Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Now I am ready, all is done! Hurray! Off to bed for a good night sleep then up early, pack the car and head to Port Hope to my parents house...for a Christmas Celebration this will last about 3 days with family and friends. I will be tired but happy.

Yesterday enjoyed a lovely lunch at Woolfy's with my good friend Lori, a little bubbly, delicious food overlooking the snowy fields near St Mary's.

This afternoon I enjoyed some time with a very special young girl. We sat by her Christmas Tree while she had her snack, I gave her a Christmas gift, then we sat and enjoyed a few special Christmas music boxes that she loves. Just sharing with her and seeing her beautiful smile reminds what is most important in life.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On Christmas

Why do I seem to have so much trouble with this time of year? It seems I have a love/hate relationship with it, although perhaps hate is a little strong. I always want things to be perfect in every way. I want everyone to happy and relaxed, myself included. The relaxed part is quite fleeting for me, just snippets here and there. Mostly my mind travels in crazy non productive circles.

I have made many changes over the years to simplify, very few social engagements, no work party's etc. Maybe a lunch or 2 with those most important to me. The rest is family time.

Since moving to Stratford in 2001 we head back to Port Hope each Christmas to my parents home. My mom having MS is confined to a wheel chair, travelling is getting harder for them. So off to Port Hope we go, have extended family and friends over Christmas Eve, usually eat too much, maybe a little more wine is consumed than usual and stay up too late. But it is so much fun. I just need to be organized to bring food, drink etc. Our son Aaron is with us and will be with us for the holidays. Our daughter Jenny, her husband Steve and 4 children, Melaina, Gabrielle, Isaac and Madeline will be coming to Port Hope Christmas Day and also bringing along Gloria, Steves mom who always spends holidays with us. Each Christmas night we visit dear friends north of Port hope, only for an hour two which ends up lasting till 2am! I love all of this once it happens and feel so lucky to have these special people in my life.

On that note I must continue my preparations knowing it will all come together.

Friday, December 11, 2009

on the patio winter has arrived

It is winter in Stratford...snowing and blowing for 3 days! Today I am at home catching up on some housekeeping and just had to venture out into the snow and wind to take this pic! Perhaps it is a good time to think about a Christmas Tree.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Tonight we had the most delicious Tom Yum Soup for dinner prepared by our son Aaron who is with us for the month of Dec. He is transferring from U Vic to the the University of Waterloo, getting organized, looking for accommodation in Waterloo etc. While in Waterloo yesterday we stopped at the Asian grocery store so that Aaron could pick up ingredients for this lovely soup. Fresh noodles, bok choy, tofu, bean sprouts, Tom Yum soup base, ABC soy sauce, hot sauce, the ABC was the absolute best dipping sauce for spring rolls!

Thanks Aaron for a great dinner...who knew...I have a son that cooks!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Everybody's Fine


I love love movies, all different types provided that they make make me feel...sad, happy, greatful, as long as there is emotion involved.

I especally like to go to Waterloo to the Princess or Princess Twin theatres, they show lots of interesting independant films, docs, foreign etc.

Today along with our son Aaron who has returned from Victoria BC we went to see

Everybody's Fine starring Robert De Niro

...what a great film...loved it. It is not a Christmas comedy as the trailer suggests but a very real movie about a cannot help but care about every single person in this film. Robert De Niro plays the recently widowed father of 4 grown children, who are living in various parts the US...they are busy and have no time to visit so he sets off to visit each one of them. Robert De Niro was outstanding in this role. Very moving...great acting, good story...but be warned bring your kleenex. I am sure there was not a dry eye in the theatre..including the males accompaning me.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Recently I had the joy of reading this marvelous book The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery I enjoyed this novel from the first word to the last. You cannot help but love the protagonists in this book, Rene a 54 year old concierge in a small affluent Paris apartment building and Paloma a 12 year old girl who plans to commit suicide on her 13th birthday. This is a very readable philosophical book. In fact the author Muriel Barbery is a French Philosophy professor and novelist who says that she learned more from literature than from her "long boring course of studies in philosophy".

Treat yourself or a book lover you know to this great read!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Checkout Girl

Recently I read The Checkout Girl by Susan Zettell.

I started following Susan's blog in a round about way. Susan lives on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia where my son lived for about a year and a half. He lived in a few places on the Cabot Trail one of which was a yurt. After moving to BC he was searching online to see if the lady who owned the yurt had a blog. What he did find was Susan's blog which pictured the yurt that he stayed in. The point I am getting at is I was perusing the blog, came across a reference to My Daughter in the Water by Louden Wainwright III. I commented on Susan's post, she kindly replied. We have found quite a few things in common. I am a reader and Susan is an author. Therefore I suggested that my good friend Lori purchase Susan's book for the St Mary's Library and lucky me I was the first reader of that copy.

Within the first few pages I was laughing in the middle of the night in my hotel room. Lots of early 70's stuff in this book so it is a bit of nostalgia for me. There are some interesting characters and situations, sex, drugs, abortion, hockey, skating, an autistic child, murder, growing up and finding oneself. The book contains humour and insight into life in a mid size industrial city. The setting is in a fictional town called Varnum with a resemblance to Kitchener which is about 40 minutes from where I live in Stratford, I could appreciate some of the local colour.

If you are looking for a light amusing read this may be the book for you.

As an anecdote I love the fact that some of the writing of this book was done in Susan's office which was a Trillium trailer! How cool is that!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

On Chocolate

Having no idea how I can possibly live without chocolate I needed to find a recipe for something sweet, chocolatey, satisfying and low fat. Is there such a thing? Thanks to my pal Lori and her great cookbook collection I baked these brownies today.

Low Fat Chocolate Brownies

2 oz semi sweet chocolate ( I used a Cote d'Or 70% cocoa bar)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 tsp baby prune puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
5 Tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Fair Trade camino)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
3 egg whites at room temp

Heat oven 300 degrees.lightly oil an 8 inch square baking pan.

Combine chocolate, butter and oil in a pan over low heat. Stir until chocolate and butter have melted. Stir in prune puree, remove from heat and set aside.

Sift together 1/2 cup sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Whip egg whites and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a separate bowl until soft peaks form.

Fold half the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, gently fold in the beaten egg whites, then add the remaining flour mixture.

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Note: these were quite tasty and did satisfy my chocolate craving. I like my brownies chewy and nutty so next time I would bake about 4 minutes less and I would add some nuts to the batter. Since I follow a mostly veg diet it would be good for the extra protien.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Paper Place

One of the shops I love is on Queen St W in Toronto. It is The Paper Place! Stocked with gorgeous Japanese papers and related items. When I go in there I just want to take it all home. I use the paper to make cards, tags and decorate gift wrap as well as in my journal and collage making. Sometimes I just sit and stare at it!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Self Indulgence

I have just enjoyed a great weekend in the city with my good friend Lori. We visited the Royal Ontario Museum to view The Vanity Fair Portraits 1918 - 2008. Enjoyed very much then the next day the Art Gallery of Ontario to view Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years 1923–1937...this was wonderful! so amazingly beautiful. Definitely worth a visit if you like photography.

What I ate at FRANK in the AGO,

organic poached egg& smoked arctic char on a salad of mixed baby spinach greens & garlic fried croutons dressed with dijon vinaigrette

pear hazelnut ginger cake with honey wine sabayon sauce


Took tons of pics on the was a glorius warm weekend!

Picked up a few things I love...
Japanese Paper
Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

watched the DVD this morning...loved it!

I coud go on and on but will post of few pics!

Monday, November 02, 2009

more serendipity

Yesterday while picking up a prescription at the pharmacy I had a chat with the most lovely pharmacist about the H1N1 injection priority clinic planned for Stratford today from 11:30 to 7:30.

She was telling me how afraid of needles she is. We discussed wait times etc. She told me she would probably go to the clinic in the evening thinking it would be less busy. I was planning to go sometime during day. We are both health care workers in the priority group. I drove by the clinic about 12:40, saw many cars in the parking lot, decided to do a few errands and come back later. I came back about 1:20 and as I was heading into the building I hear this voice saying hello. I turn and there she is Rita the pharmacist. What was so strange was that I had told her the day before that if I saw her at the clinic I would hold her hand!

We had a lovely chat in our 40 minute wait which seemed like 5 minutes. We waited together 15 minutes after the injection...she was so happy to have had someone to share the wait etc with because of her fear of needles.

Now just what were the chances that we would have shown up at the clinic at exactly the same time!!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009


My new paper stuff...I love paper! This is a new note pad to sit near the phone, a fabulous selection of sticky notes in various sizes and because I needed to balance the pic I added my beaded magnetic bracelet! That was my play for a Sunday afternoon...did a little photo editing as well which can be viewed on my flickr page.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Fall From the Past

Our daughter Jenny at age 3...that was 30+ years ago in Whitby Ont...she is now living in Toronto ...a stay at home mom... married with 4 children, a very cool husband and a dog named Holden. She is not only my daughter but also one of my very best friends...I am so lucky!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


inside a library it an apology for a late book? is this a pregnancy due date?

Bye the way the book found it in is

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

by the late Jane Jacobs copyrite 1961

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What My Mother Wrote

While visiting at my parents home last weekend my mother gave me a letter that she had written to her best friend. She wrote this 3 days after I was born while still in hospital. Her BF Barbara was living in BC at the time and was expecting her first child about a month later.

The letter made me laugh because of my mothers encouraging words to Barbara... I will tell you one thing that it is easy as pie to have a baby, there is nothing to it at all...just relax and bear down hard when you have a will sail through with flying colours...

Apparently I was born 16 days early...March 16...guess I should have been an April fools baby! I had idea!

Bye the way Barbara went on to give birth to 12 children, my mom stopped after 3!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stratford Docfest

Looking forward to the the upcoming Docfest in Stratford next week October love anything to do with film. What a plus for Stratford to have a festival like this.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Yesterday I picked up a book that my husband had brought home form the library a few weeks ago.

Poem A Day 366 Poems, old and new, one for each day of the year
Edited by Karen McCosker and Nicholas Albery

At random the very first page I opened was page 340, what I found was Suzanne by Leonard Cohen! Now how strange is that? Leonard is my beloved...poet...musician... an incredible human being. Of all the pages in the book that is the one I opened and it is the only poem in the book that is written by Leonard.

Today I was compelled to open the book again and came across So We'll Go No More A-Roving written by Lord Byron. Well I had no idea that Byron was the author of those words. I only know them from a selection on Leonard's Dear Heather album! I recognized them immediately and was thrilled. To think I had been enjoying Byron all along without even knowing!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fall Crocus

as I was practicing depth of field I needed to catch these flowers at the Festival Theatre...nice on an October afternoon

Sunday Afternoon

For some reason I have not been out with my camera in the last few weeks. The weather has mostly been cool and rainy which is not the best for the camera. There was a reprieve this afternoon which I decided to take advantage of. My mission was to get a great fall pic of a lone tree...there was not one to be found so I just played. In spite of my cold hands and a little rain I had a great time!

After viewing the pics on my computer I decided to photoshop to get a black and white version of the river pic. Not sure which I like best!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Three Sisters

Last night I attend Chekhov's play Three Sisters at the Tom Patterson Theatre here in Stratford. First of all let me say I enjoyed the play, had never seen it before. Lots angst, kind of philosophical, bits of humour here and there.

I am not going into a review here but just want to record my experience.

During intermission the lady sitting next to me asked if I had read the play. I said no but I planned to read it in the near future. She then proceeded to tell me the whole rest of the story...what happened to each and every character...I was hoping she would stop...I did not want to appear rude so said nothing. I then asked her if anyone ended up happy. She proclaimed "Oh no it is Russia after all!" I did enjoy the last act even though there were no surprises...oh and this woman had an American accent!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my fathers 81st birthday! Last year we had a big celebration when he turned 80. This year I won't see him until Thanksgiving weekend when we will celebrate again. Sad that we live 3 hours apart but that is the way of families today.

I took this pic during a visit, when I came into the dining room he had taken his watch apart with a little knife to rewind it because the stem was missing, just sitting there so patiently in the morning light.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Fabulous Grandchildren

One of the marvels of getting older is the timely arrival of beautiful new members of your family...Grandchildren...little people to love and nurture and who love you unconditionally. I am thankful everyday for Melaina, Gabrielle, Isaac and Madeline!

Monday, September 21, 2009

music I am loving at this moment

I love this fellow!


Today is actually a work around the house day...more known to me as domestic I do a few house things then get sidetracked with music, journal, papers etc that I should be putting away...but then again who said I should!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I am very lucky that my husband likes to cook! This salmon was yummy with a jerk sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes and asparagus sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Also Italian Ciabatta bread...lovely

Monday, September 14, 2009

me and my cat named Boo

This is an old pic taken at Niagara Falls probably the summer of 1972, the year I was married. We had a march wedding and of all the crazy things for our honeymoon we went to Moosonee on the Polar Bear Express...yes in MARCH!!! So in the summer of that year we decided to do Niagara Falls and of course I had to bring Boo! I guess being in Niagara recently made me want to share this memory.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

my current read

One of the greatest pleasures in life is the joy of reading. I love everything about books...the content of course, the feel of the book, the cover, the scent, notes on the author, bookstores and libraries. As a young child growing up in Whitby Ont. one of my aunts was a librarian at the Whitby Public Library, I spent many joyous hours in that lbirary surrounded by books!

Currently I am reading Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. I never cease to be amazed by her books. Her wit and imagination fascinate me. This book is dealing with a future gone bad but somehow includes a wonderful sense of humour. It is not a sequel to Oryx and Crake but there is some connection. I loved that book as well. I met Margaret Atwood at a reading in Bayfield a few years ago, she was delightful!

Also you can go the website of the book, events and a link to Margaret's blog at

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labour Day

When I had children at home I had a love/hate relationship with labour day. I was always sad to see them head back to school after lots of family time all summer, slower pace, holidays, picnics, beach time etc. On the other hand it was fun to send them off with expectations in new clothes carrying a new bag with new pencils and books inside.

Now that it is just the two of us I still feel strange when labour day arrives...the end of summer...sad...feel that I need to start something new, almost like a New Years resolution...make improvements of some kind. This Sept I think I will take a breather,sit back and just be and not worry about improving anything unless the mood strikes but I will not try to force it.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Niagara Falls

last weekend of the summer...we went off to Niagara Falls to meet up with Jenny, Steve, Melaina, Isaac and Maddie, missed Gabby who was uable to join us. Have not been to Niagara in at least 20 years. It has changed, exceeded our expections, loved our hotel deal at Doubletree by Hilton, beautuful hotel, very clean, nice pools and hot tub, outdoor lounges and an not too busy. Great dinner at Antica Pizzeria, yummy wood oven pizza, ribs at Tony Roma's, oops have fallen off the veggie wagon! Clifton Hill glitzy, rode the Sky Wheel, walked and walked, gambled at the Casino, no winnings, small loss but worth the people watching. Fashion must if you are young and thin...short... tight and black!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Street Photography

While sitting reading The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman I came across a chapter on street photography, it so speaks to me. I love it in so many ways, to try to capture and also to enjoy the work of others. Life...that is what it is all I will post a few from the past

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

a beginning not an ending

Today is the first day of September...I have a love/hate relationship with this month. For me it has always seemed an ending, an end to what I enjoy most of love of sunshine and warmth, picnics, the beach, reading on the patio or porch, storms, clouds, night noises and on and on. Recently I have tried to turn September into a beginning but it usuallydoesn't quite make it for me. It certainly did in the two Septembers that my children were born...bliss. I will try harder this year. My problem really is the dread of winter so that fall is just a step into that long cold claustrophobic season.

On a brighter note I decided to create a journal page, have a nap in the sun and read on the patio. Now for a glass of wine, dinner and perhaps some star gazing as the darkens into night.

Monday, August 31, 2009

three bottles

Tom has been working on this wine for months now. He inherited all the equipment necessary for winemaking at home... last week we bottled and today Tom labeled...we now have 90 bottles of wine in our cold room!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

my mom

We spent the last four days in the Port Hope area visiting with my parents, my mom has MS, is in a wheelchair, just closed her retail shop in Port Hope Dec 31th. Imagine my parents are finally retired at the ages of 80 and 75! I speak with them weekly and see them about every 6 weeks for a few days...they are 3 hours away from us...too far...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beach Day

Finally yesterday...a beach to Port Stanley...28 degress...summer! Read and napped on the beach, it was warm and windy, the beach was packed, no swimming for us though, red flag, riptide, strong undertow and bacteria...yuk! Well that is southwest ontario...funny though ran into my brother and sister-in-law as we were leaving...what are the chances of being in the exact same place at the exact same time!

Monday, August 24, 2009

after Julie and Julia

Last night Tom and I saw the movie Julie and Julia. We both loved it. If you have not seen it...go see it. It is such fun, it will make you laugh and it will make you hungry and it will make you want to visit Paris. After returning home Tom had to cook so he whipped up a batch of French Onion Soup, opened a bottle of wine...great way to spend a Sunday evening.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

on a city street

This fellow asked me for some change, I gave him the little that I had...I had already given away what was in my wallet. He was so appreciative. I just had to ask him a few questions...he told me his was quite a story...after chatting for about 15 minutes I shook his hand and wished him well.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Good Read

If you saw and enjoyed the movie Revolutionary Road or perhaps have read the book you may also enjoy A Special Providence by Richard Yates as well. I like his writing, his stories are a little gritty but full of the human condition complete dysfunctional family dynamics. I always seem to care about the protagonist in his books.