Hello from Sunday night, and happy Mother’s Day

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ice cream

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in North America who celebrated today. I had the most marvellous time. Chloe and I took a long drive out to the old ship yards by the river and had lunch with my mother and my son at a new to us restaurant called The Blue Canoe. We couldn’t get any reservations at our usual fish and chips place out here, but it didn’t matter, this little restaurant was lovely.

After lunch we walked out onto the docks with the thought of maybe buying a fresh fish. Just then there was a sea gull commotion, as only sea gulls can manage, and we saw a very large sea lion thrashing a fish on the surface of the water, as a bald eagle looked down from the mast of one of the fishing boats. Just lovely.

Ice cream for desert and a nice walk along the river.

Just about a perfect mother’s day for me. How was your day? Your weekend? Hope you had a lovely time. πŸ˜€

Sharing Β with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Hello from Sunday night…before everyone heads their separate ways

Well, it’s been a wonderful extra long weekend round here. We lived it up to the max and enjoyed every minute.

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Not only did I get to spend oodles of time with my granddaughters, but Kerstin’s good friend Na’ama came over with her brand new baby and her three year old son for a play date. Kerstie and Na’ama have known each other since they were children, and so it was lovely for them to catch up.

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children and doll house

Binky and Bunny, having had enough of babies and boys, snuck up to the studio to be with C and me.
I brought out the doll’s house and the girls had a great time rearranging the furniture in the rooms.

Later, when everyone left to visit Adam’s family, C and I felt a bit exhausted. Kind of like Morgan.

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There are still toys all over the house waiting to be put back into the huge steamer trunk where they belong.

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But in the garden, the first tree peonies are starting to open…

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…and so are the first roses.

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Plus, something wonderful happened today. All my children and my mother managed to find a couple hours to have lunch together. It might have been the full moon, but, with everyone’s schedules, four generations together for lunch is pretty rare.

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We all met at a local Milestones restaurant on the patio.
Everything was happy and fine, till Bunny found out she wasn’t sitting next to Auntie Chloe!
Cuddles and hugs made everything better.

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Ziggy is at that stage where she just wants to walk around. The trouble is that she picks everything up and puts it in her mouth, so a restaurant patio isn’t the best place to let an almost one year old loose. We played pass the baby around for two hours.

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Binky and Bunny’s water glasses came to the table with those cute plastic animals and only one mermaid! The lovely hostess was sent back for a second mermaid. Another small disaster averted! In the end, all the animals and the mermaids went swimming.

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Jonathan drew something inappropriate in the children’s sketch pad. That’s very Jonathan. Kerstie gave him a LOOK and drew something else over it.

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This was a wonderful moment for me…for us all. Looking forward to the next chance time when we all can get together. πŸ˜€

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Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. Sharing with JudithJudith and the mosaic bunch. πŸ˜€

Hello from Sunday night

Well then!
I’m feeling terrifically accomplished and successful and even am getting this post up on Sunday night! πŸ˜€ …although I’m hopelessly behind on commenting, visiting and replying to my comments. Boy, blogging is hard work. And to think that today I told Robbie that he really has to have his own website to showcase his brilliant designs. (What a rotten girl I am making more work for him!)
He said his YouTube and his forums were enough for now…unless I want to write his blog posts! 😯

But it’s been a wonderful weekend round here for us. C and I went climbing on Friday, instead of our usual Wednesday, and I was very pleased that I got to the top of two of the easier routes. (And to think I was doing this on cliffs 30 years ago. Oh well, I’ll work up to it again.)

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Saturday I stopped at my favourite nursery, Southlands, and had to take a photo of these brilliant signs Thomas put out. Yes, that’s my cart, those are my beautiful plants…hands off you pleb! LOL

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There was a plan to go to Costco. You know, that soulless, breathless, black hole of a box store, but neither C nor I could face it and so, citing hunger as our excuse, we drove past it to Ikea…OK, another soulless, breathless, black hole of a box store, but much more fun!

We had a little lunch and then walked thru it sitting on all the furniture, testing it for comfort and exploring all the rooms…(you know you love doing that)…

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…and having a general gigglefest. At one point, we made a video of C riding one of those huge shopping carts and bumping into the stacks of prefab boxes and sent it to R. Made him laugh.

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And then, we drove in exactly the opposite direction from Costco and ended up at the George Reifel bird sanctuary!

I’ve been worried about the world’s bees these past few years, and was so pleased to see the hawthorns, and all other blooms, buzzing with bees.

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We were so happy to see babies at the Reifel! Can you resist the yellow, baby bums? I can’t. So far one pair of Canada geese have three chicks and one pair of wood ducks have five. The breeding cranes lost their first egg clutch to a bastard mink, but they are sitting on a second egg. Fingers crossed.

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While I was up in the observation tower, I heard a strange bird call. No idea what it was, so decided to go investigate. The marsh is wet and boggy and no way to get off the paths, but I met a birder, an older gentleman, who told me it was probably a Virginia Rail. Then, on the way back, we met the sanctuary biologist, (who took a shine to C), who sang the call back to us and told us that the Virginia Rail chicks are much cutter than the Canada geese chicks. Impossible we said. He said, “take the goslings, multiply that by cuteness X 100% and make them a ball of grey-black fluff and give them legs which are miles too long for them.” Oh man! Now I want to find one!

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And then for something completely different! By 4pm, Costco was out of the equation, but groceries still had to be bought, so we had to stop at the store and I found this sexy thing! I took some photos for Robbie and put one up on Instagram. My son commented, “Eewwwww…Plymouth Prowler…C’mon mom!” and tagged me on a “real” rat racer! πŸ˜€ I’m like “what?” πŸ˜€ And had to tag him back on some brilliant photos I took of some rat racer earlier in the year. “Better” he said. πŸ˜€

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Saturday night C and I heard fireworks and ran upstairs to the studio and watched a lovely display on the downtown waterfront. Lucky us!

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Sunday morning I had a decision to make. I stopped at an antique shop on Saturday and found a beautiful journal. Someone who had a laundry business in 1949, then pasted pay stubs over the laundry lists in 1960. I love that waste not want not mentality and thought some of these pages would be wonderful as a canvas for some paintings. So I could paint. On the other hand, there were all the seedlings I still had to plant waiting on the porch…and a whole week of rain ahead and a garden show to get ready for.

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So planting it was, and gardening, and then, because one thing leads to another, then cleaning out the garage and organising the silversmithing bench.

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I had an inspiration.

Last week, I asked my friend Margot, (who has two horses), if I could have some straw for my strawberries. She told me that she has a whole hay bale that her boys won’t touch and I can have it. We made a date for today and I drove over to the stables.

My biggest mistake was bringing C along who immediately ran up to General for a nuzzle.

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And then to Levy. Last time she saw them was in Princeton.

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Margot and I moved all the hay bales off the one General and Levy didn’t want and put it into the back of my Highlander, and I looked around for C.
Where was she? At the end of the paddock making friends with the Clydesdale!

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Oh boy there’s a lot of hay in a bale! But I spread it around my strawberries, arround the raspberries and blueberries…

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…and then around the garlic, kale, peas and potatoes too.

I’ve never gardened with hay but figure it can go two ways, either horribly wrong or brilliantly successful, (or somewhere between). There’s only one way to find out. πŸ˜€

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While I was cleaning out the garage, C came by and found her professional fire hula hoop, (which will never be lit again), and gave it a whirl and left it outside. After spreading out the hay, I had a go with the hula hoop. WHAT FUN!
OK, now I want to hula hoop every day. Very surprised that I can keep it going for longer than two seconds together!

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And as a brilliant finish to this lovely weekend, at the end of the garden, past the strawberries and blueberries, under the Japanese anemones, I found a lovely display of lily of the valley. I collected a small handful and had a search for the perfect vase.

Really, what else could you ever put in this little vintage treasure?

Now on my bedside table for sweet dreams. πŸ˜€

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic Monday bunch.

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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜€

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?”. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜€

Happy birthday mom

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kitchen talk

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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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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 😯 )

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. πŸ˜€

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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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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!) πŸ˜€ 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.