Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Design

thanks to Snow from The Snow Melts Somewhere for hosting this week’s Friendly Friday

Design is everywhere. We often travel far and wide to capture beautiful design elements in architecture when there are wonderful design elements right under our noses here at home.

Design in London, England


Here at home and in the neighbourhood


WPC – Tour Guide of Toronto

….thanks to Word Press  for a theme close to my heart

People always ask me if I’ll move away from Toronto when I retire. I can’t imagine living anywhere else right now. I live in the southwestern area of Toronto more commonly known as New Toronto or South Etobicoke. I love being 15 minutes from downtown (depending on the time of day) and being able to take advantage of all the city has to offer. On the other hand, I feel blessed to live where I do. A century ago people used to travel to this neighbourhood from downtown because they had cottages here on the lake. A few of those old structures still stand today but they are quickly being eaten up by renovators who appreciate the value of the land.

My father recently moved back here after living in Oshawa for 20 years. He feels like he’s come back home. Nothing beats the view of the city skyline that I see everyday at the bottom of the street where I’ve lived for 39 years.


I love the nature trails and beautiful parks that you can find all over the city. The big one in my neighbourhood has wonderful hiking and biking paths that wind through Colonel Samuel Smith Park and the Humber College grounds. Part of it is a naturalized area with a pond in the middle and Lake Ontario at the south end. We have more wildlife here than we do at my cottage. It’s not unusual to see coyotes, foxes, beavers, turtles, o’possums, racoons, skunks and the occasional deer. We have birds and waterfowl galore. In the summer many people come to the park to take advantage of the beaches that line the eastern side of the extension to get relief from the heat or to paddle or kite surf.

If you’re not into nature the city offers the best in museums, art galleries, aquariums, recreational sports and the best restaurants.


Florence, Italy -An Art Lovers Paradise

…..Florence is well known for famous sculptures, paintings and architecture 

Everyone told me I’d love the art in Florence. There certainly was a lot of it. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art, architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti.

Florence was home to one of European history’s most important noble families, the Medici. In 1469, Lorenzo de Medici, grandson to Cosimo, took over control of the city from behind the scenes. He was a great patron of the arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. To his peers he was known as Lorenzo il Magnifico which ironically was also the name of the street our apartment was on.

If you are going to Florence in the near future I would recommend that you prebook your tickets to the Uffizi Gallery. We booked on line the night before and went right to the front of the line when we arrived at our designated time. In fact we were ushered to an even faster line because we had the baby with us. Even though the baby was free of charge they wanted to see her passport before they gave us our tickets. We didn’t have the passport so we pleaded ignorance. Who knew? Did they think we were going to smuggle in an adult on an infant’s ticket? Other than that, getting into the popular Uffizi was quick and relatively easy and well worth the few extra euros to book ahead of time.

We never did get to see the real Michelangelo’s David. The two in the gallery above were replicas. I thought I would be disappointed if I didn’t get to the real one but there was so much to see and do and it was so hot in Florence that it wasn’t worth the ultimate exhaustion we would have suffered trying to get to the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, which is now the home of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. Maybe I’ll go there the next time I’m in Florence.


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 2015 – Week 20

…..thanks Cee for four more thought provoking questions

What is the most important thing that you ever learned? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school)

I learned early on in my adult years that not everyone you meet will like you. The first time I discovered that someone really didn’t like me it took me for a loop. I get along with most people so when someone dislikes you for simply being yourself it can be somewhat hurtful. I don’t let it bother me anymore and figure that the problem lies with them.

I also learned that friends you make in school won’t necessarily be your friends later in life and sometimes if you’re lucky you can rekindle old friendships as you get older. In recent years I’ve been fortunate to be able to do that.


What feeds your enthusiasm for life?

I love to learn and try new experiences. I get joy from reading, doing art, teaching art, taking photographs and spending time with family and friends.

What’s your most memorable (good or bad) airplane commercial or private flight?

My most memorable airplane flight took place last year when my brother-in-law treated my middle sister and me to a complimentary flight, first class, to Calgary. The seats were comfortable, the food was good and our wine glasses were never empty. The flight took place on Air Canada.

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If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?

I would explore all the great museums and art galleries of the world. That of course would take me to the most amazing cities in the world as well so I would check out all the historic sites and local markets and artisans.

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 spending an interesting day in Hamilton last week. I discovered a whole slew of interesting stores, restaurants and galleries in my daughter’s new neighbourhood. I can’t wait to go back and check out some of these places more closely.

I’m grateful that my husband’s biopsy went smoothly and that there weren’t any complications. The results were inconclusive so we have to wait for another test.

This week I’m looking forward to watching the girls play in their soccer tournament and meeting the author that I booked for the students’ activity day. Forty students met their goal of reading at least ten books in the last five months and earned a special day where they are excused from class to attend a drama workshop and bookmaking workshop, are treated to lunch and in the afternoon spend time with one of the authors whose book was nominated for the 2015 Forest of Reading Collection. It should be a lot of fun.

I’ll end with some photographs that I took the last few days.

Highlights of My Trip to Ireland

….my most memorable moments

Time Spent With the Irish Cousins


Checking out Dublin With Our Son

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Meeting Our Son’s Beautiful Girlfriend

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Our Trip to Westport

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Our Day at Howth

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The Museums, Art Galleries and Beautiful Gardens

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Spending Time With My Wonderful Husband

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….and Finally, Finding a Good Cup of ‘Coffee’ in Ireland (something we had a hard time finding 9 years ago)

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Ireland, here we come!

…..we bought our tickets yesterday

We’re really hoping that our son will be able to meet the Irish side of the family. Maybe we should have checked with the family before we booked our flight but we had to coordinate our time in Ireland with our son’s conference in Dublin. Well actually it’s his girlfriend’s conference but that’s neither here nor there. They will be arriving on the 14th of July and leaving the 21st and 22nd. Our son is staying one extra day to spend a little more time with us.

We will land in Dublin on the 12th and will be leaving on the 25th. We’re not sure where we’re staying but our son and his girlfriend have booked a room at a hotel. We don’t want to burden anyone so we’re in the process of checking out AirBnB.

We’re hoping to take in some art galleries. Maybe some of my Irish followers can suggest a gallery or two. We’re definitely going to check out the Royal Hibernian Academy, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Museum of Natural History and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

It doesn’t look like we’re going to get over to Germany on this trip. Sorry Philipp. My family will have to wait until next year before we can visit. We’re looking forward to catching up with the Irish cousins. Hopefully some of them will be in town when we’re there.