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.

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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.

When Lucy Met Olive

….it definitely wasn’t love at first “bite”

Puppies and old dogs don’t always mesh. A and J were looking forward to introducing their new dog, Olive to G’s and B’s older dog, Lucy.

The experts say that there’s something about puppies that older dogs recognize as being non-threatening. They instinctively know that these frisky young pups, although somewhat annoying to older dogs, are harmless and in need of nurturing and gentle instruction in the hierarchy of the canine world.

I guess Lucy had not read the chapter on caring for pups. A while back she had been attacked by another dog in the dog park and in her defence she has been wary of all new dogs that she meets. Olive learned very quickly that Lucy was less than pleased to meet her. We ended up keeping both dogs on leashes in the house during dinner time. Food issues between two dogs can be quite unpleasant and since Lucy is about four times bigger than Olive we erred on the side of caution during mealtime. P1020714.JPG

As the day progressed Lucy relaxed a bit, literally, and slept on the couch while Olive pranced around the house and stayed clear of Lucy. Luckily Lucy doesn’t feel the same way about our granddaughter. Winnie can sit on Lucy and dress her up and Lucy reaps the rewards at dinner time when Winnie drops food by her high chair. It’s what I would call a symbiotic relationship.

Winnie is a little unsure of Olive. She’s not used to such an ‘active dog’ but over time I’m sure she will grow to love Olive as the rest of us have. As for Lucy, I think that she will stay out of Olive’s way and be somewhat territorial but time will tell.

The next challenge will come when the girls bring Olive over to our house to meet Frances.img_0556

” Say what??? Who’s coming over for dinner?”

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.

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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!

Share Your World 2017 – January 2, 2017

…..thanks Cee for continuing to host Share Your World

Would you prefer to receive a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle or motorcycle?

I already own a bike and a unicycle is impractical. I think owning a Vespa could be fun.

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photo courtesy of : Just Bikes. in

What is one thing you’d like to accomplish this year?

One thing I’d like to do this year is continue to lose weight and get healthy before  I retire in June.

What was one of the highlights of 2016 for you?

There were two highlights for me and they were the weddings of two of my children.

Would you prefer to fly a kite or fly in a hot air balloon?

I’ve flown kites and I like the sensation of getting your kite airborne but I’m curious about hot air balloons. The problem is I have a fear of heights and I’m a bit of a nervous Nelly.

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 time spent with my family and being able to talk to our son on the phone. This week I’m looking forward to some quiet down time. I’m hoping to do some art, read a book and visit my granddaughter. fullsizerender-31

The Perfect Gift

…..besides being with family over tshe holidays

I know that in a previous post I declared that presents weren’t important to me and that family was everything. Despite that sincere sentiment I did have some very thoughtful and welcome gifts given to me this year.

Anything to do with art is always most appreciated. This Christmas my secret Santa gifted me a five drawer rolling organizer and a desktop marker organizer. Hopefully this will help me get my supplies neatly organized and free up my work table so that I can actually create some art. She also gave me a new set of Pigma pens and artist’s hand soap. My son in London sent me paper and a beautiful set of pencil crayons.

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Last year my husband gave me a very nice camera, a Panasonic Lumix, DMC-GF7 and for my birthday he gave me a macro lens to go with it. Unfortunately the camera has so many features that I frequently get lost trying to use it. My brother-in-law who  is very proficient with all types of cameras, confirmed that I had a very fine camera. When he was here in October he gave me a quick lesson on how to use some of the features. As soon as he left the camera malfunctioned. No one seemed to know what was wrong with the camera. When my brother-in-law returned in November he brought me one of his old zoom lenses that he no longer uses and that fit my camera. The problem with the camera, however, had not been resolved at that point so we couldn’t try it out.

Eventually we found someone who knew how to solve the problem. It turned out to be a quick fix.  Now I have a working camera with two amazing lenses and I still don’t know how to use them. Voila….the perfect present arrived. My husband enrolled me in two camera classes. The first class takes place in January and I will learn all about the ins and outs of my camera and the second class in February will teach me how to get the most out of my camera and how to use the camera in some creative ways. I can’t wait.

Since my husband and I are foodies the other gifts that are always most appreciated are items of food. This year I received homemade tomato sauce, chill sauce, relishes, jams and a variety of condiments and spices. Of course chocolates are always present in our stockings and under the tree. I love dark chocolate and anything filled with marzipan.p1020167

The last gift that was very special was a beautiful Pandora leather bracelet with a silver charm with our granddaughter’s initial. This was also from my husband.img_0793

As nice as all these things were I still find time with my loved ones the most precious gift of all. Today we travelled as a family to visit my father in Oshawa. Eleven of us went to his new apartment in the retirement home. His wife is very ill at the moment so he showed off his new place quickly and then gave us a tour of the facility. Everything is very new and beautifully decorated for the holidays. We ended up visiting in the library on the main floor. We were the only ones in there. It was the perfect spot where our granddaughter could run around, look at the fish tank and play with the soft decorations and remote controls. For the adults there were comfy chairs and a fire place where we could visit and talk. After opening a few gifts we headed over to the restaurant where we enjoyed a family meal together.

After describing all the fantastic gifts I received this Christmas I’d have to say that having  my granddaughter wiggle out of her mother’s arms to run over and hug me today was my most ‘perfect’ gift.

Did you have a perfect gift or a special moment to share this holiday season?