It’s Earth Day.

Also, as long as I live, I will remember that today is my mother Madeline’s birthday. If still alive, she would be 104 years old today.

She was born on this day in 1910, in this house: 102 Oxford St., Halifax, NS. The house was completed and the family moved in, only 3 weeks before her birth. The house has a different street number now because Halifax re-numbered the street some years ago.

My Nana Jean (Dumaresq) Smith, her husband Nelson Baker Smith, and her growing family (Madeline was the first girl after 4 boys had been born) needed this big house, which had been designed by Sydney Dumaresq, Jean’s brother. His family architecture firm still exists in Halifax today, and the house still stands too. Cousin Debbie and I visited it during our 2007 trip to Halifax.

Happy Earth Day!


Big Easy Express

I was watching American Idol tonight and once again, I heard the music in the background of the IKEA ad. I’ve heard this fave tune of mine every week in the AI show. IKEA selected a music track called “Home” for their current TV advertising in Canada. The ad focuses on the family home, which IKEA wants to furnish, of course. “Home” is the perfect song for their sales pitch. I am very familiar with this song, and recognized it the first time I saw the ad, even though only a brief portion of the song was aired (for somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds, I would think.)

The song “Home” was featured in a one-hour music video called Big Easy Express. The video chronicles the train journey of three bands, during the course of one week several years ago. They were playing and singing on a chartered train, traversing the American southwest. The three bands in this one-week tour by train were: Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It was the music of the latter band that drew me to the music video. I had happened to see the band on Letterman, and really liked the tune (yes, they were playing Home) and so went looking for them online. I bought the video, and have played it numerous times. It looks great on my iPad, and I never get tired of the music. The movie (about one hour long) is very entertaining, and I felt it was really worth the modest price to download it from iTunes. I have enjoyed watching it on my tablet and singing along a little with the bands! This film won at least one award, maybe two. It will make you smile.




Sunday afternoon

Just roused myself from watching The Masters, to take Spike out for a pee break. Now that the ice has gone from the back forty (north side of the house; still not getting more than a bit of sun on sunny days) I can now let Spike off the leash and let him run free alongside the fence. I’d just let him off the leash ,and with one eye on him, I looked beyond the fence, and guess what? One big falcon was looking back at me from a tree branch a little to my left, on the valley side. I stopped and looked and then realized his mate was perched on a branch just below him on his right. Wow, bonus! I think that is the first time I have seen the falcon pair at the same time. Several weeks ago I saw a pair of hawks perched on our back fence (“courting,” I thought at the time.) Once again, I am blessed to live beside this vibrant valley, even on a grey April day!

The Vic Discussion Group.

Last Day of March


Last day of March has been a beautiful spring day (Dare I even say that out loud?) Spike and I went out for a walk in the afternoon sunshine. I saw only a few little clumps of ice, mostly on the north (shady side) of the house. At this time of year, the north (valley) side is getting precious little sun, while the south and west sides (street, parking lot, etc) were bathed in spring sunshine. In the photo, that’s melting ice you can see. We stayed out for 3/4 of an hour. Today I logged a lot of steps on my pedometer: total walked today = 4.29 km, which was 8938 steps. That’s a new high for me – and a direct result of the warm day (11 Celsius!)

Bird activity: lots of Canada geese recently – flying overhead, and honking. On the weekend I also saw 2 pairs of geese grazing on the grassy banks adjoining the parking lot at my favourite supermarket. They only do this in the spring. They fly up from the river and spend the afternoon scrabbling for anything they can find to eat. About ten days ago I was amazed to see a pair of hawks sitting on our fence. (I think they were in courtship mode.) That was definitely a first for me…2 hawks outside our windows, just sitting there, looking around. I’ve seen the falcons but it’s hard to get a good look at them- they zoom by. The downy woodpeckers have been coming to my bird feeder all winter and continue to visit. I am so lucky to live beside this massive wooded river valley, right in the middle of the city. Guess I am rambling on here, but it was so good to get outside, after the longest winter in years. Welcome to April, now less than an hour away! I have never been so glad to see the back end of winter.

Get this: one day in the last week when we were in the deep freeze, I walked Spike outside for a pee break. Took my eyes off him for a moment and then I didn’t know if he’d actually peed or not. Took off my glove, and stuck my hand underneath his belly and checked for dribbles. They were there alright, and they had already frozen solid. He had yellow icicles stuck to his belly!
He wears his warm sweater in the cold weather, but his genital area is left uncovered of course. That was a first -  to find frozen urine sticking to him just seconds after he had peed. Obviously it froze as it streamed out. Wow. I’ve never seen that before in 11 winters of walking Spike. This unusual occurrence certainly tells the tale of our frigid winter, which has been feeling like it will never end.


Winter blues

"Let it snow!"

“Let it snow!”

February 1, and it’s snowing – all day. Yesterday was a blessedly mild day, temperature sitting at about zero Celsius, and the roads were dry. I decided I’d better get out while the getting was good. Hadn’t driven the car for over 2 weeks. Thank God I had leased a new Beetle in the autumn. If the old car had been left sitting for over 2 weeks, she would have been dead in the parking lot. New car, aka Pearl 2, started instantly with no complaints. So I got myself to the supermarket and stocked up in preparation for the expected new blast of bad weather. Said weather arrived on time and the snow was well under way when I got up this a.m.

Our seniors’ residence is currently in ‘lockdown,’ which is just another way of management saying, “We’ve got a bug in this residence, and we are trying to control it.” Lockdown means that all activities which involve residents getting together (except for meals) have been cancelled. Lockdown also means no visitors, unless the front office makes an exception (and you’d better have a really good reason.)
Days are long and boring when it’s too cold and wet/snowy to go outside, and there are no activities going on inside. I’m guessing that the management has a good guess for when the bug will taper off, because they have called a general meeting of residents for Monday afternoon. We have no clue what they are going to announce. At least they are going to hold this meeting in the biggest main floor lounge. Last time they called a meeting like this (2 years ago), they held it in the basement Theatre Room, which only has one door. That was a horrible day: the speaker (the then Executive Director) had no microphone; therefore 90% of the attendees could not hear a word he said. Because everyone had to get down there by the elevators, that fact meant long waits to go up or down. But the worst was that the Theatre Room has only one door, and all the residents crowded in there with walkers and wheelchairs. (The Fire Marshal would have seen red!) Had anyone even whispered “fire!” there would have been a panic, and a disaster. At least this upcoming meeting will be held in the main floor lobby, which has numerous exits. I just hope there is a microphone.
….to be continued


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