Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blog Hopping

Just to let you know,
I've moved this blog over to here and have copied all the content over.  I'm being way more productive over there, and having one blog is much easier to deal with than having four blogs.



Thanks for reading and if you pop on over to my new blog you may just enjoy reading that blog too.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas 2012


favourite Quote Stories from the year

"Just wondering, no reason, but do you have any military in your family?"  Amaan 
I took care of two kids in London while their parents went to India for 10 days, and I had the pleasure of being in London to see their Mum off, and stayed with them and their Dad for a week (who bought us fish & chips at a great open air market and made dinner every night!)... and then it was just the three of us. Their Mum had listed out everything they had to do at school, what the wake-ups time was, when to get them to school, when to pick up from school, the extra activities, what to do for dinners, activities planned, friends to call for help, and playdates and sleepovers.
So, being the schedule follower, I followed a schedule. I was warned by their Mum that she's a little flexible on the times and the schedules, since they're more like guidelines for what they do daily, so the boys might not follow everything the way she set it out for us. But I follow schedules. So that's what we did. At 7am I would give the boys their 10 minute warning to be at the table for breakfast. At 7:05 I would give another warning. And at 7:10 they were at the table, or I was dragging their butts down the hall to the table. We reviewed what was happening for the day, and made sure everyone knew what was going on and when. There wasn't much varying from this schedule, except for optional activities, which they could (of course) opt out of if they so wished - like the zoo. We didn't get there. But I think that was the only thing we didn't do on the list.
So it's not the biggest surprise that one morning, at the table, as I am encouraging them to eat! eat! eat!, Amaan asked "Just wondering, no reason, but do you have any military in your family?"
Yeah, right. No reason, eh, Amaan? What can I say? I'm a rule-follower and a people pleaser, so I followed your Mum's rules to please her. Sorry about making you feel like you were in an army camp. Next time I'll get you to make your bed so well I can bounce a quarter off of it!  ;)
"happymedicine"  me
When I got home from London, I quickly gathered up a bunch of artwork and had a show at Art Central here in Calgary with two ladies (Diane Kinahan and Darlene Beck).  We planned for just the three days surrounding the First Thursday, which is a party-like atmosphere in the building, showcasing demonstrations of different art making techniques, complete with a band playing and sometimes fashion shows.  A day before the opening, I received an email from Shaw TV asking if maybe we could film a wee segment at 10am the next morning.  I said "sure" when I should have said "are you insane?".  Anyway, the host and I both had bad colds and we managed to get through the interview and I actually looked like I knew what I was talking about (yay me!) 
The next day was the First Thursday and we spent the afternoon and evening talking with a whole bunch of people and I made a lot of sales (with a lot of people telling me I wasn't pricing my art high enough, but what did I care?  I was selling a lot of inventory and that made me feel good!)  So I talked and talked and sold and sold.  The next morning I got up and went to go into Art Central and ...well... I had laryngitis.  No talky talky for me for quite some time.  I thought whispering was fine, but apparently that made things worse.  Great.  I don't know if any of you've noticed at all, but not talking is not what I would call my strong suite.
We did so well on the Thursday we extended our stay in Art Central for another couple weeks.  I bought a whiteboard, and wrote on it "Hi!  I have laryngitis, so I can't talk to you, but if you have any questions, I can write my replies on here."  And it seemed to be working quite well.  I took it to the bank, where the teller took it and wrote notes back to me (very weird, since she could talk), and to lunch where the server bent down low to me and said, loudly and slowly, "Your pizza will be right out."  As I was not deaf and hadn't been recently dropped on my head, I wondering what the hell he was doing.  I considered writing on the white board "Your tip will be very low." but decided against the advanced warning.  Other than those two weird times, it worked pretty well.
So, me and my white board went into Cactus Art Supply to buy some paint, since painting in the studio didn't require a lot of talking.  Lisa at Cactus knew some sign language so we both said "thank you" to each other in sign, and then I taught her the other two things I know : happy and medicine.  Then I got out to the car with my paints, and my laryngitis, and just a little bit of depression since I wasn't getting better (a few weeks by this time), despite the antibiotics I was on.  I glanced down at the white board I'd placed on the passenger seat and saw the two words I wrote to Lisa, explaining what I was signing in sign language.  Happy Medicine.  And I thought, yeah, I could use me some Happy Medicine.  And I chuckled until I coughed.
(On a side note, the second batch of antibiotics worked, but they were more for pneumonia and icky stuff like that, which kinda begs the question, what the heck did the Dr. give me in the first place?)

"..what if we woke up holding hands and then got out of bed and just started dancing?" Evan
Evan says some of the darnedest things.  As do most kids, I suppose. 
This wasn't actually said to me, but to my sister. 

Reading Calvin and Hobbes to Evan.. not sure if its for him or me... then I gave him a hug goodnight and said I'd snuggle if he lay still. So I held his hand. He said, "What if we woke up holding hands and then got out of bed and just started dancing?!" Yes... what if!?}
"I'm tired of reading talented." Lauren
I was in Minnesota in April for a visit and had a chance to listen to Lauren read, which for most of the books, I tend to think is just memorization.  But I had just bought the pair of them a new book about a plant, and she was reading it, for real (I should have believed before, but they hear these books over and over and over, so memory has something to do with it!)
But that wasn't good enough!  I needed to see the pictures, apparently, so she turned it around so I could see and she kept reading.  Upside down!  I was so impressed, I said to Andrea "That's a real talent!  Comes in handy in reviews, so you can read what your boss has on her desk."  Lauren hears this, of course, and says "I'm tired of reading talented!" and turns the book around to face her and continues reading.  It was all I could do to not break out in giggles.

"Thumbs up."  "Thumbs down."  Donna
In May, Scott and I booked a house in Nanaimo to stay in for a week with Maggie, and Tyrone came over, along with Donna, and later Harrison and Sunny.  It was fabulous, right on the water, and a great owner (SeaView) with three bedrooms, a great kitchen, and a big deck (which the otters liked to poop on.  Our main task for the week was to finally find a house we could purchase to rent out, and at some point, rent out on a short term basis so we could take our vacations there. 
We really wanted to stay downtown close to the Old City, but we were willing to look in the University District and Townsite as well.  So I compiled a huge list and set out with our realtor, John Lee, with Tyrone and Donna tagging along.  It didn't take long to see there was a level of housing we were not comfortable with, and in some of the places the windows were single pane.  As I was taking photos of everything in sight so we could remember the pros and cons of each place, Donna would stand in front of the windows with her thumbs up for double paned windows, and thumbs down for single panes. 
It was funny to review the photos at the end of the day and have Donna in there with her "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" - her approval or disapproval even showed on her face.  There were many places she was not taken with.  Happily, she and I agreed on the horrible places, so they were off the list!  But there were so many houses!  It boggled the mind.  And then a couple places sold while were looking at them (and they were "thumbs up" houses too!) while others are still (yes, still) languishing on the MLS site, waiting for someone to fix them up. 

"..and a big CONGRADULATIONS, your on the move." Thanks  John
This quote is from John, the realtor in Nanaimo.  I'm not sure why he insists on spelling things wrong, but this is not an isolated occurrence!  Cases of odd reference and misspelled words were common, and I really don't know why.  Tyrone picked up some of John's other weirdnesses in May, and has mentioned them from time to time since then. 
Anyway, this was in reference to our purchase (FINALLY!) of a place in Nanaimo to rent out.  There were a few things to do before we could rent it out, so we set out for Nanaimo on Canada Day.

"You might think, just by looking at me, that I'm youthful and strong" Tyrone
As I said, the house required some help before we could rent it out.  I lined up a whole team of people to come and give us quotes and opinions based on the Inspection Report, and on what I figured needed to be done.  Tyrone and Harrison came over as well, and we all set to work getting the house up and running - we were basically camping in an empty house.  We had to get dishes and groceries and unpack all the tools we brought.  The first day was pretty relaxed, as we only got access at noon.  The next day all the trades came, and I was dealing with them as the brothers got the back stairs stabilized and took care of some small plumbing issues. 
When it came to the knob and tube wiring, the electrician thought it wasn't too bad (which turned out to not be true - it was horrible and they ended up having to cut open walls and a ceiling to remove it all!)  The plumber, and the painter, and the roofer were all put on hold so we could deal with the electricity - safety first!  So we didn't get to put the brothers to work ripping things apart, which was a good thing since the money to update was pretty much spent on the electricians.  (sigh)
Anyway, very late on second day there, Catherine and Liam showed up.  They had left Calgary the same time we did, but were a waylaid a bit outside Salmon Arm when her antique MG stopped working.  And after it was fixed, they arrived in Vancouver to a delayed ferry boat.  It took a huge amount of effort for them to get to Nanaimo, and it was pretty late by the time they arrived.  The boys had already had a few drinks, and had been running and sliding down the length of the house (with has waxed wooden floors, so it's pretty slippery). 
Sooooo... I'm pretty tired, but Tyrone is just getting warmed up now that he has new audience members.  And he starts to tell a story about how he was playing in the park with his boy, and on the monkey bars his arms just gave out (to be fair, I think this was after a couple times on the monkey bars) and his son's friend just pointed and laughed (very loudly) at Ty, over and over.  (His story still makes me giggle.)  But this was the super funny part - to emphasize his point about assuming he should be able to swing on the monkey bars all day long with no issue he said, and I quote "You might think, just by looking at me, that I'm youthful and strong..."  and he said it in the way a 1950s salesman would say it...like he was trying to sell you that workout book to make you strong so the big meanie at the beach wouldn't kick sand in your face anymore.  It was just too much, I started laughing and the rest of the group looked and me and I'm all like "didn't you just hear what he said?"  And I repeated it for them...and it struck their funny bone as well. 
I believe Catherine and Liam are still cracking up about it every once and a while.

"All is well.  We changed the prop and went fishing for 11 hours." Mum
In August, we had found a rental company, who had rented out the place in Nanaimo, but not until the end of August, so after Andrea & the kids left Calgary, I took off to spend some time out there and see what else I could take care of before the renters came.  At the same time, Mum and Dad were heading out to Port Alberni to go fishing with Phil & Jill (their friends from high school).  Mum had recently bought a phone with texting, and she texted us about the flight delay, and then about the fishing, and then about the prop being broken.  I called her about the prop (are they on the ocean, with no means of getting back in to port, or are they okay?) and she said they were working on it, and would call me shortly.
And then she didn't call.
So, after a while , I called Andrea, who also hadn't heard, so we both were concerned, and started calling her and Dad's cell too (who is crazy because he turns his phone off when he's not at the house - who does that?), and then we started looking for Phil's cell, or maybe Tannis' cell or Cory's cell - anyone to tell us what the hell was going on!  And nothing.  I was already making a trip from Nanaimo to Port Alberni for a shelving unit, and thought maybe I would have to stop at the RCMP office to see if they had heard anything about a boat with no prop, adrift or crashed upon the shore somewhere.  And then I get this text from Mum.  "All is well.  We changed the prop and went fishing for 11 hours.  Love Mum"  So I pull over to the side of the road (by a pretty lake, actually, past Cathedral Grove) and called Andrea to let her know and then called Mum and proceeded to reem her out.  She laughed.  I told her it wasn't funny.  She would have lost her mind if I had done that to her.  But she does that when she flies someplace or even drives home from Calgary.  She expects me to call her but then she doesn't call me.  (Oh, and I guess I should say I'm happy they fixed the prop and everything was fine.)

"No, not two spoons.  Two pot du crèmes." Scott
On September 21st, it was our 10th year anniversary.  We were already getting each other the required gift of tin for 10 years (in the form of an airplane trip to Vancouver to spend time with Harrsion, who was turning 30 on the same day, and Sharon (we all pitched in to fly her out too) who turned 60 the day before).  So on the Thursday before the trip, we took ourselves to Alloy - the best restaurant in Calgary, as far as I'm concerned.  And we happily ate our way through the amuse bouche, appetizer, main course, a couple glasses of wine, and finally we ordered dessert.  The server said "two spoons?" when we asked for the chocolate pot du crème.  We looked at each other in horror.  "No, not two spoons." said Scott. "Two pot du crèmes."  Which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Each with our own.  No sharing.

"The studio we're going to is just a few blocks from Crescent Moon!!!" Andrea
Yes, I'm a lucky girl who gets to travel a lot.  Every October, I get to go down to Minnesota and see the leaves change, do Hallowe'en with the kids, and generally hang out.  This time around I was lucky enough to be there for the Progressive - appetizers at one house, dinner at another, and dessert at yet another.  A great way to get to know the neighbours better, and to see their fabulous homes too!  Andrea had also graciously planned for a girlfriends photoshoot (sadly, SM couldn't make it and was missed) as well as a couple dinner/lunch/tea dates with the girls as well.  Always a fun time down in Eden Prairie!  Plus World Market had opened up again!
But I digress.
In April, we missed out on Shawn McNulty's gallery showing, so Andrea made plans to meet him at his studio in October.  We were about to head out, after a morning of a few errands, and Andrea took at look at Google maps to get a sense of where the studio was.  And (praise the Gods of Good Food) it was (and is!) just a few blocks away from Crescent Moon Bakery.  I think we may have squealed in our delight.  For those of you who have not been to Minneapolis and have not been to the Crescent Moon, and shame on you if you live in Minneapolis and you have not been to the Crescent Moon, they have the worst (I mean the worst) decor ever in recorded history of bad decor.  And a bad website design, and a pretty bad menu design too, but with funny little descriptions of the food, which is Afghani - and which is the entire point.  They don't need good decor or good design.  Just go to their site and look at all the awards.  Or better yet, go to the blessed place in person and order a freakin' cheese pie.  With cilantro sauce stuff on the side.  OMG!!!
Andrea's neighbour & friend, Michele (I guess I'll forgive her for having only one "L" in her name - we can't all be perfect) is married to Massoud and his cousin owns Crescent Moon.  The pizza is all the rage, apparently, I've never had it.  Because I always get the cheese pie, and did this time as well.  And then I had some plate of goodness with meat and rice and bread.  And then we wanted a baklava, but they only had brownies (WTH - that's not Afghani?) but they were more like fudgey-cakey goodness.  Andrea ate three quarters of hers standing up waiting for the sheer chai to be done.  And then she went to the freezers and pulled out bags of meat pies, pizzas, and uzbeki bread to take home.  When the sheer chai was done (which is, by the way, the best damn chai EVER) we burped and merrily went down to Shawn's studio, where he graciously gave us 45 minutes of his time to talk about his art, how he does it and how he markets it etc.  It was a lovely, lovely coincidence.  And I think we should make it a tradition.  With cheese pie.

"Warm up the Fat Lady." US presidential race statistician
So, being down in the US right before November 4th is a bit of a drag for a Canadian.  Because, while we may be passionate about our distaste for Republicans' ideologies and their theories on how womens' bodies work, we can do nothing about it besides drink and watch and see what happens.  Which was why I was watching on November 4th.  And why I was on the phone with my sister, who also can't vote in the US but (unlike me) lives there.  I watched, in horror as state after state went with Romney.  I was dumbfounded.  I really don't know what goes on in the brain of a Texan.  I don't think I'm meant to.  And then Ohio flopped.  Blessed Ohio.  Of course, we were still looking at Florida, and California wasn't in yet, but the tide had turned.  And then (complete with angels singing) California's results came in, and this statistician, who had been giving us numbers all night long flipping back and forth between this election and previous elections and all the numbers all over the country.... this guy with the smartest Smart Board I have ever seen, says casually to Anderson Cooper or the other grey haired guy in a suit commentating on the whole thing...."Warm up the Fat Lady."  Which was fabulous, and funny, and totally inappropriate in the politically correct TV industry to refer to a lady as 'fat'.  No one even blinked when he said it.  Which made it even funnier to me.  It was almost the best moment of the night.  Almost.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

latest offerings

Finally, I've managed to varnish, photograph, and edit these paintings down to 4x6 size with a watermark so I can post them here for you to see...  The painting of them all is much more fun than the processing of them, I can tell you that for sure!


all you need




fake it

i was courage

inspire secrets


(like a you or a me)

love letters

need some wings

never far

robin's song


spice trader

the foundation of it

three or four big days

to fight and fight again

where i need to be


Monday, June 11, 2012

she raced ahead

This past February, when I was at Art Central for 2 weeks with our little group of 3 called "Quite the Spectacle", I used some of the time when customers weren't in the studio to do some painting.  One day when Diane Kinahan was painting there as well (in silence with me since I had laryngitis) I did about 10 wee paintings, all with little words or quotes on them. 

Because sometimes sentences float into my head and I have to put them down somewhere.  That's where the sentence on this painting came from, and I resonate with it so much that I am keeping the original.  It's not big.  Only 4" x 6".  And some may call it "craft" because it's so small and has cut up words on it.  But I don't care.  I love it.  I love the transparent yellow.  I love the white that doesn't quite obliterate every other colour underneath, I love the neon green peaking through. 

And I love the sentiment.  Because I do that.  I race ahead in an effort not to be left behind, and then I see what I've missed from racing ahead.  Silly, I know.  But I still do it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Scotia Tower - choices

I'm just getting together some paintings for a show June 11 - 15 at the Scotia Tower downtown Calgary. The address is 700 – 2ndStreet S.W. I was initially asked to bring larger pieces, which is fine, but made me feel a little sad for my smaller pieces. Now that I've seen the layout they're doing, I think a few of my 8in x 8in pieces will fit in nicely with my 18in x 36in pieces. Whew!  Now I just have to decide which ones.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

It's June?!

How did it get to be June so soon?  It was just April last time I checked.  What have I been up to?  Let's see....  I was at First Thursday at Art Central in April and managed to sell a few paintings.  Then I was in Minnesota visiting my sister and her family and managed to squeeze in a class for 12 youngsters on abstract painting (that was very fun but very exhausting too!).  Sat through two tornado warnings.  Came back home to find a weird sound in my vehicle's steering wheel - got that fixed.  Then an eye appointment to confirm whether or not the bleed by my optic nerve was worse or healed - (healed!  If you said it in your head like a TV Evangelist, you get two points.)  Had my lawn power raked and some landscaping done - then fought over the cost to haul the debris away (so much fun).  Taught some kids how to make a Mother's Day card.  Went to Nanaimo to look for a place to buy that we can subsequently rent out... looking at a long term solution to our many vacations there.  Got outbid on two places (and got quite pouty about the whole thing).  But stayed at a great place right on the ocean.  Came back to a bevy of appointments and clients and meetings and lunches and drinks with friends.  Got the garden up to snuff and planted my annuals (love love love portulaca).  And finally, just had a Saturday filled with Garage Sale-ing and got 10 easles, 1 brass platter, two sidewalk blocks, and two mid century modern chairs.... all for $3.  I know.  I'm amazing.

And along with all of that I've also managed to paint paint paint and take some photos.  And then add a photo to a painting commission I did.  The client wanted an Alberta storm, so I did that.  But before I put the rest to her painting. I took a good image of it.  And when I wandering around my photos from the summer of 2010, I found this one of the cattle run.  So I added the two together in PhotoShop.  Gotta love PhotoShop.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bring it on!

I just confirmed with Art Central... not only am I in the Art Loop Gallery for the entire month of March, but I'm also going to be in a studio in the Art Loop (lower level) for the three days surrounding First Thursday in April!  http://www.artcentral.ca/tenants/44-art-loop-gallery.

come & visit
April 4 & 5 & 6
Hours 11ish-4ish, Thursday- noon-ish til 8ish
(First Thursday is a bit of a party-time celebrating the Arts from 6-9pm on April 5th)
Art Central
100 7 Avenue Southwest
Art Loop - one of the studios, wander through & find me!
lower level, by the koi pond

Thursday, March 8, 2012

turning 40

I turned 40.  And I had a fabulous time doing it.  And pretty much I've had a fabulous day every day since turning 40.  My 30s had quite a bit of suckiness throughout - I guess every decade does.  But I figure I've had a bit more than my fair share of suckiness.  So my 40s are going to be nothing like my 30s, dammit.

I started off the celebration by having a one woman show (that would be me) at Art Loop at Art Central in Calgary.  It was pretty tough curating my own show, all on my own, but well worth it.  I called the show 40@40 so I had to limit my paintings to only 40 - which was tough.  Given the space constraints, it would have been easier to go with all smaller canvases and pack the walls with them, but I think the limit of just 40 pieces kept the walls nice and clean.

A few days after the show, my friends and I went to Death by Chocolate at the Palliser.  It was a blast.  I think I stayed awake all night due to the amount of chocolate I consumed.  I also received not one but two Coach purses, and not one but two dozen roses, along with another two deliveries of flowers.  My house smells like a greenhouse and I love it!

So here are the 40 paintings, along with the other photos I took on opening night of my show.  Hopefully the podcast a cute couple recorded goes live at some point, and I'll get even more coverage.  Yup, so far the 40s have been fabulous!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

common thread?

Recently, I was in a little pop-up shop in Art Central along with two other artists, Diane Kinahan and Darlene Beck.  We originally planned to be there for 3 days, February 1st - 3rd, with February 2nd being the big First Thursday event Art Central always hosts every (you got it!) first Thursday of each month.  We were so successful that day, we ended up staying for an extra two weeks!  Shaw TV even interviewed me for our little group of three - Quite the Spectacle - getting up close and personal with abstract art

It was a long haul though, even though I only did 5 'shifts' actually manning the store.  You see, I had laryngitis from a cold I got just days before the opening, and I pushed myself to do the interview, be 'on' for the First Thursday, and muster the energy to get through the rest of the time we were there.  It's not like it was strenuous being there.... if I was well.  But I was not.  So I got really tired.  Eventually we came to the end of our stay, and I've taken the week off from speaking (pretty much whispering really) and have taken to carrying a wee whiteboard around with me to communicate with people. 

Which means I've had a lot of quiet time to sits and thinks.  And what I'm thinking about is... what sold what I sold?  What are the elements that are appealing of the pieces I sold.  The photo above is a set of three wee paintings I did on one of the days in the studio when Diane and I worked together getting messy with paint.  They were hung for Monday morning, and sold in the afternoon.  I think the other ladies and I were thinking larger pieces would sell, as an instructor talked about large art a lot.  But the pieces that sold were all small.  One that Darlene sold was I think about 12 x 16, but it was a realism piece, not abstract (yes, she snuck that in there!)  All the ones I sold were 12 x 12 or 8 x 8 or smaller.

I do think price point was a factor, as other artists and gallery owners said I was priced too low.  But was I?  I mean, pieces sold.  Perhaps if I was higher pieces wouldn't have sold.  I don't know.  I'm really looking for some insight on what it is about pieces I make that sell, and those that stay in inventory for quite some time.  Here's all the pieces that sold during those two weeks.  What do you think?  (oh, and I don't usually do hearts, but it was Valentine's Day and I was encouraged to do them... and they sold.)  I'd really appreciate any insights, as I'm about to do another show at Art Central - for the entire month of March!