Tuesday, May 31, 2016


We, Vlad and Tristan and I, are leaving for Chicago soon.  We have to settle T. into his apartment as his residency starts on July 1st.

I don't know how much time we will have to play tourist but here is a wish list of sorts for our short time there:

Architectural Boat Tour via 
Because I love boats and I love beauty sprinkled with a little history.
Millenium Park via
Because apparently, you just don't visit Chicago without taking a picture of yourself taking a picture of 'The Bean' or the Cloud Gate sculpture.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio via

Because I read 'Loving Frank' by Nancy Horan many years ago and I've been curious about him since.  When I visited Phoenix in 2011, I saw his Talliesin West and was enchanted. Talliesin East just north and west of Chicago will go on my to-do list for my next visit to Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago via
Because I love seeing world famous art and this museum has a lion's share of it and because I read a biography of Georgia O'Keefe several years ago and they have several of her paintings. Not to mention a huge selection of Impressionist work, the iconic American Gothic and Van Gogh's The Bedroom featured in a biography called: The Yellow House by Martin Gayford. 

Then there will be the walks, the grocery shopping, the wine and beer purchasing, restaurant lunches and mundane activities like getting the Internet and electricity hooked up... Should be interesting.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Checking In

It's been a while since my last post and it feels like I have nothing to say yet there is a life going on... Damien is doing well at the end of his 3rd week of a two-year after degree Nursing degree.  He hit the ground running and cannot slow down as all the learning is compressed into 24 months.  Luckily, he has a Bachelor of Kinesiology which had a great focus on the body and how it works.

Very hard to get a good picture of both of them at the same time!

Tristan, Vlad and I are leaving for Chicago in about ten days to help Tristan settle into an apartment for the start of his residency on July 1st.  Having had him at home for the last 5 months has been a great joy and I will miss him dearly.  His lively conversation, sense of humour, keen and social commentary make him a really fun roommate.

Vlad, as you know, had his hip replaced on Feb. 29th and is doing marvellously. He is substitute teaching in schools and his almost daily exercises and is very upbeat and positive.  He also has a small landscaping project in the back yard which keeps him engaged.

For my part, I seem to just be coasting through this last few days with 'children at home'.  Finished cleaning and painting Damien's room and have started the design for the re-decoration of our room. It's been about 13 or 14 years since our last redo and the red toile is looking a little tired and I am very tired OF it.

I went to Restoration Hardware for inspiration for my gold and grey room.  I found a beautiful print that is my jumping off point:

via Restoration Hardware

Framed by scrolling leaves and vines, a 16th-century classical flora motif is printed by one of Italy's famed ateliers on basket weave cotton in a softly weathered palette that accentuates our bedding's heirloom quality. The antique Italian pattern, capturing the scale and fluidity of a watercolor painting, comes from the distinguished archives of the Ratti Group, a company founded by Antonio Ratti in 1945 and now led by his daughter Donatella Ratti.

I've purchased the duvet cover and will use it with gold herringbone sateen bed linens to complement.

via Restoration Hardware
The cherry on the sundae will be the purchase of a bench for the end of the bed.

via Restoration Hardware
via Restoration Hardware
The wainscotting will stay in the cream color and I want to paint the top two-thirds of the wall in a stormy-sky grey color.  Then I want dark grey drapes that hang from the top of the wall and a dark grey bed skirt.  I've already found lighter grey bed sheets at Winners and BBB.
                             Very bad photo of the armoire to be given a face lift 

I'm thinking of repainting the armoire above that I bought years ago at Home Depot. I wish I had the talent to make it feel like this with an Italian or Provencal landscape with cypress trees:
via habershamhome.com
I've looked for posters that I could collage onto the doors of the armoire but have not had any success yet.  The fun is in the hunt... Any ideas? And no, hiring an artist is not within the means of this budget...

All I need after that is a cut glass decanter and glass on a silver tray on my night table.  I think I'll head to Value Village.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

100 Days

I like checklists, I like roadmaps, I like signs and I like me a good countdown.

It's a hundred days till we fly to France for our annual stay in Cotignac. This year, 10.5 weeks of (mostly) bliss. Why is Cotignac blissful?  Because:

1. it's in France
2. it's in Provence
3. we live in an apartment built on the ruins of a 17th century olive oil mill
4. there is a stream that rushes by our balcony which is about 3 feet above ground
5. there is a fig tree right across the stream and I have picking rights
6. our beloved French and American friends
7. cheese
8. rosé
9. triplets (little trips, not like twins) in France
10. the brocante
11. parasol pines
12. the Mediterranean
13. our infinity pool by the town's river which has little cascades
14. walks are never boring
15. sleeping to the sound of rushing water
16. the markets
17. the outdoor beer/wine drinking and moules marinières
18. baguette
19. days at the beach in St-Tropez
20. impromptu talks and get-togethers
21. etc.

This had me thinking about how where I live right now is blissful (NOT in order of importance):

1. I just cleaned and painted our youngest son's room, it feels new again and my 'fixing up' mojo is back
2. our back deck
3. my big sunlit kitchen which is lovely to cook in
4. my books
5. large TV screen with Netflix and Apple TV for those long winter months
6. friendly, kind neighbours
7. all my craft stuff: yarn, fabric, sewing machine and serger, etc.
8. parking on my driveway and in my garage!
9. teaching position at the uni
10. work with student teachers
11. sister D. and her family
12. the kids
13. the endless fields (wheat, rapeseed, etc)
14. friends and community
15. quilting with Brenda
16. when I want/need something, I know where to get it and it's usually available
17. the joy of feeding my family
18. spring that is like summer
19. wide roads
20. big sky
21. etc.

Whether in Cotignac or Canada...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fort McMurray Wildfires

photos via: http://www.sonic1029.com/2016/05/03/photos-biggest-wildfire-evacuation-canadian-history/

The town of 80 000 has been evacuated.  The fires are raging over 850 square kilometers. Fighting this fire is extremely difficult because of the intensity of the heat and the shifting winds.  1 100 firefighters are working long hours and some of them are even here from Mexico...

Albertans are showing their support in myriad ways, donations to the Red Cross, volunteering, offering shelter, food.  25 000 evacuees who had fled to the oil camps further north are now being airlifted out because it's not safe.

Fort McMurray is a 4.5 hour drive from where we live.  I used to go there once or twice a year to visit our school there and work with teachers...


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hotter than California

We are having 30 degree weather hotter even, than California.  In fact, the temperatures we are having are more typical of July than early May.  We've been sitting on the deck for a month already.

This begonia was in an Easter planter.  I transplanted it outside about 3 weeks ago.
Grape is greening, about 6 weeks early.

Brilliant sunshine and baking heat.  Apple tree on the left is in blossom.
What you may not know, is that we never plant our flowers and gardens before the May long weekend (3rd weekend) because the danger of frost is no longer present.  We are enjoying an extra two months of summer weather this year.

Thank you global warming?