Sunday, May 30, 2010

Taming the Wild indeed!

The Professor and I are out in the garden "Taming the Wild"....this is exactly what happens! Last night we came in the house rather satisfied and this morning...it's WAR! This weather we've been having has been so good for very lush growth. We've been away so much we've not had time to turn our attention to the yard until now. Boy are we paying the price.



Creative shrubbery is what it's all about now methinks. If we are only going to have so much water in the future, shall we be drinking it, or pouring it on the annuals???

Saturday, May 29, 2010

For Gordon

Thanks to Lennie, I was alerted to this song that never made it past the American Idol auditions, but was aired on the Finale show. It is just too funny. I went through this stage with my son in his late high school and early McGill years. There were times when it was actually dangerous for him to take escalators. We were all a little embarrassed, but he was convinced and intractable about his fashion sense.



In case you have trouble understanding the lyrics, here they are:
Pants on the ground
Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground

With the gold in your mouth, hat turned sideways
Pants hit the ground, call yourself a cool cat
Lookin’ like a fool, walkin’ to the town
With your pants on the ground!

I still see this "style"??? being sported, and am so happy to see this fun spirited indictment of this way of dressing. Fortunately for me, it's not on my son anymore. I still like the preppy look, but lost that battle around grade 6.

'Mr. pants' is currently gainfully employed as a computer game designer in Vancouver.

"ModNation Racers" on shelves May 25th in North America and May 21st in Europe took home the award for Most Promising Game 2010 at the Canadian Video Game Awards. Guess it doesn't matter what you wear :) We're so proud of you!!!

Physics Lesson

If I thought my head was exploding from a few art classes, I can only imagine how my granddaughter feels taking on physics lessons at 5 months!

Have I mentioned lately how advanced my grandchild is???

She was just asking her Maman to clarify a few things. Her little fingers mark the spot!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Can you name them?

Yes, I'm back, and Irenka and Lennie have both posted brilliant posts and I've just got one question.

Without peeking -- Can you name the 8 countries coming for the G8 Conference???

As the official driver to Hampton, Virginia and back (yes, Lennie spelled me for an hour or so) I reserve the right to take an extra day to clear my head, my front hall and my suitcase before I review and replicate my lessons.

I have so much to remember, my head is exploding.

I also plan to reinvent myself (yet again)...I always do after inspiring trips, and I'll be back in the saddle soon.

Bit of a joke here. I AM fourteen years older than Nancy!:) I realize this is not an excuse, but the explanation gives me great comfort!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Day Off

Two days into Art and Soul and we are having a day off. Both of our classes were with Marie Otero. The first one was learning how to print on just about anything. From wallpaper to pieces of an old leather couch, Marie had us prepare substrates to then attach to a carrier and put through the good old ink jet printer. The results are nothing short of amazing, considering that you can actually have amazing results using tinfoil or duct tape!

The second day was focusing on Digital Collage. I was approaching this with a little trepidation, hoping my photoshopping skills would be up to par, but I am very happy to say that I could follow along easily and learned a ton of new stuff. Marie was so generous with sharing her skills and materials, it was a tremendous class.


Marie's work.
This is a sample of the sort of thing we were learning with Marie.

I've been wondering what to do with those old albums of antique family photos etc. and now have some really exciting ideas. Marie is a wonderfully versatile teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed her classes and patient teaching style. I will also take her online class and hope to hone this skill sooner or later. It's like everything else, you have to commit and devote time to this pursuit or you forget the smallest little things.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just tooting my own horn.............

Over the past few days there has been a remarkable lack of appreciation for "The Driver". I have hinted and hinted that it might be nice if SOMEONE were to mention on their blogs what a stellar job I did getting us from Mississauga, Ontario CANADA to Hampton, Virginia USA. I mean, WE'RE AT THE SEA!!!!



This is definitely my theme song. Each evening the manager has a reception where the guests get a free drink. Since I'm not driving in the evening, we have the strongest drink they make...it's free.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Flock has landed

This morning, Lennie and I had to be woken up by Irenka who was worried that there was only 15 minutes left before the breakfast service was over. Apparently the Hilton Homewood Suites were to our liking! Best value I think I've ever had traveling in the USofA. We had a two room suite, each with our own queen bed, two full bathrooms a kitchen and living room.....free breakfast and dinner. We each paid $60 US!!!

After a quick whip through the Prime Outlet mall nearby...Zoë wins again! We were off to our destination Hampton, Virginia.

Sailed along and around the Washington area only to decide to make a detour into Richmond, VA. There were so many things to choose from, but Lennie and I opted for the "Hollywood Cemetery". Irenka was not amused, but Lennie and I were enthralled by all the civil war plots and angels that we love.


Thank heavens for Cracker Barrels, the adult version of MacDonalds...you always know what you're gonna get! Yesterday the special was meatloaf, today was chicken pot pie, but they were out.

Luckily we stopped and ate when we did, we skidded into the parking lot at the convention center in time to register and do our first shop in the on-site store.

As we arrived at the bar for our complimentary drink, Irenka and I asked for the strongest drink they make. It worked. We're now ready to watch Idol, clothes are hung in the cupboard and the alarm is set for 7:30 a.m.

Great trip so far...........the classes begin tomorrow. Marie Otero and printing on all sorts of funky things!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Road Trip

We're officially on the road to Art and Soul. I'm driving, Lennie is riding shotgun [camera at the ready], and Irenka is in the back. I thought it might be an interesting idea to hear from each one of us what this trip is all about. As the driver, I'm pretty much being taken care of. Lennie is a great navigator with the (help?) of "Lola" the annoying GPS lady. Irene is fantastic at doling out the drinks and snacks from the cooler in the back.



Lennie and I are not sure that Irenka totally appreciates the front of the vehicle sing-along sessions, but they do make the time go by very quickly. On the other hand, Lennie and I are sure that the applause you hear in the music video, is the surrounding countryside bursting with wild enthusiasm in response to our efforts.

The Cracker Barrel had no musical rocking horses, much to my traveling partners' relief.

We are in a fabulous hotel tonight. Each of us has a queen size bed. We had dinner in the hotel and after watching American Idol, are now neatly tucked up blogging from bed! The only problem is that Dancing with the Stars was on at the same time as Idol, and I don't know who got kicked off tonight. I'm hoping it was Chad....anyone?

Tomorrow, after a stop at Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, MD, we are checking into Hampton, VA.

I still don't know how Lennie got that tunnel picture up so quickly!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Couldn't resist

How can it finally be time? Last September, Lennie, Irene and I decided we wanted to make the trip to Virginia to attend the Hampton, "Art and Soul" art retreat. It's here, seems like the blink of an eye. The packing is overwhelming.



If you are a bit hard of hearing, this could sound a bit like Art and Soul :)
Humour me, I'm the driver.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A different view of the world

A while back I was perusing my AGO glossy pamphlet of upcoming events and noticed a small dark piece on "A World Abandoned". Upon further inspection, it turned out to be a piece on the DK Photo Group. Having been alerted by Lennie to a very special t.v. show, something was setting off alarms. The show "Photo Xplorers" is one that I really looked forward to, but there were only a few episodes.

The concept is a really radical one. These 5 guys, accompanied by a camera crew of 2 others, go into (I won't say break into...but that's in all reality part of the charm of the show) old abandoned buildings of architectural, historical, or just plain curious interest. Quite a few of their findings were in Belgium....hence my ears are perked. It's about abandoned buildings and urban decay...in some cases it looks as though people just walked away from these vast institutions one day and never came back! I think it appeals to the snoop in me. Who knew that these are LOCAL guys, that's always exciting.


Lennie and I attended the Saturday Art Speak "A World Abandoned" at the AGO Art Rental + Sales Gallery to hear all about their adventures and photography process.

The show was carried on Bravo and I hope that with a little urging, they will get enough funding to continue this venture. The world is their oyster so to speak. My thought is that no one would ever know of these places were it not for these intrepids and their view through the lens.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If we could only stop the bumping

As a testament to my senility, I think I may have done this as a post already. As a testament as to how scattered I am these days, I have NO TIME to go and see if I did!!!

"HERE is Edward Bear,
coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head,
behind Christopher Robin.
It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs,
but sometimes he feels that there really is another way,
if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it."
A. A. Milne

If I could stop the bumping, [and so that there is no misinterpretation as to what I mean], if I could stop the busy-ness of everyday life, I'm sure I could focus more on ...on what? It's not like I'm going to be able to solve world hunger, or turn around the state of affairs in the Congo, or find a cure for all the diseases that are hobbling humanity these days. I'll bet Madeleine Albright has a cleaning lady!

I could do THAT! I could be Madeleine's cleaning lady...especially her pins.


[Illustration Credit:clarkeching.com]

Where does it go?

The concept of time. Over the past few days, any of you who may have spoken to me will realize that I am overwhelmed by a lack of time. Where does time go these days?


(Photo: Time well spent in Chicago)

It used to be that I could get up in the morning, run to the grocery store with two little kids in tow, order a carpet cleaner, clean said broadloom while locking said kids in the backyard, and still have time to whip out the floor mats and give the car a little freshen up before returning the rental machine.

It certainly helps that I eventually removed all the carpets and now only have the ghastly "area" rugs to maintain, but that was a decorating decision more than a work avoidance gesture.

When recently asked "What do you DO all day??" I gently closed my gaping mouth to the audacity of the question and then proceeded to ream off the list. When said out loud, it turns out I do a fair bit, it just seems to take a lot longer and never ends up being as thorough.

Perhaps it's all about expectations. This is really my life mantra...that life and it's realities ARE all about expectations. I expect that when I set an hour aside to clean the main floor of the house, that indeed, in an hour, the task will be done. The reality is that within that hour there may be three or four phone calls, a few knocks on the door from local kiddies or a mail delivery, someone Skypes in via the internet or I spy out of the corner of my little eye something in the garden that needs to be tied up NOW. One hour later, and ............well you get the picture.

It has been suggested that when I work I pull out the phone. Can't do it, I have two kids living in Vancouver and Europe and many family and friends who are only connected to me via long distance telephone. Another suggestion is to make one hour and one hour only for those specific kinds of time-outs.

There doesn't seem to be a perfect way out of this dilemma. I was pretending that the cleaning lady was coming today and I was to be all ready for her. My friends have a cleaning lady named "Beatrice". I love that name and so when I clean my own digs, I call myself "Beatrice".

"B" will be mighty upset with me if I don't have things in order for her to start in half an hour. She can start the upstairs while I finish off the tidying of the main floor today.

I wonder if Beatrice could make the Professor a cake for his birthday today?

I wish I knew how to be an efficiency expert, or at best get my expectations in better line!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lilacs at dusk

When you are not an early morning gardener, but become overwhelmed by the scent of lilacs in the early evening, you have to use your low light camera settings just to capture the aroma.






Robert Barrett Browning

Oh to be in England,
..............................................
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge,
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover,
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when the noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower -
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!


The birds are building, the fruit trees in bloom and even though not in England, it's a wonderful world.

She loves rock and ROLL

As Jane mentioned in her response to my last post, she had also done a video of baby's first Mother's Day. There are a couple of things about this video. The first of course is darling Zoë, dressed in her Mommy's little girl shirt, doing her roll - after trying to single mouthedly demolish the flower on Monkey Island. Secondly, the sidebar has many other Zoe's who's Mummies have filmed them doing the same thing and the majority are on these mats!


I love the way Zoë recuperates from the flip and starts going for the next thing within her short arm's reach. She's very busy these days with flailing arms and can really grab and BITE things.


This is one of my favourite pictures of all time! I'm going to get this one blown up. Can you imagine seeing your own toes for the first time EVER!????

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jane and Zoë's first Mother's Day

This is a very special Mother's Day at our home. Our beautiful daughter is celebrating Mother's Day for the first time. We are so proud of both our beautiful girls.


I remember thinking these sentiments exactly when Jane was born. The circle continues. Happy Mother's Day to all.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Babies the Film

Today, I saw a rave review in the local paper about the documentary film "Babies".

I have recently put the New York Times up as my home page, where there is a really neat clip on the film with various small outtakes.



I'm sure Jane and Michael will find this of great interest. It makes me laugh. Especially the baby in Mongolia taking a bath! I think everyone will appreciate the global perspective.

I'm going to be busy all weekend, so go watch a movie!

These guys are too much

I was over at Paris Breakfasts reading about "Macaron Tragedies"...how could one not be intrigued by that title? This video made my day.



This is SO something my own kids might have thought up with a cast of thousands and a warehouse. Remember my curtain rods at Wonderland Jane!??? Puts a new spin on Gordon's paint ball excursions that I was so wary of. It's like the ultimate mouse trap game!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sing and Dance....

Today I am posting another of the National Film Board's montages dedicated to the recipients at the Governor General's award ceremonies. They all were absolutely wonderful, but this one had everyone in the audience both laughing and crying at it's poignant genius.



There are more of these wonderful clips at the National Film Board
The Professor and I will be out dancing this evening:)

It's all about heart

This past weekend, I was invited as a guest to attend the 2010 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards in Ottawa.

After spending the first evening in the presence of actors and being totally star struck with their intelligence, energy and enthusiasm for their craft - despite the desperate scene of being a performer in Canada - I decided to "get over myself" regarding what to wear, to just relax, step back and enjoy.

This celebration of our Canadian arts and culture makes one realize how important "arts" are to our very existence. Whether it be dance, theatre, music of all genres, film or broadcasting, we are never made more aware of our own unique cultural treasures than at this celebration in the nation's capital.

This year's recipients were: Bryan Adams, Françoise Faucher, Walter Homburger, Édouard Lock, Robin Phillips, and Buffy Sainte-Marie for excellence in the performing arts. In addition, Mohammed and Yulanda Faris received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin received the National Arts Centre Award.


The evening started by having dinner amongst true Canadian artistic greatness. Of course fiddleheads were served.

On our way to our spectacular seats, I had the remarkable opportunity to speak from my heart to the Governor General. I just wanted to tell her that I love her, and what she has done for my country, and that she must not leave. She despite all official protocol, beamed and took me in her arms. She later addressed the crowd most passionately about artists' power of hope and their ability to touch hearts.


At intermission, I honestly had the full attention of Michael Ignatieff, to whom I voiced my concern and not so humbly counseled to become more of a presence in the media.


To top it all off, most uncharacteristically, one of this year's recipients at this Gala evening actually performed for us. Well, Bryan Adams was really singing to me alone, "Straight from the Heart".


It was an evening of total magic. My wish came true this morning. On the front page of the Toronto Star, "Michael Ignatieff endorses an extended term for Michaëlle Jean".

Life is good. I may have to go to Ottawa with more regularity.


Photographs by: Ashley Fraser, The Ottawa Citizen

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Magic

Indulge me by listening to this mellifluous voice.

This was one of the recipients at the 2010 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for lifetime artistic achievement. Quebec theatre actress Francoise Faucher.



I will post more of the National Film Board of Canada's magnificent montages to our outstanding artists. You can increase the size of the screen at the bottom of the video.