ho ho ho, happy holidays

ho ho ho happy holidays

ho ho ho happy holidays

 

Happy Holidays

Christmas Rose

Company is coming and it likely to be busy around here well past boxing day! We hope your days are filled with Joy and 2013 is all you want it to be.

water-dragon-poster Jake has a great blog, check out his holiday greetings, and those of his followers! 

Tuxedo Park – Explore Calgary Project

Tuxedo Park Calgary

Tuxedo Park Calgary

One of my goals for 2013 is to get to know my city just a little bit better. There are parks I have not been to, streets I have not walked and shops I haven’t visited. I am, I think, like a lot of people, busy when I am at home and working, family and friends, and all the activities that keep us busy.  I don’t get to see or experience all that this wonderful city has to offer.

Following Julia Cameron’s advise I am going have an artist’s date and make a point of visiting the corners of Calgary, inspired by our walk on the camino I am going to walk through the different parks, amble down the streets to see the public art, and visit as many locally run coffee and tea shops as I can find over the next year.

This week I walked around Tuxedo Park, a small quiet spot just off Center St. North. It didn’t take long to walk around the park. The benches  have a been placed  near the trees, separating those that sit there from the busy street on the west side of the park. Given its central location I think it would be ideal for portraits,  a great place to meet a friend for quiet cup of coffee on a busy day.

Just about ready for Santa!

Just about read for Santa!

Just about read for Santa!

I have a collection of Santa ornaments, some that hang on the tree, some that sit on the stairs, some hold candles, some even greet you at the door as you arrive! You get the picture this time of the year they are everywhere and it is fun. It really doesn’t start to feel like Christmas at our house until they are all out.  Well they are all out, and I am just about ready for Christmas!

How about you, what is your favourite Christmas ornament?  Are you ready for Christmas?

Love Locks Pont de Arts, Paris France

Love Locks, Pont de Arts, Paris France

Love Locks, Pont de Arts, Paris France

Padlocks inscribed with lover’s names are locked to the bridge of Pont de Arts in Paris France, the key is then thrown into the river to symbolize their everlasting love. The padlocks began to show up on European bridge in the early 2000′s the source or inspiration varies depending on the city.  An increasing trend not only around Europe, but it is spreading around the world.  According to Wikipedia, the first padlock is said to have been locked to a bridge in Serbia before the World War ll over a betrayed love! Just a little ironic don’t you think?

There has been much controversy over the locks, for some it is an eye sore and considered a distraction from the heritage.  To others a romantic symbol of everlasting love in one of the most romantic cities in the world. The Pont de Arts Bridge in Paris France has this wire mess much like a chain link fence. From a distance the brass locks looking like shimmering brass leaves.  Up close we could see the locks that come in many shapes and sizes, some sold by the vendors just steps away, and inscribed with a permanent marker, while others are likely brought somewhere else and inscribed with an engraver.

We first encountered the locks in Florence Italy a couple of years ago, another wonderfully romantic city. Where have you seen them?

For more stories and images of this beautiful city:  Paris

Frosty Garden Globe

frosty garden globes

frosty garden globes

we have glass globes hanging on the back deck, the view down the street is upside down, it is quite interesting to watch the season change through the glass. This weekend I noticed frost on the glass globe one of the prettiest views through the glass I have noticed in a long time.  I grabbed my macro lens to capture a few images.

I hope you are staying warm.

For more creative views and still life images: Life

It crisp and cool outside, warm and lovely by the fire with my mulled wine!

spiced wine_MG_6350

mulled wine

Mulled Spice from the Silk Road Spice Merchant here in Calgary makes the perfect blend for mulling wine. The store in Inglewood is a lovely place to visist.

Spices and Wine

mulling spices

For more creative views and still life images: Still life 

Pilgrim’s Mass and the lighting of the Botafumeiro by the Tiroboleiros, Santiago Cathedral

Pilgrim's Mass and the lighting of the Botafumeiro_IMG_4840.tif

Pilgrim’s Mass and the lighting of the Botafumeiro_

We have been home from the Camino to Santiago Spain for quite some time, and it is taking quite a while to sift through all the photos from the trip. I like a lot of people busy with regular work and lifestyle tasks and distractions. Each day when I have a few minutes I work on my photos, and it is wonderful to re-live the memories.

The first things most pilgrims do, and we were no exception, is to visit the Cathedral.  We stopped by, but we were soaked to the bone as it had rained heavily that day.  We saved our visit to the inside for the following day, when we would be dressed in dry cloths, and have time to see, sit and enjoy all the sights. We arrived early enough to get a seat, by the time mass started the Cathedral was full, barely standing room available. They announce the number of pilgrims arriving in the previous 24 hours from each country.

The ceremony culminated in the swinging of the botafumeiro (smoke belcher) a massive silver incense burner.  It takes eight men, a team of clergy called tiraboleiros to get the incense burner swinging across the cathedral.  The botafumeiro, said to be the largest in the Catholic world and dates back to 1851, it is this part of the ceremony that the pilgrims have been waiting for, and it was so thrilling in a way that can’t be described. The energy in the Cathedral amazing. It was such a moving experience we actually attended Mass the next day to see it again.

for more of our camino images click here

Rainy Day in Paris

Rainy day in Paris

Rainy day in Paris

Late October in Paris and it was cool and rainy, I love the red umbrella and yellow boots.

For more images and stories from our time in this beautiful city: Paris

Old Boots and the Camino Yellow Arrows

Old Boots and the Camino Yellow Arrow

Old Boots and the Camino Yellow Arrow

The Yellow Arrow is the route maker for the Camino to Santiago de Compostela.  Painted on signs, fences, rocks and buildings at every corner, we would find a yellow arrow to tell us which direction to take. The Pilgrim wearing these boots had over the years already completed 4 camino walks. This year was his 5th, and due to health reason he could only dedicate 2 weeks to his journey. These boots had supported him during all of those miles. I asked about the yellow arrows on his boots and he said “they were a reminder to always move forward”.

We walked together for a short while, talking about his previous journeys but before long we were headed uphill into the Galicia fog, and I was slowing him down, so he wandered off at his own pace.

Walking to Gallicia

Walking to Galicia

While we walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain we soon realized that our hiking boot had been one of the most important purchase. Absolutely one of the most valuable piece of equipment to undertake the 820 k walk.  Here in Calgary we went to the Mountain Equipment Co-op to talk to their staff, they were wonderful, informative and patient at getting us the best fit. We seemed to be one of the  pilgrims walking that had very few problems with our feet.  If you are planning on going to a long walk, be it in Spain or in the Rocky Mountains I would suggest paying Mountain Equipment Co-op a visit for some advise on great boots.