Photo Hunt: Card(s)

This week’s Photo Hunt challenge is “Card(s)”.

The obvious choice for me is two Christmas cards sent to my grandparents and my mother during WWII. They were sent by a young Polish airman that they met during a seaside vacation near Blackpool. The airman’s name was Alojzy Dreja. He was billeted at the same hotel my grandparents were staying at, near Blackpool for his training. Since my grandparents and mother spoke no Polish and Dreja spoke little English, they had to find a common language to converse in. In those days, Latin was still taught in most schools in Europe and even my mother could hold her own in Latin… So, they all spoke Latin!

The cards are hand painted by a fellow airman and included a letter and a folded paper envelope containing a Polish Christmas wafer. The only thing missing is the envelope that everything arrived in. Although the wafer is now completely crushed, it is entirely there. They were mailed December 27, 1940 which makes them 71 years old this Christmas!

Even more interesting, Alojzy, it turns out, survived the war, remained in Britain, married, and had a family. His son is Chris Dreja of the British band, The Yardbirds. Chris was able to confirm to me that Alojza was his father and I was recently contacted by Chris’ daughter, Alojzy’s grand-daughter, for information.

Alojza Dreja on his wedding day.

Photo Hunt: “Informative”

I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something for this week’s Photo Hunt challenge. Whilst squinting at my photos on my Fotki profile, I was thinking about how nice it will be to get my new glasses so I can actually see without squinting. My appointment was on Thursday (My new pair will have graduated lenses for reading, computer, and for distance). I had a retinal scan and my doctor checked to see if there was any scarring from my long-lasting Shingles scrape. A small scar, not in my area of vision…

Anyhoodle… This brings me to this week’s Photo Hunt…

For some reasons, my Shingles postings have been found very informative to people who have either been diagnosed with facial Shingles, think they have facial Shingles, or have been misdiagnosed and KNOW they have facial Shingles. Very many doctors don’t seem to recognize the symptoms of Shingles on the face. Nor, do they seem to understand the need to promptly prescribe the antiviral OR understand the danger of facial Shingles (If the virus gets into the eye, itself, it can cause permanent damage to the eye. As a result, I have had so many people contact me asking if I think they have Shingles, what they should do, to complain about their doctor’s lack of concern, and/or to ask questions about my experience with Shingles.

And… apropos Photo Hunt… The entirely gross and embarrassing photos of my Shingle-y face have been found to be very informative to a lot of people.

Photo Hunt: Triangle

This weeks Photo Hunt theme is “Triangle”…

Since I haven’t been out and about recently (due to Mom’s having been sick last weekend as well as preparing for her 87th birthday party tomorrow) I am falling back on some old photos (pretty much as usual) but they are favourites.

Floating Heart (Nymphoides aquatica)

Although they grow in most temperate areas of North America and Asia, Trilliums are the official wildflower of Ontario. It is illegal to pick or dig up Trilliums in their wild state in federal and provincial parks (partly because doing so damages the plant and they were, at one time endangered in this province). It is absolutely illegal to pick “Nodding Trilliums” (I know I took some photos last spring of some Nodding Trilliums but can’t find them…). Trilliums are, however, available from nurseries so you can enjoy them in your own garden. They are one of the first wildflowers to be seen in spring and last only a week or so.

Red Trillium (Trillium erectum)

White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

Photo Hunt: Looking Down

I have long felt that my cat, Benjamin, spends most of his time looking down on me, even when he’s looking up… (Sorta swiped my idea this week from my pal, Az)

Photo Hunt: “Digital”

This week’s Photo Hunt theme is “Digital”. Since just about everything I do artistically these days involves some sort of digital manipulation, It is an easy enough theme to come up with something…

Recently, I have started a little series based on photos from, called “The Twilight World of Shorpyville“.  I’ve been manipulated the historic images from (You MUST visit the site regularly!) to create the alternate world of “Shorpyville”

"Upper Manhattan - Chemical Night"

"Hotel Tuller - Damn Hippies Killed the Tuller"

 Then, there is my much older “Alter Egos” series, where I “become” figures in works of art. (As you can tell, the subject of Judith and Holofernes/Holophrenes is a particular favourite).

 “Judith and Holofernes”

"Judith, Holophrenes.... and Dame Edna"


Photo Hunt: Road

So… “Paolo” at WordPress Support is trying to get to the bottom of the problems that I have been having with posting. It appears to be a problem related to how I am posting the images. Since I have been posting them the same way since I started posting on WordPress, it isn’t the method ITSELF but how WordPress is handling the method I am using at this time.

I have also posted this week on my Blogspot blog

Photo Hunt: Trees

This week’s Photo Hunt theme is “Trees”. The trees, here in Ottawa, are only just coming into bud. It will be a while before we see leaves on them, and then blossoms. Much as IK don’t want to think of snow for another few seasons, I have chosen a couple of photos from a number of years ago — one before the snow fell and one after.

The first is along the route we often take home from Fellowship on Sundays or sometimes when I pick something up from work and we “take the scenic route” home.


The second was taken from the front stoop of our previous house. Unfortunately, the cedar, which provided a wind-break from wind that whistled down between our old house and the row we now live in, was cut down a few years ago. It was always lovely in winter, as well as kept our walkway and stoop SOMEWHAT freer from snowdrifts..



Photo Hunt: Closed

This week’s Photo Hunt theme is “Closed”. The opening of a book and the closing of it.

“…all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.” John Donne – Meditation XVII


Jessica Brooke Engelen-VanDenHeuvel

My niece, Jessica, was born on March 31, 1989. She died tragically in a fire, on May 12, 2004.

Photo Hunt: “License Plate(s)”

This week’s Photo Hunt theme is “License Plate(s)”.

These are War Amps key tags, dating from 1963-1985. War Amps Key tags raise funds for The War Amps of Canada. War Amps began in order to provide artificial limbs and rehabilitation for returning war amputees. Eventually, the program turned their attention to assisting child amputees, through The Champs program. The key tags are registered to the donor. You put them on your key ring and if you lose your keys, the finder can drop them in any mailbox and your keys will be returned to you (it works… I list my keys once and got them back this way!).

Originally, the tags were registered to your car license plate. Eventually they turned to a serial number, both to widen the target for donors to non-car-owners and because license plate numbers no longer change on a yearly basis. You can see the change on the tags in the photo. Now, rather than a metal and plastic tag, you get a plastic tab (as well as a window sticker). Towards Christmas, they have another fund-raising drive, offering address stickers.



Photo Hunt: Machine(s)

Bear with me..

Yesterday, I was harping on about this monstrosity which is in the final stages of completion. It is a refurbishment of the Congress Centre/Westin Hotel complex in the downtown core. What isn’t conveyed in the second photo is the size of the building compared to the surrounding landscape. In fact, it looms over the road beneath it and the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. How and why city council permitted this hideously grotesque building to be built at all is beyond me. I don’t “get” fad for “squashed can” architecture. I can SORT of see when you have the ability to see them at a reasonable distance, but not looming over you, dwarfing the viewer. Personally, I think this style of architecture looks like an explosion in a model airplane factory.

I feel claustrophobic in the vicinity of this thing. AND… prior to refurbishing the building the existing Congress Centre was underused, partly because parking is a real problem in the area. It stands beside a main commuter route which was often at a standstill at rush hour because tour buses loading and unloading had no adequate stopping area so they blocked the right-hand lane. From what I have been able to determine, this HUGE problem has not been addressed at all.

Historically, the area which is Colonel By Drive, south of Rideau and Wellington was the terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway line, at Ottawa’s Union Station (The station still stands, off limits to the general public and used only for government conferences…. once every few years) When they built the new Ottawa railway station further from the city centre, the disused tracks were removed, and the entire area backing onto Rideau Street was stripped of the Railway-related buildings, as well as the old main Post Office building. The old railway beds along the Rideau Canal were replaced with a driveway and parkland matching those along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway on the other side of the Canal. In the 1970s, the land was slated for development and the Rideau Centre was built. As was predicted by those who opposed the redesign of the area, traffic became a nightmare, with the routing of 18-wheelers through the downtown core all day long in a convoluted route. Every new development to the area, from the US Embassy on Sussex Drive to the demolishing of the Daly Building (a building of architectural importance — replaced by condominiums) to the Congress Centre refurbishment has made travelling through the downtown core difficult and unappealing.

So, basically, the city has a billion-dollar monstrosity which will probably be a barely-used white elephant which will continue to cause traffic problems and make the downtown core even less attractive and less human-friendly.

So… here is the “Machine” part of my posting.


The shell

The site back in the 1920s (red rectangle)

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