Posts filed under ‘arts’

Where Lost Things Go



This morning I posted at The Word Guild blog as I usually do once a month. I took my two oldest granddaughters to the movies during the Christmas vacation, an event we all enjoyed.

Where Lost Things Go

During the recent holidays I took my nine- and seven-year-old granddaughters to see Mary Poppins Returns. In anticipation, them with popcorn in hand, one asked why we were there so early, the other answering her question, to be prepared.

“At some movies, there’s a line-up of people,” I said.

Indeed the popcorn was disappearing into their mouths as we waited to get into the theatre. We talked about other movies going on there and about waiting until the staff was done getting the space ready. (How much popcorn lay on the floor?) It seemed like we were the only ones at that door, a bit surprising after all the previews for this movie.

The clean-up was done; we could go in. We’d talked about where we’d sit — not too close to the screen or at the back. Now it was time for them to choose the row. One wanted the aisle seat and so we found our place. Here we sat in a quiet and empty theatre, me and my granddaughters. They wondered if others were coming. I said I was sure more would come and speculated that the theatre might not be full (which turned out to be true). Most of their popcorn and drink was gone by that time. The girls had counted rows and seats across the middle. I didn’t expect them to sit still just yet or to be perfectly quiet. The popcorn and drinks diminished even more. Would we have to make an exit to the washroom in the middle of the movie? No, it happened before, while previews played and the feature was not yet begun.

The clean-up was done; we could go in. We’d talked about where we’d sit — not too close to the screen or at the back. Now it was time for them to choose the row. One wanted the aisle seat and so we found our place. Here we sat in a quiet and empty theatre, me and my granddaughters. They wondered if others were coming. I said I was sure more would come and speculated that the theatre might not be full (which turned out to be true). Most of their popcorn and drink was gone by that time. The girls had counted rows and seats across the middle. I didn’t expect them to sit still just yet or to be perfectly quiet. The popcorn and drinks diminished even more. Would we have to make an exit to the washroom in the middle of the movie? No, it happened before, while previews played and the feature was not yet begun.

Read more here.


January 12, 2019 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

Off to Owen Sound

My husband and I took a little get away to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. We chose to go north to Owen Sound and stay in a Bed and Breakfast there and booked it ahead.

We had a clear day for the drive, some cloud cover but a lot of sun too. Listening to Stuart McLean from Vinyl Cafe series helped pass the driving time too and then different scenery and new places along the way. I looked forward to the time away from household responsibilities to see different places. We were not disappointed.



Between the Maples B & B


We’d reserved for two nights at Between the Maples Bed and Breakfast on Second Street in Owen Sound. Having arrived close to the noon hour and too  early to check in, we thought we’d first locate the B & B. Having seen the house on the internet site, we knew we were in the right place.

We headed back to the downtown to look for a bite to eat. A helpful staff member at CAA Travel in Owen Sound had mentioned that the Artist’s Co-op had a lunch bar, so  after finding parking, we went in search of it.

I gathered steps on my Fitbit that day and it was nearly 1 pm by the time we sat and waited for our lunch to be served. Len enjoyed his soup and I had a tasty salad. We looked at the art in the co-op briefly since our metered parking would soon run out. We’d come back.



Birgit’s Cafe



Artist’s Co-op

We wanted to spend more time looking around so we fed the meter with quarters and headed back, first stopping at the music store we’d seen on the way. On our previous time passing the store, we’d met the owner and chatted with him. This time we entered Music & More and looked around.

“Back for a ukulele?” his wife asked.

I wanted to see what they had and so entered a long conversation with owner and musician David Fromager about the newer ukes that they sell to schools and people wanting them for their children or grandchildren. I already had one but I had my eye on those coloured ukes I’d seen at Arts Abound in St. Jacobs more than a year ago.  When we left the store, I had a uke tucked under my arm and some picks for playing.



 my new uke

As we still had time, we headed for the artist’s co-op again in the McKay building and looked around at the artist’s offerings—paintings, art cards, mugs, pottery, things made of wood, and textile arts too.

Then it was time to go and check in at our B & B. With the address now in our GPS, we drove  there and knocked on the door.

It’s a lovely two-storey home across from Kelso Park. Gord and Maggie greeted us, gave us a small tour of their place and showed us our room. We talked about breakfast options, especially with regard to my husband’s special needs. There was time before finding supper to relax awhile and get settled in.



That evening we went to East Side Mario’s out on the other side of the city and enjoyed a tasty pasta dish. The sun went down outdoors as we ate. The dinner was filling and with no room for dessert, we paid our bill and left. Thinking we’d like some snacks along for the next day, we went to a grocery store nearby and purchased a few things before returning to the B & B.

With the new uke in hand,  I looked up a chord chart on the internet to refresh my memory, and tried out my new instrument a bit before bed time. I thought of my grandchildren who already enjoy music and how I might teach them to play, if they wished to learn.

Thus ended the  first day of our little holiday.




September 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm 2 comments

Petroglyphs National Park


On one of our vacation days in the Kawarthas,  we stopped at the Petroglyphs Park, had our picnic first and then went into the education centre to learn more about it. While our daughter and son-in-law went to take the picnic stuff back to the van, the girls found a small caterpillar. They named it and pretended that it was their pet. When their parents returned they held the stick by the tree where they found it and let the caterpillar off the stick.

We were ready to tour the centre.





art and signs within that give visitors a feel for aboriginal themes and beliefs


Beautiful art combined with words



I appreciated this one, being a storyteller myself

We walked on down the path to the Petroglyph display. I was not prepared for what I saw, a large building surrounding the rocks, a place where we dared not take photos, so I kept my cell phone tucked away. Large windows let in natural light and the building is there to protect the art from eroding further.

Our granddaughters were invited to make rubbings with crayons of various shapes of the art in the teaching rocks and take them home.

According to the park website, this is the:

Largest known concentration of Indigenous rock carvings (petroglyphs) in Canada, depicting turtles, snakes, birds, humans and more; this sacred site is known as “The Teaching Rocks”

After our tour of the learning rocks we left that area of the park and stopped at a different place where we took a short hiking trail.



a photo of the Shaw family in this gorgeous scene


McGinnis Lake where we took photos was a certain kind of lake with layers of oxygen concentration. I didn’t have time to read the whole sign so I took this picture instead, to read later.


another snapshot on our way out


And on down the path returning to the van

This park was well worth the time and one could spend quite a bit longer in the centre viewing the displays, asking questions of the guides along with seeing the video shown in the theatre. Outdoors there were more places and paths to explore. We’d covered about as much as we could with the children who needed to move around more. That said, I believe they enjoyed certain parts of the adventure that day as well, even if we’d had a bit of a ride to find a place.

August 20, 2018 at 12:56 pm 2 comments

Kawartha Settlers’ Village



Search page given to our granddaughters on paying the entry fee

On one of our days away, we went with our host family to Kawartha Settlers’ Village that’s located just outside of Bobcaygeon.

According to the tour booklet for the village,

In 1990, the dream of establishing a museum to preserve history and the development of the area became a reality when a small group of people calling themselves the Kawartha Region Arts and Heritage Society convinced the village of Bobcaygeon to lease them the land to establish the Kawartha Settlers’ Village.


Follow along with me on our tour of some of the buildings. Here’s the map that’s in the program booklet. It’s an easy walk through for visitors of any age.

The receptionist at the main building gave each of our granddaughters a card showing pictures of things to look for in the village and a crayon to mark off items as they found them. It became a game for all of us to help them find the items.


Quilters meet regularly in the Wray House to learn their craft. There were many interesting quilts hanging in this home.


A rather colourful and picturesque quilt



A child’s room in another home

Our granddaughters interest was limited in some areas due to their ages of 6 and 8, although the adults could have spent more time. Another time perhaps. The girls did enjoy wandering through the village and checking off the items on their card. They awaited a prize at the end.


The firehall housed an old engine and hoses and hats. The building is a replica of the original Bobcaycaygeon Fire Company station.


The Fairbairn Church


a wooden offering plate


Inside the classroom, one modelling the dunce hat and one drawing on the chalkboard


What’s inside this desk?


Outside the trapper’s cabin


A warm rug inside.


If the printer needed a graphic for a newspaper or flyers, he’d have these images…





or even these images. Not simply drawings but carvings that someone had made.



And a bit of fun at the end of the Kawartha Settlers’ Village.

The girls showed their cards at the admission centre and got their little prize and could keep the cards to remember the visit.

If you’re in the area this summer, go to the village and take the self-guided tour. It was well worth the time and price of admission, which was quite reasonable.

July 28, 2018 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

Writing our stories

My mother once called me the historian of the family and I wasn’t sure why. Was it that I asked more questions about events and people? Was it that I displayed keen interest in the stories of my grandparents? Wherever it began, it has most definitely become true, and that’s one development I’m glad about.

The year of my parents’ 60th anniversary was upon us—2009—and my mother and father wanted to leave a legacy for their family. Mom wasn’t speaking in dollar values  when she shared their wish with us, but of stories and values they’d shared. What would it mean to us after they were gone?



farm home where my siblings and I grew up

Mom had gotten in touch with a writer she knew who was doing family stories for other folks. She engaged the woman to help them get started. The challenge became how to tell the stories. What would be included? What would be left out?

Each of my siblings and I wrote some pieces of what it had meant to us growing up in the country, of where we were at the time in terms of our immediate families and our employment. In the end what my parents shared of their stories, and what we added, is of great value.



The first copy was ready for their anniversary day and more produced later. Sister Kim was the layout specialist and we all agreed she did a wonderful job in arranging the photos with the text. Her layout experience with her day job and a computer program capable of handling graphics and photos was a great asset.

Nine years later, Dad has died and the family has further blossomed with more great grandchildren for Mom and another great granddaughter about to be married this summer. In between those years, I published my memoir, Once Upon a Sandbox, of growing up on a family farm in the 50s and 60s, and then last year, in memory of Dad, Harry’s Trees, my picture book was published, which is not about me, but my Dad’s passion, beyond his family (always very important to both my parents).



July 16, 2018 at 12:52 pm 2 comments

The Great Outdoors


Beautiful basket of flowers at St. Jacobs Country Gardens

Last Saturday I went to the garden centre to promote, sign and sell my book, Harry’s Trees, and then on Monday, I visited another garden centre closer to home (one that also helped me promote my book) to get plants for my own home,  both veggies and flowers.

There were plenty of flowers left and I found that the food plants (tomato, cucumber, etc) were in limited supply. I managed to get tomato plants and a couple of cucumber and zucchini plants that were outgrowing their starting pots. No worries though, the plants will soon be in my garden, with the help of three granddaughters.


Garden stone, made at retreat one year. Back in my flower bed





Raised garden beds ready for planting


Window box from BAK to Basics, planted


Veggies and herbs

My parsley needs to be replanted this year. Two of my granddaughters love the taste of parsley. The first time they saw it, they asked, “What is this?”

“Parsley, ” I answered. Seeing their puzzled faces, I said their mom might put it in a salad.

“Can we taste it?” they asked.

I showed them that they could pinch off a small leaf and eat it. And so they did. Every summer they look for the parsley and ask if they can have some. They love the flavour.



Tomato plants, the non negotiable plant in my garden each year

My husband rescued the overgrown yellow beans from the garden last summer and saved the seeds. He planted them in a shallow plant of soil. We have to get those planted because they’re growing.

Today I’ll go and purchase a small shovel for the youngest member of our planting team. New to it this year, the three-year-old must have her own. It seems she wanted some gloves too. She must have seen someone else wearing garden gloves. Perhaps her other grandmother wears them.



And a planter with spikes and other flowers

I like to purchase the flowers and plant them in my own pots so there’s room for them to fill out. And one other thing to do  this evening is to soak the morning glory seeds I’ll plant tomorrow so the shell breaks open and they start germinating sooner.



A small one in my life loves being out of doors, looks at the trees with great interest,  even follows a bird across the lawn, now that he’s walking well.

Hoping to get some good pictures of planting tomorrow then I’ll post some.

Happy planting. Enjoy the beauty around you!


May 26, 2018 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Book Promotions

This season I’ve been busy promoting my picture book, Harry’s Trees. When I take those books to places, I’m also taking along several others.

Recognizing the connection between trees and plant nurseries, I decided to contact plant nurseries. Several were glad to be asked and accommodated me and a few other places had already booked sufficient activities to fill their spaces at an extremely busy time of year. Fair enough. I’ll check back in with those later when their pace is a little less harried.


This little doll will have my book read to her as she grows. And one day she’ll read it herself. At Belgian Nursery, Breslau.

For the nurseries where I did  go, I had a variety of guests come to see me, some I had invited and others who came to the nursery for plants, albeit on a cold May day, and wandered in to see what was happening in the classroom area of the building.


Invited guests who travelled a distance, and of course my illustrator, Maja, on the left. At Sheridan Nursery, Kitchener.


Sheridan Nursery, the first to accept my idea of shared promotion, gave me the space and opportunity to read part of my book to children, including four of my own grandchildren.

It seemed most of the children, if given a preference, liked the spring and summer seasons best, but a few liked the colours of fall as well. Maybe it’s that they could be outdoors then.

All children coming to my table with their parents get a colouring sheet to decorate in their favourite season, but only the first location provided opportunity for hearing part of the story.



I was glad I had brought along markers so these two girls could colour their tree picture while their mom shopped.


See the birds flying to and from the tree? And the new leaves sprouting on the tree?



Another young reader in the making. For now, it’s the colours in the book and this little one already loves trees and the out of doors.

DSCF1604 (2)

And long-time friends (since 4-H days) coming to celebrate with me and taking pictures for me.

Sheridan offered opportunity on Earth Day weekend for advance promotion of my book, Harry’s Trees. As my calendar was already filled, Judy, a friend of mine, was willing to read my book at the event. She reported some interesting conversations, especially one with a girl who was interested in the art in my book.


And Amanda, my helper at two of my events thus far. Thank you.


Thank you, Amanda, for taking such a great photo for me. You’ll see this one on my new website very soon.

Belgian Nursery generously provided maze pens that I could give out to people, especially children, coming to my table. There were engaging conversations and people admiring Maja’s art in my book and getting to choose a bookmark, hand stamped or decorative ones created by my illustrator. And a colouring page too. One of the employees told me that the children were delighted with the page to take home.


Then there was the turtle pond and the fish pond at St. Jacob’s Country Gardens and Plant Nursery.


And the fish pond with a small waterfall too, because they also have a pond specialist.




And here I was stationed between the two. It’s a lovely place to sit and chat with people.

Thus goes my book promotion for this spring. I’ve been offered the opportunity to return to this third place as often as I wish, and I will take them up on the offer.

Thank you all who came or helped, and for purchasing a book. I hope you will enjoy reading it to your children or just to share with others who you know.

May the children who hear the story come to understand the value of trees to humans and nature. When they do, I know my father would be smiling because he loved them too.




May 14, 2018 at 1:12 am 2 comments

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