Drawing challenge: Coat, the von Alemann coat

I was so happy when Patrice called this week’s drawing challenge: coat, and, for me, this started with a book.

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Not just any book, THE BOOK. One of the most precious books I have, the book of my family, the von Alemann family.

The book used to belong to my grandfather, and has study notes written in his handwriting. There are also study notes in the handwriting of others.

The book is written in high German, and begins in 1281. Somehow, over the years, there grew a small collection of odd things in the book, like a pressed edelweiss and beech leaf between the halves of a Czech receipt for bread, along with the usually kept death and birth certificates.

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There are property documents, and locks of hair, and names. Loads and loads of names; centuries of names.

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A few names keep repeating. Here, the death certificate for my grandfather’s father Lord Emilian Karl von Alemann; before him his father, Lord Wilhelm Johan Karl, and after him my grandfather Lord Karl Emilian Maria, and my son is also named in a fashion after this tradition of repeating names: Jonathan Karl (he has the full right to use the Lord title).

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It’s funny how it goes. So comfortable for me, like a warm coat. My coat of arms. The image passed down thru centuries. The family which started the entire Alemannic world. My world.

I started this DC on a sheet of music with the title Prelude. It felt like homage to all those who came before me.

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I drew my Germanic von Alemann family crest, I drew the Czech lion, the lion of my childhood.

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I gilded the Czech lion with copper leaf; that warm golden pink light of Prague.

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And there we are. I think this little piece of art might end up collected in the book for future generations to puzzle out.

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Later, Chloe and I put on our family crest rings. We looked thru the book for a while longer, and then I closed the book and put it back in the safe.

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Thank you for a lovely and touching DC theme dearest. x

But the fun is only starting. Pop over to Patrice’s for links to everyone who is clever enough to slip their coats on in this weather. :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

Happy birthday mom

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It’s not easy being a Christmas baby. One’s Boxing Day birthday is often very conveniently wrapped up with a Christmas celebration, but we’ve always tried to make it a special day for mom in some way.

My mother turned 80 years young yesterday, and we celebrated in grand style at the beautiful, Christmas-shiny home of our friend Jane. About 30 of mom’s friends came to help celebrate her birthday, and a huge treat for me because my son Jonathan and his lovely girl Chantal were in town and could join us. We all had a lovely time with plenty of yummy nibbles, plenty of wine and wonderful cake.

Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day mom! We love you. X

Hello from Sunday night, which turned into a Monday post again

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Well, well, well, after days of leaden skies the promise of sunshine thru the velvet curtains turned the whole room rosy pink. Mornings like these make my world so much better. Milo and Morgan love the sun and try to hang out in the sunniest spot as much as they can; usually upside down on the sofa.

My son has come back from Japan and brought his lovely girlfriend Chantal for lunch. I made us some smoked salmon sandwiches and salad. I took my eye off the salmon for two seconds and Morgan was up on the counter and made off with a slice of salmon. She was told off and pushed out the kitchen door into the garden where she sat for the longest time licking her cheeks. The scrubby little cat! One minute she’s sleeping, the next minute she’s pilfering our lunch. She’s a bit overweight and so on a diet and hating everybody these days.

My children and I had a lovely chat and spent a good hour looking thru the baby Jonathan photo albums. Jonathan wasn’t too pleased at the idea at first, but the girls ganged up and majority won. After a while he really enjoyed seeing the old photos. He asked me if he ever wore any clothes as a baby…lol. There were a good number of photos of naked baby Jon and baby Kers on the beach or in the garden in the summer time. What can I say…they were very European babies. :D Chloe and Chantal decided that I had the best clothes in the 80s and now they want to hunt similar down and wear them. C especially loved my bathing suits, my high-waisted jeans and a one piece safari jumpsuit, which I wore to death. I think it was Rodier and I loved it too.

The sun shone golden for most of the week, but it’s that weak winter sun which never really warms much, and that means the temperature has dropped. I suppose it’s dropped all over the continent because I can see the jet stream dipping way low on the environment maps. Morgan hates the cold and so I didn’t leave her out for long…no matter how bad she is I’ll always love her mushy little face.

Hope your weekend was a lovely and cozy one. Time to check out some weekend movies and have a first open fire in the fireplace I think. :D

Hello from Monday night (Can’t get my act together these days…lol)

It’s been a quiet, low-key weekend round here.

Nice for a change.
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But we did have Kerstie, Adam and our little girls come for supper.

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Mom came too, and we had a lovely visit.

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Jonathan was missed. He originally said he would love to come for dinner, but double booked himself with the new girl friend, (who we know nothing about 8O )

Oh well, we had a lovely time.

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Today dawned bright and sunny, and, after I did some laundry, I got into my silversmithing studio.

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I turned on some Bowie music and contemplated an ancient flint with a hole thru it.

And, although I haven’t finished that piece yet…
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I did make some earrings for Clove. She was admiring some earrings similar to these at Blue Ruby and another chic little boutique and they cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50, and I thought, “are you kidding me? There’s like $5 worth of silver and a half hour worth of work!”

And you all know my motto: How hard can it be?

Not that hard as it turns out. :D

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Now it’s evening and everything’s quiet and calm and I’m trying to resist the urge to get back out into the silversmithing studio tonight.

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I aten’t dead yet!

That line is one of my favourite lines in fiction.
For anyone who doesn’t read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, this line is attributed to Granny Weatherwax, a witch, who lives outside the small village of Bad Ass, which incidentally is what my children figure that the scar on my neck will look like. :D

Well, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I guess you could say that people post traumatic operations should probably take it easy, and I guess I’ve over-done it round here and now I’m in bed feeling not so hot, but over-all everything is going to be fine and ‘I aten’t dead yet.’

This lovely, fragrant posy ended up by my front door yesterday. It came with some lovely pages about planting an all white garden, an interesting art exhibit and indoor plants, with a little note: “From Rosemarie from the Art in the Garden tour, I read your blog.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing?

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Thank you so much Rosemarie, thank you for thinking of me. :D Please say hello so I can get to know you.

I know I should have been resting post op, but after two months away form them, Kerstie brought all three of our little girls over and we got to play with some of the toys I brought for them from England and also to start putting together the loveliest, but also complicated, wooden puzzle made after my friend Jackie Morris‘ drawing of dragon hatchlings.

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And while Ziggy was having a nap, Binky and Bunny redecorated the doll’s house.

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Now at this point I think I should have kissed my little and big ones goodnight and went to bed, but a supper came up with all of my children and I just couldn’t say no!

Jonathan made reservations at a downtown restaurant called Gyu-Kaku Japanese Barbecue.

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Most fun ever! A central grill and loads of dishes equals cook your own supper.

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And so we did.

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Chef Adam and Chef Jonathan hard at work.

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And what do you have for desert when there’s a grill right in front of you? Smores! And lychee ice cream.

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We had such a lovely time…except maybe a bit too much sake and wine.

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And got home way too late!

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Today we had monster truck races…

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…and monster chocolate chip cookie faces…

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Nourishing soup, fresh squeezed orange juice and tea, and I do believe we all felt better afterwards.

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And this evening, in the warm quiet of my studio, Clover and I finished the dragon hatchling puzzle, put it back in its box, and finally I decided I needed rest.

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And so I went to bed early with Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay, and my lovely pages from Rosemarie. For all of you who have never read any of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, I’m so jealous!!! I reread them quite often and I love them to pieces, and to think, you have this whole world to discover and delight in…you lucky ducks you.

Thank you everyone for thinking of me, and big hugs form me, (the bride of Frankenstein), to you. I’ll be back soon. :D

Random things I love

I love that I have green eyes and Chloe has blue and Jonathan and Kerstie have brown eyes. I love that I have the whole gamut in the family. Robert’s eyes are very unusual because they tend to be very chatoyant and can look blue, green and even hazel/brown depending on his mood. I love that too.
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I love pebbles. I pick them up everywhere and stick them in my pockets. They usually end up in the garden or in craft projects or just in random arrangements in jars or on plates.
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I love fantasizing about living in all sorts of places and houses. I look at a lovely house and then think about how much it would cost to live there. Like this place in London. And then I think about the reality and realise that it’s actually 1,2,3,4…15 flats! Yeah. But sometimes I think about selling the Vancouver house and the Oxfordshire house and ending up with enough money to buy a dream like this place in Vermont. (eight times over!) :D And having all that land…and chickens…and rescuing great big Morgans and Clydesdales. (sigh)
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I love drawing on old pieces of paper; maps, books, found bits of cardboard… I love the thought that I’ve taken that worthless bit of paper which someone discarded and I’ve given it worth with my art. Transformed it into something special, multiplied its value exponentially. And then I’m always so gratified to give it away.
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I love my iPhone as a repository of photographs and notes. Spur of the moment ideas, someone’s emails or websites I want to check out, images which inspire me…never has there been a better system. I’d never want to be without one again. :)
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Linking with Nancy and looking forward to catching up with everyone’s random.

Happy birthday my sweet Clover…this post is going to go on for miles and miles and quite possibly make you hungry

Everyone who is my friend of FB already knows it was Chloe’s 21st birthday yesterday because I went on and on about it practically all day.

But just in case you missed it, or if you’re not on my FB, (why on earth not… come be my friend), then here is a little look back at this most wonderful day.

I drove up to C’s university and grabbed her and her friend Taylor for lunch at our local favorite restaurant Burgoo. Kerstie and the babies joined us…

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… and Binky gave C her prezzies.
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We shared Burgoo’s special fondue and Bunny had all the grapes.
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Then we had some more yummies: French onion soup for C…
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…and muscles for me.
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Then I returned a very reluctant C and Taylor back for their two afternoon classes and a very important group media presentation which C’s had to present and caused her tummy to break out in a bad case of butterflies.

But then it was over and we drove X-town, Adam, Kerstie, Bryson, Chloe and me, to Merchant’s Oyster Bar for supper. We were there but no Jonathan.
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Pastry chef Claire brought us some champagne. Not only is she beautiful but extremely talented and writes a wonderful food and craft blog liviasweets.com.
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Happy birthday clinks all round.
But still no Jonathan!
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Oh here he comes. What is he like?
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Lovely, crusty French bread was brought on a cutting board sprinkled with sel de fleur.
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And Jonathan ordered drinks, wine and 24 oysters.
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The oysters, especially with champagne mignonette spooned on them, were absolutely out of this world delicious.
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Kerstie, Adam and the babies had a holiday at Parksville over Easter and Kerstie told us stories of gathering fresh oysters at low tide and eating them right at the beach and, later, barbecuing them for supper.
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Claire came back and took more orders for some cold appies.
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Jonathan ordered albacore tuna poke, bison tartare and cold roasted beet salad.
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Then Jonathan ordered more wine and roasted bone marrow…
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… flat iron steak, confit pork belly, salmon, and two orders of scalloped potatoes.
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There was so much yummy food!
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Jonathan went to talk to some friends and restaurant patrons and that may have been the wrong time…
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…because just then Claire came with her amazing desert creations.
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We shared desert but, as the birthday girl, C got to lick the knife. (I know, I brought her up well!)
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We had the most amazing day/evening/togetherness fest and I just couldn’t stop taking photos of my beautiful three.
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The reason my heart beats, the loves on my life.
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Best time ever! An evening downtown with MUSE!

So had the best time ever! Evening out with my children, a lovely supper in historic Gastown and rocking out to MUSE.

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Adam, Kerstie, Bryson, Chloe and I drove to Gastown, parked up and walked to the Pourhouse for supper. We were going to go to my son Jonathan’s restaurant but couldn’t because of a private party, so we went to his best friend Jonathan’s restaurant instead.

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Here’s Jonathan behind his bar. I’ve known him for fifteen years or so and he’s always been Good Jon as compared to my son…

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Jon made us a variety of yummy special drinks he invented…

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…and we had some lovely appies to share. Some of us had made-to-order burgers, some had French onion soup and Kerstie and I shared a delicious bowl of spicy steamed clams. If you come to Gastown you should go!

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We were very happy leaving the Pourhouse and decided that a good brisk walk was in order. LOL

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I bought my T-shirt

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We got our wrist bands for the floor and ran down hand in hand just in time to welcome MUSE to Vancouver!

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I wanted this evening to last and last so I made a little movie using one of my favorite muse songs and some of the movie footage I took and uploaded it to my Media Tala YouTube channel. Here’s the YouTube link

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MUSE played the best concert and after it was all over we got the munchies and drove down to Fritz for poutine before finally making it home. That was such a good time.

Happy Halloween

On this special night let me show you the front porch and tell you a ghost story. A true ghost story.

The first night we spent in our little cabin in the woods was a chilly May night over 20 years ago when Jon was 12, K was 10 and C was four weeks old. The cabin was alone and lonely since the owner had died and his widow hated it there in the woods.

We were so excited to spend time at our little five acres of paradise away from the city and, complete with a couple friends and our very big and smelly malamute, moved in for a long weekend.

We made a fire in the old wood burning stove and eventually we all went to sleep.

In the middle of the night I woke up because I thought the baby wasn’t breathing properly…you know, that mom feeling…and sat up into choking smoke in the sleeping loft.

A fibreglass board, which apparently had been used to hold the wood supply close to the woodstove for years and years had caught fire and was smoldering away.

I got the children up and got everyone out of the cabin and put the fire out. (Thank goodness we had the forethought to bring up a small fire extinguisher along with the mosquito repellant.)

Then I looked around the cabin and felt a chill. The cabin came to us complete with all the decoration inside. I saw the bearskin on the wall, the framed land claims, the old hiking boots by the fire and I realised I hadn’t even said thank you to the late owner.

So I quietly said, “Jimmy, this cabin will be filled with love and children’s laughter from now on. Don’t worry, we will love it and take care of it for you, and you can always be here with us if you want.”


I think it worked.

Twenty years have passed since that night. The foundations have been rebuilt, the roof has been replaced, the rickety old fireplace has been swapped over for a lovely new one, but Jimmy’s claims are still on the wall. That way he can always be a part of the cabin and the cabin is a place of peace.

I think it really helps to talk to ghosts. What do you think?