Sunday, 16 February 2020

Blog Post - 16 February 2020: Tasmanian Memories #1

I have been feeling nostalgic this week – Tasmania has been calling out to me. My mind and heart are in a time warp because a year ago right now and two years ago right now, Bill and I were in Tasmania. It’s been a shock for my body coping with an entire February in Canada. 

I’m not whining – really, I’m not whining. I’m just – um – adjusting. Yes, that’s it. I’m adjusting.

Meanwhile, to sooth my soul, I’ve been going through my 2019 collection of Tasmanian photos and decided to dedicate the next two blog posts to my other heart home. The photos today are various flowers and birds that we found in and around Tasmania’s beautiful Huon Valley, where we lived for five weeks. 

Our cabin was perched on top of a hill. From the cabin’s vast picture windows, we could see the entire Huon Valley stretching off into the distance. 

Glorious, just glorious.

Our daily routine was idyllic. Waking up with the morning sun and having breakfast. Then, Bill settling into quilt making on ‘his’ side of the cabin, and me settling into writing and photo editing on ‘my’ side of the cabin. Around midday, driving to one of the little restaurants in the area for lunch, followed by sightseeing and grocery shopping. Then arriving back at our cabin by mid-afternoon. Bill returning to his quilts, and me heading out on foot to wander the local roads with my camera. By late afternoon, starting to think about dinner. Actually, Bill starting to think about dinner – me settling into reading. (I married well, my friends...) Then having a late dinner, accompanied by good conversation and decent wine. Soon, it was time for bed. Copy and paste the next day. 

As I said, glorious, just glorious.

I hope you enjoy these photos. What a treat it was to rediscover them on my hard drive. To be continued next week – and maybe even beyond that. Seeing these photos again is helping me ‘adjust’!

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Blog Post - February 9, 2020: Weird Belleville

In the six years that Bill and I have lived in Belleville, I have been photographing odd things in the city. And I have concluded that Belleville is decidedly weird. At one point, I even considered having a sweatshirt printed that would read, “Keep Belleville Weird”. But I never did, and now we’re planning to move home to Picton in October. During our remaining time here, however, I’ll continue exploring its weirdness. (Picton and Prince Edward County have their own weirdness, and I intend to explore that as well.) 

I can’t account for Belleville’s weirdness. Perhaps it’s something in the water. Or the air. I do hear a lot of Belleville people putting down their city. “Oh, we’re just the place people drive through to get to the Sandbanks,” is a common refrain. And "They're just stopping here to charge their Teslas," is another. 

There are a lot of Eeyores here too. “I’d look on the bright side if I could find it.” 

But there’s more to weirdness than negativity and insularity. 

So here’s my working theory: there’s a secret pact that true Belleville’ians sign. They want to protect their community from invaders, especially those escaping Toronto. They want to keep their little slice of paradise intact. And they cultivate a subterranean weirdness, complete with secret codes, because they know they’ve got a good thing going here. They put up a fog of negativity to keep outsiders at bay. 

That’s my theory. Sticking to it.

Alas, Bill and I were never Belleville insiders. I suspect it’s because we were also Prince Edward County people, so our loyalties to Belleville were questioned. We never quite made the cut. The bottom line is that we didn’t always find The Friendly City to be – um – friendly.

I applaud and celebrate Belleville’s weirdness. Perhaps I was able to see it more clearly because I was on the outside looking in. 

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Blog Post, February 2, 2020: Squirrelling Photos, Part 2

Once again, I draw on my photo stash. 

This time, however, I’m doing it differently. Normally, I use editing software – Lightroom and Photoshop – very lightly. On the whole, I want my photos to tell the same story I saw when I recorded them, rather than goose the colour levels for the ‘black velvet painting’ look. 

To paraphrase the Bible, however, "In photography’s house, there are many mansions." Not to mention approaches to photo editing, so to each their own. (This would be the unauthorized version of the Bible.)

I’m making an exception this week, mostly because I’m tired of winter’s relentless greys. The seasonal colour palette is wearing thin. I want more pow-pow. (And I’m missing the warmth of Australia...)

These ten photos started life modestly (read: boring), at least in the depths of Canadian winter. Enter Lightroom with its editing options to magnify and transform. Some would say distort.

So, yes, these photos have spent time in the make-up chair. 

I hope you enjoy them. 

New apartment building, Dundas Street West, Belleville

Sumach near barn, Prince Edward County Road 23

Bushes, Prince Edward County Road 23

Coats for sale at Wintermarket 2019, Picton

Hilary Rice wall hanging 
with Otis pillow (unknown artist) in front

Diving Lady (unknown artist) in our backyard, Belleville

Grocery carts, Loblaws store, Leaside

Donlands Avenue at O'Connor Drive, Toronto

Anna's birthday Mac & Cheese, December. 2019

Bad Dollies creation, Wintermarket 2019, Picton

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Blog Post - 25 January 2020: A Tribute to Rosemary Corbett

“How fragile we are.”
- Sting

A tribute to Rosemary Corbett, who died last week.

Rosemary was a friend, colleague, and mentor. We taught together for almost two decades at Havergal College. She was a gifted English teacher, department head, and vice principal. And she was kind, so very, very kind. During my first husband’s illness and death, Rosemary was a beacon who helped me navigate. She was one of the angels who brought us casseroles. 

At school, we often worked together, especially on hiring and curriculum committees. She was always even-handed, calm, and insightful. In a hiring interview, her questions were probing, eliciting answers that got candidates hired – or not. 

As vice principal, she made it one of her goals to create a school culture that was supportive of everyone’s growth. She coined the word “hecticity,” meaning the needless activities that diverted a school’s attention from its main goals: to teach, to guide, and to inspire. The word stuck and became part of Havergal’s lexicon.

I admired the professional Rosemary – the teacher, the innovator, the resolver. It was the human Rosemary, however, who earned my love. She was a loyal friend, a sparkling conversationalist, an excellent listener, and a trusted confidante. Her travels, erudition, and humanity made encounters with her thought-provoking and inspiring.

Her devoted husband must be devastated. He has lost his trusted soulmate. His daughters have lost their loving mother. His grandchildren have lost their adoring grandmother.

And I have lost my friend.

May those of us who love Rosemary keep treasured memories of her in our hearts as we struggle with her death. And may the following photographs take us to a place of healing and gratitude.

Thank you.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Blog Post - 19 January 2020 - Squirrelling Photos Part 1

This winter is the first time in three years that Bill and I haven’t escaped to Australia. Call us LDMS: Long Distance Marsupial Snowbirds. The reality of winter’s daily grind is currently snow-blowing its way through my soul.

I’ve never been a fan of winter and have to steel myself for blizzards, snow shovelling, ice scrapping, shivering...all while pretending that winter really IS good for my Canadian soul. And photography in the winter isn’t my favourite. Frozen fingers and cameras don’t work for me. 

Having said that, photography in the winter can be magical, especially on those spectacularly sunny days with a blue sky that feeds the soul. Alas, there haven’t been many of those days this winter. Most days have been standard-issue grey...

My dislike of frozen-finger photography can be problematic, however, when I try to post a blog entry each week that features new photographs. This winter, without the prospect of extended time in Australia’s warmth to inspire my camera, I decided to emulate the squirrels by collecting photos in advance. Meaning that I’ve been squirrelling away new photos since October to post over the winter months. I’m not sure how long my stash will last, but at least for a few weeks.

So, please enjoy these autumn images, all recorded in Belleville and Prince Edward County!

Hat on Tree, Bridge Street East, Belleville

Tree Removal, Hillier

Christmas Roof Bird, Bertram Street,  Belleville

Unhappy Barn Door, Highway 33 near Wellington

Storm Damage 1, Rosehall

Storm Damage 2, Rosehall

Canadian Pacific Railway Tracks,  Belleville

Our Neighbour's Throne

Creepy Stuffie, Waterfront Trail, Belleville

Halloween Decorations, Bridge Street East, Belleville