Sunday, December 8, 2019

Living and Creating: Miami Street Photography Festival

I love this event,  The event is free if you are signed up to the mailing list or happen to sign up before the actual event to get tickets.  The speakers are amazing.  This is the first year I really attended the photowalk from start to finish.

here is a video I created sharing the experience.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Living: Montreal smoketown

I just witnessed a mother push her baby stroller in the middle of the crosswalk.  Let it go to light a cigarette.  Literally in the middle of the street.  Montreal has a smoking problem.

It is 19 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I saw people bare handed with a cigarette in the hand.  There are signs everywhere that say Smoke Free Air Zone or something like that but in French.  And right outside that area I saw cigarette butts all on the ground.

I witnessed a man pick up a cigarette off the ground to smoke it.  This is not a poor man only habit.  I saw elegant ladies outside in their winter jackets, and while those around them were covering their faces to keep the cold wind away, these ladies were puffing away.

I would think that vaping would be popular here.  Maybe it is, but I didn't see any evidence of that.  I  saw cigarettes and lots of them.  Someone on every corner, every crosswalk I was on with a cigarette.
I asked permission to take a photo of his cigarette as I was crossing the crosswalk.

Empty package of cigarettes on the ground.

On the sidewalk.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Creating: Photographing Montreal.

It is strange to think that I have visited this city so many times that I no longer need a map to navigate the city.  So many places that were familiar just two years are gone.  This is city changes so quickly.  Strange to think that so many times business men and politicians wanted to demolish the old Montreal to replace it with highways and new structures.  If they had, I wouldn't have ever visited here.  I like this city because of its historic look.  It is one of the reasons I haven't visited Toronto.  Strange to feel like this is my last time in this city as well. 

I walked around directly during this visit  I felt like since I was been here and have a lot of memories that I would just capture moments and memories rather than trying to capture just the city.

Here are some of those moments.

La Fontaine Park Lake

A little Yarn Bombing at the Noel dans le Parc.

I walked into a protest while I was wanderlusting.

The Metro electric infrastructure.

Standing under the Calder at Jean Drapeau Parc.

Standing near a fire, warming up with strangers.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Living: in Montreal Thanksgiving Day

Thankfully there was no mention of Thanksgiving in Montreal.  I don't even think any of the tourists that we around me today were from America.  The day started out as a windy cold snowy day.  Nice.  It was pretty cold because of the wind.  I was prepared though with my double layering of the scarves.  There wasn't much day light most of the day.  When it came though, I ran to the Metro and got off at the Pie- X stop to go on the La Tour.  I took the Funiculaire up the Olympic Stade Tower.

I also walked and walked around the city some more.  So much in fact that I surpassed my goal of wanting to reach 30,000 steps a day and went to 40,000 steps that is 16.06 miles! I am a little achy.  I was able to get some night shots, but I am not a night person so I wasn't really taking a lot of pictures.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Living: in Montreal

I arrived to a wet Montreal.  It was cold but I was sweating.  Radiating off all my Miami heat.  My jacket was opened. I wore no hat, no scarf.  And I had one  base layer, my thin hoodie and the jacket.  I love this jacket.  It is all about the jacket.  This jacket to me is 32 F and below weather and it was 39.  I went to the IGA supermarket,  4 or 6 blocks away  it is .5 km walk. I went back to the hotel and then walked back to the same place the IGA supermarket was to access the underground to get a dry path to the Mc Cord museum.  I took the Metro one stop from Place des Arts to Mc Gill.  I got off the Metro and started walking.  Immediately I was like, which way to go? I went in a direction was I was unsure of and when I got out onto the street I was walking my usual Montreal path.  I realized this and knew wait a minute I am not going to the Hotel L'Appartment,  I am going to the Mc Cord Museum and it is right over there to my left.   Raining and Dark,  I went the side way to the Museum to try to get a photo.  It was raining too much as I fumbled with my camera and gave up on the picture.  I went inside. It was overly warm, the Montrealers love the heat on high.  I paid the admission and went to see the exhibit.  I was not in the museum mood, I just walked around quickly.  I think 10 minutes tops and left.  I was able to find inspiration in one exhibition by Celia Perrin Sidarous.

A familar place, La Baie

Inspired by Celia Perrin Sidarous

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Appreciating: Empty Airport

Miami International Airport J  concourse

I arrived at the airport as per my early usual.  I have anticipation anxiety.  That means I get so excited by going somewhere that my nerves are all on end until I get to the place I need to go.  For me that place is the airport.

I arrived to an empty counter at Air Canada.  I walked through the priority line, I figured that was me.  When I got to the counter, I asked "Are 2 checked luggage included in the upgrade?,"  He said yes and checked both my luggage bags.  He printed out a boarding pass and notified me that the gate was J7 and that the VIP Lounge was Avianca.  This was so cool.  

I walked over to TSA check-in and I was third in line.  I took all the time in the world to get out everything and un-robe. I even helped the man in front of me tuck in his bookbag straps and get two more bins he needed to get his laptop and tablet out.  The TSA lady was not in a good mood.  He made it through ok and when I went through, it was easy breezy.  The Scanner said You are free to go.  That rarely happened.  This is a great day.

The walk to the concourse was kinda long. I wasn't dragging around my carry-on.  This is great.  I stopped by the Tumi store to check out the new items.  The lady looked at my bag and immediately treated my like a Tumi customer.  I felt like this is what heaven must be like . Only the airport is missing the cats.  Cats are heaven to me.

I stopped by Starbucks and unexpectedly had a balance on one of my Starbucks gift cards.  So I only owed 2.90.  Wonderful.  I proceeded to the V.I.P.  lounge. It was empty for the most part and the greeter was super nice.  The V.I.P lounge has a bar.  Since I don't drink hard liquor I was a little like gosh I wish I could mix a drink for breakfast!  I opted for the only thing that I felt would serve me... A small bowl of  roasted potatoes.

I had finished the potatoes and was going to use the same bowl to get seconds when the server came and put her "work gloved" hand in the bowl.  I told her I was done and decided that was probably a sign that I didn't need more potatoes.

So, I am typing this on my mini keyboard and using my Amazon tablet with the free secure WIFI from the V.I.P Lounge in the Miami International Airport.  All the moments of my life have led me to this place.  I am smiling.  I love my life.

I am calm now.  I am at the airport.  The anticipation anxiety comes back the closer it gets to boarding time.  Since I am first to board this will ease the anxiety greatly and the fact that I just have my backpack makes this all the much more easier.  Totally loving sitting at a table in this lounge with the sweet sounds of soothing music and the soft  murmur of conversations being spoken in languages that I do not recognize. And the clank of silverware and ceramic.

I still have about two hours until I board.  I am kinda hungry, but I would like to save room for the in flight meal.  I hope I can make it partly vegan.  If they have warm nuts I will be happy and a cup of hot water for tea and the leg room and the comfy seat.  I have a window seat.  Awesome! I get to look out the window. The thing about the window seat though, it is cold.  I feel how cold it is to be so high up.  I can smell the winter in Montreal as I type this.  I really am looking forward to saying "Bonjour Montreal."

I downloaded a book and some videos about Montreal.  I will attend to that now.  

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Appreciating: Quiet

I am getting ready for my trip to Montreal, again.  I haven't been back for awhile and I am excited by the new possibilities and seeing the six Egyptian Mummies at the Fine Arts Museum.  I am hoping the weather is good for my travels and hoping everyone as well can get a flight out. I will be there a few days and I am hoping to revisit a few places.  Montreal is an ever changing city which is why it is so exciting to revisit.

I have spent most the day being quiet and getting errands in the house done. This quiet helps me focus and calm the travel anxiety of anticipation that I get.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Appreciating: Thankful

This time of year is my favorite and least favorite holidays.  My favorite because I get days off of work to explore and do whatever I want.  Least favorite, because this time of year is a reminder of the cruelty humans have inflicted on each other and the cruelty humans continue to inflict on animals for the celebration of their "Thankfulness."  Most people are truly clueless when it comes to this. 
     Most importantly, my favorite and least favorite reason for liking this holiday is because my father passed away on Thanksgiving Day.  I think of him constantly and I am thankful that I had a father and I am thankful that I am vegan and no longer partake in the cruel tradition.  I actually do not sit down to a Thanksgiving-ish dinner at all.  I eat what I want in small portions and go about with the rest of my day.
    The blogs coming up in the next few days will be reflective about the year and life and observations in general.  Anyone who knows me or thinks they may know me (because no one does but me actually)  may find these blog entries insightful or boring.  Doesn't matter.  I am recording what I am experiencing and care to share while trying to maintain my minimum of 10 blog entries for the year.
     I laugh that I have continued to make that a resolution. To blog more.  I suppose it is because it is something that I would like to do and at the same time, it isn't important enough to me to accomplish, YET.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Creating: Crochet

Trying my hands again at crochet.  I have been interested in learning for some years now.  I am finally  getting serious.  I have my ball  set and my hook.  I started doing some chains.  I am on my way.  Among the projects  I hope to create are a hat, scarf, and leg warmers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Living: New year 2019: Learning some Dirty Big Secrets St. Louis, MO (part 2)

"Atomic Homefront," Alexis said,"You have to watch Atomic Homefront. It is an HBO movie and it's free."  I started to write down everything she said.  She told me about the group on Facebook, Just Moms and how the radiation was affecting the community because of the  landfill Westlake.  I thanked her and thanked her some more.  I was shocked.  I decided to just enjoy a few hours in Forest Park as a tourist before I went back to the hotel to dive into the deep and shocking reality that was there.

I could only watch a few minutes of "Atomic Homefront" before I started sobbing.  These people are living in this and Alexis saved me from making a huge mistake. My family could have been stuck in that life.  I cried some more.  I couldn't take it.  I paused the video and took a shower.  I came back and watch some more and cried some more.  These people are sick and dying and the government is allowing this!  The crimes against humanity.  I was exhausted.  I took a break, then watched the rest.  I started to research more and more and realized that this was something that I needed to realize.  The reality that it isn't just St. Louis.  I had been living in my bubble for so long and now  I had to face environmental crimes and think about that when looking for a place to live.  Just when I finished my research, I got a text. It was the new real estate agent  I had contacted to try to see the house I was interested in Florissant. He wanted to confirm for Saturday.  I texted back. "Thanks for checking in. New information came to me today about the radiation contamination in Florissant. So I am taking my search to another state. Thank you so much for everything.  I spent the day talking to locals and doing EPA research."  He texted back," Ok enjoy. There are other areas in STL (St. Louis)"  I thought are you serious!!! He didn't even bat an eyelash.  Did he know?  And did he realize that St. Louis as a whole is a radiated city?  I responded, "No, the nuclear testing history and the lead production I learned about wasn't a seller for me."  He callously responded, "Lol, Have fun with your search."  What is wrong with these real estate agents I thought.  Are they soulless?

I found this,  St. Louis County knows there is radiation in the drinking WATER

The day I left St. Louis, I was hoping Alexis was working. I turned in the car and went inside.  I saw her and she was moving down the counter.  I caught her attention and said, " I don't know if you remember me but you told me about Atomic HomeFront." She smiled.  With tears in my eyes I said, " Thank you for saving me and my family.  You will always be in my prayers until the day I die."

The shuttle came to give me a ride to the airport.  This was not a house hunting trip, this was not a vacation.  This was an education.  And at night when I think about all the things I am thankful for.  I bless Alexis and her family and put a protective bubble over them.


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