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Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 05:00 PM PDT

Kitchen Table Kibitzing 04/15

by Thomasina

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Good evening! Thank you for joining us and I hope you will enjoy tonight's KTK.

The other day I was at a large, downtown department store, feeling very frustrated. I had found a spring coat that I really liked. It looked good on me too, except that it was a bit snug. Those extra pounds I put on over the winter were keeping me from buying a coat I had fallen in love with. I felt discouraged and ugly when I looked in the mirror at the buttons which didn't quite meet.

I looked around a bit more and then decided to head home. Before leaving the store, I went into the ladies' room and as I left, I noticed a full length mirror by the door. I glanced in it  and noticed that my scarf was askew so stopped to adjust it. As I stood there, trying to ignore those extra pounds, I noticed that someone had written, with a fine brush, in white paint, along the top of the mirror

"you are beautiful"
I was amazed. What a lovely thing for someone to do. Did they know, perhaps from personal experience, that people often dislike what they see in the mirror? Did they write those words in the hopes that the message would resonate with someone who needed to hear it? What a wonderful gift.

It got me thinking about our society's standards of beauty and how impossible they are to achieve. We are only human, and without photoshopping and airbrushing, most of us will never attain today's definition of beauty.

So let's redefine the word. What do you think makes a person beautiful?

Do you agree with any of these ideas?

Beauty is not the face. Beauty is a light in the heart.
— Kahlil Gibran

You define beauty for yourself, society doesn’t define your beauty. Your spirit and your faith defines your beauty.
— Lady Ga

When you seek beauty in all people and all things, you will not only find it, you will become it.
— Unknown

To me, beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.
— Ellen Degeneres

Or maybe you agree with Miss Piggy:

-Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.

Please share your thoughts on this, or any other topic and feel free to post links to diaries on the tip jar.

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.
Just as I was finishing up this diary and preparing to publish it, I saw an item on CTV news about a Facebook site called, "This is my skin". It was started as a place for people to discuss their frustrations with today's unrealistic standard of beauty and to share stories about body image.

Here is a link to the FB page:

And a link to the CTV news item:

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emily carr photo: Emily Carr emily_carr.jpg

emily carr photo: Odds and Ends EmilyCarr_-_Odds_and_Ends.png

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Emily Carr, Among the Firs, ca. 1931

Good evening and welcome! In two previous diaries, I introduced you to the art of "The Group of Seven" and Tom Thomson. Tonight I would like to tell you about another Canadian icon, Emily Carr.

Emily Carr was born on Dec 13, 1871 in Victoria, British Columbia and died there on March 2, 1945.

Carr’s parents were British immigrants and her father was a successful merchant. She described herself as "contrary from the start". She was a naughty child, and a rebellious young girl, who scorned the  proper Victorian society in which she lived. She was a very  eccentric person, who dressed oddly and kept a monkey as a pet. Once, while teaching art to young ladies, she was fired after just one month for smoking and cussing in class!

 Carr became  interested in Aboriginal peoples, their culture, houses, totem poles, and masks. She decided to make a visual record of their art, believing that this culture was dying out and wanting to record it before it disappeared forever. She made many trips to the remote Queen Charlotte Islands and the Skeena River, where she lived and painted among the Haida, Gitksan and Tsimshian. She also painted the distinctive landscape of west coast Canada, including rainforests and seascapes. She felt close to the native people who accepted her into their homes and lives. Their separation from the dominant society was much like her own isolation from her strict, Victorian world.   A small community on Vancouver Island gave her the name Klee Wyck which means "Laughing One".

Sadly, she was not able to make a living from her art and purchased an apartment house that she managed for many years to support herself as well as raising dogs.

But then when Emily was already 57 years old, an ethnologist studying in British Columbia noticed her paintings and brought them to the curators at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa who invited her to participate in an exhibition. There she met Lawren Harris and other members of the Group of Seven, who welcomed her into their company. Their paintings of the rugged landscape of northern Canada impressed her greatly, and gave her the motivation to  return to painting.

"Their works call to my very soul," she wrote. "They are big and courageous. I know they are building an art worthy of our great country, and I want to have my share, to put in a little spoke for the West, one woman holding up my end."

 She did more than hold up her end. She went on to become one of Canada's most famous and beloved artists.

 Like many artists of the time, Carr embraced a new vision of God as nature. She led a spiritual way of life, rejecting the Church and found her soul and greater spirit in the Canadian wilderness.

Continue Reading


It's been a while since I wrote a "Notes from the North" diary but I thought it might provide a distraction from post election blues. These diaries are a glimpse into what is happening up here in "The Great White North".

"It's like raaaain on your wedding day". Actually, Alanis, rain on your wedding day is not ironic. Just really, really unfortunate.

It was revealed today that two female  members of Canada's parliament have filed sexual harassment charges against two male MP's.  One of the men is the Liberal Party's ethics critic. Now see, Alanis, that's ironic.

From the CBC News website:

"Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has suspended ethics critic Scott Andrews and Quebec MP Massimo Pacetti from the party's caucus after two New Democrat MPs alleged they were harassed.
Both MPs deny the allegations, but have been suspended pending resolution.The letter refers to the allegations being about 'personal misconduct'."

I can't help but wonder if these women felt more comfortable in speaking out due to recent  events surrounding CBC radio personality, Jian Ghomeshi.

Ghomeshi is, or rather was, host of the radio show Q and has done many interviews with  famous movers and shakers here in Canada and around the world. He was the media darling, well regarded as an excellent interviewer. Charming, charismatic and cute, he seemed to have it all. Until his personal life became exposed. CBC recently fired him and he went to Facebook to make his case.

His side of the story was that he liked to engage in "rough" sex but that it was always consensual and therefore, no one else's business. He said that a disgruntled former girlfriend was spreading lies about him. At first he got a lot of sympathy until the details began coming out.

Eventually, nine brave women came forward to tell their stories of abuse inflicted on them during  dates with him. The abuse included punching, slapping, choking, and beating with a belt and was  definitely not  consensual. There has been an incredible outpouring of support for these women from every corner of the country.

Now women who worked with him are also coming forward with stories of harassment in the workplace.

From CBC news website:

"One woman said she was afraid to speak out, while the other said she raised her concerns with a supervisor, but that the conversation went nowhere."

They were told that he was never going to change and that they should do what they could to make the situation "less toxic". Apparently everyone knew what he was like but no one would say anything because ratings for Q were through the roof and he was their star.

This all happened at the CBC, our national broadcaster, considered to be the face of Canada and a shining example of all that is good in broadcasting.

Isn't it ironic?

My admiration and respect for all these women has no bounds. It took a lot of courage to confront such powerful men, and I thank them for their willingness to face this issue.

One more thought on that "black fly in your Chardonnay" from an article in the New York Times:


if Morissette purposely wrote a song called “Ironic” that contained no irony at all, is that ironic?

Here in Canada a new law has allowed a judge to sentence Justin Bourque to three consecutive life sentences for a total of 75 years without parole for the murder of three RCMP officers.

Bourque, 24,  was obsessed with guns and felt oppressed by the police even though he had no criminal record. On June 4, he went on a shooting rampage that resulted in a 28-hour lockdown in one section of the city of Moncton, New Brunswick.. He stalked and murdered the men in cold blood because they were law enforcement officers.

Bourque's weapons of choice included  two firearms, an M305 .308 rifle and Mossberg 500 12-gauge shotgun, as well as a gas mask, a pair of binoculars, two knives and survival harness. During his interview with police he bragged about his shooting skills and showed no remorse for what he had done.

The wives of the three slain men made the following statement:

"We are proud of the actions of our husbands, Doug, Dave and Fabrice. They did not hesitate to run to the danger in order to protect the community as a whole, their fellow officers, their neighbours and our families," they said. They expressed gratitude that with this lengthy sentence their children will never have to attend parole hearings and endure the horror of hearing the details of their fathers' deaths over and over.

After the verdict, the lawyer who had defended Bourke, David Lutz,  was interviewed outside the courthouse and he used the opportunity to state his views on guns and it was a thing of beauty.

He pointed out that the weapons used were the kind used in Viet Nam. That they could kill from 250 metres, that the men never had a chance at that distance. He stated emphatically that no one who lives in a city needs that kind of gun. He pointed out that hunters don't even need that kind of gun. He spoke of right wing gun nuts and even mentioned Clive Bundy. I cheered his every word.

I hope that men like Mr. Lutz and all Canadians who agree with him will continue to speak up so that Canada will not repeat the American experience. We have had too much tragedy due to guns lately and it has to stop.

Justin Bourque will be eligible for parole when he is 99. I hope he lives to be 98.


Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM PDT

You Don't Own Me

by Thomasina

Please watch this video and share it with your friends. It contains a powerful message that all women should heed.

And on November 4th, if you are female, or of you love someone who is, be sure to VOTE. And take as many people to the polls with you as you can.

I recently saw an interview with Ken Burns and he said that his 18 year old daughter was thinking that she wouldn't vote. And he told her that OF COURSE she was going to  vote because women who came before her had fought hard so that she would have that right.

Make it your mission that in the next 13 days you will find a young woman and convince her to  take advantage of the right that others fought for. The Republicans want to take us back to the 40's and that would be a disaster.

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Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.
Good evening! It is my honour to guest host KTK this evening. Last time, I introduced you to some Canadian artists known as "The Group of Seven". Tonight, I am going to tell you about the man who greatly influenced them - Tom Thomson.

 I hope that you will feel free to comment or just chat with us about whatever is on your mind.

tom thomson photo:  Thomson_Birches_and_Cedar.jpg

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Canada's most well known artist, Tom Thomson, was born in 1877 and died in 1917 under very mysterious circumstances ( more about that later). He was a major influence on  the "Group of Seven", a well known group of Canadian artists who were inspired by his work and who went on to produce a great deal of beautiful art depicting the wild, sparse beauty of the Canadian landscape.

Tall and handsome, Thomson cut a dashing figure, though he was said to have been shy and humble. He fell in love with Algonquin Park after visiting it in 1912 and eventually moved into a small cabin on Canoe Lake where many of his most famous works, including "The Jack Pine" were done. The beauty of the park, as well as other parts of the Ontario wilderness inspired him.

He once said that  he would be happy to get $10 or $15 for a sketch. Today, his works command over $2 million dollars. His friend, Arthur Lismer, a member of the Group of Seven wrote,

"Thomson sought the wilderness, never seeking to tame it,
 but only to draw from it, its magic of tangle and season."

Tom Thomson disappeared while canoeing  on Canoe Lake on July 8, 1917. When his body was found several days later he had a bruise on his head and fishing line wrapped around his foot. Understandably, there were many questions about his death, though the officials listed it as accidental drowning.

Over the years there have been many alternate theories about his death, including a fight with men who were  living and possibly poaching there, and suicide over  a woman who was pregnant with his child.

In September of 1917,  friends built a stone cairn overlooking Canoe Lake at one of his favourite spots, a place  where he loved to sit and paint the changing seasons. You can still see paint-scrapings he made while cleaning his brushes and palette on the rocks nearby. It is a simple pyramid of boulders, with a brass plate which reads:









For more information on this fascinating man, please visit the following websites:

Many of his works can be seen here, with a lovely musical background:

 And this is a trailer for a movie about him:

Hello and welcome. It is my pleasure and honour to guest host tonight. Thank-you, Remembrance, for asking me.

I am going to share with you the works of some Canadian artists known as The Group of Seven.

This group, consisting of seven landscape painters, was formed in 1920. They were strongly influenced by another Canadian artist named Tom Thomson, who, sadly died before the group was formed. Emily Carr was also closely affiliated with this group.

Two of the members left to serve as war artists during WW 1 but the group reconnected after the war and began to promote a new art movement.

Up until their first exhibition, many people considered the Canadian landscape ugly and unworthy of being painted. But this group worked hard to find new and different ways to portray Canada's beauty.

Thousands of pieces of their work are displayed at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinberg, Ontario where six of the artists are buried in an onsite graveyard.

I hope you will enjoy this brief glimpse into Canada's rugged, yet beautiful landscape.

Group of Seven: J.E.H MacDonald: The Wild River (1919) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"The Wild River" J.E.H. MacDonald  (1873-1932)

Group of Seven: J.E.H MacDonald: Rain in the Mountains (1924) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Rain in the Mountains" J.E.H. MacDonald

Group of Seven: Arthur Lismer: Pines, Georgian Bay (1927) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

 "Pines, Georgian Bay" Arthur Lismer (1885-1969)

Group of Seven: Arthur Lismer: The Glacier (1928) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"The Glacier" Arthur Lismer

Group of Seven: Lawren S. Harris: Morning Light, Lake Superior (c. 1927) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Morning Light, Lake Superior" Lawren Harris ( 1885-1970)
Group of Seven: Lawren S. Harris: First Snow (1923) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"First Snow" Lawren Harris

Group of Seven: A.Y. Jackson: Terre Sauvage (1913) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Terre Sauvage" (Wild Land) A.Y. Jackson (1882-1974)

Group of Seven: A.Y. Jackson: Manseau, Quebec (c. 1926) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Manseau, Quebec A. Y. Jacson

Group of Seven: Frank Carmichael: Autumn Hillside (1920) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Autumn Hillside" Frank Carmichael (1890-1945)

Group of Seven: Frank Carmichael: In the Nickel Belt (1928) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"In the Nickel Belt" Frank Carmichael

Group of Seven: A.J. Casson: October (1928) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Bright Land" A.J. Casson (1898-1992)

Group of Seven: A.J. Casson : Afternoon Sky (1926) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Afternoon Sky" A.J.Casson

Group of Seven: Frederick Varley: Red Rock and Snow (1927-8) - Film Photograph of the Original (August, 1996)

"Red Rock and Snow" Frederick Varley (1881-1969)

More information on these artists can be found at:

These artists depict the land that I love dearly. Perhaps you would like to post art or photos of your favourite part of the world. Or just let us know how you are feeling tonight, we are here to share whatever is on your mind.

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.
Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.

Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 10:32 AM PST

Our entire history in two minutes

by Thomasina

This amazing video shows our entire history in two minutes. Watch all the way to the end for a glimpse of our possible future. Very powerful:

What are your thoughts on this?


Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT

Kitchen Table Kibitzing 8/10/2013

by Thomasina

My signature line is from Rabindranath Tagore:
You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
Now, Tagore could have said, "If you want something don't just stand there, go for it." But his way of saying it is so much better, don't you think?

I have a fondness for proverbs, sayings, fables and other forms of folk wisdom.

When I was about ten years old, I was given a book of Aesop's Fables. I loved them. My favourite was the story of the fox and the grapes:

One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. "Just the thing to quench my thirst," quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour."
Many times over the years that story gave me comfort and perspective when someone who just could not be happy for me responded with a "sour grapes" comment. Have there been scornful foxes in your life? How did you handle them?

I can relate to this not-so-old saying very well:

You do not fully understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
I know that my little grandson, not quite two years old, will have to explain a lot of things to me. It has actually started already. I could not figure out how to get the cable connection on their TV. I pushed every button on the remote while he quietly watched. Then he hopped down off the sofa, went over and pushed a button on the side of the TV and climbed back up beside me. He looked at me as if to say, "It's OK Grandma, I know you're old." I hope he will always be so patient.

One of my favourite sayings is a Russian proverb :

Up a hill you push a cart; down the hill, it rolls.
There is some justice in this world.
But not enough.
This seems to apply more and more often in our daily news doesn't it? For Trayvon Martin, for those affected by the gulf oil spill, and many others, there is some justice, but not enough.

So, what do you think of this proverb? Is there enough justice in the world?  

Maybe you would like to share your favourite sayings and adages with us. What are the words of wisdom that help you through tough times? Or, as this is an open thread, tell us about whatever is on your  mind this evening.

Because as the saying goes:

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow
Continue Reading

John Unger and his beloved Shepherd-mix dog, Schoep, shared a very special relationship for 20 years.

 Schoep had developed arthritis, so his owner searched for ways to ease his pain and found that swimming in the cold waters of Lake Superior was therapeutic.

 In August,  Unger's friend Hannah Stonehouse Hudson took a picture of them, floating in the lake, Schoep had actually fallen asleep in John's arms.

Here is the picture:

The photo was posted on the internet, and letters and gifts began to arrive from all over the world from people who were touched by the love between these two.

More than $10,000.00 was donated which paid for weekly laser treatments which seemed to work wonders. “Without treatment it was time to say goodbye to Schoep,” said Erik Haukaas, Schoep’s veterinarian.

The extra time that man and dog were able to share is documented at this facebook page:

Sadly, this beautiful animal passed away on July 18.

A legacy foundation, which will partner with other programs to help other animals in need has been created to honour this remarkable story.

A link to the story:

More pictures can be seen here:

Rest in peace Schoep, may the peaceful waters beneath the rainbow bridge cradle you gently til John is with you once again.


Hello everyone, Happy Canada Day! To celebrate this special day, I thought I would post some of my favourite ( yes, that's a u in there ) Canadian music. I hope you will enjoy what I have chosen, and that you will share your favourite Canadian artists and songs as well.

I will start off with this one from 1967. It was Canada's 100th birthday and Expo 67 was  taking place in Montreal, Quebec. There was so much pride and excitement in the air. I was one of many young people who got on a CPR train and went to see what all the fuss was  about. I was part of a church youth group and it was my first time away from home. The entire train going down was full of young Canadians from all over the country and we enjoyed every minute of the trip. This song was the theme song for our centennial year:


A beautiful song that is special to all Canadians:

A Canadian classic:

Now, who are your favourite Canadian artists?


Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:55 PM PDT

Notes from The North: Just watch me

by Thomasina

From time to time, I write diaries about what is happening in my home and native land, Canada.

 After  watching the events in Boston as police searched for the bombers I read various reactions to the way the search was handled. Some people are angry because the police didn't find them sooner, others are de-crying a "police state". This second group reminded me of a similar situation here in Canada in 1970.

The FLQ, a group of radicals who wanted the French-speaking province of Quebec to seperate from Canada had graduated from bombs in mail boxes to kidnapping. They abducted a British diplomat, James Cross and a Quebec member of parliament named Pierre Laporte. Mr. LaPorte was later found murdered, Mr. Cross was eventually released.

Our Prime Minister at the time was Pierre Elliot Trudeau. A French-speaking native of Quebec, leader of the Liberal party and one of our most popular and successful leaders ever. That being said, there were plenty of people who hated him then, and still do.

He was cultured, educated and brilliant but when the chips were down, he could be pretty tough. In response to the crisis he declared a state of emergency and called out the troops. One reporter asked him about the soldiers in the streets and he replied, "Aw, did they scare you?" It was that remark that I remembered the other day while reading about the situation in Boston.

If you would like to know more about The FLQ crisis, also called The October Crisis, here is a link:

And here is a clip of Trudeau being interviewd by a very dogged reporter, neither he nor Trudeau are prepared to give an inch. I will leave it to you to decide who won that one.

In it, Trudeau mutters his most famous quote:

"Just watch me."

Unfortunately, this video cannot be seen outside of Canada. Here is a partial transcript :

 Tim Ralfe: …what you're talking about to me is choices, and my choice is to live in a society that is free and democratic, which means that you don't have people with guns running around in it.
  Pierre Trudeau: Correct.
  Ralfe: And one of the things I have to give up for that choice is the fact that people like you may be kidnapped.
 Trudeau: Sure, but this isn't my choice, obviously. You know, I think it is more important to get rid of those who are committing violence against the total society and those who are trying to run the government through a parallel power by establishing their authority by kidnapping and blackmail. And I think it is our duty as a government to protect government officials and important people in our society against being used as tools in this blackmail. Now, you don't agree to this but I am sure that once again with hindsight, you would probably have found it preferable if Mr. Cross and Mr. Laporte had been protected from kidnapping, which they weren't because these steps we're taking now weren't taken. But even with your hindsight I don't see how you can deny that.
  Ralfe: No, I still go back to the choice that you have to make in the kind of society that you live in.
 Trudeau: Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in this society than to be worried about weak-kneed people who don't like the looks of a soldier's helmet.
  Ralfe: At any cost? How far would you go with that? How far would you extend that?
  Trudeau: Well, just watch me.

Here is a shortened version that should work for all:

What do you think of Trudeau's handling of the situation? Can you imagine President Obama making such a comment? Have things changed drastically in 43 years, or are politicians and journalists still the same?

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