil announce a massive change for the better, the greening of the world after the hot summer.  Here's what the original sounds like. A wonderful song that can span the globe from top to bottom!

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!