Friday, 21 September 2018

Autumn fun list

Greetings and happy Friday! Today we still have our last day of summer with high temperature around 27 Celsius (80F). The local garden centre was selling a lot of potted mums as shown above. Tomorrow, officially the first day of Autumn, our high temperature will be a cool 16 Celsius. So goodbye Summer and welcome Autumn! I'm looking forward to enjoying autumn colours in nature, pumpkins, less humid days, cooler nights, our Canadian Thanksgiving on October 8th this year, and the festive atmosphere around town in December.

It's been a wonderful summer for me with lots of fun outdoor activities and some travelling to French-speaking cities. I'm happy to wrap up my summer fun list with all items ticked off. More importantly, each of the experiences enriched my life while their quantity and quality exceeded my expectations.

Here's the outcomes of my Summer Fun List (June 21 to September 21, 2018):
  1. Visited farmers' markets seven times, local parks or beaches almost daily.
  2. Attended five summer festivals.
  3. Gone to ten outdoor concerts.
  4. Watched ten new-to-me movies.
  5. Viewed nine art exhibitions, not including arts seen during my travels.
  6. Enjoyed eight BBQ gatherings with my extended family in Toronto and Paris.
  7. Met up with friends in Quebec City in July as posted here.
  8. Celebrated my cousin's wedding in Paris, France in August - Yes, plus time to wander in Paris as posted here, and a side trip to Auvers-Sur-Oise still to be written up!
This autumn I plan to enjoy a number of arts and entertainment events in the city, social time with my family and friends, and a trip to another country in Africa. I'm also looking forward to writing a guest post on another blog. I'm not telling what topic and on which blog just yet, to keep it as a nice surprise. My guest post is currently scheduled for October 17 so please stay tuned for further announcement.

Here's my Autumn Fun List (September 22 to December 20, 2018):
  1. Attend ten concerts.
  2. Visit three art exhibitions.
  3. Watch ten movies.
  4. Try three new-to-me restaurants.
  5. Enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.
  6. Meet up with my friends for coffee or lunch.
  7. Write a guest post for another blog in October.
  8. Take a trip to explore Morocco in November.
I'll be providing monthly progress reports on my Autumn fun activities with the first report out on October 21.

How was your 3rd quarter of 2018? What good things happened? What's your plan for the new season? I'd love to hear your comments.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Postcard from Paris, France

Greetings and welcome to my virtual discovery walk! Today I'll share with you one of my favourite 5 km walks (about 3.2 miles) in Paris, France, and introduce you to some of the iconic landmarks in the City of Love or City of Lights.

I have family in Paris and visit the city frequently, on average once every two years. I'm familiar with where many of the sights are and feel comfortable getting around Paris on my own either on foot or by riding the Metro and RER (regional trains). On each visit, I usually set aside time for nothing but wandering and exploring Paris.

Today I'll start from the Eiffel Tower and end at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. I'll take a short ride on the Metro so you can get a feel for Paris subway system. On this walk we'll view the sights and save the sight visits for another time. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.

1. La Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) - On this visit, it was partly sunny and I got a few shots of the Eiffel Tower with blue sky! Below is a photo of the Eiffel Tower from Pont d'Iéna. There is now plexiglass and concrete barriers at the base of the tower for security purposes so visitors must follow the snake-like path to enter the Eiffel Tower. On a previous visit, I climbed up to the first level of the tower and took the elevator to the top level. The view at each level was fantastic.

2. Palais de Chaillot and the fountains - Palais de Chaillot features two curved wings built around a paved courtyard for the 1937 World Expo. It's a museum and entertainment complex. I was happy to see the fountains working as they were not on during my previous visit in summer 2016.

3. Eiffel Tower from Palais de Chaillot - I'm convinced that Palais de Chaillot offers the best view in all of Paris of the Eiffel Tower across the river Seine, plus Parc du Champ de Mars behind it, and all the way to L'Ecole Militaire.

4. L'Arc de Triomphe - From Palais de Chaillot or Place du Trocadéro, we can either walk or hop on the Metro line 6 for three stops and get off at Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station. Follow the sign from the metro station to street level to see L'Arc de Triomphe in the centre of the Etoile (Star) roundabout. This is the world's largest triumphal arch and an internationally recognized symbol of France. The monument was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon and was completed in 1836. On a previous visit to Paris, I climbed 50 meters up, via 284 steps, to reach the viewing platform on top of the arch. From there, you can see the dozen avenues. One of them is the famed Avenue des Champs Elysées.

5. Avenue des Champs Elysées - This avenue is fantastic for people-watching and it's just pure fun to browse the numerous stores, or to take a coffee break at one of the many eateries. Below is a view of the tree-lined avenue looking towards L'Arc de Triomphe. In the evening, it glitters with lights.

6. Obélisque at Place de la Concorde - Continue east along Avenue des Champs Elysées, we'll reach Place de la Concorde. This vast place was constructed between 1757 and 1777 to provide a home for a monument to Louis XV. The rose granite Obélisque de Louxor was a gift offered by Mehemet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, to Charles X in 1829. Dating from the 13th century BC, the obelisk, which depicts the deeds of Ramses II, is effectively Paris' oldest monument.

7. Fountain at Place de la Concorde - Also at the vast Place de la Concorde there are huge and beautifully-designed fountains, like the one below. They're a welcoming sight on hot summer days as there is no shade at Place de la Concorde until we reach the Tuileries garden (Jardin des Tuileries).

8. Jardin des Tuileries - Catherine de Médicis, yearning for the public promenades of her native Italy, had the garden built in 1564. Since 1789, it has been one of Paris' most popular public spaces. Walking along the Tuileries, we see rows of trees, shrubs, flower plants, grassy areas, gravel walkways, occasional benches, and many statues. In the centre of the garden is the fountain where green metal chairs are available for resting or launching small rental toy boats.

9. Place du Carrousel- Walking east from the Tuileries fountain, we'll reach Place du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built between 1806 and 1808. It serves as an entrance of honor at the Tuileries.

10. Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace) - Exiting Place du Carousel, we'll see Palais du Louvre, the largest palace in Europe with Louvre Museum the largest museum in the western hemisphere. Visitors enter the museum via the glass and metal pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, or directly from the metro. On a previous visit, I was able to see some of the masterpieces in Louvre Museum such as Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo.

11. Île de la Cité - Leaving the Louvre Museum, we continue further east along the river Seine and cross Pont Neuf to reach Île de la Cité. The island, right in the heart of Paris, is where we'll find Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame Cathedral.

12. Sainte-Chapelle - Completed in 1248, Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel in the French Gothic style. If you like stained glass art work, this chapel is a must-see. Arranged across 15 windows, each 15 meters high, the stunning stained glass panes depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

13. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris - Begun in 1163 and completed in 1345, the cathedral façade features magnificently carved wooden portals called the Porte du Jugement (Door of Judgment). 

14. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris portals - Check out the incredible details from top to bottom of the façade, and the rose window in the centre. The most significant features of the interior are the enormous stained-glass rose windows that dominate the north and south end of the transept.

15. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris spire and buttresses - Walk around the exterior of the cathedral to the park behind it for a good view of the spire and flying buttresses of the apse of Notre-Dame. The park offers a nice spot to rest and admire this remarkable architecture.

16. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris side view - To see Notre-Dame side view in its entirety, cross to the Left Bank of the river Seine. I'll pause here and take you on a separate virtual discovery walk along the Left Bank later.

We've now finished our virtual 5 km walk. I hope you enjoy it.

If the 5 km walk is too challenging, it can be broken down or reduced to a more manageable distance. There are also bus and Metro trains that you can take to get around. I didn't mention any break here although it's easily done at any time to enjoy French café and fresh baked goods while watching the world go by. We can also reverse the walk, to start from Notre-Dame cathedral and end at the Eiffel Tower.

I think one of life's pleasures is to wander in Paris. The city is a photographer's dream and is beautiful no matter where you look. There are numerous neighbourhoods to explore such as Latin Quarter, St-Germain, Marais, Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur, etc. and let's not forget the view from the river Seine so plan a longer stay or come again.

Thank you for joining me today. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Wellness Wednesday September 12

Greetings! Welcome to our 9th Wellness Wednesday link up in 2018! Today I'm providing updates on my August wellness goals, setting goals for September, and linking up with a group of terrific bloggers who are also on the wellness adventure.

First, August wellness goal updates:
  1. Meditate 15 minutes daily - This is one activity that takes little of my time and keeps me centred so I make sure I do it daily. Combining it with deep abdominal breathing at night helps me fall asleep easily, too.
  2. Exercise one hour daily - I got all my exercises in while at home for the first three weeks of August. The last ten days of August I was in Paris without access to a gym. So I walked every day, took stairs (which were in every Metro station), ran in a nearby park, and did strengthening exercises using my body weight. The weather was great throughout my stay, except one afternoon with heavy rain. I was determined to keep up my fitness routine throughout August because I did not want to feel sluggish when I came home, and somehow the calories gained from enjoying French fresh baked goods, wine, champagne, and cheeses got to be deducted!
  3. Smile or laugh daily - This was easily achieved since August in a nutshell was a very social and happy month for me. I had a fun-filled time in Paris with my family.
Second, I'm setting seven September wellness goals:
  1. Meditate 15 minutes daily.
  2. Smile or laugh daily.
  3. Walk 45 minutes or more daily.
  4. Work out in the gym three times a week, one hour each time (Mon/Wed/Fri).
  5. Practice yoga twice a week, one hour each time (Tues/Thurs).
  6. Swim one hour weekly (Saturday).
  7. Run 5K and do stretches one hour weekly (Sunday).
The community pool that I use is re-opened after having been closed since the end of January so I was excited to resume my swimming starting on September 8.

Finally, the optional Wellness prompt for this month is Favourite strengthening exercises:

I like core strengthening exercises using my body weight such as planks, side planks, or superman. The planks look deceivingly easy but are challenging for me to do, and they are effective to build strong core muscles. My one-hour workouts at the gym typically include warm up, aerobic exercises to increase the heart rate, weight exercises, balance exercises, core strengthening exercises, and cool down.

Your turn...How are you doing with your wellness goals? What is your favourite strengthening exercise? I'd love to hear your comments.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

August in a nutshell

Greetings! August seemed to have gone by in a flash. I was at home for the first three weeks then went to France. I had a fabulous time in Paris, so much fun and social eating that whatever I did at home before my trip became a blur. Fortunately, I did take some quick notes and can expand on them for this blog post.

Without further ado, here's my August in a nutshell:

FITNESS - I got all my regular exercises in while at home, i.e. walking, gym, yoga, and 5K run. This was a preemptive strike as I knew I'd be eating a lot more on my trip to France. During my stay in Paris, I didn't have access to a gym so I did more walking, taking stairs, using my body weight, yoga, and running at a nearby park.

ENTERTAINMENT - Three seems to be the magic number for most of the four entertainment types that I enjoyed in August:
  • 3 visits to the outdoor farmers' markets
  • 3 outdoor music performances by Amai Kuda & Y Josephine, Rufus John, and Ryan McNally.
  • 1 outdoor summer Small World Music Festival
  • 3 movies (Overboard, Life of the Party, and Avengers: Infinity War)

ARTS - In August, I checked out a new art exhibit titled Alternate Perspectives in Toronto. While in France, I visited the village Auvers-Sur-Oise where Vincent Van Gogh painted seventy eight pictures. I also did plenty of walking in Paris to enjoy the city's beautiful architecture.

SOCIAL - August was a really social and happy month for me. I had one family BBQ gathering, one family outing with bike rides on Centre Island, five coffee dates, and one lunch date with my friends in Toronto. While in Paris, my relatives either took me out or organized family meals with a lot of delicious food.

My cousin's wedding was beautiful. The weather was perfect on her big day. The wedding reception started with champagne, wine, or beer, assorted appetizers, followed by a sit-down, multi-course dinner, before a cheese buffet and a dessert buffet. We're a fun-loving and humourous bunch so there was constant chatting and laughing.

While I enjoyed social time in real life, I only wrote five posts on my blog in August, the lowest number of posts per month this year. Ah, something got to give!

TRAVEL - I had a fabulous time in Paris, France and plan to write in more details with photos once I sort them out. I re-visited the iconic sights in Paris like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and more. We took a side trip to Auvers-sur-Oise which I mentioned here.

Overall, August was an excellent month for me. I look forward to enjoying the rest of the summer. It looks like I'm checking off all items on my summer fun list.

How was August for you? What good things happened? I'd love to hear your comments.

Monday, 3 September 2018

A new whirl 2018.08 edition

Greetings! I just returned from my fabulous trip to France and am catching up with life at home. Today's brief post is about two new experiences that I had in August: Visiting the village of Auvers-Sur-Oise in France, and eating the Cambodian beef lok lak dish.

The lovely village of Auvers-Sur-Oise is located about 30 km from Paris. This village is where the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) spent his last seventy days while boarding at the Auberge Ravoux. He painted seventy eight pictures here. The village is 7 km (about 4.5 miles) long, and is a real open air museum, with immortalized sites of the main pre-impressionists, impressionists, and post impressionists painters spread out through the whole village. I'm enclosing one photo below. A separate post to come with more details.

Cambodian beef lok lak:

This is a popular Cambodian dish served with cubed beef, rice, with or without egg, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and lime. We stopped for a late meal at an Asian restaurant on our way back from Auvers-Sur-Oise to Paris. My aunt's husband had lived in Cambodia and suggested that I tried this dish. The cubed beef was well marinated and sauteed. It was a very tasty meal that I'd certainly have again if I had the opportunity.

I've documented my previous adventures in March, April, May, June, and July below. What new thing did you try in August? I'd love to hear your comments.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Summer fun list update #2

Greetings! It's been about four weeks since I posted my summer fun list update #1. Today I'm checking in on my progress and sharing my second update of the season. 

My Summer Fun List Update #2 (June 21-August 19):

1. Visit farmers' markets, local parks, or beaches: Making great progress! Since June 21, I've made seven visits to farmers' markets, and spent time at the local parks or beaches almost every day. This summer is still going strong with warm, humid weather, and occasional heavy downpours. When I'm outdoor, I stay in the shade as much as possible and drink a lot of water.

2. Attend summer festivals: Good progress. I've attended five summer festivals in eight weeks. There were two other festivals that I noted the dates in my calendar but ended up not going as they were outdoors on very humid days. The show performers are so diverse and fantastic. For example, in July, the Barbados on the Water Festival and the Brave Festival presented amazing musicians and singers. Last night I was at the Small World Music Festival and saw a band named Kalàscima from Salento, Southern Italy playing various instruments and engaging the audience during their show. I'm happy to be in town to experience the festivals.

3. Go to outdoor concerts: Making great progress! In addition to the summer festivals,  I attended eight outdoor music performances by Mike Branton, Amanda Rheaum, Elan Trotman, Jordan John, Sol de Cuba, Amai Kuda & Y Josephine, Rufus John, and Ryan McNally. Every performance was unique and showed how much talent is out there. Listening to live music in a summer outdoor setting is simply wonderful!

4. Watch new-to-me movies: Good progress. So far I watched five movies I Feel Pretty, Beirut, Overboard, Life of the Party, and Avengers: Infinity War. I'm not picky about the movies at the moment as I only watch a movie once a week with my neighbours. We enjoy popcorn and chat before and after the movie so it's a social and entertainment combo activity.

5. View art exhibitions: Making great progress! This summer I viewed numerous indoor and outdoor art exhibitions like the art on King Street. The most recent exhibition titled Alternate Perspectives is at a gallery that I haven't been to before. It's always a pleasure for me to discover new art galleries and get to view new art work.

6. Enjoy BBQ gatherings with my extended family: Good progress. We enjoyed one family BBQ gathering in June, and one in mid-August. There were birthday cakes at both gatherings. Note that the candles are just representatives now, not the real age, or we may have to have a fire extinguisher ready, LOL.

7. Meet up with friends in Quebec City in July: Completed! We had a wonderful time in Quebec City. I wrote a post about the trip and included some photos here.

8. Celebrate my cousin's wedding in Paris, France in August: Getting close! I started going through my travel checklist and did a quick packing for my trip. The weather forecast in Paris looks good. I hope to get a photo of the Eiffel Tower with some blue skies this time.

It's been an excellent summer so far. I look forward to going to Paris later this week. I'll post on my blog again when I return home in early September.

How are things going with you? What good things happened? I'd love to hear your comments.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Making happiness happen

Greetings! I went for a 5K run this morning and wanted to share what's making me happy:

I had written a A to L fun post back in May, so just for fun I jotted down a list of twelve simple things, from M to Z, minus X and Z, that I plan to do in the next ten days to continue making happiness happen for me:
  1. Meet my friends to go to a farmers' market.
  2. Nap one afternoon when I feel like it.
  3. Open and re-read a comic book we have at home.
  4. Pick up a gift for my cousin's wedding.
  5. Quick packing for my upcoming trip.
  6. Ride the ferry to Centre Island on a weekday when there is no crowd. 
  7. Share unhurried coffee chat time with my husband.
  8. Take photos of what makes me feel happy.
  9. Undertake to plan another discovery walk. The previous one was fun.
  10. View wildlife and sailboats by the harbour.
  11. Write a happy birthday card to a relative.
  12. Yoga practice every other day.
That's it from me. I hope you're making happiness happen for yourself each day.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Wellness Wednesday August 8

Welcome to our 8th Wellness Wednesday link up in 2018! Today I'm providing updates on my July wellness goals, setting goals for August, and linking up with a group of terrific bloggers who are also on the wellness adventure.

July wellness goal updates:
  1. Meditate 15 minutes daily: I continued to meet this goal in July. I feel that it's time well-spent as part of my self-care routine.
  2. Exercise one hour daily: I got all my exercises in, both at home and in Quebec City, in July. The hotel that we stayed at in Quebec City had a gym with a nice view of the city and the surrounding mountain range. We had a heat wave that week so even with air-conditioning, the cold face towels provided in the gym were well-received.
  3. Smile or laugh daily: I had an excellent July as written here and many reasons to smile or laugh daily. We spent the first week of July with friends in beautiful Quebec City. Upon returning home, this summer continues to be great with mostly sunny days, lush green trees, bright flowers, fresh produce at the farmers' markets, live music, outdoor art exhibits, etc. I'm loving it!
  4. Take online French and Spanish lessons daily, fifteen minutes for each: I've been taking my language lessons throughout the month of July, and got to practice conversational French in Quebec.
August wellness goals:
  1. Meditate 15 minutes daily.
  2. Exercise one hour daily.
  3. Smile or laugh daily.
I'm setting just three wellness goals for August since I'll be away traveling in France in the last third of August. This means I'll need to modify my exercises as I won't have access to a gym. I'll bring a resistance band, my running shoes, and use my body weight to keep my fitness routine going.

I plan to continue my language lessons with Duolingo but I expect a temporary break whenever I don't have Internet access. I'll get to practice conversational French in France so this will be a great substitute.

Last but not least, the optional Wellness prompt for this month is Healthy cooking tips. I look forward to reading all the healthy cooking tips that readers or other bloggers want to share. My practice of healthy cooking includes olive oil, lean meat, and fresh or frozen vegetables. We often steam, stir fry, bake, broil, or grill, and use non-stick cookware which requires less oil. We use herbs and spices to enhance the flavours. We rarely use butter and salt in our cooking.

Your turn...How are you doing with your wellness goals? Do you find it easier to keep your wellness goals in the summer? What's your favourite healthy cooking tip? I'd love to hear your comments.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Countries I have visited

Greetings! On my blog, I created a page titled Countries Visited to keep track of the countries I have visited by continent, not counting airport stopovers. At time of this post, I've been to fifty countries, including twenty nine (29) in Europe, nine (9) in Asia, eleven (11) in the Americas, and one (1) in Africa.

It takes a bit of time to write up my travel stories and I know not everyone has a keen interest in travel like I do. So in this post, I randomly picked a sample of five ancient wonders and three natural wonders that I've visited outside of Canada and shared my photos below.


The Great Pyramid and Great Sphinx in Giza, Egypt - Constructed around 2580-2560 BC, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. To see the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid in person was a surreal experience for me.

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece - To visit the Parthenon and temples on top of the Acropolis during the day, and to see how they're lit up at night from our hotel rooftop patio was unforgettable. I wrote a post about my stay in Athens here.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy - It was awesome to see the huge amphitheatre in the centre of Rome. When I walked inside the Colosseum, I imagined the more than 50,000 Roman spectators who were there. That was one of many special moments of my stay in Italy.

Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico - There are a lot more to see and explore at Chichen Itza than the El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan in my photo below. Fascinating traces of the Mayan civilization left me yearn for more learning about the culture.

Machu Picchu in Peru - The first sight of Machu Picchu took my breath away. Lots of climbing up and down the mountainside stone steps to admire this magical ancient wonder. I wrote a post about my visit to Machu Picchu here.

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam - I remember sitting on a junk boat and enjoying the view of the thousands limestone islands named for their shapes. Then entering small coves and caves while thinking of the legends of the Descending Dragon (Ha Long means Descending Dragon).

Iguazu Falls in Argentina - The power of the water, the sights, the thundering sounds, the red earth, and raw nature of Iguazu Falls knocked my socks off. There are trails and lookout points to see the falls up close. I wrote a post about my visit to Iguazu Falls here.

Moon Valley and the Atacama Desert in Chile - The driest desert on earth, the moonscape, the salt flats, Licancabur volcano, the starry nights, and the adobe town San Pedro confirmed that I made the right decision to come. You might like to read my post about San Pedro de Atacama and Moon Valley here.

There are many more places that I could add except I would risk tuning you out. The above photos remind me of the amazing sights I've seen, the countries I've visited, and the wonderful friendships I've made at each location.


Later this month, I'll be going to Paris, France to visit family and attend my cousin's wedding. France is my second home because of the close family connections. Every time I go to Paris, I add a side trip to explore another town or city outside of Paris. I think I might have visited more places in France than in Canada.

After I return from France, I've been thinking about visiting a new-to-me country in Africa before the end of this year. Even though I'd love to revisit the fifty countries that I've been to, there are still many more I'd like to explore. So my general goal is to visit as many countries as possible.

How about you? What country did you last visit? Where is your next travel destination? I'd love to hear your comments.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

July in a nutshell

Greetings! July started with our national holiday and celebration of Canada's 151st birthday on July 1. I continued the fun-filled month with a family vacation and meeting with our friends in Quebec City. We had a terrific time and hot summer weather, a record-breaking heat wave, the entire week. Upon returning home, I enjoyed a socially active month, at an easy going pace, and with plenty of time spent outdoors.

Without further ado, here's my July in a nutshell:

FITNESS - I give myself a pat on the back for completing all my planned fitness activities in July. I did a combo of different activities every day to keep it fresh for me such as walking, meditation, workouts in the gym with weights, yoga, running 5K, and gentle stretches. The hotel where we stayed in Quebec City has a gym with views of the city and the surrounding mountain range. They also offer cold face towels and cold spring water which were well received during the heat wave. Quebec City is hilly so that added a new, short-term challenge that I enjoyed as well. The vibrant colours in the summer from clear blue skies, to green trees, and flowers everywhere, make it easy to be active and outdoorsy.

ENTERTAINMENT - Two or three seems to be the magic number for each of the four entertainment types that I enjoyed in July:
  • 2 visits to the outdoor farmers' markets
  • 2 outdoor music performances by Jordan John and Sol de Cuba
  • 3 outdoor summer festivals (Festival d'Été de Quebec in Quebec City, Barbados on the Water festival, and Brave festival in Toronto)
  • 2 movies (a comedy I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer and a thriller Beirut starring Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike)

Berries at farmers' market

ARTS - It's summer time where I live so the local parks, gardens, and the lake are lovely and lively natural art scenes. I enjoyed sitting in the shade and watching nature. For example, I watched two butterflies and several bees going from flower to flower at a park while listening to the sound of water from a nearby fountain, and feeling the light summer breeze on a sunny day.

I also enjoyed an abundance of high quality 'human-made' art in July. I captured my highlights and photos in the following posts:

King \ ST art installation

SOCIAL - Sharing meals was a theme in July for me. We ate out with friends in Quebec City. I had a lunch date with one of my friends at a new-to-me sushi restaurant in Toronto.

Blogging-wise, I wrote seven posts on my blog in July and replied to all comments. I also enjoyed reading several other blogs and shared my comments.

Sushi  and maki rolls at Gonoe Sushi

TRAVEL- I had a terrific time in Quebec City and wrote about my trip here. I already booked my trip to Paris, France in August. Since I've been to Paris before, I'm thinking to add a side trip from Paris to somewhere that is new to me. A new adventure awaits!

Porte Saint-Louis, Quebec City

Overall, July was an excellent month for me. I look forward to enjoying the rest of the summer, making more progress to my summer fun list and savouring my time in France in August.

How was July for you? What good things happened? I'd love to hear your comments.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

A new whirl 2018.07 edition

Greetings! Today I'm sharing some of my new experiences in July. They fall into two main categories: Art and Food! You can tell that I have my priorities straight, art for the mind, and food for the body :)


In July I saw a lot of interesting art work, both while I was in Quebec City, and after I returned home. Quebec City's Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, steeped in history so no matter where you look, there is art and historic architecture to explore. The city itself is situated in a picturesque setting with hills, the St. Lawrence river, and the surrounding mountain range. I shared some of my photos from Quebec City here.

In July I also led a 'virtual' discovery walk in Toronto to explore the twelve (12) outdoor art installations on King Street as posted here. Since my last visit to King Street, four new winners were added. They're designed by Ryerson University students. Resonance and Imprint are installed in the Entertainment District at King Street West and Simcoe Street. Parcade and Caravanserais are installed near St. James Park, at King Street East and Church Street. Here's a closer look at the four winners:

Resonance: A colourful grid with drums made from straps and buckets from local stores. When you smack the hand prints, the drums light up with green and blue lights.

Imprint: This life-sized interactive installation encourages passers-by to create 3D art or impressions by pressing into the pins. You can press your whole body into it.

Parcade: An interactive video arcade made from plywood and acrylic. The 'Countman' game uses little beads to tally your count of things like birds, bikes, or dogs in St. James park. The 'Tree-Thousand and One' game helps you identify the different types of leaves you can find in the park, and the 'Squirrel Racer' provides a fun way to map out the park.

Caravanserais: A wooden seating in the shape of a car parked along the street where tired urbanites can take a rest. Back in the days of horse and carriage, a caravanserai is the term for a roadside inn where weary travellers could park their caravans and steeds after a long journey.


While in Quebec City, we tried a new-to-us restaurant called La Piazzetta on rue St-Jean and liked it so we returned with our friends. We had thin crust pizzas, regular crust pizzas, salad, and pasta. Everyone was satisfied with their food order which is a good sign.

In Toronto, I tried Japanese sushi and maki rolls at Gonoe Sushi. I enjoyed my food order which came with a bowl of miso soup and a small salad. I've been looking for a Japanese restaurant to substitute for those that I used to go to but have been closed after the owners retired. I now have Gonoe Sushi as an option.

There you go...Exploring new art and food is my new whirl in July. I've documented my previous adventures in March, April, May, and June below.


Your turn...What's new for you in July? Which of the four art installations do you like the most? Do you have a favourite pizza place or sushi bar to share? I'd love to hear your comments.