Category Archives: Reflections

The one about the icy tree.

This morning when I peeked out the window, I was greeted with a scene so breathtaking, I simply had to wake The Husband right then and there (that and the fact that the power was out and I felt the pressing need to inform him about it). He didn’t share my enthusiasm for the beauty of our ice-covered tree, but nice guy as he is, he did insist that I make use of this opportunity and go and busy myself with the camera to better improve my photography skills. That’s the husband, always looking out for me! He went back to bed and I opened the door, stepped outside, and almost immediately slipped on the ice– but the camera was okay – yes the CAMERA WAS O.K. — HUSBAND DARLING, I REPEAT, THE CAMERA IS JUST FINE.


I know, I know, many a GTA-living person have already shared their icy morning wonders and woes with the world already, but how many of you have this kind of trapped fairy-tale-esque enchantment of a tree with poisonous berries growing so determined in their yard?

I think it’s gorgeous.

I’d sit by the window and stare at this beauty of nature but I have the flu – the Husband likes to share.


The One About Right Now

Finally a moment to breath! It’s been a super busy last two weeks three weeks and all The Husband and I can agree on are the colour of our kitchen chairs. We’re not making progress here. I’m an art teacher and I have a vision in my head. The Husband is having a hard time understanding.

All I want to do is crawl under the warm covers and stay there for a very long time, sleeping.

And then, when I wake up I want to take a nice long walk all by myself. Because the best walks are those taken alone -


And after that, I want to swim in warm water – this colour blue preferably:


And then I want to get back into my nice warm bed and read a good book.

Then sleep again.

Repeat cycle a few times…

Then I’d like to watch Property Brothers on TV but not really pay attention until the end (when they show the final designs and compare those designs to the original rooms), because that’s the most interesting part. The rest of the show is really boring, I don’t know why I bother.


Correction: the best walks are not taken alone…because then you have nobody to complain about how cold your hands are..

The One About: 15 Ways The iPhone Has Sucked The Fun Out Of Traveling

Oh dear…


Sooo… is it only me, or dose anyone else wonder about #4, those kinds of people who take photos of fireworks rather than just enjoying the show? I can’t count how many fireworks shows I’ve been to where there’s someone in front of me waving their phone/camera around trying to record what’s happening. It’s really not nice looking at other people’s fireworks pics. The quality is never great and you can get a much better show watching it on TV. Plus, isn’t the point to be there are experience it (noises and all) in person? So silly. Maybe I’m missing something?.

The One about Otherworldly Landscapes

I’m drawn to strange colours, textures, and patterns, landscapes that seem surreal and odd natural wonders. I find the broken and rusted more intriguing than the fixed and stable; the falling apart with awkward and unexpected surprises, more appealing than the consistent and clean. This is my taste in art.

The Husband calls my taste “weird” but he knows me well and at each of the following places, he has remarked  ”this is SO you.” These are places that catch my breath, make me feel lost in thought, inspire the imagination and I guess, just make me feel comfortable? These are also places that make me want to pull out a paintbrush or collect bits and pieces of whatever I can grasp in my hands, for future inspiration and also because, as all art teachers are, I’m a crazy packrat.

As you can imagine, The Husband is not pleased about the collecting bits and pieces part. He does not want to be part of my ’treasure finding’ plan. He was certainly not happy when I convinced him recently to help me collect paint chips in every single colour, from every single row, on every single rack from Canadian Tire. It was for an art project.

On Hawaii’s Big Island, you can walk forever across old lava fields and not get tired of hearing the crunching sound of old lava under your feet:


Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

The Dead Sea didn’t interest me because of its floating or “healing” capabilities, I was more drawn to the water’s edge by the salt particles that lay in clumps, like pieces of crystal attached to the rocks. You can guess who went home with heavier bags:


The Dead Sea, Jordan

Watching the powerful waters of a geyser push upwards in a burst of power is a fascinating sight. First, the water starts to boil and steam, then a bubble is formed. Finally the steam and water forces skyward:

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Location of a famous geyser (getting ready to burst), Iceland

Iceland is a photographer’s dream. Full of muted dull colours and extreme contrasts in nature. It was raining. We jumped out of the car for a picture. I said, “please, I must capture this colour, I’m in love with it.” He said, “If you get the camera wet, I’ll kill you.” Never mind the fact that it’s my camera…

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Somewhere else in Iceland.

Well, while we’re on the subject of Iceland, I guess we can’t miss this:

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The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Rocks, sands, dirt, never-ending space - I love it. Here, the red sands up close are just such a gorgeous rich rust colour. I made sure to bring some sand home. I don’t know what to do with it yet, but one day I’ll know:


Wadi Rum, Jordan

There’s something storybook-like and fairytale-esque about trees. Trees are friendly, almost smiling creatures. Who doesn’t like trees?

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Giant Sequoia trees, California

One of my favourite things about surreal landscapes is the quietness of them. There’s something so beautiful in solitude. Rain tends to drive people away, indoors. I love rain, it means no crowd. Plus the foggy clouds give everything a soft mystical kind of look. It was lightly drizzling this day:


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Marble terraces and hot springs, Pamukkale Turkey

It’s hard to believe people lived here. In this ancient place pockmarked with empty cave homes carved right out of the rock. I’d call it Flintstones-like but that makes it seem childish and it’s not cartoony, though the possibilities for hide and seek are endless:


Cappadocia, Turkey

The middle of nowhere it seems, is the best place to come across unexpected beauty:

Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Potholes, South Africa

“…and in her starry shade, Of dim and solitary loveliness, I learn’d the language of another world” – Lord Byron.

The One about Masterchef

Is anyone else waiting eagerly for Junior Masterchef? I have to admit I got hooked onto Masterchef late, watching almost every episode this season but only bits and pieces of previous seasons. I do enjoy cooking shows … and cooking competitions even more… I’m really hoping there’s another season of Next Great Baker…

Watching these shows make me super hungry for good food.

While watching the season finale of Masterchef this week, The husband and I began debating, where did we have our best meal, and if we knew we were going to die that day, what would we want our last supper to be, if we had the choice? This is the problem with “what if” questions, they always lead into some debate or heated discussion.

There’s no doubt in my mind, if I could choose my last meal to eat, I would go the traditional route. I’d want my grandmother’s South African biryani, some of her South African samoosas (not samosas!) with homemade green chutney, meat pies, some South African haleem, sweet rice, and some delicious koeksisters for dessert. So… basically an Eid dinner from my childhood. Yum! (please note the ‘South African’ is to identify these dishes as quite different in taste and appearance from dishes with the same name from other parts of the world).

I wish I could say I had inherited some of my grandmother’s skill in the kitchen. Her cooking really was the best, and well-known and respected in the community. But getting back on topic, the best meal… the best meal I’ve had is something different and wouldn’t necessarily be my last meal. The Husband and I just couldn’t agree on this, our tastes in food are just too different. My favourite meal was in Greece, simple food: fried eggplant and tzatziki and Greek frozen yogurt for dessert. The Husband argues that’s not a real meal, and that nothing beats the pasta he had in Italy, in particular, a pasta dish near the train station in Pisa, that he remembers in great detail, whereas I can’t quite place what I ate there.

One of our most memorable places to eat was an Italian restaurant in the south of Spain, or the Costa del sol. It was a beautiful night and we were wandering around after a day at the beach, looking for a place to eat when we stumbled upon Pizzeria Romantica. There wasn’t anybody sitting on the patio but it was packed inside. We opted for the quiet seating outside and the husband conversed with the Spanish speaking waiter as best he could to convey our two requests, no alcohol, no meat. Soon we were enjoying two piping hot fresh pasta dishes with a generous helping of cheese. We LOVED it. And we went back each night we were there. We went back so often, that on our last night, the waiter who knew us and our order by then, presented us with a gift, a beautiful bottle of the non-alcohol drink we had tried and liked. It’s nice to be able to stay long enough in a place to get to know the local people and feel a sense of belonging and trust, and that’s what we experienced there.

FYI – The Husband was unable to choose his last meal because of too many choices. He’s currently gone grocery shopping.

Where did you have your most delicious meal, and if you were able to choose your last supper, what would it be?

If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff – Remy, rat chef from Ratatouille.

The One About How We Pack

I take approx. an hour to pack my suitcase and I do so 1-2 days before leaving to go somewhere. I always have some idea of what kind of clothing I’m going to be packing dependent on the weather and expected activities. I pack in a kind of methodical order: clothes, footwear and toiletries, in that order,  in my suitcase. I take some time to pack my purse carefully for the plane. And finally, I end with choosing something comfortable to wear for the journey. The last thing I do is trim my finger and toenails because for some reason I feel that if you travel with long nails you’re prone to germs and disease. And I do this all in about 1 hour. I complete all of the above in a very peaceful and calm manner making sure several times that I’ve packed my Body Shop eyeliner because it’s the one thing I can’t live without.

The Husband is a different story. He races around at the last minute gathering what he needs and tossing them into his bag without even folding his clothes – the thought of crumpled up clothes all smushed together in his suitcase makes my head hurt and so while he’s racing around, I often lie down in bed to escape the madness. I’ve tried offering to pack his bag for him, I also have actually just taken matters into my own hands and have packed his bags for him, but he never likes what I pack him and always changes his mind. Usually The Husband overpacks and doesn’t end up wearing half his things and the end result is very heavy bag for us to lug around. And more often than not, he will forget something vital, like a comb. If I forgot my hairbrush, I’d make do, you know, like use my fingers or something. If the husband forgets his comb… or razor… or gel… OMG the world comes to a stop and we must right away buy a new one. And it’s for this reason that we now have a growing collection of combs, cheap razors, and cheap gels.

It’s very easy to tell our bags apart. Mine looks like the perfect black suitcase, nice and neat and tidy. His is bursting at the seams (even with that extra section space). The thing is though, that I’ll often pack and repack his bag at every stop we make and he won’t even notice how much nicer it is when I do it, I can always find a way to make everything fit.

Is this the case with all men? – That they just don’t know how to pack?

What is the one thing you can’t travel or leave home without?

I collect a lot of eco-friendly shopping bags that serve to separate my shoes and other small stuff in my luggage – Liu Wen.

The One about 5 Things

5 things I’ve done that 10-15 years ago, I never imagined doing:
1. A Safari – a real African safari in Africa, not a visit to African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario. Once you do the real thing, you’ll never want to visit a zoo, it will never compare.
2. Swim in a waterfall – In, under, or on top – check, check, check. The most dangerous and exciting was swimming at the edge of Victoria Falls, devil’s pool in Zambia.
3. Shark cage diving – Off the coast of Gansbaai, South Africa, seeing great white sharks that close? Never thought it was possible!
4. Sleep in the desert under the stars - Camping on the red sands of Wadi Rum, in Jordan under the stars with the Bedouin, feels a million miles away from home, but still feels like home around some of the warmest and most honest people you’ll ever meet.
5. Zipline through the jungle – Ziplining is popping up everywhere. The absolute best place to do try it is still in Costa Rica, zipping through and over the canopy trees in the rainforest, breathtaking.

5 more things I would love to do:
1. See the northern lights – I tell The Husband, “Let’s see how far we can drive north!” and he doesn’t want to pay for gas.
2. Hike the Inca Trail – I get tired walking up the stairs. I get tired walking down the stairs. I need to train for this. Or, maybe I need to take the train instead of walk.
3. Go on an Alaskan cruise – This just seems so much cooler than a Caribbean cruise.
4. Hang gliding in Rio – It doesn’t look scary…?!
5. Sleep in a little hut over the water – Can you ever justify spending $1000 for one night’s stay?
Life is either a great adventure or nothing – Helen Keller


The First Post

This is the new site - well the very start of things here at least. I wanted to get started because it’s now or never (and if I don’t now, most likely I never will). Since school ended in June, I’ve been saying it’s time for a new blog. And now, with what, 10 days left before the next school year, I’m finally getting into action. Finally. FINALLY.

This blog is going to be different from the 3 previous sites I had: I have a theme and I’m sticking with it. I have a lot to say. I need an outlet to reflect. I want to organize my thousands of photos. And most of all, I feel old – not physically or emotionally, more like technologically… if that makes sense…

The Husband always tells me I’m like a young girl living in the wrong time period. I’d probably be more effective as a human being living in the Middle Ages or something – a time when there’s no cellphones, or texting. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like shiny stainless steel appliances and all, and I do drive a car, but I tried my hardest this summer to find some interest in Facebook and Twitter and failed. Pinterest is kinda cool I must admit, but only because I can get ideas for craft projects for teaching, but how to find the time to log on?!

And so, I’m back to blogging because I enjoy writing – well typing. My writing can only be done with a black COPiC pen…  and I’m also back in an effort to catch up with the times. Our school board has a real push on technology this year, so if I know what’s best for me, I better start learning. Sometimes the students – they know more than me technology-wise, and that’s not good. I can only get someone to fix the speakers connected to the LCD projector so many times before I feel ridiculous. I actually miss the smooth feeling of those red and blue markers writing on overhead transparency pages… it’s at this point in my blog post that I know Sister#2 is rolling her eyes or has either stopped reading.

Anyways the point is, I’m back. It’s been too long. My old blogs will cease to exist very shortly (my previous name already expired in case you hadn’t noticed). I’m looking forward to learning and approaching this blog with a new attitude. More changes to the design to come into effect soon – a major thank you to Brother-in-law#2 for helping me get started. Enjoy!

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing - Walt Disney