Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shangri La

"Anna Rice Cooke founded the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 1927 in order to share her love of the arts with the children and people of Hawaii:

"That our children of many nationalities and races, born far from the centers of art, may receive an intimation of their own cultural legacy and wake to the ideals embodied in the arts of their neighbors…"

"The Honolulu Academy of Arts is Hawaii's premier art museum, with a collection of over 50,000 works. An encyclopedic museum where original works of art can be experienced in state-of-the-art galleries, it has major strengths in European and American painting, graphic and decorative arts, and the arts of Asia. With education as its mission, the Academy also administers the Academy Art Center at Linekona, the largest private art school in the Islands."

"Mission Statement:
The Honolulu Academy of Arts is dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and teaching of the visual arts, and the presentation of exhibitions, films and videos, performing arts, and public programs specifically relevant to Hawai'i's ethnically diverse community."

Our final day in Hawaii and Lesley and Tom treat Dana and I to a most wonderful museum experience. The Honolulu Academy of Arts is a charming little place both architecturally and in it's collections. The best part was our tour of Doris Duke's home "Shangri La". I will link to the website if you are interested, but once again, just like the Hagley Museum in Wilmington Delaware, this is one of America's little jewels.

Doris Duke's Shangri La

You are not allowed to take photos inside this sumptuous house, but as an artist, if you have never been influenced by Islamic art, you will be after you see this mansion. I want to come home, buy up fascinating tiles and start plastering things to my walls!!! This bird of paradise flower is in THE most perfect setting. This is where it belongs. I'll leave you with two more photos of the estate, and then I'm signing off with my Aloha Honolulu night shot of departing the airport. Note to self: Get one of those little tripods!


See you next in Vancouver!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Did you know that Jack Johnson is Hawaiian-born???

All this time I've been looking for the Beach Boys, who are most assuredly in California, and yesterday we drove by Jack Johnson's house!

My loyalties are being tested.

As you can see by my side-bar, he is one of my "current" faves. If you are interested you can read all about him.....
Jack Johnson

Waimea Beach Park

Highway, North O'ahu
During the summer months the water of this "Reddish" bay is calm and great for swimming with a large sandy beach area. But watch out during the winter months when the waves can reach heights of thirty feet. This is the home of the largest, most dangerous and spectacular surf in the world.

This is our last beach day, and what a beach. The water is so very clear and these pictures cannot do justice to the colour of the water. Today was extra special as there was a Humpback Whale sighting and they were close enough that you can put your head under water and hear them! The sound is akin to a moo. Perhaps this is why female whales are called cows. At some point, they sound a bit like sheep....the only other sound we have as reference to compare their soulful moans. That was truly a hilight of this trip. We were joined by a couple of Lesley's teacher friends - they are all on March Break, so it was an energetic crowd.

Later in the day we drove along the North coast... They think this is a really far drive, I mentioned that sometimes I go that far for groceries :) We hit Pounder Beach and found a little rain, but it's so welcomed after such a bright shiny day on the sand and the water.I'm going to say Aloha for now. Off to a museum and Doris Duke's "Shangrila" this morning, one more Hawaiian sunset and then back to Vancouver, where I will stop-over with Gordon and Rachael. I've been trying to figure out how to stay here and have them come and join me....

Once here, I can see why people don't want to leave.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Picasso Triggerfish

Otherwise known locally as "humuhumunukunuku apu a'a"

This is why it's a good thing that there are only 13 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet.
A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W, and the Okina [ ' ]

SPAM - The MEAT variety

Spam Jam, held along Waikiki's Kalakaua Avenue. And, yup, this year the wacky festival once again celebrates Spam, the luncheon meat everyone loves to ridicule. Everyone, that is, but Hawaiians. Fiftieth staters consume nearly 6 million cans a year, or almost six cans for every man, woman, and child. Some call the gelatinous pink pork "Hawaii's soul food."Spam worked its way into the hearts—and arteries—of Hawaiians during World War II. Fresh meat was scarce at the time, so civilians loaded up on the brand-name C ration well known to GIs. Needing no refrigeration, the proletarian pork product soon became one of three items islanders stock up on (along with toilet paper and rice) during threats of hurricanes, tsunamis, or dockworkers' strikes.

More recently, McDonald's added Spam to its Hawaiian breakfast menu, while island chefs toy with it. Hawaii's Spam Cookbook lists recipes for Spam omelets, Spam and beans, and Spam with Japanese radish fermented in a syrupy sauce.
Another little known fact about Hawaii.
Isn't this the oddest thing? Only in Hawaii....weird.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In Search of the Beach Boys

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I was in search of "Ina" in Paris and now that I'm in Hawaii, I'm waiting for a "Beach Boys" sighting. I've only just found out that many of their songs evoke California as opposed to Hawaii, but you never know. It's close enough.

When you see surf boards, deuce coupes, and bikinis everywhere, you can't help but imagine that they were here!

Tomorrow we are headed for the North Shore which is where the big surf is....also a lot of good bars, according to our hosts, who know all about this sort of thing :) I'll just bet those guys are still sitting there with their skinny legs drinking something with an umbrella in it!
The Beach Boys - Hawaii
Off to Waikiki to a sports bar to watch a basketball game that has something to do with CAROLINA!!!!! ----p.s. we're eating pineapple!

Meet the Dogs

These are the two little Dachshunds we are looking after.

"Smashed Banana"...a.k.a "Nana", is the two toned darker, older and faster of the two. "Coco" is the baby and a little less outgoing than her sister. They are THE most affectionate dogs I have ever encountered. They love to snuggle and can tear away and run like the wind in the local leash-free zone. They have wonderful personalities and we all just love these dogs.

It's proven really difficult to photograph them, as they are curious about the camera and won't stay put long enough to get a nice "pose". This is the best we've come up with. After Susy's request this morning to see the dogs.....Dana pulled out the big camera and I think these shots capture them perfectly.

Presenting: "Smashed Banana".....Nana (I didn't make up the name!!!)
and, her sister....Miss "Coco"......

Just another day in Paradise

"Hanauma Bay, located along the East Oahu coastline, was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. This natural crescent beach is tucked inside the walls of an extinct volcano. This is the best protected cove if you are new to snorkeling (and even if you’re not!), with a diverse population of marine life and a large, rich coral reef. Visitors can swim with over 450 species of colorful tropical fish. In fact, approximately 25% of the species found in the bay are indigenous to Hawaii."

In order to pull off this excursion, we have to be up early and out to the bay by 7:30 a.m. An early start is never my favourite thing, but bathing suit under shorts and tee shirt and we're off. The parking lot is still accepting visitors and we have about a 20 minute wait in line to purchase tickets and see a video and learn the drill about swimming in this protected area. Down to the beach which at this early hour is not so crowded. People come and go constantly.

This is the first time I have ever snorkeled! After explaining that "Auntie Leslie" rarely goes in the water, much less under the water, and indeed doesn't do this because of what might be IN the water, I am reassured that this is completely different. Indeed it is. We take it slowly at first and then venture over the reef which you have to just float above and not touch. You can see by the pictures the vastness of the reefs. It's very hard work keeping going, avoiding other flippers and the currents. All worth the effort and a big first for me.

As you can see, the waters are still such a magnificent blue, sun always sparkling, and magnificent beaches.

Tonight we are off to a party at one of Lesley's friends to meet some of her teaching buddies and island families.This is our host David, steaming "Ahi" (tuna) on tea tree leaves. Even people who don't like fish like this dish. What a wonderful opportunity to be invited to an Island home, and be treated to such delicacies. The house is a "pole" house, actually held up by telephone poles that intersect the entire house. Tomorrow will be a quiet day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday in Hawaii

Started off the day by going to Nordstroms Rack....the discount shop of "Nordies". It's nice to be on vacation with people who love shoes! Since we were in downtown Honolulu, we decided to have lunch at a little local place. We headed over to one of the Waikiki beaches.

Tuesday evening Lesley Jane and Tom had organized a birthday party for Dana - the reason for this fabulous trip.

We went to Alan Wongs which you can see by the link is one of the top rated restaurants in the USA. Giovanna will be glad to hear that we were "Lei'd" and had a wonderful evening. It's a bit like eating in have to examine every splendid taste and savour it.
This seems to be a great time of year to be here. There are no crowds and it is truly paradise. The weather is about 82 degrees every day with a sun/cloud mix and always a "zephyr breeze".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Elvis - Blue Hawaii

I know this may seem "cheesy", but not when you're here!

Monday in Hawaii

Monday in Hawaii and we are off to the East Coast.

Click on map to enlarge

We have a lazy morning, walking dogs, shopping at Costco, catching up on the last "John Adams" episode and getting ready for our hike. After the heat of the day we head off to Makapu'u Lighthouse and climb to the lookout. I have a feeling that this is another place that would make Larry "weak in the knees". The pictures really don't do justice to the height of the landscape, nor the colours of the water. It truly is paradise.There is always a breeze and no matter how hot it is you are never uncomfortable. This is why we wait until the hottest part of the day is over, it's so easy to get a little too much sun. I'll bet in Toronto you're saying TOO MUCH SUN???????
The added bonus today was that we were in a Humpback whale sanctuary. We saw many, many pods of cavorting whales...blowing and frolicking in the sea. This is the best time of the year to see them and they are most plentiful now, prior to heading back to Alaska. I was not expecting this, and was overjoyed at the sight! Now I'm saying, if you've never been to Hawaii, I'm wondering WHY??? The forecast on my WeatherBug keeps saying 50% chance of rain. It rains every day here, hence the lush vegetation, but most of the rain seems to be over the mountain peaks. We actually traversed the island yesterday on our way home and drove through an arboretum of trees...I must get a bird and tree book....and had a spitting of rain, but otherwise, only clouds off in the distance and a nice mix which provides welcome "brilliance" protection.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blue Hawaii

Who would have imagined where we were?? When Dana and I arrived separately from our respective homes, we had been en route for 15 hours.

It was dark when we got to Lesley's friends home. We are here because we are house-sitting and looking after 2 adorable dachshunds and 2 cats. This morning, I was awake at first light..still adjusting to 6 hours of dreadful time change, and decided to see where I was. Here we are. This is the view from the front window of the home we are staying in. Heaven. I know the weather forecast says 50% rain. This happens at night. Today 82 degrees farenheit.

Drove into Waikiki yesterday to one of the major hotels to pick up Lesley's bag. I don't know why everyone is so negative about Waikiki. Of course it's commercial, but it's also quite exciting, bustling and has many upscale shops. I guess it's all about crowds, but driving around it looked quite amazing. We saw the famous "Diamond Head" in the distance, but Lesley is taking us to less crowded places for nice views. I'm hooked on Hawaii.

After a brunch at Zippy's we drove up to Secret Beach or Hidden Beach, on the south shore where the "romantic kiss" in South Pacific is said to have been shot. This was so amazing we stayed and some people actually went in the water.

It is beyond words the beauty of the water and the land.

Today, we have plans to go on a hike to Makapu'a (sp?).

More later. We're connected on wireless here now.


Friday, March 21, 2008


I am off to Hawaii tomorrow so I am saying ALOHA now. I'm not sure if I will be able to get my computer up and running in any of the places that the next three weeks may find me,Hawaii, Vancouver, San Francisco) but I will try.

In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with yet another funny thing that comes from YouTube.... sorry to be using this so much, but I think I may be overly influenced by advertising (joy to the ears of Barry Slater) and always taken in by a cute little animal story. For Sue, Elliot, and the Schiller family, this is for you...does look a bit like Miss Daisy doesn't it?

and for those of you who may even decide that you've fallen in love with Dachshunds, here's a link Chocolat Kennels to friends in Ottawa who you may want to swing by and see after you visit the Parliamentary Library!

Sounds to me like a road-trip is in order!

ALOHA see you in AprilOh to be in England in the Spring??????????? Air Miles!

The Most Beautiful Room in Canada

Yesterday I was able to personally thank the young Simon Fuller for his extraordinary contribution to our Parliament Buildings. Since I have seen this documentary done by the CBC, I have been trying to get into the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa. I never seem to have time when visiting my home town for one reason or another. Next time I go to Ottawa, I will make this a priority.

The video clip National Parliamentary Libraryis a bit long,(14 mins.) but this is something of such utmost importance, I hope that you will take time to view it, and become as fascinated by the details as I have been.

A few details on the original designer of our Parliament buildings:
Thomas Fuller (March 8, 1823 – September 28, 1898) was a Canadian architect.

He was born in Bath, England where he trained as an architect. Living in Bath and London he did a number of projects. In 1845 he left for Antigua, where he spent two years working on a new cathedral before emigrating to Canada in 1857. Settling in Toronto, Ontario he formed a partnership with Chilion Jones with Fuller responsible for design work. The company first won the contract to design the church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields.

In 1859, The Legislative Assembly in Ottawa voted the sum of £75,000 for the erection of a "Parliament House" and offered a premium of $1000 for the best design within that budget. The winning bid was made by Fuller and Jones for a neo-gothic design. In Hand Book to the Parliamentary and Departmental Buildings, Canada (1867), Joseph Bureau wrotes, "The corner stone was laid with great ceremony by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in September, 1860, on which occasion the rejoicings partook of the nature of the place, the lumber arches and men being a novelty to most of its visitors, bullocks and sheep were roasted whole upon the government ground and all comers were feasted."

In 1867 he won the contract to build the New York State Capitol building in Albany, New York, and spent the next several years in the United States. The project ran into severe cost overruns, and an inquiry blamed Fuller. Fuller thus returned to Canada, and unable to work in the more lucrative private sector, in 1881 became Chief Dominion Architect, replacing Thomas Seaton Scott. In this capacity, which he held until 1896, he played a role in the design and construction of every major federal building.

On his death in 1898, Thomas Fuller was interred in the Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa.

His son Thomas Fuller II also became a prominent Canadian architect.

Several of his buildings in Bath have been threatened with demolition and other impressive works, such as his Bradford-on-Avon Town Hall, have been converted into other uses (the Town Hall is now the R.C. Church of St Thomas More).

In 2002, Thomas Fuller Construction Company, operated by Fuller's great-grandsons, was awarded a contract to renovate the Library of Parliament in Ottawa which he originally designed.[1]
[1]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of an old family friend this week.

I grew up amongst a cast of "characters" that forever bring the fondest of memories. We spent every summer at a cottage, set in a grove, by the river and it was the best place in the world to be a kid. The Smith's lived in the cottage next to ours. Lorne and Gladys and their three daughters, Sandra, Heather and Janice were my "other" family. Gladys passed away several years ago, and this week, at the grand old age of 94, Lorne heard the last post. He was my favourite veteran. He was a true gentleman and one of the most romantic men I have had the fortune to know, and I daresay, to have been loved by.

My favorite story of Lorne, was the Christmas that he took Heather, Janice, cousin Joan and I to the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa for a Christmas tea-dance. We were all dressed up. It was a party. I can't remember exactly what we ate, but finger bowls were involved. This was where Janice learned the function of this particular piece of tableware. Janice was the youngest ...oh to be her now, but then, it was always best to be "older" and wiser. Much merriment ensued when Janice thought that this delightful silver bowl contained "Lemon Soup". I'm not sure that any of the rest of us knew any better than she at the time, but we never let on, and she never lived it down.

Those were the days when the Chateau had a real, live, orchestra. They played all of our favourite Christmas songs, and one by one, Lorne invited each of us for a special dance with him on the dance floor. Our crinolines twirled and our taffeta sung out it's approval. My song was 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'. It was magic. We were such LADIES that day. I don't know of any other gentleman who has ever done such a wonderful thing on a Saturday afternoon with 4 little girls. When lunch was over, we proceeded to the famous gift shop. In the day, it was THE most fabulous gift shop in the WORLD, and part of the festivities just to visit. We were each allowed to choose a small stuffed animal or doll and we agonized over our perfect pick. Such an extravagant gesture, forever remembered and touched by.

I don't know where that silly little stuffed thing that, at the time, meant the world to me ended up. Likely relegated to the toy box in the basement as I outgrew such "childish" possessions.

Tomorrow, Larry and I will drive to Ottawa to say goodbye to my old friend. While I will be terribly sad, I will always have such happy, happy memories of childhood days. Thank you Lorne.

How I would love to have just one more dance.
Sleep well sweet Prince. Forever in my thoughts. I love you.
Leslie Jane....the other daughter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back at the Eiffel Tower.....

Someone obviously filmed this while we were on the tower on Valentines' Day!

Catching Sheep
Here's a fun thing to do if you can't "sleep" tonight. I've had so much coffee already trying to improve my score, that I'll be up for sure!

For the longest time I was a Bobbing Bobcat, but after several coffee and a hearty steak dinner I'm now a Rocketing Rabbit! I'm not sure that I should be driving at night....glasses or not!!

Rain Rain Go AWAY!

Since I won't be doing any of these sorts of tricks any time soon, I decided after a scintillating discussion with my exercise buds, at Tim Horton's, that I'd best hop on down to "BIZZY B'S" and pick up an order that was waiting for me.
It's always such a pick-me-up to walk into a yellow and black Bee Hive. It's like the Cheers Bar song....everybody's always glad you came. Maybe it wasn't me so much as the assurance that I always boost sales whenever I visit :)
Today was no exception.

They have a one get-two-more magazine sale bin, and lots and lots of fresh new springy looking paper. I got a few Legacy and Somerset Studio mags. that I don't already own, so I have plenty of distraction to keep me busy while I sit out the gym and hone up my Photoshop skills. If you've never been to "The Hive" as it's affectionately called, I urge you to stop by, get inspired, take a class or just browse. You'll love it.

I had a great time chatting with staff and friends who popped in and out, as well as a kisses and hugs from Barb and Tony who I have not seen in a long time. I got everyone's best suggestions for Hawaii, Vancouver, and San Francisco. I love getting recommendations about places to go and things to do, so if you are so inclined...chime in!

I will be going to RubyDog's Art House in Vancouver, as well as VanDusen Botanical Garden, which I have convinced my son will be wonderful (they have a nice restaurant:)

Barb asks that I check out any scrapbooking shops I may venture across in Honolulu. There is apparently an outlet mall in San Francisco that has a Burberry Outlet. This will add the always good, little "hunt" factor to the trip.

I carried on despite the gloom and rain splotched windshield to Costco, where I was dancing in the aisles having found a new book by Sandra Gulland. She is the author of my favorite "Josephine B. Trilogy".
This one is called "Mistress of the Sun"

Set against Versailles...and I'm back in Paris again!!!! I will savor this one.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Powered by You

I love good commercials, and I think that this is my favorite of the week. These are some very agile dancers! I found this video about the actual production of this Ford ad, which is as interesting as the piece itself. Hope you have time to relax and watch these amazing young bodies transform themselves.
Interestingly enough I'm off to the doctor today to see about returning to my own "Fusion" class after a hip injury. It makes me a little uneasy watching all those backbends! I wonder if I could find enough people in one of my exercise classes to recreate this one??? NOT. My hip is aching again.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Maggie Muggins

Do you remember "Maggie Muggins"? It was one of my all-time favourite stories as a child. It was a chapter book, and at the end of each chapter there was a little "tra la, la la, la la, la" with a rhyming word based on the story. The very last sentence in each chapter was the famous "I don't know what will happen tomorrow."

The perfect way to end a story and send a little one off to sleep...dreaming and anticipating. I always BEGGED for just one more story...but the rules were firm...not until tomorrow. This was sacred time that I spent with my father and as much as I wanted another story, I wanted him to stay, seated on the side of my bed, spinning tales. I loved his company.

I don't know where the original books that I had have ended up, but I've been searching through antique shops and book stores far and wide, and finally came across the very one I'd been looking for. The inside of the cover of my first edition 1952 copy,says:

About the Author

She was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in a small white house, on a wide green street. Her name is Mary Evelyn Grannan.Mary has always like stories. When she was little she listened to them. When she was middle-sized she read them,and now that she's big she writes them.

She went to St. Dunstands School in her home town, to Teachers' College, and special courses at Columbia University in new York, and Vesper George School of Art in Boston.

She taught school in New Brunswick until she joined the staff of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto, where she is now.

Mary's hobbies are Books, Theatre, Circus, Radio and Television.

Maggie came to mind this morning as I was feeling particularly 'blocked'. I feel as though I can't start anything as I am about to embark on yet another whirlwind voyage, this time to the west coast. When I get creative I get very very messy! I am visually stimulated which is why I live with so much clutter all around me. I like to see my stuff...or I forget about it. This used to drive my son, in particular, absolutely crazy. He's a minimalist.

I have project after project to complete, to start, my mind goes wild. Then I think, well, I could just do one in my studio, and one on the dining room table with the sun shining in....this all involves everything, everywhere. Where to start, which one would leave the least impact? I should be packing.

When Maggie Muggins got in a jam like this she'd always dance down the garden path to good old Mr. McGarrity's garden, where he would always be found leaning on his red-handled hoe. Mr. McGarrity can always think of something to do and he knows all about nature, friendship, forgiveness and most of all empowerment to little girls. Through Maggie's adventures with Big Bite Beaver, Fitzgerald the piano playing Fieldmouse, and Southern Belle, Petunia Possum there was no end of musicality in both lyric and accent. As Maggie hopped on one foot around Mr. McGarrity and his hoe, together they always came up with a splendid idea for a day of imagination.

Perhaps something creative on a small scale will do for today. St. Patrick's Day is upon us, Easter is nearing....How about Beatrix Potter??? Something small...tags...ooh la la.

I may just hear Mr. McGarrity laughing and saying "All in all Leslie Jane, you've had quite a day." And I'll say..."Yes sir, because tra la, la la, la la, la May, I think I've found a way to play!
I don't know what will happen tomorrow."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cords Cords Cords

I am surrounded by cords!

My computer chair is continually running over one cord or another, those are the cords for the computer and printer. The head set is also frequently flapping around.

I have a cell phone which has a cord for charging, as well as a cord to upload pictures to the computer.

I have a Palm Pilot, one cord to charge and one cord to "Hot Sync" to the computer.

Then there's the iPod which has a cord for charging and a USB cord for dowloading iTunes

The camera has it's own battery charger attached to a CORD as well as media cables for the t.v. and the prerequisite USB port cord for the computer.
I have cords with scotch tape with labels "sharpied" on them to distinguish one from the other. I had to resort to labeling zip lock bags on our trip to Europe to keep Larry's electronic technology separate from mine!

Now I have a basket by the computer with cords, bags,'s all getting a little much. You do the math.

You should see my purse!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008


This is one of those days when it surely might help to put on a pair of New Shoes!!!

Click here to listen to an upbeat song on a foggy soggy day - YouTube.

NEW SHOES - Paolo Nutini

Who is Paolo Nutini???? You have to LOVE that accent!!!

"Born and raised in Paisley, Scotland, Paolo Nutini is a 20-year-old singer/ songwriter blessed with a soulful, passionate voice and the natural gift of being able to tell a story in a song. Like many of the truly inspired singer/songwriters before him, Nutini has absorbed the soul of classic artist from both sides of the Atlantic and channeled it into something original, captivating, and dynamic.

official website read more

Despite their Italian name, the Nutini family has lived in Paisley, Scotland for at least four generations. Paolo's great-grandfather opened the fish and chip shop in Paisley which his parents now run. Paolo's musical education began with his late grandfather, who introduced him to Scottish folk songs as well as a wide range of other styles."
Credit: Paolo Nutini Official Website.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The other day I was coming out of the Optometrist's office just having had pupil- dilating drops put in for a test. This makes everything very bright when you emerge into the out-of-doors. In this case it was made even brighter and slightly irritating since the entire building is made of reflective glass panels. As I donned my sunglasses and squinted my way across the parking lot, I was both amazed at how this construction can actually 'hold up' and cursing under my breath as to why in the world an Optometrist would have chosen such a 'brilliant' site?? I'm sure it does help those with low vision, just not the "drop" recipients. This of course lead to thinking about other shiny buildings I've encountered.

One in particular came to mind, (with a smile) on a perfect day in Baltimore, Maryland when Judith introduced me to the
American Visionary Art Museum

The museum is housed in three buildings, along with some outdoor space and is partially covered in this mirrored mosaic. The works inside are all by artists with no formal training. One of the trees near the entrance is swagged and adorned with all matter of things

To see a close-up of this tree, click on the blue word "SHINY" above.

What is visionary art?
"Like love, you know it when you see it. But here's the longer definition, straight out of our Mission Statement: "Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself." In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as 'art' by its creator."1

AVAM has 55,000 square feet of exhibit space but has a permanent collection of only 5,000 pieces. Some of this work is displayed in a gallery on the first floor of the Main Building, throughout the James Rouse Visionary Center, and outdoors when new temporary “themed” exhibitions are being installed.

1.American Visionary Art Museum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Photo Credits and additional information:
Mosaic Art Source
This is an amazing mosaic art blog....check it out!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Finally Get REAL Glasses

The other day at our daily after-exercise-coffee-ritual, everyone laughed when I said as a little girl I always wanted glasses and a broken arm...well, I wanted to wear glasses, not have poor eyesight, and I wanted a cast for the dramatic effect not the healing effect. This apparently is funny.

Today I went to have my eyes tested. This is the year I'm doing ALL the "tests", and this is one of the tests I can actually tell about. The others...not so much. Seems as though my eyes are fine. No Macular degeneration. No Glaucoma. No major vision problems except that I can't read anything without magnifying readers!!!
This to ME is a problem, to the Optometrist, the natural effects of age, which is why I was having the eye test in the first place if you recall. Recalling, is yet another issue ...more on that at another time.

So, I find it difficult driving at night. The tail lights of masses of cars on the QEW all merge into a red blur. The oncoming traffic looks like halos. Apparently, again, this is normal! Well, how do 'older' people DRIVE at night then?? I know, I know, this is why 'older' people have no business being on the road after sundown. I agree, but in the event that I AM, I require assistance! I also noted at two stage performances this week that the set is a bit blurry...but only when the lights go down. Since the lights tend to go down with each performance, this seemed like a reasonable enough excuse to require glasses! Indeed, low light "situations" again affect the aging!!! As a matter of fact, the Doctor couldn't figure out why I was only coming in now to inquire about glasses, since my advanced age would indicate that I should have been wearing them for years! I guess I just gave up even considering specs since every time I went, from childhood pleading onward, I was told I had no need of eye wear. Better than 20/20 vision. NOW I can use glasses to help my aging condition.

I will get "progressive" lenses. The new word for bi-focal's. They will have handy dandy sunglass clip-ons for sunny days when you need to see driving and reading. This is a cost saving apparently, avoiding two pair of prescriptions.

Being new to the realm of choosing frames, that is an exercise in itself. Then of course if you want non-reflective lenses, and on and on. Keep adding $40.00 to each feature. By the time I left I was $500.00 lighter...but at least they take Visa, which I always see as a bonus...AIR MILES. Now I can travel further and see better. Who knew that every designer on earth makes glasses frames. Now you can match your sheets!

These are the glasses that Sophia Lauren chose. I'd like to look like that. Come to think of it, maybe it's her great TEETH! That's another appointment.

If you have really terrific frames that you LOVE will you please let me in on the drill for finding fabulous frames at reasonable prices. Oh, and another thing, the doctor pointed out that I would likely be wearing my new glasses all the time now, and they will likely be worn on my face as opposed to being pushed on my head like a hair band....add $40.00 for sprung hinges.