Easter With the Family

This year we celebrated our Easter Sunday on Saturday. Our daughter and son-in-law in Hamilton invited us over for an Easter dinner of lamb ragu. We invited my niece who is working in Toronto and our oldest daughter and my daughter-in-law drove to our house, where we all jammed into one car and made the 40 minute drive to Hamilton. IMG_1668

The day started out very rainy but in the afternoon the sun came out and we experienced an early summer day. We spent a good deal of time outside without jackets and went for a nice walk to the park down the street. My niece had never been to G’s place and she enjoyed hearing stories of being pregnant and she saw first hand what it can be like raising a toddler. She’s due to have her first child in August.

IMG_1677

Our granddaughter is always a little shy around new people and even her grandparents who she hasn’t seen too much of this winter because of illness on both sides. It didn’t take long though before she warmed up to her cousin, once removed and they engaged in a game of peek-a-boo in the backyard.

For Easter this year I bought Winnie a garden set because she likes to help her father   clean and plant flowers in the the garden bed.  I knew she’d love the watering can because she loves anything to do with water. When I showed her how it worked she let out a shriek of joy and came running to her Oma. For the next hour or so she kept busy watering the garden and herself.

After spending some time in the garden and walking to the park we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Our son-in-law made the pasta from scratch and the ragu had cooked most of the day. We were in charge of dessert so my husband called up one of his favourite clients who works in an Italian bakery and asked her for advice on what dessert we should bring for an Easter dinner.

She quickly recommended a pastiera, a south Italian Easter tradition. It’s a wheat and ricotta pie flavoured with orange blossom water and adorned with a lattice top. Yum!IMG_1666

Today I’ll be spending time with a friend whose partner went into the hospital yesterday. He’ll be there for a few days as the doctors try to figure out what kind of treatment he will need.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday. Lucky me, I get one more day off tomorrow. Time to get the snow tires off the car.

 

Share Your World – April 10, 2017

…..thanks to Cee for coming up with four more questions for Share Your World

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

When I was in high school I remember that walking events were all the rage. The one that stands out for me was a walk that took on the shape of Canada and circumvented  the city of Toronto. The walk was called Miles for Millions and I remember that it was very long (32.2 miles) and it took me about 10 to 12 hours to complete. The finish line was at city hall and there were thousands of people there. My father was one of the many anxious waiting parents and the first thing he did when he saw me was hug me and step on my foot. Ouch!

Five years ago, this month, when I introduced myself to the blogging world I started training for my first ever 5k race. Every year since I have participated in one 5k run. I’m not fast but my time improves slightly every year. I remember after my first running event I thought I was going to die, literally.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I worked as a chamber maid for one summer in Oberaudorf, Germany during the Munich Olympics. A delegation of East German men were allowed to come to West Germany for the games and I was the official greeter at the train station. It was a pretty big news story and my photo was on the front page of the local paper.

What is your favorite flower?

My two favourite flowers are sunflowers and Gerbera daisies.

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

I would like a proper art studio with great storage for papers and all my paints and pens. I’d also like a new garage or large shed so I don’t have to look at the eye sore at the back of our yard. Of course it would also be beautifully landscaped with colourful plants and an outdoor fireplace.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for all the help that our daughters have given us in the last three weeks. We’ve been cleaning out the basement and purging a lot of stuff that we haven’t used in years. As you know my father is moving in with us so we’re renovating the space in the basement to give him a self contained apartment. When it is all finished he will have a new bathroom, a freshly painted bed sitting room with new lighting, trim and baseboards and a small kitchen with all new cabinets, floor, sink, microwave and refrigerator. I’m also grateful that the city picked up all the garbage that we’ve been putting on the curb.

This week I’m looking forward to watching the progress that our contractor is making on the renovation. I’m also looking forward to getting together with the family for Easter. We’ve all been so sick with colds and sinus infections for the last month and we haven’t seen much of our family, especially our granddaughter. It also looks like good weather is in the forecast and I’m looking forward to putting away our winter clothes.

Share Your World – Feb. 6, 2017

….thank you Cee for continuing to come up with new questions for Share Your World

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Since we got our new fridge just before Christmas it’s pretty organized. In the old one many of the shelves and bins were broken and removed so it was really difficult to see what was in the fridge. I’m loving my new fridge.img_0735

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

I’m not too fussy either way but I do love casseroles and soups. I’ve never understood people who can’t have their food touching other food. I think it’s some kind of mental disorder.

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

I like looking through coffee table books but my favourite genre of books would have to be fiction. I’m partial to historical fiction and mysteries. I’ve tried reading biographies but I find many of them to be too dry and factual. I guess if they weren’t factual they wouldn’t be biographies but sometimes too much and perhaps unnecessary information is included and that makes the story burdensome and long winded.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

Right now the bottom of my left foot is sore. It’s only sore on the heel and once I start walking on it I forget about it. I don’t know if I need to change shoes, get orthotics or lose more weight. It’s probably a combination of all three.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that my report cards are done. My father seems to be doing well and is making plans to travel.

Since I’m late posting this week’s Share Your World, last week’s  gratitudes are from 10 days ago. I’m grateful for being invited to attend a Varsity Blues Women’s Basketball game with the grades four and five students. It was a lot of fun.

This week I was able to spend some more time with my granddaughter and I enjoyed going out at different times with two very special friends. Yesterday another good friend, D, hosted a musical bells party. It was wonderful seeing a number of people from the cottage and D’s extended family. Playing the bells was a lot of fun as well.

 

Share Your World – January 23, 2017

…..thanks Cee for Share Your World

Do you prefer juice or fruit?

I’m definitely a fruit person. I stopped drinking juice a long time ago when I found out how much sugar is added to juice and how much of the fibre is removed. Eating one piece of fruit is much more satisfying than drinking a glass of juice (equivalent to 2 or 3 pieces of fruit).
p1010948

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

I grew up mostly in a large city. For a period of 4 years I lived in a smaller town and I have fond memories of playing in the neighbourhood and riding my bike. When we moved back to the big city I lived directly across from the skating rink, the park, my school, the tennis courts and the outdoor swimming pool. I loved it. There was always something to do.

If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colors would you use?

I would use bright colours like blue, red, pink and green.

Ways to Relax List: Make a list of what relaxes you and helps you feel calm.

• reading a  book

• knittingimg_0861

• painting and drawing

• having tea with friends

• enjoying a cup of coffee after dinner with my husband

• doing yoga

• going for long walks with my husband

• going out for dinner

• lying on the beach at the cottagep1010410

• having a pedicure

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that my father is adjusting to living on his own again and finding a new purpose at the retirement home where he resides. I spent time with my family this weekend and was introduced to our daughter’s new dog. She’s a beautiful French bulldog. A and J named her Olive. Winnie wasn’t too sure about this new addition in her aunts’ home but I’m sure both baby and puppy will adjust and get used to each other in time.

I’m looking forward to finishing my report card comments this week and doing some more art assignments from Carla Sonheim’s 365: A Year Long Class.

Share Your World – Jan. 16, 2017 (Getting Back to Normal)

….a slightly different format this week for Cee’s Share Your World

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

I have sliding mirror doors on my closet and I tend to keep them closed.
Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?

Absolutely! I figured I paid for them so I might as well take them home. I like them when I go away for short trips where they might not supply those things.
What is your usual bedtime?

I try to go to bed by 11:30 but often I’m up till after midnight. Not a good thing when I have school the next day and I have to get up at 6:30.
Do you like to use post-it notes?

Not really. I find they often don’t stick well enough to whatever you’re sending and they often get lost.
When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

I have a second cousin in Germany who doesn’t have a computer so recently I wrote her a letter and sent her photos of the wedding from the summer. I would probably write her more often if she had a computer.
Any phobias?

This may sound strange but I’m afraid of bears. I’ve never had a confrontation with one but many years ago I went camping with my husband and I swore I heard a bear sniffing around outside of our tent. I was terrified. It was probably just a racoon.
How tall are you?

I am 5′ 5″ or 165 cm tall. When I was growing up I was considered average height but now I have to buy petite length pants or take them up at least three inches.

img_20161008_153401101_hdr

As you can see I am the shortest of the three sisters.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week we had a death in the family. My father’s wife of 22 years passed away quite suddenly. She had been ill for awhile but we didn’t know how ill she was until last Christmas when she stopped eating and drinking and didn’t get out of bed. On Jan. 9th, just a few hours after being diagnosed by the doctors at the hospital and taken off all life support she died. We thought it would take weeks and my father was preparing to go to the hospital every day until it happened. In many ways it was a blessing in disguise.

On Friday we had the funeral and I offered to speak on behalf of my father. I didn’t realize how difficult that was going to be until I started walking up to the podium. Luckily I managed to get through my speech. At the beginning  and at the end I had to take deep breaths but the sobs and tears came anyway. Once I got going I was fine and the my family appreciated the effort.

The good news is that my father is doing very well and is already planning a trip to Germany to see his brother one more time and in the spring he is flying to Calgary to visit my sister. He has resumed playing cards with his friends from across the street and he is making new friends in the retirement home. For this I am grateful.

This week I returned to work and I’m looking forward to seeing my family on Saturday. My youngest daughter and her husband and baby are coming into town and we’re having lunch at my oldest daughter’s place. My husband is feeling much better and he’ll be joining us as well.

Other than that I have to work on my report cards, which I’m not looking forward to but they will be the last term 1 reports I will ever have to write. Hooray!

 

A Week of Art, Knitting and Play

….starting with a visit and an open house on New Year’s Day

What a great way to bring in the New Year. Visiting a long time friend and catching up over wine and cheese and then going to a New Year’s open house at another friend’s house directly across the street from where we live. More wine and nibbles and great conversation, catching up with the news in the neighbourhood. Thank goodness I was able to walk to both venues and didn’t have to worry about driving.

On Sunday, I started participating in a new year-long on-line art class with Carla Sonheim. The interesting thing about this class is that Carla posts a new video every day for 365 days. I was hesitant to sign up for another class but I knew I would miss it if I didn’t. So far I’m not disappointed. The videos can be short mini lessons on techniques, supplies, quotes from celebrities and interviews from other artists. So far we’ve had a lesson on making your own cloud stencil, a quote from Alan Alda, an interview from Carla’s nephew who is a clown, a photography assignment, a blind contour assignment, a glue resist lesson and a lesson on quinacridone paints. I haven’t even checked out todays class.

It’s very interesting how some of the other 400 plus students interpret each video. Even when there isn’t an assignment many of them, including myself, play with the concepts from the videos and create a piece of art. My son sent me a small journal and I’ve been painting and drawing in it every day since the class started. It won’t be long before this one is filled and I’ll start on the other one another friend from school gave me.

I’ve also been knitting on my knitting looms. For my daughter’s birthday I knit her a large infinity scarf to match the hat we gave her for Christmas and I knit my granddaughter a hat and a small neck warmer. On Thursday I drove to Hamilton and brought my looms with me. While Winnie was sleeping I taught my daughter how to use the looms and left her one to make another hat. I even knit Winnie a little pot holder for her little kitchen.

When Winnie woke from her nap we played together while her mom and dad prepared lunch for us. She’s at the age where she likes to play peek-a-boo but she runs to hide behind a table or chair and then peeks out to see if I’m watching. When she wasn’t running she did sit with me for a minute and I read part of a book. After lunch we dressed up warmly and went for a walk over to James St. N. to look for fabric for a quilt that G wants to make and then to another store where she had a gift certificate from her birthday that she wanted to spend.img_0840

On Saturday I finally took down our Christmas tree and vacuumed up all the needles. I also put together the organizing unit that J gave me for Christmas and I’ve already filled it with my art supplies. I have one more shelving unit to assemble for my pens. Already my drawing table is much neater and ready for more art projects.

Today I’m hoping to get to the ROM to see the Chihuly exhibit. It’s the last day so I may not be able to get in but it’s worth a try. I still have a lot to do around the house and even though I had two weeks off it seems I never get to the mundane things like cleaning my bedroom. Having said that though, I did have a lot of fun and spent time with family and friends.

Cheers!