A random roundup for Friday

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There are times when I see something and it’s just so lovely that I have to take a photo. These things are usually everyday ordinary things, like this little escapee/volunteer pansy up against the blue pot, but the everyday things are magic to me…you know, that common magic I sometimes go on about.

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Speaking of magic, who can resist sunlight dried towels and sheets. Oh it’s the best, isn’t it? That fresh smell. I never use fabric softeners or dryer sheets, too toxic, but I always marvel at how companies try to mimic what is easily done freely…and non-toxicly.

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I opened all the windows to air the house out, including the windows in my studio. Downtown looked sparkly across the water.

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Morgan immediately jumped out onto the roof and walked around to the skylight and jumped in thru the skylight onto my drawing desk. Milo ran around like a mad cat in thru the front door and out the back door ad infinitum.

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And on my drawing desk are birds! Birds and more birds. I was so happy that my FB friend Diana suggested I draw a Mockingbird and then Melodye asked to use it to illustrate her writing. Morgan comes around and jumps up for a cuddle and I can’t paint! She knows it and sniggers.

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The other day I found a brand new pair of retro climbing shoes at the thrift for $6! Chloe urged me to buy them. I had a second thought about that because that meant that I was probably committing to climbing! Oh, what the heck, we’re only young….er…as long as we feel like it. :D

I’m nowhere near this spider monkey child of mine, but I was pleased with being able to reach the top of the easier routes and very pleased with my muscles!

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I cleaned up the patio table. Time for an alfresco…something!

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In the morning I usually have a couple bed-ferrets invade my bedroom.

c and mo

I love it. :D

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Visiting the Bloedel Conservatory

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Some days, when one is in a mad rush, it’s important to say, “Stuff this for a game of soldiers” to oneself and stop for more than two minutes together.

Chloe and I did just this the other day.

We stopped across town in my mother’s corner of Vancouver, to visit one of my most favourite places, The Bloedel Conservatory. A few years ago in danger of being phased out and dismantled… CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?…Vancouverites railed up in such huge numbers that this beautiful, tropical garden, with waterfalls and pools of rainbow fish, rescued airport smuggled lizards and geckos, over 200 free-flying birds, and over 500 species of tropical plant life, was saved.

I love greenhouses and, in many ways, being a gardener here would absolutely be my dream job, (if it wasn’t for the tourists…lol) But really, we don’t come here often enough. Each time we do stop by, we walk thru it from beginning to end, and then reverse from end to beginning and start over again, before we find a lovely bench to sit at, usually at a bird feeding station, and hang out for a few minutes. Only then, very reluctantly, we walk out the door, and only because we probably should not have stopped here in the first place. But for our sanity, it was the best decision of the week. :D

PS. First photo is across downtown to the North Shore and you can probably see my house in that photo. Probably about where the two orange cranes on the dock are, above them, if you divide the constructed area into thirds, then just below the first third. (Probably making no sense at all…lol)

Macaroons and the sweetest friend

Today I picked up Chloe just after she taught a particularly colourful art class to some 5-9yr olds (occupational hazard she said)…
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…and we headed to Williams-Sonoma to visit our friend Claire who was selling her gorgeous sweets there.
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She offered us some chocolate raspberry macaroons….
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…and we really only made one mistake…we tried them!
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Oh lord, have you ever eaten anything so delicious in your whole life? Naturally we bought a box, and, after running a bunch of errands…
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…found ourselves at home, at four-o-clock tea time, with a beautiful box of chocolate raspberry and pink lemonade macaroons.
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Chloe just asked if she could have the last lemon one! Oh so yummy. Thank you so much Claire.
If you should like to get to know our sweet friend, and you really should, not only because she’s lovely, but also because she shares recipes!!!
Claire’s website is here: Livia Sweets
Instagram: Clairlivia
Facebook: Livia Sweets
And the yummiest Pinterest: Claire Lassam

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Oh, and one last afterthought, I used Claire’s recipe for olive oil banana bread way back here with the promise of the moistest banana bread ever, and have never used another recipe. It’s that good!
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Happy birthday Clover! Our girl turns 23.

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Chloe’s last day of 22, she said, “Mom, I don’t think I want to be 23.” I told her to shut up.

And then it was morning, and my child is no longer 22. :D She had a lovely day. Breakfast with Bryson, a nice walk, off to teach her art class and a surprise cupcake birthday party from her boss and her students, then a shopping trip for her funky new shoes, (a prezzy from me), and her favourite supper she always asks for: my bacon and leek pasta.

Then she went off climbing with Bryson and her friends, while I finished the blackbird on Mendelssohn.

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Hello from Monday night…since it’s a holiday

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So I just had to wrap my head around this bank holiday weekend.

Easter Monday is no longer a statutory holiday in Canada because it’s been traded for “Family Day” a floating late February holiday. Go figure. Consequently, Monday wasn’t a bank holiday. Do you know how I found out? My bank called me on Sunday advising that I go into my branch Monday and change my pin because I used my bank card at some dodgy place where they are suspected of having some sort of spyware to track my pin. Sheesh! Good think I never have very much money in that account…lol.

But, apart form trying to puzzle out the dodgy place of business, I’ve had a wonderful Easter weekend and completely ignored Monday not being a holiday. Took Clove mooching around in shops for an afternoon, did some gardening, had Jon and Chantal over for Easter supper, and generally slept in, breakfasted in bed, had lovely, long morning talks with Robert, (also late into the night talks where Chloe joined in and we sang old Harry Belefonte songs together), lazy few days holiday weekend. Super nice.

Nevermind that I couldn’t get the lawn mower to work, and nevermind that I have a garden show to prepare for, and nevermind that I should have been doing a million other things. It’s been a wonderful, relaxing long weekend. (Except for the one Costco run which couldn’t be put off any longer!)

And, I’ve come to the decision that I think I would like to put some prints of some of the bird up on Etsy. I keep thinking about it and finally thought that a few archival quality prints for $20 might be nicer than one original for $150. Maybe. I hope that maybe everyone might like that. I’m completely at sea here and would love to know what you all think. :D Please?

Also, Clove changed the theme on her website, (yet again), but loves this one to bits. I love it too. I think she’s really coming along with her photography and am ever so very proud of her. She’s really getting the views these days! So nice for her. Right now she’s in the dining room drawing a design for the Sasquatch Music Festival. Next up is a design for the Shambhala Music Festival. Last year, she was asked to design a T shirt for Shambhala, and she did, asking for only a T shirt as payment. Her design sold over $2000! She’s so talented and the design was so good everyone wanted one. This year I advised a bit more for the design. You go girl!

Sharing (really late) with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Supper at mom’s house

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C and I drove across town to my mom’s beautiful house, to give her a hand hosting an Easter supper for ten friends.

Mom planned a traditional Czech supper of roast ducks with dumplings and poached pears, I love traditional food from my homeland.

I also love mom’s eclectic house full of wonderful collections gathered by her and my late father over years and years of world travel, including such anachronistic things as a life-sized carved Komodo dragon, a 17C dining room suite imported from a pub in England, 18C tapestries, French quilts, Waterford crystal, old Limoges china, an original Turner, and a large collection of my aunt Vera’s beautiful paintings.

We love mom’s friends, but when a bunch of doctors get together, parts of the conversation invariably turns to statistics, body parts and medical terms we don’t understand. But they’re all generous at explaining…in great detail! :D

But we did have a terrific time and drove home quite late, under the full moon. :D

Getting ready for Art in the Garden

Recently I was told the happy news. My garden has been accepted again this year as a show garden for the Art in the Garden tour. (Still waiting to hear about my portfolio, but am hopeful)

So today being a lovely sunny day, and with C’s help, I decided to blow out the winter cobwebs and hit the garden.

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First a brief run thru and we took stock. C wrote a list of things to do and it turned out to be rather a long list!

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A simple thing on the list were our tattered prayer flags on the saved apple tree. Since I freed the ancient apple tree from the confines of the child’s fort and planted a flower garden around it, it has rewarded us with a renewed health and tons of apples. We figured that maybe it didn’t need the prayer flags any more.

We took them down…

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…and hung up seven glass globes.

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Morgan supervised from the cold frame.

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I think the glass globes look fantastic, and some have glow-in-the-dark dots on them. That might look really lovely in the evenings.

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Morgan practised her best skulking from behind the irises.

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Then a little weeding.

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Which Morgan approved of.

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Then some pruning.

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While Morgan claimed the box I brought the globes out in.

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And then, C and I spent a couple of hours fixing and supporting the old fences.

And finally, we stopped for a well earned cup of tea.

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A few items crossed off the list and beautiful show garden here we come. :D

A night out with my children

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These days, with everybody so busy in all corners of the world, it’s such a rare treat that I have the chance to get together with my three all at the same time. And now that my three have multiplied to nine! It’s even rarer to have them together.

But this evening all the stars aligned and I had a chance to have dinner with four of the nine. :D

We all came together downtown. I came from an afternoon with my mother and some lovely visiting British friends and picked up Chloe and Kerstin at the downtown seabus terminal. That’s Kers picking me up on taking photos while driving and I’m like “what?”. :D

Jonathan made reservations at the Italian Kitchen, a lovely Italian restaurant, and he and his beautiful girl Chantal met us there for a late supper.

At one point, Jonathan stumped the bartender with a Campari Americano order. Then he explained how to make it. (Jon’s got years of bartending experience)

The restaurant was busy and bustling but also friendly and intimate. The food was fantastic, and Susan, who served us, was lovely and friendly and very accommodating.

We had the most wonderful time, and, by the time we left and said goodbye to Jon and Chantal, it was almost midnight. Not quite closing the bars down, but close enough for me. :D

As the sun sets on our holiday…

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…and I have to say goodbye to Puerta Vallarta, I will take another Mexican late March holiday and keep it safe in my heart. We have been spoiled to the max with the warmest ocean, the yummiest foods, the sweetest piña coladas and C’s new discovery: Miami Vice: 1/2 strawberry daiquiri, 1/2 piña colada! :D

We’ve enjoyed our fellow holidayers and had some lovely conversations with what we hope will turn out to be new friends.

We’ve shopped till we dropped and bought a little something for everyone.

I’ve drawn in my travel sketchbook, made beaded bracelets, walked all over the little, hilly streets and peeked into the courtyards. I’ve loved seeing a golden tan and freckles develop across my child’s nose, and dragged her into the ocean laughing and screaming with joy. (Evidence in her latest video up soon…I’ll link as soon as it’s ready.)

Here it is!

Goodbye Mexico and thank you once again for the frigatebirds and pelicans, the bougainvillea and plumeria, for the salty ocean, the fresh sea air, the warm days and the fragrant humid nights. X

Resort life

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What lovely days we are having. Some of us still have to do some work while on holidays, but the work is minimal and there’s plenty of time for resort life. Here the time sort of runs together in a long, uninterrupted line of bliss and sunshine. There’s so much food that we hardly register a hunger for a meal, so much entertainment that hours pass by in increments of beach volleyball, arts and crafts, water aerobics, walks, swims, shopping, and suddenly it’s evening.

I know that to a lot of you, birds like brown pelicans and egrets and frigatebirds and Brewer’s blackbirds are common, but to me they’re exotic and spectacular to the max and I can’t get enough of them. (If only you knew how many photos I’ve taken but spared you from.)

And the lovely people around us. Sunny, smiling faces. We’re loving every minute. :D