Friday, January 31, 2014

How Can She Drive? She's Still Only Five In My Mind...

My 16-year-old is learning to drive. This is a thrilling milestone for a teen, and my daughter’s very excited and proud when she slides behind the wheel of a car.

It's a bittersweet time for me. She is the younger of my two girls, the baby, and in my mind she’s still only five. I find myself regularly asking the question “How can a five year old child be driving a car?

Around the beginning of December, I signed her up for lessons. I put it off until the arrival of winter because I wanted her to learn to drive with an instructor when the road conditions are at their worst. Because if you’re going to live in Canada, you better be equipped with winter driving skills!

Yesterday, her driving instructor purposefully made her drive through a snowy and slippery road. The car inevitably slid when it hit ice, and she was forced to try and regain control. She did great, she told me, and her teacher praised her calm and excellent handling of the situation.

So this little girl – who is not that little anymore (except in my mind) - is doing very well. The theoretical part of the course was finished weeks ago, and she only has a few more hours of in-car lessons to go.

And speaking of lessons, I think one of them should be this:

That’s right...scraping ice off the windows, and clearing away the snow on a bone-chilling, face-freezing, body-numbing, bitter cold winter day. Because if she’s going to live in Canada, she better be equipped with winter-car-cleaning skills!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hometown Memories: A Favourite Childhood Hangout

As some of you know, I visited my family back in October in my hometown of Montreal for a few days. And every morning, if the weather permitted, I went for long walks around the neighbourhood I grew up in with camera in hand.

This is the fire station located in the area I grew up in, about a block and a half away from home.
Whenever I walked by as a teen, my heart beat a little faster at the thought of seeing firemen.
I discovered on my recent visit to Montreal that my heart still beats a little faster near firemen. *smile*

I returned with hundreds of photographs from my trip, and thanks to a long, cold, snowy winter that has forced me to stay indoors quite often, I finally finished sorting through, and editing, all of them. So, I’m ready to share some memories with you, and I’d like to start with one of my favourite hangouts as a child: the ‘Montreal Children’s Library’ that was located down the street from my home.

In this building:

The library was founded in 1929, and it was the first one that was free for children in Montreal. I visited there as often as I could, and left with a mountain of books each time. I’ve always loved reading, and it’s possible (as I jokingly commented on Tina’s blog yesterday) that “I was born with a book in hand.”

Let’s cross the street and get a glimpse of the actual entrance I used as a child.

There it is!

When I stopped to photograph this building, and the entrance to the library,
I was really overwhelmed with emotion. So many memories.

Over its many years, new branches of this library were opened in response to community needs, and this was one of them. Sadly, it’s no longer here. But when I crossed the street to take a photo of the door, I discovered this pleasant surprise:

Oh my...
Let’s get a little closer:

You bet a few tears were shed for this sign that has been around since I was a child.

Today, the Montreal Children’s Library is composed of three branches, and all its programs and activities continue to be free, targeting children ranging from 0 – 10 years of age.

I will be sharing more Montreal memories with you over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Funny Snowmen

My husband is a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan. Do you know that comic strip? Do you like it? I don’t care for it as much as my hubby does (I prefer ‘The Far Side’ by Gary Larson; now there’s some craziness), but I love the Calvin and Hobbes hilarious snowman cartoons. Do you remember them? Here are a few:

They are very funny, but what’s even better is when people create silly snowmen in real life like the ones below:

Aren’t these cool? Have you ever done something like this? I haven’t. And speaking of snowmen, I still haven’t built one like I said I’d do this winter. I must get to it as soon as the temperature is a little better. We certainly have enough snow for it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Photo Dump

“I walk, I Look, I See, I Stop, I Photograph.”
- Leon Levinstein -

The most important thing when I’m out and about is enjoying my surroundings, not taking photos. I stroll along with my camera hanging idly by my side, soaking in the sights, sounds and smells that this magnificent world of ours has to offer. And if something catches my eye, I stop, frame, and photograph.

Here are some of the things that have caught my interest...

A door being eaten by vegetation.

Lake Ontario at sunset. In the fall. Before this long winter.

A heavenly discovery during an autumn stroll.

Winter...bleh...hiss...go away!

This old mill at Chaffey's Lock was bought by a couple, and is being turned into a bed and breakfast.
I found it! The light at the end of the tunnel...

♫♪ Wild horses turkeys couldn't drag me away... ♪♫

I love taking strolls through old cemeteries. They are very intriguing.

There's a storm headed our way!

Why take a dog for a walk when you can take a camel instead?

Have a lovely Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, friends. Another weekend has come and gone. Did you enjoy it? I hope you did. And I hope you’re not having the type of weather we’re having here. Cold. Snow. Snow Cold. Snow. Snow. Snow. Cold. That’s about it. I’ll be happy when this month is over. Next month, too.

I was speaking to my mother the other day, and she mentioned how frustrating this time of year is. She doesn't venture out on really harsh winter days because she’s afraid of slipping and falling, and really hurting herself. This time of year is especially difficult for the elderly, and for people with limited mobility. I hope this weather improves soon for everyone's sake, but especially for theirs.

Anyway, enough about the crappy weather. Let’s laugh a little...

Wishing you all a great week!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Even The Animals Are Taking Selfies

Well, as many of you know by now, the Oxford English Dictionary crowned “selfie” the word of the year for 2013. It’s defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website."

Selfies are everywhere, and apparently everyone is doing this. Even the animals. Take a look at the selfie below. I found it amongst a bunch of photos I took sometime in the fall.

I didn't take the photo above. Honest (fingers crossed behind back). And I don’t know how or when my camera was snatched, but those country animals obviously like taking selfies. And they’re pretty sneaky. So keep an eye on your equipment when you’re around them.

Anyway, here are some other animal selfies from the internet to tickle your funny bone...

The 'I'm so happy' selfie.

The 'awkward smile' selfie.

The 'goofing around in my college dorm room' (or in my mother's basement) selfie.

The 'look where I'm vacationing' selfie.

The 'I'm hanging around with my human friend' selfie.

The 'I'm eating my human friend' selfie.

And, of course, the group selfie.

It may be popular, but I have yet to take a selfie. How about you?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

We’ve Come A Long Way, Ladies, But…

“What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able
to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be.”
- Helen Claes -

Earlier this week, I read a post by one of my favourite bloggers, Carolyn, that got me thinking about the way girls were raised in the past, and their role in society. Submissive. Inferior. Obedient. Docile. Their options, and thus their potential, limited.

The paving of a better road for my daughters begins with me.

I grew up in a community with that type of mentality; where men were considered superior, and women were expected to serve them. Needless to say, I rebelled against all that nonsense, and was (I’m proud to say) considered one of the ‘difficult’ girls; the type that refused to submit to the status quo, paving the way for future generations.

Then I was blessed with two daughters...

I was their first teacher, and my job was to empower them. To further shed gender inequality. To open doors to their futures by breaking down the stereotypes that hold girls back. To help them believe that they can be whatever they choose to be.

I encouraged my daughters to explore opportunities that might lead to strong interests and careers. To express opinions. To ask questions. To believe that they have the right to speak up. To be heard. To be respected. To be valued.

I taught my daughters to embrace their femininity whilst achieving their goals. That there is no need to sacrifice their feminine energy in their quest for success. That they don’t need to become like men to strive for equality. That they should proudly strive for it as women.

Both girls are developing into confident, independent and determined young ladies. They have arrived in the world at a time when women have made huge strides. But despite how far we've come, there is still a long way to go. We must continue to pave the road to equality by teaching our children, sons and daughters, what it truly means, so each generation will continue to move forward.