Friday, December 31, 2010

My sentiments exactly

It's not often that I read an article in the Toronto Star that puts a tear in my eye, in a sentimental way that is:)

This morning I was searching out the crossword and intrigued by the title "I resolve to stop time from flying", I stopped. This is such a wonderful story and embodies all that I feel in my own life right now. I really wanted to share this with all of you.

Many thanks to Vinay Menon for sharing his sentiments about time flying. It is also my biggest resolution for the New Year.
Stop time from flying....

Here is Vinay's column from The Toronto Star, New Year's Eve - Friday, December 31, 2010.

"It is Sunday night, just after 11 p.m. when I hear a pitter-patter of footsteps descending the basement stairs.

I glance toward the landing and see Charlotte, one of my 4-year-old twin daughters. Bedecked in princess pajamas, clutching her beloved Ariel doll, she pauses, spots me on the couch and then runs toward my outstretched arms.

“Why aren’t you in bed?” I ask, swooping her into my lap. “You should be sleeping.”

Charlotte smiles and crinkles her face, as if to buy some time before offering an explanation that never comes.

“I opened the gate and came down all by myself!” she says, with the breathless enthusiasm of someone who has just conquered Everest. “The hallway was dark but I wasn’t scared. Do you know why?”

“No,” I say, trying and failing to sound stern. “Why?”

“Because I’m a big girl!”

It breaks my heart but it’s true: In 2010, my babies turned into big girls.

One day, when my wife and I were too frazzled to notice, it just happened.

The girls started zipping up their coats. They started writing their names. They started opening the fridge. They started buckling their car seats. They started getting dressed on their own.

They started needing us less.

Is it really New Year’s Eve? Already? Wasn’t it just Halloween? And how did Christmas zoom past this month in a virtually undetectable blur?

Fatherhood, I fear, is distorting my sense of time.

The year in review? Okay, here’s what happened this year: The real world slowed to a crawl as my personal world spun wildly off its axis.

The Olympics, the iPad release, the G8/G20 summits, the BP oil spill, the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the Toyota recalls, the harmonized sales tax, prorogation, World Cup, Tiger Woods’ exit, Conan O’Brien’s return, the Chilean miner rescue, America’s health care reform, the British election — all of these events seem like a lifetime ago.

But the girls’ first day of kindergarten, I swear to you, it happened five minutes ago. They were in highchairs yesterday, I’m sure of it. Now they’re unwrapping bicycles from Santa. Weren’t they in cribs last month? Now they’re doing somersaults and cartwheels? They were just speaking in fragmented code and now they are regaling us with descriptive expositions about their friends and teachers and school, and why does my personal year in review feel so achingly fleeting?

I’m not one for resolutions. But with 2011 nearly upon us, I must find a way to correct this accelerated time-space continuum. I must find a way to stop the hours from turning into minutes. I must prevent the weeks from turning into days so the months stop vanishing with a blink of my eye.

After you have kids, does the Gregorian calendar ever return to normal? Or is this the new normal? Will the real world continue to slow down as my personal world makes me dizzy with its blinding speed?

Back to the basement, back to Sunday night.

I rise from the couch, carrying my big girl. I get ready to walk upstairs, where another big girl and their mother are sleeping.

But Charlotte attempts to defer this second tuck-in attempt. She buys more time by pointing at a picture perched on a bookshelf.

In the 2004 photo, my wife and I are sitting on a marble bench, in front of a reflecting pool as the Taj Mahal gleams in the background.

“Where am I?” Charlotte asks.

“You were not born yet,” I say.

“Where is Ava?” she asks.

“She wasn’t born yet, either,” I say. “That picture was taken a long time ago when Mommy and I went on an airplane to see another country.”

“Are you scared of the dark hallway?” she suddenly asks.

“No,” I reply. “It’s not scary.”

“Daddy, I also don’t think it’s scary!”

“Because you’re a big girl?”

“Yes, because I’m a big girl.”

Charlotte looks at the picture again and sweetly taps my chin. Then unable to wrap her head around the “not born yet” concept, unable to make sense of time in her personal world, she asks a question.

“Did you miss us?”

“Yes,” I say."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

When you just need to dance

You must have some proper dancing music.

A real, soft, pink Tutu is such a wonderful addition

Wiggle your toes to get ready!

Head for the perfect spotlight.

A nice ballet stretch

And take it away Zoë

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Afternoon at the Symphony

A couple of years back the Toronto Symphony Orchestra did a production of Raymond Briggs' "The Snowman". This year they repeated the magic with another of Briggs' stories, one of which I was totally unaware..."The Bear". Same format, huge screens with the orchestra playing all the music and an orator telling the story. It was just wonderful.

Helen and I attended as "Grandmothers-in-waiting". Waiting until our little ones are old enough to sit and enjoy the many aspects of the symphony and the story and the fun. At intermission, the children go out into the lobby and construct polar bears from modeling clay. Seeing all the kiddies in their Christmas finery and the sheer excitement of the season in their eyes is worth the price of admission. There is nothing quite so sweet as a red wool coat with a velvet collar and black patent leather shoes.

It is very difficult at the moment to get a copy of the book, "The Bear", but one can watch all parts of the video on line. Here is a sampling and if you like, you can complete the viewing with parts 2 and 3. I think Zoë will like this...soon.
If you have a moment to sit down with your cup of tea and hear a story, this is a great one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

The countdown begins

One week from today, Zoë arrives in Canada from Belgium!
[Her parents are coming too] :)

This is my version of the dress her mother wore on her first birthday.

Jane and Puppa celebrating her first birthday in Ottawa

Judith Marquis my teacher was very patient with my hysterics and memory lapses as to what comes next???

Now all we need is the baby!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Heavily into "Crocs/Crocks"

I had to visit my doctor today to get my prescriptions renewed and happened to mention that I had self diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis. After congratulating me on my medical breakthrough, she welcomed me to the club.

It would seem that this is a very common ailment. Due to inflammation, the advice that I got from the gym ladies, [who have now become my life consultants], to take Tylenol and limp was indeed what the doctor ordered, except for one small helpful hint ...CROCS! Only the name-brand "real" Crocs. Now I have to find a Croc Shop. Last week it was a "Crock Pot" and this week Crocs on the old heels.

Not sure if these fetching numbers will be what I choose. They are $5.00 more expensive than the same pair minus the Canadian flag. Go figure. They are fleece lined and if they work, it may help me to walk and sleep without pain.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Watching the time

While wandering around Ellicott City, Maryland, I spied Father Christmas checking on the time....not a minute to waste these days!

He really was a sweet guy just waiting in front of the toy store for all the little boys and girls.

This one little girl in particular was not quite so sure about her encounter with the jolly old elf. She was chattering away to herself, finger in place and NOT going to let go of mommies skirts, no matter who he was!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Art and Utility

This is the cutest little piece made from vintage images and recycled materials.
It can hold your keys and sunglasses or change when you come in the door, anything you wish to place or hang.

I recently met artist Erika Rubel in Baltimore, at the Visionary Art Museum. There was a craft show in the upstairs gallery which this weekend, assuaged my missing the One Of A Kind Show here in Toronto, and Judith missing an equally traditional art outing in North Carolina.

The Hadmatter

It was so difficult to choose. There were photos of old 50's cars with 50's arborite table top bases surrounded by silver metal diner table edges. Parisian photos were spectacular. I just loved this particular piece. We have had our first stay-on-the-ground snow today, makes me think.... it's time to dig out the skates!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm feeling.....

I'm feeling like I'm reverting a bit. Reverting to the "olden days". Despite the fact that The Professor and I are empty nesters, the gym ladies made crock pot cooking sound so wonderful, that I am reverting to the days when I had everyone around the table, every night.

Couldn't resist the new digital version at Costco. Tonight we are having fall-off-the-bone spareribs. They are in there now, doing their magic! I'm hopeful that I can use this over the Christmas holidays when the house is full and the kitchen so small. Now I have to find new/old recipes!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Public Service Announcement

I tried this and it truly is perfect. I always do the over-the-shoulder check BEFORE changing lanes, but this really is helpful. I had to drive around town trying to get someone into my blind is it...when they are there, you never see them, when you want them there, they are somewhere else!

Thanks Helena!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Sisterhood of the Plaid Pants

Lennie started it.

She was wearing THE most fabulous Blackwatch plaid pants the other week, and I really, really loved them. I was mentioning my lustful wishes to Jill at the ballet, so, after the performance, we decided to walk down to The Bay to see if we could spot any. No luck in The Bay, but I have to congratulate Bonnie Brooks on stellar Christmas windows :) I'd post them, but I can't figure out how to get the video from my iPhone...Lennie????

We carried on to Talbot's where Jill went directly to the main wall exclaiming all the way....They've GOT THEM!!! So now I am "samers" with Lennie ~ although hers have cuffs and mine do not.

This isn't even what any of the pants look like, but they are Blackwatch. Off I go to Washington, DC for Thanksgiving and a baby shower and Dana falls in love with the plaid pants! You can guess the rest.

So now it has to be the sisterhood of the Plaid pants. They can travel too:) Thanks Lennie!!

Photo Credit

Monday, November 29, 2010

The season is really REAL now!

Upon my return from Thanksgiving in the US...this little video over the wire from Belgium. Zoë wasn't worried about Black Peter, but St. Nicholas was a bit fuzzier than she expected! Those little babies were all born around the same time, and seem to really love each other!

Thanks Jane, Michael and the star of the show little Zoë ....first Christmas party!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

To have experienced and survived Black Friday in the USA is quite an accomplishment. For some, who made out as names here [LJF],-it was a joyous occasion.

After the mid-day Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, there was some talk about going to the shops as early as 4 or 5 a.m. when they were schedule to open for the biggest shopping event of the year. The conversation escalated to hysterical fun when it was discovered that some outlet malls were going to open at midnight. It didn't seem to matter that said malls were located an hour or so away, it only made the burgeoning adventure even more madcap.

Sooooo-guess who ventured out at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving night to make a run to Leesburg Outlets! PRIME Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Cole Hahn, Le Creuset, Carter's, Burberry, Coach, Talbots.....yes, the best of the best. Harry and David didn't have chocolate Grahams.

Upon our highway approach, there was a bit of a discussion as to whether or not this was going to be a good decision or not. Let me just interject and explain that there is NO GPS system known to anyone that could possibly keep up with the road construction surrounding Washington DC. It didn't make any difference how much we castigated "Lola", she just couldn't cope with the restructuring, which made for some fairly dicey manoeuvres on the very crowded roadway. Picture the car with two grey haired "older" type women, one hugely pregnant younger woman and one curly topped navigator who was trying her best to keep the car on the road:)

The mall surrounds said it all. People were parked on the grassy outskirts, in ditches - well, that was because they were "Youtes" who thought they might be smart and park in a swamp!:). There was double, triple and quadruple parking everywhere and swarms of people. It is MIDNIGHT. The crowds keep coming and we decide that we're already here, we may as well just try commando tactics. We parked in a dicey area and hoped that our pregnant passenger might engender some sympathy at towing time.

I tell you, it's a phenomenon that I've never seen the likes of. We were glad we had done it, and there was even a little talk about it becoming a yearly tradition, but I think that fizzled out a bit as we tried to navigate our way home around 5 a.m. The rule has to be that if you can get there, you also have to get home as the excitement quiets, and the body clock finally realizes what is going on. It helps to sing and be elated at all the good deals you get!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Finally you can purchase Beatles songs on iTunes! I'm going through all the albums loading up my favourites. This one was one of the first...still great to this day.

The excitement that was generated over this group (in the day) still has me in it's grip.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another Random Act of Culture

Another one of these spontaneous choral events that I wish I had been involved in.

This is so fantastic !

Macy's Hallelujah

Thanks Dev!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Guess where we were tonight.....

If you ever get a chance to see "Pink Martini"


We had such a fun evening with this tremendously talented musical group from Portland, Oregon. They have a new Christmas album out. If you like a lyrical 'vintagey' tone...iTunes!

They sing in many different languages and tonight they took a long shot and wondered if there was anyone from Turkey in the audience, because they were going to sing a Turkish folk song that everyone in Turkey knows. Lo and behold "Emri" pops up in the back row balcony and joins China on stage. Only in Toronto! The ensuing antics were possibly the funniest audience participation we have ever seen. Needless to say, the show ended up in a bit of a jam session, carrying on much longer than anyone expected. "We Three Kings" ended up being a jazzy dance like something in a sultans tent, and the entire audience sang "Auld Lang Syne" with the new band member "Emri" on the maracas! was a wonderful show and the band said it was the craziest concert they have ever given. Thanks to "Emri", and Pink Martini for an uplifting evening out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Like a band of gypsies...makin' music with my friends

The annual road trip with Susy and Elliot always turns into a rock concert. As the van slips south toward Pittsburgh, the "dulcet?" oldies will be wafting along the Pennsylvania highways.

This is where my Warholizer App will come in handy :)

Gotta run! I just can't wait to get on the road again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ina does it again

Thanks for the tip Jill! I got my copy at Costco today. The Red Velvet cupcake recipe does look great! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On the way to Broadway

Last week, Helen and I went to see "Priscilla Queen of the Desert", at the Princess of Wales theater in Toronto. The musical adapted from the movie. Prior to the performance, we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at "Aroma", an Indian food restaurant. We suggest the butter chicken, lamb biryani, aloo gobi and naan bread. A cosmopolitan to start is also highly recommended :)

The music is delightful, the sets and costumes over the top, and the energy electrifying. The story is one of a search for acceptance and love. What could be nicer? THE MUSIC!!!

It's on it's way to Broadway, as do so many shows that pass through the Big Smoke. If you get a chance to see this one, do so.

Photo credit:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Know this face?

This is a really popular face if you are a rubber stamper. I always wonder where these fabulous images come from. She is called “Lina Cavalieri”.

In The New York Times today Piero Fornasetti

Now I'll have to start a plate collection!:)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Researching Pittsburgh

The heat is on to find out all things Pittsburgh. We are off on a road trip soon, and of course the main focus will be on the museums and eateries. The Professor and I are regular viewers of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives".....This may be one contender.

We shall visit the Frick Museum

"For my best beloved Sister Mia: An Album of Photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron"

The Warhol, The Warhol

"Marilyn Monroe"

and Penzeys Spices

Any other recommendations??? Perhaps a little off-roading to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater??

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Halloween in The Nation's Capital!


"When the Frost is on the Punkin"

"When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,"

James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916

No wonder I always used to call them Punkins!

Posted by: Michelle/Ottawa, Ontario // Shot: October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Timely Photography Lecture

Last evening I attended a lecture by photographer Pamela Williams.

I first came to know of her work at the Toronto City Hall outdoor art show, many, many years ago. I was drawn, as we share an appreciation for sculpture, and in particular cemetery sculpture. On a dark blustery Halloween-week night, in a darkened intimate studio setting, Pamela took the group through the most amazing cemeteries she has photographed, and spoke about her experiences capturing this "dying" art form. It is still as elusive and expensive to have an angel carved from marble or cast in bronze as it was in the late nineteenth century, but it can, and is being done. In some cases, the photographs that Pamela has taken are used as the inspiration for the artist reproducing the work.

"In "Death Divine", "Last Kiss" and "In the Midst of Angels", Canadian photographer, Pamela Williams explores the cemeteries of France, Italy, Austria, as well as Prague, Budapest and Havana. Dramatic, black and white portraits of romantic, late nineteenth-century sculpture present an intimate view of figures from European graveyards and beyond."
A quote from Pamela's biography

Many of Williams' angels have graced the covers of novels I'm sure you're familiar with, Margaet Laurence's - "Stone Angel", and Timothy Finley's - "Dust to Dust" are but a few.

I'd say that Pamela Williams is a national treasure. She still uses film and the dark room to process her works. I'm going to try and figure out how to do a field trip with this amazing artist, it would be such an experience. In the meantime, if you ever have a chance to meet, or learn from her, she's a bit of an angel!

I do know that her framed works would be lovely Christmas pesents :)

Credits: Photography, Pamela Williams, Quote: Pamela Williams

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This is what happens when you become a grandparent

The first year the Professor and I were married, I knit Christmas stockings, for us. It was quite romantic :)

For years now with each child and family addition, I've managed to add to the tradition. One evening, the Prof. wondered aloud if I would be knitting Zoë a stocking for their homecoming this Christmas?

The first of these was knit in 1968...42 years ago. My little yarn shop in Port Credit did an amazing job in finding just the right type of scratchy vintage yarn. Zoë's stocking is all knit, only the embellishments and the sewing up to do. I know, we haven't even had Halloween, but it takes me longer these days than it did forty two years ago!

The search for the pattern, correct needles, leftover yarn etc. created a bit of a monster. We are now redesigning my studio and constructing storage cupboards. The house is in a total uproar, the Professor may not wonder aloud so much anymore! Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's rainy season in Belgium...I've never seen anything BUT rainy season in Belgium, however, after the rain, it's always fun to look for fairies out the window. The silver lining is the smile on this face. Anything is possible.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back to class for a couple of weeks

I must say it's a bit daunting to go from making a needle case into constructing the Baby Bishop's dress, but as usual my enthusiasm tends to outstrip my abilities, so here I go with both feet in! I have no idea how one accomplishes this feat in such a short time, but then again, Christmas is coming, as is Zoë and the this is a good time to start.

Yet another challenge begins. That was yesterday, today my class is learning a new Photoshop program. I'll be downtown in a classroom somewhere between the Dali Lama and the Creative Sewing Show. Inspiring on all levels :) PEACE!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Okay, Okay......

This is what I'm up to that is keeping me from blogging quite so frequently!!!
This picture was the inspiration.

This is the target piece.

An old washstand that has seen better days. Finally out of the garage, it has now been sanded and primed. It will be painted black on the outside.

The drawers will have colourful insides.

Why is it that this all looks so simple and then you get into it and it is taking ages! Meanwhile the house is in a tip, because everything that was originally inside the washstand is now in the middle of the basement t.v. room. Motivation.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Quintessential Diner

Today after workout class, one of the topics over coffee was why diners don't thrive in Canada they way they do in the US. This in response to the food network show

While in Albuquerque this summer, we spied this diner and wheeled in to get a cool drink. We LOVE diners!

I love counter stools, although a booth is still my favourite.

The Pez Collection above the counter.

The perfect setting. THIS is the turquoise colour I'm loving - nostalgia.

Betty Boop at your service

This is the way a REAL milkshake is made and served.

And Oh....the pie cupboard. There was one on Route 1 in Princeton that actually rotated inside. I could never decide.

But this is Route 66!

Where you get your kicks PICS!

I LOVE this idea!

Indeed, why DON'T diners flourish in Canada as they do in the US???