Friday, February 20, 2009

Y'all Come Back Now,Y'Hear?

Nice to see President Obama yesterday. I managed to get a few feet from him as he drove by in his Beast and we exchanged waves. Security was pretty damn good downtown - mailboxes disappeared and manhole covers were welded shut, streets were closed and the city's traffic cameras went dark! Harper looked good next to him, though a bit nervous I thought, but it was a pleasant change to see few protesters about... Hearing Obama talk yesterday about the relationship between Canada and the USA it became clear that, unlike George W, in dealing with strong allies like Canada he is going to have to listen to us. But I hope he had a good first impression of Ottawa and will return as he promised when it's warmer. Got a photo from my living room window of him arriving in the market for a Beavertail just before heading back to the airport, thus concluding the greatest day in that Beavertail shack cashier's life! Great suggestion PM! You can see his limo and all the police escorts at the top left of the photo, the Market to the right. Click on photo to zoom in! And now... life gets back to normal! Peace everyone and have a great weekend! gws

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Welcome President Obama!

Happy, snowy Thursday morning! Ottawa today is in lock-down mode, especially around the area of the Parliament buildings where we live. All of us I'm sure are looking forward to this meeting of our two leaders, and the first vsit to another head of state since becoming president. Sour grapes to the Mexican officials who said President Calderon actually had lunch with him just before Obama's inauguration so it doesn't count! No doubt the talk will be on the economy, climate change, energy and the war in Afghanistan. I hope Obama will respect our decision to withdraw from this unwinnable war in 2011... I did manage to get out last night and take some photos while it was still quiet. The CBC trucks were setting up and the Main Block was lit up. It looks colder than it was, although the wind was a bit nippy and it was snowing. I walked around the War Memorial - you can see the Chateau Laurier in the background. A bit of history about this grand old lady of hotels - it was commissioned by Grand Trunk Railway chairman Charles Hays and was constructed between 1909 and 1912. You guessed it - the hotel was eventually named in honour of Wilfrid Laurier, then the Prime Minister of Canada. The hotel was to be opened on April 26, 1912, but Hays, who was returning to Canada for the hotel opening, perished aboard the Titanic when it sank on April 15! They finally had the opening ceremony on June 12, 1912, with Sir Wilfrid Laurier in attendance... I also took some pictures of some of the ice sculptures in Major's Hill Park done for Winterlude that didn't melt during last weeks rain. That is Marie playing navy officer in front of the NATO piece! Major's Hill Park is a great venue for events - Winterlude, Canada Day celebrations, etc because it is so close to Parliament Hill and the canal. Marie walks through here every day back and forth to work...Anyway it's a great day to be in the Nation's capital and let's hope President Obama's visit is safe and productive - and he is welcomed by every Canadian. gws

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine's Day

"C'mon people, now smile on your brother, ev'ry-body get together, try to love one another right now!" Happy Valentine's Day! gws

Monday, February 9, 2009

Time Marches On

Hello all. Woke up this morning to the news of the death of yet another name from the past, drummer Dewey Martin of Buffalo Springfield. Just yesterday I had been listening to one of their songs - in fact it's on my MusicPlayer - "Expecting to Fly" He is just another name in a long list of musicians I listened to gerowing up, and still do, that has passed in recent years. The timelessness of music tends to make these people immortal and forever young in our minds and we listen to them now as they were then. It certainly reminds us of our own mortality but in the end, when the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box...Live long and prosper. gws

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The World's Largest Skating Rink

Good morning! Marie, Muffy and I enjoyed a slippery stroll along the canal with hundreds of other walkers and skaters this morning and, as promised, had the famous beavertail - deep fried dough with sugar and cinnamon - that is usually associated with Winterlude though there is a year round stand in the Market I can see from my window as I type. You might know this treat by other names - elephant ears, frying saucers, pizza frita, whale tails, buñuelos, doughboys or possibly roadkill!... It was a fairly warm day, above freezing for a change, but with a cold wind blowing down from northern Quebec. We went out to a birthday party last night and staggered home around 2am so needed the fresh air to recover...Thanks for the wakeup call this morning Rich! I have attached below a rather corny video of the canal and a little bit of history of where we were today courtesy of Hope whereever you are today you are able to get out and spend some quality time with the one you love. Don't forget - six more days to Valentine's Day! And if you do get a chance to skate on the canal this year remember: when they make the ice, they make it slippery side up! gws

Watch World's Largest Skating Rink: Ottawa, Canada  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Pump Up The Volume!

Today I am welcoming Lyn and Don back from their island getaway - St Maarten - down south. I hope they enjoyed the break from the cold weather of central Florida. But hey give me central Florida anyday! Our house/land hunting in Florida hasn't been overly successful yet but there are lots of properties available and I'm sure we'll find one as we have a couple of realtors in Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties helping us now...I also finally figured out how to download videos from YouTube that I have come across and either find inspiring, funny or just totally strange. The one here was shown during one of my French classes last week. It is appropriate as there are some students in my class that get that glazed over look when I ask them a question in French. Enjoy it! **Put the music player to the right on pause first before playing the video!** And remember it's easy to scroll down to choose a song or you can just let it play. I have 135 songs on it, with 70 more to come...Stay tuned for more photos and videos coming soon. That's it for today - where words speaks! Have a great weekend! A bientot! gws

Friday, February 6, 2009

Colour Photos and Memories

Yeah! School's out for me! Another Friday and the kickoff of Winterlude begins tonight here in Canada's capital. The weather is finally going to warm up and Marie and I might even make it to the canal for a beavertail this weekend! - that's a deep fried pastry thing that is flat and looks like guessed it! Tomorrow I am off to a gallery in Chelsea, Quebec for their annual Valentine's art show entitled "Erotica V". I have three pieces submitted, a picture of one of them above. It's a triptych about 8"x20" and I am asking $200 if anyone is interested. Comments?...Ok I promised myself I wasn't going to comment on what's been going on with one of our homegrown terrorists Momin Khawaja but now this swarthy Ottawa lad's defence lawyer Greenspon insists little Momin has been punished enough for his 4 year and 10 month jail sentence! Greenspon wants a sentence of time served - this for a supporter of jihad who was found guilty of five terrorism-related counts after being found with detonator components (remote-controlled bomb detonating devices known as a HiFi Digimonsters),assault rifles and ammo which little Momin says wasn't planned for blowing up people here but in Afghanistan. Now how the hell was he going to get this stuff through customs and on to a plane for Kabul??? This lowlife boasted that he could easily build 30 remote-controlled devices to bring terror to London! He left a trail from Ottawa to Saudi Arabia to Pakistan to England (where he was in cahoots with the bombers)and back here and there is a chance this animal can be walking about Ottawa again. I shudder to think who else the Government Dept where he worked (I don't dare say which one but it is common knowledge that is available online), has let slip through their fingers...But if you read my comments yesterday you'll understand why I like to look back to a time when terrorism and hatred amd Islamic fundmentalists were not part of our lives and growing up we needed only to worry about being late for supper. I found some more photos of that era - of me and my bother and sisters in the late 50's and early 60's in colour this time, taken in Comox on Vancouver Island, Grigy (near Metz), France where we lived for eight years and in Luxembourg where we used to go for a day's outing. I think it was the Parc Merveilleux where Dad rented us these little cars. That's Grandpop Arman, Mom's Dad, in one of the few pictures we have of him, in Luxembourg as well. The funny looking car is a Triumph Mayflower, trying to look like a poormans Rolls Royce that Dad bought some time after 1953 I think (they only made these things from 1949-1952 so not too sure the year of ours!) The picture of Rich, Lyn and me dressed up in front of the red trailer was taken in 1963. I remember it well as we were living in the trailer park when we heard news of President Kennedy's assanation. We had no television at the time and I vividly recall huddling around the radio listening to the news flashes - I was 13 at the time. That is a neat picture of Mom, me and Rich on the stoney beach in Dieppe, France, in 1965, reliving the Allied invasion of 19 years earlier. We also got a chance to see the concrete harbours (Mulberry Harbours) the fleet dragged over from England and were still there being battered by the waves. The Mulberries were created to provide the port facilities necessary to offload the thousands of men and vehicles, and tons of supplies necessary to sustain Operation Overlord and the Battle of Normandy. Can't say for sure if there is much of it left today. I'd like to tour the area again with Marie one day soon. That's Richard smoking one of those candy cigarettes that were so popular when we were kids. It felt so good to emulate the adults and my didn't we feel all grown up when we had one of these in our mouths. I can still taste them! That's me being butted by a goat - seems I was destined to have goats in my life again when we bought our hobby farm in Nova Scotia! One of my favourite pictures is the one of me outside our PMQ in Comox, reading. Note the plastic water jug (pre-water bottle days). And Mom or Dad took the picture of us all, minus Carolyn who was yet to be born, getting ready for bed in 1958. I'm not sure what time of year or where but it doesn't matter. We do not remember days; we remember the moments and that is so important...So till next time, peace and love. gws

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Old Photographs, New Fears

Happy Thursday! And thanks for dropping in! Nice to see the "Buy U.S." plan has been revised and their biggest trading partner, Canada, not China or Mexico, is still in business...Let's get that Canadian dollar back up now -it's at 0.8117 USD as I write this... I uploaded some old b&w's of me and my family that I scanned from negatives and photos you might like to see! That's me and sister Lynette and my friend Kenny whom I can still remember! My mother was such a beautiful woman, don't you agree? She still is today and I could not have asked for a more loving,understanding and patient Mom! Most of these photos were taken at 203 RCAF Radio Station Foymount, Ontario in the early 50's. Dad was in the RCAF way back then, part of the military personnel there watching for bombers approaching over the Arctic from the USSR. Foymount, on Lake Clear, Renfrew County was just one of many radar stations on the Pinetree Line. The station closed down in 1974 and there isn't much around there these days although many of the old buildings are still standing...check out the old 1926 Essex! I think that was Dad's first car when he came to Canada! Looking back at these images and remembering what was going on during that time - our one great fear being the Russian and Chinese hordes that would come snarling down upon us from the frozen north - it is hard to imagine the simple lives we actually did lead. How complicated we have made things! We now live in constant fear of losing our jobs, our natural resources, our environment, our health and sanity and, with enemies in our own backyards we welcomed to this country with such naivety, our very way of life is changing before our eyes. I am going to try to remain optimistic about what is to come because the future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope. That's you and me. And that is going to be one tough job!...Take care and do check back tomorrow for more old photos! gws

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Good morning! I have made some changes in layout, font and colour schemes. Let me know if this is easy to read or not! As well I have a new playlist of some of my favourite songs that you can either listen to in sequence as you browse the site, or you may hit the play button to chose which one you want to hear! Looking forward to any feedback, positive or negative...Senators finally fired their coach but I don't think that will help this bunch of overpaid prima donnas, read Heatley and Spezza. The team I have supported for 39 years, the Vancouver Canucks, since acquiring Mats Sundin have lost all eight games, gone from a contender to a pretender and I'm pissed off. Maybe that is why Toronto could not win...A beautiful day here in Ottawa tho' a mite nippy but we aren't getting the snow that is promised for the Maritimes and I think I even smelled just a hint of March in the air when I walked to the grocery store this morning...hmmmm. Enjoy the pix of some flowers I took in Greece last year. Click on the image to see it in detail. I tried to concentrate on the flowers themselves rather than the ancient stone temples and sanctuaries they clung to - some of them so small many were lost and trampled upon in the overwhelming immensity of the ruins - the flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size... And if at all possible, take time to stop and smell whatever blooms you are lucky to find today. For those of you on Vancouver Island be very thankful! But for us here in Ottawa we can just dream...and wait! gws