Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More Blue and White

When Meredith first bought her condo, David's girlfriend's mother offered her an almost brand new brown leather couch.  Since she needed furniture, and had none, she was happy to accept.  Since the couch just happened to be minutes away from the White Rock farmers market, we arranged to pick it up one Sunday after the market.  We had the truck and the car, and all the stuff that would normally be in the back of the truck, was packed into the car, so that we could fit the couch in there.  
At the corner of their street, there was a house with a few things at the end of the driveway for free, including this chair.  I never drive past a free pile without giving it a quick once over.  I got David to walk back with me to check out the chair.  It was still really solid and quite comfortable, but totally the wrong colour for Meredith.  With the dark couch and the dark floors, she was wanting the rest of the furniture to be light.  She had repainted the beige, mustard and red walls to a light shade of blue, with a couple of accent walls a darker shade.  What I didn't take a picture of was the back side of the chair, which had been totally destroyed by a cat.  We strapped the chair onto the top of our market utility trailer and took it to Meredith's along with the couch.


I think Meredith did most of the work removing the upholstery and it's thousands of staples.  We had to take one arm off to be able to remove the seat.  I helped her to paint the chair in a creamy white.  You can see another chair, a $9 thrift store purchase, on the right, upside down.  We painted the bottom of that at the same time.  It has yet to be recovered or slip covered or maybe even painted, the fabric that is.


I went with her to the fabric store, and we spent a lot of time trying to find a reasonably priced fabric that she liked.  She settled on something, I managed not to say anything, but it certainly wasn't something I would have picked.  After all, it was her chair, she could upholster it however she liked.  Then the fabric and the chair sat there unfinished for a long time.  Long enough that by then Meredith also started to wonder why she had picked the fabric she did.  So that put her off working on the project, and then more time passed and by then she decided she really didn't like the fabric at all, and wanted to pick something else.  I offered her various pieces I had, but nothing appealed to her.  Back to the fabric store we went, and she decided to buy this. It was more expensive, but much much nicer, I really liked it too. 


At the beginning of October she finally got moving on the chair and recovered it all on her own, made the piping, sewed the seat cushion.  I handed out my advice freely, but she did it herself.  It is the first time she has done anything remotely like this.  But then, the best way to learn is by just doing it.


I think she did a great job, and the chair looks so lovely, and really goes well in the room.  


Monday, November 24, 2014


I have one more Ontario story to tell.
A couple of days before we flew home we drove to the historic town of Brockville.  Well most towns in Ontario are historic.  That part of Canada has been populated by non-natives much longer than the western part of the country.  I love the old brick and stone buildings.

It was a nice but very blustery day.  We were down along the river and decided to take a photo with the river in the back ground, and that is the US on the other shore.  I put the camera on a table thing, put the timer on, and we rush into position.  I had left my hat on the table.  All of a sudden a gust of wind blew my hat off the table and it was heading rapidly for the edge of the walkway and the railing between it and the river.  Cathy ran to save it, and didn't get it right away, you know how it is when the wind is bouncing things around, you always seem to be just one step behind it.  So I ran to help, and Cathy said I just about tackled her. Never!:)  Anyway the hat was saved, but in the meantime the camera got a shot of Meredith laughing at it all.

Here we are, safely hanging onto our hats!

Meredith said she had never tried one of those viewer things, so she stuck her looney ($1 coin) in, and the blasted thing didn't work.  I looked and saw it was only 10x magnification, so gave her my camera and told her to look through that, as it was 20x

Morristown New York, on the other bank.

One of the cute restored brick houses.  Cathy treated us to some good fish and chips, which came wrapped in newspaper, and we sat in the car and ate them.  This house was just across the street. 

We did visit a few little towns on our trip, and wherever we were, we always checked out any thrift stores.  We didn't get much, after all we only had carry on luggage since you now have to pay for checked bags, and the carry-ons were pretty full.  I picked up a few small things, and Meredith bought 4 blue and white English China bowls.  

While we were in Brockville we checked out the Salvation Army thrift store.  We wandered around a bit, and I asked Meredith if she had found anything.  She said no, well except there was a nice blue and white, made in England, teapot and creamer and sugar bowl in the cabinet. They were silent auction items.  But since the silent auction didn't end until Nov. 21, and we would be long gone, there was no point.  I went and looked at it and said why not, figuring Cathy could pick it up if it was a fluke and Meredith actually won it.  I didn't even ask Cathy if it was okay, but knew, being the great sister she is, that she wouldn't have a problem with it.  (Sucking up here!).  So Meredith said she would pay $20 for it.  The starting bid was $10, and there were no other bidders at that point.  We put down $20 and Cathy's phone number.  I thought about it more and said let's change it to $15. So we did.  It was kind of one of those cases of wanting to win it, but the logistics of the whole thing were kind of silly, so really we shouldn't win it, if you know what I mean.
Well I'm sure you know how this is going by now.  So on Friday Cathy got a phone call to say that Meredith had won the teapot set.  Meredith hadn't take a picture of it, and didn't remember the company that made it, but it looks something like this one, without the cups and saucers (courtesy of Ebay UK).


Cathy told Meredith that it would be a birthday present from her.  She is driving down to pick it up on Tuesday. I hope she feels well enough to do it, as she is suffering with a doozy of a chest cold right now.  She will try to fit it in her carry-on the next time she takes a trip our way.  She will probably not be able to bring as many clothes, but that's okay, it's a good excuse to hit a few thrift stores here.

Yesterday was Meredith's birthday.  
It was a milestone birthday. 
Happy Birthday dear daughter.
May there be much blue and white china in your future!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Empress of Ireland

When we were in Ontario, our first touristy outing was to head to the Canadian Museum of History, which was on the other side of Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, in Gatineau, Quebec.  Quebec is a mostly french province, so all of the signs were in french.  It was kind of exciting for me, as that was only my second time in Quebec, with the first time being in 1963 when we arrived in Canada after emigrating from England.

There was a special exhibit, about the ship the Empress of Ireland, sometimes known as the 'Canadian Titanic'.  This was all new to me, I had never heard of it, but it really piqued my interest. We came to Canada from Liverpool to Quebec City and then to Montreal, also in Quebec, where we disembarked and travelled across Canada by train.  We came to Canada on the Empress of England, a sister ship of sorts to the Empress of Ireland, owned by the same company, but not built until 1956.  Our route was the reverse of the route that the Empress of Ireland had set out on from Quebec city to Liverpool England.  On May 29, 1914, she was struck by another ship in the St. Lawrence River, in foggy dark conditions, and sank in 15 minutes,  killing 1012 passengers and crew.

(There seems to be some disagreement between this picture and other info I read regarding the number of deaths)

It really interested me to see the the Empress of Britain mentioned on this sign, as that was the ship my dad came to Canada on, a few months earlier than us.

I did a bit of research and found that his ship was built about the same time as ours, and was the third ship to sail under that name, so wouldn't have been the one mentioned in that picture.

Here's the Empress of England sailing under the Jacques Cartier Bridge at Montreal on her maiden voyage in 1957.  If it had been six years later, I might have been one of those lined up at the rail:)

After that exhibit we went through the West Coast First Nations Exhibit, which made Meredith and I chuckle to think that we had come all the way to Ontario to see something that was native to where we lived.

Lots of fascinating artifacts to look at, although I found the lighting very low on some of them. 
 Probably helps to  preserve them longer, but hard on my aging eyes at times.

While we were at the museum we also watched a 3D movie about the wildlife of the Galapogos Islands.  We felt like we were right there!

The next week we made another attempt at the National Gallery. There was a special Jack Bush exhibition, so we headed there.  I knew nothing about Jack Bush, and was really disappointed when we walked into the first room and then the next, and the next and they were full of huge canvases of abstract painting.  Something that looks like it could have been done by an elementary school student doesn't do a thing for me.  All three of us were disappointed.  He was originally a graphic artist, illustrating magazine stories and drawing advertisements.  Those, to me, showed his true talent, but that was just a tiny part of the exhibition of his work.  So, we went through the Jack Bush display in record time.  I was dying to ask one of the security guards what they thought of it. 
Here is a link to some of his work. 
 Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
We did view some other Canadian Art that we enjoyed much more, and then before we knew it, it was time to head off and meet the cousins for dinner. 

Three of the four cousins were able to join us, the youngest had classes that evening.  We went to a funky burger joint called The Works.

You got to pick what kind of patty you wanted (I chose ground turkey), what kind of bun, side dish, and there were numerous interesting burger choices, or you could make up your own.  I picked 'Crappy Tire', which had a round of pineapple on top, as well as some kind of cheese and tasty sauce, and it even said I could pay for it with Canadian Tire money:) 

Meredith picked one that had caramelized onions, half a pear and some brie.  We both thought our burgers were excellent.  I got a kick out of the beverages all being served in measuring cups, and the meals were brought in cake tins.  
A good time was had by all. 


The next day we flew home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Parliament Hill

While we were in Ontario, we did a few touristy things.  Meredith had a few places she wanted to see while we were there, and one of them was Parliament Hill.  These are the Parliament buildings above the Ottawa River.  

From Wikipedia.....
Parliament Hill (FrenchColline du Parlement), colloquially known as The Hill, is an area ofCrown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in Downtown OttawaOntario. ItsGothic revival suite of buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada and contains a number of architectural elements of national symbolic importance. Parliament Hill attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year.[1]
Originally the site of a military base in the 18th and early 19th centuries, development of the area into a governmental precinct began in 1859, after Queen Victoria chose Bytown as thecapital of the Province of Canada. Following a number of extensions to the parliament and departmental buildings and a fire in 1916 that destroyed the Centre Block, Parliament Hill took on its present form with the completion of the Peace Tower in 1927. Since 2002, an extensive $1 billion renovation and rehabilitation project has been underway throughout all of the precinct's buildings; work is not expected to be complete until after 2020.

Sorry for the quality of the photos, for some reason I hadn't taken the camera that day.(Slaps myself)  My phone works well on sunny days, but not so well in lower light conditions. We did have a lot of 'grey' days while we were in Ontario.
Parliament Hill above the Ottawa River.

That round building is the library.  When the rest of the block was burned, that building was saved by a brave soul who got the metal doors to the library closed in time.  The library is amazing inside, it makes me think of something out of a Harry Potter or hobbit movie.

We had parked under the National Gallery, which we also wanted to visit that day, and walked the 1 km or so to the Hill.  That is the back of the Fairmont Hotel Chateau Laurier.

The front of the hotel, taken from the car. No, I was not stood in the middle of the road.

Looking at the east side of the East Block of the Parliament Buildings.  That is a bridge in the foreground that passes over the Rideau Canal and it's many locks on it's way up the hill from the Ottawa River.

The locks are closed down for the season.  The canal above these locks becomes a huge skating rink in the winter if the weather cooperates .

Peeking through the fence at the south side of the East Block.

Cathy and Meredith on the walkway to Center Block, with the East Block in the background.  I'm not sure how many of my American readers were aware that we had a terrorist type incident at Parliament Hill in October.  A soldier guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the War Memorial was killed.  The terrorist then drove to Parliament hill, and ran up in front of that East Block, where he hijacked a car and drove to Center Block.

The West Block was under wraps and being renovated.

Center Block with the Peace Tower.

The terrorist jumped out of the car to the left of the Peace Tower, and raced in through the center door, heading towards the library whose pointed roof is just visible behind and to the right of the tower.  Close to the library he was shot and killed by the Sergeant at Arms.

I have no idea what the security was like before that incident, this being Canada where we generally have few of those types of events.  When we were there we had to stop at that white tent to the right of the Peace Tower and allow our purses to be examined.  Just inside the door we were stopped again and informed that the next available English (French being the other national language) tour wasn't for nearly another two hours.  

We got our tickets and decided to head over to the War Memorial, which is just across the road and east a little bit.  It still has it's ceremonial guards.  They are there for one hour shifts.  We watched the next two being piped (bagpipes) in, and these two being piped out. I laid a poppy on the tomb in respect to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, only 24, a father and dog lover.  Gunned down from behind.  It makes me feel sick.  
There was extra security there when we visited.
I have to admit I checked over my shoulder more than once while we were there and at the Parliament Buildings.

After the War Memorial we thought we would walk back to the National Gallery and look in there while waiting for our tour of the Parliament Buildings to start.  Well of all things, it was closed that day.  We couldn't believe it.  So we killed some time walking around, had a bit of lunch in an undesirable part of town, went in a store or two.  

This is the US Embassy. 
We saw that woman get a going over with the metal detector wand before she was allowed in.

We got back  to Parliament Hill in time for our tour, and had to do the regular airport type security check before we were allowed to continue.  The tour guide mentioned the terrorist incident, but said he wasn't allowed to discuss it since it was still under investigation, and wouldn't be answering any questions regarding it.  When we had come back out from the libary, one of our group did ask where the office of the Sergeant at Arms was.  It was the first door in a hallway right next to where we were stood.  The S at A came out of that office and shot the terrorist dead, probably about where we were stood.  A bit of a creepy feeling, definitely.

Then we walked back again to the National Gallery and the car, and through rush hour traffic back to Smith's Falls.

Here is a link to some really great pictures of the Parliament Buildings. Check out the library!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Back Home Again

It's always tough to write a post after you have been missing in action for a few weeks.  Where do you start?  I suppose it would be logical to start with the main reason I didn't blog.  Meredith and I went to Ontario for 10 days to visit my sister and her family.  We had a great time.  We did some sightseeing, lots of walking, and lots of laughing.

And it wasn't even a holiday away from dogs and cats, as my sister has three dogs, and one cat who thinks he is a dog.

Most of the walking was to exercise the dogs.  Cathy walks fast.  I have a hip or two that bother me at times, and a knee that doesn't like to be left out, so after the first day and it's long, very fast walk, I was limping.  I think I passed on the walks the next day, and after that the speed was dropped a notch, and I did alright from then on.

Here we are walking along the Rideau River.  Two mothers and their daughters, and from left to right....Dasher, Harlow aka Brutus aka Moose, and Toby.


Dasher is a 12 year old border collie/something or other mix, Harlow is a black lab/golden retriever cross who started out as a future guide dog for the blind. She is now destined to be a brood bitch, eventually producing puppies who will go on to be guide dogs or assistance dogs.  Cathy has raised two previous pups, one who is now guiding a visually impaired man in Toronto, and the other is trained as an assistance dog and is waiting to be matched up with the right person.
Last but not least is Toby, a border collie/bernese mix, who has lost most of his hearing and some of his sight, and is a grand 14 1/2.  I've got to admit, they all walk better on leashes than my dogs.




Harlow and Leroy waiting at the screen door


Leroy thinks Harlow's bed is his.


He is quite the character.


He and Meredith seemed to hit it off.  He may think he is a dog, but he can certainly recognize a cat person when he is laying on one.