Following Your Bliss: One Man, One Piano and The Road (Video)

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There’s something to be said for following your bliss.

Long before Joseph Campbell’s now infamous phrase became synonymous with seeking out what turns your crank, folks still knew, deep in their guts, that there’s nothing better for the body, mind and soul than doing what you love.

Dotan Negrin, 26, gets it. Mr. Negrin (along with his trusty companion, Brando) haul their butts – and a 450 lb piano – throughout the U.S. and Canada spreading music and joy along the way.

Negrin says that people need to “think outside the box”, and that his life on the road with his piano and his pooch has changed him. He says is “so happy”, and people who watch him play both see and appreciate that. On a one year road trip spanning the width of America and three Canadian cities, the musician covered over 19,000 miles and sometimes made upward of $350 a day playing on the streets.

As CNN’s Alina Cho says, Dotan Negrin is “a poster boy for the 99%…who spends 100% of his time, doing what he loves.”

It’s a beautiful gig. And one that embodies the sentiment taped to the front of his piano. It reads, “You owe it to yourself to do something remarkable with your life.”

Dotan Negrin has done just that…and is spreading the joy while going about it.

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Immersion in Joy (or With Thanks for the Rejuvenation, Pablo Picasso)

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Follow your bliss image courtesy of source

Vintage Mondays: Spring’s Sprung!

It has been one loooong freakin’ winter!

And while there may still be a small, pathetic  snowbank at our curb, I am ready (so ready!) to fully embrace spring and get to enjoying some sunshine, greenery and walks outside without teeth chattering.

Just about a year ago, I did a post about my family’s day trip to a sugar shack (The Sweetest Day: Maple Sugar Bush Hike at The Jack Smythe Field Centre w. photo album) I re-visted that post and was amazed not only at how quickly a whole year has flown by, but also by how much my kids have grown up. What adventures will this spring find us on? I, for one, am stoked to find out.

As the season finally begins to show itself, I thought it fitting to indulge in a little Vintage Spring-ery for today’s post. Flowers, bonnets, happiness and colour abound in these lovely seasonal gems from yesteryear. As always, vote on your favourites, below!

Do you have any big plans for the season? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Bring on SPRING!

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Bunnies!

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Springtime Pup (And Poofy Dress), c. 1930

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Everything’s Ducky

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Flower Inspired Spring Fashion

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New Friend

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Sophisticated Retro Spring Hat and Dress

Milliner Mr John Elegant Watteau Collection Spring and Summer 1962

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Vintage Girl….

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…and boy spring6

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Vintage Mondays: Old Hollywood Reads

Vintage Mondays: Violins and the Universality of Music

Vintage Goodies: Grandma Lovin’

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Duck Spring image courtesy of Scrapologie

Springtime Pup and Poofy Dress image courtesy of source

New Friend and Bunnies images courtesy of Primarily Primatives

Sophisticated Retro Spring Hat and Dress image courtesy of Pinterest

Flower Inspired Spring Fashion image courtesy of the Pagan Princess

Vintage girl and boy by Nuco, image courtesy (and available for purchase) via Etsy

Vintage Mondays: Margaret Thatcher (1905-2013) Candid Photos Through the Years

“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end”
~Margaret Thatcher, Observer, 1989

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“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman”
~Margaret Thatcher,
People Magazine 1975
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With the news this morning that the infamous, “Iron Lady”, Margaret Thatcher, had passed away, peacefully, after a stroke at age 87, political pundits, pop culture yappers and network news agencies worldwide busted out the analysis, talk of legacy and stock footage. It’s all well and good – valuable even – to discuss the Baroness and her significant impact on her country and the world, in her lifetime. But what has always stood out to me, beyond her (sometimes controversial) politics, methods and larger than life persona, is her absolute, unapologetic fierceness.  Of character, of opinion, conviction and feelings. Margaret Thatcher was a woman of formidable intelligence and she managed to remain respected, admired and sometimes even feared for that sharp mental acuity just as surely as she was known to feel that something was right or wrong in her gut, then follow through with the actions she felt were warranted. She had guts. Real chutzpah. And no matter how much you loved or hated her policy, you had to respect her.

The photos below are of the less popular variety. They don’s show Ms. Thatcher at her most steadfast and sturdy, rather, in a more personal, spontaneous light, relaxed and candid, and, more often than not, engaged with the scene around her, not the camera.

In 1990, Margaret Thatcher said, “It’s a funny, old world.” Indeed. And infinitely more interesting and storied because she was a part of it.

Rest in peace, Baroness. You’ll not soon be forgotten.

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Margaret Thatcher in her twenties

Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan

Feb. 20, 1985, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with her friend and political ally President Ronald Reagan during a visit to the White House. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file) (J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE)

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Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan enjoying a golf cart cruise

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Prime minister Margaret Thatcher in a Challenger tank, September 1986

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Always one to lead the boys, Thatcher plays the piano during a sing-along in this 1950s photo taken at the Bull Inn in Dartford.

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With her twins, Carol and David Thatcher

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Thatcher trying on a display helmet at the Marconi Avionics plant in Kent, 1978.

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Thatcher, an accomplished chemist before her political career took off, in the lab. (BBC via YouTube)

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Thatcher swinging on a harness during a visit to the Royal Navy in 1983.

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Waving to well wishers

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Credits

Time magazine image courtesy of source

Margaret Thatcher in her twenties, image courtesy of MargaretThatcher.org

Thatcher and Reagan at the White House image courtesy of The Daily News

Thatcher and Reagan in golf cart and Thatcher with children image courtesy of source

Thatcher in tank image courtesy of BBC

Thatcher in lab image courtesy of The Atlantic

Thatcher at piano, in helmet and swinging in harness images courtesy of Bio

Waving to well wishers image courtesy of The Telegraph

Book Nooks #4: Flying High, Livraria Ler Devagar Bookstore

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What better way to lift one’s spirits, than to indulge in a little bookery?

And where better than the positively charming Livraria Ler Devagar in Lisboa, Portugal, where imagination, books, and stunning flying bicycle installations are raised up to the rooftops?

Long touted by bibliophiles and industry heavyweights as one of the most whimsical shops around, this spacious haven boasts a sort of quaint ambiance and authenticity usually reserved for much smaller venues.

A traditional Book Nook, no.  A delicious flight of fancy, most definitely.

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ler devagar livraria lxfactory lx factory alcantara lisboa lisbon bar cafe

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Images courtesy of Livraria Ler Devagar

Ode to Jeanné (tribute with video)

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Last week, a most inspiring woman, my friend Jeanné Carroll, gained her angel wings. Cancer swept her away from her dear husband, Tim and son, David, and from all the rest of us who have learned to live and love more fully through her example.

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Jeanné was the grooviest hippie chick ever, a true hearted, humble, organic, sparkling soul. She was an unending well of wisdom and fun, vibrancy and compassion. But what I will remember most was her ability to wholly, authentically and absolutely live her oft uttered mantra that, “Joy is unaffected by circumstance”. Even through the unimaginably hard times (and there were so many),  Jeanné was joy.

She is joy.

A symphony of spirit that made me a far better human being. And so, to honour her, here is the “Best Coin Ever Spent”, an Ode to Joy Jeanné.

Love you, J.

xo

Vintage Mondays: Reading Posters, Part 1

i heart books

Two of my favourite things in the world! Vintage Mondays and books! What could be better?

Probably nothing…except a hearty helping of some of the coolest vintage reading posters I could find. Here they are, without further ado, just for you :)

(Vote on your top 3 below!)

STERN OWL

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RED RIDING HOOD

red riding hook vintage

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DETECTIVE DAN KNOWS…

detective dan

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MOTHER GOOSE READS

mother goose

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CURE FOR BOREDOM

rx for boredom

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FOR QUICKIES…

(who could resist putting this one in???)

for quickies

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LADY IN RED, READING

lady in red reading

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THE BOOK HUNTER

book hunter

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READING IS FUN

reading is fun

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And from the Daily Shot archives,

READING MAKES ME REALLY HAPPY!

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I heart books image courtesy of source

Stern Owl, Detective Dan,  The Book Hunger and For Quickies images courtesy of Enokson

Red Riding Hook image courtesy of Wanelo

Mother Goose Reading image courtesy of Zazzle

Lady in Red, Reading image courtesy of source

Rx For Boredom image courtesy of Brain Pickings

Reading is Fun image courtesy of DP Vintage posters

Reading makes me really happy image courtesy of Title Wave

If Life’s A Bowl Of Cherries…

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Do you remember that classic Erma Bombeck book? Its full and marvelous title is, If Life’s A Bowl of Cherries – What Am I Doing in the Pits? It’s a great book, and I fondly remember reading it, at the wise old age of eleven, after my mother (and grandmother!) had polished it off.

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I picked it up many years later at a used book sale and took a mosey on through the pages. The sentiments (and humor) still rang true. The catch phrase of that old, yellow book was the first thing I thought of  this past week, when my youngest kiddo, Ben, 6, was diagnosed with full on pneumonia. My mom’s health issues have made it necessary for a “permanent” chest tube to drain the fluid accumulating weekly around her lung; between that (and her immune system being compromised due to a lung tumor), we’ve obviously needed to keep grandma and grandkid apart for the past couple of days (no easy task when you live under the same roof and the two are obviously smitten with one another!)

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So, while I am extremely happy that my mama is feeling quite a bit better than before, and that I have mastered the fine art of chest tube draining/wound dressing changes and that March Break has provided many sweet moments with my family…. the pneumonia, subsequent battles to get my child to take his puffers and antibiotics, and the fact that I haven’t been feeling so hot myself had me indulging in a little self pity and grumbling yesterday.

But self pity’s pretty fickle and (thankfully!) fragile, easily shaken and not nearly as interesting as those things that really deserve our attention: love, laughter and absolute genius gadgets like this one:

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For just over fifteen bucks (USD), this beauty of a kitchen appliance you’ll probably only use once in a blue moon can be yours. I had a right good chuckle when I saw this and it felt really good. It could’ve been because it somehow reminded me of my happy days living in Japan, or because someone probably went to grad school (and had to eat an obscene number of cherries) to come up with this epiphany of design brilliance. More likely, though, it was a nice, light reminder that in life, even the pits can make for some fine and funny moments….and I’m always up for those :)

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Bowl of Cherries image by Colleen Brown courtesy of Fine Art America

Erma Bombeck book image courtesy of Goodreads

Cherry Chomper image courtesy of Amazon

Vintage Mondays: Edwardian Hats A Plenty

Very few eras can touch the Edwardian where hats are concerned. For tea, shopping, an afternoon ride or fine dinner, the women of the early 1900′s reveled in the pomp and pageantry of some of the wildest – and most beautiful – chapeaus the world has ever seen.  And while none were too high, too elaborate, too full of color, feathers, hardware or flowers, there was definite refinement to be seen among many of the gaudier headgear.  Check out some of the various designs and images below…which is your favourite? Could you see yourself wearing any of  them?

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HEART LIPPED LADY WITH POM POM CHAPEAU

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BLACK OSTRICH FEATHERS

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BOUQUET HAT

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FANCY BONNET

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OSTRICH PLUME

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GRAPES AND TULLE

Late Edwardian Hat fashipn Postcard

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SWEEPING BRIM AND GOLDEN LOCKS

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BIG BOW

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MUCHO TASSLE

Edwardian Hatpin

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DAME IN BABY BLUE

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Black Ostrich Feathers, Grapes and Tulle and Mucho Tassle images courtesy of About Postcards

Sweeping Brim and Golden Locks image courtesy of Costume Diaries

Fancy Bonnet image courtesy of Pinterest

Bouquet Hat image courtesy of Recollections Blog

Heart Lipped Lady, Ostich Plume and Big Bow images  courtesy of The Graphics Fairy, LLC

Dame in Baby Blue image courtesy of Pinterest

Pics of the Week 38: Sweet Friendship, Language of Poets (Sainer), Castle in the Sky, Through the Mouse Hole, Freedom and Butterfly Babe

Notice anything different?

The Daily Shot has moved to a Weekly Shot. This change will make it easier to keep up with my eye-candy widgets and smile-makers while whittling down my very favourites even more carefully for the WS and for the Pics of the Week posts. It may even make some space for a new creative endeavor or two ;). Looking for the Daily Shots archive? It’s gone, temporarily, but will be returning as additions to upcoming Quickie Posts to enjoy.  You’ll get to re-visit gems like the “Dewdrops on Dandelion” image, above while indulging in some new shots at the same time.  As always, please feel free to submit!

A wee update on my dear mama: She was re-admitted to the hospital a couple of weeks ago with a collapsing lung (due to excessive fluid along with the tumor) and has just returned home (yahoo!). She’s recovering nicely, again, with a new monkey wrench or two thrown into the mix, but ready to move forward with eventual treatment and re-claim her life. We’ve all heard it, felt it, said it:

But hope springs eternal, and we are continuing to move onward and upward, pressing resolutely forward.  And in that spirit, here is a brand, spankin’ new Pics of the Week.

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PICS OF THE WEEK

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I’VE GOT NO BEEF WITH YOU

Even barbed wire can’t stop sweet, sweet friendship :)

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THE LANGUAGE OF POETS

“Color is the language of the poets. It is astonishingly lovely. To speak it is a privilege.”

~Keith Crown

Who knew poetry could be so bright? Or BIG?  Here at Z & G street art is in high demand (check out “ART UN” #2: Canlove – Eco-Art Out of Graffiti or “Turned on”), and collective, Etam Crew boasts some of the best street artists in the biz. Among them, the ever inspired Sainer, whose vibrant blue tressed girl towers over urban Poland.

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CASTLE IN THE SKY

Neuschwanstein Castle is a stunning example of 19th century Romanesque Revival style nestled perfectly on a hilltop in Bavaria, Germany. Eat your heart out Queen Elizabeth!

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THROUGH THE MOUSE HOLE…

Looking for a charming way to cover up those electric outlets? Search no more.

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FREEDOM

“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.”

~Herbert Clark Hoover

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BUTTERFLY BABE

Who isn’t a sucker for a fresh babe in something freshly knit? (Remember the Rainbow Baby from POTW 29? This one’s for those of you who voted that your favourite.)

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CREDITS

Dewdrops on Dandelions image courtesy of Sharon Johnstone via Feature Shoots

Cow and pup image courtesy of Backroad Discoveries

Street art image courtesy of The Earth We Live In.

Snow Palace image courtesy of My Beautiful World

Itty Bitty door image courtesy of Visionary Arts

Window image courtesy of Newer III Color Photo of the Day

Doodlebug image courtesy of Resim & Fotoğraf’s Page

Vintage Mondays: We Are Family

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

  ~Mother Teresa

Happy Family Day!

Here, in Canada, it’s a holiday! Everything is closed up so we can spend some special time with our loved ones.

Today, we’ve already done a lot of that, with my Grandma (for those unfamiliar, you can meet most wonderful her in this post) and my Aunt. They came by to see the kids, hubs, my Dad and I, but mostly, they came to visit my mom.

Normally, I don’t get into the nitty gritties of my personal life here, but a few weeks ago, I did share what was going on in our world in a post (The “Big C”: Diagnosis…And A Call Out For Help From You). I was overwhelmed (and so was my mother!) by the reaction to the piece. I’ve received many very personal messages (and comments!) of love and support in response to my post and I want to thank you for that. Every well wish, positive thought, prayer and naked dance around the cherry tree (you know who you are) really do make a huge difference.

My mom is still slowly recovering from her surgery. But she is home now and that has been a wonderful opportunity for us to spend lots of quality time together (my family and my parents share a home). We expect her to begin treatment for her lung tumor within the next month or so; it will be a new leg of the journey, surely fraught with challenges of its own, but will also, undoubtedly, continue to bring us closer together. For that, and for the rest of my family, especially on this day, I am most grateful.

In honour of Family Day, I thought these, some of my favourite vintage images, were most fitting :)

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Family c 1928 Bowl Cut Boy Family

Old mom obviously got the short end of the stick, wardrobe wise, in this interesting portrait. But even dapper Dad in his stylin’ bow tie can’t outshine junior and his stellar bowl cut.

Family cc 1928

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Gemma’s Family

When fellow blogger, Gemma reached out to me with this lovely shot, I was tickled pink. Taken in Italy, where both her maternal and paternal family are from, I was even more delighted when she shared more of her family’s story:

“Here is a photo of my mom (with white hat out front) approximately 1925, with 6 of her 7 siblings. My aunt, the 8th sibling wasn’t born at the time of this ‘photo shoot’ ;-).  Her mom and dad are in their 30′s. Things sure are different today, aren’t they?

My mom is 90 now. She is the sole survivor.

My mom is an inspiration.  Growing up in Italy during the Second World War was tough enough. But moving to America not knowing the language, learning a trade – she was a seamstress in a horrible sweatshop – and living through many other personal trials has taught me some life lessons.”

Cheers to you and your beautiful family, Gemma!

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Homeschooled Family Portrait

While each of the children in this shot have their own “distinct” style and expression (the look of horror on the poor babe’s face is priceless!) what really caught my attention was the faux “room” on the left side…special effects at their Edwardian finest!

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Family of Four

Charming image, and one of the few I’ve come across where the mother is smiling. 

…Now about those hair do’s….

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Mama, this way…

This fashionable mother-daughter duo have the looks, the duds, the wheels…and something going on just off camera that’s got the little one very interested.

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Bowl Cut Boy image courtesy of source

Gemma’s family image courtesy of Gemma at First and Fabulous

Homeschooled Family image courtesy of HomeschoolMosaics.com

Family of four image courtesy of DeviantArt

Mama, this way image courtesy of spicorder-stock