Saturday, May 31, 2008

HELLO


Peter and Autumn

I wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was about regarding the latest Royal wedding. First I had to find the "HELLO" [Canadian edition] magazine. The magazine seemed to be totally sold out everywhere. Just today, a friend who had been on the original foray, found a copy in a gas station and put it in my mailbox.

I think this entire idea of them selling their photos to a magazine is a tempest in a teapot. I applaud them for doing this, and keeping all other paparazzi at bay. I also think that the British media is angry because they didn't get the first scoop. A bit of sour grapes here? This is a very tastefully done spread and I hope this young couple will now enjoy a less "under the lens" life than previous royals have had to endure. Personally, I loved looking at the pictures and this certainly cures my curiosity. Thanks for sharing Peter and Autumn!

The magazine is not a bad rag as they go. Last week, I mistakenly picked up the last copy of the regular issue which profiled the pre-wedding photos. Also included in this issue were Ian Miller the Olympic equestrian...who coincidentally attended my high school in Ottawa, as well as an article on Naomi Duguid and her new cookbook. I blogged on Naomi's book a while back and went to see her on tour at UofT bookstore lectures. I think it's rather amusing that two old "Nepeanites" and the Royals were in the same issue. The recipes are good too!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Music in me

Music is such an important part of my life, I can't imagine a day without it. I waken to classical music and play it all day, in various locations all over the house. When I get into the car, I become a mad woman flipping through my chosen channels until I find something that ROCKS.

My output at the gym is directly linked to the music in the class. I got so energized last week by Paul Anka singing "Diana", that I (and several others) was belting out the song and "stepping" along like a teenager. I cried in the cool-down. That's the effect music has on me.

One evening last week on a particularly long ride into the city, this song came on the radio. At first I thought it was Amy Winehouse, who I still like despite all her depravity. I LOVE the Stones and who could be more depraved than that old pirate Keith Richards, or Mick Jagger? I could not sit still in my seat, but I did restrain my arm movements once on the QEW.

It was "DUFFY" I had not heard of her despite the fact that I now see she is number three on the charts. I guess I've been spending more time in the house than in the car lately. I love her bluesy, smokey voice and there is something rather 60ish about that rhythm.


I spend a lot of ".99cents" on iTunes for my MP3 player, and it has to be a rule now that there is no "over stimulation" after 10 p.m. I get some of my best ideas and dance moves late at night, but the professor hates this. Our computer desks are across from one another. He's ready to close down and head off to bed and I'm dancing on the ceiling. Hence the rule.

I get songs stuck in my head and I cannot sleep. Someone once said that if this happens you just have to sing the song out loud. The professor also hates this. Especially if I have my iPod on and am doing my own Karaoke version.

I love all music except the really hard core jazz that sounds discordant to me. I'm pretty good at discerning what will be the next big hit. I wish I could be Clive Davis and pick people to have major recording contracts. That would be my ideal job.

I can put this music on and do the zaniest dance as I load the laundry...Dance like no one is watching! Keeps you young. MERCY!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What does 60 look like?

I'm getting there, and people always say ...SIXTY!!! You don't look SIXTY!!! Perhaps that's because technically I'm not, for a few more months.

What does sixty look like? I know how my mother looked when my first child was born. Pretty good actually. She didn't act decrepit, and she certainly knew how to party.





Admittedly all of these sixty something women have likely had a little "work" done, perhaps with the exception of Joan Baez, I'm not sure if she'd bother. But this is how sixty is being portrayed these days. Not bad.

An old saying goes: “We don’t stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing!”

I see people at my gym in their late 70’s and early 80’s that exercise two to three times a week who appear and act quite young. They have so much fun together, are fit, and have a great outlook on life.

I am amused to see that my friend Carmi has added to her arsenal of buttons by adding a few "age appropriate" ones. Check these out Carmi's Buttons

I'll be buying these up by the fist full ....I'm at that age, and so are most of my friends. In an effort to protect the innocents, I won't post their pictures, but you all know who you are. See you in September.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Amy Walker

My younger brother can do this sort of thing. He won't do it if you ask him to, only if he decides he's in the mood. When he's in the mood and on a roll, we are all on the floor with his renditions.

The only time it was problematic was once at the German/Swiss border when we arrived in our Swiss Renault-4 full of people and luggage. The Germans don't particularly like the Swiss, and despite having Canadian passports, we were living in Switzerland at the time, and were told to pull over, unload and put the front tires on the back of the vehicle and the back tires on the front. With these instructions given by a knee-height-leather-boot-wearing, pistol-packing border guard, my brother swivels his baseball hat with the peak to the back and starts in with his best rendition of "Colonel Klink"!!!

My husband and I were desperately trying to save my pregnant self, my Mother, and my infant daughter from being imprisoned, by quickly complying and starting the unloading of the trunk. My brother is now prancing around the parking lot entertaining a bus load of tourists who were madly waving from their birds eye view of the scene. My mother and I were sent off with the stroller to find a bar, so that the men could have a beer after the tire rotation exercise. Upon our return, everything was done and we were ready to carry on to the Black Forest...that's another story, involving an Olympic ski jump, when "the bro", still in his best German accent mode, decides that he wants his passport stamped!

He is still wondering why a pregnant woman would have been hysterical on this trip.

Enjoy this incredible talent.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nora Ephron and the Kelly Bag

I just finished a very quick read. Nora Ephron "I Feel Bad About My Neck".

This is one of those books that make you laugh out loud. Another that make us realize how much more similar we are than unalike. Her sense of humour is my own. I originally bought the book because it is in short story form, and I was intending to read to my mother. Instead, the last time I was with my mother I read the Globe and Mail to her, an article on the women in French President Sarkosy's life. I will definitely read Nora's brilliant essays next.

In the chapter entitled "I Hate My Purse". She relates a story about being in Paris with a friend whose goal for the week was to buy a "Kelly Bag". I would not have known what a Kelly Bag was had I not just read an article in the Saturday Globe about the idiocy of waiting years, in an order line for one of these outrageously ($7,000 and up) priced purses. The description given is "A Kelly bag is an Hermès bag first made in the 1950's that Grace Kelly made famous; hence the name." The Globe article goes through the description of needing to cosy up to a salesperson to even be offered the chance to be on the waiting list, let alone to purchase one of these elite bags.

Wikipedia says: "Not only renowned for its saddlery and silk, Hermès is also highly recognized for its handmade luggage and handbag collections. Hermès does not use assembly lines; only one craftsman may work on one handbag at a time. Due to the labour-intensive nature of Hermès production methods and the use of rare materials (sometimes including exotic skins as well as precious metals), one bag can take 18 to 24 hours to create. The construction of each Kelly bag, for example, required 18 hours of work by a single artisan. When Hermès leather goods require repair, owners are encouraged to bring the item back to any Hermès store where it can be shipped to the factory in Paris for repair or reconditioning."
Coincidentally, I was prone on the couch on Saturday night surfing through channels and happened on the last third of a movie named "Le Divorce". The stellar cast was what made me trudge through to the end...hoping for slightly more substantial performances. Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts, Leslie Caron, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Bebe Neuwirth, Sam Waterston.....to name a few. At the very end a bright red Kelly bag, of rather nefarious origins, is launched off of the Eiffel Tower and floats over the rooftops of Paris.

This is another of those coincidences that you were never even considering Kelly bags, and then all of a sudden, "Kelly bags" are everywhere! I'm not even going to entertain the idea of trying to find a "vintage" bag at a Paris flea market.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Penmanship


I used to have very good penmanship. About the only thing I practice in that regard now is the signature I use while signing on the dotted line for Visa purchases. This is why I use my Visa so often in an attempt to keep up this once indispensable art:)

The use of the computer has decimated my elegant cursive. However, now I feel as though I can change my "script" as often as my mood.

In a recent article I read:
"There was a time when a person's handwriting was thought to reveal character. But in an era when computers have made penmanship as archaic as the quill itself, a scribe's choice of font can say as much as the loops that once embellished their cursive words."
The article states that a person who chooses "Times is a little bit more of a traditionalist." The Mayor of Toronto, David Miller and Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff despite being left-wing Liberals are quoted as being traditionalists. Possibly because they use the default setting on their computers.
"Comic Sans has the same visual qualities as (nasal-voiced actor/comedian) Fran Drescher, and Verdana Bold has the same qualities as the voice of James Earl Jones (Darth Vader) - very strong, deep and bold, yet still clear.

Hitler used German Blackletter, a powerful Gothic font developed by Gutenberg. That font became so synonymous with the Nazi regime that it's rarely used today.

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama uses Gotham, a sans serif first used by GQ magazine; rival Hillary Clinton uses a serif New Baskerville. John McCain prefers a sans serif Optima. Verdana is the easiest to read on the screen."
The article goes on to say that there are now more than 25,000 different fonts, with hundreds of new ones being created every year. This means that there are hundreds of sites on-line in which to find fonts, free and or for purchase. I always use free fonts provided by scrapbooking sites, but when I want to search and see something specific I usually use MY FONTS which I read also to find out who is making these new typefaces. They have a periodic newsletter on Rising Stars and Creative Characters that lets you into a whole new world of creativity.

I wish I could use some of these fancy fonts in my blogging, but unfortunately, we are limited to the default types. Perhaps I'll send this in as a suggestion for updating the services.

Photo Credit [Kamakura Pens]
Article: Brett Popplewell

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dieting


Each year I go through this for one reason or another. Last year at this time, it was in a desperate race to look good for our daughter's wedding. This year it's a sprint towards getting into my pants! I do have about three wardrobes to accommodate my various 'stages' of weight, but when I start to be upset with myself, I know it's time.

This time I have a friend participating with me. Otherwise known as a support "group" of one. Well, two, if you consider me as her support as well. A long time ago we went on a phenomenal diet that at the time included "Quaker" cereal. This was 40 years ago and anything Quaker other than oatmeal was revolutionary. After a very long, brisk walk, we were going to have 'just' cereal. It turned out to be very good cereal. In those days there was no counting or reporting of fat, fibre, or calories on boxes. We demolished practically a whole box on the first day.

This has been about the way we've dieted ever since! We get all enthusiastic and supportive and set up the "rules"....which change based on past experiences. This time one of the rules became "And, NO talking about FOOD!" If laughter could make one lose weight, then we'd be thinner than Twiggy! Remember Twiggy??? If you do, then you're as old as my "group"!

I have pulled out my previous Weight Watcher's pamphlets, and calculators and hints and recipes. If you've done it once, then why would you PAY to do it again. This is what the experience of years teaches you. Speaking of paying, just out of curiosity I looked up the on-line version of Weight Watcher's and it's still not fair. The US on-line price is $65.00 for the mandatory 3 month signing, while the Canadian price for the same service is $84.95...let's round that up to $85 bucks..or is that fattening?? So. $20.00 more, AND, our dollar is now above the US currency rate.
Watch out for stuff like that!

I think I'm getting signs to do this at this time as all t.v. shows seem to point this way. An episode of "Shopping Bags" where two women from Vancouver rate various products, followed a diet group for 10 months and rated everything from the diets themselves, to pedometers. I'm doing a trial "run"/walk today with a pedometer on my waist. Of course I've done this before too! I even have a skipping rope, should someone suggest that on a t.v. show this week. "Oprah" is doing some cleanse of not eating anything refined, sugary, or alcoholic for 12 days. She's not in our group. Yet.


Cartoon Credit [Diet]which I only used for the cartoon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Forgetting


I have been a little frightened lately with my "forgetfulness".

Admittedly, we all forget things from time to time, and some of these incidents are more embarrassing than anything else.

Last week I was at my doctor's office to get my allergy prescription renewed. Walking through the parking lot, back to the car, I began the mandatory hunt for the keys. As I muttered to myself and ransacked my purse, the car started honking, lights flashing, doors locking and unlocking, basically carrying on. I assumed at this point that I had put the keys somewhere on my person and the remote was now wedged, and I was setting it off. Purse on top of car,a full body-pat ensued, but turned up nothing. By now, I was peering in to see if they'd been left in the ignition, I wasn't really putting 2 and 2 together, rather, frantic and feeling totally perplexed. Just as I was about to go through the entire ransacking, patting, peeking routine one more time, my puzzled gaze fell upon the receptionist from the office, emerging, my keys in hand madly punching away at the buttons as the car escalated in noise and effects. Laughing his way toward me, and by now dangling my keys at eye level, I realized what was going on. These remotes can be launched from inside buildings and indeed the entire medical front office was having a great laugh. I'd left the keys on the counter of the check-out window. I have never done this before. Honest. The doctor will now have yet another reason to be seeing me sooner than later!

The next episode of egregious behavior was just last week. I went to the drug store to purchase some new makeup, shampoo, and mail a few things. The Shoppers near us has one of those fancy shmancy boutique sales areas and just my luck there was a "team" from Christian Dior doing free make-up demos that day. I should preface this by saying, that I DID mail the cards. After about 20 minutes under the lights, I emerged much nicer looking than I came in, and quite a bit lighter in the wallet for the experience. I then trotted off to buy the other essential I had originally planned on. Shampoo. Next morning, I'm thinking..."Did I buy that shampoo yesterday? Or did I get diverted and forget?" "No. I DID buy the shampoo. I distinctly remember telling the sales lady that I didn't need a bag as I already had all this makeup in a tote!" Next day, I return to shoppers, no make-up on, sales slip in hand...skulking to the same check-out counter. Immediately, the woman remembers me...how, I'm not sure, as she saw me post face makeover, but there we were...she laughing, recalling events exactly as they had happened. I had walked out without the shampoo.

Remember those new glasses I got? No No No...I haven't lost them. I just keep forgetting. I do find they work nicely for watching t.v., so I leave them IN THE CASE (that's a good thing), and then I forget to put them back where they should live...in my purse. I drove back and forth to Ottawa without the glasses. The reason I had the glasses in the first place is that everything is blurry at night now. They were left by the t.v.

I've done enough work with Alzheimer's patients to know that it's normal to go to the store and forget something, it's forgetting that you were ever at the store that it becomes a serious problem.

Now....what was I saying???????????

[Photo Credit: Forget-Me-Not (Brian Johnston Canada)]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Leona Lewis

Yesterday in gym class the instructor played this song for the cool down. The voice sounded very much like one of my current faves "Bleeding Love"...by Leona Lewis. This is the young woman that Simon Cowell and Clive Davis helped to promote. With picks like this, why bother having an Idol show at all??

I leave you with this song, so beautifully performed, that it makes me weep.

I think of my own two, now grown, beautiful children, and the first time ever I saw their faces.... I know the song is originally for a lover, but I think it's also for those you just love. I can remember seeing those baby faces, kissing their rosebud mouths, and feeling their hearts beat as I lay beside them.

They are so far away now and I miss them so much.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SAVING for GOOD

This "save that for good" saying is one of the many things from my childhood in the Ottawa Valley, that bedevil me to this day.

I think the notion of saving your best dress to appear in church on Sunday morning may have been the genesis (great play on words) of this comment on life. Clearly in this picture I had on "Good" things. The shoes are relatively unscathed, the hat...now what is THAT all about? If you look very closely (sorry Gordon and Susan, I'll get at it in Photoshop asap) there is a handbag dangling on those skinny legs. This is clearly an outfit that was saved for "GOOD" and a picture no less, to prove it. We didn't have a lot of photographs in our family. One can assume therefore that these were all GOOD occasions. I'm sure the handbag was my idea entirely!

I cant' tell you what a horrible effect this small saying has had on my life. I save EVERYTHING, not necessarily for good either. This past weekend, due to unforeseen rainy, cold weather, my efforts at outdoor chores were curtailed. This meant no excuse for not tackling my "studio". Since I've been in and out of everyday creativity for months, I decided that a fresh start was in order. "Hoeing" indoors is an apt description. I realized that there is so much that I save "just in case"...."you never know"...."the minute I throw that out I'll need it"....well, that I was saving for something so long ago that I'll likely never do that project again, but "you never know"....

It has occurred to me that this has been an ingrained habit since childhood. I'm old enough that I remember my Mother saving string from packages sent in the mail, and any other tied correspondence. We had a "string ball". Then there were elastics. We had an "elastic ball". We reused tin-foil. We took lunches in the same bag, several times a week...if you remembered the exhortations to "BRING YOUR LUNCH BAG HOME!" Especially if they were Loblaws purchased bags and not just something recycled from a shop. Maple syrup was poured from the over-sized can into the already 'sterilized' old liquor bottles and frozen in the giant basement chest freezer. There wasn't a jar or plastic tub that wasn't re-used. I think this was all pre-Tupperware days, at least at our house it was.

All of this early recycling was undoubtedly due to parents who survived a depression and lived by the rule..."waste not, want not".

I digress. Back to the "Saving that for Good". My elderly Mother, at 90 is STILL saving an outfit for GOOD! Most days, as a friend of mine is wont to say, we dress like "Hobos" ...when not in Paris....I think I'm just saving it all for GOOD.

After reading the newspapers, I'm about to add to the elastic ball that lives in the second drawer down, just below the cutlery. You never know.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Victoria Day Weekend


QUEEN VICTORIA on Parliament Hill in Ottawa


This week in the Toronto Star there have been numerous articles on getting rid of Victoria Day. I always feel so conflicted to see that headline. The implication of us not being a "grown-up" country unless we change all of our traditional ties to Great Britain scares me. I LIKE the connection to the Royals no matter how wacky they were or continue to be. Having watched the recent mini-series "John Adams" I am also sympathetic to the "Republic" set up by the colonials. I guess what scares me is the alternative. I would far rather have The Queen and her representative in Canada, The Governor General, than George Bush or for that matter Stephen Harper being our head of state any day. The idea of turning Canada into a Republic worries me. By now my Liberal/Democratic stripes are showing.

Toronto Star: article "Let's get rid of Victoria Day"


Because Canada is a "world leader in multiculturalism and diversity" doesn't necessarily mean that we have to continually change everything. I see many "multicultural" children at my door every Halloween and I can assure you that this pagan "tradition" of dead souls visiting the mortal world is well attended by all. No one really cares about the social or religious implications of this one. Christmas...well, that's another blog. That will take considerably more time as well. Let's just leave it that I am also totally against changing that holiday name, no matter how diverse Canada becomes.

Toronto Star: Letters "Holiday sparks fireworks"


The bottom line for me is that indeed few really know or care who we are supposed to be honouring this long weekend, so does it really matter what the holiday weekend is called? Leave it alone. I will have tea and scones this weekend, and celebrate the other tradition of gardening, sprucing up the shed, spring cleaning my car, and dusting off the barbeque. I'll also hang up my flag...the maple leaf one, not the British one.

I'll leave you with all this reading to ponder and hope that you have whatever sort of long weekend you wish. See you Tuesday!

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Tourist in OTTAWA

Parliament Building details







View across the river to Hull, Quebec



Reflection



Justice

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ECO FLORA

I received some pretty fabulous flowers from this company and I would like everyone to see the gorgeous plant material from this "Fair Trade" "Organic" florist in Toronto.
ECO FLORA

If you click on the picture you can see the flowers in full bloom.

They delivered to Mississauga and as promised, everything is without chemicals, the flowers actually SMELL nice, the arrangement is great and it's all wrapped in recyclable material. This pleases my little family.

The flowers greatly pleased me. This is a company worth supporting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book Reading

I went to Nepean High School in Ottawa with Naomi. I have been a great fan of hers since we were 'Prefects' together. She was SO SMART!!
This is where I'll be.

Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Posted by U of T Bookstore Reading Series

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 @ 7:30pm
Hart House, East Common Room
(7 Hart House Circle)

An evening of visual slides and conversation with Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

A bold and eye-opening new book of magnificent photos, unforgettable stories and exotic home-cooking from the most ethnically diverse, geographically varied and intriguing regions of China.

In the West, when we think about food in China, what usually comes to mind are the signature dishes of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. But beyond the urbanized eastern third of China lie the high open spaces and sacred places of Tibet, the Silk Road oases of Xinjiang, the steppes of Inner Mongolia, and the steeply terraced hills of Yunnan and Guizhou. The peoples who live in these regions are culturally distinct, with their own history and their own unique culinary traditions. In Beyond the Great Wall, the inimitable duo of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid–who first met as young travellers in Tibet–bring home the enticing flavours of this other China.

For over twenty-five years, both separately and together, Duguid and Alford have journeyed all over the outlying regions of China, sampling local home-cooking and street food, making friends and taking lustrous photographs. Beyond the Great Wall is a rich mosaic of recipes, photos and stories–a must-have for every food lover, and an inspiration for cooks and armchair travellers alike.

Sample recipes: Mongolian Hotpot, Chicken Pulao with Pumpkin, Hand-rolled Rice Noodles, Kazakh Stew, Tibetan Rice Pudding.


Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s four previous books have all been major award-winners. Flatbreads & Flavors and Hot Sour Salty Sweet both won the James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award (in 1996 and 2001 respectively). Seductions of Rice and HomeBaking, their most recent book, each won a Cuisine Canada Cookbook Award (in 1999 and 2004). Naomi and Jeffrey have written for all the major food magazines in Canada and the U.S., including Gourmet and Food & Wine, and also for the National Post.

Reference: [U of T bookstore reading series]
http://www.uoftbookstore.com/online/events.ihtml

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gifts for Men

Isn't shopping for men a pain? I can never think of anything that will really totally overwhelm my spouse, but I may have come close today.

We watch The Food Network quite a bit...well, I select, and LAM has been drawn in, especially to Jamie Oliver. You can go on over and see Jamie's website if you want the full meal-deal on him. We started admiring him for his efforts to change the school lunch programs in the UK and stayed on with his zanier later efforts. Lately, we've been noticing his 'Jamie at Home' series, and intrigued by it's art work, the set up he has in his own garden and the way the format informs.

Gift Number 1. Not only is this a great birthday gift for a guy, but he can also cook his way to a good life, which of course I will have to sample :)

Being a devotee of all things Darwin, how could I resist gift number 2?
This is a Sir Charles Darwin rose. How perfect!


Happy Birthday LAM. The dinner you requested will be served tonight. I look forward to the long weekend with something "a la Jamie", from the grill, and some help digging up the garden to get that rose in! I think I'm onto something with this new trend in "gifts for men".....wonder how he'd look in a Hermes Scarf???

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Arnolfini Marriage

Way back in February on our journey to Bruges with Jane and Michael, I posted a picture by van Eyck. I didn't see the painting there, it was just a reference to van Eyck's work in conjunction with Bruges.

I am now reading "Unaccustomed Earth" by Jhumpa Lahiri. It is a collection of eight stories from around the world. In the story "Only Goodness" the main character finds herself wandering around the National Gallery in London....
"In November, wandering through the National Gallery, she met a man. She had been admiring The Arnolfini Marriage by van Eyck, lingering in front of it after a cluster of people had passed. It was an oil painting of a couple in a bedroom holding hands, with a small dog standing at their feet. The man wore a fur-trimmed purple cape and an overly large black straw hat. The woman wore an emerald-green gown that trailed like a heavy curtain onto the floor, some of the material gathered up in her left hand. She had a white veil on her head and looked possibly pregnant, Sudha wasn't sure. There was a window behind the man, with a piece of fruit, an apricot or a tangerine, on the sill. On the wall hung a convex mirror that reflected everything in the painting."
"Come closer," the man next to Sudha said, ushering her a few steps forward so that no one could cross their line of vision. "Otherwise you can't really see." He started talking about the mirror, how it was the focal point of the painting, capturing the floor and the ceiling, the room and the world outside, and then she saw that it reflected not only the couple but also a pair of men standing in the doorway, peering into the room just as she was. "One of them is van Eyck," the man said. "That's what the inscription above the mirror says. It's Latin for 'van Eyck was here.'"

"He told her that the two men in the doorway of the painting were witnessing the couple's union, adding that the painting was intended to serve as a marriage certificate. "Of course, that's just one interpretation," the man said. "Some argue that it's a betrothal scene."

"She studied the details he spoke of, the glow of the paint, conscious of their shared gaze. "What about the shoes? Do they mean something?" Sudha heard herself asking, pointing to a pair of abandoned wooden clogs in the foreground and then to some red slippers by the carpet.

"I suspect it means they're standing on holy ground. Either that or she just went shopping."


Isn't it interesting how life collides!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I will spend Mother's Day with my Mother this year. It may be for the last time.

This is what my Mother looked like when I was born.


Years later, sharing a little something....how I wish I knew now what we were discussing that day.


I have embedded a song by a young Canadian group called "Po Girl". I dedicate this song to my Mother. To hear the song, click on the start button. Happy Day to you all.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Coo Coo

Another nature lesson today. Here is the famous "coo-coo" dove that is nesting outside my kitchen window on the fence. This bird and I have eye contact pretty much all day. I even thought I should run out a put a tea towel over her when it got dark, as I'm sure the kitchen light will bother her. Don't you put a tea towel over a budgie in a cage at night? Oh well, she is firmly ensconced now and quite unperturbed even when I was this close with the camera. She is quite well camouflaged, in my climbing hydrangea unless you see her movement, which I think just about any dumb cat would be quite capable of. Oh dear. I'll have to keep watching her...Miss Coo Coo Chanel!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fauna Frenzie


Is it just me, or is this a particularly "squirrley" year for critters?? The robins in my yard are totally NUTS this spring. When not engaged in artful decoration of my car in the driveway - read: plopping all over it, they are building nests in totally unsuitable places, the latest being my upstairs bedroom window!

I awoke this morning to much skitching and skatching near the screen, only to find a rather demented looking red breast trying to assemble a nest in the crook of my open window. I stood there for a long time marveling. I knew what had to be done. It is totally unreasonable to assume that this window will be able to be permanently cranked open to the position it was in. In my infinite wisdom, I removed the screen and the flimsy beginnings of the little home and scattered them to the wind so that the Robin family could start again before it's too late.

They have now apparently chosen the Persian Lilac, one story down and close to the ground which is right next to the patio table and chairs....again...WHAT are they thinking? Bird brains indeed.
I happen to be endowed with the Debbie Travis of squirrels in my yard. As usual, she has found my landscaping unacceptable. Every year in the spring I have to peruse the neighborhood to find out where my carefully chosen bulbs have ended up. Invariably I end up with someone else's choices. It's rather like being on Trading Spaces whether you sign up or not.

Everyone is very busy out there, this will galvanize me into yard work and taking back control of the property!

Tomorrow I will report on a pair of dumb doves that I have been calling the "Coo Coo" sisters....clearly they are not sisters, but man and wife and have chosen an equally odd location on a fence where just about anything can get at them....cats, crows,....This is just too strange. Something is amiss in the animal world.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cranford


As soon as I see pictures like this I have to watch. I think I may have lived a hundred years ago, so strong is my interest. With my luck I looked like the one on the right!

CRANFORD

This is currently on Masterpiece Theatre on WNED Channel 61(for me) Sunday nights at 9 p.m. I'm not sure if I recommend it, it took me a long while to settle into it, but it is Judy Dench!!! Click on the link to see what you think, the review is pretty spot on. It's very lightweight.

Happily, for my son, I am now over my actual "Virtual Victorian" period. Those were the years when the house had a colour scheme of all things pink and green, and flowery. Gordon is a minimalist and found all the clutter waaaay too much. That is another story to relate!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Portrait of a Lady

Rogier van der Weyden (1399-1464) * Andrew W. Mellon Collection
National Gallery of Art

What do you suppose she is thinking?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Membership has it's rewards


Truth be known, I HATE exercising.

I do it, because I know it's good for me....bone building, pressure lowering, balance etc. etc., but this doesn't make it any more attractive for me. I figure everyone has to be motivated by something to exercise. Health, vanity, endorphins, take your pick, my motivation is coffee. You see, after each daily slog at the gym, the "gym people" gather at Tim's and solve all the problems of the world. I have been away for a long, long time and I hadn't realized how much I miss this part of daily routine. For those of us who are "home alone" most of the day, this may be the only time we get to meet face to face with others. Okay, okay, those of you that are out in the world doing your honourable deeds may wish you saw less and less of those faces, I'm just saying.

Upon my return to the gym today, I was delighted that my "spot" was still there. Some new interloper, unaware of the the gym culture that exists, had not put their step down in my sacred area. It was a bit like the theme song from the old sit-com
Cheers

Thanks guys! It's great to be back and even though it's a coffee shop and not a bar, the sentiments are the same. Everybody knows your name! Cheers to all of you who have been faithfully following me around the world on my blog, and made it such a nice homecoming. I'll see you tomorrow!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring has Sprung

This week is going to be the start of my spring forward. I've been putting things off long enough. There doesn't appear to be any more snow in the forecast and the birds are starting to nest in their usual silly places around my house, so it's time to catapult myself into action.

Yesterday I decided it might be a good idea to "finish" something. I have enough new ideas to sustain me, probably much longer than my eyesight will. I am in hold mode now and not planning any trips, so home I am, but in need of routine.

In the very spirit of "forwardness" I have pulled out my Noah's Ark and will, at long last work on the big parts. The cabinet has to be stained and painted and the Ark itself needs to be finished. All the animals and Noah are ready to board as soon as the paint dries. This is such an old project that it was Maxine Thomas' 5th. edition. I think she is up to at least the 13th. by now. I must say that after 9/11 things seemed to radically change in the "Folk Art..Tole Painting" world. It was almost like people said...what in the world are we doing????? The world is going up in flames while we paint??? Akin to fiddling while Rome burns????

This is one of the larger pieces that I still have even the remotest interest in, the others are still shelved awaiting their turn to be picked. I don't want to get back into painting full-time, but I do want to sort through the things I might attempt and those that need to find new homes.