Sunday, 5 April 2020

Worth Repeating

I saw this on a facebook page (yes, with so much spare time on my hands I have been tempted by the dreaded facebook), and I thought it was worth repeating here.
My apologies to whoever wrote it.... I don't know your name so I can't give you credit, but it certainly describes how I am feeling right now.

We fell asleep in one world, and woke up in another.
Suddenly Disney is out of magic,
Paris is no longer romantic,
New York doesn't stand up anymore,
the Chinese wall is no longer a fortress, and Mecca is empty.
Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons, and not visiting parents & friends becomes an act of love.
Suddenly you realise that power, beauty & money are worthless, and can't get you the oxygen you're fighting for.
The world continues its life and it is beautiful. It only puts humans in cages. I think it's sending us a message:
"You are not necessary. The air, earth, water and sky without you are fine. When you come back, remember that you are my guests. Not my masters."

Now if only we can remember this when the world starts to return to what we used to think was normal.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Day 21

WARNING: My blog posts are going to get more and more boring as time passes. For me it's Day 21 of staying at home and social distancing. Life doesn't offer a lot of excitement right now.

We're not in total lock down so far, but all travellers returning to Canada are required by law to quarantine for 14 days. My age group.... the oldies, over 70s.... are suggested to stay home too, with only a once a week trip to get groceries. I have ordered groceries for pickup, but it's very hard to get a time slot, so many other people have the same idea. I have a pickup at Longo's on April 8 and from Walmart on April 9. That should tide me over for April, but I think I'll still be here self-isolating in May.
I go for my daily walk around the pond every morning. No wildlife to be seen today, but five Canada geese and a pair of Mallard ducks were visiting yesterday.
The last loaf of store bread has been eaten, so it was time to do some baking. I have enough bread flour for 2 or 3 more loaves, but I have been told that flour is hard to get in the grocery stores. I hope there is some in my grocery order. Everyone doing their own baking I suppose.
I try to do some sketching or painting or other forms of art every day. Today, Thursday, is my usual Art Group day, cancelled for the last couple of weeks, and not likely to start up again for a long time. I miss it a lot. There are 20 of us in the group, and we share motivation and creativity. It's very inspiring to share an activity with like-minded people. I'm finding it difficult to get on with it on my own.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Care Package Delivery

The doorbell rang just after 2:00 pm yesterday, and a package was left on my little table on the porch. Mmmmm I knew what it was. I had ordered it earlier this week from the Main Street Bake House where I often meet friends for coffee and a chat, but sadly no longer open except for deliveries. They deliver on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
I decided I deserved a cheerful reward after being in self-isolation. Gotta have something yummy to look forward to, right? Which one should I eat first?
The box contains: 2 lemon blueberry scones, 2 spicy bacon cheddar scones, 1 blueberry muffin, 1 banana chocolate chip muffin, 1 spinach and feta bistro, 1 leek and parmesan bistro.  All so delicious! 

I went for my daily walk around the pond yesterday morning, but only one male Hooded Merganser duck there, accompanied by a male Mallard. It's pouring with rain this morning so I'll be staying dry. But the rain is very welcome and soon we will see the grass turning green after the cold months of winter.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Staying Positive

I'm on Day 15 today on my own. I've been in touch with family via technology every day, and I've been out walking and chatting with my neighbours.... from a required safe distance of course. But the fact remains that we'll all be in this isolated situation for quite a while. It would be easy to get discouraged.
But there are many reasons for staying positive. Here are 4 of mine.

1: Look out of the window. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. It's still chilly out there, because after all, this is Canada, but Spring is on the way.
And as the ground warms up, last year's hyacinth bulbs are springing into life. I think they were given to me in a pot, and when the blooms died, I buried the bulbs. I'm so glad I did.

2: There are visitors to the neighbourhood pond this week, but they probably won't stay long. They are Hooded Mergansers, very handsome little birds. They are diving ducks and it's fascinating to watch them dive under water to catch fish, and then see them come to the surface a long way from where they went down. There were 5 males and 1 female, so the lady duck was getting lots of attention. Spring fever!

3: OlderSon delivered a box of groceries, fresh fruit and veg. Bananas, clementines, potatoes, broccoli, beans, fresh bread... I shall eat well for a while. Thank you!

4: Tonight and every Friday night, my neighbours will gather on front porches and driveways at 7:30pm to make some noise and to sing our National Anthem O Canada in support of the front line workers that are keeping us all going right now. Hospital staff, police, firemen, ambulance, grocery store workers, sanitation workers, government workers, many more. Thank you!
Update later this evening: The fire truck came by and flashed it's lights for us!!! The most excitement I have had all week!

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Lady Day

You may recall this post from a previous year.... but I thought you'd like the reminder.
Today - March 25 - is Lady Day
It's one of the four Quarter Days of the old English Calendar. 

The Quarter Days are March 25 - Lady Day, also the Feast of the Annunciation in the Christian calendar; June 24 - Midsummer Day, also the Feast of St John the Baptist; September 29 - Michaelmas Day, also the Feast of St Michael and All Angels; December 25 - Christmas Day.

Quarter days were the four dates in each year when servants were hired, school terms started, and rents were due. Debts and unresolved lawsuits were not allowed to linger on, and accounts had to be settled. Leasehold payments and land rents are often still due on the old English Quarter Days. 

Just to confuse the issue, there are also four Cross-Quarter Days falling between the Quarter Days. These are February 2 - Candlemas;  May 1 - May Day;  August 1 - Lammas;  November 1 - All Hallows Day.

Lady Day was the traditional day when long-term contracts between landowners and tenant farmers would begin and end. Farming families who were changing farms would often travel to their new farm on Lady Day. It roughly coincides with the Spring Equinox, signifying a new beginning.

So have a Happy Lady Day!!

Monday, 23 March 2020


One of the subjects for our (probably not happening) art exhibition at the Town Offices was Boats, and here's my version.

This was a boat painting that I started and thought I had finished a couple of years ago, but I was never satisfied with it, so I decided to paint over my original brushwork using a palette knife. I like the texture a lot better, more interesting, and the colours are brighter. I find using the palette knife is difficult to control where the paint goes, but perhaps I just need more practice.

I've been isolated at home now for 10 days. I live alone, not even a dog or a cat to talk to, and the family are isolating themselves too, so I have been going out for walks around the neighbourhood and chatting to the neighbours.... from a safe distance of course. But I am appalled at how many people do not seem to be following the social distancing request. 
Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to the nation this morning with very strong words. He said "Enough is enough. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing, and we're going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks, or by enforcing the rules, if that's needed. Nothing that could help is off the table." 
Canada is not in total lock down yet, but the future looks grim.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Returning to Rook's Nest

Blogland hasn't heard from me for a while.... for many reasons that I won't go into now.... but here I am, ready to share photos and opinions and whatever pops into my head. I hope you missed me.

One of the creative groups that I belong to, the AAP Collective (FYI: AAP stands for Art Ain't Pretty!), has a show scheduled at our local Town Offices in April.  Sadly, like the rest of the world, all public buildings are currently closed so it looks like our show won't be going on. And even if it does, will anyone come to see it?
When we were planning the show, we decided that each artist would provide three pieces of art. The topics are 1: water. 2: boats. 3: what inspires our creativity.
This last one about creativity was to be installed in a 12" x 12" wooden box frame. Here's mine.

This features some of the ways I have embraced creativity in the past. Sketching, quilting, lino cut and printing, painting, calligraphy, gelli printing, stained glass. 
And now I am self-isolating at home, trying to keep myself from going bonkers in this very strange and worrying time, so I have plenty of time to create more art!

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!