Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Pool

A few days ago I published a post with some photos of my flower beds. But as you can see, most of our yard is taken over by the pool. So here are some shots of the pool. The solar blanket is on it because I was hoping to keep the water warm! We don't have a heater and use only the sun to warm the water. With temperatures in the 30's for the next few days, the water should heat up nicely. Yesterday it was already 28C! The first photo is taken from the northeast corner of the house, looking towards the northwest. It shows the apple tree in the corner and part of the west side garden. That pot in the bottom left corner is a banana plant. I have to take it inside each fall or it will freeze! This is the second year I have had it and so far there are no signs of bananas! This photo is taken from the northwest corner of the house, looking toward the northeast. It shows the garden along the north side of our yard.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Evening

We picked the girls up at school and took them to the Lone Star restaurant for dinner. We ordered fajitas. The girls had never tried them before, but they all agreed that they were very tasty. Michelle, my daughter's friend joined us for the evening. That's her in the black dress. We did a bit of shopping at Dollarama and then it was off to the Putting Edge for a glow-in-the-dark game of mini golf. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Come on In!

The water's fine!
We spent the morning and early evening in the pool. It was nice and hot today, so the pool was a good place to be. In the afternoon we went to a family reunion at my aunt's house.There was lots of food and talk and people to meet. But the best part was saved for the evening when the girls showed us a tea ceremony. We talked about Japanese customs and traditions. It was very interesting! Then they demonstrated calligraphy - the Japanese painting of letters and symbols with a brush! They showed us what our Canadian names would look like written in Japanese! My name is very beautiful when done in Japanese symbols. It means 'to hold the house in my hands and surround and protect it'! So I am the keeper of the house. Neat, eh? But I think I already knew that. There are three characters that make up my name. Everything looked more like art, than writing! I think I will frame my name and hang it on the wall.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Day At the Beach!

We started our day by having breakfast at my daughter's house. She made pancakes, which we enjoyed with maple syrup and homemade strawberry sauce. Delicious! Then we drove to Sibbald Point Provincial Park on Lake Simcoe. It was crowded when we got there, but we eventually found a picnic table and some shade. Lucky for us my strong son came along. He was able to carry everything we needed from the car. We set up a temporary home base and then everyone went for a swim, except me. I stayed behind to watch our things. We had sandwiches, vegetable sticks and drinks for lunch - with maple cookies for dessert. After lunch the girls went back to the beach and buried themselves in the sand. Yuk! Disgusting! But they seemed to enjoy it. Then they went back into the lake to clean off and go for another swim.
In the late afternoon, we left the park and drove to the nearby town of Sutton, where we were able to find a Giant Tiger store! It was five minutes before closing!!! But we made it! One of the girl's flip flops had broken and we needed to buy some new ones in order to have dinner at the Franklin Club. This is a fishing club which my husband and I belong to. They have a great dining room there! The food is excellent and the staff is friendly.
I took an after-dinner photo of everyone on the outside deck, overlooking the lake. We went for a short walk to look at the club's fish hatchery, just as the sun was beginning to set.
We watched it go down on an absolutely perfect day!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ice Cream at Dimitri's

We went to Dimitri's, on the Danforth, for dessert! Huge ice cream sundaes with whipped cream and fresh fruit in gigantic cones. Yummy!

A Busy Thursday Evening!

We went to a community party put on by our local councillor. There were free hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones and much, much more! There was music and a petting zoo, face painting and some exotic animals. The girls had a ride on a horse-drawn wagon. As always, they were all smiles!
Music in the Air!
We didn't stay very long because we had lots more to see and do. The Beach's Jazz Festival was on and we didn't want to miss it! Parking down there would have been impossible, so we took the subway and then a bus to get there. The street was closed to cars and there were lots of people, all walking down the middle of the road and everywhere else as well. The sound of jazz bands filled the air. The sights, the sounds and smells - all created a special evening, not to be forgotten! The girls enjoyed themselves immensely! (Sorry! Too much excitement! I didn't get any photos!) The Jazz Festival was still going strong when we decided to walk down to the lake. By this time it was already dark, but still fun to walk along the boardwalk since it is lit up every few feet or so. I think we will have to come back to the beach before the girls leave. It is an interesting place to walk and see the sights! We had some donuts and drinks and then took the bus and train back home. We were all very tired! Well, at least I was! It was a long evening, but well worth it!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Garden!

This post is especially for my friend, Keiko, in Japan. She asked me what my garden looks like, so I am going to take you on a short journey. The first photo is of my back flower bed. It is about 45 feet long and 5 feet wide. It runs along the north side of my property. The back of this bed is in shade most of the day, so I have planted hostas, Solomon's Seal, and other shade-loving plants. The front of this bed gets sun all day, so the plants are very different. I have planted coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, lavender, phlox and other sun-loving plants.
This is a dark corner in the northwest part of my garden. It is under the apple tree. Only shade plants grow here - ferns, hostas, Solomon's Seal. I love to sit in this dark, quiet corner and read, or take a nap. (Mimi has taught me a lot about napping!) On a hot day, this is the spot to be!
This is my side garden. It runs along the west side of my yard and is about 90 feet long and 5 to 8 feet wide. I have mostly sun-loving plants here. There is lots of colour, which I love! The table with the patio umbrella is where we gather to eat, talk, read and study. The whole garden is visible from this angle, including the pool.
This is the area under the peach tree. It is right beside the patio table. I have planted ferns and hostas here. I have also put some impatiens into pots for added colour. This is a relaxing garden, right beside the patio table and chairs.
This is the corner of the garden which needs to be cleaned up. The gooseneck loosestrife, which I bought from the Scarborough Horticultural Society a few years ago, is starting to take over! I didn't realize it was so invasive when I planted it. I think it is going to have to go! The arbour holds several Kiwi plants. I have both male and female varieties. Both are needed to set fruit, so I hope I will have some tasty Kiwis in the years to come. This type of Kiwi is hardy in our zone, so it should survive our winters - I hope! (It is always a gamble) This part of my garden gets sun and shade at different times of the day. I have not really figured out which plants do best here. I am still experimenting and I love to do that! This, I think, is the interesting part of gardening. It is constantly changing and I can try out new plants as I find them. In the shade I have planted hostas. In the sun I have lilies and day lilies. This is also the spot where my Sweet Cicely grows.

Our Japanese Students Have Arrived!

For the past five summers or so, we have been hosting Kamajo students from Japan. This summer was no exception. The girls arrived on Monday. What a great bunch of girls! They arrived here tired and hungry after spending 15 hours travelling, but their beautiful smiles were ever present. If I had any reservations about taking part in the program once again this year, they faded away as I gazed into their bright, eager faces! Two of them are staying at our house and two more are being hosted by my daughter. We have been doing lots of things together. Each morning so far, they have had breakfast at our house. After that I drive them to school. They study English and go on interesting sightseeing excursions. In the afternoons we pick them up. Then the time is all ours. We have planned some fun things for them to do. Yesterday we went shopping - window shopping, that is. They just love to window shop! Today I took them to the post office to buy stamps. They are eager to write to their parents and friends back home. We also stopped at the grocery store to buy some things for tonight's dinner. The girls planned a special dinner for us tonight! They made Japanese pizza, Udon soup with noodles and some rice and salmon rolls. I contributed some Teriyaki chicken. We ate everything with chopsticks. Yes! Even I was able to get the food into my mouth! I have been practicing. I always look forward to these Japanese dinners cooked by the girls! Everything was absolutely delicious! When we were finished there were only a few morsels left. Tomorrow we are going to Kew beach on Lake Ontario. If we are lucky, we might be able to play some beach volleyball! And we can walk along the boardwalk and see the sights! But now it is time for bed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Very Bad Car Day - Update!

I must have favoured the car gods, for they smiled on me - well sort of. It cost me a fortune, but my car is fixed!

I got a call from Mark late this afternoon. He told me that he had located the part for my car. The mechanics were installing it as we spoke. My car would be ready by 5:00pm. I went over to the Service Centre at that time and sure enough! My car was sitting in the parking lot, ready for me to drive it home. It cost me $1,054! Yikes!! But I have my car back! Now I can do all the things I have to do next week! And... a bonus of sorts, I now have working air conditioning! So it turned out to be a not-so-bad car day after all! I am happy!

A Very, Very, Very Bad Car Day!

My car was making a strange noise. How strange was it? Well... when I pulled into the Volkswagen Dealership a couple of days ago, so my daughter could pick up her car, all of the mechanics came out of their service bays to see what the commotion was all about! One of them remarked, "That doesn't sound good!" Thanks buddy! I can hear that for myself!

We're not talking about a new car here. I know it is old, but it gets me where I want to go. Besides, I can't afford a new one at the moment. So I took my old jalopy to the Chrysler Service Centre this morning. The guy at the desk, his name was Mark, asked me what work I wanted done. I told him my car was making a strange noise. He said that was a very vague description and could I please imitate the sound for him! Why is everyone a comedian when you don't need one? Anyway, he went out with me to my car and listened to the noise. He thought it was the belt or something and said it would probably cost about $200. He would have the guys repair it and he would call me when the car was ready to be picked up. Someone drove me home and I felt that all would be well.

But Mark called me back a few hours later and told me that it was the air conditioning unit that was making the noise. I had to do some quick thinking! The summer is half over! Who needs air conditioning? I've only used it once so far this summer. And, come to think of it, it wasn't working very well at that time! A new unit would cost around $2,000. A re-conditioned unit would be much less, around $850. Still too much! So I asked him if they could disconnect it. I don't need air conditioning! But I will be needing a new car soon. Why spend money on this old heap? He said that he understood and would have the mechanics do that.

A few minutes later he called me back. "Sorry", he said. It can't be disconnected because of the type of engine I have. I would have to live with the noise and risk having the thing seize up on me or put a new unit in. Reluctantly I opted for the re-conditioned one. Unfortunately they have to order that, so I am without a car until at least Monday or Tuesday. And much to the amazement of many people, I do have a life! I need my car! I have a doctor's appointment on Monday morning, my Kamajo students from Japan are coming on Monday evening and I have to drive them to school on Tuesday morning. And what about shopping? I have lots of that to do! What if my car isn't ready by Tuesday? The service guy could not promise me anything! I think the car gods are angry with me!

So I spent the rest of the afternoon moping around the house. I couldn't do anything! No cleaning! Who wants to do that anyway? No quilting! No creative endeavours of any kind! $850 and no car until next week sometime! Woe is me!

Later in the afternoon, when my depression had completely taken over, I went out into the backyard to see what damage last night's storm had caused. There were lots of branches and other debris in the pool. Several potted plants had blown over. The ground was littered with peaches that had fallen from my peach tree. What a mess! My goodness! Were all the gods angry at me?

But then I looked over in a corner of my garden where some goose-necked loosestrife is taking over. The newly blossoming flowers were covered in beautiful butterflies! I think they were Red Admirals. The flowers were loaded with them. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen so many of these butterflies in any one place before. I ran inside to get my camera. But each time I got close enough to these gorgeous insects, to capture them on film, they flew away. They weren't really afraid of me though. At one point I had three of them perched right on me! Perhaps they thought I was a flower! Okay, okay, maybe that's going a bit too far.
As I scurried around in the garden, trying not to step on plants, but still get some good shots of these amazing creatures, I was actually forgetting all about my car problems! But the photos were not to be. I decided not to bother the little Red Admirals too much and just admire them from a distance. I put a chair in front of that part of the garden and marvelled at the beauty of nature. After all, I didn't want the butterfly gods angry with me too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ethan's Construction Company Ltd.

Hurray!!! Ethan's quilt is finished! His grandmother is going to take it to him tomorrow. I hope he likes it!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cherry Jam

I made cherry jam today!
The cherries are from the tree in my backyard. They are sour cherries. But the jam turned out very sweet! Delicious on toast or biscuits. Think I will have some now!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Today Was a Yellow Day!

When I went outside to view my garden this morning, I noticed several plants with new blooms. And the nice thing was, they were all in shades of yellow! And I love yellow! Well, I love all colours, but these yellows are absolutely breathtaking!

Aren't these yellow lilies exquisite! I planted these many years ago and they continue to come up every spring. I don't remember the name of this one. I wish I did though. It makes each flower so much more personal when it has a name.
This gorgeous yellow bloom is a cactus flower. The interesting thing is that it is a variety of cactus that is cold hardy in our zone! I bought it on impulse a couple months ago and planted it into a pot. I was a bit leery of putting it in the garden and letting it sit there all winter. I thought it would freeze. But then my son reminded me of the cactus we had seen out in Alberta. They grew all over the place, even on top of mountains! So I think I will transplant this one into the garden in the fall and let it over-winter there. This large trumpet-like flower is called, Angel's Trumpet, Brugmansia 'Grand Mariner'. This is the first bloom to appear on it. It is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait for more flowers to come in the following months!
I know this flower does not look yellow, but it is! It's a new variety of Shasta Daisy. It's called Broadway Lights. The flowers are a very soft pale yellow. Very pretty!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lilies In My Garden

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A New Member of the Family

My friend had a party to celebrate the birth of her new granddaughter. Little Maggie was a charm! A most beautiful baby! She enjoyed the party along with the rest of us and did not fuss at all, except when she was hungry and when she wanted her diaper changed! It was cold in the party room, so her Mom wrapped her in the quilt I had given her. Warm and comfortable, she fell asleep immediately. The evening was a complete success! Good food, old friends and new friends, good times and good cheer!

I had forgotten to take my camera on Saturday night. But someone was kind enough to take a photo and email it to me so that I would be able to post it on my blog. So here from left to right are: Linda, me, Maggie's Mom, Deborah and her best friend, Nariy, holding the sleeping Maggie.

Oh, and one more thing! Maggie was 76 days old that day. But it was Linda's birthday too. She had kept it a secret. Her sons had remembered though, and bought her a cake. So..... Happy Birthday, Linda!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Maggie's Quilt

Last weekend, a friend of mine phoned to tell me that her son and daughter-in-law are planning a visit. They are bringing their brand new baby to see her! She was very excited and told me that she was thinking of inviting some friends and having a sort of introduction/shower for the tiny two-month old. She asked me if I could come. Wow! How great is that? I'd love to! I felt honoured!
As soon as I hung up the phone I started thinking about making a baby quilt. After all, I had a week, right? Wrong! I got confused with the long weekend. It was Monday night and I suddenly realized that I would only have 4 days!! I rifled through my stash. Took out all the pretty baby colours I could find. I needed a quick and easy pattern. Could I do it?
Well, I decided to give it my best! The pattern I chose is my own. I have made several quilts using variations based on this pattern. The fabrics went together well. I pieced the top by machine in just two days. Then I sandwiched and quilted it, again by machine, the next day. The binding and hand sewing took a few more hours! But then it was done - with lots of time to spare! It is very bright. The kind of quilt I think a baby would like! And I am happy with the way it turned out!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Look Into My Eyes!

You are getting sleepy! You will obey me! You will buy me Fancy Feast grilled chicken! Just go! Do it now, and don't ask any question! I, Oscar the Magnificent, have some words of wisdom for you.

"Never let a day go by without a dream"

I have a dream! It's a good one! Meow!
This is a photo of me. I found it in my owner's Zoom Browser. Good thing I know how to use a computer! Cute, aren't I? See that hand, scratching those hard to reach areas at the back of my neck? Purrrr! Well, that hand belongs to one of the Japanese students who came to stay with us a few years ago. And guess what? More students are coming this summer! I can hardly wait! More scratching and patting! Oh, boy! I can't wait to sleep on their beds! Well, I can dream can't I? Meow!!!
Purrrrrrrrrr! Love, Oscar

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's Raining!

A rain day today! This is not strange or unusual, but after the hot, dry days of the past few weeks, it is definitely different. We are not unhappy! Do we look unhappy? We love the rain. But there is nothing to do except look out. Maybe a bird will fly by, or a squirrel will come and dig in our owners plants. Where is Mr. Red? Maybe he doesn't want to go outside when it is raining. There is really not much to do today. Guess it's time for a nap. Meow! Later! Love, Mimi

Monday, July 02, 2007

Canada Day in the Pool

The daughters of a friend of ours came over to go swimming. I was afraid it would be too cold, but they spent the whole afternoon in the water!

Lots of fun was had by all!