November 22, 2015 at 8:15 am (My City) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Daily Prompt: A Tale of Two Cities,

If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?

If I could teleport or have someone drive me, here are the two places I would choose. There is an eight to ten hours distance between the city I feel most comfortable in and the resort city that use to be a small town (I miss the small townness of it) where I spent many childhood summers with my dad and his family. In the summer I would take a bus between the two but in the winter the teleport idea would work best.

But how to divide the time: daily, weekly, monthly. It wouldn’t do to spend six months here and six months there as the climate is no better or worse depending on the seasons. Summer in the city is just as pleasing as summer in the mountains. Winter in the city is just as brisk as winter in the mountains. Spring is just as enchanting as is Fall spinning with colour.

Here is my city bursting full with Summer…


Here are my mountains in all their April (my birthday month) glory…


I even enjoy the rainy, cloudy days!

Oh, but how to choose. Christmas in the city or solstice in the mountains?

And to choose to only live in these two places always. I couldn’t! I haven’t been to New York’s Broadway yet or San Francisco or the Yukon.

But if I had to choose, these are the two places that I would teleport between forever more.

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”

― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Happy Canada Day

June 30, 2015 at 11:59 pm (My City) (, , , , , , , , , , )


Canada Day Challenge 2015 Winners.

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Moving: Again!!

August 12, 2012 at 8:15 am (My City, Rants) (, , , , , , )

I am moving. Again!! (I want to add many many more exclamation points here).

As you read this (if you read it on the Sunday I post it or the Monday after) I will be moving again.

Ants go Marching

I am tired of moving. I have moved approximately 30 times in my lifetime (so far). I was almost one the first time we moved. That move was a big move; we went from Germany, where my dad was stationed with the Canadian Air Force, back to Canada. We went back to the small town in Saskatchewan where he had been born and from which, not soon after, he would leave my mom to raise four children (all under the age of five when he left) by herself. My eldest sister went to Kindergarten in Germany.

Obviously, I do not remember this move.

I’ve written about the Hahn house which is the first home I remember.

I’ve also written about my second family moving experience when I was thirteen.

I’d move once more, as part of my mother’s household, just after finishing High School.

lost, lost, lost

I have moved approximately 25 times from the age of twenty to the age of forty-five.

I have lived in four provinces and nine towns/cities.

I have lived in seven different Saskatoon apartments; this is the city I most often seem to be moving in and out of.

Up until my last move I was mostly moving suitcases and boxes.

With each move I kept less and less stuff.

I gave away books and lost my attachment to things (for the most part).

Up until my last move, important items stayed in my mother’s basement!

Envious Heart

I moved into my current Saskatoon apartment with a bed, a side cabinet and a rocking chair. Slowly I’ve acquired more stuff (mostly second hand).

And books…I never completely purged my personal library.

Well, I didn’t do most of the moving. My nephew moved in the heavy stuff. All my stuff, six years ago, fit in a car and a half-ton truck.

I have much more stuff now.

I have just enough stuff for my one bedroom comfortably furnished HOME.

I’m so tired of moving, of not having a permanent place that is all mine!

I envy my sisters’ more permanent places.

Torn Open

My eldest sister and I were discussing our childhood aspirations recently as we drove back from the auction.

She mentioned how her goal was to have a home that no one could take away from her.

I mentioned that I had wanted to travel and see the world.

(I’ve not seen the world but I’ve seen a good portion of this country I call HOME).

I still want to see the world, but the older I get the more I also want a home base, a place where I can keep all my stuff and feel safe coming back to recharge in.

I had hoped that this would be my last apartment.

I have never lived here…

I know this current move will not be my last.

I am moving for work because I got the perfect job outside the city.

My ultimate goal is to be closer to family (I want to see the babies grow up. I want the babies to know me not just see me on holidays and in the summer. Children grow up so fast! I miss everyone not just the babies.)

So, hopefully after this move is over there will be only one more move in my future.

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Photo Friday: Walk

May 20, 2012 at 8:15 am (My City) (, , , , , )

I want to walk up these stairs. No, I want to run up these stairs. I love outside stairs; they are just begging to be walked. I love these wooden stairs. I love iron fire escape stairs. I think, perhaps, I love outside stairs because they were something I rarely saw when I was growing up in a one story house town! Long wooden stairs and fire escapes were products of the big city with their tall and magnificent structures.

Though, my second favorite wooden stairway is in a national park and leads up to quiet waters and solitary caves.

Do you want to walk up these stairs with me?

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Is it Art or is it Nature?

May 6, 2012 at 8:15 am (My City) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I was walking home from class on Monday and looked up. I actually looked at the trees lining the street a block from Victoria School, perhaps because something colourful appeared in the corner of my eye.

It was a bird’s nest and right then and there I made a mental note to myself to take my camera on Tuesday morning so that I could take some pictures.

It was then (Tuesday morning) that I noticed it was not one nest in one tree on Broadway but many nests in many trees from Five Corners to Oskayak  High School.

I wondered what this was all about.

I postulated that this was a Victoria School project; something to do with nature & Spring & birds.

Some of the nests were very bright like this pink & yellow bowl shaped nest.

They appeared to be made out of yarn.

I wondered if this was another form of yarnbombing; some local trees had been dressed up in scarves this last winter.

Perhaps a Bluebird family would like this blue nest for their home.

Or perhaps it could become a cradle for some baby blue robin eggs.

Isn’t it amazing what you might find when you look up.

You might see nests. You might see spirals. You might see beads.

And, on occasion, you might see birds.

Or bees.

Or squirrels.

Or a pink feather blowing gently in the breeze.

Though not today, today it is raining.

It has rained most of this week.

I have been carrying my umbrella.

I was glad I was carrying an umbrella.

Not just because it protected me from the rain.

But also because I could use it to reach the nests.

Most of the nests were way up high; I couldn’t reach them even when I stood on tippy-toes.

I wanted to see one up close.

I wanted to hold it in my hands.

I wanted to see what the nests were made of.

If the nests were made of yarn, the birds could pick them apart and use the material to augment their nest building.

Instead of dull brown nests we would see nests infused with colour.

This time of year, I like to put out strands of my hair for the birds to use in their nest building.

Hair and yarn makes their nests warm, cozy, bright and colourful.

I couldn’t knock a nest off with my umbrella.

It looks like my curiosity would never be satisfied.

But then, on Saturday, I was at the grocery store and saw that there was a nest that I could reach and untie from the tree.

The nest I liberated from the tree is made of wire, perhaps like this one (scroll to the bottom).

When I got home and did a quick web search.

The nests are Art and a school project by Monique Martin.

Here are pictures of the tree installation and the exhibit.

I liked the nests better when I thought they were made of yarn.

Yarn nests could be re-purposed by nature – the birds could pick them apart and they would eventually decompose.

Wire nests are just Art.

Yarn nests would have been both Art and Nature.

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Bear in the City – Beware!

April 22, 2012 at 8:15 am (Fun, My City) (, , , , , , , , )

Not far from where I are there is a bear.

Not a brown bear or a grizzly bear.

I’ve lived close enough to the wilderness to know not to get too close to an actual living, breathing bear.

Unlike Kathy, who blogs from Lake Superior, I don’t get to see much wildlife here in the city.

My bear is greyish black with expressive glass eyes and over-looks a very busy street.

S/he is never bored as there is always so much to watch for and look at.

S/he enjoys dressing up.

The house she guards probably has children living in it as the front windows are an ever-changing art gallery.

The Bear Song

(Music here)

The other day I met a bear,
Up in the woods a way up there!

He looked at me

(He looked at me)

I looked at him

(I looked at him)

He sized up me

(He sized up me)

I sized up him

Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear,
Where have you been?
Over the mountains –
Such things I’ve seen!

Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear,
What have you done?
Eaten blueberries
Made ripe by the sun.

Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear,
What have you found?
Ice-cold spring water
Deep from the ground.

Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear,
What do you dream?
Sweet tasting salmon
Swimming upstream.

Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear,
Where do you creep?
Into my dark cave
Alone, let me sleep!

Teddy Bear’s Picnic Song

If you go out in the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You’d better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

The Bear Went Over the Mountain

The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
To see what he could see.

And what do you think he saw?
And what do you think he saw?

The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all that he could see.

Big paws,
Big black nose,
Stubby tail,
And growl he goes.

What is he?
Well, who knows?
He sleeps all winter
When it snows.

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Unexpected Art

April 15, 2012 at 8:15 am (Fun, My City) (, , , , , , , )

One of the things I enjoy immensely about my city is the public art everywhere.

I also enjoy that the art is not static, that is, the city moves pieces around.

I like going on walks and happening on an old piece in a new location.

But my greatest joy is unexpected Art.

Early this month, I went for a walk around my neighbourhood and came upon a rare and colourful flowering star tree.

I noticed it from a block away.

The sight made me smile.

I’m not smiling much these days.

For a moment, it seemed as if these stars had perched here below their sky just for me;

Just to make me smile.

There were bright red stars;

There were pink stars;

There were twinkling yellow stars.

There were multi-coloured stars, pink, orange and yellow.

This one seemed almost fluorescent in the morning light.

I wonder what it would look like with the sunrise illuminating it.

There were polka-dotted stars.

Was the inspiration watermelon seeds or leopard skin?

How to wish upon a star within a star?

Do you wish on the inner star or the outer star?

Or does this starfish belong in the sea?

How many falling stars can you find in this picture? How many have already fallen to the ground?

I thank the stars for unexpected whimsical art.

Maybe Katie inspired it.

Maybe the universe knew I needed a smile (or two, or three, or more).

It is finally Spring.

The trees are budding.

It is mostly Spring (snow in the forecast).

Star light, star bright…

I wish everyone reading to go out and discover unexpected Art!

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Winter Shines

February 5, 2012 at 8:15 am (Fun, My City) (, , , , , , )

It’s officially Winter: the groundhog has made his prediction. According to Gainer the Gopher, we Saskatchewanians will soon see the end of winter. Though, honestly, here in Saskatchewan, no matter what the groundhog says we know Winter will last at least another six to eight weeks. Snow on my birthday, at the beginning of April, is common.

Which is why, perhaps, we are fans of the winter festival. What else is there to do as Winter drags on but revel in the bliss of all that is divine about this sparkling, cold season?

In Saskatoon, WinterShines 2012 is running from Jan 28th to Feb 12th…

For the last couple of years, the festival center has been at the Farmers Market site. Ice sculptures abound. I’m not a big fan of ice sculptures. I prefer snow sculptures as they mold better and it is easier to tell what they are. Plus, ice sculptures seem more hoity-tooty. Aren’t these google images, of snow sculptures, amazing?

As for these Birds of Prey (my title for them), are they eagles or griffins? Labels would have been nice or the opportunity to get close enough to touch; I a fan of touch and close-up photographs. I like to zoom in and try to capture the tiniest details (impossible to do at this distance with my point & shoot camera).

I’m assuming this is a duck or perhaps a Canadian Goose. I’m sure it’s even more nondescript this weekend (I took these pictures last Saturday when the ice sculptures were newly carved). We’ve had a week of warm, melting inducing temperatures since then.

What I liked best about photographing the sculptures was trying to catch the reflections from the every changing spotlights. Here we have blue…

The sculpture, I think, is a jousting knight which has no Saskatchewan connection. If you’re going to do an ice sculpture for our Wintershines shouldn’t you try to connect with us?

Here we have reflections both Orange & Yellow verging towards the Tangerine perhaps. And who is this woman supposed to be or is she a mermaid? I can’t tell.

I’m a little crabby today, aren’t I?

I’ll try not to be so crabby.

I loved this idea, coloured children’s blocks carved out of the ice. The children loved it too. It was very hard to get a picture that showcased the colourful blocks as they were consistently being used.

This is my second favourite picture. Sun. Sun. Shiny, happy sun. Saskatoon Shines is one of our local mascots. Sun was also hard to get a picture of as it was always moving and surrounded by children. Doesn’t it make you want to smile back at it? Isn’t Sun looking so warm and happy?

I think crabby me is gone.


Go out, enjoy Winter Festivals where ever you are and don’t be wary to visit Saskatoon in every delightful season.

I’m just glad we don’t even consider a polar bear swim.

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A Storybook Christmas

November 27, 2011 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary, My City) (, , , , , , , , , )

I was here last Tuesday…

Every year, the Saskatoon City Hospital is supported by the Festival of Trees which is hosted by the Western Development Museum.

I don’t get to go every year. The festival runs for a week for Sunday to Saturday and unfortunately last year, due to working and the extreme cold, I didn’t get there.

Not that I minded, very much, because the trees do get to look very similar after awhile.

I’ve narrowed my 200 pictures of the 80 displays down to 16 pictures of 10 trees that I wish to showcase.

First up is the Hug Tree; it makes me smile. Honestly, I do want to hug it, especially the bear on top.

Speaking of toppers – isn’t this Lego angel the cutest thing. It’s perfect for a household full of little kids. Though, the young ones I know would daily be rearranging the Lego ornaments into new configurations.

There were the ubiquitous pink trees. If I remember correctly, this was a Barbie themed tree.

Of course, the Disney Princesses made an appearance or two (or three).

There was a Nutcracker tree. I love the army of mice (but then, I Like Mice).

There was a blue Polar Bear tree based on the Polar Express book.

There was the ever present Riders’ tree – they’ve had a rough year. 🙂

There was a fantastical, delightful, whimsical Seuss tree.

If you bought it, you got the books as well. Yes, all 80 displays were for sale; a quick, but not cheap way to decorate for the holidays. My favourite trees were too expensive for unemployed me to even think about buying. I’m not sure if I’d buy a pre-decorated tree even if I had the money (which does go to support a good cause). I mean, where’s the fun in that? The best part of the holidays is doing things, like decorating & baking, yourself.

My favourite tree was the Ebeneezer Scrooge tree. I loved the Victorian feel, the details true to the story, and the whole overall gold and white colour theme.

Look closely at the ledger; there is Scrooge with his quill pen keeping exact track of where his money is.

If you start at the beginning, the scroll tells us the story of Scrooge and Marley and the Christmas haunting. Did the ribbon come like that or did one of our meticulous decorators sit down and copy the words out by hand?

I also loved the Saskatchewan tree. It reminded me of Christmases spent on the farm, of quiet times and simple pleasures.

Of small towns and skating and sledding parties just before school broke for the holidays. I wonder, sometimes, if anything really got learned that week before school closed for the holidays.

I took this picture for my friends that curl. I don’t curl; I make it a point not to participate in sports I don’t understand. For a great Canadian curling movie, go and watch Men with Brooms. Funny, funny, funny and oh so, Canadian!

The haystack, below the tree, needs more cows and pigs and chickens (and perhaps, sheep).

I had high hopes for this year’s theme; A Storybook Christmas. Surely, the trees would go beyond the typical. There is always a Polar Express tree, a Night before Christmas, a Barbie, a Disney, and other ubiquitous childhood toys represented. It was nice to see Dr Seuss and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this year. However, I was hoping for something more imaginative.

I wanted every tree to be based on a book and not just any books, but Canadian books. Can you imagine it?

How about a junkyard tree to represent Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners or an Anne of Green Gables tree?  Instead of a Dr. Seuss tree, do a bunch of Munsch; instead of Disney princesses, the ever adventurous Paperbag Princess.

For our Saskatchewan tree, the decorations could have been based on A Prairie Year or W. O. Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind. The tree mostly is already, to keep in the Storybook theme just toss copies of these books in the hay stack below the tree.

Instead of a Riders’ tree, what about a hockey tree based on Ken Dryden’s book The Game? A Pierre Berton tree could encompass all of Canadian history or do a historical tree based on our first women writers, the sisters Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill.

Want something different. A computer/technology themed tree could be based on the works of Douglas Coupland (Generation X, Microserfs). A dystopian tree could be based on Margaret Atwood’s futuristic novels like the Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood. Or be political; try a tree based on Two Solitudes by Hugh Maclennan.

Finally, for the pure joy of it, I would base a tree on the works of Charles de Lint; most especially, the mythical city of Newford. I would need ornaments of the crow girls, cats, goblins, pixies, Victorian libraries, and other mythological creatures. I could let my imagination run wild and hide his many volumes underneath and within the branches of the tree. This would be a tree worth buying.

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This is What Freedom Looks Like

November 6, 2011 at 8:15 am (Life, My City) (, , , , , , , , )

Growing up, at the edge of the turbulent 60s & feminist 70s, I was always being told that I should be grateful, that “they” fought for my freedom and therefore I should not protest. I should not long for something more and I should not disrespect “their” ideals with my manner or my appearance. The underlying message being how dare I disrespect “their” memory and valour by protesting the status quo.

I feel the effects of the Growing Gap between the classes here in Canada. I have always been poor with a middle class sensibility. I have a Masters degree and earn quite below what the charts say I should. I have slowly been working my way up. However, though last year’s income ranked me in the top 41% (according to this Maclean’s generator); this year I’ve been unemployed for half the year.

I don’t totally get the 99% rationale. I get that the Occupy movement is displeased that 1% of the world’s (?) population controls the majority of the world’s (?) wealth. For Canadian statistics on Income Distribution, go here.

Saskatoon joined the Occupy movement the middle of October, after Thanksgiving. I guess after looking at everything we had to be thankful for, it became clear how much we don’t have.

The economy isn’t working. It needs fixing.

After the march, the occupiers settled down in Friendship Park which also houses a life-size bronze sculpture of Gabriel Dumont astride his horse. Gabriel Dumont was one of the leaders of Northwest Resistance of 1885. It seems fitting that the occupiers bedded down here.

Reporters, news-people and bloggers have been bemoaning the occupation. They are asking questions like “who has time to camp out all day; the obvious answer being the unemployed” and “wouldn’t the movement be better served promoting active change (like volunteering)”.

Should protest only be active? What is accomplished by the occupy movement sit-ins?

The occupiers have made me think. They made me think about how much further there is that I could fall. They made me think about what I am willing to do to not lose what I’ve gained but they also made me realize how strong I am.

Still. Winter is coming, both literally and figuratively. Snow is due this weekend. The occupiers started to pack up camp last Wednesday, November 2nd. Soon they will be gone and the only people I will see sleeping out are the homeless we all pretend don’t exist in the here and now.

This coming week is Veteran’s Week. What comes to my mind is that this is what they fought for, so that we could protest and hopefully, figure out how to make everyone’s future better.

This is what freedom looks like.

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