Friday, February 27, 2009

Fabulous Movie

Today, the junior girlfriends and I went to see Coraline. I have to say it was one of the best movies...maybe the best I've ever seen. The 3D is so freaking amazing that I was blown out of my socks. I have never enjoyed a film as much for the effects. To say that it is extraordinarily imaginative is an understatement. Consider that everything was made by hand. What a work of art!!

Cherry Blossoms which are really painted popcorn, 500 Scottie Dogs, and 3,500 flowers that light up, all made by hand!!! The Biggest Smallest Movie
I thought this was going to be a kids movie, but it's so sophisticated that I think the adults enjoyed it even more.

Movie Trailer Coraline

Even this site is fabulous. Make sure you click around all the clicky parts.

You must see this. You'll be just blown away. The 3D glasses are hilarious and having kids in the theatre makes it a bit less spooky. I was accompanied by a 10 and 12 year old, I'd say just the right age for all the subtleties. They were riveted and I'm telling you that is a major feat.

I'm posting this early, so that you can either rent-a-child or go by yourselves this weekend. It will really pique your imagination and creativity. I really think I'd see it again. It's just amazing.

I guess I should add that I'm a Tim Burton fan. I won't give away any of the story but careful what you wish for!!!

Photo Credit:


This is a picture of 19th. Century Japanese Inro Cases from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England. Fascinating little purses.

Click on the picture to see the intricate detail on these lacquered beauties.

Consisting of a stack of tiny, nested boxes, inro were most commonly used to carry identity seals and medicines.

An inrō (印籠, いんろう?) was a case for holding small objects. Because traditional Japanese garb lacked pockets, objects were often carried by hanging them from the obi, or sash. Most types of these sagemono were created for specialized contents, such as tobacco, pipes, writing brush and ink, but inrō were suited for carrying anything small.

Inrō were made of a variety of materials, including wood, ivory, bone, and lacquer. Lacquer was also used to decorate inro made of other materials. Inrō, like the ojime and netsuke they were associated with, evolved over time from strictly utilitarian articles into objects of high art and immense craftsmanship.

From Wikipedia

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Juno Award Nominee 2009

Crystal Shawanda

The other night, I heard this Juno "Best New Artist of the Year" nominee, and was totally in tears by the end. It gets you that way. No matter your age, this is a song for the little girl in all of us.

If you wish to hear You Can Let Go

In her self-penned bio, Shawanda writes: "I'm Native American. We're automatically country... joined to the land and the real stories of everyday people. To Native Americans, music is our everything. It's our storytelling, our history, and our dance." A U.S. and Canadian citizen, she was born in Ontario and grew up on a reservation called Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island. Signed to RCA Records, her debut album, Dawn of a New Day, debuted at No. 2 on the Canadian Country Albums chart, and No. 16 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Dawn Of A New Day became the highest charted album by a full-blooded Native American country artist in the SoundScan era.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Extreme Paper Quilling

A while back, Irene and I took a class in "quilling" at Bizzy B's with Cheryl
We made the most adorable snowflakes that were adorned with stickles so they sparkle when hung from the chandelier.

While cruising around the other day, I cam across this artist, Yulia Brodskaya, who does THE most amazing things with paper. It's very reminiscent of the quilling we learned.....I think them absolutely fantastic.

Due to schedules, we were unable to take the equally adorable quilled hearts class that Cheryl offered. We are hoping that it will come up again, hearts are for all seasons n'est pas?

Visit Yulia's website to view more of her fabulous paper art.

Yulia Brodskaya

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Fitness Approach

What is ZUMBA you ask??

ALPHARETTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Latin music pulses from the stereo as 40 women jump, shimmy and sway to the beat.

It's not a dance club. This is a regular morning exercise class at the YMCA in Alpharetta, Georgia. It's called Zumba.

Part dance, part aerobics, Zumba is an hourlong routine that works almost every muscle in the body.

"It is dance fitness," explained Stephanie Maxim, one of two class instructors. "We teach them moves that you can see on 'Dancing with the Stars': salsa, mambo, cha-cha, and we put it into a group fitness format."

"It's not like a workout," explained Diane Walterstiel, 55, of Alpharetta. "Before I come, I'm tense, but when I leave, I could kiss the world."

Nearly a year after being introduced at the YMCA in suburban Atlanta, Zumba is the most popular exercise offering at the facility.

Alberto Perlman, co-founder and CEO of Zumba Fitness in Hollywood, Florida, wasn't surprised when the concept took off not just in the United States but around the world.

"We turned exercise into a party," Perlman declared. "Zumba broke some of the rules of fitness. We used music in the original form instead of using step counts."

Perlman, whose background is in marketing, teamed up with Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez in Miami in 2001.

"One day, Beto forgot his aerobics tapes, so he played his salsa and meringue songs during class in their original form," Perlman said. "People went crazy. They didn't feel like they were in a class with a drill sergeant."

Perlman said Perez decided to call the exercise Zumba, after the Colombian slang word meaning to buzz like a bee or move fast.

Zumba is now a brand name. Since 2003, Perlman's group has trained 20,000 instructors around the world and sold more than 3 million DVDs on the Internet and through infomercials, he said.

I'm going to try this tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Rivergrove Community Centre. I've been looking for a "dancy" class for ages. Our evening line dancing class has many of these moves and the time passes so quickly it amazes me. It's a bit of a hike to the centre where this takes place, but the days are getting longer and the evenings a bit more light. I'm still on my 10 pound challenge (-8.2 now!! Yay) and need to mix things up a bit as the going gets slower. By all accounts this just might do it! As the article says, I hope I'll be leaving tonight wanting to "Kiss the World"!!!

If you wish to see more ZUMBA

Credit photo and article:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Ever

I think I married him!!! The other night in a pub, I mentioned that The Professor was looking rather like Uncle Chichimus. Not one person at the table knew who Uncle "Chich" was. The Professor was furiously patting down his side "tufts"....he got it! Do you? Maybe this is another Ottawa Valley thing :)

Uncle Chichimus and Hollyhock Disappear
Credit: Zachary Houle

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Viennese High Society

While Canadians are celebrating Hockey Week in Canada, this is what the Austrians are doing.
The 5,500 guests who waltzed through the night at this year's Vienna Opera Ball, the glittering highlight of Austria's social calendar, swept the world's financial woes under the red carpet, at least for a few hours on Thursday evening.

The glitzy opening ceremony featured the dance of the debutantes, 160 young couples making their debut in Vienna's high society.

Then, with the words "Alles Walzer" (Everybody Waltz), the floor was opened up to the other guests -- Austria's political, business and social elite all dressed to the nines in tailcoats and ballgowns -- who waltzed to the strains of "The Blue Danube."

Couples dance at the Vienna Opera Ball on February 19, 2009. 5,500 guests waltzed through the night at this year's ball, the glittering highlight of Austria's social calendar.

"Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to what is by far the most opulent of the nigh-on 1,000 balls held in the Austrian capital during Carnival season.

The spectre of recession was temporarily banished by the hundreds of dazzling chandeliers that light up Vienna's legendary opera house, spectacular festoons of flowers and a seemingly never-ending stream of champagne.

A number of business leaders cancelled this year. At a time when many Austrian companies are laying off workers as a result of the global economic and financial crisis, it was not thought appropriate to fork out anywhere near the 42,000 euros (53,000 dollars) for one of the opera house's boxes.

Volksbank and Constantia, two banks severely hit by the financial crisis, gave back the boxes they had booked in recent years.

Even top companies, such as steelmaker Voestalpine and Japanese car maker Toyota discreetly decided to forego their usual boxes.

Nevertheless, this year's event -- which marked the 140th anniversary of the Vienna Opera Ball -- was completely sold out. The country's political guard, too, were out in force, with President Heinz Fischer, Chancellor Werner Faymann and his deputy Josef Proell all occupying the box of honour.

"Austria is well positioned in the crisis, so why should we cancel the ball," said President Fischer.

Outside the ornate opera house, 400 police officers were on guard in case any demonstrations might turn nasty, as they have done in previous years.

But few protestors chose to brave the snow and icy winds buffeting the city and the evening passed without incident.

Because 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of composer Josef Haydn, his music occupied pride of place on the evening's programme.

The ball also paid homage to the city of Linz, which is one of Europe's two cultural capitals this year.

The guests are given the full run of the legendary opera house for the evening: in addition to the ballroom in the main auditorium, small bars and discos are hidden away in every corner of the building, playing not only classical waltzes, but pop and jazz as well.

Guests paid 230 euros for their tickets, but also had to dig deep for refreshments, with beer costing eight euros and a glass of champagne 29 euros.

But no price could be too high "for being a princess for the evening," whispered one young debutante.

This is what it might sound like. You can take a magical trip to Vienna and languish for ten minutes. If you wish, you can flip through the society photos and then the panoramic views while listening to the Blue Danube Waltz. Imagine you're there.
more photos

Our ballroom dance 'troupe' will really have to up the ante to attend this. Not sure how one navigates this packed room, but it may actually be of some help...small steps. I love the nosegays the young women are carrying. Why the Nicolette Sheridan appearance. Is that really necessary?

If you wish to take a panoramic tour of the on the various pictures.....

I bet most of these people are home this weekend soaking their feet! We'll still be watching hockey.

Credits: Toronto Star and France 24

Thursday, February 19, 2009


by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing of my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

from And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.

Thanks Dana!

"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."

—Sophia Loren

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taking a Camera Course

Last weekend, I went to take a course all about my new camera. Needless to say, it was not what I had hoped for. Basically, it was an instructor standing at the front of the class going over everything in the manual that came with the camera.

I'm not one to read manuals until I need to figure out how to do specific things, but I had gone over the picture brochure included with camera regarding the contents of the box!!! Thus, it was a rather tedious exercise from the get-go.

I was mostly excited to learn about the various settings, because a few weeks ago, I was trying to do something artsy fartsy with my new digital, and managed, somehow, to save all the weird settings, out of which I could no longer manoeuvre. The instructor started off into his interactive routine by getting everyone to do this- this-this...waaaay too fast...especially if your camera is stuck in goodness knows what setting.

I was pretty calm by my own standards for a bit, and then I asked simply if I could ask him to tell me how to set the camera back to the default factory settings so that I could join in. That, I was told, would be coming up later in his talk!!! Fortunately I was sitting beside a young person who just took my camera and did this-this-this and got it back for me. Obviously, I missed the first bit, but in the end he repeated it so many times even I could catch up.

I'm always so disappointed when I spend three hours in a class and come away with only one or two things I didn't know, or couldn't find in the instructions included in the box. Virtually every question asked in the class was answered with "Good Question!...That's in the next series of classes". My answer. Good Luck getting anyone in attendance back to another of your lackluster sessions. I'm sure I'll be looking on the web for any further assistance.

I need to spend time with my camera and the instruction manual, which by the way doesn't have one of the worst male "comb-overs" I've ever seen in my life!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Family Politics

Yesterday was the "Family Day" holiday in Ontario. An Article in the Toronto Star featured this excerpt. I found it very moving and decided to find out more about it's author. I'm intrigued.

From: "Family Politics: Love and Power on an Intimate Frontier"
"If the family were a container, it would be a nest, an enduring nest, loosely woven, expansive, and open. If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable - each segment distinct. If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles. If the family were a sport, it would be baseball: a long, slow, non-violent game that is never over until the last out. If the family were a building, it would be an old but solid structure that contains human history, and appeals to those who see the carved moldings under all the plaster, the wide plank floors under the linoleum, the possibilities."
Read about Letty Cottin Pogrebin
U.S. writer, founding editor of Ms Magazine.

If you wish to hear a talk given by Ms Pogrebin click on the link.
Harvard Divinity School
Women's Studies in Religion Program
"Religion and the Feminist Movement"

Other Titles by this author: [None of which I have read, but plan to investigate]
* Family Politics : Love and Power on an Intimate Frontier
* Getting over Getting Older : An Intimate Journey

* Among Friends: Who We Like, Why We Like Them, and What We Do With Them
* How to Make It in a Man's World
* Three Daughters
* Deborah, Golda and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy McGuinty Day

In the USA, this is "President's Day". In Canada it's Monday, but in Ontario it's also "Family Day". It doesn't say Family Day on my calendar, so I'm calling it "McGuinty Day"....after Dalton McGuinty the Premier of Ontario who made this all up.

First of all the US gets "American Idol" we have to have "Canadian Idol"...
"So You Think You Can Dance", USA we have to have the Canadian version. While I admit the Canadian talent turned out to be vastly superior, it's still a bit of copy-catyish, isn't it? Now we have to have a February holiday to be samers.

I wouldn't mind it if we did have a two party system in this country and a President. It would make things much more clear when it came time to vote, either you IS or you ISN'T, and then this could be a real holiday. Somehow, Prime Minister's Day just doesn't carry the same allure. As a matter of fact, our Prime Minister doesn't get the day off. The Feds are not part of this edict.

So what do people do on McGuinty Day? The Professor is home which means any schedule that there might be on a Monday is totally off kilter. He'll just do whatever it is he does at the University, only he'll do it here, and I'll be forced to take a day off and lie around reading a good book. I don't think you're allowed to do laundry on McGuinty Day.

The sun is shining this morning in Mississauga, perhaps we'll go for a walk in our neighborhood to see what all the families are doing.

Thanks Dalton!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Blogiversary

Happy One Year "Blogiversary" - Leslie Jane Moran

A year ago today, the Professor and I were standing on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Well, I was standing on the observation deck, and as you may or may not recall, he was squarely planted in the central portion of the structure "observing" the elevator mechanism. It will be fun today to return to my very first posts. You'll see that the weather hasn't changed much, but lots has happened over a year of blogging.

2008 was a huge year for us. I turned sixty, the Professor and I celebrated 40 years of marriage, and sadly my Mother passed away. All of these events significant turning points in one's life. 2009, with it's auspicious starts, seems like such a new and hopeful time.

This blog was conceived on 6 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006, Paris in the 6th. arrondissement. Our daughter got me all set up technically on the lap top and it's been blah blah blah ever since! Partly in response to friends who didn't want the story telling to stop after the trip ended.

The name of the blog is my own. My given name IS Leslie Jane. Many of my relatives still call me Leslie Jane. It was constructed this way to distinguish between my Father and I. He was Leslie James Rodger, and mostly called Les. I was to be Leslie Jane, double barreled, and usually spoken most emphatically when someone was mad at me! Leslie JANE!!! One of my goals in the next year will be to refine my blog header. I need help!

I hope you've been entertained and I look forward to more of the same style of story telling, something, I'm reminded, I've been perfecting from a very young age. In those days it was looked upon skeptically. Now, as then, it's to be enjoyed not believed - most of the time.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, my new found blogging community who have become such good friends, my regular friends, family and faithful readers, and anyone else out there who just comes along for the fun of it.

You know I'd rather be in Paris :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


If this isn't one of the sweetest ideas for Valentine's Day!! I just wanted to get it up here so that you might enjoy and use in time.

Titian "The Worship of Venus" 1519 Prado, Madrid, Spain

Happy Birthday Charles

Today we will be celebrating Darwin's birthday with a cake. I understand that in Shrewsbury, the place of Darwin's birth, they are planning to blow up their cake. What a pity!

You might remember that in ferreting around for genealogy information on relatives, the Professor unearthed my connection to William Playfair. This same Playfair, through the Lunar Society was friends with Charles Darwin's grandfathers. Erasmus Darwin was one grandfather, and Josiah Wedgewood was the other grandfather of Charles Darwin. I will serve cake on Wedgewood china, [the very same Wedgewoods], as it was likely done when Charles was born. Just a fun little thing.

Darwin's final words from The Origin of the Species:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

You might like to hear a little vignette on Darwin

Royal Mail Issues Stamps Celebrating Charles Darwin

On Thursday, the Royal Mail announced that it would issue ten stamps that commemorate the 200th birthday of the natural scientist Charles Darwin, born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury.

The ten stamps depict the British scientist’s impressive work in various areas of biology, geology, botany, zoology, ornithology and anthropology. The Royal Mail will commemorate the event on Thursday in Shrewsbury.

A representative at the Royal Mail pointed out that the stamps have a jigsaw shape, revealing the way in which Charles Darwin managed to discover various aspects of life and unify them into complex theory. His studies blended in one of humankind’s most important idea of its own origins through the evolution theory.

The Royal Mail will also issue a full size sheet consisting of four stamps. Together, the four stamps depict the Galapagos Islands and the various species of animals that Charles Darwin studied in the 1830s, prior to the release of his book On the Origin of Species.

The authorities in Shrewsbury are also planning to commemorate the birth of the greatest British naturalist. On Thursday afternoon, the officials will blow up a cake in The Square. There will be other events that celebrate Darwin’s anniversary too, such as a toast at the Morris Hall. A birthday party will also take place in the town, celebrating all the children in Shrewsbury that were born on February 12.

If the Professor reads this posting, he will learn that he will be receiving some of these stamps, via post, hopefully with a special Darwin postmark, sent from London on this day. There is no bigger fan, and I hope he'll like the stamps. Surprise!
Funny how you find things out by reading this blog!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I seem to be heavily into music this week. I'm madly reading my pile of books and often have soft classical music playing in the background. I always have music on somewhere. The other day in the car I heard an oldie that had me bouncing along the road and smiling once again at the picture in my mind of Miss Aretha and her HAT at the inauguration. Come ON!!! She needs a chapeau like that to balance herself. I don't recall that she did as poor a job as she thought she did with the anthem, I was totally riveted to her headpiece. What a woman. R E S P E C T !!!!!!!

Now apparently the hat is going to the Smithsonian

If you wish to hear what had me bopping down memory lane listen here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Telephone Books

Is it my imagination, or do we get more telephone books than we used to? What's up with that?

Why in this world of technology do we need to rely on the useless output of telephone books??? I had three plastic covered tomes delivered, rather thrown into my courtyard the other day. Seems like I'm always replacing the lot that I have in the front hall cupboard.

If indeed the phone books are already made of recyled paper that's a good thing, but don't you find this excessive?? I can never find anything in them anyway and am tempted to just put them all in the recycle bin straight away.

Why is Canada not taking a stand on this and going to full internet information?

We got rid of outhouses where the old Sears catlogue and the yellow pages could be put to good use years ago. I can't think of anything else to do but throw these out!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tributes at the Grammys

Just in case you missed the show last night.........

This tribute to the Four Tops at the Grammys, Sunday night is so fantastic, I think it may even be better than the original. Jamie Foxx, Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo and the sole surviving Top..Duke Fakir, had the house on it's feet (and me)...when you get an enthusiastic pump from Sir Paul McCartney, you know this is good stuff! Turn up your speakers REAL LOUD and doowapp along.

If you want to see another enthusiastic crowd participation here is
Neil Diamond and Sweet Caroline. Notice that it's all the "old guys" (songs) that are getting the crowd...this is not a coincidence to my mind.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss "Raising Sand". Album of the Year 2009. Buy the entire album!!!

From MTV:
You're probably familiar with Robert Plant from his Led Zeppelin days, and you might be aware of producer T-Bone Burnett's work on the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack (it won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2002). And if you don't know who Alison Krauss is, she possesses a haunting set of pipes and is one of the meanest fiddle players in the world. Oh, and she's won 21 Grammys, more than any other female artist and the seventh-most in history.
Saving a classic performance for the last entry!!! "I Saw Her Standing There" It's official, my generation has the BEST MUSIC EVER!!!!!!!!!!!

Making the News

Yesterday, Irenka and I went off to a workshop at Bizzy B's for the afternoon. Upon my arrival home, it was all excitement. The Professor had had a visiting photographer from the Toronto Star. Nothing ever happens around here, it is after all, Mississauga, and I missed it! I was more concerned that he hadn't cleaned the house prior to his photography session :)

"The Professor and his Dolly"

The debate in our home will likely we go again!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Music of the week

I have been heavily influenced this week by our continuing ballroom line-dance classes. I've been searching for practice music. Goodness knows, we need to practice! I get so caught up in YouTube these days...almost like cruising blogs. The bad thing is that many of the music companies are withdrawing the use of YouTube videos for their music. I think this is really stupid, because if I have a new find and share it with you and then YOU go to iTunes and purchase the song for .99 cents....I mean, Come ON!!! The artist will ultimately gain.

It is no longer possible to find the videos on some of these tunes, but you can review them through iTunes. Now that I've gotten rid of all my books, I can invisibly collect music. Here are a few that I bought this week.

Pink Martini. I purchased: [I adore that album cover!]
Amado mio (which is on a previous posting)
No Hay Problema
Donde Estas Yolanda
Let's Never Stop Falling In Love

Cheryl Wheeler. I purchased:
Defying Gravity
Arrow (Have a peak to hear this voice. A little bit country a lot of the musicianship.

Jorma Kaukonen. I purchased:
A Life Well Lived
Living in the Moment
Jorma Kaukonen (being inducted into the hall of fame)

Stabat Mater: Ave Verum (choral Version)
Karl Jenkins & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic OrchestraThis is an interview of the production of this recording. There are many versions of the particular piece "Ave Verum"...make sure you listen to the Choral Version with the RLPOrchestra.

I heard this last piece my music station Classical 96.3 FM You can listen live if you have speakers on your computer.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I see by your blog.........

or, how the Professor found out about the new scale - among other things!

In response to a story about one of the ladies moving her furniture frequently, someone at coffee was asking "Doesn't your husband care?" The classic response was "Are you kidding??? He doesn't even notice!" I had to laugh out loud, because this is exactly the way things work in our house. The only problem would be if I moved 'his chair'. He probably wouldn't notice until he'd lowered himself to seated position and then realized it was an unusual fit. In this regard I've always considered it odd, but I'm happy that The Professor really doesn't care about things like this as it suits my need to redecorate without having to spend any money. Another way that self-deception comes in handy for fools, I think it's all new!!

A few weeks ago, the Professor announced...."I see by your blog that we have a new bathroom scale!" How perceptive. I guess he hadn't noticed that WE are on a diet.
I thought that was pretty hilarious, and once again, I use the phrase...."Do you live here?"

I'm posting this today, because I got my hair cut yesterday, another of those things that women think are highly obvious, especially when you've been trotting around batting your bangs out of your eyes for weeks. Normally, I must say that my hair cuts are more trims than removal of vast amounts of hair. This time, however, due to Cosmos' injury, Christine had to take over and finish up the blow drying portion. She used a new product call 'Root Pump'. The purpose of this product is to increase the volume of the hair at the root, thus giving a look of more body and leaving less weight on the ends of the hair. It works. Beautifully. It lasts...overnight. So this morning I come down stairs reminding myself of one of those stamps we used last week at Bizzy B's well pumped at the roots, slightly bent and straggly at the comment. Yesterday, it could have been a case of my having used rollers to get this effect, today, it's just plain obviously weird. I have been sitting across the desk from my husband of 40 years, for at least an hour now, and not one glimmer of observation.

Actually, he's a bit doomed, isn't he. The only obvious response is to say "WHAT in the world is going on with your HAIR???" Then he may incur the wrath of the gods, so it's probably the easiest route for him to wait and get the explanation the same way you are! :) He's been well trained. Like I said...40 years.

In the meantime, I'm feeling rather artistic with this look...think I'll do some page-a-day prompts for a bit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What to do with your books

This is a bit like a 12 step program for book addicts. I have finally reached the saturation level, and when the Professor decided it was time even for him to cull his book shelves, I decided I would follow suit. How odd :)

My car is currently full to the roof with bags and boxes of books. They are on their way to the Mississauga Symphony Book Sale. The proceeds from the annual book sale go to the symphony. I like this idea, it combines two of my dearest and reading.

Just in case, here are some other inventive ideas.........
1. Give them away anonymously. Place a box saying "Free Books" on your street. At your work or school, place a box saying "Free Book Exchange" in an alcove or eating area.

2. You can release your books "into the wild". Leave it somewhere so someone can find it and enjoy it.

3. Put up a "Free Books" box in a location that people wait--the laundromat, hospital waiting rooms, bus stops, and the like. (You may need to obtain permission from staff first).

4. Consider trading your old books for new books.

5. Sell your book to one of several book-buying websites. Use to see who is paying the most for them. You can also try to sell them directly on a site such as eBay,, and Amazon if you want to make money selling your books. You can also start a part-time business selling your excess books online. Visit for ideas on how to sell your old books and obtain other books for resale.

6. Used bookstores will buy back or give trade credit for books in good condition.

7. Give your books to a thrift shop like Goodwill or Salvation Army.

8. Sell them in a garage sale.

9. Hold a book/stuff swap. Invite friends and trade things you want to get rid of.

10. Hold a White Elephant party, where everyone brings an unmarked wrapped gift of a gently used item which could be books, CDs etc.

11. Find a charity online that needs books by searching for book donations in Google. There are a lot of countries trying to rebuild their libraries in Asia and the Middle East.

12. Donate books to your local library or a Friends of the Library Group. Most libraries have yearly book sales. They'll resell to raise money for the library the Library and you get a tax write-off. You'll feel good too. Please make sure your donated books are in resale condition and remove any personal items (photos, bookmarks, letters, cards). Please don't donate books that have water stains, mold or mildew stains or are bug infested - it can spread to other books and damage an entire collection.

13. Lend old books to your friends and vice versa. That way gain exposure to a variety of books without spending a lot of money.

14. Recycle books properly. Not all books are candidates for re-use or finding a new home, like old encyclopedias. Some municipalities will recycle books if brought to a solid waste deposit.

15. If you are a college student, the college book store will buy back your books.

17. Make a hollowed out book.

19. Visit and learn how to do a lamp out of three books.

I didn't make this up, this is part of an actual list on "Wiki How". That's where I first got the notion. One of the ideas for controlling your book buying is that you can only buy a new book when you get rid of an old one. Now I'll be able to purchase all those great ideas that Susan keeps me up to date on. If there is something you are looking for, let me know before I head off down the road later today!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How Did She Do This????????????

She was born in Paris on 16 April 1755, Marie Élisabeth-Louise Vigée, the daughter of a portraitist and fan painter, Louis Vigée, from whom she received her first instruction. Her mother was a hairdresser. She was sent to live with relatives in Epernon until the age of 6 when she entered a convent where she remained for five years. Her father died when she was 12 years old. In 1768, her mother married a wealthy jeweler, Jacques-Francois Le Sèvre and the family moved to the rue Saint-Honoré close to the Palais Royal. During this period Elisabeth benefited by the advice of Gabriel François Doyen, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Joseph Vernet, and other masters of the period.

Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat by Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, after 1782.

By the time she was in her early teens, Elisabeth was painting portraits professionally. After her studio was seized, for practicing without a license, she applied to the Académie de Saint Luc, which unwillingly exhibited her works in their Salon. On 25 October 1774, she was made a member of the Académie.

Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun painted several self-portraits that were hugely successful in the Paris Salons, and was influential in pioneering an "informal" fashion style at the end of the Ancien Regime.

Self-Portrait in a Turban with Her Child 1786, Musee du Louvre, Paris , France

On 7 August 1775 she married Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Le Brun, a painter and art dealer. On 12 February 1780, Vigée-Le Brun gave birth to a daughter Jeanne Julie Louise, whom she called "Julie".

Vigée-Le Brun painted portraits of many of the nobility of the day and as her career blossomed, she was invited to the Palace of Versailles to paint Marie Antoinette, the French Queen consort.

So pleased was the queen that over the next several years, Vigée-Le Brun was commissioned to do numerous portraits of the queen, her children, and other members of the royal family and household.

Presumably she used mirrors to capture her own image, but you know how poor the mirrors were in those days. In this day and age we use muriatic acid to get the musty effect that was normal then. Not only that, but how in the world did she keep that child quiet enough to pose?? Gives new meaning to stunt doubles. Still and all, it's pretty amazing work....the hands, the faces. I love her turbaned curls.

I've been thinking about the recent spate of self-portraits that all look like egg heads and rather Modigliani-ish. I guess the new thing is NOT to use a mirror.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Affordable Redecorating

A dear friend in Washington DC sent me to this website. I have a secretary that I would love to do this with.

Eddie Ross, former Martha Stewart Living editor goes around to various flea markets and salvages the most amazing things. He even organizes shopping I see an adventure in the offing! Anyone for New York??

Make sure you click through the sidebar and see what he does with flowers and table settings .

Thanks David, I'll see you in the spring, and hopefully we can do an "Eddie" thing together in DC!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pink Martini

This is exactly what I've been looking for to show you how I want to look, after our ballroom line-dancing classes.

Rita Hayworth as Gilda 1946

Amada Mio
"Amado Mio" with Doris Fisher/Allan Roberts
Group: Pink Martini (available on i Tunes)

I want the hair, the figure, the dress[that is her bare midriff showing!], the shoes...I may even take up smoking!

This is the kind of music they play and the sorts of moves we are learning on Wednesday nights. At this point, none of us look quite as exotic as this, and I dare you to watch the video through to the 2:40 portion, and if you are not on the floor holding your sides in laughter imagining that I could ever look like this...then there is something seriously wrong with your sense of humour!! I'd also like to have those LEGS!!!

All I can say at this point is that "The Chubby Challenge" better kick in soon. We've only got 5 more lessons left this term. Cha Cha Cha.

Photo: Wikipedia
I'm going to try and find a copy of this old black and white movie.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Fooling Yourself Into Getting Fit
The Toronto Star, January 29, 2009
Staff Reporter: Paola Loriggio

They say the trick to keeping fit is making exercise a habit.

Once you get in the rhythm, collective wisdom says, your body starts to crave activity, and you're far less likely to go back to your lazy, spud-ish ways.

Still, even confirmed athletes – like the ragtag bunch of runners I train with – have days where they'd rather get a root canal than lace up their sneakers.

"Sometimes it's just burnout from the constant pressure of trying to stay on the performance edge," says my friend and running buddy Toby Cockcroft, an Ironman-in-training. That, "and really rotten weather."

When the usual pep talk fails, it's time to bring out the big guns: bribery and deception.

The fastest way to feel better is to make someone else suffer, so get a friend to work out with you. Even better, stir up some friendly competition – loser has to wear a Speedo in public. Nothing motivates like the threat of humiliation.

Tell yourself you can quit after 10 minutes. By the time you break a sweat, the endorphins will have kicked in. Otherwise, tell yourself you'll just do another 10 minutes. Repeat until your workout is done.

Try something new, something completely different from your usual workout. You can't watch the clock when your body's bending in ways it's never bent before.

Bribes can get pricey, so start small. Pick a machine by the TV and watch Tyra, or whatever show you're too ashamed to watch at home. Or buy a new magazine – the trashier, the better. No one expects you to exercise body and mind at the same time.

Need a bigger prize? "Pay" yourself $5 for each workout. At the end of the month, use the cash to buy some cute workout clothes or a new sports gadget. (This is advanced trickery, because you'll have to work out to test your new gear.)

If after all that, you still can't get moving – time to pick out a Speedo.

Paola Loriggio is the queen of self-deception, and has the race medals to prove it.

This is what I DO!!! I always say that I only go to workout class for the coffee afterward, but I LOVE the idea of "Paying" myself $5.00 each time I go to the gym, and getting a new outfit. Of course, if you shop at LuluLemon, it's going to take at least six weeks before you can even buy new pants, let alone the whole outfit! Since I'm not averse to either bribery or deception, I'm going to try this tactic, it's the only one mentioned above that I haven't already "exercised".