Monthly Archives: May 2014

small art 5.29.14


It’s raining here today and I’ve taken up residence in my bed, wrapped in flannel sheets and blankets to stave off the damp chill streaming in through the window over my left shoulder.

I’m glad I made the excursion to the book store yesterday because even though it was overcast and cool, it was still a pleasant walk, the sun trying hard to break through the dense cloud cover but only succeeding in making the sky look like it was a little bit backlit.

The BC teachers’ union is on rotating strikes and so my son was off from school and joined me for the trip. I’m feeling better, in less pain, but moving around a lot still feels taxing. I was grateful for having him there, even if only mostly for moral support.

I’m savouring the sips of my freshly brewed coffee. There is nothing quite like a good coffee. I was raised by a coffee lover and was indoctrinated early, though what I drink these days is far different from what I grew up with. We drank espresso, in the mornings diluted with lots of warmed milk, otherwise we drank it black with only some sugar to cut the bitterness.

I picked up some new magazines yesterday. They are European imprints and I’m pleased that the local Chapters carries them. Daphne’s Diary is delightful, and even with the currency exchange it is still less expensive than the some other eye candy craft magazines. Visually appealing, with useful and inspiring content, they are a treat.

The other, 52 Weeks of Everyday Style is also hailing from Europe, with words like “jumper” and “car-boot” to make me smile. It includes lots of relatively easily executed DIY projects though I find that looking through these kinds of magazines sparks my creative vision in unexpected ways even if I don’t make a single thing from its pages. This one was $11.

I decided to sketch a bit and use the coloured pencils I’d dragged into the room a few days ago but had yet to make use of. I may still journal over the top of the black copic pen inked background.


Maya Angelou


86… she passes on
her life was spent in celebration of being phenomenal
beautifully human
such a huge wealth of rich words she has left behind
she ranks right up there with the Hafizes, Rumis and Gibrans
she truly will be remembered for how she made us feel…
love is infectious…
mine spreads out into the cosmos and stretches its tendrils
to reach for the heels of a rising, effervescent soul.

disposable parts


Post-operative wild dreams.

This morning’s:

Dreaming about going to buy some Origins face cream and make up, because I’m going for an interview.

I get a sample for the cream from the sales person, who seems to know I’m broke and isn’t all that quick to come and assist me.

Dreaming about talking with my mother, discussing how BC is alright but that we both miss Montreal, and though we wouldn’t want to go back there, something is missing from here, too, and an appropriate new place has yet to present itself. Pondering in mutual comfortable silence where that “other” is.

Dreaming of opening portals with sexual acts between unwitting participants and which didn’t really give the opener (who looks like a weary Alice Cooper) the expected/desired result seems to have changed and matured him in “good” ways. It was like a scene from Battlestar Galactica meets Big Fish meets [a film with a steampunk themed mad scientist lab].

The last bit of my dream has me shaking sand off of clothing I’d worn to the beach into grass just outside the patio door, the shaking off outside spurred by the bunch of sand spilling on the floor when I started unpacking my bag.


I’m moving better. This morning I was able to, for a time, nap on my left side while holding a pillow against my belly for support. I tried doing that a couple of days ago and was in too much pain to stay that way or to shift around much. Missionary position was the ticket. I’m looking forward to being able to sleep on my side or stomach again.

I stopped taking the pain meds, too – it seems that the discomfort is manageable in these increments and nothing I can’t manage. Resting helps. I’m constipated which is not anything highly unusual as it’s somewhat of a “normal” state for me. I have pills for that but I’m hoping for things to move on their own. ::sigh::

I stink and it’s time for a shower. I was holding off until the pain receded enough so that when I pressed lightly on the incision areas, it wasn’t hurting so much. Also, I wanted to be sure the incisions were well enough healed so that when I initially exposed them, they wouldn’t risk getting infected. They’re still tender but way better than initially.

I’m laying in bed and the birds are busily confabulating out front. The air is cool again but the sun seems like it’s out, and the raining has stopped.

I think I have a crush on my anesthesiologist, if only I could remember more about him than the kindness of his eyes and how gently and carefully he inserted the IV device into my hand.

Actually, there were two anesthesiologists… the one who I consulted with before and the one I met in the OR. That one was all Rock Star. Electric. Competent. Good to have on your team when you are in a bind. He probably has a new quarterly Budweiser Girl as his flavour du jour, and there was not a warm kindness in his eyes, only laser like focus and “win”.

I really should move… I’ve been up and made myself breakfast, ate while standing up in the kitchen in only underwear, and took the tea to bed, resting the cup on my belly between sips.

The stomach bloating is also abating – thankfully. When I tell people that I’m full of hot air, now I can really mean it.

I wonder if the doc kept my “pearls” so I could see them when I had my appointment, like I asked.

The body is a marvel.

beginner’s journey

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to have my gall bladder removed (though the hospital is expected to only let me know today what time I need to show up for the surgery). This morning, as I lay here in some measure of discomfort (the pain of this gall bladder issue ebbs and flows and is never a predictable predicament), I am reminded why it is that I signed up for this procedure.

It’s a day surgery and I’ll be released same day… we’ve come a long way, baby. My mom had a zipper that spanned upper right front abdomen, slashing down her side to the back. Not a small incision. I’m collecting scars in this life, apparently, and this new batch will be the third conglomeration, added to the hint of appendix removal from when I was six and more recently the c-section scar.

My last couple of more serious surgeries left no visible scars… traces of the cataract removal and lens replacement can only be seen under magnification and the heart surgery was done through catheters and those tiny incisions have also become invisible (or maybe I’m just not flexible enough to find them).

Another “optional” body part bites the dust. I posted on Facebook the other day a query about how many of them one could lose and have the body still function optimally. Does this mean that my gall bladder meridian will no longer have an organ guiding it or is it all on a subtle level and the guidance continues on despite the organ no longer being present? Ahhhh… the things I ponder (in the pre-coffee early morning).

I watched one of Justin Timberlake’s videos the other day from the Oprah Masterclass Series in which he spoke about how he embraces being a beginner all the time throughout his creative process and that he prefers to work from that place because it keeps him feeling fresh and alive.

I have to agree with him on that. I love being in and working from a place of inquiry. I like being proficient enough at something to feel like I’m not floundering but also still enjoy the excitement of discovery and the puzzle of figuring things out. Perhaps I am an anomaly.

Every new task can be approached in this manner, creative ones more obviously but also those that appear to be less so – like building a database for someone. The actions and steps have all been done before and are similar in execution but how you put it together is entirely project reliant, dependent on the current situation’s expected outcomes.

In any case, I’ve been doing a lot of that beginning stuff lately. I recently fashioned a new website (using their tools, clearly, but still had to learn how to use them) on Wix, I’ve created a tiny book, I’ve been sketching and writing (and those who do both know the feeling of what a blank surface evokes in a creative person).

Today, somewhere in between the cleaning, the laundering of bed linens, popping over to the grocery store for a few items and prepping some meals ahead of time in anticipation of being useless and in pain for a couple of days, I want to design a couple of knitting patterns for some fingerless cuffs and mitts to offer up for sale in the Shop.

On that same note, I have a few other things that I want to put up there but the shipping part has me baffled so I’m holding off. I need to figure out packaging, dimensions and weight and mailing details and speed and then go from there. It’s always a mystery, this mailing thing. In any case, that is what is holding up progress somewhat, but I’m working on it.

But I like this place… this space of discovery. It’s what I relish the most about new jobs – that place of learning what you need to know in order to figure out how you can apply all of your previously learned skills to the task, and picking up new ones in the process.

So the day commences… adventure awaits… but first, coffee!

the beauty of candour

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 11.21.31 AM (click on image to go to video)

Yesterday (heh, who am I kidding… constantly, lately) I spent a good amount of time online reading content and watching vids. (To be fair, I am also creating content, too.) I absolutely love that there is so much accessible literally at our fingertips. And I get to do it with no pants on (#nopantsdance). Oh! How’s that for candour (or perhaps TMI)?

The video of Liz, above, speaks to me as a creative person, but she also has a way of demystifying celebrity to me. Jennifer Lawrence does much the same thing. They are real people, not fictitious characters in books or movies, and they lead real lives (mostly, on an essential level, just like yours and mine).

I think the cult of celebrity started with the term “TMI” – the pressures of offending no one – as a person in the public eye – creates a sort of bland homogeny that has people wanting to mine a little deeper to see what you really are about. (Well, and then there is Lindsey or Britney or Paris, who clearly we’ve already seen more of than we’ve ever wanted, but who show very little substance despite that, and we are still washing our eyes… but I digress.)

Perhaps Jennifer and Liz (similarly to me) suffer from a lack of proper boundary recognition, or a touch of Tourette’s (just kidding), but it is refreshing to see people articulately express themselves in a way that allows us to identify with their humanity yet still understand that we are separate and possibly different in many diverse ways.

On another note, I was having a discussion online with some folks about the art of conversation. The thread, of course, led to formulating a set of rules around how to engage in the process of exchanging ideas. The list is pithy, but: no interruptions; active listening; debating issues rather than attacking the speakers.

Personally, I didn’t take a public speaking class in school (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t offered, but even if it was, I would never have signed up for it – I was too shy). Debating is an art form and many of us don’t learn how to do it on our own (and learn as we go along through lots of trial and error). Some people debate not to gain better understanding of another’s viewpoint but to push through their own agenda. I have little patience for such conversationalists, because essentially they are not listening to what you are saying anyway – they are merely trying to shift your perspective to theirs (with a steamroller).

Communication is what all of our relationships hinge on. Articulating our thoughts clearly and really hearing another’s opens up the dialog to a greater insight into each other (and self, too!). It brings about a sort of compassionate understanding – a paradigm shift. Many years ago I attended a HeartMath workshop at my workplace in which a method called Freeze-Frame was taught.

The ability to shift our perspective from our own to another’s is invaluable to diffusing the intense emotions that arise when we are only viewing the world from our single perspective. Empathy arises. Compassion grows. And that’s a good place to start from when seeking viable solutions.

grilling season

The grill is back upstairs on the balcony. With it just outside the back door, and the weather becoming summerlike once again, I can’t help myself – I’ve been grilling up a storm this past week.
So… some simple (measurement free) recipes for you:

Veggies in Foil on the BarB: broccoli but into florets, golden turnips sliced, yellow tiny potatoes sliced, brussels sprouts sliced, red onion sliced; sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, add generous glugs of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; finger toss until all veggies are coated with oil, vinegar and spices; wrap tightly in multiple layers of foil and toss on grill set to medium high for 25 minutes.

Halibut, ocean-wild, fresh caught; generous dabs of butter, salt & pepper to taste, crumble a handful of light brown sugar and drizzle with spiced rum and birch (or maple) syrup; sprinkle with ground coriander; wrap in several layers of foil and throw on medium-high grill for 25 minutes.


Alternate (non-grill) preparation: salt and pepper fish; melt lots o’ butter in a pan over medium high heat; pan sear halibut; deglaze pan once fish has been flipped once and is almost cooked with a generous splash of spiced rum; add syrup, brown sugar, coriander and let sauce reduce so it thickens to a glaze.

Some after thoughts: garnish fish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and grated lime rind.

As Julia would say…. bon appétit!

it had to be you

I love this movie.

I mean I bought the DVD probably about seven years ago and I’m sure I’ve watched it every couple of months (though sometimes every couple of weeks) since.

I saw it when it was first released in the theatre and I rented it when it became available on video cassette.


Parts of it move me to tears even after having seen them so many times that I can almost recite the lines by heart. Parts have me laughing so hard I cry tears of mirth.

Nora Ephron was brilliant and this continues to inspire me as what to reach for insofar as romantic comedy screenplay writing is concerned.

The casting was also brilliant, up to and including casting Carrie Fisher as best friend to Meg Ryan’s Sally.

In the discussion on comedy screenplay given by Steve Kaplan during Story Expo last fall, it was discussed how there were not one but two main protagonists, the spot shared equally between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal (who STILL -in my humble opinion- is THE best EVER presenter of all time for the Oscars ceremonies).

They made magic together.

This movie gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, “It Had To Be You” might cue up during the rolling of an epic scene in the movie of my life.