“I’m going to Toronto tomorrow” – I said to my husband as we were tucking ourselves into bed on Christmas night.

“What? Why?”

He was quite surprised, as I knew he would be.

“Because I want to see an exhibition.”

“What?” – he said again – “what do you mean?” He was getting lost by the word.

“An exhibition. Of shoes.”

“Why?” Now, you’d think he’s stupid. He’s not, generally. Some things, he just doesn’t get.

“They’re Manolo shoes. It’s quite an occasion to see many of them together. I expect it’s a nice exhibition. Special one. I like the Bata Shoe Museum, they put on good shows.”

“And how long will you spend there?”

“At the museum? I don’t know… about half an hour… an hour? It can’t be a big exhibit, the museum itself is quite small.”

“So you’re gonna drive five hours to Toronto and five hours back just to see an exhibition for half an hour?” He was incredulous. Yep, totally lost. I sighed.

“Yes, dear. Some things are worth the drive. Plus, we’re spending the night, so I’m not driving ten hours the same day.”

“Who’s ‘we’?” Now, doubt crept in.

“Our first born is coming with me. Mother-daughter bonding time. And Boxing day shopping. Since you never take me and you also question my taste. Come to think of it, too bad there’s not another guy available for the trip. Never mind. We’ll have fun.”

I could almost hear the disagreement in his head. What I did hear was

“Why would you drive ten hours for an exhibition?…”

I switched off my bedside lamp and tried to think of niceties. Oh, why on earth did I marry …. no no, niceties. Tomorrow will be nice.

It was, actually.

Just a few photos of the event. Aren’t they just jewels? Perfectly displayed. Tiffany-like. A feast to the eyes. A splash of colour in a tired world. Joy. Joy. Joy.

We strolled on Bloor street afterwards, my daughter and I. Popped inside Holt Renfrew. “I just loooove department stores…” she said. It sounded dreamy. Just like floating carts. And three thousand dollar suits. And Gucci tattooed ladies.

Then, off to the Eaton center. We bought a yellow jacket for her and two cardigans for me (mine were for truly ridiculous prices and I kinda needed them, no kidding). So, happy.

Place was totally packed. Joy? But the place sure looked sparkly.

Famished, we crashed at Cactus Club Cafe on Adelaide. Truffle oil fries. Cocktails. Four mushroom steak. Salmon pasta. A treat to the end.

We did enjoy it, you know. Every bit of it. It stayed with me long after we arrived home. Plus que mon ventre, my soul was full. Sparkling, floating. And no, he didn’t even ask to see photos. Oh well, his loss.



Life happens. What a truism. My only excuse for not keeping up with this blog. Joy… Oh well, it sometimes vanishes in thin air, don’t we all know the tune. Yes, but if you care to look for it, it’s painted here and there on the canvas.

I find joy in many things – which is a blessing and a curse at times, as blessings and curses have a way of working, in pairs. I wanted to draw today in preparation for an exhibition I was invited to put up later this year. Of course I got caught up in reorganizing the many papers and stuff where I keep the drawing tools etc. and then I started to look through some architecture books about Romania. There is one in my library about traditional houses in the Danube Delta. I knew about the vivid colours they use there for decoration – but this time I came across a lovely pattern of blues and greens which tell stories of life under a clear sky, close to the water, embraced by leaves.

Enjoy and maybe go visit the area!

(Photos from Stuf: Traditional Houses from the Danube Delta, Igloo 2008)

The Image of Smell

I discovered Pierre Dinand today, quite by chance. Ma prodigue fille parisiene called to ask for suggestions as to where she could spend a couple of hours in the neighborhood of Les Galeries Lafayette (she had strolled through Les Marais all day and it didn’t make much sense to head back to the hotel before meeting her dad back downtown). So, the good efficient secretary that I am, I appealed quickly to Google, maps and all, and said on the phone:

“There is a nice small museum of perfume right near the Opera Garnier, Musee Fragonard. This one is free and they give tours. Looks fun. There is another one called Le Grand Musee du Parfum a little further by that one is 25 euros. Looks more promising.”

“OK, I’ll go to the free one” – she said and asked for the address.

After disconnecting, I continued to browse rather absent-mindedly the Grand Musee website. Under temporary exhibitions, there was one on a certain Pierre Dinand. Never heard, probably someone in the perfume world. Indeed, a designer of perfume bottles, as I found out.

And then I browsed his name and came across his website with a condensed story about his beginnings in the industry. He had spent some time in Asia in his youth combining military service and studying fine arts (??), then came back to France and got hired by a chemical company (???) where he was appalled by some hideous packaging, so he decided to create another packaging – you guessed, it was such a success that later on, he got contacted by a creative agency asking for a design for a perfume bottles for no more no less than Madame Rochas. Another success which opened Dinand the doors to fashion and perfume designers, both literally and figuratively. His life became a chain of anecdotes about this and that famous bottle and I encourage you to read the links I inserted above.

Now, my take on all this:

You can come across very interesting information quite by chance. I didn’t know about these perfume museums and when I’m next in Paris I’ll definitely check them out.

You can use moments in life to your (immense) benefit if you’re open and willing to cooperate and contribute. See my daughter who is now thoroughly enjoying Paris and trusting her mom for instant advice (haha!) At a grander scale, see Monsieur Dinand who probably didn’t plan to become famous on perfume bottles when drinking tea or what-not while digging archeological sites in Cambodia (yep, he did that too).

You can choose to share such gems or dismiss them as maybe-not-so-interesting-to-others. Well, I hope you learned something today. I certainly did.