Friday, October 31, 2014

Ready for Halloween

Our neighborhood is ready for Halloween!

Sometimes, at this time of year, there is snow on the ground...

But not this year!


Happy and safe "trick-or-treating"!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Slow Turning

Slowly the trees are changing color.

Slowly the leaves are dropping from the trees.


Just the way I like it! (I'm in no rush for the barrenness of winter!)



Do you think the leaves are changing color more slowly this year? I ask Terry. So many are still green...

I think so, he replies. Maybe it's all the rain we had this summer - the trees are healthier.

(Or maybe we're just taking time to enjoy them more...)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An Apple a Day

My 95-year-old mother lives by two maxims. One is: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

She ate at least one apple daily until apples became too hard to bite into. Then she switched to apple sauce and apple juice. Even now, she always has a glass of apple juice at her bedside table - together with several glasses of water. (She also believes in drinking 10 or 12 glasses of water daily!)

As I sit here nursing a sore throat (my first cold of the season), I think about how healthy she is. (She rarely gets colds.) So I cut up an apple.

Maybe I should add a bit of honey. Apples and honey are always eaten together at the Jewish New Year -  symbols of a "sweet" (and healthy?) year ahead. Besides, honey is supposed to be good for a sore throat.

My mother's other maxim? "Life is a constant change."

These two sayings (which she repeats daily) have encouraged her to accept the changes that have come her way - and at the same time given her the optimism to believe that she will remain healthy! (After all, she does eat an apple a day!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A New Shed

Our old green metal shed has been around since before we moved into this house. In fact, it was already rusted and dented when we moved here.

When we made an addition to the house fourteen years ago, the builder constructed another shed to store materials and tools. When the construction was done, it became our catch-all for daily needs: it holds our garbage cans (so that squirrels, skunks and raccoons can't get into them), as well as rakes and brooms and other things we need frequently. The metal shed was moved to the back of the yard and used to store "junk" - like extra bricks, bags of fertilizer left over at the end of gardening season, and our rusty wheel barrows.

I need a garden shed, I told Terry a few years ago - so he and a friend put up this large plastic shed between the wooden one and the metal one. I organized my pots and tools - and used it to store lawn furniture in winter. But before long Terry was adding his own stuff - like the metal frame and plastic sheeting for his large plastic winter "garage." Eventually I couldn't get to my things without removing his first!

Recently Terry decided to finally replace the old metal shed with another plastic one.


He has started to assemble it.


This one will be your garden shed, he promises me. (But somehow I have my doubts!)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ottawa, On the Rebound

Last Wednesday's fearful drama in downtown Ottawa has turned to solemnity, as people come to pay respects to the innocent man gunned down in the heart of the city - while on guard at the War Memorial to the Unknown Soldier on Elgin Street.

I joined them yesterday.

Dozens had come, some dressed in red, a Canada Day tradition. Others displayed their Canadian military pride.

Many had left flowers...

A different honor guard was there.

(They look so young!)

I walked across the street to Parliament Hill...

... glad to see that the front lawn and the flame were open to the public, as usual.


And the friendly police officer who normally drives around, answering tourists' questions, was also there.

Very little had changed... (and I hope it stays that way.)

No fear, no anger - just profound sadness.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


There is a little boy at church who's three or four years old. Before the service begins, when his parents aren't looking, he tears around the perimeter of the room, taking it all in.

The look of joy on his face and his legs - so full of energy - fill me with envy, as I sit and watch. Oh, to be able to rush around like that... and to enjoy every minute!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Creative Process

I had a general idea in mind when I began to make a banner for a friend. But dozens of decisions changed things.

Cross stitching became cross hatching.

The long, narrow banner I had in mind eventually became more of a square.

Color was added here and there for balance.

(Would the iron-on letters stick?!!)

The final product doesn't resemble my initial sketch - but I'm happy with it. I'd better stop now before I end up ruining it. (Knowing when to stop is critical!)

Is that the way the creative process works for everyone?!

Friday, October 24, 2014

2000 Blog Posts

Today marks my 2000th blog post!

I started this online diary on a bleak, cold wintery day in 2009 - almost 6 years ago! Could I do this daily? I wondered. In 2011, I gave it a try.

Readers often find my blog by doing a Google search of topics. A few of my posts are read years after they are written. Here are my current top 5 most-read blog posts, according to Google Analytics, a program that monitors such things:
  1. What to Do With Indoor Trees? (posted February 25, 2011) is still number 1. It has 1968 "hits."
  2. Second (posted August 7, 2010) is Memories, my cousin Rose Marie's story of an event that occurred around the time her only brother died. It has 1830 hits,
  3. Third is a recipe, Peach Cobbler Plus, posted January 18, 2011, which has been accessed 926 times.
  4. Next most read is African Violets in Bloom, dated July 21, 2011, with 830 hits.
  5. Fifth most read is Lake Monster Baseball, with 565 hits. It was first posted on July 22, 2009.
Interesting that all these are from my early years of blogging. None of these "most read" posts are from the past three years!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From a Slightly Different Angle!

I have been taking pictures of beautiful trees around the neighborhood...

All the while, oblivious to the fact that I had a beautiful tree in my own front yard!

When I approached our house from a different angle... coming through the muddy park I usually avoid... I saw it!

Is that the way it is for everything?! We have to see it in a slightly different way to really see and appreciate it!

(Hidden in plain sight!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Twice a week I head down to our local recreation center, a 10-minute drive away, to a pottery studio on the second floor. Once a week I take a lesson on using the wheel. (I've discovered that it's harder than it looks!)

My second session is just for practice, on the wheel or in the hand-building room.

I find working with clay extremely addictive!

It's something I could do day after day.

There is such satisfaction in taking a lump of clay (dirt!) and making something out of it.

A purely practical person (like Terry) asks: What are you going to do with all this stuff...?!

That's a question that never crosses my mind! I do it for fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Toronto Harborfront in October

No trip to Toronto is complete without a harborfront walk! Even in cooler October weather, it's a beautiful place to explore.


With fewer tourists around, many tour boats are moored at the wharf... and birds hop onto the board walk!

The water was calm the day we were there...


This protected area was unusually quiet: In summer, it's full of paddle boats and children; in winter it becomes a busy outdoor skating rink.

Many of the park benches were empty. Terry (still wearing shorts) carried an umbrella, just in case...

We discovered a pottery studio we had never noticed before. The harborfront, it seems, has an artist- in-residence program.

I admired these interesting mugs on display. I wonder if they're for sale.

One of the best things about Toronto's harborfront is that it's in the heart of downtown...

A pedestrian-friendly area, just a short walk from shopping... and the CN tower!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Unionville in October

En route to Toronto, we visited historic Unionville, a "suburban village" on the outskirts of Toronto.

It was a perfect day for strolling around with my son and his wife - and walking her parents' dog!

It is always interesting to see several-hundred-year-old buildings still in use.

This former "planing mill" (once powered by the water-wheel above) is now a shopping mall...


I'm glad someone had the foresight to preserve this "island of history" in the middle of Toronto's urban sprawl...

We walked through this nearby park - with its riverside path.

Was this a favorite spot of local children in the early days of "Upper Canada"? Or was all the land just like this - a mixed forest - two hundred years ago? Come to think of it, every river and stream would have been a canoe highway back then. Boats were the fastest mode of travel! This river might have been full of logs - on their way to the planing mill.