Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gus and Beans

These two darlings are still staying with me and everyone seems to be enjoying that state of affairs.

But they do need to find a permanent home, so if you know anyone that would like to adopt two older kittens (they are about 42 weeks old now), please contact Abbey Cats at 416-284-2140.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Another Long Weekend

I'm off to the cottage for the next couple of days, Monday is a holiday here in Ontario.  My friend Taylor wanted to know a little more about it, so I thought I tell you a bit about our "summer place."

It's about a two hour drive from where I live, which is just long enough to do on a regular basis without getting bogged down by the commute.  Usually I can make it all the way there without a bathroom or snack break but there are places to stop along the way if needed.  My mom, sister and I tend to go there almost every weekend in the summer months.  It's only a half hour drive from where my mom lives.

My family has owned this cottage since the fall of 1974, or was it 1975?  There was one previous owner, who built the cottage in the mid 1950's.  It's nothing fancy but it's located on a large freshwater lake that measures 16 km long and averages about 3 km wide, although that width varies because of the many curves along its shoreline.  We swim in the lake and use its water for showers and washing dishes but tend to drink bottled water in recent years.

We have four buildings on our property - the main cottage, which has three bedrooms, a bathroom, dining room, kitchen and living room with a beautiful stone fireplace, a workshop, a sleeping cabin (which is mostly used for storage these days - it's just the right size for keeping the canoe, lawn mower, windsurfer and various other large items that need a place to be kept) and another little building that we call the "empty shed" which we tend to use for storage as well.  None of these buildings are insulated, so we can only use the property for about six months of the year, from May to October.

The nearest town is about a 5 minute drive away, which makes it easy to pop in for any groceries we might need, or a visit to the local bank, post office, hardware store, liquor or beer stores.

It's a great place to go to relax, get away from the city and be surrounded by nature. We have made a lot of friends there over the years so it can be quite social at times. Other times, it seems like it's just us and the trees, the birds and a chipmunk or two.  We are lucky to have a western exposure so we are treated to beautiful sunsets every day, depending on the weather.

There you have it, a few details about our little slice of heaven by the water. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Printing Photos

I haven't printed out any photos for a while now and it seems my printer is feeling a little under the weather after a month or two of not being used.

I tried to print out a couple of photos this past week and here's how they turned out:

I really like the effect but it's not what I was going for.  Plus the ink is still wet and smudgeable, which won't do since I want to put the pictures in the Elvis journal I've been putting together.  I've sprayed these photos with matte fixative to seal the ink and save the image but since I had just under 50 photos I wanted to print to use in the journal, I ended up ordering prints online the other night and picked them up at the grocery store the other night.  Now, what to do about my printer??

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Signs of Summer

Posted in my apartment building this week - this first one on Monday:

Followed by this one on Tuesday:


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Taylor Made

I was very excited to come home from work today and find mail art from Taylor in my mailbox!  Any time I get something in the mail besides bills (and it seems like there have been a lot lately, now that the mail strike is over, all the backlog envelopes are being delivered so we're getting twice as many bills at once, jeepers!), it's a good day but to get something pretty and hand drawn is a true delight.

The envelope had a cute little typical Taylor face she had drawn on the front and some really cool lettering:

The back of the envelope was sealed with polka dot tape - love it! Where can I get me some??

Inside, 40 different little swatches of Peerless watercolour paint pieces and a list of the names (which are fascinating, names like "Alizarine Red" and "Butterfly Wing" - can't wait to try them all!):

(if you haven't seen these, they are the best - paper that is totally saturated with watercolour paint, all you need is water and a brush).

Also in the envelope was an actual photo of me, Taylor, Libelinha (the woman formerly known as Laurie) and Linda, in front of a lovely view overlooking the city of Lisbon:

and finally, a wee note from Taylor written on a piece of paper with this photo on it:

Who are these little cuties, I wonder?  Perhaps Taylor knows, perhaps she will tell me, maybe she will keep it a secret...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons...

You could take a really cool photo like this one, which I discovered on Google while uploading photos to a Picasa web album.

Photo by Rish Photography

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Dream Car

If you asked me what my favourite car is, it would be this one, a Chevrolet Impala circa 1958, in exactly this colour:

I took these photos this past weekend at the Elvis Festival, they had a vintage car parade as part of the festivities.  Funnily enough, I went looking on Google for other photos of this car and found this one:

Photo by Christian Kath
via Wikimedia Commons
Coincidence? Maybe...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Elvis Has Left The Building

Our second annual Elvis weekend has come and gone and once again, we had a fantastic time!!  (although I have to say it was quite surreal to be away enjoying a perfect summer weekend and having a good time with friends, and catching the news highlights about the horrifying events in Oslo, Norway and then the next day, hearing that Amy Winehouse was found dead.)

There were Elvis tribute artists (a.k.a. "ETAs") everywhere, it seemed.  I didn't take too many photos of them this year, as I felt like the shots would have been a lot the same as the ones I took last year. 

However, I still managed to take about 300 photos all together over the 3 days.  Here are some of the highlights of our weekend:

(1)  watching and listening to our very own rockstars Steve and Allan playing their guitars:
Steve and Allan
(2) seeing the Chilean mine disaster survivor, Edison Pena (on the left in photo below, posing with fans), whose love of Elvis tunes helped him survive the 69 days trapped underground last year, perform:

(3) the hospitality of our hostess Lyn, to whom we owe many thanks (thank you, thank you very much!):

(4) being in the presence of Mike's sideburns, which he started growing about 2 weeks ago:

(5) sitting on a patio at the village at Blue Mountain on Saturday afternoon, enjoying the summer afternoon and listening to Elvis performers. 

How hot was it?

Hot enough to melt crayons!

I really like this photo, it could be the real Elvis, couldn't it?

While we were there, we saw these ladies, all dressed up in silly hats:

(6)  taking this photo of Mike and a Priscilla look-a-like:

(7) seeing all the classic cars:

and motorcycles:

(8) dancing up a storm

at the Saturday night oldies dance at Lyn's condo, featuring The Boomerangs band, whose lead singer Norm Douglas is also an Elvis tribute artist:

(9) meeting my new young friend William, shown here getting an autograph from Norm.  William, an entrepreneur in the making, sold me a dollar bill with Elvis' picture on it for $1.00, which I thought was a good deal, until I learned he had bought the dollar bill for 25 cents! 

and finally, (10) hanging out with these very entertaining and completely crazy folks!
Darrin, Mike, Lyn, me, Allan and Steve
A 2nd shot with Sara, who was behind the camera for the 1st photo
A good time was definitely had by all!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Little Less Conversation

While I'm up in Collingwood enjoying the 2011 Elvis Festival, I thought I'd share this video with you.  In case you were wondering, this is my all time favourite Elvis song:

Thanks to doctorzaius77 who posted this video on YouTube. Man, Elvis sure did know how to rock a jumpsuit in his day, didn't he? :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

All Elvis, All The Time 2.0

It's that time of year again! Time for the annual Elvis weekend in Collingwood, Ontario.  My friends and I had such a good time last year that we're doing it again.  Three days of fun in the sun and all Elvis, all the time!

Here's a recap of last year's weekend, what fun we had.

One of my little cousins (she's only 6) told me last week that she knows who Elvis is.  "He's the guy with the curled lip," she said.  Isn't she a smart girl?!
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hosting Heather

Had a great visit last night and today with my buddy Heather. 

We spent most of this hottest July 21st since 1955 indoors, enjoying the air conditioning, watching journaling videos on the Internet and hanging out in our pyjamas until noon, when we decided it was time to get showered and head out for a quick trip out for lunch and a visit to Michael's for crafting supplies (had to be able to say we had at least experienced a little bit of the heat, if only for the very short time it took to walk from the car into the store!)

Heather also spent a little bit of time cat wrangling.  That's Miss Beans perched on top of the scratching post, with Gus looking on from below.

But mostly, we were busy all day putting together these journal covers:
Heather's on the left, mine on the right
I dropped her off at a coffee shop just off the highway around 8 tonight where her brother Tim picked met us to drive her back to her mom's house, and then I came home to finish sewing the signatures into my journal, because I'm going to fill it up this weekend.  It's just the right size to tuck into my purse and carry around with me. Tune in tomorrow to see where I'm going to be doing that. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chasing Flies

I picked Heather up at her mom's house just after 7 tonight and we headed to Swiss Chalet for dinner, because this is what all ex-pat Canadians want to do when they come home for a visit - go to Tim Horton's for coffee and eat Swiss Chalet chicken.  Then we came home to my apartment for a bit of show and tell and gift exchanges from our respective trips (she was in Italy while I was in Portugal) and now it's time for bed.

Except...there is a big black fly buzzing around my apartment, driving the cats crazy.  Such acrobatics as I have never seen as the fly travels from room to room, chased by 3 not fast enough cats who climb, leap and tumble across whatever is standing between them and that fly (Katrina is very wisely staying out of the fray).  Said fly doesn't land very often, so yours truly has no chance to slap him with the folded newspaper I am carrying around.  The cats swat him on their paws every now and again but it doesn't seem to slow him down.  I don't have an actual fly swatter or any fly paper, so not sure how this game is going to end.  Surely the fly must be caught before we try to sleep, as I don't want cats leaping over the furniture all night, although to be fair, they often do anyway. 

It's a little bit like this around here right now:

only so far, none of my little fur babies has actually caught the fly and I certainly hope I don't end up swallowing it! 

I suggested that Heather should take the fly into her bedroom and close the door but she didn't think that was the best solution.  Darn.  Time to get busy with that folded newspaper again...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Company's Coming

My dear friend Heather is coming to stay with me tomorrow night. I've booked Thursday off so we can spend the day being craft monkeys.  The forecast is for a high of 38C, with a humidex reading of FORTY-EIGHT DEGREES CELSIUS!!  Translation for my American readers: that's one hundred and eighteen bloody hot degrees F!!  It didn't get that hot when I was in Australia, for pete's sake!  Sounds like a good day to stay indoors with the air-conditioning on and make something.  Not sure what project(s) we're going to work on, so stay tuned for details.

But first, I have to tidy up. As in, a major instant clean-up is necessary!  Luckily, Heather is that greatest kind of friend, the one who really doesn't care how tidy or messy your home is and even better, understands why you need so many beading and craft supplies and why you need to keep them in the dining room.  I'm expecting that she will even help me to make a great big, wonderful, crafty mess on the dining room table while she's here!

The cats are helping me with the housework.  Okay, they're just supervising and like most effective bosses, will disappear when the hard work starts - or when the vacuum gets turned on, whichever comes first. 

Here's Beans, Gus and Katrina keeping a close eye on the situation (Maggie was on a break):

Gus wasn't sure I cleaned the sink well enough so he jumped in for a closer look:

Luckily, my cleaning efforts passed inspection.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday Fado in Portugal

I have been remiss in finishing my posts about our trip to Portugal, so I shall continue with the travelogue.

We spent the Friday of our "Tapping Into The Flow" week with Teesha and Tracy Moore in the workshop all day.  I think we were all happy to have a full day to focus on our journals and not have the flow interrupted, knowing that the week was coming to an end and we were running out of time to get things finished (isn't that always the way?).  We worked on painting our journal covers after Teesha demonstrated the technique using her own.

That evening, we gathered at the studio downstairs in our accommodations to see everyone's finished tiles. They all turned out really well.

We then took taxis to where we were having dinner, a family run restaurant which provided after dinner entertainment in the form of singing the fado.  Wikipedia describes fado as follows:  "a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. However, in reality fado is simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade which symbolizes the feeling of loss (a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent life lasting damage)."

Of course, we weren't familiar with the language so couldn't tell what the singers were singing about, but the music often did not sound as mournful as I had expected and was quite lively most of the time.
We were told by the tour organizer that the less skilled singers would perform first but as far as I could tell, all of the performers were quite talented.  They could certainly carry a tune much better than I ever will! 

The restaurant itself was rather small, with meat cooking in a wood burning fireplace in one corner, wood panelling on the walls, cheery yellow gingham curtains and lots of pictures, musical instruments and various items hung everywhere for decoration - it was a little bit like visiting someone's cottage, very homey feeling.  Quite warm, though, with that BBQ going indoors!

Both men and women performed, accompanied by several guitar players, the youngest of whom was 12 and cute as could be.

One of them was Rosalita, a friend of our hostess who just happens to live in the same part of the city of Toronto as I do (small world!). She has a beautiful voice.

It was a very late evening, as we didn't arrive at the restaurant until 9 and the music didn't start until after 10:30, but it was very enjoyable and interesting to experience something that is very much a part of the Portuguese culture in such an intimate setting.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An Adoption Event

Abbey Cat Adoptions held an adoption event at Amber's Pet Depot in Mississauga this weekend. 

The store had opened two months ago but this weekend was their official grand opening and they had done a lot of advertising for the event.  Apparently yesterday was a super busy day and two cats were adopted, which spells success to me.  They have quite a good selection of pet food, supplies and animals there - fish, rabbits, gerbils, parakeets, little lizards and even crickets (which I don't mind one a time but seeing a whole mess of them in a container creeps me out)!  They even have a guest pigeon, who flew in yesterday and has so far decided to hang around.  We found out he was up in the rafters when he just missed pooping on me as I stood underneath him!

I took Gus and Beans there for a few hours today but it was a slow day, probably because it was Sunday and also because it was so darned hot! (it's about 9 pm as I write this and it's 31 degrees C/88 degrees F outside, feels like 38/100 with the humidity! Whoo hoo, bring it on, summer.  Six months ago, it was minus 21 degrees and we got 5 cm of snow, I'd much rather have the heat!!)

Neither Beans nor Gus seemed at all comfortable being in the cage, not only because it was a strange place for them but also perhaps because it was at floor level and there was a lot of activity all the time. Poor little things.  They seem much happier to be back home in a familiar environment, but it was worth a try, because they do need to find a forever home.

We had some other cute kittens at the shop today as well. This group is Coddington, Burbidge and Hubble and they are all cute as can be. They are about 15 weeks old.

Hubble is a major cuddle cat, he loves being held.  Sadly, none of the four cats I have living with me now are truly cuddle or lap cats, although they will all let me cuddle them briefly.  I have a feeling Hubble would never get tired of being cuddled, he seemed to enjoy it so much, no matter who held him.  I was seriously tempted to bring him home with me but I probably would have had a fight from both his foster mom and another one of the AC ladies at the event!

We also had the Spice Girls, six adorable 10 week old kittens named after various spices. 

Check out the spots on these two!!
I love how her paw looks HUGE in this photo!

It was nice to cuddle some tiny kittens again, it's been a while since I've had a litter staying with me!