Thursday, 2 May 2019

April Wrap-Up


Greetings! April seemed to pass by at the speed of a bullet train. It was a month full of simple yet new experiences that stretched me. I'm sharing what was new to me below.

For readers who are first-time visitors to my blog, this is my 4th monthly wrap-up in 2019. My previous wrap-ups in 2019 are here: January, February, and March. I plan to write a wrap-up for each month so I can look back and see how well the year has turned out.

APRIL 2019

ARTS - I went to view three new exhibits and revisited the Same Dream exhibit by Omar Ba that I had seen in February to see it in more details. Each exhibit is blog-worthy, except that it would take me forever to write so I'm enclosing a sampling photo collage below. From top left and clockwise:
  • Elephant in an Indian wedding (The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India exhibit). 
  • Zuul's real body, the remarkably well-preserved ankylosaur discovered in Montana, USA (Zuul Dinosaur exhibit). Zuul was recently identified by paleontologists as a new species.
  • Assorted vases and tea pots by Leopold L. Foulem (The View From Here art exhibit).
  • Close-up of one of the paintings by Omar Ba (Same Dream exhibit).

Arts seen in April

BLOGS - I added the Subscription gadget on the right side bar on my blog, in case any reader would like to subscribe to my posts or comments.

In April, I wrote five blog posts to wrap up March, and share my art discovery in Ljubljana, how I keep my mind healthy, my day trip to Mostar, and the three walks to take in Slovenia. My sincere thanks to all commenters. Your comments encourage me to keep improving my writing and photography skills.

A friendly reminder that the next Wellness Wednesday link-up is on May 8. Optional prompt the B.E.S.T. Care (for Breasts, Eyes, Skin, and Teeth). Please feel free to join in on the fun.

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

BOOKS - I read five thought-provoking books by authors from Canada, the USA, and the UK. The first three are mystery fiction novels that kept me wondering about what was going to happen next to the characters. The last two books are inspirational and empowering.
  • The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre, 399 pages (2009 Giller Prize winner). This novel is about a priest's struggles with his past and his job to clean up delicate situations involving scandals, sexual abuse allegations, and wayward priests.
  • Before The Fall by Noah Hawley, 390 pages. This novel is about how a down-on-his-luck painter's life is changed after he survived a plane crash with a four year-old boy who is the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.
  • Panic Room by Robert Goddard, 371 pages. This novel is about how a housekeeper's life becomes invaded after the discovery of a panic room in the house and people come looking for the house owner, a missing rogue pharma entrepreneur.
  • In Pursuit of Excellence by Terry Orlick, PhD, 373 pages. Orlick, a professor and sport psychologist, shares how we can adapt the most effective strategies that high performance athletes or top performers use in pursuit of excellence and apply them in our lives.
  • The Choice: Embrace the Possible, a memoir by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, 288 pages. Dr. Eger, a Holocaust survivor, tells her unforgettable story in this moving testament to the resilience of human spirit and the power of choice in our lives.

Books read in April

CONCERTS - I attended three classical piano concerts performed by Asher Armstrong, Lisa Tahara, and The Bedford Trio, plus one performance by the Toronto Mass Choir. The pianists' performances were superb and the vocals by 35-40 choir singers were powerful. They all have my complete admiration.

FAMILY - We took time out around Easter long weekend and travelled by train to Kingston, a city about 2.5 hours east of Toronto. The train ride was relaxing with free Wi-Fi on board. We had a lovely time in Kingston focusing on family activities.

VIA train

FRIENDS - April felt like a socially active month. I had nine fun meet-ups with my friends, a record for 2019 so far. I think after the winter season, everyone is more eager to go out. I love that we have many coffee shops for friends to get together casually and catch up without breaking the bank. I wrote about my favourite coffee shops here.

HEALTH - In April, I got a perfect score for my fitness routine which includes daily meditation, walk 6x/ week, gym 3x/ week, yoga 2x/ week, swim 1x/ week, and one rest day/ week.
  • 30 meditation sessions - Nothing new other than a consistent practice.
  • 26 walks - My outdoor walks are so much fun in the spring as I have been spotting various birds in the gardens. They move too quick for me to take good photos. The signs of spring flowers are refreshing. We typically have pansies, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and tulips at this time of the year.
  • 13 strength workouts in the gym - I changed a couple of exercises and increased the number of repetitions on some existing exercises.
  • 9 yoga classes - My yoga class instructor always makes each class unique so we are not on auto-pilot.
  • 4 swimming sessions - I kept the same duration and mixed the strokes. I love that I'm free to create a unique swimming session every time.

A lovely spring day

LANGUAGES - I took online French and Spanish lessons every day in April. Duolingo added new updates so there are plenty of new lessons for me to learn.

MOVIES - I watched three movies with my neighbours. Coincidentally they were all about well-known or powerful Americans.
  • Stan & Ollie - a movie about the Laurel and Hardy comedy duo.
  • Vice - a movie about former US vice-president Dick Cheney.
  • On The Basis of Sex - a movie based on a true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Movies seen in April

TRAVEL - While my family and I were in Kingston at Easter, we enjoyed visiting Kingston's waterfront, Shoal Tower National Historic Site, Kingston City Hall, and the former Market Battery.

Shoal Tower, a circular stone defensive tower, was built by the British government from 1846 to 1847 as one of four Martello towers and the Market Battery, in order to reinforce Kingston’s existing defence system in response to the anticipated American threat during the Oregon Crisis.

The historic sites in Kingston are open to visitors starting mid-May. I hope to return in the summer to further explore Kingston Fortifications.

Shoal Tower, Kingston, ON Canada

Overall, April was full of ordinary activities that made up a very good month for me. I look forward to enjoying May and planning for summer travels. New adventures await!

How was April for you? What good things happened? I'd love to hear your comments.


40 comments:

  1. I am always in awe, Natalie, of how much you accomplish in a month. Amazing! I hope your May is as productive and enjoyable.

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    1. Thank you, Christie, for your kind comment. I try to focus on what brings me joy and it seems to work so far. I hope April was good to you. Have a marvellous May!

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  2. Hi, Natalie - You continue to thoroughly inspire me. On top of all else that you do, your perfect fitness score is very commendable!

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    1. Thank you, Donna, for your encouraging comment. When I'm at home and not traveling, I can do my fitness activities consistently.

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  3. You are so good at making your health a priority, Natalie! If I were to turn all my hours at the computer into exercises, sports, and walking, I’d be a better person - mentally and physically. Well done! And, lots of social time as well. Spring must be such a nice time to walk in Toronto! What did you think about the movies you watched?

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    1. Thank you, Liesbet, for your kind words. Spring is a very nice time to walk in Toronto. We've had April showers and they've brought May flowers :)

      I think the friendship theme in the Stan & Ollie movie is sweet. The two comedians were active before I was born so someone in my parents' generation would likely enjoy it more than me. The Vice movie portrayed Mr Cheney as a power-hungry, manipulative and self-serving person so based on the movie alone, I disliked him and found the movie disturbing. In contrast, I enjoyed the On the Basis of Sex movie as it's about how Ms. Ginsburg had to overcome sexism and personal challenges to achieve her successes.

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    2. Thank you for those insights, Natalie!

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    3. You're very welcome, Liesbet. Thank you for asking :)

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  4. YOu are very active. I'm ashamed. I'd like to have excuses but I think laziness is the only real reason. I'm beginning to notice that is a theme for me. Haven't seen Stan & Ollie but loved Vice and really enjoyed On the Basis of Sex _ not sure why it didn't do better here.

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    1. Thanks, Lydia, for stopping by. I try to be disciplined with my time and do what I enjoy. So far so good :)

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  5. Hi Natalie, well done you with the subscription option added to your blog. I always enjoy your visits to the Arts and the Elephant in the Indian looked amazing. Another great month for you and I have my Wellness Wednesday post ready to link up this week. Have a fabulous May xx

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    1. Thank you, Sue, for your kind comment. I look forward to reading your Wellness post on Wednesday. I hope your move went well.

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    2. Hi Natalie we have settled in well thank you and love living near the ocean. The only downside is I am now 1hour away from my grandsons rather than 10 minutes. Thanks for sharing your April with us at #MLSTL and have a fabulous May. x

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    3. Hi Sue - Glad to hear you've settled in well. Living near the ocean is wonderful. Thank you for hosting MLSTL. Here's to a fabulous May!

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  6. As always your April read as a fun one, but balanced between activity, cultural, travel and social. I haven't done my April round-up yet - mostly because I'm on holidays, but also because it really was work. Day job work plus I wrote the best part of a novel during that month. I tell you what I was so mentally drained by the time I got on that plane last week! Here's to a fab May.

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    1. Well done with your novel writing, Jo. Sounds like you had an intense time and some down time is needed. Here's to a fab May.

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  7. So much packed into the month! I had a social April too! I admire your dedication to learning TWO languages!

    SSG xxx

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    1. I look forward to reading about your social April. Learning two languages that have similarities is a good and fun challenge :)

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  8. What a great fitness score, amongst all those other activities too! A great month for you Natalie and not at all ordinary!!! #lifethisweek

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    1. Thank you, Deb, for your encouragement. I look forward to reading about your April.

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  9. You did so much and gotta love free wifi! April went by in a flash, and am hoping May is a slow and calming month for me x

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    1. I hope May is calm and lovely just as you want it to be, Alicia. Thank you for stopping by.

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  10. Natalie, I am impressed with your fitness schedule! Mine is going up a notch or two as I am training to do another half marathon in August. Its been a few years. Lets just say I am sleeping well!! Toronto in spring will be delicious with all those spring bulbs.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - I'm impressed with your training for the half marathon. Spring flowers are in bloom here, just lovely.

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  11. Hi, Natalie - Me again! I've just dropped in from #MLSTL to add that I have shared this post on my Social Media.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. Always great to hear from you.

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  12. I thought we got out and did a lot in one month but WOW! That is an impressive list of concerts, art showings, and travel.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. The leisure and travel activities are fun so I'm quite eager to pursue them :)

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  13. Another fantastic month for you Natalie - you seem to cram so much in to those few short weeks. I read The Choice a couple of months ago and it made a big impact on me and was a great reminder about choosing to not have a victim mentality.
    I just changed my email subscription process from Feedburner to Mailchimp after Feedburner failed on me. It was a great little product for the three years I used it, but people do comment that it can be unreliable - so keep an eye on it.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM :)

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    1. Hi Leanne - I agree The Choice is a great reminder. I read on Dr. Eger's web site that she's appearing on Oprah later this month. At 90 years young and still very active, she's a remarkable person. Thank you for the tip on Feedburner. I'll look into Mailchimp. Have a beautiful week!

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  14. You do get to do and see a lot but as you said above, it is fun. Good for you. Loads in your April and loads of enjoyment too.
    Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt: 19/51 Contentment Is…13/5/19 I hope you will join in! Denyse

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    1. The fun activities get me outdoors and enjoy life. Thank you, Denyse, for hosting LTW. Have a beautiful week!

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  15. Another busy month! Always interesting to see what you have crammed into your days - your fitness regime puts me to shame!

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    1. Hi Deb - I think you've been doing great with yoga and zumba. Thank you for stopping by. Have a beautiful May!

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  16. Ooh, you read some really great books! I only was able to read one and half of another- however they are 800+ pages each, so I'm going with it. Can't put a price on settling into a good book no matter how long it takes!

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    1. Gotta read a good book to the end. Thanks, Jamie, for stopping by.

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  17. Wow, you sure packed in a lot in April. No wonder it flew by! I don't keep track of my month to month activities like you do, but I might consider it. It does provide a great sense of balance in all the element of life.

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    1. Thanks, Pat, for your comment. The monthly wrap-up works for me. Hope you're enjoying May.

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  18. Interesting that you were having the "Same Dream" that you did in February! You really did pack a lot into a short month!

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer, for your comment. The 'Same Dream' art exhibit is here for about three months. I liked the paintings so went back for a second visit. Admission is free.

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