Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We were supposed to go out but with Zoe  sick and quarantined we will stay home. So, time to carve a pumpkin and get candy! Happy halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A little swine....

I have little swine living in my house. poor Zoe, flue struck and she is sick. According to the pediatrician likely H1N1. High fever, cough, ahes and pain and a horrendous headache. And not even upset that Halloween with her cousins is out of the question. Poor lttle, big piglet!
Here are some excellent guidelines and flowcharts that helped me sort out what to do. So likely of use to you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Black and White

These seem to be 2 colours that I gravitate to when I choose clothing and funny enough, also when I think of new pieces of jewelry. I did it again... Onyx, chrystal, silver and some pearls. A little wire twisting and voila!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lost Symbol

I don't know if you are a Dan Brown fan. If you are, read his new book. I just finished it as an audio book and it is good. I had to listen and couldn't stop. Like other authors his style is recognizable and so the surprise element is lessened but it didn't interfere with my enjoyment. From the website:
As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation... one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.
When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sweet 16!

Today my little baby turned 16! Unbelievable how fast time goes by. A head taller than me and a lovely young woman. Sixteen years ago I was spaced out on IV morphine following a c/section and on IV benadryl sine I was allergic to the morphine.... Lalaland. Now I am having great conversations about modelling, dance, which book is our favourite and so forth. While I miss the little baby I also cherish the great moments I have with my wonderful daughter now. Life is sweet and the love for a child has no limits. What more can you want?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Putting the garden to bed...

Well, the time has come. Every year it feels the same way. The garden needs attending to for the winter. So I spent time cutting all the dead flowers and branches off, put ornaments away, covered up the garden furniture and the airconditioner. Now I can focus on in-door activities. The first one is my baby's 16th birthday tomorrow!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another one down

I am on my way home again. Just finished another trip. This one to Seattle in the US and it was a good one. Made more new friends and Seattle is just a beautiful city. Water, beautiful scenery, greta shopping and lots of things to do. A must see for you.....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A little progress

 decided to tackle my inertia by working on something very simple and just focus on colour and texture. I used silvery green stick pearls and chrystal quartz for one and onyx, pearls, silver and swarovski for the other one.

Not bad, I think...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lack of inspiration continues....

My total lack of inspiration continues. Having a bad cold doesn't help and I feel like curling up in bed...
Brwosing the web I went to look uo some pieces from one of my favourite designers. Ayala Bar is one of the most successful Israeli Artists today. Her innovative designs blend natural elements, crystals, beads, stones and glass with assorted metals and fabrics. I own a few and they are just beautiful. Instead of inspiring me I now just want to buy jewelry... Snap out of it already!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Niagara Falls

This weekend, the daughter of my girlfriend from Holland, Linde, was visiting with us and we decided to go to Niagara Falls. It is something that nevers ceases to amaze me. if you forget about all the tourists and just focus on the beauty of the actual Falls, it is truly a wonder of nature. The boat, the maid of the mist, makes it even more impressive as it takes you very close and you can truly appreciate the force of the water. It was really a fun outing!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

getting back to creativity

After my trip I need to start thinking about our upcoming Extraordinary Christmas sale at the Swansea Townhall in December. I currently have NOTHING!! So I am trying to get in the groove. Stay tuned for what I will come up with. (I don't know yet!). I have 1 more trip to Seattle coming up on Wednesday. Then I will have time (famous last words.) ......

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


And then the trip was over. I arrived home safely yesteray and am amazed at how one can be in one place in the world one day and then be home the next (or the previous day, as I flew back in time!)...
On the morning of my departure I had a few hours left and so decided to check out the fishmarket, which ended up being closed but interesting to watch the surroundings anyway. I then went to Asakusa Kannon Temple and yet again, another highlight. It was a beautiful morning. It was also a holiday in Japan and so it was busy. But it added to the atmosphere. That then ended my exciting trip. I headed for the airport and left at 17.00. I arrived home 15.00 the same day....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A day of shopping

Today I spent my last day on shopping and searching for some souvenirs. I went to an area called Shibuya. It is very, very crowded and a great place for people watching. The intersection is just nuts. When the lights change everyone start walking in every direction across the intersection.....
In one shop I saw the perfect chest of drawers for my beads. Too bad we live so far away! Green Tea in Toronto sells them too but WAY more expensive. Of well, pretty to look at. And then there is so much Japanese paper, it is impossible to pick.
The week has gone by fast. It was busy with work, but I also managed to have some fun!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another highlight!

Today the mission was over and I had booked a tour to Kamakura. Let's just say in one word: STELLAR. It was an hour train ride from Tokyo and is an area with appr. 100 shrines and temples. Just superb and I cannot believe how fortunate I am to see all this. This shrine is for women who have lost a child through still birth or miscarriage and the deities help their little souls to go to the heavens so they can be in the afterlife.
Aside form the beautiful Shinto and Bhudist temples, the local scenery is so pretty and to top
it off we saw a traditional wedding ceremony in a Shinto temple. Take a look.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel prize

Today I attended a seminar in which a Japanes MD, Dr Shiya Yamanaka, received a special international award for his work in stemcell research. The Gairdner award is a Canadian award, often dubbed as the mini-Nobel award, since many Gairdner awardees end up with the Nobel prize. It also ended up being the day that Obama received the Nobel peace prize. This last one puzzles me....
I walked through Yokohama and took some great pics. I love this bronze statue as it spells out freedom for me. In a mall nearby was a flowershop with this halloween flower arrangement. Amazing!
We had a traditional Japanese dinner overlooking the water. The bridge is called the rainbow bridge. Stunning! Tomorrow I am getting up early for 1 more tour, this time to Kamakura.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


And then all went calm.... Just like the hoopla with snowstorms, the typhoon blew by but didn't hit Tokyo. The sun is out and it is just beautiful. We were at the convention in Yokohama all day. When we got back, I joined someone who wanted to go to electric town, called Akihabara. This is an area with all electronics and stories high of it. Quite something. Japan, or at least what I have seen of it, is a wealthy and expensive country. You would have to have a very decent income to live comfortably here. One thing I have to write about is the bathrooms. There are 2 different kinds: a hole in the ground and you squat on it. And then there is the Cadillac version. This has a remote control type of apparatus to work the heating of the seat, the spray for your behind, the fake water sounds, and several other functions. It took me a while to figure it all out, since I am seriously remote control challenged! Just thought I'd share this with you :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wet, wet, wet

It is raining the entire time. Not that it is bothering me, really, but there is more to come! The entire country is buzzing as it supposedly is a really bad one and there are winds of 150 km/hr. After 2 corporate calls, I ventured out on the subway. It is an experience. There are offcicial "pushers" to get everyone on the train. Kind of funny as the Japanese are a super polite nation. (honestly, we should send people here to get a crash course in how to be polite!).
There was a store I read about called Okadaya. It is the vertical version of fabricworld in Portland. Eight stories of fabric, buttons and all in between. I didn't buy a thing...... It is so hard to choose and so I walked out, being totally overwhelmed. Eye candy though.
Tomorrow we go to Bio Japan 2009, a large convention of biotechnology, pharmaceutical and research organizations interested in partnering. Sort of like speed dating :)
It is in Yokohama, on the water. As long as we don't get a tsunami, we should be ok. Haha.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tokyo, here we come...

This morning we met with folks from the university of Osaka and then departed for Tokyo on the skinkansen. Since we traveled over the lunch hour we bought some food for on the train. There are all kinds of fast food stands at the train station, but the quality is far superior to the junk we get in Canada. I had some great sushi in a bento box, almost too pretty to throw out.
We arrived at the Hotel New Otani, the largest hotel in Asia. It is like as small town!
I had some free time this afternoon so wandered a round a bit. It is rainy so somewhat dreary... The talk of the town is the upcoming typhoon. Apparently a bad one, about to hit Japan on Thursday. Stay tuned!! There are also instructions in the rooms on what to do in the event of an earth quake, a common occurence in Japan, 200 per year. The one piece that makes me grin was the part that said, hide under something sturdy and cover your head with a pillow so nothing hard will hit you, haha, talk about go hide!. There are flashlights and helmets available in every room.
In the evening we were invited for a formal reception by the ambassador to Japan at the Canadian Embassy, in the ambassador's residence. Sort of neat to see all these folks stand around and chat with them...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Business and pleasure...

Today was day 3 and we met as an Ontario government delegation to discuss our corporate meetings with several Japanese companies. The way the Japanese conduct business is a very interesting perspective and quite different from our North American or European way. It is all very pleasant and polite, and yet it is not realy quite clear what direction matters go. The focus of the first meetings is very much about buildin trust and you don't want to be too direct. Yet, being from "far" makes you want to ensure the trip is well worth it. A fine line and a real lesson to try and get your message across and not create animosity. A truly great experience.
To end the day and to relax, a surprise was waiting for us: A Japanese Baseball game! It was so funny. The crowd cheers like mad, the announcer is animated and loud, although you have no idea what he is saying, Japanese cheerleaders and mascottes, and all kinds of japanese food. The best thing was what I called the wet nurse. This is a female with keg of beer strapped to her back who goes around and fills peoples cup with a hose attached to the keg. An employment opportunity for North America. I believe it would be a huge success!!!!
Off to Tokyo tomorrow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Textile, Fleas and Geishas

Today was quite a different day from yesterday. I ventured out on my own and boy, did I walk a lot! It was a gorgeous summer day and so a perfect time to explore more of Kyoto.
I started out at the textile centre. It is truly an amazing place where you can see how silk is developed (really, they have silk worms in boxes...), how the patterns are drawn, how the material is woven and then what they make of it. Amazing!
Well, then I found a flea market. Let's just say that I only have 1 suitcase...... So much to see and check out. A lot of fun agianst the backdrop of a beautiful shrine.
After a break at .... Starbucks, I walked through the back streets in the hopes of meeting some geishas. They are called Geiko in Kyoto and young women in training to become a Geiko are called Maiko. They start at 16 and can be distinguished by a long Obi or sash. At 21 they can become a geiko. Orginially the word geisha in old Kyoto referred to male entertainers. In Tokyo and Osaka it came to mean women.
I finally made it to the train station where I took the shinkansen train to Osaka, 300k/hr and it took 15 minutes to reach Osaka! Work tomorrow...

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Today is my first full day in Japan. After arriving at Narita airport yesterday, I took the Shinkansen, also known as the buttel train to Kyoto. The hotel is lovely and the staff coureous and very friendly. I have a little time to tour around here. After a good night's sleep I decided on an organized tour. Usually I am not the type to follow a herd of tourists, but this was the best way to see a lot in a short time. The people are very friedly. Things are incredibly clean and there seems to be a genuine concern about spreading germs. There are signs everywhere, people wear gloves, some wear masks, doors open automatically, and when you grab a taxi, you don't grab anything.... The doors are opened and closed automatically by the driver from inside the car. The taxis are even spotless with white doily type of covers on the seats!
There are many many shrines and what amazes me is the tolerance within the religious realm. There is shitoism, bhudism, and christianity and all coexist without trouble. By all the shrines there are many venues to say extra prayers for all kinds of causes. If you are not into this sort of thing, you automatically get drawn in , just to make sure!
The gardens around the shrines and temples are so beautiful. Bonsai, zen type of greenery and we even saw a crane bird. Interesting because other than that you viirtually see no birds at all.
Here are some pictures.
Tomorrow I have abit more time to tour and then I am off to Osaka.