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Step 1: Pattern play

I’m working on an original pattern for “nellyglass studio”… this piece is 2ft x 0.5ft and will hang over my studio in the basement. The first 2 hours were spent playing with different fonts on the computer until I settled on “Cooper”. The next 3 hours were enjoyed designing the pattern and cutting out the tracing pieces. Amazing how 5 hours can fly by like that. Creative juice gives you lots of energy but makes you forget the time.

I find pattern creation to be the most creative of all the steps in producing a finished product. With original patterns especially, the connection to the piece runs deep. I’m already feeling it.

The template shown here is yellow but the finished product will be multi-colored.  Hope to have it done in a few days… stay tuned.
Total time for pattern prep = 5 hours.

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Next: Step 2 Glass selection

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Wilderness Discovery

There is so much beauty in our province and much of it goes undiscovered by the vast majority of folks. I have lived here 25 years and never knew about Bald Hill just a few kilometers north of Saint John (Bald Mountain to the locals but not to be confused with Big and Little Bald Mountains in the north of the province). Saturday afternoon Ron and I went for a drive and ended up here just 15 minutes from Welsford. It’s an easy half kilometer hike from the parking lot and the view from the summit is jaw-dropping. At 217m (712 ft) it ranks as the 369th highest peak in New Brunswick. The presence of huge rogue boulders near the summit are a reminder of the glacial powers that sculpted this landscape thousands of years ago. What a wonderful day we had, exploring back roads, fishing secret woodland lakes and taking a few pictures along the way.

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A weekend at Youghall Beach- doesn’t that just sound wonderful

Monica and I were very fortunate this weekend to be overnight guests of Diane and Chris Carson at their cottage on the magnificent and moody Youghall Beach in Bathurst. The weather wasn’t promising any sunshine and in fact was downright insistent on showing us what “windswept” really means. And we were blown away by the beauty and the power of this place.

We arrived at noon and were welcomed to the cottage and promptly escorted to the dining table for a tasty tuna salad sandwich lunch with veggies and chips. What a way to start our visit and such service! Chris’ culinary prowess is second to none. I stand in awe and intimidation at his skill with a knife. It’s hypnotic to watch him cutting vegetables.

After lunch, the rain in the forecast was still holding off so we jumped at the suggestion of a beach walk on this stunning 7 km stretch of soft quartz sand. The tide was out and the shallow sand bars were exposed making for easy walking way way out from the shoreline. We walked and walked and talked and talked…what great therapy! I couldn’t resist pocketing a few colorful beach pebbles to add to my garden at home.

The day was cool by summer standards and as we returned to the cottage, a fresh breeze was coming in from the north-east. That meant drama on the high seas.  Because it’s so shallow, the breakers start way out on their long rolling journey to the beach. It takes so long for one wave to arrive that you can actually see 9 or 10 of them coming at the same time lined up one behind the other. You really have to see it to appreciate the tranquility of the place… even in high winds and driving rain, the surf is so consistent and rhythmic… it’s peaceful.

Inside the cottage was anything but peaceful and anything but boring. Between the joking and laughing and philosophical discussion, we managed to uncover life-long memories and stories of our past and present and reveal dreams for the future until the clock struck a new day. We touched on everything from how modern technology has transformed the sport of  distance cycling (good luck in Ottawa, Chris) to how our children have shaped us as adults… and continue to do so. Conversation with Diane and Chris is always so adventurous (I mean that in the exciting exploratory way).

Meanwhile, Chris cooked up a storm on the BBQ and we feasted on chicken and sausage, potatoes and salad and cheered to our friendship and good fortune. We really had a great getaway and it’s always wonderful to see our friends. Thank you for the wonderful hospitality and another blog-worthy memory of Youghall Beach.

Here are the photo highlights.

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All dedications lined up together at the perfect moment in time

Just like my home page says, “This site is dedicated to the following…” i.e., all those things I said I would dedicate my site to, well they all just happened to come together this week at the same time: 1) I’m itching for a new stained glass project and have something in mind for my bathroom downstairs (hint: marine theme). So, while I was looking at some glass possibilities, I snapped a pic or two. Selecting the glass is step #2 in the process, after pattern preparation, and is perhaps second only to patterns in terms of the creativity factor. I love searching the colors and patterns in the glass for the possibilities. 2) There was sushi involved (thank you above for the Japanese who perfected this culinary delight centuries ago). 3) My favorite two celebrations of the year are back to back…our anniversary and Canada Day. Monica and I always love to celebrate our lives together and then have a holiday the next day. She somehow masterminded that 31 years ago, and I’m ever so glad she did. Two wonderful occasions to celebrate and I couldn’t be any more proud and patriotic of both.

Here is a quick photo reel of the highlights.

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Lorna, wish you were here.

Monica and I always said “Lorna brings the sun with her from Ontario” and today was no exception. Peter, her husband, with all of us in tow for support, gathered at Fairhaven Cemetery to finally say goodbye to Lorna. It was a really beautiful service. Poor Peter stood solid, patiently sweating away in his black suit under the hot sun… not a cloud in the sky. We could tell he was far away with her at the moment and our hearts broke for him, again. At least it didn’t rain which was good for Lorna’s 92 year old Mom who was there with us. Imagine her thoughts.

Goodbye Lorna, old friend. You will be missed forever, especially when the sun shines bright in New Brunswick.

 

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Celebrating 35 years of service

Monica is officially on vacation for the next three weeks, but when asked what it feels like to never have to go to work again, she can’t answer that just yet unless “surreal” is enough of a description. So what do you do when you’re feeling “surreal”? Celebrate! … easy though, we’re not 19 anymore.

I picked her up at work on Friday for her final farewell to her microscope. My job was to carry the gift bags and snap a couple of photos. Lots of hugs, a few tears and promises of summer reunions and we skipped down the stairs and out to the parking lot as if not a care in the world…and at that moment there wasn’t.

Off we drove to watch the sunset over cocktails at the York Bistro on the waterfront. Then a fantastic dinner at Italian by Night in the Urbandeli restaurant. A truly wonderful evening. Next day, Monica put me straight to work as she attempted to cram as many of the list of retirement chores into one day. We did find time, however, to relax and reflect on her 35 years of service to the health care system of New Brunswick. She is proud of her legacy and is going to miss the people at work, for sure…already is. Now to discover what lies beyond the Horizon Health Network.

Here are the photo highlights of the first 24 hours of vacation/retirement.

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Fantastic fishing with my buddy, Ron

Late spring fishing is my absolute favorite trip of the year. I’d like to say “The bugs aren’t out yet” but that’s not quite true. We got hammered this weekend! I think they all hatched at once and WE were the only things to eat. Nevertheless, there were moments of no bugs. Like, when the temperature suddenly fell to zero and we got a snow squall surprise! Seriously… not that we should be surprised in late May, but we were. Or the next morning when a fresh breeze picked up and blew the bugs out to the Bay of Fundy (no bugs…hard to throw a fishing line though).

Most of the time, however, was sheer tranquillity as Ron and I explored some of south-west New Brunswick’s beautiful water ways and pristine old growth forests. We fished all Saturday afternoon right into evening and the coyotes sang us home to the camp. How hauntingly beautiful to hear them so close.

Saturday night was for feasting and playing cribbage. I lost, but what a fight! In both games, we were both right there at the finish. Darn pegging points!

Sunday dawned beautiful and clear and we explored more territory and discovered new waterways where we teased the trout. They were very wary I must say. But, we had a ball. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the photo reel of our weekend. Enjoy!

 

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Mother’s Day means surf ‘n turf – love this day as much as the woman

This day was wonderfully relaxing at home with Mon. The morning was for quiet reflection on memories of our own mothers… may they rest in peace. Monica puttered in the kitchen making hash brown casserole and Caesar salad, catching up on Facebook and reading Chatelaine while I finished the Celtic Roundel project in my glass shop. Totally enjoyed this project. (see the full story and project photos under the Panels section).

At 4:00, the party began. Sarah and Matt arrived with the lobster and dessert. The casserole went into the oven, corks were popped, gifts were given, Ryan called to honor his mother and I cracked the lobsters and fired up the barbeque for the steak. Laughter and indulgence ensued. It was a generous day and we got lots of photos for reminiscing later (here are the highlights).

Happy Mother’s Day, Monica. You are the best… and there is no question We all love You.

 

 

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Eating our way out of winter.

Most life forms that follows a seasonal pattern (like Canadians) take in a rush of nutrients in the spring. This is natural, and, oh so delicious in my case. Here’s a sampler of this week’s rush:

pork with raspberry sauce hamburger nachos and cheese Salmon Charlotte with potatoes, asparagus and salad ham & eggs and well done toast

In trying to stay productive enough to wear off the calories, Saturday’s are often a mad panic to get all the chores done and can result in back spasm if one is not careful. However, two loads of laundry and two carloads of recycleables/refundables, Market shopping, to Sears to buy a bed, then a Costco run, a trip to the Downey Stained Glass to get the glass for the celtic roundel and a visit to the garden center in Fredericton did help to work up an appetite. Solution: a friends-gathering in Fredericton Saturday evening sated the hunger as we feasted on Salmon Charlotte, dessert pastries and enough wine to sink a ship. The Reddons, the Carsons and the Alwards toasted the end of winter and a promise to gather again at the beach this summer.

Sunday: lazy day…more eating…playing with herbs…playing with glass….blogging.

 

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Dinner and the theater – oh what a night!

What a blast we had in Saint John on a Saturday night! Dinner at Big Tide Brewing Co. followed by 101 Years of Broadway at the Imperial. And that was just Saturday evening. The surrounding weekend was just at interesting.

It started with Boys Night at the camp with Ron and Mike after work on Friday. Reconnecting with nature during an early April thunder storm and downpour was almost as sweet as feasting on wood-stove moose roast and winning at Hearts three times in a row 🙂 It was a stuffed 15 minutes of fame and glory as the Card gods answered my prayers and smiled on me amid my peers.

Then, following Boys Night, came Saturday night dinner and theater with the family including first cousins Ryan, Sarah and Ellen. How totally excellent to have the three of them together as we laughed and reminisced and broke bread together at the Big Tide Brewing Co. Bloated, we staggered around the corner to the Freak Lunchbox candy store and then to Second Cup for a coffee and cookie just before stepping into the Imperial Theater for an evening of seasoned Broadway stars performing well know musical gems of the many shows we have enjoyed over the years: Cats, Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Jersey Boys, Les Miserables and more. Standing ovation!

Sunday was for returning a son to Fredericton in the morning and then playing with stained glass patterns in the afternoon. A new Celtic pattern has caught my eye and calls me to the emerald hills in my dreams.

 

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Mediterranean Pizza Night – Viva!

Final night of the Easter long weekend. Absolutely content and grateful for this wonderful break. Many enjoyments this weekend from dinner with friends to stained glass to dinner with family to highway driving to quiet day at home playing with photos and blogging. And through it all, great food, great food and more great food. Here is the grand finale food photo gallery of Monday night supper…it ended so tasty.

 

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The cross-over

The Crossover: Part I

Winter turns to spring… darkness comes to light.

A project is finished…and has risen.

Glorious Easter! It is time to let the light shine on.

(click first image to continue)

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Therapy session

I’m into a glass project and if I had to choose a favorite step in the journey, it would be foiling the glass. I love that! therapy

With feet up, fid in hand and foil in lap, I can sit and do this for hours… and just let my mind wander to wherever it wants to go. Now I understand why my mother liked to sit and knit for hours on end. I imagine she thought about the wool, where the wool came from, the people who made it, imagined the finished product she was making and all the people who would use and enjoy it. I imagine that she got satisfaction from the repetitive movement of winding the yarn around her fingers and slipping the needles through the loops. I imagine she also enjoyed the gradual development of her piece, lifting her spirits with every row of stitches she added.

I get that. I enjoy the same things about doing stained glass. It’s good therapy.

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Friday Night – need I say more.

The Lights of Friday Night

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I Luv Sushi

This is a sushi story:

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. ‘Twas enough so to lift spirits up out of the potholes and above the snow banks on Mollins Dr. A hearty breakfast of Nelly Omelette provided the energy needed to empty the garage of recyclables and shovel off the garage roof, run grocery and hospital visitation errands, get the car washed (made me happy for 20 minutes), visit the Cedar Crest Market and get ready for a phenomenal meal with our niece, Ellen. Ellen got off work at the Delta Hotel at 3:30. We were there to greet and wisk her off across King Street to Take Sushi for late lunch/early supper. What a pig-out! Great food. Easy atmosphere. There was plenty for take home and that means I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow 🙂

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the first of March – in like a deadly lamb

I’m late posting this but the photo gallery shows a day or two’s passage from a week ago leading to a happy moment when the City of Saint John widened Mollins Dr.

The photo gallery scroll through should take less than a minute to give you a good idea of the amount of snow on the sides of the street. Each photo is titled.

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February finished, thankfully and beautifully

Skies were clear and blue…not a cloud in sight. The sun made it feel like minus single digits. Almost a day at the beach compared to the past few weeks. Ron and I went to his camp today to see if the snow on the roof needed removal. arriving - beautiful morning

Thank you to ancient civilizations for inventing snow shoes. We’d have been to our necks otherwise. We arrived at the camp in 10 minutes and a quick assessment showed all was well but we had some work ahead of us. arriving  Ron had already shovelled once a couple of storms ago so the main camp roof only had about two to three feet in places. The shed, however, had over 4 feet and was still standing strong under several tons.

4 feet deep on wood shed

The snow scooping was fun and easy. The sun is gaining strength and we were working up a sweat in no time. break time on the roof

With the main camp roof completed, it was time for the wood shed. There wasn’t room for two scoopers safely, so Ron went up alone while I shouted words of encouragement from below and took the pictures.

up you go, Ron...I'll take the pictures I'm working hard taking pictures

 

Great exercise and very satisfying to get the weight off the roofs. camp shovelled off finished the shed perimiter pile snow shoes

The walk out to the road was easier and we paused to enjoy the winter wonderland. done - time to go home

Home in time to shower and get dressed for dinner with our niece, Ellen, who took us to MIX resto-bar at the Delta. Ellen

steak, seafood pasta and seafood platter dessert

It’s nice to have Ellen in the city. We enjoy her company and especially when good food is involved. Cheers to a wonderful day and the end of a tough month. March is coming in like a lamb. We’ll take it, and be grateful.

dinner with Ellen

 

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Celebrating a 29 year old son

Like good scotch and wine, Ryan is aging well. He hit the 29 year milestone this week and we got together with him Saturday night in Fredericton for gift giving and a belching good time at Montana’s restaurant.

We arrived shortly after 5:00 pm to find a sleepy Ryan who had just woke up after a full day of sleep (night shift people). A cheerful photo opportunity of card and gifts. Here’s a 15 second video of him opening his card. We gave him a Killer Bee (looks more like a mosquito) t-shirt from Nevis and three Star Wars prints signed by Nick Maley from St. Martin. Killer Bee t-shirt from Nevis Ryan with Yoda

Ryan and I hung the prints in his living room  Luke and Yoda over Ryan's computer C3PO, R2D2 and Ewok in living room while Monica offered up a birthday toilet scrubbing. a Happy Birthday toilet scrubbing How motherly of her (gross!)

Having worked up an appetite, we checked out Ryan’s fridge. Ryan's fridge - pathetic Totally pathetic: a bottle of ketchup, maple syrup, soy sauce and strawberry jam (we added the frozen cheesecake we brought with us). We decided we couldn’t do too much creatively with his inventory, so…

…Hungrily, we headed straight for Montana’s Restaurant for a great meal. at Montanas for dinner Just a little 30 minute wait for a table (not an un-enjoyable wait at all) as we hung out in the bar and made Ryan suffer through photos of our vacation.Birthday celebration at Montanas

Soon escorted to our table, we pigged out on wings, ribs, steak and salmon. wings for all  medium well done, please and thank you  salmon salad ribs, cornbread, bked potato and coleslaw

It was a wonderful evening with our Boy. We are so lucky to live close enough to see him whenever we want. Happy 29th Birthday, Ryan. Hope you enjoyed celebrating it with us. at least we didn't make him wear the birthday hat

Love, Mom and Dad.

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Sunday/Monday Day 14/15 St. Martin

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful as usual. The day started at 6:00 am with a walk around the city perimeter to parts I had not seen before. I thought I’d do this early before the heat of the day. Wrong! I was a lather of sweat within 15 minutes. An interesting walk, non the less. Away from the glitz of Front Street, I strolled through the residential areas where the working class live. Roosters welcomed me and I got a good look at the Great Salt Pond teaming with fish, turtles and birds.

By noon, we were on the beach and enjoyed a quieter day as there were no cruise ships in that morning. One did arrive in the afternoon but by then we had retreated to the coolness of our room for a cocktail and some blogging.

For dinner we went back to one of our favorite restaurants, The Greenhouse. We arrived just in time for Happy Hour so took advantage of that. A perfect meal of calamari appetizers, grouper for Mon and Caribbean conch for me. A leisurely stroll home along the boardwalk we could hear calypso music wafting through the night air. Arm in arm, we took our time knowing this would be our last night.

Monday, final day. A bit sad and a bit glad that it’s nearly over. That combination just sort of leaves you feeling numb. Add to that the photo of our driveway that Sarah sent us with snow up to the kitchen window. Bless her and Matt for clearing it before we returned. They will be rewarded.

Packed and ready to go at 8:00 am, our flight didn’t leave until 5:30 so we needed to amuse ourselves for a few hours. Although our shopping was done, Kelly and Marion (dinner the night before) highly recommended Shoppers Haven jewelry store just four shops away from our hotel. It’s probably the one shop Monica had not been in. So, off we went for a look. It’s a family run business and Kumar was most hospitable and not pushy like so many others. We walked out with a little something for Mon.

A couple of free tee shirts to go with it and we bade Kumar farewell and continued our walk as a school marching drum band appeared around the corner. The noise was deafening but their enthusiasm was infusive. Everyone was tapping toes and bouncing to the rhythm.

Continuing our stroll, we discovered the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church was open so I slipped in for some shots. Lovely church although nothing compares to Notre Dame Bascilica we had seen two weeks ago in Montreal.

A quick beer to cool down at the Big Wood Grill pirate bar and then back to the hotel to wait on the lounge sofas for the airport taxi. Our taxi driver was great and entertained us with interesting  facts about St. Martin’ history. The clear blue skies gave us a view all the way to St. Kitts and Nevis.

A bite to eat at the airport (very expensive), an uneventful flight to Montreal and a sudden shock as I stepped off the plane in my shorts and tee shirt into -17 degrees. We’re back!

What a vacation… If I tried to find three words to sum up my experience, I’d say: discovery, delicious and dreamy.

Now back to reality. Thanks for reading and I hope you all get to enjoy these beautiful places yourself as we did. As the Caribbean’s say, “Lille more”, farewell.

 

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Saturday St. Martin: Valentine’s Day

Another beautiful day. We have hardly had any rain for two weeks. Must be their dry season in the Caribbean.

After breakfast, Mon and I decided to do a bit of shopping for a birthday gift for someone special in mind. There is a store here called the Yoda Guy owned by Nick Maley who was a make-up artist for the Star Wars movies. We had seen the store earlier but it was closed. Today we were in luck. Inside is a museum of original movie props and memorabilia. Really fascinating. We bought what we were looking for and as luck would have it, Nick Maley himself arrived while we were there. He gladly posed for a photo with us. We were delighted. Nice, is he. Met him, we did.

Afternoon was for the beach. Totally relaxed and starting to think about packing up soon for return to Canada. We are watching the blizzard on the news and feeling both sympathy and fear.

We exchanged Valentines cards and clinked glasses and toasted to many happy memories in our past and hopefully to many more.

For supper we made reservations at the Holland House restaurant for 6:00. We arrived just as the sun was setting. Very spectacular. Anna, our waitress escorted us to our table. We sat next to a very nice mother and daughter couple from Virginia & Boston (Marion and Kelly). They had just arrived and were thankful to have missed the storm back home. Both were seasoned travellers and we enjoyed sharing stories of adventures abroad. Marion has connections to Lunenburg, NS. Her grandfather was captain of the Blue Nose.

The Valentine’s special started with complimentary Grey Goose Cosmopolitans. Then a plate of appetizers with tuna sashimi, coconut shrimp, wonton lobster and king crab profiteroles. Each course had a wine pairing and for appetizers it was Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc. The next course was a second appetizer of “line caught Wahoo fillet with butternut pumpkin and shallot vinaigrette” (I’m reading this off the menu we saved). Again with the Sauvignon Blanc wine. The main course was “prime filet mignon with Osso-bucco, black truffle linguine, iberico and portobello” paired with the  Tommasi ripasso valpolicella red wine. (Unbelievably delicious). For dessert, it was help yourself to the chocolate fountain with fruit, honey cakes, wafers and I can’t remember what else paired with Sauternes dessert wine. A memorable meal and a rose for Monica.

After dinner, we sat in the lounge and listened to live music; soft saxophone and a lovely female crooner doing all the old favorite love songs. Mon waltzed with me around the lobby floor and then we called it a night. Happy Valentines Day sweetheart.