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Feb. 14, 2015: This quote is from today’s Globe and Mail:

“Toronto police are investigating the recent theft of three paintings from the University of Toronto, including one by the 18th-century Italian master Francesco Guardi, two of whose works have sold for tens of millions of dollars at auction in the last four years.
At this stage, police believe the thefts, done between Jan. 30 and Feb. 10, are likely the work of the same person, a spokesperson said Friday. The Guardi, a Venetian view painting titled Church of Santa Maria della Salute, was taken from Trinity College on a date a Trinity official declined to reveal Friday. The others – Morning at Peggy’s Cove by William E. deGarthe and Credit River by Yee Bon – were removed on, respectively, Feb. 3 and the Feb. 7-8 weekend from Victoria University, according to Gillian Pearson, curator of the collection. In each instance, the thief or thieves left the painting’s frame behind.”
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I have a painting of Peggy’s Cove right inside my front door (in the so-called “foyer.”) My painting of Peggy’s Cove is by deGarthe.
The provenance of this painting is as follows.

Back in the old days (1962-3?) when the Thorncliffe Marketplace was young and new, and so was Thorncliffe Park itself, my cousin Libby (Elizabeth Smith, daughter of uncle Kenneth M. Smith) opened an art store in the Thorncliffe Marketplace (indoor shopping centre.) She sold art supplies, and original paintings. She had attended what is now OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) and was herself a very gifted artist. Someday I will post the pencil drawing she did of me before I was even a teenager. My best guess would be that this store adventure was when my daughter Anne was a new baby that I pushed to the mall in her carriage. But I digress.

Uncle Ken wanted to see his daughter succeed in her art store business, and so he somehow facilitated the visit of the artist Wm.deGarthe to Toronto to be (briefly) the ‘artist in residence’ while Libby was his agent in Toronto, displaying and selling his paintings from her store. DeGarthe painted a lot in Nova Scotia (I have never looked up his bio) which may have been why Uncle Ken was enamored of his work. (My Mother and all her siblings were born in Halifax.)

Being a new mom on a budget, and having retired (pregnant women teachers were required to quit their teaching jobs – I had lost my contract!) with no income of my own, I drooled over the paintings that I could not afford. One day Uncle Ken was in the store when I was there, looking around and (I must confess) fondling some of the paintings. I had been to Peggy’s Cove with my parents on our Nova Scotia trip, which I think was in 1950 (IIRC!) I’d fallen in love with Peggy’s Cove, and deGarthe’s paintings captured the seaside atmosphere perfectly. That day, Uncle Ken bought a deGarthe painting for me as a gift, and I have treasured it ever since (because of all the back-story which I have just related.)

So today I opened The Globe and Mail and found one of his paintings has been stolen, from Victoria College’s library! I don’t remember a deGarthe in the Vic Library when I was a Vic student, but the article this morning tells the reader that Vic received the painting as a bequest. I do know that this painting of mine has some value, but not much. DeGarthe was a second-rank Canadian painter in the larger scheme of things.That is, he was no Tom Thomson. But he WAS Canadian and that was enough for me. My painting (framed for me by cousin Libby) is 16 cm by 21 cm. Not worth a lot, but something. Maybe $500. Since I know what it cost Uncle Ken ($45), I would say the painting has appreciated quite nicely.

But most importantly, I enjoy my painting as much for the story of how it came to live with me as much as I appreciate having ‘Peggy’s Cove in the fog’ living in my home. I have been to Peggy’s Cove three times, and so I love my painting just for the memories of “Peggy’s” that it creates. My painting may have a title but I can’t see it. When Libby framed it for me, she covered the entire back of the painting with protective paper. So I just refer to it as ‘my Peggy’s Cove painting’ or as ‘my deGarthe.’ The painting is a little over 50 years old now. I have enjoyed it every day of that half-century. I hope that somewhere, deGarthe is glad that people still enjoy his work.

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Only a couple of days left in official summer! Earlier this week, the weather here was cold. I mean COLD for mid-September. On Monday and Tuesday there were residents sitting in the lounge wearing their coats. So management took the hint – a bit later in the week. (Mucking around with a 50-year-old heating system requires time, don’t you know?) So yesterday the heat came on in both buildings (which are joined together on the first floor and basement levels.) Tonight, my suite is a comfortable temp – about 68F. But the common areas on the main floor, where on Monday we were shivering, are now so hot that they are uncomfortable to occupy. The dining room was a sauna tonight. The next 2 days are predicted to be very warm. Of course, most of us had been getting ready to put away our summer clothes. Oops- not quite yet! I will be happy to see the cool weather settle in.

In other news, I have been wrestling with my iPhone, trying to get the new iOS8 installed. Having a hard time. Tonight I have been forced into searching the depths of the phone’s memory, and trashing old files, trying to make room for the new operating system, which requires a lot of GB. So far, no joy. More work and more trashing of files is required. I hate it that I am throwing out all these old files without actually looking at them to see if they should be saved. I just tell myself that if I haven’t looked at them for the last 2 years, then they are not high priority for saving. Out they go!

Speaking of iPhone, the sales of the new phone have gone through the roof. Here in the big city, a few people started standing in line on Monday, to be among the first to own the new phone. Did you see the picture of the lineup in NYC? If I read the news correctly, the lineup stretched out for 10 blocks at opening hour at the Apple store in NYC. I always feel sad that Steve Jobs did not live to see the amazing successes of his best-ever product. Anyone who did not get their hands on a new iPhone today, and had to reserve one for future delivery, will be waiting for it at least until the end of October. I also read that the sales of the new iPhone went through the roof in China, among other places. BTW, I am not a buyer of a new iPhone. I am happy with my current model, which I have had for 3 years, I think. It’s always with me.

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The Vic Discussion Group.

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Get this: one day in the last week when we were in the deep freeze, I walked Spike outside for a pee break. Took my eyes off him for a moment and then I didn’t know if he’d actually peed or not. Took off my glove, and stuck my hand underneath his belly and checked for dribbles. They were there alright, and they had already frozen solid. He had yellow icicles stuck to his belly!
He wears his warm sweater in the cold weather, but his genital area is left uncovered of course. That was a first –  to find frozen urine sticking to him just seconds after he had peed. Obviously it froze as it streamed out. Wow. I’ve never seen that before in 11 winters of walking Spike. This unusual occurrence certainly tells the tale of our frigid winter, which has been feeling like it will never end.

 

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"Let it snow!"

“Let it snow!”

February 1, and it’s snowing – all day. Yesterday was a blessedly mild day, temperature sitting at about zero Celsius, and the roads were dry. I decided I’d better get out while the getting was good. Hadn’t driven the car for over 2 weeks. Thank God I had leased a new Beetle in the autumn. If the old car had been left sitting for over 2 weeks, she would have been dead in the parking lot. New car, aka Pearl 2, started instantly with no complaints. So I got myself to the supermarket and stocked up in preparation for the expected new blast of bad weather. Said weather arrived on time and the snow was well under way when I got up this a.m.

Our seniors’ residence is currently in ‘lockdown,’ which is just another way of management saying, “We’ve got a bug in this residence, and we are trying to control it.” Lockdown means that all activities which involve residents getting together (except for meals) have been cancelled. Lockdown also means no visitors, unless the front office makes an exception (and you’d better have a really good reason.)
Days are long and boring when it’s too cold and wet/snowy to go outside, and there are no activities going on inside. I’m guessing that the management has a good guess for when the bug will taper off, because they have called a general meeting of residents for Monday afternoon. We have no clue what they are going to announce. At least they are going to hold this meeting in the biggest main floor lounge. Last time they called a meeting like this (2 years ago), they held it in the basement Theatre Room, which only has one door. That was a horrible day: the speaker (the then Executive Director) had no microphone; therefore 90% of the attendees could not hear a word he said. Because everyone had to get down there by the elevators, that fact meant long waits to go up or down. But the worst was that the Theatre Room has only one door, and all the residents crowded in there with walkers and wheelchairs. (The Fire Marshal would have seen red!) Had anyone even whispered “fire!” there would have been a panic, and a disaster. At least this upcoming meeting will be held in the main floor lobby, which has numerous exits. I just hope there is a microphone.
….to be continued

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Enjoying lunch, Dec.22

Enjoying lunch, Dec.22

This tree  made it through the ice storm.

This tree made it through the ice storm.

It’s Crazyville here in our seniors’ residence. The ice storm (it’s still a frozen landscape out there) has T.O. held captive since Saturday Dec. 21. Revera Leaside is now the temporary home of a whole gang of seniors (30 to 40 of them) from the “Revera Annex” residence, which is located in the ‘west of Yonge St.’ area. It has no power, and its residents are parked here to be fed and kept warm until their power is restored. Toronto city admin sez maybe everyone will have power by Christmas Day, but they are not making promises. I think it unlikely. There are just too many trees down, having taken down the hydro wires with them. Revera Leaside’s power is delivered by buried wires, so we have not had a power outage during the storm.

Try to imagine being very old (80 to 100), being told to pack a plastic bag with your overnight stuff, and then being transported to a totally unfamiliar residence (here) where most of your crowd has to sleep on air mattresses on the floor in the basement Activity Room. That is what has happened to the folks from the Revera Annex residence. Today they are wandering our house like lost sheep. They are disoriented, and many of them were already mixed up before they ever left home. For the residents here who are still “with it,” the only evasive action one can take is to retreat to one’s room. I went to lunch and came straight back to my room. It is fortunate for these poor souls who are out of their home that Revera had room for them here, no matter how basic the accommodation has been for them. Biggest problem for all of us is the fact that more than double the number of people are using the elevators. Long waits to get one, and when it arrives, it is crammed with walkers and/or wheelchairs. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. But not today. Probably not even tomorrow…and Christmas Day is a big question mark at this point.
I tried to make a reservation here for Christmas dinner, because the family doubts they will be able to shop between now and store closings on Christmas Eve. And even if they could shop, they are both without power, and therefore have no refrigeration to keep food for 24 to 48 hours. Alas, Christmas dinner here is fully booked. I was told, “Sorry, we are sold out” when I tried this morning to book Christmas dinner, just in case we need a Plan B. So that did not work out at all. Stay tuned.

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October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Miss Lily turned 7 years old yesterday.She’ll be dropping in to see me this afternoon before she goes out trick or treating tonight. Did I tell you I took delivery of a new car a week ago? I am so happy with my new Beetle, Pearl 2.I have never leased a car before,  but it seemed to be the right thing to do at this time of life. Photo to follow.

 

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