I always find David Alton’s blog so informative and since I recently wrote about this very issue, I wanted to share these powerful reflections with my readers.

David Alton

Visit “It’s A Girl” website to see extracts of the film:


What You Can Do –


The following remarks were made by David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool) at a screening of the short film: “It’s a Girl” – which highlights gendercide, the abortion of little girls aborted because of their sex.

October 11th was UN International Day of the Girl. During that commemoration it was suggested that globally some 100 million girls are the victims of domestic violence, compulsory veiling, the sex trade, trafficking, bonded labour, forced marriages, genital mutilation, and sexual abuse.

Compared with their male counterparts, their life prospects – from education to employment – are significantly less.

The story of an amazing 14-year-old young woman, Lamala Yousafzai, recovering in a Birmingham hospital after being gunned down by the…

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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

What magic today…working with grade two students, as a guest teacher.  I began with the reading of Where the Wild Things Are, one of my favourite children’s picture books! Maurice Sendak passed away on my birthday this year.  I found him to be a mysterious and quirky individual, so taken by the works of William Blake and consumed with the concept that none of his books were children’s books.  It was years ago that my grade five class performed as Max and the Wild Things as the kick off for a Read Alive Week in our school.

Today, as the students were obviously keyed up for Halloween night, they had opportunity to draw, colour and paint their own wild thing-creation.  They learned about interlocking shapes, transparency and resist.  I had fun watching them create and treasured my interactions with them about their own little monsters.

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I found this foldable on John Gatti’s website and feel as though it represents, again, that magical place between what is real and what is dream.

Space Tribe Candy is a wonderful site to explore.  The biographical information that follows is taken from this site and introduces you to John Gatti’s work.


John Gatti, born in Lawrence, Kansas and recieved his BFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Arts in 2008 from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He then moved to New York City and is currently a Masters of Art Education candidate at Brooklyn College. In 2008 Gatti’s Senior Thesis Exhibit was awarded best in show by MIAD Faculty. Gatti’s work has been included in numerous shows in the New York area and the “Baby Robot” exhibition that traveled to San Fransisco, Memphis, and Madison. You can read Gatti’s blog at johngatti.blogspot.com and visit his Etsy store atspacetribecandy.etsy.com.

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Gorilla House LIVE ART: October 24, 2012

Photo Credit: Don and Elaine

It’s been days since our last yahoo at the Gorilla House, but quite honestly, I’ve been hard-pressed to find any visual archives of my last work.  This is the first week that I didn’t take my own photographs, although I did photograph a couple of pieces by other artists.

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman Thanks, Belinda! You have provided me with the single archive of the evening! Whoot!

Thanks to Don for the purchase of my painting at auction.

The themes of this weeks battle were 1. blue line, 2. let us not think of clothes and 3. nacho cheese.  Working with orange, red orange and yellow-orange was new for me.  I realize now that I don’t use this palette very often. Without the suggested concept of nacho cheese, I wouldn’t have taken that on and so my decision was to focus on colour exclusively, with an intention to eventually incorporate a quote from the Gospel of Matthew 6: 28 at the end.  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”

I continued to use my former ‘trucker’ journals as a basis for the collage, this time, cutting them into tree elements.  I enjoyed using the horizontal format this week and found that I immediately entered into the piece as landscape.  I felt very relaxed while painting on Wednesday and had fun chatting with some new folk, as well as artist-friend, Belinda.   Had I more time, I would have continued adding collage, pulling layers of acrylic washes over the piece and resolving the central foreground.  As it was, the piece was impacted by the two hour deadline.  It was a fun experiment regardless.

I met Bronwyn Schuster and look forward to following her work, loaded with humour and excellent technique. For 365 days, Bronwyn made entries about her drawings/projects and stuff and I’ve really enjoyed exploring this portfolio.  It speaks so much of an artist’s journey and where her mind takes her.  Take a look here. Her self portrait series blows me away and is inspiring me to try a similar series as a way of developing technique.  Some of her work causes me to feel nostalgic about oil paint.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such juicy surfaces and rich colour mixing.  Below, her piece completed in the two hour battle.

To follow, another artist’s work…will post their name as soon as I verify.  These two pieces, along with my own, demonstrate the curious notion of working from three concepts and discovering the potential for interpretation.

Be obscure clearly. E.B. White

Sweet Pickles and Other Matters of Consequence

It is a wonderful thing to find yourself being able to go to the fridge during the day to retrieve a sweet pickle from a jar…to be able to sip a glass of chilled white wine while sitting writing at the computer desk in the early afternoon.

This day has been filled with magic and it feels as though it has only begun.  The birds in this neighbourhood are well-fed.  I noticed early this morning Mr. and Mrs. continue to hold up in the neighbours’ vent across from my kitchen window.  The photo is not great. It was early…the sun was just rising as I made my morning coffee.

I had a note from artist, Bronwyn Schuster.  Bronwyn was a guest artist at the Gorilla House LIVE ART battles last evening…maybe just passing through.  Not sure. I was so impressed by her art and  I don’t want to lose track of her.  Her self portrait series is captivating.  Here is her piece completed during the battles.

Max has been co-operating as a front seat passenger.  I removed his kennel from the van a week ago in order to bring a huge nativity scene home. (this is another story all together and I will write it up when we’re into ‘the season’)  In past experiences, Max has gone nuts while riding in the front seat.  He continues to have the problem of salivating all over the dash and licking the side window…but apart from those annoying habits, he is following sit, stay and quiet commands.  I’m impressed.  My readers have no idea how high strung this particular dog is, so Max-man really DOES deserve the accolades here.  Good boy, Max!

Of course, driving home from the off leash park, I listened to CBC radio and particularly enjoyed Iron and Wine’s Muddy Hymnal…simple, but powerful.

found your name across the chapel door
carved in cursive with a table fork
muddy hymnals
and some boot marks where you’d been

the shaking preacher told the captain’s man
the righteous suffer in a fallen land
and pulled the shade
to keep the crowd from peeking in

we found your children by the tavern door
with wooden buttons and an apple core
playing house
and telling everyone you’d drowned

the begging choir told the captain’s man
we all assume the worst the best we can
and for a round or two
they’d gladly track you down

we found you sleeping by your lover’s stone
a ream of paper and a telephone
a broken bow
across a long lost violin

your lover’s angel told the captain’s man
it never ends the way we had it planned
and kissed her palm
and placed it on your dreaming head

Here, you’ll find yet another excerpt from The Little Prince…words on Matters of Consequence (what really might be important).

Chapter 7: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On the fifth day–again, as always, it was thanks to the sheep–the secret of the little prince’s life was revealed to me. Abruptly, without anything to lead up to it, and as if the question had been born of long and silent meditation on his problem, he demanded:

“A sheep–if it eats little bushes, does it eat flowers, too?”

“A sheep,” I answered, “eats anything it finds in its reach.”

“Even flowers that have thorns?”

“Yes, even flowers that have thorns.”

“Then the thorns–what use are they?”

I did not know. At that moment I was very busy trying to unscrew a bolt that had got stuck in my engine. I was very much worried, for it was becoming clear to me that the breakdown of my plane was extremely serious. And I had so little drinking-water left that I had to fear for the worst.

“The thorns–what use are they?”

The little prince never let go of a question, once he had asked it. As for me, I was upset over that bolt. And I answered with the first thing that came into my head:

“The thorns are of no use at all. Flowers have thorns just for spite!”


There was a moment of complete silence. Then the little prince flashed back at me, with a kind of resentfulness:

“I don’t believe you! Flowers are weak creatures. They are naïve. They reassure themselves as best they can. They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons . . .”

I did not answer. At that instant I was saying to myself: “If this bolt still won’t turn, I am going to knock it out with the hammer.” Again the little prince disturbed my thoughts:

“And you actually believe that the flowers–“

“Oh, no!” I cried. “No, no, no! I don’t believe anything. I answered you with the first thing that came into my head. Don’t you see–I am very busy with matters of consequence!”

He stared at me, thunderstruck.

“Matters of consequence!”

He looked at me there, with my hammer in my hand, my fingers black with engine-grease, bending down over an object which seemed to him extremely ugly . . .

“You talk just like the grown-ups!”

That made me a little ashamed. But he went on, relentlessly:

“You mix everything up together . . . You confuse everything . . .”

He was really very angry. He tossed his golden curls in the breeze.

“I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved any one. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day he says over and over, just like you: ‘I am busy with matters of consequence!’ And that makes him swell up with pride. But he is not a man–he is a mushroom!”

“A what?”

“A mushroom!”

The little prince was now white with rage.

“The flowers have been growing thorns for millions of years. For millions of years the sheep have been eating them just the same. And is it not a matter of consequence to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them? Is the warfare between the sheep and the flowers not important? Is this not of more consequence than a fat red-faced gentleman’s sums? And if I know–I, myself–one flower which is unique in the world, which grows nowhere but on my planet, but which one little sheep can destroy in a single bite some morning, without even noticing what he is doing–Oh! You think that is not important!”

His face turned from white to red as he continued:

“If some one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself, ‘Somewhere, my flower is there . . .’ But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened . . . And you think that is not important!”

He could not say anything more. His words were choked by sobbing.

The night had fallen. I had let my tools drop from my hands. Of what moment now was my hammer, my bolt, or thirst, or death? On one star, one planet, my planet, the Earth, there was a little prince to be comforted. I took him in my arms, and rocked him. I said to him:

“The flower that you love is not in danger. I will draw you a muzzle for your sheep. I will draw you a railing to put around your flower. I will–“

I did not know what to say to him. I felt awkward and blundering. I did not know how I could reach him, where I could overtake him and go on hand in hand with him once more.

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.



I am not a trained musician.  My daughter used to play the oboe.  I thought that even at her young age, she played the most wondrous and beautiful music.  There wasn’t a time that she performed that I didn’t sit in the audience weeping quietly.  This sometimes annoyed her because she knew of the potential of her instrument and she understood the path that she was on with the instrument.  I only knew that the music sounded magical and it moved something in me.  Brings to mind the question, is connoisseurship necessary for the appreciation of music?

I know absolutely nothing about the cello…how it is played…what is required…but I do know that when I hear a cello, I get shivers.  It is so beautiful.  I’ve selected, based on my reading of The Cellist of Sarajevo, a few pieces and posted them here.  I’ve been listening to these while writing this morning.

It is now time to feed those shivering birds and get out for an off-leash experience.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

I opted to stay home this morning.  It feels like heaven to shuffle to the coffee maker…return to bed with a hot cup of coffee…the bedside lamp lit…and finish reading a book.  The Cellist of Sarajevo was a two-sitting read…a wonderful relief to some degree after the very dense book, Songs in Ordinary Times.

I had wanted to read this one for a long time and just recently found a copy in the second hand shop.  Based on a most devastating time in our history, in Sarajevo, this fiction brings us into the lives of ‘real’ characters and what they endure in the streets and torn ruins of a place that at one time seemed in ways, idyllic.

Art transcends the brutal hatred, insensitivity and dehumanizing conditions of war.  The cellist represents all that is beautiful about the human spirit.  I warn you that the following documentary is graphic…and captures images of the horror of greed and misguided belief.  I hope that you will watch it for its duration and never forget.

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. Carol Burnett

Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

I loved how you reacted on skype yesterday when I talked to you about the birds at my feeder…shivering…but then again, polishing off a whole feeder full of seed in an afternoon!  I loved your smile and your compassion.  I loved the light in your eyes.  You spent many years watching the birds and identifying them.  They were such entertainment and delight for you.  I hope you will enjoy these three photographs that I took this morning in the garden, just for you!  I love you.  Kath



Matthew 6:26
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor do they gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Exceptional post…I absolutely treasure Ray Bradbury’s writing and have never read The Halloween Tree! Definitely an option for the season.

Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT, eight trick-or-treaters gather at the haunted house by the edge of town, ready for adventure. But when Something whisks their friend Pip away, only one man, the sinister Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, can help the boys find him.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve read my last Ray Bradbury novel. When I was a teenager I devoured almost all of his books. The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man. There were only two of the major novels I haven’t read, one of which is Fahrenheit 451 (yes, I know, a huge omission) and the other one The Halloween Tree.

I hadn’t been thinking of Bradbury that much until I read that he has died this year. If this hadn’t happened I might not have felt like picking one of his novels right now. The Halloween Tree has been…

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This Morning In the Garden

Before attending karate last evening, I managed to get the garden implements tucked away in the shed and pulled out the snow shovels.  I also hung four strings of white sparkle lights into the arms of May, for some winter light in the back yard gardens.  This morning, however, I didn’t feel like walking through the 8 cm blanket of snow, in order to plug them in.  I’m opting to stay home this morning while so many others don’t have that choice.  I feel blessed that on a morning like this, I can put on the coffee and stay warm and off those roads!

The Snowbound City

By John Haines

I believe in this stalled magnificence,
this churning chaos of traffic,
a beast with broken spine,
its hoarse voice hooded in feathers
and mist; the baffled eyes
wink amber and slowly darken.

Of men and women suddenly walking,
tumbling with little sleighs
in search of Tibetan houses —
dust from a far-off mountain
already whitens their shoulders.

When evening falls in blurred heaps,
a man losing his way among churches
and schoolyards feels under his cold hand
the stone thoughts of that city,

impassable to all but a few children
who went on into the hidden life
of caves and winter fires,
their faces glowing with disaster.

Kathleen’s Back Yard

Doug’s Front Yard


The Master

I have not yet attended The Master, but have listened to this interview on CBC Radio and was intrigued by it.

The line that most made an impression with me during this interview was “The sceptics and the believers are all great.”  This is well-worth a listen.  While my own beliefs don’t align with the apparent concepts of this film, I am always interested in listening to the  views of others.  Roles and relationships such as that of a master and his/her dog, the father and the son, the teacher and the student are included in those associations that interest me. Notions of control and co-dependency are also intriguing.

Another thought-provoking segment in this interview is where Paul Thomas Anderson discusses how desperation causes the human heart to rely on the divine in more cases than not.  Is there a deep well of fear in people when they are faced with their mortality?

Sceptics of faith and religion typically profess their views with confidence …just as faithful and religious people profess their views with confidence.  It’s all very interesting.  He mentions that it has to be a difficult thing when people naysay ones views regarding faith because it is so personal…but, I disagree.  I think our views do not need to be divisive.  I think it’s important to have respect for both sceptics and believers.