Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Canada Day - Isle Madame, Cape Breton to the Rockies

Happy Canada Day everyone!

Today I'm thinking of my country from Sea to Shining Sea. This is "Ma Tante's" darling home on the east coast. It is currently for sale.

The first time I ventured to this neat little cottage was in the fall, to partake of Celtic Colours International Festival, a world-class celebration of cultural heritage in Cape Breton.

Below: The view from the porch in the bay overlooking the Lennox Passage, Isle Madame.

Names like D'Escousse, Poirierville, Cap la Ronde, Pondville, Petite de Grat, Arichat , Martinique, and Poulamon speak to the huge Acadian presence in this part of Cape Breton. Thoughts turn to Longfellow's poem, "Evangaline", and the expulsion.

It's not all singing, dancing, clapping and kitchen ceilidhing either, there is a firm artistic bent in heritage rug hooking. One of my favourite fibre artists is
Deanne Fitzpatrick
My aunt and I got into rug hooking after a trip to "The down East rug Hooking Guild" exhibit in the Saint Joseph Renewal Centre, Mabou. We also got into some down east hooch at the Red Shoe Pub!!! Hooking and drinking seem to go together :)

This adorable home on the sea is now up for sale. (I'll be happy to handle any inquiries, this way ensuring that it passes into friendly hands:) After five years, my aunt will return to be closer to family in Ontario. I wish the professor was in retirement mode at this moment. I'd buy this little smurf house and live happily ever after by the sea. I'd collect sea glass and eat lobster ....whenever! If you are in the market, let me know...I'll come and visit.

On the other coast, our daughter Jane's roommate from McGill days is cycling from Vancouver to Saint John's Nfld! Now THAT'S from Sea to Sea! You can catch Heather's Blog "Lipstick and Lycra" for a full account of her voyage. It is such a thrill to read. I hope to have enough warning to find her on some highway as she passes nearby and cheer her on. I have also put a link on my site to connect directly.
This is a photo of one of the less harrowing parts of the ride. I can only say that riding on the Highway is no ride in the park!

Happy Canada day to one and all. OH CANADA!!! Make sure you sing at least one round of our National Anthem at full volume....I'll be listening.

David Suzuki

The Professor had a really interesting post on David Suzuki last week. I usually scan his posts, but not all of them either appeal to me, or are anything I can understand scientifically. This one, however, I thought important enough to share with my own "peeps". The interview of Suzuki's autobiographical book is almost an hour long, but I think it should be mandatory for everyone in the world to listen to. If you can't take the time to sit for the entire thing at one go, then fast-forward the button at a later date, but do try to get through to the end. We NEED to be thinking this way. It's Canada day tomorrow and everyone will have time to do this!

Hat tip: Sandwalk - Good Science Writers

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary Jane and Michael

Last year, on this date we had a wedding. It was a perfect summer day, everyone was in good health and arrived safely from far and wide. Now the happy couple are in Brussels, Belgium ....where does time go???

First they made their own wedding bands...

Had a lot of pictures taken...

Pronounced the vows they had written...
and enjoyed a wonderful meal with family and friends.....

Happy First Anniversary Jane and Michael. We miss you. Wishing you health, wealth, happiness and the time to enjoy it. We hope that life is as magical for you now as this day was for all of us.

Your Song

We can still picture your first dance. May you keep dancing till the end of time.


Best love always....Maman et Papa

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's Raining Cats and Dogs

I love jigsaw puzzles. This one is entirely appropriate for today....if you are in southern Ontario, just look outside.You know I'm getting desperate when I'm reporting on a jigsaw puzzle. For Father's Day I got the professor this very jigsaw. It comes with a roll-up mat so that you can transport it. Why you'd want to transport a puzzle is puzzling, but with this option you could travel with your jigsaw. The puzzle is done now, it's been proven it CAN be rolled in it's entirety, and now it's back in the box. I thought this would take much longer than it did. We needed the dining room table to play the banana game!

Friday, June 27, 2008


I have been peeking at Nina Bagley's blog since I became aware of the beast we shall name "blog". Not only is Nina a multi faceted, extraordinarily talented woman who exposes her most vulnerable poetic side, she also shares something to inspire an artistic heart through her words, photography and jewelery.

In response to the recent Democratic convention, she did a piece on "Hope". One particular part of her writing included the following book, which I hope to learn to construct some day, as well as some really interesting "defining" words. This tied in at exactly the same time as I was thinking about the outstanding Mille Femmes installation and the words that those women chose to define themselves.

Here's the exercise. Read this small part of Nina's posting, (for the full version visit her site), and then make a list of words (one word) that defines who YOU are at this very moment, and then a list of words that you "hope" you will become. It's never too late, so 'being too old' for this is not an excuse.

i see the little book i made back in 2001, one that slips inside an antique metal purse, that states on the cover what i listed within its pages. What i hope to be i've walked over to the bookshelf where it rests, and flip open the palm sized book to more closely inspect. what i am, it says, in old pasted dictionary words: mother, daughter, sister, friend, artist, lover, impatient, observant, spiritual, nurturer, open, succinct, genuine, merry, traveler, hot tempered, treasure gatherer. what i hope and strive to be: wise, quick, deep, organized, stable, steady, fortified, luminous, merciful, tender, loving, gentle, expressive, healthy, peaceful, quiet, blissful, memorable. well, one can certainly try. yes we can!

One of the responses to Nina's query about what gives each of us hope, was from her dear friend Misty Mawn. Misty's site is also worth a peek. These are two fabulously talented women. I wanted to make sure everyone could see Misty's response. I think it's SPLENDID. I will write it down and refer to it often.

hope: to believe, desire, or trust...

i hope that life will continue to give me a warm hand to hold when the days seem longer than usual, a gentle push in the right direction when my feet feel heavy, a kind gesture when i am feeling left out, an open heart to see the best in the world when my head tries to tell me differently, loving eyes to see those that need to be seen with love and not with judgment, a safe place where i can create what my heart desires and share it with those that care to see, appreciation for the little things that make every day worth being grateful to be alive, and I hope life will continue to give me time, time to be all that I am and all that i can be.
sending you much love. xo
Posted by: misty | June 20, 2008 at 11:40 AM

I have many little journals that I collect because I love the idea of journals, but I never want to start putting anything in them in case I "ruin" them. I think I'm learning from Nina that it is impossible to "ruin" must dive in and accept that this is what we are doing now...always with the hope for improvement. I'm going to list all my words and make a journal of favourites. This will be a busy summer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I have just returned from five days in the Nation's Capital, and it never ceases to amaze me how the little village of Westboro, where I grew up, keeps evolving. I didn't have a lot of time in between visits with my Mum, but one morning on our way back from breakfast, my aunt and I noticed this mural on one of the corners. I didn't have time to research any more about the artist or get to the corner of Richmond Road and Churchill to see the other one there, but I will, next trip. Make sure to click on the photos to see the detail in these on-the-wall of building murals. Especially the horse hitch, in the second shot, which you are tempted to go and touch to make sure if it's painted or real.
This is when you wish little point and shoot digital cameras had wide angle lenses. I didn't think about the landscape feature. I'll try that next time. Apparently there actually was a dairy in this location a long time ago. I don't remember anything but a meat-locker in that spot. Helen will know.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Celebrating Colette

This is the piece that started it all. I have a peek at Colette's blog every day and this particular little bird spoke to me.

Susan Williamson had posted recently about the value in purchasing original art, and I was inspired to follow suit. This was my "First" Colette Copeland. I cruised her e-bay site in search of the little sparrow, and was also tempted not only by the auction fever, which I might add is part of the excitement, but also by her "dream series".

I have recently decided on DREAMING as the theme for the guest bedroom and had applied the wall words..."sleep perchance to dream - Shakespeare" of my all-time favourite quotes. How could I not include this one? Colette "Number 2".

At this point, on an obvious roll, I added Colette "Number 3". Dreamer. She could be related. She's definitely a guest now.

Yesterday, the news broke. Colette, see her blog "A Bird in the Hand", has been featured on the cover of Somerset Studio magazine.

This is hugely exciting for any artist. Somerset Studio is a top quality magazine enjoyed world wide. Something worth celebrating!! My heartiest congratulations go out to Colette for this defining moment. It's always a treat for an artist to be published and to be able to share their work with a larger audience. Bravo Colette. I'm so pleased for you. Rush out this weekend and get your copy, they will surely fly off the shelves.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Having just been inspired by words at the Mille Femmes exhibit, imagine how excited I was to find this fabulous "word cloud" artistic outlet. I borrowed this from the professor's blog, which he borrowed from some student's blog...this is where I constantly question the nature of TRUE originality. The website is

have a look at what you can do!!

A few years ago, my friend Dana and I were intent on inscribing our favourite words on rocks, after an (original) idea I had seen in Victoria Magazine. We had a marvellous time at a table in the garden, writing down our best are just a few of Dana's words, done in Wordle:

When you try out the various combinations of layouts, fonts and colours you can get a totally different look...same words...

These are my words.....I think this is too much fun. I'm not going to class today.

Wanna' Play????

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Billy Collins - Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Summer Table

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) Table Set in a Garden c. 1908
National Gallery of Art

This picture makes me want to be at that table. I love the coolness and the dappled sunlight. It's likely in rural France, or possibly he was visiting my favourite illustrator Carl Larsson in Sweden. More importantly, I think it's the table cloth. It fills me with a sense of longing.

Longing for the day when I may even finish yet another "inspired" project.
This picture is from the "Glorious Patchwork" collection of Kaffe Fassett. How could you NOT want to make this table. Click on the photo. I want to EAT everything on this cloth. Furthermore, I can even furnish the tabletop with all those pieces of china!!!

I've already told the story about Ingrid and I "committing" to undertaking this massive feat. We blithely went headlong into the pursuit and purchase of at least a million differing floral prints. The pursuit was actually from coast to coast. We not only purchased in Pointe Claire, Quebec but also in Canmore, Alberta. At that point in time we had kids in University as well as only being 50 years old...but I digress, and that is yet another blog.

I think it was at cutting time that we read the instructions and found that the dimensions of this floral fantasy were 88in. by 88in. From the outset, it probably would have occurred to some of more brain than Ingrid or I that there are a lot of inches in this measurement. If you convert it to feet for's 7.3 feet. That's a big table-covering by anyone's measurement.

Our "floral vision" was so large, that indeed there wasn't enough space in my little house to properly lay out the quilt top, hence the move to Ingrid's enormous bedroom floor. It was by now perfectly evident that not only had we created a monster, but also what table was our work ever going to grace?? It fit Ing's bed. Okay. How about a bed quilt...a bed that could go in a garden....this is so deflating. We're losing momentum, we're losing interest. It gets put off until the fall. This is an inside joke. Ingrid is always so busy in winter skiin' (that's how she says it), in the spring she's gardnin' and in the summer entertainin'....the only season left to be creative is in the fall.

When I came across this picture of Bonnard's my mind raced to wanting to set up this idyllic scene in my own backyard. Just as quickly I was reminded of the "bits and pieces" (Ingrid always says that too) tucked away in a box in my basement. Fall is only one season away....and about 10 years since we came up with this brain wave. I've been intermittently thinking about those hundreds of right-angled triangles and trying to reinvent the idea of what they could be. Any ideas? How about a ten year anniversary workshop in "the fall".

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mille Femmes

I hope I can do this post justice. We are just in tonight after a rather unusual celebration of Father's Day, inasmuch as it was all about women. You will be seeing it as a scheduled post at 7:30 a.m. I will be asleep at that time, as the evening involved copious amounts of wine. More on that later.

This week, I had noticed an article in the Globe and Mail featuring one of the exhibits at BCE Place in the Luminato festival. A thousand photographs of Toronto's most creative women, each one with a word chosen by the subject to describe herself. That in itself is of enormous interest. What one word would you use to describe YOURSELF??? [I think this should be a contest, the first 5 women to comment with the word they think best describes them, will win a little prize.]

Joined by the professor and nephew Mark, (the token men for the day) we skirted a tremendous downpour and made it to the Allen Lambert Galleria, on the corner of Yonge and Front Streets. The double-sided photos hanging from the ceiling are a marvel. How did anyone get them strung up like that, four rows high, perfectly in line, undulating the entire length of this building? The installation itself was awe-inspiring.

Pierre Marval, the French artist responsible for this amazing showing has already shot "Mille Femmes" in Montreal, Paris, and Havana, with plans for Tokyo, Casablanca, Sao Paulo and other cities. His hope is eventually to host a 10,000-woman exhibit.
Centre stage, where she is used to being Fiona Reid, who as usual is too humble, or busy to inform me that she is in attendance. Perfect description Fi!!

According to the article, by James Bradshaw, Maraval stated that he chose to celebrate women because he sees a world in bad shape and in dire need of their protective virtues. "I would be very happy if the women were governing the world today. I would feel like [I was] in a plane with a good pilot."
If you have been clicking on the photos as you should have been to enlarge them and read the words....I LOVE WORDS!!! I love this entire concept...this last photo has a man in the bottom right hand corner who is craning his head upward. Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP party in the Canadian Government. He is looking for his wife's photo....again, another post. Stay tuned.

Reference: James Bradshaw - The Globe and Mail

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Let the Rains Begin!

Noah's Ark is finished. The dining room table has been liberated. Something accomplished.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Five Browns

If you don't know who the Five Browns are, I am happy that I am the one to introduce you to this amazing family. These kids were all home schooled. I wonder if they live near an airport in order to find a hangar to practice in???

If you ever hear of them coming to a town near you, get tickets immediately.
I'm going to practice now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Betsy Wetsy

Ah yes, the Betsy Wetsy story. It all starts with Marilyn Ellis. Marilyn lived at the end of our street and was my on-again, off-again best friend for years. When she was off-again, it was usually that she was holding hands and skipping with Cathy Young.

Marilyn got a Betsy Wetsy one Christmas. That same year, I got a really, really, substandard nothing-at-all-like a Betsy Wetsy doll, dressed in a silky red one-piece suit. No opening in the mouth, no wetting, no socks. I hated that doll. According to my mother, she was a fine doll, her eyes opened and shut, what more could you want? What you could want, was a Betsy Wetsy doll, she was a wonderful doll, she was IDEAL (that's what the commercials said too)! Marilyn and I actually fed her Betsy little pieces of cut up apples. I wonder what happened to that particular about worms.

The thing is, it wasn't just that Marilyn had Betsy, and Gail had the Easy Bake Oven, it was that I NEVER got the 'real' trademarked toy. If they didn't have these wishes at "Oglivies" in downtown Ottawa, then you didn't get it. I think in those days, Oglivies was likely the only place my mother ever had a credit card, and I'm not sure when her new found buying power was even instituted. My parents were the most practical people on the street, possibly in the whole wide world. Just about everything I was insanely passionate about was "utter nonsense" to them. Again, I chalk this up to their living through the depression and having nothing other than "practical" their entire lives. They just didn't know how to celebrate childhood. They didn't know how to be frivolous or outrageous or "just for fun". Everything was practical. No lying on your back looking at clouds or lolly gagging allowed here!

Due to my dramatic tendencies, I therefore naturally attributed just about all of my childhood indiscretions to my lack of a Betsy Wetsy Doll. By the time I was 50 I still had no doll and decided that I had best solve all my problems myself by going on-line to purchase my "missing soul". I entered my first e-bay auction and won! An in-the-box, as I had remembered her, spanking new Betsy!

I was so excited, and took her to a "Stitch and Bitch" meeting and regaled everyone with the story. If you know of stitch and bitch, it was a pretty hilarious group, and that night, after convincing me that I had to take her out of the box and play with her, it was decided to christen the baby. The ceremony was performed by Beckie who's father was a minister, so naturally she was the closest thing we had to a proper officiant. The others, all being Catholic, knew the drill and we proceeded to name her "Betsy Janet", because Janet also had been deprived of a doll...she was desperate to be the god mother, and I just couldn't protest. I swear this is all true, four grown women, one of them with a Bible in hand and looking as pious as the occasion would allow, with a lot of gesturing and genuflecting proceeded to christen the baby with white wine.

When it was all said and done, Beckie wouldn't let go of the doll and in her declining state, I decided the only thing to do was to leave the doll with her. Betsy had found a higher calling. Beckie played with that doll until she was moved from her residence to another facility. Before I had a chance to say anything, the doll was packed up with the rest of the household contents, and given to her granddaughter. Later, I sheepishly suggested that we ask for the doll back, but my plea was met with "You'd take a doll away from a little girl!!!"

And that's the end. I can safely say I had a Betsy Wetsy. I think in the end, she served a far greater purpose than Marilyn Ellis' did. Marilyn's doll was likely thrown out or is to this day, mouldering away somewhere, still full of apple bits. My doll delighted a delicious gaggle of friends, enchanted an Alzheimer's patient, and is now residing with a little girl, who hopefully will grow up feeling like her every wish was met. She's a wonderful doll....she's IDEAL.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Easy Bake Oven

Gail Thompson had an Easy Bake Oven. Why I was so enthralled with something cooked with a 40 watt light bulb is beyond me. All the cakes tasted the same...a slight indistinguishable spice flavour.

The Thompsons lived across the street and down a few houses. They were an odd family. All very pale, each one having a curious shade of red hair, no two alike. They had a very pale coloured Pomeranian dog who was a biter. The dog's name was "Pommy". The Thompsons were the least original people I have ever known. There was also a strange man who lived with them, in a room on the main floor. His name was "Mr. Howard". I never figured out how, or even if, he was related to the family. Perhaps he was a lodger. Odd, but in those days you didn't ask and you were not told, you just went to Gail's and ate Easy Bake cakes. That was the only way Gail could get kids to go to her house. Then, as now, I was a total sucker for cake!

I wasn't allowed to have an Easy Bake Oven. My mother thought that it was a ridiculous thing and said you'd probably end up with worms if you ate those wretched cake mixes anyway. My mother never used cake mixes. She was the queen of chocolate cakes, from scratch. Always in fear of getting a dose of worm medicine which came in powder form, wrapped in folded pink paper squares, I never told when I had been to Gail's.

I wonder what Gail is baking now? More importantly, I wonder if she reads my blog?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Washi Summit

Washi Summit

I'm going to take a course in making boxes with Washi paper today. Washi paper is handmade from renewable plant fibres in mountainous regions of Japan. The Japanese Paper Place no longer has a retail store, but you can find products at:

The Paper Place
Another delightful shop on Queen St. West, when you're in the area...possibly eating Dufflet's cakes!!! Anyone for a field trip???

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Grace is not the property of youth or talent. We find the necessary measure where we need it most: in our own good humor, in the love of family, or in the kind act of a friend.
—Claire Davis

What does grace mean to you?

The "Webster's New World Dictionary " definition is...1. pleasing quality, favor, good will, thanks etc. 2. an attractive quality, feature, manner, etc.

To me, grace is elegance, politeness, a generosity of spirit, the capacity to tolerate or forgive. Grace personified is my friend Beckie and her caregiver Sheila.

These are two women who epitomize poise and dignity.

To Sheila, grace is natural. She never takes things too seriously. She is relaxed, her grace is admirable. She looks after my dear friend Beckie who's picture should be under the definition of grace in the dictionary.

Even in the throes of a terrible mind-altering illness, Beckie retains an easy acceptance of all living things. Although she no longer "remembers" my name, she knows "of" me. There is something that she can trust in our closeness and from time to time a slight flicker of remembrance brings a smile to her face. She still has more concern for her guests than herself, never quite settled until each one has a cup of tea in hand.

She can revert to acting like a small girl some days. She used to recount the story of how put out she was, when, one day, being all dressed up, no one mentioned that she looked "a ducky little girl". Some days she acts anything but "ducky". Even in an outrage, she can usually be brought back by a soothing caress or a quietly spoken encouragement. Grace under fire.

I have never left her, but that she pleads for me to come again and enjoy another day with her. She's always so happy to see me and so complimentary that it makes our visits excruciatingly humbling. She loves her family so much, one of the talents that has defined her over the years. She is one of the most generous women I know.

They say that when you lose your filter, you revert to your true nature. How wonderful and inspiring to know that the woman I instantly fell in love with on first meeting almost thirty years ago, was, and still is, the real deal.

My visits are much less frequent now, but I'm always overjoyed when I do get into the city to see her. When people ask, "Why do you bother visiting her any more? She doesn't even know who you are"....I reply....ah yes, but I remember who she is. This is how I know what grace is.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Snack Bags

Recently, I came across "Snack Bags". These are resealable plastic bags. I know, I know, that dreaded plastic bag thing, but I'm not throwing them out I'm saving things in them for a looooong time. They are the same width but shorter than sandwich bags. I got the 'no name' version in Loblaws...economical as well. I'm not sure why I was never aware of these. I don't use that many "Baggies" as they used to be called.

Turns out they are a "crafters" best friend. Think about the endless possibilities.
From beading projects to sorting out buttons, jewelery, scrapbooking smalls, your sewing junk, your workroom junk, they are fabulous. I once heard a makeup artist touting these bags for organizing your cosmetics.

They may even be good for snacks since you'll be so busy filling them, you'll ultimately need sustenance. Mini marshmallows would be a perfect fit. Then you could make yourself a hot chocolate. While you're having your hot chocolate you might need a cookie... This is no doubt how the series, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" got started.
If you happen to be a "Button Junkie" and a collector of smallish items, you can't imagine the joy you will experience in this find. It may also compel you to start looking for things to put in the bags. Mine came in a box of 75, and it becomes an exciting adventure to find a new use for them. You may consider this exercise, which will balance any snacking you may do.

I'm off to organize my Carmi buttons, I will have a bag for each of her categories and since I now have to keep a log as to which ones "got it"....."want it".....these little hummers will come in mighty handy.

The picture on the no name box has cherries in the snack bag. I just got a huge bucket of cherries from Costco....this might be overkill.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Button Necklace

Recently at the sewing convention, Irene spotted this lovely lady wearing a button necklace. Click on the image to see the necklace in it's full glory. I love it!

She and I were attracted to each other primarily because of our rhinestone eyeglasses, and white hair, but she was the sweetest person. She allowed me to take a picture of her creation that she had made and told me it is crocheted with a very small hook that can go through the holes in the buttons.

I want to make this. Does anyone know how? I did go on line and found one out of print instruction book with some directions, but wonder if anyone has ever done this?

Thank you sweet smiling stranger.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Additions

Click on the photos to enlarge.
This is the climbing hydrangea at nesting time.
This is the same vine in June at hatching time.
Mama and her two babies.
Wee ones on their own.
HERE WE ARE!! We're cute and fluffy when we're hunkered in...
A little skinny bird when considering flight. Should I stay or should I go???
These two will have flown the coop by this weekend. Last opportunity to take any photos without mother's wings flapping in defense. Bye Bye coo-coo's

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hockey Night in Canada Song

WHAT!!!! The CBC has done some really dumb things lately, but this could be the stupidest thing EVER. You CAN'T drop the HOCKEY SONG. This is our National Anthem!!

Apparently the curling fans were upset that CBC dropped the major curling tournaments and were threatening to surround the CBC building in Toronto with brooms on fire!

If this latest threat happens, and I'm hoping it won't, I'll have to come up with some suitably defiant move of my own, although I'd hate to burn a perfectly good hockey stick. My neighbor frequently uses an old one wrapped in rags soaked in fluid to get rid of wasps, so I suppose I could borrow his.

SHAME on you CBC for quibbling with a little old lady over a $500 per use fee. How much do you think that song has MADE you over the years! Good grief. STOP changing Canadian institutions. First Victoria Day and now THIS.

Hockey Song Controversy

The Toronto Star has a video asking what people thing about all of this. Keep your sticks on the ice......but be ready to MARCH with me!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Soulpepper Theatre

Last night we did something very spontaneous. I was downtown and decided it was late enough that I didn't want to face the traffic driving home, so I called the professor and we decided to stay for dinner. Before we knew it, we were at one of our favourite spots in the city, the "Distillery District". It was a strangely foggy evening just like the first time I ever visited Gooderham and Worts old haunts. It's totally Dickensian. Indeed the complex is touted as being "the largest best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America". You fully expect to see someone come out rolling a barrel of spirits across the cobblestone streets.
After a splendid meal at the Mill Street Brew Pub, we sauntered over to see what was on at Soulpepper Theatre

"'Night Mother" with Megan Follows and her real mother Dawn Greenhalgh was still playing. This play got excellent reviews and is actually held over. For the first time, ever, I inquired about rush seats. I was handed a number "8" and told to come back fifteen minutes before the play started. It worked! We got in and had seats in row G. You pay $20.00 cash for the seats and I dare say they were terrific. The play is 90 minutes long, no intermission. The acting is very strong, and the subject matter is very disturbing. The casting was perfect.

Another of my all time favourite bakeries is located in the complex. The Brick Street Bakery is, itself, worth the trip. They have the worlds best Eccles cakes. The building is typically exposed-brick, wooden floored, and offers lots of organic flour treats. The sandwich offerings of the day are listed on a chalkboard. The bakery is closed on Mondays and I think they still only accept cash. That's a shame because you usually need LOTS of cash to get out of there...laden.
If you have never ventured to the Distillery District, summer is when it is at it's best. There is always something going on. There are many on site artisans, and some very interesting ateliers. The parking along stonehouse walk makes it easy to access. Worth a taste I'd say.

Photo credit:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Times They are a Changin'

This all started when I watched a Bravo documentary on Bryan Ferry, who has just done an album "Dylanesque". I had not realized that Bob Dylan had a Pulitzer citation. I love the way Ferry does this old stuff. In light of what is happening in the US right now, it goes to show...the times they are a changin'. I just can't believe that 40 years ago I was singing this with conviction, and now it is my road that is aging!!! Yikes.

Poet, author, songwriter and singer Bob Dylan is the first rock and roll artist to win favor from the Pulitzer Prize judges.

Thanks to Bob Dylan, rock 'n' roll has finally broken through the Pulitzer wall.

Dylan, the most acclaimed and influential songwriter of the past half century, who more than anyone brought rock from the streets to the lecture hall, received an honorary Pulitzer Prize on Monday, April 7, 2008 cited for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."

It was the first time Pulitzer judges, who have long favored classical music, and, more recently, jazz, awarded an art form once dismissed as barbaric, even subversive.

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping

It took me awhile to decide if I should post this or not. I LOVE this woman! I LOVE this painting and I think this should be the new standard for what is all good about women! Hooray Sue Tilley.

Lucian Freud's 'Benefits Supervisor Sleeping' sells for record $33m

When the plump, naked model for one of Lucian Freud's paintings remarked that the artist "got value for money" because he "got a lot of flesh", she may not have realised how prophetic her words would come to be.

Freud's life-size portrait of Sue Tilley, a London Jobcentre supervisor, set the world record for the highest price paid in an auction for a work of art by a living artist.

At a Christie's auction in Manhattan, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, which depicts a 20 stone, Jobcentre worker stretched over a tatty sofa, fetched $33.64m, far exceeding the previous record set in November by Jeff Koons' Hanging Heart sculpture that sold for $23.6 million.

The portrait was painted in 1995 by Freud, the 85-year-old grandson of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and is thought by some art experts to represent his best work from the 1990s.

The painting, which is part owned by Christie's, was sold by a private European collector.

The auctioneer declined to comment on the size of Christie's stake in the painting. A spokeswoman contacted during the auction also declined to name the buyer of the painting, who can decide at the end of the proceedings whether he chooses to be identified.

Suzy Jagger in New York and Dalya Alberge

Monday, June 2, 2008


Crocs. Apparently, you either love 'em or you hate 'em.

I LOVE 'em.

I have very problematic feet. They are narrow, high arched, sensitive to blisters and lately very hard to maintain. Crocs are perfect for such silly feet. They are cool, unrestrictive, and you never get a blister. They are about the most comfortable thing I ever wear other than bedroom slippers. I wear a lot of bedroom slippers, because my feet are such a pain, literally.

I know people who think Crocs are the worst looking thing ever. I don't get it. I think they are quite funky and I'd wear them everywhere if it weren't for the looks you get parading around in yellow duck feet.

I want them in every colour. At this point I only have black and yellow. When the yellow ones caused such comment, I went for basic black. Another good reason to be careful with the yellow ones is they attract wasps. Wasps love yellow for some reason and the little holes in the feet are particularly alluring to these stingers. I could not figure out why my foot was about burning off one day, only to find a wasp embedded on the top of my foot. I wear the black ones in wasp season.

I'm not giving up my Crocs, no matter how "dissy" people get about them. Obviously they've never tried them.