Thursday, December 31, 2015

After the Snowstorm

In my previous post I mentioned our disappointment of the snowstorm cancelling our movie plans. They are now on for Sunday, so all shall be well. There is the slight downer that the tickets were prepaid, so we have to pay all over again, but that's life.

Anyway, after writing that post, Sue and I went for a stroll about the neighbourhood. First we did a bit of shovelling.

You can see that it was a fairly major fall for just one storm. You can also see that the contractor that we hire kind of missed the mark. He is supposed to clear up to the edge of the driveway, but he just cleared the width of the garage door, and our garage door is a small one.

So, while I was finishing up inside the house, Sue cleared a section to show the proper width. (You can see the shear cut that she left toward the middle of the frame as a guideline for him to follow.)

Then, I cleared the sidewalk, which is what we are supposed to do, except most citizens don't bother. You can see where I ended my shovelling in the following photo which is where the neighbour's property begins. When said neighbour came home, he used his snowblower to clear his driveway so he could park his car. Did he bother with that little section of sidewalk even though he had a snowblower? I expect you know the answer.

After the shovelling, wff we went on our walk and headed to the park.

I snapped this picture ↑ of a guy with his dogs, and this one ↓ including his son or SIL and his grandkid.

The slogging was a little heavy (see Sue below), but it is a small park, so it wasn't too onerous.

Upon exiting the park, we soon came across another person with another dog pulling another sled with her child onboard.

Back on our street, we saw our snow clearing guy up yonder. Except, he somehow bypassed our place. We had to call them back the next day, and all was well. This is our third of fourth year contracting with this outfit, and they do a good job, but with new drivers on the first snow of the season and it being a big one during the Christmas holidays, there were some kinks to work out. I am sure that all will be fine as the winter progresses.

Just thought a few folk beyond the snow belt would like to see what it looks like around here after a snowfall. How amazing that this was all from one fall; it had been bare the day before.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Weather and Disappointment

Crazy weather hereabouts lately. We went from extremely high winds pre-Christmas winds and Christmas Eve temperatures reaching into the high teens °C. Christmas Day was cloudy but still mild enough to be comfortable outside as you will see in the photos and video below. That weather was followed by freezing rain on the weekend. Now we are having our first major snowfall of the season. Heck it is our first real snowfall period.

I have just been out testing the roads because we had tickets to see Star Wars in the city, but the roads were pretty horrendous. The access ramp to the highway was closed. So, there is nothing to do but cancel our plans, forfeit the $ already spent, and be disappointed. Yes, the kids are quite disappointed. So am I.

They have been catching up on the original Star Wars series lately to ready themselves for the new adventure. They were quite excited, and now this. We even joined them for the Jedi movie last evening. Ah well.

One gift for Christmas was new scooters for the kids. In most winters, they wouldn't be able to try them out until MArch or April, but they had them out on Christmas Day (photos and video). We even stopped by the park for awhile. I sat on the slide, and they enjoyed plowing into me.

Groan. There's that word. Plow. Ugh.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Public Skating

We had the kids for three full days before Christmas and did our best to keep them busy. Sue prepared a number of crafts, and we took them to public skating at the arena twice. It was free for these days, sponsored by some business or other, but it isn't a very expensive proposition in any case. It is a nice and appreciated thing for businesses to do at Christmas though.

Danica improved somewhat from a few days prior when we saw her at her lessons. Sue advised her to lean forward more instead of standing straight up or even leaning backwards, and it seemed to help. For the most part, she would only push off twice — once with each skate — before going into a safe glide, but sometimes she did four or even more. Good going, (As you can see, she met a friend at on onee the the days, which was an unexpected treat for her.)

Jonathan did really well, even seeming to improve from the first to the second day, during which he did some pretty fancy maneuvers.

An just in case, you want more of both kids, here are two videos, one of each child. They are both about a minute long, give or take.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve. I guess, over the years, it has become acceptable to refer to the whole day before Christmas Day as Christmas Eve, so I have joined the throngs even though I always want to say Christmas Eve Day. lol

Of course, I wish you a Merry Christmas although I know that this will not likely be read until after Christmas, if then.

We have a New England Village on top of the china cabinet. It's my favourite of the season. So I took a photo and composited it with another photo of mine — stars. It seems like a suitable photo for Christmas Eve and like a suitable facsimile for a Christmas card to you. (You might want to click to see these photos a little bit larger.)

In another version I have added a message. This is the version that I sent with my Christmas Cards, which this year, took the form of emails.

Sometime after I took that photo, we added a neat little gizmo that I feature in the next photo. It's a light bulb that plugs into an regular light socket, but the surface is prismatic, and a little thingamabobie twirls inside. It spins and casts red and green lighting.

I exposed the above photo at .3 seconds to get a bit of a light trail effect. As you can see, the thingamabobie makes for a nice showing in keeping with the season.

Enjoy your holiday one and all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Danica is Learning to Skate

It is a good thing if kids learn to swim. Another good thing if you're Canadian is to learn to skate. JJ is doing well with his hockey team, but Danica hasn't had much opportunity. And she has found it exasperating the once or twice she has gone to skating parties with her friends. So, Mom put her in skating lessons, and we just attended one.

As you will see if and when you get to the video at the end of this post, she finds it difficult. But I loved how she kept at it without complaint throughout the session. Way to go, kid. What we can't control is what is easy for us and what is hard. What we can control is our attitude.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jonathan's Hockey Game

Jonathan is in his third year of hockey, and he's come a long way from the little guy who wanted to sit at centre ice. Mostly his team just practices, but they had a game on Saturday. It was the first time in about a year that Sue and I got out to see him.

Before the game he posed for this photo. ↓

He got to take a few faceoffs although he pretty much stayed on defence afterward.

Someone else was taking this faceoff, but he was poised. (#69 with red socks)

Oops ... didn't see you there.

Most of the game was played in his team's zone. He heads toward the corner to retrieve the puck in the next two photos.

They were able to break out of their own zone a few times. Here they go on one of their forays. JJ is second from the left.

His team didn't do all that well, so it's just as well they didn't keep score. His friend, Ethan scored the team's only goal. There he goes: #66. Excellent skater.

Handshakes all around at the end. JJ is to the right of centre, with Ethan two in front of him (also red socks).

Monday, December 21, 2015

Eatons and Christmas Past

Our town has a little and delightful museum, Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. The building was erected in 1872 and served as the town hall and lockup for a few years before becoming the Victoria School for 90 years until 1969. It became the Victoria School Museum in 1985 and assumed its present name in 2011, Beckwith being the name of the adjacent township to Carleton Place.

Presently there are two displays: the temporary Eatons Christmas Catalog display and the Forever Young display which will run until March. In this busy season, Sue and I found a little time to visit while the Eaton display was still on.

Eatons is now defunct but was the Canadian department store for about 100 years. It began as a dry goods store in Toronto in 1869 but by the end of that century was advertising itself as Canada's Greatest Store. With flagship stores in Toronto and Montreal, Eatons ruled the retail roost for a very long time. When I was a boy, it would have been unthinkable that the empire would ever crumble, but it did go into bankruptcy in 1999 after a pretty impressive run.

My uncle worked at Eatons for more than 25 years until he died as a relatively young man in 1971. In 1969 he had been presented with a beautiful quarter century watch, which I still have 46 years later. It still works perfectly when I choose to wear it.

Sue had two aunts who worked at Eatons, and her family, unlike mne, used the catalog service extensively.

Punkinhead ↑↑ was a major Christmas figure in the fifties and was featured prominently in Eatons Christmas parade. I still associate the Toronto and Montreal Christmas parades with Eatons.

From a fifties catalog ↓↓. Sue had a record player much like this one.

A vintage catalog ↑↑ and an early Santa/Father Christmas figure ↓↓.

Christmas items ↑↑ and clothes ↓↓

Most Canadian kids wanted skates for Christmas at least once, and many were lucky enough to ahve their wishes granted. ↑↑  Those days, girls seemed to always wear white figure skates (background). These days, almost everyone seems to wear hockey skates (foreground).

Imagine a box of 12 Norma Rockwell cards selling for $1. ↓↓

And that's a little look at Christmas Past from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum featuring the Eatons Catalog and other vintage items.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Concert

This was the fifth school Christmas concert for Danica and the third for JJ. Parents and friends start lining up a half hour before the doors open regardless of the weather. This is so despite the fact that they have four concerts in all: two for JK and SK, and two for grades 1-3. Four presentations, and each is so packed that we worry about getting in. Next year, Danica will move on from her SK - G3 school onto a grade 4-6 school, so we will have to attend separate events in separate locations.

Each class of the dozens performed a song. They were situated on two levels. The lower level, particularly on the left side were pretty well lit. The second level, particularly on the right were poorly lit. Guess where my kids were located?

So, aside from taking the best photos that I could manage of my kids, I took a number of shots of others, partly because I can post them in a local Facebook group where other townies can see their kids.

Let me begin with my kids.

First: Danica beside her friend Teagan about as far away from me as they could get.

Now for Jonathan: he was a trifle closer, but being more in front of me, it was too difficult to isolate him, and I think the surrounding actions work well enough in these photos.

Now for a few snaps of some of the other kiddies.