Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All the Places I have lived in...

it has been such a long time since I posted and I am sorry. A lot has happened
since my husband died and my health has not been great since. You know, what
they say in many cases: when one of the partners in a marriage dies, the other
one soon follows. I just hope and pray that this will not be true in my case, but
like I said, I have not done tremendously well.

Then again, I am also busy. Time soothes over many hurts and it is a blessing in
so many ways and my desire to stop the clock is still in evidence. I still hate
sleeping or wasting time.

My passion with scrapbooking and digital art and working with beautiful
papers from Lorie is still trying to get me to revert and I might (one day),
when my hands don't want to hold the pen anymore. I have carpal tunnel. Also.
Ha, the other day I had to get a cortisone shot in one of my hands and because
I was very scared (I had had a really bad experience in St. Catharines with my
family doctor, she went with me. And since it was a new specialist, he asked
about the various 'conditions' I have. My youngest, who has a great sense of
British humour, started laughing and said  ''it might take less time, if you asked
my Mum what she DOES NOT have...".
Love you, baby chick! It was just too cute.
So, what have I been up to? lots of stuff, but mainly being creative and doing what I
want to do.
I just finished a journal 'All the Places I have Lived in...'. Not places that I have visited
or been on vacation, but actually moving there and living there for no less than nine
months. At the end of the journal I was actually reflecting and surprised at the many
moves, in some cases huge international moves. How on earth did I do it back then?
how did I ever find the courage or the strength? Sure, I was younger but I also had
the children. Sometimes I had just the two girls, and other times I also
had my son with us.



The journal started off as an idea to show the children mostly the
places we had lived in but then it sort of became more serious and I wanted to not
just show names or pictures, but also in many cases write about it, explain what
had motivated the move or forced us todo so. And most of all, I did not want it to be a
work of art or perfection. I wanted it to look like it had been 'through the mill':
used, abused, aged, old, imperfect, exciting at times to peek around the next corner
but constantly maintaining the idea of AGE. After all, the moving
around the world started for me over fifty years ago! So to give the journal a
realistic look,
I wanted it to look OLD and battered.






























I started off with cardboard from a regular big cardboard box. Size: 8.5" x 10".
The spine was attached and fortified with duck tape. The edges bothered me because they were corrugated, so I rubbed white glue mixed with polyfiller over all the edges and let it dry.
Then I sanded the edges.

Again, after sanding, I repeated the process, glue and polyfiller to make sure the edges
were relatively smooth but not heavy.
Next, I gave the entire contraption a coat of gesso. Then I painted it an olive green.
And finally covered front and back with some music paper from my stash. ON the inside
of the cover I used papers from EVG Ephemera Vintage Garden (if anyone wants to know,
please ask and I look up the name of the papers)...

And since I am paranoid with strength and durability in my journals, I did most of the
messy finishing before adding my signatures (pages)...to the spine. I had already coffee
dyed and dried the papers in the oven, everything that I was going to use in the journal
was coffee dyed. I wanted the paper to look old and tea stains or dying was not enough
for me.

Then I applied Tim Holtz distress ink but I had used dark brown shoe polish and I used
that on top. I find shoe polish easier to manage and like the look of it, especially over
the edges. So much easier to apply with my finger too.

The holes for my signatures were drilled with a tiny drill but I could have done the
same no doubt with an awl. I have 55 pages with  5 signatures for a spine the width
of 2 1/2". As you can see, the pages turned out relatively straight but I forgot to
mention that after drying them in the oven, I ironed them all with a hot iron. Lol.

A lot of my papers are ripped, I wanted them to look rough or used. Also I antiqued
them a little more with distress ink. I used very few embellishments, because I felt it was not supposed to look 'pretty'...

After finishing with all the signatures and writing on the paper, I learned one big lesson:
journaling in a bulky journal is next to impossible. That is, if you want your handwriting
to remain neat.
So when I finally finished, I did not like the way the spine looked on the outside. The
stitches were uneven and messy (because it was my first 'stitched' spine. I re-enforced
it once more with more duct tape and then covered the whole mess with some coffee
stained  unbleached cotton again with a torn effect along the sides. And last but not
least, I stitched some beads and a key to it.

The entire process took six weeks and  would be basically finished now but I am
entertaining another move (probably my very last one) and I want to wait until I
can actually take a picture of the new place. Until then, the last finishing pages will
have to wait.

Thank you all for following my long epistle, most likely the longest so far on my blog.






Monday, February 22, 2016

omg, I can't believe it but it is monday ! Again. And I still have so many of your emails sitting on my inbox like lame ducks. They don't disappear just because I am not doing that great. I sincerely hope I can make up for my lack of response in saying that I really really love you all.

To start with: on Friday afternoon I checked on my email and they kept coming. In total I received 2968 emails. In panic I called my server or internet company. In my case Bell Canada. She told me that all my emails for the past year remain sitting on their server for a year. What do I care?????? and it takes three working days for someone to look into it, just why were they all sent back to me?????? Really! Grrrrrr. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Then, holy cow! I all of a sudden had a terrible pain in my mouth. It kept disappearing and then coming back. Soo, scared cat that I am, I rushed to my dentist. He is on holiday and his replacement turned out useless. Not saying that he is useless, but well, there has to be 'something', if I am in that much pain to make me accept the nasty fact that a visit to the dentist will make my account some $200 lighter......(I really often wonder why in Canada our famous OHIP system does not cover dental work or a visit to the dentist???). After all, teeth are like the gateway to the rest of your body. No wonder, so many people walk around with stumps or gaping holes. Anyway, the tech took an xray but nothing apparently showed up. Right now I am waiting to call them (office is open after noon i.e. 12 ) and I need to make an appt. I am almost sure it is one of my lower back teeth. I hope it's not in the bone.....
 recipe and photo on Dr. Oz's website. Yummy!!


I will have to put myself on the scales, haha.......because the pain prevents me from chewing. So right now I am living on mostly liquids or soft foods. Like salmon or tuna patties! Love them, and thank you, dear Amy for the recipe! The move from Toronto was good for me weight-wise. I lost roughly 18 lbs. but I definitely do not need to lose anymore or I will end up looking like an old shrivelled woman, hehe......

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I wrote this text a few months ago when autumn had started. Autumn and probably September or October.

taken from my balcony
 
I feel so ashamed that I really do not know what to say. My silence throughout these past months has been unpardonable and I have no other excuses except I needed 'time out'. And once the thread is broken, it is very hard to start and connect it back together. I am still going through the adjustment period as far as Toronto is concerned. The journey from small town peaceful and mostly English speaking St. Catharines to multi mega multi cultural Toronto with appaling traffic during rush hour is simply not an easy step to take. My apartment is much bigger here and the view is still worth a million dollars. Now that autumn has arrived, I love it. Looking down from my windows, summer was rich, luscious and beautifully green. However, the landscape of autumn is exciting, breathtaking and I find myself looking out at the scenery many times during the day when I am working on the computer. And then of course, there is nighttime!! Not to forget my longing to board another airplane. Just one more time. It appears that maybe our building is in line of landings or arrivals for Toronto Pearson airport. And how I love the sight of those huge creatures flying above, roaring along in the clear sky. Even when I am walking, I cannot help myself but stop and crane my neck to take another look at the plane above me. And if it happens to be British Airways or Lufthansa, well, I guess I don't have to mention that I reach for a tissue - sometimes. Not always. There are times when I am excited and realize the opportunities that I am given here - and there are times when I am grateful to have had the strength to make that move.

But a move it was and it was not at all what I have experienced so far during my long-ish life. First of all, there was the matter of not having any hot water in the shower. And I mean, HOT water! Management assures me that it is finally fixed: SIX months later. Yes, that's how long it took for a plumber to figure it out. In the meantime, it took many desperate calls and emails to the city of Toronto, (call 311) and have an inspector to come out to measure the actual temperature. The norm should be between 39 and 46 degrees Celsius. Mine was around 15, and sometimes even 25C. Too cold to enjoy a shower.

another view from my balcony
  
don't you just love it?
 

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Here I am.....after so many months...And so much has happened since I last posted - not sure if I remember it all but I guess if I don't then it was never that important perhaps?

On March 1st of this year I moved to the 'Big City'. TORONTO. I have been told more than once recently that God only gives you what you can bear but nevertheless the body reacts to whatever you have been 'given'....Right now I am not thrilled with things or life and it is really hard to keep smiling sometimes. Lots of times actually.

The 'million dollar view' - as my family calls it.
 
 

 
It was still winter, and I did not realize that there is a big park just outside my building.
 

Anyway, I am now fully fledged and living a city life accompanied by busy traffic and multi-culture. Would I undertake the move again? from a quiet provincial small St. Catharines to a large city? Probably not, but I am looking at it right now as another adventure in my life. After all, what is so different after having lived in so many other capital cities of the world? why am I complaining even?

I need to learn to accept. Adjust. Re-align!


 

Friday, February 27, 2015

I actually wrote this post one month ago and forgot about it. But life goes on and so much is happening that I really need to post this and then fill everyone in with what else is happening. Boy, am I busy.

Anyway, here it is: It's been six months since I lost my husband and life will not be the same again. This morning I had an early appointment and whilst driving there, I suddenly started crying. He never liked listening to music in the car and here I was driving along playing one of my CDs, but then I realized that I would rather have my husband sitting next to me in the car and not listen to music instead...Anyway, somehow life goes on in spite of what you initially think and even resent people telling you - continiously.

LIFE GOES ON.....yeah.....sure. Actually, four days after my husband's death I was forced to go on with life battling my own health issues and it somewhat blunted the actual grieving. It makes me wonder if I am just starting to realize it because I am just getting over a horrible experience and infestation of scabies which I caught in the hospital where my husband was. Imagine! Now, SIX month later, I am still bearing the marks and assume it will take at least another 8 weeks before I am back to normal. So, kids, life goes on but honestly? I am not impressed right now. And yet: I am grateful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014



I want to share some thoughts of mine that were inspired by an article I read from Dean Obeidallah about facing one's own mortality. I adapted and changed it to reflect my own thoughts in view of all that has passed in the last two years of my life.

How often have I been told to 'stop and smell the roses'....and I used to explain or at least try to clarify that what others called 'working', I would regard as my passion and love for what I was doing at the time.

I still feel the same way i.e. not wasting time in sleeping too long or too much because I still have dreams to be fulfilled - though modified somewhat due to the recent events and the loss of my husband.

From the time that my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer to the hour when he actually left this life, I did not realize how much more we could have LIVED life. His death has had a profound impact on me. I am no longer finding excuses to cut short a telephone conversation with a friend or my own children and I am actually taking real time out to talk to my beautiful cat Arabella.





I will never be able to stop completely to smell ALL the roses because after all, I inherited my parents' work ethics being German but there is no more impatience. Well, at least not most of the time. also because my own health has not been great (see previous posts re. hip replacements, back fracture and my most recent adventure with scabies. I would not wish that part on my worst enemy.

How did I catch 'scabies'? Well, the hospital where my husband spent his last months, had an outbreak but of course I was unaware of it. Thankfully and almost four months later, I am slowly recovering but it has been a horrible experience and the recovery will take time.

In the meantime the clock next to me is ticking away and I am aware of time slipping by. Yet the desire to paint or knit or design is reduced for now. Also because amongst other things I have developed carpel tunnel syndrome in my left hand and it stops me from picking up any kind of knitting or work that would involve using both hands (except for typing here on the keyboard.....).

Thank you all for your constant caring and
kindness.