Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cherry Trees in Bloom 2017

Every year around this time, Torontonians go on "blossom watch", waiting for the sakura cherry trees to bloom in High Park.  I've never actually been to High Park during this time but I have heard how crowded it can be, both with people and traffic.

Two or three days ago, local sources reported the first blossoms had made their appearance and that this weekend would be good for viewing, with a warm, dry, sunny forecast.  This website has an interesting chart showing the peak bloom dates for years past.  April 24-25 (i.e. tomorrow and Tuesday) is predicted to be the height of this year's season.

My friend Cheryl and I decided we wanted to see cherry blossoms but avoid the crowds, so we headed off early this Sunday morning to look for a lesser known and hopefully less crowded location in Etobicoke. Based on the advice of this blog post, we headed off to Broadacres Park, allegedly the home of 100 cherry trees.  We crossed a very soggy soccer field and a small creek to find a grand total of ...two (2) cherry small trees in bloom!
We found a stand of about 15-20 trees in the southwest corner of the park that have the beginnings of some buds but no way to tell if they are sakura trees or not.  All in all, it was a disappointment.

However, as we left the park, we drove past Etobicoke Civic Centre (located at Burnhamthorpe and The West Mall) and noticed six blooming trees in front of the building, glistening in the sun.  We turned the car around and headed to their parking lot, where we were the only visitors.
We proceeded to snap photos and inhale the gentle aroma of the cherry blossoms.

Here is Cheryl, focused in on the blooms.
The buds are a soft rose shade, while the open blooms are white.
The sky above was so blue, without a cloud in sight.
Here's a photo of Cheryl and me under one of the trees, flushed with success at having found this well kept secret location and taken our share of photos!

Day 20/100 - #100dayproject

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017

We celebrated Earth Day yesterday at my office with a potluck lunch.
Heather had the winning dessert with her cupcakes made to look like carrots growing out the ground (complete with Oreo crumbs like dirt sprinkled on the top of them!).  They were delicious!
Jennifer's butterfly cake was just as clever.
A number of us then headed outside to take part in the 20 Minute Makeover, cleaning up our corner of the city.  
We didn't have to look too far to find a creek bed full of trash, just on the other side of a nearby parking lot.
Twenty minutes later, things were much improved.
We picked up all the usual suspects: coffee cups, empty water bottles and beer cans, cardboard, candy wrappers, newspapers.  The weirdest things we found?  A pile of dishes (probably from one of the restaurants nearby).
And a knife. Probably from one of those same restaurants although the caution tape nearby did make me wonder if we had stumbled upon a piece of crime scene evidence that had been overlooked...
Here I am, doing my part, carrying a couple of garbage bags to the dumpster.

And here's our merry gang with the results of our labour.

Leaving our city and planet just a little bit cleaner than it was.  Happy Earth Day!!

Day 19/100 - #100dayproject

Friday, April 21, 2017

Who Could Forget?

I watched the movie "An Affair to Remember" tonight.
Image result for an affair to remember

I've seen it several times and I even own a copy on DVD but it lures me every time.  It's such a romantic story and Cary Grant is so handsome, who can resist? It makes me want to take an ocean cruise, visit France, play the piano, go to the top of the Empire State Building and fall in love - not necessarily in that order!

If you like the movie, you might find this article interesting to read.

The only parts of the movie I don't enjoy are when the children are singing their two songs for the Christmas concert. I can't imagine why those scenes were included in the film, other than to stretch the movie out to be closer to two hours in length.  Tonight I just switched over to the hockey game when those scenes were playing. ;)

I suspect I shall be humming the theme song for the next few days!

Day 18/100 - #100dayproject

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Geese Are Back!

You may have read my posts in previous years about the pair of Canada geese that return each year to nest in the area of my office.  You can read about it here.

I first noticed they were back around March 22nd but didn't get a photo of them until yesterday.  They were walking towards me as I was walking to my car, so I gave them a wide berth.
You would not believe the amount of goose poop on the asphalt today.  You'd think an entire flock of geese had partied on the tarmac all night, there was so much of it.  Today's heavy rain will no doubt flush most of that away.  I was able to get a little closer tonight, taking this picture as I juggled my iPhone and my umbrella!
No sign of a nest yet and no sign yet of the one legged goose I have noticed in previous years but I'll keep watching.

Day 17/100 - #100dayproject

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Twelve Years Gone

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." - Thomas Campbell
I miss you, Dad.

Day 16/100 - #100dayproject

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Time Travel Tuesday

Jeanne Oliver has been in Paris with her teenage daughter Maddie the past few days.  Today she posted some photos of Montmartre Cemetery, which made me think of the last time I was there in July of 2014. So I thought I'd take a trip of my own, back in time, and have a look at some of the photos I took back then.

It's funny how a photo can transport you back to an exact moment in time.  I remember visiting this cemetery mid-morning and how warm it was.  I can see from my photos it was a day of clear blue skies and full sun, resulting in either bright light or deep shadows in many of my pictures.
There are many beautiful sculptures in this place.  I shall need to do some research on them, to see what I can discover.  Who carved them and when?  On whose graves do they sit?  I suppose I should have taken pictures of the writing on the graves and not just the sculptures themselves but alas, I did not.
The statue in the photo below, tucked under the bridge (the cemetery is located below street level) was quite amazing:
The artist's palette under the bust suggests is the tomb of a painter.  Here's a closer look:
I love the way she is holding the flowers in her hand, as if she is about to strew the petals on the ground after pulling them out of the apron at her waist.

As is common in Paris cemeteries, there are many small, individual tombs or mausoleums - small buildings sitting side by side, housing the dead.
The one in the middle of the photo above has plexiglass to protect this slender beauty:

Many of them, such as the one pictured below, have exquisite stained glass windows, some badly damaged.

And others, completely intact and exquisitely beautiful.
There were many magpies about. They move quickly, it was hard to get a clear photo of any of them but eventually I did.
Just looking at these photos makes me long to go back and take another stroll along the pathways. There are more than 35,000 tombs in this cemetery and I only saw a small fraction of them!

Day 15/100 - #100dayproject

Monday, April 17, 2017

Don't Feel Like Writing

The problem with making a commitment to do something on a daily basis is that some days, you just... don't... feeeeeel like doing that particular thing.  For me, today, I just don't feel like writing. When this happens, it can be due to a variety of reasons - I'm tired, I don't know what to write about, I have procrastinated, it's getting late, I should be doing something else.

Today, however, I have a very good reason for not feeling in the mood to write - it's because I spent all of yesterday afternoon writing.  I wrote 18 cards and letters to my National Letter Writing Month penpals.  Eighteen!
On the plus side, I am now caught up for National Letter Writing Month. I agreed to respond to everyone who sends me something in the mail this month and my mailbox has been overflowing for about three weeks now.  But once I take these envelopes to the post office tomorrow, I will have written back to everyone.  Okay, okay, maybe not quite caught up.  Maybe there are one or two that I still need to get done.  But I'm almost there.  Lucky for me, there hasn't been any mail delivery for the past two business days, so no new mail has arrived either! ;)

I have been alternating between making cards and using postcards and notecards that I have in my stash.  I've enjoyed letter writing since I was a teenager, so I've been collecting stationery since way back then.

I'm not the only one making cards.  Here are a couple of pretty cards I have received from two very talented ladies.  This one was made by the other Cyn in the group. I love the texture of the woven piece she added to this card.  It really makes the finished piece a work of art, in my opinion.

This fantastic card was made by Gail.  How did she know I like hot air balloons?

Okay, I gotta go.  I've got at least one more envelope I've got to fill before bed tonight!

Day 14/100 - #100dayproject

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter 2017

Here is a vintage Easter card for all of you who are celebrating today.
The message inside is worth sharing:

"This brings a very special wish
To hope that Easter Day
Will be a more than happy one
For you in every way,
And with it comes a wish for joy
In days to follow, too,
And both are most sincerely meant
Because they meant for you!"

(this is a Coutts Canada/Hallmark card)

Day 13/100 = #100dayproject

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bunnies for Easter

Just in time for Easter, I received these adorable bunny stamps from Suzanne, who can be found on Instagram as @artstamped.  You will find her website here.  (Be sure to click on that link, as you won't believe what she can create using postage stamps!!)
She also sent a cute little card, decorated with a princess and butterfly sticker as well as another postage stamp with two martini glasses on it - so simple and so cute!

Speaking of postage stamps, these were the ones that came on the envelope she sent from London (UK).  Just as cool as the ones I ordered!
Not sure what I'll do with the bunny stamps (there are 10 in total).  I think I shall give away a few and hoard the others! ;)

Day 12/100 - #100dayproject

Friday, April 14, 2017

NLWM 2017

If you have been following my blog for a long time, you will already know that April is "National Letter Writing Month".  This is my 5th year taking part in a letter writing group.  Here are some of my previous posts from earlier years:


There are various groups and challenges out there celebrating this month.  One group suggests its members write 30 letters, one each day of the month.  In the group I belong to, we are each assigned one penpal and we commit to write at least 4 letters to that penpal during the month.  You can choose to be either a "one on one" player, in which you only have to write to your penpal, or you can be a "madness" player.  A madness player doesn't have to write to all of the other 69 group members but they do promise to respond to everyone who writes to them (so technically, you might end up sending out 69 letters if you receive one from everyone else but it doesn't usually work out that way).

The group I take part in is organized by Lindsay Ostrom.  She calls herself the "Creator of Cuteness" and if you look at this drawing on the envelope of the letter she sent me, you can see she more than deserves that title.  I love her lettering style and I am waiting patiently for the day when she offers an online class so I can learn more about how to do it myself.

By my count, there are 70 participants in our group this year.  Most of the others are located in the United States, there are 2 of us in Toronto, one in Italy and one in Germany.  The month is only half over and already I have received 25 cards and letters from other players (some of whom have written to me twice, which is unusual but very kind!).

This cool envelope was made by Rhonda using an atlas page and shows the path from her home in California to mine in Toronto.
Jackie sent me this handmade postcard.
Alli made me this lovely bookmark (it says "Life is about using the whole box of crayons!" on the other side). Plus check out the fabulous stamps on the envelope!
This beautiful card was made by Irma.
It is such a treat to go to the mailbox every day this month.  Some days, the box is empty but most days, there is one or more cards and letters tucked in with the junk mail and grocery flyers. A big thank you goes out to all who are taking the time to write to me, it is much appreciated and I will definitely be responding as soon as I can!

Stay tuned for later posts in which I will share more pictures of the gorgeous cards and letters I am receiving.

Day 11/100 - #100dayproject

Thursday, April 13, 2017

An Exchange in the Elevator

I had a great conversation in the elevator today.  I stepped inside and said hello to the man carrying a small lunch-sized cooler, a six pack of Labatt's Blue beer and a lamp base.

Thinking myself rather clever, I said, "Taking your lamp for a walk?"

Without missing a beat, he responded: "Yeah, he's been peeing on the carpet a lot, I decided I needed to take him out more."

How hilarious is that? Well played, dude, well played!

Day 10/100 - #100dayproject