Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Big Sister

Had a wonderful four days with Lyn when she drove up in her Saab convertible from Florida last week to visit. The weather cooperated and I had a chance to take her over to the Quebec side to visit the Gatineau park and the country estate at Kingsmere of William Lyon Mackenzie King (our tenth Prime Minister), walk about Meech Lake and admire the trilliums in the forest, and visit the falls at the Old Mill, a favourite nudist spot. We wandered about Ottawa one warm afternoon taking pictures of the tulips everywhere and hit the the usual touristy places around the market, including a chance meeting with Obama and John Lennon. As Lyn hadn't been there before, the next day we drove out to Montreal with Christina to visit Lara, Phil, Chad and Fernanda. We went out to the world famous Schwartz's restaurant on boulevard Saint-Laurent for smoked meat for lunch. The restaurant was packed as always - it was founded in 1928 by Reuben Schwartz, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, and has been in the same location ever since, tucked in around funky storefronts and trendy boutiques. We then walked down to Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) the oldest area in the city dating back to New France. It was fairly quiet as the tourists hadn't yet arrived in droves so we had the cobbled stone streets and gift shops to ourselves. After leaving Ottawa the next day Lyn headed down the 416 to visit an old school chum from Metz, then west to Kitchener to see Rande and the kids, then back to Toronto to say hi to Rich, before heading south. Hope you have a great trip back and come back soon sis! gws

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Christopher Plummer

Good morning! I had the opportunity to meet Christopher Plummer at Chapters in Ottawa yesterday where he was signing his new book "In Spite of Myself - A Memoir". I only had my cell phone with me so the photos are not great but I enjoyed talking to him for a few minutes as he autographed my copy of the book. My favourite Canadian actor, Mr Plummer is perhaps the finest of the post-World War II period, a Broadway icon and the premier Shakespearean actor to come out of North America in the 20th century. He hardly looked his 80 years, was very amiable after signing books for over an hour and even wished me good health! If you haven't seen him with Sean Connery and Michael Caine in The Man Who Would Be King where he plays Rudyard Kipling better than Rudyard Kipling himself you're in for a treat - "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier!" Have a great week and hope you gave your mum a hug! gws

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Mothers Day/Travels

Time flies and draws us with it. The moment in which I am speaking is already far from me. (Le temps fuit, et nous traine avec soi: Le moment ou je parle est deja loin de moi) A great line, credited to Boileau-Despreaux, that somehow fits the way I feel today. But first a happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there, especially to my sweet wonderful mum, the best of the best! I can't imagine my life as it is today without her guidance, love, and dedication through hard times and through good, for her family. My mum is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. And it was so good to see you again Mum last month!....That past month was a whirlwind of places, people and non-stop travel. After completion of my French course at the University of Ottawa, Richard and I headed down to Florida for 10 days. I took a bus from Ottawa to Toronto, spent the night at Rich's place in Georgetown and the next morning we drove to Buffalo to catch our flight (Southwest cattle car) to Tampa. It was nice to see the whole family together again as Carolyn had also flown out from Utah to spend some time with Rachel (who drove down from the panhandle) and we were all able to be together for Lyn's 60th birthday. In between that Rich and I spent the time driving from Brooksville to Ft Myers on the Gulf and Palm Beach on the east coast. I was looking for that ideal house or piece of land for our winter getaway, Richard was along for the ride. In the end, and after looking at three dozen or so properties, I didn't see anything that I felt good enough about to make an offer on, deciding finally to put it off for another year, or when Marie and I can come down together and both agree on where we want to stay. Both Richard and I liked the area around Lake Okeechobee - quiet, tropical and close to both coasts. The Gulf side seemed too depressed, the Atlantic side too hectic. After a few days at Rich's condo in Lake Worth (fixing a leaky toilet, enjoying the beach), we headed back to Brooksville, flying out the next day from Tampa with Carolyn who was also heading home. After a few days in Ottawa Marie and I drove to Montreal to visit with Phil and Fernanda, then headed east to our property to see how things had survived the spring thaw. All was well, the cabin as we had left it, and all the roads passable. The weather was lovely and we had a chance to stroll about the woods and reaquaint ourselves with nature. After another stop off in Montreal on the way back we spent a night home then we were back on the road, heading to Montabello for three days. Marie had a conference to attend at the Château Montebello and thought I would enjoy the break from the noisy city. Montebello is about an hour east of Ottawa, situated right on the Ottawa River. The village is world famous for the resort, the largest log structure ever built. (It hosted the 1981 G7 Economic Summit, the 1983 NATO Nuclear Planning Group, as well as recently welcoming President Bush, President Calderon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the North American Leaders Summit). I took the attached pictures except for the overhead shot. We were there till Thursday then back home for the week, planning to return to the property the following weekend to do some work on the cabin. I will be installing rain gutters and a system to catch rainwater for storage as well as looking for an another water source in the woods behind us to pipe in water. More landscaping and tree planting to be done as well! In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt! But in the meantime we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lyn who is driving up from Florida to visit. Hopefully the weather will be nice while she is here and the tulips are still in bloom! Again a safe and happy Mother's day top all those mums in my family and a great week to all! Till then..gws

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's May! The Lusty Month of May!

Happy May to you all! Enjoy the photos of our trip to Florida! Marie and I are off to Montreal tonight to visit Lara and Phil and then head out to the Townships on Saturday to check on the cabin. Will report back here next week with all the news! Spring has arrived - when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also! Have a great weekend gws