Monday, July 25, 2011


My word of the week from Andrew — vanishing.

The vanishing farmlands, wetlands, ice caps? Or perhaps the vanishing flora and fauna?

I'm going with more of a personal note — the vanishing of the precious slide films from my childhood. My Dad was a slide film and movie film maniac. Slowing they are vanishing before my eyes. All those childhood memories are turning to clear film. The lack of a decent chemical stabilizing factor of the 1960's Ektachrome film has obliterated a good part my young life on film. I'm madly trying to preserve some slides before they too turn to containers of clear slides. The 8mm movies is another story. I have miles of film. We never made the conversion to VHS, when many were in the early 80's, and now that I want to go digital, it is a costly proposition. 

I can't remember not going on a trip and have to stop for the family photo. Expo '67 in Montreal was all about photographing those wonderful international pavilions - the geodesic dome from the USA, the modern Habitat community and the red tented Ethiopian pavilion still stand out in my memory. Each year my Dad took a photo of my brother and I in front of the birch tree beside the house - getting taller and older with each photo. How many of those survive?

I'm sad that the slides are vanishing. It's not that I look at them often, but knowing they were safely tucked away in the cabinet, built especially to store them, was a comfort. My grainy films take me back to a gentler era. It used to be a big deal when the processed slide and movie films were picked up from the Kodak plant, which luckily was 10 minutes from our house, and we would all sit around in the rec room as a family after dinner to laugh and smile as we relived our moments together. We had a wall to wall screen and blackened all the lights to make it just like a movie theatre, popcorn and all.

Sadly my early personal film record is vanishing, but I will do all I can with the aid of modern technology to preserve, at least some of the slides. Perhaps one day my young nephews will appreciate them.

One of them many long line-ups at Expo '67 in Montreal.

Me at Wasaga Beach 1967.
I still like white sweatshirts at the beach.

My brother,  on a father/son fishing day at the Forks of the Credit.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


First photo with my new camera.
My good Karma corner on the back deck.

Andrew's word of the week - purpose.

Are we talking about my purpose in life? My purpose in being? My purpose for the day? How esoteric. Or, am I reading too much into this word?

Is my purpose to be a good person? Create wonderful unique pieces of jewellery? Volunteer more to help those that could benefit from my help?

I tend to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed. I should just try to streamline, and look at my purpose for this weekend — get in my 10 km walk, explore another farmer's market (Wychwood Barns), sort through my roof quotes, start my new book, make Pesto, dismantle my table in my backyard that is being eaten by carpenter ants, hit Henry's tent sale to finally buy my new camera.

10 km walk: Yes.
Wychwood Barns: Yes.
Sort through quotes: No - there is always next weekend.
Start new book: read all the weekend papers instead.
Make Pesto: Yes.
Dismantle table in backyard: Yes.
Hit Henry's: Yes - and this gave me a who new purpose for my weekend.

I am now the new happy new owner of  Nikon Coolpix P7000. Having said that, it actually came with a thick manual, which I have been reading cover to cover. I started the read last night, got frustrated and went to bed. Resumed reading this morning and decided to water the garden when I couldn't find a screen they said would be right there when I hit the "menu" button. Have now read most of the key salient points, and feel I have a basic handle of it, though have questions on the finer intricacies of how the manual functions operate. My lovely new compact camera, with quite a few bells & whistles, gave me great purpose on and off over the course of the weekend.

At the same time, purchased my Mom's first digital camera - a Sony Cybershot- so she can now enter the digital era. A belated birthday present, since she didn't know what she wanted. I chose the Cybershot for her, because I had one, and didn't want to go through two camera learning curves on one weekend. Too much purpose then.

Monday, July 11, 2011


His fishing pole is long gone,
but he happily watches over my garden.

 Now this word of the week challenge by Andrew, leads me to think in a zillion directions.

My senses help me retrieve so many memories, allowing me to remember...

I hear Mungo Jerry's In the summertime on the radio, and am instantly transplanted to the cottage we rented on top of Blue Mountain in the summer of 1970 — I got to sleep in the top bunk of what seemed like the tallest hand made bunk bed, my brother and I went swimming in a pool surrounded by wide open greenery, no fencing, I created paint by numbers masterpieces, ate banana marshmallow candies and sipped on Canada Dry Cream Soda. Life was good.

Every time I walk into a Canadian Tire store and smell the fertilizer, I know it's bad, it is sort of like the yummy smell of a good marker, but it makes me think again of the summer of my youth. I think it is because my brother and I were allowed to get a new water toy for our summer holidays, and Canadian Tire stores always had a massive selection, and where ever we were, there was a Canadian Tire not far away. I associate the chemical smell of fertilizers with the summer fun of my childhood. I know, strange as it sounds, it is a comforting smell to me.

The smell of sawdust makes me remember my Dad. I can recall him working in the garage with the big table saw screeching, cutting wood for his carpentry jobs. His hard hat was on, pencil poised behind his ear and sawdust was flying. Wood and my Dad were a natural marriage. I remember him leaving notes for my Mom on the seat of our Pontiac, written in pencil on small end cuts. What a nice smell.

I can touch my two cats in the night and know which is which by the softness of their fur. Gretel's fur is as soft as a chinchilla. I've never felt a cat so soft. My first cat, Tzi Ling, Poo for short, had a kink in his tail and I loved to try to straighten it. My friend Belinda has a dog, Coffee, with the pigiest curling tail, and I try to straighten that one too. I must have a tail thing.

I remember my Babcia made the most wonderful saffron bread. I can picture her having a table full of the Polish sized loaves. Each slice melted in your mouth. No butter was required, but it did enhance it. I have now discovered a bakery, a Brazilian bakery no less, that makes a bread, that comes pretty darn close to the way Babcia's bread tasted. Yumm.

Each day I wear both my feng shui jade bracelet and my good karma Buddhist prayer bead bracelet and remember where and how I got them. Again, comforting memories for me to remember.

I tend to remember trivial details — when my Mom bought the garden gnome at Eaton's Yorkdale when I was 6ish, that now happily sits under a hosta on my deck, what song we sang in the car when my friend Jeff took me to the high school prom, & especially the years the songs of my youth came out. Perhaps because it was a simpler more uncomplicated time in my life, that I remember this period so well?  Ask me what I did last Wednesday, & I would have to look at my calender.

I try to remember the positive and push out the negative. Perhaps I don't want to remember the negative.  What I remember as being good, far outweighs what I remember as being bad.

Andrew I am finally up to date with my weekly blogs.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I can't help but think of the Ford ad for their trucks, "like a rock". That's what Andrew's word of the week, solid, makes me think of initially.

• Solid relationships • Solid friendships • Solid construction • Solid gold • Solid thoughts • Solid boundaries • Solid Ice • Solid wood • Solid line • Solid white • Solid black • Solid Plastic

Solid is a word you can throw in front of many nouns and make it, well stronger, better, having more substance. Whether rightly or wrongly it does give a word weight. No pun intended.

Can't get much more solid than Stonehenge.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Again, my word of the week, gather, from Andrew stumped me.

This morning it all came to me as I was sitting at a picnic table overlooking the Family Drudge's stand at the local Farmer's market. Where do we gather? Around food. I love food and particularly the farmer's market at this time of the year. The sweet scent of local berries, the tastes from fresh strawberries, raspberries and wild blueberries. Even the field cucumbers were yummy. I enjoy the banter with the different farmers about who has the sweetest strawberries, how late the wild blueberries are, that this is the last week for Ontario asparagus and the hopes that the garlic crop will be better than last year.

It was great fun sipping on my organic coffee, skinny lady from Guatemala, as I watched families, singles, kids come and go through the market. I heard English, Polish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, Italian and some languages I didn't know being spoken. We all gathered around this great food fest. People had carrier bags, buggies, suitcases on wheels & wagons all to gather up their fresh produce. Is this not a great thing to do this time of the year? For me it is one of my pleasures. I love to gather at my local farmer's market.

But then I started thinking of other times I love to gather, and again, food is involved. Last night I gathered at our local Italian eatery with an old neighbor, Di, not that you are old Di, just a neighour I previously had, & my Mom. Tomorrow I will gather with friends Vicki & Barb, I used to work with at Canadian Living magazine a lifetime ago, over a lunch on my generous Polka deck. We all enjoy to gather round food. Food is the great glue of the "gather".

For me, the summer is about catching up with friends, we haven't seen since we hibernated last fall. And to do this, we gather around food. I love it.