Friday, August 30, 2013

Sunny Side Up

“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own,
and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.”
- John Muir -

It’s been quite some time since I put together a ‘Sunny Side Up’ post, so I decided to end this blogging week with one. If you’ve got time, watch the entertaining video below. It’s a really cool compilation of animal antics, and the music and narration that goes with it is very nice, too.

Wishing you all a wonderful (and long for many of us) weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Being An Introvert Is Not Abnormal

It wasn’t that long ago that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) was considering classifying ‘introverted personality’ as a disorder by listing it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, commonly known as the DSM-5, which is used to diagnose mental illness.


This hit a nerve with a lot of people since it is estimated that anywhere from 25% - 50% of the population is introverted. It certainly hit a nerve with me. And even though there is growing conversation and awareness around introversion, and the proposal from the APA to label introverts with a disorder quietly faded, it remains a very misunderstood personality trait.

If you are an introvert like me, you’ve undoubtedly heard at one time or another something like this:

“You should be more confident around people.”
“You need to get out there.”
“Don’t be so antisocial.”

...and on and on and nauseam...

After awhile, you become tired of defending what comes naturally to you.

Listen; there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Just because we prefer to exercise our minds a lot more than our jaws doesn’t make us abnormal. We have strong social skills, but prefer to devote that energy to close friends, colleagues and family. We listen more, talk less, think before we speak, dislike small talk but enjoy deep discussions, express ourselves better in writing (introverts thrive in the blogging world) and have such a strong inner life that we are rarely bored or lonely.

We are not antisocial. Or depressed. Or in need of therapy or medication.

We are simply introverts. And that’s okay.

This is what happens to us when we don't take time alone to re-energize.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Single Photograph

“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.”
- John Ruskin -

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Photo Dump

“Past and future are in the mind only - I am now.”
- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj -

When you are snapping photographs, you are paying careful attention to the details of a particular subject, and you are very attentive to the unique and magnificent things that surround you. Thus, you are living in the present moment. There are no worries about tomorrow or thoughts about yesterday. There is no ‘what was’ or ‘what will be’. Only what is. Photography is a way to quiet your mind, so you may live earnestly in the here and now.

Below is another round of photos that kept me in the moment...

Is it just me, or does it look like this little fella has a halo?

Blue and orange are such a wonderful contrast.

I often wonder if these amazing creatures inspired the creation of helicopters.

Mother Nature hanging out with an abandoned door that she'll eventually consume. Beware, door!

A tranquil moment by Lake Ontario at sunset. Is there anything more relaxing?

A lot of drama in the sky. Looks like Mother Nature is a wee bit upset.

♪♫ I want to fly like an eagle...♫♪

Um...should I tell him that it'll be awhile before a train arrives at this abandoned station?

This beautiful swan has certainly outgrown the ugly duckling stage.
I don't think the '30 minutes or less' pizza delivery guarantee will hold up at Bob's Diner.

Make it a great day, everyone! And stay in the moment...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chuckles and Chortles

I hope you all had a nice weekend. Saturday was a beautiful day, so we spent the day outdoors exploring and taking photographs. In the evening, we headed downtown to Amadeus CafĂ© (a family-owned restaurant that serves authentic German and Austrian cuisine) for supper, and to watch a friend and his band play live music in the courtyard patio. It was one of the bands performing during this weekend’s Limestone City Blues Festival. We joined up with some other friends who were already there, and it turned out to be a really nice evening. With all that running around on Saturday, I decided to lay low yesterday and recharge my battery.

This morning I’m full of energy and ready for a brand new week. Let’s get it started with some humour...

Kids Say the Darnest Things:

"The future of 'I give' is 'I take.'"

"The inhabitants of Moscow are called Mosquitoes."

"Water is composed of two gins. Oxygin and hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water."

"Most of the houses in France are made of plaster of Paris."

"The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 opossums."

"A scout obeys all to whom obedience is due and respects all duly constipated authorities."

"The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar."

"Syntax is all the money collected at the church from sinners."

"The blood circulates through the body by flowing down one leg and up the other."

"In the middle of the 18th century, all the morons moved to Utah."


Make it a great day, everyone, and a fantastic week!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Inside My Introverted Brain

Let’s be honest. All of us at some point have run around the house in a cape pretending to be a superhero. During our childhood years. But even if you’re still doing this, that’s okay. Who am I to judge someone else’s fetishes?

And even though I don’t sport a cape anymore, I sometimes imagine having a superpower. There are a few that appeal to me, including the ability to read minds, speak to animals or fly, invisibility, telepathy and even mind control. But if I could only have one superpower, I would settle for time travel.

Oh, the eras I picture myself visiting. And the people I’d see on these journeys. Whenever I’d be in the mood for a ‘different' kind of adventure, I’d just – POOF - and end up in the dinosaur period. Or - POOF – suddenly find myself taking photos of some place 1,000 years from now (yes, I'd be able to take a camera along). This would give a whole new meaning to spontaneous road trips. Imagine how much more interesting my weekly 'Photo Dump' posts would be?

Of course, the invisibility superpower sure would come in handy during these travels. I don't think everyone would feel warm and fuzzy about my sudden - POOF - appearance...

What would your superpower be?

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hometown Memories: Remembering ‘Pop’

Behind the building I grew up in there was a very large alleyway running between all the homes on the block. Rain or shine, hot or cold, day in and day out, all the kids would gather there and play when school wasn’t in session. Many memories were created and many friendships were built in that alleyway; it was an integral part of my childhood.

And it’s in that alleyway that we interacted with an elderly man we affectionately called ‘Pop’ who would sit beside his back window and watch us play. He lived in the apartment right next to ours with his niece, and because he had limited physical mobility, he was forced to spend most of his time indoors when she was working. We, the kids, were almost certainly his only connection to the outside world during that time, and his only social contact when all the other grownups were working or otherwise occupied. Our presence minimized his loneliness and kept him from feeling isolated. As such, he grew very fond of us. And over time, we grew very fond of him. He was like an adopted grandfather to all of us.

Pop would always have a friendly greeting for all the kids. He’d wave through the window and smile at our childhood shenanigans. Sometimes he’d toss us some gum or a chocolate bar. Other times, he would call one of us over and hand us a dime to buy a treat, which was the highlight of the day. A dime when I was a child was a small fortune, more than enough to buy a bag of chips, a popsicle, a small soft drink, bubble gum, candy, or any other tooth-decaying sweet.

Everyone adored this elderly man. And everyone called him ‘Pop’. Young and old. Even my parents. He did have a real name, but I honestly don’t recall what it was. And it’s possible that I never did know. But regardless, he was - and always will be - ‘Pop’ to me. A sweet and thoughtful man that touched the hearts of everyone in that neighbourhood.

Pop passed away by the time I reached my teen years, and we were all saddened by this loss. It’s been almost four decades since he’s been gone, and yet, I still think about him from time to time. Some people come into your life and leave a footprint in your heart. Pop is such a person. His gentle spirit lives on forever.

Thinking of you, Pop. I hope that wherever you are, you are resting in eternal peace.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Single Photograph

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway
in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path,
we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
- Henry David Thoreau -

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Photo Dump

"Photography opens your eyes a little wider to the world around you."
- Bill Jay -

A camera lens changes the way you see things. When you glimpse at the world through it, you pay more attention to details. You notice things that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Shapes, colours, people, buildings, flowers, rivers, walkways, textures...everything has the potential to be a unique image when you look at it as a photographer.

Below are some of the things that I've 'seen'...

A little drama going on in the sky.

An artistic dilapidated wall.

The only thing any one of us can really do is to keep moving forward.

Skeptical swan is fraught with skepticism...

Not for the faint of heart.
A candid photo of my younger daughter.


Because sometimes you need the BIG spoon.
And here I thought Frankenstein was a vegetarian.

Dieting squirrel is shocked - SHOCKED - that you’ve caught him eating carbs

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chuckles and Chortles

So the vacation period is over and now we get back into the routine of life. But that’s okay. The past two weeks were spectacular; filled with day trips and outings and oodles of fun and hundreds of photographs. What more could we ask for? We are truly blessed and I am grateful for it all.
Today is the start of a brand new week, and another opportunity for me to try and tickle your funny bone. Let’s get started...

Funny Foreign English Phrases

- At a Budapest zoo:

- Doctor's office in Rome:
- In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:

- A laundry in Rome:

- Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:

- In a Japanese cemetery:

So, did I get you to laugh? I certainly hope so.
Make it a great day, and a fantastic week!

Friday, August 16, 2013

An Exciting Road Trip...and a Wonderful Get-Together!

And we’re back...


When did we ever leave, right? Well, we did. We were gone for two full days. I didn’t announce that we’ll be out of town because I don’t like to inform the world that our house is empty. I'd even scheduled blog posts to go live, so it could look like I was here.

Anyhoo... We impulsively decided to take an extended road trip. Spontaneity is fun, no? We took the ferry to Wolfe Island in Ontario early Wednesday morning and took another ferry from there over to Cape Vincent, NY. Once there, we started heading west along the perimeter of Lake Ontario. It was a beautiful, scenic drive, and we stopped to take pictures along the water, along country roads and in small towns. Some of them ghost towns.

Like this one:

I love discovering and exploring areas like this one.
We saw countless incredible things along the way, and when we stopped in Rochester for a break and some ice cream at a small shop, we struck up a wonderful conversation with the owner of the place. He had come to America from Italy with his family, he told us, when he was about four (he looked to be in his late 50s or early 60s) and had lived his whole life in Rochester. I asked him if he spoke Italian; he said he did, albeit it very basic. He had been to Canada, in Montreal, and traveled to Italy often because he had family there. He was so wonderfully friendly and down to earth, and the short visit with him was one of the highlights of our trip as we headed toward our final destination. This place:

One of the most spectacular waterfalls.
I don’t need to tell you that this is Niagara Falls, do I?

We arrived there late Wednesday, had a bite to eat, freshened up and hit the hay. There’d be more adventure the next day. Like exploring the area, visiting the falls, taking more and more pictures, and also visiting Niagara-on-the Lake, an area we’d never been to.

And in Niagara-on-the-Lake, we met up with one of my favourite bloggers:

Meeting Francie was one of the best things that happened on this mini vacation!
Francie! She is the author of a North End Journal, one of my favourite blogs. We had a wonderful visit, and she is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I can’t tell you all how exciting this visit was, and how much I looked forward to it. Thank you, Francie, for such a great time!

So we’re back home with wonderful memories and a gazillion photos to go through. There’s nothing like traveling from place to place. I could spend my life doing that. If only that lottery ticket would come in...

Make it a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

If You Quit Bloging, Would You Say Goodbye?

A few days ago, I spent a little time cleaning up areas of my blog. And one of the areas I focused on was the list of blogs that I follow. Some are very active. Some less. Some are updated regularly. Some infrequently. And some have simply *POOF* disappeared.

No farewell.
No so long.
No see you later.

Just *POOF* and they’re gone.

Over the years, I’ve met many bloggers from different cities and countries. And grown quite fond of some of them. We share stories and jokes and photographs and tidbits of our lives, and develop relationships with one another, albeit ‘virtual’ ones.

When they up and POOF disappear without saying a word, I wonder what has happened to them, particularly the ones that I interacted with regularly. Did they get tired of blogging? Are they too busy?

Or...did something...tragic happen?

You can’t help but wonder.

I think that if I ever decided to quit blogging, I would let my readers know, and bid them a fond farewell.

Would you do the same? Or simply disappear? Never to be heard from again...