Hey Dad,

2016-04-02 15.28.35Today, in addition to being Father’s Day, would have been your 102nd birthday.  You almost made it.  This week while I’ve been down in the Hamilton area, I thought about what we’d have done if you’d still been here — things you always enjoyed no matter how limited your mobility and stamina became.

IMG_0731-LSo my first stop was the harbour where we used to go for family picnics, brunches at Williams’ Café, watching the boats (especially the sailboats) coming and going, splurging on ice cream, and taking the trolley ride out to Princess Point and back.  It was a gorgeous day.  The thermostat hit 35°C but there was a lovely breeze and it was actually extremely pleasant in the shade.  There were at least a dozen sailboats on the bay and the Harbour Tour boat was offering a special Father’s Day cruise.  I took the 90 minute trolley ride again like we did two years ago, took some pictures, and enjoyed the beautiful summer day (although it isn’t officially summer for about another 24 hours).  I loved seeing the sculpture again where we got this great photo of you kidding around.

2016-06-19 11.02.57After a bite to eat, I took our usual drive — past where the American Can used to be, down Wentworth St. where Mom lived when you started dating, past Uncle Hugh’s, Livingston church, where Hodgson’s Florist used to be, and down Gibson St. where the Hodgsons’ homes used to be right behind the florist shop and greenhouses.  Then I headed down Main St to Maple Ave. past the Stewart’s where they used to have that long double row of evergreens, the Clark’s home, and Neil Webb’s place, then down Park Row past our house.  There were two nice lime green lawn chairs on the porch and the place looked like it was being enjoyed and cared for.

2015-03-10 09.45.33-1Then I drove up Kenilworth past Auntie Bessie and Uncle Davie’s house and up along the Mountain brow where you always loved the view of the city.  I could see all those sailboats I’d been watching while enjoying the harbour atmosphere.  It was a perfect view — no smog, hardly a cloud in the sky, and a clear view all the way to Toronto.  It was a perfect day, Dad.  Sorry I had no-one to share my final drive through Hamilton but I felt like you were there with me.  Miss you, Dad!


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Last week, an Irish author/blogger I follow named Jean Reinhardt reblogged a lovely piece about outdoor wall murals in Waterford, Ireland.   Originally posted here by Inese M., these are absolutely beautiful photos of wall murals by some very talented people.

It inspired me to share some of the photos I took in Ontario, in Canada’s cottage country: Muskoka.  To be more specific, I took these photos in Huntsville, Ontario just over three years ago.  Huntsville is a small town (less than 20,000) surrounded by the kind of countryside that inspired artist Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven painters who admired his work and created truly Canadian paintings which conveyed our beautiful, rugged environment to the world.

In Huntsville, as well as in eight other locations, there is a walking tour people can take to view more than 90 replicas of magnificent Group of Seven and Tom Thomson paintings reproduced by some of our finest artists.  The murals are being done over a period of 5 years (they were begun in 2012), to culminate in 2017 with the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson’s death.

The tour begins in front of the Algonquin Theatre where sits a bronze statue of Tom Thomson by local artist Brenda Wainman-Goulet.


Nearby, on the south side of the Huntsville Civic Centre, facing the High Street parking lot, is a reproduction of Thomson’s White Birch Grove.


Just along side the local drugstore is this beautiful stream surrounded by our vibrant fall colours.  It’s called The Red Maple by A.Y. Jackson.


Going along Centre St. S. one comes to “The Canoe” by Tom Thomson.


Moving along Main St., we find J.E.H. MacDonald’s The Tangled Garden.


Further along, we come to a reproduction of Tom Thomson’s Autumn Garland.


And I love this one that’s painted on the outside of some kind of electrical or cable connection box.  Unfortunately, I can’t locate the name of the painting or the artist online and my notes are gone.


Here’s one in progress.


I’m thinking I’ll have to take a trip back to Huntsville to see all the latest additions.  I don’t think I’ll want to wait until 2017 for the celebration.

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1000 Places To See Before You Die

Have this on my Bookshelf blog but thought it appropriate to add it here.

Ms M's Bookshelf

Patricia Schultz is a charming and engaging speaker.  Tonight, at the Museum of Nature here in Ottawa, she gave a presentation that highlighted the best, and sometimes, the least known treasures of Europe.

Millenium Wheel Millenium Wheel, London, England

Starting with London, England, Schultz showed stunning pictures as she told personal stories of favourite places from the smallest countries (like the Vatican, Monaco, Malta) to the largest, France.  “Russia,” she said, “is not in Europe, is not in Asia; it’s just Russia,” but she included it in her tour.  She showed a slide of London’s parliament buildings and Big Ben taken from one of the capsules in the Millenium Wheel.  We saw the amazing scenery in Scotland and the Coast Path of Wales which is a national park where you can trek all of the 870 miles of rugged coastline.  We saw a castle in Ireland where you can stay overnight and there…

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The Pavement Bookworm

101 Books is the blog of Robert Bruce of Nashville, Tennessee. He is a full time writer and in addition to trying to read the Time Magazine’s 100 greatest novels + Ulysses, he finds really interesting items to share that are book-related. This story about a 24-year-old homeless man in Johannesburg is a prime example of the great items on his site. I think you’ll enjoy reading about “The Pavement Bookworm” and there is a link you can follow if you feel you want to help him out by sending books. Enjoy!

101 Books

This story was making the rounds a few weeks ago and because of my blog vacation I missed it, but it’s too good not to share with you today.

They call him “The Pavement Bookworm.” Philani is a 24-year-old homeless man in Johannesburg.

Instead of holding a sign or begging with a hat, Philani reviews books. He sits on a street corner with a pile of books and offers to review those books to passers-by. If someone thinks the book sounds promising, they can buy it directly from Philani.

By selling the books, he raises money for himself and his homeless friends. He’s doing something to make his life better in a practical way. Now, his story has gone viral. 

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Going But Not Far

Next Folding Bicycle

Next Folding Bicycle

While I won’t go far travelling this way, it will help me keep fit for my next dig.  I’ve had this bicycle for several years but hadn’t used it at all between the first year I bought it and this summer.  The second year I had it, my arthritis started acting up in my knees.  I was able to get that under control with medication, but the next few years I really didn’t have time for the bike.

Since I’m short and have a bit of difficulty sometimes with my balance, it’s a perfect bike for me.  When I brought it up from the basement last month, both tires had gone flat.  I tried the little pump I had bought especially for it the first year (because it fit nicely into my little carrier bag) but I couldn’t get the pump to attach.  Undeterred, I went to the garage and brought in the one I had used with my old bike, a tall pump with a gauge on it.  It wouldn’t attach either.  As you can see, the wheels are quite small and there’s not a lot of space to hook a pump onto the valve.  So, off I went to Walmart (where i had bought the bike) and came back with a second little pump that came with an adapter for different valve sizes.  Nope!  Didn’t work.

2014-06-04 11.56.15Still determined, the next day I folded the bike (yes! it folds in half quite neatly making it very easy to store) and put it in my trunk.  Off I went to a bicycle specialty shop.  The young man there was very nice.  He came to the car and looked at it, took it out, unfolded it, wheeled it inside, grabbed a pump from the wall that had a neat little flexible tube (that hides inside when not in use and screws right onto the valve), and pumped up my tires.  He topped it off with the store’s air supply (just like at the gas station) and I was ready to go!  Because I’m actually much lighter and more fit than I was when I bought the bike, I’m finding it easier to get back in the saddle again.  I’ve had it out twice for rides of about 20 – 30 minutes, uphill and down, on the sidewalk and on the bike path, and you can just call me easy rider.  At the end of biking season, I’ll hang it on the wall so the tires don’t go flat.  This is a great little bike and so is the pump.

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Found this photo on Pinterest.  It’s a great aerial shot of One World Trade Center; the kind of shot I wasn’t able to get (stayed firmly on the ground).  You can see the empty sky above the memorial and the memorial in the foundations of the twin towers.  A beautiful picture.

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Deco Delight

EmpireState02Clearly I am not through with New York City.  When I went, I knew I wanted to see a couple of shows, go to Birdland, the Guggenheim, the 9/11 Memorial, the Empire State Bldg., Central Park, and the Woodbury Common upstate. I don’t think I gave much thought to Art Deco, even though I recognized and photographed quite a bit while I was there. Since coming home, I’ve uploaded several of my art deco pictures to Pinterest and I’ve searched out places in Ottawa that are art deco where I could go and take my own photos. I’ve found a lot of pictures on Pinterest (posted by others) that are art deco and I’ve searched Google for even more. I realize that the Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass windows fall into that category as well. I started to wonder how you actually define art deco and decided I needed to learn more about it.
Today I received a really neat book from Amazon: Art Deco by Victoria Charles & Klaus H. Carl. There is a lot of information in it as well as terrific colour pictures of buildings, wall panels, sculpted decor, furniture, and jewellery.  From these pictures I realize many places I should have planned to have time to see.  Like the Chrysler Bldg.  Its entrance hall is absolutely amazing.  I love art deco elevator doors.

And I should have made time for Rockefeller Center as well as Grand Central Station.  I love the metal and texture on the front panel of Rockefeller Center.  It is amazing.  So I start planning my next trip now, even though it will be awhile before I go back.  Lots of research to do.

Rockefeller Center Entrance Sculpture

Rockefeller Center Entrance Sculpture

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