Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Tuesday 4 - Art

Hi Friends and welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 where we are given 4 questions each week to ponder and answer.  It also gives you a chance to see how other Bloggers feel about things and an opportunity to make new friends.

This week we are talking about art.  

1. Are you artistic in any way and if so, how so? Knitting, crochet, drawing, painting, writing lovely word art, home décor, lovely meals?  There are many ways to be artistic.

I've never considered myself an artist as in painting or drawing.  I do however use my hands in other ways that I enjoy such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, a bit of home decor. Oh and don't let me forget photography. I also like to cook but only from time to time.  I took up many of these activities out of necessity or boredom rather than having a great affinity for them.

2. Does any art hang on your walls or grace your tables or shelves at home? How about your front door or windows. What about your yard?

I have a number of art works on my wall, some of which are unique: African women carrying baskets on their heads (done in cloth and framed), a detailed black and white print of a drawing of a Navajo couple in a wagon. It was done by an American artist who had lived amongst the Navajo peoples for many years.  I have another framed print of a North American Indian on horseback set in the old west days, a carved West Coast painting in wood (a gift) and a very special piece called "birch bark" biting done by a woman who is now passed.  Birch bark bitings usually depict insects or designs in nature and are made by folding the birch bark and biting into it until you have a design. This kind of work is extremely rare and I feel blessed to have such a piece.  I'm finding the natural light is already much reduced since the heat of the summer has ended and I've taken these photos very late at night so my apologies for the quality of them.  

African women with baskets

Birch bark biting with floral design

Print of a detailed pencil drawing

I also have a small, quilted star blanket that hangs on the wall behind my bed but I didn't make it (you can see a bit of it in the photo above).  I don't have any of the items I've made on display in my home as I usually give these away.  But I do use and make knitted dishcloths which are very useful.  I try to bring a little artistic bent to my patio garden but in 2023 I was not able to plant the garden. Perhaps I can do it in 2024.

3. Do you have a favorite artist or artists and do you have a favorite piece of art?

I have favourite artists who are well known and long gone such as Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.  I also like Gustav Klimpt for the use of gold leaf in some of his works (The Kiss,  Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer). I love the works of these famous artists and others but in my own home my favourite piece is the Birch Bark Biting I have.

Woman with a Parasol, Monet

The Kiss, Gustav Klimpt

Cafe Terrace at Night, Van Gogh

4.  Home décor can be art. When you  bought things for your home did you plan out the décor or did it all just fall together. Was there a theme?

I mostly just buy what I like but since I've never been heavily into decorating and didn't have the funds or time to spend on decor, I never really had a cohesive look.  Over the past 2 years or more I've been in a downsizing and decluttering mode and am using this time to figure out how to have a more cohesive decor look without spending a lot of money. What I've settled on is a boho look or a ethnic boho look so that I can use a lot of things I already have or have picked up on my travels to Kenya.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Tuesday 4 ~ Gardens

It's Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 once again and we are talking about gardens or house plants.  

1. Do you have a garden indoors or outdoors?   Houseplants count I think.  If not, why don't you have them?

I have both houseplants indoors, mainly snake plants but I also have a fiddle leaf fig and another tropical plant which I think is a Dracaena Janet Craig.

2. Have you visited Longwood Gardens or any of the large gardens and horticultural sites around the world or your state? Tell us about it.

I've never heard of Longwood Gardens but I have visited 2 gardens in my Province of British Columbia. One in Vancouver called Van Dusen Botanical Gardens and one in Victoria called The Butchart Gardens. Both of them are very beautiful and I think they are much like gardens elsewhere in the world. I last visited the Van Dusen Gardens in December 2022 for a spectacular display of Christmas lights.  Here is a link to the website for The Butchart Gardens which I haven't visited for a very long while. It's a beautiful garden that receives visitors from all around the world. While I'm thinking about it I remember I also visited the beautiful gardens at the Palace of Versailles during the winter of 2019.  I loved it and it was so large that you literally need a day to see all of it and probably several days to really have a good look all around.  I'm also fortunate to live in a city where there are actually gardens and flowers almost everywhere you go both public and private which you can enjoy up close or from afar.

3.  Most people really enjoy a little garden but I think we sometimes make too many excuses not to do things we really would enjoy.  Too busy, not enough space, etc.   But if we put our minds to it, anything is possible  Do you believe that?

If you have physical handicaps of any kind it affects your energy levels and ability to plant even a small garden. However, you could probably still plant a few house plants to enjoy even in a small space. The challenges indoors are really the temperature and lighting situations. Most of us like to have the natural sunlight come through our windows for the plants to thrive.  But I suppose if you don't have adequate light, you can also use a grow lamp which I do not currently have.  I've also found that even a constant source of a low wattage bulb above finicky plants also helps them to survive and grow.

 4. Ideally, what flowers, shrubs and trees do you want in your little garden real or imagined?

Anything and everything, lol. I do love colourful flowers of all kinds, especially ones that attract bees and birds. I also like ornamental grasses and various bushes.

Here is one photo of my patio garden from a 2022.

I didn't have a garden in 2023 because work was supposed to be started to redo all the patios in the building. Now here we are in September and the work hasn't even started. I'm not sure what will happen in the summer of 2024 on the balcony but we hope we will still have the community plot at a local park where we can plant vegetables or flowers.

Thanks for stopping by.

Note: My apologies for the margin issues with the blog. I recently changed back to a former template but it looks like I need to customize the margins too.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

It's Another Day

Hi friends and fellow bloggers, 

I hope you're having an awesome weekend. I'm having a quiet but good one so far.

I took these beautiful photos of a public garden. I love admiring the public gardens around the city (click on any photo to enlarge).

For Saturday's dinner I made a new to me dish called Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole from the English Kitchen website. It was very tasty and I'll be making it again.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

One Thursday in September

I watch the cooking show Mary Makes it Easy and saw this chicken pot pie hand pie recipe being made.  I decided to try it out because the hand pies appealed to me as a 'grab and go' snack or an easy meal served with a side salad.  I also made some chicken pasta soup so I don't have to cook tomorrow. I usually give myself a day or two off from cooking on a Friday or a Saturday.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

I have to fast for an abdominal ultrasound in the morning but have already tried the hand pies and they are delicious. I still have some filling and will make more very soon but have to buy more ready made pastry or make some.

I try to get in a short walk every other day or so.  These are some photos I took around 8 p.m. last night just as the sun was setting.

I had to return a few books to the library.  If interested I would recommend The Rose Code by Kate Quinn and the Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly.  The first book is quite fascinating and is based loosely on historical facts about the role of women as codebreakers in WW2.  The other book, is also based on true events of a woman who pursued a medical career as a nurse during the time of the US Civil War when women in the battlefield were considered a bother.

I also picked up this book which I'd placed on hold.  Chita is the memoir of Chita Rivera,  famous for appearing as Anita in the Broadway musical West Side Story, among many other roles. I saw her a few weeks ago on the Tamron Hall Show and she still looks and sounds fantastic.  She's a true inspiration at 90 years of age, still limber and dancing on the stage.

Here is the interview if you'd like to see it too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 4, 2023

Tuesday 4 Meme ~ Planning


Seeing ahead
Welcome back To Tuesday 4 hosted by Annie.

A wise man once said that most people fall into their lives.   They don't plan and carry out what they would like to do, they just fall into things through circumstances.      Others plan and prepare for life.  They know the kind of person they want to spend their life with, the kind of family, home  or job they wish to have and make a concerted effort to follow through.  

So what about you?

1. Did you plan to be where you are right now in life or did you just end up where you are?

I am a planner by nature though I'm not obsessive about it and I don't plan out every single area of life.  I planned my education, career and travels and those more or less worked out. I also envisioned generally, both getting married and having children when the time came.  But to be honest, marriage was never my big priority in my late teens and early adulthood.  I had no real idea what I wanted in a future husband or about what kind of wedding I wanted.  Most of the young women I knew had very specific ideas about their wedding day.  I just thought it would all come together for me where love, marriage and family was concerned.  Later, I realized that it was difficult for me to find a suitable mate for a great many reasons but primarily spiritual and cultural compatibility.  I began to think that perhaps I would never marry at all so I continued to live and plan for the things I wanted to do rather than waiting.

I had to retire very early due to illness and that certainly wasn't in my plans.  I also didn't plan to have to nurse several family members through their own ill health journeys through to their ultimate passing and then wrap up their affairs after they were gone.  Early retirement also meant my retirement savings were greatly diminished because I was no longer working. In fact, it meant significant loss of resources altogether.  However, I trusted God that it would all work out because he knows everything about us and knows us before we are born (Psalm 139:16.).  Early retirement meant that I finally had time to focus on my own health, helping my family and on doing good where I was able.  It meant I could get involved in missions to Africa more directly.  Later, I was also able to think about having a relationship and getting married.  

Even though all my plans didn't work out quite the way I envisioned them, I am content with the way things worked out.  I prayed about everything in my life (and continue to this day) and believe that all things work together for good for those who are the called according to God's purpose (Romans: 28).  Proverbs 16:9 says "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps".  We never know why things work out the way they do, but God in his infinite wisdom does, and by faith we can trust in that. 

2. What plans did you make for your future and what plans do you have for the future now or are you just marking time?

I am busy doing what I need to do home and health-wise while my husband is busy getting Canadian credentials and working as much as he can. Church and other activities like gardening, crafting, reading, etc. also keep us busy.  We hope to make more concrete plans in a number of areas once DH is more firmly established. Basically, right now, plans have more to do with DH getting further education, work opportunities for him, dealing with all the household needs and how to fund everything. We also do a small bit in missions to Kenya.

3.  Do you live where you want to live or would you have done things differently when planning where to live?

Yes, I am living where I want to live in Canada.  Canada is a cold country in the winter.  Therefore, I live in where the temperatures are more moderate and where we have some of the most beautiful mountainous and waterfront scenery.

When I was much younger I wanted to live abroad.  My late mother convinced me to stay close to home and thankfully I listened to her.  I wouldn't have been able to help her or my late sister when they became ill if  I had gone abroad.  So it's better that I never went at all.  I don't regret my decision because family is very important to me.  I also don't feel that I've missed out on anything.  During my working years and for several years after early retirement, I travelled extensively.  If the Lord enables, I would like to travel a bit more though not as extensively as before.  I particularly enjoying going to Kenya and undertaking grassroots missions in the villages there but I would also like to see some new places just for fun. We shall see what is in the future.

4.  What is planned for this coming Autumn? 

  • trips or plans with family or friends?
  • vacations?
  • holiday plans?
  • Reading list?
This year, I haven't made plans in any of these areas, save for reading. My reading slowed down for much of the year because I was busy working on decluttering and small home improvements. But I'm hoping to read 20, 000 pages before the end of 2023.  I don't have any near term travel plans. I really don't like going away at holidays like Christmas because of concerns over the weather. Even if you are flying to warmer climates from Canada, the flights are often cancelled both in Canada and the USA (connecting flights) due to bad weather.  I also prefer less chaos when I travel and there are far too many people trying to get somewhere at the major holidays. This year I've worked so hard at home that I'm looking forward to a very quiet Fall and Winter. I'm also hoping to enjoy reading and crafts.

Thanks for visiting. Please come again sometime.

Friday, September 1, 2023

....And to Celebrate the Last Day of the Month

Every August 31st is a special day.  It's the birthday of my late mom who passed almost 6 and a half years ago.  My brother and I used to make a fuss on her special day once she went into the care home so that she would know how much we loved her and I know she always enjoyed our time together on her birthday. So each year on her special day I try to remember her by doing something different. Sometimes we have a cake in her honour or I do something to enjoy myself.  She and I used to especially enjoy walking along the waterfront and stopping to have a coffee and a pie or something sweet.

I haven't really spent much time enjoying the summer because it was super hot and I don't enjoy hot weather.  It got a lot cooler this week and I decided a walk to the waterfront was in order.

I took a lot of photos (and videos) so today's post is photo heavy. I hope you enjoy them.

The circle on the map shows Davie Village situated on Davie Street in the city's West End. I walked from the St. Paul's Hospital to Denman Street then to the beach.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday today.

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday 4 ~ Books

Welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 . Books are such a big part of many people's lives. Maybe we should talk about that. 1. Do y...