Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fire - Earth - Water

After much preparation my friend Dana is off to India today. We have just said goodbye for 17 days. She is on a reconnaissance mission scouting out travel opportunities for her girls school.

I'm thinking linen and pith helmets, the sort of Meryl Streep role involving steam trains, leather trunks and romance. Dana is preparing for hot, freezing and mid-temperatures. No wonder the British packed in trunks! You need a lot of stuff!

Now it's going to be all-India, all-the-time for me until her return. I've been practicing as has she, not opening my mouth in the shower...[shades of Sex in the City movie]...that's a hard habit to break.

My all-time favourite movies are those of Deepa Mehta. If you have not seen them, then you MUST. Deepa is my hero for showing us the new India.

Fire, Earth & Water: the movies of Deepa Mehta
by Global X — last modified 2006-11-01 09:09
Filed Under:

* Deepa Mehta

Deepa Mehta has become the voice of a new India, but India has a difficult time accepting what she has to say. Born in Amritsar in 1950, Ms Mehta moved to Canada in 1973. An NRI (Non Resident Indian) in India and an emigrant in Canada, she says that she refuses to choose whether she is Indian or Canadian. She is Deepa Mehta, a concerned moviemaker and storyteller.

Her bicultural roots may have helped her become one of India's most controversial and taboo-breaking filmmakers. It is said that women salute her, but that men often despise her. “I am going to shoot you, madam,” one of them screamed in 1996 after the première screening of Fire, the first movie to explore lesbianism in contemporary India.

In Earth (1998), Ms. Mehta showed the religious intolerance and violence that erupted among Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The movie was better accepted by the Indian community, in large part because it was set in the past and because it investigated the effects of colonialism. Blaming the British is always a safe bet.

But Water, the final film in Ms Mehta's trilogy on the elements, sparked controversy even before filming started. The shooting was supposed to take place in the holy city of Varanasi in 2000, but violence from local political parties and Hindu extremists forced Ms Mehta to retreat. Shooting resumed only years later in Sri Lanka. Even there, the movie had to be shot under a false working title.

Told through the eyes of a six-year old widow (yes, six-year old), Water tells the story of Indian women who are labeled as worthless because their husbands have disappeared. Forced to live in a house of confinement, they often turn to prostitution to survive. Ms Mehta chose Varanasi as the location of her film because “widow houses” still exist there.
Ms Mehta's trilogy first explored the taboo of female homosexuality in Fire, then the taboo of religious extremism in Earth. Now comes Water, which attacks the taboo of social humiliation of women. Let’s hope that Ms Mehta’s movies make a difference.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's in a name?

The title of the article that got me thinking about this was.....
"Would Brad Pitt be as sexy if he'd been named Maynard?"
[I guess of lot of this depends on whether or not you think Brad Pitt is sexy.]

Shakespeare says.....
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"

In other words, what matters is what something is, not what it is called.

How important is a name? Does it determine one's personality or destiny? My own Father wanted to call me "Cookie". Fortunately on this one, my Mother won out and I was named Leslie-Jane. My father's name was Leslie James Rodger, and to distinguish us, I got the double-barreled moniker. Some of my relatives still call me Leslie-Jane and my Mother uses it when she's mad at me. The other affectionate name my Dad had for me was "Puddler"...I still smile at that one. Thank heavens he'd never heard of the American skier Picabo Street! (Pronounce that Peek-a-boo).

Celebrities are know for naming their kids weird names. 'Apple': Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris martin. 'Bluebell Madonna': Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. 'Camera': Arthur Ashe.

Jamie Oliver sounds a bit like my Dad in naming his daughters 'Daisy Boo' and 'Poppy Honey'. Then again, his wife's name is 'Jools'

One of the Canadian Idol hopefuls is called 'Mookie' after the Blue Jays baseball player.

Every time I hear something like this I wonder how these little tykes will fare in school!

Steven Pinker in his book "The Stuff of Thought" says..."Naming a baby is the only opportunity most people get to choose what something will be called"

We had so many names for our kids that we had to wait and see what they looked like before we finally decided. We were very traditional and went for the family connection, not to mention the fact that no one could correctly pronounce Geneviève the french way.

Our first was named Jane Alexandra....Jane because it was such a common first or second name of family on both sides, Alexandra after my dearest friend Dana.

Gordon Leslie was a combination of my Father and Larry's Uncle Gordon, two very wise, strong and wonderful men.

We still managed to call them "Dini"
and "Pooch".....sorry kids.
Love you guys and who you've become. Good names!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Telephone Woes

I hate Bell telephone.

They make it so difficult. We've had no land line for a week. Bell was on our street, presumably responding to a neighbour's problems, digging a huge hole and frigging around with wires and cables. They leave and mysteriously OUR phone is on the fritz. We can't call Bell, because there is so much static, interference etc. on the line, you can't hear...but apparently you can be problem on their end. They now treat you like some insane person, because you can't respond to them.

You call the Professor and tell him to phone them on his office phone. He goes through the rigmarole of pushing numbers, repeating scripted prompts until actually getting to someone with a pulse, and explains that every time it rains heavily we have this problem because all the wires are underground and we've been dealing with this for 27 years. That doesn't impress someone who is in Mumbai!!

The best they can do is send a technician to inspect our "equipment". We are cautioned that if they come and there is something that doesn't fit into their neat little category of acceptable fixes, we will be charged a $75 fee. The implication is that this is all our FAULT. I hate that sort of inference. It makes me instantly combative. So much for the customer always being right.

By now, knowing there is nothing wrong with our "equipment" we just shut up and hope that whoever they send is "equipped" with hip-waders, because he's going down the manhole at the end of our driveway to fix this problem.

I wonder if Rogers is a better alternative??? I think they are all the same. It makes me realize that I had better get used to the cell phone. I think this is going to become our only option.

Now I hear on the radio that Bell is reorganizing and laying off hundreds of employees. They are supposed to be focusing on "customer service" HA! I wonder who was complaining about THAT aspect of the company???

Perhaps this is why the guys climbed out of the hole at the end of the street and didn't come back.!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Sentiments

Click on the image to read these sweet summer sentiments. Don't you want to find this gracious lakeside cottage and be welcomed by all those kisses???!!!

[I scanned this photo from Victoria magazine and used photoshop to layer on the sentiments.]

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Summer Drinks

The mojito -- a classic Cuban cocktail that's traditionally made with rum, sugar, lime, sparkling water and mint - now the vodka ready made version!

Forget the careful measuring, "muddling" (otherwise known as mashing up mint leaves) and mixing that's usually involved in making the traditional version of this refreshing summer drink. Just pour tasty Smirnoff Vodka Mojito mix, which includes Triple Sec, lime and mint over ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Smirnoff also makes Grand Cosmopolitan or Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita one-pour cocktails.

Guaranteed to get you through the summer!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer Bags

Always on the hunt for the perfect bag, I think I have come pretty close to solving the problem for my current needs. The vertical Tote by Vera Bradley.

In front, two magnetic flap pockets have an additional set of slip-ins behind. The pockets which snap on their own are perfect for putting your car keys and cell phone in. You can slip things like grocery lists, parking tickets, in the pockets behind the secured front flaps.

They say it takes six weeks to firmly make things a habit...this seems to take infinitely less time. I'm able to find my keys instantly and get to the phone when I want it outside the bag.

In back, one large zippered compartment, can hold a magazine...(a bit sticks out the top), or a knitting book, or a wide ruled yellow newsprint pad (I use these exclusively for my LISTS!

Inside, there’s a full, zippered pocket (large enough for a billfold or passport) and three small slip-ins, which hold the cell phone when you want it zipped away, your sunglasses or readers, and whatever else you need closest to the opening.

The base is strong and flat so it sits up on it's own under the table (restaurant). The colours are wide ranging and brilliant. I love this bag. The over the shoulder straps are long but not too long and soft on the old bones.

Your arm is always over the zipped interior when you carry it, so unless someone cuts the straps off, Bob's your uncle! I have the one pictured here. Got it at Chautauqua and have been thrilled. It' lightweight to begin with, so when I load it up with my "stuff" it's still manageable.

*****5 stars!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rococo 1700-1760

The Hidden Note (Jean-Honore Fragonard 1732-1806)

The word "rococo" derives from "rocaille" meaning "shell work" which was a favourite ornamental device of the period.

Rococo was a reaction against the grand style and subject matter of the Baroque period. The style was characterized by pastel colours, graceful curving forms and a light-hearted mood. The subject matter was often a dramatic aristocratic love scene in a decorative natural setting.
I love everything about this picture. The light, the shimmering gown she is wearing, her writing desk, her little companion and the way she looks back as if daring us to confront the contents of her little gift. Maybe she's the one hiding the note!
What do you suppose is in the note? I think she is blushing at our intrusion and that little dog looks guilty enough.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Wheels?

The "Two Fat Ladies" started this obsession.

I've also always loved the notion of having a VESPA. Living in Europe will do that to you.

The trouble would be which model? This one is pretty spiffy. I like the green and the seat is great....

This may be a little too "transformery"....more like a blue boy bike.....

Very jazzy colour, AN-D [Dana will get this] the front looks wider to save your clothes from flying off.....Dana and I actually tried Vespas in a showroom in Georgetown once....

I think this might have to be the winner.....How CUTE is this???? I love the pink side mirrors!!

I think I'd like a VESPA. It's a vehicle for everyone in the world!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Magdalena Kozena

You might think you don't like opera. You will when you hear Magdalena Kozena. My favourite piece that she does is not on You Tube, but you can purchase it on iTunes. She has an album of arias by Handel. "Ah, Mio Cor"
She is stunning in "Rinaldo, Act 2 "Lascia Ch'io Pianga"

The following is a fun little piece that might just entice you appreciate this angelic voice.

Bach Contata No 30

Monday, July 21, 2008


One critic says...It offers what summer movies are supposed to - total escape!


This is a fun little movie if you haven't seen it yet. It was last summer's movie, but summer is meant to be staying up late, watching movies that are just fun..sleeping in late in the morning and no particular schedule at all! That's why my post tomorrow will be scheduled .....I'm following the 10-10 rule. No calls before 10 a.m. and none after 10 p.m. !!! Summer hours.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chautauqua Lectures

The problem with returning from vacation is that you wake up the next morning and realize that this is NOT Paris, or Chautauqua, it's Mississauga. This is a very sad thing about vacationing.

The good news is, that if you want to, you can sign up for a FREE 15 day subscription to the "Great Lecture Library" (blue link below) and hear the lectures that I have heard over the years. You may want to be a little selective, and the lectures are long...usually about an hour in length, but well worth the effort of sitting with a coffee in front of your computer and listening. Listening is something you can do in the summer-time. It's what you do at Chautauqua. Try it.

Some of my favourites that you can look for in the link provided below are:

[2001] Loretta LaRoche "Developing a Healing Consciousness Through Humor and Stress"
[2008] Dr. Arthur Caplan "Is it Immoral to Want to Live Longer, Be Smarter, and Look Better?"
[2000] Dr. H.J. deBlij "Climate, Population, and Cultures in a Shrinking World"
[2004] Maude Barlow "Blue Gold: The Political Struggle for the World's Water"

You can slide the bar along to pass over the introductory remarks to the audience sitting listening to these lectures in the open air amphitheater or take in the entire experience. Close your eyes and you could be there.

Chautauqua Lectures

There are also podcasts:
Chautauqua Podcasts

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zuill Bailey

This is a very good reason to take up the cello!! "Meditation from Thais" is one of my all time favourite pieces and THIS is HEAVEN. You will hear what I heard last night on his web-site. Perfection. How can I leave this place???? This is my soul.
Zuill Bailey

Concerts at Chautauqua


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Family Entertainment at Chautauqua

The Golden Acrobats of China

I know I took up knitting for peace. I will NOT be joining the acrobats any time soon! I'm thinking how much my son Gordon would love this act. Right up his alley.

Chamber music at Chautauqua

New Arts Trio
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Since its inception in 1974, the trio has performed in major cities throughout the United States and Canada. The New Arts Trio has been in residence at Chautauqua since 1978 and will celebrate its 30th Chautauqua Anniversary this season. In addition to the Logan Series, the trio will perform an additional concert in Lenna Hall on Tuesday, July 15, at 4:00 p.m. and a special anniversary concert in the Amphitheater on Wednesday, August 6. Chautauqua has commissioned a new work from Israeli composer Ella Milch-Sheriff for this special concert. Current members include founder Rebecca Penneys, piano; Jacques Israelievitch, violin; and Arie Lipsky, cello.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Women 4 Women-Knitting 4 Peace

On Monday, I ventured over to the Hall of Missions to find out what knitting for peace was all about. Susan McKee is instrumental in getting shawls and dolls of comfort to the women and children of war torn countries. I can't say enough about the efforts of these amazingly graceful women.

These are two of the women who attended, just prior to blessing the donated shawls which are now ready to be shipped. They are holding the comfort dolls, given to kids who have absolutely nothing.

After the meeting, I met another woman from Streetsville, who's church has been doing similar outreach. Right in my own backyard! This sounds like something my friend Linda H. would do.

Needless to say, I was off to the wool shop today, where I bumped into several of the other women. We're all going to knit tonight at the concert under the stars.

I love this quote by Margaret Mead which is included in Susan's literature.

"Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful committed citizens
can change the world;
indeed it's the only thing
that ever has."

--Margaret Mead

Opera at Chautauqua

The Cunning Little Vixen

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jane Pauley at Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy

Jane Pauley
The Sanest Person in Television
By Lizzie Simon
Reprinted with permission from bp Magazine, Fall 2005

Jane Pauley has always considered herself a lucky person, long before she was a celebrity with glamorous friends and a life of worldwide adventure. When she was still a teenager growing up in Indiana, she developed a theory to explain the good luck that seemed to follow her throughout her childhood. She called it "The Things Falling Out of Heaven Theory." According to this theory, the most likely moment for something incredible to happen to you is the moment when you are most certain that nothing will occur.

"I’ve led a life of incredible good fortune," she says, "where the unexpected could happen."

And it most certainly did. When she made her network debut on the Today show at the precocious age of 25, Pauley became a household name overnight. The public christened her "America’s sweetheart," "dawn’s early sprite," and the "smart sorority girl with the cheerleader smile." With these endorsements, the warm Midwestern beauty saw her career in the media launched with an incredible, rocketing start.

Her 13-year tenure at the Today show was followed by an equally successful 11 years at NBC’s Dateline, only to be one-upped by the 2004 premiere of her own talk show, The Jane Pauley Show, and the publishing of her best-selling memoir, Skywriting (Random House, 2004).

She is, indeed, lucky. Her marriage to cartoonist Garry Trudeau is reaching its 25th year, and together they have three healthy children, Rickie, Ross, and Tom. She sits now, age 54, in her living room in Manhattan, surrounded by exquisite art and antiques from around the world and from many centuries. Behind her, the view of Central Park is so magnificent, so intimate, that the entire apartment feels like a castle overlooking its own enchanted, verdant forest. On the coffee table before her, a white orchid reaches tall from its pot and opens up in the gorgeous, surprising, complex way that orchids do.

A photograph of Pauley’s daughter, Rickie, lies on a side table nearby, along with a framed, nearly 30-year-old page from her husband’s personal calendar inscribed, "dinner w Jane." The calendar entry marked their first date. "We’re very well matched," she says confidently.

And yet, as Pauley notes in the very last line of the very last page of her memoir, "There are no charmed lives, only lives." In fact, this refined, placid, and elegant home has been the backdrop of considerable turbulence for its residents. Four years ago, in a terrifying reversal of fortune, Pauley, at the age of 50, met with the confusing,

humiliating, destabilizing episodes of depression and mania that characterize bipolar disorder. There are situations for which even the most prepared among us can never be ready, as when circumstances precipitate a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. "The thing about my experience that I probably remember most vividly, is that your self-perception is yanked out from under you and then you’re left with no self perception at all," says Pauley.

"I knew that people broke down," Pauley explains, "and I had no reason to think I was any different. I always knew, I always suspected that a run of good luck that I had couldn’t go on forever, and I wondered what it would be [like]. I had reason to be prepared for heart disease, cancer, financial reversals. But when it turned out to be bipolar .…"

Pauley was, understandably, unprepared. She describes the unusual circumstances of her diagnosis. The story begins in June 2000 with chronic recurrent idiopathic urticaria edema - in other words, hives. Her skin erupted; doctors believe that the steroids used to treat her hives kick-started her bipolar disorder, which she may or may not have been genetically vulnerable to all along.

Pauley became depressed in early 2001 and was treated unsuccessfully with antidepressants. This was followed by a period of exuberant hypomania. "Feelings came shooting in and out at the speed of bullet trains," she writes in Skywriting, "along with ideas, followed by phone calls that produced action plans."

As months went by and her symptoms continued, her husband began to worry, having noticed the unexplained changes in his wife’s behavior. "He was becoming concerned,” she says, “and I was mad at him for not taking pleasure that I was feeling better [after the depression]."

Finally, in the spring of 2001, Pauley revealed - in a conversation with her psychiatrist - that she had a new understanding of how people could kill themselves. She swears she wasn’t herself suicidal at the time, but her doctor became alarmed nonetheless. When he suggested she be hospitalized, she relented. For three weeks, she was a patient at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in New York City.

For Pauley, her celebrity status was suddenly most unlucky. Although her privacy was ultimately protected during this vulnerable time, "there were rumors," she says. "The tabloids had a reporter in the lobby of my building checking out reports that I had been hospitalized."

Had her fans learned that she was seeking help for bipolar disorder, they would not have been alone in their surprise. Pauley had never imagined that she would suffer from a mental illness. "Not only did I not suspect it, but I had a selfimage that was supported by public testimony that I was probably the sanest person in television. Literally!" She continues, smiling, "Larry Grossman, who was head of NBC, said that. And it was printed. And I looked at it and I thought, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s me.’ It was a reputation that I probably cultivated."

Pauley currently takes medication - lithium - to keep the episodes of bipolar disorder at bay. She has not become sick since taking this medication. She also feels grateful to have suffered only one round of episodes before getting properly treated. And, here she is lucky again, as a recent study conducted by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance found that it can take people with bipolar disorder ten years to get the proper diagnosis and treatment for what ails them.

And Pauley’s is an unusual case for other reasons as well. The average age of onset for bipolar disorder is between the ages of 16 and 25, and bipolar disorder is thought to be genetic. Pauley, on the other hand, is older than normal for onset. Moreover, she does not know of any blood relatives who have bipolar disorder. These mysteries continue to both interest and elude her. "I can’t answer the question for myself whether I always had bipolar," she says. "There had been some depression, but never major depression." The details of her diagnosis make her somewhat of an anomaly, but, of course, for people with bipolar disorder, no two cases are identical.

Once Pauley was stabilized, she reintegrated back into her fast-paced life. A major factor in her recovery was returning to work following her hospitalization, even if the return coincided with one of the worst, most frightful, most panicked days in American history. "I was back on [the air] September 10, 2001," she recalls. "The next day, I was scared like everybody else." And while the work was certainly stressful, "I was very busy doing work that ultimately I won an Emmy for. It was excellent for me to go back to work; I returned to work at a moment when emotional disturbance was the norm."

Three years later, Pauley was launching The Jane Pauley Show on NBC, and releasing her memoir, Skywriting, to the world. Of her decision to "come out" and tell the American public about her experiences with bipolar disorder, Pauley says simply, "I could afford it."

In her memoir, she writes, "I had already decided that if only one good thing came out of this mess, it would be the opportunity to talk about the disease. It didn’t seem like an act of courage. No one I cared about was likely to love me less - virtually all of our friends and the whole family already knew. … Most people living courageously with mental illness fear losing everything - they can’t afford to give people the benefit of the doubt. I can. It seemed pretty simple."

One might expect that a celebrity known for her reliability and sanity would cling even more tightly to her image of unruffled perfection in the face of mental illness. Not Pauley. "I never wanted to be known as someone I wasn’t," she insists. "It had to be real. The part of the persona that was core for me was honesty. That’s why, when I had children, and some of the magazines called me ‘supermom,’ I knew perfectly well that there was chaos at home," she says, smiling, "and that my children would perish if they were solely left to me. I was not a supermom; I couldn’t stand having labels pinned on me that weren’t true."

But would that commitment to honesty come at a price? A year has passed since Pauley spoke out about her diagnosis, which surely is enough time to figure out if telling the world that you live with bipolar disorder is really as "affordable" as you had thought it would be. And here again Pauley is unwavering: She reports that she has no regrets about sharing these experiences. "Not a day went by on my now canceled show that someone didn’t pull me aside so that we could have a ‘special conversation’ [about bipolar disorder]. I loved that. That was just totally gratifying."

Pauley, however humble, is without doubt a much-needed role model for people who have bipolar disorder. In a culture where so few celebrities have come forward to speak openly and frankly about their struggles with this particular mental illness, Pauley is a pioneer. She is a living public example that someone with bipolar disorder can still be a success in the workplace, a loving wife, and a good parent. Media attention paid to people with bipolar disorder usually chases crime or violence. Pauley’s acknowledgement, however, communicates an entirely different, more positive, message: Anybody can get this; you don’t need to be ashamed of yourself, and you can get through it.

"If we’re lucky," she says, "that next generation won’t drag around that personal stigma. They also are going to grow up with a wider array of medications that addresses whatever causes this malady of ours."

Not everybody celebrated her admission. Some critics insinuated that she had used bipolar disorder to generate attention for her new show, charges that she vehemently denies. "That stung a lot," says Pauley. "It made me angry. I just thought, ‘You idiot. You absolute idiot.’ Since when did mental illness become a publicity gambit? And if it did, well, good news, the headline would be there is no stigma to mental illness anymore."

Pauley is understandably disappointed in the demise of her talk show, which was canceled in March 2005 because of low ratings (the show was seen in reruns through September 2005). "For the first time in my life I’m unemployed!" she says, continuing, "I don’t regret it at all. But in mid- March, when we went out and stopped production and dismantled the set and the staff was dispersed to find new jobs, and I have all of my boxes from my office here … there’s no way to interpret that other than failure. It has been a challenge adjusting to that."

The future is wide open for Pauley, and not simply in her career, but in her personal life as well. Her children are out of the house, and her twins, Rickie and Ross, have graduated from college. "The job is over," she says, "and you’ve got! got! to reinvent yourself for the next phase." Her nest is not only empty, but according Pauley, it has also been sold. She and her husband have let go of this apartment, views and all, and plan to to move to a more modest apartment elsewhere in the city.

With career, family, and health in major transitions, Pauley is perched at an unprecedented period of her own life. "It would be a challenge for anybody," she says.

So what’s next?

"Right now," she says, "I’m probably approaching ‘The Things Falling Out of Heaven’ moment."

Photo Jane Pauley
Article Lizzie Simon

The Symphony at Chautauqua


Friday, July 11, 2008


Whenever I tell people I'm going to Chautauqua again this summer they always say....where is that? What do you DO there? I always take a deep breath before I start...where to start.

The Athenaeum Hotel - 1881

The Chautauqua Institution is in upstate New York. For more than a century this Victorian lakeside village has held gatherings of "inquiring minds". People from all over the world come to steep themselves in music, literature, and summer study. The Creed of the founders is "Man should be all that he can be...know all that he can know".

The first meeting was a decidedly rustic experience. A large tent called the Tabernacle was pitched on a hill to accommodate lecture audiences in case of rain. Attendees, who were by and large Methodist Sunday School teachers and their families, slept in rented tents set on platforms.

As Chautauqua drew more and more visitors to its summer courses, families built cottages and boarding houses on the tent sites, sometimes using the tent platforms as flooring. Sturdiness was not a requirement, since these houses were intended for summer use only.

Never meant to be grand, the houses share a common feature, the front porch, which makes conversation on a summer's eve a delight.
The summer is divided into weeks, and each week has a specific theme. This year we are back to the science theme "The Ethical Frontiers of Science". Last year was my pick and we had a "Musical" theme. Around the grounds there are always conversations as groups of people gather to discuss lectures and readings. There are also many arts classes, always something new to learn, from watercolour painting, short-story writing or international politics. There are symphonies, ballets, operas, theatre, and always a quiet spot on a porch somewhere to just sit and rock.
I first learned about Chautauqua from my friend Dana. She spent her childhood summers at Chautauqua when her father was a Minister in nearby Jamestown NY. She had many summer jobs, including the early morning traditional "calling out" for the Chautauqua Daily newspaper. "Get your Chau*tau*qua Daiiiiiilyyyyy"!! Her flair for drama made her popular with guests...she always sold out her pile of papers.

I later popped in with friends for the Bird Tree and Garden Tour. I see that this year's tickets are all sold out. After a few years of solo trips with Dana and Judith, I convinced the professor that he would love the place. We've been going back ever since. This year, he will actually be teaching a course at the end of August.

Photographs Jim Hedrich
Toshi Otsuki

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Frantic Farms

Another good reason to make a day trip to Warkworth. Frantic Farms Clay and Glass Works. I couldn't resist. I got a purple spotty glass. Everything tastes better in a spotty glass. It's magic.

A potter and a glassblower live a story, like the owl and the pussycat. A romantic adventure, out to see (the world). Their journey in functional porcelain and kool-aid coloured glass look to capture life as a nursery rhyme.

Photo: The Toronto Star

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Time of Times

Performed by: Badly Drawn Boy - I love this song from the movie "Definitely Maybe". Cute enough, I like Abigail Breslin.

Guess I'll have to rent-a-kid and go and see "Kit Kittredge"!

I already have my eye on "Emily" in the American Girl Dolls
This could be another Betsy Wetsy episode!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Project - Journaling

While I was in Ottawa, I finally located a copy of Somerset Studio with Colette's art on the cover. The depth and breadth of the hunt made it all the more magical. Magazines are about as much as I can handle these days. I find my concentration is broken too often to really read anything of any weight. I've been going over the various instruction books in my pile of "to read" and am anxious to try out some of the techniques.

Reading the latest edition of Cloth*Paper*Scissors , Icame across two interesting articles that have led me to a new project. It's a great issue. I actually wrote to ask permission to use these photos in my post. No answer, so I'm going to put them on anyway....I'm sure you'll be buying the magazine ...this is good advertising. Just make sure that you realize I am acknowledging the original artists at the end of this post.

I am going to journal my blog. This is likely not a new idea for "old" bloggers, but for me it's a summer project.

This week, I realized was half-way through the year. My calendar of daily art pictures was flipped and it was a real shock to think that in 6 months, not only will I need another calendar, but it will also be January again.

Before life impedes my way any further, I think I shall take matters in hand and start clipping and pasting my journal entries, pictures, and whatever other paraphernalia I have to add to it.

I love the concept of these particular journals and what with the many books I have added to my studio library on techniques and methods, it should make for some useful experimentation as well.

In my current state of "suspended animation" this is something I can think about. One day at a time. One page at a time. Having shown these fabulous artists, mine will be nothing like theirs, but it will be mine. Thanks also to Carmi, Susan, Colette and the many other encouraging and inspiring artists who continue to share their light.

Photo Credits: Cloth Paper Scissors
Lost & Found [Jessica Deane Rosner]
Art at the Speed of Life [Pam Carriker]
Extreme Visual journalism [Juliana Coles]

Monday, July 7, 2008


When you are faced with driving back and forth to Ottawa several times a month with the sad task of visiting a terminally ill parent, there has to be something to make that trip a little less onerous. I have tried driving various routes in order to break the tedium, the 401 and Hwy. 7, despite the change in vegetation and seasons, offer little in the way of artful distraction.

Last month, after reading an article by Rita Zekas in the Toronto Star titled "Great Escape", I was intrigued by the Main Street in Warkworth. The Professor and I decided to grab a piece of pie, a cup of tea, use the facilities and smile at the rabbits at "The Big Apple", and head up Hwy. 30 in search of soul soothing.

Of course I had long since misplaced the article, so hoped that once again, one of my getting lost forays would yield a happy accident. We were not disappointed. I did my usual 1 minute perusal of the scene and ended up at the beginning of the street in a knitting/tea shop "The Bee's Knees".

I'm always lured by fine knitting yarns and the charm of this little shop is captivating. Before long, Heather was expertly winding my yarn...........
while one after another of the most interesting women entered the shop.

Ellen was informing me of sites of all sorts of interest to knitters:
and the darling owner (otherwise look-alike Geena Davis) Carolyn McAlpine, was simultaneously suggesting yarns and projects, finding books, helping customers, teaching the pattern and practically serving tea at the same time! (The other part of the shop specializes in tea related goodies. Heaven) The Bees Knees

If all of that going on at once were not enough, several townspeople, merchants and a husband or two periodically entered the scene. One of them being, I'm not ready yet!!!

This is the little capelet that was on display in the shop. In the picture above, you can just see it's dark outline on the wire form. It is from the Vogue knitting magazine. I hope to be able to conquer the pattern and knit this little luxury for my Mom in her bed. She loves to watch me for awhile, and then she drifts off easily into slumber. There is something very relaxing, satisfying, and hopeful for both of us in this simple pursuit.

As for Warkworth, (yes it's where the federal prison is..but no one seems to pay any attention to that) you can reach it either coming from or going to Ottawa. From the 401 or Highway 7, it is a welcome stress-free detour, or just a fun day trip. I will make a point of dropping in as often as time allows. I need to get to the other side of the street!

I haven't begun to sing the praises of either the town or it's merchants. As I was leaving to take one more picture of the John Deere tractor parked on the main street, yet another "friend" emerged from her shop to tell me about the horse drawn carriage that is sometimes tethered in that spot while the little girls go in for an ice cream, or the two women who ride their mounts into town. The best thing is the illuminated Christmas parade. Better even than Macy's I'm told!