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Why I Love The Library

Thursday, 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”

Tuesday, 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”

Monday, 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:

Trees 2 - Delaware Park Nov 2016

Trees 2 – Delaware Park Nov 2016

The Power of “Dad”

Sunday, 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.



My Broken Life & My Beautiful Life

Friday, 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 ?







A Like Life Introspective

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Whatever happened to good ol’ fashion “like”?  It’s an odd phenomena when Single Person strikes up a conversation with  Total Stranger.  The countdown silently begins 10, 9 ,8 ….when Total Stranger hurriedly, awkwardly, injects this phrase: “My wife (girlfriend, partner, etc etc) and I ….”

Just saying ……takes mere seconds…

Can  Single Person engage in a conversation with a Total Stranger before Total Stranger’s brain is saying “uh oh, my wife/girlfriend is going to be upset with me talking to another woman so I better let them know I’m taken”?  Who has had this experience? Deja vu?

What ever happened to “like”?  Why not a like life (vs a love life), as in Lorrie Moore’s collection of short and snappy stories, “Like Life”?  Friends?  What a concept.



Details Details!

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Kicking off the New Year with a tribute to all Moms around the world! Chowing down on the last of my Mom’s dumplings, I think back to my flight this week.

Before I boarded with carry-on only, I re-arranged the space in my satchel to store my Mom’s “care package”. I suspect many of you can relate. Not only was there enough for my 3 hour flight from YYC/YYZ but also for an entire week! Not complaining…ribs in black bean sauce, salted roast chicken, steamed dumplings and buns, banana, orange…

But what always blows my mind is Mom’s meticulous and loving care in packing – several paper towels folded neatly, the orange peeled and segmented, toothpicks for eating the dumplings, well, you get the picture.

As I hoisted my “care package” onto the tray in front, I noticed a young mom across the aisle, shushing and rocking her small baby. She was so concerned about him disturbing the passengers. And, of course, she didn’t have anything to eat. So I reached over and said, “Here! These are from my Mom to you, Mom.” She smiled with relief. Love learned from my Mom; it’s in the details.

Cooking for Love with Love

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Gratitude is cooking for my parents tonight, New Year’s Eve.

Our menu was simple – Holiday Cranberry-Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with stir-fried mushrooms, avocado-apple-pecan salad, sweet potatoes, and of course, rice! We grew up saying, “you haven’t eaten if you haven’t had your rice.”

Mom could use the extra calories. She spends her days line-dancing, at aqua-fit and Tai Chi. Well, Dad likes the remote control but walks for an hour a day when it’s not winter. Did I mention they are 80+? Here’s to many more meals with love in the New Year!

Happy New Year 2014!

My Main Matryoshka Moment

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

As a design paradigm, the nested Russian doll principle, can also be applied to romance.
Matryoshkas, their proper name, are used metaphorically to describe a recognizable relationship of “object-within-similar-object”, like nesting tables, kitchen canisters, measuring spoons, etc.

One evening after dinner, Mr. Savant Man and I were homeward-bound in a cab. The rain kept pouring all around us as we made our way uptown. I thought what a perfectly romantic setting if only….

Wait, what was he saying? “THE MOST romantic moment in my life was blah blah blah!” As if on cue, he decided to fill in the blank “if only ….. I was with someone else.”

My Main Matryoshka Moment was HIS romantic moment nestled in what was supposed to be OUR romantic moment. HUH?

I thought should I top his most romantic moment? Where would this end? What will we find at the core? The tiniest Matryoshka or the one true love of our lives? Or maybe love ad infinitium …

ad infinitum

The “Kind” That Binds – Love (almost lost) Story#2

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

When asked, clients tell me that their Top 3 “Must Haves” while looking for love are: funny, smart, and stable financially (and otherwise!).

Personally I would swap out one for “kind”, you know, the type that blinds and binds even when you walk away. So alluring and so seductive when you meet someone who walks the talk, unafraid to commit to humankind, modest when recounting the joy in helping others.

Endearing, touching, selfless, it’s rare to find this “kind”. But when you do, it hits you between the eyes… and like chocolate, craving more. Life IS like a box of chocolates, Forest! I’ll take two boxes, please.

Courmeyer Italian Chocolates