Monthly Archives: October 2014

Art du Jour 6

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All that cutting and pasting I did as a kid finally makes sense.  This took mad skills.

Yeah, I’m kidding, but I like this so much I might actually hang it on a wall somewhere.

In other news, our hide-a-bed has gone to a new home.  Young guys with no furniture graciously accept hand outs and will happily haul things away for free.  Our garage is spacious again.  W went to a mandatory nutrition class yesterday so that he can be in top form health-wise for hip surgery in four or five months.  We had a lively discussion about nutritionists and Canada’s Food Guide and coconut oil.  I won every single argument.  And then I ate a fudge bar from the freezer to emphasize my point.  I think my point was moderation, but come on, it was last night, who can remember all the shit that gets said.

While he was off hearing from someone else that he should eat a lot more green vegetables, I did the grocery shopping.  Don’t you just hate it when a store layout is planned by people who have never actually shopped?  Lightbulbs should be closer to the toilet paper.  That was one of my brilliant conclusions and the other was that I hate shopping.

To reward myself for voluntarily ruining part of my afternoon for a good cause, I went to Michael’s on the way home and bought a new sketch book and some oil pastels, proving that I don’t hate ALL shopping after all.

Have a safe and happy Halloween and I’ll see you in November (a month in which I will be writing something quite possibly similar to this every single day!)  How’s that for scary?

Art du Jour 5

This looks a little like one of my granddaughters!
This looks a little like one of my granddaughters!
And this doesn't!
And this doesn’t!

Scrolling through art boards on Pinterest has become my new thing, thirty days into a successful retirement. Well, can you fail at retirement? I sincerely hope not. Although having the inspiration fairy whack me over the head at midnight is never a good thing. I’m working on a weird multi media composition which I hope to finish today and share tomorrow.

W wants to know if I expect to make money doing all these projects. All I care about at the moment is keeping my brain in gear with something other than spider solitaire.

And my pencils sharp.

Sharing My World 7

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What is your favorite time of day?

Early morning, when the world is quiet, the coffee is hot and fresh and aromatically delicious, and I am curled up on the couch with my I-Pad reading my favourite blogs.  Scrolling through Facebook in case there’s something there to shock and amaze me or tell me something which will, without a doubt, immediately change my life.  Many pages make these kinds of promises but don’t deliver.  Well none have yet, anyway, but hey, you never know.

Early morning is for looking out the windows at my little corner of the world going about its morning business, full of busy people with their purposes and plans.  It’s about having the whole day ahead of me to fill with activities and actions and projects and deeds.  Or with absolutely nothing at all.

What’s your favorite charitable cause and why?

Cancer research.  Treatment and cures are admirable pursuits, but prevention deserves the most focus.  Because who of us has not lost someone,  somewhere,  to the big C?

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

If it’s simply warm and drizzly, not blustery and cold with the power to turn ones umbrella inside out, there’s something purely delightful about a long walk in the rain.  Even if it ruins your hair.  We live in a place where the air is so bone dry it can glue your contact lenses to your eyeballs.  When it rains, the clean fresh air and humidity and the deep, cleansing breaths you take to clear your lungs and your head are amazing – you can’t order that on Amazon.  I love all rainy days, including the ones not fit to be out in, because inside and out they wash the crap and the cobwebs away.

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

Pencils are for drawing.  Pens are for writing brilliant things like lists.  If it’s worth writing, it’s worth putting down in indelible ink.  Purple gel is always a good choice.  However, when I wrote things on patient files I used erasable pens (with boring black ink) so that I could appear to be a decisive professional who did not have to scratch out stupid statements containing spelling mistakes.  Has anyone thought of inventing a purple gel auto-correct spell-checking pen?  I’d buy one of those.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the strong anti inflammatory medication I am taking which has reduced the puffiness in my face to such an extent that the dark circles under my eyes are remarkably more noticeable.  Well, at least I know it’s doing something.  I am looking forward to seeing my up-north grandchildren after Halloween.  I am looking forward to Halloween being over so those little candy bars will stop calling my name.

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Share Your World Week 43

Art du Jour 2

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I have a deep respect for anyone who can look at a face and draw it and end up with it looking like the face they’re looking at. My results always resemble distant relatives. If not complete strangers.  So I’ve learned to like surprises.

This morning the ground is covered in snow and it’s still falling in big fat white flakes.  A man with a black umbrella walks his little dog on the slushy sidewalk.  Our neighbour returns from his daily trip to Tim Hortons but he won’t be sipping his morning coffee on the deck today.  Kids on their way to school saunter by with snow on their backpacks and their hatless heads.  Tough northern teens too hardy and cool to care about frozen fingers and frost-bitten ears.  Who would not be caught dead with an umbrella.

Big plans for the day – fill up the bird feeders for the blue jays, finally go through my ancient paints and discard the ones that are old and dried up and useless.  Make a list of what needs to be replaced.  Pay some bills. Try not to die from all the excitement.  Stay warm.

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Perhaps the title should be “The Good The Bad and The Ugly”.  I am practicing drawing faces.  I gathered them all up, snapped pictures of my pictures, saved and edited them and turned them all sepia.  Because it’s a sepia kind of day.  Big fat snowflakes coming down out there.

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It’s been an interesting Sunday pursuit and I’m thinking a daily art project might be a good feature here.  For days when words fail me.  Anyway, if I do 365 of these, just imagine how good I’ll be in the 300’s!  I don’t know why everybody’s right eyeball is blurred.  Trick of the light, or the artist.

Happy Sunday.

 

In Good Times and Bad

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They  travel by snow machine pulling a heavy komatik behind them, for hours and hours across the tundra and the ocean ice towards the horizon, getting nowhere.

The sunlight reflecting off the ice and snow is blinding and the cold dry air makes her face feel like frozen leather, chilling her body to the bone.

This is not the life she imagined.

Back home at a dinner party he is animated in the telling of their great adventure while she sips her wine with fever blistered lips and a puzzled stare.

Roxy looks at one and then the other and back again, suddenly raising her glass to drink to the notion that theirs is surely a marriage made in hell.

Lillie McFerrin style=

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. This weeks word – Marriage.

Things You Can Say About Soup

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Yesterday was my two-week follow-up to learn the pathology results from my day surgery lumpectomy.  What can I say?  I’m just a mysteriously lumpy person.  Yet another young doctor poked and prodded my neck and jaw and performed my third ever exploratory scope up the nose and down the throat.  This one without any freezing.  I’d like to say I’m getting used to this procedure and that it hardly bothers me, but that would be a big fat lie.  My eyes tear and my nose runs for the rest of the day afterwards.  This handsome young doctor (yes, I’m not so ancient that I don’t notice and appreciate such things) wanted to give me a clean bill of health because this more thorough lymph node biopsy showed the same thing as the needle biopsy did.  Nothing more than inflammation.  From an infection.  But of what, and from where?  The ENT surgeon is still curious to figure it out and wants more pathology tests done.  He also wants me to take Prednisone for five days. And come back to see him in a month.

The wait in the office was over an hour, during which time we watched, on an overhead waiting room TV,  the latest updates on the situation in Ottawa from Wednesday.  Social media and news coverage seems to be centered on information about fallen soldier Nathan Cirillo and the heroic actions of Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, with very little about the perpetrator of this cowardly crime.  And that is as it should be.

I am happy to be alive and to once again be declared cancer free.  I never know how stressed I really am about something until it’s over and I suddenly feel lighter and able to breathe great refreshing deep breaths again.  A lone gunman in the nation’s capital will forever be associated with this little moment in my life.

After my appointment, W decided to look up a former co-worker from back in his government days who now works at the University Hospital doing bookings.  I met her once at a long ago Christmas party which I barely remember being dragged to, so she and I didn’t have a lot to talk about.  I mostly listened to her and W catch up on what happened to every person they ever knew.  She decided to give us a little tour of the Edmonton Oilers Ambulatory Clinic at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.  At the U of A hospital everything is connected to everything else.  I just wanted to go home and make soup.

Because this is exactly the kind of brilliant and exciting anti-social personality I have been nurturing these days.  I just want to stay at home, read books and blogs, watch movies and sneak Halloween candy from the cupboard.  All of this activity gives me so many topics to blog about (stop – you can’t see the computer screen when your eyes are rolling like that) I just can’t seem to make myself focus on any one thing.  Until – SOUP.  And the things that can be said about it.  In list form.  Why not.

1.  The process involved in making home-made soup is very therapeutic.  At the dinner table a much-loved uncle used to say, with the passing of every dish – “here, have some of this, it’s good for what ails you”.  Well the making of soup can be curative and good for what ails you.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, make some and find out for yourself.

2.  Butternut Squash will make soup orange.  I don’t like the taste of squash on its own, so I mixed in all of the following things – white onion, the last of the cabbage, a parsnip, one small white turnip, lots of celery, a zucchini, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, some red and green pepper, a can of chick peas.  All of this was added to vegetable broth, a couple of packages of chicken broth powder, vegetable seasoning, fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  So no ordinary salt and pepper in this house.  There could have been more things than this added, I can’t remember.  I put a yam back in the fridge because the pot was full.  Maybe I threw in a carrot.

3.  When everything is happily boiling away and you turn the heat down to simmer, the house fills with the best aroma ever.  Assuming you like the smell of stuff cooking.

4.  Creamed soups are more yummy than the ones in which you are able to pick out all the vegetables you don’t like.  I don’t like adding flour or cornstarch, so I don’t.  My little hand mixer turns this concoction into a smooth and creamy hot mess delight.  I throw in some butter, because the body absorbs vitamins from vegetables better when there’s fat involved.  Never mind how good it makes things taste.

5.  A piping hot bowl of orange soup on a windy fall day restores your faith in whatever you’ve lost conviction and confidence in.  It’s good for whatever needs rejuvenating.  It promises you that everything will once again be all right.  It’s damned near magical.

And now I’m hungry.

Sharing My World 6

 

A street very close to the street where I live.
A street very close to the street where I live.

What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?

There’s something magical about getting up before the sun rises.  It’s easy enough to do now that the days are so much shorter.  I don’t have to be up and on the road to work an early shift anymore, but this morning W had to have his truck delivered to an auto body shop a good half hours drive away, by 8 a.m.,  so I followed him there in the car to drive him home.  We headed east, away from the city while it was still dark, and watched dawn break.  I had forgotten how incredibly gorgeous the morning sky can be, with white clouds painted in yellows and pinks against a striking blue sky.  Couldn’t attempt a photo while sailing down the highway at 110 kph, but I imagined the colors I’d mix with a wide brush on white canvas.

Last night I had a strange dream in which I was driving down a dirt and gravel road, going way too fast, narrowly avoiding head on collisions with on coming traffic.  There was something about a school bus, and an old rust coloured chev but that’s all I remember.  Then suddenly I was dispensing glasses wearing just my lab coat, with nothing on underneath.  It was topless Tuesday and we were breaking the rules.  By wearing a top, I guess.  There are always crazy details in my dreams that don’t make sense and thankfully bump me back into the real world where I often have to sit up and shake my head to clear it.  If I try to sleep the morning away, my dreams get increasingly more bizarre until I wake up with a pounding headache.  Lately we’ve been getting up to the early daylight and quiet mornings in which W putters around in the kitchen making breakfast.  He has become quite the breakfast chef, actually.  Bacon and eggs, fried tomatoes, hash browns, orange juice, fresh coffee.  Yum.

Sorry, what was the question again? Oh yeah.  Before dawn will always be my preference.  That way the day is deliciously long.

If you could choose between Wisdom and Luck, which one would you pick?

Well there’s all kinds of luck, isn’t there?  Good, bad, dumb, beginners, that of the Irish.  I’d rather be wise and create my own luck.  Wisdom is supposed to come with age, right?  Well, something good should come of it.  I’d settle for wisdom.

If you were given the opportunity for free skydiving lessons would you take them? Why or why not?

Gawd, NO.  I’ve just discovered recently how afraid I am of heights and realized how I’ve spent a large part of my life avoiding putting myself high above terra firma.  I’ve always been afraid of falling.  When we were young and daring and foolish my siblings and I used to climb up to the high beams in the barn and jump into the hay.  I’ve never forgotten that adrenaline rush and the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach all the way down to the awkward landing.  It happened every time.  I was happy to finally outgrow the need to be just as brave as my older brother and pretend for my sister that I was having fun.   I’ll have to ask her if she thought jumping off into space was fun.  Maybe she was pretending too.

Is the glass half empty or half full? What is in the glass?

The glass is half full of red wine.  Since you don’t ever fill a wine glass to the brim (according to wine etiquette 101) the halfway mark could be misconstrued as full, really.   Because wine should be swirled and sniffed and stuff and you need to leave room to do that.  I am no wine connoisseur or expert and could be making this up for all I know.  I’m sure there’s different rules for different wines.  Anyway, make mine red and not too dry, fill the glass one-third to half way and then endeavour to keep it like that.  Those are my rules.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a visit from our daughter and granddaughter on a sunny warm October Sunday, along with our slightly crazy Jack Russell grand-dog who sits on the back of the couch by the window and warns us of impending doom from passers-by.  Apparently the next door neighbors are especially not to be trusted.  W barbequed some ribs and D made her famous Quinoa Salad.  We drank some red wine and did some artwork while Kenzie worked on making her own Halloween costume from yards and yards of tulle.

This week I’m looking forward to getting a flu shot on Wednesday and seeing my specialist doctor for post op follow-up on Thursday.  How madly exciting is that on a scale of one to ten?  I have also signed up for Blogging 201 here on Word Press, and the first thing they expect me to do is set three goals for my blog.  This made me realize I have been floundering around totally goal-less for a long time.  Perhaps my world is about to change.  Perhaps pigs will take up sky diving.  Who knows what might happen in the next week full of magical pre-dawn hours.

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Share Your World 2014 Week 42