Friday, August 29, 2014

End Of The Week Smile

So here we are at the end of another week, and the beginning of a long weekend. Isn’t that great? I certainly think so. And as far as I'm concerned, every weekend should be a long weekend.

I will end this week’s blog posts with a song that makes me smile. I hope it does the same for you.

You all make me smile, too. Aw shucks, right?

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Kick back, relax and enjoy...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hometown Memories: Delightful Diversity

“Embracing diversity is one adventure after another, opening new paths of discovery that connect an
understanding to caring, listening, and sharing with others who are different than ourselves.”
- April Holland -

I was born and raised in my hometown of Montreal, and spent 44 years of my life there, and although I enjoyed living in a big city in my youth, I grew tired of the congestion, the nerve-racking traffic, the flood of tall buildings, the crowds, the noise, the impatient (and oftentimes rude) people and the frantic pace as I grew older. My husband felt the same, and in 2009 we packed up and moved to Kingston, a much smaller area with a fraction of the population. And we love it here.

The neighbourhood I grew up in is one of Canada's most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods,
representing many continents of the world. It is visually interesting, and full of character.

But even though I’d never opt to live in the big city of Montreal again, I do love visiting it for the same reason I enjoy visiting other big cities near us: the multiculturalism. As Canada’s second largest city, my hometown is ethnically diverse. And when I’m immersed in its cultural mosaic, it is exhilarating. From a photographer’s perspective, a culturally diverse population is more visually interesting, and from a personal perspective, it is enlightening. I feel more connected to the world when I mingle with a wide array of people with differing beliefs, mother tongues, histories, traditions and ancestries.

Spending time downtown is a great way to get a feel for the city's diverse population.

Aside from being near my family, this mix of people is the only thing I miss about living in a big city. And one of the reasons we visit Montreal, and the other cities nearby by, from time to time. To get our multicultural fix.

Do you live, or have you ever lived, in a diverse area?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where Canadian Zombies Hang Out

So yesterday evening, my daughter asked if we could all walk over to the Tim Hortons near our home and have a coffee. It’s not very often the teen wants to hang out with us old fogies, so we happily agreed. But when we got there, the store was closed, even though the employees were inside. There was a sign up stating that they were doing some maintenance, and would be temporarily closed from 6 – 9 PM. It was 8:40. So we decided to walk around and waste some time until they reopened. We found a picnic table at a business nearby and sat down. And that’s when I noticed other people peeking in the store’s window. Walking away disappointed. But not leaving. They were hanging around like us. Waiting. Watching. Lurking.

Like Zombies.

For those of you who don’t know, Tim Hortons is a huge business in Canada. HUGE. It is our largest fast food service with stores everywhere.


We are addicted to the coffee it offers. And the occasional contests.

Canadians flock there. On foot. In cars. On horseback...

It is a cultural icon. And when the zombie apocalypse happens, well...

Tim Hortons even ends up in news headlines...

Read story here.

And it's the first stop of every trip...

Yeah, us Canucks really love this place. And we were glad when it finally opened last night so we could get our Timmies fix.

Aside from my Canadian friends, do you know of this place?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Question Of The Day

What three qualities in a person really appeal to you?

Well, I could easily make a top ten twenty list, and it’s a little difficult to narrow it down, but here goes...

1) Sense of humour
I could not imagine life without humour, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s not an apple a day that keeps the doctor away, but a laugh or two. That being said, I really like people who have a healthy sense of humour. And I like them even more if they can laugh at themselves.

2) Empathy
While sympathy is the ability to feel for someone else, empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and truly understand what they are going through. You don’t feel for the person, you feel with them. I admire this trait immensely because I truly believe that if this quality is present, other good qualities like compassion, kindness, integrity, thoughtfulness, understanding, gentleness, consideration, tolerance, patience, conscientiousness, honesty, and many more, are just around the corner.

3) Unpretentiousness
No arrogance, smugness, egotism, pompousness, snootiness or pretentiousness for this girl. If you’re going to brag about your car, house, career, bank account or how great you are, find someone else to do it with. I prefer the company of individuals who are genuine, easy-going and down-to-earth.

What three qualities appeal to you?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, bloggy pals. How was the weekend? Good, I hope. Ours was really nice, and we spent most of it on our bikes. Saturday evening we cycled for a few hours around our city, got a lot of exercise and took plenty of pictures. Even selfies. Ever since I discovered that one of my cameras takes self-portraits, we’ve been snapping photos of ourselves wherever we go, most of which are silly. Because it’s impossible for two goofballs to be serious for long. We’d self combust.

Here’s one of our wacky moments:

We refuse to grow up. Refuse!

And yesterday we felt like a road trip, so we threw our bikes and ourselves in the car and headed over to Peterborough; a lovely small city about the size of Kingston that is less than two hours away. We spent the entire day there riding around, exploring and photographing. It was loads of fun, and the weather was 'fantabulous'!

This photo was taken as the sun began to set while standing on the train bridge that runs across the Otonabee River.

And today, it’s back to the routine. But first, let’s laugh a little...

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Friday, August 22, 2014

It’s The Little Things: Road Trips

Road trips. One of my favourite things in the world. I could spend my life doing just that. There is no end to my desire to go from place to place, and thoroughly explore each one.

A peaceful area by the water that we discovered on one of our road trips this summer.

There are an infinite number of reasons why I enjoy road trips, but here are a few:

...the spontaneity, the abandonment of daily routines, the open road, the stops along the way, breathtaking landscapes, wildlife sightings, back roads, remote areas, beaches, parks, lakes, rivers, ponds, big and small city visits, the locals, new restaurants, festivals, museums, historical sites, national monuments, country roads, small towns, abandoned homes, dilapidated barns, ghost towns, driving into the sun, losing track of time, and feeling like you’re a million miles away from home...

Do you like road trips? What do you like about them?

(Here's a fun video about summer road trips)

Make it a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Interesting Sightings

“Photographers are violent people. First they frame you, then they shoot you, then they hang you on the wall.”
- Unknown -

Some of my best outings are those that include interesting, unusual, fascinating and even amusing sightings that I can photograph. Like the ones below...

A determined little plant pushes its way through rocks and shells at the beach.

Covered in spider webs. Creepy...

Behind a bench at a bus stop with no garbage can nearby. Notice that it's mostly Tim Horton's coffee cups?

The reflection of buildings on another building's glass windows.

The making of a horror film. Super creepy.

A disgruntled shopper?

Yeah, big friggin' deal.

Baseball caps are useful in many ways.

Make it a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Every Home Needs A Harvey

My brother and sister-in-law arrived yesterday for a two-day visit, so today's post is quick and easy. And funny, too. It almost makes me want to go out and adopt a dog from the local shelter. Almost. But not quite. 'Cause the cats would go stark raving mad if I did.

Enjoy! And have a beautiful Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It’s The Little Things: Birthdays

Every moment of every day, there are people fighting for their lives, people whose lives have been cut short by some tragedy and people who are trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.

So each birthday that we celebrate the privilege of having been given another year of life in this amazing world is truly a blessing.

At the end of July, the most amazing man in the world celebrated another birthday. I am grateful for that.

Plus, there’s cake.

Caramel chocolate cheesecake...mmmm...

Have a lovely Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you all had a nice weekend. Our staycation is officially over, and we go back to our responsibility-laden routines as of this morning. The past week wasn’t as adventurous as the first because the weather suddenly turned on us with chilly temperatures and heaps of rain. It stayed that way for a few days, and we forced indoors. Yesterday, the weather finally improved and we didn’t hesitate to get out and about with our bikes to explore and enjoy the outdoors. We even ran across some young friends along the way.

This little one was just a few yards away with mama and another sibling.

And you know what it’s like outside today? Absolutely gorgeous. *sigh* If only staycations would last all summer.

Well, let’s move on to the funny stuff, shall we?

Wishing every one of you a beautiful week ahead!

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Daughter’s Dedication To Animal Welfare

"People who say that 'money can't buy happiness' have never paid an adoption fee."

My daughter contacted me earlier this week to email her a better quality version of an image I had taken of her cat, Daeny; a beautiful female calico that she adopted from a local shelter right here in Kingston when she stayed with us for a couple of months in 2012. (Adoption story here.)

My daughter's beautiful cat, Daeny. (This is not the image my daughter requested.)

She’s using the image for a banner she’s designing for the cat rescue that she volunteers at. She and her boyfriend foster cats, and she attends the adoption days that the rescue organizes to help find ‘furever’ homes for all the sweet furballs in foster care.

Right now, this precious calico in her care is waiting for a permanent placement:

This sweet female kitten is hoping for a furever home. Might it be you?

Throughout their young lives, I taught my children to be gentle and compassionate and charitable with animals. Thankfully, the lessons were absorbed, and now that my older daughter is living on her own she has taken it even further by actively participating in animal welfare.

Daeny and the kitten are best buddies.

It is gratifying to know that with so many people dedicated to abusing, abandoning and neglecting the helpless and vulnerable creatures we share this world with, my daughter is dedicated to helping them. My heart is full.

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Photo Dump

“Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a
camera with me at all times...I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.”
- Elliott Erwitt -

When I started noticing details and paying close attention to my surroundings, I discovered just how much beauty and awesomeness and joy is around me every minute of every day. Life is full of these simple yet extraordinary moments that I freeze whenever I press the shutter button on my camera...that I never leave home without.

Here are some of those frozen moments...

"Make sure you get my good side."

I don't think this is being used anymore.

Yes, I see you. The ears give you away.


Cloudy days without wind are ideal for reflections.

Horsing around.

Making friends along country roads.

A tranquil moment by the water.

All tied up.

My daughter's cat, Daeny, bug-eyed.

Make it a great day, everyone!