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Friday, 20 January 2017

From the back seat

Our granddaughters sat in the back seat and discussed their day as we drove home. Caitlin, three, had been at day care. She told her sister about the police officer who visited that day. She related how he caught the bad guys and kept people safe. 


Sylvie, five, asked her sister numerous questions about the police officer and his work. Finally she asked, "Did he bring a bad guy for you to see?" 

 "No," said Caitlin.

Wouldn't it be great if we could easily tell who the bad guys were? It's never that easy.

In the dynamics of relationships, how do we teach our girls to recognize the bad guys? They need to know the warning signs, the possessiveness, the imposed isolationism, the resentment, the sense of superiority, the jealousy, to name a few. It is not as easy as spotting a certain look. The girls must learn everyone has dignity and deserves respect, which includes them.

We taught our daughter these lessons years ago and as a parent, with her husband, she will do the same for her girls. We will support them in this work, as our parents supported us. As we listened to our granddaughters, the weight of the work ahead felt overwhelming. But, that work has begun already with how we, the adults in their lives, treat them and each other. However, we cannot do it alone.

Tomorrow, women around the world will march to highlight the need for equality and respect. Attitudes and actions must change and it starts with each of us. Our children deserve better.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The view from the bridge

A stream flows under the boardwalk into the harbour of Summerside, Prince Edward Island. One can pause on that bridge and look out to the harbour. Squirrels and birds stop there as well. While the setting doesn't change, the scene looks different throughout the year with colours indicative of the time.

The view from the bridge in June:


August view: 





I love all of them. Which is your favourite?

Monday, 16 January 2017

Island perspective

Born and raised in and around St. John's, Newfoundland, I've seen the fog moving in from the Grand Banks over the coastline. That fog can be so thick, it's as if it obscures everything but the tip of your nose.

When I first saw the recent time lapse video of the smog advancing over Beijing, it reminded me of the fog of home. However, that wall of white wasn't as benign as fog. This smog is deadly in its effect on the millions of people in that city. It is easy to take our clean air for granted.

One day recently as I drove to the store in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, the sun was out and the sky was clear. From the car it looked like a lovely winter day, but the appearance belied the reality. The temperature was -16 C and the high wind made it feel like -27 C, (3,-17 F). At ground level, the wind gusts blew the snow around causing drifting in open areas.  The walk from the car to the store became a run.

On the way out of the store, I stood with two other seniors, a husband and wife, as the sliding doors opened to the wind. We were blown back by the gust coming into the lobby. The man said, "That's a fresh breeze." I laughed at his reframe of the bitterly cold wind.  

But, you know, it was.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Freeze and thaw

It has been bitterly cold with temperatures in the minus teens and windchills of minus thirties Celsius. It is a damp cold that feels as if it cuts to your bone, going through jackets, hats, mitts and pants as if you were naked. However, I couldn't resist a visit to see if the harbour was frozen. In the few minutes I was there, my hands felt close to frostbitten.

Last Friday, January 6th, I posted this picture of the harbour channel, taken the previous day.


As of Wednesday, January 11th, this is the harbour channel.


Meanwhile, the temperature has risen and will be near 5 degrees Celsius for several days. There may be open water again. 

There is often a January thaw but this year, another freeze and thaw cycle is forecast. We live in curious weather times!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


The animals that live along the boardwalk in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, are admired by the many walkers along the trail by the harbour. During the work day, retired citizens frequent the trail, often stopping to watch the animals and speak about them.

On one of our recent visits, people were concerned about an area of the trail which, up until recently, was a favourite haunt of squirrels and numerous other animals. 

Finally, one gentleman came along who reported about a white weasel that had taken up residence in this area, causing the regular residents to scatter.

As we walked further along the trail, another area of the boardwalk had numerous squirrels 


and chickadees where none had lived before.


Our grand-dog, Georgie was fascinated with the squirrels 


and would have stayed to watch them if we had not coached her along. 


The squirrels, accustomed to leashed dogs, ignored her. 


Unleashed weasels on the other hand...

Monday, 9 January 2017

Georgie and the tapioca snow

It was mild overnight, above zero and as the sun rose, it looked like the overcast skies would clear. By breakfast, bits of blue showed through the clouds. However, the temperature dropped a few degrees, just below freezing and the wind picked up.

While we read the news after breakfast, the golden grand-dog was getting anxious for her walk. 


Georgie's idleness lets us know it's time to hit the road or trail for that daily adventure into the great outdoors, regardless of the weather.

"Watch the black ice," my husband warned. "It was icy in spots early this morning." The local weatherman warned the same on his twitter account. I put on the footwear with the most traction but not the ice grips. I was not prepared for the flash freeze.

As we headed out, it started to snow from a huge black cloud over the neighbourhood. Tiny snowballs fell all around and covered us. This type of snow is known as tapioca snow or graupel. 

With the wind as it was, drifts of snow crossed the road making the ice more difficult to see. The pavement was a tapioca covered skating rink.

I gave Georgie some lead so if I fell I wouldn't land on her. That was all she needed. She pulled and when she did, off I slid, propelled by the wind at our backs and the brute strength of a golden retriever. Georgie had no trouble negotiating the ice as her claws dug in with every step. 

As I slid past the houses I was terrified. Frantic, I watched the road and the dog, hoping no cars would happen by as I was forced to go where my slide dog took me. In a panic by now, with images of the emergency room in my head, I looked for a way out of the dilemma and noticed the lawns looked safe. As Georgie swung by the curb, I jumped onto the grass. We walked there until we reached the house behind ours and crossed home through the backyard. 

Georgie, my heroine, slept most of the day. A well deserved rest!


Friday, 6 January 2017

The harbour ice at low tide

The ice in the harbour at Summerside, Prince Edward Island this time of year is fascinating.


During our last walk there this week, ice was left behind by the retreating tide, aground and fractured. 


Pans of ice are piled on each other in places and have a hint of red colour from the island sand.


They abut the shoreline near the range light and the beach along the inner part of the harbour. 


The ice stands out against the red rock which prevents erosion along the shoreline.


Meanwhile, further out in the harbour, along the shipping channel, there is open water. 


The port has been busy this week ahead of the freeze up of the Northumberland Strait.

Soon all will be frozen for another winter.