Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Scorpio and Sagittarius

Poor Scorpions, I went right past you without a tribute! So sorry, because I have a lot of lovely Scorpio friends. I hope you're not offended by having to share this post with Sagittarius but it can't be helped.

              Scorpio is a water sign with a tendency to be intense and secretive.

Your enigmatic nature allows you to prefer the hidden to the obvious. You like the night and are considered the detective of the zodiac.

Sagittarius, on the other hand, enjoys a jovial, optimistic nature. You are enterprising and outgoing but never frivolous.

The archer has high ideals and can be considered an intellectual.

There now. We have two very contrasting zodiac signs. I think perhaps their differences can be a positive combination under certain circumstances. A balanced situation is always desireable.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sunday on Sherbrooke Street

Sometimes events just come together in a wonderful way. Serendipity and all that. Last weekend was one of those times. The weather forecast looked kindly, especially for November. On Friday morning I received a message from my sister, Eulalie, (not her real name), that she would be visiting us for a few days. She arrived the next afternoon and we met at The Lodge in Vankleek Hill where our Dad lives. He was surprised and delighted to have his TWO daughters paying him homage, bearing pies and cakes and, most importantly, chatting with him.

On Sunday I got a message from my son, Jon, in Montreal. I had emailed him earlier to let him know his favourite aunt was on her way. Those two have a mutual musical connection; he plays jazz guitar and she sings and composes. They get each other. They also share a wicked sense of humour...well, we all do. Anyway, the message from Jon was an invitation to an afternoon of High Tea and mellow jazz at a Chocolaterie near Jon's place on Sherbrooke Street. It was all his treat, including valet parking. How could we not go??

So there we were, sitting like two 'ladies' enjoying our tea and treats, which were all ceremoniously described in French by the young people serving us.

 The room was elegant in a funky way: crystal chandeliers, heavily framed mirrors, white naperie and the requisite potted palm mixed in with contemporary wall art. My son is just behind the palm fronds.

Jon and his friend, Adrian, played their smooth jazz while the patrons chatted, munched and sipped. It wasn't a concert; the sound levels were kept low enough to allow people to talk and yet the music certainly added to the atmosphere.

Eulalie and I decided to leave before it got dark. We thanked our hosts and departed. It's usually an hour's ride back and because there were construction barriers at Rigaud on the 40 we decided to take the 20 back. Bad move. More construction around Dorion made us miss our exit. We seemed to be heading southwest for a long time, passing exits for St. Feriol, St. Dominique and St. Emmanuel. We decided to take the next one and suddenly found ourselves in St Clet. This made us laugh. As kids on Sunday drives with Dad we would somehow always end up in St.Clet so it became a family joke. By now it was dark and I was glad my sister was driving, (she's very good). At one point I realised we were going over Rigaud Mountain. Drat! That meant we wouldn't miss the construction barriers after all. But at least we knew where we were. We finally got home, two and a half hour later. It was our Excellent Adventure.    

Monday, 31 October 2011

Photo Op With Fish (and cats)

The glorious days of sitting by the pond are long gone. It's so sad.

One last lonely lily basks in the fading light of autumn. Sigh.

But wait! From our mailbox (distant center top ) came this trio of adorable floating fish, "Your winter fish", explained my sister, who had sent them. She's such a good kid!

Bridget and Sam enjoyed batting them around. They made a charming clang when they hit the side of the bowl. And then I thought about all the other fish we have around the house and decided to feature them as well. As follows:

 Wooden fish

Ceramic fish

Brass fish

      Glass fish

But we like these new ones best! Heh, heh!

Friday, 14 October 2011


There are many Librans in my life. How can I describe them? On the one hand...but on the other hand...Yes, I think that's it. Libra is the only zodiac sign that is not represented by an animal. The scales of Libra =balance. That is what you lovely beings strive for. Harmony and fairness above all else; you are true humanitarians. You love beauty; subtle colours, textures, beautiful music.

I shall try to honour Libra with the following images. 

Balance, harmony, cooperation. And a little judge sitting in the high chair. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Oh-oh! We're almost out of Virgo and I haven't honoured you Virginians yet. Sorry for the lateness, a most un-virgo trait but understandable since I am a Pisces. You Virgos are earthy types, nocturnal and soft-spoken. I think the above painting describes these qualities, especially the soft-spoken part. She has no mouth and she appears to be emerging from the earth...at night.

Virgo has magnetic powers and is able to heal through touch like this creature seems to be doing while the rest of the vestal virgins sway under her power.

Conservative and perfectionist by nature, you Virgos are the perfect friend to have in a crisis. Bless you all.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

I know, I know, September already. I just heard on the weather network that autumn in our part of the world will continue to be warm for weeks to come. Fine by me.

And now I'll take you on a tour of our little half-acre. Above...the grapes. This bunch is gone now. I gave it to my dad over at the Lodge. But we have more, much more....

In fact this year the grape crop has been spectacular. The vines are now ten years old, maybe it takes that long for a really big haul or maybe the bees were out at just the right time. We won't be stomping them for wine though, just eating them and making jelly.

This tangle of tomatoes is coming to an end but they look pretty just hanging there. I've made all the tomato sauce we could possibly eat as well as a batch of pesto from the basil growing beneath these vines. I've also given a lot away.

 Then there are the things I didn't plant, like these sunflowers and poppies that appear every year on their own accord and grow where their whimsy takes them.

More renegade poppies sharing space with the yellow beans.

And here's a surprise...next to the hostas the ferny fronds of asparagus. I have no idea how they got there but I will continue to encourage them. There aren't enough to cook yet but the feathery stalks are lovely.

Despite getting off to a rough start this spring the pond has flourished. The four adults, two orange, two white, have produced MANY babies, some still quite tiny and others the size of sardines. I love this white fish. You can see the hint of orange under its scales and when it opens its mouth it's very orange inside.

I hope this summer's end takes its time to arrive. Enjoy the long weekend if you can.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


O.K. all you cats, it's your turn! You proud leonine creatures, you are beautiful...and you know it. Other creatures usually give way to you, let you take your place on your throne and listen to you roar. You love being the center of attention and yet you give the impression that you can take it or leave it. ( I must give credit here to the painter of this lion...my son, Andrew, at age 11)

Not all cats want to be front and center though. Our Mongo, above, was very shy and meowed so quietly we called him The Whispering Cat. My painting studio was named after him.

We adopted a kitten, Our Tom, who quickly realized that Mongo was a pushover and would allow him to cuddle up next to him.

Our other cat, Danby, was not so eager to play second fiddle to any young whippersnapper but finally Mongo convinced him to stop hogging the spotlight and let the cute little guy in. So you see, even though Leos like to strut and roar and get their way, they also have a diplomatic side and will make concessions when it's to everyones' advantage.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Rhapsody in Green

Way back in April when the snow began to melt and reveal early spring delights we were aghast to discover that, after six years of successful overwintering, our pond critters had failed to make it. This time our little pond was a death scene. It was horrible. Not a single goldfish was swimming; all were floating, as were a few unfortunate frogs. We threw the tiny corpses under the cedar hedge (good fertilizer) and George proceded to pump out the water using the spare sump pump. There was a lot of disgusting slimy matter at the bottom which we tried to remove as best we could, all the while considering just filling in the hole and forgetting about the pond. But no, we decided to have another go at it. We added fresh water from the well and waited till it was time to re-stock the pond.

Luckily our neighbour has a pond as well, a much bigger one with fish galore. He gladly donated four adults, two orange, two white. By the time we put them in the water lilies had started to grow and I tossed in a handful of oxygenating plants. George installed a new more efficient pump and we created a small waterfall.

And voila!

This is where the four newcomers spent a lot of time in June, under cover of the grasses and lily pads. It was soon to become the nursery.

If you look closely around the edge of this lily pad you can see the tiny 'fry'.

Soon the frogs started to arrive. This one is Mr. Big.

And here is Mrs. Big.

And now we have a bunch of Little Bigs.

The fish fry are getting bigger now. I had to play around with the colours here in order to show them more clearly.

The waterfall trickles down.

And sometimes gushes.

And all is well once more.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Moon Children

We are now well into summer and the astrological sign Cancer. The very word 'cancer' usually causes feelings of alarm and fear among most of us...who hasn't been indirectly affected by or afflicted with this group of diseases? That's why I chose the alternative name for people born between June 21 and July 22. Moon Children have the Moon as their Sun sign, a strange contradiction I suppose but there it is.

In fact the crab comes out by the light of the moon and is affected by the tide.

The home is extremely important to Moon Children. Both my parents were born under this sign and I can attest to that fact...their home was everything to them. The above painting is an idealised version of the house I was brought up in. Though Mom and Dad rented it we all felt a great attachment to it.

Many years later they bought this old farmhouse which they lovingly restored over several years. They also set up an antique shop at the top of the shed. History and antiquity are also very big subjects on the Crab's agenda. My grandmother, a Gemini, was living with my parents at 'The Farm' and would sometimes serve customers in the shop. Her enthusiasm for old things was not so keen. She would often remark, "Who needs it?" Fortunately the customers were undaunted by her sales put-downs. The shop did quite well. Maybe because of her?

Food is another big item on the Cancerian list...well, it's on everyones' list of course, but it's VERY big with the crabs. Mom's garden was bountiful; she always seemed to be blanching beans or making jams and pickles. After the first year she learned to cut back on the zucchini. And, of course, we all came to visit at corn harvest.

My sons were lucky to have had many visits to 'The Farm'. Though one is Libra and one is Aquarius it provided them with wonderful memories.