HFH* – Long Overdue GPP**

Its been so long that most people have probably forgotten the acronyms *HFH (Hounds from Hell) and **GPP (Gratuitous Puppy Pictures) but rest assured that Nicky and Nora are still running around the household.  Mind you they are no longer puppies however as far as I’m concerned they will always be my puppies.

This is now their third winter here in Canada and much like the humans they own they are still not use to or happy with it.   And they are particularly not use to (or happy with) winter arriving at the end of November!  They have however learned the difference between the temperature and the temperature + wind chill.  As an example this past Monday it may well have been only -24°C but with a sharp blowing wind that -30°C was more like it. They’ve learned that when it gets that cold the stylish doggie coats come out.

They’ve also learned that when there is snow and ice on the ground plus salt to melt the snow and ice  – and our super uses generous amounts of salt – then those detested red booties are also necessary.  The past week or two the boots have become de rigueur for even the quickest trip into the cold. 

But of course this winter sartorial splendor requires that the human equation in all this do some fancy work to get puppies clad and booted.  Not having a great experience of it  I am only guessing but I would think it is less work to get a child ready for skating on the canal.

Particularly with our Nicky.  First he runs and hides on the couch, then reluctantly creeps towards the entrance hall – trembling in (feigned) fear and trepidation.  A furtive look up and an attempt to placate the demanding human with a quick lick face-wards.  Then the real fun begins 

 Okay so the left paw – nay won’t fight you on that one:

 The back paws – hmmm well okay I’ll let you win that one.  In fact I may even lift my leg so you can get them on without too much trouble.

Ah the right paw – not sure on that one…. how about I just put it over here out of reach and push real hard against your paw. 

Gosh you weren’t able to get it on that way – how about I push the other way.  Oh sorry that doesn’t seem to be helping much, does it? 

Well okay that one is finally on – hey it only took three minutes this time, if you want I can do a repeat of the morning I went for the record?????  Okay I’m ready!  Hurry up I have to go!

Nora is a bit more of a stoic about it – no fuss, the odd furtive look and attempted lick; she won’t fight you but she’ll be damned if she’ll help you with this form of canine torture.  She is not really happy about this; in fact if she had a cell phone the Humane Society  would be on speed dial!

 Okay now I’m ready!  I don’t like this one bit but damn it red is my colour isn’t it?

Okay torture – not to mention the indignity of being seen in those damned boots – over!  Biscuits given as a rewards for doing what we were aching to do anyway.  Time for a doe-doe.  Wake us when it’s summer!

December 21 – 1913: Arthur Wynne‘s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World.

Winter Wonderland

Okay we get this straight from the beginning – I do not like winter!  Every year for four, five or, since this is Ottawa, six months I curse the gods that made my family turn left when they hit Montreal rather than right.  I dislike the cold; I detest wearing five layers of clothing; I hate the gravel that the soles of your boots pick up and deposit in entrance ways; I do not enjoy snow shoeing my way through drifts to get to the bus; and while I’m at it I’m not to fond of the bus which smells of damp wool and is awash in melting snow.  I do hope I’m making myself perfectly clear – I DO NOT LIKE WINTER!

However there are times when a falling of new snow on the landscape can have that look of a charming picture postcard and I sigh at the beauty of winter.  Just as long as I don’t have to shovel or go out in it fine.  I am more than happy to look at it – marvel at the beauty of what cold can do to droplets of water and move on to the warmth of hearth, home and a glass of wine.

The picture I’ve used as a header the past few days is a winter scene from Saskatoon.  I’m not sure where in Saskatoon or even where I found it but it is rather lovely in a Bergman-Pushkin way. 

Can’t you just imagine walking through this enchanting landscape: the silence; the whiteness; the virgin snow crunching under your feet; a rosy glow infusing your cheeks; a bone-chilling cold cutting through your undershirt, flannel shirt, two sweaters, scarf, goose-down coat, ear-muffs, toque, insulated gloves, two pairs of wool socks and mukluks.   No thanks I’ll just sit here and throw another marshmallow on the hot chocolate:  winter really is lovely – in pictures!

03 February -1916: Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada burn down.

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Patterns of Winters

I’ve made no secret of the fact that winter is not one of my favourite times of year, particularly when its a day like today – freezing rain, snow, cold wind, -9c feeling like -13c.  Or days when it is bright and sunny but -27c with the wind chill.  The other day when I trudged through the Rideau Centre in a t-shirt, shirt, sweater, fleece, scarf, winter coat, toque and big clunkly lined boots I asked myself why I wasn’t sitting in Miami in a shorts and t-shirt with many of my friends?  However that is a question to be answer another day.

But then every so often there is those moments when the sight of pristine snow falling in soft flakes on virgin white drifts – before the dog walkers set out and the sand trucks appear – takes on a mystical fairy tale aspect.  Or times like this morning when I went into the living room and saw a literal forest of frost on the window – looking for all the world like a Lalique sculpture.  I know it means that the seals have broke on the window and more cold is coming in than should be but it really was beautiful.  I only wish I had a better camera that wouldn’t catch the reflection but even that added a touch of the mystical to the designs etched in ice by the cold.

Remember that a left click will enlarge the photos for a closer look.









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At this point I’ll simply bask in the beautiful of nature and not even bother looking out the window.  That would only bring back those old feelings about winter!

12 January – 1908 A long distance radio message was transmitted from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.