Saturday, December 31, 2022

New Years Eve Fireworks, 2021, on New Years Eve, 2022

Last NYE I really enjoyed photographing the township fireworks, and I made three separate posts for your viewing pleasure. As of this morning, I don't plan on going again this year. My friend, Bob, is not up to it, and, quite frankly, I don't want to do it without him. If I were going to stand out in the cold, I would want someone with me to share the misery. If I were tempted to prevail, the weather would dissuade me, for with all of the rain, I would be standing in slush.

However, I didn't post all of my photos last year, although I surely posted what I thought were the best ones. Here are a few that didn't make the cut last year.

By the end of the show, there is a whole lot of smoke in the air.

Thank you for bearing with my meandering ramblings for another year. For some of you, it has been many years, and I have always appreciated your comments and support.

Friday, December 30, 2022

It Took a Nudge from Sue

I finally did it, but it took a nudge – well more than a nudge – from Sue.

For years, coming home from the kids' in the dark, I have noticed the light on this tree on the edge of the park as we drive down a wee bit of a hill. For years,  have I thought that there is a picture there. For years, I have never remembered to return with my camera.

But Sue remembered the scene when she decided that it would fit with one of her daily photo prompts. Off we went, and here it is – the tree by the streetlight.

This was my second photo of the tree, for I first snapped a photo of the whole tree. However, when I zoomed in like this, close enough to eliminate the actual streetlight, I liked the result better.

Although that had been the shot that we had gone for, it was actually the last photo that I took that evening. I had been looking for a place to park, so I had driven right past this subject to the other end of the park to turn around. As we were driving, we noticed, unexpectantly, that other trees and sections were lit by other lights. Of course, we stopped in several places before we got all of the way back to the tree.

Therefore, this was my first photo from the other end of the park. It's my least favourite of the four that I shall post, but it is part of the shoot.

This was my next photo; I quite like it.

But I might like this one better. It was the third and final photo before I got back to the destination tree, which was the first one in this post. I really like the shape, and it does stand out as more of a single tree in the darkness, and, perhaps, that is better than a group photo, like the one above.

In each case, we were shooting from the street with a big snowbank between us and the trees that we had to either shoot over top of or crop in post. At another time, I would like to return and actually access the park from another entrance and then walk around. Meanwhile, the melt is on – temporarily, of course  –and we must await for conditions that cause snow to stick to trees. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen, so it could be a long wait.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Do Not Speed the Plough* Eh

Yesterday, MaryG wrote plough in her comment, whereas I shamefully revert to the American version – plow. I do think about it – about being a good Canadian I mean – but apparently I am not good enough. Not like MaryG, who is also my grammar guru when I need help.

Once upon a time, I promised to switch from our to or endings in words such as honour. It made sense, but when push came to shove, I couldn't do it, for I did not find it honourable.

So, honour it is, but plough it ain't. While I could occasionally be tempted to write plough, the thought of having to add an ed ending for the past tense is just too much for me to bear. Ploughed? Just no.

This is the difficulty of being a lowly Canadian, caught between our neighborly neighbour (see what I did there?) to the south and our British roots. 

Then there are those problematic er vs. re endings. I do try to keep to re but when spellcheck keeps trying to correct me, I sometimes have to reassure myself by doing a bit of online checking because I get that insecure.

While er endings might make more sense than re, that dadgum Yankee refusal to double consonants is enough to try a Canadian saint's patience. I find that appalling, for I tells ya that appaling should be pronounced aPAYling according to the rules of pronunciation the way that I learned them.

So yeah, I am a pretty true Canadian . . . who also writes plow, for there is has to be an exception to almost every rule.

*Speed the Plough comes from a film that I used to show to some of my classes back in the early 70s about advancements in agriculture. I just thought of it, so I used it although it is only tangentially relevant to this post. 😎


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

More Snow

We remain housebound. It is not really an enforced incarceration but more of a common sense adaptation to the weather.

There was more snow last night: not an excessive amount but enough to get the plowguy out to to do the driveway. Then the neighbour informed Sue that, she had cleared our little walk and in front of the garage. Too bad it will have to be done again before too long. I still had to stick my nose out the door for long enough to take the garbage out, so I took my phone with me.

Someone has cleared access to the fire hydrant across the street.

There is quite an accumulation in/on our yard.

Living in townies, we don't have the views that some of my Ontario blogger friends enjoy. Even out back, the view is limited.

Our poor lilac bush

Looking across the road

Now, isn't that exciting?

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Day After the Day After

I just commented to another blogger that I should probably post something today. I will get back to Louise Penny’s, A World of Curiosities, in due course. It’s odd that I feel a little guilty listening to a book when I wouldn’t feel guilty reading it, but I am enjoying listening. Sue has had an audible account for years, so I use it from time to time rather than making another purchase. I quite enjoy being read to, even if I sometimes feel guilty,.

When I went to bed last night, I saw that the town had plowed the roads and had left a mound in front of the driveway. I wondered if our plow guys would be back because there hadn’t been a new fall for a few days. I was pleased to see that it was gone this morning, for it would have been heavy to shovel.

We were gifted a year of Disney+ and our first choice of programming is odd: a series with Steve Martin and Martin Short and a pretty young thing. It’s a light drama (maybe a dramedy?) called True Crime (I think). There are so many choices, and that seemed like an innocuous starting point. I can’t see Disney replacing Britbox and Acorn in our hearts though..

After the Christmas morning unwrapping, the kids headed off to Dad’s. I think it was by 10 or even earlier. Their step sister was anxiously texting them to hurry up and get over. So our poor two had to go and endure receiving another set of presents. Oh dear! Then Sha took us home a little later, and here we are. I guess there will be reading and watching today and not much else.

It is almost 9, and the cat is getting antsy for breakfast, so off I go.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas Eve — Day

For much of my life Christmas Eve was the actual evening before Christmas Day. At some point in time, it seemed to become the whole day. Perhaps I was wrong then; perhaps I am wrong now. All that I know for sure is that life confuses me. Hence the title: Christmas Eve — Day.

I had no plan to post today, especially now that it is yesterday as I time this to post on Christmas Day, but here I am throwing this post together before we head to the kids' for our annual overnighter.

We have decided to let Sha pick us up and drive us over. For one thing, she will be out anyway. For another thing, we'll only have to dig out one car tomorrow, which we have established is now today (or later) for you.

Our snow removal contractor does a great job. It took us years before we found a good one, but they can't get near the garage door, and they don't do walkways. Those places are up to me, or sometimes Sue, and at other times even our helpful neighbours.

Anyway, Sue followed along with her phone and took these pictures from the garage and then the porch. She catches me at least once every winter.

It was windy, and the snow blew back.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Merry Christmas

While the weather outside is frightful, I will take the opportunity to post my Christmas card. 

In passing, I will also tell you that I have been asking Alexa to play Christmas music, but I specifically request traditional carols, which I find poignant and nostalgic. Unlike so many people, I am not inclined to play background music all of the time, but I like this traditional music at this time of year. Sue is doing much the same with her YT screensavers, but she is also sticking mostly to trad instrumentals. 

We've also half done our traditional viewing of Scrooge (aka A Christmas Carol). Last evening, it was the George C Scott version from the 80s. We have done this every year, or almost every year, or quite a long time. I can say some of the lines before the characters do.

This is my official Christmas card, and by that, I mean the one that I send out to folk who are not so unfortunate as to have to see me online regularly. You may have already seen a few other images that could  have qualified on this blog, but this is the one that I make a point of sending out to people who don't follow me here or on FlickrYou have seen the photo once before, but I have since added the text.

Here are two more that could have almost qualified as cards. This one is nice, but it is from 5 years ago. Sue just added the snowy border.

And I played with this one from the same year.

We shall head to the kids' tonight, consume snacks, possibly play some games, and maybe watch a Christmas movie. Tomorrow, we shall arise (not quite as early anymore) and take our time opening gifts, going round and round the family circle until the last one has been opened. Around noon, the kids' dad will drop by to take them to his place so that they can do it all again with their stepmom and sisters. Shauna will go to work: not so much to work but to be with her seniors. Sue and I shall head home and likely watch the other Scrooge (the Alastair Sim version, 1951).

Have a great Christmas Eve and Day, and we'll see you on the other side (so to speak).

Friday, December 23, 2022

December Passings

Deaths seem especially difficult on us at this time of year, but I feel that I must take a moment to acknowledge that the kids' other grandmother passed away this week. While that is sad enough, it also occurred on Shauna's birthday. Marielle, their French Grandmaman, died in hospice care near Montreal. She was 79.

One thought leads to another, and now I think of other December deaths in the family.

Shauna's grandmother, Sue's mother, passed suddenly on Christmas Day, 1992. Pearl had enjoyed a fine Christmas Day with Sue's sister. She hadn't been sick, was feeling well on that day, cheerily talked to Sue on the phone, lay down in the evening when she felt a bit of an upset coming on, and passed away.

My own grandmother, Charlotte Quinlan (Robinson), died on December 21 1949, when I was two years old. Her father, my great grandfather, Israel Robinson, also passed in December 31 1923 while his father, William Robinson died on December 23 1876.  In scanning my pedigree, I see that I have another great great grandfather, James Rayner, who died on December 29 1822.

That seems awfully bleak, doesn't it? But good things happened too.

Shauna was born on December 20 1972, and came home on Christmas Day.

My grandfather, Arthur Quinlan, was born on Christmas Day, 1880. 

My parent were married on December 12 1936.

Maybe other months are similar for births and deaths, but we just don't notice them like we do for the month that contains Christmas and its poignant times.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

This Happened

Oh, this is too cool not to share. It happened at the turn of the century from 1899 to 1900.

The picture may be confusing but it represents a ship in which the following conditions occurred. Simultaneously, the ship lay in:

two different days,
two different months,
two different years,
two different seasons,
and in two different centuries..

I will save the backstory for the person who posted this thread on Twitter. It's a very quick read. Link

You might get an intermediate page telling you that the link is taking you to the site. It is safe to do so.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Fifty Years

Our baby's fiftieth birthday is today! Fifty! I have a fifty-year-old child. How is this possible?

It's a busy time of year, and there were conflicts for today, so we had her and the kids over for a little celebration last evening.

As usual, I made a card. It is hard to know what else to do after making so many cards over the years, so I did this ↓ for the front. It folds, so the front of the card is just the bottom half. 

I am pretty sure that I took that picture during her first week home. I thought she looked a bit worried so I worked that into a theme — corny, I guess, but that is what I came up with.

I continued the theme inside — tried my best to make it fit.

I won't overdo the pictures, but we did take some last evening. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

A Black and Purple Christmas

Thursday Evening

I thought I heard her come in, but I wasn't sure, so I continued with the dishes. Something felt wrong, however, so I called out and seemed to hear a plaintive whimpering. Thinking that I should investigate, I found Sue sitting on the little staircase by the front door. The noise was indeed plaintive and somewhat more than regular whimpering, but words fail me to describe it accurately.

Above her left eye was a lump almost the size of an egg. Her cheek an chin were red and scraped, but it quickly became worse (next two photos).

Sue had gone out to check on something or other and somehow had done the faceplant of all faceplants. She doesn't know how it happened.


After applying ice and getting a night's sleep, despite the mile, she was looking pretty grim the following morning with an incredible amount of  bruising and her eye almost closed. 

Sue has always bruised easily, but I never seen bruising like this on anybody. Her hands and knee are also scraped and painful where she tried to break her fall.

On Saturday, Sue could open her eye, but the bruises don't look much better to me.


Yesterday, she was still looking mighty grim. The lady is still abed this morning, but I don't think  that improvement will occur rapidly.

Our doctor doesn't work on Friday, but Shauna did contact her guy from work  right away on Thursday evening. He took a look at Sue's photos right after the fall and asked the pertinent, concussion-related questions.

I kind of kept my eye on her during the night, and she seemed to be sleeping normally, so I didn't think it necessary to wake her to run checks.

As bad as it was and is, I shudder to think how much worse the damage could have been. She wasn't concussed, and no bones were broken. Although she wasn't feeling terribly lucky about the whole situation, Sue didn't break her nose or teeth. Luck is a relative thing, and we are breathing sighs of relief when we think of how much worse the damage could have been.

This Christmas, Sue's colours will be black and blue. We say blue, but it is really purple, isn't it?

Sunday, December 18, 2022

My Second Snowstorm Post

It's 4AM, Saturday morning as I write this although it is Sunday (or later) for you as I hit the Publish Button. No, I did not want to get up at 3:30, but waves of heat in a cold room were having their way and preventing me from sleeping any longer. In point of fact, I hadn't slept too well for an hour already after only 4 hours of sleep. 

I keep seeing messages here and there that a good sleep is important to good health, but what can a poor guy do?

Is this andropause, or is that a figment of the imagination?

First thing, while the coffee was perking, was to look outside, and I saw that the driveway had been plowed again. It had a fair accumulation after the early plowing yesterday, for it continued to snow all day long. It has since stopped, but I am not sure if it is meant to stay this way. We shall see.

Looking just beyond the garage, we have been cleared. Compare that
to the pile of snow to the right of the driveway  — between the
sidewalk and road. I am thankful that my wonky back
doesn't have to clear a mound like that.

I did take some more photos yesterday after the first batch that I posted then. I wanted to take this stand of snow-laden trees after looking across and up the street from our upstairs back window. There were wires in the way, so I headed to the back deck with my 70-200mm lens. From the back deck, I just managed to get some photos sans wires, and this was the first.

There are buildings behind the grove that one doesn't wish to emphasize, so I opened the aperture all of the way to keep the photo soft. There are people and distractions in the background, but they are subdued and don't bother me too much. On almost the extreme left, there is a girl in a light blue coat about 1/3 of the way up. In the next photo, she is on her knees after sliding down the little hill, and she stands out a little more more.

I think the photos work fairly well under the circumstances. It is one thing to point your camera at a perfect composition, but it is another to get the best out of an imperfect scene.

I took one more standard, non-arty photo out front to capture the event. People are out there shovelling, and they likely would have had to do so again. At least most of them could do it at their leisure on the weekend.

There probably would have been some great pictures in the park around the corner, but that is a trudge on a wonky foot, especially through very heavy and sticky snow. 

It is enough to do what I can, where I can, and when I can. It has to be enough, for there isn't much of an alternative that I can envision. The one problem with pretty snowstorms is that the conditions also work to thwart one from travelling around to get to good photographic spots. Then, once the conditions improve and we can drive about more easily, the best photo ops are gone as the snow falls from the trees and conditions get more slushy and less pristine.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

First Major Snow Storm a Little Later On

A few hours after posting yesterday's blog that ended with night scenes of the snowstorm from the cozy confines of  my abode, I ventured forth.

One mission was to clear the snow from the walkway and in front of the garage. The plow gets the rest, but it doesn't go too close to the garage, and we appreciate that. I was shocked to find our neighbour already out there shovelling our walk. I shouldn't have been surprised, for he has done this before, but not for about 9 months now as he seldom helps us shovel snow in summer.

So, I got down the the important stuff such as taking pictures. This snowfall was wet and sticky, and I wanted to capture some of it while it remained stuck on the branches: (1) up the street, and (2) the tree on our lawn.

I moseyed over to the same neighbours' frontage and snapped two of their many lawn ornaments.

Then I headed to the backyard where I photographed the heavily laden lilac bush.

After shovelling a path to the back gate, I lifted my camera over the 8' fence (the fence beyond the one you see in this photo) to photograph the fir trees across the road.

So, that was our first major or somewhat major snowstorm of the season. It was enough to keep the school buses parked but not enough to shut down businesses.

I like the softness of winter photos and find that I don't have to do much editing even though I shoot in RAW. One thing to keep in mind, if you have the knowledge and ability to do this with your photo device, is to overexpose the scene in winter, for a camera sees that conditions are bright and wants to tone them down, and you don't usually want to do this. One photographer calls it "arguing with your light meter." Even with my iPhone, I have the ability to brighten or darken the exposure: not just in post but before I press the shutter.

I sent some of the photos to Photoshop Express on my tablet, and it helped me make this collage.

For a little extra fun, I added snowmen to this version.

Enjoy the last weekend before Christmas.