Why I Love The Library

November 29th, 2018

As the “Illustrator or Writer or Innovator or Entrepreneur or Comic Artist – in – Residence” at the Toronto Public Library, we are privileged to have and to hold a platform to help empower each and every library patron who come through our doors .


It’s been five years since I was the second Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the Small Business Program thanks to the good grace and kind generosity of the late Norman G. Hinton who left a large legacy for the Library in 2009. His remarkable story can be found here. And I am thrilled to be accepted as a guest speaker each year.


This week I was part of the audience and as I scanned the learning theatre, I am reminded of the importance of our patron’s perspective. Our patrons are diverse and come from, at times, (very) modest neighbourhoods and other times not so modest. The entire world walks through those Library doors.


When did you last visit your local library? If it’s been awhile, you will be delightfully surprised to find that the Library has become a place for innovation, a place for story-telling, and a place for sharing knowledge. We have the Fabrication Studio, Digital Innovation Hubs, the Writers’ Room not to mention free access to digital software, hardware, iPads, equipment such as light therapy lamps, Museum and Arts Pass, musical instruments, book printing service and so much more.

You might also notice that the Library is a safe and warm place, a sanctuary where the hinges literally have come off to facilitate open doors as reflected in the official Mission Statement and “provides free and equitable access to services which meet the changing needs of Torontonians. The Library preserves and promotes universal access to a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment.”

Having a residency or being a guest speaker at the Library is a humbling honour. We are here to serve our patrons and be sensitive to their needs. It is their agenda we seek to help make successful and this requires a certain level of awareness, care, and compassion.

There is one thing that is not on loan from the Library and therefore, has no expiry date. When patrons leave the Library, they leave with a sense of dignity and dignity cannot be borrowed. At the Library, dignity is granted.

The Power of “Do”

September 12th, 2017

Brené Brown is an American researcher from Houston and her TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability” has reached nearly 31 million views.  Her books inspire and help us when we are pondering life’s big questions – “Who am I?” What do I want to be when I grow up?”.  Titles like “Daring Greatly”, “Rising Strong”, “The Gifts of Imperfection” incentivize us to read on but also leap into action.

Another favourite is Yoda!  His quotes resonate as much as Steve Jobs’.  I remember the scene in The Empire Fights Back, on the marshy planet, Dagobah. Luke is trying to extract his X-wing fighter out of the swamp.  He sees that it is too big for him and says, “All right, I’ll give it a try.”  Yoda is encouraging Luke to commit fully, win or lose.  He senses the youngster’s failures within his mind.  Yoda sees that if Luke is unable to commit, then he will fail so he says, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

The Power of “Do” helped me overcome the fear of vulnerability as I take yet another step toward discovery.  Once again with no formal training, my first photographic exhibition, “Stopped and Found” will be installed today for public viewing (also click to see  Photo gallery  )from Sep 13 to Oct 31 at the aptly named restaurant, “Starving Artist” 505 Mt Pleasant Rd at Davisville in Toronto.

I am indeed “starving” as I have been seeking a long lost same passion.  It’s been ten years ago since I lost my food business.  Recently I felt a nudge, then a push, each time I take a photo on my Note 3.   Who would take me seriously?   I’ve never shot with real camera, a DSLR, a digital single-lens reflex camera? I had to google it.  I take photos instinctively, joyfully, leisurely, whenever I feel and see something which moves with me, awakens me, stirs me.  One day, my friends were talking about “composition”.  Again I had to look it up.

Since contests and competitions are hard to resist (after all, I am a squash player), I saw the Toronto Public Library’s posting in April for artists to submit their work to be displayed in their fourteen galleries.  On a whim like Luke Skywalker, I tried and created an artist statement, bio, and portfolio and hit “send”.  Leave it to the universe to decide I reasoned.

Meanwhile my squash friend and I decided one day to pop into “Starving Artist”, a new neighbourhood restaurant which serves waffles and saw an artist’s paintings on their walls.  Turns out they support local artists by allowing them to display and sell so I sent them my Library portfolio.


Tonight is a gathering of friends to celebrate this act of “daring greatly”!  I’m ready.  And it is no longer “try”, it’s time for “do” and maybe “done”.  I am excited, terrified, and liberated – an emotional roller coaster but we all win because at the end of the day, I know myself better and we all get to have fun and enjoy dessert waffles!


What I desire and aspire to is the hope my photographs will bring to others and stir this deep emotion I felt when I first saw Barnett Newman’s painting, “Vir Heroicus Sublimis” in MOMA, New York City.

Barnett Newman

Vir Heroicus Sublimis


“The Latin title of Barnett Newman’s painting can be translated as “Man, heroic and sublime.” It refers to Newman’s essay “The Sublime is Now,” in which he asks, “If we are living in a time without a legend that can be called sublime, how can we be creating sublime art?” His response is embodied in part by this painting—his largest ever at that time. Newman hoped that the viewer would stand close to this expansive work, and he likened the experience to a human encounter: “It’s no different, really, from meeting another person. One has a reaction to the person physically. Also, there’s a metaphysical thing, and if a meeting of people is meaningful, it affects both their lives.  It’s no different, really, from meeting another person. One has a reaction to the person physically. Also, there’s a metaphysical thing, and if a meeting of people is meaningful, it affects both their lives.”

Affecting people’s lives and leaving a positive and meaningful imprint, no matter how big or small is my aspiration and “nature is full of infinite causes” (Leonardo da Vinci) is my inspiration.  Oh and by the way, “Stopped and Found” will also be showing at the Toronto Public Library, Agincourt branch gallery, for the month of May 2018. Dare and do!

No Loves Lost Presents: “Stopped and Found”

August 21st, 2017

On a whim one fine spring day, I quietly created and submitted my portfolio of Samsung Note 3 photographs to the Toronto Public Library for judging to exhibit in one of their fourteen galleries.  I never told a soul shhhhhh……………… until …

A couple of weeks later, my squash friend and I were eating at a new neighbourhood restaurant aptly named “Starving Artist” and on a second whim, applied again!  To my joy and amazement, I have been accepted into both space!

“Stopped and Found” will be on exhibit at:

  • Starving Artist, 505 Mt. Pleasant Road (Davisville) starting September 13, 2017
  • Toronto Public Library Agincourt on May 1, 2018.

For preview (and for sale : ) , follow: www.noloveslost.com/photography

Trees 2 - Delaware Park Nov 2016

Trees 2 – Delaware Park Nov 2016

The Power of “Dad”

June 18th, 2017

I’m one of the lucky ones.  Although I seldom see my Dad (too late to teach him Skype. he’s 88 and lives 4 hours away by plane), I can often summon up and savour moments of his love instantly.

Oh how he longs for my safety, health, and happiness as I do for him.  He expresses his love simply, clearly, and often, regardless if we’re on the phone or in person.

Sometimes he catches me off guard.  His timing is not during those special celebrations anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, but when we are alone together, just the two of us.  I’d like to think my siblings also have this special time with him, too.

He tells me he counts the days before I visit them in Calgary.  And once I’m there, we would go for our morning walks on our regular route and stop in for our senior’s coffee at the Golden Arches.  We always take a selfie before heading home.

Sometimes after a drive and I’ve dropped him off at their condo, spend 5 minutes checking my phone for messages, and about to drive off again to meet a friend. I would see him standing still in the front lobby waiting to wave and see me off.

In the morning, I would ask him how was his sleep and he would tell me how well he sleeps when I’m there.

We share the same love for and watch the Raptors on TV while yelling, laughing, and cheering so loudly that my Mom would say, ‘they can’t hear you!” which makes us laugh even harder.

I’ll be calling him today and we’ll have “our talk” which is a bit of a guessing game because he dislikes wearing his hearing aid at home.  Nonetheless to hear his voice makes me happy and I pray that I get to hear him loud and clear till the next Father’s Day.



The Greater Good

December 30th, 2016

The end is near.  2016 – over and OUT! It cannot come soon enough. As Mom predicted, this Year of the Monkey was indeed light on good karma and at times, filled with shock and awe, even terror. Trump terror.

Where was the love?

I decided to dig deep. Here’s the good, the bad, and the greater good for December 2016:

The Greater Good

The Apology – Inspiration, admiration, motivation from Ms. Tiffany Hsiung, a star film maker in the making.

The Chris Haas Story – Pride, validation, admiration of a job well done by my client who started his journey with uncertainty and trepidation. He created a perfect gift out of his gift of good intention.

Rickshaw Bar  – Creativity, curiosity, crafted by talented Chef Noureen.  We’ve been to the same destinations near (Toronto & Chicago) and far (Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi).  I started when I was 28.  She is 28!  Lucky Chef Noureen!

The Good

Collateral Beauty – Storytelling, grief, pain pre-screened in VIP seats with complimentary appetizers, popcorn, and booze with my bosom buddies courtesy of CFCcreates complete with tissues for tears!

Flamenco -Style, stamina, sweat on stage where art, movement, and passion merge and showed aging can be beautiful, sometimes more than youth.

Non-Gig – Instinct, trust, belief – drawn from the past and this time, knowing what I don’t know.  When values just don’t align, no matter how you cut it, so you sigh and walk away. quickly. confidently.

Learning – Ask, probe, ponder but ask good questions to the right people at the right time.  Just ask, easy but hard.

Playing – Squash camaraderie, at times, competitiveness with comedy, and being injury-free after 4 long years…other than aging.

EatingLa Tazza Cafe, cheap and cheerful, heaping plates of chicken curry, chicken roti, butter chicken – lunch for 2 under $20 shared with my Toronto Bro, one of my fav people.  Playa Cabana, celebrating my Toronto Sistah’s 60th birthday, mixing Mex with mirth!  Barque, its bite(s) is better than its bark for an early Christmas dinner celebration with my techie best friends with ribs, brisket, pulled pork, wings … mountains of meat!

The Bad

Travelling – By air this holiday season, delay upon delay, sandwiched helplessly for 4 hours, anxious about my carry-on full of gifts (which fits fine on any airline anywhere in the world EXCEPT for Air Canada) because ol’ Hawk Eyes at the gate wrestled it out of my hands and tagged it for cargo but will it reach Calgary?, not to mention the added wait at the carousel AND then we have snow, lots and lots of snow, day and night, night and day.

I’m ready to ring in the new year and the Year of The Rooster!

Latest Update: Air Canada made good with goodwill gesture of 20% discount on base fare. Thank you for listening and Happy New Year to you, Air Canada! Oh, and yes, my carry-on in cargo made it to Calgary…in time for Christmas.




My Broken Life & My Beautiful Life

September 23rd, 2016

2016 is supposed to be my year, Monkey Year, indeed Fire Monkey Year.  Never again will this cycle pass.  My Mom advises my siblings and me to lay low, really low.  “Safety first” she says, nodding knowingly.

So my year  has become a “How To” kind of year.

How to package yourself and  “Stand Out” @DorieClark

How to crack “The Code of An Extraordinary Mind” @VishenLakhiani

How to clean up and “Spark Joy” Marie KondoHow To's

How to be more agile, both in mind and body “Stretching” @SuzanneMartin

How to code for age 9+ ummm yep, count me in “How To Code in 10 Easy Lessons” @SeanMcManus

How to manage money knowing “When to Say Yes and How to Say No” in “Money Talks” @GailVaz-Oxlade

even How to Learn Anything maybe I should have read this one first?! “The First 20 Hours @JoshKaufman

This week I swept the books aside and decided to write or should I say blog about #mybeautifullife.  It should be easy.  Beauty is everywhere.  Armed with a healthy dose of gratitude to have and to appreciate a beautiful life, I think I needed to reflect on #mybrokenlife.  I say, “A life well broken is a life well spoken.”  Now is the time to share why life is beautiful.  My blog won’t be a “how to” .  Mine will be as a gift, beautiful and simple, for my reader (readers maybe).  After all, isn’t this the age of sharing?

Let’s start.  Life is not just one crossroad but a messy tangle of many crossroads.  I can still re-live all the anguish and anxiety that each crossroad brings. But believe it or not, if you look down both roads, you will see it doesn’t really matter which one you choose,  life will be beautiful.  Life IS beautiful. Oh, how often I have reminded myself that ageing is a privilege!

This morning amidst the endless and ruthless construction noise beneath my balcony, I was leafing through the latest @Travel&Leisure borrowed from my local library (@GailVaz-Oxlade take note) trying to counter the constant tap tap tap of the carpenter below with stunning images of #thebestofthebest – this month, #TheCitiesIssue Memories begin to flow, rather flood my mind and take me back to my beloved #Kyoto #Boston #Singapore #Copenhagen

My Beautiful Life

My Beautiful Life


Travel is #mybeautifullife .  I work, save, and live for travel.  Some collect stuff, objects, things.  I like to collect experiences, memories, lessons learned. #mybeautifullife is what I choose.  What is #yourbeautifullife ?







The 10 Second-Syndrome

February 16th, 2016

It’s an odd yet common occurrence when as a Single Woman, I happen to make small talk with a man for the first time (important note: I said “small talk, not love”).  As soon as you utter the first sentence which might start as:

“Would you happen to know….”  or “Have you seen …”


“Would you like …” or “Are you free for ….”,

the countdown begins!  10 – 9 – 8 … and within literally SECONDS, “my girlfriend/wife/spouse/partner” suddenly appears in his reply.  Could someone please explain how men have this uncanny ability to interpret any small talk and translate it into a pick up line in less than 10 seconds?

Pretending Paris… in Toronto

February 14th, 2016

ColettesVDay2016Paris_LoveIn the lovely light of @ColetteToronto , my friends and I celebrated #Valentines Day brunch this weekend.  Undeterred by wind chill weather of -30C, we worked our way through ricotta lemon pancakes and eggs benedict with salmon and avocado followed by pear ginger macarons and pretended we were in Paris!


For the Love of ?

February 14th, 2016

This Valentine’s Day I received from my gal pals, the gift of longstanding friendships.  Love of good friends have stood the test of time – through joy, laughter, and tears.  We share this beautiful loaf of love this Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2016 and express our gratitude.Love_Bread

In the Mood for Love … and Gelato

November 1st, 2015

I had thisEnough Isn't Enough? fleeting, funny feeling walking home yesterday.  I suspect this is similar to wistful yearning for gelato, delectable and elusive, especially when there are no gelato shops in sight.

Daydreaming in the late afternoon, the natural light was so soft and sensuous when it struck me and I was in the mood for love! At that very moment, I remembered how intimate it felt to be in the arms of my lover as the floodgate opened and a million memories spilled out and over.

Ah yes, the light…. is this what ageing allows us?  Bits of nostalgia to hold and savour till next time … or maybe it’s quicker (and easier) to find that gelato shop?