Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Closing Ceremony

Dear November,

I will miss you. Never did I think that would cross my mind.

You are usually such a dreary month. Full of rain, lost leaves, and lost colour. You are the signal that winter is coming, as well as the hectic month of holiday December. And then I joined this blogging world, and met your sister Art Every Day Month. She is inspiring and full of joy and creativity. And she has connected me to many new people, who could easily fit the same description. Though I have only known her for less than two weeks, she has made a beautiful impact on my art, and me. So now I am sad to see you both move on. I am looking forward to you next year.

Hello December... I am excited by the wonderful gifts you bring me. A month of reflecting and manifesting for the year gone by and the year to come. Another three weeks of challenging myself in the Art, Heart and Healing Course. Then... you will lead me to your neighbour January, who I am newly looking forward to as well, since, rumour has it, they have plenty of fun projects up their sleeve too. ;)

A little tribute to the last day today of Art Every Day Month...

I completed my containment collage today... protective border now in place <3

Super excited to show you this... Completed portrait/mixed media art journal page! :)

Very, very happy with it and my confidence has been boosted greatly. Thanks Tam!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Learning Art is Fun!

Big shout out to Tam at Willowing.org and her Art, Heart and Healing course. I am braving the first lesson this week - a portrait and multi-media journal page.

Started the sketch yesterday and stopped there.

Needed sleep and to bolster my courage to take on shading next!

Wow, that took a lot of focus. The time just flew by today and I learned a lot.

Here she is completed, with the background behind her.

Super close up :)

No longer a blank page... This is Fun!

More to come from this project...

Now I must go, because Maverick has heated up some leftover chicken curry (will post the recipe soon) and then we are heading out for a date night! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Alphabet Soup - B is for Boyfriend

The subject for this post was picked last week. Alas, here I sit not wanting to write it. I am feeling sad, lonely, and frustrated. I've decided that I must follow through. Perhaps by writing this post I will pry myself loose and remember why I was so eager and excited to write it and share it with you in the first place.

There is a wonderful man in my life. After fifteen years or so, of poor choices and questionable boundaries, I met the man of my dreams. We had a whirlwind romance, and our ever expanding mash-up of friends love when we retell our story, from both sides. Perhaps I will post the whole thing at some point in the future. The condensed version is that we met in line at the grocery store and had a great laugh together, and an instant connection. It was just before my birthday last year, and we were headed to two separate birthday parties: mine, and a very close friend of his. This year we celebrated those birthdays together.

It's been like a roller coaster for us. Lots of hanging on tight and facing down the fear, a lot of incredible highs and exhilaration, and the realization of the strength you've gained from staying on the ride. So in celebration of the past 14 months together, 7 of which I now realize we've been co-habitating, here are 14 things I love about, and am grateful for in my partner:
  1. I love that you have stood by me through my breakdown and rebuilding
  2. I am grateful that my feeling "safe" was so important to you from the moment we started dating
  3. I love how much you have challenged yourself and how much you have grown in the time that I have known you
  4. I am so grateful that you made it look effortless to create a safe kitchen for me, first in your place and then in ours.
  5. I love that you brush your teeth the instant you walk in the door so you can kiss me without fear of what you ate in the outside world, and that you didn't even flinch when I first asked you to do this
  6. I am so grateful for the appearances, with nutrition and encouragement, on my very long runs when I was training for my very first marathon
  7. I love that every time I asked you if I would complete the marathon, with so much doubt in my own voice, you always had a steadfast yes.
  8. I am so grateful that you treated me kindly every time I wanted to run from this relationship, even when one of those attempted break-ups was in the middle of your dear friends' wedding.
  9. I love that after one of those near-endings, you held me in your sleep, the entire night. I think that is when I truly fell in love with you.
  10. I am so grateful for your patience with me after the breakdown, when I couldn't even bear to be touched
  11. I love that you can be ridiculously silly, and I love how much we laugh, and how hard we laugh sometimes.
  12. I am so grateful that being active and being outdoors is important to you, and that you love doing these things together. I love that part of the excitement with your newest hobby is that it's something we can do together as well.
  13. I love how much you love your friends, and how much love they have for you, and now for me too.
  14. I am so grateful that you are the kind of man who would drag a full size cooler through a high star hotel's lobby for me, because you knew it would make me safe and happy.
Now here I am, my eyes welling, finally freed from my black and white thinking of the past couple of days. I have an incredible, intelligent, affectionate man who admires me greatly and encourages me to soar. Ok, so maybe communication is not one of our strong suits at times, and luckily forgiveness is. I think we want so much to take care of each other that we get a little lost when trying to ask for what we need ourselves. Hey, we can't be all awesome, all the time, can we? :)

So here's to my man and me, and to you for keeping me honest.

A tribute to me and my maverick's first year together.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Six Word Saturday - 11/27/10

Soreness cancels pottery.
Acupuncture conquers soreness.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

When life gives you lemons... paint them!

This was not the day that I expected. I spent most of it on the couch, since I've been dealing with a sore upper back, and cramps. That means I didn't make it to my pottery lesson this morning. Or to yoga last night. And definitely not out to paint with a friend tonight. Sigh.

I have had lots of practice with days like these though. I've spent many laying low, sapped of energy because my digestive system was sparring with an unwelcome door crasher, or, more recently, because my nervous system was sparking like an overheated machine. It's not easy, but I try to forgive myself, and then revel in a pajama day. Usually at that point when I start to accept it, I am able to see unexpected positives.

So, with my unplanned extra time today, I found another art e-course online. It's called Art, Heart and Healing, all of which I would definitely like more of! :) And it's a free, start anytime kind of course. Yay! And to make up for my lost painting time tonight, I added more to a little leaf I was working on earlier this week. I got what I wanted from it, and I even took my first crack at negative space. Also, because I wasn't out tonight, I was home to answer a phone call from my dear friend back east. It always soothes my soul to hear her voice, and catch up with her. (A much better) sigh.

This what I posted to the Art Every Day Month group on Tuesday night.

And here we have the finished product, that I am so ridiculously happy with!

Art Today

I was in group last night and we worked on art therapy approaches to containment. Our first task was to draw something that takes our attention, and then the next step was to draw a border or container around it. I have done this technique one on one with a counsellor before and find it helpful. I like to draw pretty urns around whatever pesky thing I've purged onto the page, and then draw a lid on it :)

The truly wonderful thing about working in groups, however, is all of the unique perspectives that are brought to the room. A fellow member took the instructions in reverse, and drew her family and then drew a protective border around them. Instead of trapping the noise and keeping it in something, she created a barrier to keep the noise away. I was really struck by this. So I turned it into a personal art project. (Art Every Day!)

I visualized everything in my life that I am grateful for, and the achievements and progress I've made. All of the things that I want to keep protected and buffered. I pictured building something around them, to be a shelter from the negative energy that can sometimes blow us down, scramble our work, and scrape at our doors and windows trying to take back what we've earned. And now I'm working on a way to represent that on paper.

Here's what I accomplished today...

Finding my images, words, symbols

Laying it out

Gluing down the base, which probably would have been better to do before laying everything out :)

Final stage, for today. I've created a soft buffer between the (soon to be) hard border and the objects of my affection and protection. Exhausted and happy.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I (Heart) the Blog World!

Wow, it's only been a few days, and I am having so much fun exploring this wonderful world! Check it out:

  • A big thanks to The Creative Beast whose blog has led me to the Art Every Day Month (AEDM) challenge at Creative Everyday. Though it's a late start, I'm joining in for the last week. I've been encouraging myself to paint every day for the last three days already, so it just makes sense.
All this, and I've learned how to make buttons on my blog, opened a brand new Flickr account, and figured out how to stream my photos here. Wow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Alphabet Soup - A is for Allergies

Hello! Welcome to the first official post of my blog! How exciting is that? I've decided to follow the lead of some of my fellow blog-ettes, and start a theme day. Yes it's early days, but it will help me get into a rhythm and routine :) Every Sunday I will be waxing poetic about something that starts with the next letter of the alphabet. Alphabet Soup Sunday... Fun!

So... my original idea was to start a website, or blog, where I could share with the world how it is that I travel. Traveling seems like an easy thing to most people. Winning an all-inclusive week away at a fabulous resort would make most people ecstatic. For me, a week away would involve an extensive amount of researching and planning, and probably wouldn't occur at a resort. Why? Because my digestive system has decided that it doesn't want to deal with most of the common foods that most people enjoy. Eating out has become a thing of the past, and social dinners and brunches with friends now occur in my own kitchen.

Here's my list of absolute no-no's:

Gluten - Dairy - Corn - Soy - Caffeine - Coffee - Chocolate - Coconut - Sesame - Tomatoes - Garlic - Vinegar - Alcohol - Pork - Beef

Not to mention that I am also allergic to smoke and dust, and I am highly sensitive to scents and fragrances.

Traveling for me looks like vacation rentals with a complete kitchen, a map of the best and closest grocery stores, and luggage heavy with stowed food staples. Needless to say, since the uncovering of the bulk of these sensitivities, I haven't ventured farther than Canada or the United States.

Now, here's the twist. This has turned into more than just an allergy-free/travel blog. Yes, I will be posting recipes, and links to great new products and sharing with you how I managed on adventures away. Here's the difference... allergies aren't the only thing that make me sensitive. A few months ago I had a pretty severe breakdown. It was textbook PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I realized that I had been living in a hyper-sensitive survival mode for the past 15 years or so. New people and new environments are daunting to me and I have days where leaving the house is an accomplishment.

And when all of these different sensitivities are combined, it can often make simple tasks completely overwhelming. For example, attending a group function, in another town, becomes a tactical challenge. It means thinking ahead to managing interactions with a large amount of unknown people, finding safe spaces to recharge, and drawing little attention to myself as I coordinate safe ways to cook, or bring in, my own food.

Okay, I know this sounds like it could all be quite a downer, for me the one living it, and you the one reading it. Guess what? It's not! Finding ways to eat safely has given me back so much of my energy - which on a good day is quite a lot! And the breakdown? I am so grateful it happened. It gave me the chance to finally put everything down, and start fresh. Rebuild from the ground up, and get the foundation nice and solid this time. The best part, (aside from the obvious, like having more confidence and energy, and being able to connect more with people), is that I've realized an artistic side of myself. I love to paint, draw, make pottery, and consider myself pretty talented too! A wonderful new to way for me to connect to me, and to the world around me.

So come along for the ride, if you'd like. It would be great to have you on this journey <3

Best Wishing!