Thursday, May 25, 2023

Gratitude #75

Welcome to my monthly Gratitude post. All month long I note little things that make me smile, that me feel gratitude, things that I like or love. Several of us write these posts; you can read more at LeeAnna‘s blog Not Afraid of Color.
1. I love dogs. When I was in Alberta at the beginning of May, visiting Brianne and Brady, one of the things Brady requested we do is meet up with my niece, Brianne's cousin, Sheila. She has three little dogs, cute little characters, who love going to the off-leash dog park in Edmonton's River Valley. It is a massage for the soul and spirit there: dogs of all sizes, shapes and ages, running around, just being dogs. Some chase balls, others chase each other, still others just amble or race along behind or in front of their owners. There is a huge field where they can run around, there are trails through forest and bush, and there is the river where they can swim. It's a paradise, and always leaves all four of us, well all seven, counting the three fur mops, just so content and at peace.

2. I liked the outfit that Governor General Mary Simon was wearing for the King's Coronation.

You can read more details about it here in Nunatsiaq News, but it was designed by "celebrated singer-songwriter designer and mental health activist, Beatrice Deer", who, like Governor Simon, is also from Nunavik. It includes traditional beadwork, fur and embroidery details, and has over 50 hours of work in it! I loved reading that she devised a way to do the beadwork similar to how I did more intricate quilting designs in the early days of quilting on my Elna and then Bernina: laying gold tissue paper down to trace the design, then laying the tissue paper over the quilt, and quilting through it, following the lines. Beatrice used this same technique to work the intricate and complex beading, (take a look at the coat of arms!).

Source: Nunatsiaq News

3.I like this sign on the restaurant where Brianne, Brady and I ate supper one night in Beaumont.

And I like this photo the waitress took of the three of us.

4. I like our Eastern Redbud tree. Actually I love the group of five trees (Bradford pear, Dogwood, Tulip tree, and a maple) we planted in one half of our front yard in 2020 to commemorate several momentous occasions, my 60th birthday that year as well as our 40th anniversary, also one for my mum who passed away in 2018, and one for Rocco, who passed away in 2020.

Those pinks against the greens! 

5. I like the bird bath that MacGyver made. He brought home from Alberta an old water tank from my cousin's farm that he plans to use as a mold for bending metal. He cut off the top and bottom, painted one of them, and set it on a stand he randomly found by the curb on a dog walk. The birds love it.

6. I like Shoppers. It’s a pharmacy but has some foodstuff, beauty and personal care. I do not like the owner, who, like all grocery chains, has become stupid rich with the price gouging. However, they have kept their points system, and they do bonus points redemption events. So for my 200,000 points, usually worth $200, I was able to get $300 worth of merchandise. I got some Vichy skin care products, and a ton of household stuff including some food products. 

7. I love my bearded irises!
Not shown in the picture that there is a splash of apricot in the centre petals!

8.  I like a new-to-me author, Isabel Allende. She has written a lot (nearly 30 I believe: her site.) of books. I am just about finished a historical fiction one of hers, from 2020, A Long Petal of the Sea. It follows two main characters through the Spanish Civil War in 1930s, their escape as refugees to Chile on board the SS Winnipeg thanks to the work of Pablo Neruda, their lives upended in the Chilean coup by Pinochet in 1973, and I’m now in 1983-1991 period. I didn’t know a lot about these two major events and I’m chilled by how similar currents events are to the Pinochet coup and lead up to it.
Refugees seem to be the theme this past month as I read two other books in this vein: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and Hotline, by Dmitri Nasrallah. I’m slowly working my way through the Canada Reads five books, and Hotline was one, very good. As a white privileged woman, I really do not have any clue how hard of a life refugees have, the suffering they’ve been through, the loss, and the constant struggles in their new countries trying to make ends meet, fit in to a new culture, learn the language… they deserve all the respect and encouragement and help we can give. And more. A lighter one, by another new-to-me author, Mhairi McFarlane, I enjoyed was Just Last Night. It reminds us of the fragility of life, how one moment can change everything, and also that appearances are very deceiving.

9. We are enjoying the third season of Indian Matchmaking on Netflix. Well worth the watch. I started From Scratch also very good, but right now, rather heart-wrenching. It makes me want to go back to Europe though.

10. The prompt this week was where we’d like to vacation if we could go anywhere right now. Well for me it’s always and forever France. The south of France in particular: St-Paul de Vence, Avignon, Arles, Nice, Aix-en-Provence… anywhere in the south. The photos that follow are from Nice in 2019.



  1. I like redbud trees too. And MacGyvers original one of a kind birdbath.

  2. Whenever I see your gratitude post, I think - is it really the end of the month already? :) Beautiful blooming trees in your yard! Hooray for time with your kids, too. Love MacGyver birdbath - fun idea! Your photos of France are lovely and enticing. Have you kept up your French speaking skills since retiring?

  3. great likes, We always support dog friendly restaurants even when our dog isn't with us... my niece lived in Aix en provence for a year on student exchange. Love redbuds, and isn't Brady BIG all of a sudden, he looks like a teen!

  4. I love the splash of the pink flowers against the bright green backdrop, too. Looks like a really lovely visit with Brianne and Brady. <3

  5. When/How did Brady get so big? Is his voice cracking. I am somehow stuck in a rut of reading about the Holocaust. We thought this could never happen again. Yet it continues in many lands with many people, all in the name of "religion". Your trees are looking so wonderful. It is such a pleasure to see spring arrive after such a long hard winter. I love the last photo of Provence the best with the balconies on that building in the middle. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Another lovely gratitude post and your trees are looking lovely. I too love dogs ( most animals really) and have many dog cuddles when out & about. Not been to south of France, but it looks interesting. So McGyver is another handy person. We love turning old timber & other bits into something interesting also. Thanks for sharing, take care & hugs.

  7. I love reading your gratitude posts! I love the flowering trees this time of year. What wonderful intricate needlework on the Governor’s dress. Is gold tissue paper special? I’ve used plain old white tissue paper in that way. I like it but it tears easily.
    So glad you had family time with Brianne and Brady! He surely is growing into a handsome lad!

  8. I enjoyed your post!!! So many things to be truly grateful for!!! And thanks for the Netflix recommendations!

  9. I love all the trees you planted, and what a lovely idea to plant a tree in memory or honor of a loved one. That is a great photo of you and your family. That kind of restaurant sign draws me in immediately, I wonder why. I bet your bearded iris smell wonderful.

  10. Sandra, I loved everything you shared and all the great photos. How wonderful to see you with Brianne and Brady! And then the dogs, flowers, and trees. However, I nearly gasped when you shared your desire to return to southern France. I almost wrote the exact same thing! We spent about a week in Nice and rode the bus to new destinations every day, including Saint Paul de Vence, which was fabulous! We also took the bus to Monaco and toured the town on foot and enjoyed the Jacques Cousteau museum. (We didn't have time to venture into Provence or north to Paris, and part of me would love to return.) We don't know a lick of French, so we had a few moments of panic as we navigated our way with Rick Steves' travel guide in hand. It was an adventure, and I loved seeing your photos that are similar to my own. Thanks for the mental trip back to that spectacular location.

  11. So many great loves for this Thursday. My fave has to be the picture of the 3 of you...your daughter looks a lot like you and Brady is so grown up! I would travel to Ireland and Spain, but really anywhere in Europe, I would be happy to see.