Hola Cuba!

Posted in: Cuba | 0

Cuba continues to fascinate visitors, especially now that the country is gearing up to welcome more American visitors. Here’s a short introduction to this beautiful island that appears online for the National Association of Federal Retirees: Hola Cuba

Day and Night Fun on Hawai’i, the Big Island

Posted in: United States | 0

Hawai’i, the Big Island Two Ways for WestJet Magazine – September, 2015IMG_5937

On Hawai’i’s Big Island there’s lots to do under picture-perfect sunny skies. But you can also enjoy the natural beauty of the island after the sun goes down.  Here’s a link to the story on page 36 in WestJet Magazine’s online edition: Two Ways





5 Heavenly Harbours

Posted in: Canada | 1

1-Take a kid size cruise around Halifax harbour with Theodore Tugboat Photo by Debra Smith 3896x25935 Heavenly Harbours for the Calgary Herald

“Psst!  Wanna buy a fish?”  The peaceful dock at Quadra Island, B.C. was the last place I expected to be approached by a malnourished fish dealer with a nicotine habit.  When he sidled up to me, the word “fish” was about the last thing I would have expected to hear.  All kinds of questions sprang to mind.  What kind of a fish?  Was it legal?  If so, why the shady enquiry?  If not, did I look like I needed an illegal fish?  By the time I decided to ask, he had vanished.

It was definitely the strangest encounter I had at any of the five harbours I visited this summer. On a whirlwind ten day trip to meet and reconnect with our extended families living on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts, my partner and I felt like we were on our own

Getting Artsy in Arizona

Posted in: United States | 0

For the Calgary Herald: Have you always wanted to wield a paintbrush?  Had a passion for pottery? Been gaga for glassblowing or crazyadmin-ajax-001 for the clarinet but couldn’t find the time to do what you love?  Arizona is a place where you can follow your bliss even if all you have is a few hours, a few days or, best of all, a few weeks to spend there.

Where to get inspired

The Heard Museum – Phoenix

To immerse yourself in the art and culture of the Southwest, visit the Heard Museum in Phoenix.  From ancient pottery to contemporary photographs, it’s a celebration of Native American art and artists.  As you follow the spiral curves of the shell shaped Ullman Learning Centre you’ll find exhibits from 21 of Arizona’s tribal communities.  Each one highlights their unique approach to art with hands on samples of weaving, drawing and basket making.  In …

Romancing the Stone – How to design your custom ring

Posted in: Detours | 0

For the Calgary Herald:1-Traditional hand tools meet the latest technology in Paul Kangas' workshop Photo courtesy Paul Kangas

When Jim Ball decided to surprise his wife Marilyn with a custom ring for their tenth anniversary, he took his design to his favorite jeweler 10 months ahead of time.  He wasn’t worried about how long it would take; he was looking forward to the experience.  Jim and Marilyn had designed her wedding bands, based on her vision of a piece of lace set with a yellow diamond, as well as other pieces over the years. According to Peter Kangas, of Kangas Diamonds and Custom Jewellery, most people who are looking for custom rings are not young newlyweds.  Generally speaking, they are couples like Jim and Marilyn, who have been together for more than a few years.  They usually have a design in mind and are looking for something distinctive and unique from jeweller like Peter who can, as Jim says, “draw out of you what …

The Wilder Side of Red Deer – Extreme Pumpkin Carving

Posted in: Canada | 0

Extreme pumpkin carving The biting whine of a chainsaw shattered the silence of the cornfield under a bright blue autumn sky.  We watched in horror as the blade plunged and twisted into its target.  Would the carver succeed or lose a finger? Would we remember our first aid training?  Or would the story have a happy ending?  Extreme Power Tool Pumpkin Carving brought us to Red Deer but we found out there was a lot more to investigate.

The day began innocently enough.  We were searching for snacks off the usual Gasoline Alley route when a trail of pastry crumbs led us to The Tasty Bakery. We murdered some sweet gooey butter tarts, a couple of brownies and a black forest strudel.  There was some mysteriously wonderful raisin bread with a flavour that had us guessing but no one was giving away the secret ingredient.  They stuck to their motto “Our Name Says …

The Horses of Central Park

Posted in: United States | 1

For AAA Home & Away Magazine, Southern Pennslyvania and online:

New York City’s love affair with equine beauties
continues into the 21st century.

What would New York’s Central Park be without horses? Many of the park’s 40 million annual visitors would never guess that horses have played a major role in the history, art and culture of the park and that they continue to do so today.

The clippity-clop of horses hooves have been heard in Central Park since its official opening in 1857.  Designed by the famous landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the seemingly natural and idyllic vistas that enchant us today were sculpted out of hillsides with gunpowder and shovels.  Horses played their part by carting in thousands of feet of topsoil to create rolling green lawns, and hauling out millions of cartloads of debris to the countryside.  In a time before heavy machinery, …

Memories Made of Ice

Posted in: Detours | 0

1-The Silence Below 2014 Winner

For AAA Home and Away Magazine, Southern Pennsylvania and online: 

Every January, a palace of ice rises on the frozen glacier waters of Lake Louise to signal the start of the Ice Magic Festival in Banff National Park, Alberta. Surrounded by the knife-edged peaks that mark the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise has always been known for its spectacular beauty in summer, but when the trees put on their white sweaters and powdery snow covers the ski hills and mountain trails, Lake Louise becomes a magnet for those who crave the exhilaration of the outdoors in winter.

In 2014, against the backdrop of massive limestone peaks, a select group of international artists created works of the most fragile beauty – the ice sculptures of the 20th annual Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival.  Only carvers who had won in previous years were invited to take part in …

Rumba Beats and Good Eats in Cuba

Posted in: Carribean, Cuba | 0


The Vancouver Courier

– August 22, 2014

You’re going to Cuba? Great! Take food. That was the advice from friends when I told them about our upcoming trip. There was universal agreement that if we were going to survive for a whole week, my suitcase had to be half full of cereal, dried fruit and granola bars. Of course, this was a challenge in the making. Forget the groceries, I ramped up on research instead.
We built a Cuban sandwich of our own – a spicy weekend in Havana stuffed between four days at a luxurious all inclusive in Varadero. Add a helping of history, a pinch of the mystical and a dash of neighborhood dance party and we had a tempting trip so good we could taste it

Our first two days were spent at the Paradisus Princessa del Mar Resort & Spa in Varadero, out at the whip …