Sunday, April 26, 2009

Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.
~Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I had a wonderful morning at the zoo with my son's grade one class
and my camera, (all 297 pictures worth)
Here are some of my favourites...

Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem.
~Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dealing with too much to do...

Monday, April 20, 2009

She loves words...all of them.

the words that wander aimlessly through her mind—especially those
that paint her thoughts perfectly

the brutally honest words that come in through the back door, uninvited and unannounced

the online words that she finds in stolen conversations, that crawl into her lap and keep her warm on winter days

and of course all those extremely well organized words that clutter her shelves

She lives for words

Sunday, April 19, 2009 it just me ...or does it drive anyone else crazy when you buy garbage bags that are too small for the garbage can that you have in the kitchen? And then you think its going to work until you dump something heavy into it and the bag drops to the bottom and everything overflows into the garbage can.....AHHH!!!...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wouldn't it be great if there was a
"creative journaling" studio

You know...a place where people could go...

  • to get inspired
  • to decorate their journal pages
  • to write
  • to make altered books
  • to chat
  • to doodle
  • to spill paint
  • to do life drawing
  • to learn mixed media techniques
  • to read books and magazines about all kinds of art forms
  • to take classes
  • to show off their own art
  • to drink coffee, tea and sometimes wine
  • to have parties and gallery shows
  • to share their thoughts about art and life
(and who knows...maybe even get their caricature drawn)

Well now there is...
Opening SOON
(June 2009)

A place to give your "creativity" a workout on a regular basis.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Life is either always a tight-rope or a featherbed.
Give me a tight-rope.
~Edith Wharton
i am a circus performer

i live with the strongman
and three occasionally demanding midgets.

i juggle.

i walk on stilts above laundry baskets and unsorted toys.

i bounce on trampolines.

some days i am the fat lady.

some days i am the clown.

i always thought i would one day run away to join the circus
but somewhere along the line, the circus joined me.

so now,
climb up to
my tight-rope
each morning
and carefully balance everything
as i walk
towards who i truly am.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Very Happy Easter...
These are pictures from our family get together yesterday. After Mark and I finished doing the dishes from the wonderful dinner my mom prepared, I went outside to see where all the kids had run off to. They were in the park across the street climbing trees and playing with my dad. This is the scene that brought tears to my eyes.

You see, a year ago my dad was suffering from advanced pulmonary fibrosis (a hardening of the lung tissue). He had never smoked and was in great shape (outside of his lungs), so the diagnosis came as quite a surprise to all of us.

By last spring he could barely work in his yard, in his garage or walk very far without breaking into coughing fits and feeling very exhausted. He was on oxygen 24 hours a day and so playing with his 3 grandchildren was no longer physical but had become very stationary and sporadic.

There is no cure for PF, although one course of action is a lung transplant, if the person is healthy and young enough. At 67 he was still eligible, (in Canada he was eligible until 70 years of age) if he was healthy enough. I had never even heard of a lung transplant until my dad told me this story one day shortly after he went on oxygen.

"He and my Mom were shopping at a neighborhood thrift store, which they often do, and a woman approached him and bluntly asked why he was on oxygen. He explained that he had pulmonary fibrosis. She then told him that her husband had had that 5 years ago but underwent a lung transplant and was doing fantastic now. And then she left."

When my Dad told me this story, we both agreed that it was a sign that he was meant to have a transplant and everything would be OK. (The prognosis for people with PF is usually around 3-5 years, and my dad had been already been diagnosed 5 years earlier). My dad eventually went through 6 weeks of daily hospital tests and did qualify for a transplant because of his good health. In November 2007 he officially went on the transplant list, but of course we were worried that he may not find a match in time.

Then on a Saturday morning in June, 2008, he got a call from the hospital saying that a person who had died, had donated their organs and that it was a perfect match for my dad. When he called to tell me, I realized that I never thought that that day would actually come. It was the most frightening day of my life. Believe it or not I had two caricature gigs booked that day and since his operation wouldn't take place immediately, I actually held it together enough to draw at both of them.

That night, he underwent a double lung transplant—a 10+ hour operation (entirely paid for by our amazing health care system) and at 4 am the doctor called my Mom and I to let us know that my dad was doing wonderful, the operation was very successful and and that he was in recovery now.

Within 4 days he was completely off oxygen and then discharged from the hospital 2 weeks and one day after his operation. His doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing and he has done a terrific job of doing exactly what he is supposed to do— eating well, exercising and taking his medication (with my Mom's unwavering support).

He is so healthy now, that its easy to forget how limited his life was a year ago. It wasn't until I remembered that last Easter all he could really do was sit on the couch and watch things, that it has really hit home. My parents are both very special people to me (and to Mark and my kids) and having this extra time to spend with my Dad is something I will always be grateful for.

Deceased donor information is kept confidential in Canada so we were never told who that generous person was. I often wonder about them and am so thankful that they (and their family) have made this possible for our family. I feel very sorry for their loss and that their family is celebrating this holiday without their loved one, but by donating all the organs possible, they have given many families something that we are eternally grateful for.

If anyone questions whether it makes a difference or not to sign your organ donor card—I can guarantee you that it has made a huge difference in our lives.
Please sign your donor card.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Not all luggage that wanders, is lost.
Well, I arrived home late last night from Artfest...exhausted, inspired and believe it or not once again (for the second time on this trip) without my luggage. I know, you must be thinking "Oh, no!" but actually there has been something quite valuable in all this adversity.

When I first arrived in Seattle last Wednesday without my art supplies, toiletries and clothes, I felt very vulnerable and frustrated. However, the frustration was partially diffused by the generous and entertaining spirit of a very special United Airways employee named Glenn. As I watched him engage with each one of the 7 of us from Edmonton, whose luggage loitered behind, I couldn't help but see how his genuine interest in our lives and his inquiring questions about our reasons for being in Seattle, made our experiences far less painful. I actually left the lost luggage counter feeling pretty good, kind of like a traveler again with just my backpack loaded with the few special things I had chosen to bring on board.

Perhaps my frustration was also softened because Artfest is truly a remarkable art retreat. When I arrived and people discovered my luggage was "delayed", I experienced the most generous outpouring of support imaginable—donated art supplies and toiletries, daily concerns of my luggage status and then huge cheers of joy when it was finally delivered on Friday afternoon. Also, spending the time with Tracy while collecting my bags, allowed us the opportunity to have a wonderful conversation that probably would have never happened otherwise and I was able to see just how much he and Teesha do care about everyone that comes to their festival retreats.The shuttle dropped everyone off at the airport Sunday morning but my flight wasn't to leave till 8 pm. I didn't really feel like hanging out at the airport all day so I thought I would try to get on an earlier flight and went to the one ticket counter open where I could change my flight....and guess who was working there? Glenn from the lost luggage counter! Out of all the United Airways employees (there most be hundreds in Seattle), I find it interesting that he's helped me twice. We laughingly caught up on all the lost luggage and Artfest news and he strategically changed my flights without charging me a thing. This time when I arrived in Edmonton at 10:30 and my luggage didn't, I sighed and just went straight to the lost luggage counter and then caught a taxi home with only my backpack.

It was then that I suddenly realized that "losing my luggage" was a valuable part of my wonderful experience at Artfest. Among other things, it gave me a reason to fully engage with the people around me, to be open to the moment for what it was (instead of what I thought it would or should be), and especially to let go of expectations and outcomes in my art even more, which I believe is crucial as an artist.

Oh...I have to go get the door, there's my luggage now.