Saturday, August 30, 2008

Are You Taking My Picture???

While having lunch in the garden the other day with a friend, these little fellows stopped by for a rest, a sun tan and a snack.

Before ... During .... After

Well, we have finally come to end of the renovations.

Here are some pictures of two of our completed projects.

Powder Room .... Before

Powder Room .... After

Front Foyer ... Before. Not only were many of the tiles cracked, but I really, really, really hated the white tiles with black grout.

Front Foyer - After the removal of the tiles, grout and sub floor

Ready for the new tiles

In the process of laying the tiles

The beautiful finished project .... I really love the brick design that the tiler laid them in as well as the simplicity of the tile with quietly matched grout.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where Did The Summer Go????

Well, here we are ... it's nearly Labour Day!!

Did we even have a summer this year???

I am starting to experience a little (okay I'll admit it) a lot of frustration with contractors, renovation dust (about 2 tons of it), semi finished projects ... have to finish the wallpaper in the powder room, have to finish the wallpaper in the master bathroom, still waiting on the glass doors for the shower, reorganizing two closets and install closet systems to help with the organization, get the last cabinet for the kitchen, but I've been informed that Home Depot doesn't sell cabinets in this line anymore, so I call the manufacturer. They won't sell to a consumer because they have a contract with Home Depot who ..... oh yeah are not selling for them anymore.

Has anyone told the manufacturer about this change in status?????

So today I drive to the stockyard Home Depot - this is the site that takes everything from all the Home Depots in Toronto and surrounding area to sell off. It took me 45 minutes to drive there to place the special order for this &*% cabinet and then poof the computer system goes down, so I can't place the order. Oh well, it's only time and gas ... what the heck else do I have to do???

Then off we go to Homesense because mom has decided that something she bought is not suitable so we'll return it and look for something else. But, wait she doesn't have her receipt because the cashier forgot to give it to us yesterday. So they search the system for the receipt. After 30 minutes they finally find it, but can't figure out how to return the item, so we wait another 15 minutes while one manager and two cashiers try to figure this out.

They are starting to call me by my first name there we have been in so much over the past few weeks with purchases that are returned, then more purchases that are returned again.

Now it's 1:30 and I'm feeling too pooped to start wallpapering.

I'm looking down the hall and there is still a little haze on the tiling which needs to be scrubbed off and then the entire 250 square feet of glossy porcelain tiles need to be sealed. There is about 26 feet of baseboard to yet be installed. And I have to paint all the trim, which incidentally I have been putting off for 4 years.

The old commercial "Calgon ,Take Me Away" comes to mind right now.

I need a break or a vacation or something to take my mind off all the activity and unfinished projects that must be completed around here.

Well, tomorrow's another day, to start chipping away at the list that never seems to come to an end.

Ciao for now!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Were You Watching?

Did you watch the Olympics?

We watched the coverage most evenings, but the most exciting by far was the marathon which was the final competition before the closing ceremony last night.

It was an amazing race run through temperatures starting at 24C (75F) with 52% humidity when the race began at 7:30 a.m. It heated up steadily through the morning, reaching 30C (86F) by the finish.

This race was dominated by Africa. By the 30-kilometer mark, the lead pack had dwindled to three runners -- Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Jaouad Gharib of Morocco.

Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya pulled away over the final few kilometers to become the first Kenyan in the running history of that nation to win an Olympic marathon.

The 21-year-old negotiated the 42.15-kilometer (26.2-mile) course through Beijing streets in bright Sunday morning sunshine in an Olympic record of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 32 seconds.

I held my breath throughout most of the race, cheering for Deriba Merga of Ethiopia as he and Wanjiru ran neck in neck. He led for much of the race but dropped into third place towards the end. We still cheered as he held onto the bronze medal position.

Then as Wanjiru entered the stadium to claim the gold medal followed closely by Gharib to claim the silver, we saw Merga, close to claiming his bronze. The runners had to do one lap around the stadium to finish, but just as Merga started his lap he was overtaken by Tsegaye Kebede Wordofa also of Ethiopia.

My heart broke for him as he lost his medal by only 100 metres or so. The pain etched on his face was palpable. He ran such an incredible race only to have lost it so close to claiming his prize.

He was the only runner to stay with Wanjiru past the 40th kilometre, finished second in 2:06:50, also under the previous course record of 2:06:51 set by Atsushi Fujita in 2000. It was a huge personal best for Deriba which knocked more than six-and-a-half minutes from his previous best, set in Paris earlier this year.

At the end, the closing ceremony were nothing short of spectacular.

Beautiful fireworks, great music, mind boggling acrobatics which all joined to provide a visual spectacle for those who watched.

Bravo Beijing for an exciting few weeks for sporting enthusiasts!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Twenty one years ago, I married this man.

In those twenty one years we have shared the grief of each losing our grandparents, my sister and recently my dad. He has provided me strong support throughout all of these difficult times.

He showed his love for me by giving the eulogy at my dad's funeral, something he did not particularly want to do, but did it with grace and dignity for me and my mother.

We raised our daughter Sebrina together .... he was and is a wonderful dad to her.

Together we shared the births of not one, not two, but three beautiful grandsons. He encouraged me to go to Ethiopia with Sebrina when they adopted our enchanting granddaughter Gabriella.

He has loved me through sickness, surgeries & trying times.

He is strong of character, moral and loves his family with fierceness.

And he has always been my best friend.

Happy Anniversary my love .... here's to another twenty one.

This poem by Robert Browning (first verse only is shown) is particularly poignant to me. When my mother and dad celebrated their 50th anniversary, we had in imprinted on the invitations to their celebration.

It is beautiful.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand

Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Do, I Do, I Do

The wedding day was beautiful, the bride was stunning, the groomsman looked very handsome (all of Don's brothers) and all in all it was just a lovely day.

Above is Rebecca, our niece who was a flower girl.

Our niece Vanessa, who was not in the wedding, but looked pretty spiffy all the same.

Youngest nephew Jake, who coincidentally turned one year old the same day just laying around posing for the photographer.

We started the day with a lovely brunch. Looks like the girls are getting hungry.
All the brothers raise a toast to the groom - health, wealth & happiness.
Our newlyweds from last November Don's youngest brother Paul with his wife Sarah.
Here are the bride and groom with the grooms mom and dad and the brides mom.

Helen also lost her dad earlier this year, so the wedding touched a lot of emotions for her and me as we have over the past few weeks shared the same sorrow of losing our dads.

And here are the bride and groom with all the brothers.

Aren't they a handsome lot???

Three of my sweethearts .... Zander, Don & Sebrina.

Glen & Helen graciously invited my mom to come to their wedding so she wouldn't be alone all day as we were gone from 10:30am in the morning right through until late evening.

She enjoyed the wedding, but found herself very emotional throughout ... it's still very early days for her.

My son-in-law Mike snapped this picture of Don & me with my mom.
At last cutting the cake. The cupcakes were packaged up and given to each guest as a thank you. They were delicious.

The bride and groom are now enjoying a honeymoon in Aruba.

Friday, August 15, 2008

This Is Interesting

My daughter found a very "cool" site for photograph manipulation called Picnik.

You can add all kinds of different effects to your pictures.

I chose this picture of my granddaughter and decided to frame it - one of numerous options.

Check it out and see some of the neat things you can come up with.

I just had to use this beautiful picture of Gabriella which Sebrina recently took. Her beautiful, happy personality really shines in this picture.

You make Mammy's heart sing sweet pea!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A New Love

As you know, I love quilts and quilting.

Julie at Moments of Perfect Clarity introduced me to these beautiful quilts from the women of Gee's Bend on her post today.

Here's a little history on these amazing women and their beautiful quilts.

Gee’s Bend is a small rural community nestled into a curve in the Alabama River southwest of Selma, Alabama.

Founded in antebellum times, it was the site of cotton plantations, primarily the lands of Joseph Gee and his relative Mark Pettway, who bought the Gee estate in 1850. After the Civil War, the freed slaves took the name Pettway, became tenant farmers for the Pettway family, and founded an all-black community nearly isolated from the surrounding world. During the Great Depression, the federal government stepped in to purchase land and homes for the community, bringing strange renown — as an "Alabama Africa" — to this sleepy hamlet.

The town’s women developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art. The women of Gee’s Bend passed their skills and aesthetic down through at least six generations to the present. In 2002, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in partnership with the nonprofit Tinwood Alliance, of Atlanta, presented an exhibition of seventy quilt masterpieces from the Bend. The exhibition, entitled "The Quilts of Gee’s Bend," is accompanied by two companion books, The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, and the larger Gee’s Bend: The Women and Their Quilts, both published by Tinwood Media, as well as a documentary video on the Gee’s Bend quilters and a double-CD of Gee’s Bend gospel music from 1941 and 2002.

The "Quilts of Gee’s Bend" exhibition has received tremendous international acclaim, beginning at its showing in Houston, then at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the other museums on its twelve-city American tour. Newsweek, National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation, Art in America, CBS News Sunday Morning, PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer, the Martha Stewart Living television show, House and Garden, Oprah’s O magazine, and Country Home magazine are among the hundreds of print and broadcast media organizations that have celebrated the quilts and the history of this unique town. Art critics worldwide have compared the quilts to the works of important artists such as Henri Matisse and Paul Klee. The New York Times called the quilts "some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced." The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is currently preparing a second major museum exhibition and tour of Gee’s Bend quilts, to premiere in 2006.

In 2003, with assistance from the Tinwood organizations, all the living quilters of Gee’s Bend — more than fifty women — founded the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective to serve as the exclusive means of selling and marketing the quilts being produced by the women of the Bend. The Collective is owned and operated by the women of Gee’s Bend. Every quilt sold by the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective is unique, individually produced, and authentic — each quilt is signed by the quilter and labeled with a serial number. Rennie Young Miller of Gee’s Bend is the Collective’s president.

There are quite a few books on Gees Bend available for purchase illustrating these gorgeous quilts as well as other jewels of information.

Here is a quote from Julie's post that captivated me. It is a little sample from one of the books where the women tell their story in their own voices:

""I used to help mama work in the garden, raising collard greens, raising chickens. I love to raise chickens now too. I used to love to ride the mule. We had a pet mule, name of Ollie, used to let us get up and ride his back. I used to could plow like a man. Once I was grown, I could always work my crop out good, get finished, and go help other people. Always was smart, loved to be doing something and helping somebody." Annie Mae Young

Think I might just have to get me one .........

Friday, August 8, 2008

As Promised

As promised here is the beautiful picture I received from my mom.

It is called "The Sheep Dipper" by Ernest Walbourne.

I am in a quandary as to whether I should have this reframed or restored. By removing this original frame, I know I would decrease the value of this piece of art, but if you blow it up you can see it has a couple of pieces of the plaster than have broken off.

As I have no intention of selling it, I am tempted to reframe. I feel these very ornate frames take the focus away from the painting itself and after all the painting should be the focus not the frame. But these ornate frames were the style back in the 1800/1900's when this picture was painted.

Hope you enjoy this beauty as much as I am each and every day I look at it. I aplogize for the blurriness of the picture, I could not seem to get this to come out clear .... I tried at least 5 shots, with the flash, without the flash, with all the lights on in the living room - all to no avail.

The colours in this painting are so lovely and the subject is so tranquil ... it makes me feel peaceful to sit and look at it for a few minutes each day.

A Step At A Time

Each day brings us closer to the completion of integrating my mom and her belongings into our household.

The floor is down in the bathroom .... grouting will be done today and hopefully the toilet installed. We are operating right now with only one toilet.

I don't know how my daughter Sebrina manages with one bathroom and four children.

Why does everyone have to go the bathroom at exactly the same time????


The bulkhead is out, the combination fan/light installed and the tiles are replaced .... grouting will be done today as well.

The vanity has arrived and it is even nicer than it looked in the photograph.

Where oh where to put everything.

My lovely (pink) craft room has become my bedroom, so this will be my new craft room when Don gets it completed, but with the considerable mess we are in in our living area, this is rather low down on the list.

I will just have to share his office for the time being, cosy but workable.

During the ceramic tile demolition .... look closely you can see the clouds of dust in the air.

Guess where it all is now???

Here's the arial view of my foyer after the tiles were all removed.

Looking down the hall into the powder room. That's our contractor scrapping up the tiles and subfloor.
Off we go to the dump to get rid of a load of the material from the demo.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just Breathe

Life has been unorganized, stressful, without structure and just plain difficult the past few weeks. My emotional health has taken a beating and my body has been running on pure adrenaline. I must soon consciously stop or I will be halted by my body's overwhelming need for rest.

So I have determined that tomorrow, I will ...... just breathe.

I will be ..... still.

I will enjoy my garden.

I will sit quietly, watching and listening to the grass grow.

I will listen to the ducks and all their activity in the creek.

I may pull a weed or two.

I will fill the finch feeder.

I will catch a few moments of early morning sun.

I will enjoy a cup of tea with my mom.

I will catch up on some reading.

I will bake some cookies for Don.

I will finish a dress to wear to the rehearsal dinner for my brother-in-laws wedding.

I may do a little cleaning, laundry, maybe do some organizing ....
Oh wait I'm supposed to be just breathing.
Forget the cleaning, laundry, organizing ... it can wait until Thursday.

I'll start my day with a delicious cup of fresh ground & brewed coffee, then maybe a little stretching with my new Shiva Rea yoga DVD. I will then take some time to pamper my feet which are exquisitely painful from all the standing and running around. A luxurious soak, a peppermint scrub, then scented olive oil left to soak in for a while, then maybe a little reflexology on my sore spots.

Can tomorrow come soon enough .... I can hardly wait.

What a Lucky Girl

Following my dad's death and my mom's desire to move in with Don and me, she is passing along to us - her children a great deal of her belongings ... most of which were already earmarked for us.

I am very lucky to be the recipient of a beautiful painting called "The Sheep Dipper" by Ernest Walbourne, a sea captain born in England in 1879 and died in 1920, so the story goes that has been passed down in my family starting with my great great aunt Margaret who originally purchased the painting. There is very little information to be found on Mr. Walbourne but his paintings are in demand.

These are a couple of his pieces which have gone up for sale over the years, so I was able to trace some of his work.

My painting has never been out of our family since the late 1800's, when it was purchased in England by my great great aunt. It was passed to her daughter, then my grandfather, then my mother and now it has recently arrived in my possession.

I have not had a chance yet to take a picture of it, but will do so in the next couple of days and post it.

It is breathtaking .... however I will have to change the frame. It still has the original frame made of wood with carved plaster detail. Unfortunately quite a few pieces of the plaster have broken away which really detracts from the picture which is where the focus should be.

It is still a stunning picture though and I feel privileged to have this beautiful piece of history in my home.

Mr. Walbourne's paintings are all pastoral and are so calm and tranquil to look at.

Can't wait to share my painting with you.

As well, I inherited a beautiul Fischer Bergere chair which also belonged to my great great aunt. It is going to a furniture restoration company to be rebuilt and recovered, so I'll share that with you when it returns.

So as I said .... I am a lucky girl!!!!

Across the Miles

Years ago when my dog Jake was diagnosed with Diabetes, Don went on line to research how we could help him rather than euthanize which the vet had suggested.

Fortunately for us we met Chris, a dear, dear lady in Alberta who also had a dog with Diabetes and Cushings disease.

I have never met Chris, but already I feel like she is a very dear friend. We shared a great deal of medical information, she offered us her support and generally just got to know each other via the Internet.

There are so many horror stories of people being taken advantage of through chat rooms on the Internet and I wanted to share a happy, positive story.

Through the past four years Chris, Don and I have shared quite a lot. We lost our Jake three years and ago and then just one month ago today, Chris lost Midas her beloved golden lab. She grieved with us and we grieved with her. Losing a pet leaves such a gap in one's life.

Then through my dad's illness and death, Chris and I got even closer. She shared my sadness, held my hand across the miles and Internet.

Chris and I share so many interests and seem to view life similarly.

As you know I love quilts and quilting and Chris sent me this picture of a beautiful quilt that she made for a friends' grandson.

Her geometric pattern is lovely and of course it's blue which is my favourite colour.

I have also met Vickie through the Internet and she and I have enjoyed a friendship even though I haven't met her yet. She become the recipient of my first quilt and I became the recipient of wonderful feelings of fullness when I gifted her the quilt. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

So carefully chosen, there are wonderful people around the world that can add richness to our lives and become hopefully lifelong friends.

I look forward to the day when I will meet both Vickie and Chris.

Here's to both of you my dear new friends.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekend Meme

I got this posting idea on Moments of Perfect Clarity which I read regularly.

So here goes. Only one word answers are required. If you want to join in the fun, let me know so I can see what yours are!

1. Your cell phone? Serviceable

2. Your significant other? My best friend

3. Your hair? Brown

4. Your mother? Sad

5. Your father? Not with me any longer

6. Your favorite thing? My family

7. Your dream last night? Do not remember

8. The room you're in? Very comfortable

9. Your fear? The dark, & water

10. What you're not? Average

11. The last thing you did before logging on? Cleaned up kitchen from dinner

12. Where did you grow up? Ontario

13. Favourite drink? Bloody Caesar

14. What are you wearing? Shorts & tee shirt

15. Your TV? Panasonic

16. Your pet? Chelsea

17. Your computer? Toshiba laptop

18. Favourite place? Home

19. Your mood right now? Relaxed

20. Missing someone? My dad

21. Something you're not wearing? My bra (ahhhhh - sweet comfort)

22. Love someone? Definitely

23. Your favorite color? Blue

24. Kids? Son & daughter

25. Your life? Perfect


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