Thursday, 20 December 2012

POEM:: Scarborough Home

Sometimes I think I've had enough
Of all the troubles and all the news
So I take myself to the top of the bluffs
To look out over the glistening blue

And from the top of the cliff I see
Sailboats wandering aimlessly
Float houses swaying peacefully
Herons hovering effortlessly
Here near my Scarborough home

Sometimes I hear the lions roar
From the zoo on a quiet morn
Sometimes I see a deer run swiftly
Into the trees, where the rock doves mourn
Sometimes I walk a wooded trail
And silver fish from the river leap
A hooting owl, a coyote's howl
A fox patters softly down my street
All near my Scarborough home

Sometimes I ride the highway, swift
To towers tall and people unending
Press the button, ride the lift
Messages back and forth I'm sending
But when the red fades in the west
I go back to the green, green boulevards
To where the trees are full of summer's best
Where the night sky is studded with diamond stars
Where the light shines softly from my window
My home - my Scarborough home.

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Port Hardy Revisited

Back in 1982 I spent a summer in Port Hardy, British Columbia.  I worked as a waitress at the Port Hardy Inn.  It was under receivership and the government was pumping money into it in order to make it go.  I just went to Google Maps to see where the earthquake hit today in British Columbia.  It hit north of Port Hardy and offshore, so there is no threat.  But I landed in Port Hardy to see how it is doing.

Boy, Google Maps/Google Earth is great.  I landed down on the street just in front of the Inn.  Nobody noticed me, as usual, due to my invisibility.  The first thing I noticed was a frozen couple walking along the sidewalk with a stroller.  There was no sidewalk when I was there.  There would have been no young couple walking along the deserted dirt road.  Things have changed.  I turned 360 and saw that a replica of many other BC towns had been recreated here.  A strip of car/truck stores, restaurants and cheap housing developments had sprung up.  But the Port Hardy Inn looked basically the same. 

I zoomed out so I could see if I remembered correctly that I walked a short distance down to the water where I saw whales.  Yes. It is true.  There it is.  I remember how my sister-in-law told me the story of her day off:  she went rowing in a small boat with her boyfriend and when they were out a ways, she leaned back to relax a while and enjoy the view.  One by one, blowholes appeared beside the boat as one by one, 5 Orca whales surfaced beside the boat, turning her relaxation into howling fear and excitement as she rocked and tipped in her small rowboat, praying that none of them jumped. 

So, I looked around Google maps a bit and headed north to what should be BC, but suddenly becomes Alaska.  I found a little place called Juneau.  I zoomed in.  It is ever amazing that even the smallest place is "Streetviewed".  Good job, Google.  I looked at the panorama photos uploaded by users and found the awesome photo shown above.  Look at all those whales!  And the beautiful mountains in the background.  Makes me want to go back out west for another visit.  The mountains get into your blood real quick.

However, I remember being there late in the summer and thinking that the leaves were all turning colour back here in Ontario and worrying that I would miss that touchstone.  But I didn't.

So, go check out Juneau, Alaska on Google Maps.  Tell them I sent you.  :)  

Now, leave a comment, eh!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Shakespeare in the park birthday

It was my birthday on Saturday and Renee and Julianne made a big picnic dinner of chicken Quesedilla's, veges and dip and smoked salmon with cream cheese on Triscuits. Beth made chocolate cupcakes with her special strawberry and vanilla icing.  Yum.  We all went to High Park to sit on blankets on the hill and watch "A Midsummer Night's Dream" under a calm sky, a warm evening and the beautiful blue moon. 

 It was lovely. Thanks everyone. 

Actually, every moon has a name:   I guess they just call it a Blue Moon because it doesn't fall into the "named" moons list.  Every second full moon in a month is called a Blue Moon, so that would make sense. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Early Happy Birthday to Laura!

Kelly and Sue pose on Grafton Street, Dublin.

Burlington Hotel, Dublin

We are back in Dublin for our last night. We went on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour and to Grafton Street.

Goodbye Oscar

We said goodbye to Oscar the wolfhound. I think he needs a friend. He seems lonely.

Ancient Oaks

There were lots of ancient oak trees on the castle property. Bob, our bus driver told us that "Derry" means "Oakland" because there used to be so many Oaks. However, due to loigging, there are very few left, so it was nice to see these massive trees that must be hundreds of years old.

Bride's ride: Austen

There was a wedding at Cabra Castle while we were there. This Austen had a temporary licence plate saying "Bride and Groom".

Irish dancers

These Irish dancers gave us a great show and then posed for a photo with us. The youngest was nine and she was very good. They taught us that hello in Irish is "Dea Gwitch," which means "God be with you".

Friday, 20 July 2012

Oscar the dog - for real this time!

Cabra Castle

So beautiful!

Belfast: Queen's University

Belfast city hall

We went on a quick tour of Belfast on the bus.


This shipyard is where the Titanic was built. As Bob says: "The people of Belfast are very proud of the Titanic and do not like to hear anything bad aboit it. They say: "It was a fine ship when it left here - that's what you get when you have a Scottish navigator and an English captain!".

Kelly and Laura outside the Titanic Museum

Belfast: the Titanic Museum

Kelly front Row

Kelly and I have made it top the front row this morning! They have been moving people up 2 rows per day. She is celebratoing and pestering Bob the busdriver. Shje just asked him where we sign up sor his next tour. He said: "did I not tell you I"m retiring?"

Leaving Derry

The new peace bridge is behind us in the rare sunshine.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Our third cousin

In this photo you can see our third cousin, Siobhan (Chivonne) on the right and her mother, Nora, on the left with Laura in the middle. Siobhan is related through our mother (Eva Lauson), through her mother (Eva McKendrick), through her mother, (Barbara McKendrick) who had a sister, Sarah, who had a son, John, who had a son, Sean, who had a daughter, who is Siobhan.

We had a great meeting and exchanged life stories. It is evident that the media and the internet is the great leveller. There is not much difference between Sponge Bob in Canada and Sponge Bob in Ireland.

Derry Tour Guide on the original catwalk

This is Martin McCrossan, our tour guide. Talking about the wl around the city. He said this is where the word Catwalk came from.

Sue and Laura at the giant's causeway

Down the lane to the church they were married in

Here we are going down a lane to see the catholic church our great grandparents were married in. Notice the barbed things on top of the stone wall. Inside the wall is a school for children. The guide took us by the streetcorner where the young girl was shot dead on her way to school in the 70's. There is a huge mural on the wall. It is the "bloody sunday" street.

The church where great grandmother, Barbara Bradley married Daniel McKendrick

It is St Columb church, Long Tower

The wall without

Here you can see the wall. The shot is taken without the wall.

Beautiful old buildings in Derry

He showed us many beautiful old buildings. A lot of them are inside a long large wall that was built centuries ago and it goes around the whole city. It has 4 gated entranced that can be locked and our guide told us that for many years, when there were frequent bombings, the gates were locked always and guarded by soldiers with guns.

Old photo of Eva, Pat, Ina and. Barbara with their first cousin, father Tom

This is a photo that Siobhan brought with her to show us.

St Columba's church

It is called St Columba's, Long Tower

Walled schoolyard with barbs on top

Walled neighborhood

Here there is a walled neighborhood and at the top of the tower you can see a Union Jack flag. This means that it is a protestant neighborhood. We were standing in a catholic neighborhood taking this picture.

Leftover fencing

This fencing separated the houses lived in by catholics and the houses lived in by protestants. People do things to say which they are - like fly a flag or say thing a certain way or have a "southern" Irish accent, etc.

The House that grandmother lived in

Here it is. 26 Argyle Street. It is a small, plain, row house that they call a "two-up, two-down" because they only have two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. Anyway, they have built a University nearby (U of Ulster) and these row houses are now rented by students. They left here and came to Canada in 1912.

Climbers on the columns

Lots of people like to climb on the columns.

Stones from the giant's Causeway

This is a close up. The stones are about a foot tall and about a foot and a half wide. They are very heavy and made of Basalt.

Giant's causeway

We went to a place by the northern shore of Ireland that was a volcanic area. At some ancient time there was an eruption and the lava cooled so fast that it solidified in a strange shape - octagonal columns that are side by side and tall - some about 40 feet tall. These are all by the beach and are pretty cool.

The Irish have a legend that a giant built a walkway (causeway) to get to Scotland (which is only 12 miles across the water). The giant was named Finn McCool. But after Finn McCool went across the walkway, he saw n even bigger giant, so he ran back. Thinking of how to escape the bigger giant when he eventually came across to Ireland, Finn disguised himself as a baby. When the bigger Giant came across, he took one look at the baby and decided he wanted nothing to do with the father of that huge baby, so he ran back across the Causeway, breaking it up as he went along the way.

Within or without

The protected area that is inside the Wall is called "within" and the area not inside the wall is called "without.". The area within is very nice. The area without is not so nice and still has spray painted angry messages on the walls, barbed wires, grates on church windows and poorer housing.

Kelly does a jig for Derry

Our guide told us he was happy to be able to enter the walled area of Derry where for years he would have not been allowed to enter. He was happy to have tourists coming to the city who were not afraid of being bombed. He said it was a measure of the success of the peace processes that have been going on that people are starting to visit Derry again. Kelly happily did a dance to show she was happy too. ;)

Leftovers from The Troubles

Our tour guide told us of the years of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. I was only 12 when things got really bad here, but he lived through them all.
Derry has changed a lot, he said, and most of the things that were bombed have been rebuilt, but if you look around in corners, you will see sights like this barbed wire fence that look so oddly out of place to us, but look so common to the people here that they must have forgotten to take them down.

Overlooking Derry

The Irish Flag

Kelly (orange) Sue (white) and Laura (green) on the street in Derry making the Irish Flag.

Derry - our Hotel - City Hotel

We stayed at the City Hotel in the heart of the city, overlooking the river. This is also where they had lunch in 1956 (Eva, Ina and Dolly Kelly - the three sisters who left Derry and came to Canada in 1912).

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Night lights on the river Foyle

Looking out our window at night in Derry. Good night all.

Derry from our hotel room at City Hotel

Bob, our driver explaned the history of Derry on the way in. We are gping to dinner and then we are going walking eight blocks to find Argyle Street - grandma's house.

Denise at Turlough, Mayo

We are at a museum, near Ballina, County Mayo, where Mary Tiomlin is from - our great, great grandmother - I think ...