Friday, May 30, 2008

Thoughts of Summer

Ah .... the lazy days of summer are quickly approaching.

Daydreams of sitting on my deck sipping a Bloody Caesar ... my nose breathing in the scents of fresh mown grass, peony's, lilacs, barbeque's .... my ears picking up the subtle sounds of water running in the creek, the mallard ducks living there, children playing, lawnmowers, birds waking up at 4:30 in the morning .... getting up with the sun to enjoy the calm of the early morning.

As I sit drinking my protein smoothie this morning, I am looking out into the ravine behind my home and words that say summer come to mind, so let's see how many I can come up with to describe summer.

A - Activity, Al la carte

B - Barbeque, Braising, Bicycling, Beach, Bathing Suit

C - Clamdiggers, Cucumbers, Charcoal, Chaise Lounge

D - Deck, Dahlias, Daylilies

E - Eating, Echinacea

F - Flipflops, Fireflies

G - Gardening, Green

H - Häagen Daz ice cream bar, Hostas, Hibachi, Hiking, Hammock

I - Ice Cream , Ice cubes - 4 please

J - June, July, Junebugs

K - Kids swimming, skating, biking, catching minnows

L - Linen, Lawn

M - Melamine, Marinade

N - No snow, Niagara Falls

O - Outside

P - Patio Furniture, Poppies, Poplin

Q - Quiet mornings

R - Rays of sun, gentle summer Rain

S - Swimming, Sunburn, Seashells, Smores, Sandles, Solomon's Seal, Seersucker & Swiss Dot fabrics, Sangria, Sunflowers

T - Tan, Tube top, Tomatoes

U - Patio Umbrella, Under the awning

V - Vacation, Vanilla anything, fresh Vegetables, Venice, Veranda, Vinegarette

W - Water, Walking, Wicker, Wine Spritzer

X - Xerothermic - meaning "dry and hot"a good description of Canadian summers

Y - Yellow for the sunshine

Z - Zinnias

Monday, May 26, 2008

Graduation Day

Today I graduated from Physio therapy.

After 7 1/2 months of practically living at two separate clinics for therapy 3-5 times weekly, I am very excited to have my life back. It has been a very long road.

This is me with my wonderful therapist Lee - she was tough but kind to help me achieve the best I could with my knee.

We had a little celebration with cake, coffee and tea. All the patients who were scheduled for therapy today, got treated to a slice of my devils food chocolate cake with whipped cream, raspberries and chocolate ganache.

This picture is Lee with her office manager Cindy, who stopped for a moment to let me take her picture.

Their clinic is moving this weekend and Cindy was busy running back and forth taking boxes to the new office.

My last appointment was a little bittersweet ... Although I hated to go for therapy so much, we developed a great relationship and I will certainly miss them.

It felt a little like my home away from home.

By the way I graudated with a final mark of A+++++

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tears for Ethiopia

This post is not for the faint of heart.

I read this article on a friends' blog and I felt I wanted to post it to share with those who visit my blog.

This article made me weep for the beautiful country that gave our family Gabriella.

We have such abundance in our country .... but how often do we give a second thought to running to the corner store to pick up something .... go grocery shopping and throw items in our buggy that we don't really need, but just want .... decide one evening to order take out .... feel like a little snack and just throw something together from items already in our pantry or refrigerator .... how much food do we waste and throw away?

We had company drop in this morning and as we sat at our kitchen table we feasted on fresh watermelon, carrots, grape tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, hummus and homemade chicken salad.

As I sat and filled my stomach, children all over the world like Bizunesh (see below) are slowing starving to death.

It is not unusual to see children eating “mud pies”- clay, water, a tiny bit of animal fat to aid digestion and some salt to make the whole thing palatable. You will often see children with these in their hands, the corners of their mouths caked with grey dirt.

What right do we have to complain about getting a bad raspberry in that pint we just bought .... a little mould on a block of cheese .... insects in our vegetables gardens?

We are so very, very fortunate.

SHANTO, Ethiopia

This year's poor rains have nearly killed Bizunesh. The 3-year-old weighs less than 10 pounds. Her long limbs, weak and folded like a praying mantis, cannot carry even her slight weight. She cannot speak. She doesn't want to eat. Health officials say she is permanently stunted.

Bizunesh — whose name, sadly, means "plentiful" — is one of untold numbers of children hit by this year's double blow of a countrywide drought and skyrocketing global food prices that has brought famine, once again, to Ethiopia.

"She should be bigger than this," said her mother Zewdunesh Feltam, rocking the listless child. "Before there was maize, different kinds of food. But now there is nothing ... I beg for milk from my neighbors."

The U.N. children's agency said in a statement Tuesday an estimated 126,000 Ethiopian children urgently need food and medical care because of severe malnutrition — and called the current crisis "the worst since the major humanitarian crisis of 2003."

Millions will need food aid. The U.N. World Food Program estimates that 2.7 million Ethiopians will need emergency food aid because of late rains — nearly double the number who needed help last year. An additional 5 million of Ethiopia's 80 million people receive aid each year because they never have enough food, whether harvests are good or not.

In Shanto, a southwestern agricultural area that grows sweet potatoes, recent rains arrived too late to save the harvest.

The crisis here is vivid. A feeding center run by the Irish charity GOAL has admitted 73 starving children in the past month.

Some, like Bizunesh, are frail and skeletal. Others, like 4-year-old Eyob Tadesse, have grossly swollen limbs in a sign of extreme malnutrition.

Eyob, whose mother said he used to be a lively, talkative child, sat in a stupor, unable to speak, not moving even to brush away the flies that swarmed over his face. The sunny room humid with a recent, too late, rain shower was made gloomy by an eerie silence despite being full of sick children. Chronic malnutrition can affect children for life, stunting their growth, brain development and immune systems, which leaves them vulnerable to a host of illnesses.

Many mothers said their families were trying to survive on a gluey, chewy bread made of the root of the "false banana" plant — one of many wild or so-called famine foods that Ethiopians depend on in times of trouble.

It's not known how many children have died or are starving now. Local and international aid and health workers say between 10 and nearly 20 percent of Ethiopia's children are malnourished — 15 percent is considered a critical situation. In 2006, Ethiopia had 13.4 million children under age 5, according to UNICEF.

Hunger will get worse. Samuel Akale, a nutritionist with the government's disaster prevention agency, said the hunger will get worse. "The number of severely malnourished will increase, and then they'll die."

WFP officials say the drought has affected six of Ethiopia's nine regions, stretching from Tigray in the north to the vast and dry Somali region in the south, though not every part of each region is affected.

Spokesman Greg Beals said the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is preparing an appeal for additional tens of millions of dollars.

"This is a real crisis that needs to be addressed," he said.

Ethiopia is a country with a history of hunger. It's food problems drew international attention in 1984 when a famine compounded by communist policies killed some 1 million people. Pictures of stick-thin children like Bizunesh were broadcast onto television sets around the world.

This year's crisis is far less severe. But drought and chronic hunger persist in Ethiopia, a Horn of Africa nation known for its coffee, a major export. In 2003, droughts led 13.2 million people to seek emergency food aid. Drought in 2000 left more than 10 million needing emergency food. Drought is especially disastrous in Ethiopia because more than 80 percent of people live off the land, and agriculture drives the economy, accounting for half of all domestic production and 85 percent of exports. But many also go hungry because of government policies. Ethiopia's government buys all crops from farmers at fixed low prices. And the government owns all the land, so it cannot be used as collateral for loans.

Aid agencies say emergency intervention is not enough and are appealing for more money to support regular feeding programs.

"What we're doing at the moment is waiting until children get severely malnourished, taking them into the feeding program, getting them back to a level of moderate malnutrition and then watching them cycle back," said Hatty Newhouse, a nutrition adviser from GOAL.

There are fears that the next harvest also will fail.

"We are crying with the mothers and the children," said Akale, the nutritionist.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Saying Good Bye

This post will only mean something to those of you in Canada who watch Toronto's very popular "CityLine" program.

One of my favourite programs, I look forward to my hour with Marilyn Denis and her guests each and every morning. So today when I tuned in to watch the 4300th episode and heard that she was hosting her last show I was stunned.

Shocked ... you might say so.

Here is a little history and current events about Marilyn and CityLine.

She took over the hosting of this program from Dini Petty 19 years ago. We have watched her grow into an extraordinary talk show host, go through a divorce and raise her son Adam as a single mom. She turned this show into a program which was broadcast and viewed nationally with a name well recognized across Canada. CityLine also provided a jumping ground for many designers whose careers were shot to astronomical proportions through their exposure on the show. Brian Gluckstein, Candace Olsen, Steven Sabados, Jane Lockhart, just to name a few.

The five City TV stations across Canada were to have been a part of CTV's $1.7-billion purchase of CHUM which is owned by CTV Globemedia Inc. and is Canada's premier multimedia company .

Last year, however, the CRTC ruled the City TV stations could not remain with CTV. Those five City TV stations subsequently were sold to Rogers for $375 million.

Denis technically was a CHUM employee, and she still does a morning radio show on CHUM-FM which now also is owned by CTV. So the new reality as far as CityLine goes is that Denis is a CTV employee doing a show for Rogers. Obviously, that situation could not continue.

It is likely that Marilyn will quickly re-emerge with her own daytime show on CTV later this year.

It was a fun show today with so many Interior designers, hair stylists, makeup artists, stylists and models from over the years. One designer in particular it was a joy to see was Ray Staples. Now in her 80s she and Marilyn shared a special moment when she expressed her pride in Marilyn and how well she has done through the years as CityLine's host.

Well, I for one will really miss Marilyn Denis .... CityLine will never be the same again. Marilyn and CityLine go together like bread and butter.

Good luck Marilyn!!

So Pretty

Lucky Sarah got a new dress today.

Can you see her smiling .....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mood Enhancers

What a lovely & unexpected day full of surprises I had yesterday!

My first surprise - sushi - very happy tummy on this end - yummy!!!

Having fun with Zander .....

A little music making courtesy of Lana ......

Stealing a moment from Jayden's work on the computer to get a silly face ....

Some video games for Zander & Ryan with their friends, Graham and Scott .....

A good story for Gabriella and a lovely visit with my niece Payje who is staying with Sebrina for a few days.

Smiles & love always from Ryan .....

And a surprise visit from Kimberlie adopted by friends of Sebrina's from Haiti. I have only seen pictures and exchanged emails of Kimberlie with her mom, so this was just lovely to finally see her in person. When I left I got such a big hug from her.

What a precious little girl ...... Welcome Home Kimberlie!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And The Winner Is .........

Okay, I admit it I'm a "Dancing With The Starsaholic".

You might say I dance vicariously through these stars.

How I love to watch beautiful dancing.

Now singing, that's another story. Years ago I took singing lessons ... my teacher said I have perfect pitch, but when it comes to dancing ... two left feet.

This season of Dancing has been spectacular ... from the first show the entertainment value was high and the dancing was extraordinary.

70% of the stars chosen for this season were very good, but the star who took the trophy - Kristi Yamaguchi with her partner Mark Ballas were close to technically perfect from the get go.

Kristi, who holds Olympic gold in figure skating, had the advantage from the beginning. She has been the only competitor to garner three 9's from the judges on her very first dance performance.

Last night it came down to Jason Taylor, professional football player for the Miami Dolphins, Cristian de la Fuente, daytime soap star and Kristi.

Jason and Cristian pulled out all the stops, using their elegance, power, displays of their beautiful upper bodies and oozing charisma. But the stars were aligned for Kristi as Cristian was eliminated early. Then it was down to Jason and Kristi.

Jason and his partner Edyta Sliwinska danced a quick step which showed how much Jason has improved through the competition, but it wasn't enough for the trophy. Although Jason was and is the "people's champion", he could not compare to Kristi's technically perfect dances.

And how great after six seasons of a male dominated winners circle on Dancing, another woman wins.

Go girl!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day Six - Random Pictures "Things I Love"

On this second last day of my random photos, I thought I would share with you some of the things I love.

I say some because there isn't enough space to share everything I love, so here is a sampling.

My beautiful family.

"Sarah" - who incidentally is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a sister.

Crystal for storing, serving or just looking at.
Love it, love it, love it!!!

That ever glorious first coffee of the morning ..... the whir of the grinder as the beans are grinding .... the gentle drip, drip, drip as the coffee fills the carafe .... the scent as it infuses the air, making its' way to my nostrils and then the explosion of flavour as the first sip slips across my tongue producing an audible "ahhhhhhhh" .

Beautiful decorating books.

A really suspensful novel by some of my favourite authors, Robin Cook, Dan Brown, James Patterson, Clive Cussler, David Baldacci.

The look & feel of polished river rocks.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Complete At Last

Finally, I have completed my first quilt.

This is the best picture I could get of my quilt. When I laid it on the floor, I could not get far enough away to see the entire quilt on the screen on my camera, so I laid in across my bed and here is the result.

All in all I am quite pleased with the results, although I would not want a seasoned quilter to look at the back. I have not yet mastered the technique of how to hide the knots. This is definately not a reversible quilt!!

I quilted by machine using the stitch-in-the-ditch technique, by hand for accents and french knots to give the effect of a tied quilt.

As of right now I have more holes in my fingers than I can count from being poked with the needle as I moved through the fabric from top to bottom, but it has been worth it. I suppose I should have used a thimble, but I don't like the way they feel, I like to be able to feel the fabric, the thread and ..... yes the needle too.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing this quilt and poured many hours and lots of love into this quilt.

Very soon it will be winging its' way to Nova Scotia to its' new home and to my new friend.

Enjoy Vickie!!!

Into The Continuim

Where oh where is my crane????

There is something mysterious going on around my home.

After we moved in nearly four years ago, we moved a great deal of boxes down into the partially finished basement to deal with later.

One of the boxes held all of my husbands' car accessories including a lightweight hydraulic car jack. A few months later when he needed the jack to put the snows on the car, he could not find the piece of metal used to pump up the jack. It is just a little larger than a crowbar, so we both figured it had been misplaced and would turn up when we finally got everything unpacked and tidied up.

Well, here we are 4 years later and still no jack pumpy thing - (I don't know what it's called).

Now for the next even bigger mystery.

Last year, Costco offered lovely garden cranes about 4 feet tall for just $79.99. (Similar to the ones shown above) I have always wanted a crane for my garden but couldn't justify spending the well over $300.00 garden centres wanted for them. So when I saw this at Costco, I jumped at the opportunity and bought it.

I remember last year, when I found the perfect spot to place my crane, I was quite worried that someone would steal him, but no he stood proudly in my garden until the fall, when Don brought him in for storage. As he was carrying him through the kitchen, I remember asking him, did he get the pegs that held him in the ground. He replied he didn't see any pegs, so the answer was no. I went out and searched through the garden and also across the grass where he would have walked carrying the crane to no avail. No pegs.

This didn't present a large problem as I still have the parts book and could order new pegs or come up with something else when he came back to take his place in my garden.

So last week I go downstairs to get my beautiful crane, but alas to my dismay I couldn't find him. I searched and searched but did not see him.

When I mentioned this to Don, he said he thought he had put him back in the original box he came in, so yesterday I pulled the box out it's storage area, opened it. I'm sure you know what I found before I tell you ... no crane.

He is certainly bigger than a screwdriver so where on earth could he be????

As he is brown, I thought maybe I was looking right past him, so Don went down this morning to look for him.

Still no crane.

It would seem that the jack pumpy piece and my crane have disappeared into the continuum, or we have someone who comes into our house and takes things now and again. But then my question, what would anyone want with one piece off a jack and my crane.

Could we have a ghost that is playing games with us?

Did someone find our spare key and help themselves to my crane and the car jack pump?

Just exactly where did my crane go?

Should I report my crane-napping???

This little mystery could provide the fodder for a good Nancy Drew mystery.

Don is quite perturbed about where the piece from his jack went, but I loved my crane and waited such a long time to get one. Everytime I look at his place in my garden now, I will wish I had at least taken a picture of him in the garden to remember him by.

This is very frustrating and I just don't understand where on earth these articles could have gone.

Maybe I should I just let it go and move on ...............

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Wee Visitor

This poor little baby was sitting in one of my Spirea's all day yesterday. He had fallen out of his nest and his momma kept coming to feed him. I kept watch over him all day, but then .....

This morning he was gone. I surely hope he figured out to fly home to his nest and that some neighborhood kitty didn't have him for a snack.

Oh well .... as hard as that thought is ....

It is the circle of life.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Kitchen Beautiful

Okay, couldn't resist another post. I know I said I was taking the weekend off, but while I was doing a little surfing this morning, I came across these beautiful kitchens and couldn't resist sharing.

My kitchen is absolutely my favourite room in my home, so I love looking at what home owners do in their kitchen renovations, especially when they share the befores and afters.

Oh I'm dreaming of the things I could cook up in these kitchens!!!!!

A taste of Tuscany.

Classic good looks.

Light, bright and oh so pretty.

Everything within arms reach. No searching through drawers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day Four - Random Pictures "All Things Green & Beautiful"

As I most likely won't be blogging over the "Victoria Day" long weekend, I thought I would share my Day Four random pictures a little early.

Have a great long weekend everyone.

So pretend it is tomorrow morning and enjoy!!!

Spring has arrived ..... Everything is so beautifully green and overflowing with life.

How I enjoy going outside in the garden and just gazing upon the newly birthed foliage. These pictures are all from my garden of perennials & shrubbery. I'm waiting patiently for the lilacs to burst open ... when they do you can be sure I will share a photo.

This little fellow happened by for a visit. I found him slowly inching his way across the lid of our hot tub.

Cheeky little guy ...... Did he think I would invite him in???


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