In the Zone

….my husband hard at work in the outdoor studio

Kevin has been working from his office in the house all winter and I was thrilled to bring all his art supplies back outside to work on larger pieces. This studio is the old garage that we renovated last summer and as long as the weather is warm it’s a great place to work. On Saturday and Sunday he spent a good 10 hours of non-stop painting.


The Big Draw

….an art event sponsored by the Toronto Historical Museums

Last weekend I was surrounded by art. On Saturday I spent the day at WAAC downtown, selling used books from our library. It rained off and on so we decided to hold the sale inside the gallery where a beautiful show was on display. It is called ‘Artists Choice’. My only regret is that I didn’t take any photos to share with you.

On Sunday I volunteered to man the chalk mural outside of Montgomery’s Inn. It was only one of many art activities that was taking place at the Inn. Some of the rooms were set up with paper and pencils for patrons to sketch the still life arrangement that had been created for the event and other rooms had brown paper on the tables with crayons for anyone to draw on. One of the highlights at the Inn took place in the Briarly Room where an artist was supervising the painting of the windows to look like stained glass. Adults and children alike enjoyed painting this very large piece.

All in all the Big Draw was a big success at the Inn. On Saturday they had about 80 people show up and on Sunday close to 140 took part in the activities. I spent a good six hours there creating art with chalk on the walls around the patio. Sadly the rain in recent days has washed much of it away but we knew that would happen going into it.IMG-3795

Inside the Inn there were plenty of activities for those who didn’t want to brave the cooler temperatures outside.fullsizeoutput-7b50

Fan of…..#32 – Big Sand Bay

….thanks to Jez Braithwaite for hosting Fan of…..

I’m a big fan of the beach down from my cottage on Georgian Bay. Last weekend the beach was quiet. It was a beautiful weekend but most people stayed in the city. I’m not complaining because I loved the solitude and spending time with my dog, Frances.P1080194

A Busy Weekend

……surrounded by family and friends

This weekend started on Friday when my husband and I drove up to Vaughn to buy a porchetta for our family dinner on Saturday. I really should have taken a photo but I didn’t. I find more and more that I’m just enjoying the moment without having to document everything with my camera.

On Saturday I continued to organize my studio and I started to put together the last piece of furniture from IKEA. At least everything is now in neat piles and I’m able to move around the studio without tripping over boxes and random bits of paper, frames and canvases.

Later in the afternoon I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend from my teaching days. It’s been a busy week for this lovely lady as she and her husband are getting ready to fly to Mexico for her son’s wedding. Her son and future daughter-in-law were in town for a few days so they were able to attend the party. They actually boarded a plane later that night and are now in Mexico to make final arrangements for the wedding.

When I got home around 5:30 my family were already at the house and my husband had prepared all the food for dinner. Again I didn’t take any photos. We had a very nice time and Winnie and I snuck off after dinner to give her parents a few moments to relax with the rest of the family. Winnie’s favourite TV show is Peppa Pig and she was mesmerized for about 15 minutes.

Today started off nice and sunny but quickly became very grey and overcast. Fortunately is was very mild so when Kevin and I went to visit a friend in the hospital we were able to park on the street a little ways from the hospital. We didn’t mind walking and I was able to get in about 4000 extra steps. After our visit we decided to walk up one of our favourite streets in Toronto, Roncesvalles, and look for a coffee shop.

When we got home tonight, Kevin made dinner again and afterwards I phoned my sister in Calgary and then my Dad and I played a game of cribbage. I haven’t yet painted today but the evening is still young and I tend to do my best work at night anyway.

Here are a few shots that I took on Friday when I went for my walk.

Volleyball, Toilets and Trad Music

…..exciting two days

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my personal adventures and daily routines. I don’t know where the time has gone but being sick and dealing with family members who are also under the weather has definitely put my writing for this blog on the back burner. I’m also trying to get my house ready for our new addition. No, we’re not expecting another grandchild or taking in a foster child. My 90 year old father has decided he wants to live with us. Of course, we couldn’t say no.

Since the March Break I’ve been sick with an ear infection and then with a sinus cold. My hearing has suffered greatly and I feel like I’m under water. I can’t tell you how many times I have misheard what people are saying. Sometimes it can be quite comical but it’s also frustrating. I think I’m getting better but in the evenings my throat gets quite sore. Other than that I feel okay and I haven’t taken any time off from work.

Earlier this week, my friend and colleague, P, asked me if I wanted to be part of a volleyball team and play in a tournament against teachers from other schools. I agreed to do it as long as I felt well. By Friday, three people dropped out and that left us with only six players. Regardless of how I was feeling, I just couldn’t drop out, so I went to the tournament.

When I got there I felt somewhat intimidated by the players from the other teams. I think there was only one other player out of 45 players or more who was older than me. On our team, we had two 26 year olds, two 31 year olds, one 50 year old and me, the almost senior citizen.

Once we started playing, I quickly lost any inhibitions and just had fun. My serves were terrible but by the last game I finally worked out what I was doing wrong and my serves improved immensely. There were six teams in total and to my amazement we made it into the finals. In the seventh and final game we played against one of the teams we had lost against. At that point I was happy to place second. It was in that game that I took some chances and I actually dove for a ball and landed on my knees (no knee pads, of course). OUCH!

I got up quickly and assured everyone that I was okay. I kept playing (there were no substitutes) and in a very close game we ended up winning it all. I think we were all a little surprised but ecstatic. Not bad for a group of people that had never played volleyball together. Afterwards we went out with the team we beat in the finals (they were great sports) and had a drink.

Later that evening when I got home I had a bit of a headache and a sore throat. The latter was from the cold and the former might have been from the fall. I think I jostled my brain when my knees hit the floor. Today, however, the headache was gone and I haven’t suffered any aches or pains from the activities of the previous night. Maybe I should look for a senior’s volleyball team to join when I retire.20170331_201317_resized-2

On Saturday, my husband and I spent the day looking for toilets and kitchen cabinets. When we agreed to have Dad come and live with us we knew that the basement would need some major renovations. We bought a toilet, a grab bar and at Ikea we started to plan out the kitchen. They have an amazing computer program for planning out your kitchen. I think we spent a good hour or more just playing around with different configurations for our tiny little space. When you’re done it gives you a parts list and the total cost of your kitchen.

In 8 days our contractor is coming to the house to start the job so we still have a little bit of time before we make our final decision. The tiles for the bathroom are purchased and the living area is mostly cleared so those two areas can be started on right away.

In the evening Kevin and I went out for dinner at a restaurant not far from our house. In the last year we have become quite close with Will, the owner of Sugar for my Honey. He is always trying new things to bring customers into his restaurant. Last night he hosted a great musical event with live Trad music. The group, Nua, is a Canadian trio, featuring a guitarist, a bodhran player and a fiddle player. If music is food for the soul, this group filled the bill. The event sold out and the crowd loved the food and the music. Here is a video of one of their selections from their new CD, Flow.IMG_1524

Flow (click to open)



Share Your World 2016 – Week 2

….thanks Cee for this week’s questions but I can’t help but think that I’ve answered one or two of these before

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?

Absolutely. I think it would be pretty arrogant to think that we are the only race of beings to inhabit the universe.

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

I haven’t lived in too many different places. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany and when I was one we moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria. Soon after that we boarded an ocean liner and moved to Canada where I have lived most of my life in Toronto. For a period of four years, when I was 6 to 10 we lived in Oakville (a bedroom community close to Toronto) and when I went to university I lived in the town of Guelph.

If you given $22 million tax free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you would do?

I would pay off all my credit cards and then give each of my children $1 million dollars, so they could pay off their debts and own a home. After that I would probably put aside enough money to live on comfortably and afford a couple of vacations a year for the rest of my life. Then I would share the rest with my sisters and friends and donate to different charities every year. Spread the wealth!

The Never List: What are things you’ve never done? Or things you know you never will do?

I will never and have never done the following:

  1. Jump from 10m tower into water
  2. Go bungee jumping
  3. Go skydiving
  4. Do drugs
  5. Climb Mt. Everest
  6. Smoke

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 my son has started to heal from his surgery and that he returned safely to London, England on Monday night. Before he left we spent some quality family time with his siblings and our granddaughter. Last Saturday, B, A, J and I drove to the Aga Khan Museum and spent a couple of hours perusing the artifacts from the middle east. It was fun watching my children take in the displays and actually taking the time to read the text that explained the history of the different ceramics, books and articles of clothing.


After our experience at the museum we drove to Hamilton and met up with my husband and younger daughter and her family. There was a whirlwind of activity in the kitchen as homemade meatballs were being prepared by the two of them while the rest of us took turns holding the baby and entertaining her. She is so curious now that she doesn’t want to sleep. The dinner was fabulous.

IMG_7315On Sunday I drove my son to the AGO to meet up with one of his good friends and to see the Turner show. I enjoyed our time together but I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of Turner’s work. I liked his small watercolour studies but his large pieces were too dark and gloomy for me. I am, however, very curious to see the movie on his life. I think he was one very strange man.


Later this week I’m hoping to figure out how to transfer photos from my new camera to my iPhone and computer using WiFi. So far transferring my photos onto the computer and onto my phone has been a challenge to say the least.

Hopefully I can sort out my photography problems so that I can continue to participate in photo challenges.


A New Farmers’ Market in a New Home Town, a Visit From One Sister, Washing the Car and a Children’s Concert

…..needless to say it’s been a busy weekend

On Saturday my husband and I drove to Hamilton to return my daughter’s husband and dog (see yesterday’s post). It was probably the warmest day we’ve had this season. Both my husband and I were uncomfortable with the sudden heat. I’m not sure if Hamilton was warmer than Toronto but it certainly wasn’t that warm when we left the big city.

When we arrived our daughter was in the process of putting away dishes in the kitchen. There are still a lot of boxes that need to be unpacked. I really thought we were going to help with this massive job but G and B had other plans for us. B and I drove up the mountain to the paint store to pick up paint and G and her Dad walked up the street to pick up some lunch.

After lunch K and I walked to the end of the street to check out the Farmers’ Market. It was pretty big and there was a great selection of produce, meat, fish, cheese, baked goods, coffee and spices. There were also a number of vendors selling crafts.

When we returned B was already prepping for painting. I guess until the painting is done there isn’t much that can be done in the way of putting things away. We had a feeling that our help wasn’t really needed. We enjoyed a cup of coffee that we picked up at the market. It is literally only a five to ten minute walk from the house. When we left, B was well into painting the living room.

On Sunday, my sister from Chatham dropped by before heading back to the farm. She was in town to visit her two children. Her daughter was suppose to leave for Nepal this week for a three month co-op placement. She needs this in order to graduate. Fortunately for her the trip was cancelled because of the earthquake. Actually she was very disappointed but my sister was relieved. I’m sure the school will come up with another placement.

It was nice catching up with my sister. We didn’t even see each other at Christmas so one of the reasons for the visit was to pick up her Christmas gift which had been gathering dust in the corner of my living room.

I’m embarrassed to admit it but Sunday was the first time since the fall that I washed the car. It was also the first time that I took the car to one of those do-it-yourself car washes. It was the best $4.00 I ever spent. If I’d had more change I would have washed the floor mats and vacuumed the inside of the car. Next time!

On my way home from the car wash I got a phone call from my friend L and she reminded me of the children’s concert that we had talked about earlier in the week. I had completely forgotten about it but luckily it was being held in the neighbourhood at the Assembly Hall. I quickly fixed dinner and then I walked over to the college. The concert was put on by the Etobicoke Children’s Chorus. It was a special night because it was the farewell performance for the choir’s choral director.

As you can see it was a pretty busy weekend. In between all the fun things I’ve written about I also managed to do a little gardening, I cleaned up the kitchen, started cleaning the refrigerator, did some laundry and drove to Canadian Tire to pick up some household items.

Great Weather, Great News, Great Concert

….it’s been a wonderful weekend and I can finally share my big news

1. Finally a beautiful weekend, weather-wise. Sunshine and warmer temperatures. I managed to get out on Saturday for a walk with the dog and took some photos of the neighbourhood.

2. Also on Saturday, my husband and I picked up our youngest daughter and her dog Lucy and brought them back to our house. G’s husband was on a business trip so she was looking for some company and she needed a break from packing boxes. This Friday they will be moving from their tiny apartment in uptown Toronto to a 4 bedroom Victorian semi in Hamilton. It’s a move they need to make because they needed more room to accommodate the new baby that they are expecting in October. Yeah!!!!!!!!! I’m finally going to be a grandmother. That’s my BIG news!

3. Today my friend DM invited me to a concert downtown. The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto hosted a live competition to present the Career Development Awards. The concert featured the three finalists who were chosen from a pool of 10 candidates chosen by CBC regional producers. Usually a jury of musical experts from across Canada rank all the entries based on written and audio materials and select a winner but because this was the tenth anniversary for the award (given every three years) a live competition was held. Prizes of $20 000., $10 000 and $5000 were awarded for first, second and third place.

All three competitors played magnificently. There were two pianists and one cello player. First prize went to Charles Richard-Hamelin on piano, second prize to Stéphane Tétreault on cello and third prize to Pierre-André Doucet on piano (my personal favourite).

I’ve found Pierre-André Doucet’s performance of Carl Vine’s Piano Sonata No. 1 on YouTube.

Stéphane was the youngest performer at 22 and played this beautiful arrangement of Hayden’s Divertimento in D Major.

I couldn’t find the exact piece that Charles Richard-Hamelin played today but here is a sample of Chopin.

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.

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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.

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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.


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!


Sitting By The Dock of the Bay

….new road and empty beach

My first weekend up at the cottage greeted me with a couple of firsts.

The first new experience was the new road that was built sometime between last October and this June. To get to my cottage I have to take a car ferry across the bay to the island. The ferry makes this trip every 1 1/2 hours and it’s about a 20 minute trip. In the last few years the line-ups for the ferry have gotten very long and sometimes you have to wait for a second ferry to get on board.

The new road is wide  and only one way and makes perfect sense. Now the cars exiting the ferry onto the mainland go up the hill that used to be where cars waited to get on the ferry. The new road allows for cars to form a double line and pretty much accommodates all the cars waiting for the ferry without impeding traffic flow.

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The second biggest change is the state of the beach. It’s completely empty. No beach chairs, benches, toys, boats or people. Where is everyone?

Last fall new rules were implemented for the beach. Everything had to be removed before the season ended or it was removed for you. I get that. The new rule, however, requires you take everything with you at the end of each day and not leave anything behind when you go back to the cottage. This is a bit of a problem for people with boats and for elderly people or people with disabilities who would have a problem carrying beach chairs back and forth, especially up the dunes.

As for the people, I have to admit that it was a bit chilly on Saturday for people to be sunbathing but there weren’t even any folks out walking along the beach. Hmmm?

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