Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Farewell Post To Winter

It’s the last day of February, and as far as I’m concerned, winter is done! (Although you'd never think so when looking outside my window this morning.) We had another load of snow dumped on us yesterday). Still. Spring is just around the corner, preparing to thaw the earth and liberate us from the shackles of winter! Hallelujah! Praised be the most glorious season of the year. Amen!

Even the backyard critters seem happy about spring’s impending arrival. There’s been a lot of activity lately in my yard. Squirrels have been running around, playful and energized. Birds have been showing up in abundant numbers, flying from tree to tree, singing their little hearts out. There’s quite a bit of friskiness out there, which I’m assuming has a lot to do with the fact that ‘mating’ season is on the horizon for these little critters...if you know what I mean. *wink*  But I won’t go into too much detail. This is a ‘G’ rated blog, after all.

Today, I will share a few more winter images as I say farewell – and good riddance – to winter. Let’s get right to it...

Our first snowfall was just a light dusting way back in early December. I was okay with that amount.

The library near our home in early December.

Right after Christmas, old man winter decided to dump a good load of snow on us. I was not okay with that amount. I took these two photos through windows of my home. I didn't go outside because I'm a winter coward.

It looks cold out there.

Our back yard full of snow.

Most of that snow melted, and things were going along reasonably well for awhile. Until early February. When many, many people were hit with a big snowstorm. We weren’t spared. All the images below were taken around our home when we stepped outside to clean up.

Hubby took out the snowblower.

I grabbed the shovel...and parked it. You can't take photos and shovel at the same time, can you?

Snow was hanging off our roof. And yes, our Christmas lights are still up. Probably will be until some time in March. Maybe even longer.

Our back yard filled with snow!

It looks like I'm shoveling, but I spent more time being artistic with the camera. Did I feel guilty? Um, no...

My Clematis 'Rhapsody' grows on this 5' trellis, which was almost completely buried in snow!

This is the walkway to the back yard that I could lie about and say I shoveled. I didn't. Hubby cleared it with the snowblower. I shoveled the gate open and then parked the shovel.

We got more than enough snow this time around.

The birds weren't using this bath that day.

Hubby was hard at work...while I played photographer. How does he put up with me?

Here I go trying to be all artistic again. As if there wasn't enough shoveling to do...

We forgot to put away this wind chime and it stayed out all winter. The chain it hangs from and the chimes were covered in ice. But the message is clear..."Have faith. Spring is on its way."

And that's all, folks. Hopefully the photos from here on in are about new beginnings and awakenings as spring starts to roll in.

So long, winter! And good riddance...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Come Out, Come Out...Wherever You are

When I first started hanging around blogs, way before I’d even started my own, I was a ‘lurker’, observing but not actively participating. I hardly ever left comments, and I mostly followed anonymously. Even with blogs that I visited regularly. I didn’t know what to say. I didn't believe I had anything worthwhile to say.

And then one day it hit me, and I said to self: “For crying out loud, these are blogs. Relax. Leave a comment. Serious. Funny. Short. Sweet. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter what you say; just say something. No one’s expecting literary greatness.” And self took a deep breath, calmed down and started commenting.

The rest is history, as they say.

Since then, I’ve been following a number of blogs that I comment on regularly. And I am delighted about the decision I made to take that step and begin participating, because not only do I truly feel that I’m a part of this wonderful blogging world, I’ve also connected with some amazing people that I’ve come to think of as friends. People from all over that I’ve become quite fond of. It’s an incredible experience.

Well, now it’s your turn. If you visit this blog often but simply lurk, introduce yourself. Leave a comment and say hello. Just once, if that’s all you want to do. So I can say hello back. So I can thank you for visiting. And perhaps you have a blog that I might enjoy visiting.

Come on, don’t be shy. Come out, come out...wherever you are...and say hi. Today, tomorrow, next week, next month...whenever you’re ready. Go ahead. Just do it.

Here, listen to one of my favourite fictional characters, the vampire Lestat. He says it very well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Today's Trivia - Holi (Festival of Colours)

Holi - the festival of colors celebrated at the end of the winter season - is the most fun-filled and lively of Hindu festivals; an occasion filled with playfulness, music, dance – and lots of bright colours!

No need to dress up for this party. In fact, it’s best that participants dig out their oldest threads in preparation of a huge colour-throwing event.

The celebration begins with the lighting of a bonfire on the Holi eve. Numerous legends & stories associated with Holi celebration make the festival more exuberant and vivid. People rub (and hurl) colourful powders called 'gulal' and 'abeer' on each others' faces. A common expression heard during Holi is ‘bura na mano, Holi hai' ("don't feel offended, it's Holi").

Here are some photos of this fun event:






This is a party!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Speaking Of Introverts And Parties

I’ve never been a fan of parties. Aside from the noise and the crowds that I can only handle for a little while before I need to break away, there’s the expectation that we all need to socialize with one another. Make new (temporary) friends. Circulate through the crowd and chat it up with strangers. Make small talk. Things that I’m not passionate about. Behaviours that are more in line with individuals that are energized by being around other people. Extroverted people. Not introverts like me whose energy is drained in large gatherings – like a party.

It’s not that I don’t like to socialize. I do. Very much so. But I like to get together with a select group of close friends or family members that I can have sincere and meaningful conversations with. And I particularly like a ‘one-to-one’ heartfelt connection with someone whose company I really enjoy. Being with mostly unfamiliar people at a party is not my first choice.

On the other hand, I do enjoy being in crowds where small talk is not necessary. Where I can sit quietly and simply observe. People. Happenings. My surroundings. I can be found, now and then, in indoor or outdoor spaces where there are many people circulating. Sharing space with me. All strangers. None of them expecting – or desiring – interaction with me. Parks. Malls. Popular venues. Bookstores. Museums. Events. And so on.

One of my favourite things to do in the winter when it’s too cold to be outdoors is to head over to the bookstore, look around, perhaps pick up a magazine or novel, and then treat myself to a latte in the attached coffee shop, seated amongst the strangers, the conversations, the noise, the energy. Reading. Dreaming. Thinking. Observing. Soaking it all in. Quietly. And when I’ve had my fill, I pack up and go. This is what I enjoy. Being in interesting places with lots of people where there is no pressure to interact.

But once in awhile, no matter how I feel about it, I have no choice but to get through a party that is thrown by family, friends, neighbours, and so forth. I attend and make the best of it. And unless I hook up with one person, or a few people, whose company I really enjoy, and where meaningful and interesting conversations will ensue, I bolt as soon as it’s polite to do so, and get into a quieter setting.

Ah, those introverts...not exactly the life of the party, are we?

Below is a funny video I ran across awhile back. I laughed out loud quite a few times watching it, and I suspect that the ones of you who are introverts also will.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Single Photograph

"The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact
with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire."
- Sharon Ralls Lemon -

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Silliness

Let’s laugh it up!

Hospital Rules

Hospital regulations require a wheel chair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, who insisted he didn't need my help to leave the hospital. After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator. On the way down I asked him if his wife was meeting him. 'I don't know,' he said. 'She's still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.'

What Ails You?

A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlor and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool… After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split. The waitress asked kindly, 'Crushed nuts?' 'No,' he replied, 'Arthritis.'

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sunny Side Up

“To me, animals have all the traits indicative of soul. For soul is not something we can see or measure...No one can prove that animals have souls. Asking for proof would be like  demanding proof that I love my wife and children, or wanting me to prove that Handel's Messiah is a glorious masterpiece of music. Some truths simply cannot be demonstrated. But if we open our hearts to other creatures and allow ourselves to sympathize with their joys and struggles, we will find they have the power to touch and transform us. There is an inwardness in other creatures that awakens what is innermost in ourselves.” - Gary Kowalski (The Souls of Animals) -

Today’s end of the week feel good story is about a woman who owes her life to a caring animal.

Back in 2009...

Diver Yang Yun had been participating in a free diving contest in Harbin Polar Land aquarium in northeast China. Devoid of breathing equipment, competitors had to sink to the bottom of a 20-foot arctic pool and stay there for as long as possible amid beluga whales.

When Yun tried to head to the surface, she discovered that she could not move. Her legs were paralyzed by crippling cramps due to the frigid temperatures.

Mila, a Beluga whale in the pool with Yun at the time, sensed the diver’s distress, grabbed onto her leg with her mouth and pushed her up to the surface. Saving her life.

Nothing warms my heart more than stories that prove that animals have souls. Like this one.

A lovely weekend, to all!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winter Through The Camera Lens

I’m not a fan of winter. At all. When I was a kid, I loved it. As I get older, I barely tolerate it. And I suspect that my contempt for it will get worse over time. But even so, I will admit that there is beauty to be found even in this less than desirable cold, dark, snowy season – through my camera lens. Because the camera does not discriminate the way I do. It likes all four seasons equally.

So today, I will share a few winter images that I’ve taken, which isn’t very much, but hey, it’s better than nothing. And I will keep the text to a minimum. This isn’t too hard to do because I’ve started some spring cleaning, which is keeping me very busy. And out of trouble.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Ice fishing. This is the first time I've run across this!

Have a the cold!

A collapsing barn buried in snow. I love when I run across things like this.

The most amazing man in the world.

Parked until spring.

I am intrigued by abandoned homes. I wonder what the story - and history - is behind them.

Buried treasure. I love rusty and decayed objects.

Say cheese!
There, now that wasn't too painful was it? Winter doesn't look too harsh in pictures. But in person? Well, that's a different story. I have a few more winter images that I will post next week. Have a lovely day, everyone.