Does Ikea have ‘grandmother issues’?

Taken along to amuse my 11 month old grandson while my son and daughter-in-law debated the merits of Ektorp vs Ekenas, I was having a grand old grandmother time! Not wanting to hurt anyones feelings but my little prince really is the handsomest, smartest little fellow – and he does seem to find me very amusing.

Little prince

I happily traipsed  him through the Ikea toy department which always seems to have colourful and imaginative toys…although the prices do make me wonder about child labour or at least sweatshops. They have a fairy tale line in toys…you know the stereotypes – princess, prince, red riding hood, wolf…wolf!! I couldn’t believe my eyes… there was the wolf swallowing grandmother whole:

Granny muncher!

Look more closely, this is gruesome stuff!

Poor granny!

Horrified on behalf of my granny sisterhood, I hid it from my grandson’s innocent eyes and raced over to my daughter-in-law who, while not taking it as personally as me, declared wryly “hmmm wonder what toy designer thought that was a good idea!”

I wanted to stay around and watch what types might actually buy such a violent, granny- hating thing but the debate had been decided in favour of Ektorp and we needed to move along. I didn’t notice what this toy was called but after decades of experience with Ikea names it’s probably something like ‘Kilagran’.

And I always thought Sweden was such a peace loving place…

 

Posted in Humour, Life, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts | Tagged , | 35 Comments

Hope flies in on the wings of a bird…

I’ll pretty much take what I can get by this point in the year! Hope it seems has flown in on the wings of a bird…or two.

It started of course with the geese, to whom I bid farewell last Autumn. Their familiar honking calls overhead pull your eyes skyward to their oh-so-welcome v-formations headed north at last.

Goose in rain

Resting along the way

The song birds, shortly after, started frequenting my bird feeders as they returned a little worse for wear.

Spring finch

Then one morning I looked out and there he was walking his perimeter and making sure all was as he’d left it – the majestic great blue heron. Even the cheeky mallard ducks came for a closer look.

Heron and ducks

On closer inspection it looks like he’s had a tough journey north. It has been a brutal winter for us all and Spring is late in coming.

GBH close

And then a new visitor – new to me since it seems he’s called the ‘common’ Merganser, a diving duck who fishes for whatever else lives in the pond.

Showing off

Soon his fair, red headed, lady joined him along with other relatives making the journey to who knows where. She proved much more difficult to photograph whether because she was shy, better camouflaged or was having a bad hair day is hard to say.

photo shy

 

 

Bad hair day

The blossoms may not be blooming nor any flowers pushing up from the earth yet but the birds are coming home and so Spring can’t be far behind…

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Fire, Earth, Air and Water

There comes a time when you have to try something new…even if it’s just once! So when my blogging friend Nancy over at TwoTrails One Road included me in her challenge on the four elements I thought it was a good time to have a go. Many philosophies have their own way of interpreting these elements but here we are given a chance to choose a photo to represent our own. It also gave me a chance to look through photos and remember interesting places I have had the good fortune to visit.

While this interpretation of FIRE may be a little predictable  it’s the shadowy figure walking by that brings me pleasure:

Fire

Fire

When I think of EARTH I always marvel at how, when we treated properly it can provide us with such riches. This photo I took of a village out collectively farming in Rwanda is the one I chose for its simple harmony:

Earth

Earth

Across a windswept veldt this windmill in South Africa represents such a benign harnessing of the energy of moving AIR…it reminds me that there are so many ways we could find power while doing less harm:

Air

Air

As the spring is starting to return to us here in the North and the snow and ice melts and the WATER once again starts to run it makes me think of renewal. How the world wakes up from the winter but also how the predictability of the seasons and our natural elements is very vulnerable unless we change our ways:

More water

Water

 

Posted in Environment, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 44 Comments

A Little Spring Cleaning

International Womens Day 2012 was when it all began with my first modest foray into the blogging world. Not many of you would have noticed back then when I nervously posted this introductory piece:  http://womanseyeview.me/2012/03/08/hello-world/

Well not quite nervously but perhaps ‘perplexed’ would be a better description of my mood. Why do I want to bother and would anyone actually read it? Did I have anything worth saying or anyone I really wanted to say it to? At first playing with what to me was a new format was satisfying enough. But soon I discovered an interesting community and I’ve stayed for the other nice bloggers I’ve met along the way.

My format however has pretty well stayed the same – comment, photo in the middle, comment and I’m feeling like a little ‘spring cleaning’ is in order for my 3rd anniversary.

Canadian spring

Canadian spring

So I’ve signed up for ‘Blogging 101′ to see if there are any more tricks to be learned because, let’s be brutally honest here, I can’t even figure out how to do a hyper link if that’s what it’s even called! I’ve watched with envy as my blogging pals seem to move on to fancier things and I’m still technologically stuck at where I began.

So with the duster poised metaphorically in my hand I’m ready to go after the cobwebs in the corners of my blog…and some have grown a little large!

Spider

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Turn Right at Jesus

Was it turn right at Jesus or was it 100 metres north of KFC? These aren’t existential religious or political questions, I’m simply trying to find my way to the Guayabo National Monument. It’s always fun trying to get around in Costa Rica when you’re used to actual addresses.

Turn right at Jesus.

Turn right at Jesus.

Ask someone their address and they’ll say something like ‘100 metres east past Coca Cola, red door’.  Or how about this, for a popular new restaurant I tried to find: ’75 M Oeste Del Blue Valley, Oficentro Trivium’. Or ‘ 1st blue gate past the guanacaste tree’!

There are some very developed cities here and I’ve found those locations somewhat easier to find. After all, they usually involve a church or fast food outlet or lots of people to ask…it’s the ones in the country where blue seems to be a popular colour for a gate that often baffle me.

50 metres south of the blue gate

After driving through heavenly countryside with clouds below us and many a hairpin turn we did eventually find Guayabo and it was worth the drive…so I guess it was ‘turn right at Jesus’!

Clouds rolling in

Guayabo is a partially uncovered archeological site which appears to have been inhabited from 1,000 BC to 1400 AD  and was used for ceremonial purposes. We walked in through the rain forest on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano – still active as of this week.

Ruins from above

There below us lay precisely placed stone mounds, platforms, aqueducts still running into stone pools…

Ancient pools

and a road so sturdy it would make the Romans envious!

Ruins ground level

Apparently there are networks of these roads still to uncover and given the state of many roads in Costa Rica they should study them carefully for tips.

 

 

Posted in Life, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel | Tagged , , | 49 Comments

For the love of horses.

Sitting outside on a balmy Costa Rican morning I sip coffee and think fondly of the horse I’ve left behind in the cold. Some of you may have met my boy Romy in previous posts – he brings me much joy and tranquility but he’s not very portable.

Merry xmas from Romy
It was bitterly cold in Canada last winter and while we had a slower start this year it’s a polar express to the deep freeze once again. So here’s the thing – I can get away for a while but Romy can’t… now it’s not that he doesn’t grow a big winter fur coat every year – he’s downright teddy bear like…and he has a cover for really bad days and can chose shelter when it’s especially brutal. But if you had a choice between riding at minus 23 celsius (without the famous windchill)…

Winter riding

…or plus 23 celsius with a warm breeze in your hair…

Riding on top of the world!

…what would you do? Well, me too…but please don’t tell Romy you’ve seen me with another horse!

Posted in Horses, Life, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel, Winter | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

Some dry thoughts

On a recent fun trip to Palm Springs in California for their film festival I couldn’t help but be disconcerted by all the contradictions around me. I get a kick out of the kitschy, excessive side of these desert communities and the Palm Springs film festival is world class.

Gate and palm trees

California is in the grip of a seemingly endless drought though and the rivers and aquifers  that are usually replenished by mountain snows haven’t flowed for a number of years…the occasional violent storms just wash away soil and can’t penetrate the solid, dried out earth. And wildfires roar through more frequently than ever.

Joshua Tree and snow mountain

Yet here in these desert communities with the highest concentration of rich people and golf courses in the United States, the gated communities are as green as a rain forest.

Watering 1 Watering 2

Looking out from the San Jacinto mountains you can see what was once a small oasis in the Colorado desert, stretching green for miles around as the ever depleting Colorado River is piped in to keep the lawns watered. What is wrong with this picture?

 

Green for miles

For some relief from the glitz of the Coachella valley towns we hiked in the Joshua Tree National Park in the nearby Navajo Desert.

Joshua Tree view

This is a 500,000 square acres of desert beauty that has remained relatively unchanged for many thousands of years. Here too you can see the effect of the drought as mountain streams have dried up and no longer run. It’s the perfect place to contemplate the contradictions all around us.

Moon over golf course

So as the moon shines down over a Palm Springs golf course on a winter dawn we’re still left to wonder…what film am I seeing at 1.30?

 

Posted in Environment, Life, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 42 Comments