I have been fighting the good fight for any number of years. I'm talking dry skin. The summer months are fading to just memory when my good fight consisted of sloughing the cracked and scale-like skin off my heels. These days, the only time I see my heels are on the yoga mat and in the shower. My focus has now shifted to my hands. With the exception of a woman's neck, little more tells her age than the skin on her hands. I have two problem areas, the side of the index finger on my right hand and the knuckle of my left pinkie. Don't ask me why, but these two spots are inconsolable. And now with hand washing season in full swing, I am not only fighting the good fight, I am in full battle. It's me against the lizard who seems poised to take over my hands. I have tried all kinds of cremes, lotions and milks. I stop short of sleeping with Vaseline under gloves and I feel like I'm losing. The Body Shop's hemp hand protector is good but no match for those two hot spots of mine. Any suggestions out there?
Today is my one year blogaversary. I can't believe it's been a year and at the same time I can't believe it's only been a year. Creating this was a real labour and to sound like so many other before me, I have met wonderfully creative people and truly supportive and generous friends. It has allowed me a forum to put my art "out there" and to learn in a way that would never have been possible even ten years ago. Ain't technology grand?! So in light of all this, I am going to offer a very mysterious give-away. I am in the throes of Julie Prichard's Super Nova Art Journaling class which started about ten days ago and runs until around the end of October. I am also starting Carmen Torbus' Spill It! class in less than a week. I am going to give away one my results from those classes. Already I've been producing like a fiend (for me anyway), not quite finished pieces on water color paper mostly 5 x7, a few 4 x 6. But in view of the quantity and the fact that they aren't even finished I am not posting any photos (as yet anyway). I will wait until the end of October for all the classes to have run and to have worked all the techniques taught and then choose one of the finished products. Basically you're saying "Oh yes please, choose me!" for something you have never seen, but if you read here on a regular basis, and know my style, then you have a general idea. Leave a comment and you'll be entered into the draw. Mention the give away on your blog and I'll enter your name twice. You don't have to have a blog to enter, an email address is enough. I'm not sure when I will be closing entries, probably only just before I run the random integer generator at the end of October. I love surprises, don't you?!
I went to an art gallery during my lunch hour today. It was just a short walk from where I work and on the weekend I had seen a review of the exhibit of the artist, Jim Dine. When I was in art school back in the late 70's, early 80's his work knocked me off my feet. Especially his etchings and drawings. What I found so disappointing at the exhibit was that I couldn't touch any of the pieces. Now, I KNOW I'm not supposed to touch them but sometimes they just beg to be poked, stroked and caressed. There were a few canvases with acrylic paint, charcoal and sand, some bronze sculptures that had been painted and let me tell you, if it wasn't such a snooty place and I wasn't being watched like a thief who was about to tuck one of the pieces under my arm and make a break for it, I would have touched. Then it got me thinking that wouldn't it be great to work in a gallery that allowed touching?
After seeing this at Sherry Lee's blog, I signed up for Carmen's Spill It! class where we will definitely be getting our hands dirty. It starts on October 1, so if you want to join in, better hurry on over and sign up. Here is one of her videos that just might entice you. And as if that isn't enough, one lucky person will win the tuition for the workshop. Yowza!
After my last effort of joining in with Tuesdays "My World", I wasn't sure I was going to do it again, certainly not so soon, but I was so taken with the energy this morning that I couldn't resist. Montreal is an island with suburbs all around the north/south/east/west waterfronts. We live in the south-west part of the island and I often talk about "going down to the water" with my dogs and Riley. Here is what I see "down there".
There is a park running the length of the shoreline with parallel running bike and pedestrian paths. Somehow the pedestrians and the cyclists seem to collide a little too often. My city is home to kamikaze cyclists who (like our motorists as well) forget that riding/driving is a privilege and not a right.
I did very little to this. I started with a photo of a bird nest I found in August in P.E.I. I had really wanted to bring it home, but just couldn't see how on the plane, so I settled for taking some pictures. I loved the weight of it in my hand, examining it, it looked so miraculous. Scrapbook embellishments and ink. The back reads: With wood for strength, leaves for warmth, mud to remind us we are born of the earth, fresh air to help our spirits soar and love to hold it all together.
Both Sherry Lee and Snap have this up on their blogs and peace is something so important to me, it was the word I chose to enter into 2009 with, even had it stamped on a Lisa Leonard necklace to wear on myself every day. So I couldn't miss the opportunity to remind you to create your own peace, and then spread it around and not just today but today is a good day to start.
This little birdie has a message, click here to go to the original site propagating it.
My peace actions are getting out two parcels I have been meaning to get in the post for about two weeks now. The blue color of the symbol matched my language as I cut, taped and printed. There is a reason I don't volunteer to wrap presents at the mall at Christmas time. But it's the action and the thought that counts, I think that little dove will overlook any colorful words used to prepare these parcels of peace.
My garden has been not very nice this last month. We have had almost no rain but it's been chilly, especially at night, we are more often than not down to single digits now. I even put the heat on in my art studio yesterday morning, just to take the chill out of the air. And hot baths are welcome, the hotter the better. I noticed this yesterday, which seemed to have bloomed out of nowhere. Lord knows I haven't watered anything in a long time and I thought, how wonderful. And maybe in these days when I've not been feeling too hot emotionally, I could take a page from this pansy's book. Bloom anyway. Bloom one more time, push a little harder to squeeze out the beauty. Stretch without the heat, without the benefit of TLC from my caregiver(s), just bloom dammit.
You know how some things are much funnier once a little time has passed, and you can distance yourself enough to tell the story? On Thursday we took an adventure trip - once Riley was out of school we went up to the cottage to do a few pre-winter chores. With the dog in the back hold and, gratefully very little other baggage since it was less than a 24 hour trip, off we went to get ourselves tangled in rush hour traffic. I had walked the dog mid afternoon, hoping to empty her tank(s) so that she would sleep the whole drive up. (Important detail to the story.) We were just off the main highway, on the secondary route when the dog wakes up, which isn't unusual since the smells of the country usually get her excited. Maybe a little too excited this time. I hear her scrambling, trying to get her footing as the car takes the hairpin turns down the snake-like road. I try to encourage her to sit down, peek in the rear view mirror and it looks like she's "taking the stance". In the next minute or two Riley, in the backseat, says it smells bad. I open all the windows (thanking the fact that I have electric windows) while Riley starts dry heaving. Cold air is blasting in the car, Riley is heaving and screaming for me to "pull over". One little detail - there's NO WHERE to pull over. A few kilometers later and closer to a small town I do manage to pull over, get out and assess the damage while Riley barfs out the window. Again, grateful he is old enough to get himself out of his booster seat and that the window was already down. I'm usually well-prepared, I'm the Queen of Wipes, Ziploc baggies of them in every bag I carry but this is not a job for wet wipes. No sirree. I do what I can with the limited supplies, strap Riley back in and with windows still down, finish the route. Getting to the house I walk straight for the vodka bottle, not stopping for a glass.
See, wasn't that funny?
I thought with the weird non-summer we had, I would have seen a lot more of this:
But the colors are just starting to turn. Usually it would be much more vibrant but I think my favorite fall time there is when the birches go - orange and yellow against a background of their silver white trunks.
This is not good-bye, it's so long. See you in eight months or so. My good friends over the last four months, I will miss you but you are for another time. This morning I could see my breath when I let the dogs out. There was a frost warning in the further suburbs. Strange that the calendar still says "summer", but here in the the northern climes that one season is oh so short. Relegated to the back of the cupboard for now, I will be glad to see you next May and after a brief period of forgetting that you even exist. I will find joy in you once again.
And in keeping with THAT theme, here we are all ready for the next season - HOCKEY! The only thing missing is the jersey.
The last couple of days have had a lot of ups and downs. I always get a little introspective at this time of year, the days which have become noticeably shorter lend themselves to more serious thoughts. I've been reading a lot lately (read: 2 years) on being mindful. Saying practicing mindfulness, bringing your energy into present time and living in the now are basically all the same. If there are nuances they are just that and I am blissfully unaware of them. I am only now discovering that being mindful also means taking time, slowing down and acceptance. Which is different from liking or enjoying where you are and accepting that what is going on is going on. When do you know that any relationship in your life, be it a romantic partner, a friendship, a job, has reached its natural conclusion? When do you know to take it off of life support and let it go, with blessings if at all possible? Go to the light! Go to the light! Maybe it is the influence of autumn but I am feeling the natural end to different aspects in and of my life. Some of it is scary, some of it also feels liberating and both at the same time.
Today marked the end of our outdoor soccer season. Boys, girls, all ages in playoffs. For Riley's age group it was almost more of a social event. The teams are all local kids but from far enough spread out that it means saying good-bye to some buddies until next summer. I still can't believe summer is unofficially over.
*e*'s Q33 is, "What are you crossing your fingers for?"
Acrylics, ink, markers.
The front of this tag represents ferns. I love how they unfurl, they are the picture of hope and gentleness to me. I am hoping for major, colossal changes in my life. I'm working steadily on manifesting them, however long it takes, I have some very core and concrete dreams.
My composter is only in its second summer. What remains of the door to get in, is this:
Made by Envirocycle Systems, it was supposed to be squirrel-proof, chew-proof etc. Last week we repaired the latch that was chewed off, pretty proud of ourselves for out-foxing the foxes. This afternoon those dastardly grey things went at it in tandem. While we chased one, another took its place and took over the chewing. So now every Tom, Dick and Harry of the animal kingdom in the neighborhood will be dining chez nous, until they run out of goodies that is. The unfortunate thing for me, other than the obvious, is that my composter is (was) a spinner and with no functional door on top, there will be no spinning it. The wretched thing cost $200 which I was happy to pay to have it be everything-proof. I'm thinking of sending a photo to the company that made it with its lofty claims, perhaps they will mail me a new trap door.
Wow. I've had so many birthday wishes both here and at home, it's fantastic. This is the first year I've really tooted my own horn about it being my birthday though, so I guess I've invited a lot more joy into my life than I have in the past. In a few words, thank you to all who took the time to leave me a comment or email me or call. Each connection made me feel special. Here's what 49 looks like:
And it's my 500'th day of keeping a gratitude journal. Who knew? When I started it wasn't to count, more than my blessings every day at any rate. Numbers, shmumbers. It's in the doing, the living, the acknowledging and receiving that life is remarkable.
I spent today catching up with *e*'s questions, specifically numbers 31 and 32. I re-worked 31 a number of times, I just couldn't seem to get it right, but I'm satisfied with it now. What three words would someone use to describe me?
Synchronicity is a recurring theme in my life. It's probably been two weeks that I have worked on this, re-worked and re-worked it. Two weeks ago one of my homework assignments for the Patti Digh/David Robinson telecoaching class I am participating in was to interview a number of people asking them what they thought my greatest strengths and best qualities are and what they think my work in the world is. It's no co-incidence that I was working this question on my tag at the same time. Isn't the world an amazing place?
And question 32, "Why did I do that?" There were any number of bone-head things I could have chosen to answer this question but I wanted to keep a positive light on it. Last week I spent an afternoon doing some self-portraits inspired from an article in an old Somerset Studio magazine. I set up my camera on the tripod (in my studio), set the self timer and then just danced around the room. Some of the photos were incredible. I want to re-do this exercise outside before the snow flies, probably at the crack of dawn because of the neighbors and what may be left of my reputation. This one I cropped and ran through Befunky.com for the sepia tones and lines. I inked the edges too heavily, but what the heck.
The journaling on the back reads: I danced, in my solitude, only my internal music playing. I spun and leapt, dipped and waved like a tree in the wind. And it felt good.
In yet another example of synchronicity, I worked all afternoon on my card for the recipient I received via Se'Lah's Gift of Jewels post. I had decided to do a postcard because I had ready a stack of gessoed 4 x 6 watercolor cards. I was thinking crow, red, full moon and three panels. I digress, but I have been learning about cicadas, katydids and crickets and have wanted to do one piece combining each one in their own panel. Anyway...this idea of three panels spilled over into this crow, red, full moon piece I started. While blog surfing later in the afternoon I discovered Lisa at The Wright Stuff had just completed a triptych involving a crow, the color red and what looks like a full moon (although it might be the sun). Lisa and I were co-wreckers on Jamie Ridler's wrecking crew and we are both signed up for Julie's Art Journaling class starting in a couple of weeks. If this kind of stuff didn't tickle me so much, it would scare me.
I was caught last night, guilty as charged, by Anonymous. I was trying to set up my post for Wordless Wednesday and while working out the posting date and time I accidentally published. Egads! Yes, I do sometimes work my photo up on Tuesday night. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my downtown working days and so there is little energy for much other than maybe a photo on those two days. But yesterday was a particularly crappy little day. I started a post I called "Crappy Little Day", then decided it had been enough just to write it, I didn't need to put up all that angst and frustration. But let me tell you, from the effects of the upcoming retrograde Mercury, to misplacing my bus card and missing my first two buses looking for it to arriving at work late, my stapler breaking, the photocopier on "bypass" mode, having documents I sent out in July come back and bite me in the bum big time, having thoughts of being unemployed and worries of going back home on the bus newly unemployed with my cardboard box of personal effects (photo of Riley and a week's supply of chocolate) tucked under my arm, it was quite a day. Even my armpits stank, for goodness sake. But all that made me realize that I need to make some changes, that some parts of my life are not only not good enough, but detrimental to my health on many levels. It's true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I only wish there were more gentle ways of learning those kinds of lessons.