Cancer. We’ll talk about it once and never mention it again.

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It’s amazing how long one can stare at the screen. The words and stoicism for this post didn’t come till now and the terror still hasn’t stopped, and, mainly, coming to the decision to publish this at all, AT ALL, has been a long and tortuous route.

Today I read a post from a lovely girl whose blog I enjoy, who had a nasty experience with a customer accusing her of making silly crafts with her children and buying over-priced Christmas trees instead of tending to her shop. Behind the scenes, behind the two lovely post of crafting with her children and buying their Christmas tree, this mother of four young boys, (one of them a newborn), dealt with sick babies, volunteer hours at her son’s school, answering emails, running a business, preparing for her eldest’s birthday party, nursing round the clock, staying up till 2am fulfilling orders, and a million other things not reflected in those two blog posts, and I thought, yeah, that’s it right there, mostly what I show here is the lovely side of my life, and I do that purposefully, because it is also MY refuge from the occasional trauma of my day to day. But there are some things that take us out of our lovely, bucolic romanticism and plonk us squarely on the cold, cement floor of life…on our face…naked and exposed.

One such thing happened mid September.

Remember way back when I checked myself into surgical daycare to have a tumour in a saliva gland removed? Remember how these things are 99.9% benign? Well, this one turned out to be the .1% malignant! And thereby ensued months of terror, reflection, a new relationship with my malfunctioning body, with therapy, with specialists, with the conveyor belt which is the BC Cancer Agency, with my family, with the people I trust.

As soon as I received the diagnosis, I told my children and Robert and my mother. My children understandably panicked with fear for my life, but Robert and my mother stayed level headed. My mother then said something to me. She said, “we have to take it as it comes.”

Later that week, C and I were at the grocery store, and a lovely blond woman said hello to C. They exchanged a few sentences and then she turned to me and said, “Oh, are you out and about? How are you feeling?” with an incredibly concerned voice. I must say that my first initial reaction was to grab C’s hand and back away slowly from this “mad” woman, but then it dawned on me that she was a relative of my son-in-law’s and by virtue of my telling Kers, his family knew. And then I knew I didn’t want to tell anyone. I wanted to control the dissemination of this info. I didn’t want the sympathy, the platitudes, the awkward gestures from people who just didn’t know what to say…how to cope, and mainly, I didn’t want to be seen as different, as “not me”. Does that make sense? I does in my own mind.

But now that I’ve coped, now that I’ve come thru this and out the other end of the conveyor belt, I can talk about this. So I invite you to use my vast bank of experience and knowledge if you need to. Ask me anything. We’ll talk about this once, right here, and then we’ll forget all about it and get back to our lovely lives, but you’re welcome to ask me again, whenever and if ever you need to.

The word “cancer” is a horrible word. I have trouble saying it. Robert suggested that I call it wonky cells…because, after all, that’s all they are, just a bunch of wonky cells…and that’s what we’ll call it. It’s not a battle, it’s not a dragon to be slayed, it’s just a bunch of wonky cells who have no thought, no emotion, no purpose except to replicate. As a matter of fact, they don’t want to kill this organism which is my body, because then they would also die. They just need to be delicately and forcefully removed and persuaded never to come back.

This type of wonky cellness is called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, and it’s exceedingly rare. It makes up 1% of the rarest 5% of all wonky cellnosity. Now don’t go looking it up on Wiki, you’ll only upset yourself. The main thing to remember is that it is highly responsive to radiation therapy, it hides and travels thru nerves, and this tumour had only a 30% breach of its lining, so probably not a lot of cells managed to travel thru the nerves and to my brain.

The several tests, CT scans, MRIs, didn’t show any metastasis or any other clusters in lymph nodes or other glands, so a course of largely preventative radiation therapy was undertaken with daily one minute doses for 37 treatments.

As usual, I found my solace in art. Robert, again being my saviour, strongly suggested I keep one of my art journals throughout the treatment, and at the very last minute, I ran down to my friend Dalyce’s second hand book store, and bought a book. The book I chose I chose for the name, “sense and nonsense”. I liked the small pocket size, I liked the calm blue cover, I liked holding a random book (which I knew nothing about), I liked how it felt, I liked the randomness of it all, the having to take it as it comes. I counted the pages and worked out that gluing every four pages together would give me enough pages to complete my course of treatment plus a couple pages to spare. The book was written by Eric Patrick Nicol; a Canadian writer of some 40 books (none of which I read or knew anything about). I’m ever so grateful to Mr Nicol for his work and for this book. I do believe it saved my sanity, and my knowledge and sharing of it may possibly go a long way towards helping others trying to cope thru the devastating fear of a wonky cell diagnosis.

So, what follows are the pages of my journal. I’ll try to describe the days briefly, but feel free to ask me any questions you like. Feel free to have these images for whatever purpose, but please remember that this original book is the intellectual property of the estate of Mr Nicol…to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude.

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As you probably already know, I’m luckier than most people. Both my parents are/were doctors, all their friends are doctors, and I’m an only child. Than means that every course of treatment, every test, every decision was shopped around a consortium of doctors before it was agreed on.

One of the best things I ever did was join a wellness centre called Inspire Health and upped my yoga, my meditation, my creative visualisation, and researched all supporting natural remedies.

So for anyone who must undertake a course of radiation therapy, let me very strongly advise you to take daily doses of 3000 iu of vitamin D, super critically extracted turmeric, a very good probiotic well ahead of time and all the way thru to boost white blood cell production, and form a relationship with miso soup, which is shown to dissipate radiation toxins out of the body.

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And keep a journal. For you that might look very different from mine. But sitting around in waiting rooms, feeling scared, looking at the devastatingly sick and suffering people around, their grey faces, their panicked but stoic expressions, it’s very helpful to shut the world out and concentrate on your journal.

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Working thru the days in my book I found words which said something about the way I was feeling each day. I circled the words, sketched a drawing which felt right, and outlined everything in a sepia ink pen.

These were simple tasks to do while sitting in waiting rooms.

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I took my supplies with me in a pencil case in my purse, switching out the coloured Faber-Castell markers to suit each day.

Some days were optimistic, some days less so. I drew my feelings around Mr Nicol’s words.

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I think one of the hardest times was seeing children coming in from Children’s Hospital for radiation treatment since Children’s doesn’t have radiation chambers. Another difficult thing was waiting for radiation symptoms to come on and dreading each twinge.

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It took to me the first week before I felt I could open my eyes in that radiation mask and actually watch the machine sweep past me. The mask is tight, locked down to the table one lies on and breathing is somewhat restricted. The feeling of stuckedness, of vulnerability, of claustrophobia are acute and real. Meditating thru the few minutes of one’s confinement is very helpful. I tended to visualise myself walking thru a semipermeable membrane, which allowed my body thru it but not the dark, smoking wonky cells, which fell down to the ground behind me.

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The days leading up to Remembrance Day were difficult. Most of you know my father was the doctor for the BC war vets and he took them to places such as Vimy Ridge and to meet the Queen, and most of you probably know that he died before his “old boys” of a terrible terminal cancer. Actually, the only two episodes of wonky cellness in my family, my father and my aunt, were both discovered too late and terminal within two years.

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The days post R.D. I felt a sadness which was hard to shake. But I went for an acupuncture treatment at the wellness centre and that helped me flip back to a more positive outlook.

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The second week into treatment, as with most people who have radiation in the region of their head, my taste buds started to shut off and die. The first taste which went was salt, then sugar, then, gradually, everything began to taste like a mix of alkaline water, (that sulphuric kind you get at hot springs and certain spas) and flour mixed to different degrees of texture.

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It’s funny, you know. You can blindfold yourself and experience what it’s like to be blind to some degree. You can stuff cotton in your ears and feel a little deaf, but you can’t possibly understand what it’s like to lose your sense of taste because there just is no reference point. No way to test it out before hand.

I can still acutely feel sitting at the sushi bar with Clover and dipping a piece of California roll into some soy sauce. The character of the soy sauce turned to the most horrible bitterness in my mouth. Very unexpected.

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By the 21st on November everything tasted foul and the only thing palatable was my Earl Grey tea with a heaping spoon of super sweet Stevia and another of Manuka honey, miso soup, toast without butter and, for some bizzare reason, tempura prawns.

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Midway point and a private little celebration. I bought myself a few beautiful coffee table books. I was also offered the radiation mask to take home after treatment. My initial reaction was, “not a hope in hell!!!”, but I had a think about it. I didn’t change my mind because taking the mask home would have put the onus on me to dispose of it. The material is not recyclable, it would take too much effort and (by now my rapidly diminishing) strength to cut it up, and it would have to hang around till the spring time till I got to the cabin to burn it safely, (still releasing toxic plastics into the atmosphere). No thank you. I captured the mask on these pages instead. It can stay here too.

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Into the final half of treatment I began to think about how “normal” my new life was feeling. Daily drives across town for radiation, lack of taste, losing weight, avoidance of meals, while still trying to run the household and my business, while keeping my children, my family, my relationship with Robbie a priority, while trying to distract myself with TV or the computer to try to eat revoltingly tasting foods, which often trigger a gag reflex, in an effort to nourish myself. Robert helped again by telling me to focus on foods as necessary medicine.

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I remembered my father and my aunt going thru chemo, barely strength enough to walk, how quickly we adopt a situation to a new normal. Some chronic fatigue hit at about this time. But sleep is restorative, so I happily gave in.

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November came to a close and December took its place and with that a new focus. Christmas lights went up in the hood, trees in windows, carols on the radio…a much happier state of affairs. I also focused on my art more. My precious gift of creativity which saves me time and time again.

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I counted down the treatment days. Nine, then eight more to go. Life seemed a bit more uplifted even with worsening symptoms. I also focused on and counted my blessings when I got too down.

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And poured my feelings into my book. Each day Mr Nicol came thru with brilliant words that felt just right, and on the pages which fell on the book’s illustrations, I created myself little collages.

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All thru this treatment I was under that care of an oncologist, as is expected, and a psychologist. The very rare and not understood nature of this wonky cellness made it difficult for me to relate to any other person. As far as I know, there is one man, who is ten years post treatment and doing exceptionally well, here in BC and 20 more across Canada. It left me feeling very alone and, I must admit to having stupid thoughts like, “why couldn’t I have had breast wonkynossity and be part of a better understood crowd?” How stupid am I? I did slap myself out of that!

The skin on the left side of my neck gradually changed, became frail, wrinkly, red, flaky, but thanks to the heavy doses of turmeric and the miso soup, and, I suppose, thanks to my oily Mediterranean skin, these symptoms were not as bad as some of the people’s going thru similar.

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But with only four treatments left, things were beginning to look more positive, more survivable. Robert arrived, and it isn’t only me having to hold down the fort. He held my hand on the evening of Friday Dec 12th and said, “just think, this is the worst you’ll ever feel. Things will never be this bad again.” Two days to recover over the weekend, and three treatments to go. By now the nerves leading from my jaw to my brain have been so affected that yawning, sneezing, blowing my nose are various degrees of excruciatingly painful. But pain or no pain, how lucky am I to live in this time, in this city, with access to government funded medical help, with a treatment which has been modernised, a treatment, which as early as ten years ago, would have scattered a dangerous 66 grays of radiation over my entire head, neck and chest, which is now confined to and pinpointed to complete accuracy within one computer controlled channel thru the brain. And above all, how lucky am I for my mother, for her medical knowledge and council, for Robert for holding me up day or night, for his positive loving guidance, for my precious Chloe, who never left my side, insisted on accompanying me to every treatment, with the exception of three which she couldn’t manage, joked with and befriended the team of technicians, helped to decorate the radiation ward Christmas tree, and for Jonathan and Kerstin who checked in on me and showed loving concern despite their own busy lives. They have been the bright shining stars in my life for these past months.

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Finally, the last two days, the last day, and my normal was about to be restructured into a newer normal.

And now, the normal is that of recovery, of regeneration, of health, of life, of happiness, of reduced stress, of fulfilling dreams, hopes, of love, of love for my strong, healthy, wonky cell free body, for my children, for Robert, for my mother, for friends, a new normal of living a long and happy life.

We have to take it as it comes.

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Hello from Sunday night

Do you guys do this?
Do you sometimes wish for things that aren’t instead of feeling grateful for things that are?
Yeah, I’m all over that these days.

Simple things; like not revelling in these warm, late summer days and wishing for cooler days of autumn so I can wear my sweaters, knowing perfectly well that when those cool days come, I’ll be wishing for the warmth of today.

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I think that a couple big things are bugging me these days.

Thing one is that I just miss Robbie so much, and thing two is that tomorrow I have to be brave and check myself into surgical day care for a small procedure which I’m dreading.

Now you probably all know that I’m the product of two doctors, so it doesn’t make much sense because I’m just pretty au fait with all things surgical, so I guess it’s the full moon.

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Still, this week/weekend has been a pretty fabulous one, (ocean and river time), and C and I even caught a special pop-up yoga class, outside, in a parking lot, under the deep blue sky.

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We’ve been looking for a new yoga studio, and must say that we’ve found a couple pretty fabulous ones, but then fell in love with the beautiful energy of one certain tiny tattooed yogini, so maybe we think we may have found the perfect fit for us.

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Lately, I’ve been noticing red. Is red the new black or something? Anyone notice that? Maybe it’s an autumnal thing, but red seems to be all over the place. Personally, I’m all over that too. I love red.

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And unusual food things. You know, It was cranberry festival time in the country today. Maybe that why red was all over the place. Maybe it’s a cranberry thing. I had cranberries in my arugula and gorgonzola with roasted pear salad at lunch. That little sweet hit of red with the sharp cheese and the peppery arugula was just wonderful.

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I also had coconut prawns with a mango chutney. Who ever thought to roll shrimp in coconut laced batter? Brilliant, wasn’t he?

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There was a bit of antiquing in the country today. I fell in love with a doll. The doll in this mosaic image to be exact. My children wince when I bring home old toys, and especially “creepy old dolls”, as they’re commonly known round here, but I don’t care. Now that I’m you know, like an adult and have my own house, I’ll buy all the creepy old dolls I want…so there! (stamps foot) But actually, this doll looks very much like the memory I have of a cherished childhood doll which was left behind in the Czech Republic when we escaped. Maybe I’m always trying to rebuild what’s been lost.

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Maybe I’m just in a funny mood tonight.

So I guess I better also tell you all, (because by now you’re all going, “come on V, what’s it all about), that the procedure I have to undergo tomorrow is not a sudden thing. I’ve been watching a growth slowly enlarge in a salivary gland over the better part of a year, and ultrasound and MRI confirm that there is a tumour which just shouldn’t be there, so out it goes.

Out it goes tomorrow morning and off to pathology, where I’m pretty sure the diagnosis will be non malignant, because statistically 99% of these kinds of things end up benign, and also, the scans don’t show any other enlarged glands.

Still it’s a bit on the unnerving side for me round here. (And most of all the Vanity Smurf in me doesn’t really want a scar on my neck… Oh have to tell you a funny story: the surgeon said, “we’ll just put the incision in this wrinkle because incisions tend to heal better in natural creases.” and I said, “what wrinkle!?!!?” And he said, “well, OK, but eventually you would get a wrinkle here.”)

But for tonight, I’ve got a wonderful wild salmon in the oven and it’s fragrant and salmony, stuffed with lemon and red onion slices and a large bunch of rosemary, thyme, fennel and marjoram…

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…and I’m about to go sit over here with one of these and relax and think about the full moon.

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Sharing with Judith and the Mosaic bunch and catching up with everyone when I can. Biggest hugs to everyone.

Home, missing home

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The last few days at home in West Cottage were so very busy for both of us. It’s always that way when we try to get as many projects completed as we can together. There are things we have to do, like replacing a weak piece of wood at the bottom of one of the large bedroom windows, which is just nearly impossible to do on one’s own.

The good thing is that we managed to get all the jobs done. The bad thing is that now we have to be apart for a couple of months.

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But there’s no denying that the crops in Oxfordshire have all been harvested, the fruit is ripe on the trees, summer is ending, autumn is fast approaching, and I have to return to Vancouver. The ideal would have been for R to come to Vancouver with me, but his work and projects won’t allow that right now, and my work and projects won’t let me stay longer in OXON, so there you are.

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So Robbie drove me to Heathrow, we had a lot of hugs and kisses and tears, and off I went.

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All bleary eyed and jet-lagged at home, our sweet Chloe had garden flowers waiting for me.

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She took great care of the house here, both the cats and all the plants.

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I dug up some potatoes and garlic from the garden, we stopped at a little organic market for some more veggies…

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…and made a hearty roasted veggie supper.

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In one way it’s good to be home with C and the Vancouver cats, but in another way it sucks…know what I mean?

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Friday night disaster…averted!

I have a Land Rover story to tell you, but rather than show you the gruesome happenings, I’m going to show you the lovely vintage things I bought the other day.

So, I had to run into Oxford today and Robbie and I made a deal that I would undercoat the chassis of the Landi first thing this morning and then, while I’m in Oxford, R would put the floors back in.

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“Just get under the car,” Robbie said, “I’ll spread out a carpet remnant for you. It’ll be easy. Half an hour and you’ll have it done.”

Then he said, “Here, use this scrapper and this screwdriver and this wire brush to just brush off the loose bits before you paint it.” :D

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So I tied my two feet of hair into a braid, got into R’s overalls, climbed under the car and started scraping the tar goop and loose rust off…which started falling all over the carper remnant, R’s overalls, and my two feet of hair!!! And the more I moved under the car, the more it got into my hair.

About an hour into it R came to see how I was getting on.
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And to help me with the job because we greatly underestimated the amount of work.

About three hours later we were finally finished and I cleaned my hands with the turpentine and ran my fingers thru my fringe and my fingers wouldn’t go thru it.

OMG! How will I get tar and enamel latex out of my hair!

No time for hair rescue, tied it up and drove into Oxford.

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I love to walk the 3 miles into the town centre from the park and ride and today I had a beautiful walk in a strong wind…which blew my hair around and tangled the tar into it even more.

Now I know that the theory is that one shouldn’t have two feet of hair past their 30s but stuff that for a game of soldiers. I love having long hair and, what’s more, I love being a brunette, so cutting the tar out and using solvents was not an option.

So, back home, and I ran a really hot bubble bath, soaked in it for a very long time, washed my hair with R’s strong detergent Pantene instead of my gentle organic shampoo, squidged an entire tube of thick, gloopy conditioner thru my hair in two treatments and combed thru it with a fine toothed comb. The resulting hairball would have made my long haired Morgan jealous, but, a final little comb thru with a bit of coconut oil detangler, and my hair is back to soft, lustrous, normal.

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Disaster averted.
And I have a beautiful, rust free Land Rover (Landi update to follow) :D

Theo died

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The truth about love is that it’s a beast with sharp razor blades for teeth. It must be. How else do you explain the pain in my heart and these burning tears?

Robbie was with him in the end. Robbie brought him home and dug a hole under the roses in our Oxfordshire garden and laid Theo to rest wrapped in his turquoise blanket.

And we cried together. And we talked for hours and remembered him.

In our life together with his and her’s houses and his and her’s countries, he was something we truly shared. Our little shining light. A spirited little boy, full of personality. He found us four years ago. He was sickly and emaciated and we nursed him back to health. We never knew how old he was or how long we got to have him, but we needed him as much as he needed us.

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Thoughts while brushing my hair

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I took this selfie yesterday and sent it to R who said I looked pensive. Actually, to tell the truth, I only took it because I was wearing R’s beautiful watch, but I guess I do look pensive. :D

So this evening, after a day of gym, gardening, serious work saving plants form a neighbourhood construction site, and silversmithing work in the studio, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror trying to brush out the rat’s nest that my hair manages to become by the end of the day and rubbing a good dollop of coconut oil into it as a rescue remedy, and I though, you know what? This relationship I’m trying to forge with metal and flame is bloody hard!

I guess it’s all still so relatively new.

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I know my failures though, so that’s a start. First thing is that I’m too impatient to cut the shapes, and also to be economical with the silver, and don’t take my time around the shapes I want to have. Then the filing never somehow gets the edges perfectly smooth and the shape, while organic, doesn’t have the pro look I want. The second thing is that I’m not controlling the flame very well, and the solder isn’t flowing as well as it should be, causing all sots of bumps on what should be a smooth surface.

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But I’ve managed to do something so silly this time, you’ll just laugh.

One time, I painted a painting of fire. A friend and fellow artist was studying it and I asked him what he was seeing. He said he wouldn’t tell me what it was because as soon as he did I wouldn’t ever not be able to see it.

I begged him to and he pointed out four dragon heads I painted into the flame. It’s true though, from then on I always see the dragon heads in the fire.

So sometimes these design mistakes are fine and even make the design lovelier, or more fantastical as with the case of the dragons, but sometimes it’s just so silly, you have to wonder what the hell you were thinking.

I had it in mind to make a necklace. I was going to figure out some techniques, like melting silver on the fire brick into perfect little spheres and soldering them on beside a polished pebble. So the melting and the ball-ing procedure went well, the cutting out of the background for the necklace was ok-ish, but still passable, and then the soldering began and first I managed to roll the balls off the flat plate, then run out of butane in my torch, then, after filling it, I managed to solder everything together but move the bezel cup with the piece of solder so there wasn’t enough room to pierce the metal for the chain, and accidentally roll one of the silver balls onto the underneath of the plate, soldering it into place there and had to detach it and get it back into the place I wanted. Then in the pickle and wait, then polish and polish and polish and file and file and file and polish some more and still there are lumps and bumps and unevenness galore.

And, if that’s not enough, Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “The Scream” oh yes. Lol, design mistake 101! What am I like?

Oh well, at least I’m getting better at the simple round bands.

By the way, there’s no “manicure” in silversmithing! :D

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When it rains…it’s just fine

There’s nothing wrong with the rain.
I think that the problem is really all this sun! And it hasn’t rained in days.
Yup, it’s been that kind of week round here.

I’m having a miserable, rotten cold, PMS and migraine, plus, today, a pipe burst outside, just under the patio.
Thank you Universe! That’s a lot of Zen you’re asking for. :?
I think you can completely understand the contents of my shopping cart:

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OK, to tell the truth, one of those chocolate bars did go back onto the shelf, and there were also bananas (not pictured).

I think we both feel a bit…meh…

Chloe’s university is on reading break this week and she’s taking full advantage of that.

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I’ve cleaned up and organised the library/family room and it’s been lovely hanging out there with my books and my biggest mug of hot Earl Gray tea.

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This is also the only room in the house with a TV. (We’re not big on TV and I fully subscribe to the notion that one TV in a house is enough, (if not too much), for any family). Along with the one TV policy is also the basic cable only policy. Which costs $5 more than the basic internet feed and means that we basically get about 20 channels and only about three are worth watching for the occasional news cast, although it’s usually so sensationalised that it winds me right up.

But it’s been lovely having those three channels to watch some of the Olympics. And that’s exactly what C and I did with our tea and our blankies. We watched the opening ceremonies. Did anyone watch them? I must admit that the part where communism was depicted was tremendously difficult for me to watch, having escaped from Prague and from communism. But I reminded myself that it’s all history and individual people who also suffered, who also would have chosen a different way if they could have. And here was my beautiful child beside me watching, also feeling angry about the lack of human respect and gay rights and captured whales, and she was mustering the same amount of Zen I was to rise above it and enjoy the spectacle.

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I only managed one more page in my personal journal. The words which spoke to me formed these two sentences:

“Approach the known fortress. The list of formidable attractions are jewels for the shop and community.”

I didn’t know why I was moved to draw my own personal Ganesha on that page because the words were telling me that I should believe in myself, that the gifts I have, that I can bring to you all, are like jewels.

And then the pipe burst.

And then I approached the fortress that is plumbing and hidden shut off valves behind little painted over panels, and main water valves in the house and overbearing tiredness and sniffy nose and crampy tummy and headache…and still have to go make supper… then I knew. Ganesha, remover of obstacles. Fortresses beyond the Etsy shop, beyond the business of my art. Approaching the fortress of every day life. I’m so very grateful that I’ve created my own personal Ganesha to remove the obstacles in my path.

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I’m on the mend now, my good friend Leo has been by and told me the house won’t fall down and that he’ll replace the pipe just as soon as the weather warms, supper is made and I’m about to catch up on today’s Olympic highlights on one of the three channels and drink my tea. Go team Canada/England/Czech Republic! (Yeah I know, I have a split personality nationality) :D

In the mean time, should you need your own personal Ganesha, then just let me know and I’ll be very happy to make you one and send him out to you.

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Really random Friday

It’s funny but today I don’t seem to have much to say.

So…I’m glad it’s sunny this morning.
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Woke up at 3am from a nightmare. Nightmare carried on each time I closed my eyes and so I just got fed up and got out of bed. A family issue which is causing me a lot of pain and reflection keeps being played out over and over in my no-limits imagination and sometimes takes hold and 3am and then that’s it. No amount of meditation, self talk, or any other activity can lessen the pain and then I just spend the next day or two seeing things in black and white, and so I’m trying to concentrate on the good things.

So…I’m happy that the morning went from this:

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To this:
Also happy that I live in a city where the snow knows its place…on top of the mountains.

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Yesterday I had very low energy and so spent most of the day playing with some mixed media in the studio and came up with these art cards.

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So now I have a stack of mixed media art cards around…these are just the ones I had on hand, never mind the ones in the drawers.

Don’t know what to do with them. A new friend on FB asked me if I sell them…more to the point…where I sell them, and honestly I don’t know what to do. I have absolutely no idea if they are sell-worthy, although I suspect not, and sort of prefer the thought of actually sending them out to people who want them, or who would like to trade art cards or something…maybe sending one out with a purchase from an Etsy shop, (which by the way I still haven’t started…need a good kick in the…)

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I asked Robert if he liked the little thoughts i constructed on them and he said the sweetest thing. He said, “Your words are like a trampoline for my imagination.” Couldn’t you just melt? I know!

The sayings are a little bit of found poetry from the pages of a weird little book called “The Brief History of the Wellington Boot.” I’m always amazed at the good words still left in that much used book.

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Aaand…

… Oh, bought a pretty little beaded purse for no reason at all except that it’s pretty.

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Sharing with Nancy and all my random Friday friends.

It is what it is

The other day I had a minute to sit in Sbux and read the local paper.

Gotta love the headline:

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So among the very useful tips to beat the winter blahs are: eat at a Mexican restaurant to trick your mind, wear brighter colours and get plenty of sleep.

If only I could!!! Ok, I can do a coloured scarf and I can eat Mexican and love it, but the sleep…

Let me tell you why I can’t sleep around here. It’s because there are gun shots going off in my house all night and it’s been happening for a month now. The gun shots are the noises that the floor makes as the planks crack down the seams and separate.

I know. I KNOW!!! Can you believe the nightmare this floor has become? The trouble is that not only are the planks separating along the seams but occasionally the seam won’t give way and the actual plank tears, as in this next pic. Some gaps are now about 2mm, while others are slimmer, but the whole edge is rough and catches on socks, stockings and cat hair. There is no way to sweep up the floor now and I’m worried that dirt and dust will start to accumulate within the floor because, after all, we live here!

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So these days I’m trying to function on about 4-5 hours of sleep, but still, there’s lovely morning sun in my bedroom…

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And wonderful people watching around town.

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Get a load of those feet!!!

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Fantastic parks with snow capped mountains and forests to hike around in.

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And, if all else fails, there’s always cookies.

Here is a brilliant article someone posted to my FB today. Got to get rid of the stress and start meditating again.

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Try again, fail again, fail better

November is kicking my butt!!!

It’s so far been a hard month of personal upsets and low productivity.

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The weather is typical West Coast cold dampness which feels twice as cold as it says on the thermostat. Not like the dry cold of prairies or of mountains, but the right to the bone cold of the ocean which you can’t seem to insulate your body from.

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Today we were at Whole Foods for a nice morning break and quietly reading the paper, having tea and we heard our first Christmas carol, Jingle Bell Rock. So, just for the record, I’m declaring winter, because I hate to think of Christmas time and fairy lights and decorations belonging to the fall. (I don’t think I would like to be an Australian and have Christmas in the summer. But then again, If I was Australian I guess I wouldn’t know any different and so would be happy with that.

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This morning I read my horoscope. Do you do that? I go for weeks without thinking about horoscopes or any of that woey-woey stuff, and then my life sucks and I look for some sort of assurance that everything will work out. What’s all that about, and how ridiculous is that? No wonder they’re called soothsayers.

Today I took these photos. That’s C reading a disturbing article in today’s newspaper about the sexting; she has to do a research paper about it, which has to culminate in a modification to a curriculum to combat that problem in high schools. Wow, it’s depressing to know this exists and to know the vast problem it has become. Depressing to read about the children who have harmed themselves over this, even committed suicide, and I wish somehow there was a way to make kids realise that there is so much more to life than high school.

So it was lovely to see these children running on the beach and playing their innocent, little hearts out. And here’s something: some new stores are opening. The stores geared for ladies have sexy full window “coming soon” ads, while the men’s wear has a hand written sign on the door advertising what it will eventually be. Interesting, isn’t it? The hard “sexy, sexy woman will be you as soon as you drop in” sell vs the “oh, well, men have to shop at some point anyway, and, since they wont probably come in on an impulse brought on by the sexy, sexy, why spend the money?” sell. Boy you get jaded as soon as you start working your way thru that CMNS degree. Sometimes I wonder if life wasn’t simpler before I did it and now C is in her fourth year of the same degree. Which I encouraged her to take! What have I done?!?

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So mostly I walk thru the new stores ignoring the merchandise and admiring the not-for-sale decorations and fixtures. Now I want to get a bunch of old paintings and liberate them from their supports and wallpaper a wall with them and find some shutters to put on a desk to function as a file cabinet (of sorts). How cool is that? (Wait, I have a bunch of old paintings waiting to be turned into hand bags…hmmm)

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I’m very much into a “throw everything I own away and start again” mood. Maybe just put everything that’s out away and redecorate mood, because, actually, looking around, I kinda like my stuff. You know what I possibly need to do is to feng shui the hell out of the house. Sort things out, put them away, get rid of some clutter and feng shui the rest. I think possibly the problem is that I haven’t used feng shui principals here in this house, (now I’ve been here for 2.5 yrs) and, even if it’s woey-woey stuff, it makes me feel loads better.

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On the positive side, because Robert is going to be really annoyed with me if I keep going on in this “gloomy and purposeless left leg of Uncle Vanya’s trousers” path, I’ve started a new map about three days ago and it’s all I want to do right now, just paint the map. It will be a couple of nuthatches and bluebells. The one bird is flying to a branch and the second is already there. I love the way these little bird descend head first. And bluebells, because I felt like bluebells, and that can’t be bad.

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P.S. C is putting in a blue hair wrap in her hair with the embroidery flosses and now I want to embroider something with those yummy, rich colours.

P.P.S. There’s roast chicken for Sunday supper.

P.P.P.S. The Sunday whirl is turning out be to really dark and so I might stop writing it before it drags me down below ground and away form the bluebells. Alternately, it might be good just to get it out, over with and sleep it off.

Linking with Mary for Mosaic  Mondays  and with Ramona for Create with Joy