Friday, May 30, 2014

Time In The Garden

Busy, busy, busy... That’s what I’ve been lately. Last week it was all about painting. This week it’s been mostly about gardening. Digging and weeding and mulching. That’s what I’ll be doing again today. But garden chores aren’t the same as house chores. They are much more pleasurable. Because you get to enjoy sights like this:

And this:

I also like spending time outside so that my backyard visitors can get used to my presence. Once they do, they become less skittish, and that allows me ample opportunities to take photographs of them.

Bribing them with food helps, too, and Grackles are always the first to let down their guard and come feast.

"I will pose shamelessly in exchange for food."

But they’re not the only ones that are shameless when it comes to bribes. Here is another critter that hops through the garden daily.

"Thanks, human, for planting so many tasty treats in your garden."
How’s that for being exceptionally comfortable around me?

So do I mind doing chores in the garden? Not at all. It’s an amazing world out there, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

I wish you all a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Life's Journey May Change As Time Goes On

I've always been very sensitive to the needs of animals, particularly the more vulnerable, and during my teen years I used to dream of working with endangered wildlife. I imagined myself living a nomadic life, and hopping around the globe making a difference in their fragile world. At least during my early adult years when I’d be full of youthful energy and boundless enthusiasm.

But my life’s journey took a different turn as time went on, as life’s journey often does, and where I expected to be, and where I ended up are two different stories. I did not live a nomadic life; my life was, and continues to be, quite grounded. And I did not fulfill my dream of working with endangered wildlife; I simply supported different causes for many years...from a distance.

My life has been wonderful, and the road I took was a very good one, but I am someone who is guilty of losing sight of the future adventures I used to daydream about in my high school classes.

How about you? Did you lose sight of your dreams? Did you end up where you thought you would? Or did you change directions?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Photo Dump

“Most people don't take snapshots of the little things. The used Band-Aid, the guy at the gas station, the wasp on the Jell-O.
But these are the things that make up the true picture of our lives. People don't take pictures of these things.”
- Robin Williams as Sy Parrish in One Hour Photo -

Well, I’m certainly one of those people; the type that take pictures of the little things. Because they truly make up the picture of my life on a daily basis. One simple moment at a time.

Here are this week’s ordinary photos...

Windows and reflections.

A couple's reflection in the water.

Taking a solitary swim in calm water.

Power lines.

A feathered friend posing for the camera.

Suburbia reflections.

The beautiful bloom of a magnolia tree.

Making a splash.

A spot of sunshine in the water.

Suburbia at sunset.

Have a great day, blog pals!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hometown Memories: The Boy Who Smelled Like Vitamins

Do you take vitamins? I don’t regularly, but during the winter months I take an occasional multivitamin and some vitamin D. ‘Cause us northern folks don’t get enough sun.

Well, every time I open my bottle of vitamins, I travel all the way back to my kindergarten year. Those little tablets bring to mind a boy I went to school with way back then. Why? Because he always smelled like vitamins. I don’t remember his name, but I clearly remember that. I suspect he took his vitamins right before he entered the school.

I discovered this week that the vitamin scent bringing forth this powerful memory is quite natural. Researchers have discovered that there is a strong connection between smells, emotions and early life experiences. Our sense of smell is connected to the part of the brain that controls memories and emotions, therefore certain scents can instantly trigger distant memories. Like the boy who smelled like vitamins.

Does a particular scent take you back in time or trigger a memory?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone! Was the weekend good to you? I certainly hope so. Mine was mostly relaxed. I did a teeny tiny bit of painting on Saturday morning; only about 20 minutes worth. And a small load of laundry. Then I did absolutely nothing the rest of the day. Because I was exhausted. I really needed a day to relax.

A camera, the great outdoors and the most amazing man in the world. What more do I need?

But yesterday, the most amazing man in the world and I ran away from home, and spent the day outdoors. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and because we’ve had quite a bit of rain, and our weather is not too warm, everything is so wonderfully green and colourful. And there are lilac flowers everywhere. Here is a capture from yesterday’s outing:

Aren’t lilacs the loveliest and most wonderfully fragrant flowers? Most definitely.

This week is dedicated to the garden. I’ll be spending most of my time outdoors digging in the dirt, and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature, and the endearing antics of all my backyard critters. Speaking of which, baby Calvin flew the coop on Friday. I didn’t see it happen (darn it!), but I’ll be keeping a lookout for him to grab a photo. I can hear him chirping, so he's somewhere nearby.

Right now, let’s laugh out loud...

I wish you all a beautiful week!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wrapping Up The Paint Week

What a week it’s been. I’ve done more painting in the past seven days than I’ve done in my entire life. I’ve got aches, pains and paint stains to prove it. But I’m pleased with the results.

I finished painting eight doors. Washed them, and gave them each two coats of white paint. They look great. There are still five more to go. Five more, people. I live in a frickin' house of doors; they are all over the place. It’s enough to drive you mad. I’ll get to the remainder a little later because I’m making next week garden week.

I also completed my bathroom cabinet. I gave the whole thing two coats or primer and two coats of paint. I just need to apply a couple of coats of topcoat, which I’m doing this morning. Then. It’s. Over. No more painting for awhile.

And here are a few things I learned this week:

1) Primer is your best friend. Use it. Especially on ugly bathroom cabinets that you desperately want the paint to stick to.

I love you, primer. You projects.

2) Cover your paint trays with aluminum foil before you pour paint in them. When you’re done, clean up consists of removing the foil and tossing it away. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

I discovered this tip on this amazing blog: Live Love DIY

3) No matter how cute they are, or how much they want to help, do not give your cats a paint brush. They will mess up the project. Sooner or later they’ll leave to take their nap, so ignore their nagging meows in the meantime.

Cats are lousy painters. Don't let them help.

4) Remember to stop and enjoy life. I stepped out into the garden, now and then, to get a breath of fresh air and clear my head.

Life is happening as you paint, so take a break and notice it.

And above all else, don’t forget your blogging pals. Go online when you can, and say hello! 'Cause you do miss them.

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Oh My, How Those Baby Robins Grow

For the past few days, I've been painting like I've gone mad, and although I’m not entirely done, I wanted to surface and say hello.

And to introduce, once again, the baby robin that I showed a photo of in last Thursday’s blog post.

Here he is playing peek-a-boo with me.

There are no siblings. He is an 'only child'.

These photos were taken a couple of days ago when I stepped outside to take a break from painting. I was stunned by how much he’d grown in less than a week.

Isn't he adorable? It could be a she, but we've decided that it’s a he so that he can fit the name that we gave him, which is Calvin.

No no no... We didn’t name him after Calvin Klein, but after the mischievous and adventurous Calvin of the spectacularly popular comic strip ‘Calvin and Hobbes’.

Calvin is not far from being a fledgling. He sits up, curious about his surroundings, and stretches his wings, trying them out. He is practicing for his upcoming first flight, and I can’t wait to see this little baby take his first ‘steps’, or so to speak. *squeeeee*

Okay, back to the grind...

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, bloggers. Did you all have a nice weekend? My fellow Canadians and I are enjoying the day off today, as well, although it won’t be much of a day off for me. I’ve actually been very busy since Friday when I started painting the doors in our house. The previous owners of this home had installed new doors that were primed, but they never painted them. And almost five years of us living here passed and they still weren't painted. How shameful is that? So I finally got off my behind on Friday and gave quite a few of them a couple of coats of white paint. There are still more to finish, and I will slowly but surely get to all of them. In addition to the doors, I am preparing to paint two bathroom cabinets (much cheaper than replacing them), a small table console, and the trim in the basement, which I never finished after I painted the basement in the fall (disgraceful). And let’s not forget all the gardening waiting for me...

So yup, I’d say I’m rather busy right now. But all these things need to get done. And because they will take up quite a bit of time, my blogging may be sporadic. And some days I will probably not be around at all. I’ll blog when I can, and visit when possible. That’s all I can do.

For now, what I can do is start this week off with some humour...

Have a beautiful day, everyone!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tranquility By The Water

“Sit by a river. Find peace and meaning in the rhythm of the lifeblood of the Earth.”
- Anonymous -

In our old city of Montreal, we were surrounded by concrete, nerve-racking traffic, the flood of tall buildings, urban sprawl, crowds, noise, impatient people and a frantic pace. I found myself rushing like everyone else, and could barely hear myself think.

Colonel By Lake near Kingston Mills Lockstation

In Kingston, a much smaller city, we are surrounded by greenery, less traffic and less density, fewer tall buildings, a quieter environment, a slower pace and a more patient population. And best of all, we are always just a few minutes away from a body of water.

A serene setting at the Jones Falls Lockstation in Elgin, Ontario.

Being near the water is very important to me. It’s where I’m most at peace. The ocean, the sea, a river or lake, a pond or matter what type, these places speak to my very soul. I am always happy and at peace when I’m near these gifts of nature.

Sunset at Lake Ontario Park

Since we moved here five years ago, I’ve never been in better spirits. Leaving the big city and slowing down was certainly one of the best decisions we ever made.

Where do you find your peace?

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Photo Dump

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back
into the slow circles of nature is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
- May Sarton -

Now that the weather has improved significantly, I get to combine my two favourite hobbies: photography and gardening. Life is good.

This week’s round of photos is all about Mother Nature’s beautiful children...

The tiny flowers of Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’.

Pulsatilla vulgaris produces crocus-like flowers in shades of lilac to violet-purple.

The beautiful foliage of Lysimachia punctata 'Golden Alexander'. Starry yellow flowers will emerge soon.

You can never get enough of the vibrant flowers of a Primrose.

Tulip ‘Purple Flag’ blooms aren't exactly purple, but they are quite lovely.

No garden is complete without some Hyacinth.

The fragrant flower of Muscari armeniacum.

The red, cup-shaped flower of Tulipa 'Hollandia'.

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ is in good hands with this hardworking gnome.

And my favourite sighting in the garden: Mama Robin feeding her young.
I'm not sure yet if there are more babies. I'm keeping a lookout.

Wishing everyone a joyful day.