Share Your World – January 29, 2018

….thanks to Cee for posting more interesting questions on Share Your World

If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?

I would choose a store where I could buy a variety of items, like clothing, household items, accessories, toys, and make-up. Even though I’d have unlimited amounts of money (I’m assuming that’s what an unlimited shopping spree means) I still think of Marshall’s first. Maybe I should be adventurous and say Nordstrom’s.

What is the worst thing you ate recently?

I tend to avoid foods that I don’t like and there aren’t too many of those. I would have to choose something that was badly prepared or didn’t meet my expectations. The only thing I can think of is the oatmeal my father made and he wanted me to try it because he had some left over. Is it possible for something to be too salty and too sweet at the same time? Well it was and I politely declined to eat the rest. My Dad doesn’t read this blog so I’m not too worried that he’ll be offended.

Name five things you like watching…

  1. Watching my granddaughter playing
  2. A game of professional soccer, rugby or lacrosse
  3. The Olympic Games, summer and winter
  4. Live theatre
  5. On TV – Coronation Street, The View, Young Sheldon, Survivor, The Crown and most British detective stories

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 managed two visits to Hamilton to visit my daughter and granddaughter and my oldest daughter came over with her Frenchie, Olive on Sunday. Time with my family always makes me smile.

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Photo credit goes to my daughter-in-law who took this photo back in November.

On Sunday Olive and Frances had a great time playing together and we were able to go for a nice long walk.

I’m also happy that I finally got my art studio in working order last week. I put together the last piece of furniture and started filling up the drawers. Even though I’ve been doing art almost every day since the beginning of the month, I can now do it in a neater and more organized space. fullsizeoutput_6c5b

In conclusion I need to thank my husband for taking me on one of his business trips this week. It was only up to Collingwood but I had an opportunity to take some photographs of the town and together we enjoyed a wonderful meal before heading home. We had such a nice time that we’re thinking of doing this once a week or at least twice a month. Any suggestions where we should go next? No more than two hours from Toronto, please.

Cheers!

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.

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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.

WPC – Wish

….this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is wish

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

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

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

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

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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.

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The Best of 2016

…..despite the terrible events that took place in 2016 on a personal level it was a wonderful year

Most people would agree that 2016 had to be a terrible year for natural disasters, untimely deaths of beloved celebrities, horrendous terrorist attacks around the world, the Syrian refugee crisis, Brexit and a nasty election campaign in the U.S.

Even on a personal note, 2016 hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but there were many memorable and special moments.

In January our son ended up staying with us for an extra week before heading back to London, England. The circumstances of his extended stay aren’t exactly positive but we did have him with us and for me that was special. By the way, at the end of December of last year, he slipped on the ice and broke his upper arm and he required surgery. The surgery was successful and he was released from the hospital on January 1st. IMG_7188

In February my friend M celebrated her 64th birthday and my niece, S, her 26th.

The biggest event in February was our daughter’s wedding to her first love and partner of 10 years. They met on Feb. 10th so they decided on their 10th anniversary they would make it official and tie the knot. What a special day!

In March while we experienced snow, our future daughter-in-law was sitting in an outdoor caffe in Assisi planning her wedding.

In May we celebrated Mother’s Day with the family in the backyard (a little chilly) and at school we had our Forest of Reading celebration, Jump Rope for Heart and our annual Fun Fair. Winnie also had her first swimming lesson and her Daddy started Go Cart racing. Also A and J and their brother-in-law, G, ran the Sporting Life 10k.

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In June two of my colleagues retired from teaching, my very good friend, A, celebrated her 75th birthday and our son and his love were married in London at City Hall.

Our school choir also sang at a Blue Jays game and we put on our annual outdoor extravaganza at school.

July was the highlight month of the year for our family. We took a trip of a lifetime. My sister and her family from Calgary and my two daughters and their families and my husband and I travelled to Italy to celebrate the union of our son, B, and his beautiful Iranian bride, Az. We travelled for the first 11 days visiting places like Venice, Florence, Bologna and Lucca and then we all met in Assisi where the actual wedding took place. After three days in Assisi we made one more stop in Rome before flying back home.

In August  I was able to open up the cottage and spent about 5 weeks there off and on. My husband and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary and I had another birthday.

September brought a new school year and my last first day of school. My husband had  been coaching a small group of boys from our extended family to get them ready for this year’s cross country team and they were all entered into the Railpath Community Run. In fact there were 11 of us from the family that ran that day. I was happy to do 5k without stopping in 45 minutes. At least I wasn’t the slowest person on the course. The boys did really well and some of them walked away with some prizes.

October was another busy month with a lot of milestone birthdays. My husband turned 65, my dad 90, my son-in-law 40 and Winnie celebrated her 1st birthday. I also organized and ran my last book fair school. We raised the largest sum of money ever. I now I have the fun job of buying books and supplies for the library and classrooms.

In November my oldest daughter, A, celebrated her 37th birthday. Where has the time gone? My younger daughter, Winnie and I attended the Royal Winter Fair and I, along with five other teachers took 59 students on a three day overnight winter camp in the Kawarthas.

In December my Dad moved from his apartment to the retirement home across the road. We held our annual craft night at school, held a Christmas concert and had our staff party at a local restaurant. Christmas was a three day affair; one day in Hamilton, another in Toronto and the third in Oshawa. On the 30th of the month we celebrated the birthdays of our twins who are now 35. As my principal and friend M would say ‘Carol you’re old!’

So as you can see there were lots of bright moments in 2016 for me and the Cormier family. Wishing you all a bright, happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Cheers!

Share Your World 2016 – Week 46

….thanks Cee for Share Your World

Are you a traveler or a homebody?

After this summer I would say that I’m a traveller. I can’t stay put for too long. Even at the cottage I need to get off the island for a few hours and visit the town or explore the countryside.

What kind of TV commercial would you like to make? Describe it.

I like ‘feel good’ commercials. The one that comes to mind is the Subaru Forester commercial with the puppies where the one puppy is left behind (but not for long). It has wonderful scenery and great music and the message is subtle.

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Describe yourself in a word that starts with the first letter of your name.

I’m creative, curious and conscientious.

List some fun things for a rainy day.

Here are a few things I like to do on a rainy day:

• read a good book

• bake cookies

• paint, draw or do some kind of art

• play board games with family and friends

• play cards

• play with my granddaughter

• do some kind of needlework (knitting, sewing, cross-stitch)

• talk on the phone to my sisters

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

Last week I was grateful for a wonderful dinner at Mamma Martino’s with the boys that my husband coached this summer and fall. My daughter and daughter-in-law and the boys’ parents were also there.

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I was also grateful for two wonderful days spent with my granddaughter. It wasn’t planned. On Saturday my daughter asked if we could come over to babysit so that she could get some work done and on Sunday they came to the city because my daughter  had a lunch date with a close friend. At 13 months, Miss Winnie keeps us hopping. She runs everywhere and never seems to tire. I did discover that the best way to read to her is when she is sitting in her high chair. She’s more engaged when she’s strapped into her chair.

This week I’m looking forward to going out to dinner again with friends to celebrate a good friend’s 50th birthday. We’re also expecting a delegation from the Netherlands to come to our school to check the place out and observe some classes this week. The school looks pretty good and I’m curious to know what our visitors think of our education system. On Thursday night and on Friday we have parent interviews. I won’t be seeing too many parents, if any, and I’m hoping to get some work done in the library.

Rome’s Top 10 – Part 3

….as promised here is my account of Trastevere, the Roman Forum and the National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. At the height of the Roman Empire the forum served as the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches and the centre of commercial affairs.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the forum fell into disrepair and in the Middle Ages it was used as a cow pasture. During that time the buildings were plundered for their marble and stone. Excavation of the area began in the 18th and 19th centuries and continues today. It seems as though every time the city undergoes a new construction project it comes across a new archeological find and construction is halted while a new dig takes place. Today the ruins attract 4.5 million tourists a year.

National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II.

This national monument was one of the first impressive buildings that we saw as we were driving to our apartment in the outskirts of Rome. Our taxi driver described it as a war memorial but it was much more than that.  Il Vittoriano was built in 1925 to honor Italy’s first king, who is credited with creating a single Italian kingdom in 1861. It has come under much criticism for being too showy with its thick, gleaming white marble that stands 230 feet (70 meters) tall and is visible from several points across the city. Again we only saw this building from the outside but its immense size and opulent sculptures are a feast for the eyes.

The Trastevere

The Trastevere is a neighbourhood that literally translates to “across the Tiber,” and was once considered the outskirts of Rome. In the three days that we were in Rome we spent two evenings in this Bohemian gem. On our first night we enjoyed authentic Italian pizza in a popular, crowded restaurant close to the Piazza Santa Maria. The cobblestone streets are narrow and windy and one can easily get lost in this quaint medieval neighbourhood. I was glad that my girls had their GPS devises with them. On our way back to the apartment that evening we happened to come across a parade of local residents celebrating one of their Catholic saints.

On our last day in Rome, my son and I ended our whirlwind tour of Vatican city back in Trastevere. After walking over 23 000 steps I needed to take a break and we stopped at a small outdoor bistro where I enjoyed a glass of Proseco while my son walked to the tram to pick up his sister, her daughter and his father. There was no way that they would have found the location on their own. B’s wife joined us as well and we had a lovely final evening together on our last day in Italy.

There are many other wonderful sites to see in Rome. I have mentioned only a handful of interesting places to visit that I experienced first hand. Many of these places I would go back to and spend more time exploring the interiors. Do you have any favourite places to visit in Rome? I’d love to hear about them for my next adventure to to this great historic city.

Ciao!

Rome’s Top Ten – Part 2

…..trying to cram all three days into one post proved too much

Vatican City

I won’t spend too much time here since I’ve already written about my experiences at Vatican City here. Next time I need to make time to see the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.

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Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is one of the most popular public squares in Rome. It is built on the site of an ancient Roman stadium, Circus Agonalis, that could hold 20 000 spectators. Today it is best known for the three beautiful fountains that are situated along the centre of the Piazza. The fountains were designed and sculpted by Bernini and Giacomo della Porta.

Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo is a towering cylindrical building that was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castle was once the tallest building in Rome.

Over the years the popes converted the structure into a castle, beginning in the 14th century; Pope Nicholas III connected the castle to St Peter’s Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo. The Papal state also used Sant’Angelo as a prison.

In the next few days I’ll write about Trastevere, the Roman Forum and the National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II. Till then, Ciao!