Happy Birthday Frances

….December 13, 2018

I can’t believe that our dog, Frances is already 12 years old. We got her as a puppy from our daughter when she got a new job that made it impossible for her to properly train a new puppy. Frances immediately became my husband’s dog. It was love at first sight.

Over the years Frances has brought us a lot of joy. She’s a strange mix and whenever people ask about her breed they’re surprised by the answer. To the best of our knowledge she’s a cross between an Australian Sheppard and a Dachshund.

Here are a few photos of her over the last 12 years.


Share Your World – August 27, 2018

….this will be Cee’s last Share Your World challenge…..thanks for all the great questions you’ve given us over the years

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts?

I love foods with nuts. If I’m not in a ‘peanut or nut free zone’ I always choose foods with nuts, such as hazelnut or almond dark chocolate, banana bread with walnuts, Thai food with peanuts, chunky peanut butter, and butter tarts with pecans. Yum!

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

I usually sleep with the doors open. Not sure why.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?

I try to be right on time but I’m frequently five to 10 minutes late for social events. I was rarely late when I was working and I was almost always on time for doctor’s and dentist appointments.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This week I celebrated my birthday with my family and I spent the weekend at the cottage with my daughter and granddaughter. I also got together with my retired teacher friends for lunch. All these things made me smile.


Reflecting on this Past Year

…..today I’m officially a senior citizen

There has to be a better designation than senior citizen when you turn 65. I know there are many perks when you reach this age but it also comes with labels such as golden oldie, old fart, grandma, oldster, senior, geezer, geriatric, old-timer and blue hair. Even though I’m a proud grandmother to Winnie I don’t feel old.


I look back on this past year and am proud of what I’ve done and happy to have such amazing friends and a wonderful family. I knew that this was the year to retire from teaching. I still loved the job but there were days when I was just plain tired and sometimes I didn’t feel that I fit in anymore. I didn’t want to be one of those crotchety old teachers that criticized younger teachers for doing things differently.  Sometimes I didn’t like what went on but I wanted to leave on a happy note so I kept quiet for the most part. The only people I would share my views with were people closer to my age and those who were also retiring. I have to admit that some of my favourite teachers were those much younger than me. I loved their humour and zest for life.


Of course the students are what kept me going as a teacher. They weren’t always easy to teach and over the years the job grew increasingly more difficult but in the end the love and gratitude I received in the form of cards, art work, letters of appreciation and countless hugs made it all worthwhile.

This past year I’ve seen my own children continue to grow into responsible and amazing adults. They are all married now and our one and only grandchild is growing like a weed. She is my pride and joy.  Last night she kept saying Oma birthday, Oma birthday while rolling around in her crib. She clearly knows everyone in the family now and can say everyone’s name. She picks up at least 10 new words every day and we have to be so careful what we say in front of her.

My retirement is not quite working out the way I thought it would. I was hoping to do more travelling but it is still early days. Last May my father moved into our house. At 90 he’s still very independent but we’re a little worried about leaving him for too long. So far the longest we’ve left him alone is four days. We’re hoping to travel to London, England in November to visit with our son before he leaves to live in New York City in the coming year. Someone recently asked me if Dad was coming with us. We’ve tried to convince him to make at least one more trip to Germany to visit his brother. It looks like that won’t happen for at least another year, God willing, and I’m not sure if a trip to London would be in the cards for him as well. We’ll have to wait and see.

So as I turn 65 today I can honestly say that I’ve had a wonderful life. Now I look forward to my next adventure and hopefully I’ve inherited my father’s genes so that I can enjoy the next 30 years of my life with the same joie de vivre.

Two Birthday Parties and a Trip to the Antique Market

…..as promised in my last post, Last Four Days at the Cottage here is the rest of that weekend

Going to the cottage with A and J is always a lot of fun. This year my birthday happened to fall on the last of those four days. Our good friends and neighbours at the cottage were also up and they invited us over for dinner on the Saturday. It turned out to be a little bit of a celebration. They toasted A and J’s wedding which took place earlier in the year and to my ‘last year of being young’. This was in reference to the fact that next year I will be officially declared a senior. I personally don’t think that I will all of a sudden become old just because of a number attached to my age. I never tell the students at school how old I am because I know they will automatically think that I’m ancient. They think that 40 is old.

The next day, which was my actual birthday, we packed up to go home. I’m sure that my daughter was given instructions by my family to be back by a certain time. When we got to the ferry dock we were the last car put on the barge so we had enough time to make a few stops on our trip back to the city. We stopped at Wendy B’s in Lafontaine and picked up a few snacks to enjoy on the trip home and the girls picked up a birthday present for me from her small gallery in the back corner of her store. img_9906

This lovely bracelet also came with a pair of beautiful hand painted earrings.

On the way home we were approaching an antique market outside of Cookstown that I’ve always wanted to stop at but never have. This trip we decided that we had enough time to stop and have quick tour of the place. We weren’t disappointed. I love collecting old bottles and found a few to use as subjects in my paintings. I also found a rack of new linen tops that were on sale and I treated myself to a beautiful orangey button down blouse that I can also wear like a jacket. Here are some of things that we saw there:

When we got home there was a parcel waiting for me from my friend, D, from the cottage. She ordered me a new game called King’s Cribbage.

My daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law were already there. My husband and son-in-law were busy cooking up ribs. We had a glorious outdoor meal with the family. The baby is walking holding onto things but she has managed a few steps on her own. I received a gift certificate for an art store (always appreciated) and my husband combined my anniversary gift with my birthday gift and bought me a great macro lens (which most of you already know I’ve been using a lot).

Last weekend my husband and I made our final visit to the cottage to close the place up for the season. I know it’s early but this year is an exceptional year with milestone birthdays in October.


Share Your World 2016 – Week 35

…..thanks to Cee for hosting Share Your World

List 2 things you have to be happy about?

There are many things to be happy about, good health, being mortgage free, being married for 41 years, having a great job, etc. but two things do stand out for me. The first is that all my children are in happy, loving relationships and the second is the joy that our granddaughter brings us.


If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

There are many places that I would love to paint, photograph and write about but the one place that I seem to blog about a lot is the cottage. Our little residence in paradise has brought us much pleasure and fond memories and I look forward to my stay there every summer.

Should children be seen and not heard?

Children should definitely be heard but there is a difference between being delightfully vocal and miserably disruptive. We were always very lucky with our own children. We could take them out to dinner and they knew how to behave in public. Too often parents ignore bad behaviour and often condone it and have no regard for the people around them who have come to a place to relax or enjoy a quiet meal.

List at least five of your favorite first names.

Girls names I like:

Winnie, Katherine (Kate, Katie), Abigail, Lydia, Willow, Josephine, Christina, Alessia

Boys names I like:

Michael, Brendan, Mark, Paul, Peter, William,  Jack, Christopher

Names that can be either male or female:

Gaelan, Andrea, Josie, Avery, Morgan

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 a small but wonderful birthday party that my children and husband hosted for me. It was just the immediate family but the food was amazing and the gifts that they showered me with were very thoughtful and generous. More and more, time spent with family is becoming increasingly important to me as I get older.

I’m also grateful for four days spent with my daughter and daughter-in-law at the cottage.  We swam, sun bathed, read, played board games and cooked up some great meals. We also attended the Pow Wow and stopped at the Cookstown Antique Market on the way home.

This week I’m looking forward to getting my nails done with my good friend L and hopefully having my hair cut and coloured before I start back to school next week.

Happy Birthday, Valentine’s Day and Family Day

….for my friend Maria all the good stuff comes together in less than a week

This week my friend Maria celebrated her birthday and was finally well enough to have company. She recently had her hip replaced (her second one) and didn’t recover as quickly as with the first one; however, this week she was finally receiving visitors. In honour of her birthday I decided to bake her some cookies and bought her a nice new mug, some tea and candy. I also collected some of my favourite novels that I’ve read in the past year or so and put them in a bag for her to pull out and read at her leisure.

Over at Life in Between my blogging friend, Jodi posted a wonderful recipe for Amish Oatmeal Raisin cookies and I was very eager to try it. The instructions were easy to follow and the recipe made  four dozen very large cookies. My husband loves oatmeal raisin cookies and the only fault he found with these was that there weren’t enough raisins. Easy solution; just add more next time. I, however, found the amount to be perfect. This recipe is a little different from most oatmeal cookies because it has molasses in it and that’s why the colour is darker.

I packed a dozen cookies into a small disposable loaf pan and placed it inside a special translucent bag with hearts on the outside. I then placed them into a square basket that I had purchased and placed the other items (tea, mug, candy) next to the bag.

Before making my way to Maria’s house I decided to make her a card. I took some watercolour paper and watercolour markers and created a simple design to acknowledge her birthday, St. Valentine’s Day, Family Day and a speedy recovery.

In the end I had a very nice visit with my good friend. Her husband spoiled us with wine to start, a plate of cheese and then before I left he made us tea and we enjoyed some of the cookies that I had baked.

If the cookies interest you be sure to check out Jodi’s recipe over at Life in Between.

Cheers and have a wonder Valentine’s Day!

Share Your World 2015 – Week 35

…..thanks to Cee for four more great questions

What made you feel good this week?

My family and friends sent me wonderful birthday wishes this week and brought me very thoughtful gifts. I got to go to the AGO (art gallery) with my husband and had a wonderful meal in Chinatown. The next day my girls and their significant others and a couple of dear friends came to the house for a BBQ and my husband outdid himself.

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For potlucks or parties do you cook it yourself, buy from a grocery store, or pay for catering?

I went to a potluck yesterday and I brought an arugula and apple salad and spinach and cheese crepes. If I have time I usually prepare something on my own and I like to make appetizers. If I’m short on time I will sometimes go to a take out place and bring samosas, pakoras, fried calamari or sushi (things that I wouldn’t make myself). Cheese and crackers and veggies and dip are also easy.

What is your favorite part of the town/city you live in. And what Country do you live?

I’d have to say that I really like where I live in Toronto. I live right by Lake Ontario (I can see it from my house). I’m right on hiking and cycling trails so going for walks is very enjoyable and I’m only a 15 minute drive from downtown or a 10 minute train ride. The streetcar is about 45 minutes and the subway is 30 minutes (including the 10 minute car ride to get to it). For those of you who don’t know Toronto, I live in Canada.

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Complete this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world…..

My favourite place in the summer is my cottage on Georgian Bay. I don’t travel extensively but every place I’ve ever been to I’ve really loved. Some of those places are Ireland, The Netherlands, Hawaii, San Francisco, New England and Quebec City. Funny how all these places are on water.

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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 time spent with family and friends on my birthday. I’m also grateful for a wonderful day spent with my Dad. He treated me to a very special lunch at the Royal York Hotel and a visit to the Ripley’s Aquarium. Yesterday I spent a few hours with my daughter, A and her partner, J at the CNE. We played some games, took in the sights and tried some new food.

Today I was grateful to my good friend L who stepped up and helped me clean up the library and transferred all my art supplies to a new home in the school. She came just at the right time when I needed her moral support the most. In the end many people chipped in to make sure that the library would be ready for the first day of school.

For the rest of the week I’m looking forward to spending a few more days at the cottage before I head back to work on Tuesday. I’m also looking forward to getting back to working on my art. Have great long weekend. I’ll be back on Sunday or Monday.

Birthday, Brunch, Books and Best Buys

…..Dec.30 is the birthday of my twins, G and B

Today we celebrated a birthday. Thirty-three years ago I gave birth to two healthy children, a girl and a boy. We celebrated at G’s place where she treated us to a wonderful brunch of homemade bread, homemade ricotta cheese, jams, honey, coffee, fresh fruit salad, kale and goat cheese frittata and a delicious green salad. Everyone contributed to the meal but the bulk of the work was prepared by G.

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Gifts were exchanged earlier in the day and then again at the brunch. Our son loves books and our daughter collects cookbooks. Yesterday G ordered B a very special cookbook that he had expressed an interest in and surprisingly it was delivered while we were there. Now that’s service!

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After brunch we (our oldest daughter, our son and his fiancé) drove north on Yonge St. and   stopped at Super Khorak to purchase some special food items for dinner. Our future daughter-in-law is Iranian and we wanted to purchase some authentic Iranian food. My son and my husband literally cleaned their bowls and the food containers with the flat Iranian bread that we bought. There wasn’t a morsel of food left over. It was definitely a ‘best buy’ today.

A Farewell Celebration Followed by a Birthday Celebration

….this weekend we fondly remembered my aunt and celebrated my oldest daughter’s 35th birthday

I don’t have a very large extended family. My mother only had one sister and my father had a sister who also passed away this year and he has a brother who still lives in Germany. In total I have five cousins. Three live in Germany, one in Florida and one in Hamilton.

I have two sisters and in total we have 7 children. My youngest sister lives in Calgary with her husband and two children and my middle sister lives in Chatham with her new husband. Her two children live, here, in Toronto. Of my three children, two still live in Toronto and my son now resides in London, England.

This weekend brought some of us together to celebrate the life of my aunt, my mother’s older sister. My own mother passed over 20 years ago at the young age of 61.

My aunt H had two children, late in life and when her husband died in his early fifties she moved to Canada to be closer to her sister and give her children a fresh start.

On Saturday my cousin arranged for a simple memorial gathering at the funeral home. She put together three boards of photos and brought along 5 or 6 photo albums of her mother’s life. While going through her mother’s possessions she found this amazing photograph. We think she was about 19 or 20 when this photo was taken.


Later that evening 15 family members went to a very nice restaurant for dinner together where we could spend more time together and reminisce.

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Today we had all my children together (including our son) to celebrate A’s birthday. I can’t believe that I have a 35 year old daughter. Our good friends B and W also came over to help us celebrate. My husband and daughter, G, made fantastic pizza rolls called stromboli. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it but there is one at the link that I posted.

Later we had coffee and wonderful cake that J brought. The round things on top that look like rocks were called cake truffles (very sweet).


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Six weeks before Christmas. There’s been so much food in the last few days that my husband and I feel like juice fasting. Instead we’ve decided to really focus on healthy eating and moving more. I’m actually looking forward to no sweets and carbs and eating more fruits and vegetables and simply grilled meats. Pass the water, please!


Share Your World – Week 34

….more great questions from Cee’s Photography

What is your favorite smell? What memory does it remind you of?

My favourite smell has to be cinnamon. I love the smell of Christmas baking. Another smell that I really like, especially in a perfume scent is lemon or a citrusy smell. It reminds me of a perfume my mother always used to wear, 4711 or Tosca. photo 1-83

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life?

The songs that come to mind are Let it Be by the Beatles and Your are the Sunshine of my Life by Stevie Wonder. The later was the song that my husband and I danced to when we were dating and on our wedding day. 

Do you play video/computer game? Which one(s) or most recent?

The only game I play on-line is Scrabble. I’m addicted. I play with my sisters and a few good friends.

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best? Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey)

I think I’d be Doc, the voice of reason. Although not perfect and often mixing up this words, Doc is kind and keeps the other dwarfs in check. If there was an 8th dwarf his name would be Techy because in today’s world the dwarfs would need someone who can tinker with modern technology.

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 a nice weekend at the cottage with my husband and daughter, A and her partner, J. We finally had decent weather. I’m also grateful for everyone’s help getting the outhouse properly set over the new hole and that it is no longer sitting on an angle but is perfectly level.

This week I’m looking forward to having lunch with my friend, AB and going to the CNE with my daughters. I’m also looking forward to celebrating my birthday on Thursday with my family.