Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pet Peeve of the Week

Blog: So, Thursday, tell about your pet peeve.

Me: This started off much, much earlier this week and I'm glad I've had some time to cool and calm down a little. I am torn between trying to feel somewhat flattered and thinking that every line that will ever be drawn has already been drawn, every brush stroke that will ever be made has already been made. We are inspired by other people's art all the time. At least I am. And I am sometimes inspired to incorporate a little of it here and there. Like a colour or a shape or a theme.

Recently, working with a group of other artists, I shared one of my paintings. It wasn't a great painting but it was a deeply personal one. It spoke of an event that has had a part in making me who I am right now. A few days after sharing this painting, a group member shared one of her own which, as I saw it, was pretty much a duplicate of mine. The composition, the colours, most of the details. It was missing two small details and she qualified it with her own story behind it (very different from my story). At first I couldn't believe my eyes. It looked like my painting, re-painted by someone else. With some time to digest it, I realized what I really felt was violated. That someone took my story, and turned it into her story. Of course all of this went on in my head and not in reality. And naturally this other artist is not benefitting monetarily from the image. Still, deep in my heart, it feels like a robbery. It's childish, and I'm trying to not beat myself up for not being a better person about it. I have been working hard on non-attachment, who knew I would be so challenged to work on non-attachment to what is inside me at the same time? So, is it "stolen art" as I earlier wrote, or "stolen me"?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

Hello Tuesday, hello fellow caffeine addicts. If we were meeting for coffee today I would say that I'm drinking some home brew this morning because I have been buying waaaaaaaaay too many Starbucks mochas lately. And I'm sure there is something addictive in them. If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you there is a war going on outside my window between this

and this

and despite the still frigid temperatures, I think the latter is winning. My plants are flipping winter the bird and coming up anyway. They are pushing through still frozen tundra, pushing aside piles of snow and saying, in their own very green and colorful ways, that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! Gotta love nature when it gets its back up.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would show you my prince, who I neglected to put away before our first serious snowfall. He is a little battered and bruised and I may have to replace him - anyone out there have a line on where I can find another frog prince? Every girl should have a frog prince in her garden.

And while we were talking about bruised and battered, I would tell you about some of the craziest things we do for our kids.

Riley had been yammering at me for the longest time to get his bike out and he wore me down. I promised him that this past Sunday would be The Day. Sunday was sunny but minus 7 on the thermometer. Let's not talk about the wind or the fact that the temperature is about five degrees colder and it is always much, much windier down on the bike path that runs along the water, the same bike path we usually go on since it is a block from our house. I try to not break the promises I make to my boy so there I was, wrestling the bikes out of the garage, pumping up the tires, going inside every now and then to warm up my hands because it was hard to test the tires when I couldn't even feel my fingers. If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that even my never-give-up-boy gave up after about 10 minutes of riding (and that was with the wind at our backs) and after one mud wipe-out and one much more serious ice wipe-out. We headed off the water front and pedalled home into the wind but at least off the water. An astonishing 30 minutes later we made it back, feeling beaten down, bruised and muddied. But the forging ahead in our garden was inspirational and I figured if those tiny little bulbs and roots could do it, then so can I.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that these two puppies are growing at an alarming rate. Almost as fast as my snowdrops and crocuses

and then I would show you some art I was able to share on the weekend. I was asked to personalize some of my intention cookies for a small birthday celebration and I got to package them up and line them up in a row.

I love sharing my art but if we were meeting for coffee today I would also say that I don't like it being stolen, which is a subject for later this week. You might get all kinds of curious and I would distract you and say let's go over to Amy's Lucky Number 13 because she's been playing with the Boss' iPhone and will probably want to take our pictures.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What I've Learned, Week 22

I started this card a while ago, then I got distracted with some other work. The front was pretty clear to me when I envisioned it and it came out pretty much how I wanted it to. The back I did over a few times before I was really happy "enough" with it. Time to let it go! Front is collage, paint, distress inks, pencil, marker, stamps (phew!) the back is an image transfer (Lis inspired me when her own came out so well here), with more delicious distress inks and marker.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pet Peeve of the Week

I've got a good one this week. I wasn't sure I was going to, but it kind of got under my skin yesterday. I'm addressing this to The Splashers out there, you know who you are. I understand your reasons for not sitting down on the seat, and why you choose to perch precariously while holding your clothes out of the line of fire. But my goodness what a mess you leave behind! Would you please, please swipe a bit of paper for the ones who come after you? Because frankly, it's disgusting. Don't get me started on the non-hand washers.

Now that I've got that off my chest I can tell you about the crow-fest we have every morning around 6:30. How many make a murder?

I don't know but I do know that these porkers can sit on a twig and not even bend it. That amazes me, it seems to defy physics. With so darned many in my yard, I had to see what Ted Andrews has to say about the crow's presence in my life. "Unexpected help with problems and obstacles is at hand to bring relief. Your magic is calling and it will be answered". That makes me liken them to Ganesha but somehow I can't see an elephant sitting on a tree top with the same finesse.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

If we were meeting for coffee today I would say, "pull up a chair" 'cause I have lots of visuals for you today.

I would first cry a little about the obscene snow fall last night around dinner time.

My lonely trash bins on the curb since last Friday when the city neglected to pick them up.

And the doily-like evergreen I see from my bedroom window.

It certainly didn't stop the Mister

and Mrs.

from stopping by for dinner. She's got some great hair going on... But really. Enough is enough for the 21st of March, n'est pas?

If we were meeting for coffee today I would bring out the green. Oh the green we saw on Sunday when Riley and I marched in our St. Patrick's Day parade! We were there with the scouts and it was the first time I got such a look at my city. It almost made me fall in love with it for the first time. Almost. Notice all the people in parkas? Not much green to see here unless you own a green coat.

Riley got to carry one of the flags which, let me tell you, was no small feat.

This was my favorite shirt, even though it wasn't even close to any shade of green I know.

But there was plenty of green everywhere else. Like the horse with a dandy necktie, eating its oats which would go quickly through his system, leaving little things to dodge as we walked the green stripe down the road. Maybe they should have put another bucket on his other end.

And the walking shamrock

How about the world's Largest Leprechaun?

There was green hair

and green hats

some jammin' bagpipes

and even a green greyhound

right down to its toenails. Oh the lengths some people go to!

If we were meeting for coffee today I would ask you if I am the only one who thinks that putting a mini-bus for a local funeral parlour in the parade is a little, um...morbid?

If we were meeting for coffee today you would want to finish your cuppa and muffin before I tell you that last week, on one of the days Riley was off school with The Pox, we dropped in on a home school seminar. And in case you would tsk tsk me about exposing other kids to The Pox, I would say these guys were gagging for it, so anxious are the parents to have their kiddies get The Pox while they are young. Now you have finished your muffin, I would tell you that Riley got to hold a cow's brain after a presentation on how the brain works by a couple of University students. Can I say, "cowabunga dude"?!

If we were meeting for coffee I would let you tell me about your week since I've pretty much monopolized the conversation so far and then we would head over to Amy's because we are just in that kind of a mood today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Artists for Japan

If you have the inkling that you want to do a little something, then I would encourage you to have a look. Here's the link.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I am deviating from my regular Friday Haiku because I really didn't think I could sculpt one out of this segment. I am reading about how many of my blogging friends are in full spring mode. Today (being a pedagogical day, like any self-respecting Friday is with our school board), Riley and I paid a visit to our local ice cream parlour - Wild Willy's. Oh, Wild Willy's has now opened for another season and we were one of the first customers!

Since they didn't yet have their lemon granita, Riley settled for plasticine-play doh

while I had my traditional Moocaccino.

We have that je ne sais quoi, eating ice cream in our winter outerwear.

We left a rock behind, something we hadn't done in quite some time.

On the way home I stopped to take some photos of what are considered to be "optional" stop signs. I can't tell you how many near-misses I've had on these corners, how many times I've been yelled at, cussed, flipped the bird and so on. Today I wanted to take photos just to be sure the stop signs are actually there, in my mind, if they turned up in the photo, they are concrete. Riley kept reassuring me that he saw them too but I'm still having my doubts even though I can see them here (lurking behind a big pile of ice)

and here (yup, it's trash day)

and here.

To everyone else they are invisible.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pet Peeve of the Week

I almost hate to do this, what with the snow melting at a good clip and seeing my first batch of geese flying north today. I mean, everything is coming up roses at the moment. I have an insane two hours all to myself starting RIGHT NOW, spring is definitely inching closer, Riley's pox have peaked and are on their way out. But I have been thinking lately about this little detail of life that burns my butt. It goes like this: I don't mind bringing my own bags to stores instead of getting un-green plastic ones. But when I then have to PACK my own bags, well that kind of steams me. IMHO, part of the cashier's "job" involves service and just because I brought the bag doesn't mean he or she can't fill it. So while I'm standing there, juggling mittens and hats and wallet and change and receipt, the cashier just stares back at me, waiting for me to get organized enough to pack my purchases. This is happening more and more to me and I guess is a product of the generation working cashes in places that don't provide bags. Is there anything burning your butt this week?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

If you came over for coffee today I would say, "enter at your own risk" because we are The House of Pox. Actually, we (the Royal "we") are not so bad anymore, the Pox having peaked over the weekend. But I have a bit of cabin fever. We have had a string of sunny days - if two can be called a string, but it feels like it at any rate - and have been waking up to this beautiful golden light in the mornings.

And, speaking of waking up, for my next reincarnation I want to have a name as delicious as this one:

instead of my generic North American one. I love how this name sounds rolling off my tongue and we've been debating in the house its possible origins. We've more or less boiled it down to a Russian/Asian combination but you might tell me you think it's a fictitious name made up by an aspiring writer who makes his or her living as a real estate agent. I would laugh at your imagination and say as this person I would just love to be on the phone with a government official and have them ask me, "can you spell that for me please?" Sometimes the real pleasures are the simple ones like reading a name on a For Sale sign.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you an impromptu party broke out here on Saturday afternoon as a few of the locals with kids flocked chez nous for the opportunity to catch chicken pox. It certainly made Riley feel better knowing that all these adults wanted their kids to have what he has, even if he doesn't really want it himself.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that I was really startled by the white of my feet on the mat this morning. I know that for some time we have been sporting our extreme winter shade of white but good grief, I think we are glowing in the dark. What a relief to feel that spring isn't far, to feel the sun and to hear the melting snow tinkling down the street into the sewer where I always felt it belonged in the first place. No secrets here, I'm a winter scrooge.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you I had a mini revelation this week which I can't really put into words but it was a personal Big Truth encompassing how we really can not know what goes on in the minds of the people around us yet at the same time how truly interdependent we are. See, I told you it wouldn't make sense but if I can pin it down in plain language I'll call you up and tell you.

If we were meeting for coffee today we would make another date for Thursday so we could have some green coffee in honour of the Saint. Until then we will have to head over to Amy's Lucky Number 13 and have some regular joe.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Can't Wait

I can't wait for wordless Wednesday for this, I put gas in my tank today, but I couldn't afford to fill it.

Friday Haiku

Yup, it's official -
Riley has the chicken pox.
Pass the calamine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

This week's pet peeve is being replaced with Things That Have Made Me Sit Up and Take Notice.

The first thing was my Sunday Inner Me email from Bridget. Are you signed up? If you are, you'll remember this about not being lost:

"Sometimes life feels like you have to stay on top of everything, or you're going to be left behind. You'll be lost by the highway like one old shoe. Sometimes life feels like an epic all-or-nothing. I asked Inner Me about this feeling and she said this... Sometimes when you are overwhelmed by the complexity of your life, it's because All That Is is asking you to be more specific in what you want. You're not lost. You won't be left behind. Look around. What do you not want anymore? When she told me this, yesterday, I stopped my work and I cleaned out a closet. There's so much that I have that I don't want. I think you might be like me, maybe."

I saw myself in having so much I don't want and I started with my clothes, doing another comb-through and coming up with one big lawn bag of clothes and shoes which I immediately ran off to the recycling center.
So much of what is in there I recognize hesitating over during my last sort-through and it felt liberating to finally let go of them.

The next thing that has slapped me upside the head this week is Pixie's post called Doorways. I heard some bells ringing reading this, realizing I need to stop being hard on myself for falling back into old, unhealthy patterns and know that as I catch myself doing them, I really am a different person now than I was then and I have the tools to do something about changing them.

I then had strong waves of gratitude for this friend and this scarf I blogged about here because it has been a great source of comfort and warmth these last two weeks as winter refuses to acknowledge that it is almost spring. It held me last night as I made my way home late from work, waiting for a bus that never showed, mentally rehashing my day, trying to grasp how I could see the day full of accomplishments and abundance while another looked and saw "not enough". Which normally wouldn't bother me except the words were meant to be personal and until I could understand that they were spoken through fear, the words hurt.

I definitely sat up and listened as the news program spoke of how the bears woke up yesterday at our Ecomuseum. Since it opened in 1988 the bears have never been wrong about predicting spring. I can't say that about the groundhog or Environment Canada or the Farmer's Almanac.

And I am not tiring of see this friend up in the cedar tree.

We are seeing him so often that we are starting to call him "our owl" but the wonder is still there each time.

And I decided to stop being so stingy and start turning on the heat in the upstairs bathroom. The main heating vent is blocked, or broken and I neglect to turn on the space heater because I am, well, frugal. Last night as I ran my bath, I put the thermometer in the room and it read 63 F.

That's kind of chilly when you're standing around naked.

Has anything made you sit up and take notice this week?