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

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

Getting into the holiday spirit

It’s beginning to feel very wintery here…as much as the West Coast gets “winter”, but as you can see from this “artfully arranged” reflections shot :D the atmosphere here is cooler, whiter, and darker than ever.

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Recently mom bought some beautiful little Christmas lights at Anthropologie and I helped her string them up in her living room. They’re the same ones I have, (which stay on all the year long), except mom’s are a longer chain. Aren’t they lovely and twinkly?

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Yesterday we had a walk in mom’s neck of Vancouver, Kerrisdale, grabbed mom a coffee and had a good mooch around some of the stores. This place has changed so much recently. The sky-high rent prices have forced almost all the quaint little boutiques to relocate or close, and ubiquitous chains have moved in. Shame really, but that’s life. Still, a couple of little boutique stores remain. In front of mom’s favourite coffee shop, Cafe Artigiano, was this tiny little dog waiting for his master. He was so friendly and so super cute. Across the street is one of the last remaining boutiques, a flower shop, with a completely different animal in the window. Isn’t that fabulous? Chloe said, “Narnia”. Talk about holiday spirit!

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The other side of the shop had this wonderful window full of branches. So many surprises dotted around this window that we couldn’t stop looking into it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to replicate something at home for Christmas? I think so.

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Next we drove down to my favourite garden centre Southlands. I love this fragrant, warm greenhouse and could very easily just move in! :D

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I suppose if I lived in a greenhouse there wouldn’t be much room, or need, for a Christmas tree :( I suppose some vintage Santas and a painting or poster or two might be enough?

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Or maybe just plant some festive flowers, like Christmas cactus, poinsettias or these fabulous red bromeliads or maybe some gingers, or bird of paradise.

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Actually, probably not…lol…I’d still fill it with my millions of glass ornaments (marginal exaggeration) and over-the-top gingerbread houses.

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And just look at the fabulous trees waiting for December! Wow!

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Since this year Christmas is in Canada, I’d love a 11 foot tall tree in the living room. I bet it will end up completely covered by my ornaments.

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But not like this…lol. This is a little over-the-top for me. :D

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I usually get my tree on December 15th and then it stays up till twelfth night. But now I’m so into the Christmas spirit, that I can’t wait to get the tree. I might not last till the 15th. :D

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Remembrance

Yesterday I painted in my very personal journal. I found some words and painted a poppy around them.

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Today I spent Remembrance Day with my mother. We remembered my father and his years of dedication to veterans as the head doctor of the Vancouver chapter of Veterans Affairs Canada.

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After lunch, while mom filled out some paper work, I riffled thru dad’s glass collection.

I love his collection of sparkly shiny glass. Some ancient Pompeii glass, some modern Waterford crystal, some rare medieval pieces he picked up at auction.

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And then, from the very back, I pulled out this strange little etched goblet. Strange because I have no idea where dad got it, and, now that he’s been gone all these years, I can’t ask him about it. It has flowers etched into the crystal. Maybe some are meant to be poppies, maybe, or probably they are, because under the etching of the flowers is an etched word: “Erinnerung” German for Remembrance.

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And maybe there isn’t a mystery. Everyone, whether allies or enemy, everyone a person, everyone affected in some way by the tragedy of war. I’ve no idea where my British father got the little goblet with the German word etched on it, but you know what? I’m so glad I found it today of all days.

Lest we forget.

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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A small window on Sunday

at Whole foods

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at the beach

It’s been one of those warmer West Coast days where we didn’t even mind not getting a table inside the Whole Foods and we happily sat outside with our lunch. Boy have we been lucky this fall and into winter with plenty of sunshine so far. Gosh I hope I don’t jinx things. :) (got my fingers crossed while I type this just in case)
Went for a walk and Chloe was determined that we should walk thru the dog walk part of the beach and past the SPCA. Chloe visits the SPCA web site on a practically daily basis trying to convince me that we should adopt a dog. This time there is a one year old malamute up for adoption and, while my heart is melting, I must be the logical one here and say only if she figures out how and makes preparations for the dog accompanying her for her year in Japan after she graduates university, before we adopt him. (sigh) Kids don’t play fair…do they?
Back at home and the sun was already starting to dim, I sat down to write my Sunday whirl and C sat down to write the beginning of a philosophical argument about transitivity and psychological continuity. :? Some of these phil arguments are tough to wrap your head around. So I lit the first fire of the year in the fire place. I forgot how wonderful it is to sit beside an open fire. It sure makes the writing easier. :)

Sharing with Mary for Mosaic Monday.
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X town and lunch

The lovely bright October sunshine. Sometimes it feels just too bright.

Do you have that kind of light where you are? It’s the oblique angle of the autumn sun I think.

I almost want to wear sunglasses inside the house. :)

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I was so lucky today to drive across town in this glorious light to help my mom out with some computer work.

Vancouver neighbourhoods are so lovely right now. It’s a special magic time, a beautiful golden autumn, and we must hold on to it, crush it to our hearts because we know that soon the rain will come and dissolve it into a million blurry puddles.

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We went to have lunch at the same little French bistro in mom’s neighbourhood.

Yes, we asked for a table outside. :)

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It actually was really warm there on that little patio in the sunshine. The forecast said 12 degrees but it really felt more like 18. We were very comfy with our coats off.

I had some lovely mussels. (my hemoglobin has dropped quite a bit lately and believe it or not, shellfish have a very high amount of iron, not to mention that they really are my favourites) The restaurant supplied me with a spoon and a special little narrow fork to help me with the mussels. I always think that’s a little silly when the empty shell of one is the absolute perfect tool to pry the next mussel out with. I know it’s the European way, but then, being born in Prague, I am the original Bohemian, aren’t I? :)

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After lunch it was too lovely to leave, so, a little tea for me and a little coffee for mom…

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…and a bit of people watching before I had to drive back home. :)

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While I was downloading my iPhone photos I came across a little something I wanted to show you. These days with C just into midterms, our Sbux mornings look like this: C in full study mode and me picking up any little bit of leaf/flower/twig as we walk in, (it’s always a treasure hunt, that short walk from the car to the Sbux), and I sketch whatever it is I found while she studies and tries out theories on me. Sometimes she asks me to put my pencils down and quiz her at her cue cards. :)

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Happiness from Saturday night.

Remember I told you on Wednesday that my friend turned 100yrs old? Well, tonight was his birthday party. What a wonderful age, what a remarkable life!

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Chloe and I dressed in evening dress, drove to mom’s house and waited for her to get ready…

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…and we all three walked up the lane to Norman’s birthday party.

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He was looking dapper as ever, with a huge commemorative button…lol. He was wearing his trademark bolo tie and I told him it looked very good. He told me it’s sterling and that his daughter Jane gave it to him. Then he said he can’t be bothered with ties. I said I didn’t blame him.

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The party was in full swing when we got there and, isn’t it funny that, no matter where you are, the party always migrates to the kitchen.
Around the rooms were letters of congratulations from HRM Queen Elizabeth, The Prime Minister of Canada, the Governor General, the head of the Ontario Dental Association, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, the Premier of British Columbia, and other notable people.

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About 8pm it was time for the cake. Jane brought her father into the dining room and said, “Dad, don’t forget to make a wish as you blow out the candles. ” Norman said, “Can I wish for a bigger cake?” ;)

Then he blew out the candles and three more cakes were brought in.

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Too soon it was time to go, but what a wonderful evening.

I wish you all a long and remarkable life with your children and friends around you always.

And remember how they say it in Ireland: A toast to your coffin: May it be made of 100 year old oak, and may we plant that oak tomorrow.

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Where she relishes the last day of summer

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How lucky can a girl get?

The forecast was for rain, which must have been amended sometime between the downpour of last night and the shaky sun of this morning, and maybe it was a warm easterly wind and maybe it’s just because the forecasters lie like a rug, but for whatever reason, we, Chloe mom and I, found a warm and welcoming day.

We headed out to the seaside market and stopped in at Whole Foods for a little breakfast and tea; coffee for mom.

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C grabbed a newspaper and she and mom decided to give the crossword a go. Mom said, “Saturday crossword? You’ll be lucky to get seven.” C got 13! (OK the iphone helped…lol)

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Then we went for a nice long walk beside the ocean.

What a difference a week makes. I can’t believe that we were swimming in this same ocean just a few days ago and now the only people in the water were the fishermen in their waterproof waders.

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At the allotment gardens the veggies and flowers were still going strong and I spent a long time smelling each late sweet pea, rose and marigold because I wanted to capture that sweet scent, remember it and hang on to it till next time.

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By midday the sun shone down warm and inviting,

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and while signs of fall were all around us…

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just for today, nobody cared. :)

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Weekend review on a mosaic Monday

There’s a local joke that goes:

“What comes after two days of rain in Vancouver?”
“Monday!”

Yeah, it’s not that funny if it’s your weekend. Saturday I promised mom some help with a supper she was hosting at her house. Eight guests, I was the youngest; the oldest recently turned 99, several doctors, one lawyer, one financier.

For me, there is no better way to combat a rainy Saturday and busy supper preparations than a visit to my favorite nursery Southlands Nursery. There, in the several greenhouses, are such fantasies as all my gardening dreams are made of.

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Later, back at mom’s I was inspired to make several arrangements from mom’s garden flowers and my father’s camellias which are in glorious bloom right now.

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Later we started the preparations and had a lovely time together,

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And, when the guests came, we had a wonderful evening.

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I wasn’t wearing any jewellery, (except my always ring), so mom and I went to the safe and she gave me her beautiful amber necklace. My father gave it to her. Sunday morning as the sun came into my bedroom, I lifted it up in the sunlight and marveled at the fire within.

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I’m linking up my weekend review with Mary from Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.