Words Matter

The more we think, read, see, say positive words, the more we internalize positive feelings, and create those feel good chemicals in our brain (serotonin). Self care starts with positive feelings. The more positive we are about ourselves, the more positive we can feel/act toward those around us.

Be the joy/love you seek. Remind yourself to breathe, especially when things get stressful. Allow yourself to dream and wish, to visualize, to set new goals to work towards.

Philosophies like these are great, but not always easy to remember when the days get dark, the nights get long, and the winds blow cold.

What if you had visual prompts to remind you? What if you could share these prompts with those you live/work/commute with? At MarCam Designs online, you will find a whole collection of Encouraging Words on functional pieces and wall art.

Show yourself and those around you some love, share the joy, maybe even find your bliss!

Music Soothes the Soul

Nov 2. Toronto Sings the Breithaupt Brother’s Songbook

Tonight at Koerner Hall in downtown Toronto, we were treated to an absolutely fabulous evening of song, hosted by Don and Jeff Breithaupt.

Performers included a stellar lineup of Canadian vocalists and musicians, including: Heather Bambrick, Jackie Richardson, Marc Jordan, Denzal Sinclair, Patricia O’Callaghan, Shelley McPherson and many, many more.

Heather Bambrick started the night off on a high note with I’d Like to Think Maybe He Loves Me. You can hear her at a previous performance at: https://youtu.be/Tplj84Bqgt4

Jackie Richardson closed off the main performances of the night with a breath-taking rendition of Just Passing Through. You can hear her at a previous performance at : https://youtu.be/pE8W-WATn8Y

The Path

Walking in nature is good for the body AND soul. In Japan there is a practice known as “forest bathing” where people purposefully walk in the woods for rejuvenation.

Thankfully, even in a busy city like Toronto, it is possible to get away from the hustle and bustle, smog, and noise by wandering along sheltered tree lined pathways.

This photo was taken while enjoying time on a path near by my home. The over-reaching branches of the trees provide a sense of protection and privacy, while the sun breaking through invites feelings of freedom, joy, hope and happiness. It’s a place to re-center your soul, reflect, dream, decompress, de-stress – help your body, mind AND spirit become one again.

When we are buried under piles of snow and are in the midst of the dull grey, seemingly endless, days of winter, we may forget what it was like to walk along such a path on a warm, sunny day.

You can reflect back on these moments on a friendly path by enjoying a warm cup of coffee out of a mug with this design. Mugs and many other products bearing this image can be found in my online shop at: https://www.redbubble.com/people/marcamdesigns/collections/1197980-land-n-seascapes?asc=u

Food off the Beaten Path

On Oct 23/19 Suresh Doss Celebrated his 100th episode on CBC’s Metro Morning by holding a special night at Bloor Hot Docs (Ted Rogers Cinema).

He provided photos, videos and stories about his adventures exploring the food scene in Toronto. For several years, Suresh has been going off the beaten path, to small, easily overlooked, bastions of excellent, traditional food.

His talk was accompanied by the chance to enjoy fresh, savoury food provided that night by Rick’s Good Eats, Chengdu Noodles (Niagara) and Nani’s Gelato. We devoured Rick’s Butter Chicken and thoroughly relished Nani’s Pistachio Cardamom gelato delight.

Suresh’s Recommendations Included:

Scarborough:

  • Mamajoun | 209 Ellesmere Rd, Unit 6. Armenian pizza (lahmajoun).
  • One2Snacks | 8 Glen Watford Dr #26. Malaysian street food.
  • Coffee In | 2181 Lawrence Avenue E., Suite A. Filipino eats.
  • Ani Bakery | 25 Howden Road. Armenian lahmajoun.

North York:

  • Naniwa-Taro | 7 Byng Avenue. Osaka-style, takoyaki & okonomiyaki.

Thornhill:

Etobicoke:

Mississauga:

  • Ancila’s | 6905 Millcreek Drive. Indian cooking.

Downtown

Angels in Training

Angels have been spoken of, imagined, seen among us for centuries.

Do they come fully formed from the beginning of their existence? Or do they grow into their full glory?

I created this series of ceramic figurines several years ago. I decided to convey the idea that at least some angels start off rather scruffy and grow into their full blown magnificence over time.

These urchin angels still don’t quite know how to wear their halos or use their wings. From time to time they may still cop an attitude and behave less than glorious once in a while – just like us.

Their faces have been left deliberately blank. Whatever emotion you are feeling at the time can be reflected onto them. They can console, celebrate, encourage, or just listen, as needed. They are all-knowing but non-judgemental, they are patient, fierce, strong yet gentle.

They come from all walks of life and all parts of the globe. Although I have given them English/Gaelic names (for ease of ordering from my online shop), they can be called any name you like. They may be female/male/androgynous/trans whatever you want them to be.

Perhaps you’re trying to be more “angelic” in your life, or know someone who either already is one or is struggling to become one.

You can find these lovely angels on cards, stickers, mugs, water bottles, travel mugs, totes, wall art …. in my online shop at: https://www.redbubble.com/people/marcamdesigns/collections/1212628-christmas?asc=u

Bloor Hot Docs Podcast Festival

Nov 8/19. This week the Bloor Hot Docs (Ted Rogers Cinema) is hosting their annual Hot Docs Podcast Festival.

The festival, which is sponsored in part by CBCPodcasts, is a chance for both creators and listeners to explore, learn and be part of the podcast scene.

Tonight, Medhi Hasan, hosted a live recording of his program Deconstructed, which will air online next week. This was his first live recording for the program to take place in Canada.

His guests were:

  • The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (federal Liberal party), Member of Parliament for the riding of York South-Weston, who came to Canada as a young boy as a refugee from Somalia.
  • Jagmeet Singh, lawyer, human rights activist, Leader of the New Democratic Party (federal level), first generation Canadian, Sikh, his parents immigrated from the Punjab, India.

Hasan, a British, US based, journalist of world-wide fame, is known for asking hard questions and refusing to accept non-answer responses (which politicians are noted for giving). Tonight was no exception, he did ask several hard questions of both guests, but they managed, for the most part, to answer them to his satisfaction.

The audience also got to ask a few questions of each guest, but were clearly instructed to keep their questions short and to the point. Thankfully, this advice was (usually) heeded.

It was an interesting and informative evening. No doubt the podcast that comes out of it will be as well.

The Perilous Trek of Refugees

Nov 5/19. Bloor Hot Docs (Ted Rogers Cinema) hosted a special event for members – a free viewing of the documentary Midnight Traveler. The production of this documentary has been supported, in part, by a grant from Hot Docs CrossCurrents Doc Funds Program.

Hassan Fazili and his wife, Fatima Hussaini, both Afghani filmmakers, along with their young daughters, were forced to flee their home. The Taliban were displeased with his film work as well as the cafe they had been running, and put a bounty on his head.

Using only the cameras on their cellphones, the whole family, including the daughters, document their treacherous journey. At the beginning of the film, the oldest daughter, Nargis, states quite plainly that their life has been “a journey to the edge of hell.”

For more than three years, the family has been forced to cross borderlines, and endure inhumane living conditions way beyond anyone’s simple comprehension. They are still on hold, now waiting in Germany, in hopes of a long-term place to call home.

You can watch Hassan introduce this documentary at :https://youtu.be/5b0-7tvih7E

At the end of the documentary, there was a short panel discussion with:

  • Khaled Abdulwahed & Andrew Lusztyk – Together Project, an organization connecting refugee newcomers and Canadians.
  • Mohammad Waseem Zakour – An internationally-trained physician from Syria, currently studying to get his papers to practice in Canada.
  • Mario Calla – Executive Director,  COSTI Immigrant Services.
  • Elizabeth Radshaw – Director of Industry Programs, Hot Docs, in contact with producers of documentary and in charge of grant that helped make it possible.
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