Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meeting Elizabeth and No Posts of the Week

Unfortunately, I've not had much chance to visit many blogs, this past week so once again, I'm going to put off posting the POTW until next time. I've only collected a few and I'd rather offer up a more complete selection when I have more time to put into it. Hopefully, that will be next week, but no promises.
Edited to add that I just realized that I'm one day early with this non-POTW. It usually comes out on Wednesday, but I'm not going to have any more for you by then, so I might as well keep this published until Thursday when I'll have a new blog post.

But let me tell you about who I met last Thursday.

Meeting another blogger is such a kick. Until this past week, I'd only ever met one before, and that was Deb from Talk at the Table. She lives just a few miles from me and came by for lunch one autumn day just over a year ago. She's every bit as lovely as you would guess from her wonderful blog.

Of course I know blogger Frank in real life but we met before either one of us were bloggers. Though truth be told, we did meet online while playing trivia in IRC (Internet Relay Chat). That's a long, evolving story and best saved for another time. Maybe. Probably.

Last Thursday, my son Alex, his girlfriend Veronica and I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Grimes from Magical Moments, and her husband, Eddie. She was in Toronto to participate in a Musician's Mentorship Program with Canada's National Ballet School. We got in touch by email and made plans for the two of them to stop by for coffee.

They are the sweetest couple.

Elizabeth is bright and engaging, funny and warm. We chatted with ease about all sorts of things, including some of you! Eddie is kind-hearted and clever and probably has the best manners of anyone I've ever met. Canadians are supposed to be known for being polite but we Canucks have nothing over Eddie who probably stood up every time anyone walked in or out of the room, took a seat, left their seat or appeared to attempt any of the above. That man has good old-fashioned, gentlemanly manners. It is incredibly endearing.

And they're both cute as a button. See for yourself in the image below.

Elizabeth and Eddie
Elizabeth and Eddie Grimes.

Elizabeth and Hilary
Oh yeah, that's me with Elizabeth in this photo. Photo credit goes to Eddie Grimes.

Elizabeth CD
Elizabeth so kindly gave me a copy of her wonderful CD, Silk in the Sky which is due to be released this spring. All but one song was beautifully written by her. You can listen to some of these fine tracks over on her website.

You can read all about Elizabeth's first trip north of the border on her blog post "Thank You, Canada." Please stop by and leave her a comment if you have a moment.

Elizabeth and Eddie, if you ever find yourselves back in this neck of the woods, I hope you know that you both have a standing invitation to come for another visit. I'll be looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


bare milkweed pod2
"The full measure of a man is not to be found in the man himself, but in the colors and textures that come alive in others because of him."
~ Albert Schweitzer

"The past becomes a texture, an ambiance to our present."
~ Paul Scott

broken branch2
“I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject, all the texture around it. I always want to see the third dimension of something. I want to come alive with the object.”
~ Andrew Wyeth

stripped bark“Small moments accumulate and transform the texture of our days”
~ Steven Monaco

colourful texture
"Little moments can have a feeling and a texture that is very real."
~ Ralph Fiennes

“You can feel surfaces, you can feel textures, you can feel dynamics and momentum.”
~ Tom Anderson

Thursday, January 26, 2012


About ten days ago, I took a walk along the creek near Frank's place. There was a fresh blanket of snow lightly covering the shoreline, and the creek water had begun to freeze along the edges. It was a lovely sunny morning and I enjoyed snapping a few shots.

Now here's a technique that Jillsy Girl helped me out with last July. Try as I may, many times before and since, I haven't been able to accomplish a rollover/mouse-over image. It finally occurred to me that it just couldn't be done with photos which were stored at Flickr. This time, I uploaded the pair of images to my old nemesis, Photobucket, and Jill's instructions worked just fine. Thanks, Jill!

So if you'll roll your cursor over the sepia image above, you'll see how this scene looked to my eye, and to my camera. I just thought it might be nice to see the creek as photographers might have shared it in days gone by. Do you have a preference?

winter creek
Walking a bit closer to the water, this was the view to my left

playing with creek colours
And a bit further along (Yes, I played with these colours here, also).

dam freeze
Despite the force of the falling water, ice was beginning to build up at the base of the dam.

opposite shore
Across the creek, I spied a tree which might not be with us in another year or two.

Heading back to the house, there's a small pond where dozens of ducks gather as long as part of it stays unfrozen. I didn't have Benny with me on this stroll and the ducks were happy for that. They all came to greet me, hoping I had something for them. I know it's not wise to feed them, for their own welfare but I was selfishly anticipating getting in a few photos.

darn dog
And that's when another dog came tearing up the path with bird-chasing on his mind. And off they flew.

Time for me to fly now, too - but just for a few days when I'll be back with more photos. Thanks for joining me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eye-Catchers and Posts of the Week

I have a trio of eye-catchers for you. Sunlight, streetlights and store signs.

green glow
Alien Landing: I was probably reading blogs when this green glow caught my attention and demanded my camera's presence. It was the sunlight streaming through a new water bottle creating striking lines in brilliant green.

rainy city lights
Night Lights: It was a rainy ride across the city from my place to Frank's. I was with my friend Carol Anne. She was driving, so I had plenty of opportunity to focus on lights through the wet windshield.

naughty amish
Those Naughty Amish: A few days later, on my way back home, I was watching out for this sign which my son referenced the last time he visited me. We both got a kick out of the juxtaposition of these strange bedfellows.. so to speak. The adult toy shop appears to have put the Amish furniture maker out of business and will be taking over their space before too long.

And now, without further delay, here are the Posts of the Week. The icon below is yours for the taking if if your blog post is named as a POTW.


Stop the Deportations - The Story of a Bi-National Gay Couple
by Mark
at Our Simple Lives...


The Enchanted Wood
by Maddie
at The World From My Window

Room for Interpretation
by Unknown Mami
at Unknown Mami

Wagging Tail of a Dog
by Larry
at Larry's Photo a Day

Basking Cheek to Cheek
by Glo
at Porcelain Rose

The Story of the Disappearing Dessert
by Robin
at The Great Escape


My Bee Hive
by Indrani
at I Share


by Daryl
at Out and About in New York City

A Small Stone
by Laura
at Shine the Divine


Awful Night - Great Day
by Adrian
at Adrian's Images

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, January 22, 2012

How High Can He Fly?

Yesterday, Frank's #1 Son sent me an email advising me that it was Squirrel Appreciation Day. Sure enough, MessyMimi who always announces what's going on Today in History at the end of her blog posts included it too. I'm a day late with this but I figured that now would be a good time to share a few photos taken a few months ago of Benny and a very patient squirrel.

These images were taken shortly before summer ended. As you can see, the leaves are still on the tree. What you can't see, is a mama squirrel relaxing on one of the upper branches of this tree, and she's taunting our Benny.

She's a bright little thing and knows that a dog on the ground doesn't pose much of a threat to a squirrel in a tree. But Benny is ever hopeful, and will do his best to get at her. So how high can he go?

1 Ben
Well that's not very high, Benny. You'll have to try harder than that.

2 Ben
Good jump for a little dog but she's way up there, buddy.

3 Ben
Now we're talking. You're getting some leverage into those jumps.

4 Ben
Just a bit higher and you could land on that first branch. Maybe next time.

5 squirrel
Eventually Benny got tired of trying and went inside for a nap. Mama Squirrel immediately came down to enjoy the seed spilled on the ground.

In actual reality, Benny has chased and caught a couple of squirrels and one chipmunk. In all cases, he mouthed their tails gently and then immediately let them go. It's all in the chase for him. I'm so pleased that he is unlike so many of his breed who will hunt them down and kill them.

He's a crazy little gentle soul, that Benny. But shhhhh... don't tell Mama Squirrel that our ferocious Benny still sleeps with a teddy bear. He'll never be able to live it down.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Golden Moments

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
~ Henry Miller

As promised, I have a few more photos for you which were taken on a New Year's Day walk. The weather had been quite cold for a few days and there was a new blanket of snow on the ground. That snow has since melted, but a bit more has fallen this past week. We're still having a very easy winter, so far.

On this day, I was enjoying the golden tones of the rocks and vegetation as they stood out against the ice and snow.

ice log
This log near the edge of the creek seemed to exude warmth on this icy day. Its colours came to life with a kiss from the sun.

golden rocks on ice
If it wasn't for the ice which formed around this rock, its golden-green shine would have been lost against the similar shades of the surrounding creek water.

ice sculpture
This ice formation reminded me of an airplane which had just taken off.

The fronds of this plant made me think of tiny, golden line dancers. Perhaps their partners were in the shadows below.

tiny seeds
These delicate floral seeds looked pretty against their snowy backdrop.

dried out pea pod
Somebody must have scattered snow peas for some of the creatures in park. I came across this one, opened and discarded. It was devoid of its usual vibrant green, and almost to be metallic gold in the sunlight.

Thanks for joining me. I'll have more photos for you in a few days.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

He Works for Peanuts and No Posts of the Week

Sorry folks, but as you may have noticed, I haven't been keeping up with my blog visits over the past few days. I've had a visitor and been a visitor in the real world, this past week. And when blog visits diminish, so does my collection of the Posts of the Week. So I'm going to have to skip them, this week and try to find more for you for next time. I hope you'll understand. In fact, I feel I know you well enough to say that I'm sure you will understand.

I won't leave you totally empty-handed though. I have a couple of pictures to show you from a walk that Benny and I took at Frank's place on New Year's Day. I'll have some more for you again tomorrow.

checking for peanuts
So tell me, what do you think Benny is looking for? A bird. A squirrel? A creature of any kind? Nope, not our boy. He's looking for a peanut.

peanut spot
If Frank or I have peanuts on us while walking in this area, we leave them at various points for the squirrels and blue jays to enjoy. This tree hollow always gets one on our way into the cedar grove. After we've made the full circuit (about 40 minutes), we pass the same tree on our way out. It's the only spot where a peanut was left low enough for Benny to see. And he always has to check and make sure that a squirrel had indeed located and removed it. As you can see, the peanut was still there on this day. I'm sure it wasn't too much longer until it was discovered.

I'll have a few more photos from that walk for you if you come back tomorrow.

Thanks always for stopping by.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Sunflower in Winter

Not too far from my home, there's a solitary sunflower which remains standing, head bowed to the winter. This image was taken about one week ago. I hope you enjoy the images and quotes.

“The gaudy leonine sunflower

Hangs black and barren on its stalk,
And down the windy garden walk
The dead leaves scatter,- hour by hour”
~ Oscar Wilde

sunflower head in January
“The sunflower is a favorite emblem of constancy” Thomas Bulfinch

sunflower head in January3
“Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower also.
He attracts and follows."
~ Jean Paul Richter

sunflower head in January2
"Light-enchanted sunflower, thou
Who gazest ever true and tender
On the sun's revolving splendour."
~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

sunflower head in January4
"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do." ~ Helen Keller

sunflower silhouette
"Space for the sunflower, bright with yellow glow,
To court the sky." - Caroline Gilman

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Think of a Tree

Think of a tree. When you think of a tree, you tend to think of a distinctly defined object; and on a certain level, it is. But when you look more closely at the tree, you will see that ultimately it has no independent existence. When you contemplate it, you will find that it dissolves into an extremely subtle net of relationships that stretches across the universe. The rain that falls on its leaves, the wind that sways it, the soil that nourishes and sustains it, all the seasons and the weather, moonlight and starlight and sunlight - all form part of this tree. As you begin to think about the tree more and more, you will discover that everything in the universe helps to make the tree what it is, that it cannot at any moment be isolated from anything else, and that at every moment its nature is subtly changing. ~ Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

On this day while walking, I paid particular notice to the trees. Come join me, please so that you can see them too.

morning tree shadow
Man's heart away from nature becomes hard. ~ Standing Bear

This was the sight that greeted me at the end of my driveway, one sunny morning. The pavement was still wet from an overnight drizzle but the sun was pouring its light onto the street from behind a small, bare-limbed tree.

squirrel cutie
You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. ~ Hal Borland

This little cutie caught my attention by making all sorts of murmuring noises. I stopped to chat with him for a bit.

leafy cuddle
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. ~ William Shakespeare

I often notice a solitary oak or maple leaf which has become caught up in this fence but today, I was happy to see this pair wrapped up in a warm, oaky embrace.

fuzzy branch again
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~ Albert Einstein

A fuzzy branch seems to be budding. It was every bit as soft to the touch as it appears.

sunlit bare pine branches
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~ Lao Tzu

This pine tree stands at the end of the walkway which leads into the park. Even its dead lower limbs have a beauty to them in the right light.

January leaves
“Listen to the trees talking in their sleep,' she whispered, as he lifted her to the ground. 'What nice dreams they must have!” ~ L.M. Montgomery

There's still some life in these multi-coloured leaves. This image was taken just one week ago.

just a branch
“All our wisdom is stored in the trees.” ~ Santosh Kalwar

A simple bare branch. I liked its spotty markings.

Thanks for joining me on another one of my walks. You're the best company.

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. ~ Elton Trueblood

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bennie Gets a Gift, Calendar Winner and The Posts of the Week

Benny has become quite adept at opening gifts. All you need to do is tear a piece of paper in front of him and he takes that as a personal invitation to rip into any one of the many gifts he's seen over this past holiday season. The problem is that he thinks everything belongs to him.

a gift for benny
As luck would have it this fine day, one of the gifts was indeed for Benny. It was presented to him with a tag which read "To: Benny. From: Skittles & Zephyr." He didn't need much encouragement to open it.

Once opened, he had to try his gift on. Sadly, it wasn't quite a perfect fit. Benny is a small, slender dog but he's rather solid in the chest, and his cute little jacket just didn't fit well. Doesn't he look embarrassed to be seen in a jacket which was too small? He just wasn't sure what to do with it. He walked quite hesitantly like a kid in a puffy snowsuit. After a few laughs and a photo for blogsterity, we did the only thing we could do.

regifted to raven
We re-gifted it to my neighbour's dog, Raven. She drops by a few times a day, and on this visit we nabbed her, dressed her and sent her back home in her new threads. It was a much better fit.

••• ••• ••• •••

Giveaway Winner!!

Thank you all for participating and showing so much interest in having one of my photography calendars. I wish I could send one to each of you but unfortunately, I only have the one. I used random.org to select the winner for me. and that person would be (drum roll..............)

••• Lauren at Mental P Mama!!! •••

Please head over to Lauren's blog to congratulate her and to offer her some support. She's at home recuperating from a lumpectomy which occurred just yesterday afternoon.

Lauren! Please email me thesmittenimage at gmail dot com with your mailing address, and I'll get the calendar out to you in the mail within a few days.

••• ••• ••• •••

And now, without further delay, here are the Posts of the Week. The icon below is yours for the taking if if your blog post is named as a POTW.


The Christmas Frog
by Deb

at Nourish the Soul


Bad Baker
by Kat
at Seeking Sanity


Speaking to Myself
by Friko
at Friko's World

by Erin
at Photographs From a White Space

Morning in Suburbia
by DS
at Third-Storey Window

Come Back, 2 Bed
by Brian
at Waystationone


Lame Lament
by The Bag Lady
at Bag Lady's Blather


Kodak Moments
by DJan
at DJan-ity

Old Woman
by Barb
at One Good Thing


Another Whacky Resolution
by Michelle
at House of Lime

Things to Say After the Fact
by TattyTiara
at TattyTiara


A Winter's Pause
by Laura
at Pretty Pix

A Fence, Explored
by Barbara
at Confessions of a Photography Addict

Not Now, I'm Eating
by Steve
at Take a Look Around

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.