Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Pumpkins!

Halloween is pumpkin season... I came across this painted mini-pumpkin display in Ottawa's Byward Market.

(Someone had a lot of fun painting these cheery faces!)

The ones with the Montreal Canadiens logo on them made me think of Terry's brother, Barry, in Edmonton. A hard-core hockey fan, he has every imaginable souvenir with his team's logo on it... But I doubt that he has a Montreal Canadiens  pumpkin!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Do I ... Need a Costume?

Three-year-olds are a lot of fun. And they don't miss much!

We live near a three-year-old who occasionally comes over to chat. She always makes me smile!

To her, the three people living in our house are "the neighbor" (me), "the grandpa" (which I assume is Terry, with his white beard!) - and "the brother," our adult son.

After asking what I'm doing, she compares our hairdos: She has an elastic holding up her pony tail, while I have a comb keeping my hair out of my eyes. Then she starts to talk about Halloween.

We have a nice pumpkin, she says - pointing to the jack-o-lantern on her front porch. I'm going to be Minnie Mouse. What are you going to be?

I don't have a costume, I tell her...

Well, you need to buy one, she says emphatically... leaving me to wonder if she would be terribly disappointed on Halloween to see me without one! (Hmmm. What a quandary!! I haven't worn a costume in years! But I don't want to disappoint a three-year-old, either!)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Art With Alan

I have a new morning routine!

After breakfast, I spend half an hour or so doing art with Alan Owen - following along with his You Tube art videos. There are quite a few, most of which have been viewed thousands of times.

(Occasionally I print up photos I have taken and try to make paintings of them as well.)

My collection of paintings is growing! I prop them on the piano for a few days, modifying them if needed - then put them away.

My goal is to do every one of his tutorials! I'm not sure how many he has - but there are enough to keep me busy for a few months, I'm sure. Maybe enough to keep me painting all winter long, something I've been meaning to do for years!

I wonder if my neighbor Mary, who first introduced me to him, is doing the same thing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


It's strange to be driving along in the city... and to suddenly see smoke billowing high in the sky.

Terry and I were heading in the general direction of the smoke and couldn't help but wonder what was on fire!

Later we discovered that the building housing a coffee shop had burned down. The fire may have been started by roofers working with tar to the roof!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Art... With Alan

I haven't been doing much painting in the past year. Without weekly classes, I got out of the habit. I guess I needed motivation... and inspiration!

Then, my neighbor Mary introduced me to "Alan"! I guess I should explain!

Alan Owen is a British artist with quite a few tutorials on You Tube! My neighbor Mary told me about him and sent me a link to one of his instructional videos...

I followed along with one (here's the link) - and here is the result! A British country scene...

Painting along with Alan has inspired me to try a few painting on my own - based on photographs I've taken here and there.

I'm really enjoying my free at-home "classes" - and the inspiration they provide!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Carriage Rides

The other day, I noticed a carriage drawing up at the nursing home where my mother lives...

The activities team comes up with interesting activities for the residents. I'm sure that many of them will enjoy driving around the neighborhood in a horse-drawn buggy.

Too bad my mother's vision is so poor that she wouldn't see anything. Getting into the buggy wouldn't be easy either.

She grew up on a farm - and, in fact, rode a horse to school her last year of high school.

But I don't remember her ever looking back nostalgically on those horse and buggy days.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Colorful Afghan

I have a lot of afghans I've knit and crocheted over the years... so many, in fact, that I donated a few to my mother's nursing home a few years ago.

Imagine my surprise when one of them showed up on her bed!

Her vision isn't very good these days, so she can't see its bright colors - but I hope she's enjoying it, nonetheless.

(Here she is, looking pensive, waiting for her bath.)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Firemen... in Training?

We live near a college and often walk through the grounds. Recently, cutting across the parking lot, I stopped...

Was that water spouting up in the air?!

I pulled out my camera - a fire, perhaps?

Or were they testing a hydrant?
Then the spouting water stopped - and I noticed a group of firemen standing around.

It didn't look urgent... No fire to be seen... Were these firemen in training, perhaps.

I know the college offers police and paramedic training... But I've never noticed student firemen before.

I considered wandering over to explore further - but decided against it. I didn't want to risk getting drenched!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Goodbye Toronto...

Our weekend in Toronto ended all too soon... Time to get back to Ottawa.

But first, a stop for breakfast at a Portuguese bakery... which has to include pastry!

My breakfast was yogurt and a delicious Portuguese rice cake - which tastes a lot like sponge cake. A real treat!

Then we made a quick stop at the shop where my daughter works...

(Admired a cute cat scarf, but didn't get it.)

Then the five-hour drive to Ottawa - which is lovely, especially at this time of year...

Now that the leaves are changing colors!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lawn Bowling... in Toronto

My son and his wife have taken up lawn bowling...

There is an active club near their home...

People there love their summer sport!

In winter many of them curl - which is apparently similar to lawn bowling, only it's done on ice.

I learned a few things: Lawn bowling balls are actually called "bowls"... A set costs about $450 new, though there are often used bowls to be had...

Each player has his or her own. (I love the bright colored ones!)

They are oval rather than round - and one side is heavier than the other, to encourage bowls to curve.

The object of the game is to get close to the white ball. (The woman with the pink bowls plays in provincial championships!)

Traditionally lawn bowlers dress in white and wear white hats, but this was "crazy hat day."

My favorite was this "turkey"!

The day was lovely - but this Thanksgiving Day tournament was the last of the season. They have to protect the grass. 

On this last game of the season, a few family members came along to watch.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kingston in the Fall

A week ago Terry and I headed for Kingston, en route to Toronto.

I always enjoy stopping and wandering around the oldest part of the city, beside Lake Ontario (with its hotels and condos).

There weren't many boats in the water in October...

Birds were lounging on the piers, where dozens of boats were moored the last time we were here, in August.

We weren't planning on staying long... But we managed to squeeze in a few of our favorite Kingston things...
Like enjoy the scenery...

Eat homemade White Mountain ice cream...

And attend a hockey game...

(Mississagua and Kingston were playing...)

On Saturday, before leaving for Toronto, we wandered over to the Farmers Market.

It's open until November.

Kingston - a beautiful city any time of the year!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Flowers Still in Bloom

These days, my eyes are drawn to colorful trees, rather than  flowers...

They are magnificent...

Especially in the early morning light!

But there are still a few flowers in the garden. Most noticeable are the red Sedum.

I bought these yellow perennials at a plant sale at my mother's nursing home in spring. I hope they survive the winter to bloom again next fall. I've forgotten what they're called!

The knautia has been blooming for several months.

A few brown-eyed Susans remain to brighten the yard.
And here and there a few coreopsis are still in bloom.

But the longest-blooming flowers in our yard are these low-lying mauve geraniums. I've fallen in love with them... They spread a bit, and every year I transplant a few in different parts of the yard. Not many perennials last all summer long.

Monday, October 19, 2015

First Frost

Two nights ago we had our first frost...

In the morning, I noticed that black roofs around us were grey...

And our red sedum flowers had a frosting of white crystals...

But surprisingly, the nearby flowers in the planters appeared untouched!

Weather - and its effects - is something I really don't understand!