Saturday, January 30, 2010

Minus Thirty-Eight

It was with the windchill these last couple of days. That is about where the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales meet, so it's irrelevant to add either of those words after the number. My boots:

didn't quite cut it - only good to minus thirty. It seems those eight degrees really do make a difference.

Before I returned my library book on Friday I did some more homework:

as it was too frigid to be fiddling with push pins in my hydro pole. And I'm trying to not take it too personally but yesterday afternoon coming home from the art supply store (with the Queen of Arts no less!) we discovered a van crashed into "my" hydro pole, having neatly taken out my neighbor's Matrix on it's way there. No injuries, I am happy to say except to the metal and fibreglass.

Yes, the Queen of Arts was up in my neck of the woods and she graciously shared some of her time with me. I got to look through her art journal and see, without the blur of the computer screen, the vibrant colors and read the parts of her she chooses to share. We laughed and broke bread, my burned bread, and she looked past the pet hair and toys, not to mention the dreadful state I have let my car decline into. I plied her with wine to blur the edges. And she gifted me with one of these:

because that's the kind of Queen she is.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Haiku, Take 2

Crappy little day
Yesterday I just gave in
Love was hard to find

Friday Haiku

Winter has returned
With a fierce and frigid blast
Must go and shovel

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 3

It rained yesterday, enough rain to see a few arks half built in the neighborhood early this morning. But the sight of my now weepy affirmations didn't daunt me. Lookin' good!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

That's What You Get

For a long time, a couple of years actually, I have been asking, pleading and begging the Universe for some big change. But the Universe has other ideas for me, one of them being practicing patience, something I am working on but I still have moments of utter impatience. Cutting my hair was one of those moments of utter impatience. Boy, I wanted change and I got it. Control the controllables and let the rest go. So I've come up with my own top ten list, half yin, half yang.

Top Five Reasons Why It Was a Good Idea to Cut My Hair

1- I no longer need a comb (or a brush for that matter)
2- it pretty much takes care of itself in the morning
3- I can wear earrings and they show
4- I feel as if I have cleared a lot of clutter from my personal and physical realm
5- I learned a valuable lesson about control and forcing my hand

Top Five Reasons Why It Wasn't Such a Good Idea to Cut My Hair

1- you can see my turkey neck 24/7 now
2- it's still much colder outside than I realized
3- I feel more "exposed", this daring side of me is out there for more to see
4-my dogs don't recognize me
5- I learned a valuable lesson about control and forcing my hand

So here I am, yuking it up in the mirror. I guess it's time to change my bio photo as I really don't feel like that person anymore.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 2

At the suggestion of the lovely and inspiring Queen of Arts, I went back to my hydro pole this afternoon and push-pinned another affirmation.

This just might be getting addictive.


Everywhere I turn there is synchronicity. One of the homework assignments for Mondo Beyondo this week was to place an affirmation for someone to find (the Queen of Arts would love this). Early yesterday morning I push-pinned this into a hydro pole and it was still there at the end of the day. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing since it meant more people had walked by it and, hopefully, read it. Or if it meant it really didn't resonate with anyone enough to snatch it and take it home. Maybe it was just too d*!@ cold and everyone was walking with their heads down, eyes frosted over. I guess what is most important was my gesture. And maybe, just maybe the one person that needed to see it, did, and left it there as a gesture of his or her own.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Haiku

I got a haircut
Turned out very short indeed
Feel like Samson

(perhaps a photo will follow later...)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Smells of Winter

This is something that has been kind of bothering me for a few weeks now. It's the smells of winter. Not the fragrant pine of Christmas trees or the clear, crisp air when it's minus thirty-five degrees. But the smells of outerwear that has been wet too many times, everyday, without being allowed to dry completely before getting wet again. It's a slightly sour, musty smell that won't go away until everything is laundered and hung to dry on the line in the sun. Which means the smells of winter will be with me until - oh - May. Or if I'm lucky, April. The last time I washed my winter coat it took two days to fully dry and that was hanging it in the direct sun in August. Children's coats and snow pants can not be put in the dryer so unless we get a long and very mild spell, I'm out of luck there too. Some mitts are only washable with a damp cloth (WHAT?!) which means they are - gack! - disposable. Don't even get me started on the dogs.

Friday, January 15, 2010

January Thaw

It used to be that when we experienced a couple of mild days in January we would call it the January Thaw. But the last ten or twelve years we have had anything but normal seasonal weather so when today brought our temperature just above the freezing mark, we had to celebrate it in the only way we know how - snowball fights and snowmen! We started off building up the fort:

I was taunted and challenged:

which made me stock-pile these, ready for bombardment:

after which the fort looked like this:

When I was sure I didn't have an ounce of energy left, we got all artsy-fartsy and created this guy. I love the way he looks at the camera:

But our day wouldn't be complete without finding something incongruous, which today turned out to be a pink seashell (I swear I don't make this stuff up) in our backyard:

Weekly Gratitude, Week 2

Continuing the month's theme of "work", my card for Weekly Gratitude front and back:

I am grateful to have the time, the tools and the inspiration to carry out my work.

Friday Haiku

pain and suffering
is difficult to witness
search your heart, send love

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bonus Shot

Another one from our photo shoot the other night:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The shot below was taken in the tub last night. We have these mini magnet lights of different colors which Riley likes to play with in the bath. Last night I turned out the overhead light and took a bunch of shots of him playing in the bubbles. So much fun. And yes, they are meant to be submersible.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Weekly Gratitude

My participation in Weekly Gratitude, week 1, the theme this month is work. If you want to join in, it's never too late. Gratitude is like that.

Originally I was going to do this project with a deck of playing cards, but I soon realized that they were pretty small. Someone in the group suggested children's flash cards and I had a deck of 54, they are 3.25 x 5.25 inches. Bigger than the tags I did last year but a nice size. They have been a bugger to prep though, many layers of gesso and sanding in between as my gesso didn't want to go on smoothly and I started by using the wrong brush. We learn so quickly with our mistakes, don't we? I didn't think the theme of work would be much fodder for me, but that was another mistake I learned quickly from. Reading through Art and Fear last night, all I could see was that very theme. How we work, why we work, why we don't work. Oh boy, more synchronicity that tells me I'm on a fine path despite feeling often lost.

At the end of last year I bought a handful of Derwent's Inktense pencils and used them for the first time here. They are delicious, color intense pencils that work like watercolor pencils only when wet they act more like ink in a stick. I want to run back to the store and buy the B-I-G box with every color in it. I'm following the same pattern as the tag project of art on the front, journaling on the back.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A ladybug, a beetle and a caterpillar walk into a bar

A couple of days ago, iMan found a caterpillar at the door to the basement where his home office is. A while ago I wrote about how Riley found a ladybug in an unexpected place, then how I found a beetle coming out from under a baseboard. January is an unusual time to be finding such bugs in the house. But we are a breeding ground for the unusual. And caterpillar makes three.

This morning I read Karen's (Creative Therapy) post and she was talking about how, with her plans for some travelling, the month of January seems almost over. While she was lamenting the all too quick passage of time, I was hurraying for the passage of January. My calendar says three more full weeks of this month. I wonder, how will I make it? It's cold and dark and unforgiving. With the exception of the bug population, very little of nature is present. In Momma Zen, Karen Miller talks about doing what is in front of you. Some good advice I thought to incorporate into my life as I am guilty for having so many projects that many get half done and I get frustrated seeing them lying around. This week I have been doing what is in front of me for some little things, like opening or dealing with the mail immediately instead of letting it pile up and (as soon as I get off the computer) I will fix the waist in a number of new sweat pants I bought for Riley instead of letting them sit in the bag until he outgrows them. Good advice, but it can lead to not getting some bigger things done. For me, it takes letting the little things go to stay in my studio and do the work I love so much.

But getting back to this big hump I call January, I'm learning that my big challenge right now is learning to live in present time. January is not going anywhere but passing one day at a time. I want to remember it as having been a fruitful, learning, living time and not a snarling, grumpy, Eeyore-ish thirty-one days of something to just get through.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Last night I finished Karen Maezen Miller's, "Momma Zen". I can't say enough good things about this one, I wouldn't know where to start or finish. But in the spirit of a new year, new goals, I would like to share a quote near the end of the book that spoke to me. "There are many things you can do in life, but the things that you accomplish are those to which you commit."

In the past I have been guilty of over extending myself with childlike enthusiasm. I often sign on and up for more than I can handle. One of my intentions for this year was to be more discerning, to cherry pick things I do want to learn, people I do want to spend time with both cyber-wise and in real time terms. Finding this sentence solidified that desire in me. I do love synchronicity.

Friday Haiku

Frustrated as hell
Working with a new/old Mac
T'was installing and

Uninstalling stuff
Needless to say, tonight it's
Grey Goose, Lime and me

Thursday, January 7, 2010

End of the Questions

*e*'s last question - What magical thing happened to you this year?

This might be my favorite tag of all 52. I love to see the progression of my work throughout a whole year. Making this one I felt really free - not because it was the end of the project, but because I had learned to live each question and after 52 starts, I became pretty comfortable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Can you believe it?! This second to last question of *e*, What was the best gift you ever gave? How much did I love this question - not what was the best gift you ever received, but the one you gave. Who really knows the answer to that, maybe it was a smile to a stranger on a particularly dark day. A gesture that I never recognized as important. The answer I did come up with was the gift of myself, my time.

I kept it very simple, black gesso with scrapbook embellishments and some stamps using just the primary colors.


What is your relationship to fear? That's a biggie for me. Back in 2000 something happened that changed me right down to my DNA and whereas I had been a mouse up to that point, I became absolutely fearless. I thought that one of the worse things that could have happened, did. And so what was there left to be afraid of? I stayed that way for about three years, then my son was born and I instantly became afraid of everything again. How fragile it all seemed when I looked at him, held him close.

I'm happy to say I'm finding more of a balance with my own relationship with fear these days. I had to laugh when I saw this post by Pen on her blog. She put it so succinctly. I'm going to use it as my own springboard to laugh in its face. Once I get the courage, that is.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Big Slog

It has been snowing here for three days now. Not hard, but constant. As in without stopping. That's ALOT of snow. I know because I've been shoveling it in a way that seems like that is non-stop too. And, I swear, I just looked out the window and saw someone cross country skiing down the street.

I feel as if I should have heeded the heavenly warnings and started building a wind-powered skidoo-ark. Instead I waved the white flag, but in all this snow, you can't see it. So I waved this one instead.

And this guy doesn't seem to think it's winter because he came crawling out of the baseboard this morning. At first I thought it was a spider because they are plentiful here, even in the winter but it's a run of the mill beetle. WHAT?! A beetle in January?!

Sledding was in order this afternoon and some dining in and of the snow. Until the frostbite was evident in our faces at which point I really wished I had built that skidoo-ark to get us home.

I've been trying to not think of it, but the big slog is now ahead of me. January and February, the worst of the winter weather. Slog, slog, slog. I'm trying to live in the moment though, so I'll just say "slog".

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Almost caught up...two more tags to prepare and 2010 Weekly Gratitude is already up! *e*'s 50th question - What do you love most about where you live? I gacked at this one because I really don't love where I live. It's one of those things I'm dreaming big about changing, but I don't want to get into the whys of it all. I want to thank Oreneta Aground for bringing this answer out in me. She commented on how when spring does come to our northern climes, it is like magic to see the first buds and blooms. And it is, I often weep with joy and wonder at the snowbells and crocuses, at their ability to sleep so long and still find the courage and gumption to reach for the sun. So, what I really do love about my city is how we rush outside to spend time on the terraces - small business will even throw a few plastic chairs and tables out on the sidewalk when a nice day comes along. It's not unusual for us to still be sitting for a drink or coffee or lunch outdoors on a nice day in October, certainly not beyond us to do the same in February and March when we start to feel the warmth of the sun. I love that part of our collective spirit.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Day in Pictures

Riley and I took the dogs out early this morning, even before the sun was up. We each brought our cameras and went out looking for art. With freshly fallen snow this sewer grate caught my eye:

We decided to walk down by the water, a route we hadn't taken since the first significant snowfall. The footpath had been recently plowed and we discovered that despite the early hour we weren't the first ones there. Someone had already passed through, walking a path of love:

Then we saw not one, but two one-eyed snowmen:

And we finished it all off with a couple of tumbles down the big snow pile:

It was a lovely way to start our year.

New, New, New!

My 2010 word, dream, found me back in November. I've been living with it for two months now, which I think is hysterical. Last night while doing some work on that word, I knew there would be more. Dream is the beginning. I am an active day dreamer and never leave a serious dream as just that. A few more came to me, patience and believe. And lastly, self-discipline. I count that word as one. Themes frequently pop up in my life when I read or hear other people mentioning something I've just been pondering or taking to heart. Self-discipline is one of those. I have cultivated this habit of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to have that first hour of the day to myself. I use the second half of that hour either for my cardio work-out or yoga, alternating days. It is a discipline and it makes me feel good and clear about so much. So I'm adding to "dream". I need to cultivate patience without resentment and hold tight to believing that anything is possible. Self-discipline gets me through all the steps. I was shown this YouTube video that I would like to share, on the theme that anything is possible.

Haiku Friday

Today is New Years
But not in Australia
There, it's tomorrow