Thursday, August 31, 2017

September is Coming...

September is coming... the start of a new school year.

Passing a local high school, I couldn't help but notice this sign...

Is this the new school motto for the year? To be "collaborative"?

What exactly does this mean?!

Is this another way of saying "a team player"?

When I left teaching, the new buzzword was "character" education. I remember thinking that character education surely starts at home.

I think the same could be said of teamwork. In fact, all education starts with the family - before a child ever sets a foot into a school.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Looking Back 4 Years: August 30, 2017

Has it really been four years since this big day in our family?!

Time does fly by!

I'm glad we have this album to remember my youngest son's wedding...

The pictures bring back the memories...

And the joy as we celebrate the anniversary.

Best wishes for another great year!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Squirrel on the Wire

I noticed a strange shape on a nearby electric wire...

Was that part of a squirrel?!  Or the whole thing?!

I watched for a few minutes. Only the tail moved, as if blown by the wind...

Then it turned! Good! It's a whole squirrel resting in the early morning light...

Then it started to move...

... and get on with another day.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Enjoying Merrickville in August

Terry and I often drive to Merrickville.

It's a pretty old town built when the Rideau Canal was a busy highway for boats.

It's still used for boating in the summer.

Herons find good fishing here, too!

Merrickville is busy in summer!

After wandering around town, we stopped for lunch in the courtyard of a lovely old inn.

Another tradition when days are sunny and warm.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Living a Balanced Life in Retirement

Living a balanced life is a constant challenge in retirement. There are lots of things I really need to do that I don't really enjoy doing - like declutter (which I consider "cleaning up my own mess"!) I find the emotional aspect of saying a final good-bye to possessions hard and stressful. Having to make decisions is also tiring!

To balance that part of life, once or twice a week, I try to do something I really enjoy - like getting away (if even for a day).

Gardening and making new things, like quilts, afghans and sweaters, also give me creative energy and joy...

Then there's exercise: I try to walk or go to the gym every day. That energizes me as well - and that's a good thing!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gift of ... Flowers

In some European countries, guests bring bouquets of flowers (or chocolates) when they visit.

I like the tradition...

Flowers leave a lingering memory once the guests are gone.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Innovative... Seniors Care?!

A new school year is fast approaching...

Not far from where we live, Algonquin College is proudly announcing a Centre for Innovation in Seniors Care.

The internet link above says that it will involve a new apartment building at the college for housing seniors... That's interesting...

Is the college also getting into the nursing home business?! Or is the centre simply re-branding an existing program?

What are innovations in caring for aging seniors? A few years ago, I met a woman who was frustrated that no nursing home offered a secure residence where her husband could be cared for, where they could still live together in an apartment on a secure floor (where her husband couldn't walk away and get lost.) She could no longer care for him in their home, but she didn't want to abandon him either. She wanted to live with him in an apartment where he could get the extra care he needed on site. I don't know If she ever found that ideal living situation.
For years now, the press has written about the increased need for seniors care as "baby boomers" age.

All around our neighborhood, seniors residences and nursing homes are sprouting up, like this new one a few blocks from our home...

There must be a need if 80% of the units are already leased...

Here is another, a few blocks away. There are now 5 or 6 within a radius of several kilometers.

Who will live in Algonquin College's new, state-of-the-art-building? Permanent residents or short-term care?

I'm sure that over time, Algonquin's new academic vision will be made clear.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Barbecue Season

There are hopefully a few months left in our barbecue season.

During the hot summer months, I especially appreciate not having to warm up the kitchen with cooking.

Fortunately, Terry doesn't mind barbecuing - as long as it isn't raining!

And by the time the first snow falls, our barbecue is cleaned and put away.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Solar Eclipse?

Last Monday, North America was abuzz with news of a solar eclipse...

Toronto's outdoor public swimming pools will be closed during the time of the eclipse, my daughter informed me. They expect the city to get dark for a while...

Oh no! I'd better go out while it's daylight, I thought...

How to know that there's an eclipse without looking at the sun? I wondered. By shadows, of course!

So I took a picture of the backyard shadows of my flowers at the beginning of the eclipse. My plan was to take others at its peak and again at the end...

I was gone for about an hour... In that time, there was no darkness. The sky was a little hazy perhaps - but not dark.

Not wanting to look at the sun, I quickly snapped a picture through the window of my car.

When I got back home, the backyard shadows had lengthened. The afternoon was quickly passing by.

I didn't get a photo of the peak of the eclipse...

But I did realize that my "scientific method" was flawed: A cloud blocking the sun could also take the shadows away!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A City Art Gallery

I often go to the public library these days...

Our local branch is housed in a building which was once our city hall - in the days when our part of the town wasn't part of Ottawa, but a separate city called "Nepean."

Nepean prided itself in being debt-free. No debts were incurred, even when this impressive city hall was built.

It still houses city Councillor offices, a theatre, a large library, an art gallery, meeting rooms, spaces for public events - and more...

I couldn't resist stopping in to see the latest exhibit by a local artist...

Such a peaceful, pleasant space to visit!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Algonquin College Flowers

Once at season, at least, I like to wander through the Algonquin College horticultural program garden, the product of years of devoted work.
Every year, the students add to it.

One recent evening I passed through on my way to the library.

Looking at their large hostas, the thought occurred to me that my hosta bed might be too crowded. Maybe it's time to remove some plants... (and add them to another garden bed?)

I love the many "passage ways" of this garden.

That is something I'd like to add to mine - a sense of garden "rooms" leading one into another.

This is such a lovely space! I wonder if it needs a few more benches, to invite visitors to stay awhile.

There's nothing like the sight and scent of beautiful flowers to calm and to de-stress!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Decreasing Stress

This summer, I've been listening to audio books while working on "mindless" projects, like knitting and organizing parts of the house.

I'm currently listening to a library copy of Joyce Meyer's book, Over Load, a Christian self-help book about dealing with stress.

Will this book have anything to teach me? I wondered. My life is no longer as stressful as it once was. After all, I can choose what I want and don't want to do, every day now that I'm retired.

But I have picked up a few tips. Here are a few that I jotted down:

1. Be thankful and say so - it will change the atmosphere we live in - and increase our joy.

2. Be a person who encourages others.

3. Rather than rehearse our problems (or our aches and pains), remember the problems we've come through - and count our blessings. Think and talk about God's goodness.

4. Don't compare ourselves to others. Other people's gifts are a benefit to us and the world, but we can only enjoy them if we aren't jealous.

5. Worry decreases when we speak and hear hope-filled words.

As I listen to the book, I am reminded of my mother's positive attitude, even during the last few years of her life.

This is a good place to be when you need help, she'd say of the nursing home where she lived. The people are kind, the food is good. They look after us very well.

I knew they did - but her words helped me accept her declining health: I knew she was happy.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

An Underground Sound and Light Show

Ottawa is finally getting a subway... Its opening is still a year away.

To prepare us for the idea - and to celebrate our 150th anniversary, both as a city and Canada as a country - Ottawa has put on a downtown sound and light show called "Kontinuum" in one of the yet-unfinished subway stations.

And it's free!

Terry and I recently decided to head downtown to see it. We wandered down Sparks Street, a pedestrian mall.

Signs in the sidewalk showed us the way.

It was interesting to see what the future subway will look like, even in misty twilight...

The first part reminded me of an IMAX sound and light voyage through space.

Lots of moving sound and lights.

I think kids would love it - though there are a lot of flashing lights.

When we got to the subway level, we paused for a while, as phantom trains and passengers (all light projections) sped down the track...

A smoke machine added to the sense that this was all an illusion - which, of course, it was!

An interesting surprise was seeing ourselves as holograms among the ghostly crowds...

Then, by escalator or stairway, we headed out into the sunshine again.

The event is a popular one. But it ends in a few weeks.