Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec 2010

Belated because...
I've been moving! Chaos clearing is slow but steady.
My new address is below, if you ever use snails.
Phone remains the same.

Have a great holiday time.
Just under the postmark is this year's Amy, an amaryllis. She came early as house warming observance from Leslie. She loves all the sun.
I do too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nov 10

Autumn in Berkeley...

Visiting Dr. Kate a couple of weeks ago, we explored , walked a lot and ate some amazing food. We had Mexican food, of course... and Burmese food... and Brazilian sandwiches... and locally grown and harvested veggies and seafood.

One meal that falls into the last category was at Chez Panisse. Owner/chef Alice Waters' philosophy is to serve the most delicious organic products only when they are in season. Over the course of three decades, Chez Panisse has developed a network of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients.

As a part of her commitment to provide food education to youngsters Alice Waters created the Chez Panisse Foundation, establishing a strategy to transform the quality of school lunches that includes a model garden and kitchen programme on the grounds of a Berkeley public school. Called the Edible Schoolyard, this garden is directly behind Kate's home. This archway is a part of that garden. Go here to see more:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oct 10

Frangipani memories... almost

You know about frangipani. They're the flowers for making leis. When I was a little girl there was a funny song about a frangipani sung by a woman whose name I never knew. I didn't understand what made the song funny. The lyrics may even have been rude, but I was too young to know just why people were laughing. The fact is, grown-ups laughed at that song and I loved it. I can still remember the fun and the laughter and a little of the tune... but none of the words.

Enter Google: I've learned so much about frangipani... AND... I've found some lovely songs. Seems lots are inspired by these petals and their pungent fragrance. But none of these found songs are the One. Guess I'm still on my own.

These particular frangipani flowers live outside my son Peter's office in Barbados. I bring them out now, as the days are getting shorter to remind you of the sun... and to remind me to remember something.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sep 10

Tea Time...
Summer's truly winding down, even if the temperature here in Toronto is setting new record highs. School's starting and Labour Day announces the season's last hurrah. With all our re-adjustments to the serious parts of the year, I invite you to regenerate gently and genteelly over a quiet cuppa. These ladies in a window at the Eaton Centre offer a glimpse of high tea redefined. Go ahead: put on your own hat and finery and lift a cup. Remember to hold your pinky finger up!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Aug 10

I'm so happy to announce...
In November of 1981 my little girl Kate started to Montessori school at the age of 2. Becky was her first teacher. She obviously started things off right. This morning Kate successfully defended her doctoral thesis and is now Dr. Kate.
Next she will begin post-doctoral studies at Berkeley.
Wherever you are, please join me in raising a glass in honour of all her hard work and her joy, which I share with tearful glee.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Jul 10

Time to focus on summer now.

Canada Day was July 1st and US Independence Day was July 4th. Here in Toronto we've had the heads of 20 countries meeting behind walls and tall fences to talk about Important Things. Their meetings were marked by demonstrations and some violence and many, many arrests. Then the Queen came for a social visit. I wonder what she in her perfect hat thinks about it all?

I'm ready chill in our so, so hot summer sun now and try to put it all into some sort of perspective. We gotta make some hay while that sun's a-shining: nature's therapy. Let's all get out there and enjoy, eh?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Jun 10

Hello Mary Lou!

When I was about five or six years old my favourite doll was named Mary Lou. She had real hair--long blond hair--with real barrettes. I loved dressing her up and combing her hair into different styles. That year for my birthday my mother made Mary Lou a complete wardrobe, along with her own closet from an oil-cloth-covered fruit crate and little coat hangers from bent wire. Mary Lou was probably a teenager, but this was long before Barbie and her sexy shape. Mary Lou was one of a kind.

I don't know when Mary Lou actually disappeared from my life. I got older and I guess we passed her and her extensive wardrobe to a younger girl.

But I do remember her so fondly. I see girls playing with Barbie and I think how my Mary Lou was so much better. After all she came with all my mother's focused attention and imbued love.

Waiting for my bus the other day I think I found Mary Lou again in this store window. Like me, she's thicker around the middle and her hair's shorter. But look at her smile. She's got a snazzy dress and fuzzy puppy slippers. Credence Clearwater said it: I knew Mary Lou, we'd never part, so hello Mary Lou. Goodbye heart.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 10

Happy Luke Skywalker Day!!!

May Day happened and I didn't send you your calendar. No, it wasn't another broken arm, as a couple of you suggested (thanks for your concern)... I was just enjoying some lazy time and ignored my responsibility to youse guys.

So here's your calendar. Get out your light sabres today and transform your world. Wake up those May flowers. After all, they can come even if your April, like ours, was remiss in the showers department. Also, get your salsa ready for tomorrow to wake up yourself.

PS. Some of you report using my calendars as I do, on your computer desktops. If you'd like a higher resolution version go here every month:

Higher Resolution Postcard for Your Desktop

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Apr 10

An invitation to a journal... of sorts.
My recent acquisition of an iPhone has involved me in searches for Barbie-esque outfits for its adornment and in endless browsings of Apple's App Store to satisfy it's voracious appetite for activities. My latest addition in the latter category is a little something named Project 365. It invites me to take a picture every day with my phone and save it in the app's minute calendar... then I may add a pithy caption. I have decided to embark on this little adventure AND to incorporate a 6-word limit to the captions, as inspired by Larry Smith's book, It All Changed in an Instant.

I offer you my first entry dated Mar 29th along with this caption: En route to shop for Lucas.

I am also hereby inviting you to join me in a little techie journalling of your own. Let me know how it goes.

PS. Some of you report using my calendars as I do, on your computer desktops. If you'd like a higher resolution version go here every month:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pi Day 10

I'm not sending you activities this year... well just one: go to and check out Google's Pi Day logo:

Then do a Pi Day search of your own to find loads of activities including new Pi-Ku poems at NPR. I'm celebrating the day by doing no math at all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mar 10

All Canada Celebrates Tonight

I lived in Vancouver when I first came to Canada in 1976. The post-hockey-game Robson Strassse crowds the television's showing us tonight bring back a number of very fond memories: trees and trees and trees, rain, warm people, rain, hiking and rain. As a graphic designer new in Canada, I found myself visiting grocery stores and asking who had designed this or that remarkable store or package. The answer was frequently the same: someone in Toronto called Don Watt.

25 or so years later I found myself in Toronto working for Don Watt, himself. During that time I was asked by an associate to lead a workshop for new immigrants starting their own businesses. My topic was managing design as a part of their business assets. I asked Don what advice he would have for them and he generously gave me over an hour of his valuable time. He used examples from his own body of work to demonstrate his different points.

That body of work included part of the cockpit design for the Avro Arrow and developing the re-design of Loblaws stores, the No Name and President's Choice brands, Wal-Mart Super Centres and packaging, the Home Depot logo and more recently the Metro stores and packaging. One of Don Watt's most famous and enduring designs is the Canadian flag. Don passed away in December of last year. I have been saddened.

Tonight as I watch the Canadian Olympic men's hockey team celebrate their victory with the Canadian flag draped in front of them, I feel the impact of Don's body of work... and I feel the imperative of my own. After all, my monthly calendar habit began while I worked for Don. Over the years he has encouraged these monthly missives. I dedicate this month's calendar to his memory.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feb 10

The promise of spring
begins on the first day of winter...

Every year Leslie gives me an amaryllis and I name her Amy. I plant each Amy during the holidays and rejoice in her rapid and eager growth. This Amy is especially enthusiastic. She has already produced these four luscious blooms PLUS another shoot bearing their Siamese twins. Amy's promise of spring will be set in bold face and underlined as this second shoot waits for these blooms to fade then rushes in to replace them with four more.

Have a great month. For such a short one, there's a lot to celebrate including Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, Family Day, President's Day for those further south... and yes, Amy's strutting promise of spring.

Jan 10

Here’s to a whole year of plenty!

I'm sure you took that very deep breath last month and now we're all on a new path... the first decade to begin with a TWENTY!

We each have our own definitions of plenty. In this case I'm showing you plenty of radishes I saw in Brooklyn in November. I invite you to stop a moment right now and define what kind of plenty you want to create in your world for this fresh new year... and for this fresh new decade.

Then every time you see a radish, remind yourself of your determination and rejoice in all your opportunities.