Thursday, December 31, 2009

a Montreal New Year

I am here for New Years at my son and family's - but my camera cable is back in Nova Scotia - so no pictures. Last evening, well this IS a family with 5 boys, we went to see Avatar. I know people who wouldn/t go to see this because it was science fiction. I suppose that there are others who would not see it because it is violent. Forget all your scruples - this is an amazing experience. Make sure you see the 3D version. And I'll post again next year (in a day or two). And tonight there is a blue moon! What could be more cool than that!
Official Avatar Movie

Saturday, December 26, 2009

grey day

Boxing Day, a grey cloudy day, it seems that we have hardly seen the sun for days, and I am recovering from the family Christmas. My solution to a grey day when I am down the Valley, is to stroll through the lush green of a local greenhouse. I took these photos a few weeks ago. I haven't found a greenhouse here for my green shot in the arm, and periodically I really do need such a fix.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


A friend trying on his first alb before he takes his first Christmas service: I was giving ceinture lessons. We have a family service early this evening and then an eleven o'clock communion service,and then tomorrow morning early it's off to Halifax to open our stockings. Somehow the secular and the sacred all mesh together into the holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

looking good

We're just checking things out and it's looking good. What they don't know is that they are going to spend a few days (long days) with Lola, the rabbit hound, starting Christmas morning. That should make their holidays. Lola often confuses cats with rabbits.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

two stockings

This year there are two stockings. I never would have thought it last year. Life holds many surprises.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I yielded to temptation. It came in the form of a gift of fudge. In Quebec we called it "Sucre a la Creme". It is sinful in either language, and I plunged off the diet waggon. I tested one, and then another and then another.. And tonight is the staff party at the very best Chinese restaurant. What am I to do? Mea culpa, mea cula, mea maxima culpa.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas baking?

Whatever made me think that I could bake? The children wanted me to make shortbread. I found that the Nova Scotia Tea Room and Emporium made good shortbread. I bought it. But I have a guest arriving that needs gluten free stuff, and I found this recipe that used either corn starch or potato flour. I had corn starch. They were supposed to be thumb cookies - bake for around 15 minutes - here is the result after seven and a half minutes. Melted and spread. I wonder what would happen if I used potato flour? Why don't I just accept that the Universe has conspired against me ever baking?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

seasonal decorating

Done my decorating, and this is it. I took the tacky little laser light tree to the grandkids, (Parents cursed.) and I am done.. Well I looked around the apartment hall and my neighbour had out decorations, little trees, stuff hanging from doors, so for their benefit I bought a large bow and hung in on my door. So now I am done and I have almost finished the giftsd I'm making. So there you are ... the solstice celebrations can start in whatever form they take.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"A Christmas Carol - the Musical"

We went to the theatre, the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. It was our big Christmas outing: two grandchildren and their aunt, my sister. It was a great show. We had a wonderful time. The music was good, the ghosts were terrific, and I really loved the set design. Scrooge was suitably despicable in the beginning and suitably lovable at the end. And, of course, under it all, an excellent piece of social commentary. There were few children in the audience, and it seemed to be sold out. But then it is not really a children's story, although they loved it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

15 lbs. 13 "

The diet continues ... and it is especially hard during this Christmas season. My blood pressure and my knees are thanking me.
And now for a completely different subject, my favourite theological site with an explanation of atonement:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

UCW ladies

The ladies held their Christmas service last evening. The camera for the pictures had been forgotten.  I am never without my camera. It helps to make my bag so heavy. So I took out my camera and passed it on. Here are a couple of pictures that I found on it today.
 Here is the video of the action we took part in on Sunday - one of millions, it would seem:


Monday, December 14, 2009


The snow is gone. The weather is mild again, and the churches have set out their crèches. Now the thing about all these amazing home made creations is not the six or less weeks when they  are on display, but where they are stored for the remainder of the year. This church has an unfinished under croft, so they can be stored away, sort of,  But you can poke around in the catacombs of most churches and come across the holy family in July, in not such dignified surroundings.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

350 peals

We rang the bell at 3:00 for climate change. Well, actually, we recruited some keen bell ringers They were having so much fun that the count was well over 350. And then they climbed to tower to see the bell. Meanwhile we were on the lawn ringing bells, beating drums and blowing on kazoos. We joined thousands of churches around the world. The World Council of Churches requested that all the churches with bells ring out at 3:00. And we did.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I walked over this morning to a meeting to arrange for overnight accommodation for the homeless during the coldest weather. As I walked was bitterly cold and the wind was strong, but it was daytime and the actual temperature was not that low. So when they began to discuss what temperature was needed to be reached before the doors would open, and -15C was the temperature that was used in the previous year, I questioned whether this was reasonable given Maritime weather and the effect of wind chill. I was heard. Walking into a cold strong wind does things to clarify the mind.

I took these as I passed a hedge on my way back home.

And in response to popular demand for theological reflexion here is the First Episode of Mr Diety, dealing with the  inequity of life.

Friday, December 11, 2009

out of the vestry closet

I tossed these preaching stoles out of the vestry closet as I was in a hurry to get a white one for a funeral. Then I was struck by the colours. I have favourites. I like the blue one for Advent, which I only get to wear four times a year, at most. The woven one with the fish is my favourite. It isn't for any season, but I do wear it on special occasions. My mother and I were having morning coffee in a Mexican cafe in San Miguel d'Allende many years ago. The stole was on display, we loved it and she bought it for me. I remember her every time I put it on.

And now for some theological reflexion:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

out to lunch

This is a small fraction of  the WWWTP: the Wonderful Wild, or Wild Wonderful, Women of Truro Presbytery, whose sole purpose is to go out for lunch.

And here is a neat game from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December stuff

I have two sisters, both of whom have made contributions for today. One indirectly, as this is the Advent calendar, which she sends to me each year. I have opened nine windows.

My other sister sent me the corrective to the picture of Saint Nicholas which I put up on Sunday. This one is the real McCoy.

And in honour of the Climate Change Conference this is just something which is making its round around the net.

And so it goes. We shall be ringing our bells at 3:00 p.m. next Sunday. You can find us on the map at
at "find a vigil".

And another reason (Did you need one?) for avoiding big box stores. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I took this picture when I crossed the parking lot this morning. Hardly anyone realises the high cross of a steeple. I love to see them, but the maintenance cost is always massive, except for a church I know that has an all fibre glass steeple. Any suggestion that we replace this steeple with a fibre glass version would not be met with enthusiastic approval. Besides steeples, churches usually struggle with roofs, furnaces and organs, although here it seems to be the wiring. Old churches are lovely to look at, but their maintenance is a challenge. This is made all the more complex when the building is a heritage site.

Monday, December 7, 2009

first snow

The snow arrived yesterday, but here you can make your own snow:
Have fun.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas children

The angel Gabriel turned up to give Mary and Joseph (separately) the news of her pregnancy.

The shepherds were waiting for the cue to get into the fields.

The shepherds heard the news and made their way to the manger. The lamb took off his fleece, but still wanted to play his part.

The wise men  arrived shortly thereafter. They had static cling issues.


And finally Saint Nicholas turned up.

Now here's a historical fact: The real Saint Nicholas was bishop at the Council of Nicaea. When things got heated he decked, that's right, punched out, Bishop Arius. And he was exonerated because he had the right opinion and Arius was wrong, wrong, wrong - that is: a heretic!  My sister told me this. Of course, he might have been right, but he lost, and the victors write the history.

Halifax is the city that has stolen my heart. Today is the anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.

Twenty years ago I lived in Montreal. Today is the twentieth anniversary of the massacre.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

painting ceilings

My rule-of-thumb is to never leave a ceiling white. Yesterday and this morning on my "day" at home on the Bay I finished the plastering and sanding of this little hallway with three doors and two other entrance ways. Then I used up an older can of "Hurricane" on the ceiling. Here are the paint samples while I figure paint colours for the walls, doors, door frames and floor. It's no fun painting if you can't paint in colour.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I joined several of the Maritime L'Arche Communities yesterday afternoon to have a service of celebration for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The first L'Arche Community, which I encountered was a number of years ago when some folks from the Homefires Home in Wolfville used to come to the Nova Nada Monastery on the monks' open Sunday. But now the monastery has left us, and I have moved on. It was good to join the the L'Arche folks once again, and they were all so appreciative and welcoming.
L'Arche is an international network of group homes founded by Jean Vanier, probably a saint, but still living, so I suppose that is technically impossible as I believe the criteria is to be dead and preform miracles.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

new old floor

There was a chemical smell in the office. Some folks were more sensitive to it than others. They moved out the furniture, lifted the carpet, lifted the underlay. There was another carpet. They lifted that carpet, but its underlay was glued to the floor. The glue was still gooey. That was scraped off and then there was a dark stain. That was sanded off, and there was a Douglas Fir floor. They put down four or five coats of plastic, let it really set and moved me back in. Lift the carpet and you may find more than you bargained for. This is a metaphor for life.

 And now to redeem myself here is a Hyundai commercial, en francais.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

bathroom door

This is my home renovation report: I painted the ceiling and walls of the studio. Now the painting has been put on hold until the window and door have been framed in and the baseboard installed. And there is now a bathroom door. This is an improvement. The picture shows the limitations of my little camera, The door is really rectangular and not wider at the top than at the bottom.

And now Obama is in the news:

Obama's Home Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

first snow flakes

I came out of the office late this afternoon and there was a dusting of snow on the roof of my car. This is not a good thing. When I was back home last week, perusing the situation and making a fire in the new wood stove I realized that I either had kindling or humongous logs, and nothing in between. Good thing I have a treasured friend down the road with a wood splitter. So I took a couple of logs over when I went for an evening of Scrabble and Quiddler, and here are my split logs by the door waiting for me to go home. Oh, Quiddler is the rage out here on the Bay Shore: