Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I spent the day walking today. I left home at 9am and walked down to Granville Island.

On the way, I photographed some flowers.

I went to Opus Art Supplies and bought some watercolour pencils.

Then to the public market where all manner of foods and some arts and crafts can be purchased.

Then out to West 4th Avenue to Banyen Books looking for The Joy Diet. This is a fabulous book store for all types of spiritual and self-help books. Wonderful amosphere where you can sit and read for as long as you wish. Saw this funky car as I was leaving. Very creative.

More flowers outside the bookstore.

Then over to Yale Town to wander around one of my favourite stores - The Cross. Not much in here that I can afford but it is delicious and feeds my soul.

This is some street art that is done every year. So far there has been Spirit Bears and Orca Whales. This year it is eagles. They are auctioned off eventually and the proceeds go to charity.

These blue and yellow ones were taken another day downtown on Georgia Street.
And finally, home on my favourite transportation, the Aquabus.
This is about finding abundance amongst the concrete and glass and seeing the positive in the city.
I hope you enjoyed my mini-tour of Vancouver.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Wow, can't believe I haven't posted for almost a week! Where does the time go?
I haven't felt like posting because I didn't really have anything to say. As good a reason as any, I guess. I haven't been doing anything creative to post, however, I have spent the last couple of days writing the newsletter for the building I live in. It is twelve pages long, so took a bit of doing. Lots of computer time that I am not used to. I did enjoy doing it though. I live in just a regular apartment building but we try to create a sense of community, something that I feel is really necessary these days. Although I am a bit of a loner, it good feel that sense of community. I am very lucky because I really like my immediate neighbours, all friendly and ready for a little chat and a laugh. Often someone in another part of the building will walk past my place and my patio door is always open so they will give me a call and we will chat from my patio. It's a little like the old neighbourhood. The owners of the store where I shop are very friendly and if I'm short a dollar or two some days they let me pay next time I'm in. I pay everything by cash and sometimes just run out by the time I get home. The people who work in two places I go for sushi and the two coffee shops I go to know me now and bring me orders without me having to order. Is that not great in a big city? It feels like neighbourhood!

I don't know where all this came from but I just realized that this is abundance. I have never acknowledged it as abundance before but that is what it is.
Further abundance is my two bloggy friends, Mel and Rose, who have given me the Me-Me Award. And Bev who was going to give it to me but didn't because Mel already had. Thank you for the thought Bev.
As part of the award, I must tell you seven things about me:
1. I love to laugh.
2. I hate housework.
3. I don't like cooking much so, although I eat pretty healthy food, it's usually something that can be made in ten minutes or less. I eat about a dozen different foods and that's it.
4. I don't like vegetables or red meat, but I do eat my veggies like a good girl with a bit of grimace on my face.
5. I have a rebellious streak and am a non-comformist mostly.
6. I can be grumpy and bad tempered sometimes but it's not my in my nature to be that way, so don't stay that way for very long and can be jollied out of it pretty easily.
7. I wrote a story about a carousel horse for my great granddaugter and would like to draw some illustrations for it but don't know if I can.

Just thought, do I have to do 14 things because two people gave me the award? *grin*

I am required also to pass this on to seven people - I hope not fourteen. I don't
think I know seven to pass it on to.
1. Hybrid J because she is so dedicated to her creative path and shares new things that she learns.
2. Angie because she is learning to sew, is very talented and stretching her creative wings.
3. Mary Ellen for her spiritual openness and intelligence.
4. Kim because she has had surgery recently and has set up her table easel so she can paint as soon as possible. She does some beautiful paintings.
5. Bev because we have so much in common. Even if you already had the award, I'm giving it again!

I would give it back to Rose and Mel but that would be a bit silly!! They have such beautiful spirits and write interesting and inspirational blogs.
I feel such a sense of abundance to know you all.
The chapter in TAW on abundance asked the following questions and these are my answers. Money was always an issue in our home, lots of fights about it and I have lived most of my life in survival mode, so learning abundance has been a long and bumpy road but I am getting there.
1. People with money are self-absorbed and wasteful.

2. Money makes people selfish.

3. I'd have more money if I believed I was worth it.

4. My dad thought money was the only thing that mattered.

5. My mom always though money would run out.

6. In my family, money caused lots of fights.

7. Money equals freedom of choice.

8. If I had money, I'd live where I wanted and have a studio.

9. If I could afford it, I'd live in Kitsilano (my favourite neighbourhood in Van).

10. If I had some money, I'd have a garden.

11. I'm afraid that if I had money I would lose it.

12. Money is a ticket to freedom of choice.

13. Money causes problems.

14. Having money is not the most important thing in life.

15. In order to have more money, I'd need to be open to it and change my attitude toward it.

16. When I have money, I usually worry about spending it all.

17. I think money rules the world.

18. If I weren't so cheap I'd get a manicure, pedicure, facial and full body massage.

19. People think money is the most important thing in their lives.

20. Being broke tells me I am virtuous.

I think to have more money in my life I need to change a few of my attitudes about it and the people who have it.
My niece and her husband won $4.4 million dollars last year and it was really interesting to watch what it did to them and the things they bought with it. I would love to win that much for what I could do for my kids and as I said, the freedom of choice about many things. I don't think my life would change all that much because I have lost everything once and have come to appreciate the fact that "things" don't matter. Having enough for all of your need and little luxury - whatever that means to you - is really all that matters. Sure I would like to live in real luxury for a week or two but I wouldn't like it and everything that goes with it for the rest of my life. As I have said to my kids many times, "I am just simple folk."
I have done the next chapter of TAW but I think I have written enough for tonight, it's after eleven and I have been on the computer for hours today. I also borrowed The Joy Diet from the library, I had it once before, and it is pretty interesting . Certainly not light-hearted. Just as difficult, if not more so than TAW.
Goodnight, sweet dreams.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is my first crazy quilt bag. I couldn't find a faerie I like so this is a Goddess bag. I really enjoyed doing it.
In reference to The Artist's Way, this week is about abundance and when I was in the magazine store today I found a Canadian Needlework magazine with websites where I can buy silk ribbon from Canadian suppliers, thus avoiding the money exchange. As soon as I let it go, it's there. This has worked for me so often and I keep sliding back into blocking the universe from giving me what I need. Here's to staying open and willing to receive abundance in my life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pat Winter is offering a give-away on her blog: It is a beautiful nest with pearl eggs that can be used as a charm or necklace. Her work is very beautiful, check it out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is Avalon there? Do you believe?

There are two books written by Judith Duerk called The Circle Of Stones and I Sit Listening To The Wind. I believe that every woman should read these books. I cried when I first read them because they spoke to me at such a deep level. They told me what I had always felt but didn't know what it was that I felt. After each chapter she writes a short piece that starts with "How would your life have been different if....". For the one about depression she wrote: "How might your life have been different, if, when you were a young woman, the first time you felt feelings of depression, an older woman had come to sit with you? If she had come to sit with you, as someone had come to sit with her the first time she had feelings of depression? To simply sit, quietly, perhaps wordlessly--to sit with you, during your dark time?

And how might your life have been different if the woman had accepted your feelings of depression? Had accepted them so completely and fully that you began to feel safe with them. If there had been no judgment and no attempt to make you smile. to betray your feelings, to deny your darkness. If the woman had simply sat in silence with you, with your pain, and in the darkest moments had been able to reflect it to reflect to you your witness...attend...and by her quiet respect for it, to help you learn to respect it...your own pain and witness, attend and respect your depression...and to see that just as the woman had faith in it, you also might have a glimmer of faith that there was meaning and truth in your darkness."
"How might your life be different?"
In my other life, before things changed, I had rather a graniose dream of creating a place called Avalon Healing Center. A place where women could go and have their feelings honoured and respected. I chose the name because of the way Marianne Williamson describes Avalon in her book, A Return To Love: "Avalon symbolizes a world beyond the world we see with our physical eyes. It represents the miraculous sense of things, the enchanted realm that we knew as children. Our childlike self is the deepest level of our being. It is who we really are and what is real doesn't go away. The truth doesn't stop being the truth just because we're not looking at it. Love merely becomes clouded over, or surrounded by mental mists."
"Avalon is the world we knew when we were still connected to our softness, our innocence, our spirit. It's actually the same world we see now, but informed by love, interpreted gently, with hope and faith and a sense of wonder. It's easily retrieved, because perception is a choice. The mists part when we believe that Avalon is behind them."

"And that's what a miracle is: a parting of the mists, a shift in perception, a return to love."
Avalon was also a mythical place during the time of King Arthur, it was a place hidden behind the mists. The mists wouldn't part unless you believed the island was there.
Which reminds me of another book, The Mists Of Avalon by Marion Bradley. It's the story of the women of King Arthur's time.
The Circle Of Stones and The Mists Of Avalon came to me in serendipidous ways. The Circle of Stones was bought as a Christmas gift when I worked at the Women's Shelter and was put with all the other gifts under the tree. Each person chose a number and then got to choose any gift they wanted. The last gift left, the book, was mine. The person who bought the book told me later that she had thought of me when she bought it.
I saw The Mists Of Avalon at Book Warehouse when I was visiting Vancouver. I was intrigued by it when I first saw it but didn't buy it. I kept seeing it and it seemed to call to me, as books often do, so I finally bought it. I didn't read it right away and in the meantime moved to Vancouver. I ended up belonging to a group called the Sisterhood Of Avalon and read the book then. Funny how things happen.
I felt very connected to all of this at one time but have really drifted away from it. I don't know anyone any more who is interested in this type of thing, except on blogs. I so often feel that I don't belong anywhere because my interests don't seem to fit with other people's interests. I don't seem to FIT anywhere. I don't even know if that is good or bad.
So many women carry so much pain and there is no place to express it and be heard, because we live in a world that is informed by men. Women are still devalued, just for being women. Their emotions are ridiculed and they are dismissed. It's all so covert now.
I think The Artist's Way is bringing all of this up for me. Reminding me of the different parts of myself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Mom died 16 years ago today. I wrote this poem about five years later. It happened on a day when I attended the Symphony Of Fire, a fireworks competition put on every year. Every year there is also a meteor shower the Perseids that occurs from the end of July through to the end of August. They are peaking tonight with about 60 'shooting stars' per hour. As I watched the fireworks that night I saw many shooting stars (there were over 100 an hour that year) and thought of the saying "every time you see a shooting star another angel goes to heaven." Little did I know that my Mom was one of them. I phoned her when we got home from the fireworks, she didn't answer so I drove out to her home at 2 in the morning.

Two days after I found my Mom dead in her apartment she came to me in a dream as a small bright light that I knew was a faerie, and I also knew it was my Mom letting me know that she was fine. Before I had gone to bed that night I had looked for a pair of her earrings that I had been carrying around with me. I hunted everywhere and couldn't find them. The next morning I found one on the bathroom floor and the other one under my pillow. It made me chuckle because I was sure this was my Mom playing a little trick on me, to make me laugh.

I was on vacation at this time and had visited my Mom, then my cousin, then my daughter and was going to see my Mom again before returning home. I jokingly called this, my first driving trip alone, my Vision Quest. Never joke about a Vision Quest.

My Mom was a strong woman with a great sense of humor. She was a skilled seamstress and wonderful homemaker and mother. She is always in my heart.


A Vision Quest begun with such courage and hope
Turned into a free fall down a dark, lonely slope
My path changed forever since losing my way
Making sense of my life since that sad, grief-filled day

The moon shone like a ghost in the highway of mist
Drifting and swirling in an eerie twist
The headlights reflecting the darkness and light
The fear and the joy of that dream-walking night

She left us that night on a jouney so far
She rode to heaven on a shooting star
She lit up the sky in a symphony of fire
Meteors and rockets flying higher and higher

Free from the burdens, unfurling her wings
I know as she rises her angel voice sings
Free from a life never lived as her own
Choiceless and faceless, only men's need were known

She came back to visit me twice in the night
A sweet faerie dancing, a bright, twinkling light
So I know that she's happy in the heavens above
Surrounded and cradled in soft, gentle love

She said she'd return as a seagull next time
Floating and drifting in a life so sublime
So I watch and I wonder, which one could she be?
Dipping and gliding in the vast sky and sea

A part of me left on that moon-ghost night
Hanging on to the tail of the star in flight
Reaching for the cahnce of a last farewell
So much to say, not time to tell

To tell her how much I loved her and knew
That she loved me though her words were few
To tell that without her how sad it would have been
To ask, "who is the woman that no one has seen?"

Now it's time to let go and freefall some more
Begin my new life behind the dark, oaken door
Honour her by living my life full and free
Freedom and strength that my daughters can see

Change the pattern of women, our ancestors past
Who lived for their men, their life paths were cast
Women who had no voice and no face
Women who had no choice and no place

Now I know a Vision Quest is a journey authentic and real
When she left me that night I learned how to feel
The denial and truth of the life I had led
The many faces of love what was done, what was said

Real love is gold and silver threads that weave through your heart
They connect us and cradle us even though we're apart
Love sees past the face to the depths of the soul
Self-love and acceptance the ultimate goal

Monday, August 10, 2009

Making the list has been a good thing. Even though I had a bad headache today (I haven't had one of those for years) I finished two small paintings that I had started a couple of months ago. It felt good to be painting again. I have crossed three finished projects off my list now. Yay! It has been raining most of the day today and I have really enjoyed it. I am a rain person and a moderate temp person, maybe because I am a Capricorn born in the winter and under the planet of Saturn.
I read the new chapter in The Artist's Way, Recovering a Sense of Possibility. It's almost midnight so I won't go into it today but suffice to say for the first time in many years I felt a small glimmer of possibility and dare to create a bit of a dream. I will explain more tomorrow.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I have finally done some creating. I have been in a real slump for the past week or so. Haven't felt like blogging or doing anything much. This morning I kept going back to sleep and finally woke up and got up just before noon. I don't know what has been going on with me for sure but I am wondering if The Artist's Way has triggered some feelings. I haven't been doing my morning pages, I guess my artist's date was going to Little India to buy fabrics. I haven't done the reading or tv deprivation. Again, I'm not followng through with something I have started. This is something about me that I find very frustrating. Anyway, this bag is one I started 2 or 3 years ago when I attended a workshop. I wanted to finish it - no, I HAD, to finish it - before I could go on and finsh the crazy quilt bags I started.

We had another yard sale yesteray and raised another $337 for the Social Fund. We were going to have another one today but it was raining. So nice to see the rain and normal temps.
I am hoping to pull myself together and get some other projects finished in the next week. It drives me crazy having all these unfinished things around me. That list I was going to make a few days ago didn't get made so I am going to do that right now, maybe that will get me going.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Unfortunately, the pictures don't do the sunset justice. The sun was bright red. Quite beautiful. I was trying out a new camera I might buy from my daughter, it has an 18X optical zoom.
It's midnight and I don't feel like going to bed. I was out all afternoon and stopped in to see a friend who is opening a store that she has relocated. I haven't seen her since last summer and we had a coffee and a really nice chat. She gave me some fabric samples for my crazy quilting, very kind of her. I went to Little India and bought some silk and lace, they have the most beautiful fabrics there.

I have almost finished making a bag I started a couple of years ago and then I will finish the bags I just started. It has take a while but the hot weather slowed me down. It is much nicer now, in the low twenties.

I think TV is a worse distraction for me than reading, I have it on all the time for company. I don't sit and watch it - except for So You Think You Can Dance - (I hope Brandon wins, I just love him) but I like it on for company in the evening. I usually read in the morning before I get up on the bus. I suppose I should try to get some inspiration from hot, crowded, smelly buses. I would love it if I could take pictures of some of the people on the bus but I don't think that would go down to well. There really are some interesting characters but you can't sit and stare either. Okay, okay I'm rationalizing and making excuses. *grin*

Monday, August 3, 2009

I saw these in my travels yesterday and was fascinated with them. I have never seen roses that look them before. They almost looked like wax. And they didn't have a smell. I couldn't reach them to smell but a young man stopped to look at them too and he leaned over for a sniff of them.

Doing The Artist's Way this time is taking me much deeper than it did before. It's interesting that the first time I did it my life was 'as I knew it'. In the interim my life collapsed around me and now when I am doing it again, I am coming out the other side. I guess I have come through what is referred to as the Dark Night Of The Soul. That's what it feels like. The issues are all the same but they are becoming clearer because there is not so much emotion around them, I have worked through them. I feel like I am finally integrating all the parts of my life.

As I said yesterday, I have feeling of fear and anxiety around creating because it is a risk and I can be judged and nothing I do it worth anything anyway. These are the beliefs I have lived with and who can perform with that kind of negativity? I am beginning to recoginize the feelings of fear and anxiety and also how I numb out. The trouble is when I numb out the bad feelings, I also numb out the good feelings. Now that I can actually 'feel' these things instead of just knowing them intellectually maybe I will be able to work my way through them.

I have been wanting to draw some faeries but couldn't get the body postures right. I walked into a bookstore today and there was a book called The Girls' Book of Flower Fairies. It has great pictures in it that will help me with the postures and if full of flowers so I have some guidelines for my pictures. It really is a cute book. Serendipity. I also picked up a great book on mushrooms yesterday. I know - more books. *grin*

I have a bit of a dilemma and I would appreciate comments on it if anyone feels so inclined. My neighbour, who is a very good artist who has earned her living with her art, has been painting faeries and writing a book for several months. When I bought my faeries the other day I decided I would like to paint some and didn't think about her at the time. We had a conversation about cameras and printers the other day, I showed her my printers and printed some pictures of her pictures for her and then after was concerned that she might think I was copying her. I don't know whether to just go ahead or talk to her about it. I would hate her to think I was copying her. My vision of what a faerie would look like is not too different from hers although I'm sure they would look very different.

My newsletter went out and I've had lots of good feedback from it. Another step out of hiding.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mural I painted on friends door.

The weather has finally normalized and I have some energy back.

My latest Artist's Way revelations: I realized this morning that I avoid creating because it stresses me out. I feel anxious and tense and I don't like that feeling. It stresses me out because I, more often than not, don't know what I am doing, I am learning as I go along and I am afraid of making mistakes, doing it wrong , messing it up. So I think of something else to do. Go out, watch tv, read a book, look at a book with other people's art to get ideas, anything other than creating myself. Oh, and go out to buy some art supplies for some new project that I am going to start. Then after buying it I just feel more overwhelmed because I have one more project to do that I don't really know how to do. Somehow, I have to stop this crazymaking behaviour and I am not sure where to start to stop it.

I visit Pat Winter's blog because what she does is so beautiful and speaks to my soul. It is calming and uplifting at the same time. It makes my heart sing and I want to be that. I want to be lace and flowers, delicate and beautiful colours and textures. I want to be birds and beads and beautiful emboidery stitches and silk ribbon flowers and beautiful embellishments and fibers and braid and trims. I want to create the beauty she creates with ease. I want to have all the things she has collected to create like she creates.

I want to make my apartment beautiful with lace and delicate china and cut embroidery linens.

I want to paint beautiful watercolour pictures of faeries and mushrooms and flowers and butterflies and birds and ladybugs and rabbits and hedgehogs and dragonflys and spiders. I want to create English Country Gardens in watercolours and fabrics and threads and in my apartment.

This is my heart, this is my home, I think -delicate, nature, craftsmanship.

This big fat person I have become is not me. I am the small, trim person I was when I was a child, a teen, a young adult before life turned me into this. My timidity, and my belief that I was wrong, my need to please out of fear, led me down a road of unconsciousness and nothingness, anxiety and fear until nothing about me was right. Until the belief that I did not makes mistakes, I am a mistake, paralyzed me so I struggle to be creative. I struggle to do anything that is a risk. Because when you are a mistake nothing you do is right.

This is the bare nitty gritty of my struggle.

My demons are my dad and my ex-husband who controlled me with fear and the constant threat of violence. I was never hit, I didn't need to be. The threat was enough. The constant simmering rage, the evil eye my dad perfected that told me I was less than nothing. My mother in her way was a demon because although she protected me she didn't stand up for me or support me in what was important to me. I don't blame her for this, it's just a fact. My workmates at the shelter are also my demons, they did not support me. My brother who laughed at me because I wanted to go to a charm to school to learn how to put on make-up and all that girly stuff. My brother hated me and stole my identity because I couldn't outshine him by being smart in school and being a star in my own right. I was just not allowed to shine because it would hurt his feelings. This came about because my dad picked on him and not me so my mother over-compensated and my dad picking on him was why he hated me.

My angels were my dad when he gave me all his art supplies before he died. There was no one I can think of when I was a child. I mostly remember indifference except when my parents bought me Prismacolour pencil crayons (which I still have), they were a very expensive luxury back then and a book called It's Fun To Draw. But none of it was nurtured so it didn't grow.

Another angel was Mr. Mac who was my boss at a drug store where I worked when I was in my teens. He let me do displays in the store and the windows.

As an adult, Rosalie and Carol encouraged me. But the damage was already done so I found it difficult to hear them. Carol bought a lot of the jewellery I made and little treasure bags and she paid me to paint a mural of a mermaid on her bathroom door. I owe Carol a lot and I owe her an apology. I want to make amends to her. I have actually thought about her a lot lately. I cut her out of my life over a small imagined slight when I was so messed up and full of anger.

My childhood accomplishments were drawing a large picture copied from the inside cover of an encyclopedia - but then I ruined it trying to paint it. I wrote a newsletter for the Black Dagger Club that my friends and I created. I wrote plays with friends and put them on in school assembly. I made a collage book about cars for one of my classes at school. The teacher said he was going to put it into a competition but when I asked about it a few weeks later he just brushed it off and said he changed his mind or something. I don't think I ever got it back. While I was making it my Mom said, "you're spending an awful lot of time on that," in a way that suggested it was silly to spend so much time on it. And the last thing is that I was a faery in a grade one play - if that's an accomplishment!

Five favourite childhood foods:

fish and chips at the beach
Bon Ton Bakery cakes
grandma's homemade brown bread and melted cheddar
angel food cake
mom's shortbread and peanut butter cookies
ice cream

Friends who nuture

Rosalie, Gill, Shirley

I wrote this poem on August 11th, 2002. I guess it says it all. Sometimes I think that some of the things I have written are an exaggeration of reality but then I wonder, how could I write it if I didn't feel it?


My tiny being was shattered
The first time my tiny ears
Were splintered by the
Raging storm that was
My father's voice

My tiny being was puzzled
The first time my large
Bright baby brown eyes
Saw contempt mirrored
I my father's eyes

My little being went into hiding
When my toys were hidden
All traces of play
Wiped from my hands, face and home
To meet my father's approval

My little being learned how to please
Being angry wasn't nice so I was
"Smartened up" in a "pretty" dress
Long blonde hair shiny and neat
A cute smile to soothe my father's wrath

My child being learned to be invisible
Because being too smart, too talented
Too noisy, too funny,
Too passionate, too strong
Threatened my father's kingdom

Me teen being fragmented
University, art school, charm school
Adventure, travel, driving
Being independent and creative
Didn't fit my father's definition of woman

My woman being left
When my adult eyes were blurred
As the fist of my knight
Hit the wall and I heard
The rage of my father's voice ring in my ears

My woman and child trapped by
What came before
A prisoner bound in denial and "love"
My intelligent, talented, charming knight
Like my father, didn't know the meaning of love

My baby, child, teen, woman
Shattered, splintered, fragmented, hidden
Frozen in the shadow of the contemptuous eyes
The raging voice, the pounding fist of
My father and my knight in shining armour

These are the things the Artist's Way brings up. These things don't hold the emotion for me that they used to but the old engrained feeling of fear and anxiety are harder to overcome because I have lived with them since I was a small child and I don't know any different. I have to find feelings that I don't know. Even identifying the feelings of fear and anxiety are difficult because they are just there as part of who I am. When they intensify, they become overwhelming. This is all new stuff that I identified in my morning pages today. The other problem I have is being numbed out. That is a whole other post.