“When I’m 64” – Places to Retire

The Cheapest Places to Live in the World – 2014.

An interesting article about places to retire – I hope before I’m 64, maybe in a couple of years.  Hungary was the number one spot and Eastern Europe in general.  Also, Portugal, Spain and Greece.  Unfortunately many countries in the EU are still recovering economically but that makes it an inexpensive place to live.  It’s in my dreams to live in Europe and by the looks of this article, it just might make economic sense too.


Print and Frame that Photograph with Speciality Art Papers!

Two speciality fine art papers available for home printing are Moab Slickrock Metallic pearl and CANSON INFINITY Arches Aquarelle.  The Metallic pearl promises to “transforms an image into lifelike, almost three dimensional quality.”  The Arches paper “is a popular mould-made watercolour paper with a warm white tone.  …  is made with 100% Rag, is internally buffered to resist gas fading, and is acid-free to avoid paper degradation.”

Here’s a link to the full article about these and other fine art papers:
Digital Printing At Home | Opus Art Supplies.

When I lived in Vancouver I shopped at Opus Art Supplies.  Unfortunately they don’t have any stores in Ontario although you can order on-line, but there is a charge for shipping.  The beauty of this site though is their section on How-To’s, Video Demos and a library of written material like this article.

So get that photo off your electronic device or camera and make some art!

‘Rise & Shine’ and other paintings for Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre

Since moving to Tillsonburg, Ontario, I have more time to do my art. I’m a member of the Bridge Street Artists at the Station Arts Centre and generally attend the Monday afternoon drop-in painting studio.

Painting is a relatively new endeavour for me.  I took two series of art classes in acrylic painting from Lori Sokoluk, a Vancouver artist. I liked the way that Lori taught — a little bit of technique at the beginning of the session followed by just picking up a paint brush and diving in!  And at the end of 6 sessions, I had a completed painting — that was pretty impressive to me.  So of course I went back for another series of classes and through this, Lori and I became friends.

I’ve now picked up watercolour painting.  The group of people I paint with on Monday afternoons, all do watercolour, so I thought I should give it a try.  Then I took a course to learn some technique.  I must admit I was surprised by watercolor – it’s not as difficult as I expected, once you learn how.

A community arts centre is a great place for new artists as it offers support, instruction and an opportunity to exhibit your work. There are two galleries at Station Arts:  The Changing Exhibit Gallery, which is for established artists and The Bridge Street Gallery, which I like to refer to as the members’ gallery.  Even a newbie like me can exhibit artwork.

It’s been quite thrilling to see my art up on the walls in the members’ gallery.  I even had four pieces on show in the annual Potters and Painters Exhibit in the main gallery. And the biggest thrill is when something sells!  Here are a few of my paintings — note:  I’m still working on taking good photographs of my artwork.

Watercolour painting of Rooster - showing at Station Arts, fall 2014
Watercolour painting of Rooster – showing at Station Arts, fall 2014
My first painting dedicated to my Mom
My first painting dedicated to my Mom
First paintings I exhibited in 2013.
First paintings I exhibited in 2013.
Heron (acrylic) - sold at the Painters & Potters Exhibit in summer of 2014
Heron (acrylic) – sold at the Painters & Potters Exhibit in summer of 2014
Picture of a tobacco kiln - gift for my Dad.
Picture of a tobacco kiln – gift for my Dad.

Into the Sun

“David Bowie Is” a fantastic exhibition at the AGO in Toronto Canada

Jian Ghomeshi, the host of Q on CBC Radio 1 is a big fan of David Bowie.  I am too. On Q, Jian had the chance to talk to two of the curators who created the original show for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London England. It was interesting to hear how they put it together having to pull from 10’s of thousands of artifacts. Thankfully, Bowie saved everything, but unlike you or I who might also save everything, his stuff matters.

If you go to Q’s Facebook page, Jian took a short video along with his comments.  Jian being such a big fan probably knows more about Bowie than many of us.  I posted a message to Jian and urged him to go back to the Exhibit and give us more visuals and more comments for those fans who won’t able to make it. The AGO in Toronto is the only stop in Canada and the next closest stop is Chicago.  Seeing the exhibit through Jian’s eyes with his personal comments and back story, could be the next best thing; your own private guided tour.

I saw Bowie for the Ziggy Stardust tour. I was with my brother Dennis and his girlfriend and my cousin Ron.  Bowie put on a spectacular show both musically and visually even though it was at a massive concert stadium in Detroit.  Back then, Detroit was a thriving rock and roll city.  I must be getting old(er) but I’ not sure whether I saw Bowie a 2nd time…I think I did.  If I did, it was probably a concert in Vancouver because that is where I lived for 30 + years. I don’t often go see more than one concert by an artist, but I think I might have made an exception for Bowie.

“David Bowie Is” is much more than about his music.  It shows how he created the music, the costumes, the fashion and the art.  I can’t wait to go see the exhibit to get a chance to see inside the man as artist.

Good Eats in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec

My friend Marlene is a “foodie” and luckily being friends with her since University set me on the way to enjoy good food and wine – cooking at home for friends or eating out. So when I was looking for some recommendations for restaurants in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, I asked Marlene.
Here are her suggestions:
  • 18 — an exceptional but high-end restaurant – good for a special occasion;
  • La Botega – located in Byward Market.  It’s a grocery store in the front and a deli/café in the back.
  • Royal Thai
  • Social


  • Les Pyrenees – very close to Holder; it’s always busy – good place to try for breakfast or lunch.  It’s a chacouterie.
  • Holder — a typical French restaurant

Quebec City:

  • La Grillade – a Lebanese restaurant.  Get your lunch to go or there is a small patio
  • Bakery Le Paillard  (not sure if the word Bakery is part of name) — for breakfast or lunch — croissants, pastries
I hope I get the opportunity to try out some of these restaurants.  In the meantime, let me know if you go and what you think.  I’m always looking for suggestions too.  These days, I’m more into budget restaurants, so keep that in mind.

What do Morocco, Edinburgh and Whitehorse have in common?

Moroccan Pouffes-Bohemia

What do Morocco, Edinburgh and Whitehorse have in common? Well they are all places where I travelled. I happened to come across an on-line store selling Moroccan poufs. And so my train of thought started chugging along and this post is the result.

My friend Susan L. bought a pouffe (aka pouf) when we were in Morocco. She bought it as we made our way back to the ferry returning us to Spain. She’s a real shopper who can make a snap decision! I don’t know if she still has it, but it looks like they never go out of style!

Imagine an Edinburgh store called Bohemia carrying Moroccan poufs. But then again Edinburg is very cosmopolitan. When Susan and I we were in Edinburgh on another trip we were quite excited to see a Turkish restaurant near our hotel. Susan and I had travelled to Turkey on our first major trip and absolutely loved it. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed. Actually it was Canadian Thanksgiving and we thought it would have been quite cool to eat at a Turkish restaurant while visiting Edinburgh, much better in my mind than sitting around a big turkey dinner back in Canada.

Edinburg did give a nod to Canada by hosting a fabulous Canadian art exhibit. And in that art gallery was a Camera Obscura – a delightful new finding to both of us even though we were both kind of camera buffs. If you ever get a chance to see a camera obscura – do take the time. You could easily even build one like they did in Dawson City where I went several years later with another friend named Susan. We were attending a music festival and had driven up from Whitehorse with her kids. We stayed in a perfectly adorable camper parked at her friends place. We were in the land of the midnight sun!

Hmnn…from Morocco to Edinburgh to Dawson City. I think it all makes perfect sense!

It’s almost Pancake Day! Or do you know it as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday?

pancakes - Shrove Tuesday-Pancake Day-Fat TuesdayIt’s almost Pancake Day! Or do you know it as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday?  Anyway you say it or make it, pancakes are a wonderful dish to enjoy at brunch or even for dinner.

Crepes rather than pancakes were more the norm in our household.  We called them palacsinta – the Hungarian version of a crepe.

We filled our crepes with a sweetened cottage cheese with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sometimes added raisins.  We spread the filling over the crepe – not too thick or too close to the edges – and then rolled them up.  If you didn’t like the cottage cheese filling, you could fill it with homemade strawberry jam.

There was a nifty trick to holding the palacsinta in our hands – you folded it in half and put the back half between your pinky and ring finger and the front half between your first finger and thumb. 

Over the years I have varied the original recipe by drizzling a warm fruit compote on top or using ricotta instead of cottage cheese.  Fresh fruit is always good or a spoonful of your favourite jam.  My cousin tells me she makes them with a walnut filling which sounds absolutely fabulous.  I think my sisters and I would like them with a poppyseed filling.  So many options for Pancake Day.  

Hungarian Palacsinta