Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making the Right Connections

It is said that, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
And as we gaze at a painting in an art gallery,
or marvel at a dramatic red sun setting over the horizon,
or being mesmerized by the grandeur of a mountain scape,
or becoming saturated with love of a beauteous garden,
or filled with wonder of a mourning dove's egg hatching a wee baby,

Artists Highlight Nature, Spirituality and the Environment
in James Street North Exhibition.

Regina Haggo, art historian, public speaker, curator and
former professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand
teaches at the Dundas Valley School of Art.
Recently, she was featured in a Spectator article...the following are excerpts from her review.

“I believe that artists are  often the ones who create connections with things that others might not,” says Lisa Pijuan-Nomur.  She's an artist but she's also the driving force behind the exhibitions at Hamilton's James Street North Studio.  “Artists often have heightened connections with their environment ~ with nature, with spirituality ~ connections with the world around them and with others,” she comments.

Ralph Heather's Old Meets New, a striking black and white woodcut, joins past with the present.  “I had stopped about 30 minutes northwest of Hamilton to look at the Mennonite School which was going about its daily routine, a wonderful rolling field behind it and of course, no cars,” he tells me.  “As I focused on this subject matter, I suddenly noticed the industrial farm right beside it...and I started to see a story that I could tell.” He focused on a rural landscape, interspersed with large trees and buildings. A horse and buggy in the left foreground and a tractor pulling a plow in the distance represent past and present. Heather commented, “The obvious story is two  different ways of life coming together and finding a way to co-exist.  A little white fence on the left separates the two.  So insignificant, the fence was more of an understanding between the two...rather than a barrier.”

A bridge in Helga Morrison's Fluvius II unites past, present and future.  “The metaphorical meanings held by bridges, I contemplated,” Morrison says, “as a link,  a connection and as a transition from past to future...where standing on the bridge is the present”  The painting's surface is highly textured by mixing sand into acrylic paint. She paints a series of stark horizontals.  The snow covered land in the foreground anticipates, in its swirls and stains, the patterns of the bigger sky area.  White, pastels of blue, green and yellow enliven the sky. Dark red strands suggest a river cutting the composition in two.  The curve of the bridge on the right echoes those of the river bank and hills in the distance...visually connecting the human-built-structure with the shapes of nature.

John Kinsella uses a centrally placed tree and its reflections to link water, land and sky in August Field, Prince Edward County.  The tree's undulating reflection in the water draws us in. Rooted in the field among cylindrical hay rolls, the tree, a vertical shape, connects the disparate horizontals found in wooded hills and the sinuous strips of colour in the sky. 

Other artistic works can be seen at the Studio in this March exhibition.

The Water's Edge

A large picture by Carolyn Dover, which captured my attention, advertised a showing of her works at Earls Court Gallery (Hamilton) from March 20 to April 26.  The painting was reminiscent of views I'd often seen of marshland ponds in North peaceful, serene, calming in its reflection of woodland, colour shrubs and foreground lily pads.  Drawn into the picture, it took me back in time, creating a path to the future.

Messages from these artists relate wonderfully to Life!

When a man moves away from nature, his heart becomes hardened.
(Lakota ~ Native American Indian)

Humans have an amazing capacity for not ALWAYS seeing what's there, at times, ever redefining facts that fit preconceived ideas.  Take the case of the “missing caribou” that roam the Barrenlands of the central and eastern Arctic.  In 2009, the herd, last estimated in 1993 at 276,000 animals, had seemingly vanished with so-called-experts citing causes ranging from...”over-hunting” to...”the impact of climate”...and to “possible change of habitat.”
Aboriginal communities, who are spiritually connected with nature,
simply stated, “The caribou just moved further north.”

Words of Wisdom
A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry
and see a fine picture or piece of art every order that
worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful
which God has implanted in the human soul.
(Author unknown)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled March 16, 2014
To comment...e-mail to:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Invitation to Write


a)  the art of protection through deceptive use of colour and form
b)  any device employed to conceal or deceive

Today I viewed a newsprint photo of a young screech owl...having an afternoon nap...camouflaged in a hollowed out tree limb.  Its feathering of grays  blended so well with the rough bark, it caused me to search to locate this owlet.  I reflected on the wildlife paintings of Robert Bateman, whereby he captured such scenes.  Wolves in the Moonlight was one such illustration of his.

Series of photos are often e-mailed to me depicting animals, birds, insects, even reptiles...all blending and camouflaged colourfully and texturally with their selected vital to protection!

Human beings occasionally employ a form of camouflage to  “cover up” situations...with intent to deceive others to believe wrongly. Often the spoken words are ambiguous and intentionally left to the interpretation of the listener...who may understand either rightly...or wrongly. Even consider hunters and fishermen who, through use of decoys, deceive their prey.


This is a FIRST, to you my interested readers!  I invite you to e-mail to me a brief personal story or experience you encountered illustrating either meaning of “Camouflage”.  These I'd gather to publish in a later blog presentation.  I guarantee that I'll use only your Christian (first) name attached to your writing...or refer to you as “interested reader”...whichever  you prefer; please advise at time of sending.
I anticipate hearing from earliest convenience.

Requested by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 23, 2014
Contact:  inezkate  or

Friday, March 21, 2014


It was March 2011, when my son, working in Calgary, Alberta, questioned me, “When do you plan to commence your blog writing?”  I responded that although I had given it much consideration, I was not yet prepared due to many unknowns.  “Mom, I have a couple hours NOW.” Friends had been encouraging me...he was pushing me...however, I knew that to BEGIN something new, I must START. Using Team Viewer on our computers, my son patiently walked me step by step, by step, by step through the process...even to selecting a background scene conducive to my writings.  For lack of a better title, we simply called it…INTRODUCTION ~ as a foray into this venue.  This became my first publication three years ago:

The Kaleidoscope has always fascinated me.  As a child, I was given one which I treasured. It makes “magic” with light and mirror. Ancient Greek words were the source of its name... (meaning beauty...form or or view) creating vibrant, optical wonders! Various patterns and colours can be seen which I equate to Life! With every “turn of the road” we meet a new experience.  Every birth year, our values and goals often alter.  Circumstances affect us either positively or negatively. As with a song writer, the lyrics are usually founded on personal emotions and situations of drama and humour or other genre.
          The articles I write, are personal to me over several years, which I am pleased to share
          with you on “Merle's Kaleidoscope of Life”.  I welcome your comments.

Thus...this became my first publication three years ago
and has become my “transport” for over 300 posted articles.

Every day we hear about “changes” which we call “News” from petty to significant. Consider: designs of laws enacted...change of political parties...road directions...requirements for food purchases...trends in fashion...selection of friends...decision outcomes...discoveries affecting our future.

Space Enterprises
When in grade 5, each student was required to make a speech presentation to the class.  I had seen an article about...A Trip to the Moon...which became my pictorial speech.  NO ONE EVER BELIEVED this could actually happen...and neither did I.

Remember when we were taught in school that there were 9 planets in our solar system? Now…8. The IAU (International Astronomical Union) in August 2006 stated that the definition of “planet” no longer included Pluto which is now designated as a “dwarf planet”.  Consider the exploration of Mars and with an intended flight scheduled for 2025 with “new citizens” on board begin habitation on this planet  Karen Cumming, a Hamiltonian (former teacher and  journalist) is one of 75 Canadians who made the cut for a one-way ticket. She comments, “You can't win if  you don't buy a ticket.  I've certainly bought a ticket.  And the jackpot is a wild interplanetary ride!” 

Found 20 Light Years Away:  the New Earth
A recent publication states:  It's got the same climate as Earth,  plus water and gravity.  A newly discovered planet is the most stunning evidence  that life, just like ours, might be out there.  Above a calm, dark ocean, a huge bloated red sun rises in the sky ~ a full ten times the size of our Sun as seen from Earth.  Small waves lap at a sandy shore and on the beach, something stirs.  This is the scene (or may be the scene) on which is possibly the most extraordinary world to have been discovered by astronomers: the first truly Earth-like planet to have been found outside our Solar System.

Abbot and Costello at the Lake
( published in a British Columbia Fall Magazine 2009
is this cartoon and conversation about a geographic discovery)
Another Lake...and Another Lake:  These are the official names of two lakes northwest of Peachland, about 35 kilometres as the crow flies.  It took some sleuthing, but we tracked down Jim Mountford, who was a boy in 1951 or 1952 when he discovered “Another Lake”.  While exploring the area around Johns Lake,  where he'd been fishing with some friends, he entered a hill and spotted the long, narrow pool.  When he told his dad he'd found “another lake” , Gordon Mountford decided  the name was a good one.  “He thought it would be quite funny to have someone say, “Where's so-and-so today?” And he'd reply, “Oh, they're at Another Lake,” explains Jim.  “My dad has quite a sense of humour!”

Another Turn of Life's Kaleidoscope
depends on one's interpretation.

Joni Mitchell, singer, song writer and artist, reflecting on her creative life and legacy, writes that her music has progressed from folk and pop to jazz.  “The trick is that if  you listen to that music and you see me, you're not getting anything out of it.  If you listen to that  music and you see yourself, it will probably make you cry and  you'll feel a new experience within yourself.”

Technical Difficulty:  A cartoon pictures an older woman, desperately sitting in front of her computer and states, “I keep hitting Escape...but I'm still  here!!!”

Thank you, Carolyn for sending the following poem:
The computer swallowed Grandma!
Yes, honestly, it's true!
She pressed “control and enter”.
And disappeared from view.
It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.
I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.
In desperation, I asked Mr. Google
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found “online”.
So, if inside your “inbox”
My Grandma you should see,
Please “Copy, Scan and Paste” her
And send her back to me.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written March 12, 2014
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winter Woes!

 Yesterday, we had a giant wind-blowing snowstorm that dumped several inches of the “white stuff” on edifices...retail plazas...home properties.  Hundreds of accidents occurred along the QEW between here and Niagara Falls; several trucks jack-knifed along the major 401 and the northbound 400.  Visibility became zilch...with sudden white-outs..along these busy traffic routes.  My marshmallow balcony was a sight to behold!  Today, I believe Mother Nature regrets the dilemma she created!  Today she sends us her golden sun pouring rays upon the laden tree branches, the snowbanks and weird snow formations.  Today, the temperature is near the freezing point...lessened wind...despite the Arctic cold night.  Today I viewed a couple skiers along,  what in summer,  is a nearby bike trail.

This morning I received a card from a long-time teacher-friend in Kitchener who wrote, “This has been a difficult winter for everyone.  I've managed to bang up my car trying to get out of my driveway which was reduced to a tunnel of snow ice...and then attempting to turn onto the one-way street narrowed by frozen hard-pack  snow drifts on the center boulevard. Eagerly I wait for this ton of snow to melt!”

Stubborn Winter Strikes Again!  This Winter is So Bad...
 The Spec recorded these Twitter comments:

This winter is so bad...I'm going to hug the mail carrier  when he arrives with the first A/C bill.
This winter is so bad...spending March Break in Winnipeg is starting to sound good.
This winter is so bad...that Toronto didn't bother with the army, and went straight to the comedians.
This winter is so bad...GTHA residents actually remember we're in Canada, EH! 
This winter is so bad...that even Frosty the Snowman is 'crying Uncle'! 
This winter is so bad...that I've had to use table salt to melt ice.
This winter is so bad...Canadians are falling in love with the politicians...for the hot air!
This winter is so bad...the snowman in my back yard turns 5 months old today! 
This winter is so bad...that Disney just released a new animated movie called Thaw featuring the hit song, Enough Already,  by Adele.  
This winter is so bad...Wait, we're in Canada and we're Winter People!  In a few months, it will be Too Hot...then we'll say, “Bring on Winter!”

I'm No Wimp, But I Don't Rip My Boots Off With My Teeth
(not like Darcy, who fancies he's a husky).
(excerpts from a writing by Jeff Mahoney, journalist with the Spectator)

I was out walking the dog Tuesday morning and I'm not sure what the temperature or the chill factor was.  But let me put it this way for a brief moment.  I swear I could hear the frigid wind like an undertone...the Arctic death cries of the Franklin expedition from 160 years ago.

“This is not good, Darcy,” I said out loud...though the words were muffled by three wraps of a scarf around my mouth.  “I hear dead people...across the seas of time.”

Darcy, a loveable black and brown brindle terrier with a shaggy coat, was busy spearing his snout into a sloping cheek of starched snow banked up on a neighbour's lawn. When my voice interrupted his happy frolic, he popped up his snow-bearded-face and tilted his head inquiringly.  Even the cloud of his exhaled breath seemed to have a buoyancy to it, as if it was full of fabric softener.  The colder it gets, the better he likes it!  “Let's go home,” I prompted, “I don't want search parties to have to chip us out of the ice like a bag of peas at the back of the freezer.”  Darcy barked and pivoted, digging in. “For the  love of fire hydrants,” I grumbled, defeated.  We trekked on.

Tolerance to such temperatures, like one's capacity for alcohol, is a fundamentally subjective thing.  I  hate the cold!  But growing up in Montreal and working in my youth at the 50th parallel in Cochrane, Ontario, a ping-pong serve from James Bay...and now footman to a terrier who thinks he's a Husky, I've had to make my uneasy peace with winter.

Are we turning into cold weather wimps?  I don't think so. It's a case-by-case basis kind of thing.  Some people like cold...others never will.  My girls are always bucking for a drive to school when it gets bad.  I told them they should be grateful; tens of thousands of years ago, this part of the country was buried under glaciers a mile thick.  How would they like walking to school in that? Mile thick glaciation?  .  For young people of a certain age, this might be the first year in which they're experiencing the full brunt of a traditional Canadian winter.

It was so frigid yesterday, water mains were breaking.  Stores were sold out of salt, even though salt, apparently, is not effective below -20 degrees. Knowing this was coming, I broke down on the weekend and finally got boots for Darcy.  I tried to put them on.  He looked puzzled, as you might if a terrier came along and put prosthetic dog claws on your hands so you could actually do something useful with them, like dig a chipmunk out of its hole.

Outside, it took him all of 10 minutes to work the Velcro back, open with his teeth and start shaking them off.  Shoeless Joe!  He'd doing fine without them.

Now, it's me and the water pipes I'm worried about.  I don't think I'm a wimp, but seeing as there's nothing else in my power that I can think to do, I'm kneeling by the furnace, reciting from the Enbridge  Energy Book of Daily Devotions.

When the glacier sees the Spring ~ it weeps.  (Norwegian Proverb)

Positive Spin on Winter!
(excerpts from an article by Mark McNeil at the Spectator)

Biologists, harbour rehabilitators and flood watchers say the frigid and snowy winter we've been having will cause all kinds of strange events this spring.  According to the Hamilton Conservation Authority, the good news is that the tough Canadian-style winter has likely been hard on invasive species. Nasty bugs such as gypsy moth and emerald ash borer could be less prevalent this summer.  Even the mosquito populations could be down.  McMaster University biologist says, “Native species have thousands of years of experience dealing with tough winters; invasive species do not.  That goes for flora and fauna.”

Water levels on the Great Lakes are expected to rise 30 centimetres this spring which is good news because recent years have seen levels dangerously low.  The problem is gushing water happening all at once in a frenzy of melting snow and ice.

The Royal Botanical Garden's head of  natural lands states, “The deep freeze has turned Cootes Paradise into nearly solid ice that has pushed fish and other water life out of the marsh for the winter.  That's good because carp cause all kinds of problems stirring up the bottom and killing plant life.  The carp barrier will prevent their return to Cootes Paradise in the spring.

The writer, from an episode of TV’s Northern Exposure, stated,
“LIFE is spontaneous and it is unpredictable;  it is magical.”

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 13, 2014
Comments are welcome...e-mail to:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Passport Renewal

Some things we just cannot live without!  Water is a necessity for survival.  Money is a necessity to purchase life's requirements.  Food is a necessity for nourishment of our health.  Passports are a necessity for out-of-country travel.  Recently, I had to renew my passport at an increased $33 since five years ago!  I had the option of five (which I applied for) or ten year duration. At the end of January, driving to Oakville's Service Canada,  I submitted the forms to renew my passport   Twelve days later it was delivered by Postal Service to my address.  I was impressed with the new format of the Canadian Passport.  You may already be familiar with the page presentations...or perhaps you didn't observe each page...or forgotten the historical information given to the holder.

It contains 36 pages which includes pictures on pages 6 to 35 (in  muted grayish tones) that are representative of our country Canada. All information is presented in English and in French with a  small red maple leaf motif on each page. 

Page 5:  Symbols of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.  Illustrated are a feather, an inukshuk and a horizontally laid white figure 8 loop.  The feather is an aura surrounding the eagle  which soars high and is thus, close to the Creator.  The inukshuk is a landmark used by the Inuit, and other peoples in North America's Arctic region.  The Metis people have 2 flags with the 'loop' design on them; one is red with the white infinity symbol for the Hudson Bay Company; the blue flag with white infinity symbol honours the North West Company.

Pages 6, 7:  Samuel de Champlain, Father of New France and his ship.

Pages 8, 9:  Fathers of Confederation.  Quote by Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, “...a great nation ~ great in thought, great in action, great in hope and great in position.”

Pages 10, 11:  The Last Spike, 1885. Picture features a locomotive train crossing Canada on the CPR photo of CPR's last spike being nailed to complete the railway in British Columbia.

Pages 12, 13:  Canada's North includes the Arctic Ocean plus a photo of Joseph-Elzear Bernier with expeditions to the Arctic (1906 to 1913).

Pages 14, 15:  Canada's Prairies shows grain elevators and machinery with freight train in foreground.

Pages 16, 17:  Pier 21, Halifax ~ historic gateway to Canada plus photo of passenger liner and other ship.  Quote by Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, “Canada is free and freedom is its nationality.”

Pages 18, 19:  Centre Block of Parliament, Ottawa (spanning both pages.)  Rt. Hon. John Diefenbaker
stated, “Parliament is more than procedure; it is the custodian of the nation's freedom.”

Pages 20, 21:  Niagara Falls, Ontario with photo spanning across both pages.

Pages 22, 23:  Canadian Vimy Memorial, France.  Quote by Brigadier-General A.E. Ross, “ those few minutes, I witnessed the birth of a nation.”

Pages 24,25:  The City of Quebec, founded 1608  shows photo of  The Citadel and other buildings.

Pages 26, 27:  Northwest Mounted Police, 1873 to 1904 plus Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Pages 28, 29:  The Grey Cup ~ trophy for Canadian Football League winner.  The Stanley Cup ~ trophy for National Hockey League winner.

Pages 30, 31:  Nellie McClung from the statue of the Famous Five. She holds a plaque “Women are Persons.”  Also a picture of Terry Fox, Marathon of Hope honouring those suffering with cancer.

Pages 32, 33: (Four photos): Billy Bishop, V.C. First World War Flying Ace; HMCS Sackville, Second World War;  Canadian Infantry, Korea; National War Memorial.

Pages 34, 35:  Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador;  and Bluenose, a ship built in Nova Scotia.

Notation:  It's almost worth the $120 cost of this passport
to have and to hold in my hands, this mini-historical-treasure of My Canada!

American in Paris

Harvey, an elderly American, absentmindedly arrived at French Immigration at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris and fumbled for his passport.

“You have been to France before, Monsieur?” the official asked in an aggressive tone.  Harvey smiled and admitted that he had been to France before.  “In that case, you should know enough to have your passport ready for inspection,” barked the ill-tempered officer because of the delay.  Harvey gently informed the man that the last time he came to France, he did not have to show his passport or any other documents.

“Old man, 'pas possible!  You Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in 'la belle France.”  Harvey gave the Frenchman a long hard look, then replied, “ I assure you, young man, that when I came ashore at Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day in 1944, there was no damned Frenchman on the beach asking for Passports or other documents!”

(Author Unknown)

Viewpoint by Erma Bombeck
There is nothing more miserable in the world
than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written February 13, 2014
Comments always welcome...e-mail to:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Synopses of 22nd Olympic Winter Games


Yeah!   That is what Canada won:
10 Gold Medals...10 Silver Medals...5 Bronze Medals.
We ranked 3rd among 88 competing countries!

For 17 days, it is certain millions of viewers were glued to their televisions.  Selectively, I watched several events.  The coverage by CBC was superb with camera presentations, commentaries, those who “called the games”, and interviewers.  Geographically, we were given pictorial views of Sochie's location beside the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains (a few miles away...home to snow events).

Although not an avid hockey fan, the event exciting me the most was our Canadian Women's Hockey Team game versus U.S in the semi-final round…it was a “cliff-hanger”, then winning the Gold Medal Game versus Sweden. A parallel event was our Canadian Men’s Hockey Team winning the Gold Medal. Our teams were relentless with their speed, their skills and their team-effort determination from the first drop of the puck to the final bell.  .
Mike Babcock, coach of the Men's Team stated:
“When the opportunity was the greatest, the best players delivered.
Team Canada had to be equal to this great opportunity!”

Locally, we were fortunate to  have about half-dozen athletes
 from The Golden Horseshoe competing in the Winter Games!

Several new sports were added to the usual agenda...the Team Ice Skating event with 10 countries participating and Snowboarding events that were not only thrilling, but full of dare, gymnastics and expertise while soaring through the air.  WOW !

Advertisements from Sponsors & Supporters

These were well worth watching (as in the American Super Bowl).  Most were philosophically motivating  with positive values for us at home.  The 10 largest Corporate Sponsors were:  Coca-Cola, McDonald's, GE, Proctor & Gamble, Visa, Samsung, Panasonic, Omega, Dow Chemical and a French company Atos. Only four of these did I see here on Canadian Television.  Here are those that captured my attention.

RBC:  Anything is possible.  Your here!  Proud supporter of Canada's Olympic Teams since 1947.

Petro-Canada:  Fueling the Dream!  A relentless passion to break new ground to define possibilities.

Canadian Tire:  We Play for Canada!  (Delightfully and excitingly  sung by  children’s choir)

Sport Check:  What IT Takes!  Better Starts Here.

Chevrolet:  Find NEW Roads!

Air Canada:  The Official Airline of the Canadian Olympic and Para-Olympic Games.

McDonald's: We know the importance of togetherness.

Home Depot:  The First Step?  Believing!

Visa:  Everywhere You Want to Be.

Other brief ads by:  Samsung, Coca-Cola, Government of Canada, Bell, Tide.

Profound messages from a few  other sponsors whose company names I didn't catch:
The Pursuit of Excellence…is Universal.
The Power of INFINITE.
Staying on Top means you have to make Tough Choices!

The Closing Ceremonies

Impressive Comments and Facts

“Peace, Tolerance and Respect was exhibited among all the Athletes”

“This is my Russia…our New Russia with a New Face to t he World.”

Steve Podborski ~ “Chef de Mission” for Canada’s 221 competing athletes stated,
“When any of  our competitors get broken... they get fixed…and they get back up!”

Of Interest:  Steve Podborski, born in Toronto, Ontario started skiing at age 2 ½ at Craigleith, near Collingwood.  He won 8 World cup downhill races.  He retired following the 1984 season at age 26.  In 1982, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1987, the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1988 and Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.  Steve was on the bid committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia…responsible for international relations.

Four athletes were honoured for multiple medals at the Olympic Winter Games.
Haley Wickenheiser, Canadian Women’s Hockey Team,
has won 4 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal.
She was named twice as MVP.
On February 20, 2014, Haley was elected to
The International Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission.

Tribute was paid to Russia’s classical arts: music, dance and opera.

Four flag poles stood tall in the vast arena.  One was flag-masted with the Olympic five rings. The second was Russia’s flag of horizontal blue, red and white stripes.  The third pole displayed the flag of Greece ~  honouring the First Olympic Games held in 1896.  The fourth flag was that of South Korea where the Olympic Winter Games will be held in 2018 (February 9-25).  The Olympic flag was passed from Sochi, Russia to the Mayor of Pyeongchang, South Korea…a city of approximately 44,000 people and located in the Taebaek Mountains.  The theme for these Olympics is…New Horizons.

The Olympic Flame

You may recall the three Russian mascots:  the snow leopard (an endangered specie)…the Arctic (or mountain) hare…and the polar beareach possessing characteristics of speed, strength and agility (along with wintery aspects).  These loveable mascots bade “farewell" with the waving of their paws and with tears spilling from their eyes).  The giant polar bear…blew out the flame.  Fireworks exploded in an enormous display, including  bursts of the 5 Olympic rings…while millions of people around the world watched.  The night view of Sochi beside the Black Sea became an enticing “fairyland resort” of twinkling colourful lights, dramatic fireworks and stars in the midnight sky.

Scott Russell of CBC commented, “Both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies have been Grandiose!
It’s been the Disneyland of the Olympics!”

There is no such thing as an “unassisted goal”.
Parents, grand parents, car -pool drivers, trainers, coaches,
numerous competitions, sports psychologists and funding ~
all play “an assist” in the game of sport.
(Message from Canadian Tire)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr…February 24. 2014
To comment, e-mail to…  or

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Collage...for March, 2014

 From Planet Earth Calendar

Some organisms adapt better to changes in the environment than others.  The Red-Eyed Tree Frog is very sensitive to its surroundings.  Its need for a specific temperature and humidity and its permeable skin make it susceptible to changes like warming, cooling or pollution.  The Must Ox can withstand the bitterest cold.  If the weather gets warm, it sheds its coat.  Humans are the most adaptable beings living on this planet.  Clothing and housing exemplify our ingenuity coping with harsh environments.

While “nature” has given animals like the Musk Ox and humans good adaptability skills, it is still important to pay attention to the lesser creatures, like the Red-Eyed Tree Frog because they can tell us a lot about the conditions of our environment.

Did You Know?
(from the Canadian Wildlife Federation Calendar 2014)

Climate change is having an impact on all kinds of wildlife. Species are immigrating sooner; they shift their ranges and bear young earlier.  You can visit to learn how you can help.

The male Northern Cardinal has such a strong desire to protect its territory that it can often spend hours fighting with its own reflection ~ misinterpreting itself as an intruder!

March Message from the Canadian Red Cross

Disasters can strike quickly and without warning!  They can force you to evacuate your neighbourhood or confine you to your home.  The Canadian Red Cross encourages all Canadians to plan ahead and be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours.  By taking action now you and your family can be better prepared for emergencies.

MADD Facts

Every 90 seconds (in Canada) a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.  Kids don't come with instruction manuals.  That's why MADD developed  the researched “Power of Parents: It's Your Influence” handbook.

Niagara Falls and Great Gorge
(from Niagara Falls of Canada Calendar 2014)

The Niagara River is also a strait (a natural outlet) for Lake Erie and the Upper Great Lakes; the river connects to Lake Ontario about 58 kilometres (36 miles) to the north.  Flowing south to north, it follows the land sloping to the Niagara Escarpment.

Special Event Days

March 5 (Wednesday) ~ Ash Wednesday
March 9 (Sunday) ~ Daylight Saving Time begins (except Sask.)
March 17 (Monday) ~ St. Patrick's Day (and my Birth Date)
March 20 (Thursday) ~ Vernal Equinox *
March 22 (Saturday) ~ World Water Day

*On the Vernal Equinox, around March 21st in Sacramento, California,
     we have around 12 hours of Daylight...and 12  hours of  Darkness.

March Musings

Emily Dickinson believes March to be, “The month of expectation ~
a welcome visitor bringing colour back to a winter-bleached world.”

St. Patrick brings a promise ~ a four-leaf clover promise;
a green all-over promise of springtime ahead.
(Aileen Fisher)

The air is like a butterfly with frail blue wings;
the happy earth looks to the sky and sings.
(Joyce Kilmer)

Daffodils ~ (William Wordsworth)
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on  high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once, I saw a crowd  ~
A host of golden daffodils...
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

You can't see Canada across Lake Erie ~ but you know it's there.
It's the same with spring ~
you have to have faith, especially in Cleveland.
(Paul Fleischman)

Flower and Garden Philosophy (Ralph Aldo Emerson)
All my hurts, my garden spade can heal.

Pearl of Wisdom

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:
four perfect movements in harmony with each other.
(Arthur Rubinstein)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...February 6, 2014
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