WPC – View From the Car Window

….this week’s WordPress photo challenge is windows

On the way up to the cottage this weekend I decided to take photos from the front seat of my car. Seeing that my husband was driving I decided to experiment with my iPhone as we were zipping along the highway up to Georgian Bay.


Tuesday Photo Challenge – Woods

…..thanks to Frank for this week’s photo challenge – woods

Next to water I love the woods. My cottage sits in the woods a little ways back from the water’s edge. There are some definite advantages to having the cottage tucked away in the woods. One of them is that on very hot summer days it is always cooler in the shade of the forest.


WPC – Wish

….this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is wish

I wish I could see my son and daughter-in-law in London, England.


I wish I was feeling better so I could spend some time with my granddaughter this week.


I wish my husband would get over his cold so we can spend some quality time together and have the family over.


I wish for a smooth transition when my 90 year old father moves in with us in May.


I wish to travel back to Europe, maybe even with my Dad. It would be nice for him to see his brother one more time. I would love to go back to Venice.

I wish I could stop procrastinating and do some more art. I miss it.

Finally I wish it were warmer and I was on the beach at the cottage.



My Last Week at the Cottage

….a Pow Wow, a birthday dinner and a flea market

My last week at the cottage before we closed up for the season was very memorable. For one thing I spent four lovely days with my oldest daughter and my daughter-in-law. A and J are great cottage guests. They are so laid back yet very helpful. We all took turns cooking and they usually got the dishes done before I could get at them.

J had never been to a Pow Wow so I decided that it was an event everyone should experience at least once. I, myself hadn’t been in several years. I was glad I went. The venue for the Pow Wow had changed from the school yard to a more scenic setting next to one of the two lakes on the island. We got there in time to see the little ones dance. We walked around the perimeter of the outdoor stage and checked out the vendors  and their wares. We sampled some food, shared a giant lemonade and I bought a pair of moccasins for my granddaughter from Velma.

Velma is a long time resident of Christian Island and I have been going to her store for over 20 years. I always take my visitors to her so that they can see and buy her authentic indigenous crafts. She handcrafts the most beautiful sweetgrass boxes and hand stitches her moccasins. I bought a pair for myself almost 20 years ago and I still have them.

As we were leaving the Pow Wow I came across a booth where two lovely ladies were selling raffle tickets for more than 50 prices. I bought a sheet of tickets and two days later I got a phone call that I won a handmade cloth bag. More about my last four days at the cottage tomorrow.


Share Your World 2016 – Week 20

….thanks to  Cee for hosting Share Your World

When do you feel most connected with others?

I feel most connected to people during those quiet one on one conversations over a cup of coffee or tea. I like that intimate personal time with people where you can really get to know them.


Tea and Panettone

What daily habit would you like to introduce to your life?

I would like to do one creative activity every day. I paint and read sporadically  now but I’d like to be more consistent. I’d also like to do some volunteer work.

What one mini-little-adventure would you like to have in the coming week?

This week I’d like to visit the art gallery or the museum. It’s a long weekend here in Canada and sometimes it’s a good time to visit places in the city because so many people head north to open their cottages.

List things or events that changed your Life: It could be as simple as a book or meeting a certain person?

• meeting my husband 43 years agowedding photo

• the birth of my childrenIMG_8312

• graduating from university and becoming a teacher

• the death of my mother

• meeting my best friends AB in 1976 and LC in 1989

• learning to drive when I was in my 20s

• my first art class where I learned how to paint with watercolour

• building a cottage next to my good friend DM

• the birth of our first grandchildIMG_6535

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 being able to continue on my weight loss journey and for the support of my husband and my friends at work. My husband has lost 26 pounds and I’m down 18. My new passport arrived this week and I can check off one more thing from my to do list before I go to Italy in July. I’m also grateful that my photo isn’t the worst passport photo that I’ve ever taken. I have to live with it for the next 10 years. IMG_8311

For the rest of the week I’m looking forward to our girls’ soccer tournament on Friday, visiting our daughter and her family in Hamilton on Saturday and seeing my older daughter on Sunday or Monday. Since it’s the long weekend here I’m also looking forward to planting some things in the garden and firing up the barbecue for a meal or two. It’s also suppose to be a spectacular weekend, weather wise.

Here are a few photos from this past week.


Four Years and Still Going Strong

….yesterday was my 4th anniversary with WordPress

If I didn’t check my notifications side bar today I would have missed it.

4 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

It’s hard to believe that four years ago I started this blog to help me lose weight and get healthy. Four years later I’m still trying to lose weight but I’m healthier than I was then. I’m thankful that I didn’t gain back all the weight that I had lost (32 pounds) but it was getting painfully close when I finally started back on my weight loss journey. So far it’s been easier because my husband is doing it with me. I’m down 10 pounds and my husband is down 11.

My blog quickly morphed into a eclectic mix of photography, art, memories, recipes, teaching moments and my life experiences with my friends and family. I’ve met more than 1000 people who now follow me. I’m sure some have fallen by the wayside but many have stuck with me and comment regularly. For that I am truly grateful.

In the last four years you’ve seen me and my family change, grow and experience the ups and downs of life. I ran my first 5k, lost 32 pounds, turned the big 60, stood by my husband as he battled one illness after another requiring 4 separate surgeries and then I shared my son’s accident with you just last December when he needed surgery. I also shared with you my aunt’s prolonged stay in the hospital before she passed and how my 89 year old father fell, not once but twice, but lived to talk about it. I’ve spent way too much time in the hospital.

Not all hospital visits were for sick people. Last October I became a grandmother for the first time. That was the best hospital visit ever. IMG_2885-2

When I started this blog only my youngest daughter was married. Since then our oldest daughter got married a couple of months ago and our son is getting married this summer. Needless to say it’s been and continues to be a busy year.


I’m still teaching. I thought this blog might help me prepare for retirement but I loved my work and my colleagues too much to even consider it.  Now, I can say for certain that retirement is just around the corner and I look forward to my last year of teaching starting next September.

I’ve really enjoyed sharing my students’ art work on this blog and they love knowing that people really like what they’ve done and that they make comments about their work. I can always tell when my viewing numbers are really high that my students have found their way to my site.

One of the things that I’ve grown passionate about is photography since I’ve started this blog. I participate in a number of photography challenges and I take my camera everywhere I go. I’ve enjoyed sharing photos of our cottage and the beautiful parks in our neighbourhood and photos I’ve taken on our vacations.

Before I close I’d like to thank all of you who follow me and all those who pop by once in awhile for giving me a purpose to write. Knowing that people read my words and look at my photography gives me incentive to continue with this blog. Here’s to the next four years!






No More Excuses!

….well I can always find more excuses 

I’ve been looking forward to going to the cottage for months and I’ve been off school since Friday and I still haven’t made it up there. What’s wrong with me? Well nothing actually. I have some good reasons for not being there yet.

On Sunday my very good friend, AB, was having one last party at her house before she moves to her new condo. She’s been in that house for over 30 years and we’ve had many a celebration there. It was great seeing a lot of the old faces from past parties and we also celebrated AB’s birthday.

On Monday we had to wait for the guys from the appliance store to determine if our new washing machine should be replaced. They were there less than 5 minutes but it was at the end of the day. They delivered the new machine today.

Before the appliance guys arrived I did some shopping and I purchased flowers for my containers in the front and back yards. I don’t know why but I always leave my planting till well into June. Of course I couldn’t go to the cottage with that weighing on my conscience. I also renewed my membership for the concert series and mailed the cheque.

Today I filled up the car with gas. Tomorrow is a holiday in Canada so I wasn’t sure if the Costco gas station would be open. The store is closed for sure. I also filled one of our propane tanks to take with me and I purchased two large bottles of water and a few supplies that I will need for my trip.

At home I cleaned the bird cage, cleaned the debris off my lawn (branches and leaves that had fallen during Sunday’s rain storm), pulled a few weeds, and swept the porch, sidewalk and the street in front of our house. Actually I couldn’t believe that I was compelled to sweep the leaves off the street. It seems that I kept finding jobs to do that kept me from getting in the car and driving north.

After the new washing machine arrived today I did a couple of loads of washing. It seems to be working just fine. I went for a long walk with the dog, helped my husband make dinner and then watched the FIFA Women’s World Cup game.

Well I think I’ve run out of excuses to not go to the cottage. Except that my oldest daughter called tonight and thought I was driving her to the airport tomorrow night. She’s okay with me not doing it but I’m feeling a little guilty.

My husband won’t be coming with me tomorrow and I hate opening the cottage by myself. I have to take the board down over the main door, move the fridge and connect it to the propane tank and set up the BBQ. Then there’s checking all the rooms for evidence of rodents and possible water damage from all the rain. I have to clean out the water barrel and fill it up and put away the food, make the beds and sweep the floors.

Once this is all done I can relax, assuming that no problems are lying in wait for me to fix. Of course I could stay home and not go up until my husband is able to join me but that could take another week or more. I think I’ll have to chance it and go up on my own. Wish me luck. By the way, I have no electricity or wifi connection so it may be a few days before I can post another article.

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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


The Cottage – July 22, 2014

….the story of a lost dog

I went to the library yesterday to post my last article but lo and behold it wasn’t opened to the public because a private workshop was in session. The group was on a break so the librarian kindly let me go inside and I had just enough time to check my emails and I was able to copy my story to WordPress but I ran out of time before I could add my photos. So I’m afraid that many of my articles will all appear on the same day, either when I return home or sometime later this afternoon if I get back to the library.

My husband and the dog came up on Sunday and left about 30 minutes ago. We had a great few days together, despite losing the dog yesterday. K loves to run and walk through the woods with the dog on the logging trails. He usually does a loop that is about 9k long. Yesterday when he returned the dog wasn’t with him.

Somewhere between the 5 and 6k mark of the trail, Frances was distracted by something she heard in the woods and took off. K called and called her but continued to run figuring she would follow him further down the path. When she didn’t return to the cottage we both got into our cars and drove in different directions looking for her.

My husband drove into the village and I made my way along the logging path. Unfortunately I don’t have 4-wheel drive so I stopped when I came to a very large and deep puddle in the road. There was no way to get around it. I got back onto the main road and found another logging road further away. Again I was hampered by the deep ruts in the road and had to turn around.


Back at the cottage my husband decided to go back to the trail and and backtrack in case Frances followed his scent in the opposite direction. I drove him into the woods as far as my little car would let me, dropped him off and headed out via the main road to the exit at the other end of the trail. K exited without the dog so I drove him further east until we arrived at the next entrance to the trail which headed back to the cottage.

I drove back along the main roads and returned to the cottage. Before heading down our lane I checked out a couple of other lanes that she might have taken, spoke to a couple of women about our missing pooch and then started to head to the end of the trail where K would exit. For some reason I decided to go back to the cottage one more time before meeting my husband. There sitting in front of our door was Frances, completely exhausted and out of breath. I called her to get into the car and we drove off to meet K together.

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You can imagine the relief and joy on K’s face when he saw Frances. He wanted to be mad at her but he was overcome with emotion. We figured that K had walked at least 15k that morning and who knows how far Frances ran. The two of them were pretty quiet for the rest of the day. In the late afternoon we all went down to the beach and both K and Frances played in the water. I think the cool water helped both of them recover from their sore and tired muscles.

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I think the biggest lesson that we learned that day was that Frances knows her way home. Next time, heaven forbid, we won’t be so panicked looking for her.

Till the next time,