Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anne Murray

I had the opportunity to meet Anne Murray yesterday at Chapters in Ottawa, in town for the signing of her book All of Me. I waited almost 3 hours in line for a minute of her time - we chatted briefly about Nova Scotia before I was ushered along! Marie and I saw her last concert at the NAC here in November 2008. One of my favourite songs she did in 1983 was titled A Little Good News. I think the words still ring true today:

I rolled out this had the morning news show on

Bryant Gumbel was talking about the fighting in Lebanon.

Some senator was squawking about the bad economy

It's gonna get worse you see we need a change in policy
There's a local paper rolled up in a rubber band

One more sad story's one more than I can stand

Just once, how I'd like to see the headline say

Not much to print today can't find nothing bad to say
Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town

Nobody OD'd, nobody burned a single building down

Nobody fired a shot in anger...nobody had to die in vain

We sure could use a little good news today
I'll come home this evening...I'll bet that the news will be the same

Somebody takes a hostage...somebody steals a plane

How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair

And how we cleaned up the everybody learned to care
Whoa, tell me...
Nobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today

And in the streets of Ireland all the children had to do was play

And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA

We sure could use a little good news today.

Thanks Anne for 40 great years! gws

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Womb With a View

Greetings ! Marie and I spent the day in Montreal Friday with Phil and Fer, first meeting them at the 3D Ultrasound clinic and seeing our new grandson for the first time in "real time" - he is now 23 weeks and doing very well. Seems every thing is where it should be and we are all looking forward to the next ultrasound in another month. Fer's family in Mexico and Christina back in Ottawa were able to see the complete session via an internet link! *** ( Note to Phil and Fer - Patrick will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for! ) *** Afterwards we went out to Baby's R Us, then Cage aux Sports for lunch before heading back to Phil's apartment. Lara had dropped in to be with us as well and left for her office afterwards. She is working on the sale of a million dollar house and I can only hope she is successful! She and Chad are off to Honduras in January. Late in the day Phil and I went out to pick up some baby furniture for the new room he is renovating. We spent the night then headed home early Saturday morning. Still great weather for this time of year and more to come! Next weekend we will all be at Mont Tremblant - could be a green December! gws

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quebec City or Kébec, an Algonquin word meaning "where the river narrows"

Thursday, the day after Remembrance day, Marie and I drove to Montreal to drop off Phil's new van. I had found it here in Ottawa - a used 2004 Kia Sedona which I had safetied and tuned up, put on snow tires and had it cleaned inside and out. Hopefully it will give him a few good years of use - he needs it for work and for his "growing family"! After staying the night with him and Fer I drove his 4Runner (to store at our property) Marie following in the pickup, and we headed out to the cabin for the next day. Everything was the same as we left it and the weather was glorious. Friday morning we drove to Quebec City ( just under 3 hours from the property) for Marie's interview with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. That's her coming out of ther cabin around 0930, ready for business! She was pleased with the interview and now has to wait a few weeks for the results. I spent the day wandering around the city and basking in the warm weather by the river. (As far as size goes Quebec City is just ahead of Ottawa in poulation (municipal). Here is the top 10 - Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Quebec, Ottawa, Winnepeg, St. Catherines). The sun was fairly low on the horizon as I took some of these shots and the shadows are fairly long in most of them. We are more north here!

Saturday after returning to the cabin we took a quick trip into Coburn Gore, Maine just across the border from us to pick up some parcels we had delivered to the town's general store. It's conveniant and cheaper than having items shipped from the US to Canada - we just pay duty. And as we now live in Ontario, no Quebec sales tax. It was a lovely warm day so we took the time to cover up the van and Phil's truck for the coming cold weather and snow and enjoyed the quiet. Seems we were about the only souls on the Domaine as by now there is snow on the ground and it's a lot colder! Everyone that doesn't live there year round had already locked up for winter.
Saturday night it rained very hard and we had all the ditches running with water when we got up Sunday morning, but the sun tried to come out a few times and, by the time we relunctantly left for home, the temperature was up to 17C! That's us disguised in our rain gear as we enjoy our first coffee of the morning in the mist. I took a shot of Marie standing near our newly dug well in the area we will be building. We plan to come back in January or February to do some snowshoeing and check the place out one last time before returning in springtime.

And now it's back to school, preparing for the holidays and looking for a seasonal bush to decorate with heathen ornaments and such. ( Aren't I politically correct! - I just hope no one will put out a fatwa on me now! You never know these days, even here in Canada!) The end of the month we are still off to Mont Tremblant and a week of doing squat. Phil and Fer will be coming up as well! Will let everyone know how that went! It was nice to hear Carolyn, Michael and Ryan had a great visit with Mom and Dad in Florida. I'm looking forward to seeing Ryan up here this spring to help me finish the cabin! Till later... Have a great week! gws

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Playing Tourist in Ottawa

Sundays in November seem to be the best days of the week and today was no exception! Marie and I took advantage of the quiet morning streets and strolled up to Parliament Hill. A glorious, warm day with clear views off to the Gatineau hills of Quebec and an early September feel to the air. In the first picture of me, standing by the National library, you can see to my left our condo, just above the windshield of the parked car. The third one is Marie standing in front of the cat sanctuary behind the Parliament building. That's a lovely view of the Ottawa River and Gatineau and the Museum of Civilization across the water. And of course the obligatory picture by the Eternal Flame with the Peace Tower behind! Wednesday we are off to Montreal to drop of Phil's van and pick up his truck, head to the cabin for the night and then up to Quebec City for the next day. Will have lots of pix to share so till then have a wonderful week and take care! And please take time to pause for a moment on Remembrance Day. Peace gws

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life Drawing

Another beautiful week here! Thought I would post some of the work Marie and I have been doing in our Life Drawing class together every Wednesday evening. I found my own skills were declining a bit after graduating from OSA last year and because I hadn't kept up my drawing I felt it was time to get into a studio setting. I have been painting at the expense of my drawing which I still prefer. Since we began I am astonished at the progress Marie has made in just a few short months with her sketches, both the quick warm ups and the longer poses. She obviously has a hidden talent that was just itching to get out! Her work is loose and fresh when you compare it to my more methodical and detailed pieces and I just love them! Judge for yourself. The first seven of her pieces I chose (so you can see the progression) are from the first month of class in September -

Now look at Marie's drawings from October and early November, just a few weeks later! What you have here is an artist who is suddenly very comfortable and confident and who renders the models with life and real expression!

And here are some examples of my work from the same time. I find the initial sketching of the first five or six minutes the best for me and I think it shows in my shorter drawings of 10-15 minutes. When the model sits for longer (30-50 minutes)I find I labour over the piece and often "overwork" it. I sketch mostly in graphite pencil but have done some here in charcoal and conte -

Hope you enjoyed looking at these and stay tuned for more! Have a great weekend and don't forget to honour our fallen heroes on the 11th. gws