Trying to Get Back to Painting

As some of you know, we’ve gone through some major renovations in our home. Last May my 91 year old father moved in with us but before that was possible we had to create an apartment for him in our basement. That meant moving my husband’s office (he works from home) from the basement to the the second floor where my art studio used to be and moving my art studio to the far end of my bedroom.

I managed to rearrange some of my art and actually got it up on the walls but I had boxes of paper that needed to be shredded and filed. My art supplies are in piles all around the drawing table and the drawing table is covered with more art supplies and my computer. I’m purging my closet of clothes I don’t wear anymore and some craft supplies that I will never use.

A few weeks ago I got my filing cabinet built and I’ve been slowly filling it up with only the essentials. I’ve literally shredded enough old bills to fill five recycling bags. I’ve bought a new desk from IKEA and now I need to assemble it. That’s my next project. Once that’s done I’ll have a new space for my computer and writing supplies and a new surface to sew from. Wish me luck. I’m hoping to get this all organized before Christmas.

Do you have a renovation that’s keeping you from doing what you love to do? Maybe you have some tips to share with those of us who are struggling to get things done. I don’t know what my excuse is, especially since I’m retired.

How to Stay Cool in Italy

….when people tell you it’s hot in Italy in the summer….believe them

We knew going to Italy in July that it would be very warm. Everyone who had been there before us warned us over and over again. One thing that we made sure of was to book accommodations that had air conditioning. Here is my list of how to stay cool in Italy in July.

  1. Stay only in air-conditioned hotel rooms or homes with air-conditioning.IMG_9456
  2. Drink lots of water.
  3. Walk in shady areas and underneath porticos if you can find them. They were everywhere in Bologna.IMG_9291
  4. When eating outside make sure you’re under an umbrella and preferably next to water.IMG_8954
  5. Spend time in the mountains (the Dolomites) or high up in the hills of Assisi.

    6. Always wear a hat.IMG_91427. Cool off in the sink, shower or pool.

    8. Sit or stand by a fountain.

    9. Spend time in an air-conditioned museum or find an old dark cathedral to sit in.

    10. Enjoy a gelato.

    11. Cover yourself in yogurt.IMG_9487

    11. Find a shady park and sit or lie down for a spell.

    12. Enjoy an icy glass of  Aperol spritz or Prosecco. IMG_8945

    I hope these suggestions are helpful. Enjoy!

Share Your World 2016 – Week 25

…..check out Cee’s Share Your World and join the fun

How many languages do you you speak?

Basically I speak two languages, English and German. German was my first language and I understand it very well but I am very hesitant to use it. Growing up I had to go to German school on Saturdays and I hated it. Whenever my parents or their friends spoke to me in German I would answer in English. When I turned 18 I sang in a German choir and did so for 27 years.

What are some words that just make you smile?

The first word that makes me smile is my granddaughter’s name – Winnie. I can’t help but smile when I think of her or hear someone utter her name. Come to think of it all the names of my loved ones make me smile. Other words that make me smile are love, art, summer vacation, cottage, puppy and party.

If you were the original architect of one existing building, which building would you select?

This is tough because there are lots of buildings that I would be proud to put my name on, even ones that have been somewhat controversial. I love old and new but I think the one that stands out for me at the moment is the AGO. It is a combination of old and new. Several years ago it underwent a renovation and I simply love the lines and all the wood on the inside. The architect is Frank Gehry.

Would you rather have telepathy or telekinesis? (Telepathy is the communication using your brain waves, telekinesis is channeling the energy onto physical objects to cause substantial, observable physical changes.)

I think I’d rather have telepathy. It would be neat to be able to send messages without opening my mouth.

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 being able to check off more items from my to do list. As you know June is extremely busy for me at school. Every time I’m able to cross off another item it takes a huge weight off my shoulders.

Things that are done:

2 retirement parties- collected money and bought gift for one

Jump Rope for Heart – money collected and prizes distributed

Report cards written, proofread and printed

Timetables for next year organized

Father’s Day gift bought and BBQ with the family

Year end school concert

Rehearsals for grade five farewell

book club for June

finished paintings with the students for the stage

son’s wedding via the internet

city finals for girls’ soccer

taking 78 students to Jays’ baseball game to sing the national anthems

This week I’m looking forward to the grade 5 farewell assembly, play day, cleaning up my office in the library, the staff party and making final arrangements for our trip to Italy. Most of all I’m looking forward to getting on that plane next Saturday. Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it.



Done – Time to Relax

… finally finished cleaning the library

If you walked into my library right now you’d think I was off my rocker making a statement like that. There are boxes of books everywhere.

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Believe it or not that’s what I had to do. Over the summer a new carpet is being put down in the library and the books on the freestanding shelves had to be taken down so that the shelves can be moved.

I also had to clean my office so that the caretakers can get in there and clean the floor and the counter. I was really stressing about not being able to get in there and get things off the floor and the counters.

I spent two extra days at school this week to get the job done. While there I started to purge and threw away a lot of paper and old outdated documents. It was a slow process but worth it in the end. I can now enjoy the rest of my summer without worrying about the state of my office.

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Now I hope when I return that the carpet will be down and that my office will still be uncluttered. I suspect that many of those boxes will end up in. It’s the one area that’s not being carpeted.

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The big challenge is to keep my office like this all year.

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Reading, Playing My Uke, Gardening and Partying


….the only thing missing is painting

What a perfect day. I woke up early and started reading the book The Silent Wife. After a couple of chapters I made myself a cup of coffee and then started practising Somewhere Over the Rainbow on my ukulele. I’m hoping I can play it well enough to accompany the kindergarten class at this years school concert at the end of June. I then made myself an omelet and prepared fresh berries for breakfast.

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My husband wanted to start planting in his new raised bed but we decided that it needed more soil and it needed to be sectioned off with string. So I made a quick trip to the dollar store for twine and the nursery for more soil.  When I returned home I found that the front lawn had been mowed but now I could see where the dandelions were starting to expose their yellow heads. I donned my gardening gloves and pulled the weeds from the flower beds and the dandelions from the lawn. Then I took my trimming shears and trimmed away the long  grass around the tree, at the edges of the flower beds, sidewalk and driveway and around the telephone pole…..all the areas that were missed by the lawn mower. photo 2-161

It took me hours but it felt good to get out in the sun and fresh air and the yard looked so lovely and groomed. It was almost 3:00 before I finished and I had a party to attend at 4:00. I quickly showered, washed my hair, blew it dry and dressed for the afternoon birthday celebration.

It was a perfect day for a backyard get together. It was warm enough for people to sit outside and I got to meet M’s sisters and friends. M was celebrating her 70th birthday. She looked stunning and her son did a fantastic job organizing the entire affair. His friends did all the serving and bar tending. A great time was had by all.

The day’s not over yet, Maybe I’ll get a little painting in as well.


Long Walks on Weekends

….now if only I could do that every day or at least every other day

I started this long holiday weekend with a long, 8.6k walk. Last Sunday I managed two walks totalling 9.0k but in between I didn’t walk at all. Granted it was a busy week at school and when I was on yard duty I purposely kept walking for the entire 15 minutes. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday I was out with the girls for soccer practice and on Wednesday night I went with the junior choir to the baseball game at the Rogers Centre where they sang the national anthems at the beginning of the game. They sang beautifully but the Blue Jays lost miserably against the Cleveland Indians, 15 to 4. It was a very late night and I didn’t get home till 11:30. I was also out on Tuesday night with friends and on Thursday I had one final appointment with the oral surgeon after school. Everything on that front looks good and I’m ready to be fitted for my dental crown next week.

All of this of course is extra over and above my regular teaching day. I also met with the board designer to have the library measured up for some renovations and the assembly that I organized for this year’s Jump Rope for Heart took place Friday morning. It always feels good to be able to check another thing off the ‘To Do List’ this time of year.

This brings me back to walking. Last week I installed a new app onto my iPhone called Strava. It tracks my distances, times, calorie output and maps out the routes that I’ve taken. I just push start at the beginning of my walk and stop when I’m done. It does all the calculations for me. I love it and on Mother’s Day, A and J bought me an armband to put my iPhone into when I’m running so I don’t have to carry the phone in my hand or worry about it falling out of a pocket (if I have one).

Walk on May 17th, 2014

If you click on the link you’ll notice that it calls my walk a run. I haven’t figured out how to change that to walk but I did for the first time in a long time run part of today’s walk. It wasn’t far, maybe 1/2 a kilometre but it’s a start. During the walk I stopped a few times to take some photos of the birds in Sam Smith Park. There’s a bird sanctuary there and it is nesting season so there’s lots of activity there. One of the highlights for me on today’s walk was seeing one of the male swans building up the nest and the female sitting on her eggs. It was a bit cool today so she never got off the eggs but the last count had her sitting on five eggs.

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I have to admit that I got a bit carried away with today’s walk and completely lost track of time. I was gone for over two hours and my husband called me on my phone to make sure I was okay. The nice feature about Strava is that is only records the time you are actually moving.

When I did finally get home it was time for lunch and then I spent about two hours working in the garden. Our beautiful White Pine has died and it is slated to be cut down in the near future. One of the jobs that I tackled today was removing the river rock that surrounds the tree. We’re having the stump removed right away so everything around the bottom of the tree has to be cleared away. It’s a much bigger job than I thought and I’ve only removed about half of the rocks. My husband was building a new raised garden bed today so I volunteered to start tossing rocks (literally tossing them across the path and into the side garden).

Here are a few more photos from my morning walk. Enjoy!

Sitting With an Ice Cube Against My Jaw

…..recovering from dental gum surgery

Technically I’m not suppose to be doing this. The instruction sheet following periodontal surgery specifically says “NO TEXTING, FACEBOOK, VIDEO GAMES, 1ST 24 HOURS. “USE THE ICE”.” I have to admit that it is difficult to type while balancing a baggy of ice on your jawline but I only have to keep the ice on for 5 minutes and then off for 5 minutes. It’s time to take a break from typing and continue Icing. Back in five.

I’m back. The whole procedure today went very smoothly. There is so much freezing that I didn’t even feel the needles go in. My doctor never stopped talking for a minute. He told me jokes, and riddles, and talked about the latest scandal with Rob Ford, Gwenyth Paltrow’s lastest break-up, his wish to go scuba diving in Mexico, going to the movies with his wife and in between giving instructions to his assistant and explaining in detail what he was doing to me. The entire procedure took just over an hour.

Riddle #1: Mary’s mother had 4 daughters. She named them April, May, June and ….. What was the 4th daughter’s name?

I’ve been icing my jaw again and this time I reread some of the instructions. Apparently I have to avoid talking for 24 hours. I wonder if that’s why my husband is taking his time getting back with my meds. Luckily I’m not in any pain yet but I do have to start taking the antibiotics soon. The only thing I can eat for the first 24 hours is broth or smooth soups (no bits of meat or vegetables) and I’m really starting to get hungry.

A few other DO NOTS are:

  • Do not rinse for 24 hours
  • Do not brush teeth for 3 days
  • Do not use straws for 7 days
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours
  • Do not exercise for 5 to 7 days
  • Do not sleep with your head down

Some Do Nots that I like are:

  • Do not do any housework
  • Do not do any heavy lifting

and some Dos

  • stretch out on the couch
  • let your husband pamper you (I made that one up)

Well I think I’ll go and put my feet up and hopefully my husband will arrive shortly.

Answer to the riddle: The fourth daughter’s name is Mary.