A Family Christmas, A Good Home, Christmas Decorations

Everybody’s A Critic…

Blog Photo - Christmas Angel

It’s Advent,  a quiet season that I love. And I’m determined to create something — something special to get into the spirit of preparing for Christmas.

“I’m making a creche!” I proudly declared.

“A creche?” my good man asked.

“Hm-hmm,” I said, eyeing the Christmas decorations. “I must be able to find some stuff around here.”

Blog Photo - Christmas Ornaments Jewelled Pony

Blog Photo - Christmas Ornaments Baby angels

I was so proud of my creation, I sent pictures to the family.

“Er… Mum.” Younger daughter was the first to phone. “What’s that?”

“It’s a creche,” I cheerfully replied.

Blog Photo - Christmas Creche better

“Aren’t you supposed to have just one baby in the creche?” she asked.

“Yes. But Jesus was middle-eastern and I couldn’t find any middle-eastern-looking babies in my decorations, so I used the two little brown babies. They are representing Jesus.”

“What did you use for a blanket, Mum?”

“I used kleenex. Folded.”

Blog Photo - Christmas babies in creche

“Kleenex.” I think I heard her sigh.  “And why do you have bears by the side of the manger? The story calls for three wise men, but you have 6 bears.”

“I do not!”

“Go and check. I’m telling you, those are bears.”

I checked. Those are bears.

Blog Photo - Christmas bears.JPG

“They’re wise bears!” I said, brightening up. “Six wise bears!”

“And is that Santa in the corner?” she accused. “There was no Santa in the Bible story!”

“Okay.  You’re right. But did you like the two golden angels with the trumpets?”

Blog Photo - Christmas Angels in creche

“They’re okay… I guess. But why’s there a penguin? They don’t have penguins in the middle east.”

This had turned into an inquisition. But I knew what I knew. 

“There’s no penguin,” I insisted, on firm ground at last.

“I’ll wait while you go check, Mum. There’s a penguin in your creche.”

Blog Photo - Christmas candles and penguin

I checked. There was a penguin. A tiny one, lower left.

“And is that a lamb?  That’s kinda big for a lamb.”

Blog Photo - Christmas lamb

“Okay, alright,” I said. “But did you like the creche at least?”

“Oh, mum. You really are very special.”

And if you think that conversation is bad, just wait till the older daughter calls.

I’m sure it’s the thought that counts.

But everybody’s a bloomin’ critic.

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2018 Colour of the Year, A Good Home, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, Purple

The Future is Purple

So says Pantone, the colour people. (But they call it ‘ultra violet’, mind you.)

And so declared Lauren, for whom Myrtle was originally written. She promptly created this image using a picture from Myrtle the Purple Turtle

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I seem to be spying purple everywhere these days! Here’s Queen Elizabeth, looking very fashion-forward:

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing

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And what’s better than a box-fort? I love this photo of Nadine Janetta’s two daughters Ella (4) and Leah (2). (Eldest daughter Brooklyn is only partly in the photo.)

Nadine, who lives southwest of Toronto, says, “It was the perfect cozy place to cuddle up with your book.”

Blog Photo - Myrtle being read by girls in box

“The girls have fallen in love with Myrtle and her friends in this well-told story of self acceptance – Myrtle the Purple Turtle has become the most read and asked-for book in our home.”

Ella, who is 4, says she likes the picture of me in the book. (Thanks, Ella!) She likes the book “because Myrtle falls asleep on her back” and  “because she wants to be the same as the other turtles because she is purple”.

Brooklyn, who is 8, says: “It shows me that everyone’s different and you can’t change that.”

Nadine is one of three winners in the Myrtle giveaway in October.   The others are bloggers Alethea Kehas (New Hampshire) and Brad Volz (Arkansas). 

Their responses to Myrtle are lovely.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle
Myrtle the Purple Turtle, by Cynthia Reyes, illustrated by Jo Robinson

Alethea says Myrtle is “a beautifully written and illustrated tale of friendship and acceptance. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it as much as my niece!” 

Brad calls Myrtle “a timely and timeless story most needed in our troubled world. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a delightful book to help teach children to embrace both their uniqueness and shared humanity.” 

Thank you all! And remember: #loveyourshell!

 

 

Artists, Arts, Canadian life, Musicians

Talented People Doing Fabulous Things

I was privileged to sit with two famous and very interesting Canadian musicians at separate, but wonderful, events in late November.

Blog Photo - CPAC Susanne Hou

The first was violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, winner of prestigious international awards and a busy performer. Susanne’s talent has been acclaimed by musician Yehudi Menuhin as “absolutely phenomenal”.

Blog Photo - CPAC Awardee Susanne Hou1

In November, Susanne was one of three outstanding individuals who received the Professional Achievement Award at a gala in Markham, Ontario. (More on this event and awardees later.)

The other performer was Liona Boyd, a critically acclaimed classical guitarist whom you met on my blog earlier. 

Blog Photo - Liona Boyd on right

Blog Photo - Liona Photo from her FB pageLiona has released more than 20 CDs of her music over the years and has been performing across Canada in 2017. 

She was back in Toronto for an author reading and an afternoon tea celebrating her new memoir and CD ( both titled “No Remedy for Love”).

Blog Photo - Liona Book Launch Reception1

The reading was held by the Verity Book Club. The afternoon tea was hosted by two remarkable women, Isabel Bassett (consultant, former government minister and network TV boss) and Nancy Coldham (women’s advocate and founding member of Toronto’s Verity Club) and organized by Marilyn Mirabelli.

Blog Photo - Liona at Afternoon Tea 1

Despite a hectic schedule, Liona was fresh, funny and inspiring.

Blog Photo - Liona Book Luanch Reception2

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Back to the gala, now, where my husband and I were pleased to be guests of CPAC (formerly known as the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada).

Blog Photo - CPAC Gala 2017 Dignitaries on Stage

Executive director Andi Shi has invited us to this important event every year, but I was in no shape to attend. This year, I was determined!

Blog Photo - CPAC Gala1

Blog Photo - CPAC MIng gets Award

At our dinner-table was award-winner Dr. Ming Li, a researcher, university professor and co-author of a book on “Kolmogorov Complexity”. He explained his work to us – simply, thank goodness – and told us about the randomness of things like lottery-winning numbers.

Blog Photo - CPAC Gala Ming

Across the table from us were awardee Alissa Wang and her proud parents. 

Blog Photo - CPAC Alissa and Parents

Alissa is a law student and Ph.D candidate with many achievements in her relatively young life. One of them is a research and educational project on Asia’s WW2 history.

Blog Photo - CPAC Gala 2 winners

To our right were violinist Susanne Hou and her friend Frank — delightful dinner-companions. Susanne explained that her international performance schedule is demanding and trips back home have become more and more rare. 

Blog Photo - CPAC Gala with F, S, HG and Me

CPAC is a vibrant non-profit organization based in Toronto, with 30-thousand members across Canada. It helps internationally trained professionals in several areas: recognition of their credentials; cultural integration; career and business advancement in Canada and globally. 

Bravo, awardees. Bravo CPAC!

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Photos 6, 8, 10, 11 from CPAC

 

 

BOAA, Bowmanville, Life in canada, Myrtle The Purple Turtle

It’s a Purple Wave!

Blog Photo - BOAA - Lady holds Myrtle Book and smiles

Blog Photo - BOAA - People coming in for Signing

I didn’t count, but a lot of people wore purple in Bowmanville, Ontario last Tuesday! 

Blog Photo - BOAA Purple Lunch crowd

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Lady seated reading book

I was one of them. I found a partly-purple scarf and a decades-old, no-longer-stylish jacket in my closet for a massive book-signing event, held in honour of Myrtle the Purple Turtle.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Cynthia signs book for Beth

 Staff, volunteers and members of the BOAA (Bowmanville Older Adults Association),  were in fine form.Blog Photo - BOAA - Cynthia signs Book with volunteersThen Dolly (below) showed up in her purple wig and had me beat.

Blog Photo - BOAA Dolly with Purple Hair

There were purple scarves, purple coats, purple shirts and sweaters, purple earrings, purple everything! And so many different shades of purple.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Ladies waiting for book sign

Blog Photo - BOAA Cynthia and Lady seated with Myrtle

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Scarf and Earring

Blog Photo - BoAA Book signing - Purple lady with books

But I can tell you that everyone wore a smile. BOAA is that kind of place. You show up and you’re immediately made welcome.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Ladies 3 shot

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple shirt Gentleman with Myrtle

Grandparents, great aunts and uncles, great-grands and others from the community showed up to get their copies signed for the children in their lives. (And a few bought the book just for themselves.)

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Ladies waiting for books to be signed

Many were BOAA members; some had read about the event in the regional newspaper.

There was turtle jewellry.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Turtle ring

Blog Photo - BOAA Book signing - turtle Brooch

Executive director Angie Darlison set the tone, appearing as a purple turtle, complete with shell!

Blog Photo - BOAA Angie the Purple Turtle2

Blog Photo - BOAA Angie the Purple Turtle

 She also shared some turtle jokes.

  1. What do turtles use to communicate? A shell phone!
  2. What do you get when you cross a turtle and a porcupine? A slow-poke!

Blog Photo - BOAA Purple Couple Benny

The couple above, by the way, are Benny, the creator of the BOAA Christmas Village, and his wife Agnes.  It was a pleasure to meet them.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village red house and track

Thanks again, BOAA!  It was turtally wonderful.

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Photos by Chelsea Wolf.