Jane’s Walk

I just heard about this weekend’s “Jane’s Walk” initiative (thanks CBC!) — I love this idea! Even though St. Catharines isn’t listed as an official participant (yet), I’m going to get out my walking shoes and my camera and explore my new adopted neighbourhood in downtown St. Catharines today.

Updated — photos from my walk.

Women In Music Concert

Yesterday we took in the 18th annual Women in Music concert. This was only my second time attending this concert, but according to those who have been involved since the beginning the event has grown considerably over the past 18 years. It is a fund-raiser for Gillian’s Place and I certainly hope a lot of funds were raised yesterday.

In addition to performances by BroadBand and The Rockin Daisies, there was a special presentation of the Laura Sabia award to Dr. Rosemary Hale, Dean of Humanities at Brock. Very exciting!

I’d also like to give a shout-out to Anna Olson for not only making delicious vegan-friendly samosas for the event, but also for taking the time to list the ingredients in said samosas. Too often at these sorts of events I am unable to eat any of the food because I have no idea what ingredients were used to make them. Listing the ingredients may seem like a small thing, but for those of us who have to read labels carefully this gesture goes a long way!

Of Rights and Freedoms

On Saturday we went in to see Courageous at the Tarragon Theatre. I’d heard good things about this play and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I don’t want to give a blow-by-blow account, but in a nutshell it is a clever play that deals with issues of rights and freedoms. The story is told through the lives of 3 couples and, although the two acts were very, very different from each other, they work really well together.

On Sunday we went to the “Follow the Freedom Trail” concert put on by Choralis Camerata and featuring soloist Theresa Holierhoek (for a sample of Holierhoek’s talent, check out this performance from the Ice Wine Festival in Jordan). This was an amazing event that focused on the role of music in the Underground Railroad. As a newcomer to this region I don’t think I realized just how significant St. Catharines was in this history.

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1) Opened my email this morning to discover an ARTstor newsletter telling me that images from Cook’s voyages to the South Seas are now available through this wonderful image database. So cool!

2) Read about a very interesting-sounding photo exhibit in Toronto. Must go see this!

3) Found out about The Working Proof, an organization that sells art prints and helps charities. Love it!

4) Donkey Sanctuary! Need I say more?

Baking Bread

My mom and dad are visiting Niagara this week. We’ve had a nice mix of doing touristy stuff and also just poking around the house and garden. They’ve been helping me get some house and yard work done, things that I haven’t had a chance to do. My grass has been cut for the first time in weeks (thanks dad!) — it wasn’t something I could even contemplate doing when my allergies were raging angrily out of control.

Today I baked bread with my mom. We used my grandma’s recipe for Danish rye bread. Yum!! My grandma used to make big double batches of bread and buns, giving most of it away to friends, family and neighbors. I love this bread, so she would always save a loaf or two for me. It was such a treat!

I haven’t had this bread for years and was thinking about it a while ago. When my mom called me the night before they flew out here and asked me if there was anything I’d like them to bring, I suggested she bring this recipe so we could bake bread. I’m glad that we got a chance to do that today.

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New Camera!

My little point-and-shoot digital camera is on its last legs. My mom gave it to me when she upgraded about 3 years ago, so it is about 6 years old. I have taken thousands of snapshots with it, but when it was becoming apparent that it wasn’t going to last much longer I started shopping around for a new one. I’d read some good things about Canon’s PowerShot SX1 IS and it seemed like a good fit for my needs. If I were still shooting professionally I would have gone for something like this little beauty, but that isn’t really necessary for the kind of photography I do now. I wanted something lightweight and compact enough that I can bring it on hikes, but I also wanted something that would allow me to take some decent pictures while on those hikes (especially since I’m gaining new appreciation for birding). Anyhow, I finally went to Future Shop and picked up a new camera today! So exciting!! I’m dashing off to my writing group meeting now and can’t spend much time playing with it tonight (so much to learn, so many settings!), but here are some early results.

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St. Patrick’s Day Hiking

It was absolutely gorgeous in Niagara yesterday — the sun was shining and it was about 13 degrees (Celsius). We took advantage of the wonderful weather and went to Niagara Falls for a hike. We did a walk I’ve wanted to do since I moved here — along the Niagara Whirlpool. It was amazing!! One of the most exciting parts of the afternoon was spotting some Long-tailed ducks, who appeared to be enjoying the circular current of the water in the whirlpool.

I didn’t get any pictures of the ducks (I must buy a digital SLR with a telephoto lens soon — especially if we keep going on birding adventures), but here are some pictures from the hike. I was especially fascinated by the giant mounds of snow (melting very quickly in the warm sun!) and the icy blue colour of the water. I also loved the green sap oozing out of the wooden stairs down to the whirlpool. I know it is likely a side effect of the treated wood, but since it was St. Patrick’s day I imagined it was the work of an impish leprechaun.

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On a related note, I was absolutely horrified to hear that there was another person attacked on a local hiking trail. This is terribly upsetting!!