Thursday, October 30, 2014

Remembering San Miguel de Allende

Exactly a year ago, I was enjoying a week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  I thought I'd peek back at the 224 photos I took on that day in 2013 and share some of them here today, since I never did get around to posting enough of them last year.

A lot of my photos feature the beautiful churches and architecture of the town.
There were so many fascinating places to see, the colours and images still resonate with me even as I look back at the images I captured through my lens.
I had my picture taken with a sculpture created by Anado McLauchlin:
Judy Wise gave us a lesson on how to paint faces that day:
Making art in this courtyard was a special experience we enjoyed every day.
We had a drink on a patio overlooking the city as night was falling.  As I recall, it started to rain shortly after we left!
The view was quite magical.
As we were leaving the restaurant, we stopped to have our picture taken in cardboard cutouts featuring the catarinas associated with the Day of the Dead.
Altars were beginning to appear everywhere for the upcoming celebrations.
Fortunately for me, I will soon be travelling back to this magical place. I am so looking forward to being there again!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Meeting With A Red Squirrel

I had a close encounter with a red squirrel on the weekend.  I was walking up the driveway at the cottage when suddenly, there he was at the base of a tree.
I think he was as surprised to see me as I was him.
I almost didn't noticed him at first as his colouring blends so well with the fallen leaves on the ground.  He seemed quite happy to pose for me.
Then it was time to go - can you see his cute little squirrel butt scampering away in this photo? I told you, he blends!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Grand Medallion

I haven't had much time to sketch in the past week or two so I thought I'd share a photo of something I drew a few weeks ago.  It was a medallion that I bought for a friend who likes deer; now that she has received her gift, I can post these photos.
I found it at the Aberfoyle outdoor antique market in September.  There were actually 3 of them available but I foolishly only bought one; I've been regretting that decision ever since!  Using my favourite resource tool, Google, I found this eBay listing from 2010 which describes a similar medallion and attributes it to the Catholic Order of Foresters, described on Wikipedia as a "Catholic fraternal insurance society".  If you wish, you can read more about them on their website.

Here's my sketch, drawn over top of a page torn from a receipt book dating back to 1929, another antique market purchase that day.
It was quite an interesting piece, about six inches in length and two inches in width.  I was thinking it would make an unusual clasp for a handmade journal perhaps; I'll be interested to see what my friend Susan does with it.  In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes open, in case I see another one in the future that I might want to pick up for myself! ;)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Toronto Aglow

This morning, the city was aglow in the rising sun.
I've left these photos unaltered because I love the orangeness of these images.
I just really wish that one building on the right hand side were just a few feet farther out of range!
The plumes of exhaust coming off the rooftops look like flames.
One lone wind turbine on the horizon.
Tonight the city is aglow with the news that we have a new mayor.  Finally, the circus act that was our previous mayor has been formally removed and hopefully our new governing personalities will act with more decorum and focus on the issues facing the city, and leave the buffoonery behind.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Haiku My Heart Friday: October Rain

Rain in October
Washes away fall's splendour
Pale remnants remain.

You'll find more haiku gathered here by the lovely Rebecca: recuerda_mi_corazon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Canadians Worth Watching

It was hard to concentrate at work today.  My thoughts kept turning to yesterday's horrifying events. Rex Murphy provided a poignant two minute summary of the day on the CBC last night.  It's two minutes worth watching.

Here's the link, in case the video above doesn't play (I'm having trouble watching videos on my laptop, although they seem to play just fine on my iPad mini, why is that?!): Rex Murphy.

I was really impressed with the news coverage on the CBC yesterday.  Peter Mansbridge and Evan Solomon did an excellent job covering the story live for several hours in a calm and informative manner.

There were poignant moments today, as stories began to appear describing the characters of the slain soldiers, pictures of the police cars blocking the street where Corporal Cirillo's family lives to ensure their privacy in these first hours of their grief, news of the donations pouring in for a trust established the victims' families.  Also moving was the footage of the standing ovation received by the man credited with taking down the assailant, Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant-at-Arms in the House of Commons when today's session began. It lasted several minutes and it was clear he was visibly moved, as were we who watched.  Just another soldier doing his job, perhaps, but one who also deserves to be hailed as a hero.  Here's the link for the clip with that footage:  Kevin Vickers.

Honour. Sacrifice. Solidarity.  We are Canadian.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shocked and Saddened

Today's shootings in our nation's capital were shocking.  I first heard about it just before noon when one of my co-workers came into my office to tell me our colleagues in our Ottawa office were in lockdown as a result of the unfolding events. I immediately went online to see what was going on and watched enthralled as the footage was shown on the CBC's website.

I was saddened to hear that the soldier that was shot did not survive.  The news was even more tragic and frightening given that it was only two days ago that another Canadian soldier was killed after a man purposely struck him and another soldier with a car.  My heart goes out to the families of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, please take a moment to Google those name and familiarize yourself with their stories.)

I was even more upset to realize that not everyone thought this was an important event worthy of attention.  I went into our office kitchen to watch the coverage on the bigger screen and discovered those having lunch there were doing what they do every day while they eat, watching their favourite soap opera, The Young and the Restless.  When I suggested that they might want to switch to the news, at the very least during the commercials, one of them responded, "But why? We're not in Ottawa."

As if it didn't matter that someone had been shot and killed because it wasn't happening in our own city but four hours away in our nation's capital. That members of our government and possibly even our Prime Minister were being threatened in our House of Parliament.  That the victim had been a member of our Armed Forces, standing guard over our National War Memorial honouring those unknown soldiers who had died in wars that ensured us the freedoms we have today.  That our colleagues were locked in their office, fearing for their own safety and those on the streets below.

I believe it is this very mentality that contributes to much of the division and misunderstanding that is a factor in so many of the sad, tragic and devastating events taking place seemingly everywhere these days, the feeling that what happens in the world at large has little or no bearing on how we live our daily lives. It's easy to ignore what's happening on the news if you can just turn the dial to another channel, tune out, switch off.  Who cares if people are poisoning honey bees, shooting each other, setting off bombs, catching a disease, as long as it doesn't change how I spend my lunch hour.  So very sad.

I have to believe not everyone feels this way, that there are those who believe, as I do, that we need each other to survive, that what happens to others matters to me, whether it happens next door or on the other side of the planet. Because it does matter.  It's important to know that the men and women who don a uniform every day to protect those of us who do not, whether they are members of the armed forces, police, emergency services or security guards, deserve our thanks and respect. They do not deserve to be gunned down or run down, although I recognize that many of them accept that what they do puts them at risk as they undertake the duties of their job.

I, for one, am very grateful that they do and I won't forget the risks they take every day and the sacrifices they make to keep the rest of us safe at home, watching our televisions, going about our everyday lives.