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.

 

A Busy Weekend – Art, a Movie, Walking, Shopping, Gardening and Lunch with Friends

….some of my followers have complained that I don’t post enough about my daily endeavours 

Well, truth be told, only one person has complained, so this is for her.

On Friday I treated my husband to dinner. As many of you know K usually cooks most of the meals, not because he has to but simply put, because he enjoys doing it. He wasn’t feeling up to going out so I ordered in. We tried a new Thai restaurant in the neighbourhood and it was excellent. For those of you close enough to check it out, it’s called Nimman Thai Cuisine and it’s located at 2451 Lakeshore Blvd. W. It wasn’t cheap but then many things worthwhile are a little more expensive. The service was pretty fast for a Friday night. They said that it would arrive in just under an hour and the knock on the door came about 40 minutes after the order was placed. I’ve discovered that ordering and paying on-line (including the tip) is painless and very convenient.

Friday night is one of two nights that I like to watch TV. After dinner we watched The Amazing Race together. I haven’t decided who I’d like to see win this season but I definitely have a couple of teams in mind that shouldn’t win. We’ll see.

On Saturday I decided to do a little bit of shopping. First I drove to Curry’s art supply store to buy some more brushes, paint and wooden boards so I could make more textured Gesso art with watercolours. I love the process so much that I want to create more pieces using this technique. Here are the first two pieces that I made earlier in the week.

IMG_4434 IMG_4472

I still had some money left on my Marshall’s gift certificate from Christmas so I thought it was high time to treat myself to a couple pieces of clothes for spring. I tried on 10 items and found two tops that I really liked. Bonus!  My next stop was Lowe’s. I picked up two fluorescent bulbs for the kitchen, a gasket to repair the sink and yard waste bags so that I could start cleaning up the yard. I also made a stop at Tartistry (I’ve written about it here) to pick up a couple of tarts to have with tea after dinner. I would have liked to stay longer because they had the jazz band playing again. There were a lot more people there this time. I guess the snow storm really did keep people away the first time we went there.

Saturday evening K made an amazing dinner of proscutto, pesto and mozzarella stuffed chicken breasts, pasta and fresh mixed vegetables. After dinner we went for a walk and we saw these funny faces up in the trees and one of the trees was wrapped in a blanket. I went back today to take some photos because it was getting a bit too dark on our walk.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After our walk we treated ourselves to tea and tarts and then we watched the movie Big Eyes. The movie is based on the real life of Margaret Keane and her husband Walter Keane. Margaret is the artist who created the infamous ‘Big Eyes’ paintings in the 60s but her husband convinced her to let him take credit for her work because according to him women artists couldn’t make it in the art world.  He was an amazing salesman and promoter but he was also incredibly egotistical. Margaret worked around the clock producing her popular paintings while her husband took all the credit. They became incredibly rich, even though art critics hated the work. The lies and deceit wore on Margaret’s conscience. Eventually she left Walter and with the help of her daughter and friends she confessed the truth and took her husband to court.

I remember the posters of these big eyed children that were so popular in the 60s and 70s. Apparently Walter Keane was the first promoter to turn art into posters for sale. The movie was nominated for numerous awards last season and Amy Adams won the Golden Globe award for best actress.

After the movie I prepared the boards that I purchased earlier in the day with a coat of gesso. Now I just have to decide what it is I want to paint.

Today I started my day with toast made from K’s homemade batch bread that he also made yesterday. Bread is definitely my weakness, especially homemade bread. I’m glad that he froze half of it and gave some away to our daughter, G, today.

IMG_4464

After breakfast I started getting ready for my lunch date with six friends from high school. We met at La Veranda Osteria at Royal York and Bloor. For lunch they have a prix fix menu for $15.99 which includes an appetizer and a main dish. None of us had ever been there and we weren’t disappointed. I was so caught up in the conversation that I didn’t take one photo of our reunion and we were there for 2 1/2 hours. As we were leaving we promised that we would get together again in a few months.

When I returned home I put on some gardening clothes and started to clean the yard. There are definitely signs of new growth but the seed heads and dried grasses still dominate the garden. It’ll be a few more weeks before we start to see real change.

After filling in the last yard waste bag I took a walk through the neighbourhood and noticed a lot of activity. People were out and about, enjoying the sun and the mild temperatures. It was also very evident that a lot of spring cleaning had taken place this weekend.

Of course now that the weekend is over all I can think of are the things that didn’t get done. I did get out for one more walk before dinner with the dog but I’m probably still shy about 1000 steps of my goal. Unfortunately it’s too late to do it now because it’s after 11:00 and I need to get to bed. As it is I’m not going to reach my goal of 8 hours of sleep tonight, either. Oh well, c’est la vie!

Cheers!

An Unusual Summer

….instead of lounging on the beach at the cottage I’ve been spending a lot of time in the city

I was really looking forward to my summer holiday this year. I opened the cottage later than I would normally and when I returned to the city I spent 3 days in school cleaning up my office and packing up books so that the new carpet could be laid down this summer.

IMG_2026photo 1-206IMG_2024

In the second week of the summer I went to visit my aunt. She lives by herself about 20 minutes from my house. She never calls me but she is always happy to see me. Unfortunately, she stopped answering her door or picking up her phone. Two years ago her daughter found her very ill and admitted her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with congested heart failure.

The day I went to see her, my cousin was already there and she said she had a bad night and  she was still in bed (3:00 in the afternoon). After a short conversation we went to check on her and she didn’t look good. To make a long story short we called 911 and she was admitted to emergency. At around midnight, after numerous tests, x-rays and blood work we were told that she has double pneumonia.

For the next six days I was back and forth to the hospital. Five weeks later she’s still in the hospital. Her pneumonia has cleared up but now she has a multitude of other problems. Every time I come back from the cottage I go to see her and when I’m not there my husband drops in.

Last week my husband’s car had to go into the shop so he’s without a car and I’ve been driving him everywhere his bike can’t take him. This week he went in for his routine CAT scan and next week he has two more appointments.

Our dog, Frances is presently at the vet clinic having her teeth fixed. Unfortunately the problem is more complicated than we thought and she has to see a specialist to fix the under lying problem. We pick her up this afternoon and will learn more details as to when her next procedure has to be done.

Next week my son-in-law is going into the hospital for surgery so I will be dog sitting Lucy and keeping my daughter company during the procedure.

I’ve also been helping my friend A organize her basement and garage so that she can get ready to sell her house in the near future. Last weekend I also cleaned out our garage but with lots of help from family and extended family members. Normally I like to be at the cottage but when people offer to help with big jobs you kind of have to work around their schedule.

I did go up to the cottage right after the clean-up and I took our youngest daughter and Lucy with me. We only stayed a couple of days because I had to get back into town to get Frances to the vet.IMG_2197 IMG_2198

It turned out to be a beautiful weekend but again my cottage neighbour offered to help dig a new outhouse hole so I spent hours on Sunday digging and then hauling sand out of the hole. IMG_2205

This week when I got back to the city I got a call from my friend G who called to warn me that my classroom was a bigger mess than we anticipated. I went in yesterday to check it out and was blown away by what I saw. Painters had come in July and it was decided that they would tackle one long wall. Of course, not knowing that this was happening, none of the books on that wall had been cleared. All the books were removed from the shelves and stacked on the tables and then the shelves were taken down. Were they put back? No! IMG_2231 IMG_2230 IMG_2229

Upon arriving to school the caretaker tried to prepare me for what I was about to see. The shelves that were moved to lay down the carpet were not returned to their original space. More shelves behind my desk were emptied because they were too close to the floor and the shelves themselves were dumped in my office.

IMG_2239IMG_2240

When I left in July I had cleaned out my office so that nothing was on the floor and the counters and the table were clear so that the surfaces could be properly washed. Yesterday I couldn’t even get into my office because everything was pushed into that room.  I took pictures so that my principal could forward them to the powers that be and hopefully someone will come in in the next two weeks before school starts and try to clean up the mess.

IMG_2235

I spent a few hours yesterday locating some of the shelves, washing them and putting them back on the wall. I also clean off my library desk moved it back up against the wall so that I at least have a place to sit without looking through a mountain of stuff.

IMG_2242

Not everything about being in the city has been bad. I did enjoy spending time with my family and taking in some of the World Cup games, especially the final when Germany won.

photo-28 photo-29

I’ve spent more time in my garden and reaping the benefits of time well spent.

photo-30 IMG_1998 photo 2-199 IMG_1992

I also saw part of the Caribana parade and spent some quality time with my husband walking, running and riding our bikes.

photo 5-159 photo 1-218 IMG_2178 IMG_2224

This summer I have produced a lot of art thanks mostly to Carla Sonheim’s on-line Summer Camp. Some of it I worked on at the cottage and the rest here at home. I’ve got lots of great ideas to share with my students when I go back to work in September. I think I’m happiest when I’m creating art.

 

Mystery Box

…..this year a parent from my school gifted me a box of plants

The problem is I don’t know what I’ve planted in my garden. The only plant that I’m familiar with is the succulent. I’m hoping if I post some photos of my newly acquired treasures some of my followers will be able to enlighten me as to what I have.

This is the box that the plants came in.

IMG_1985

The plant on top is the one I’m most curious about. I’ve planted it an area with partial in the morning and full sunlight in the afternoon.

photo 4-165 photo 2-202

Any ideas as to what I have? I’ll post photos of the others when they become a little more established in my garden.

 

Share Your World 2014 – Week 23

….a lot of questions involving tight spaces

Would your rather be stuck in a small plane with mild turbulence for 2 hours or be a passenger in a car racing the Daytona 500?

This is a difficult question because I dislike any kind of turbulence on a plane and I suspect a small plane would be worse but I also would not be a good passenger in a racing car. I would constantly be stepping on the imaginary brake, hanging on to the overhead strap for dear life and covering my eyes for most of the race. If I had to choose I think I would take the small plane. At least I might enjoy the aerial views of the landscape below.

Would you rather be alone with nobody in the vicinity for one month or never be alone not even for a minute for one month?

Again another difficult question. I enjoy moments of solitude but I also like being around people. If I was well stocked and had plans to be very productive for one month I might enjoy that more than never having a moment to myself. At the very least I’d need a phone so that I could talk to loved ones and friends once in awhile just to make sure everyone is well.

Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?

Definitely in a human size nest in a tree. I remember watching the movie Swiss Family Robinson as a kid and I thought it would be really neat to live in the trees. I like the thought of being able to see who’s approaching the nest, the openness and fresh air and the breeze that would waft through the branches. Underground would be too claustrophobic and the air would be stale and damp.

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?

It depends on the situation and who’s driving. I like driving but on long trips I enjoy being able to sit back and take in the scenery. My husband very much dislikes driving in the city now so there are times when I would rather drive than listen to his complaints about the traffic.

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

I am grateful that I’ve finished writing my comments for the report cards. This is probably one of my least favourite things in the world to do. I’m also grateful for time spent with old friends last week.

I’m looking forward to this week’s soccer game where the girls are competing for the city championships. I’ve been there a few times but we’ve never managed to secure the title. I’m also looking forward to catching up on the painting assignments that I’ve had to put on the back burner because of report card writing and numerous social engagements that took place last week.

Here are a few things I would enjoy if I had a month alone.

Reading the collection of books that I bid on at the silent auction.

Reading the collection of books that I bid on at the silent auction.

Puttering around in the garden and enjoying the fruits of my labour.

Puttering around in the garden and enjoying the fruits of my labour.

Painting, painting, painting. These are the first two assignments out of 4 from lesson one. Lesson four arrived today. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Painting, painting, painting. These are the first two assignments out of 4 from lesson one. Lesson four arrived today. I have a lot of catching up to do.

For those of you who read my post from Saturday you might be interested in knowing that we went back the next day to the yard sale and bought the mandolin. It's a beauty and we got it for a good price.

For those of you who read my post from Saturday you might be interested in knowing that we went back the next day to the yard sale and bought the mandolin. It’s a beauty and we got it for a good price.

For more answers to this week’s Share Your World  check out Cee’s blog http://ceenphotography.com/2014/06/09/share-your-world-2014-week-23/