Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bonjour From Paree!

Paris is wonderful, beautiful, exhausting. I thought we'd have more downtime but so far, not so much! Not that that is a bad thing, it's a fabulous place to be over-stimulated. 

Here are some examples of the beauty surrounding me here...

The architecture:

The florists:

The food:

Even the graffiti is fascinating!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Don't Take Rides From Strangers

Normally, this is good advice, except if you in the Paris airport and a kind looking man asks if you need a ride into the city and offers to drive you since the fare he had come to pick up was a no show. Amadeus treated us to a mini tour of the main Paris monuments (Louvre, Notre Dame, the Seine, etc.) before dropping us off at our accommodations. Grateful for the kindness of strangers!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Not sure if Maggie wants to help or stop me?!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Foster Fail #3

I have been remiss in telling you about the kittens who came to stay.  Belle Matisse and Belle Cherie (affectionately now known as Matisse and Suzie) were foster kittens who came to stay with me just over a year ago with their sister Belle Simone and their momma, and another kitten named Calliope - remember her? The one who had a botfly larvae embedded in her neck? (read about it here)

Belle, the mother cat, got adopted right away (I'm FB friends with her adopted mom so I get to see photos on a regular basis and hear the updates on how she is doing, which is great!), their sister Belle Simone and adopted sister Calliope soon after that (I wrote about it here).  Matisse and Suzie stayed with me and made themselves part of the family.

They get along well with both of my two cats, Maggie and Katrina, who are each a couple of years older and former foster mothers who litters were successfully adopted.  Katrina, who has always been a loner, tends to keep to herself and either tolerated or didn't tolerate all the various fosters that came and went (as evidenced by the amount of hissing that ensued), seems to actually like these two.  Or at least, she doesn't hiss at them any more and once or twice, I've actually caught her playing with one or the other.  She herself is actually becoming a much more playful cat since they have arrived, which is a real treat to see.  Maggie seems to enjoy having them to play with as well, there is much chasing back and forth when the 3 of them get going and otherwise, the two kittens play with each other and sometimes groom each other.  They are still very much a pair, as well as being very social with the older two.

The longer they stayed, the more I got to thinking it would just be best to keep them permanently.  So now I'm part of a four cat family and probably officially a cat lady.  I'm okay with that.  I have decided not to foster any more cats for the time being, having 4 permanent cats seems like quite enough at the moment! One of the advantages of being single is choosing who you get to spend the majority of your time with.  For me, I'm happy to spend a large part of it with these four furballs.  They certainly do making coming home at the end of the day a special time.  I am a lucky girl indeed.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Old vs. New

It wasn't until I was trying on new runners in the store today that I realized how dingy my old pair was looking.

Definitely time for a spin in the washing machine for the pair on the left, I'm thinking! The pair on the right will become my official workout/walking shoes, for my daily two mile walks.  Now that I've got the routine going, it's important to be sure I've got the proper support for my arches, etc. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

More Fashionable Pages

Here are the pages made by my fellow Journal Junkies, as presented at last Monday night's meeting.  (We were a small group that night, so there are only a few!)

Bette's page contained a number of quotes from various famous designers.

Diana's page featured the very cool, very hip clothing company two of her sons have recently formed - you can check out their website here:

Kelly did two similar pages, one for her own journal book and one for the book Bizzy B uses for display, based on the theme that fashion is more than just what you are wearing, it's almost about how you show your inner yourself to the world.

Barb had a number of pages with a fashion focus in her journal but hadn't quite settled on which one she wanted to use for this month's theme. In the end, I forgot to take pictures of her pages!

Next month's theme is "monsters" - stay tuned!

Friday, September 13, 2013

100 Faces

Drumroll, please.  It's official - I have now drawn 100 faces in 100 days!!!  Okay, it actually took me 105 days - I missed the day of the big storm back on July 8th and 4 days while I was in New York City two weeks ago.  But otherwise, I've been consistently drawing a face a day for the past 3.5 months.

This is Francie, number one hundred.

In case you can't remember how it all started back in June, you can read about it here.  It was a good project.  I like the idea of making art every day and this was one way of doing that, even if I didn't have time to do anything more than a quick sketch on some days.  It feels good to have reached this milestone.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

9/11 Remembered

For those of us who lived through that terrible day in 2001, I don't think we'll ever forget the stories and images from that day.  I know I won't.  I hadn't been to New York City before that day, had never visited the World Trade Centre that was such a famous part of the city's skyline.  But ever since that day, I have strongly believed that any trip to New York City would not be complete for me without a visit to the WTC site.

My first visit was in October 2006, when it was little more than a big hole in the ground with just the beginnings of the new buildings and the memorial under construction.  Things have changed quite a bit since I was there 7 years ago, most notably the addition of the two pools of water that have been constructed in the footprints of the Twin Towers that collapsed on that memorable day.

This time around, there is a lot more to see.  One large tower already reaches high into the sky.

The streets approaching the memorial site are filled with the sights and sounds of new construction.

The closer you get, the more police officers and security personnel you see.

The entrance to the site is located in the Tribute Centre, which is full of exhibits honouring the victims, as well as describing the events of that day and the worldwide response that followed.  There are artifacts from that day, pieces of twisted steel and damaged equipment used by the first responders and the touching stories to go with them.

One room consists of three full walls of the photos of the victims. I found these pictures especially hard to look at.  Weddings, graduations, families smiling together, thousands of happy faces whose lives were cut short.  Luckily, there are several boxes of Kleenex on hand in this room!

After you walk through the various rooms of the Tribute Centre, you follow along through corridors and pathways and various security checkpoints and around the block to the actual Memorial, which opened on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, September 11, 2011.  Each of the North and South Pools are surrounded by bronze panels on which the names of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, as well as the six people who died when bombs went off in the underground parking garage of the WTC on February 26, 1993.

One of those names belongs to Sara Elizabeth Low, a flight attendant on Flight 11, the plane that crashed into the North Tower, and a high school friend of a lovely artist I met at PLAY last year, Mindy Lacefield.  It's true what they say - in life and in death, we are all connected.

As soon as I saw the names, I wanted to create a rubbing of one of them.  I knew I had a pen in my purse and thought I probably had a scrap piece of paper I could use but I approached one of the many volunteers on the site to confirm that it would be okay if I did that.  She told me it would not be a problem and then asked if I had any materials to do it.  She then opened a nearby Rubbermaid container and pulled out a long piece of thick paper and a large black wax crayon and offered them to me.  I made a rubbing of the first name I had touched on the memorial, that of Edward Thomas Strauss.

I put the rubbing in my journal, along with a tribute to Eddie that I found here.

We walked around each of the pools, looking at the names, silently mourning and honouring the dead.  In spite of the sounds of construction all around, it is a peaceful place.  There are dozens of trees creating a canopy overhead.  Here and there, a white rose is tucked into a name - something they do to commemorate the birth dates of the victims.

The sound of the water flowing into the pools is soothing.  The individual streams of water at the top, representing the individual victims, flow together into the pool, representing their shared destiny.

Some of the panels are covered in spray and people have drawn words and images in the condensation.

I was glad we went to see the memorial on this trip.  I plan to visit each time I go to New York.  It seems the least I can do to honour the victims.

If you'd like to learn more, you will find the website for the Tribute Centre here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Connection Problems

I lost my Internet connection last night around 8 pm and haven't got it back yet. After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issue myself, I called Ma Bell and spent 20 minutes rearranging furniture to get to my phone jack in order to comply with their automated troubleshooting suggestions. After several minutes on hold after that, the gentleman I spoke to in some other part of the world was able to determine the modem isn't getting enough power and that means I need a new power cord ("these things happen in Canada", he told me, due to storms, etc.) Which means a trip to the mall tomorrow to pick one up at the phone store. Frustrating but not the end of the world. Except that I had wanted to post photos from my visit to the World Trade Center today on the anniversary of 9/11. Again, not the end of the world if it happens tomorrow instead of today but still disappointing. Bear with me, I hope to be back online again soon! In the meantime, I think I just need to...

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Fashionable Journal Page

Through the wonders of modern technology, I am posting this journal page as I wait for this month's Journal Junkies meeting to begin. The theme is "fashion". 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Flowers of Autumn

My morning walk started off with grey skies and ended up a little damp when the rain started a little earlier than I had expected, but I did find a number of colourful examples of autumn's finery along the way. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Random Photos From NYC

Here are some random photos I took in New York City last week that didn't make it into my earlier blog posts but which I really like.

Where else but NYC would you see a guy on a street corner with a snake who would let your kid wear it and you take a picture for a suggested donation of only $10?

This guy in Central Park obviously didn't read the sign about Strawberry Fields being a "quiet zone", he was signing Beatles tunes when we passed by, and not very well. :(

This was my favourite bus shelter ad:

There was just something about these 2 guys, sitting in a bus shelter together, waiting for their ride:

Loved the mosaics eyes around the security camera bubble in the subway station near the World Trade Center.  A clever way to let people know Big Brother is watching them!

I was impressed with these soda bottles, made out of aluminum.  Why did it take so long for somebody to think of this?!

A plaque on the ground along the Avenue of the Americas with a warning for pedestrians that the sidewalk doesn't actually belong to Americans:

And last but not least, I took this photo as we taxied down the runway for takeoff and didn't notice the bird on the pier until after I downloaded the photo when I got home!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 4 in NYC

Last Saturday, our last day in New York City.  One last breakfast for Debbie and me.  Decided to try out a deli across the street from Appleby's. We had french toast, which was good but not great (no berries, no whipped cream!) but the price was right.
Debbie made faces for the camera
Walked Debbie back to her hotel and made sure she got her ride (a very posh Town Car) to the airport.  Waved her off and headed off on foot down the Avenue of the Americas (where I was delighted to see they are still celebrating the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win)

and made my way to M&J Trimming, a store full of eye candy in the form of ... you guessed it, trimmings!  Ribbons, buttons, sequins, feathers.  It wasn't hard to find a few treasures there to bring home with me.

Back to the hotel the long way round, had a bit of a stroll along Fifth Avenue and various streets while admiring the architecture.

Had another look at the outside of the New York Public Library (I do love those big stone lions!) but couldn't go inside, as it was just before they opened at 11 a.m. and I needed to keep moving.

Had my picture taken with you know who, since I hadn't had a chance to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry to see the real thing.

Took a shuttle bus to the airport.  Spent the first 45 minutes of the trip picking up other passengers but it's also a good way to see parts of the city you might not otherwise see.  Picked up a bite of lunch at the airport and amused myself while I ate by watching this guy contort himself on the lounge seats to try to nap.

Plane was delayed two hours due to mechanical difficulties which meant they had to fly in another plane for us bu eventually, we were in the air and I was on my way home.
Alas, this picture would be so much better
without the dust particles on my camera lens
looking like amoebas! But for now,
let's pretend it's raindrops on the plane window!
What a wonderful trip it was, I was so glad to have had a chance to catch up with my Australian friends and spend time in The Big Apple!