Words of Hope and Love

A very good friend of mine who lives alone has started a project that involves all her friends. She recently asked us to all create ornaments with words of inspiration written on them that she could hang on her white Christmas tree. She still has the white lights on it and she thought it was the perfect back drop for her tree of Hope and Peace and Love.

Her original idea was to cover it with ornaments in the shape of moons, suns and stars. We were all given carte blanche and the only caveat was that they not be too big and that there were  personal messages written on them to send out to the world.

My whole family is getting involved but I think I’m the first to complete the task. I decided to show you my work in the form of a video with music in the background. I learned something new today as I have never done anything like this. Now I’m hoping I’m able to send it out to you.

First of Many Retirement Parties

…..not sure why but this is the fourth time I’ve tried to write about this

As many of you know, I retired from teaching on June 30. Four of us all retired this year so there were many parties to attend. The first party was put on by the Toronto District School Board. I’ve been with this board for my entire career.

Back in May over 900 employees from the board were celebrated. That’s how many people retired this year. The highlight of the evening happened at the end of the evening when each of us was gifted a bronze school bell. At the countdown every recipient rung their bell at the same time. It was deafening. In the video below only three of us were ringing the bells.

Volleyball, Toilets and Trad Music

…..exciting two days

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my personal adventures and daily routines. I don’t know where the time has gone but being sick and dealing with family members who are also under the weather has definitely put my writing for this blog on the back burner. I’m also trying to get my house ready for our new addition. No, we’re not expecting another grandchild or taking in a foster child. My 90 year old father has decided he wants to live with us. Of course, we couldn’t say no.

Since the March Break I’ve been sick with an ear infection and then with a sinus cold. My hearing has suffered greatly and I feel like I’m under water. I can’t tell you how many times I have misheard what people are saying. Sometimes it can be quite comical but it’s also frustrating. I think I’m getting better but in the evenings my throat gets quite sore. Other than that I feel okay and I haven’t taken any time off from work.

Earlier this week, my friend and colleague, P, asked me if I wanted to be part of a volleyball team and play in a tournament against teachers from other schools. I agreed to do it as long as I felt well. By Friday, three people dropped out and that left us with only six players. Regardless of how I was feeling, I just couldn’t drop out, so I went to the tournament.

When I got there I felt somewhat intimidated by the players from the other teams. I think there was only one other player out of 45 players or more who was older than me. On our team, we had two 26 year olds, two 31 year olds, one 50 year old and me, the almost senior citizen.

Once we started playing, I quickly lost any inhibitions and just had fun. My serves were terrible but by the last game I finally worked out what I was doing wrong and my serves improved immensely. There were six teams in total and to my amazement we made it into the finals. In the seventh and final game we played against one of the teams we had lost against. At that point I was happy to place second. It was in that game that I took some chances and I actually dove for a ball and landed on my knees (no knee pads, of course). OUCH!

I got up quickly and assured everyone that I was okay. I kept playing (there were no substitutes) and in a very close game we ended up winning it all. I think we were all a little surprised but ecstatic. Not bad for a group of people that had never played volleyball together. Afterwards we went out with the team we beat in the finals (they were great sports) and had a drink.

Later that evening when I got home I had a bit of a headache and a sore throat. The latter was from the cold and the former might have been from the fall. I think I jostled my brain when my knees hit the floor. Today, however, the headache was gone and I haven’t suffered any aches or pains from the activities of the previous night. Maybe I should look for a senior’s volleyball team to join when I retire.20170331_201317_resized-2

On Saturday, my husband and I spent the day looking for toilets and kitchen cabinets. When we agreed to have Dad come and live with us we knew that the basement would need some major renovations. We bought a toilet, a grab bar and at Ikea we started to plan out the kitchen. They have an amazing computer program for planning out your kitchen. I think we spent a good hour or more just playing around with different configurations for our tiny little space. When you’re done it gives you a parts list and the total cost of your kitchen.

In 8 days our contractor is coming to the house to start the job so we still have a little bit of time before we make our final decision. The tiles for the bathroom are purchased and the living area is mostly cleared so those two areas can be started on right away.

In the evening Kevin and I went out for dinner at a restaurant not far from our house. In the last year we have become quite close with Will, the owner of Sugar for my Honey. He is always trying new things to bring customers into his restaurant. Last night he hosted a great musical event with live Trad music. The group, Nua, is a Canadian trio, featuring a guitarist, a bodhran player and a fiddle player. If music is food for the soul, this group filled the bill. The event sold out and the crowd loved the food and the music. Here is a video of one of their selections from their new CD, Flow.IMG_1524

Flow (click to open)

 

 

Peggy Guggenheim Gallery in Venice

….one of my favourite art galleries in all of Italy

I guess I shouldn’t have said ‘all of Italy’ when I’ve only seen a small portion of the country. I had never heard of Peggy Guggenheim before this trip. Of course I knew of the famous Guggenheim Museum in New York but I had no idea that there was another Guggenheim in Venice.

Peggy Guggenheim was an avid collector of modern art and in an eight year period she amassed a collection of art by Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Calder, Henry Moore, Motherwell and Max Ernst, just to name a few, who represented Cubist, Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist movements in art.

She moved to Venice after WWII and set up a gallery of her collection at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal. In the summers she opened her home to the public and when she died in 1979 she left her estate to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation on the condition that the collection would remain intact in Venice and would be recognized as hers. The Foundation assumed responsibility for both the collection and for Guggenheim’s palazzo.

In 2015 a movie of her colourful and controversial life was made. Here is the trailer.

Peggy Guggenheim

I think I enjoyed this collection so much because it was full of modern artists that I admire very much. The Palazzo itself was light and airy and the outdoor sculpture garden was serene and calming. Being on the Grand Canal added another element of vitality and I could just imagine Peggy sitting on the balcony with her dogs observing the gondolas and small water crafts making their way through the green waters of Venice.

A New Art Form for Me

….acrylic still life

I’ve done still life in watercolour and pencil crayon and I’ve played with acrylics mixed with glazes. In the last two weeks I’ve been checking out Bob Burridge’s youtube channel and decided to try his technique of laying down lots of colour and then painting in the negative space to create a vase of flowers. Here’s one example of how I started. It is actually the second piece that I painted.

It’s hard to imagine that the finished piece came from the first painting but it did.

I had so many positive comments on my first piece using this technique that I decided to donate it to our school’s silent auction. Here’s what it looks like. I have since framed it.

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I went on to painting a wine bottle using a slightly different technique but the application of light and dark and adding a shadow are the same.

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Finally I painted a pear using a very simple circle/triangle technique to create the pear and then adding dark and light to the background and a shadow to create depth.

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If you’re interested in the technique I used for the flowers check out Bob’s video.

Bob Burridge

 

Frankenstein’s Spooktacular Castle

…..check out Igor in this video

My oldest daughter works at the University of Toronto School of Dentistry. She is a medical illustrator and specializes in computer animation. Every year her department at the school of dentistry participates in a friendly competition to see which department can come up with the best display for Hallowe’en. This year they turned the department into Frankensteins’ castle with props, lighting and sound effects. The staff all took on different roles and dressed up and applied make-up to look like their characters. My ‘quiet’ daughter is Igor. Check out those eyes.

Needless to say the department won the competition. It took about a day to put together.

If you’re interested in seeing some of my daughter’s work you can see it at the U of T School of Dentistry Chanel on YouTube. She created the video on Early Embryonic Facial Development