Friday, May 29, 2009

New Uses for Old Relatives

The fish are asleep right now so I thought I'd just post this because I am in hysterics!

Look what Lennie did!

This should be titled ..."New Uses For Old Relatives"! I just LOVE this. She 'adopted' my three most hilarious relatives and made them quite intriguing. This is EXACTLY what I need to learn to do. Now I'm really psyched.

I'm totally flattered that you did that Lennie and thanks for the heads up to the "Inspire Me Thursday" site. This is really getting curiouser and curiouser! What fun. I can't resist linking to you, even though I'm supposed to be otherwise engaged! LOL True Genius!!!

Gone Fishing

Taking a weekend off blogging. See you next week. Not sure if my fishing adventure will be as wily as this one!

Look closely

Photo Credit: National Geographic

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Long Lost Relatives

For some time now I have been the keeper of the family photos. Before he passed away, my Dad and I made a wonderful historically correct album of his side of the clan. The "antique family" as I call them. There remained three velvet photo albums (treasures unto themselves) whose contents no one seemed to be able to identify. I made a trek up to the Lanark Highlands over part of the long weekend to visit with cousins and do some investigative work. One of the most interesting days was spent with my Father's aunt Jean. Jean is now 99 years of age and will be 100 in February. She plans on spending the summer all alone as she has done for so many years at her cottage. I hope I have at least some of her genetic makeup.

Jean was also unable to identify any of the pictures in the three albums. So now, with the blessing of the last living relative that would be able to identify the photos, at long last I can let it go and just enjoy the possibilities of who these "characters" in my family actually were. My imagination runs wild with stories about their lives and adventures.

How could you not smile when you see this relative. There must be a story here!
Trust me, there will be. I've always been credited with being a story teller, mostly in the very unattractive sense of having had an overly active imagination. Maybe this is my calling. The wild child, inventing family lore!

If nothing else, those leg of mutton sleeves and that porcine gaze could conjure up a very hilarious story.

This guy makes me think there may have been mayhem in the family. A bit of a Dickensian convict cum good guy theme here?

This rather "interesting" picture just makes me laugh. Equine features for sure, and there is a Rodger resemblance. The hat is pretty phenomenal. The look??????
I would have sworn it was a joke, a man dressed as a women...but she reappears in many other photos as well, always clad in massive hats. That may be what she's hiding under, trying to bring out her feminine side.

I have just scanned all of these errant photos into the computer. Some day, I will get at them to fix them up and hopefully learn some creative artistic techniques where they will be once again the 'focal' point as opposed to being left moldering in the old albums, forgotten and unnamed. They were a sturdy lot for sure. To survive long enough to have your picture taken in the conditions that they faced in rocky rural Ontario, is true pioneer spirit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blog Hopping

I've been in a muddle the past few days. When I get in a muddle, I can spend endless hours clicking back and forth on blogs and get totally lost. That's a good thing when you're in a muddle.

The other day, the trail started with Nancy

I love looking at everything Nancy does. She's such a spitfire and full of creative energy. I always hope that by looking at her work, I'll be hit by a spark and set alight.

Nancy's post led me to Catherine

Nancy and Catherine play together and make astounding books.

Catherine's post on Jill Badonsky and in particular Jill's post on grieving, had me hooked.

I immediately signed on [I wish I could make a website like this] and today Jill's two books arrived at the door via The Professor is home today and we are working across from each other on our computers in the office. Even he found these books amusing and creatively exciting. That's a pretty broad reach for a skeptic!

This is exactly what I need. So thanks, Nancy, Catherine, Jill....I'm so into reinventing myself these days and this is fabulous material to kick start and renew the creativity.

My spontaneous act for today is prompted by an old pattern I came across from a Martha Stewart magazine for making a sewing kit in a jar...Nov. 01. This might be just the right thing for an artistic outlet.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Have you heard about the Red Ball Project?

I wish I had been in Barcelona to see this, but I will definitely find it one of these days in Toronto.

Friday, June 5 | Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W.
Saturday, June 6 | John Street Roundhouse, 255 Bremner Blvd.
Sunday, June 7 | Old City Hall, 60 Queen St. W
Monday, June 8 | OFF
Tuesday, June 9 | First Canadian Place, 100 King St.
Wednesday, June 10 | Elm St. alley (13 & 15 Elm St.)
Thursday, June 11 | OFF
Friday, June 12 | Ryerson University, Podium Building, 350 Victoria Street
Saturday, June 13 | Queen St. W. alley (567 and 569)

Check out the Luminato site

Credits: Luminato June 5-14/09

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Maria Pia

Maria Pia's Web site....skip the intro and listen to the song....make sure the sound is turned on!

On our road trip to 'The City', we sang a few rounds of Brooks and Dunn's "My Maria" trying to sustain that "Mariiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiah"........each one was singing out loud at the top of his or her lungs, and somewhere along the highway in Pennsylvania we left our dulcet tones hanging on the fresh green air. They don't play the song IN the restaurant, but we all had to smile at the coincidence. Maria Pia is classy enough to have Veuve Clicquot on the menu. We toasted to life, love and happiness on our last evening in New York. One of those days that will never be forgotten.

If you haven't done so already, go back and sing's good exercise for the lungs and you'll feel great. Have a wonderful Sunday...wish I was at Maria's :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday Afternoon in New York

Sunday in New York was a fabulous day. It was sunny and just warm enough to not need a coat. For Susy and I, the day started with a fabulous tour of the Frick Gallery on Fifth Avenue. The Professor and Elliot went to the other side of the park and into the Museum of Natural History, where they apparently got quite literally "into" the butterfly exhibit!

We had tickets for a matinee to "Exit the King". Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon, Andrea Martin, Lauren Ambrose, William Sadler, Brian Hutchison. Only these 6 actors were in the play.

There's just 'something' about Broadway

Geoffrey Rush is sure to win an award for his performance.

How can you beat seeing Susan Sarandon

The Barrymore Theatre just makes me think about the entire Barrymore acting dynasty. It's quaint and comfortable and intimate - with good leg room!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Subway Mosaic Art Tiles

I don't like taking subways. In a new city, I much prefer to travel above ground in order to see the sights. On a few occasions in New York, it was just so much more sensible taking the subway. I was totally surprised. This may be one of the areas in which New York has changed most radically. These subway tiles are gleaming white. Not all stations are as good as this one, but this is better than the average station in Toronto.

The last one is my favourite. When I stopped to take this picture, many people were curious enough to stop and look ....apparently for the first time. Who knew this was on the floor?

Now I'm going to have to take a mosaic class.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More NY

I love this painting on a wall in New York City. Click on it to see fully.

I hate "American Idol" and I'm not going to watch it ever again. I think I also hate "Dancing With The Stars"...not sure about ever watching it again either. I did, however, finish my afghan. All that work and both my faves lost, as well as Izzie and George dying. Good grief. What a way to end a season. I will be watching out for Adam and Gilles. I'm sure they'll do better than anyone who 'won'. What's that all about!???

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Cupcake Story

Friday in New York and it's Susy's Birthday! What better reason to walk to Rockefeller Center and get a dozen cupcakes ?

There are plenty of young staff whipping out the cakes and icing continually

Oh my gosh! You are only allowed a dozen cupcakes per person and the gentleman in front of me looks like he might take them all!

Whew........ just enough left...not to worry they are coming to the case as fast as they are going out

So you've walked miles and miles and it's four o'clock on your birthday and you are at a fountain by Radio City Music Hall ....what a place to eat cake!!!

Happy Birthday one knows your real age, but glad to see that you can still manage a quarter of a dozen cupcakes on Your Day!

This may have been one of the highlights of my trip to NYC. I have heard so much about Magnolia, and being an expert in all things cake, I have to say I'd go back to New York just for these. Don't listen to any other reports about the quantity or quality of the icing, density of the cake etc. This is IT! THE BEST. Make sure you take all of your friends with you, because, as I stated, only one dozen per person. Luckily the doors in the shop are situated in and out for maximum customer flow, and they are so busy, that I'm sure they would not notice if you went around and around handing off the boxes out the back door. Worth a try.

[Yes Indira, I had the vanilla one with the pink icing...when are we going??]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Button Button Who's Got The Button?

I do! I do! Just the right amount to put on a suede jacket. Hard to find 1930's, and 1940's deco buttons........

Did you ever play the game?.........

Basic concept

The children all stand (or sit) in a circle with their hands out, palms together. One child, called the leader or 'it', takes a button (usually provided by an adult) and goes around the circle, putting their hands in everybody elses's hands one by one. In one person's hands they drop the button, though continue to put their hands in the other's so that no one knows where the button is except for the giver and receiver.

The leader (or alternatively all the children in the circle depending on your preference) starts the other children guessing by saying, "Button, button, who's got the button?" before each child's guess. The child guessing replies with their choice eg: "Billy has the button!"

If you have the button, haven't been guessed yet, and it's your turn to guess, you choose someone else so that no one knows it's you.

Once the child with the button is finally guessed, that child is the one to distribute the button and start a new round.

Credit: Wikipedia

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893–June 7, 1967) was an American writer and poet, best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles.

From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, a group she later disdained. Following the breakup of that circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the infamous Hollywood blacklist.

Parker survived three marriages (two to the same man) and several suicide attempts, but grew increasingly dependent on alcohol. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker". Nevertheless, her literary output and her sparkling wit have endured.

Dorothy Parker Quotes

"A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika"- Dorothy Parker

" I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true"- Dorothy Parker

"I've never been a millionaire but I just know that I'd be darling at it"- Dorothy Parker [I love this one!]

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force"-Dorothy Parker.

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity"-Dorothy Parker

"I'm never going to be famous. My name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things. I don't do any thing. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more."- Dorothy Parker

" Men seldom make passes to girls who wear glasses"- Dorothy Parker

"She runs the gamut from A to B"- Dorothy Parker, speaking of Katherine Hepburn.

"I require three things in man. He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid"-Dorothy Parker,

"Ducking for apples- change one letter and it's the story of my life-Dorothy Parker

"One more drink and I'll be under the host"-Dorothy Parker

"I went to convent in New York and was fired finally for my insistence that the Immaculate Conception was spontaneous combustion"-Dorothy Parker

"Money cannot buy health, but I'll settle for a diamond studded wheelchair"-Dorothy Parker

Having again been immortalized on film in the 1994 feature Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle

the "The Algonquin Round Table" today retains its stature as one of the 20th-Century's most influential literary groups. As drama critic Brook Atkinson once wrote, "By force of character, they changed the nature of American comedy and established the tastes of a new period in the arts and theatre."

The Dorothy Parker Martini
1 oz. Vodka
½ oz. Chambord
1½ oz. Pineapple Juice


Friday, May 15, 2009

FAO - down by The Plaza

No wonder Eloise was so happy to live at The Plaza, she could run right across the street to FAO Schwartz! I love this guy. His mother is really disappointed that he went to school for music and ended up here. Next to the Statue of Liberty, he may well be the most photographed figure in New York.

These are the newborn baby dolls in the FAO "nursery". They have a very cute nurse! She periodically bundles them up and takes them from one floor to another. They seem to enjoy the ride on the escalator, or perhaps they are going to visit the Eloise dolls on the second floor who have their own little boutique. They all look so happy!

It's a blurry picture because everything was moving quickly. A new batch of babies is arriving with the cute nurses! This is all just too hilarious.

If I lived in The Plaza, I'd be over there every day too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More sights along the Avenue...5th. that is

Some of the Professor's you can see, the weather forecast was for rain, but our optimism worked.

You can click on this one to get the full effect.

Hopkins in Mississauga

Home again means sifting through the piles of mail and getting caught up. Came across this interesting article in the Mississauga News. I'm intrigued.

By: Alex Sahounov

May 12, 2009 04:49 PM -

Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins will make his Canadian debut as an artist May 26 at Mississauga's Harbour Gallery.

Hopkins, himself, won't be in town, but 18 original works by the 72-year-old actor will be showcased at an exhibition, which continues until June 10.

Pieces on display include a selection of acrylics on canvas and works in ink on paper. The collection includes abstract paintings inspired by locations in South Wales, England and the American midwest.

Harbour Gallery has partnered with Margam Fine Art, the company that represents Hopkins, to showcase his work.
This is the first time a celebrity artist has showcased their work at Harbour Gallery, says event organizer Jenna Bryant.
"His art is inspirational," she said. "It represents the drive he has to create amazing work."

Hopkins credits his wife, Stella, for inspiring him to paint. His work is also inspired by memories of his childhood in England.

Hopkins' film credits include Silence of the Lambs, Titus Andronicus and Surviving Picasso, where he portrayed Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.

The gallery is planning to hold another show in the fall featuring works from Hopkins, Bryant said.
"We're very fortunate to represent such an amazing artist."

Credit: Mississauga News/Globe and Mail

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

A few photos of our walk down Fifth Avenue from the Neue Galerie. Our first full day in New York City. I must say, that the last time I was there was in the 60's and there is such an enormous change it's really quite unbelievable. The story goes that Mayor Guiliani rid the city of the homeless, vagrants and graffiti...where they've gone is anyone's guess...possibly Jersey? At any rate, the city is clean and feels much safer. It is unlike any other big city. It's New York...da da da da da....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Classic

This is where we had lunch yesterday. It seems to me that Billy Crystal is having what I had! Pastrami. You can only ever get this at Katz's Deli. Looks like Meg Ryan only had the bread...maybe that's the secret! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

When the Moon hits your eye........

On Saturday night, we'll be in Manhattan, and likely in a bar somewhere....possibly Schiller's Bar? This Saturday night, there will be a full moon. Look up at that moon, and I'll look up at that moon....and ...........then watch this totally appropriate movie and it will be just like you're all with us in NYC.

How can you resist singing along????????? to THIS!!!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The City that Never Sleeps

Cheesy I know, but I just couldn't resist. I've never even been a big fan of this song, but, hey..........quintessential

The lyrics are perfect.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Singing the Praises of Street Food

Weather Update

We leave for home on Monday :)

Makes packing a bit easier. Umbrella, rain coat, scarf.....rain boots?

Street Food

Watch until he gets to the part with Dinshaw

Every Sunday Afternoon in Hell’s Kitchen
Category: Music
Conker Hill
10th Ave between 45th and 46th
4pm - 7pm


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bleecker Street

This will pretty much clinch it for the Professor. How can he NOT love the Magnolia Bakery now?!

Magnolia Bakery is a bakery opened in 1996 at 401 Bleecker Street, on the corner of West 11th Street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. An uptown shop opened at 200 Columbus Avenue, on the corner of West 69th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in January 2008. The bakery is known for its famous dessert treats, including its cupcakes and old-fashioned Depression era icebox cakes. It stays open unusually late for a bakery, and typically there is a line to get in as late as 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Magnolia limits cupcake purchases to 12 per customer because of their popularity.

Okay, so one dozen cupcakes and an icebox to go please!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

NYC Tourist

I was compiling some information on exact address' and locations for our upcoming trip and came across this video.......

Interesting, the weather in the video. Looking at the forecast, that's pretty much what we can expect. Guess we'll be doing quite a few "inside" things. I'm being an optimist and saying, if there's a 30 to 40% chance of rain, then there's a 60 to 70% chance of sun! It'll be fine.

This is the fountain in the park at City Hall. I hope the weather looks more like this!

Photo Credit:

On a lighter note........

Today I am drawing up the New York City itinerary. The other night, one of our traveling companions, in response to another's inquiry about what we planned to to in 'The City' said...."Are you kidding!!! Didn't you read her Paris Blog??? All they did was EAT!"

Turns out that's pretty much the itinerary. You have to know exactly where you want to eat based on the area you'll be in at meal times! There was therefore no point at all in updating the 10 pound challenge...not anytime soon.

The other day, I swung by the "Swirls" cupcake place in Streetsville, and had to confess that I would soon be going to "Magnolia Bakery" for a taste. Coincidentally the owner of Swirls is originally from NYC. About half an hour and 15 foodie recommendations later, I extricated myself from the shop, with the owner still trying to bargain a ride with us! I'll bring him some bagels from "Ess-A Bagel".

The on line tickets for Broadway are in hand. We will see.......


A Different tour of New York City

I've decided on The Neue Galerie, and The Frick for this short weekend.

I'm off to call and see if we can get Friday evening reservations at Les Halles.
The Park Avenue location features a butcher shop that specializes in French cuts of meat. The restaurant is featured prominently in the book Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, who also detailed many of Les Halles's recipes in Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook. The restaurant is named after Les Halles, the historic central wholesale marketplace in Paris, France.

A little like going to Paris as well!
Credit: Wikipedia

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Answer is Men

New York Times Photo

Ever since seeing women's rights violated on recent televised news, I've been really searching my soul. It's one thing to sit night after night watching a young woman beaten by men for walking out of the house alone, or a young couple murdered for wishing to marry each other instead of their pre-ordained family choice, and now laws being put forth that send the world yet again into the dark ages, and quite another thing to do nothing at all about it.

I've been trying so hard to engage women whose opinions I value and trust on these issues to try and find at least a bit of peace, if not an outright solution. I've scoured as much of Stephen Lewis' work as I can find. I've even been reticent to blog, with what are my rather inane happenings compared to what is happening to our sisters in so many places all over the world. There is a common sentiment..."There but for fortune go you or I".

In sifting through the raft of papers I hadn't had time to read, I came across an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail weekend edition, that I think is really REALLY pertinent. It cites many prominent women who are knowledgeable and thoughtful about this escalating global crisis. Unfortunately unless you subscribe to the Globe and Mail you cannot access this on the web. VERY disappointing. I will share the paper with those in close contact.

I must say that it clarified a lot of the issues for me and now I feel that I have to recant my original violent position on how to deal primarily with the male offenders (your wildest imaginings are correct) and take the side that The Professor has been "Professing" all along, namely; You cannot hope to make social change in a country that is being invaded. When people are worried about their very existence because their country is under attack, they can hardly be expected to enact the social changes for themselves that are required.

Today I came across this article from The Associated Press:

A key to women's rights in Afghanistan: men

By HEIDI VOGT – Apr 16, 2009

KABUL (AP) — There are a handful of them at every women's rights gathering in Afghanistan: men.

Even though crowds of men threw stones and shouted insults at women this week protesting a restrictive marriage law that critics say legalizes marital rape in Afghanistan, a few men marched and chanted alongside the women.

These are the men — many of them prominent male politicians and intellectuals — who are taking up the battle for women's rights and calling for change in this patriarchal society. The act of solidarity is more than just a bright spot — activists say men's support for women's rights is vital in a country where men hold sway in government and in families.

Many people working on women's issues agree: to empower the women, you first need to enlist the men.

Sherwali Wardak, who runs women's literacy and small business training programs in rural Afghanistan, said the key to getting women involved is to convince the men in their lives to allow it.

"The most important factor of working with women is to encourage the men to allow their women to enroll in the rehabilitation or development project," Wardak said.

When he doesn't get permission from the men, Wardak says they often don't let their wives or daughters leave the house to travel to the centers he sets up. He says he's received threats because of the work he does.

"They write, 'Close this project because it is working for Christianity,'" he said. It's a common accusation of those who support women's rights in Afghanistan — that the advocates are stooges of the Christian West.

Crowds that swamped a group of women protesting a law Wednesday they say legalizes marital rape were full of similar vitriol. The law gives a husband the right to demand sex every four days and regulates when a woman can leave the house. The law is not being enforced pending a judicial review ordered by Afghanistan's president after the legislation sparked an international uproar.

"Death to you dogs!" and "Death to the slaves of the Christians!" the men shouted at the protesters. Some picked up stones and threw them at the women.

Men, who are the main breadwinners in nearly all Afghan households, take a certain degree of risk in this conservative country when they support women's freedoms in public. In Afghanistan, anyone who opposes the conservative clerics who back such laws can quickly become a political and social pariah.

But a number of male lawmakers and even Cabinet ministers have denounced the law — along with many prominent women. Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta drafted a petition against it that was signed by more than 100 Afghan officials and public figures, including six government ministers and 22 lawmakers.

In an interview, Spanta said he expected he would have had signatures from most of the administration, except they tried to get the petition out quickly and he didn't have time to ask everyone.

Even so, the minister of women's affairs was not among the signatories. A spokesman for her office said the minister was waiting for the review to finish before taking a position.

Spanta said he felt impelled to draft the declaration because otherwise he would be deserting human rights.

"They can write about me what they will but I will work for equality," Spanta said. "I will sign a declaration like this even if I am alone in this country to do that. I know this is a dangerous approach."

The complicated nature of the debate is apparent even in the actions of President Hamid Karzai, who has long been a vocal supporter of women's rights, but who signed the controversial marriage bill into law last month. The administration has said Karzai was not aware the articles limiting women's mobility and right to refuse sex were in the document he signed.

However, Zia Moballegh, who advises the government on family law reform, said the justice minister told him not to expect the review to be completed before the end of Karzai's term. The statement adds fuel to accusations that Karzai may have signed the law to court conservative votes in an upcoming August election.

Reached by phone, Justice Minister Mohammad Sarwar Danish said no timetable has been established for the review. He would not predict when it might be completed.

As with many of the women fighting for greater freedoms in Afghanistan, many male supporters are young or have lived abroad — a trend that has added power to conservative arguments that the cry for equal rights comes from people corrupted by the West.

Spanta, for example, says he became a women's rights advocate during his time living in Germany.

Some of those working on programs to help women say Afghanistan's young men have been neglected in the international push to get women caught up after the oppressive years of Taliban rule. The fundamentalist regime banned girls from attending school, forced women to wear an all-covering burqa, and barred them from leaving home without a male relative as an escort.

Hassina Sherjan, who runs accelerated learning programs for children who are years behind in school, said she initially opened only girls' programs because that's what she could get funding for. She's just recently received funding allowing her to start similar programs for boys.

"They're still focusing on women, which is crazy because women's lives will not get better until we educate the men and find jobs for the men," Sherjan said.

At Wednesday's protest, one young man — who had taken two hours off from his office job to join the demonstration against the law — said he could see the shock in the eyes of the counter-protesters because he was on the other side of the police cordon.

"I believe in freedom and equality. For me, men and women are the same," the young man said. Still, he didn't want to give his name or place of work for publication, saying he didn't want to be harassed.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

I know that some of you say....ah...I looked at the post and it was really long so I figured I'd get back to it. This is a problem that will take a long time to overcome, probably not in this lifetime, but we have to keep informing ourselves and thinking about this when making our own political decisions and advice. On this basis alone, there can never be too much to be said.

New York Times Video - Empowering Women in Afghanistan

New York Times Video - A Man's World

Most of the huge newpapers are doing a good job of getting out the unbiased information and these two videos are perfect examples. Please take time.

I give all credit to New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press for allowing these pictures, videos and opinions to be shared on this blog.