Shame on the haters so quick to judge others

Shame on the haters that are so quick to judge others.  It is disgustingly common on social media these days. Anyone commenting or posting is quickly pounced on by these haters who respond with scathing comments of their own.  It’s called trolling for a reason; these haters are ugly as trolls, and I’m not talking about their outward appearance.

The latest example I encountered was all the nasty comments surrounding the appearance and demeanor of Bianca Andreescu’s mom during the recent US Open.  At a restaurant watching the final, I heard firsthand things like “oh my god, that must be a wig” “what’s with the sunglasses?” and “doesn’t she ever smile?”

shame on the haters
Maria and Nicu Andreescu supporting their daughter Bianca at the US Open

 

This Twitter conversation started with a tweet from Chrissy Teigen, answered by other examples nastiness:

 

Bianca’s mom looks like someone is pretending to be Bianca’s mom. Someone check on Bianca’s mom!!  — christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) September 7, 2019

 

That’s what I thought, too! Hahaha! I was like Is that a wig? Sunglasses? Is the in the Witness Protection Program?

 

Was she trying to disguise herself or is she just Unattractive 🤷🏽‍♀️

 

Bianca’s response? “My mom’s a straight G. I will never be that cool”

 

I chuckled when I later heard an interview with Bianca, knowing some of these haters might be (should be) pretty embarrassed about their comments.  When asked how she maintains her composure and concentration during such stressful times (US Open against Serena Williams), Andreescu was quick to credit her mom.  Apparently her mom has been teaching her talented daughter yoga and mindfulness for several years.  So, when stressed on the tennis courts, all she has to do is look up and focus on her mother’s calmness to settle her nerves, block out the external issues (like the noisy crowd cheering for Williams) and return to concentrating on the game at hand.

“I don’t only work on my physical aspect. I also work on the mental, because that’s also very, very important,” Bianca added. “It’s definitely showing through my matches where I’m staying in the present moment a lot of the time. I don’t like to focus on what just happened or in the future.”

Shame on the haters! As Taylor Swift advised, “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate, shake it off!”  Good for you Bianca for shaking it off, putting these haters in their place, refusing to let their judgements ruin such an awesome achievement.  Your parents are obviously very proud of you and you of them.  Your appreciation for the sacrifices your parents made for their family is very mature and touching.

On a more comical note, after thrilling us with her tennis prowess, trophy in her arms, Bianca addressed the Williams’ fans displaying her sense of humour too:

“I know you guys really wanted Serena to win, I am so sorry about that”

How typically Canadian!

 

 

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Proud Canadians cheer on Bianca Andreescu

Arthur Ashe Stadium in NYC may have been filled with fans cheering every point American tennis powerhouse Serena Williams won this weekend, but proud Canadians were cheering just as loudly from their homes north of the border.  Not for Williams of course, but for their new sweetheart, tennis upstart Bianca Andreescu.  This teenager first captured our attention last January when she defeated some big talent in New Zealand’s ASB Challenge and then qualified for the Australian Open a few days later.

Yesterday, we proud Canadians were riveted to our TVs as Bianca Andreescu dethroned Williams with an incredible show of steely determination, perseverance and youthful charm.  What a matchup; David and Goliath revisited.  Andreescu as the inexperienced underdog, playing in her very first (but I’m betting not her last) US Open, against the seasoned veteran Williams playing in her 24th.

Andreescu’s composure was incredible with the fans roaring their approval of Williams’ every move.  When it appeared that Williams was mounting a comeback in the second set, Andreescu dug deep, rebounding from a change in momentum with fierce and impressive passion, winning two straight sets for the victory.

After winning the Canadian open just last month, Andreescu moved up to a ranking of 14th, from 152nd at the beginning of the year.  By the way, she was the first Canadian woman to win that title since 1969, gathering fans across our country.  With her remarkable win in the US Open yesterday, at just 19 years of age, she became the first Canadian to win a grand slam event.  Not to mention, the first woman ever to win the US Open in her first attempt.

What a year!  35 million proud Canadians are very impressed!

Proud Canadians
Bianca Andreescu
proud Canadians
Andreescu dethrones Williams

Teaching children to love nature

Because I am a nature lover, I assume that my grandchildren will automatically be nature lovers too. What I have come to realize is that teaching children to love nature is all about immersing them in it. This practice does not have to be an expensive endeavour, more of a shared life style, that can and should begin very early in life. One of my fondest memories of both of my grandmothers is their love of gardening.

I love all things garden related, so I make sure my grandchildren tour my gardens, patio and veranda plantings when they visit. I have added a few whimsical features throughout my yard to pique their interest, my way of teaching children. I love their sweet reactions!

I also have a few nature inspired features in my home décor that the kids love…

Teaching children has to be age appropriate or your students quickly lose interest. As my grand kids get older, the teaching or mentoring gets easier. In the spring they help me plant some decorations on my back deck. Then they water them throughout the summer to keep them thriving. I haven’t met a child yet that does not like to water flowers! Morning glories and sunflowers are easy to plant and grow quickly…

A word of caution when teaching children though, make sure you don’t care if they break your touches of nature. For example, the resin bunny has a broken tail and foot from two separate, accidental drops. And, one of my birdies cracked after my grandson threw it on a hard floor attempting to make it fly. I have to keep a close eye on the elephant as it is a sentimental (and very old) souvenir their great-grandpa brought their grandfather back from a trip to Africa.

New Insights into Mental Health

If you or a loved one suffers from anxiety disorders, PTSD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, mark your calendars for this mental health conference. Join Dr Douglas Turkington and Helen Spencer, both world-renowned experts from the UK, this coming (2019) October, here in Ottawa. They promise to share new insights into these increasingly common mental health issues.

It has taken years, but people are finally realizing that mental health is just as important as physical health. The stigma associated with mental health issues is subsiding and those affected are seeking the help they deserve. Research and information on the subject is changing constantly, but sometimes the medical jargon is hard to decipher. A conference like this, featuring respected experts, helps to demystify the information, sorting the facts from fiction.

TIPES (Teaching in Pictures Education System) is proud to support this “New Insights into Mental Health” conference; I in turn am proud to support TIPES and their incredible, devoted staff.

new insights into mental health

If attending this conference does not appeal to you, TIPES is also involved in another fundraiser in support of Ottawa’s autism community. Geared for family fun, this one collaborates with the Ottawa Redblacks football team…

If you were already thinking of attending the game or are looking for something fun to do Saturday, September 7, please order your Redblacks tickets through this link to support Ottawa’s autism community. Be sure to choose TIPES as the autism charity you wish to support.

Paint Night for TIPES

Recently I attended a fundraiser for TIPES (Teaching in Pictures Education Services) in the form of a paint night. I am no artist, but it was a fun evening, supporting a wonderful cause.

I have told you about about TIPES in a previous post, admiring the services that the dynamic duo of Jennifer and Deborah Wyatt and their staff provide for autistic children and their families. Since the new year I have been working at updating and editing their policy and procedure manuals, increasingly aware of just how incredible and extensive these service are. TIPES is a non-profit business, so their financial stability relies heavily on fundraising events. This paint night was just one of many such events scheduled throughout the year.

If you have read any of my posts, you will know how much I love our cottage life. The picture we were instructed to paint was a scene that could easily have been taken on Palmerston Lake where our cottage is located. Of course it wasn’t, but the scene was very appealing to me as I love the outline of the lush, majestic, verdant evergreen trees against the various shades of blue within the water and sky. This is my creation…

Can bees sting you more than once?

Can bees sting you more than once? They sure can, do and did; I have proof! Yesterday I was creating a planter for my front veranda of ornamental grasses and kale. I had put the planter on the lawn to avoid making too much of a mess on the veranda. I saw a bee in the adjacent garden, but didn’t pay it too much attention. When I lifted the completed arrangement up to carry it onto the veranda, I felt a sharp, prickly sensation on my upper leg, just above the hem line of my shorts. Thinking it was just a piece of plant material, (ornamental grasses can be sharp) I sort of brushed at it. (my hands were full) I then felt a second similar sting, so I set the pot down and checked my leg. A fat, fuzzy bee was latched on to my leg, working on a third sting!

I was always under the impression that bees only sting once then die. So, I googled the question; this is what I discovered:

Queen and worker bumblebees can sting. Unlike in honeybees, a bumblebee’s sting lacks barbs, so the bee can sting repeatedly without injuring itself; by the same token, the sting is not left in the wound. Bumblebee species are not normally aggressive, but may sting in defence of their nest, or if harmed.

Wikipedia

I guess that was a bumblebee then, definitely a bee (she was fuzzy and fat) and not a wasp or a honeybee. I say “she” because I also learned that only the females sting. This picture shows the difference is their appearance…

can bees sting more than once
left to right: honeybee, bumblebee and wasp

The bumblebee bites/stings were quite distinct on my leg within seconds. I didn’t think to take pictures until today, 24 hours later. What is amazing (to me) is that the leg is still very sore, swollen and hot even though the sting marks themselves are no longer obvious.

I may go back to the scene of the crime to see if there is a bumblebee nest in that corner of my garden. I did some research on the subject, so now know what to look for. I will not harm the nest if I discover one, just want to be aware of its location to keep my grandchildren away.

Floppy hydrangeas make great impromptu gifts

All of the many varieties of hydrangeas sport beautiful flowers. The worst feature of the white “snowball” type however, is that they are easily damaged in a heavy rainfall, creating a mess of floppy hydrangeas.

The large balls of flowers soak up the rain water causing the stems to bend and eventually snap from the excess weight. This happens more often if the shrub is cut back each spring as the stems never get a chance to get thicker and stronger.

However, when your hydrangeas flop in the rain, cut the stems near the spot they bent/snapped, turning the floppy mess into a beautiful bouquet. Do this as soon as possible after the offending downpour, remove all but the top set of leaves and immerse the cuttings into water immediately.

I encountered such a display of floppy hydrangeas recently in a client’s garden and rescued them to do just that. I used my smoothie cup for a makeshift vase, and voila, a gorgeous and fresh bouquet, ready for gifting…

I have done this before, with peonies too as they suffer the same fate during a heavy rain. If the client whose garden I am tending is home, I give the cuttings to them to beautify their own home. This client happened to be away enjoying the summer weather at her cottage though, so these floppy hydrangeas were destined to go elsewhere.

On the way home I dropped the bouquet off at a local nursing home. As it turned out, my timing was perfect. As I walked in with them, staff was organizing a get together for the residents. My offering was gladly accepted and my gift turned into a beautiful centerpiece for the occasion! In a new vase of course.

floppy hydrangeas
Garden Terrace, Kanata

Losing your mother changes your life

Losing your mother changes your life in many ways. I lost my own mother twenty-five years ago today, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, wishing she was still here. She barely got to know two of my sons and never did meet the third. With my sons all grown up and four sweet grandchildren of my own now I wish she could share the joy they all bring to our lives.

My mom died just after reaching her 65th birthday; I was 34. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and dead within 3 months, so we had very little time to get used to the idea of life without her before she was gone. She didn’t even have enough time to rally from the shock of the diagnosis to begin to fight for her life. Losing your mother leaves you shell shocked for a long time afterward.

My father had just retired and she planned to do the same. It would have been well deserved after working from the tender age of fourteen with only a brief hiatus to bear six children in eight years. Years of work and raising children were finally in the rear view mirror as she looked forward to a more carefree life.

With six children and 13 grandchildren (at the time) spread out over Canada and USA, my mother looked forward to visiting with them all often. She was the travel planner and organizer, my dad was more of the stay at home type. In fact, after her death my father rarely travelled more than a few kilometers from his home. He was heartbroken, literally.

My mother’s untimely death changed my life in many ways. Concerned that my own life expectancy may only be 65, I reduced my work hours and the accompanying stress level by changing departments. The goal was to concentrate on the important things like spending more quality time with my three young sons (I had a third not long after she died) and my husband. Volunteering at the boys’ schools, on field trips and for their sports teams became my focus. I do not want to feel that I should have spent more time with them when I am older.

When my boys were grown up and independent twelve years later, I once again began searching for more out of life. I made another drastic change and retired (very early) completely from hospital work to start my own gardening business.

Losing your mother makes you introspective, comparing your mothering style to hers. Not just your mothering style really, but all your mistakes and regrets, as well as the hopes, dreams and triumphs too. It’s like a wake up call to improve the quality of your own life. During her last three months, my mother and I spent many hours discussing such things.

As my grandchildren grow up, I try to spend as much time with them as I can as well. I hope to be around to witness their milestones, something my mom missed out on.

losing your mother
my favourite picture of my mom

Rabbit ears, why are they so long?

Why are rabbit ears so long? If you asked my granddaughter, she would tell you that long rabbit ears make good handles. At least the ones on the (resin) rabbit in my back garden do. Don’t worry, no rabbits were injured in this story.

I had positioned this rabbit in my garden in mid-May so it appeared he was peeking out from his hiding spot amongst the hosta leaves…

peek-a-boo rabbit

My granddaughter loves to check out my gardens, stopping to admire the flowers…

She also loves critters of any kind, except for dogs. For some reason she is afraid of dogs. Birds, bugs, and other (small) animals are like magnets though, so when she spotted the rabbit in my back yard, she made a bee-line for it..

Her memory is very good. The next time she was over she headed straight to the back yard to rescue her new buddy again. The hostas had grown considerably, so the rabbit was trickier to find, but she grabbed him by the ears, and took him for a stroller ride…

rabbit ears
taking bunny for a ride

Another favourite critter at Grandma’s is the pink pig watering can her cousin Carter loves to take on his adventures…

Wedding Flowers on a Budget

How do you find wedding flowers on a budget? Easy! Visit friends’ gardens looking for the color you want the day (mid morning is best) before the event, put the cut stems in cold water immediately and store them in a cool place until you are ready to arrange them.

A friend’s son got married this week, and I guaranteed I could provide the wedding flowers on a budget. The bride and groom did not want bouquets, just flowers for a few vases on the tables. That made it simple for me. The biggest problem I encountered was that the colour theme was blue and silver. Any garden or flower lover will know that blue flowers are rare, and silver non existent. Lucky for me I had blue delphiniums blooming in my own garden this week and a few Gardens4u clients that also had blue blooms to share.

Silver was a whole other problem; thank heavens for spray paint! To add silver accents, I painted ferns and babys breath for the vases, and dusty miller and an ornamental grass for the large arrangement at the front door. If you decide to try this trick, be sure to use lots of newspapers or other material to cover everything in the vicinity of the painting process. Spray paint gets everywhere!

The vases for the guest tables were tiny, silver and small-mouthed, so I used appropriately scaled down sprigs of flowers…

wedding flowers on a budget
blue and silver theme

with larger blooms reserved for regular sized vases on the head table and the gift table…

Weeks ago I planted blue lobelia and white dusty miller in an insert that fits into a plant holder to act as a “welcome sign.” Last evening I spray painted the dusty miller as well as a chunk of ornamental grass I chose for some height…

floral welcome sign

Voila, wedding flowers on a budget. The total cost was a measly $62. Some may say I have a green thumb, but today I am sporting a silver one!

silver thumb!