Saturday, July 31, 2010

Do Not Be Alarmed

I feel the need to warn you about something alarming but I don't want anyone to panic. I'm saddened to report that the female mullet appears to be alive and well and living somewhere in the Collingwood area. As evidence, I offer this photo that my friend Lyn took last weekend at the Elvis Festival.

We were sitting at a table, listening to Elvis tribute artists perform while enjoying the hot summer weather with a cool beverage (beer for the guys, something called a Blackfly for us girls, which is a cranberry vodka concoction that is not quite as sweet as some of the other choices out there), when suddenly Lyn grabbed my camera and took this photo. I'm glad she did because I couldn't see the woman from where I was sitting and wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen the proof for myself.

The good news is, we didn't see anyone else sporting this hairstyle over the weekend so hopefully it isn't making a comeback on the fashion scene. Nor did we see this woman again, which is probably for the best, as I would have felt compelled to approach her and beg her to reconsider her choice of coiffure. Heaven only knows what she was thinking.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I was catching up on The Dixon Chick's blog yesterday and read her post on reaching 10,000 hits. After I congratulated her and left a comment in order to be entered into the giveaway she is having to celebrate, because of course I could use some Swarovski bling myself, who couldn't?! (what do you mean, how do you enter? alright, alright, click on the link on the right and scroll down to her post of July 24th and leave a comment before midnight on July 31st), it occurred to me that I should check my own blog numbers and guess what? I've done it too! How exciting!

As of today, I've had 10,343 views and 15,004 page views. I don't know who all these people are, I'm pretty sure most of them aren't related to me and in many cases are total strangers, judging by their locations all over the world. Some of them appear to find me by way of the blogs of Kate McKinnon, Marcia DeCoster, The Chick herself, Beadfx and on at least 2 memorable occasions, Kyle Cassidy, so thanks to those wonderful people for mentioning me and directing traffic my way. As for the others, somehow the wonder of the Internet brings them to my doorstep and that is a pretty amazing thing.

A great big thank you to everyone for visiting and taking the time to read my musings!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Love Letters

Kate McKinnon wrote a very interesting post today outlining some of her future plans, one of which involves writing a book of love letters (click the link on the right hand side to read all about it, under the heading "Such a Lovely Day").

She mentioned a project that The Times Online did back in 2007, in conjunction with the publishing of a book called "Four Letter Word", allowing readers to sign up to receive one love letter a day for a week from the likes of Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and Leonard Cohen. Can you imagine what a special week that would have been? There is a hilarious sample from the book of a series of emails, you'll have to read it for yourself but I promise, it's worth clicking this link to check it out: http://

In describing her own project-in-development, something Kate said really struck a chord with me. It was, and I quote, "I remember my shock, about eighteen years ago, when I learned that there were many lovable people who had never received a love letter." Wow. To be honest, that thought had just never occurred to me before. I am lucky enough to be able to say I am not one of those people. I can even remember the first love letter I received. I was at camp and it arrived rather crumpled, sticky and slightly illegible as it had been wrapped around a butterscotch candy and I think it had gotten wet from having been left out overnight and covered with dew. I don't actually remember what it said nor, sadly, do I even remember the fellow it was from, but I know he had a crush on me and I'm pretty sure I had one on him too.

I also still have, in a box of letters and cards I've saved over the years, a hastily written note that a boyfriend left behind after spending the weekend at my place that said, simply, "Had a great time. Love, R..." It may not have been overly original or poetic but I still remember how loved I felt when I found it lying on my desk after he had left.

Sadly, I have to admit that both those examples happened many years ago and it has been a while since I received a love letter from a member of the opposite sex. Nor have I written any in quite a while, although I have done so in my time and pretty good ones, if I do say so myself. Indeed, in this age of computer technology, I have to say it has been a while since I received a handwritten letter of any sort! But at the same time, I feel like I am getting love notes delivered to me all the time, with every email or text message I get or from a comment left on this blog or on my Facebook page, each one feels like a little dose of love from someone near and dear to my heart.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Cool Gift

If you're looking for a totally cool housewarming gift for the person who likes gadgets, you might want to get them one of these remote controlled coolers. Lyn's friend Mike brought her one this past weekend and we all thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The idea is that you fill the cooler up with ice and your canned beverages of choice, load the batteries in the remote and presto, cold drinks are only the touch of a button away.

Although I have to tell you, as much as we adults enjoyed playing with this new toy, it was an even bigger hit with the under 10 crowd. We drove the cooler down the street to the condo party and the kids couldn't get enough of it.

I've edited out faces in most of these photos (except for Pyjama Boy, whose face is turned away from the camera) to protect the identity of these children as I don't have their parents' permission to post their pictures online but hopefully you can still tell how much they were enjoying themselves. Mike made the mistake of telling them there were bottles of water at the bottom of the cooler, which there were but they were frozen solid, meant to be more like freezer packs than drinking water. The kids were so disappointed, both Lyn and Mike made quick trips back to the condo for water bottles and juice boxes! (Note to self: never try to kid a kid!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rules of the Road

I just got home from an early evening visit to my doctor - getting my booster shot for diphtheria, tetanus and polio, all of which I am hoping to avoid when I travel to France in just ONE MONTH'S TIME. Boy, that was a fast 10 years! Are you up to date on your immunizations?? I hope so. By the way, I love the fact that my doctor works until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, except that tonight, that meant I had travel along with all the people that were headed downtown for (a) the baseball game, (b) the soccer game, or (c) the Black Eyed Peas concert.

However, after what I saw on the highway tonight driving back, I thought it might be a good idea for a little refresher course on what to do when a police car with their flashing lights and siren going comes up behind you. You might not notice them right away in your rear view mirror, you might not hear them over the sound of your radio (and you'd better not be talking on your cell phone!) but the rule is, when you do see them, get the heck out of the way!

Pull over to the right and let the police car pass you. Obviously, you need to be careful and check the lane on your right to make sure the way is safe but otherwise, don't take your time about it, don't expect the police car to go around you and don't, under any circumstances, think that the right thing to do is come to a complete stop in the left hand lane of a three lane highway with traffic moving at 100 km an hour, as some yahoo did tonight. What the heck he was thinking I do not know, because by that time, there were two police cars behind him and a couple of other cars as well, all of whom almost plowed into the back of this idiot. I'm sure if the police officers weren't already in a hurry to get somewhere (and no, I'm guessing it wasn't the donut shop), they would have had some harsh words and a major fine for this fool.

I always think to myself, what if that police car (or ambulance or fire truck) was trying to get somewhere to save the life of someone I knew and loved? Wouldn't I want them to have an unobstructed drive and get there as fast as they possibly could? Damn right, I would. Wherever they are going, there could be lives at stake. So please, people, give way for emergency vehicles and don't kid yourself into thinking you're entitled to do otherwise.

Monday, July 26, 2010

All Elvis, All the Time

That was our motto this past weekend and I was okay with that except for at about 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, when I just had to go downstairs in my pyjamas and ask one of my fellow guests who was sitting out on the balcony chatting with a visiting neighbour if we could please finally turn down the volume on the All Elvis Sirius satellite station since it was so early in the morning (luckily, none of the neighbours had called the cops on us, even with the windows wide open to the perfect summer evening - guess they were fans too!). Considering that this gentleman was still 2.5 hours away from heading to bed, I was surprised he agreed but he did and that made it all better. Plus Sunday morning means Elvis does gospel music on Sirius (broadcast live from Graceland, of course) so that was easier to take as the morning progressed and we all slept late.

But really, it was a great weekend. A lot of fun was had by all in our group of 5, each of us newbies to the Elvis Festival. A grand total of 125 "tribute artists" (you're not supposed to call them "impersonators") performed, with the winner moving on to compete in Memphis. I'm pretty sure we didn't see all of them perform (nor does the winner look familiar) but we sure did see a lot of them. It took a while for my brain to get used to seeing them anywhere and everywhere, at the grocery store, in front of the drug store, standing beside you in the jumpsuit booth in vendor alley, but after the first day, it seemed quite normal to be surrounded by men (and a few women, one by the name of Michellelvis) dressed like The King. All of the ones we spoke to, and there were several, were very friendly and gracious, quite willing to chat or pose for photos.

The variety of costumes was amazing, all based on what category the artists were competing in, i.e. the early years or the concert years. For example, there were several wearing suits and ties from the late 50's (think of the Ed Sullivan appearances), the hot black leather outfit from the '68 comeback concert and of course, the white pantsuits (in dozens of variations) from the later years - you get the idea. The Elvises themselves came in every size, shape, age and nationality. The youngest one we saw perform was only 5 years old and man, he was good. Even Tim Horton's got in on the act, with their gingerbread King Kookie!
To my friend Lyn, I have to say, "thank you, thank you very much" for hosting us so well. We stayed at her condo and surprisingly, they even held a dance in the condo complex on Saturday night featuring their very own resident Elvis, who just happens to have his own band called The Boomerangs. They were fantastic, playing all sorts of oldies rock and roll music, and we all had a blast meeting some of Lyn's neighbours and watching the various generations (from babes in arms to octogenarians - the 90 year olds got sent home after the end of the 2nd set) hang out and have fun. It was actually the highlight of the weekend for me!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


In case you need more of an Elvis fix, here's the link to the official website:

You've got to admit, before he got older, gained weight, started taking drugs and making bad costume choices (pantsuits? seriously? let's hope that fashion doesn't come back into style!), the man was undeniably handsome.

Oh yeah, and he could sing too.

I read on the Internet that in the year between October 2007 and October 2008, the Elvis estate earned $52 million, which was $12 million more than Madonna made for the same time period. Not bad for a guy who had been dead since 1977!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hunka Hunka Burning Love

If you Google Elvis, there are 4.8 million results for images and 87 million otherwise.

This is one of my favourites:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Elvis Does Collingwood

You'll never guess where I'm off to this weekend - the Elvis Festival in Collingwood.

I've been planning to attend with a couple of friends from work since we first starting talking about it last Christmas. Believe it or not, this is the festival's 16th year but I've never been before. I'm not quite sure what to expect. Surely there's got to be more to it than just collecting a bunch of Elvis impersonators in one place and having them perform. Please God, don't let it be a bunch of guys that look like this:

I'll report back next week. In the meantime, you can read more about it here:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Links and Lovelies

The other day while at Beadfx taking a class from Marcia DeCoster, I was admiring these items of jewellery:

Firstly, these "Victoria" earring that Marcia made - aren't they beautiful? You can read one of her blog posts on the subject here: and find links to earlier posts on the topic of these earrings as well. I was excited to hear she is considering posting instructions on CraftEdu (, as I'd love to try making a pair!

She was also wearing (for part of the day, as she was changing the pieces she wore frequently!), this gorgeous ring featuring a Kristina Logan lampwork bead ( I am amazed at the number of colours of glass in this bead, it just boggles my mind. I also really like the setting of the ring itself. I seriously coveted this ring but couldn't figure out a way to sneak it into my purse without Marcia noticing.

Last but certainly not least, check out this fabulous necklace that Malliga made and was wearing that day while she worked in the store. I asked her if I could take a picture so I could copy it and she said yes. :) Both she and the necklace are beautiful. If this necklace isn't already an Inspiration item on the Beadfx website (and I must admit, I have not yet checked but you can, here:, it certainly should be, don't you think?!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beaded Beads at Beadfx

Yesterday's class at Beadfx with Marcia DeCoster was a lot of fun. We learned how to make beaded beads. She first taught us how to make the base bead using tubular right angle weave, by beading around a small wooden dowel. That took some getting used to, but it was definitely a good thing to have something inside the tube to work around. Sadly, I had a bit of a problem with my first bead - wouldn't you know it, I screwed up on the very last row and somehow ended up with too few beads. I tried to correct the problem and felt like I just made it worse, which left me with a funny looking end to the bead and a lack of desire to start embellishing it. Instead, after lunch, I started making a second bead using larger seedbeads, which turned out perfectly. But somehow, I ran out of time and didn't get a chance to embellish it. But I kind of like the way it looks just "plain" too.

The good news is, I now feel quite confident with my right angle weave skills and look forward to using that particular bead stitch more often.

Throughout the day, Marcia entertained us by changing the jewellery she was wearing several times. Which was easy for her to do, given that she had brought so many of her designs with her as well as kits for students to purchase. Boy, was it hard to limit myself to buying just one, I was sooo tempted by several of the designs. However, I have her book, which is chock full of directions for many amazing pieces so once I make my way through that, say 10 or 15 years from now, I can think about picking up another kit or two. :)

Most of the other students finished at least one bead, here are a few pictures of their gorgeous creations:

Jo-Ann's bead:

Janice's bead:

Barb's bead (in progress) - we all loved the red and turquoise combination of colours:

Here's a picture of Marcia and I together at the end of class:

We then headed downtown to meet up with her husband Mark and went out to dinner at Milestones at Yonge & Dundas (Mark tried their signature bellini drink but wasn't too impressed with it). Afterwards, we strolled around Dundas Square, enjoying the summer evening, and having a look at all the goings on, including a few minutes watching a guy riding a very high unicycle, before heading back up Yonge Street to drop them off at their hotel.

It was so nice to have a day of beading, it's been too long since I have done that!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marcia Does Beaded Beads

Marcia DeCoster is in town, teaching classes at Beadfx for the next 3 days (she'll also be teaching at Beads of Colour this coming weekend). I've taken the day off work in order to take today's class about making beaded beads. I've always wanted to learn how to make them, I even bought an entire book on the subject ("The Art of Beaded Beads", a Lark Jewelry book edited by Jean Campbell) but, as with so many other things on my "to do" list, I haven't actually gotten around to trying to make any just yet. So this class should be a good introduction.

You may recall that I took a class with Marcia last year at Bead and Button - you can read all about it here: I am looking forward to seeing her again and renewing our acquaintance. Hopefully we are going out for dinner afterwards, at least, that was the plan last time we emailed.

BTW, I took this glamorous photo of her off her Facebook page. I love how she colours her hair, I wish I was that brave!

This other photo is off the Beadfx website, showing a sample of the Bellisimo bead which I assume we will be learning how to make today. Can't wait!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Toy Cupboard Tornado

Had a great time at our family picnic this past Saturday. Everything went well, except for the gale force winds which made everything an adventure, considering we spent the entire afternoon and evening outdoors. Luckily, the wind was just barely cooler than the temperature so it helped to keep us comfortable but it was so windy, most of us stayed out of the water, which is too bad. But we had fun anyway.

When the first kids arrived, I took them inside to show them the toy cupboard. I told them they could play with whatever was inside. I figured they'd ignore the boxes and focus on things like the Barrel of Monkeys (remember that one? still a favourite for all ages).

Here's how it started - innocently enough:

The next time I went inside (having been called away to do hostess things), it looked like this:

I thought somehow those gale force winds had blown into the living room. Every single puzzle box and board game had been opened and spread out on the floor, and play money, dice, Trivial Pursuit cards, jigsaw puzzle pieces and marbles were strewn everywhere. It was hilarious! How was I to know this is what would happen??? I don't have any kids! Luckily, some of the moms swooped in and cleaned everything up. My cousin Catherine (mom of 2) explained to me that you have to set boundaries. I get it now. But it still makes me laugh when I think of it. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

We All Need a Lighthouse

It's Sunday and I'm still at the cottage, so here's another picture from the samples HP loaded on my laptop:

Isn't that a beautiful shot? It reminds me of the lyrics from that song Garth Brooks sings, called "On A Prayer":

"There’s a ship out on the ocean,
At the mercy of the sea.
It’s been tossed about, lost and broken
Wondering aimlessly.
And God somehow you know that ship is me.

Cause there’s a lighthouse in the harbor
Shining faithfully.
Pouring its light out across the water
For this sinking soul to see
That someone out there still believes in me."

That song is the theme for the movie "Frequency" starring Dennis Quaid from several years ago. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Family Picnic

It's our annual family picnic today. We're expecting about 35 of my cousins of all ages to come to our cottage (it's our turn this year) and share the festivities. Hopefully I'll have some photos to show you next week, I'm pretty sure they'll be a lot less formal than this one:

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Summer Company Event

My company is having its annual summer event today. It's being held at a place in Toronto that used to be called The Docks and is now known as Polson Pier and/or The Sound Academy. It's located on the waterfront and has a large outdoor play area featuring a driving range, a mini-putt course, several beach volleyball courts, go karts, a small pool, a rock wall, a drive-in movie theatre and a large patio. Since we'll be there for lunch, we won't get to enjoy the "watch a movie in your car" experience but the rest of it could be rather fun. Mostly, it will be lovely to spend a few hours sitting on their patio watching the boats go by on Lake Ontario and enjoying this beautiful, hot summer weather we've been experiencing the past few weeks.

Here's a picture of what the city skyline looks like from the Polson Pier vantage point:

(photo courtesy of fortinbras via flickr - thank you!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

TV Problems

It seems there is something wrong with my TV. I've got these horizontal black lines across the bottom of my screen. They're not there all the time but it's almost constant and quite annoying - because they're black, it blocks the image at times plus it distorts the bottom half of the picture.

Here's what Betty White looks like on my TV right now:

As you can see, people's faces end up looking like those puppets that Genesis used in their video for "Land of Confusion", remember them?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Forty-Four Days Until Durfort

Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? The time is flying by. I had a dream the other night that I was in a pub in Ireland of all places, trying to buy a drink but I didn't have any euros. Woke up thinking, gotta go to the bank and buy some! The exchange rate is pretty reasonable right now, $1.30 Cdn buys 1 euro. I can't remember exactly what the exchange was when I was last there in 2008 but I am thinking it might have been $1.60. I was going to say, don't quote me, but thanks to the power of the Internet, I was able to look up the historical data and guess what? I was right! So that's kind of exciting, that the exchange is so much better this year. Wonder if I should buy now or wait a month and see what happens??

In the meantime, I'm remembering Durfort, looking through my photos from last time. I took this picture of the Le Cyrano sign but never did go inside, I shall have to do that this visit.

The quench will probably look the same, I hope it hasn't dried up but where does the water come from, I wonder now?

We shall try to avoid the places with signs that warn of the danger of death. I only photographed two such spots last time, so we should be reasonably safe.

Although the urge to climb up and get a better look at these glass insulators on the hydro poles might be hard to resist. I wonder if I will be able to find one to bring home?

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Turquoise, Hot Pink and Saffron

I'm a day late but as promised in my blog posting from last Friday, here are photos of the ATC's made by my fellow artists for this theme. As you will see, the results were as diverse and unique as the people who made them.

Genevieve made this rendition of 3 birds on a branch:

Susan came up with this idea using several stamp designs and gold embossing powder:

Diane went with a dragonfly motif:

Shirley's card was somewhat similar to some of the ones I had made:

Mary used pieces of sari silk and coloured pearls to make mini quilt-like cards:

Christine very cleverly put together two works of art and a place of work:

Kris made this very cute card with a naughty theme:

But Katie's card was even naughtier, her theme was "hot colours, hot men":

Well done, ladies!

July the Twelfth

If you Google "July 12th", you will come across an entry advising that today is the 193rd day of the calendar year and there are 172 days remaining until the end of the year. (Yes, you can find Wikipedia entries containing solely that sort of brief and completely mundane information - who knew?

Alternatively, you will also discover that "The Twelfth" or "Orangemen's Day" is an annual Protestant celebration, originating in Ireland and also held in Scotland. It is associated with the Orange Institution or the Orange Order. While they have a long and sometimes controversial political and fraternal history, it seems that these days, they're mostly known for their parades, which are held on the Sunday preceding July 12th. (

I don't have any connection with this group but this date has always stuck in my mind for the simple reason that ever since I was young, I can remember my mother telling me that the orange daylilies that we see by the side of the road at this time of year always bloom in time for the Orange Parade. As far as I know, the only thing these two groups have in common is their colour but to this day, I remember this connection because of the sheer abundance of this pretty flower that seems to be blooming everywhere you go in central Ontario at this time of year (although this year, they actually bloomed two or three weeks ago and they've been hanging about ever since).

In this photo, you can see these lilies in front of a background of green, green corn stalks which are growing healthy and tall in the fields underneath a sun-filled, blue sky. Just another perfect summer's day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sample Photos

I've just realized that my new laptop came with some sample photos already loaded onto it. Given the hot weather we've been having this past week, I thought the contrast between the desert and penguins might be a good one to post today. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Great Blue Heron

Last weekend, the great blue heron visited our dock at the cottage for the first time this year. I should qualify that, the first time that we were there to see it. Luckily, my camera was nearby and I was able to capture the occasion (from inside the cottage) for posterity:

They are such an unusual bird, both gangly and graceful at the same time.