Brother Sun


Brother Sun has been growing since winter solstice . He greeted me so warmly this morning that I felt good at minus 22 Celsius without a tuque for several minutes! Warmth is winning!


Two Snowy March Breaks


Winter 2014’s been full of snow and there were some flights canceled out of Pearson Airport in Toronto this March Break week. As a winter, this last one kind of takes the cake for persistence and weather-caused drudgery. I cannot remember having to figure out, in sheer desperation, where to put the stuff. I’ve already broken my record for the high snow throw and – because the blessed stuff keeps failing to melt or sublime – each snowfall the record gets higher.

And the cold! The cold!

Our area usually gets some thaws through the winter that cause periodic melting to limit the height of the snow banks beside our short, two car driveway. I think we’ve had close to record total amounts of snow.


But the March Break of 1993 was unforgettable for me. A cyclonic freak that stretched from Central America to Eastern Canada Continue reading “Two Snowy March Breaks”

A Year Ago Today I Was A Geek

With backpack and MEC duds at Mount Chinguacousy
Anita with backpack and MEC clothes  at “Mount Chinguacousy” on Feb. 15, 2013

Last year I wrote this post and scheduled it to be published when we were already over in France/Spain doing our modified Camino Santiago. Somehow I messed up and it wasn’t posted, so it’s going in as an anniversary note, of sorts:

“Began real early preparing for our Camino Frances (the popular French route to Santiago de Compostela). First stage was to be through the Pyrenees. I estimated the “lowest freaky possible temperature ever” for our passage on the highest point at Col de Lepoeder (1427 metres above sea level) to be -7 degrees C on April 25 (when we expected to be doing it) My estimate was done by  checking the lowest temperature ever recorded for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on that date and subtracting about 0.65 degrees for every 100 m increase in altitude.”

I know, I was a geek. Still am.

We actually crossed the high point on April 26, 2013. The weather was terrible, Continue reading “A Year Ago Today I Was A Geek”

Snow Say, “Look Meh!”

The BBQ is off limits
The BBQ is off limits

I tend to be oblivious to some things at times, but yesterday’s snowfall had to be an “in your face” kind of event. A Trinidadian friend I have known since 1965, when we we taught Sciences and Math together in a small town government secondary school in the island’s southeast, likes to use phrases like the above title about extreme weather. On a very hot day he would exclaim,

Sun say, “Look meh!”

Translation: The sun says “Look at me! Pay attention!”

I shoveled enough yesterday morning to get the car onto the road so that I could drive my youngest daughter to the airport. I got help from my neighbours, Gord and Marilyn, which was much appreciated because the one thing my cardiologist forbade me to do after two heart attacks a week apart  in February 2000 was – shovel. Fortunately the first attack did only about 10% damage and the second did none, since it occurred when I was still in ICU recovering from the first.

Neither attack came while shoveling snow, which I do slowly and never get chest pain while shoveling. I have done upper body exercises ever since, and am careful not to overdo it when I shovel. Get a snow blower? No. Considering the small amounts of snow we usually get here it’s not a necessity.

Actually the first sign of the oncoming attack, angina, happened while I was sitting right here at my desk on a previous desktop computer typing up a quiz for my new, semester two senior chemistry class. It was a new sensation for me, so I tested my condition by doing 20 pushups. Since this experiment did not cause a recurrence I went to school. The attack came at the end of first period, so I did a rare thing: let my students go early.

I lay on the couch in the science office and an ambulance was called. Picture my mortification being wheeled around the entire second floor of the school to the opposite corner where the elevator was. Students came to the doorways to view what all the excitement was about.

I guess my Trini friend would have expressed what happened that day this way:

Heart say, “Look Meh!”

Ever since then, I’ve paid attention to my heart and listened to my body’s feedback. Not to mention regular exercise and as close to zero trans fats as possible, apart from an annual cherry pie on my birthday. Only 8 1/2  more months to wait…

Anyway, I went out again last night after the snow finally stopped just to clear the sidewalk – my duty as a citizen, and then did a little more. My neighbour on the other side, Graham, and a friend of his were shoveling at the same time. They came over and shoveled the driveway and our path to the house with me, doing the lion’s share of the work. Neighbours like we are blessed with – virtually everyone on the street – are a reason to stay even in a house that has become bigger than we empty-nesters need.

This morning I shoveled a path to the bird feeder so that I could put sunflower seeds out for the cardinals, nuthatches, juncos, chickadees, goldfinches, sparrows, downy and hairy woodpeckers who still feast on the stairway to our deck. Rarer now, for some reason are the blue jays. Some used to stay all winter; now we see them mostly while they are migrating.

Then I went to the front to remove the snow dune the plow left at at the bottom of our driveway and was aided again by Graham and Gord. Many thanks to these kind people.

A path to the bird feeder.
A path to the bird feeder.

Sun, Snow and Ice

The sun makes a winter walk so much more pleasant. It brings out critters of all kinds and creates beautiful patterns – and thoughts.

A polarizing filter enhances the images. I take my Sony NEX-5N with me most of the time.