2021 here we come

Okay let’s be real; 2020 sucked Big time!

Leap Year
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves –  Bill Vaughan (American columnist and author).  Is it possible to be both an optimist and a pessimist?  I think in this case it is.

 It’s already 2021 Somewhere

Here are some things to consider as we get ready to close the door on one of the most horrible years of our lifetime:

The dumbest thing we could have ever bought was a 2020 planner.

The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house & their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas should be reserved for quarantine and bedtime (even though I’ve actually worn mine under a coat – but only on occasion.  I  mean, who’s looking?).

This virus has done what no woman has been able to do. Cancel sports, shut down all bars & keep men at home!

I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!

I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.  You too?

I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the Backyard. I’m getting tired of the Living Room.

Never in a million years could I have imagined going up to a bank teller wearing a mask to ask for money.

While we’re on the subject…

Regardless of whether you are FOR or AGAINST masks, FOR or AGAINST social distancing, FOR or AGAINST shutting down the entire economy, FOR or AGAINST the vaccine, FOR or AGAINST being able to meet with a few healthy friends or even healthy family members, FOR or AGAINST the mainstream media, our governments and even the medical establishment not even uttering a single word about the importance of maintaining a robust immune system through proper diet, supplementation (hello vitamin D), exercise, stress-reduction, etc., we are quickly falling down a rabbit hole with no end in sight.

My brother Brad King (health + nutritional expert) added…

You are the only ones who can make a difference in your overall health – YOU! Stop living in a constant state of reaction and start becoming proactive. If you sit on your behind and expect your health to be taken care of for you, you are sadly mistaken.

Wake up, move your body, eat some healthy food, stop watching so much negative news, smile more (yes even with a mask on), breath some fresh air (please don’t say you wear a mask when you’re out hiking or taking a walk outside), expose your skin to real sunlight (obviously never get burned), sleep deeply and love with all your heart.

Here’s to a much, much better 2021 and beyond. Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

 

The Artful Photography of Janet Slater

Capturing the ordinary and making it extraordinary.

This in a nutshell is what best describes the photography of Janet Slater.  You can see for yourself in the splattering of her work shown here on this site.

I had the pleasure of meeting Janet this past summer in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.  We had dinner at a mutual friend’s house.  I was amazed at her creativity, imagination and ability to capture small details.  It’s the small details that an experienced photographer uses to capture emotion and turns it into an art form. And so, it’s not just another sunset, another beach shot…you get the picture (pun intended).

Janet shows a lot of diversity on her web page so I had to pick and choose which ones to showcase here.  That alone was a challenge.  Her interest runs the gamut of architecture, nature, ballet, bridges and barns…and more.

Did you know that it wasn’t until the 1940’s that photography was accepted as an art form?

Alfred Stieglitz ( American photographer, Author; The Photographer’s Eye, Art Dealer 1864-1946) is credited with getting photography accepted as an art form.

Obviously a different effort put forward than painting or sculpting, although the capture is what defines the art.

It’s the peaceful moments in a noisy world. The element of surprise and the unexpected. It’s the calm before the storm, the water droplets, the perfect and imperfect smiles and a sparkle in the eyes; these are some of the short-lasting emotional moments that makes every photographer’s dream shot.

Janet was awarded the FCAPA (Fellowship in the Canadian Association for Photographic Art). A high honour in recognition of her high standard of photographic  achievement. More on the link below.

You can browse more of her work and also make a purchase at:

https://janetslaterphotography.smugmug.com/browse

FCAPA Award at:

https://capacanada.ca/janet-slater-awarded-fcapa/

Feel Good Feelin’ Music

I’ve been meaning to post something about my talented, beautiful singer/songwriter friend Jenni Doyle ever since I first met her in Palm Springs the last time I was there.  She and her husband live in Vancouver and also have a home in Palm Springs.

I feel like I’ve known Jenni a lot longer than I have because I’ve heard so much about her through two friends that we’ve both known forever, although these two other friends have never met.  Our mutual friend Susanne has written lyrics to some of Jenni’s songs, while our other mutual friend Michael, wrote music for her album “Night Angles.”

Talk about a small world and having something in common aside from our love for dogs and Palm Springs.

Her single “Only One Cook” was filmed at philanthropist Joe Segal’s breathtaking waterfront mansion in Vancouver and directed and edited by Dave Benedict. Jenni’s make-up by Safina Kataria.  Photo from her website.

Jenni has been entertaining people since the ripe age of two, when she donned her first pair of tap dancing shoes. After her early years in musical theatre and dance, she was accepted into Canterbury High School for the Arts in Ottawa, which then led her to Vancouver where she studied acting at Vancouver Film School. In the years to follow, Jenni was one of the top 25 finalists out of 4,000 girls, to make it onto the Global T.V. reality show “Popstars.”

This experience propelled her into the music industry, where she worked with producer/songwriter John Dexter (Carly Rae Jepsen, Bif Naked, D-Cru). She recorded two songs on the D-Cru album “Into the Future” which was released in stores across Canada. She went on to sing in a duo called “JeLL” where they performed their “Night Angles” songs and  “The Star Spangled Banner” live on ESPN in Los Angeles. 

Jenni has also had the honour of singing “Oh Canada” and performing her Shania Twain act in front of thousands of people at B.C. Place. 

With Gloria Macarenko, longtime host of CBC Vancouver’s supper-hour television newscast at 6:00, and Tina Turner and George Michael lookalike performers. Jenni does a tribute to Shania Twain. That’s her up on the screen.

Jenni also shared a heartwarming story about meeting her cute little Shih Tzu named Bella.  This is her second Bella.  Her first Bella passed away from cancer at a fairly young age.  Jenni loved the dog and was completely heartbroken.  About two years after Bella’s passing a friend suggested it was time Jenni get another dog.  She wanted another Shih Tzu. When she went to look at a litter of pups one got very excited, ran right up to her and jumped into her arms.  The owner said the dog’s name was “Bella.”  On her birth certificate was written “Bella Comes Back.” True story!

I just heard this song Feel Good Feelin’ for the first time yesterday.  I thought since the title has Feel Good in it, how appropriate for an uplifting Friday note.  Hope you enjoy it even if you’re new to country music.  Be sure to check out the Kelowna, B.C. scenery (and the tattoo on her arm in the very beginning).

Have a great weekend!  The last one before Christmas.

https://www.jennidoyle.com/

Shortbread Snowflakes

With Christmas around the corner and families staying put, it’s beginning to look a lot like a different kind of holiday season. Lots of things are up in the air and I’m not talking flying.  Life as we knew it is a little blurry right now.  I’m trying to look at the positive, but with so many small businesses getting shut down again and struggling to survive, it can become dispiriting. “This won’t last forever,” encouraging as it sounds…is not soon enough.  We should help to save lives while also saving livelihoods. We have to take care of ourselves the best we can.  Little things here and there help to uplift our spirits. 

So I’ve made cookies.  Lots of cookies.  Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin with Indian spices, Thumbprint with Jam, Peanut Butter/Chocolate Chunk and finally holiday shortbread.  The one with the least amount of ingredients and the most challenging. 

This one is a Martha Stewart original.  The only thing I’ve changed is instead of using granulated sugar I’ve substituted with organic cane sugar.  They’re really yummy.  My added touches: some are cut out round and sprinkled with chili cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar.  Or; should you decide to melt chocolate, you can dip half the cookies in the chocolate, as shown.

Shortbread Cookies with Cardamom

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground *cardamom

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar (original recipe calls for using granulated).

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Whisk flour, salt & cardamom in a medium bowl.

Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Mix in Vanilla.

Reduce to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture.

Press the dough into a 10” x 15” rimmed baking sheet on top of parchment paper. (the recipe doesn’t call for this but this way turns out being a lot easier to work with the cookie dough).

Press parchment paper onto surface and smooth top.  Remove top parchment; wrap sheet in plastic.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.  This will help the dough become harder and therefore easier to cut into cookie shapes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using snowflake (and other) cookie shape cutters, cut out cookies, and arrange by size on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with sanding (icing) sugar.  Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Let cool on sheets on wire rack.

You can freeze what you don’t immediately eat.  I freeze all my cookies.  Once thawed they’re as good as new.  Enjoy!

*Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Cardamom pods are spindle-shaped and have a triangular cross-section. The pods contain a number of seeds, but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground. The seeds are small and black, while the pods differ in color and size by species.

December Daze

Lumière 2020                Photo: d. king

 LUMIERE IS A SERIES OF ARTWORKS INSPIRED BY LIGHT AND ARTISTIC EXPRESSION.

We enjoyed the colourful display of public interactive artworks in Vancouver’s West End during the day and also in the evening.  Something festive and uplifting.  It ended November 30th.

Davie the Bear and an Orca Whale. Standing at 24 feet tall, ‘Davie’ is a bright, inquisitive and playful grizzly bear.  He joins a series of other nature inspired art works at English Bay that pay homage to BC’s wilderness.  Davie hopes to shine a light on the story of BC’s grizzlies.  For more info you can visit: http://www.grizzlybearfoundation.com            Photos: d. king

Stanley Park is home to one of the largest urban Great Blue Heron colonies in North America. These majestic birds have been nesting in various locations in Stanley Park as far back as 1921. Created by MK Illumination, standing 13 feet tall and boasting 10,320 lights, the heron pays tribute to Stanley Park’s Great Blue Heron colony.  It is an amazing sight to see these birds building their nests.  Photo: d. king

What the World Needs Now            Photos: d. king

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – at Vancouver Art Gallery     Photo: d. king

Bute St., Vancouver     Photo: d. king

 

 

 

 

 

Remember This December, That love weighs more than gold!   – Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon