Friday, 17 January 2020

Our Mosaic

The Canada Mosaic Mural project was launched in 2015 to celebrate our 150th birthday, beginning the journey to complete 150 murals illustrating Canada’s cultural and geographical diversity.
The purpose of the project is to create a national mural including all provinces and territories, 100,000’s of paintings and 150 individual murals that when united will form one gigantic mural mosaic. The mural, if ever connected would be over 365 meters wide (4 football fields) x 2.5 meters high (8 feet).
The mural will represent a cultural mosaic, a time capsule, a visual portrayal of history, an art masterpiece from the soul of the nation. An art piece that fifty years from now, may inspire another generation, who will in turn be able to celebrate through the mural, and maybe take it upon themselves to add to this memory.
OK..... I admit that information above was copied from the Canada Mosaic web page. The final mosaic representing our town is finally installed in the local Leisure Centre, in the hall linking the library, the pool and the fitness centre.

The public were invited to paint 4"x4" tiles with whatever topic they thought would represent the town. Of course, there were some guidelines to follow, both in shapes and colours.  The basement of the museum was set up with tables and chairs, paint and brushes, and boxes of tiles. I painted quite a few but I can't really remember which ones now!

The mosaic is half finished on display outside the log house in the museum grounds.

And the finished mosaic. I think I painted the "fried egg" in the middle of the wheel on the left, and some of the blue tiles too. And one with corn on it, but I can't find that one now. Perhaps the one in the second row from the top?

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

In Memoriam

Image result for candle imagesYesterday evening I attended a candlelight vigil in Civic Square along with many others from our small town. 

It was to remember and honour a family living in our town,  Dr. Razgar Rahimi, his wife Farideh Gholami, their three-year-old son Jiwan and their unborn baby, who were all travelling on Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 when it was blown out of the sky by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran on January 8 2020. 

Someone had an itchy trigger finger.

138 of the 167 passengers were returning to Canada. 57 of them were Canadians.  Everyone was killed.

Many of the travellers on board were affiliated with Canadian Universities as students, faculty, researchers or professors. Five young students from schools in my local area won't be returning to school. There are vigils and flags at half-mast at towns and cities all across Canada. It is a Canadian tragedy.

We are sad. We are disappointed. We are horrified. And we are very angry. 

Friday, 3 January 2020

New Beginning.

YoungerSon and his family have lived only a 10 minute walk away from me for the past ten years. I've been able to show up whenever I've been needed. And they have been here for me if I needed help too.
But times are changing.
Their house is sold, and they have bought a small hobby farm on 6.5 acres in the country. They finally moved in on the afternoon of Christmas Day.

There's good news and bad news.
The good news is that it's the perfect place for them, something that they have wanted for a long time.
The bad news is that every time I want to visit my grandchildren, it's a 305km round trip from my house and back. And I will miss them so much. I already do.

There are two barns on the property, and two houses.... well, a house and an additional in-law apartment. It all needs lots of cleaning up.

They have been ripping up carpets, priming and painting walls and ceilings, washing windows, and replacing light fixtures. The house needs lots of care and attention, but they are determined and ambitious and energetic, and I'm sure they will make the place their very own.

I'll miss my grandchildren very much, but I can visit often, and technology has made the world very small. I'm very proud of them for taking this big step! 2020 is definitely going to be a Happy New Year for them.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

2019 Books

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” – J.K. Rowling

As usual, a list of the books I have read (or tried to read) in 2019.

January 2019
The Truth - Michael Palin
The Mercy Seat - Elizabeth H Winthrop
Still Lives - Maria Hummel
Scribe  - Alyson Hagy
Beautiful Animals - Lawrence Osbourne

February 2019
The Oracle of Stamboul  - Michael David Lucas
The Last Watchman of Old Cairo - Michael David Lucas
The Feral Detective - Jonathan Letham

March 2019
Vincent and Theo - Deborah Heiligman
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen - Hendrik Groen   (DNF far too silly)
Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book  - Lawrence Hill
The Light Keeper's Daughters - Jean E Pendziwol
The Windfall - Diksha Basu
Fruit of the Drunken Tree - Ingrid Rojas Contreras (I loved this book!)
Florida - Lauren Groff    (DNF all the short stories)
My Absolute Darling - Gabrielle Tallent     (DNF)

April 2019
Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson (2nd time reading this)
Boy Swallows Universe - Trent Dalton (I loved this book!)

May 2019
Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok
Falling for London - Sean Mallen
The Suspect - Fiona Barton
The Gown - Jennifer Robson
Never Coming Back - Alison McGhee (very sad book)

June 2019
Mambo in Chinatown - Jean Kwok
Murder in Matera - Helene Stapinksi
Lives in Ruins - Marilyn Johnson
Becoming - Michelle Obama
Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

July 2019
The Lost Art of Walking - Geoff Nicholson

August 2019
The Perfect Predator - Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas Patterson
The Book Worm - Mitch Silver
Still Mine - Amy Stuart (did not finish)
Lady Macbeth - Susan Fraser King
Truevine - Beth Macy
The Orphan's Tale - Pam Jenoff
Finding Me - Michelle Knight

September 2019
Edward VII - Catharine Arnold
The Casual Vacancy - J K Rowling
The Redeemed - Tim Pears (DNF it was just not interesting at all, sorry Tim)
Welcome to the Goddam Ice Cube - Blair Braverman
At the Wolf's Table - Rosella Postorino

October 2019
The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim
The Storied Life of A J Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin
Down the Nile, Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff - Rosemary Mahoney
Walking the Nile - Levison Wood

November 2019
The Night Before - Wendy Walker
Magic Hour - Kristin Hannah
Secret Son - Laila Lalami

December 2019
Big Brother - Lionel Shriver
Once Upon a Time in England - Helen Walsh  (I could not put this book down!)
North Korea Journal - Michael Palin
Skeletons on the Sahara - Dean King
Currently reading The Post Birthday World - Lionel Shriver. I'm really enjoying this book and I think I'll try to read other books by this American author.

Lots more books to read in 2020. Happy Reading everyone!

Sunday, 1 December 2019


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an elegant 200 year old American Elm that was threatened by the proposed expansion of a train and bus station in 2020.
Good news!
A local geography teacher thought that his Grade 8 class would be interested in getting involved. After much discussion in the classroom, the students wrote letters to Metrolinx (who will be designing the station) and the local Member of Parliament to try and save the tree.
And they were not the only letter writers. Many students from other schools and members of the public were asking for the tree to be spared from the chainsaws. It seems the outpouring of mail has had the desired effect, and Metrolinx has announced that the station site is being redesigned around the tree.
Some of the students and the local Mayor and Councillors and the Member of Parliament at the announcement. I think the tree is breathing a sigh of relief!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

ATC Swap Meet

I spent a couple of fun hours on Sunday getting to know an assortment of artists and crafty people at the Annual ATC Swap Meet. What's an ATC? And why do people want to swap them?

Well, ATCs - Artist Trading Cards - are tiny works of art, measuring 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. They are the same dimensions as baseball or hockey cards, and fit into the same plastic sleeves in a collector's binder. They can be on paper, card, plastic, foam, and feature collage, paint, ink, fabric, photographs..... everything is acceptable, the only rule is the size. And everyone has a different style and subject.

Each artist lays their cards out on a table. There's about 30 minutes when people meet each other, chat, look at the cards that have been displayed and decide what they would like to have in their collection.

The real fun gets started when the organizer rings the bell, and trading begins! The New York Stock Exchange is a calm and gentle walk in the park compared to artists at an ATC Swap!

Here is a selection of the ATCs that I took to the meet. None left now. I'll have to make more.

And here are some of the cards I came home with..... rather fuzzy picture with some reflections as they are in the plastic sleeves.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

On the Chopping Block?

Not far away from my house stands this beautiful and elegant tree, an American Elm, ulmus americana. It's age is estimated to be around 200 years old, which makes it the largest and oldest tree in the area. This tree was just a tiny seedling when Queen Victoria was born in 1819.

The tree is 40 metres tall, has a canopy of 40 metres, and a 4 metre trunk circumference.

It is situated on a piece of land that is to be the site of a new expanded GO Station.... that's the public transit buses and trains that will take commuters to the city.  Metrolinx, who will build the station, planned to chop the tree, but the local paper says that there are negotiations going on to save the tree.
Yes we need public transportation, but we need the tree too. Surely we can have both?