Friday, November 7, 2014

Over 200 Poppy Illustrations for Remembrance Day

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The first line in Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae's familiar poem, In Flanders Fields speaks of the many poppies that sprang up between the graves of soldiers buried in an area of Europe near Belgium following World War I.  In 1921, inspired therefore by these words, a red flower became the symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers of World War I.

I never really understood as a child what it meant to wear a poppy. As it is with so many things when you're little, you do it because Mom and Dad said so, or the teachers tell you to. Sure the symbolism was explained,  but for tots growing up in an environment of peace and innocence it's pretty difficult to wrap your head around the notion that people must fight and sometimes die to protect the life we were enjoying.

With maturity, as they say, comes wisdom often sadly gained by accepting the realities of a harsh world. At my age, no one needs to tell me now why we should wear a poppy, nor of the importance of honouring our fallen men and women.

In recognition of Remembrance Day here then is a wonderful collection of poppy illustrations from

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Military Photos Lest We Forget

In five days we will remember.

In recent decades there has probably never been a Remembrance Day  that should be as deeply felt in the hearts and minds of Canadians as this one.  In the past month,  this peace-loving democracy has seen two of its soldiers murdered in cowardly acts of apparent terrorism — at home.

We can't help but turn our thoughts to the sacrifice one makes in volunteering for military service, not to mention that of the family members who proudly respect the dedication of their loved one, while knowing that the decision to serve could place that loved one in dangerous and volatile situations. Or, in the cases of Warrant Office Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, make them a target for crazed fanatics.

As a child born in the middle half of the past century,  I heard often, from family and educators, about the brave people who had fought for freedom in two world and the Korean wars.  In my early years of elementary school,  there was political tension between the US and its allies, and Russia and its friends, that sat at the edge of  life,  threatening like a blaze controlled for now, but with the knowledge that one spark could ignite an inferno.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the horrors and tragedies of the Vietnam War were brought to us via our television screens. As were the stories of the broken soldiers who made it home alive. 

These days the conflicts in the Middle East have meant the sacrifice of human life. In Canada, as many other nations, too many men and women have been lost there, joining the roll of all of those who went before in other wars in other places. In five days in gratitude for their selfless service we will be sure to remember them.

For now, let's pay tribute here with collections of military photos from  Acclaim Images, and

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Super Snowboarding Photos

When you live in a climate where you spend a good part of the year in snowboots and toques, it's best to find a way to embrace winter. For me, that means the excuse to cocoon, to get some interior jobs done that are ignored in the summer months, catch up on some reading and relax on snowy evenings with a nice cup of hot chocolate or glass of wine by the fire.

Others, however, interpret that embracing in a more vital way, by heading out to challenge nature and themselves. From snowmobilers to downhill skiers, there are folks who actually look forward to the cold and snow because it provides them with the opportunity to participate in their favourite sport.

A young girl we knew, who had lived in western Canada for several years, returned to her native Ontario home recently. That she came with a snowboard was a given. In a place where mountains are the playground and snow visits for a good part of the year, such activities are what people do out there.

While not for me, the tricks and techniques perfected in her extreme sport are, I'm certain, a real adrenaline rush. Or so it would seem if the people enjoying themselves in this collection of photos from are any indication.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Terrific Whitewater Rafting Photos

Each year my husband and I spend a few days in a rustic, though luxurious, cabin on the picturesque French River in northern Ontario.  It's a new travel diversion, spent typically in the company of our daughter, her husband and children, and when it comes to cruising the waters, it's in their boat.

However, while paddling of any kind hasn't been a pastime of ours ever,  each summer that we spend time there we come a little closer to some kayak and canoe lessons so that we might enjoy the beauty of the area on our own.  Even then it's likely our excursions will remain tame,  gentle glides close to shore and in the quiet waters.  At this point in time, I'm fairly certain the rapids will be strenuously avoided.

Not that I don't think it would be fun to take them on. While an adventurous spirit is not part of my makeup, whitewater rafting rather intrigues me. When it comes to the adrenaline rush of extreme sports this is one that I believe I might actually enjoy. 

So who knows, maybe some day down the road, or river I guess would be more apt, I'll give it a shot. But baby steps first of course. I know that I must learn to paddle well before I can run rapids like the thrill seekers in these terrific photos from and

Monday, November 3, 2014

700 Breathtaking Rock-Climbing Photos

The office was abuzz this morning with the success of  daredevil Nik Wallenda's death-defying walk across the
Chicago River from 500 feet up on a high wire on Sunday.  No safety net, no harness, and not once across, but twice.  Oh, yes, and perhaps it should be noted that in case the second one might have been a bit repetitive, he opted to do it blindfolded.

The big question for the group of us who sit day in and day out with our bottoms on an office chair and our eyes gazing at a computer screen is why.  The world to us is a treacherous enough place without willingly going out to find danger.

What compels those to seek these thrills is a bit of a mystery.  I understand a need to prove to one's self and others how far you can push yourself and what you can achieve. What I will never understand is putting yourself in jeopardy and taking such great risks.  Nope, I am so far from being an adrenaline junkie that I prefer to get my highs looking at breathtaking pictures taken of adventure seekers' exploits.

For example check out these terrific rock climbing photos from