Sunday Update

Things have calmed down a lot since last weekend’s unexpected appendectomy for my daughter. Mizz J is getting a bit better each day, and is ready to resume normal life again as an MSW student, after a solid week of recuperation. And I’ve been able to pay attention once again, to what I want to achieve for 2018.

Health

I am so excited to report that I’ve been able to resume working out again! Last spring, I had a bit of trouble with my thyroid, that kept me unable to exercise. The few times I did try left me feeling exhausted, dizzy and nauseous. (The last time I felt nauseous, I was about to have a TIA, so understandably I was nervous and wanted to stay away from anything that incurred this feeling.)

This week I got up the courage to try a few online workouts (with Mizz J only a couple of rooms away, in case I got into some sort of trouble…hehehe). Nothing too challenging – a 10 minute weights workout and a 16 minute walking workout. Having achieved these with no issues, I attempted AND completed a 36 minute cardio and strength workout last evening. Woo hoo!!!!

I really like Jessica Smith and her approach to exercise. I love her walk and talks…and I especially love Peanut, the French bulldog. That dog snoozing through her videos is what drew me in, in the first place! Peanut makes me laugh and want to keep going.

So that’s where I am at, at working on my Health goals for 2018. A very good start.

Financial Security

I made my first lump sum payment on my building’s demand loan this week. Unfortunately this is not something I can do online so I guess I’ll be heading to TD every payday to do this in person. It wasn’t a huge payment, but it goes directly on the principal and over the course of a year, it will certainly add up!

I also created a discretionary spending log, in Excel. With a tab for each month (and a line for each day) and spending targets for each category, to keep me on track. I LOVE data, and actually enjoy capturing it in this format. I especially love the days where I spend NOTHING. Not sure why I haven’t done this sooner….oh wait, maybe because I was too busy rebuilding my life for the past 4 years? Yeah, pretty sure that was it. 🙂

Art

Current Art Projects
What’s on my desk in the studio at the moment

I was inspired by a quote I received in a newsletter from Jessica Smith this week: Begin with the end in mind. Karen, from Profound Journey, a lovely blogger friend that I follow, says it’s from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Which I do have a copy of, somewhere in Chez Badass. I shall put it on the Re-Read list!

So, to begin with the end in mind means to me it’s time to draft an idea for a painting to represent what I want to become by the end of 2018. Since the Queen of Wands filled that role in my Winter Solstice tarot spread, it seemed natural to me to work on a painting of that grand dame.

sketch of Queen of Wands
Close up of first shitty draft of sketch

You’ll see from the previous photo, that I took my inspiration from an Alphonse Mucha illustration I found on the internet. I have loved Mucha since I first discovered his works as a teenager. It took me a moment to realize his model was giving the viewer the finger (intentionally or not), which made me love it even more and need to incorporate into my hasty sketch.

My Queen of Wands is saying “Oh, do you not like what you are seeing? You can’t handle my self-assuredness, strength and vitality? I’m done with trying to appear small to coddle insecure fools and their egos. So, fuck you very much.

Obviously I have a lot of work to do with this before I can transfer it to a canvas. Those 4 scrawly things surrounding the circle are supposed to be sunflowers, for instance. But it’s a good therapy shitty first draft. 😉

And, also because I have my upcoming (less than a month away!) vacation trip to Barbados on the back burner of my mind, sea turtles keep popping up:

Sea Turtle on Watercolour Paper – as yet incomplete

Mindfulness

I’ve been focusing on mindful yoga and stretching this week. And mini-meditations, and pausing to notice.

Reading

Borrowed 2 books from the library this past week and finished one: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman. Now working on Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Three books completed already towards my 2018 goal of 50 books read!

Intuitive Processes – Tarot

I’ve been pulling a card every day and interpreting its meaning for me, before I look it up in one of my Tarot books. An enjoyable part of my morning routine.

And, looking for inspiration for my Queen of Wands painting led me down the Alphonse Mucha Google rabbit hole. Which led me to the Mucha Tarot. Which is speeding it’s way towards me, as I type, via Amazon.ca.

Looking forward to receiving even more artistic and intuitive inspiration, from these cards!

How was your week? I’d love to hear all about it.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 in Review and 2018: My Intentions

2017 Review

2017 was a calm and pleasant year in my personal life (as opposed to an exciting yet challenging year in my work life), for which I am so grateful. I wish every year could be 2017. I didn’t lose anyone this past year. (Not in 2016 either, although my mother’s death in late December 2015 was so close to that year that I felt its reverberations throughout those 12 months anyways.)

2017 was the year of REACH (my word). This applied mainly to my creating art. This was the first year that I applied a great deal of focus and effort in this area since I was a teenager. And reach I did! It was difficult to push past my insecurities and inner critic, and just start laying paint down on canvas. It was a reach to allow myself to fail over and over again. This painting in particular (which I can reveal now, as it has gone to its recipient) was very uncomfortable for me to create, and thus a definite REACH:

Acrylic Painting of Horse
Horse, 2017

I went to Mark Grice’s studio in Alton Mills to create this painting. I chose it because I knew it was going to be difficult for me to paint a horse AND in non-horse colours. I’m not good (yet) at so many things artists need to know and excel at, but with Mark’s guidance this painting came together. And Mizzus J loves it. She said it looks like Gavin, one of her two horses. What more can I ask for?

I finished out 2017 with this painting, completed yesterday:

Painting of Sunset on Lake Okanagan
Kelowna Sunset, based on a photograph I took on my last night there.

2018 Intentions

My intention for 2018’s art is to continue on my artist’s journey. I met an artist whose work I admired, at her studio in Bayfield 2 summers ago. When I asked her how to become a better painter, she said something that has stuck with me every since: “Just paint. Everyday.” Simple, no?

I have signed up for another online Mandala art course, hosted by Julie Gibbons: Mandala Days. Unlike Mandala Magic (the course I participated in, in 2017), this course is for creating actual pieces, not art journalling. Which is just up my alley, as I discovered this past year.

Other intentions involve:

  • Blogging – posting at least once per week on Ye Olde Blogge; find other like-minded bloggers/readers (my tribe, as it were) to connect with
  • Reading – increase reading for pleasure – my goal is 50 books. (I’m WidowBadass on GoodReads, in case you want to connect there)
  • Mindfulness – increase mindfulness in my life through activities such as meditation
  • Financial Security – becoming intentional about rapidly paying down the debt I am carrying on Chez Badass – debt I incurred by investing in much-needed improvements over the past 4 years
  • Intuitive Processes – become proficient at Tarot, because:

I believe that it is a good tool to help one develop and strengthen intuition and lead to insights – and help get in touch with yearnings/feelings that are buried deep within one’s self. So I performed a Celtic Cross spread at the Winter Solstice this year, to help me in planning for 2018:

Winter Solstice Tarot Reading 2017
Celtic Cross Spread, for guidance for the coming year

I was really surprised when the cards told me that:

  1. I have to focus on my health or ignore at my peril (5 of Pentacles) Having failed at this many times in the past 4 years, I didn’t want to write it down or even think about it as an intention for the coming year!
  2. I have the inner resources to do this. (Ace of Swords)
  3. I can come up with solutions, and to believe in myself and focus on success. (Page of Wands)
  4. My past is full of grief and regret and the belief I made wrong choices. No, duh. (5 of Cups)
  5. Renewing health; creating harmony and balance is the goal. (Temperance)
  6. Unresolved factor affecting my success – my inner “carb monster” (bondage); doubts that I can succeed. (Devil)
  7. I need to delve into why I haven’t been able to get any traction towards improving my health. (6 of Pentacles)
  8. Be the person others see you as: Adept, Reliable, Steady, Supporting. (King of Pentacles)
  9. Guidance, Hopes and Fears, Beliefs, Values – I am afraid of attracting attention from men as I lose weight and become fitter. I don’t want to have to deal with this. There. I said it. Valid or not, it is a fear of mine. (The Lovers)
  10. The outcome (when I am successful in achieving this goal) – Vibrancy, Energy, Cheerfulness, Self-assurance. (Queen of Wands)

So, an added intention for me for 2018 is to improve my health through self-caring activities including strength, flexibility and stamina-building activities, and nutritious food choices.

My word for 2018 is PERCEIVE. To understand, to become aware, to become conscious, to use intuitive judgement.

How about you? Care to share your thoughts?

Rock on,

The WB

 

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Smile Reveal – Before Refinement Phase Begins

Serves no particular purpose in this post except I think skulls are cool and this is MY skull, x-rayed at the beginning of the Invisalign process, which I asked to have emailed to me. The tech forgot to ask me to remove my earrings.

This week I went back to the orthodontist to discuss refinements to my teeth. I am thrilled with them as they are. However, the tooth artiste (as I like to call Dr. Kevin…or was it Dr. Brian? I can’t keep the brothers straight) had some other ideas.

He used a bunch of dentist terms to describe what he thought needed to be done – long story short, I am getting more trays and have to wear some elastics too, and this refining process will take another 6 months. I was told at the start that my Invisalign treatment would take about 2 – 2.5 years and here we are at Month 10 only, so I gots nothin’ to complain about!

So here is what my teeth look like now:

Doing my best Goldie Hawn smile impression so you can see my teeth! The little bumps have been removed. But I will be getting more put back on for the refinement phase.

And here are a couple of before and after closeups:

BEFORE
AFTER – what you can’t really see that well is how all my teeth (even the molars) are now back to vertical, instead of slanting in towards my tongue and away from my cheeks. I just hated that look, and now it’s gone. Wheee!!!

For now I am experiencing a brief respite from having to wear the trays 22 hours a day. I only need to wear them when I go to bed. It feels…weird. Like I’m forgetting to do something.

But that will end soon enough when I get the call that my new trays are in and refinement begins!

Rock on,

The WB

 

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It’s Race Day but Not for Me (plus other updates)

Back in February I committed to another half-marathon race. I started training for the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon (again). Things started out well but I began to struggle as temperatures rose and distances increased. I made the decision early in May that I would not participate, as I couldn’t meet the minimum pace required to finish the course in time.

This was a tough decision to make and initially I felt defeated and like a failure. I have successfully trained for and completed 5 half-marathons and I have never had this problem before.

I had no idea why I wasn’t improving despite adhering to my tried and true schedule of training walks. I wondered if maybe I was developing exercise intolerance due to the daily medication I now have to take (thanks TIAs!) or if work was kicking my ass even more than I suspected. What the hell has changed?

I made an appointment to see my doc for a physical and blood tests were ordered. My clever doc ordered a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test to be done along with the “usual suspects” of blood counts, lipid profiles, blood sugar etc. I downloaded my results on Friday and noticed the TSH levels were reported as abnormally high, meaning my thyroid gland may be under-performing. Hmmmm….this explains a lot of symptoms I am experiencing, not just my poor performance on my walks.

I am making an appointment to discuss this with my doc first thing Monday, to see what the next steps are. I do feel a bit better now about my inability to meet the pace requirements for today’s race. I know I made the right call to pull out, even though a part of me wishes I was on the course with all the other runners and walkers right now.

Anyhow, it does seem that indeed something has changed and I will get that investigated further and addressed. Stay tuned!

In other Badass news, I have experienced a setback with my rooftop garden as well. Thanks, Mother Nature.

Remember this idyllic scene?
Immediately after a microburst of high winds and rain.
Rebuilt. Badass Rooftop Garden v. 2.0

Looks like this gardening adventure is going to be a “fall down 7 times; get up 8” type scenario. Still up for the challenge!

In Kayaking news, I took my newest acquisition out for its maiden voyage. (I’m stopping now with kayak purchases, I promise!).

Meet Smokey Robinson! Joining Pink Floyd and the Rev. Al Green in my kayak fleet.
Life is sweet on the river.

When the weather is bad, I play around with my art supplies. I put together a new storage cabinet yesterday for my ever-expanding collection of pencils, crayons, markers, inks and paints.

Bringing order to – and hiding – chaos. Thank you IKEA.

Here’s a sneak peek at a work in progress.

Acrylic Flower of Life design inspired by “dotillism” artist Elspeth McLean.

Rock on,

The WB

 

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H is for Health – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

Without health, there is no real wealth.

Health is wealth. The kind of wealth you take for granted if you have been reasonably healthy throughout life. The kind of wealth you didn’t realize you possessed until it is taken away from you.

What is the purpose of scrimping and saving throughout life, of putting off fantastic experiences, of delaying travel and life’s little luxuries, if you finally retire and the state of your health doesn’t allow you to enjoy any of the above?

Most of us no longer physically labour throughout our lives. That can be a good thing as we can arrive at retirement without the damage and aches from a lifetime of punishing our bodies each day. But it is often a bad thing as we enter retirement from a lifetime of being mostly sedentary at work, and then ending our days flopped out on the couch. Our muscles atrophy from lack of use, and our range of motion becomes increasingly limited.

I am fighting this right now. Since February I have been receiving physiotherapy and doing daily homework exercises to regain full use of my left shoulder. I am happy to report, that after much hard work, I have regained what seems to me to be full (albeit still somewhat painful at times) range of motion with my left arm. YES!

I am also working on regaining at least some of my lost youthful flexibility and balance through the practice of yoga and barre exercises. And I am currently training for my fifth (or is it sixth? Jeez, I can’t keep track…) half-marathon event, taking place in June. I plan to mostly walk this one. However, I recently started incorporating some sprinting intervals in my training walks thanks to OKs from my docs (post-TIAs, described here and here) and this article: The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles. So I might be able to break up my 21.1K walk with some periodic running time by the time the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon rolls around.

Cautionary Tale: my maternal grandmother had decided in her 70s, that after a lifetime of raising kids and keeping house, she was now a retired lady of leisure and therefore finished with cooking and house-cleaning. She entered a retirement facility where everything was looked after for her, and guess what happened? In a very short time she was no longer physically capable of doing much of anything. And her mind deteriorated along with her body.

This, my friends, will not be me if I can at all help it.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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The Invisalign Diet

Five weeks in, I am here to report on what is happening with regards to my goal of dying with a head full of perfectly straight teeth (and no more overbite). OK, so that’s not exactly my goal…my real goal is to enjoy the perfectly straight teeth for many years to come yet…but ya never know, right?

Soon after coming back from Barbados in February I went to the orthodontist’s lovely office to pick up my first couple of sets of Invisalign liners. There I sat amongst all the other much smaller, much younger patients, admiring the kid-friendly decor and waiting for my turn to sit at one of the 8 or so chairs in the big open concept treatment area. I realized I will likely always be the oldest patient (nay, person) in this room. And that’s OK. Really.

It’s gonna have to be because I am on a mission! The straight-uncrowded-teeth-with-no-more-overbite mission. But I digress…

The routine is pretty simple. Wear the liners 22 hours a day. Take them out only to eat or drink anything more than water. Brush and floss teeth and brush liners before putting them back in your mouth. Chew on the little tubular piece of plastic (appropriately named “the chewie”) for 10-20 minutes twice a day to seat the liners properly and help the teeth move.

Simple, right?

The impact of this routine on one’s eating habits is not to be taken lightly. There will be no more mindless munching, naughty nibbling, social snacking or even tasting food while cooking! For. The. Next. Two. Years.

I eat LIKE I MEAN IT (because I really do mean it) at mealtimes ONLY.

I lost 4 pounds in the first month of wearing these liners without meaning to. Nice side effect!

But wait, there are more changes in store! After a month (and two sets of liners), I went back to the orthodontist’s office – now sporting a tropical/pirate theme with paper jellyfish, crustaceans, palm trees and pirate skeletons tacked up everywhere. I received more liners as well as a series of attachments glued to my teeth to grip the liners and help them move my teeth around. Apparently most people get only a couple of mounts and usually only on the back teeth. Lucky me, I got ’em almost everywhere! Behold:

Invisalign trays with attachments.
Invisalign liners in with attachments. Poor quality shot but you get the idea. My crooked, crowded teeth now have lumps on them. It’s getting worse before it gets better.

What I didn’t realize (but should have anticipated) is that now things are really starting to happen in my mouth. The month prior was just “baby steps” in my journey. And now I have the tooth discomfort to prove it. I also have the scars to prove it as the mount on my lower front tooth was like having extra-coarse sandpaper scrape the inside of my lip while I ate. Thankfully it was the only one that did this and the nice techs at the orthodontist office were able to file the sharp bits down for me the next day when I called in desperation. Ahhhh, relief!!!

But back to the tooth discomfort: later that day as I removed the liners to eat lunch I just about screamed aloud as I touched a  newly sensitive tooth with my fingernail in order to grip the liner and pull it out. Then, as I was eating my meal a couple more newly sensitive teeth made their presence…er…forcefully known. As the tech later explained to me, this sensitivity is due to the liners “asking” the teeth to move position. And each set of liners will focus on different teeth as I go through the process.  Luckily this discomfort simmers down somewhat after the first couple of days with a new set.

What does all this mean for my lifestyle and eating habits?

I look at food and the process of eating in a whole new way now. Remember the TV show Seinfeld – the episode in which Elaine has to decide if her date is worthy of her favourite method of birth control (sponge-worthy)? Yup, that’s how I look at food now.

Is that food really Invisalign-worthy, I find I am asking myself.

Is eating this going to be worth the time, the trouble, the potential for pain??!?!?!

The answer is turning out to be a resounding NO usually. So I stick to eating only when hunger demands it, and only enough to satisfy that hunger.* Because let’s face it, the first couple of days of chewing after a new set of liners can be quite painful and slow. Woohoo – Let’s hear it for the negative reinforcement! Someone call the diet industry!

Eating food is going to be for refuelling purposes mainly, and for pleasure or enjoyment only maybe for the next couple of years.

Also, there will be smoothies. Lots of protein-packed, no-chewing-involved, green smoothies.

Welcome to the Invisalign Diet.

Rock on,

The WB

*Which, I do realize, is how I should be eating all the time anyways. Duh-oh!

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What’s Rocked My World This Week – January 29th Edition

For me, the world has become a much scarier place since January 20th. Here in Canada, I am disturbed daily by the things happening south of our border.

It’s hard not to feel powerless at this time. However, the good news is that people are not taking this shit lying down. Nosirree! The Women’s March has started something great – something that promises to continue in other marches and protests. So there’s hope.

For my own mental health, and maybe for yours too – I have decided to round up a listing of things that excited or inspired me this week. Something to change my focus from obsessing solely on all that is going south*, south of the border and other places. Like an online gratitude journal of sorts.

So here goes – the inaugural, “inaugurally-inspired” post:

  1. The amount of silver/white I am seeing in my hair – I have been (not so) patiently waiting for my head of hair to turn a glorious white, as per the females in my family who have come before me. It seems I have inherited my dad’s type of silvering – mostly temples and a sprinkle throughout every where else, unfortunately.
    Lots of white happening here in Temple Land!

    However, lately I have noticed the silvering is accelerating. Excited!!!! I can notice the silver strands quite clearly in my hair’s part now.  It didn’t photograph so well otherwise I’d show you. I am sick of touching-up roots at my temples. I think the time may be right to let it grow out au naturel and see what my real hair really looks like. I may decide to go back to colouring for a bit and try again later. Or I might not. Stay tuned.

  2. Invisalign – Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Lisa is told she needs braces? And she is shown how her teeth will look as she ages? I feel that is going on with my teeth. They seem to get crookeder the older I get. So when I come back from Barbados I am going to begin using Invisalign trays to fix my smile. I have paid off Edward II (my 2nd “Blizzard White” Prius) so those $$ have been freed up for another purpose! Very happy to be starting this journey, even at my advanced age. I’ll be damned if I live the rest of my life with these crooked teeth if I can afford to do something about it. Again, stay tuned. No doubt I’ll have plenty to say as I go through the next 2 years of this particular adventure!

    My car’s namesake. My Edward sparkles just like this when the light hits it. If it’s clean, that is.
  3. Physiotherapy – Since the beginning of the year I have been working steadily away at regaining my long-lost flexibility via yoga and barre exercises. I’m making good progress! However, no matter how diligent I am I know I need more help than this to regain range of motion in my left arm – an ongoing problem I have noticed for about the last 6 months. I was thinking I had strained something and that it would heal itself but that’s not happening. So last week I saw my doctor and got a referral for physiotherapy. So far my homework is a set of exercises to perform 4 times a day. And they hurt! But I am keeping my eye on the prize – 2 fully working arms!
  4. Pussy Hats – I missed taking part in the Women’s March for a multitude of reasons including a long-standing prior commitment for that date and not knowing until way too late there would be Canadian marches to take part in. And I feel really bad about it. So I made myself feel a bit better by at least knitting some pussy hats. I have finished one and am about to finish another (for my cousin). The way things are going, there should be many opportunities to march and wear pussy hats, unfortunately.

    Knitting a pussy hat
    First pussy hat on the needles!
  5. Rogue US Government Employees – I think the rogue or alt Twitter handles/postings that have sprung up in the past week are just brilliant. I can’t stop reading them. Between these and the organized protests, it makes me feel there is some hope of getting through this shit show the US/World is in, after all.
  6. March for Science – If I have any say in the matter, I won’t be missing these upcoming marches. Our last prime minister muzzled our scientists like Trump is doing now. During this dark time in Canada, I was otherwise preoccupied in Crazytown (i.e. OCD/MBA Land) and dealing with a dying husband/subsequent widowhood so I missed out completely on this issue and its protests. Looks like I’m getting a second chance to chime in and make my little voice heard. Why does this shit keep happening?!?!? Rhetorical question…I know why it keeps happening.
  7. My new pan – A couple of weeks ago now I bought a pan at the local Dutch store, very similar to one that I learned to cook in as a young girl. Dutchies call it a “braadpan” – simply put:  a frying pan. It is enameled steel and cooks and cleans like a dream. The high sides keep the mess in. And the heavy lid makes braising a snap. Safe for stove-top or oven use. And induction-friendly. I love it.

    Think Le Creuset – only lighter and 1/3 of the cost. And without the sexy colour choices, unfortunately. Your choice is any colour so long as it’s black, with an ultramarine blue interior.
  8. My new GoPro camera – During Boxing Week, I pulled the trigger on a Hero 5 Black – a camera I had been eyeing for quite a while already. So far I love the features I have been discovering. I’m busy learning how to use it in advance of:
  9. 50 Years of Friendship Trip – by this time next week I will be snorkeling and relaxing with a good friend, down in Barbados. 2017 is the 50th anniversary year of when we first met and became friends – partway through Grade 2  – when she moved to Preston. To commemorate our first 40 years of being friends, we spent a day together at the Elmwood Spa in Toronto. That was a great day, and now this looks to be the makings of a great week.  All I can say about this is WHEE!!!!!! More to come later…

Rock and Resist on,

The WB

*That Canadians like Kellie Leitch and Kevin O’Leary are threatening to bring to our great country as well.

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Mid Month Check-In

So far, so very good!

How’s everybody doing so far in 2017?

Your friendly neighbourhood WB is trucking along, counting the days till she boards the plane to Barbados at the beginning of February. Nah, not really – although it is a constant cheering thought at the back of my wee brain…hehehe!

I am (really, truly) managing to be more active however! I had a plan to be walking daily, but high winds combined with temperatures in the minuses kept me indoors more than I would have liked. So I expanded my plan to include yoga and barre exercises, thanks to my collection of DVD workouts. And, once a week I attend a yoga class in real life; ditto for barre. The stretching makes my muscles hum and I feel so wonderful and wonderfully relaxed that I don’t understand why I don’t make this a daily part of life. Hopefully this is the year that changes.

And this is the year that I devote to artistic pursuits. This month I’ve made some changes to my studio (aka laundry room), moving my big adjustable sit/stand desk from my office, and setting up a much smaller desk that was given to me, in its place. It’s great to have a dedicated surface for drawing and painting, and not to have to share it with computer activities.

View facing the laundry closet
My view, when working at the desk. My office is across the hall. I just love my dollar store vinyl tablecloth!

My year-long study of the mandala has begun and I have started my first-ever art journal.

January is the month of the Void, in Mandala Magic 2017.

Entering the lessons of the Void via Julie Gibbons’ videos and prompts. Heating the last of the Christmas stroopwafels on my tea mug for the necessary “fuel”…hehehe!

 

First exploration into the Void.

To me the Void is a very welcoming place, a resting place, a place to rejuvenate and grow strong again. Some of my fellow Mandala Magicians are not happy working with the Void. I think I can understand that. I am sure I will come up against Mandala stages that will be difficult or scary for me, as the Void is for others in our group.

One of the Void ideas that came to me was a drawing involving the Hindu goddess Kali and the Void.

Pardon the Trump-tiny hands I have given Kali. Definitely a work in progress.

In my head I see a full drawing of Kali with the Void as her womb, as well. I also see the Om symbol and the Void together in another – Om being the primordial noise, the first sound to come out of the Void.

So far I am not doing much journalling in my art journal. Using it more to capture images from my brain. I still have half a month to go on this exploration of the Void so perhaps the words will come to me yet.

I feel like I am living in the Void quite a bit this month…very content to stay in my cozy abode, alone with my thoughts and ideas, dreaming and scheming and napping the month away. Resting and gestating and amazingly not feeling the least bit guilty for spending an inordinate amount of time not being productive, but instead mostly just “being”.

Rock on,

The WB

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Happy 2017!

I hope everyone had a restful, meaningful and thoughtful holiday this year!

Although I tend not to take any additional days off during the “season” due to the nature of my work (cows don’t know it’s Christmas), the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is generally quieter and I can get a fair bit of catching up and tidying done in my office. And thinking about the projects and plans for the next few months while the phone is not ringing.

Outside of work, I use this time to ruminate (cow pun!) on the past year and sharpen up my plans for the new.

On my lunch break, I tried to open up my 10 Year Plan spreadsheet a few days back to review it and add some stuff and IT. WASN’T. THERE. This led to much (inner) screaming and (outer) hair pulling and cursing.

I checked everywhere the damn thing could possibly be instead…every folder in Dropbox, every folder on my laptop…it was nowhere to be found. Fuckity fuckity fuck fuck fuck – to quote a friend.

Then I got home and checked my iMac. Again nothing. I resigned myself to having to create it all over again…from memory (OH SHIT). Then I had a brain wave when I remembered that the last time I opened it up, I was using the for-Mac version of Excel on my home computer. I opened the program and went to Recent…sure enough it was listed! With trembling fingers I called it back up. Success!!!!

Somehow, it had gotten saved to iCloud and, in so doing, the Mac gods removed it from Dropbox instead of making a copy to save (like the PC gods would have done). Hmmmm. I kinda get why this happens…so you don’t have multiple, different versions floating around…but hell-to-the-no…I am not a fan of this enforced document control. I would much rather have multiple versions (backups of backups ad infinitum!) and I WILL MAKE SURE OF THIS FROM NOW ON. Whew.

In happier news, I finally completed my Flower of Life mandala between Christmas and New Years. I am beyond pleased with how it turned out.

Worth all the time and effort.

I kept going back and forth on how to create this. I wanted to use my new acrylic inks but felt I needed to use my watercolour pencils for the effects I wanted to achieve. In the end I used both – water colour pencils for the actual inner “flower”, and acrylic inks and black fine-point marker for the rest.

New years Eve at Chez Badass was a quiet dinner spent with good friends. New Years Day will be Gourmetten – Part 2, with the family.

About to enjoy a meal with my friends. The kabocha squash got a bit burnt when I reheated in the oven along with the roasting potatoes. Green veg still to come to table. Hey, how did Seashell Jesus manage to photobomb us?!?!

 

My friends brought me a date for NYE: Sylvester, their grand-doggy. He was the perfect gentleman.

Looking ahead to the new year, I have some plans, natch. I won’t call them resolutions but they are definitely plans.

Such as:

  • Fitness – The cardiologist recently gave me the go-ahead to resume physical activity, just not to be an idiot about it. OK, not an exact quote but she meant to not go from couch potato to ultra-marathoner overnight. Check! I signed up for more yoga and also added a barre class, both happening down the street from me at the old Town Hall. Very excited to try barre. With yoga and barre, I am hoping to improve my flexibility and gently strengthen my muscles without injury. And to add training with free weights for later on this year. I am having some real problems with my left arm and want to get the full range of motion back. I also ordered a DVD called Essentrics – Toning for Beginners – which is more of the same to do at home. I will incorporate a daily walk back into my life and maybe…just maybe…sign up and train for another half-marathon later this year!

    Looking forward to this arriving in the mail next week!
  • Art/Learning – I’ve signed up for  year’s worth of artistic exploration of the mandala via Julie Gibbons’s marvellous Mandala Magic 2017 course. First lesson arrived in my Inbox this morning, as promised. Yay!!
  • Adventure/Travel – In about a month I will be heading back to Barbados for a week with a good friend, to commemorate 50 years of our friendship. This time, the hotel is fronting a lagoon that is full of reef fish and sea turtles. In the hopes of seeing this ocean life in action, I ordered a snorkelling set to take down with me. I also bought a GoPro camera to take better underwater photos and even videos. Last year’s results underwater with a cheap disposable camera were disappointing, to say the least. I had been dreaming of a GoPro ever since but hesitated to pull the trigger on this purchase because – well – SPENDY! But when I read online about the lagoon last week…what the hell…MERRY CHRISTMAS/BOXING WEEK SALES TO ME, I said. Currently no other definite plans for travel (just some nebulous ones) on the horizon for 2017, but money gets automatically funnelled into my Travel Bucks account every month from my chequing account so I will be ready for whatever the year brings me.
  • Work – 2017 will be an exciting year with an expansion to the lab and bringing on new types of analysis. I live for and love this stuff!
  • Renovations – I did about 3 years’ worth of planned renovations on my building in 2016, so this year there will be much less happening by comparison. Some of the projects I had initially roughed in for this year are landscaping, painting the foyer, renovating the second bathroom on the landing (including adding a shower), and FINALLY putting a railing around my rooftop patio. I have some doubts as to whether finances will allow me to complete all of these this year and that will be OK too. The building is looking good; my apartment is finished; there’s always next year.

That’s about it for me. The sun is shining and a walk outdoors is calling! If you want to share your plans for 2017 in the comments, I am ALL EYES.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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Sunday Night Follies

Dear Blog,

OMIGAWD, why didn’t any one tell me the Flower of Life was going to be so fucking hard to draw? I mean, it’s just a series of circles you don’t even really draw because the compass is supposed to do all the work for you? Okay, technically Julie did say it was challenging. But I didn’t really believe her. Or I thought yeah, “challenging for other people”. Not I. Hah, I was born with a compass in my hand, or so I thought. (Ouch, sorry Mom).

Bloggie, it took me 4 attempts to get the damn thing drawn. Four. And did you know that if you don’t hold this compass exactly right, the circles can get bigger or smaller because the fucking pencil lead magically starts moving from its predetermined length and suddenly your circles are off-kilter and not matching up any more after the second or third rotation?

Maybe I just do not have a good compass. Maybe. It looks like a good compass. See:

Prevents inadvertent setting adjustments, my ass.
This is my compass. “Prevents unintended setting adjustments”, my ass.

By the 3rd attempt I tried holding the compass differently – very lightly, by the very top of it only – so that my apparent death grip on the compass would not change the size of the circle’s radius inadvertently. Success!

Finally drawn. Using earlier attempts as practice for trying out new acrylic inks.
Finally drawn. Using earlier attempts as practice for trying out new acrylic inks.

Having re-mastered the compass, I moved on to the kitchen to try to make a lasagna for the first time in many, many years…AND without pasta.

I thought slicing zucchini very thin and layering with it would be an acceptable substitute.

Lasagna "zoodles"
Lasagna “zoodles”

Here is the finished product, ready for the oven:

What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?

Blog, it’s either going to be amazing or a soggy mess.

Wish me luck.

Rock on,

The WB

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