Sunday, December 09, 2012

Best Wishes ...

As the year ends, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, much love, and all the best for 2013.















Friday, November 30, 2012

Chapter from my novel in Immedia's anthology

A chapter from my novel has been published in Mauritius, in Immedia's anthology titled Facing Challenges. The book will be officially launched on December 7th at Domaine Les Pailles by the President of the Republic, Mr. Kailash Purryag, and the former President, Mr. Cassam Uteem.

Now, this is one incentive to finish editing the rest of the chapters. But can anyone whip an artist to produce faster? I'm one of those who crawl like a turtle ... yeah, slowly and surely, I've strung words into sentences, then paragraphs, then chapters. But the polishing part is another challenge. Imagine spending the day bouncing words inside your head, wishing them to turn into pearls, but they often rebel and spin into headaches. I'm thankful to wonderful friends who don't mind whacking me with a good dose of pressure when I'm not on track ...like repeating over and over, "when is that book going to be published?" Okay, it's happening soon, for real. Look, a chapter has been published already. One chapter a year? Let's see, mmmhh it may take over 69 years to get the whole novel out. That certainly puts things into perspective. All right, keep up the pressure. I'll aim for 2013.

Time to get back to the novel instead of rambling on here ... And there's a photo exhibition I'm working on also, not to mention the silk painting. And all the problems around the world that I wish I could solve ... and closer to home, I wish our politicians would move forward and close the Darlington nuclear station and switch to solar, wind and other alternative renewable energy, and I wish there were less greed and more love to spread around ...












A few hardy leaves bask in the last glow of fall



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Awareness

Here's an article that I find very inspiring. It's about breaking routines, finding awareness, and opening up to a more fulfilling life.

"The hidden potential that doesn't get expressed lacks in only one place: your awareness. As you open your awareness, life opens its possibilities at the same time. Routine is replaced by new input into the brain." Deepak Chopra




The Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Fire playing over bubbling water ...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Before winter sets in ... will the writing be done?



Fall is here already, cool but still sunny. Working away on my novel. Currently editing and hoping to finish before winter sets in ... or will I?

Writing a novel is a consuming task that sucks away all my creative thoughts, my heart, my soul and demands that I tame restless,undisciplined words into coherence over and over. I often wonder what insanity drove me to this. But as I get closer to the end, it's easier to wrestle down the self-doubts and see a vision, a dream come to life. The baby has gone through a long gestation and is eager to pop out.

Sharing some quotes about writing that I can relate to:

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
― George Orwell

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him.”
― Dylan Thomas

“If I do not write to empty my mind, I go mad.”
― George Gordon Byron

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”
― Anaïs Nin

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
― Stephen King



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer in Montreal

Spent a few wonderful days in Montreal this summer. On the first evening, I was thrilled to stumble upon a short street between Guy and St. Mathieu where musicians were playing and passers-by dancing. Not sure whether the street was permanently closed off from traffic, but its vibrancy was so inspiring.

I think we should do the same in Toronto and close off Baldwin street, my favourite short street. And even better, we could send our musicians there and bring theirs here so there's a creative and enriching exchange between these two cities. And while we're at it, why not start a high-speed train service between Toronto and Montreal?
























I also happened to be there during the St. Catherine Street sidewalk sale. There were plenty of clothes, but also musicians in every corner. Montreal seems ready to make music, and party at every opportunity. Bands of drummers performed along the street, getting everybody's feet moving to their powerful beats. Jazz, world music, rock, you name it, they were all there ...

























The creativity continues on the walls of many buildings along St. Catherine. I love that city. A bientôt Montréal ...

Sunday, July 08, 2012

My Camino ... Mon chemin de Compostelle Paris/Tours

Traduction en français plus bas



In their kind attempt to comfort me during emotionally difficult years, three unrelated friends mentioned their life-changing experiences while walking along the Camino route, a trail pilgrims have taken since the Midddle Ages to reach Santiago de Compostela where they believed the remains of the apostle St. James were buried.

Even though I'm a skeptical, non-practicing catholic, I could not ignore the coincidences that nudged me towards this soul-searching journey. I chose to walk the Voie de Tours, the Paris/Tours route as it passed through Gradignan, a suburb of Bordeaux, home to my friends Catherine and Jean-Paul whom I hadn't seen for 12 years. I planned to walk from Gradignan to St. Jean Pied de Port in 11 days, and then finish the Spanish section next year.

My friends, enthused about the trip, not only found a terrific guide titled Le Chemin de Paris et de Tours, but also offered to accompany me to le Barp, the first stop from Gradignan.

Still nursing the end of a bad flu caught a week before leaving Toronto, and a bit dazed from jet lag, but thrilled to reconnect with my dear friends, I carried a backpack 4 lbs heavier than the recommended 10% of my weight (after I added guidebook, lunch,and water). But I was determined to tough it out.

We started at the Prieuré de Cayac where pilgrims have stopped since the Middle Ages. Their fervent spirits seemed to be solidly entrenched within the crumbling walls, porticos, and turrets of these old buildings, and I felt as if I was going back in time, with them by my side.























With Catherine in front of the Prieuré de Cayac

We trekked through the forest, and long stretches of vineyards, past a lone farm with horses roaming freely, a small village with a stone oven, a château. And bright red poppies blooming from gravelled lanes, as if their eagerness to grow turned an arid land fertile. Catherine and I reminisced about our teenage years and sang old French ballads while Jean-Paul walked ahead, making sure we followed the guide and sign posts.























Jean-Paul trying to meditate while we're singing and chatting away.

Along the 26 kms, we met only one pilgrim who was returning from Santiago. Why didn't more people walk this route? It was so conducive to meditation.

About eight hours later, with a few breaks for lunch and snacks, we reached the gîte Jean-Paul had booked in Le Barp. My legs were strained, as if one more step would send me sprawling on the ground. What a relief to find Elisa's charming shelter with its cascading roses. With the give-away price for room and board, I could not fuss about the unkempt room. Elisa, our petite hostess made everything bearable with her big heart. She explained that welcoming pilgrims was her way of giving back after others opened their doors generously to her during long years of travels around the world.














Elisa's gîte. 20 euros a night, dinner and breakfast included.
Tel:06 83 82 15 43

The next morning, I sadly waved goodbye to Catherine and Jean-Paul who were walking back to Gradignan. They reassured me that I'd be safe, but I was somewhat nervous about walking on my own. What on earth was I thinking? Where were other pilgrims? In a panic, I recalled how deserted the road was the day before. If something happened to me, it would take a while to get help. Of course, I had my cell phone, and my walking poles with which I could slap away dogs, wild beasts or hooligans lurking from the forest, and with my black belt, and that crazy fierceness about me, I could repel a horde of thugs ...

Just keep walking, I told myself. Oddly, it was hardest when I went through the village, past houses, cars, civilization. When I stepped into the woods, it was so peaceful that a sense of well-being took over, as if I was being guided not only by all my friends who wished me well, but pilgrims who took this route over centuries. And the trees themselves, tall, solid, seemed to offer their protection.

According to my guide, the Landes, the area through which I was walking, were sandy wastelands before Napoleon ordered villagers to forest the area, which explains the linear patterns of the trees.

I listened to the crunch of my footsteps, as if I was out of my own body, looking from above at this tiny dot in the immense forest. Looking at myself in a larger world made it was easier to shed the extraneous, and live simply, purely in the moment.


I focused on the long stretch of lane ahead of me, confident, with a new sense of purpose, knowing I was walking in the right direction, which was for now, Belin-Beliet. When I arrived around 1 pm, everything was closed. I was starved, thirsty, with a sore throat, and a backpack that felt heavier with each step I took towards the Super U grocery store to buy food. After I devoured a sandwich and downed a litre of water, I tried to find my way to Le Muret, but it was confusing. The sign post pointed towards a different direction than the book. It was 2:30 pm. The sky was darkening and it was already spitting. My backpack, as if filled with lead, was now crushing my back. Walking four more hours was impossible. I stopped for the night at a Chambre d'hôte, our equivalent of a B & B. This beautiful room became my oasis.

Chambre d'hôte chez les Cléments. 70 euros a night breakfast included. Tel:05 56 88 13 17

Philippe and Françoise were wonderful hosts who took me under their wings when, the next morning, they saw me inching my way down the stairs, my back in spasms. Philippe drove me to a doctor who recommended that I stop the walk. And also to an osteopath who cracked my back into place, and as part of his holistic approach to healing, encouraged me to release the emotional baggage I was carrying. I found myself confiding in this kind healer who believed we did not meet by chance, that he was meant to help me. Another guardian angel sent my way ...
Belin-Beliet

And so I continued the journey after three days at the Cléments, but by car as my back, even though it was better, was not fully recovered. My host kindly gave me a ride to Le Muret. I stayed at Hotel Le Grand Gousier, the only accommodation in this small ghost town without even a convenience store. Its main interest was the St. Roch stone chapel, a pilgrim stop since the 12th century, with the characteristic regional architecture of that time.
St Roch chapel at Le Muret

From Le Muret, I hoped to walk, but my back was still not ready and I took a cab to Hôtel de l'Aubergade in Labouheyre. The quaint town centres around a large shaded park filled with trees that have been trained with wires to form a thick canopy of leaves. I went around the park and found the church St. Jacques de Labouheyre. The door was open, as if inviting me to go in. Inside, I stared breathless at the tall vaulted gothic ceiling. I was the only person there, and yet candles were burning in a corner of the cool, silent space, pulling me towards their flames. It was surreal, as if I was entering a mystical world that strangely felt like home.


Labouheyre

I was strolling back in the park when I saw some fellow walkers arriving. I rushed to say hello, starved by now for company. The group's friendliness was spontaneous. Michel and Michelle were staying at the pilgrim shelter, L'Abri du Pèlerin, which they recommended (20 euros per night, breakfast included. Tel: 05 58 07 04 59). Claudine invited me for a drink at her friend François's mobile home, which he drove each morning to the next stop, and then bicycled back to accompany the group on their walk. These fortunate encounters were uncanny, as if I was truly being looked after by a force beyond me. My back was better but still not fully recovered, and François drove me the following day to Onesse before he went back to meet the group. It was 7:30 am and Auberge Caule was closed. I sat on its patio, enjoying the cool breeze on my face, the climbing roses, a bright sun that announced a hot day, and wrote. Soon, a feisty woman named Rosy came out unfazed, as if used to strange people waiting that early on her patio. She welcomed me to her gîte, a family-run business that has accommodated pilgrims for many generations.























Rosy's gîte in Onesse. 20 euros, breakfast included. Tel: 05 58 07 30 01

My four new friends were staying in a spacious campground filled with mobile homes that were rented for the night. In most villages, there are choices for different budgets, the pilgrim shelters and campgrounds being usually the most reasonable options, and the choice of most pilgrims who want to meet others there. In some places like Taller, the next stop on our route, the village did not have any hotels or B & B, only one pilgrim shelter, a room with four bunk beds, bathroom and kitchenette. It was clean, and only 7 euros per night. I was surprised by the low cost of shelters for pilgrims and the eagerness of villagers to facilitate our journey.


In Taller, the lavoir where villagers used to wash their clothes.

I chose Dax as my last stop. It's a larger town from where I could take the train back to Bordeaux and Paris. Dax's rich history is visible in its impressive cathedral, its four-metres wide Roman ramparts, its hot water fountains and mud baths that to this day are famous for their healing properties. And of course, I could not resist a mud treatment to pamper my back, which felt much better now.























Fontaine d'Eau Chaude in Dax

At Dax, I parted with my new friends who were continuing to St. Jean Pied de Port and then back to the Vendée region where they are from. Our short time together had been heart-warming and inspiring. I would miss Michelle's wisdom and fortitude, Michel's sense of humour, Claudine's joie-de-vivre, and François's informative discourse on the Landes region. We promised to keep in touch.







Michelle, Michel, Claudine, François and Caroline who met us in Taller

Many people along the route have touched me in ways I may not fully understand yet. It's true that each of us had our own Camino route, with its own challenges, sometimes different from what we expected. Walking, even for only two days, was uplifting. Hurting my back, even though a tough lesson in humility, brought many incredible healing moments, and I am thankful for rediscovering the inherent goodness in people, for regaining faith in others and in myself. It was not only an enlightening journey but great visits through the small towns and villages of the Aquitaine region. I will definitely go back to finish the route by foot but better prepared this time.










TRADUCTION POUR MES AMIS FRANÇAIS


En me consolant pendant des années difficiles, trois amis qui ne se connaissent pas ont mentionné le bonheur de leurs états d'âme après avoir marché sur le Chemin de Compostelle, un sentier que les pèlerins prenaient depuis le moyen âge pour aller à Santiago de Compostelle où ils croyaient que les restes de l'apôtre Saint-James ont été enterrés.

Même si je suis sceptique et catholique non-pratiquante, je ne pouvais pas ignorer les coïncidences qui m'ont poussé vers ce voyage d'introspection. J'ai choisi de marcher sur la Voie de Tours car elle passe par Gradignan, une banlieue de Bordeaux, où vivent mes amis Catherine et Jean-Paul que je n'avais pas vu depuis 12 ans. J'ai prévu de marcher de Gradignan à Saint Jean Pied de Port en 11 jours, puis de terminer la section espagnole l'année prochaine.

Mes amis, enthousiasmés par le voyage, non seulement ont trouvé un guide formidable intitulé Le Chemin de Paris et de Tours, mais ont également offert de m'accompagner à Le Barp, le premier arrêt.

Soignant la fin d'une mauvaise grippe prise une semaine avant de quitter Toronto, et un peu étourdie par le décalage horaire, mais très heureuse de renouer avec mes chers amis, je portais un sac à dos 2 kg de plus que le 10% de mon poids qu'on m'avait recommandé (après avoir ajouté guide, déjeuner, et bouteille d'eau). Mais j'étais déterminé à tenir le coup.

Nous avons commencé au Prieuré de Cayac où les pèlerins se sont arrêtés depuis le Moyen Age. Leurs esprits fervents semblaient solidement ancrés dans les murs croulants, les portiques, et les tourelles de ces anciens bâtiments, et je sentais comme si ils étaient à mes côtés.

Nous avons parcouru à travers la forêt, de longues étendues de vignes, une ferme isolée avec des chevaux en liberté, un petit village avec un four en pierre, un château. Et des coquelicots rouges qui fleurissaient du gravier, comme si leur empressement à pousser avait fertilisé une terre aride. Catherine et moi, on a parlé de nos années d'adolescence et chanté des anciennes ballades françaises, tandis que Jean-Paul marchait en avant, s'assurant qu'on suive le guide et les balises.

Le long des 26 kms, nous avons rencontré un seul pèlerin qui revenait de Saint-Jacques. Pourquoi pas plus de gens sur cette voie? Elle est si propice à la méditation.

Huit heures plus tard, avec quelques pauses pour le déjeuner et des collations, nous avons atteint le gîte que Jean-Paul avait réservé à Le Barp. Mes jambes étaient tendues, comme si un pas de plus m'enverrait à plat sur le sol. Quel soulagement de trouver l'abri charmant d'Elisa avec ses roses qui descendaient en cascades. Avec un prix cadeau pour chambre et pension, je ne pouvais me plaindre de la chambre négligée. Elisa, notre hôtesse toute menue mais avec un grand coeur, m'a fait oublier ces inconforts. Elle a expliqué qu'en accueillant les pèlerins, c'était sa façon de retourner les faveurs que d'autres lui ont fait en ouvrant généreusement leurs portes pendant de longues années de voyages autour du monde.

Le lendemain matin, j'étais triste de dire au revoir à Catherine et Jean-Paul qui rentraient à Gradignan. Ils m'ont rassuré que je serais en sécurité, mais j'étais un peu angoissée à l'idée de marcher seule. Qu'est-ce qui m'était venu à la tête? Où étaient les autres pèlerins? Je me suis rappelé en paniquant de la route déserte de la veille. S'il m'arrivait un accident, il faudrait un certain temps pour obtenir de l'aide. Bien sûr, j'avais mon portable, et mes bâtons de marche avec lesquels je pourrais frapper des chiens, des bêtes sauvages ou des voyous qui se cachaient dans la forêt, et avec ma ceinture noire, et cette férocité folle en moi, je pouvais bien repousser une horde de brigands ...

Continue à marcher, je me suis dit. Curieusement, c'était plus difficile de passer par le village, les maisons, les voitures, la civilisation. Quand je suis entrée dans les bois, c'était si paisible que j'ai senti un bien-être doux m'envahir, comme si j'étais guidée non seulement par tous mes amis qui me voulaient du bien, mais les pèlerins qui ont pris cette voie au cours des siècles. Et les arbres eux-mêmes, grands, solides, semblaient offrir leur protection.

Selon mon guide, les Landes, la région à travers laquelle je marchais, étaient des déserts de sable avant que Napoléon ait ordonné aux villageois de planter des arbres pour créer une fôret, ce qui explique pourquoi les arbres semblaient être alignés.

J'ai écouté le crissement de mes pas comme si j'étais hors de mon propre corps, et je pouvais me voir d'en haut. Un point minuscule dans l'immense forêt. En me voyant dans un monde si vaste, c'était plus facile de laisser aller les choses qui ne sont pas importantes, de vivre simplement, purement dans le moment.

Je me suis concentré sur le long chemin devant moi, confiante, avec un nouveau but, sachant que j'allais dans la bonne direction, ce qui était pour l'instant, Belin-Beliet. Quand je suis arrivée vers 13 heures, tout était fermé. J'étais affamée, assoiffée, et j'avais un mal de gorge, et un sac à dos qui devenait plus lourd à chaque pas que je faisais vers le supermarché Super U pour acheter de quoi manger. Après avoir dévoré un sandwich et bu un litre d'eau, j'ai essayé de trouver le chemin vers Le Muret, mais j'étais confuse. La balise pointait vers une direction différente de celle du livre. Il était 14h30. Le ciel s'obscurcissait et crachait déjà quelques gouttes. Mon sac à dos, comme si rempli de plomb, écrasait maintenant mon dos. Marcher pour quatre heures de plus était impossible. Je me suis arrêtée pour la nuit dans un chambre d'hôte.

Philippe et Françoise étaient des hôtes sympas et m'ont pris sous leurs ailes quand, le lendemain matin, ils m'ont vu descendre péniblement l'escalier, mon dos en spasmes. Philippe m'a conduit chez un médecin qui a recommandé que j'arrête de marcher. Et aussi chez un ostéopathe qui a fait craquer mon dos en place, et avec sa croyance en la guérison du corps et de l'esprit, il m'a encouragé à libérer les bagages émotionnels que je portais. Je me suis confiée à ce gentil guérisseur qui croyait aussi que nous ne nous sommes pas rencontré par hasard, qu'il était censé m'aider. Un autre ange gardien envoyé sur mon chemin ...

J'ai continué après trois jours chez des Cléments, mais en voiture car mon dos, même un peu mieux, n'était pas en état pour marcher. Mon hôte m'a gentiment conduit jusqu'à Le Muret. Je suis restée à l'Hôtel Le Grand Gousier, le seul hébergement dans ce village fantôme, qui n'avait même pas un dépanneur. L'intérêt principale de ce village était la chapelle en pierre de Saint-Roch, un arrêt de pèlerin depuis le 12ème siècle, qui a une architecture caractéristique de cette région à l'époque.

De Le Muret, j'espérais marcher, mais mon dos n'était pas prêt et j'ai pris un taxi pour Hôtel de l'Aubergade à Labouheyre. La petite ville était centrée autour d'un grand parc ombragé avec des arbres dont les branches ont été entraînées avec des fils de fer pour former une voûte de feuilles. En me promenant autour du parc, j'ai trouvé l'église Saint-Jacques de Labouheyre. La porte était ouverte, comme m'invitant à y entrer. A l'intérieur, ça m'a coupé le souffle de voir le haut plafond gothique avec ses voutes. J'étais la seule personne dans cet espace frais et silencieux, et pourtant des bougies brûlaient dans un coin, m'attirant vers leurs flammes. Ce fut surréaliste, comme si j'entrais dans un monde mystique qui étrangement me donnait l'impression que j'étais chez moi.

Je retournais vers le parc quand j'ai vu des marcheurs qui arrivaient. Je me suis précipité pour leur dire bonjour, affamée maintenant d'avoir de la compagnie. La convivialité du groupe a été spontanée. Michel et Michelle allaient à L'Abri du Pèlerin, qu'ils ont recommandé (20 euros la nuit, petit déjeuner inclus. Tél: 05 58 07 04 59). Claudine m'a invitée à boire un sirop de menthe au camping car de son ami François. Il le conduisait chaque matin à l'étape suivante, puis revenait à bicyclette pour refaire le chemin avec le groupe. Ces heureuses rencontres étaient étonnants, comme si une force qui me dépassait s'occupait de moi. Mon dos allait mieux mais pas encore complètement guéri, et François m'a conduit le lendemain à Onesse avant de retourner à la rencontre du groupe. Il était 7h30 et Auberge Caule était fermée. Je me suis assise sur sa terrasse, profitant de la brise fraîche sur mon visage, les rosiers grimpants, un soleil radieux qui annonçait une chaude journée, et j'ai écrit. Bientôt, une femme exubérante nommée Rosy est sortie. Comme si habituée à voir des gens étranges sur sa terrasse, elle m'a accueillie dans son gîte, une entreprise familiale qui a accueilli des pèlerins depuis de nombreuses générations.

Mes quatre nouveaux amis étaient hébergés dans un camping spacieux rempli de camping cars qu'on pouvait louer pour la nuit. Dans la plupart des villages, il ya des choix pour différents budgets. Les abris de pèlerins et les terrains de camping étaient généralement les moins chers et sont préférés par les pèlerins car on y rencontre d'autres marcheurs. Dans certains endroits comme Taller, la prochaine étape de notre chemin, le village n'avait pas d'hôtels ou chambres d'hôte, mais un seul abri pour les pèlerins, une chambre avec quatre lits superposés, salle de bains et petite cuisine. C'était propre, et à seulement 7 euros la nuit. J'étais surprise par le coût très bas des maisons d'hébergement pour les pèlerins et l'empressement des villageois pour faciliter nos visites.

J'ai choisi Dax pour mon dernier arrêt. C'est une grande ville d'où je pouvais prendre le train pour retourner à Bordeaux et ensuite Paris. L'histoire de Dax est visible dans son impressionnante cathédrale, ses remparts romains de quatre mètres de large, ses fontaines d'eau chaude et ses bains de boue qui à ce jour sont célèbres pour leurs propriétés curatives. Et bien sûr, je ne pouvais pas résister à un traitement de boue pour mon dos, qui était beaucoup mieux maintenant.

A Dax, j'ai quitté mes nouveaux amis qui poursuivaient leur chemin jusqu'à Saint-Jean Pied de Port, puis retournaient dans la Vendée d'où ils venaient. Notre court séjour ensemble a été réconfortante et une inspiration pour moi. Je manquerais la sagesse et le courage de Michelle, le sens d'humour de Michel, la joie de vivre de Claudine, et le discours informatif de François sur les Landes. Nous avons promis de rester en contact.

Sur ce parcours, beaucoup de gens m'ont touché d'une manière que je ne puisse comprendre pleinement. Il est vrai que chacun de nous a son propre chemin de Compostelle à faire, avec des défis parfois différentes de ce que l'on attend. Marcher, même pour seulement deux jours, était une expérience édifiante pour moi. Mes problèmes de dos, même si c'était une dure leçon d'humilité, ont apporté beaucoup de moments très positifs qui m'ont fait redécouvrir la bonté inhérente des gens, et retrouver la foi en d'autres et en moi-même. Ce n'était pas seulement un voyage instructif, mais aussi de belles visites dans les villages et petites villes de la région d'Aquitaine. Je vais certainement revenir pour terminer la route à pied, mais mieux préparée cette fois.






Friday, June 29, 2012

Tony Paglia at the Chelsea Inn

Tony Paglia, a talented singer and guitar player, has a raspy voice that can hold a world of sadness, but can also make you dance the night away. He is a passionate artist, versatile, easily switches from jazz to rock, and impresses with his focus and hard work. He is one of the few musician friends I know in Toronto who has built a successful career entirely from his singing and guitar playing.

You can see him perform with his band, The Nomads at the Windsor Casino on youtube. If you're looking for an amazing band for a special function, check his website.

And if you live in Toronto, you can enjoy his upcoming show at the Chelsea Inn's Monarchs Pub on July 13th.
















Jamming with musicians at De Sotos. Dan Bradley (guitar), Tony Paglia (vocals, guitar), Frank Sant (bass), Fernando Perri (drums).


Monday, May 21, 2012

Victoria Day Fireworks























Watching fireworks from my balcony was like having the best seat to the most amazing show ... The explosion of lights and colours was truly spectacular. I love the way the city goes crazy with fireworks fever on Victoria Day ...

Can't help adding a few quotes:

“... Fireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.” Jan Struther, Mrs. Miniver

"You are born an artist or you are not. And you stay an artist, dear, even if your voice is less of a fireworks. The artist is always there." Maria Callas



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day to friends and mothers all over the world who have given so much of their lives for their children. I feel blessed to share the bond of motherhood with them. Having children is like creating a little miracle of love and joy, but it comes with many challenges, which women have been coping with as society and expectations change. Cheers to all mothers for the hard work they put into raising children.




Maternité by Picasso, one of my favourite mother and child paintings.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Daffodils by the lake

I spent the weekend by the lake, and these daffodils, so sprightly, as if announcing a bright summer, reminded me of Wordsworth's poem: "I wandered lonely as a cloud/ That floats on high o'er vales and hills,/ When all at once I saw a crowd,/ A host, of golden daffodils;/ Beside the lake, beneath the trees,/ Fluttering and dancing in the breeze ..."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where is spring?

Only a few weeks ago, I was in the country and this squirrel was enjoying the snow and suddenly it feels like summer, as if we've skipped spring entirely.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Solitude

Here is a poem by Anna Akhmatova (translated from Russian) about the solitary work of the artist.


Solitude

So many stones have been thrown at me,
That I'm not frightened of them anymore,
And the pit has become a solid tower,
Tall among tall towers.
I thank the builders,
May care and sadness pass them by.
From here I'll see the sunrise earlier,
Here the sun's last ray rejoices.
And into the windows of my room
The northern breezes often fly.
And from my hand a dove eats grains of wheat
As for my unfinished page,
The Muse's tawny hand, divinely calm
And delicate, will finish it.















View from my apartment.
Doves don't eat grains of wheat from my hand
but birds dance across the sky while I sing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lynda Covello at The Reservoir Lounge






















Lynda Covello, another very dear friend, and great jazz vocalist will be at The Reservoir Lounge this coming Thursday, January 26th, and also on February 14th, Valentine's day ... and guess what ... she will be with her Deep Dark Secrets ... mmhhhh ... come and find out what it's all about.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wendy Weiler at The Reservoir Lounge















Wendy Weiler, a very dear friend is singing at The Reservoir Lounge, my favourite jazz club, on Tuesday January 17th at 7 pm. Wendy is a talented singer with a fabulous voice. You can hear a sample of it here. Please join us as it promises to be a fun evening. Way to go Wendy ...