Friday, April 30, 2010

Where Did April Go???

Can it possibly be the end of another month? I simply can't believe it. Zoom.

Did you get your taxes filed yet? Midnight tonight, that's the deadline. I filed mine early when I thought I was getting a refund, only to be rather surprised when I got an invoice from the government asking me to send them a cheque. Oops, it seems I had read the form incorrectly when I filled it out online and I owed them money, instead of the other way around. Less than $100, not the end of the world, but I was kind of bummed out about it, until I heard someone on TV saying that if you're getting a big refund, that's a bad thing. It means the government has had more of your money than they needed to get, they have had it to use all year and you didn't. It's like giving them an interest free loan, when you could have been spending that money or actually earning interest on it. Suddenly, I didn't feel so bad about writing that cheque.

And how about this dry April? We're breaking records for the least amount of rainfall. According to today's news reports, we've had 50% less rain than normal for this month. It's the driest April since 1881, and the second driest since they first started to write this stuff down. Depending on what part of Toronto you're talking about (they keep records for the weather at the airport as well as downtown), it is also the driest April we've ever had in recorded history. Amazing. Not sure what that means for those May flowers we're looking forward too, guess we'll just have to wait and see. So far, it doesn't seem to have hurt the daffodils or the dandelions - they've been springing up everywhere!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Aqua Shimmer

My latest Inspiration was posted on the Beadfx website as of midnight last night and featured on their weekly email yesterday. It's called Aqua Shimmer because of the beautiful teal coloured beads Dwyn gave me to work with on this project. I love their colour and their shape. She gave me two strands so I just had to make earrings and a bracelet to match the necklace. The brushed silver beads were also treat to work with, they just look so good! Normally I go for a polished silver look but these really grew on me.

I've included a few photos of the pieces that I took myself. I have borrowed a page (if you'll pardon the pun) from Rachel Nelson Smith's modus operandi and used a book at the background for the jewellery. I quite like the finished effect. Although, having seen photos from the recent Kate McKinnon/Kyle Cassidy photo workshop, I think perhaps next time I shall have to try using a textured Tupperware lid instead!

However, you really need to check out Dwyn's photos on the Beadfx website, which you will find here: As usual, they are stunning. They always make me say, "I made that????"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

TBS Bead Fair This Weekend

Did you know the Toronto Bead Society's Spring Fair is this weekend coming up? Are you going? You should!

The hours are Saturday, May 1st from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 2nd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Fair is being held at the CNIB building located at 1929 Bayview Avenue, just north of Eglinton (turn right onto Kilgour when you come to the pedestrian overpass). If you're driving, there is parking available and if you're taking the TTC, you can hope on the #11 Bayview bus at the Davisville subway station and it will take you right there.

Admission is $5 for one day or $8 for two.
Further details and a $2 off coupon can be found on the TBS website:

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stuck in an Elevator

I just spent the better part of 45 minutes stuck in an elevator in my apartment building. The good news was, I knew I was on the basement level, which was where I was headed to go out in the car to run some errands, so I wasn't worried that I was about to plummet to my death. Someone had gotten off one floor above but when the car went down to the next level, it just bounced to a stop and the door wouldn't open.

However, in case you've never tried it, I am here to tell you that 45 minutes is a very loooong time to be stuck alone in a small box, wondering how long you'll be stuck in there and whether anyone realizes you're there. Thank goodness I'm not claustrophobic or I would have been a total mess by the end of it!

I kept banging on the door and yelling "hello?" in between ringing the alarm bell, feeling quite foolish the entire time. I didn't want to sit down because I've seen all the dogs that go in and out of those elevators and I know some of them don't wait until they get outside. Even though this building is kept very clean, ick, no, I wasn't going to sit on that floor if I could help it. Luckily, I had eaten dinner and gone to the bathroom before I left my apartment, so I didn't have any worries in that regard.

The exhaust fan was very loud, which meant I couldn't hear much. I couldn't tell if anyone knew I was in the elevator or was doing anything to get me out. I could hear someone else banging and yelling too, which made me think someone else was stuck in another elevator but when a man (who turned out to be the elevator repair guy) finally let me out, there was no sign of anyone else. He was suddenly on the roof of the car I was in and slowly opened the door enough for me to step up the one foot to floor level and climb out, asked me if I was okay, then slowly closed the door again and disappeared. I stood there, alone again, newly released and wondering what to do next - should I take the stairs up 14 flights?

A young girl of about 12 came in alone from the parking lot (I kept waiting for her companion to show up, the one who was old enough to drive. What was she doing in the parking lot by herself? She had several bags in her hands, perhaps she had been sent down to unload the family car) and I told her there was something wrong with the elevator. She said she'd heard someone was stuck and then got very big eyes and said, "that was you???" incredulously when I told her someone had just let me out. Then the superintendent arrived in another elevator, ferried us up to the ground floor where he got off to talk to the elevator repair guy, and she and I continued on up. I was glad to have her company and was a little nervous when she got off 2 floors before me, but I arrived at my own floor without further incident.

So now I'm home safe, cuddling my cat, telling myself I will never go out without my cell phone again. It might not have worked in the elevator anyway but at least then I wouldn't have been cursing myself for not bringing it. The one time I figured I wouldn't need it and I did! If I'd had it and it did work, I would have been calling the superintendent to say "get me out of here!!!!!!!!!"

I'm not feeling too ambitious to do anything now. I can't even remember what I was supposed to be doing with this evening. Having this happen on the same day as the fire alarm going off at 1:20 in the morning, leaving me to toss and turn for another 2 hours before falling back to sleep, is not a good thing. I'm thinking I might just call it an early night and crawl into my bed, pull the covers over my head and hope that tomorrow gets here soon. Surely tomorrow will be a better day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Week in the Life

Last week, I took part in a journaling project called "A Week in the Life", which my Remains of the Day classmate Lorraine read about on the blog of a woman named Ali Edwards. Lorraine decided to join in and told me and our other Toronto ROD buddy Diane and we both jumped in as well. You can read Ali's original posting on the subject here: Or you can read Ali's current blog to see the journal she has put together, which she'll be blogging about this week: As far as I can tell from the number of comments on one of Ali's postings last week, at least 4,500 people around the world took part in this project last week - it's cool to know that I was one of them!

The basic premise is that for one week, you keep track of the everyday details of your life by writing down what happens and taking photos to record some of those moments. It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't have to be extraordinary, it is just your life during that one particular week. The good, the bad and in some cases, like the picture I took of myself with bed head one morning, the really scary!

Ali's suggestion was to use an 8.5 x 11 inch 3 ring binder and I liked that idea. It's simple and easy to put together. I'm pretty new to the whole journaling/scrapbooking game so my pages are pretty simply put together and not too complex. I used regular lined 3 hole punched paper to do my writing on. I carried the paper to work with me and left it out on my desk to remind me to add things from time to time. At home, I left it on top of the bookcase in my front hall and wrote things down when I was walking by that spot (which is pretty often, the way my apartment is laid out). On Monday, I wrote 4 pages, both sides of 2 pieces of paper. Every other day, I only wrote one page but usually covered both sides. Sunday, my quietest day, I only wrote on one side of the page. I think I wrote more on Monday because it was the first day, as I was describing things for the first time. For example, my morning routine is pretty much the same most days, so I only wrote it out in detail on Monday.

I carried my camera with me everywhere I went and took lots of photos. It was interesting to see that some days I took more pictures than others. 65 on Monday, only 13 on Tuesday (I really don't know why so few this day), 34 on Wed, 53 on Thursday, 32 on Friday, 51 on Saturday and 24 on Sunday. Some of the shots felt kind of goofy - did I really need to take a picture of what I ate for breakfast that day? Then again, why not? Not every picture will make it into the final album but it's fun to look through them all on my computer.

For now, here's a look at a couple of the pages I put together from last Monday:

For each day of the week, I will have one 8.5 x 11 inch photo as the "cover page". For Monday, I used a photo that I took in the cemetery I visited that day, the anniversary of my dad's death. I really love the look of this page - it's a beautiful headstone and I glued on some funky pre-cut letters in a haphazard fashion.

Every day will also have two pages (one insert, front and back) consisting of what is in reality a page typically used for displaying a baseball card collection. It has 9 pockets on each side which hold either wallet-sized photos or whatever else you want to put in them - in my case, things like receipts and tags I made out of file cards cut in half (= the exact size of the pocket) describing the photos or showing my horoscope for the day, the current price of gas, the date from a calendar, that sort of thing.

Some examples of other things I collected for each day are copies of various emails I received, items I picked up or found on my daily travels, like the "inventory required" tag I found on the floor when I went grocery shopping (it's the perfect size for one of the pockets!) or the flattened button I found in a parking lot, business cards, that sort of thing. I also kept the front section of the newspaper one day as a historical record. I'll tuck that into a large page protector or a envelope with holes punched in the side.

A year from now, when I do this again, it will be interesting to see what has changed in my life and what hasn't. It was a lot of fun doing this project, paying attention to my every day surroundings more closely, trying not to take things for granted. It will be great to have this record to show what this week was like in 2010 and compare it to life in 2011 and beyond.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pyjama Day

Ever have one of those days when you don't have anything planned and you just want to stay in your pyjamas all day? Today was one of those days for me.

I'm working on a special journaling project this week and I had a great day yesterday starting to put the pieces together. I had bought myself a new printer earlier in the week (the one I had was only good for scanning these days) and I set it up in the morning, then spent the rest of the day downloading and organizing photos and printing them out. What a treat it was to have a working printer again!

Alas, my joy was short-lived. This morning, the printer didn't want to print. Maybe it was worn out from everything I put it through yesterday, I'm not sure. So when it wouldn't work this morning, I left it alone while I went to watch Coronation Street.

When it still wouldn't work midday, I kept busy doing other things. Puttering around, sorting some stuff, watching a bit more TV (because really, what else can you do on a rainy, slightly chilly Sunday in April?). I also spent more time than I'd care to admit looking for something I later found hiding in plain sight - man, don't you hate when that happens?

About 5 p.m., I decided I'd go give the printer some more attention. After an hour and a half of trying to reconfigure everything, restarting my computer a couple of times, putting the software CD back into the computer and running various diagnostic checks, I figured I'd just try the old standby - unplug the damn thing and plug it again. Wouldn't you know it? That worked! Out spit the one inch square little paragraph I'd been trying to print all day!

Maybe if I'd gotten out of my pyjamas today, things might have run a little more smoothly or I might have been more productive. But you know what? Sometimes, you just need that little bit of downtime to recharge or reconfigure. Maybe my printer was feeling the same way.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Simpsons in the Good Old Days

My friend Sharon of The Psychic Cottage posted a blog earlier this week about her memories of the old Simpsons store in downtown Toronto (here's the link to that post:

It's funny that she should blog about on that topic because I was just thinking about that very same store myself last week. My mom had recently given me some pieces of vintage fabric that she'd found in her basement and also in the bag were a couple of vintage sewing patterns - the Vogue pattern especially is such a classic design that it would be as fashionable today as it was back when the pattern was first published - as well as two cards of pretty blue vintage buttons tucked inside a small paper Simpsons bag, together with a barely legible receipt suggesting that the buttons were only 25 cents per card. Can you believe six buttons were ever that inexpensive?

I don't remember the tunnel between Eaton's and Simpsons from back then to which Sharon refers (only the one that links what is now the Eaton Centre to what is now The Bay department store). What I do remember most fondly about that old store is that they used to have THE BEST toy department at Christmas time. We used to drive down from Lindsay to spend the day and my mom used to leave us kids in the toy section while she went to shop in the rest of the store. Was she gone one hour or two or more? We didn't care. We could be occupied in that toy department for hours, they always had oodles of toys on display that you could play with, and we would just wander around checking everything out. It never occurred to us to wander off either. Of course, that was back in the days when you didn't have to worry about someone snatching your child if you left them somewhere unattended.

Safe kids and cheap buttons - ah yes, those were indeed the good old days!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Doing Good Deeds

I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who like to do good deeds.

Like Stephanie and Deborah (shown with me in the photo above), who came out to Beadfx last night for the Corsage Project play date to make jewellery to donate. And while attendance was sparse last night, I am not discouraged because it just means people had other things going on and weren't able to make it. I know there are lots of beaders all over the city making jewellery who will be taking their creations in to Beadfx and Bead Junction in the next few days to ensure the girls have lots to choose from next week when the Boutique Ball takes place next Sunday, May 2nd.

Although that's not where the generosity ends. Stephanie very kindly made bird's nest rings using a big honking Swarovski crystal for each of Debra and myself as a thank you for coming out, isn't that wonderful? Thanks, Stephanie!!

I also work with a great group of community-minded people, many of whom came out today to take part in the 20 Minute Makeover held today to clean up Toronto. For 20 minutes on this sunny and cool spring afternoon, we picked up trash on the roadsides surrounding our office building. This year's most unusual found object was one wooden crutch, which we all thought was a vast improvement over the pair of underwear we found last year!!

Here's a picture of me and my friend Coretta bringing in our collected garbage (it was more than it seems, those blue bags were HUGE!)(photo by Kathy Segismundo).

Thanks to all who took part in these two worthwhile endeavours and who inspire me to be a better person.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mastering the Self-Timer

One of my goals for this week was to learn how to use the self-timer on my point and shoot digital camera in order to take pictures of myself doing ordinary, every day things for a project I am working on (more about that later).

I have completely ignored the timer button on my camera for the 2 years that I've owned it but as soon as I went looking for it, there it was. A quick glance at the instruction book and I gave it a whirl. Guess what? It worked! Easy Peasy!! Here's the result, a picture of me and Max:

Then I thought I would take a picture of myself brushing my teeth. Except that I thought of it after I started brushing and figured I would just keep going and work the camera with one hand. Then I forgot I had to push the timer button first, so I got a few pictures of myself doing what I thought was setting the camera but what was in reality taking pictures of myself looking rather goofy. Finally I figured it out and took the shot I thought I wanted, which was me brushing my teeth from behind. In the end, it was the 2nd shot that I liked the best! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beadfx Play Date

What are you doing tomorrow (Thursday) night? Beadfx is hosting a play date to make jewellery for the Corsage Project. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and is being hosted by none other than The Dixon Chick (a.k.a. Stephanie Dixon).

You can read all about the Corsage Project in my post from last year on the subject:

The Beadfx blog featured a very helpful post the other day about what sort of jewellery the Corsage Project organizers are hoping to collect for the young ladies. You can read it here:

It's a very worthwhile cause. Why not bring your beads and come play along with us?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Riverside Cemetery

I have developed a habit of visiting different cemeteries on the anniversary of my dad's death and yesterday was no exception. I went to Riverside Cemetery, which is located just south of Dixon and Royal York in Etobicoke. It may seem a bit morbid but it really wasn't that kind of a visit - it was a beautiful spring evening, the sun was shining, the trees were beginning to show a lovely green hue and the birds were singing, singing, singing. I was the only person there and just strolled around the grounds, looking at the beautiful markers.

This was the oldest stone I found. It amazes me to think that if this person was buried in 1838 at the age of 73 years, that means they were born in 1765. That's one of the things I love about cemeteries, they always make you feel young! :)

This was the only headstone with a statue. It reminded me of the sort of thing you find in cemeteries in Europe.

Just as I was leaving, I found this marker with my dad's name on it:

The funny thing is, it was side by side with one for "Ronnie" which is my dad's brother's name - well, his name was Ronald and to my knowledge, no one ever called him "Ronnie", it was always "Ron" but still, on a day when I was thinking of them both, it seemed rather appropriate to find these stones.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Remembering My Dad

It's the fifth anniversary of my dad's death today. For the first time, I didn't feel the need to take the day off work. I was feeling some dread about the day back in March but that feeling went away as the date drew closer. Maybe it's because of my uncle's recent death, having spent all last week in the midst of grief, maybe it's the passing of time, maybe it's something else. I still miss him like crazy and probably always will but today was a good day, a happy day, at times even a fun day and I'm grateful for that.

I found this photo last week when I was looking for pictures of my uncle to send to my cousins for a DVD they were putting together to play on the TV at the funeral home. My mom and dad and sister and I were on a trip out West, driving from Calgary to Vancouver for the wedding of a family friend. One of the places we stayed at was a bed and breakfast in Revelstoke, BC that had horses available to ride. At least, I think that's where this photo was taken. Anyway, it's a great picture of my dad looking happy and like he was having fun. He didn't get up on a horse too often but always seemed to enjoy it when he did.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Too Pooped

I was going to tell you all about my day at the Elora Antique Show but I'm too pooped. I got up very early this morning to do a couple loads of laundry before heading out to Moffatt to meet up with my friend Barb at 10 a.m., who then drove us to Elora. We checked out the antiques, had some rather bland chili at the show's snack bar (still regretting not having a slice of the lemon meringue pie they had on offer) and then spent some time walking around the shops in the town itself. After we got home to her place in the late afternoon, we hung out in the hot tub while her husband Wayne made dinner on the barbeque. After we ate, we took the dog for a walk then I jumped in the Cherry Bomb and drove home. So now I'm too tired to type, which means I'll just quickly show you some of the photos of a few of the cool things we saw today.

This Hoosier cabinet was in perfect condition, complete with sugar drawer, flour sifter, glass spice bottles, a pull out bread board and a pull out stainless steel work surface. If I had a spare $1500 and somewhere to put it, I would have snatched it up myself, it was that lovely. By the time we circled around the arena to see the other booths and came back to this location, the cupboard was gone and rightly so.

Barb bought this lovely hooked rug for only $45. It was in perfect condition and much larger, prettier and more well made than some of the others we saw.

You will be surprised to learn that all I bought was some vintage lace and eyelet trim. This was rather a fancy, high priced antique sort of sale, not the cheap and cheerful, one step up from a yard sale sort of sale I prefer. Lots of beautiful stuff but wayyyyy out of my price range for most items.

I resisted the urge to buy this vintage children's bagpipe set, even though I've always wanted to learn to play. I also wanted this antique typewriter but couldn't lift the darned thing.

As always, Kate McKinnon is right - there is a black jaguar to be found at every sale and today was no exception. However, I must say I found this particular example to be quite unique - it was a lamp with a funky Jetsonesque shade and fake daisies adorning the base (sorry the picture is out of focus, I was trying to take the photo without the too chatty dealer noticing).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Wheels

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my new wheels, which I have named the Cherry Bomb.

Some of you may have read Karen Elmquist's post last week about her new car purchase - which is pretty exciting, as she just got her drivers licence and this is her very first car. She got herself one of those very cool PT Cruisers, you can read her post here:

Like Karen, I too have a new car. It's not my first but I'm pretty darned excited anyway. It's a 2010 Nissan Versa and I had so much fun picking it up today in Lindsay (an hour and a half's drive away, where I had picked it out on Easter weekend), having lunch with my mom and then driving it back to Toronto. Even driving through snow showers did not discourage me - I focused on how pretty the white clouds looked with the dark grey snow clouds behind them.

My new car is a beautiful cherry red colour and I'm looking forward to bombing around town in it (hence the name). Taking delivery of a new car also means you get presents - in this case, pretty flowers in a Nissan mug and a Nissan hat. Unfortunately, I did not get to take home the cute little springer spaniel puppy they had at the dealership this morning but wouldn't that be a great promotion, "free puppy with every car!"? Okay, maybe not. (Karen, make sure you get the free gift(s) when you pick up your new car - it could be flowers or a bottle of wine).

Ever notice how much stuff you have in your car? Even though I try very hard not to use my car as a storage facility, there still seemed to be a lot of stuff I had to remember to take out of the old car - car mats (which needed to be cleaned before they could go in the new car, I scrubbed them last night in the bathtub), road maps and map books, emergency blanket (in case your car breaks down in a snowstorm), grocery bags, kleenex box, umbrella, windshield washer fluid, CD's, ownership and insurance info, transponder, parking sticker for home, parking pass for the office. Phew! That's a lot of stuff.

The best part about my new car? The fact that you can plug in your iPod in the little compartment right above the radio on the dash and use the radio controls to scroll through the iPod menu as you are playing music. Okay, maybe this isn't a new idea and on deluxe model cars, they even have the controls on the steering wheel, but it's new to me - my old car didn't have this feature. Ever since the introduction of the handsfree law (no talking or texting on your cell phone also means no fiddling with other devices like iPods too, did you know that?), I had to settle for plugging in the iPod at the start of a trip, tucking it away and letting it play whatever song came up. Which is hard - even with playlists set up, sometimes you're just not in the mood for a particular song or artist. Now I can just zip on by something I don't want to hear. Sweet!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Awesome x 1000

My friend Sharon of The Psychic Cottage (see link on the right hand side of this blog) posted a link yesterday to an article in The Toronto Star about this guy who is blogging about every day, awesome things for 1,000 days in a row (and has just had a book published on the subject) and I thought I would pass along the information.

Here's the article: and here's the link to his actual blog:, which I have now added to my daily blog reading list, because the author, Neil Pasricha, is correct: we all need to focus on the positive aspects of our daily life. Simple things like the smell of fresh bread wafting out of a bakery, popping bubble wrap (I always love doing that! especially since I have learned that you can pop the bubbles and still use them as stencils for painting with) and a cold glass of water (with ice, please) on a hot, summer day.

His entry today (#525) is about a teacher that inspired and guided him in grade 3. The cool thing is, she sent him an email after reading the article in the paper. Now that's nice.

I have 2 teachers that I remember most fondly - Miss Madill, who taught me grade 4/5 (I did two grades in one year in the accelerated program) and whom I totally adored, and Mr. Houlden who taught me in grade 11. I also have fond memories of a teacher I had in grade 6, whose name escapes me at the moment but only because my brain isn't retrieving that particular info at this point in time - she always called me Rosemary because she said I reminded her of another little girl she knew, but she was very kind and friendly and only worked part-time and somehow shared duties with and was the perfect antidote for the very stern and crabby Mr. Brown who struck fear into the hearts of all students be they part of his 6th grade class as I was or under his supervision as principal of the school. He was the type that believed in giving boys the strap. Not that I ever did anything bad enough to find out what sort of punishment girls got (perhaps a ruler on the hand instead of a leather strap on your butt?) but he was frightening all the same.

So what everyday thing is awesome in your life today? For me, it's rubber car mats. I just finished washing mine in the bathtub so they will be nice and clean to put into my new car which I am picking up tomorrow. Somehow I have a feeling that tomorrow's awesomeness will have something to do with that "new car smell"!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April is the Cruelest Month

Or so says T.S. Eliot in his poem called "The Waste Land". Not that I have read the entire poem - it's 434 lines, after all, and made up of 5 rambling and diverse parts, all dealing with different subjects, some lines written in foreign languages. What's that all about??

Nevertheless, the first few lines of the poem:

"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

have always rung true for me, and more so since my dad died in April 5 years ago. Last week, his only sibling, his younger brother Ron, also passed away.

If you'd asked them, they probably would have said they weren't much alike and didn't have much in common. Anyone who knew them both knew that wasn't true. They were both quick to see the funny side of a situation, sometimes sarcastic, always opinionated, kind-hearted men.

My Uncle Ron was the type of person who would be one of the first to offer to help out with any job that might need doing. His wife, my Aunt Barb, is like that too. Several years ago, when I was moving into my first house, without me even having to ask, Ron and Barb offered to bring their van over and load it up with boxes to take from the old place to the new one. When my new fridge was delivered in the midst of this process, it was Ron who figured out that in order to get it inside, we needed to take the front door off. He asked me for my tool box and quickly got to work taking the hinges apart, then helped muscle the fridge up the front stoop and into the kitchen (that's him on the left in the photo). That's just the kind of guy he was. He was an engineer, so of course that's how his mind worked, always sorting out the solution to any problem.

It's hard for us to wrap our heads around the idea that he is gone. We weren't expecting it. He was only 70, after all. He'd had a cancer scare back around Christmas but that had been resolved surprising quickly and easily. In the end, it was his heart that gave out. I'm glad for his sake that it was quick and easy. Having watched my dad waste away with cancer, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Still, for those of us left behind, and especially my aunt, my two cousins and their children, it's not so easy and it won't be at all quick to get over the pain of the loss. Unfortunately, that's just the way it works.

Thank you to all for your kinds words and hugs over the past few days and today at the funeral, it is much appreciated.

I shall end this post with a picture of my mom and dad in the front seat of a car and Ron and Barb in the back. I think it's around 1964 and may have been taken at my aunt and uncle's wedding but I'm not entirely sure (I'll have to check with my mom). I just like it because they're all happy and having fun, my dad's smoking a cigar, Barb is gazing adoringly at handsome Ron, the ladies are wearing hats and gloves - it's such a sweet photo all around.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Signs of Spring

Everything is greening up. All that rain we got last week has turned the grass bright green.

From my apartment window, I can see the weeping willows across the street showing their spring colours. They were the last to lose their leaves last fall and now they are the first to show green. The buds on all the other trees are starting to open up into leaves as well.

The magnolia trees are in bloom, as are the forsythia bushes.

I have always thought forsythias should have an "n" in their name, don't you think? Forsynthia. Get it? :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

If It Ain't Broke

I almost got a new sink today. When I came home from work last night, there was a note from the property manager advising that they would be coming in today to install a new sink in my bathroom. What I couldn't figure out was why. I hadn't asked for a new sink or discussed either of my two bathroom sinks with management at any time. Neither one of them were broken or cracked and they both work perfectly. One of them has two tiny spots where the enamel has chipped off - you can see from the photo how very tiny the one spot is, a little bit of white paint or liquid paper and no one would notice it.

This morning, I emptied out the cupboards under both sinks (since their note hadn't specified which one was being replaced) but as I was leaving for work, I thought I should just pop in to the management office and have a word with the superintendent to see what was what. I had been worrying over the time and expense they were about to spend installing a new sink to replace one that essentially had nothing wrong with it. Would they at least donate the old one to Habitat for Humanity or somewhere equivalent so it could be reused?

It was a good thing I asked! Turns out, it was a different apartment two floors above mine that was supposed to get the new sink. Someone had misread the numbers!

Which is just as well, because like the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Terry Fox +30

On this day thirty years ago, Terry Fox started his now famous run. His plan was to run across Canada, starting on the East Coast by dipping his foot into the Atlantic Ocean, to raise money for cancer research. What made this run unusual was that fact that Terry had one artificial leg.

As most of us who around at that time can recall, he never made it to British Columbia to dip his foot into the Pacific. After running for 143 days, completing approximately 40 km per day - which is like running the Boston Marathon every day for 143 days, can you imagine? heck no!! - Terry was forced to stop in Thunder Bay, Ontario when the cancer that had caused him to lose his leg spread into his lungs.

By that time, he had raised $1.7 million and everyone knew who he was. Donations continued to be collected and a year after he had started his run, over $23 million had been raised in his name. (Sadly, he passed away two months later.) To date, that amount totals over $500 million and continues to grow.

As CTV News reported online: "Today, it's clear that Fox's legacy lives on. His name adorns more than a dozen schools across the country, more than 30 streets, one icebreaker, and a provincial park in the B.C. Rockies. There are also a number of cancer research facilities and research grants that honour his name, as well as the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, which recognizes young Canadians whose humanitarian work reflects the ideals that Fox embodied.
People from 40 different countries run in his name every year and the Terry Fox Foundation is constantly funding research for new cures for cancer."

I saw Bon Jovi in a commercial yesterday, asking "what are you doing to change the world?" For Terry, this would have been an easy question to answer. I'm sure he would be proud to know that 30 years later, we still remember him and carry on his quest. We should all be so lucky to leave such a legacy.

If you'd like to make a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation, click here:

(Many thanks to the unidentified photographer who took this image of Terry that I got off the Internet.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hippy Dippy Flowers

Today's lampworking class at Beadfx was about how to make what teacher Amy Waldman Smith calls "hippy dippy flowers". Three of us from yesterday's session returned today to learn the techniques involved in making these funky flower beads.

In this first photo, Deborah is watching Amy demonstrate how to start the bead. Here's a picture of one of the finished flowers Amy made - notice the polka dots on the petals (as compared to the ones below which don't have dots).

This next photo is of Tina melting some glass. She made the mistake of telling us her childhood nickname yesterday and then had to put up with us teasing her about it for the rest of our time together. She was a very good sport about it though! (check out her tattoos - I especially like the stars tucked just under her earlobe).

Here are a couple more of Amy's samples. I can't decide which one I like better. Sadly, these ones and the purple one above are all destined for the scrap heap, just like the demo beads from yesterday that didn't make it into the kiln. Such a pity, they were so pretty!