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Too soon: Denise Lim

Danica just shared the sad news with me. Denise Lim died this morning in Ottawa.

Denise and her husband Dennis at our house, just two years ago. August, 2014.

Denise is Thorne Won’s sister, so a special word of sympathy to Thorne and Anna. We’ve lost an elegant, intelligent woman of exceptional style, grace and gentleness.

Denise and Dennis made great company … natural, at ease and good-humoured. Although we have all known for a little while that this day was coming, it will be especially tough on Dennis. They should have had many more happy years together.

Rest in peace, Denise. Your exit, with courage and dignity, was in character. You just made it too soon.

A perfect rescue

Zuhair “Kash” Kashmeri, journalist, writer, commentator and gelato entrepreneur saved me from too much house painting today and got me out to a place where painting is fun … the Flying Pony Gallery/Café.


Kash with his art purchase: A signed, limited edition print of Andrew Horne’s “The Past Went That-A-Way”. More about it here.

We talked about everything … politics, poetry, history, the brain, people … for a couple of hours over coffees and macchiatos, then spent another couple of hours eating and talking more at Hakka Wow.

Kash introduced me to Chicken Corn Soup which reminded him of his youth in Bombay. Delicious, but be VERY careful with the chopped chilis in vinegar if you add them. Try one first. HOT!

We had two dishes: Manchurian Chicken (dry) and Bombay Fish (basa fish with gravy). Fluffy white rice came with it. Beverage: canned iced tea.

I ate twice as much as Kash did and still took home a doggy bag with another meal inside. Do try Hakka Wow. I think you’ll be happy. No alcohol, though. You can go down the street to the Two-Headed Dog for that, after your meal.

Slideshow from the left coast

We scheduled the insulation and repainting job (posts below) to coincide with Danica’s trip to visit her sister Anna in Victoria. Anna and Thorne took her on a side jaunt to Seattle, so here is today’s proof that I’m still alive and posting.


Perhaps some comments will arrive, to add details. I will just thank Thorne for sending information about the Kalakala ferry, which he remembers seeing as a very young child.

The Wikipedia entry says the Kalakala was still afloat back in 1962, for the Seattle World’s Fair. I did visit Seattle that year and saw the brand new Space NeedleI recall being unimpressed. I wish I had seen the Kalakala instead, but I didn’t.

Oh, one more remark. The sleepy little town of Port Angeles saw a pretty exciting chase back in 1999. You can read about the terrorist here. [Link]

Mr. Hickey is home

A downside of posting regularly is that, when you are too busy (painting) to post, people may think you’ve dropped dead. So … not so. Still alive, still painting walls, but posting, too.


Fortunately, I don’t always have to generate my own content … not when I have interesting friends. Brian Hickey sent this postcard from Turkey. He timed his first visit to Istanbul perfectly … just after the ISIS airport attack, then he left 5 days before the coup attempt and subsequent crackdown.

Kash and Carlotta have done it again!

Pardon the swiped picture from the Il Gelato di Carlotta web page. Our friends Kash and Carlotta have just opened their third outlet, serving the best gelato in the country.


Ruth and John Robert Colombo gave me the heads-up last week. They visited the mothership store in Niagara on the Lake while on a Shaw Festival play-viewing binge. The dynamic owners were away, creating another success.

Others might have been content with their popular B&B [video], but not these two. They are on a mission to bring seriously Italian gelato to the world.

I met Zuhair “Kash” Kashmeri many years ago, when he and Ben Viccari were doing video opinion pieces for OMNI TV. I liked the guy right away and often agreed with his political commentaries. After OMNI, Kash made a wonderful documentary about his Bollywood actor/scriptwriter father. Now he and Carlotta are creating a gelato chain. What a couple … so deserving of all their success and much happiness.

Thanks, Nabor

Nabor’s Paints. They sell paint to pros. They advise amateurs like me. They support other local businesses and causes. They deliver small-town, friendly service but have all the high-tech stuff … scanners, databases and like that.

Best of all, they just saved my bacon.


Readers will know that my walls are peppered with holes and patches, after an insulation crew left the place looking like I’ve been the victim of a mob hit. Ideally, I could just smooth out and paint over the damage, without having to repaint completely.

Nabor’s scanned a small plaster chip I provided, mixed new paint, then tweaked it until, I swear, there is NO visible difference between my new paint and the sample.

It will save me hours and hours of labour, and/or the cost and disruption of hiring professionals. If I need a match later on, my purchase is in the database.

Back to Haandi, after years

I used to go quite often to the Haandi buffet, with the late Jay Telfer. It was his number one choice out of all the offerings in Gerrard’s Little India.


Dinner buffet is $14, all of the usual choices, all you can eat. Highlights for me: the pakora, fresh from the kitchen. Very good. Tandoori chicken pieces were meaty and perfectly done. Naan came with a choice: garlic or regular. Delicious. I picked garlic. Rice? White and fluffy. Fresh salad elements … cucumber, lettuce, onions. Dessert is included. I had two scoops of ice cream.

Service was helpful, friendly and efficient. I was early, by Indian standards, so the crowds weren’t out yet.

Last weekend, Danica and I met one of the Haandi family members, out front on the street, promoting his place at during the South Asian festival. He was carrying on the family tradition. They had operated the nearby Skylark Restaurant for 25 years until it closed.


Trying Haandi broke with my habit of heading to Gautama Restaurant on the other side of street, when it’s Indian buffet time. Will I become a Haandi fan? Yes, for food, no for decor.

I do not understand the weird lighting inside Haandi. The green neon makes customers look sick. Doesn’t help the food’s appearance, either. That’s a shame, because a couple of the food offerings were better than Gautama’s.

The green neon was in place during my Jay visits. The new generation hasn’t changed it. Maybe it’s time?

Gerrard Art Space Print Show

It’s still up until July 31, so today wasn’t my last chance to see the show, though I thought it was. I didn’t want to miss seeing Elizabeth Forrest‘s entries and I thought that the other works might be by her students. Wrong again.

under-coverElizabeth Forrest, Under Cover, 2007, mokuhanga (3/9) $500

Above is my favourite, and not just because Danica is a quilter. It’s nice and big, colourful without being garish and composed in a relaxed, informal way … as comfortable as can be.

Eleven more artists are represented in the show: Janine Lindgren, Nik Fydyshyn, Amy Uyeda, Avril Bull, Irina Schestakowich, Shelley Savor, Pam Belshaw, Phyllis Gordon, Peggy Bell, Andre Zadorozny and Elizabeth Sacca.

I was pleasantly surprised by the level of accomplishment. These block printers have obviously been developing their art for years. Also pleasing; the variety on display … in style, size, technique and expression.

details-printsLeft: Detail and print, Janine Lindgren, Heart Wood, 1996 (1/30) $350   Right: Nyk Fydishyn, The Feather, 2006 (3/15) $160

Janine Lindgren’s work is intriguing. I wish I knew more about how she exploits wood grain and growth rings but modifies them to hold imagery. Did she find that heart in the cherry tree rings? Or did she create it?

Nyk Fydishyn’s The Feather is a tiny little print, beautifully crafted. It’s listed as a wood engraving rather than a woodblock print. I like to see that such deft, traditional skill is still alive.

What a Relief! Woodblock Print Show
July 13 to July 31
Gerrard Art Space
1475 Gerrard Street East
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.