April 12, 2009

Weather report

The sun is shining somewhere. I’m sure! We are having another heavy rainstorm. The lake is full and the brook is overflowing its banks. Walking on the trail is hard because of the water, but it is not snowing. Otherwise, it's been warmer but still cold and damp.




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March 31, 2009

The longest winter

It's the last day of March but not the last day of winter. The weatherman promises us sun and warmth tomorrow. And then rain again. But for now, it was very beautiful today as Lila and I took a walk in the woods by the brook. We were making fresh tracks in the new snow. A neighbor and her four dogs (one of them a three-week visitor) joined us.




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March 21, 2009

Some pix from the City

First, the St. Patrick's Day Parade:


Walking across 57th to the Art Students' League, I passed the Steinway store. A man was by the window carving an elaborate frame on a piano:


Spring in New York:


and in Penn Station:


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March 20, 2009

First day of spring, they say

No, this is not Nova Scotia. Before coming down here, discussing what clothes to bring, Tamar promised me it wouldn't snow. To my surprise, I woke up this morning to see big snowflakes coming down and making the trees and bushes all white. It's all gone now, and, even though I'd prefer not to see snow again for a long time, it was very beautiful.



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February 15, 2009

Dogs on ice

My driveway is a sandwich of ice/sand/ice/sand with a layer of light snow for frosting. Meanwhile, Lila and I have been taking delicious walks on the lake. When there is a snow covering, walking is easy. Sometimes it is too icy but then, sometimes even the road is treacherous. After a winter like this, no one will have a good reason to complain about black flies in May.

Suzanne and Lucky came over today. We (the people) had a lovely lunch of chicken soup and fresh-out-of-the-oven banana bread, then we all four went for a walk on the lake. Suzanne just sent me the perfect photo of the girls doing their usual thing, running:


After they left, my neighbor Mike came over with his three dogs and Lila had another run. It is not all a playday. I did put in a good morning in my studio. But then, studio time is usually a pleasure. This morning, however, was the pre-painting work: I finished getting some large canvases (three 5' x 7' pieces, each made up of three panels) ready for paint. That means they now have three coats of primer (a back-breaking job I am happy to turn over to any elf who stops my way), some collage of photos and fabrics, and a final coat of primer to cover any glue that may be left on the canvas area. So now it really will be playtime in my studio!

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February 08, 2009

Contemplating spring

They say an optimist is someone who leaves the patio furniture out all winter because spring will surely come soon.


It's snowed so much in the past couple of weeks that it is hard to see around corners of the streets in Halifax. There's no place to put all the snow. It's made the streets so narrow often only one car can get through at a time. People say it's never been this bad but I remember the first year I was here, in 1984, the winter was just like this. It was a new experience for me then. I'd not seen so much snow in my life. And certainly didn't know how to drive on snow and ice. I went off the road a couple of times. It's still not my favorite past-time, the winter driving. In every other way I do enjoy the snow.

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February 02, 2009

Walking on (frozen) water

Yesterday some friends came for a visit and a walk on the lake. The ice is twenty inches thick. And with a fresh snow cover it makes walking easy. So very beautiful! There is nothing like standing in the middle of a lake where six months ago I was swimming.



and looking back to see my house:


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January 26, 2009


Nevertheless, Lila, Lucky, Suzanne and I took a walk by the brook in the woods yesterday . . .





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January 09, 2009

Dogs in dresses

The other day I bought Lila a coat, a pretty red outfit to keep her warm when she is out and about or waiting for me to return to the car. It turns out her friend Lucky has the same coat. Cute.





Photos courtesy of Suzanne, Lucky's mom.

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January 06, 2009

A few pix from Ottawa

There was a huge tree at the National Gallery:


High tea at the Chateau Laurier:



Hanging out at the airport in the early hours of the morning:


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December 17, 2008


Down by the lake


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December 03, 2008

On a cool grey morning

The lake talks back:




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November 24, 2008


It's been snowing. Lots of snow. In fact, so much snow I couldn't get out my driveway on Saturday and missed my Tai Chi and Chinese Medicine classes. But it is so very beautiful!





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November 17, 2008

A windy day at the beach


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November 07, 2008

The morning fog

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November 03, 2008

The end of autumn




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October 08, 2008

By the brook again

The weather has been very cooperative lately for us to have long walks in the woods by the brook. It is also turning warm, real Indian Summer weather.






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August 27, 2008

Yesterday we went for a walk in the woods by the brook








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August 13, 2008

The patterns of New York

Some of the subway stations have been decorated to make fascinating images--almost an Elsworth Kelly painting:


And then there is the Guggenheim, a concrete angel spreading its wings:


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August 06, 2008

A gift to come home to

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August 01, 2008

How to Torture Your Parents

This week, while I’ve been here, Damian has been going to a drama camp. Today was the grand performance. The play was titled How to Torture Your Parents, but I don’t think anyone needed lessons. The suggestions went from babyhood to adolescence, from food to phone. Very well done. Lots of fun.




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July 11, 2008

Dog play

A friend just sent me this photo of Lila and Lucky playing together in their typical fashion. They can do this dance for hours, with maybe a minute of rest every now and then.


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July 03, 2008

Puppies again

My friend Susan’s Brittany Spanial puppies are now three weeks old. They have their eyes open, can walk around and are beginning to play with each other. They still segregate themselves some but not as much. Getting integrated—in every way.

Yes, they definitely are adorable, but no, I am not going to take one home.








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June 23, 2008

Point Pleasant Park is blossoming with the summer sun



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June 16, 2008

Puppies in the palm of your hand

My friend Susan's Brittany Spaniel just had five puppies. I went to visit them Saturday when they were four days old. Cassie's a very good mom, takes excellent care of her puppies. So far their eyes are still closed, they don't hear sound, can't walk, but can smell, feel and suckle.



The puppies have segregated themselves by color, the blond (or red) ones in one corner, the dark ones (called liver color) in another pile. It must be by smell. I know people are attracted to each other by smell as well. Interesting, indeed.




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June 10, 2008

Victoria Park

I went to Victoria Park in Truro Sunday with Jenny and Robin Wu, my Tai Chi teachers. We went to collect chi and play frisbee.

Victoria Park is one of the best kept secrets in Nova Scotia. It is so very beautiful. And only an hour north of Halifax.




Lila tried to outrun the frisbee and was very proud when she caught it:




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June 01, 2008


This has been the best spring for gardening. Because of our hard winter (lots of snow and ice but not too cold) and the unusually light rains for this time of year, my flowers have never been so beautiful.






I was fortunate this week to have a couple of very generous friends come over to help with the planting and weeding. It's a big garden and a big job. And very satisfying.

I have to watch myself in those garden centers that have sprung up around the supermarkets. Far too tempting!

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May 28, 2008

My daily bread: a walk in the woods

Each time I go for a walk along the brook it looks different. It's always a surprise.






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May 16, 2008

When I grow up I want to be a red tulip





or a sculpture by Jim Dine:


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May 14, 2008

Girls just wanna have fun

Ottawa is such a beautiful city; sometimes I didn't know what country I was in, it felt so European.



Can you guess what this is (I can dream, can't I!)?:


Next, our visit to Holt Renfrew for a makeover. First, Jackie before we go to the store:


then being done-up:


and me all prettied-up:


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April 07, 2008

South Moutain Reservation

It snowed again here Friday night. It was more like white rain. But it was the third time this week. I drove home from a party in the deep slush and thought longingly of my (warmer) walk through the South Mountain Reservation with Tamar, Dan and Damian just a few days before. There wasn't a trace of snow that day.





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April 02, 2008

And then the circus









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April 01, 2008

A few pix from the Bronx Zoo






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February 11, 2008

Snow again

I will probably miss the snow when winter ends; it is so very beautiful. Lila and I enjoy our walks on the lake. So we are storing up memories.




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January 22, 2008

Down by the lake in the snow




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January 06, 2008

Walking on water

The last few days Lila and I have been taking our walks and laying ball on the lake. It's frozen thick now but the weather is warming up so we may not be able to do this for a while. We are getting an early January thaw, just like we had an early start to winter. But, no doubt, the cold will return.





And one last view: of my house from the lake.


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December 28, 2007

More winter

We had yet another snowstorm yesterday. As I was driving home from Halifax (after taking Lila for acupuncture and then going for some myself--different doctors!) the sky was giving us a steady rain of ice pellets. Driving was safe but slow. This morning I awoke to a layer of soft snow over everything, including the ice underneath. It was a perfect day to stay home and enjoy the winter weather.

There's a brook running beside my property. I can hear it year round, even in winter. Lila's friend Lucky came out to visit with her mom, Suzanne. We had lunch, Suzanne and I; the dogs played outside on my field aand then we all went for a walk by the brook. It was too icy to walk far, but it was very beautiful.



Lila loves everything about the snow, playing in it, running in it, and eating it. And I love taking her picture:


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December 26, 2007

The view from my window

It’s good to be inside on a cold winter day.


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December 23, 2007

The powers-that-be

are predicting rain for tomorrow and above freezing temperatures all week. A big change from the -10 to -20 C. temps we have been having for the last few weeks. And the plentiful snowstorms as well. But today was warm and sunny. Perfect winter weather. A pleasure.




Meanwhile Lila is outside barking at the full moon. I can hear the echo across the lake.


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December 19, 2007

Snow snow snow snow snow

With all this snow we have been having, and then rain, then snow and cold, there is a lot of ice around. Brian came over this morning to help put sand on my driveway. Driving around here is hard, treacherous. My long steep driveway is thick ice from top to bottom. Yesterday morning I skidded up in my car and then in the evening skidded down it. The kids in the neighborhood have been using it to slide down while waiting for the bus in the morning. Today there was no problem maneuvering on it; the sand really helped.

There is still ice on my deck:


Of course, Lila loves the snow:


The sun on the bushes by the lake this morning:


and on the lake (now mostly frozen, but not enough to walk on yet):


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December 15, 2007

All (sort of) about Lila

Jackie's comment on yesterday's post inspired me to put up a photo of Lila all “made-up”.


and one from our walk in the woods:


These pix were taken just three weeks ago, before the endless snows we’ve been having. (As we are told to prepare for another major storm Sunday, winter is suggesting it is going to be a long and hard one. It's too much too soon. We don't usually have this much winter in December.)

The last photo is when her friend Minnie (another Portie) came over to play. The only good shot was of their running around the field.

Portuguese Water Dogs are often called the clowns of dogs. They are lively, fun, playful, extremely intelligent, fun to train (in fact, Lila demands training, is visibly and audibly upset if we miss it) and very agile. Lila loves to get her front paws up on a stool and twirl around. When she sees the stool she gets all exited and wiggly. I have heard Porties have been known to climb ropes. I have also heard that if you can survive the first two years, you will have a great dog. I can confirm that!


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December 12, 2007

Winter, for sure

Winter has set in early here. My driveway has been plowed three times already and it's not even mid-December! The driving is hard, walking harder, but it is so very beautiful. The lake is slowly freezing over and summer is buried under snow.




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December 03, 2007

On to Venice!

After a very wonderful, stimulating, exiting, rewarding week in Rome, I finally tore myself away and traveled on (by train) to Venice. The city is beautiful, of course. But so confusing. I walked in circles for hours it seemed. It took me an hour and a half to find my way back to the B&B when it should have taken ten minutes! The shopkeepers are so tired of people asking how to get somewhere they don’t answer questions usually. Just wave you away. Next time I go to Venice I will bring a compass and a friend to talk to when I get lost. A couple of people were helpful, but not many.

The view from my B&B in the early morning light:


and the canal at dusk, my first evening there:


On my full day in Venice, I went to San Marco, into the chapel, up the bell tower to view all of Venice in panorama, around the canals, to many churches to see Tintorettos, Berninis, Titians, and other masterpieces. Also the Jewish ghetto. Might as well see my roots in Europe! Now I’ve been to the ghetto in Rome and in Venice. My big purchase was a pair of Italian boots. They will be very handy here in Nova Scotia. It's snowing already. And cold. Makes we want to go back to Rome.








Most of the streets are so narrow you have to turn sideways to pass. And laundry hanging out to dry was a common sight. A traditional vote for ecological sanity.

After so much walking I was ready to get on the train the next morning and go on to Zurich for the exhibition of my paintings.

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December 02, 2007

Back on the road

To continue my recent trip to Italy and Switzerland, here are a few more pix. . . . The beggars in Rome are very creative. Dressing up to look like statues, as the Pope, as cameramen. When someone proffered coins in their cups, they would bow or turn the camera or some other movement to show their appreciation. What impressed me was how long they could stand still, waiting. That in itself, must generate a meditative state. Impressive.





I don't have a happy history with beggars. Once, in New York, a young woman stopped me on the street and told me the most elaborate sad story. She took my heart. And my money. She told me her eighteen month old daughter (the same age Tamar was at that time) was desperately in need of heart surgery or she would die and she, the mom, needed money for medications. I went with her back to my loft on 11th Street and gave her the last $20 I had in my pocket, my food money for the rest of the week. She later bugged the owners of the building who had a factory on the top floor. I was forever embarrassed and look at beggars only with a fair distance between us.

The fountains of Rome are also a memorable sight:






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November 30, 2007

Family portraits

Tamar took these (except for the ones of her, of course). First, of Aaron:


and Tamar:


and Tamar and Aaron, together for the first time in a long time:


and me, happy to be with my children, a rare pleasure:


Living so far from my children is the only thing I don't like about Nova Scotia. I like the weather, the intensity and frequent changes of the weather, the people, their kindnesses, my home, my life here. But I do wish my children were closer by.

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November 28, 2007

A walk by the brook

Thank you everyone for the warm birthday wishes. It's been a birthday celebration I will cherish. After a lovely weekend with my children, I'm too tired tonight to say much--I'll just post a few photos of the walk Tamar, Aaron, Lila and I took on Sunday by the brook in my neighborhood.





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November 20, 2007

Before we leave Rome

A few random pix from the streets of Rome:





and the ubiquitous scooters:


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November 19, 2007

Tuesday in Rome

On Tuesday, my last day in Rome, I went to some churches and saw some Caravaggio paintings and Bernini sculptures and some beautiful interiors.





Then Ann and her husband Loris met me for lunch. From there I went to a BIG museum with more Caravaggio paintings and Bernini and Michelangelo sculptures and Etruscan art and artifacts.





Then I walked back to the train station by way of via del Corso, a main drag. Lots of people out. Some of the main streets are blocked to traffic during weekdays which makes it a bit easier, but SO MANY PEOPLE! Tourists from everywhere!

I dragged myself back, totally fried, by 7 pm and watched Bewitched with their daughter Elisa. Then dinner and bed. Ann and her family were so wonderfully warm and welcoming. I could have stayed there well beyond my welcome!!! But I really wanted to go to Venice before heading off the Switzerland, the original reason for my trip.

One of my favorite photos of Ann and their dog Pann:


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November 16, 2007

Monday in Rome

Ann has Mondays off from work; no performances or rehearsals. So in the morning we went shopping for groceries in the part of Rome where they live. Lots of pleasant stalls. Because I was taking so many photos, they knew I was a tourist, so they all asked Ann where I was from. Everyone knows her in the markets. And the food is so beautiful and tasty! Can’t miss on food in Italy!





In the afternoon, we went for a long walk into a ravine outside of Rome. There is an old village, almost ruins, where people still live, set into a steep hillside.



There was a movie being filmed there as we walked through. We also stopped for tea in a lovely teahouse. The mother had the teahouse with a hundred different teas and teapots and the daughter make beautiful flowers and picture frames and boxes out of old plastic bottles and magazine pages. Very creative women.

The hike felt like we were in a jungle, with vines and brooks everywhere. We took Pann, their beautiful sweet boxer girl. She’s a sweet lovely dog.





When we got back to their house, Ann made pizza for dinner. A Monday ritual.

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November 15, 2007

Day Three in Rome--The Opera!

On Sunday, I went to the opera! What a treat!


Saw Wozzeck by Alban Berg. A very stark set. Beautiful music.



Afterwards, Ann who plays in the Rome Opera Orchestra, her friend Naomi originially from California who lives in Rome now and also teaches music, and I went for tea and canollli. Her friend commented on how the music seems to have come into the main stream now whereas when it was composed in the 1930’s it was strange, unusual. Bursts of cacophony yet still passages of beautiful lyricism. (Even pop music is like this now.) I have always related to it—bought the record when I was an undergrad. I am very comfortable with this music. It may be similar to what makes me relate more easily to abstract art than work with images.

In the morning Ann and I had gone to get the tickets, then to the flea market. In the evening we all went out for dinner. I tasted a variety of real Italian antipasti. I was a stuffed bunny by the end of the day.

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November 13, 2007

Day Two in Rome

Day two, on her way to teach violin students, Ann dropped me near the Vatican but it was too crowded. It would have been a three hour wait to get in, so I went to Saint Peter’s. (Ann started a music school in Rome and was teaching most of the day.)




Then I stopped at Castel S. Angelo and wandered through it's fascinating passages and its ammunition stock:


and looked down at the Tiber:



From there I walked to the Forum and Coliseum:





then walked to the train station which was quite a hike. That took all day, from 9 am to 6.

There is so much to see. I could have taken a photo around every few steps. I don’t remember Rome being this exciting from when I was there 35 years ago. And it’s so crowded, so many tourists, more even than London or NYC. Everyone is out on the streets. And talking! At the airport, waiting for the plane, it was the noisiest group of people, talking talking talking. I tried to move to be in a quieter spot, but finally gave in. Italians like to talk. It creates a very friendly atmosphere,

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November 12, 2007

And now for a tour of Rome

So, day one I arrived in Rome at 8 am (after leaving home at 11 am the day before). My niece, Ann, met me at the airport. Shortly after settling into her house, I took a long nap. Then Ann took me to a lookout above the city,


then we walked down into the city,


had pizza with artichokes and zucchini and after that she dropped me at the Villa Borghese. I walked through it--a beautiful beautiful park with, of course, statues and a museum.



Then down the Spanish steps, at which time it was already dark so the beggars were out pushing their wares, flowers, lights, bags, hands. One man offered me flowers. Then I went on to the train station and back to Ann’s.




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August 28, 2007

Trees do grow in Brooklyn

On Saturday, my last day with Tamar and Damian (Dan has been working long days so, sadly, I hardly saw him when I was there), we went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, then took a walk through Prospect Park, and had dinner with Dan at a restaurant in Park Slope (where Dan and Tamar first lived together). It was a lovely day and perfect ending to my summer visit with them.








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August 25, 2007

Tai kuan do

Damian took his green belt test in Tai Kuan Do on Friday, the last day I was there. First the masters gave a demonstration. Then the tests. Some of the children seemed to be as young as four or five; all were very enthusiastic about their movements. The instructors had bones of steel and hearts of marshmallow. They seemed to love the children and loved helping them achieve confidence, strength and balance. If I didn’t know I am too old to start, I would enjoy learning it.


Damian and another student took their test together. Damian did great, of course. He really enjoys it.



Then the awarding of the belts.


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August 24, 2007

Home and busy again

It's been raining all day so it is the first time I can sit down and catch up. It was non-stop all week since returning home Sunday. That afternoon I picked up Lila, came home, and then some friends came out for a swim, dinner and a look at my paintings. A great way to re-connect with my often solitary life. Then on Monday, Phil Secord came out to look at work as I am having a duo-exhibit there with Elin Neumann from Denmark, opening September 14. Then there was dog-class, piano lesson, painting again, giving a friend of a friend a tour of the Art College, photos taken of my paintings, etc. etc. etc.

Meanwhile I have some, to me, quintessential New York City pix from our walking tour of Soho:





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August 09, 2007

On camera

Just in time to go visit Tamar and family, my digital camera is repaired! I picked it up a couple of days ago and then went to Point Pleasant Park with Lila.


The park is full of bushes and berries. The lack of trees, although still sad, has allowed a new undergrowth to flourish.




Yesterday when Lila and I were walking with our friend Sherry, we met a young girl with her yellow lab and parents. The dogs started playing together and the young lady told me the story of her dogs. They had two for a couple of years and were about to get another, a black lab and maybe a rescue dog, because the older one, also a black lab, had died recently. When they picked out this dog, the one they have now, from the litter the first puppy they saw was too active, jumping on people, tearing at the toys and barking a lot. That wouldn't do, she said. Then there was another girl pup (they wanted a female) who just sat in the corner and didn’t move. So they picked one who was more playful but not too playful. She said this was important because she was an only child and needed to have a dog who would play with her.

When we parted company, I asked her what was her name. She said it was Sophie and she was almost-ten. I told her I hope to see her again. Her mom said, with a big smile, then she will tell you the rest of her life story!

I told Sophie my grandson is nine and I will see him very soon. Tomorrow!

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July 05, 2007

Final day in London

On my last full day in London, I walked around the city:



saw the Old Vic:


walked across the Thames on a bridge with the Eye of London always in sight:


I went to the Tate Modern, of course, and spent two long sessions sitting with Rothko's paintings. Then I went to Trafalgar Square to check on the pigeons. When I was in London with Tamar and Aaron, watching the pigeons was great entertainment for them. The day before, on Saturday when I was there, the pigeons had been scared off by a falcon on the shoulders of a woman. She patrols the area frequently to keep the pigeons at bay. But when the falcon is gone the pigeons return:


On this Sunday, the entertainment was dancers from Vietnam:



Then I went to the Royal Academy of Art for their annual exhibit. Took the Tube back to my friend's for the evening:


And Monday was the long trip home. Tuesday I picked up Lila. And here I am. Happy to be back at work!

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July 03, 2007

I went to London to visit the Queen

I arrived in London in the early afternoon and my friend William, who works in Parliament, took me on a private tour there. This also gave us front row seats the next day for the Queen’s birthday parade, the Trooping of the Colours. I couldn’t have picked a better weekend to visit London and see the Queen.


The soldiers all looked so young. It seems the more mature were in Iraq.



Standing next to us were a couple of women with their children. As the father of one of the boys walked by, he winked at his son. Anther soldier blew his wife a kiss.

The first (and last) time I was in London I was with Aaron and Tamar who were then five and eleven. Tamar was fascinated by horses at that time. This time, it was my turn. They were truly majestic:





As the infantry was standing around a bit, the horses did what is natural. At the end of the ceremonies, a single soldier was striding by us and, when he saw what was in his determined path, turned his head to us, smiled broadly and said: “Yes, I’m always in it!”


After the ceremonies, we had lunch in the park and then a trip through the Royal Portrait Gallery. Then dinner with friends . . . and a sound night’s sleep.

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July 02, 2007

To Copenhagen

The next day I went to Copenhagen by bus and ferry. Denmark is a series of islands connected by ferries and bridges. It's a very ecologically conscientious country, growing windmills and barley. From my bus window:


In Copenhagen I first took a bus tour, saw the famous Mermaid (don't understand),


then walked all around,



went to the Carlsburg Art Museum (housing some beautiful paintings and sculptures),


and the Tivoli Gardens where I (along with Hans) was enchanted watching the amusements:








Everyone was enjoying the rides. Well, almost everyone:


I sat in the lovely flower gardens and had tea:



Then back to the Aarhus area by train and to Elin’s home for the night before going on to London for three lovely days. At this point I had traveled from the very middle of Denmark (Aarhus) to the very most northern point (Skagen) and then to the most southern end (Copenhagen) and back to the middle.

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June 29, 2007

Saltum and Aarlborg

The next day I explored Saltum a little, going into a couple of small museums. One was a weaving shop with women making linen mats and towels. It also had other paraphernalia from earlier times.





The big surprise of the day was being interviewed for Danish TV. Apparently the interview was on the arts report the next Thursday but I was already gone. So I am waiting for a DVD to view it here at home. It was in English, of course, as I don’t (yet) speak Danish. (It’s a very difficult language but I do know a few words, mainly “tak” which means “thank you” and I said that many times! As Denmark is such a small country, most people do speak English which made traveling there much easier for me.)

After the interview, Thora and I went in the opposite direction, to Aarlborg and surrounds. We visited an artist and then had dinner in the best ever Italian restaurant, a don’t miss meal. This was fish with pesto sauce on it:


And here's a photo of my delicious meal in the restaurant Elin and Lasse took me to, in Aarhus. Also fish:


That evening a neighbor came over and played jazz piano for us. Even though he doesn't perform any more, he is an excellent musician. A real treat.

The next day I was off to Copenhagen!

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June 28, 2007

Saltum and surrounds

In Saltum, Thora, the gallery owner asked me what I wanted to do: see nature or meet other artists. I wanted to focus on the amazing landscape and ended up meeting artists and seeing art as well. I can’t remember the names of all the places we went but I can show you pix.

First was the big dunes. These sand dunes were taller than most buildings. We climbed to the top and looked down to the water far below. It was beyond beautiful.




with beautiful flora:


and beautiful surroundings:



Then lunch. We ate on a patio overlooking a small harbor.



I had the most delicious herring, fixed in three different ways.


Then on to Skagen: a charming town, with a good art museum, situated at the northernmost point in Denmark. Here the land goes out to a point and the water meets from each side with a kiss. One side the water is cold, the other it’s warm.




Then back to Saltum for dinner and a sounds night's sleep.

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June 27, 2007


The next day Elin, Lasse, Joyce and I drove to Saltum for the opening reception of my exhibit. They went home that evening and I stayed on for two more days. I've already posted pix of the gallery. I was pleased with the arrangement of the paintings. And they had a video/slide show of my work which, if I can figure out how, will post.

The weather stayed very warm, a pleasant change for me, after weeks of cold and rain in Nova Scotia. Today it is so hot here in NS it is uncomfortable. We are not used to this kind of heat. And the humidity makes it worse. So more pix will have to wait until tomorrow.

Posted by leya at 08:31 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2007

Day Three in Denmark: Turkish Bazaar

The third day Lasse, Elin’s husband and I, went to the Turkish bazaar. Later that evening, Elin’s friend Joyce came for dinner.








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June 23, 2007

Day Two in Denmark: Aarhus

The next day we went to Aarhus. Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus dates back to Viking times and was a major seaport. Now it is an interesting mix of old and new.



First Elin and I went to Den Gammle By (prounced Bu), The Old Town. It is, basically, a museum with shops, a school, theatre, post office, windmill and other buildings to recreate a typical mercantile Danish town covering the times from the Middle Ages to the 1900’s.





Then the Aos, the Aarhus Art Museum which houses a extensive art collection. I saw some magnificent artwork, among them some beautiful Degas, Corot and Courbet paintings. One of the sculptures is this “boy” who is as big enough to fill a large room.


Then a drink by the water, dinner at a lovely restaurant and back to her beautiful home for a good night's sleep.



Posted by leya at 07:01 PM | Comments (1)

June 22, 2007

Day One in Denmark near Aarhus

My first day in Denmark was magical. Elin's house is set before an expansive barley field. I could sit for hours contemplating the beauty of the setting. There are few bugs in Denmark, no screens on the windows and doors. It feels so very fresh and open.

Looking out from the door to the field through the beaded curtain used to keep the birds from flying into the house:


After breakfast:


The field:


Elin is an expert gardener:


After breakfast Elin and I went on a bike ride through the barley fields and had a picnic by the beach.




The land in Denmark is very flat and spacious. And the trees are round and soft, especially compared to the sharp spindly trees so often seen around here. That landscape is embedded in my mind.

Posted by leya at 07:55 PM | Comments (3)

March 22, 2007

and still counting!

I asked my cousin Jonathan if I could post a few of his wonderful photographs from our Aunt Marcella’s 102nd birthday party. Normally he is hanging out of helicopters shooting ships (with his camera) but he comes down to earth occasionally as seen in these photographs. So . . . enjoy!


Photo ©2007 Jonathan Atkin


Photo ©2007 Jonathan Atkin


Photo ©2007 Jonathan Atkin

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January 25, 2007

Point Pleasant Park

Feeling housebound after last week’s rain and snow and cold, Lila and I went to Point Pleasant Park for long walks on Saturday, on Sunday, and again yesterday. I used to take Katie there almost every day the four years we lived in Halifax. It was dense with trees then. Now, after Hurricane Juan, it’s a very different park. But still, it’s a wonderful place to take a dog.



Some trees are the same as they were before the storm.


And a self portrait:


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January 09, 2007

The sun rises in January

The weather has been unusually warm for January but the sun still puts on a spectular show in the morning as it rises:



Posted by leya at 07:24 PM | Comments (1)

December 09, 2006

Possibly winter

Winter gave us no warning. It was unseasonably warm and now it’s cold. We had another snowstorm yesterday. Around 4:30 in the afternoon the power went out. I was making some chicken soup. After all the things one needs to do in a power outage—finding and lighting candles, turning off the computer, turning off the stove, making sure there is water—Lila and I curled up on the couch in the candlelight, she chewing on a bone and me just petting her. It was so peaceful, I wondered if I could keep that calm feeling when the lights were on. Sometimes I can.

This snowfall was even more beautiful than the last one. It stayed on the tree limbs, covering everything like white icing on a cake.



Posted by leya at 06:30 PM

December 05, 2006

Too beautiful for words





Lila-snow.jpg Posted by leya at 05:54 PM

December 03, 2006

Magnificent Victoria Park

Before going away last weekend, I had a marathon shipping experience. I needed to retrieve paintings from two galleries in Nova Scotia, neither of them nearby. During class on Monday, I arranged for a courier to take the paintings from a gallery in Annapolis Royal to Truro, where I went on Tuesday to pick them up, along with the paintings that were in the exhibit there at the Marigold Centre. When I brought them home, I had to pack them up. I did some wrapping that night, went to bed exhausted, and my friend Brian came over the next morning (while I was teaching) to start packing them up. When I got home, I helped with the packing and then we loaded the boxes into my car and I drove them to the shipper. The paintings arrived in Switzerland by the following Tuesday. Everything went smoothly.

Meanwhile, my trip to Truro included a walk through beautiful Victoria Park:





and a picture of my perpetual motion puppy in the park:


Posted by leya at 02:54 PM

October 21, 2006

A few about Lila

We had so much rain this past spring and into the summer, it was not good for the garden. But Lila found the one butternut squash that was large enough to pick--and picked it! She had a lovely time with it, for sure.



In Truro last Tuesday she enjoyed playing with Sarah's dog Izzy. They were a perfect puppy match.



and then there was a rare quiet moment in Victoria Park:


Posted by leya at 06:29 PM

August 03, 2006

Beautiful summer days

From morning on:




and now it's time for a swim in the lake!

Posted by leya at 06:13 PM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2006


Lila and I went to visit a friend whose Brittany Spaniel had four puppies six weeks ago. What a treat! The mom, Cassie, and Lila played beautifully, running all over their property. They had met months ago but Lila was too much puppy for Cassie then. Now they are fine together. And Cassie needed a break from motherhood. I was pleased to see that Lila was extremely cautious and respectful with the puppies, even shy.




Posted by leya at 07:54 PM

July 26, 2006

The fog creeps in

The weather has been fickle lately. Mostly rain rain rain. Any time the sun dares to shine for a day, everyone is smiling.

Yesterday the fog in the morning obscured the lake:




Posted by leya at 06:10 PM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2006

Can I help?

Lila really wanted to help put the finishing touches on the dock today. Especially when there was a bag of fittings lying around. Or a glove. She knew just what to do with them. Even if it wasn't what was planned (or needed/or wanted)! My job was to retrieve what she took away!


The water was so inviting! Especially for a Portuguese Water Dog.


Posted by leya at 08:05 PM

June 06, 2006

Change of view

The blue tarp is down! Finally, at last, I can see the lake from my house. When they took it off yesterday, my eyes were teary as I watched from inside. For the rest of the day and evening, the view out my windows was the best, most exciting entertainment possible. The scaffolding is still up but at least my view is not blue anymore.



Posted by leya at 09:29 PM | Comments (3)

June 05, 2006

Posted by leya at 08:49 AM

Foggy dew

In the early morning. And oh so beautiful!


Posted by leya at 08:33 AM

May 31, 2006

Flower power

One more week, I think/hope, of this building project. I’m finding it harder and harder to be around the house with people working on it. They start work and, with the first pounding on the walls, I feel like crying. It’s been tough. So every day I find something to do that takes me away from here. I spend a lot of time at garden shops (getting ready for June 25 when my garden will be on view as part of the Visual Arts Nova Scotia Artist’ Garden Tour), visiting friends, driving around doing anything that will keep us away from here. Today I took Lila to visit her friend Miccah. We played ball for a while, until Miccah, who is six years older than Lila, finally decided she was fun to play with and the two were rolling around the yard together.

Meanwhile my garden is blooming! The rhododendrons are more beautiful than ever. It is great to have to work on my garden. It distracts me from the stress of the house project. I think I am going to have a big celebration when this is over!




Posted by leya at 07:51 PM

May 23, 2006

May Fair

On Saturday we went to a May Fair at Damian’s school. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, lots of games for the kids, food and friendly people.




The children made quilts that were hung on the fence. Each class had a different theme. Damian’s class theme was about New Jersey.


Damian's square:


Posted by leya at 10:24 AM

May 16, 2006

Gardening news

We’ve had a few beautiful days, perfect for gardening. I love to poke around in the dirt, plant seeds, tend to the plants. Lila seems to like it too. She’s been helping me garden. But her idea of gardening is different from mine. She also likes to dig, but she digs where I’ve already planted. She prefers to eat the flowers, not look at them. She thinks watering the plants is a great game, perfect for trying to eat the sprinkler as the water comes out.

My garden wasn’t designed for a puppy. I moved in here ten years ago with an eleven year old dog. Katie loved it here. For five years. She’d sit on the big rock by my entry stairs and bark all day. That is, until she went deaf. Then she stopped barking. Lila, on the other hand, is only six months old and thinks the world is her playpen. There are meandering paths through my garden areas. I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep her away from the plants. (I gave Lila a big knuckle bone and that helps somewhat.) It seemed impossible to fence off the vegetable garden. But I found some small, portable wire fencing at Canadian Tire that works well. Lila respects these borders as long as a flower doesn’t extend over the fence, especially if it is a daffodil. This will take some work. But I think it can happen. I’m scheduled to be on an artists’ garden tour June 25. That’s good inspiration to make it work.




Posted by leya at 08:58 AM | Comments (3)

May 15, 2006

Did you think I had forgotten about the sunrise?



We can hardly see it from the house. The lake end is still covered in blue plastic. But Lila and I like to be there in the early morning to see the sunrise. It was especially beautiful today.

Posted by leya at 08:02 PM

April 21, 2006

It's a wrap!

Yesterday I didn’t turn my computer on until 4 pm. And I was home all day! AND I still had work to do on my taxes! It’s been that hectic! The building project is progressing. It’s absorbing as well. I’m just glad I found the rot before it took over the house. At least it’s being fixed. But my life is disrupted, for sure.

Lila likes it, though. She gets up every morning looking for the workers, eager for them to arrive and drop gloves and tools so she can run off with them. She especially likes to chew plastic bags and insulation.

It will probably be another two weeks before I have my house back in order. Meanwhile I’ve been taking lots of photos as the project evolves. They've wrapped the east end of my house in blue tarp because it's been raining a lot (and cold) and the wind is intense. This way they can keep working:




Of course, Lila wanted to help keep the tarp in place:


And then there are the renovation incidentals from the inside:



Posted by leya at 08:11 PM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2006

Puppy play

Lila’s been having fun with other dogs lately. Kiku came back to play a couple of times. Her mom said Kiku was pacing, really asking to come back. They play well together, despite the difference in age and size.

And yesterday we had a play-date with another Portie, Pebble. At times it was hard to tell them apart, both very black with white paws. Pebble is one week older. (Lila is on the left in both photos.)



Posted by leya at 02:47 PM

February 26, 2006

Lila and Kiku, a play-date!

Lila had her first real (successful) play-date this afternoon, where the two dogs actually played together. Kiku came back to visit. At first Lila was a little uncertain, not sure how to relate to such a big dog. Then she warmed up and they really enjoyed each other, played tag and tusseled.




Afterwards, Lila was all tuckered out, but very happy:


Posted by leya at 04:47 PM | Comments (2)

February 17, 2006

Out & About

Yesterday was the first time Lila and I had taken a walk along the road. It is a bigger world out there for her. She’ll meet some dogs and children and new smells and sounds. We’ve been out twice already today and looking forward to more.


Meanwhile the weather is turning strange again. Very warm with promises of very cold by Sunday. I put a pot of miniature roses on my computer table to brighten up the landscape.


What the roses saw: the lake is striated with shadows and melting ice.


Posted by leya at 03:13 PM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2006

Growing Lila

The air has turned cold and brisk. Normal winter weather. But at least it's not storming. Right now. (They are predicting snow and wind for tomorrow.) The lake is trying to ice over. It was very still in the early morning when Lila and I first went out.


I took Lila to the vet this morning for her shots but we have to put it off again for another week. She seems to have some food sensitivities. Runs in the family. (Nevertheless, she’s gained two pounds in a week, from 15.2 to 17.3. Now she is almost half the weight she will be when full grown.) So I have to change her diet: no corn, dairy, eggs. See if that helps clear her ears and itching, a yeast infection. Once she gets her shots we can go for long walks along the road and meet the other dogs in the neighborhood. We've both been looking forward to that. She's been eyeing the (occasional) traffic with curiosity.



Posted by leya at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)

January 25, 2006

A snowball named Lila

We had a beautiful light snowfall Monday night:


And Lila enjoyed playing in it Tuesday morning:




Posted by leya at 07:45 PM | Comments (2)

January 05, 2006

She's here!

Lila is home. And I am over the moon! My wonderful friend Merle drove me so that I could hold Lila on the way home. At the breeder’s my puppy was playing fiercely with her housemates, bounding around the room like a kangaroo, telling everyone that “under the chair” was her territory. From there we took a brief visit to my vet who also is in Chester. I hadn’t seen him in five years, since Katie died. He had helped me so much with her; it was wonderful to see him again with my new puppy.

By the time we arrived home, Lila was definitely my dog. She now follows me around, almost glued to my legs. I’m not used to it yet and have found myself bumping into her unexpectedly. She loves the land here—so much to explore, trees to eat, branches to munch on. New smells, new sights. She went into her crate easily, took a nap while Merle and I had lunch.

It still surprises me that she is actually here. I really never thought I would do this again. And I am very glad I am. So far, the first day has been good: she seems to have very good name recognition, comes (most of the time) when I call her, settles into her crate to nap; she loves to romp around outside and has a good appetite for life and food. She’s a very good dog.





Posted by leya at 08:16 PM | Comments (3)

January 04, 2006

A few more pix from my trip

Years ago I woke from a dream and heard a voice saying: "Give her a string of pearls, for they sparkle the same as she." I knew "she" was Tamar. This year, for her birthday, I gave her that string of pearls, and she was very happy (as was I):


After Tamar's birthday dim sum, we took a stroll through Chinatown.





After visiting friends in Soho, we went to dinner with my nephew, Rob, at a cool new restaurant in Noho. The view through the windows to the sign (Everyone is a Superstar) across the street:


When I first lived in lofts in Manhattan, we had to sneak the garbage out to the bins because we weren't supposed to be there at all. Now it is all much more civilized. But still, there is, by necessity, garbage:


But New York is much cleaner than it used to be and despite the ocassional transit strike, much easier to get around in. Somehow, it seems to be a city that invites walking. When I lived there, I usually walked several miles a day and I do always when visiting. Probably because the streets offer so many interesting visual treats.

And tomorrow I pick up my puppy and begin completely different kind of walking in my life. Seeing the world from puppy-eyes.

Posted by leya at 07:05 PM

January 02, 2006

A few pix from the trip

It’s been a day of sorting, putting away pieces of my trip to Montclair, and settling in to the life I am fashioning for myself here. Tamar told me Damian said last tonight as they sat down to dinner that it felt like someone was missing. He also said earlier that he missed me. Me too. I miss being with Tamar, Dan, Damian, Aaron and Jessica. I miss all of them. It’s a good thing it is so beautiful here and that I have a nice bed to sleep in.

Meanwhile, here are a few snapshots of where I was and what I was doing.

From the window of the train going to Rhode Island (on the 19th), the scenery reflects my somber mood:


Montclair through the carriage house window. The first day I was there was misty, just like a brisk Nova Scotia day:


Then there was a mouse stirring by the presents. Cocoa did actually catch a mouse [this one is one of Jessie's (many) toy mice]. From then on, he sat by the spot where he first found the mouse, patiently waiting for another. But his vigilance hasn't paid off, yet.


When Aaron & Jessica arrived (on the 26th), we went for a walk in Mills Reservation, where all the dog walkers go:





Posted by leya at 03:53 PM | Comments (2)

December 13, 2005

Her name is Lila

On a happier (happy/happiest) note, I visited my puppy yesterday. She's one month old now. Jane, the breeder, told me that everyone who sees her asks: "Who's gettting that one!" She's a perfect puppy: friendly, sweet, and very beautiful. She comes home with me in three weeks. It couldn't be better timing.





Posted by leya at 02:49 AM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2005

Wanna play!?!

First, there is a pumpkin to carve:


Then winter comes and there are snowballs to make:


And throw: So you want to take my picture, eh!?!


Aw, let’s kiss and make up!


Bob used to say Katie was Scotch Guarded. The water ran off her back, didn’t penetrate her fur, but she was still hurt by words.

We were living in a wretched little house in Seabright at the time. The basement flooded every week. I had to ShopVac it weekly to keep the mold down. It was a losing battle so we then moved into Halifax for a year where I stayed three more years until I built the house I am in now. This house has lots of stairs, perhaps a way to keep me from inviting Bob back. Besides, I do like stairs, separate levels for separate activities.

There's been no more news yet. So now, I’m off to visit my puppy. My soon-to-be new playmate.

Posted by leya at 09:18 AM

December 10, 2005

It must be winter

I woke up this morning to see a heavy blanket of snow on the trees and the ground. And no power. Fortunately the sun came out early and my house didn’t get too cold. The power came back on around 2:30 in the afternoon. Meanwhile I went outside and took over sixty pictures. It was very beautiful. They are predicting a heavy rain tonight. Fickle maritime weather.






Posted by leya at 05:04 PM | Comments (2)

December 09, 2005

Night snow

It’s snowing. A heavy wet snow. At first it seemed like it was going to turn to rain but now its big white flakes and the ground is covered with white. I had to drive home from Halifax this evening and all the cars, thankfully, were driving slowly. My favorite Canadian joke is still the one that says you know you are a Canadian when you prefer winter driving, it’s smoother, because the potholes are filled with snow. Out here in the woods, that will be something to look forward to, for sure.

Posted by leya at 07:27 PM

December 02, 2005

Montreal in November

It was snowing when I arrived in Montreal last Thursday. I stayed at the window half the day taking photos.


The classic steep outdoor steps of Montreal. The day I left they were covered with a sheet of (thick) ice. Aaron helped me down with my suitcase.


Jessica pointed out a pear tree a tree in their back yard. She had watched as the leaves fell, leaving a single pear.


Their adorable four month old kitten, Mr. Higgins, is very playful.


He enjoys chasing his tail around the rungs of the chair I nursed Aaron in thirty-eight years ago. Aaron's daughter Shaya was also nurtured in this chair. Mr. Higgins has a different idea for the use of this chair!


Posted by leya at 03:22 PM

November 18, 2005

Seven days old


I went back to visit my puppy yesterday. She's grown in the past three days. Meanwhile another of Jane's dogs has had a litter of eleven puppies. It's a very happy household.

Posted by leya at 08:35 AM

November 15, 2005

Puppy love

I went to visit my puppy yesterday. She’s four days old. And so cute. Her mom is very good to her pups, keeps them clean and warm, is just beginning to venture out from their pen. I climbed in with the pups and the mom.

Mine is the one with the green ribbon, the one on the top left.


They look like just a pile of black (and a little white) here as the pups snuggle into mom. (Look for the green ribbon!)


I’m holding her up here so you can see her beautiful markings-- a white circle on her belly, a white diamond on her head, a white tip on her tail and four white paws.


And I plan to go back again on Thursday.

Posted by leya at 02:32 AM | Comments (3)

November 14, 2005

More sunrise




If you think I am obsessed with the morning over the lake, just wait until I get my puppy!

Posted by leya at 11:09 AM | Comments (1)

November 10, 2005



It’s been raining hard all day, with strong winds. Enough to make people drive poorly. There were several accidents on the main roads and bridges. It was difficult to see the road.

I had to take my car to Dartmouth for some repairs. Coming home, it took me an hour just to get onto the bridge to go back to Halifax. The lineup was intense, moving a few feet every few minutes. Not fun. I was glad for the good jazz playing on Radio Canada.

Posted by leya at 08:10 PM

October 22, 2005

Today's crop



This morning there was a gentle mist on the lake and not a cloud in the sky. Today the sun was warm, almost like summer. This afternoon I went out into my garden to plant some bulbs and clean up before it gets too cold. It�s been such a busy few weeks, I hadn�t been paying much attention to my yard. I was surprised to see some neglected string beans still edible and the zucchini plants are still producing a few fruits. Some cold weather greens are alive and well. We just need another week like this. Then I will be ready to put my winter tires on. Maybe.

Posted by leya at 04:21 PM

October 03, 2005

It was a beautiful morning with mist on the lake

The water was still as glass and the sky was clear:


The reflections in the water made paintings:


Posted by leya at 11:05 AM

September 30, 2005

More sun on the rise

It must be something about the autumn mornings. The sky has so often been all dressed up when the sun rises:




Posted by leya at 08:40 PM

September 29, 2005

Yellow morning

The sunrise this morning was so beautiful.


Posted by leya at 12:05 PM

September 12, 2005

The door to summer is slowly closing

The nights are cooling off and there is a slight chill behind the warm sun. It feels like only a few days left when the water will be warm enough for a swim. Already there are a scattering of red leaves on the maple trees. We were lucky this year with two months of good summer weather. Last year it was less than a week. Just rain and cold.

Some memories of summer:





Posted by leya at 10:53 AM

September 05, 2005

Peaceful Prince Edward Island

On Wednesday morning I took the ferry from Caribou, Nova Scotia to Wood Islands, PEI. There was a light rain that day, made the driving easier for me. No sun beating through my car windows.


That afternoon I went first for a walk along the beach:


and then to a lovely old hotel (that had once been a residence) for high tea with my friends:


and a walk along the beach at sunset:


Thursday it rained hard. The tail of Katrina. Its been hard for me to watch the news. Mostly I read about it. It is so very frightening and painful. My heart goes out to the people who have lost so much.

Because of the rain, we thought about going to see Anne of Green Gables but it wasnt playing that day, so we went to a movie. Wedding Crashers. It was fun, had some memorable scenes, but definitely fantasy-land, and classical Hollywood comedy: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love (instantly), then boy and girl meet obstacles, then boy and girl overcome obstacles and everything turns out rosyand funand they live happily ever after, completely oblivious to the cares of the world, which have been so traumatic lately.

The next day was sunny. First to the beach. Later in the afternoon we explored the countryside, stopping in at some craft stores and various beaches.



Then to the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company to sample their amazing selection of preserves, check out their gardens and have a fine dinner at their restaurant.



In the evening I took a walk along the beach with my friends. At dusk, friendly red fox are often seen along the shore. At this point, the one we saw was very tame, eagerly foraging amonst the debris washed up onto the beach from the storm the day before.


PEI is very different from Nova Scotia. Much flatter with low rolling hills, fewer trees. Most of the trees were cut down at the beginning of the 20th century to make the tall ships. Fishing and potatoes are now their main industries.

Ive heard people say PEI is feminine because of its gentle landscape. I guess that makes Nova Scotia masculine, with its rugged, unpredictable terrain-- dinosaur country. A different kind of peaceful.

Posted by leya at 04:31 PM | Comments (3)

August 26, 2005

The memorial scuptures at Peggy's Cove


Peggy�s Cove is one of my very favorite places to go (I think I have said this before). Somehow, even with the intense waves and expansive rock formations, it feels so peaceful. They have one of the most beautiful monuments there, dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the SwissAir 111 crash (in that area) September 2, 1998, and to the people who helped clean up afterwards. There is also a beautiful monument in Bayswater. I remember hearing a strange sound that night, 10:31 pm, and I live quite a distance away. But sound travels, better than the plane did.

I�ve picnicked on the rocks at Peggy�s Cove. But that was before all this. It was easier to walk around then; now it is a protected natural landscape. And always magical.



Posted by leya at 01:04 PM

August 20, 2005

Watermelon days, zucchini nights

One of the true glories of summer for me is in the rich sweetness of watermelon.



Then there is nature. The other day when I was out swimming with a friend, we saw about three loons poking there heads up, no more than twenty feet away. Then one by one another head appearedfour loons, five, six, eleven and finally twelve loons in a line. They stayed there a while, looked at us, then dived into the water and came up again far on the other side of us.

In the water by the shore, though, was a dead eel, rotting on a rock. One of those loons could quite possibly have dropped it there, discarding an uneaten (inedible?) dinner. And climbing into the water from the dock, I saw a small spider weaving a web on the ladder. I also saw a big water spider nearby. After the swim, the little spider was gone. Eaten by the big spider? The forces of nature.

And now the nights are cool and summer is almost gone. How quickly it all changes.

Posted by leya at 07:14 PM

August 17, 2005

Even in the fog at night,

mysterious and powerful, Peggy's Cove is one of my favorite places. If I lived closer I would go there more often.





Posted by leya at 12:31 PM

August 15, 2005

The Halifax waterfront is alive and well

There is a sculpture of a big wave on the boardwalk. Children love to climb it and sit on top, survey the activities.


For the Buskers Festival last week, they put up a giant lobster for the childen to climb and jump around on:


There was a wonderful trio of break dancers from the Bronx:


and a jazz group, Oka, from Australia with a didgeridoo player:


and some amazing face painters:


and popcorn and cotton candy for treats:



Posted by leya at 06:41 PM

August 13, 2005

Running the river

Waiting for the tide to come in:


The boats waiting to go onto the river:


and the coats waiting to be used to break the wind (getting soaked with water from the river was unavoidabe!):


There are some great shots of the rafts tossing on the water on the Schubenacadie River Runner's website. I didn't realize they had waterproof cameras for sale there until after the ride, but I probably couldn't have gotten many good pix anyway--no time to let go of the boat ropes as we were perched on the edge of the zodiac. As it is, I kept falling into the boat. Better than falling into the river! After the tide began to calm down, we were able to jump in the river and swim with the subsiding tide. It was not even necessary to swim; the tide just pulled us along. After the ride, they had a shower and hot drinks ready for us. An altogether memorable afternoon. A great way to feel connected to the forces of nature.

Posted by leya at 02:43 PM

August 03, 2005

And then the sun also rises



Posted by leya at 02:19 PM | Comments (3)

August 02, 2005

Sunset in the water

Night before last, as the sun was setting, the sky over (and in) the lake was dressed up in her finest. As I was standing on my dock taking pictures, a family came by in a canoe and we shared our wonder at the beauty.





Posted by leya at 09:24 PM | Comments (2)

July 30, 2005

Reflections in the water

In the early evening when the water is like glass:


Posted by leya at 05:19 PM | Comments (2)

July 23, 2005

and then there is the sky


Posted by leya at 02:39 PM

July 22, 2005

I'll settle for a rock right now

Wednesday late afternoon Yoko and I went out in my paddle-boat to survey the landscape, including my pet rocks. From my house, these rocks have a powerful presence:



A couple of times some kids (in their twenties and thirties) have climbed this rock and jumped off. It terrifies me. The lake is filled with rocks left over from glaciers passing through. You never know what you might find beneath the surface:


As evening approached the water began to sparkle, little pieces of the sun had fallen on to the surface:


And Yoko took some pictures of the water lilies off the dock:


and I tried as well:


Posted by leya at 07:53 PM

July 17, 2005


is here, finally! After what feels like weeks of cool and rainy days, the warm sun is very welcome.


And the water's fine:





Posted by leya at 12:45 PM

July 08, 2005

There is always something to see when you look



Posted by leya at 11:39 PM | Comments (1)

June 25, 2005

The sun rise in June

It's been a very busy week. In fact, the past two weeks have been unusually busy. The last day of school was Friday and still lots to do. But the sun rise was so beautiful Thursday morning, I ran out in my robe and slippers to steal some pictures:







Posted by leya at 01:38 PM

June 05, 2005

Back in Amsterdam

It's been warm and sunny (even almost too hot!) since Tuesday. Until this morning when it is grey and cold again. And raining, but a light rain, like a Dutch rain, coming straight down, not the Nova Scotia rain which is horizontal (and an umbrella is useless). I was able to get a fair bit of gardening done yesterday, and some this morning. It is a delayed season but things are beginning to bloom. Trees have leaves; just a few days ago it seemed like they were bare. My rhodi's are beginning to burst and the peonies are budding up nicely. (I have to spray them with rotten egg water to keep the deer away. It works!)

The house where I stayed in Amsterdam was on a street that bordered on the Vondelpark. It was very beautiful and lush and led right to the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseums:




Then there is the Waterlooplein market:


and the flower stalls:


and some sculpture on top of a houseboat on the canal:


Posted by leya at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2005

and more Amsterdam

The images of Amsterdam (and Switzerland) still run through my mind. (I have even put them in rotation on my computer desktop.) Now that the weather has turned warm and sunny here (finally!), I will turn my attention more to the beauty that surrounds me. Nevertheless, here are a few more pix from beautiful Amsterdam.

First, a view from the eleventh floor of the old Post Office building that also housed the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam's Municipal (modern-art) Museum, while the original building was under renovations. The exhibit I saw there took one painting from each year beginning in the 1880's to the present. (It was an interesting concept but I, personally, would have liked to have seen better choices in some of the artwork.)




Down on the ground, all the houses have hooks near the roof because the houses are so narrow and the stairs so steep, they need to haul items up on the outside:


Some street scenes:




and lastly, even Amsterdam had it's share of graffiti:


Posted by leya at 08:26 AM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2005

More Amsterdam

I took so many pictures on my visit to Amsterdam; it will be hard to choose.






Posted by leya at 06:30 PM

May 29, 2005

Beautiful Amsterdam

My arrival in Amsterdam was at the end of Queensday. Thousands of celebrating people were walking to the train station just as I was leaving it, trying to find transportation to my friends' house. It was so overwhelming (and fascinating) that I forgot to take pictures. But it will remain indelibly marked in my mind.

The next day I went to the countryside around Amsterdam and walked on the dunes with my friends. The dunes stretch 8 kilometres along the Dutch North Sea coast with a width varying from 1.5 to 5 kilometres. I had, before this visit, no idea how magnificent this landscape, with its dense and varied vegetation, was:





That evening we went to a party in central Amsterdam. Looking out the window of the flat, I saw the trees and boats of the endless canals:



Posted by leya at 09:55 AM

May 25, 2005

Back on the tracks

On Saturday, April 30, I got on a train from Zurich to Amsterdam. I sat glued to the window for nine hours that felt like two.

Just outside of Basil was first nuclear power station in action I had ever seen:


There were many fields of canola planted along the Rhine:


I had an hour's layover in the Frankfurt train station. It was a bubbling hub of activity, similar to the Frankfurt airport where I had a six hour layover two years before on my first trip to Zurich. Then I had taken a shower and lay down on the benches to sleep for a couple of hours, just like the business men with their briefcases as pillows. My pillow was my backpack. So when I arrived in Zurich I was ready to go to a fondue party that night with my hosts! On my way home that visit I met some friends from Halifax in the enormous Frankfurt airport. They were on their way to Spain. A happy coincidence.




Posted by leya at 04:58 PM

May 23, 2005

More Lugano





Even lovely Lugano had its share of ugly graffiti:



Nevertheless, I could have stayed another day and explored the towns around the lake, accessible by a boatride that took two hours total. But I had to get back to Widen for the opening reception for my exhibit (which was the original purpose of my trip!).

Posted by leya at 06:17 PM

Lovely Lugano

Lugano is considered to be the Riviera of Switzerland. Warm and sunny, a great place to play. There is the town with its cathedral and old buildings nestled on a steep hill along the side of beautiful Lake Lugano.









Posted by leya at 07:58 AM

May 22, 2005

On to Lugano

My second excursion in Switzerland was an overnight trip to Lugano. The train ride was, as always, passing interesting and beautiful countryside as it drove through the Alps, sporting the longest tunnel in the world.




And the view from my hotel window in Lugano:


Tomorrow I will give you a tour of the town.

Posted by leya at 12:03 PM

May 21, 2005

Bern in the rain

On my second day in Switzerland, I took a day trip by train to Bern.





It was raining so the covered walkways were welcome. It is a beautiful old city with a mixture of the history and new construction. At one point I was taking a serious look at my map and a man stopped to help, then walked with me telling me about the sites as we passed by to my destination, a bookstore where I found a copy of Philp Roth's I Married a Communist (more about the book later).





Posted by leya at 07:40 AM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2005

It must be spring

Since returning home from my travels, I have been obsessed with cleaning my house, literally, top to bottom. I think I am almost done. It started with the renovations to my studio in December, when I had to take everything (which is no small task!) out of my studio so that a new ceiling could be put up. And of course, not everything went back in easily. In the process I also removed some of the places I dumped the extra things. Some of the �stuff� was still on the stairwell when I returned from Amsterdam. Not a happy sight. And the piles of papers everywhere, things to be �looked at later.� So later is now.

It has been an interesting process. I�ve found things I didn�t remember I had, seen things I thought were gone, and made decisions I never expected regarding what to discard. It�s exhausting�and satisfying. I gave away five bags of fabrics, two of scarves, several bags of magazines, boxes of books, sorted through and discarded tons of papers and still haven�t touched the clothes closets.

Now that chore is mostly done, I have some time to enjoy the memories of my travel. Here are a few photos from around Widen, Switzerland. It is a beautiful village on the side of hills that border on a lush valley of farmlands. In the far distance the Alps can be seen about ten days a year. I was there for two of those days.

On the morning of my arrival to Widen, Evelyne, my host, took me to one of those farms that had a little untended bakery with a box to put your money in for your purchase. We shared a delicious pastry and enjoyed the view. Then in the afternoon I took a long walk around the area.





Posted by leya at 07:37 AM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2005

Pictures at the exhibition

Here are a few photos from my exhibit at the Halde Galerie in Switzerland:




Posted by leya at 06:46 PM

April 21, 2005

Great pix!

My friend Heidi Hlubina has started a photoblog and has some amazing pix on it. Check in on some beautiful visions of Halifax!

Posted by leya at 09:38 AM | Comments (2)

April 20, 2005

Portrait on pebbles

Posted by leya at 07:12 PM

April 18, 2005

Making a seat

The tree cleanup crew came this morning and my land is transformed. Most of the debris that has accumlated from our fierce winter winds is now cleared and chipped. A couple of the trees that needed clearing by the water were felled during Hurricane Juan. I arranged for them to be cleared before winter but the snows came early this year and this was the first time we could coordinate the cleanup. So now the �Lady in the Stump� (December 8, 2004 entry) has gone to a new home.


But first she turned into a horse:


and then became a seat on which to enjoy the summer that is coming to the lake:


Posted by leya at 01:17 PM | Comments (2)

April 10, 2005

If winter were not so hard, would spring be so special?

The weather has been beautiful this weekend�warm and sunny. Real spring days. The reward for living through the cold winter. I spent this afternoon cleaning up my garden, getting ready for planting. The crocus are now in full bloom.


Yesterday morning as the fog lifted it left some wet branches behind:

Posted by leya at 06:20 PM | Comments (1)

April 04, 2005

Finally flowers!



There was a break this afternoon in the seemingly endless rains we have been having lately and I went out into my garden to start spring cleaning there. Ive been looking every day for signs of crocus. And was rewarded today. The tender flowers are pushing up through the gravel that was tossed into my garden by the snow plow this winter. He was unusually enthusiastic this year and I am finding stones from my driveway at least six feet into my garden! Spring cleaning is definitely in order.

Posted by leya at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2005

Pictures after the exhibition

In Edmonton I stayed at a lovely B & B, the Glenora Inn. On Monday morning I had to get up early to catch an 8 am plane home. Looking out my window, the view was eery in the early morning light, a few cars and some snow:


Then I pulled the curtain back to get a better view:


Can you guess what this is? It's a view of part of a chair that was in the gallery. Reminds me of the Ellsworth Kelly paintings that I love so much:


Posted by leya at 09:01 AM

March 10, 2005

Pix from the party




We gave her an illustrated family tree, starting with her parents. She was overwhelmed with emotion when she saw it. One hundred years of family.



And finally, the beautiful legs of a one hundred year old lady:


Posted by leya at 07:59 AM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2005

Dear Deer

Yesterday I looked out the window to see a deer nibbling on the branches of some trees that were piled up to be chipped when the snow clears. This time, instead of running outside with my camera and scaring the deer away, I took some pictures from inside:



Deer are such beautiful, graceful animals, so beautiful in the winter when they can do so little harm but such a menace in the summer when my garden is abloom. My friend Gwen puts out apples for the deer. I put out deterrents (net covers in the winter; rotten egg spray in the summer).

Posted by leya at 07:44 AM

February 23, 2005

A lesson in how to enjoy winter

It�s snowing outside right now and another of my birthday gift calla lilies is blooming.




Posted by leya at 01:38 PM

February 07, 2005

A touch of sun on the coming of spring



For my birthday in November I received some calla lilies, now blooming. Such a wonderful treat to see their perfect blooms when there is still huge piles of snow (although melting with this lovely warm weather we are currently enjoying, a few degrees above freezing) still on the ground.

Posted by leya at 08:32 AM | Comments (1)

February 04, 2005

Buried and abandoned


Looking out the window of the drawing studio at school, this picture struck my fancy. Bicycles, patiently waiting for spring.

Yesterday it warmed up enough that I was able to run my car through a wash only to discover underneath all that salt and caked on snow and dirt was a long scratch running along the entire side of my car. It looks like someone took a key and had some perverted fun. Freaky, what�s underneath that snow. All kinds of surprises.

Posted by leya at 07:57 AM

January 26, 2005


The outside thermometer read minus 26 degrees centigrade this morning. (That�s minus 12 Farenheit.) Cold. But as usual, a very beautiful sunrise through the frost on the windows.

Posted by leya at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)

January 23, 2005

It rains in Beautiful BC, endless rain

Last week I was in Vancouver to make connections with people and galleries. Vancouver in the middle of its rainy rain season. I thought I prefered the snow I came home to find in piles everywhere, needing to plow out my car from the snow around it (took a half hour at the airport before I could even load my suitcase into it!). But now we are getting battered and pounded with a heavy blizzard: wind and snow and fingers crossed that the power will stay on.

Some pix from the other side of the continent, the rainy side. The beach in the rain and fog:


The trees in Vancouver were so different than what I am used to seeing. These were across the road from the beach:


I went to a concert in a church and was mostly fascinated by the woman's charming hat in front of me:

Posted by leya at 06:55 PM

December 28, 2004

Shadow play

The sun was bright today and the sky clear, just like they promised. A perfect day to catch shadows on the snow:





Nothing like the sun to make people smile here. I went into Halifax this morning and everyone was cheerful, exchanging stories of driving in the recent blizzard. It turned out the sales person in Radio Shack (I went in to buy a plug-in rechargeable flashlight, getting ready for the next power outage!) had been on the same plane from Montreal that I was on Sunday. He said he took the shuttle into Halifax and the driver went very slow, in the middle of the road, saying he didnt care what anyone thought, let them get angry at him, and he didnt know where they were but they were on the road!

My favorite Canadian winter joke says that driving is easier in the winter because the potholes are filled with ice and snow!

Posted by leya at 07:53 PM

December 25, 2004

Only in LA

Tamar thinks this is just another palm tree picture, but how often do I, a girl from Nova Scotia, see such a warm blue sky on Christmas Eve day? She said she didn't even notice the sky. Her main complaint about the skies around here is that they hardly ever get interesting clouds.


Yesterday I was walking down Sunset with Tamar, Damian and Tamar's friend Michelle when we saw this lovely lady outside a guitar store. I had to go back and get my camera.


These are the Asian pears I love so much. Juicy, eh!


Posted by leya at 03:07 AM

December 21, 2004

The times they are a changin

Tamar and I went to the Farmers Market on Sunday. We stocked up on persimmons and Asian pears, enough to keep me satisfied until I have to leave next Sunday, until I have to go back to the cold North where one pear costs as much as a dozen here and persimmons are rare. But we do have them now in Nova Scotia; we didnt just a few years ago.




Damian and Dante helped us put the food away (well, more or less):


So much has changed from when I first moved North. Then people I knew would laughingly say that NS was thirty years behind the times. Nothing to buy there. I always liked the nothing to buy quality of the place. You start to see what is really important. Shopping is very time consuming. Better just to go out and get what you need. And when you think about it, that isnt really so very much. (There was a time, though, about fifteen years ago, for about four years when I had a part-time administrative job that was good and bad for megood for my public relations skills, bad for my painting mindand would stop at a mall to deposit my paycheck, meander through the boutiques and inevitably buy a sweater or something and eventually give it away because the purchase was more to fill an emotional need than a physical one.)

But now our shopping options in NS are so much greater. When Aaron was first deciding whether to move back to NS a few years ago, he told me he would if I could find choyote in the market. And I did. And he did. For three years he was there cooking and eating one of his favorite vegetables from his life in Brazil.

Nova Scotia is catching up with the times. Good food in the markets, good restaurants, more good movies that stay around longer, some good furniture stores. Now all we have to work on is the weather!

Posted by leya at 11:32 AM

December 20, 2004

Watts up! Not Watt I expected!

We went to Watts Towers on Sunday afternoon, a very warm summer Sunday in December. I had been wanting to go there for several years but there never seemed to be the right time for it. This was definitely the right time. And I was impressed with how much more amazing the structures were than anything I had seen of it in books. The intricate lacework of the towers. The transforming quality of the architecture, how I felt peace just being there. There we were in what felt like an island, or a boat floating in the middle of Los Angeles, a busy metropolis, a city that disappeared, floated away while we were there.






Simon Rodia, born around 1879 and immigrated to the U.S. in the 90s, built the towers, beginning in 1921 and continuing for 33 years. He used no machine equipment, no scaffolding, bolts, rivets, only a tile setters tools and a window washers belt and buckle. The nine major scuptures are decorated with a mosaic of broken glass and ceramics. He was considered a crazy man, an alcoholic with wild ideas. It is thought that he built the towers as a monument of atonement, a witness to the power of belief, a prayer of and to love.

At the end of the tour the guide gave Damian a stone heart and told him: May you have everything your heart desires. I would add: Take care of your heart.



Posted by leya at 03:04 PM

What you see is what you get.

A few months back, my friend Ray, after yet another disappointing blind-date where I had lots of hope beforehand, said to me: Leya, you have to stop kissing frogs! So on my birthday this year, Inge gave me the perfect frog, one that is just a frog, now and forevermore.


Frogs.because of an innate restlessness that for too many years told me there had to be something better than what I was given, what I thought at one time was what I had wanted. I remember too often hearing my mother say that poisonous phrase: if only or I wish. How hard it is to be here, to accept, to see what is offered, to take and give what is needed.

Shortly before she died she told my sister they treat their second wife better. Just wait and see. And he did. And I know he regretted not having given her more of what she, my mother, would have wanted. I know my parents loved each other in the way people did when they did not consider divorce an optionthere was respect, admiration, frustration, anger, all part of the decision to be married.

Damian understands about frogs. They are his favorite animal, his pals. He has a security frog he carries around most of the time. Just a mash of plastic that warms in his six year-old hand but he knows it is what it is even when he invests it with much more. Fantasy and reality blended into a pile of pleasure-loving-giving frogs. Just frogs.


Posted by leya at 12:53 AM

December 12, 2004

Hey mr. sandman, send a dream for me

Seeing the pix of the sunrise over my lake, Yoko said she understands why I get up so early.


Im just a country girl, rarely miss the sunrise. Love the early morning hours. The trees, the lake, the brook that are outside my door. After most of my years in Manhattan and then twenty-one here, I dont think I could ever live in a city again. I cant say I enjoy the isolation, the loneliness of country living, the (sometimes long and arduous) drive into town, but I do enjoy the solitude and beauty that surrounds me, that allows me to relax into my own being. Yet I do not want Lonely to be my roommate.

Carries mother puts it perfectly in The Dive from Clausens Pier (by Ann Packer): Lonely is a funny thing, she said slowly. Its almost like another person. After a while, itll keep you company if youll let it.

These thoughts as I am about to take off for the warm embrace of my children and the big cities they live in now, Montreal and Los Angeles.

Posted by leya at 01:37 PM

December 08, 2004

The lady in the stump


For over a year now, since Hurricane Juan swept across my little piece of paradise, I have been looking at this lady of the stump and wondering how and when I could ask (make) her leave. She has been a reminder of the vicissitudes of weather here in beautiful Nova Scotia and a hindrance to my view. So, finally, I called a tree removal company and had an estimate today for the cost of her departure. It is high (expensive) but it feels like letting her squat on my land any longer is more expensive, robbing me of a broader view.

All this because I had a proper feng shui reading a few weeks ago and, since I am naturally a true believer (dont need to be convinced of the existence of unseen energy forces), I am, as rapidly as the depths of my pockets will allow, implementing the suggestions. There are lots of things to do, all making sense, both practical and visual. Besides hauling away the debris from the hurricane, I have to finish off the ceiling in my studio. Until now it has had exposed beams and according to feng shui principles, that means cutting energy which is very bad for both health and prosperity. It will also mean less fumes being able to sneak up into my living space. So I am currently cleaning up my studio, a job long overdue, throwing away outdated, unusable items, sorting and rearranging. Then all my paintings and supplies have to come up into my living room and the work will take place, thankfully, while I am away over the next two weeks.

This is a lot to do along with getting ready to go away (shopping, sewing presents, cleaning, packing) and still teaching, eating, reading and sleeping. (Cant paint, so that gives me some time I dont usually have!) Its going to be a very tired (and relieved) me who gets on that plane next Tuesday!

Posted by leya at 03:05 PM

November 25, 2004

Up in the air junior birdman, up in the air, upside down


With the holidays approaching and people traveling, Tom Allen was just commenting (on the radio) that 24% of people hope that they will make a romantic connection when they board an airplane, will sit next to the love of their life for that average of a two hour flight, and a more realistic 14% hope to make a business association.

Wow! Hows that for fantasy in the air!

Posted by leya at 08:26 AM

November 12, 2004

The last few mornings

There has been a lineup of the crescent moon, Mars and Venus, visible in the early morning and I was lucky enough to catch a picture of it.


Posted by leya at 09:13 AM

November 07, 2004

It was another one of those beautiful autumn mornings


and I went running outside with my camera in my slippers and robe because I know how quickly the light changes.

Posted by leya at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)

October 31, 2004

The scrouge of Halloween


Halloween has become one of my not-favorite holidays. I dont know why. But now that my children are gone (years ago when I could participate either through my children or myself carrying a large paper grocery bag around the neighborhood with my friends all of us dressed up in our wildest fantasies it was fun--going around begging for treats, sweets that would be doled out for weeks to come) I just want to get away--so I am off to the movies and dinner out on the town with Yoko.

Posted by leya at 12:32 PM

October 30, 2004

Where did all the flowers go


Well, thats it. Summer is over. The screens are down and the dock is in. Thats it. A sad day at the end of October.

But the light has been so beautiful in the evenings. Everyone, even in Halifax, is commenting. And today the lake was like glass and the air soft.

Posted by leya at 07:07 PM

October 28, 2004

Which flavor/flavour will you have today........


There was an interview with three translators on CBC radio the other day. The main point was that there are often no direct word for word translations that make sense in another language. One translator said that because she didnt write poetry herself she would never be able to translate poetry. Leave that to the poets. It is a fascinating art, translating.

Last night (after our duets) Yoko and her husband Hiro (who joined us for dinner) started talking about the differences in our languages. It started with Hiro asking me why we (English speaking people) call someone cool as a cucumber. We think of cool in this case as aloof. In Japan, someone is considered like a cucumber when they are rail thin. If you think about some of our idiomatic expressions, they can seem quite odd. For instance: Its raining cats and dogs. Why cats and dogs? What a strange image, raining cats and dogs. In Japan the image is it is raining like a mud slide. Something they know a lot about in their country. But do we have cats and dogs in the air, sitting in the clouds waiting to come visit en masse when it rains?

I recently named a painting To Under Stand, but when I gave the image to the photo store to be duplicated with the title imprinted on the slide, the pun was lost: she printed it To Understand. To me, a big difference. Take the word understand: what are you standing under when you understand a concept? When looking it up in Websters New Universal Unabridged Universal Dictionary (who quoted Shakespeare: My legs do better understand me, sir, than I understand what you mean), the understanding immerged that you understand when you are emerged, surrounded by, and thereby standing in the concept. Understand?

Posted by leya at 08:56 PM

October 22, 2004

How many toys does it take to make a classroom


The main ingredient in making art seems to be fearlessness. (Either that or stupidity, but I really think it is the former!) In my figure drawing class I have a young student, a very young student. She is about to turn thirteen. She is fearless. She participates in everything: group discussions, critiques, homework. Has a real voice in a classroom of students between the ages of eighteen to possibly forty-five (or more). She listens to suggestions and corrections on her drawings, is developing a good critical eye and her work is good (sometimes spectacular) and getting better.

Ive known her since before she was born and have seen her interest in art blossom. She has usually focused on imaginative drawing, fanciful, delightful images of imaginary beings. Now she is learning about proportion, foreshortening, line quality, composition and other meaty parts of drawing. She was interviewed by the faculty and given permission to take courses with the agreement of the instructor. Shes done figure drawing before but without an instructor. I am continually impressed with the courage that seems so natural to her, something I would venture to say is even more important than talent.

Another examination of artistic fearlessness is in comparing (which I cannot help wanting to do) the two groups I am teaching who are studying somewhat the same material. My NSCAD class is a fourteen week course exploring water media. Of course, with my bent, I focus on color. Then there is the group of Buddhist friends, some who have never done any painting before, some with a lot of experience, who asked for a four week series learning to use color. So for the past two weeks I have given both groups the same project. I put out all white objects and told them to use color, no white, just invent the color. The Buddhist students are very open to my projects, none of the resistance that I frequently encounter with art school students. The do we have to do that kinds of comments (that drive me up the wall!). But it takes a little more explanation on my part because of the lack of experience on their part. On the other hand, the art school students, when they do willingly connect to a project, take it on with an immediacy that comes from technical expertise developed over intense course instruction. It seems fearlessness comes in many forms but has a common denominator of just doing it!

Posted by leya at 01:57 PM

October 21, 2004

There is music in the air

Youve heard of air guitar, no doubt, and Damian & Tamar play air hockey, but have you heard of air recorder? Last week Yoko came over for our weekly duet session (four hand piano) and after dinner I brought out my alto recorder. Since Yoko had left hers at home, she accompanied me on a tube of toothpaste. A new jumbo tube, so she also played alto. She even took the other part so we played a mean duet!

When I was in LA Damian, my drummer boy, accompanied me on his recorder while I practiced on mine.


Posted by leya at 07:08 AM

October 13, 2004

What a pickle


My mother would spend long hot August days in a steamy kitchen putting up preserves: peaches, applesauce, tomato sauce, watermelon pickles, plum jam and more. She would enlist my help and I swore that when I had a home of my own, you would never see me doing THAT! And guess what I did this weekend! Just THAT! Zucchini chutney, with grapefruit, raisins, lemons, apples and spices. The zucchini was two feet long. The one that grew too big in my garden when I was in California. Every autumn it is a thrill to see the jars line up with the specialty of the day and I giggle, just as my mother did, when the lids pop as they seal. Very satisfying.

Posted by leya at 09:02 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2004

From hearts on the street to bars without drink


So many people tell me that San Francisco is one of their favorite cities. I can see why now. When I was there last weekend, I was free on Friday to walk around, see the sights: Chinatown, the Italian section, browsed in City Lights Bookstore (bought a Sherman Alexie novel and a pin that says Fuck Art, Lets Dance), walked on down to Fisherman's Wharf and took a ferry to Alcatraz.


That was a real treat, a spooky, eerie, interesting site, a photographer's paradise. The audio-guide quoted prisoners saying the hardest part was that they could see the world they were missing--the San Francisco life was real, visible but unavailable to them.


Originally Acatraz was very strict with the inmates but in the 60's the looser hippie culture affected the routines and the less violent prisoners were allowed radios and drawing materials. Still, the abandoned building reverberates of frustration and the cobwebs of lost lives.



Posted by leya at 02:29 PM

From hearts on the street to bars without drink


So many people tell me that San Francisco is one of their favorite cities. I can see why now. When I was there last weekend, I was free on Friday to walk around, see the sights: Chinatown, the Italian section, browsed in City Lights Bookstore (bought a Sherman Alexie novel and a pin that says Fuck Art, Lets Dance), walked on down to Fisherman's Wharf and took a ferry to Alcatraz.


That was a real treat, a spooky, eerie, interesting site, a photographer's paradise. The audio-guide quoted prisoners saying the hardest part was that they could see the world they were missing--the San Francisco life was real, visible but unavailable to them.


Originally Acatraz was very strict with the inmates but in the 60's the looser hippie culture affected the routines and the less violent prisoners were allowed radios and drawing materials. Still, the abandoned building reverberates of frustration and the cobwebs of lost lives.



Posted by leya at 02:29 PM

September 12, 2004

If only every day was a summer day

Its been getting really cool at night, great for sleeping, but heralding the end of summer far too soon. Today was sunny, a precious warm day, a day to savor, a memory to save for the long dark winter so close ahead.


Apparently Kiku (the dog) will ride in any boat that comes along, even little ones. The parents and the girls came for one last sweet swim. I tried out my new wetsuit and was so pleased. It really works! My season in the water is extended!

Posted by leya at 07:06 PM

September 06, 2004

It was one of those perfect mornings

Earlier today--the air was crisp, the mist on the lake magical, sweetening the end of summer.


Posted by leya at 02:36 PM | Comments (2)

September 01, 2004

Another piece of paradise

I went to Kingsburg (a small village on the south shore, near Lunenburg, very beautiful scenery) over the weekend to visit with friends (lots of people I know were there as well.....a surprise and fun). It was good to get away from my own piece of paradise, to another kind of paradise, one where I couldnt do my own things" (i.e., fuss in my studio), so I just read (The Time Travelers Wife, a wonderful book which was my host's and I read the whole 500 page book in three days!), ate, swam and enjoyed the company and the scenery:





Posted by leya at 04:47 PM

August 25, 2004

Sunny days

We are finally having a week of beautiful sunny days. It's supposed to stay like this through the weekend. What a relief from all that rain and cold! A friend came over to swim this afternoon. She brought her one year old Brittany spanial and five teenagers (two of her own and three friends).

The pup, Cassie, was a little shy of the water at first:


but she decided she really wanted that ball:


and it was worth it. "Look at me!"


The teenagers reminded me of the whales off Cape Breton:


They jumped (not dived, fortunately) off a big boulder in the middle of the lake.


Afterwards I told them the story of The Dive From Claussen's Pier. Not a good idea, to jump from that rock, in unknown waters. But they were okay. The adventurous spirit prevailed.

Posted by leya at 08:50 PM

August 21, 2004


Peggy, of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, has a great sense of humor and I never knew it before. She is the star in a wonderful play at the Old Red Schoolhouse in Peggys Cove. The play is called Peggy and is an amazing, very funny one-person skit that tells the story of the Cove and what it means to Peggy (and Peggy to it). The actor, John Beale, grew up there. He has an extremely malleable, expressive face and had the audience in tears from laughter. There will be some performances over Labour Day weekend, Friday September 3rd through Monday September 6th, 2pm and 4pm daily. So if you get a chance, dont miss it!

Peggy rocks.jpg

Peggy houses.jpg
Posted by leya at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2004

Living with nature


There is a chipmunk who has been eating my peas. It pulls them off the vine, opens the shells, and pulls out the peas. It also leaves the husks for me to clean up. Apparently, chipmunks are rare and so I should be happy to have it's company. He or she certainly is tame. Hardly moves when I go out to ask it to leave me some peas. Im going to buy it a bag of peanuts.

Last year I had a couple of black bears in my driveway rooting through my refuse pails. I called the Department of Natural Resources. She said O yes, there have been sightings in your neighborhood and told me how to discourage bears (dont put out the garbage until the last minute and make noise when out in the evening and dont play dead with black bears, they will attack).

Then there are the deer (I use a rotten egg spray to keep them away. It works, so far). And the bunnies and the slugs. Now, the slugs are going too far! I am very squeamish about slugs (and a lot of other squishy bugs). A friend was telling me her husband picks them up with his bare hands and puts them in a carefully made bed of delectable garden trimmings and gives them a new home (in a yogurt container). What amazing patience. A real mastery of aggression. I have a long way to go there!

When I was in Cape Breton a couple of weeks ago I saw a fox on the road.


By the time I got out of my car to take a picture, it took off.


I was told that every year a mother moose brings her weaned and trained baby moose there and abandons it. Apparently it looks around frantically for mommy and then gives up and adjusts.

Sometimes I wonder why I am living in the country. Maybe I am not fit for this interaction with nature. On the positive side, there is no speed of a city to become absorbed in. The noise level of crows can be the biggest problem; the song of the loons the greatest joy. The constant prattle of the brook by my house a lullaby. Living so close to nature here, I see my own nature more clearly. And I can be my own nature more easily. So my fears of slugs and bears and my intense aversion to the yearly spring invasion of ants are small irritations in the larger picture.

Posted by leya at 12:17 PM | Comments (3)

August 14, 2004

On the waterfront

The Halifax waterfront is alive and well.and very active. I missed the Tall Ships because I was in Cape Breton that weekend. Last time they were in the harbor (summer of 2000), I was there every day totally fascinated, climbing on board, exploring, taking pictures, taking my students to draw (they were so mesmerized by the magnificence of the boats they forgot to draw). Now the Buskers are taking over the boardwalk. It is so crowded, walking is difficult, the traffic is heavy, the air is filled with delight.


Getting away from it all, some children climbed up on top of the wave sculpture. Better view up there:


Other children put on big lobster claws and duked it out:


or crawled through claws into a fun house:


There were lots of trinkets to buy:


or you could ride around (and be serenaded) in a man-drawn cart before getting married:


Of course, there were lots of Buskers as well, but, as you can see, I was sidetracked by the peripheral events.

Posted by leya at 06:57 PM

August 10, 2004

Travel report

Just when I thought the pressure would calm down for a few weeks, everything was turned upside down (again) by a phone call from Linda Fairchild telling me that she would like to change the opening day for my exhibit in San Francisco (from September 9 to September 23) The reason is good, the effect will be good. I cannot complain. She is opening a second space and would like it to be with my work and a big celebration. But.it means changing what was going to be an extended holiday visiting my children (and missing the first week of school in September) to a shorter, more efficient trip (with no visit in Montreal to see Aaron & Jessica and still missing a few classes) and the possibility that Tamar, Dan & Damian will not be able to go to San Francisco. But I will visit them in Los Angeles. There is no point in being in California without seeing them! But a stop in Montreal will have to wait. Darn!

The best part (for me) is that she is adding three more paintings to what we picked out (and I have already shipped to her) in July. And I feel these three paintings will definitely make the exhibit stronger. They are necessary additions.




Posted by leya at 08:13 AM

August 07, 2004

The summer that isn't

This weather is enough to make anyone feel lousy: chilly and raining almost every day. Anytime the sun comes out, people say "Summer, finally!" but that doesn't last long, just more rain again. And chilly. Good for the slugs in my garden. A new occupation for me, chasing slugs. No fun. I have the dehumidier going all the time in my studio so it is pleasant in there (besides the fact that I love to paint).

It's been so strange, the weather, that I haven't been able to grow lettuce. Planted seeds three times. No luck. And I'm not the only one. But the peas and beans and squash and lilies are doing great, as long as I keep the pests away! Where, oh where, is summer!



Posted by leya at 02:42 PM

August 06, 2004

Beautiful Cape Breton

Its another of those cold and wet days we have had too much of this summer. To cheer me up, here are some memories of a refreshing trip to beautiful Cape Breton last weekend, where it was sunny and warm..

Sheets in the wind at the motel where most of the wedding guests stayed:


The sunset from the whale watching cruise boat:


And a familiar postcard scene of the Cabot Trail. I stopped at lots of lookouts to take pix because it was too beautiful to leave behind (and also to keep myself from falling asleep at the wheel after so much party!):


Posted by leya at 11:28 AM

July 25, 2004

A day in the life.......

Its been one of those weekends. A little of this and a lot of that. The usual studio time in the mornings, that was good. Then Yoko came over yesterday noon for a ride in my paddle-boat. After so many days of rain, we had to bail out the boat first. But it felt so good, so decadent to sit back and ride along the water, check out the neighbors back yards.


Then I went to Peggys Cove. Thought I was going to another jazz concert (I had gone to a really good one there last Sunday) but apparently it had been changed from Saturday to Sunday and I was planning to meet some friends there but they didnt show up so I wandered around, enjoying one of my favorite places in the world. I don't know what it is about Peggy's Cove, but even with all the tourists there yesterday, I still find it fascinating, an unusual mixture of a real, working fishing village and a dramatic wonder of nature for tourists.




And then I returned home to enjoy another misty foggy evening and more rain again.


Posted by leya at 08:51 PM

July 22, 2004

Animal songs


Yesterday must have been Animal Day. In the morning I saw a deer in my (long) driveway, munching on the leaves of bushes. He noticed me but took his time before bounding off. Then later as I opened a window upstairs I heard a rustle in the woods and saw another (I think different) deer quickly leaping away. In the evening when Yoko and I were playing the Grieg Norwegian Dance No.I (four-hand piano) we were accompanied by a squirrel outside the window who kept time with the rhythm of the piece. When we played the Norwegian Dance No. IV, he wasnt so interested and didnt play with us. It didnt have the same rhythm that the squirrel was attracted to. Amazing! We had a good laugh there!

Posted by leya at 09:26 AM

July 13, 2004

What I did on my summer vacation....

It really was a lovely holiday, not a care in the world, just wandered around, saw the city, visited with friends, hung out with Aaron & Jessica.

Went to the Montreal Jazz Fest........


and watched/heard some jazz outdoors:


Lots of people wandering across the grounds:


Watched people watching jazz:


Went to bookstores but didn't buy anything this trip. I still have stacks of books to read at home. (I did read Richard Russo's Empire Falls while I was there. Took it off the shelves from Jessica's family. Really good book):


Went to Ikea. (Bought a rack for CD's that fit into my suitcase):


Wandered about the streets with Aaron & Jessica and with friends:


It's a very busy, noisy city. Lots of "things" to do. Also went to the Musee de Beaux-Arts to see the Jean Cocteau exhibit, went to coffee shops, went to two movies, Farenheit 9/11 and The Corporation (what a strange world we are living in!), wrote, read, slept and ate.

I came home to a garden of bursting peonies and quiet nights with only the loons singing on the lake. It is indeed nice to be home.

Posted by leya at 06:43 PM

July 12, 2004

Flying high

The view definitely seems better from Executive Class!


I was bumped up to first class flying to Montreal. Not bad! Back in steerage on the way home, but was (am) too tired to notice!

After a week in noisy busy Montreal it is very quiet here now. Must catch up on some sleep before I say more............

Posted by leya at 04:13 PM

July 03, 2004

It's a strike!

It really was a strike! Tomo, Yoko and I went bowling last night. My score was not too bad, considering. Tomo and Yoko were better, for sure. But partway into the game, I realized that if I concentrated more on what I was doing, not just throw the ball and hope for the best, but really concentrate, as in telling myself to keep my wrist straight, to think strike (i.e., get the ball to go down the center of the lane, not into the gutter!) it really helped. Not very different from playing the piano, where so often I find my mind drifting and then the notes wander away from the music and go into the gutter as well. I think it is different in painting, where my mind is tuned in whether I realize it or not, my reactions sometimes feel outside of my body/mind. Maybe because I have been doing it for so long and it is so much a part of my body language. But then there are times when my concentration is essential to make the right choices. And thats where it counts on the scorecard.

I also realized after a while Yoko was doing so well because she used the shiny balls. That helped my game too!


Here they look like chocolate ballsgood enough to eat.

Posted by leya at 02:03 PM

July 01, 2004

Image of summer

Yoko and her friend Tomo who is visiting from Japan came over yesterday afternoon. We played duets, sat down by the lake and then feasted on watermelon.



Four warm sunny days in a row, setting a record for this year! Perhaps we will have a summer after all.

Posted by leya at 08:30 PM

June 18, 2004

Summer sky

The clouds were making fascinating patterns in the sky this morning, seducing me away from my studio.........




Think I'll get arrested for cloud p*rn*graphy?

Posted by leya at 01:53 PM

June 11, 2004

More sun

The sun is still shining and the sky really is blue:


and they say we will have a few more days of this amazing (shocking/beautiful/unusual) weather (before it rains again).

Posted by leya at 01:36 PM

June 10, 2004

Mind pix

Here is a photo of my mind these days. Too much to do, too little time:


Well, really, these are the equipment we use in my Pilates classes at The Interlude in Halifax. I love the machines, the toys. They make me feel powerful, sometimes, that is, when they dont put up too much resistance.

Occasionally, my mind calms down a bit, a nice place to rest, but still a little work to do:


Posted by leya at 09:11 AM

June 06, 2004

Verve Mwendo

A photo of Jacinte Arstrong and Jenee Cowing from last night's performance:


Posted by leya at 03:28 PM

June 05, 2004

Red tulips

A friend brought these over from her garden to brighten up my house on those (hopefully now gone) grey days.


I put this photo of the tulips on my desktop, just in case I need their cheerful faces again.

Posted by leya at 01:10 PM | Comments (2)

Sunny sky

Another beautiful sunny day. Two days in a row, setting a record for this year! Imagine that!


Posted by leya at 01:06 PM

June 03, 2004

White tulip

When Yoko comes over she takes beautiful pix of my flowers.


Posted by leya at 07:59 AM

May 29, 2004

Behind the glass

Terry Drahos is having an exhibit at the Grand Pre Winery Gallery. I saw it last Thursday. It was another cold rainy day. The work is very good, well worth the trip to Wolfville in any weather.


It will be up until June 11. All of the paintings are the same size which gives the long narrow gallery space a cohesiveness that it needs and showcases the work well (although I could have done without the wine barrel).

The gallery overlooks (through wired glass) the wine making barrels. I had some fun taking pictures through the (looking) glass:



Terry is pointing out the wine barrels behind the glass with her paintings reflected in the glass:

Posted by leya at 03:49 PM

May 27, 2004

David and Goliath

It looks like the tulip had a fight with the reflectors. And the tulip won!


Posted by leya at 07:05 AM

May 25, 2004

When the stars fall

The sun was shining just enough through the grey morning sky to see stars on the lake:


Posted by leya at 08:15 PM

May 23, 2004


Posted by leya at 01:03 PM

May 13, 2004

Go away bugs

Tamar is (emphatically) telling the bugs to go away:


She was four years old when this photo was taken (in my parents' back yard in Bethesda, Maryland).

Posted by leya at 07:25 AM

May 12, 2004

Afternoon sun

The sun was bright today down by the waterfront:


and on the boardwalk:


and the boats:


and everyone was smiling and friendly.

Posted by leya at 05:18 PM

Morning mist

This morning, the sunrise was reflected on the trees with the mist rising on the lake; I went outside in slippers and bathrobe with camera. Everyone will be smiling today. The sun is bright after two days of cold and rain.



Posted by leya at 08:54 AM | Comments (1)

April 25, 2004

Another snowy day

Yesterday the snow came down in heavy flakes for several hours. In the evening when Aaron (who was visiting for the day) and I were having dinner, we watched the snow as if we were in a movie theatre. Aaron said it was like watching fish in an aquarium.

This morning I woke to see a layer of confectioner's sugar on the ground. The rhododendron had been thinking about blooming soon, but I expect they are not so sure right now.


The crocuses are still there under the thin snow blanket. The sun is out this morning and probably the flowers will be showing their faces again soon.



Posted by leya at 08:54 AM

April 19, 2004

White crocus, flags of spring.......

It's starting to warm up and sometimes it even feels like spring. When the sky is clouded over, the crocuses close up.......


But when the sun shines, as it did yesterday, the flowers open up and show their beautiful tender faces.......


Nevertheless I am not convinced it will not snow again so I won't put my snow shovel away until June.

Posted by leya at 07:14 AM

April 14, 2004

Blazing trees........

The sunset on the white pines by the lake was spectacular a couple of days ago:


and across the lake the trees looked like they were on fire:


But it has been and will continue to be raining, with drizzle and fog for the rest of the week.

Posted by leya at 08:03 AM

April 05, 2004

April snows

It IS April! And/but this morning it is snowing, big, soft balls of snow. It is coming down fast:


All the trees are turning white (again) and my driveway is covered with snow (again), so........ T.S. Elliot was right, April IS the cruelest month. But it is not breeding roses here.

Yesterday Yoko came over before we went into Halifax to see The Triplets of Bellesville, a strange, beautifully animated movie. It had been (and is predicted to continue) raining for three days. The fog on the lake was enchanting and Yoko noticed two ducks on the ice:


The tree logs on the edge of the lake are ones that had to be cut up after the blizzard felled them in October.

Here is a closeup shot of the ducks (well, as close as I could get, considering how wet and soggy the ground was and that we wanted to get to the movie on time):


Posted by leya at 08:18 AM

March 27, 2004


Did someone say it is spring? It must be somewhere. The sun on the lake was beautiful this morning. (My neighbor Danis says the ice is still 18 thick. He was out with his kite in the middle of the lake last week.)


And there must be at least a foot of snow in most places. But my driveway is clear, the brook is running fast........


and it is warming up, so perhaps, if there is not more snow.

Posted by leya at 09:22 AM

March 17, 2004

O no, more snow!

Yoko was going to come over this morning (which inspired my housekeeping need) to play duets (four hand piano). She was going to bring a couple of friends visiting from Tokyo. But we had another big dump of snow last night and my driveway was impassable except on foot, and her friends, coming from Tokyo, had only brought sneakers. So we will have to wait until Friday to play together.

Meanwhile, how much snow do we need for one winter! Really now!



Posted by leya at 05:55 PM

March 07, 2004

Another Country

I just returned from a lovely weekend in the country. Now, I do live in the country; I just went to a different part of the country, one farther north on the Fundy Shore, near Parrsboro. There was still lots of snow around:


A friend recently bought a cottage there, a one hundred year old house, small, but very lovely. It needs work yet is still easy enough to be in. That is, if you dont mind no running water in the winter and no insulation in the walls. (Even with a wood stove, it was pretty cold at times.) It will be delightful in the summer (after the black flies leave). Blackberries and blueberries in abundance. Swimming and hiking, amazing vistas and friendly neighbors.

There is an outhouse:


My friend sent me on snow-shoes up to the crest of her hill to see the view which was spectacular. But I still seem to be more fascinated by what is more intimate:


Yesterday we went to various country stores and chatted with neighbors. It was raining and very beautiful.


It was nice to be away, to another country home, but it is so very nice to be in my own warm house with running water (I feel like I have brushed my teeth six times since I got home) and flush toilets.

Posted by leya at 08:12 PM

March 01, 2004


Posted by leya at 01:42 PM

February 26, 2004

Morning sun on the snow




Posted by leya at 08:13 AM

February 25, 2004

One Leaf's View of Winter

There is one leaf on an old oak tree outside my kitchen window. Tenacious, fluttering in the cold winter wind. Nowhere to go except the frozen snow. Waiting, with me, for spring.


Posted by leya at 06:42 AM

February 23, 2004

Snow and plow





Posted by leya at 12:55 PM

February 21, 2004

The Storm





Posted by leya at 03:48 PM

February 11, 2004

Musical Snow

The snow came down this afternoon in a heavy blanket.........



Then the snow stopped and the sun set behind the trees covered with new snow.......



Posted by leya at 06:48 PM

February 02, 2004

A Girl from Sao Paulo

What does a seven year old girl who has lived in Brazil for the last five years of her life do when she comes to Montreal in January?


Play in the snow


and watch the skaters


and then skate!


Eat in cosmopolitan Montreal restaurants!


Draw with her new pencil crayons in an upbeat cafe!


Go to the Botanical Gardens. It was so cold outside. Nice to be in the warm greenhouses.


Hug her dad.


Pose with the cacti.


Take a picture at the dim sum resaturant of the jello. (She took some really good photos all along the way. A budding photographer. Her grandmother just wanted to show you more of Shaya in Montreal in early January.)

Posted by leya at 07:48 PM

February 01, 2004

Whatever the weather

The weather seems to be the main topic of conversation in Canada, especially here in the Maritimes, where the weather is so erratic. And indeed, this winter has been intense. Cold. Not as much snow as last year. But still snow. And cold. (-24 C. in the daytime sometimes and often at night. That's -10 F.)

When I was in school in Rhode Island, we had a little ditty that kept us going through the (similarly erratic, but not so cold) extremes of weather there:

Whether the weather be fair
Whether the weather be hot
Well weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not!


Posted by leya at 09:05 AM

January 24, 2004

From the Inside Out

It's turned cold again here, -18 C in the daytime. (We had a reprieve last week.) I woke up this morning to see the sunrise through frost on the windows, icicles hanging from the roofline, and later in the day, sun on the snow.






Posted by leya at 02:01 PM

January 18, 2004

Just plain cold.

Yes, it has been cold here, for several weeks. Around -24 C. in the afternoon, with the sun shining. With snow. And very beautiful:






But it is warming up, hovering near zero degrees Celsius. Almost balmy!

Posted by leya at 04:58 PM

January 12, 2004

Two beauties

I have the most beautiful grandchildren. See for yourself:




I just returned from a weekend with Shaya in Montreal (she was visiting from Brazil) and before that, two weeks with Damian in Los Angeles. I am too overwhelmed with emotion to write more now.

Posted by leya at 09:00 AM

December 19, 2003

The beach in Santa Monica





Posted by leya at 12:23 PM