Winter Barn Owl

Winter Barn Owl
Life's a Hoot !

Sunday, December 20, 2015

"Super" Roger Hodgson

I have an absolutely amazing sister. 
 Actually, I have 3, but I want to talk about this one.
She called me up about 3 weeks ago and excitedly said, "I just got 2 tickets to see Roger Hodgson, who was the lead singer and major songwriter of the 70's group Supertramp......He is playing Place Des Arts in Montreal next week.....Do you want to come with me???"
Well, I didn't have to think about that twice - booked my transportation and away I went for a weekend of dining and music!

Before the concert, we decided to have dinner at the restaurant Brasserie T, the little brother of Montreal's Toque, which is known to be one of the city's best! 
The Brasserie is situated on the sidewalk near Place des Arts and is totally encased in glass.  No matter where you sit, you have a wonderful view of all the street activity.
The menu had too many tempting things to choose from, 
so we settled on a few sharing plates.
Goat Cheese + Potato Gratin

Beef Tartare

Mushrooms & a soft boiled egg

Duck Rillettes

All enjoyed with a cheeky red...
Off to the concert.....
Place Des Arts was built in 1963 with architecture that highlights that era.  Inside the concert hall the ceiling was 'art' itself.
Rodger and his band took to the stage
When I closed my eyes, I was transported back in time to the many Supertramp concerts I went to in my youth
The following evening, the girls and I all rolled up our sleeves, got our fingers sticky with rice and produced mouthwatering, homemade sushi!
No visit to Montreal would be complete without a smoked meat and pickle, so throughly enjoyed my parting lunch.....
    and hometown beer.....Molson Export!
Thank you Belinda for such a wonderful weekend!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Day at Ste. Annes' Spa

Nothing beats the pre-winter blues more than a pampering day at
Ste. Annes Spa in Grafton, Ontario
Photo courtesy of Ste. Anne's Spa
Its charming, welcoming foyer hints of the day to come
First up......a facial

Can't say I am too proud to not show myself 
covered in cleansing goop! 
All day is spent lounging in white fluffy robes - how comfortable to not have to worry about how you 'look', since it is a sea of white robes wherever you turn!
Dining at Ste. Anne's is an experience in itself.
The dining room is bright, airy and sunny.
photo courtesy of Ste. Anne's Spa
Lunch was a three course feast......
starting with beet carpaccio, arugula salad and a poached egg...
...followed by a Maryland crabcake.....
......finishing off with a blueberry cheesecake and
 a brownie with raspberry sorbet

With my hunger satiated, it was time to relax in the outdoor hottub
photo courtesy of Ste. Anne's Spa
The next hour was spent blissfully under the hands of a massage therapist, coaxing the knots out of 
the 'shoulders that I wear as earrings'!
In the finest of British tradition, 'afternoon tea' was served in dining room as I basked in the afterglow of my relaxed body and soul.
A perfect sampling of savoury tidbits and sweets, scones with cream and soothing steeped tea.

 The day ended with a few hours relaxing
 in one of the many 'quiet rooms'
Thank you, Ste. Anne', for a wonderful day of pampering!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

New York, New York

With Autumn upon us, and leaves swirling around the yard outside my window, my thoughts take me back to 2011 and my first visit to New York city since the early 80's.
Since the horrific events in 2001, the city has made great efforts to welcome tourists back and; Times Square still bustles with throngs of camera yielding visitors (me included).
One of the fun aspects is the giant video that captures people milling about.  If you look closely in the centre, you can see me with my face covered by my camera.

My traveling companion was V Star Lady and we tried to visit as many notable sites as we could.  First stop; the majestic Penn Station

  Next up, St. Paul's Chapel, which served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the World Trade Centre site in 2001.
 We walked everywhere we went, so as to not miss any of the 'feel' of the city and its interesting architecture.

After many kilometers and hints of blisters, we treated ourselves to a wonderful dinner at a French Bistro
(C.H., can you guess what I ordered??)

 For our second day, our aim was to walk around Little Italy.  Starting our day at the crack of dawn, we needed to get some sustenance and found this charming pastry shop.
Pounding the pavement is hungry work, so 'when in Itlay',
 Italian food it is!

We were lucky enough to get tickets to the taping of a very popular U.S. TV show, THE VIEW. 
  One of the hosts is well known comedienne, Whoopi Goldburg
After the show, we walked through Central Park and happened upon the St. Patrick's Day parade.
 That evening we dined and were entertained at the retro 1950's eatery, Ellen's stardust diner where the waiters are aspiring actors and singers.  They periodically jump onto a walkway between the tables and burst into song.  Quite a fun evening.

The following day, after a hearty breakfast......
....we took the free Staten Island Ferry
 to meet up with Lady Liberty......
.....and see a side of Manhattan (south) that never seems to make it into the movies???
While people watching is fascinating, celebrity sightings are a common pass time.  During our shopping spree at Macy's, we bumped into Ivanka Trump (Donald's daughter)....such a beautiful girl.
 Goodbye NY! There will be another visit to
 'The City that Never Sleeps' soon.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Super Moon

There was a total eclipse of the moon on the night of September 27, 2015. It happens to be the closest supermoon of 2015. It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon, or full moon nearest the September equinox.  This full moon is also called a Blood Moon, because it presents the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart.
I thought this would be a good opportunity to set up my tripod, strap on my telephoto lens and see what I could capture.
I was disheartened to see the clouds starting to roll in, so had to wait for a few breaks to start snapping away.
The eclipse started.....

......the moon was starting to fade away....
......minute by minute....
until, finally, it almost totally diasappeared....
Although I am not a professional photographer, I am extremely happy with the pictures I captured over my 4 hour outside advenure!