Summertime! (Swipe and Click)

    Food Friday : Quinoa and Corn Salad
    Patio Dinner Party - 2018

    Celebrating Friendship : 11 Years with Meghan

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    In addition to being a time to appreciate the glorious colours and lovely cool weather that Autumn brings, it's a season during which I have the opportunity to commemorate some important relationships in my life.

    Today, I'd like to raise a toast to my friend Meghan, as we celebrate our friendiversary. We met 11 years ago at a place that we both worked at the time.

    From the moment we were introduced, we clicked. During that first conversation, we began talking about art and music and we haven't stopped that discussion since.

    They say (in this article) that, "on average, it takes about 50 hours of time with someone before you consider them a casual friend, 90 hours before you become real friends, and about 200 hours to become close friends." Our transition from "work friend" to "life friend" happened quickly as we didn't work together very long and we were in different departments, so a large percentage of our first 200 hours together were spent outside the office. They occurred in galleries, and in restaurants and bars discussing what we’d seen afterwards. Now, after 11 years and uncountable "art-dates", Meghan is, without question, the person I've spent the most time looking at art with, in my life.

    Of course, things changed when covid hit, and these past 9 months have been different for us. Now, we know that our friendship, while previously focused on a particular shared interest, was not solely based on that. An extended period of not being able to do what we love together has not caused our relationship to fade away due to circumstance. We've continued to see one another a couple of times a month, either visiting at a distance in our yard or at a nearby park. It certainly has helped that we live within walking distance of one another.

    Meghan has played a big role in making this difficult time much more bearable, for sure. In appreciation and with love, I raise a glass to this witty, warm and wonderful woman.

    Our Anniversary During Quarantine

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    We just celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary and I'm going to look on the bright side and concentrate on the delicious cake and fun dinner we had at home, rather than dwelling on how much we missed taking a trip or going to a fancy restaurant. We're all in this together and, by now, we've all had to commemorate a special occasion in a very refrained way. Even though it was quiet, I didn't want to miss recording the anniversary that happened during the year of covid, for posterity.

    In a nutshell, Nick and I met on a blind date, set up by a friend I'd met at work, who had gone to university with Nick. At the time, both of us were a bit warry of a set up, so our friend had to follow-up after we didn't take her up on it the first time. I clearly remember her saying "You will really like this guy. You should at least meet him."

    So, she introduced us to one another via email and we made a date for coffee on a Sunday morning. He told me he'd be wearing a red shirt. When I arrived at the cafe (Future Bakery on Bloor near Bathurst), there were quite a few single guys having breakfast, but nobody in a red shirt. I especially noted one fellow sitting in the corner and thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice if my date was with him". Then, that same man pulled down the zipper of his black jacket to reveal a red shirt.

    Three months later we were engaged and one year later we were on our honeymoon!

    Fast forward 21 years and here we are. A few photos throughout the day ...

    Art : New Exhibits at the AGO – Fall / Winter 2020

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    Follow Up, from their site : “The health and safety of our employees, volunteers, visitors and our extended AGO community is always our top priority. It is for this reason, and on the direction of the Government of Ontario, that the AGO closed temporarily, effective Sunday, November 22 at 5 p.m. We will continue to monitor the situation and look forward to welcoming visitors to the AGO again.


    There are an impressive six new panels up on the AGO's website, under the tab "Current Exhibitions". I went to have a look at each one and, as always, came away from the gallery feeling uplifted and happy, in spite of all that's going on these days.

    This interesting article gave insight into why I felt so good -- to quote, "recent studies and research have proven that a trip to the art gallery or a museum can positively impact your health and well-being in several essential ways, like lowering anxiety and depression and boosting critical thinking skills."

    Here's a look at the six newly installed exhibitions. The notes are excerpts from the AGO's (aka the Art Gallery of Ontario) site.

    The first two involve significant elements of sound and motion, so I made a short video to better share the experience ...

    Video : On At the AGO Toronto : Haegue Yang and Ragnar Kjartansson - Fall/Winter 2020 ↑

    Haegue Yang : Emergence, on display until January 31, 2021.

    "A leading artist of her generation, Haegue Yang (b. 1971 Seoul) is celebrated for her prolific and diverse work that evokes historical and contemporary narratives of migration, displacement and cross-cultural translation. Featuring 82 sculptures, installations and performances from the past twenty-five years, Haegue Yang: Emergence includes a selection of early works, as well as the installations: Anthology of Haegue Archives (1998), Afterimage (2006), Sallim (2009), and Boxing Ballet (2013-15). This is the first North American retrospective survey of Yang’s work to date."

    Celebrating Friendship : Eight Years with Julie

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    One of my favourite people and I just commemorated our Friendiversary! Julie and I met in a line-up 8 years ago and I'm so grateful that this cheerful person thought to turn around and say hello to a total stranger. It goes to show that you really never know when and where it is that you'll meet the important people in your life.

    Julie is a kind, trustworthy, clever and fun friend, who has always made time in a very busy schedule for us to regularly see one another. Also, during this miserable pandemic, a scheduled weekly phone call has kept our relationship strong at a time when nobody has really been able to see much of anybody.

    I'm not the only one who thinks this lady is special, as she's kind of a big deal, having published two highly regarded books of poetry, running one of Canada's most popular blogs on the subject of knitting (Knitted Bliss, Instagram), and recently launching a new business offering really cute embroidery kits (see her shop here). All this, while being a loving mom to two young children and two cats!

    How to Cross-Stitch on Paper : A Video Tutorial and Autumn & Halloween Pieces

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    You may know that I quite enjoy cross-stitching on paper, considering I've written about it several times on these pages.

    Well, now I have a video tutorial demonstrating how to do it!

    (Aside: If you found the video inspiring, it would be helpful to me if you’d go over to YouTube and search for Loulou Downtown, or by clicking here, and give it a thumbs up and/or leave a comment.  Also, it would be great if you’d subscribe to my new YouTube channel.  No pressure, though. Thank you, if you do!)

    This fun-to-do quick craft involves transferring the pattern to paper as a first step, which can be done using two different methods, both of which are demonstrated in the video.

    Also, in honour of the season, I've stitched up a couple of new pieces, one for Halloween and one for Autumn decorating.

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