Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Become Mandi's Hero and Delayed Posts of the Week

Here I've lured you in, expecting to read some posts of the week and I'm failing you fine people. The truth is that having returned home from the cottage late this weekend, I just haven't had time to get caught up on enough posts from which to select the POTW. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to put it off for one more week.

You see, I had a major cleanup to do when I returned. I should have never given Frank the key to my blog. Oh he did a great job of informing you that I'd be home later than expected but you should see the mess he left behind. My cyber liquor cabinet is empty, the fridge is bare and all that remains of my snacks are empty wrappers which were strewn all over the Blogger floor. The computer was left on, lights were aglow, doors ajar, dishes dirty and of course, the toilet seat was up. So I have a lot of work to do to get this blog back into shape. He did do a terrific job of posting for me though so I'll just have to suck it up and say "Thank you, Frank!"

I do have a few very important links for you. Earlier this year, Frank bought a lovely engraved slate sculpture (this one, in fact - third item down) from talented artist Elaine Prefontaine. They've since become email buddies and recently, Elaine alerted Frank and me to the story of her grandson's fiancée, 22 year old Mandi Schwartz, a Yale hockey star with leukemia who is in need of cord blood or bone marrow in order to survive. Please watch the videos at Become Mandi's Hero for more information.

"Through the Be Mandi's Hero program, the search is on with testing drives in the United States, Canada and Germany for a pregnant woman of German-Russian-Ukranian descent, like Schwartz, who will be giving birth within the next two months, as well as a potential bone-marrow donor, which would have to be a close match."

Potential donors can go to to learn more about Mandi, and cord blood/bone marrow donation. Or become a member of her Facebook group and help spread the word. Mandi has less than 60 days to find a suitable donor.

Thank you for taking the time to read about Elaine's granddaughter-in-law-to-be. If you're unable to help medically, please offer up your best thoughts, vibes and prayers, and consider helping to spread the word. Thank you.

I hope to post a few cottage photos tomorrow and Sunday, and return next Wednesday with the Posts of the Week.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Well - It's SUPPOSED To Be The Posts Of The Week....

So this is what a popular blog looks like from the inside! Wow! So many colourful buttons and levers and knobs....

Oh, hi. Sorry about that undignified preamble. And here I'd promised myself not to be dazzled by the glamour. Sheesh. It's like when I went to Toronto and got a crick in my neck from counting all the tall buildings. Had to go home after a half-hour.


This isn't being written by Hilary. It's Frank here, pinch hitting for her. Not to worry - she's fine. She's still basking at my family's cottage in the wilds of Ontario. We decided to extend our stay for a few days but I had to come home to see Son #2 off, as he starts longish stint away from home at a job site.

I'm heading back to the cottage tomorrow to rejoin her and Benny. Hilary asked that I s'plain to her people that she, and the POTW will return next week.

Which I have done.

(Although I set this to appear on Wednesday, June 23rd, I wrote it on June 21st. So, happy Summer Solstice for those in the northern hemisphere!)

Now...I wonder what this button does....?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Small Wonders

This is a scheduled post. I'll be home to answer comments and visit your blogs soon. Until then, I'm up at Frank's family cottage - hopefully taking more photos.

Another walk. Another day. Another series of images which caught my eye. This time - small wonders.

"It isn't the big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones." ~Jean Webster
A lovely butterfly lit upon a stone slab and posed nicely for me. How could I not snap its photo?

"As we become curators of our own contentment on the Simple Abundance path... we learn to savor the small with a grateful heart." ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
A mother and her two baby goslings taking a swim in Lake Ontario

"All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small." ~Lao-Tzu
My sweet neighbour Lily's tiny hand.

"You'll come to learn a great deal if you study the Insignificant in depth." ~Odysseus Elytis
Tiny berries beginning to ripen.

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." ~John Wooden
A tiny seed caught my eye as it sat atop the railing at the dock of our small local pond. I wonder if it's found someplace to take root by now.

"For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great." ~Jose Ortega Y Gasset
Hard boiled quail's eggs. They were a part of our lobster dinner a few weeks ago. They tasted just like chicken eggs to me but looked a lot prettier.

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
This tiny sparrow was chowing down on a small winged insect. You might want to click on the photo to see it.

"Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon." ~Booker T. Washington
One of the miniature roses in my front garden. This was a thoughtful birthday gift from my younger son last year.

"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important." ~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A tiny bug investigates a daisy.

I'll be back again soon. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lookin' Up

This is a scheduled post. As you read it, I should be up at the cottage enjoying the lake, fresh air, fishing, evening fires, great company and possibly a new baby raccoon or two. I'll also keep an eye out for Sugar and Spike. I'll be back to visit your blogs and reply to your comments in a few days.

While walking around snapping photos, it's important to remember to look up occasionally. Springtime offers many interesting subjects above eye level. I hope you'll look up and enjoy the following photos.

Up on a branch of a tree in the park, this young robin calls to its mother to come feed him.

In my back yard, two sparrow fledgelings sit patiently for their mother to scoop up some seed and feed it to them...

.. which she most tenderly did.

This little cutie had no trouble helping itself to the suet.

Much to my surprise, this red squirrel appear in my back yard one afternoon. I've only ever seen them up north in cottage country and never in the city before. He soon scampered up the tree to figure out how he could help himself to some goodies at the feeder.

A robin, perched on a fence post had just found something interesting to eat.

While walking around one of our nearby ponds, this red-winged blackbird was sitting atop this stalk, singing his happy little song.

Soft pink clouds matched the tail of this colourful kite. Who could it belong to?

Oh, it's Barbie.

Near Frank's place this housetop supports a weather vane which appears to be a heron in flight.

Thanks for joining me on this walk. Things sure are looking up.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Flowery Photo and Posts of the Week

I took this photo from my front deck. Frank's car tire can be seen behind the iris. We'll be heading up to his family cottage for a few days but I'll have more photos for you Thursday and Sunday in scheduled posts.

"There is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheeled universe."
~Walt Whitman

And now without further delay, here are the Posts of the Week.

The icon to the left here is yours for the taking if your blog post has been named as a Post of the Week - either as top post or as a runner up, today or in past weeks.

This week's top post goes to:

Long Live the Mom Car
by Betty
at Bossy Betty

Other wonderful posts in no particular order are:

I Love DoUghnuts
by Brian
at WayStationOne

The Old Fruit Stand Truck
by Steve

at Take A Look Around

What Are They Smokin?
by Snappy Di
at The Blue Ridge Gal

A Disturbing Trend
by Nancy
at Life in the Second Half

Besieged by the Brown Tide
by Christopher
at Christopher's Views

Feeling Like a Nut
by Stacey Dawn

at Stacey Dawn Images

People and Plants
by Zuzana

at Life Through Reflections

by Alix

at Casa Hice

by Clowncar

at The Oort Cloud
***Reader's Choice***

Recommended by: Ethelmae Potter
Wondering Why on a Rainy, Cold Day
by Mountain Woman
at Red Pine Mountain

Recommended by: Joanna
What is That Woman Doing?
by Robyn

at Fragments Treasures Memory

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Drop in the Bucket

Who doesn't love spending time by the water at this time of year? Whether it's a lake at the cottage, a coastal beach, a lazy river, a babbling brook or a local pond, animal life is a wonder to watch. Come join me to take a look at what I've seen in and around the water recently.

While out for a drive near Frank's place, we were kind of on the lookout for families of geese, knowing that they were nesting in the area. Frank pulled over abruptly having caught sight of this crew about to make their way across the road. By the time I got out of the car and raised the camera to my eye, they were well on their way.

These traffic-stoppers reminded me of kids on their way to school, negotiating the busy road with the aid of a crossing guard.

Down near the marina, we saw about a half dozen of these beautiful Mute swans. They were a bit nervous as I approached the shoreline, so I stood back and let my zoom lens find one.

In the waters of Lake Ontario, this mother and her two gosling went for a swim. It was a dull day, and my distance from them did not allow for a good photo, so I decided to play with them in Photoshop instead.

One of the many beautiful waterfront views in Frank's lovely part of Ontario.

Back home, life is waking up in our ponds. Walking near the dam one day, I heard and saw a tremendous splash. Then another and another and still more. All in different spots. It turns out it was carp getting all frisky and ready to mate with their lovely carp-ettes. There were so many of them all over the lake - like wall to wall carp-etting.

In a different pond, a fifteen minute walk from home, these little cuties were all around the shoreline. Frank tells me that they're Pumpkinseed Sunfish, but then again, what would he know about fish?

Even cuter than the fish, were the goslings which shared the shore with me. Isn't this a friendly looking little guy? He's practically smiling.

Less amused was Mother Goose who kept a wary eye on me. I kept a respectful distance from her young and she soon relaxed.

At one point, she looked off into the water and I felt a sadness wash over me.

Stop destroying our planet.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

True Colours

"But I see your true colors shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you

So don't be afraid to let them show
our true colors
True colors are beautiful

Like a rainbow."

~Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly

Spring is such a colourful time of the year. Below, are a few photos of some of the many hues I've seen over the past couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy them.

Up at the pond - a fifteen minute walk from home, white water lilies are in bloom. Can you see the downy goose feather off to the right?
"Rapaciously we gathered flowery spoils
From land and water; lilies of each hue,
Golden and white, that float upon the waves,
And court the wind."

Some of the neighbours got together to share these bright red lobsters and other goodies one Saturday evening. Hopefully, the crustaceans weren't clawstrophobic - they were packed in there like sardines.
“And like a lobster boiled, the morn
From black to red began to turn”
~Samuel Butler

One of the few purple-petaled irises which made it to full bloom in my front yard, this year.
"I think it pisses god off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it"
~Alice Walker

This adorable yellow gosling was one of only two left to a mother goose up at the same place where the lily pads were blooming. They're very comfortable around people in that park, and came up on shore and settled down for a nap a few feet away from where I was sitting.
“Yellow-colored objects appear to be gold”

The Blues Brothers - my handsome son, Alex holding our cool young neighbour, Winston. Both happened to be wearing blue sunglasses that day. Don't they make a cute matching set?
"Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?

Out of the sky as I came through."

~George MacDonald

A beautiful orange poppy which grew in Frank's back yard. Their bloom time is short-lived but brilliant.
"Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow."

I found this tiny silver flower on the pavement in the park. I think it was probably a child's press-on earring. I just like the way it sparkled. I might be part cat.
"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
~Langston Hughes

This pink peony was photographed through the opening of a chain link fence. I never saw the little insect about to land on it until after I uploaded the photos. I also have one shot which shows the insect on the flower. Go on and have a quick look at that here. I don't mind waiting.
“Slow buds the pink dawn like a rose
From out night's gray and cloudy sheath;
Softly and still it grows and grows,
Petal by petal, leaf by leaf.”
~Susan Coolidge

I saw these green canoes (and that red-winged blackbird) stacked up when we went for a drive near Frank's place last week. He's used to me asking him to stop so that I can take a photo. Thanks, Frank.
"The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat."
~Edward Lear

I hope you enjoyed my colourful day. Thanks for joining me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Photo of a Cutie and Posts of the Week

Along with this weeks POTW, I thought I'd share a favourite photo with you. My neighbour Dawn has some family visiting her this summer. Last week, her adorable niece had been playing between my front yard and the next when she climbed up on a low step and peeked over the top of the fence. She looked so sweet, I just had to snap a shot and request permission to include it below. Isn't she a cutie?

Now without further delay, here are the Posts of the Week.

The icon to the left here is yours for the taking if your blog post has been named as a Post of the Week - either as top post or as a runner up, today or in past weeks.

This week's top post is about a little guy who could use our help. It goes to:

Fond Memories of a Dear Patient
by Eddie
at Clouds and Silvery Linings

Other wonderful posts in no particular order are:

Into the World
by Holdingmoments
at Holdingmoments

I'm A Big Girl Now!
by Kat
at Seeking Sanity

Truth Be Told
by Tabor

at One Day At A Time

How the Past Reasserts Itself
by Lakeviewer

at Sixty Five What Now?

Surrounded by Starlings
by Pauline
at Writing Down the Words

by Joanna
at The Fifty Factor

by Brian

at WayStationOne

A Day for Dragons
by Kerri

at A Little Piece of Me

by King of NY Hacks

at King of New York Hacks

Gratitude Monday: Reflective Edition
by Leah

at The Goat's Lunch Pail

Please drop by their blogs for a visit and leave a kind comment if you have the time. Also, please feel free to add your own choices (for any blog except this one) for a specific blog post in the comments section below, where others can see them.

Thank you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunset Ceremony Finale

This is the second and final part of the Sunset Ceremony at Kingston's Royal Military College. It's an event presented by the school in conjunction with the graduation and commissioning ceremonies late last month. You can see Part I over here.

As the sun continued to set, music filled the night air.

The RMC Band was originally a Pipe and Drum band when it was founded in 1953. It has grown to include a Brass and Reed Band, a Choir and a small group of Highland Dancers, and is now the largest volunteer band in the Canadian Armed Forces. They marched in with all of the pomp and circumstance fitting of a military band.

The pipers piped..

... and the drummers drummed to the beat of our proud history.

Highland Dancers did a fling.

The Honour Guard, with their sixty nine Officer Cadets marched onto the parade square carrying our provincial flags. The graduating Colour Party handed off their duties to the incoming Party.

You can see how colourful our flags are.

As the ceremony came to an end, we stood as the flag was lowered and the band played our national anthem.

The evening ended with a bang as an excellent display of fireworks lit the sky.

Bravo and thank you, RMC!