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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Of Course We Can All Get Along

I took a long walk through the city last week in order to run some errands. My doctor advised me to walk 45 minutes a day. I was mainly in search of a 60” and 34” pine stretchers so that I could stretch, ‘Go Jimi,’ currently on display at Mojo Music. Photo to come.

Toose Art Supplies is a great, calm place across the street from University of Toronto on College Street West just East of Spadina. Sadly Toose Art Supplies was low on pine stretchers but they are currently having a 50% off sale on canvas. 

Woo hoo! 

For those looking for a great assortment of pine stretchers of excellent quality, please visit Daniel’s Art Supplies, aka Picasso’s on 430 Spadina Ave at Oxford. 
Call him at: (416) 597-1919. He also sells custom pine stretchers that are made to order.
I joked with the owner that I should have opened an art supply store. (My plan years ago, was to open one that sold environmentally friendly art supplies). I mentioned that I regretted not having done so. He extended his hand and offered to give me the keys to his store. He told me that he would sell it to me for less than $500,000 and would consultant for a few years after it’s sale. Nice guy. I offered to write him a cheque on the spot for 73 cents, the balance in my bank account at the time. We laughed.(I know. I know. I shouldn't focus on money. Love is the answer.)

Daniels’s Art Supply sells the best paintbrushes in the city! Be prepared to pay for them, though. For example, my favourite ¼” natural fibre paint brush retailed at $30 ten years ago and it is still the best brush that I own. I paid that much knowing the bristles would never fall out, and the handle would always feel great in my hand. The natural fibres also absorb paint evenly.

Simone Frank + Peter Sanagan
Peter at Sanagans’s Meat Locker was kind enough to support me in my efforts to travel to China for the art exhibition to participate in the 2013 Contemporary Art Exhibition by Shanghai Yude Exhibition Company. He didn't hesitate for an instant. Super nice guy who sells great meat for the carnivores out there, of which I am a proud member. Better to choose the organic, grain fed meats if including meat in your diet. The staff at Sanagan's can tell you more.
Click here if you support me too! 
I told Peter that the best turkey I ever prepared was purchased from his meat locker. I promised to return to buy some organic, free run chicken, and I will. 

This photograph was taken by a former Squirly’s waiter, I spent many a day and night there during the 90s, drinking coffee or red wine, eating some great food, reading the paper and writing poetry. That Lady, a Fine Art grad, had a career in activism and politics. She now works in PR.

Simone Frank + Anthony Richards
Thanks to the lovely ladies from Ingersoll, Ontario, who were kind enough to take this photo while shopping at Tribal.
Find Tribal on the West side of Kensington Avenue just South of Baldwin.

73 Kensington Avenue, Toronto.  
647 210 7015 | 647 627 6484 | 647 391 7015

Anthony, the owner, and possibly the most charming salesperson you will ever meet, has even recited poetry to me. One day we sat and played jimbe’s together. He knows the history and origin of everything in his store. He sells artwork created by local artists including OCADU students. He will offer you a sample of his line of organic, handmade beauty products to massage into your hands as you browse through the store. He boasts about the benefits of shea butter and has a way of knowing which product in his line will meet your needs.
I thanked him for always making me laugh and smile when I visit his store. As soon as I walk in, he cheers me up. I gave him a coffee print as I thank you. I told him that I wouldn’t hit him up for sponsorship… yet...

Here’s hoping he remembers me when his store is booming with customers as it should be. I get many compliments when wearing his fragrances, especially the coacoa. 
Now, they did a study years ago. The results were: Canadian men went mad over Vanilla fragrances in a lustful and sensual way, of course. My pal J told me that in Sweden, the same study found that Cinnamon was the fragrance of choice. In my own research, men with soul go nuts over Coconut. Guys and gals, let me know what you have found.
Tribal is a great place to shop for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Two body butters retail for $25.
Monsieur Rasta Pasta at 214 Augusta Avenue
Anthony told M, the owner of RastaPasta that I was going to blog about Tribal. Rasta Pasta has great prices, kind and courteous customer service, a sparkling, clean kitchen... of course I'll blog about Rasta Pasta. Generous portions too! Melt in your mouth meet. Yum. And great branding.
When you shop at Rasta Pasta, pick up one of the coupons below from the counter for a great deal on your second meal. 
Somehow I managed to leave with two. I'll have to play one forward.

Please tell the owner, M, that I said hello when you visit.
Now, to find Rasta Pasta, you have to walk through the Latin restaurant just North of Zimmerman’s. (That's on Augusta just North of Baldwin). Zimmerman's sells everything from inexpensive undies to chick peas. I once went in there and asked the owner where his underwear was located. He yelled to the salesperson in the middle of the huge store, "Show her the see-through ones! Show her the see-through ones!" I laughed. It's never boring in Kensington Market.

Model Citizen, is owned by an old pal of mine, Julian. He offered me his support in my fundraising campaign. Thanks, Julian! Click here to support me too! Model Citizen is filled with designs by Canadian designers. Check him out if you are in the hood.

My last stop was the candy store at Baldwin and Augusta. O, tells me that they may have to move. The owner is either 'going to', 'wants to' or 'has' sold the building. I suggested that he move to Forest Hill so that I don’t have to travel so far to buy my turbinado sugar. He insists that the rent in Forest Hill is too expensive. I told him that all things are negotiable.

Things in Toronto continue to grow and change but some things stay the same. I was able to catch up with Uncle T. We sat and had a cappuccino together and talked about travel plans, work and pals. Another fabulous old pal o mine. Please say a prayer for my new pal Ian who is under the weather. Uncle T tells me that they will be exhibiting work in his honour tonight from 6:30ish to 10:00pm ish at Propeller Gallery, to cheer Ian up. A fabulous way to revive a blue artist. Propeller is an excellent artist run centre to join. Call to verify this. Propellar Gallery is open Wednesday- Saturday: 12- 6pm and Sunday: 12- 5pm. Tel: 416.504.7142

I am still going to China. The timing might be different, but all things are negotiable. Uncle T, and a few others, think it’s a great idea to throw, ‘Drunken Storytelling Night’ at Grossman’s. How is that connected to exhibiting in China?

Well, the work that they have chosen to exhibit illustrates my path out of the frustration I felt after rejecting the advances of a man in a bar. The 'situation' lead to a bar brawl. A story I love to tell, not a love story. (There is a censored and an uncensored version). Also, written in the book, Etiquette Guide to China by Boye Lafayette De Mente discussing business deals and drinking. The author says that unless the reason is medical, one is expected to drink while negotiating. So I guess, I'll have to practice. Kidding! 
I don’t believe everything I read. I’ll let you know, when I return from China, if drinking during business transactions is a custom or a fib.
When Julian, owner of Model Citizen, asked me, “Why Drunken Storytelling Night?” I said.

“It’ll be fun. I’ll give an addiction therapist the microphone and ask them to speak about all the programs the city offers for those recovering from addiction. Then I’ll hand them a drink and then we’ll all get up and tell crazy stories. I’ll record it and, put it up on YouTube. Then for a million years your lineage will be able to look up that video when they are curious about you.”

“I’m in,” he said.

Please don’t drink and drive. And I don’t recommend that you drink to forget.

We’ll see what the owner at Grossman’s says! Baby I got your number... 
… and email address from your wonderful staff. Not like that, though. I’m not planning to hit on you.

Flow, Acrylic on Reclaimed Wood, 7"x10" | $95.00

A pause for the environment.

I was reading in ‘Our Toronto’ that the city’s Clean Toronto program began this month. There is still time to pick up free GLAD garbage bags and recycling bags at local civic centres, community centres, Pizza Pizza.

Look forward to some more fun events. I’ll be planning them solo. It didn’t work out with the PR rep/Event planner I hired. Anyone interested in filling his shoes can contact me via email. Hopefully, we will be resolving our professional conflicts at St. Christopher House. Back in the day, one could schedule an appointment with an impartial third party to resolve conflicts. I have contacted them to see if that service is still available. I don’t see it listed on their website. 

“Can’t we all just get along?”

Here’s one opinion by Douglas Noll, a full time peacemaker and mediator specializing in difficult and intractable conflicts.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Recent advances in the neurosciences have established an irrefutable fact: Human beings are emotional, not rational. Nevertheless, on the strength of Descartes’ rationalist philosophy, the Enlightenment opened the doors to modern empiricism and led humanity into the Scientific Revolution. No one doubted the power of rational thinking to solve problems and unravel the mysteries of the observable universe. From these observations came the belief that humans were distinguished from all other creatures because of their rationality. To be irrational was to be something less than human.

This belief deeply influenced English and American law, foreign policy, and economic theory. Legal standards were set by comparison to a prototypical rational person. Foreign policy was based on the assumption that rational beings could sit together and work through international disputes and conflicts. Economists built an entire field of study on the assumption that consumers acted “rationally” in maximizing their utility. People engaged in peacemaking, from the interpersonal to the international level, assumed that despite the emotions of conflict, people fundamentally were rational.

The truth is that we are 98 percent emotional and about two percent rational. Thus, the assumptions underlying many disciplines and practices, especially peacemaking, need significant revisions. Much remains unknown, but the implications of the research so far demonstrate that we must be far more aware of neuropsychological factors of human conflict. These factors explain much about conflict behaviors. They also provide insights about new interventions in serious and intractable conflicts.

To understand how our brain deals with conflict, consider a simple emotional model. In this model, conflict starts with some problem. The problem is serious enough to cause anxiety, reflected in a feeling of insecurity. When anxiety or insecurity is first experienced, we have a choice between reactivity and reflection. If we do not make a choice, our default mode is to be reactive.

By being reactive, we might reject the problem, give up, or feel inadequate to deal with the problem. If the problem is persistent, we might struggle or exit. As the conflict develops, we perceive it as a threat, and we may blame, attack or withdraw. These behaviors constitute our fear reaction system. I like to call it our self-protective system. The brain systems associated with fear reaction are very, very old, dating back to the earliest vertebrae animals. Although highly adaptive in the uncertain and dangerous environment of 20,000 years ago, the system is largely maladaptive in our modern, complex culture.

If the choice for reflection is made, we have learned to reflect, relate, and relax. The insecurity arising from a conflict situation is recognized as pointing to a pathway of growth towards greater peace and self-realization. We are led by our curiosity to discover something new, find what is lost, or complete unfinished business. Success leads us to wholeness, authenticity, power and wisdom.

The path, however, is not easy. From anxiety and insecurity, we experience inadequacy (we don’t know what to do) and a drop in self-esteem (we don’t feel good about self). We ride on a broad emotional river and often experience fear of death, a drowning sensation, being shaky, or cold. Along this journey, our fear reaction system could pull us off the path of peace.

At the end of this emotional drop, we end in a calm pool that represents the essential peace within us. In this state, we hold an unshakable foundation of belief in ourselves. We are authentic; we are present in the moment. We exhibit a full spectrum of self as robust, rainbow colored, and multi-faceted. From this place, we can be compassionate, tolerant, exhibit loving-kindness, and embrace peace. This is what I have observed many people experiencing as they engage in conflict resolution and achieve peace.

Many moons ago, Dr. Avenue Road recommended a series of books when I complained of frustration around conflict resolution. I highly recommend reading this series of books, especially for those employed in the field of design. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if conflict resolution was included in the curriculum of design programs.

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Consider purchasing:  Getting To Yes, Getting Past No and Getting Together. Authors, Roger Fisher and Scott Brown were/are affiliated with negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Love, Acrylic on Reclaimed Wood | 7"x9" | $95.00

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