Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Some Things I am OBSESSED with these days and Canada Day (and Gigi's Birthday!)


Happy Canada Day!

147 years ago the True North Strong and Free came into being, and, if I do say so myself, it has been a pretty good run so far!

I am lucky to live in a (generally) peaceful country whose citizens, according to the latest poll, value our universal health care system and Charter of Rights and Freedoms over all else.  Yes, we are polite, but we are a good time at a party and we are kind.  We are not in your face, but we can go the distance.

It is hot here again today so we will likely swim and then head downtown this afternoon, where there is music and food a-plenty.

Happy Canada to my fellow Canadians!

Canada Day Fireworks


************

I am currently obsessed with some things that I feel the need to share!

The documentary Tim's Vermeer.

Tim's Vermeer 2013.jpg


We stumbled upon this on apple TV on the weekend and were gobsmacked, it was so good!

The synopsis from the official website:


Synopsis

A Penn & Teller Film

Produced by Penn Jillette, 2013

Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer ("Girl with a Pearl Earring") manage to paint so photo-realistically -- 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers.
Spanning eight years, Jenison's adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces, on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney, and even to Buckingham Palace to see a Vermeer masterpiece in the collection of the Queen.

This is part adventure/part mystery/part magnificent obsession/part genius in the best way possible and it made me so grateful that a) there are people like Tim in the world and b) Penn and Teller thought to make a documentary about it (and good documentarians they are, actually!).

I can't recommend this enough!

***********

I finally got around to reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert this past week.



Well, I read it over 2 days actually, because I was so caught up in the world that she has created out of one woman's seemingly small, and at times tragic, life.

We fall in love with Alma Whittaker from the get-go.  The book is sweeping, brilliant, and timeless in its storytelling.

This was sort of on my radar last year, but got lost in the accolades for The Luminaries, The Goldfinch and The Interestings.  This book belongs in that company, I am happy to say, and now that it is out in paperback, I highly recommend picking it up.  I cried my way through the last 15 pages, though I am a softy....

************

FIFA World Cup

Fifa-2014-World-Cup-Brasil-Wallpaper


Until 2 weeks ago, I had never really watched soccer (or as the vast majority of the world knows it as, football, which makes a lot more sense to me and I nominate that american football be renamed carryball forthwith! No hate letters from American and Canadian football fans please!) except for the Canadian women at the last olympics.

To be fair, until this world cup, I had been too busy to be follow much in the way of sports, but I am obsessed, obsessed I tell you!  I love watching the play, love the fitness of the players, the almost operatic acting as they fall to the pitch.  It is my kind of game!

And I have a crush.  An unlikely bloke perhaps, but I loves him nonetheless:

Arjen Robben of Team Netherlands:



He is mesmerizing on the field, a looping Mercury on the pitch, weaving this way and that among dumbfounded opponents.  And while others tire as the match proceeds, he seems to dig deeper and deeper, finding unimaginable sources of energy to keep going.

It was always going to be Netherlands for me, and here's why:

In 2008, our family visited the Netherlands for the first time.  It was a pilgrimage of sorts; Barry's great-uncle had been killed in Germany, near the border with Arnhem, and was buried in the small village of Holten in the Netherlands (which is absolutely lovely by the way and worth a visit).  One evening we left our B&B on the outskirts of Arnhem and went to dinner in a lovely local bistro.  It was a gorgeous night and we were the only ones there.  We left the restaurant and wandered around the neighbourhood.  Not a person in sight.

For persons like ourselves, ever vigilant for zombie epidemics, it was eerie..

However, when we returned to the B&B, our host Jurgen explained that there was a euro match on and everyone was home watching.  Everyone.  I asked who the Dutch were playing.  "Oh we're not playing," he explained patiently.  "Germany is playing.  We all stay home to root against Germany."

That my friends, is dedication AND a grudge.

I could kind of relate to that..

And frankly, the Netherlands is the most lovely country I think I have been too, at least from a gardening perspective.  The Dutch are orderly and adore beauty and while I aspire to the former, I am completely besotted with the latter.

Now I need to find some orange before the quarter-finals....Hmm, wonder if any of our sports shops have a jersey...

Have a wonderful Canada Day and a special shout-out to Miss Gigi, who is celebrating a birthday today!

stay safe out there!  We stand on guard for thee!  xoxo wendy




40 comments:

  1. ORANGE CRUSH Happy Canada Day right back at you WMM. Will definitely check Tim's Vermeer, thanks for tip.
    BTW, not sure how much you know about the World Cup table. But the only way NED & GER can possibly meet is if they both make it to the final, July 13. Your prematurely hair challenged player is often on the top tumblers list, but I agree about that 5th gear. Go KNVB. I could actually spell that out for you, but would take way too much comment space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BTW, it is Robben, minus the s. The Dutch are lucky to have two homonyms.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the spellcheck GF! I have a sister-in-law who is Robbins, so though I knew there was no S, must be ingrained in my DNA! will have to run and change!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BTW, AvR is merely 30. But you might appreciate this:
      http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/latest/arjen-robben-showing-world-cup-not-only-for-young-players-1-3460240
      Re. Oranje attire, NED Is with Nike, not official World Cup sponsor Adidas. In order, check Sport Chek, Sporting Life or Foot Locker, if have one near you. I got scalped for a tenner on EBay, but had to have a particular shirt for Saturday, you'll see. Not 100% into day-glo, safety vest orange as an overall look.

      Delete
  3. Hello Wendy,

    We wish that we could say that we have absolutely no idea what is going on in Brazil but, that would be a lie. Indeed, even without a television, never taking in a magazine and only skimming newspaper headlines online, we would have to be comatose at best and half dead at worst to not know that there is a little footie match going on.

    However, we could not agree more about the Dutch. They are such clever people we found with perfect English to a man and woman.their rye for design is exceptionally fine and the care which they take in their environment is outstanding. We recently spent some days in Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Delft and it was beyond wonderful. And, we made our own young Dutch friend who will soon be coming to visit Budapest!

    We must say that every Canadian we have met, sadly only a few, have all been generous, kind and huge fun. Enjoy your special day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jane and Lance - you made me laugh about the footie!!!

      The Dutch are divine and I need to go back and spend more time there! As for Canadians, we are huge fun, but then, I am biased!

      Delete
  4. Oh, and very happy cake day Gigi! Hope you are also looking forward to a great long weekend 4th...

    ReplyDelete
  5. WMM, I have been in full World Cup mode since it started: watching every game, screaming at the telly and so forth. My friend came over the other day to watch a game since she claimed the "real entertainment" was on the couch (me and my reactions) rather than on the screen!
    Happy Canada Day and happy Gigi Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anthro Blogger, my DH thinks same about in-house entertainment during footie - and he's British.

      Delete
    2. I am over the top - a combination of coaxing, bartering with the gods, yelling, hurling insults and ecstasy!

      Delete
    3. GF, I seem to remember you are also Latin American (am I right?) so maybe we should watch together and sell tickets :)
      WMM, I like your way!

      Delete
    4. I did grow up in SA, Latin America and mostly the Caribbean. Been rooting for the Colombians after their terrible recent history. And loving the Costa Rican fairy tale to date. But my heart of hearts (after mainly no-show ENG, 5 of whom are in my reg. club side) is with NED, a language I happen to speak fluently.

      Saturday will be a tough day!

      Atta girl WMM, with you in spirit. (Did I ever tell you that the first time I've ever said a really bad word in front of the pater was Boxing Day footie match on the telly. Of course, I blamed M.)

      Delete
    5. Oh GF! Reminds me of losing my cool at my dad once when I was about 11 and telling him to "go blow Joe" - I had know idea what the term meant and he was stopped in his tracks!

      Delete
  6. Will check out the Vermeer doc. We too are heading to some Canada Day fun this pm. And once the soccer talk starts I feel the same as I do when people switch to speaking French!! But it does seem to be a kind of a fever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary - you try one game and you are hooked!

      Delete
  7. I'm loving the games, there's something amazing at every level. I'm also being insufferable about the endurance levels of those gorgeous guys.

    Of course I dated a professional player for 4 years, a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. I had some pretty good endurance then too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are all so pretty, aren't they.... sigh...

      Delete
    2. Redemption for MOST men in shorts.

      Delete
  8. Hi Wendy, Happy Canada Day too! My Dutch friend is coming over with her daughter to travel around Canada a bit and will be with us for a few days next week. She knows that I'm too busy to squire her around, but I may not need to anyway if Holland is playing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patricia - you are so right - they will be glued to the telly!

      Delete
    2. Patricia, if it's Saturday, Wendy is correct, big match between one of the surprise stars of the tournament, NED, and the fairly tale team who were supposed to finish bottom of their group (the make-weights) and came out top over some of "world's best," Costa Rica.

      Delete
  9. Hi Wendy, Happy Canada Day to you too!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. A good Canada Day to you, and thanks for reminding us about Gigi's birthday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well i forgot it was also Dina's so headed over there to wish her the best!

      Delete
  11. Happy Canada Day to you and GF ( and Dani)! We are doing a bday here, too and then later this week a launching into a real job. Sigh.

    The Dutch are, I believe, now the tallest country; the US stopped "growing" some time ago. I am trying to watch some of the games, but I am a poor sports fan as I can't imagine winning being that important to anyone. But I am trying to get empathic with this.

    What I am excited about: picking my own strawberries. The best luxury.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lane strawberry picking, hurray and bring on the bowl, shortcake, angel food, mint etc.! I must try to get to a u-pick stat and not just our local farmers' market. (Late season in ON this year due to very late spring.)

      Delete
    2. wondering which DD this is? so many life changes....

      I love strawberry picking as well. Our upick is behind - it will likely open later this week.

      Delete
    3. I picked 18 pounds at a u pick as well. Froze a bunch.

      This is the little one--23 now!

      Delete
  12. Happy Canada Day! I just can't get into the soccer...I know, please do not flog me too harshly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. heehee! Well I don't get American Football, despite patient lessons by many, so I get you!

      Delete
  13. What a great post Wendy... Many things to share. Thanks for the documentary and the book recommendations. I am not a football - or soccer - fan, but tonight is really a special game. Belgium vs US... Our hearts are equally is those two countries :-)
    Have a great evening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steph - Belgium triumphed (what a nailbiter!) so I imagination there was much jubilation in your neck of the woods!

      Delete
  14. Great post- a little bit of all interesting things. The Vermeer book really intrigues me. Thank you for the idea.
    Have a nice swim, and enjoy the sun!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy Canada Day (a bit late!) I like the sound of the book, especially that you read it so quickly - always a good sign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jay! It is an intention of mine to spend Canada Day at Canada House in LOndon some year - I hear it is quite a good time!

      Delete
  16. I love docos, that one sounds corker, will action that tonight if I can. I have read that book, it was great wasn't it. She is clever that she can do different genres like that. Happy Canada Day! I want to see pics of all your traditions. There is still a lot of angst surrounding NZDay as that was the day the settlers took all the land from the native Maori people so in past has been filled with protests and sadness. However I am looking forward to 4th of July though I have to say this year we have not been invited to one single party. Just call me Nora no Friends.

    ReplyDelete

Kindness is a virtue...