30.9.08

first piece


Here it is. My first painting in a long time. It took a lot to convince myself to finish it, despite the imperfections I can still see. I'm sure I could spend a lifetime 'fixing' my mistakes, so instead I took those little globs and uneven edges as being a part of the piece. There's a positive mindset for an over-thinker.

the trouble with tim

For about 5 years now, behind closed doors, Tim has fluctuated in and out of behavioral habits; marking his territory. The initial problem began when he got a severe bladder infection where, for a while, it did not look good. I had actually assumed his actions were out of a problem he had with us, as we had (at the time when it started) recently moved out of a living situation where another cat was in the scenario. Because I couldn't stand the thought of just sending him off to anyone, the solution was to give him to my sister; a place where I knew he'd be loved unconditionally, with the benefits of another cat for companionship, which is what I thought he'd wanted.

As his behavior persisted at my sister's place he was taken to the vet, where the result came back that he had particles in his urine. I felt absolutely horrible to think that I had sent him away, petrified out of his wits, totally ill and unknowing. It has always been difficult for me to forgive myself for having put him through so much at such a fragile time, but I had not even considered the thought of illness because I was so convinced it was out of spite and confusion.

When Tim was sent back to me, after having marked my sister's house to the point that she couldn't tolerate the smell and permanent damage, it was a long and difficult recovery. The plus in it all was that his place of comfort during healing was to relieve himself in the bath tub. Easy to clean, easy to tolerate. After time, he'd started to use his litter box again so consistently that I was certain it was over; the paranoia and the dreading of having to clean out the horrible smell of cat urine. Instead, he has proven that it's not over. Two accidents in the house, in the 7 months that we've lived here isn't bad . . . but, two accidents in the last month has left me feeling really quite saddened and almost helpless in that I have no idea what to do if it carries on in the same pattern, or gets worse.


Five years is a long time to tolerate so many accidents, especially ones that leave often prominent damage to the things that are just as important to us. In a new house, these accidents aren't tolerated as casually as they were in our apartment, and from this I fear the unknown. At the age of 10 years old and having lived in so many places before settling here, I couldn't imagine sending him elsewhere because of this issue, again. Who knows if anyone could tolerate so much as we already have?

The loss of Tim is something I fear constantly, when these problems resurface, and we can only do so much to attempt to live with it all over again. We have put up with so much stress and frustration for so long, it's difficult to know what to do next. He had been doing so well without any problems, my heart absolutely aches to see this habit return. It's amazing, the things we do for our pets, and sometimes I can say only to myself for comfort that I've sincerely tried my best to keep him with us for as long as possible. Patience and disappointment can only stand so many mistakes and I have no idea what to do next.

28.9.08

story to life


Lately, to my surprise, I've been getting numerous compliments about my writing style, which is then followed by a "no, seriously" and long silence on my part. I have never taken much pride in my writing because I write exactly what's being dictated in my head, and also because I only ever received mediocre marks in my English classes for going about it in that fashion. "Strays off topic" always comes to mind. It's true that my mind does wander, but it also explores. I may not have the greatest of grammatical skills, but I try.


To start, I'm in the works of writing something that I wish to later animate, and am really serious in that matter. I tend to attempt to take things on, or say I'm going to do so firmly, only to be later intimidated or reluctant to move forward. I have no idea where to begin with animation, but masterpieces aren't created on whim. There's a lot of planning to go into it, including the ever dreaded storyboard portion that makes me cringe at the thought.


In exploring my most favorite artists and animators I am always inspired by the works of Jamie Caliri, and of course Tim Burton. Whether I tamper with digital animation or the tedious hands on approach in stop-motion, I feel I'm more comfortable with the thought of stop-motion... but yet the sense of control within digital is hard to ignore. We will have to see what the story decides first.

mogendorff


Every so often I stumble upon the work of artists on the internet that leave me smiling from ear to ear. Lately it's in the work of Tamar Mogendorff, whose textile work in creating toys and home decor is just simply awe inspiring. Whimsical, imaginative , with a child-like innocence and charm, it's hard not to fall in love on the spot.

"The dolls/objects are made from linens, wool, Mohair wool, cotton,
vintage fabrics, tweed, antique embroidery, pashmina and other fabrics.

Other materials used are antique and vintage buttons, beads,
silver thread and old ribons. New items coming every season.."

I am particularly in love with her Polar Bears and their stocky shape, hefty backs and short legs. Such a great presentation of character within each piece. I can't get enough of it.

24.9.08

dying pretty


On a quest for something warm and yummy in the form of perogies, I decided to venture outside today and go for a little walk. There's something about perogies that as soon as they're mentioned I feel I have to have them, and so off I went to see the craving through. No, I'm not pregnant. To liven up the venture, I took along my camera, which was a fun exercise in getting a closer look into the neighbourhood where we live. It's the first Autumn that we've experienced in our new community and so, it was kind of a nice peek into the unfamiliar and what to look forward to for years to come.


While taking some pictures of the leaves on the ground and in the trees, I was passed by a woman walking with her daughter whose curiosity was more than entertaining. Hobbling around me playfully in her Autumn gear, eyes hiding behind an over-sized hat, she asked "why are you taking pictures of a tree?" I replied that I liked the pretty colors, which led to her response in that the things around us are pretty right now "because they're dying." Too cute for words, but I understood what she was getting at.


It's true that the dying of the leaves and transition to the next process of life can be a beautiful thing. Some might have a hard time accepting the end of a lively season into one that is quite dreary in comparison, but this time of year has always been my favorite for the changes it brings. I suppose this is part of how I rely on change in order to feel a sense of normalcy, due to how I've lived; traveling from one place to the next and never quite stopping to rest for too long. To have found myself resting in one place is still quite strange, as I've said already in an earlier post, but it's interesting to let the familiar things become a part of my every day. I'm quite alright with it.

Oh, and the perogies? So well worth the trek.

23.9.08

painting bug


In cleaning out my closet I came across some old paintings that I did, nearly 8 years ago. I had almost forgotten I had some of these pieces, since I am prone to toss what I feel is unimportant, so it was a big surprise to see that I still had them. It used to make some of my friends cringe when they'd hear about me tossing old artwork, since there was always a spare wall among one of them that was hoping for decoration. I never understood the importance of hanging onto my artwork, being the anit-clutterbug that I am, until I started to realize that things like these act as a bit of a scrapbook in my life. It's a recording of how my mind used to work, what I may have been thinking at the time and which colors inspired me the most.


These flower paintings were once a big hit for a moment in time, where I was producing nearly dozens at a time. This love for painting that I had somehow fizzled out in time and became something that only collected dust on my shelves. I go through definite phases with the media I prefer, and sometimes I wonder what I'll explore next. From working on computer so much with graphic illustrations I think I have fallen under the spell of clean and orderly to the point that any sort of disarray or 'messy' brushstroke leaves me scrambling to tidy things up. To exercise this phobia of the free spirited paint brush I am going to try to get myself to paint again, but not allow myself to become so tedious with details and intricacies. Should be an interesting exercise, but it might take some time to get started.

22.9.08

blanket


Seems I've taken a bit of a break from making toys at the moment, as I've discovered that making blankets are just as fun. A dear friend of mine taught me the technique, and after a couple of small fits of frustration in learning something new, I managed to get it down after only a few attempts. It's just as relaxing, if not more, than making my toys, as there is no pattern book to follow while I zone out and watch a movie in bed with my yarn. Lately I've been hooked on Sleepy Hollow for that Halloween ambiance that is trickling in with the falling leaves. I love this time of year.

It's been chilly these last couple of days, indoors and out, and so it's in good timing that I start building this new blanket now before it gets colder. So many of my cozy Winter blankets are starting to look ratty and dominated by the likes of Tim, so it's nice to sit down and make something for myself for once. I can't wait to see the finished result, and am looking forward to making this my new cocoon over the Winter months. Mmm, I love new blankets.

21.9.08

6 years


On the topic of my home town, it has been 6 years (today) since I left Winnipeg. I can't honestly answer if it feels like it's been that long, or if it feels longer, because so much has happened in the blur of those 6 years, or the years before that even. It's true that we all grow up so quickly. Where oh where did the time go?

When I was growing up in Winnipeg, we lived in a close knit growing community. It was somewhat isolated in that it didn't seem to change in the years that we lived there. Each family on our street knew one another, and all of the neighbourhood kids mingled well. It was a safe place; clean, calm, quiet. It was almost alien when we moved away and into a more fast paced, sparkly part of town. My first venture into the world of the unfamiliar.


I've moved around a lot since then and because of which I can't say that my mind or body are accustomed to staying in one place for an extended amount of time. I used to joke about being a traveling circus at one point in my life because I practically lived anywhere the wind would take me. It was nature to me. At one point I was literally living out of a suitcase, sleeping on a portable air mattress in the centre of a friend's living room because I had somewhere to go soon later. Makes me smile fondly at the memory of it all. There was a certain way in how it was tolerated that left me feeling wiser in the end.

Now after skimming through 6 years to get where I have landed today, I can't help but shake my head at where the time has gone and what has been accomplished. I've grown. It's been pretty rough to get used to but I think now that things are becoming familiar and I've begun to experience memories here, it's starting to feel more real and not like some fraction of space and time. To have my feet finally firmly planted on the ground? Very weird, but very cool indeed.


To celebrate my 'anniversary' of leaving the nest, I'll be spending time to myself to reflect on these stories and be grateful for what I call home, today. Where I've come from, the things I have experienced and what I've learned. Layers of myself.

17.9.08

warming a cold heart

Because I've been a bit of a basket case from being indoors, waiting patiently for things to pick up, Ian decided to treat me to something to warm my heart, quite literally. At first I felt it wasn't necessary to be treated to anything special, but after eying up a nearby tea shop, he stubbornly led me into the store and demanded I pick something for myself. Once we reached the counter where the labeled canisters were on display I couldn't help but feel like a kid in a candy store. I wasn't sure what to try with so many options before my eyes, but because I've been particularly drawn to Jasmine teas for so many years, I thought it was time to find a competitor for my favorite brand.


We left with a sealed and packed tight bag of China Jasmine Chung Hao tea, and I think we have my original favorite beat. What I like most about the loose tea, is being able to pack the tea bags the way I want to because I can be inclined to like my tea really weak some days. For this tea, that's so not the case. As soon as I opened the bag and noticed how lovely and floral the smell was, there was no way I was going to let the taste be watered down and lost. It is absolutely divine and I'm so anxious for the Winter when I get back into my regular afternoon tea treats to help keep my fingers and toes warm. With all that has been going on around here in my world, filled with frustration and bouts of impatience, my heart is warmed completely at the gesture of a generous gift. What can I say, I'm easy to please.

Thanks Ian.

disheartened and disgruntled

In all of the things that we've experienced in our house, there is one thing that continually ruins the experience for us. Or at least for myself. I've probably complained openly about this topic more times than I can count because it bothers me so much, but I'm getting to the point that I'm tired of it and need to find a solution to get rid of the problem. I'm returning to the topic of outdoor cats.

For those who believe in the joys of letting your cat wander freely outside, I kind of want to sit down and ask what the logic is behind it all. Seriously. Cats don't understand the boundaries of their own territory and because cats are wanderers and territorial in where they go, the places that were once supposed to be yours become theirs instead. We have giant holes in what was once our garden, which now serves as the neighbourhood litterbox, markings on our front door from someone who felt they needed to make it known that they were around, and claw holes in our front screen from someone who wanted in. It's awful and totally unfair for us to have to pay the price of it all. It's complete and total ignorance on the owners part and I have no respect for someone who believes it's cute and logical to let a cat wander free into other peoples' property. It's bothersome and quite literally ruins the things which we put work into.


The main issue I have is with our garden. It's a complete mess and is actually so embarrassing for me to look at, I couldn't get myself to take a picture to show as an example. I've thought about natural remedies to deter the cats away from our yard, but so far our attempts are senseless. We got a bag of mulch to fill our flower bed because we had heard from a source that cedar mulch was supposed to bother them. Totally wrong. We had laid the mulch out at the start of the Spring and since day one there have been holes all over the place. Imagine if I had planted anything? I'd be heartbroken at my efforts.

One method I'm leaning towards for next Summer is getting a motion detecting sprinkler to put right in the garden. I'm desperate and am so tired of having to clean up after someone else's pet. I had looked forward to trying things out in our first home and making things ours with our own personal touch, but the silliest issue is preventing us from doing so. If you believe in outdoor cats, please sit down and think about what it is that you're doing to the people around you. It's selfish and completely irrational to think that your cat knows what is his/hers and what isn't. Imagine someone sitting in your yard on your property ruining things that belong to you. Dogs don't wander free, and children certainly don't take up residence in other peoples' yards. There's a reason for the term property, or at least I thought there was. Seriously, think about the situation from another stand point and find yourself a conscience. If you don't have one, then at least take pride in ruining the things for the people around you. Get your cat a leash.

14.9.08

step-tember


Despite my cute and cheery new design of a plump little chef with his dancing pastries on my website, I am feeling a bit crummy around the edges. Since I was put on hold with running, and have been spending more time than I should at home, filling my time with doing probably too much baking, I kind of slipped into a lethargic state of utter sloth and gluttony.

It's amazing to see how backwards my body works in the course of the seasons; how I seem to hibernate more so in the Summer than in the Winter. I quite literally shut out the world for a good while in the Summer, but sometimes we all need the little break to gather our bearings. I did get a lot accomplished in the time that I spent at home, but at the same time I kind of drifted further into my hermit shell to avoid the outside world. This pattern of distance and seclusion certainly comes from my father's side of the family. Amazing when you see yourself following the pattern.


I've always struggled with motivation and determination, but have always been the competitive type. I like to challenge myself when I'm given the opportunity. I've taken years of kickboxing and boxing, months of running and soon to be swimming because I like the reward of accomplishment from it all. When it comes to self motivation on the other hand, I tend to struggle. When I started running, I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it, but by surprise, I managed to get into the groove quite easily. I didn't allow myself to weasel up excuses, and from that I pushed myself harder each day, rain or shine. Unfortunately, we tend to push ourselves a little too hard.

I was told to take 4-6 weeks away from running, due to an inflamed/torn tendon. I was very discouraged when I heard the instructions, but because I don't want to do any further harm to my body, I followed my orders and from that I kind of fell back into the shell. Gradually, I have managed to plummet into a state of mind that is a little too ho-hum for my liking. I suppose this is what people go through in the Winter when they coop themselves up indoors for so long. I am so backwards.


As the weather is starting to change and the scenery moves towards shades of yellow and orange, I feel that perk of energy inside me. It's ready to get back into the swing of things, but the heavy shoulders of laziness still rest firmly on my shoulders. To get past the voice of procrastination I decided to construct a schedule to go by. It's very simple to start, and I have to promise myself not to over do it if I start to feel any slight pains or pinches in my leg again. Stretching, allowing myself time to rest, taking down the distances if I have to, it's all very important to reaching the goals I have in mind for the following Spring. I guess the positive in having an injury is that I actually worked hard to get it. I just have to be careful this time around.

13.9.08

fresh air


Sometimes a step away from the every day is a good way to clean up mental clutter. Anxiety, impatience, frustration and question, all of which are easy for me to get caught up in when time begins to drag by at a pace that is too slow to tolerate. It's true though that once you stop waiting for the kettle to boil, you end up with a cup of tea in the end. It is very worth the wait.

It has taken a lot of time to get the ball rolling in regards to my illustration work, since I stepped out of college. It was intimidating at first to come into this world of the unexpected but looking forward to the unknown has become a bit of a second nature to me. I'm getting closer to where I want to be each day, which contributes to learning how to believe in myself more willingly. I need that. With determination and a keen eye, it can get sorted, like a tangled ball of yarn... some days I just don't feel like tampering with the string.


To check one task off of the list, I managed to get my new website design resolved. This seemed to eat away at me for almost an entire year, as I am by far my own worst critic and can have the tendency to talk myself out of things before I even start when it comes to personal work. After a lot of deep breaths and soaks in the tub, I managed to shut off my over thinking mind and give it a shot without worry or excessive care for concern. From that, I can say that I am left feeling satisfied; a huge accomplishment within itself. In the wise words of Ian "sometimes your opinion doesn't matter." A motto I am beginning to live by.

Along with getting personal work in order, I am giving myself a lot of leisure time in between to keep from getting overwhelmed. I'm still working, as a compulsive workaholic tends to do, and although my leisure time is yet more work to chalk on the schedule, it's a different kind of expectation that I put into it all. I can shut off my brain easier with craft than I can with my artwork, and so I guess you could say that it is a bit of a saving grace for me. At the moment I'm working on a collaborative piece, but because it's serving as a gift for someone special, whose eyes may linger on this page, I can't get into detail about it. Secrets are so aggravating aren't they?


Outside of the working world, things at home are starting to feel more real to me; like home. As we approach a new season, things are starting to become familiar, since the weather is starting to become more and more like it was when we first arrived here. It's like the return of an old routine, or an old friend of sorts. That transition of change into familiarity is an interesting experience , and it has been years since I've felt so secure and complete. I guess you could say that I've encountered my first real memory of the place. I love that.

Other than that, I feel as if there is so much to share but can't quite muster up the words to explain it all at once. Now that things are starting to fall into order, I can guarantee you will be hearing from me more frequently as the days progress.

3.9.08

will return


I've been really starting to feel the pressure these days, so I'll be taking a break from luxury and distraction at least until I get my things back on track. It's been a tough year, since I finished college, and at one point I told myself it wasn't going to be so difficult to find a happy medium. Sometimes those moments can be found, while other days it seems like I'm kind of floating in an empty space, wondering where and when I'll ever land. It's unsettling but it's a part of life and we all must push on. It can only go up from here although it feels like the hill to climb keeps getting bigger in front of me. I certainly have to be more aggressive about getting there, despite how little I enjoy conflict.

Will return when things take course.