Monday, July 30, 2007

I Can't Believe It's Over

I can’ believe that it's over! I finished reading Harry Potter and The Dealthy Hallows two days after it’s release and have spent this week pondering my thoughts and feelings before I wrote this entry. I turned the last page on the saga of Harry Potter with a sense of sadness.

This last book was fast paced and I enjoyed every nail biting, hair raising moment on my journey with Harry, Ron & Hermione as they traveled towards their ultimate goal - killing Lord Voldemort - originally, Tom Riddle.

When Harry finally conquers Lord Voldemort, I especially enjoyed that he demoted him from the all powerful Lord Voldemort to Tom Riddle. He would not give Voldemort the satisfaction of calling him by his chosen name but referred to him as ‘Riddle’. I found myself actually giving Harry a ‘way-to-go’ during this fierce and final battle.

Yes Potter fans, there were many deaths, some of whom I had not expected. The free house elf - Dobby returns, only to die at the hands of the nasty Bellastrix Lestrange.

I had expected that Petunia, (Harry’s Aunt), would become a major part in Harry’s overthrow of Voldemort, maybe even turn out to be witch herself, but alas no.

Harry Potter and the Dealthly Hallows is full of evil villains; the death eaters the worst of them. Of course, Voldemort in this final installment is filled with an unprecedented hate.

I cheered for Neville Longbottom as he championed against the evil Lord Voldemort. He has been a favourite character for me; goofy, but intelligent, fearful, yet full of courage. I also loved that he ended up a Professor at Hogwarts. It is a shame though that we are not privy to what the main characters are doing nineteen years down the track.

I did feel that the last chaper, ‘Nineteen Years On,’ was rather anticlimactic … perhaps deliberately so with no real closure to Harry’s story. I was left lingering, wondering…Have I expected too much? Many authors leave readers guessing … what becomes of the central characters and their lives. Having been part of Harry Potter’s life for so long, maybe I have come to expect more than I should. But then I remind myself, this is just fiction and Harry Potter’s life is no longer. His life is what the author created for him…and what an exciting life it was!
This was the best ride I ever took ….. did you enjoy the ride?????

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Beautiful Like A Flower

Sebrina had this song on her blog today.

It is such a powerful song and I wanted to share it on my blog as well. It is a beautiful song by India Arie.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Zander is having a sleepover tonight.

He wanted to have bubble bath in our soaker tub.

Looks likes he's having fun to me!!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Up For Air

Well, I haven't surfaced since I bought the new Harry Potter book on Saturday morning just after the release time of 12:01am.

Anyhow, I'm up for air and a coffee. I have just finished page 511. The book is GREAT!!!

I have laughed, I have cried and I have been unable to put this book down.

I can't wait until they make this one into a movie.

Getting Closer

Well, the grouting is complete on the walls. And as well we have installed the marble threshold on the curb.
It's starting to look like a real shower.
Since we removed a bathtub to install this shower it is quite large. Don & I were both in there yesterday to grout and we didn't even bump into each other.
When this is done I'm going to look for a teak stool, so I can sit down when I shower.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Harry will be here at midnight.

16 hours, 17 minutes as I write this entry.

Sebrina & I are going to Chapters/Indigo Bookstores at 9:30pm tonight for the festivities and release of the book at 12:00 midnight. She is going to pick up her copy. (Mine is being delivered tomorrow).

The spoilers are running amok on the internet, so stay away ... don't do a search or you'll find out what happens at the end of this last book in the Harry Potter series. Although I can't say that I won't turn to the last page before I actually read the book. It will take a great deal of willpower to not do that, but I'm going to try.

I've already made an appointment for a massage on Monday, as I know I will be reading straight through the weekend, ooooooch, my neck is going to be killing me by Monday.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Reproduction Art

Do you like art, but can't afford the real thing?

I have been working with posters for a few years using a technique that makes them look and feel like a real oil painting. It is really quite simple, take very little extra materials and lots of patience.

Here's what you'll need.

First choose your poster. There are a few great sites to buy posters from ..., and

Now, depending upon the size of your poster you will need a stretched canvas. Try to get a canvas the same size as the actual print not the size of the poster which usually has a one colour border around the edges, which you will cut off and discard. As well you will need acrylic medium, sponges, brushes, scotchbrite pad and a bathtub.

The first thing you need to do is make sure all of your materials are assembed. Put an couple of inches of tepid water into your bathtub. Lay the poster into the water making sure that it is submerged and completely wetted. A warning here - when the poster is wet it becomes very fragile. I did one and unfortunately I ripped it in two spots when removing it from the water. However I liked the way it looked with the tears, so I ripped it in a few more spots. When I took it in to be framed the framer thought it was an antique painting.

Now lay the poster on top of your canvas to position it and remember the poster is very fragile. When you are happy with the position fold the poster back on top of itself in half and brush the acrylic medium on the canvas. Lay the poster over the canvas and to the same for the other half. Using a brush now apply more medium on top of the poster, working out the bubbles, etc... If you get creases and like the look of age do a few rips, scratch off a bit of the print, there are a number of things you can do to age the poster. Just have fun and play with it. The first one I did, I bought a very cheap poster $5.00 and wasn't worried if it didn't turn out. It did however, and still hangs in my master bathroom.

When you have completely covered the poster with the medium, the fun begins. Using a sponge or a scotchbrite you can now add texture to the medium but dabbing the sponge of scotchbrite into the medium. This will give an allover even texture. If you want more texture you can also embellish the artists brush strokes by brushing over them with more medium. The acrylic medium has a fairly long "open" time so you can play for quite a while to get the effect you want.

Oh, I forgot to tell you, when you brush on the medium it looks milky white, but dries clear.

There, now, you are done and you have an original oil painting for a fraction of the cost.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ethiopia - Through an 11 Year Olds Eyes

This video is a young boys account of travelling to Ethiopia. I found it on a blog I have been reading and wanted to share it with those who follow my blog as well.

Once you have visited Africa ... you are changed in unexplainable ways. It is a profound weight that is placed on your heart to help someone .... anyone. Since bringing our darling Gabriella into our lives, I feel a tie to this magnificent country and spent countless hours searching for something meaningful to me that I can utilize to reach out to this country.

This young boy also felt the ancient pull of Africa, marvelled at her beauty & felt the tug at his heart strings for this country so desparately in need of help.

Enjoy this beautiful 6 minute video.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Ethiopian Friend

While in Ethiopia I met this very dear man - Sintayehu. He was hired by the adoption agency to take my daughter and I to the orphange to pick up Gabriella. On our drive home we found out that his name was the same as Gabriella's birth name Sintayhu. He also generously offered us the use of his cell phone until we left Addis Ababa. This generous offer most definately started a friendship for me. He did so much for us, helped carry our water, took me shopping, was my translator, offered to be our guard wherever we went, even going so far as to check on Gabriella when we had to come home and leave her in the care of a nanny for a few extra weeks. This picture shows him holding Gabriella.

Sintayehu expressed to me a strong desire to come to Canada. He is a hardworker driving many, many hours as a taxi cab driver as well as going to school part time to study nursing.

I have spent quite a lot of time researching how to help him get here, but am having trouble coming up with how he could migrate. I have been reading about coming over as a student, but I am not sure that he would qualify for a nursing program here in Canada as it is now a Bachelor of Science degree to become a Registered Nurse. From what he told me I don't believe he completed a standard high school diploma but a 2 year course following public school. My daughter recently told me about some of the families she is in contact with hiring immigrants from Ethiopia as caregivers. I think that this might be the easiest and quickest way to bring Sinta here. Once he was established here he could start looking for work or pursue completing his education.

It is amazing how difficult it is to immigrate to Canada. With the strong multi cultural influence we enjoy in this country and given these difficulties I keep encountering, I wonder how do these new Canadians manage to make it here? Is there something I am missing, do they know something I don't?

So I am putting this entry in my blog to ask for help, information, etc... If you have any suggestions or know someone in the GTA who might be looking for home care help, please email me. I have most of the information regarding wages, room & board, etc....

I have started a savings account for Sinta to help him financially when hopefully he can migrate to our country. I would be most grateful for any donations you might feel led to make.

Sinta more than once demonstrated to me that he is honest, hardworking & genuine in his desire to better himself.

If he stays in Ethiopia in his words, "I have no future".............

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Only NINE days until "Harry Potter & The Dealthy Gallows" arrives in book stores.

Have you reserved yours yet? I did and was notified today that it will be delivered to me on July 21st. It is already packaged and waiting for Canada Post to pick it up for definite delivery on the day of release.

Who will die?
Will Harry die?
Will Lord Voldemort?
Will Dumbledore come back?

Remember, not everything is as it seems!

It would seem that the majority think that Harry will be killed off to end this series as JK Rowlings has said this is definately the last book. Wouldn't it be better to kill of Voldemort and then have Harry become a muggle? That way it does leave the door open and all of Harry's fans won't be so devasted by his death. I know, I know .... you say it is only a book, but those of us who love this series will certainly feel a stab of heart pain if Harry does indeed die.
I am so excited to get and read the book, but at the same time I am so fearful that Harry will be the one to die ... not the ending I am hoping for.

Sky Burial

Sebrina recently shared with me a lovely book called "Sky Burial" by Xinran Xue.

It was a mesmerizing memoir of a woman who decides to leave her family in China to travel to a very remote part of Tibet to search for her husband whom she was notified had died while there with the army.

I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in less than 2 days, sitting for hours at a time because I just couldn't put it down.

Here is an excerpt from the book.

I Can't Leave Him in Tibet Alone

Death Notice - This is to certify that Comrade Wang Kejun died in an incident in the east of Tibet on 24 March 1958, aged 29. Issued by the Suzhou Military Office, Jiangsu Province, 2 June 1958.

Wen stood stunned on the steps of the military headquarters, the summer rain of the Yangtze delta monsoon drenching her hair and face. Kejun, dead? Her husband of less than a hundred days, dead? The sweetness of those first days after their marriage lingered in her heart. She could still feel their warmth. Of those hundred days, they had only spent three weeks together. It was impossible that he was dead. He had been so strong, so talkative, so full of life when he set out for Tibet. An army doctor wouldn't have been directly involved in the fighting. What "incident" was this? How did he die? Why could nobody give her any information? They had not even added a few words to testify that he died a revolutionary martyr as they always did for soldiers who fell in battle. Why not? In the flood of buoyant "Reports of Victory from the People''s Liberation Army on Entering Tibet," there had been no mention of an incident in which Kejun could have died. Staff at the military office responsible for comforting the widows and orphans of fallen soldiers had told Wen privately that they hadn''t received any of the standard battlefield bulletins from Tibet. Wen stood in the Suzhou street, unheeding of the rain. The busy life of the town continued around her, but she noticed nothing. An hour passed, then another. She was soaked in sorrow and bewilderment. The chiming bells of Cold Mountain Temple called her back from her grief. Returning to the hospital where she worked, truly alone for the first time, a thought flashed through her mind. What if Kejun had simply been separated from his unit, like all those soldiers who were mistakenly reported dead when they were actually on their way home? Perhaps he was in danger or had fallen ill. She couldn't leave him in Tibet, alone. The idea, conceived in that chill rain, that she should go and find Kejun proved to be so powerful that, despite all the attempts of her family, friends, and colleagues to talk her out of it, Wen was determined to join her husband's regiment and travel to Tibet. She rushed around every government office she could find, tearfully thrusting her marriage certificate, Kejun''s parting note, even his few personal possessions -- his towel, handkerchief, and tea mugat everyone she saw. "My husband must be alive," she insisted. "He wouldn''t abandon his new wife and the future mother of his children."


I love to garden!
I love to watch the first buds of spring start to open.
I love to watch as the snow slowly melts and receeds and I can see my beloved garden and smell the damp musty earth.
I love to get out my garden ornaments and get ready to put them back in their place of honour in my garden.
I love to hear the birds as they all arrive back in my garden. In fact this 3rd year in this home, the yellow finches which I feed regularly throughout the summer, actually came to my back door, attached themselves to my screen and sang rather loudly. Once I put the niger seed in the feeder they were content.

If I could just sit still long enough until everything actually bloomed. This beautiful orange lily surrounded by Lady's Mantle came from my daughter Sebrina's garden in their first home. She let me dig them up before they moved. After waiting through 2 summers of only one stem with one lonely little bloom on top, it has rewarded me this year with well over 25 flowers on 3 separate stems.

These beautiful daisies came from a friend who lives in Manilla. Due to minor flooding in their basement, her entire perennial garden had to be uprooted and transplanted. She generously offered me this huge clump of daisies.

Nothing draws me outside quicker than newly opened flowers, sitting under my new gazebo, with a good book and a cup of tea.
Every corner of my garden is attached to a memory of someone I love. In face when we first moved into this home our dear friend & real estate agent Lesley gave us a gift certificate from a local nursery. So a lovely garden which holds a place of honour in the front of our home, is called Lesley's garden.
This year Don even got involved. While nursery browsing one day he spied a red lily which he really liked so it is planted on the other side of the Lady's Mantle and blooms a few weeks before the orange one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Update on the Shower

Well as you can see things are moving along nicely on the shower. The subway tiles are almost complete .... just a few special cuts and the glass mosaic is in place.

Then we grout.

Don has done a very good job considering he has never installed a shower and never done any ceramic tiling. My job .... (as I installed a complete countertop and backsplash in our previous home as well as installing the entire tumbled marble & slate backsplash in our kitchen in our new home, was to make all the cuts and as well to do the grouting when he finishes the tiling. Don did the tiling as I cannot kneel anymore due to my bad knee. He was on the ground for hours doing the floor and then up to about the eighth row. OOOUCH!

I can hardly wait to complete the grouting and get the marble threshold on. Then we can order the glass walls & door for the front of the enclosure.

We're going to have a shower party when it's complete. Wanna come? (LOL)

Re-Connecting with Sherri

What a wonderful day I had yesterday!!!!

Sebrina, Gabriella & I drove one hour & 15 minutes to Waterloo yesterday to visit with Sherri and Bethelyn after leaving Ethiopia & Sherri back in March.

This is our very first picture all together.

Our two little Ethiopian sisters got along wonderfully. Beth even came to both Sebrina & I without making strange whatsoever. Sherrie said, "Maybe there's a soul connection there."

How wonderful it was to see Sherri & Beth again after all these months, how much Beth has grown, seeing Sherri in her lovely home and visiting without all the stress we all endured in Ethiopia. We got to share some more stories, talked about our favourite cab driver Sinta and just sat over the beautiful lunch Sherri prepared for us & reminisced.

While in Ethiopia, Sherri's husband Ivan was a wonderful support to her not to mention the hours of research and government contacts he made on hers and our behalf.

So you can imagine our surprise when he came home for lunch. It was truly a joy to meet him and to be able to thank him personnally for his wonderful attentions and support we felt across all the miles.

I brought my scrapbook of all the pictures Sherri & I had shared from Ethiopia for her see and as well I brought two of her pictures which I had printed in Sepia and framed. She hand signed these beautiful original photographs for me which I will cherish always. Thanks Sherri!!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Salwar Kameez

Don's youngest brother is getting married in November of this year.

I only wear jeans and tee shirts since I am no longer working outside my home and have agonized over what to wear to this wedding. A new outfit including shoes could run into $500.00.

I came across these beautiful custom made Pakistani Salwar Kameez for $150.00 USD (free shipping) and and think I am going to have one made for the wedding. The price includes the Dupatta (stole), the salwar (trouser) and the kurta (dress or shirt). They have unlimited types of fabrics ... Silk, Pre-Shrunk Cotton, Linen, Chiffon, Crepe, LiziBizi, Tie-n-Dye, Georgette, Voile, Summer Cool, Chickan, Satin, Organza, Crush, Tissue, Velvet, Handspun Khadi, Handmade Jute and almost any colour you desire. It would be a different look, but I love loose, flowing clothing, so will most probably have it made in either silk or georgette. I also adore the colour of the one in the picture so will ask for that colour and embroidery pattern.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Wonderful Book

Here is a terrific book for those of you who love Africa (especially Ethiopia) as much as I.

While reading one of my "Traditional Home" magazines, I saw a page devoted to a new cook book titled, "The Soul of a New Cuisine" by Marcus Samuellson.
Marcus was orphaned in a tuberculosis epidemic raging through his native Ethiopia when he was just three years old. After finding shelter in a Swedish field hospital, he and his young sister were adopted by a young Swedish couple. He started to learn how to cook at the age of six or seven. He studied at the Culinary Institute in Gotenborg and at various places in Switzerland and Austria before taking an eight-month internship at Aquavit in New York City. He then took a position at Georges Blanc in Lyon, France, a three-star Michelin restaurant. At twenty-four, Marcus became Executive Chef of Aquavit and received a three-star rating from the New York Times.

On one of Marcus' recent trips to Ethiopia, he had one of the most meaningful experiences of his life. He always thought that he had been orphaned, but his sister discovered their biological father. His name is Tsegie and he was still alive. Marcus met him in April 2005 in the small village where he was born and his father still lives as a priest and farmer along with eight half brothers and sisters he he never knew he had.
This book is the result of his many visits to Africa and contains 204 recipes and 258 color photos which are enriched with personal and political history; as in his many condiments and sauces, the balance is right. While he stresses the diversity and bounty of the second-largest continent, he repeatedly describes African cuisine as poor people's cooking, crafted with simple tools and necessarily emphasizing starches, vegetables and big flavors. Whether it's rosemary for Honey Bread or turmeric, ginger and cinnamon in his Vegetable Samosas, herbs and spices are always sauteed in oil or tossed in a hot dry pan, to intensify and mellow. He even proposes toasting the cinnamon for the whipped cream accompanying his Ethiopian Chocolate Rum Cake. The recipe for the cake is typical: the batter is prepared in a single bowl, mixed with a spoon, and bakes up moist and gingerbread-like, with great keeping properties. Toasting the cinnamon takes seconds and is impressive in the complexity it delivers.

Finally Some Shade

You may recall from a previous post that we lost the majority of our Maple tree during a rather fierce storm a few weeks ago. You can see it in the background and there is not very much left of the trunk or the foliage above.

Being rather fair skinned, I couldn't stand the lack of shade anymore so went out and bought a gazebo. It has shades and curtains, so we can keep out the bugs as well as the sun when it dips below the roof.

We have already enjoyed our long weekend and company under the gazebo having a good old Canada Day barbeque with the grandkids. Of course for the adults a Caesar or three, then some good old barbequed all beef weenies and then Mike (our son-in-law) treated us all to Hagan Daas ice cream bars. Yum!!!

Guess I'll be watching the calories this week. No potatoes, bread, pasta or white rice for me this week. In face I put in almost an hour at the pool this morning. Hopefully that burnt off all those nasty calories.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Here We Go Again!

Well, here we go again.

The master bath needs to be gutted and renovated, due to water damage from the previous owners.

So far, Don has removed the old bathtub and waterproofed the enclosure using a terrific system called the "Shluter Shower System" ... check out their website it is quite the system -

We have laid porcelain mosaic tiles for the floor and as well on the front & back of the curb.

Here's Don putting the subway tiles on the wall.

Will keep you all posted as we progress.

Have to say a great big thanks to Les who gave Don the "Make It Right" book by Mike Holmes. What a wonderful help that has been.

The Loves of My Life

Jayden & Daddy are having a private joke.
Zander says, "I'm having a little trouble getting this hat on over all this hair".
Poppa loooooves Gabriella .... who wouldn't?

My Sweetheart - Ryan

Since Ryan didn't make the "Ahhhhhh Grandchildren" post picture with Poppa & his brothers and sister ... here is a picture of my beauty and a special entry devoted just to Ryan.

First grandchild .... holds a special place in Mammy's heart.
Ryan is a very sensitive child and it shows in his attitude towards others. When I had my knee surgery and came over to visit a few weeks after he wanted me to go upstairs to the loft to play with him. I as well as Sebrina told him that my knee was too sore to climb the stairs. Well the look on his face was heartbreaking so I decided to go and just put my good leg first. That wouldn't do for Ryan, so off he runs to get a cushion which he put under my arm and then put my arm around his shoulders to help me up the stairs ... no small feat for a child.

Ever since he was old enough to toddle around he has always shown that kind of love & empathy towards others who are hurt.

What a special boy ..... "mammy's love"!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Beautiful Gabriella

Before Sebrina & I went to Ethiopia to bring home Gabriella, I held a Blessingway for Sebrina.

This little dress is one of the gifts that I gave Sebrina for her new little girl.

I adore flowers and thought the flowers on this fabric of this dress was beautiful. I hope that Gabriella has an opportunity to wear it when it fits her a little better.

Maybe Mammy, Mommy and Gabriella will have to go out for a "girls day out"!!

What do you think?

Grandma's Cures

This is very interesting ........

To relieve headache pain almost immediately drink two glasses of Gatorade - no side affects which can be caused by traditional pain relievers.

Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns.

If you have a stuffy nose - chew on a couple of Altoids peppermints.

For achy muscles from a bout of the flu ... mix 1 tblsp horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply as a massage oil for instant relief.

For a sore throat mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1/4 cup honey and take 1 tblsp 6 times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure a urinary tract infection with Alka-Seltzer. Dissolve 2 tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the outset of symptoms. Alka Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infects almost instantly.

Cover acne blemishes with a dab of honey and cover with bandage. Honey kills the bacteria keeping the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight.

Listerine mouthwash works great for toenail fungus. Soak your toes in Listerine ... the powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

To remove a splinter, place a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let it dry and then peel off the dried glue. The splinter should stick to the glue and come right out. (Good idea for children who are very scared to let you take out a splinter with a needle)

Cover a boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acid from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine ... a powerful antiseptic.

Soak a cooton ball in white vinegar and apply it to a bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Do your kitties have ear mites? A few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear, then massage, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat every day for 3 days. The oil sooths the cat's skin, smoothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl, then warm in the microwave for 1 minute. Cool slightly. Apply the mixture to the your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.


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