First sign of spring

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Spring Fine Homes

IMG_8649IMG_8650IMG_8651The spring issue of Saskatoon Fine Homes is out. Have a peek. You’ll see a new feature by Income Property’s Scott McGillivray (I would have much preferred that they ask me to interview him, but I guess he wants to write his own column. Dang.) You should be able to see the online version of the magazine soon here.

I did a feature with Craig Listwin and got to see some really interesting design materials. Alway something to learn about in the wonderful world of home design and decor!



IMG_8535IMG_8637IMG_8638IMG_8652Jim and I were hanging around after he got off work, having a look at the progress of the Farnam Block demolition this week. Phil Tank of the Star Phoenix wanted some thoughts from a few of us onlookers.

Two very nice and helpful men on the destruction crew happily handed over some coveted pieces of terra cotta block I had my eye on.

We could have had a few more, but Jim said it was getting dusty. Watch for these later this spring, repurposed into planters in the Schwier herb garden. We declined the kind offer of pub umbrellas, but a lot of people did take home one or two as souvenirs.

Camo kea

IMG_2238 IMG_2300 IMG_2198Forgive me for more New Zealand photos; just updating iPhoto on my backups and was reminded how perfectly these keas blend into the alpine scenery in the Haast Pass. We were on a trip to Milford Sound and on either side of Homer Tunnel, these cheeky little parrots stalk people who have to wait in their cars for traffic to clear. Despite the ‘do not feed the kea’ signs, people do and these guys learn fast. If you don’t hand over something, they start pulling at the rubber bits on your car.

One was fascinated by the camera lens. I think he could see himself. Jim was okay with this closeup wildlife encounter…as long as he was inside the car.






If we’d been there longer, that guy probably would have dismantled Jim’s window.


Hobbiton revisited

If you saw my post way back in December 2012, you’ll remember we had the best tourist experience ever (oddly, without feeling touristy!) when we spent a day tromping around the Shire near Matamata in New Zealand. IMG_7203 2The Hobbit was still in the making, Lord of the Rings trilogy was wrapping up, and we had to sign sternly-worded official papers promising not to show anyone any photos taken in the Shire. Peter Jackson would be very grumpy, they said. But since the movie is out, so is the secret set. Here are a few we took that day.

Rick, Jim and I about to pay a visit to Bilbo, and various views in the area. How to make Hobbiton look real? Build a set and then let Waikato nature take over. With a little help from yogurt; they smeared that on the fences so it would mould and look like weathered, lichen-covered wood. I hear now that you can go right up to the Hobbit holes and peek inside. Must go back to have another look. For a bird’s eye view, see this piece produced by Devin Super Tramp!

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“We need people like us.”

Wonderful experience last night to hear Dr. Temple Grandin last night at TCU, introduced by Chris Hadfield no less. IMG_8342

“The world needs a lot of different kinds of minds,” she said so emphatically. “We need people like us.”

I wish I had written down so many of her insights. One in particular sticks with me. Her advice to people teaching someone with a disability, autism in particular: “Teach the person like you’re coaching someone in a play. Demonstrate. Show them what to do. Say things clearly. Don’t beat around the bush!”

There’s me at the end, just hangin’ out wth Temple at her book signing 🙂

IMG_8352I’ve got to say that in the HBO movie Temple Grandin, actor Claire Danes absolutely nails her!


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Farnam farewell

IMG_8225 IMG_8227 IMG_8231 IMG_8238 IMG_8257 IMG_8264We paid a last visit to the doomed Farnam Block on Broadway today. Efforts to save the historic building have had little impact; the windows were coming out, interior demo is underway, and we expect to see the wrecker arrive any time now. The character of this block, just a stone’s throw from our rental property, will radically change.

I hope they at least salvage the bricks and someone grab that plaque!