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Remembering My Sister

My sister, Liz, passed away unexpectedly yesterday. We were just two years apart and she was living a full and happy life, still in the town where we both grew up, London, Ontario. She had two daughters, who both lived close by and she shared her home with her dog, Zoey. Two grandchildren were also a part of her life, Taelor, who also lived in London and Bradon in Alberta. Liz and I shared a love of cooking and often exchanged recipe notes over the phone.

She came to visit often with her daughters and she loved going to the Grove. I will think of her every time I go there, especially to the candy store where she could always find her favorite Necco Wafers. Her last visit to L.A. was last October, when she and the girls went to experience the Universal Citywalk Halloween Horror Nights. They said it was the best time they ever had. A few months before that I saw her in London at the opening of the new playground I donated to Springbank Park in London. It was the same place where she and I used to play as children. I’m so glad she got to share that experience with me. Here she was at Springbank Park last June. I wish I could see her again. She left so quickly and sooner than any of us imagined.

Rest In Peace, my beloved sister.

1944-2017

Taking a Break

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I’m taking a break from my blog so I can bake more cookies. Seriously, there is not enough time to focus on my Jenny Can Cook website and recipes, handle the daily responsibilities of being alive, and still have time to go to the mall. So I won’t blog for a while but I will start back up when my next philanthropy project gets going. (I need time for that too!)

Some subscribers were lost when I changed servers so if you got notified about this post, you are still subscribed. If not, feel free to subscribe for when I come back to this blog. I’ll be back soon… maybe sooner if George Clooney ever returns my calls! 🙂

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I Can’t Throw Them Away

Honey Bottles

What is my problem? I can’t throw things away! Those cute plastic bottles that honey comes in? I have twenty-seven! After my next batch of granola bars, it’ll be 28! And a good jar with a lid that screws on tight? I can’t throw them away! I need a bigger kitchen.

It’s not just my kitchen items. This is much bigger than that. I have wrapping paper from 1985; Rubber bands spilling out of a shoe box; Pieces of fabric from dresses I sewed in the 70s; Did you know old socks make good cleaning rags? I digress. I also have: Cookbooks that use ingredients they don’t even make any more; Keys that don’t open anything… but you never know; Plastic forks from my 40th birthday party; Enough pieces of string for any possible things that need to be tied up… until I die.

Am I the only one?

Opening Day for Shelah’s Place!

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The new playground is finally open! There were hundreds of excited children, just waiting for us to cut the ribbon and then wow! They ALL ran past us to play! That was the moment I had dreamed about but seeing it in person was even better than I imagined.

IMG_9693 copyThey played on every single new piece of equipment, climbing, spinning, hanging upside down, and all I could hear was the sound of pure joy. This new play area is now the largest fully accessible playground in the city.

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The triple slide seemed to be a big hit with the little ones, especially when they land on the new soft rubber safety surface.

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It was hard to count but it looked like at least 300 kids ran on to play and we had about 1,000 people who came for the opening. It was so much fun, with free snow cones, cupcakes, and face-painting. Here’s a little girl who stopped to thank me for the new playground.

Face Paint copyI simply can’t put into words how rewarding this was for me and the joy that I felt seeing this playground in person. It took a team of people from the city who worked for almost a year to make it happen and my gratitude goes out to every one on the team. I appreciate how many people turned out for the opening on a beautiful, but hot, sunny day. Most importantly, I got the share this day with the person whose idea and vision made this all possible, my London Hometown Hero, Shelah Brook. Welcome to “Shelah’s Place.”

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Playground is Almost Ready

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Kids in London are counting the days until the new playground is open and it’s almost ready. The colors are just as fun and bright as I imagined. And the number of things to do will be awesome. I love the triple slide!

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Next, they’ll be installing the rubber safety surfacing and I’m especially happy that this new playground will be handicapped accessible. I can’t wait to see it in person!

Playground in Progress

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They finally started working on the new playground in my hometown of London, Ontario. This week they are installing the handicapped accessible equipment. Then next week the entire area gets covered with rubber safety surfacing. After that, some last minute work, and then the grand opening in Springbank Park.

This is the park where I used to play growing up. My sister and I couldn’t wait to get on the swings and teeter totter and we loved the little round wading pool. Springbank Park is a beautiful place that sits alongside the Thames River. Yes, both London, Ontario and London, England have a Thames River.

I have only seen pictures of what’s to come and I can’t wait until it’s actually there. The grand opening is coming soon!

First Look at the New Playground

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Here’s a rendering of the new playground coming to my hometown of London, Ontario. That’s all rubber safety surfacing and there are so many fun things to do I can’t even list them all. I wanted it to be colorful (if you’ve seen my kitchen and all those spatulas, you know I love color!) and I think the blue, yellow, and red look fantastic.

The work starts next month and the grand opening is planned for June 18th. There is a post on the city website where comments by residents are welcomed. Here’s a link:

http://www.london.ca/residents/Parks/Parks-Projects/Pages/Springbank-Park-Playground-Upgrade.aspx

Does This Look Like Me?

Bert wrote to me saying, “I have a dress pattern by Simplicity. It looks very much like you on the package modeling the dress. Is that you?” Bert was kind enough to send a copy of the pattern (thank you for that!). So…. does this look like me? Me with dark hair? Me circa 1965??

Simplicity PatternI did some modeling in my teens. I even landed a cover! Okay, it was a bar of soap but it was the cover…

select soapSo what do yo think? The soap box was me around the same time. (It should have been an eyeliner product – or an ad for “Hairstyles you can hang clothes on. With a flip like this, who needs a coat rack?”

Back to the pattern. This looks like an easy one to make. I still have some Simplicity and Butterick patterns for dresses I made when I couldn’t afford to buy them. But the cover of Simplicity #5589 – does this look like me?

Making Progress in London

We are well underway with the new playground at Springbank Park. A few months ago, I committed some funding for a brand new accessible playground in my hometown of London, Ontario. The idea was suggested by London local, Shelah Brook, and now she and I are both part of the team working on the development of the new play area.

We just had our second meeting, with me on Skype, and things are moving quickly. In just a few weeks we will have some designs to look at and I can hardly wait for that. The plan is for a grand opening in the spring. I had committed $130,000 in Canadian funds but the exchange rate is so favorable, I added a little more and now our budget is $150,000 CAD.

I’ve never skyped before and I would rather be there in person but I’m glad to be able to participate so there I am on the laptop.

Photo3_1200There are quite a few people on the team and they are the nicest bunch. (but that’s what everyone says about Canadians!) From left to right we have: Shelah Brook (this was her idea), Julie Michaud, Dianna Clarke, (me), Judy Spencer, Michael Dawthorne, and Terri-Sue Wyatt. Andrew Macpherson, the manager of environmental and parks planning, was there too but somebody had to take the picture!

So that’s my progress report. More updates to come…