WPC: Waiting

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Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.
Elizabeth Bowen

Waiting for Spring…

Maple Buds

March 2017

Waiting for Fall…

Maple Keys

September 2017

I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time. Robert Browning

To see more photos, click here.

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What’s In My Cup?

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Happy Monday! It’s tea time!

Making a cup of tea should be simple. All you need is a cup, hot water and tea bag, right? One would be inclined to think so…until you start to dig a little deeper.

Apparently there are a number of variables to  consider when brewing the perfect cup of tea – the flavour of the water, the temperature of the water, the vessel the tea is being made in, the steeping time, and the vessel the tea is being served in. Scientists have researched them all. They’ve also tackled the debate of adding milk before adding the tea or after adding the tea to your cup, as well as the advisability of sweetening with lemon or honey.

Then there are the different types of tea to consider – black, green, white, red, pu’erh, oolong…is anyone else feeling overwhelmed?

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. (Japanese Proverb)

It’s a lot to take in and I have a lot of research to do. So here’s what I think we should do! I think we should all boil our kettles and make a pot of our favourite tea in our usual pot, and serve it in our usual cup or mug, and reconvene next week!

So what’s in my cup today? I’ve just brewed a cup of my usual Red Rose black tea in my usual red teapot, served in my usual flowered china mug!

DSC_2608 (800x558)

Next week, we can start to unravel the mystery of making the perfect cup of tea together. Deal?

I think we should start with: To Be or Not To Be China.

One thing experts all agree on, however, is that  making the perfect cup of tea requires patience. With that in mind, cheers!

WPC Structure – Glass Dome

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Every little girl dreams of being a beautiful princess who lives in a castle, happily ever after. Well, my castle is a semi-detached house built in 1959, and I am no princess. But I can still pretend, right?

Last week, I spent an afternoon with my folks and Little Guy, wandering around a 6 story castle built on the 5 acre Heart Island. The castle was meant to be a monument of love from a husband to his wife, but when she died suddenly, the project was abandoned. In 1977, nearly 73 years later, restoration commenced and is ongoing.

It was stunning and elaborately detailed, making it difficult to choose one feature for this challenge!  This stained glass dome is suspended over 80 feet above the center of the Great Hall’s Grand Staircase, illuminating the grand staircase.

 

 

It is completely invisible from outside because it is enclosed – only the top is covered with glass to allow natural light to shine through. We had to climb to the 5th floor to see the top of it!

Glass Dome 4

The dome is over 7 feet high and measures 24 feet long by 18 feet wide and consists of well over 6,000 pieces of hand-cut art glass leaded into 48 individual sections. It took nearly a year to complete, including over 3 months for artwork and design.  Installation took little more than two weeks. The dome cost $214,000 and was finished in June of 2001. Designers included an intricate heart design to reflect details that were completed in the castle before it was abandoned, a symbol of the owner’s love and adoration for his sweetheart.

There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.-  George Sand

To see more Structures, click here.

Welcome to “What’s in My Cup”!

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Summer is over and quite frankly, I feel kind of cheated and tired, and totally unprepared to swing into action. Welcome to September! I need a cup of tea!!

Every Monday this Fall (and longer if it’s a success), I’m going to indulge in tea (& warm socks) and share them with you! “What’s in my Cup?” will be a composition of tea reviews, tips & trends, recipes, quotes and photographs.

It was my Nana J. who poured my first cup on a Sunday afternoon. We were sitting around the table after a hearty meal (that almost always included pie) and she poured me a cup of “calico tea” – a teacup of milk with just enough tea to colour the milk and take the chill from it.

Tea is synonymous with the comfort and security of family.  Growing up, we had tea at large family gatherings, and when my grandparents just “popped by for a minute”. I have shared endless pots of tea and deep conversations with my Mom, and I have laughed over cups of tea with girlfriends. It’s the first thing I reach for when I drag out of bed in the morning, and the first thing I want when I’m tired or I’m sad. I lose cups of tea in odd places in my home. Tea is an integral part of my life, and this feature just makes sense.

So I’m inviting you to pour yourself a cup of tea and join me in making “What’s in My Cup?” an indulgent and integral part of your Mondays!

Tea Mug

Cozy Indulgence: “All you need is tea and warm socks.”

***

(Feel free to share “What’s in your cup” – your tea stories, tea topic requests, and photos too!)

Short People

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Short people got no reason to live…

The other day, Hubby commented that he has “altitude sickness”…he’s sick of my lack of altitude. I’m a staggering 5′ 1.5″ (and the .5” is very important)! As frustrating as it is for me at times (particularly when I want something off the top shelf at the grocery store), I can’t deny that my “under-tallness” isn’t frustrating for my spouse too.

They got little noses and tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet

Last night, we attended Little Guy’s Art Show, where he shared his creations from Art Camp. It meant wolfing down cold pizza and rushing out the door as soon as Hubby got home from work. According to the map given in the show’s flyer, the Senior Center where it was being held, was just north of a particular intersection. But when we drove by, it was nowhere to be seen. In addition, the big green “P” for parking led us to nowhere too. I told Hubby to park 3 blocks away at a Community Center and we’d walk.

By the time we got parked, we were late. Which meant walking quickly, in heels…and keeping up to Hubby, which was impossible. After half a block, sweating profusely with my legs and lungs screaming, I gave up on the heels. There’s nothing quite like tearing through the downtown core at 6:30 on a summer’s eve, red heels in hand and with blackened bare feet, to attend a children’s art show! (And the Senior Center was just south of the intersection)

I kept up with Hubby, but he sighed heavily outside the doors of the Senior Center, while I struggled to put my shoes back on. And yes, I walked in bare feet back to the car too!

They got little cars that got beep, beep, beep
They got little voices goin’ peep, peep, peep

We have two cars, but only one driveway. Which means if Hubby is parked behind me, I either: a) move his car and thread the needle to pass it; or b) take his car. His car used to be my car, so the thought of driving it isn’t daunting. What’s daunting is the grumbling that follows after I’ve driven it. I try my very best to return the seat (and radio) to its original position, but I inevitably fail. It’s even worse when I fail to move the seat back at all and Hubby struggles to get in enough, knees in nose, to push it back. I’d laugh at his awkwardness if looks wouldn’t kill!

They got little baby legs and they stand so low
You got to pick ’em up just to say hello

Last weekend, my parents came up to help with some long overdue repairs. While Hubby and my Dad tackled some plumbing issues in the basement, my Mom and I tackled cleaning and reorganizing my kitchen cupboards (mostly the baking, tea and spice cupboards). But since it required reaching high places, too high even for the toddler stool I keep in the kitchen, I dragged a dining room chair into the tiny space.

Inevitably, the chair was in the way whenever Hubby or my Dad needed to drag something out the back door. More sighs… Eventually Mom and I just went shopping! That was way more fun!

 

Short people got no reason to live…

Travelling is never a joy because I possess a small bladder. Actually, I’ve had tests done and it’s normal size, just…overactive! And even though I abstain from all liquids for the duration of our travels, feeling like an sponge dried in the desert the whole time, I still have to pee. Often. My parents thought I had a bathroom festish when I was a kid because I needed to “go” so often. I have a sixth sense when it comes to finding a loo…anywhere…any time. Some would call it a gift. I’m sure Hubby calls it something else.

Short people are just the same as you and I
(A fool such as I)
All men are brothers until the day they die
(It’s a wonderful world)

Yes, it’s a wonderful world and we are uniquely made. But I…I am a teeny tiny challenge to my other half at times. I just have to keep reminding him that “good things come in small packages”.

Happy Weekend!

***

Short People by Randy Newman • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Downtown Music Publishing

Prison Break #2

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Last week I shared photos from my visit to jail! Most of the photos were of the grounds, guard towers and cell blocks. But I promised more…

Today’s photos are from inside “The Shops”. This prison opened its doors on June 1, 1835, with construction on these industrial workshops being completed in 1840. They included shops for blacksmithing, carpentry, tailoring, shoemaking and rope making. At one time, it also housed a barber school for inmates, as well as a shop for making keys and locks. How ironic!

I love these vaulted ceilings and these photos do not begin to show the impressive curves and unique textures of clay and limestone brick. All in all, it was a bright and spacious workspace, a polar opposite from the original cell size of 29 inches wide x 8′ deep x 6’7″ high.

Because things grow. Wherever there is air and light and open space, things grow. – Helen Oyeyemi

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

Flat Squirrel

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From feathered friends and butterflies to decadent desserts and sparkly things, I’m easily distracted in the day to day. I love watching summer storms bluster and blow. And if I hear a firetruck, I have to run to the window to see it. But this sweltering afternoon, as I slowly strolled to the car, this little fellow caught my eye!

Hot Squirrel 2 (800x439)

I’m not sure if the heat got to him or he scorched his toes on the hot pavement. Perhaps he forgot what he was doing and decided to just lie down and hope the thought came back.

What do you think?

Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision – Author unknown

To see more “Oh shiny” photos, click here.

I’m Feeling…

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I had this drawing of a lion posted at my desk at work and it said, “A strong person is not the one who doesn’t cry. A strong person is one who is quiet and sheds tears for a moment, and then picks up her sword and fights again”.

It’s mocking me!

I want to cry, but I can’t quite give in. By cry, I mean the kind where you drop your pants, crawl under the covers, snuggle up next to your bed buddy and just give’er! No holds barred! Full on, scary, ugly-cry crying! I want to because I know that sweet relief follows. That build up of pressure flows out with your tears and your snot! And when you stop hiccuping and feel the coolness on your face as your tears dry and you start to drift off to sleep, you feel hope again.

I still feel hope, but I’m also feeling a lot of other things these days.

I feel hot and bothered, frustrated with discourteous people and people who don’t do what they say they will do. By well-meaning people who brush off my frustrations with poorly-timed cliches or personal anecdotes that really don’t fit here. Oh, and by hot flashes and night sweats, but mostly by people…

I feel restless. Like a teenagers’ “can’t wait to move away from home and start my life” kind of restlessness. Attending a 2 day leadership conference didn’t help. I came away feeling both overwhelmed by how things should be and aren’t, and by an intense desire to be involved in something that matters. Something transformational and pure and just.

I feel angry. I know that anger is a fickle and volatile companion. It breeds contempt, jealousy, and malice. I have enough weeds in my garden to keep the lawn maintenance companies off my block, I don’t need weeds in my soul too. (Or that zit on my forehead. Hello! I’m over 40 now!)

Strong women wear their pain like they do stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.

You know I like my stilettos. I feel fierce in my sassy green boots. But I also feel annoyed because the world appears to be full of platitudes that make vulnerable women feel weak if they don’t behave like warriors, and dismiss their right to hurt.

Joyce Meyers wrote, “A strong woman knows how to keep her like in order. Even with tears in her eyes, she still manages to say, ‘I’m OK’ with a smile”. I disagree! There may be times, when our circumstances dictate that we have to stand firm, put on a strong front, and keep our pain private. But there are other times when we need to let someone in so they can help awaken a new beast within us. Warriors and lone wolves are powerful figures in stories, but how many of them live long enough to share their stories.

I don’t doubt that I am a strong woman, but I resent feeling like I’m not allowed to behave like a “weak” one.  I see myself as a warrior, but I resent the implication that I should feel shame if I need someone to stand by me or stand up for me.  Asking for someone to acknowledge our pain and to help us is a sign of strength.  I believe we need to embrace our messiness and carefully let others embrace us.

I tore down the quote posted at my desk, and I’ve replaced it with a new one. It says, “My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight”. See, C.S. Lewis’ quote removes the connotation that I am standing alone, or that I don’t show my feelings and I’m pretending that everything is okay. I may be strong or weak, fierce or vulnerable,  messy or just plain a mess. It connotes that I kept fighting the good fight.

And that makes me feel….hope. And “hope will not lead to disappointment”. (Rom. 5:5a)

Prison Break #1

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This weekend, I went to prison…

…for a tour! But thank you for thinking I lead an exciting enough life to land me in jail! If people keep making assumptions about me, even in my line of work, who knows what’ll happen?

A good friend calls you in jail. A great friend bails you out of jail. Your best friend sits next to you and says, ‘wasn’t that fun’? – unknown

Happy Wednesday!