striped pebbles

Sunday, August 31, 2008

stripey pebble collection No. 1

So these striped pebbles, lovingly collected along the shore of our ocean by me and les chiens over the years and some quite recently, are a shout out to Austen over at Stripey Pebble. Holla.

It's raining here this early morning. Grin. I'm terrible, as I stand in line at the grocery store, the people all around me bemoaning what a rotten, wet, grey summer it's been, I look at the floor, scuff my feet and smirk to myself. Certainly no gloating from this dark storm cloud. It's not raining so hard that it will curtail Miss Dixon and my walk at the beach with Baby Duke and Carol, Deb and Maggy Sue (scuba diving golden retriever). We'll just don our boots and waterproof gear and well have a lovely long walk in the rain.

Yesterday way too much time was taken up by me installing matchstick blinds in my guest room and studio. The two rooms that face our little harbour, south south west I think (I am slightly navigationally challenged) and get lots & lots of sunshine. Well ... ergggghhh. The first blind took an inordinate amount of time to install - mostly I think because the roller cord on one came undone and I had to figure out how to reinstall this moving pulley like apparatus, so the blind would actually roll up - extremely taxing on this petite techy brain. Thankfully I learned much from the first installation and 2, 3 & 4 were installed in a jiff and Miss D insisted on being nearby throughout with her constant moral support - which did help a lot. Still ... a job that took way more time than I had anticipated. And that's the story of my life.

In the afternoon instead of reading a new good book, curled up with a blanket and bon bons I mounted all my little miniature photo art prints in their 5x7 mats and Oh they look SO good. It nearly made me cry (but then it doesn't take much as you all know). They look beautiful, 3x3 inch, and 3x4 inch photos (20 different images in total and doubles of many) with lots of soft creamy white mat around each image. I'm hoping that the back card-weight paper arrives this week and I can complete the assembly. Just so many little pieces to these art print greeting cards but ... I'm beginning to feel for sure that my etsy shop wares are really gonna make mama proud. Smile.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

california circles

Same pattern of intersecting circles from Thursday's sketch. But this time a collage combination of paint and paper from my collection of vintage books and old atlases. I do love maps. I am drawn to maps with water in them and as I began to flip through my atlas I landed on a map of California, a state that I've been to three times (all work related visits to Los Angeles but once, we did drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in a cherry red convertible as far as Oxnard, along the ocean and I would have loved to just keep on driving - continuing along the coast until we reached British Columbia ...). While I was tracing and cutting and gluing little bits of California in this collage it made me think of my friend J. she's in SoCal (like SoHo or NoHo). She lives way down the coast in San Diego, her life miles away from mine and in so many ways.

Today I would like nothing more than to stay put at the teak topped desk building my creative empire - working on more greeting card ideas for my Sept 15th submission to greatarrow, taking this circle pattern and doing another collage with a more limited colour palette, my archival mounting tapes have arrived and I have near 50 little photos to secure in matts for my upcoming HUGE etsy shop opening. (I know I may have some disbelievers out there - I know, I know I've been talking about it forever ... honestly it is coming). Think I'll add prints and cards of these new paper collages as well. Paper quilts. I'd love to work away at my desk for hours and then curl up with a blanket and a book from the new pile of books I've just lugged home from the library. A cup of tea and maybe a bon bon or two. That's what I'd like to do today and tomorrow. Apartment or condo living has been calling my name (I think .... although I confess I'm not totally convinced). Big sigh. Because instead of staying inside and working away at my tiny life I must instead dans les machete, favourite leather garden gloves and wheelbarrow and go into the overgrown yard and jungle and hack away at a small section. Why ? I'm not even sure, my little attempts at denting it are somewhat futile, but I have this idea that it's what I'm supposed to be doing. And damned if I can find any, even remotely handy, man to help - for money, for jam or for casseroles. What on earth was I thinking when I bought this big old house.

Hope you all have a great weekend !

9:00 am- hey ! guess what ? it's overcast and drizzly which in my mind is a big ol' excuse to leave the machete dans les shed and stay put with CBC radio and paper & glue at the teak topped desk. Smile.

Jake & me

Friday, August 29, 2008

kind of says it all, this photo does - the look on both our faces, but especially his

And ever has it been known
that love knows not its own depth
until the hour of separation

Khalil Gibran

A repeat Polaroid photo on this blog and another of my most cherished images. This one I keep tucked away between sympathy cards and notes from friends in a lovely hand painted metal box that holds this dog's ashes. Ashes and locks of beautiful red and golden fur, collars and tags, a few of my favourite photos of us, some beach glass and a few tiny periwinkle shells along with all of my love.

Grief, or my grief, is about missing him but mostly it's still about trying to live this new life without him in it. Without his, bigger & sweeter than life, self. And it's sadness all tangled up with joy remembering the moments, all of the endless and wonderful daily moments from our long life together. He was some kinda dog that Jake. Love ya Noodle.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

circles - painted sketch

A two hour lunch out with a girlfriend who I don't have to keep my sadness a secret from • A phone chat with MLou, like taking an Ativan, talking with her always makes me feel so much better • A long afternoon walk in sunshine and warm breezes at low tide with my best girl - Winnie Dixon • Painting something, Anya suggested yesterday that I paint my boy, my Jake dog in every incarnation of his Jakeness that I could muster. The thing is, I don't really do very well at realistic or representational paintings or drawings and if I tried to capture his oh so handsome self, I'm sure I'd only feel frustrated and disappointed with the outcome. It's why I find photography so satisfying - it seems so much easier to take a beautiful image. But I do love pattern and colour - hence the circles (just a sketch). All the drawing I do all day long on these product design projects of mine is either very ornamental or very stylized versions of real things. Please refer to Jake & Em or Red Dog Yellow Dog (an art print 5x7 card soon to be available in my Etsy shop) • The Democratic convention. Wow ! who knew we Canadians could be so riveted to American politics. Especially when I can also tune into to John Stewart & Stephen Colbert • Sweet Oliver softest calico cat ever, who has a very similar personality to Jake. Very affectionate, loves to play and be silly. He just seems to enjoy hangin' with me and seems to magically knows the exact right time to show up as if to say Hey whatcha doin'Starting a gratitude journal. Writing down at the end of each day a minimum of 5 things that I'm grateful for • Chocking up some of the extremeness of all of this to hormones. Phew ... now that's a relief !

10:45 - an eagle flew over us at the beach this morning, really close above us, maybe 30 ft away. Good things are coming.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

great blue heron

Tears are words the heart can't express.

My heart sure has a lot to say.

I am struggling again. This time last week, in the midst of my most recent big photo frame project, I honestly thought that Ache & Sadness had packed up and left for good - gone on some extended holiday. I can remember thinking to myself isn't that strange one minute they were here beside me and the next they were just gone, poof ... and it really felt, for several days, that maybe they were gone for good this time. Even though I can't imagine they'd ever be gone for good ... they've been living here with me an awfully long time.

MLou suggested I was just distracted. An explanation that surprised me and made good sense but one that had not occurred to me. I wondered then is constant distraction my ultimate goal ? I don't think so.

I'm weary, weary from missing & longing, from worrying & fretting about old house maintenance and bill paying, from pretending that everything is OK and that I don't have a big hole in my heart, I'm weary from feeling lonely. And all this weariness has weakened my spirit and when my spirit is weak ... Ache & Sadness become stuck to me. Tears spill out at inappropriate times.

Yesterday I had a routine Dr's appointment and errands to run and everywhere I went I found myself wanting to say to them, to anyone, through tear filled eyes. I've lost my best friend. Where could he be ?

It used to be when the grind of this solitary life and all the responsibilities that come with it made me weary. I'd coax that big red lug up on the bed with me, I'd wrap Jake's big paws around me and I'd bury my face in his neck and I'd feel absolutely safe & sound. He was my comfort and he was my joy. Always.

low tide

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

our walk yesterday at low tide - Miss Winnie D and me.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth
are never alone or weary of life.

Rachel Carson

it's raining

Monday, August 25, 2008

peony pinks, lime green and a sweet Noodle dog in a favourite frame of my design

It's so curious: one can resist tears and behave very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window... or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed... or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses.


I felt like I wanted and needed a big splash of colour this early Monday morning. An archives photo, from earlier this summer when the peonies were still in all their glory.

It's pouring rain outside these wide open windows. Miss D. is snoring here on her bed in my office. It's ink black and still outside. We've had three days of spectacular sunny, hot summer weather - a little rain is good.

Coffee and bubbles with Mint, Rosemary & Orange. We'll walk in the village this morning Miss Winn and I and later, after lunch, we'll drive to the beach when the tide is low. A stop at the post office and then we'll have our long, long walk out on rippled tide flats, just Winn & I. It's the hard thing about sadness, keeping it under wraps, keeping it tucked away in a blanket inside. I can't do it and I suffer trying. I understand that often friends and family don't want or don't know how to deal with sadness, and that's OK, but right now it's a part of me ... it's with me all the time, hiding just under the surface. I never know when it will come out ... so for now it's much safer for us, Winn & I, with Ache & Sadness trailing behind us like shadows, to enjoy our walks alone.

It's so nice that many of you see hope in my photographs ... as hope is what I would want you to see. Many thanks for the comments.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

farmer's market goodness

Hope is the feeling
that the feeling you have
is not permanent

Jean Kerr

I still can't find that darn hope of mine. Maybe I'm looking too hard. Maybe if I stop looking it will magically turn up again ... like those lost car keys or my misplaced eye glasses.

Crickets and coffee and the sound of a small fishing boat leaving the harbour, it's another early morning. It's too early really, up at 4am this morning. A raccoon skirmish somewhere nearby had Miss Dixon in a terrier mix state. That's one of her jobs - to be alert and report all foreign and potentially dangerous scents and sounds.

She and I went to the beach again yesterday in the late afternoon. It's good therapy this lying on a towel inches from the gently lapping waves, the sun beating down, warm and comforting and with my sweet Miss D by my side.

me & my girl

Saturday, August 23, 2008

more bed side sweet peas

Yesterday was a hot and sultry perfect summer day in this little seaside village. 28C and barely a whiff of wind. I finally finished up my 18 drawing - frame collection, which turned out beautifully - better even than I had expected. I sent a lovely big fat invoice out into the ether, tidied up my desk and put on my bathing suit and my fav beach cover up dress, I rolled up a towel and put it and a bottle of water in my straw bag and off we went, Miss D and I, ... to the beach.

The little beach that's in the village, a short walk away from 29 Black Street, and at the end of our walk in the park. The same beach that we walk to every early evening. I waded around in knee deep water while Winnie Dixon trailed along behind me, following my every step. The water here in summer is lovely and warm although still very refreshing on a hot, sweltering summer day and the air at the water's edge is always just a little bit cooler. Finally getting myself completely totally submerged, including wet hair and face, I floated around in the shallow water with the hot sun beating down on us, the only sounds we could hear were the sounds of seagulls and children playing underwater swimming games nearby. I didn't want to wade out so deep that Winn would have to swim as she becomes a little frantic and worried when I wade out into deeper water, so we stayed close to shore.

It was just heavenly and just what the Dr. ordered. Sun, heat, salt water - and all with the company of my best girl friend.

my girl Miss D. - she loves to bask in the sun

She and I sat on the beach, both basking in the sun, and time just floated away from us. Another dip, lots more basking. Lots of love and pats and scratches for Miss Winn, around her head and neck. And then we walked home, back through the park. I was surprised when I glanced at the clock in the kitchen when we walked in the door, we'd been gone 2 hours. Miss D and I, just a hangin' at the beach, sitting on our big rock a baskin', wading and floating around in the warm water ... just me and my girl. Perfection (well nearly).

I washed out my bathing suit and hung it on the line. Poured a big glass of ginger ale with ice and I ate perfect plain potato chips for my dinner while watching the Olympics. A perfect end to a very productive week.

I have another 2 day project which I'm beginning today. I also have many chores that must be done also. So today and tomorrow I'll try to fit half a day at the teak topped desk and half a day taking care of some of my to-do's and must do's. I'll be out in the garden awhile and whirling that vacuum cleaner around, I'll wash bedding and hang it out on the line, and I'll prepare big vats of curry lentil soup and vegetarian chili, food to freeze and have on hand so that when I'm busy with work I won't have to think about cooking (and I'll be less likely to have potato chips for my dinner. Wink.)

Such is the life of a freelance designer. You work whenever there is work, and lately, thankfully, there's been a ton of work. Although I have to say, once again, what I do, never ever feels like work.

Thank you universe.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Em & Jake (a tiny speck of red near the horizon)- retriever heaven

In the night of death, hope sees a star,
and listening love can hear the rustling of a wing.

Robert Ingersoll

or in my case ... listening love can hear the splash of paws ...
racing into the water to fetch that stick.

If only I could have one wish ...

Happy tired dogs - Em & Jake

specimens No.1

Thursday, August 21, 2008

a tiny Jonah Crab and an Atlantic Rock Crab

I could have easily (except maybe for the physics, chemistry & math part) been a marine biologist. I am totally fascinated by sea creatures of all types and sizes. Perfectly fitting, I guess, that I've been sloshing around in my rubber footwear avec les chiens (the absolute best beach combing companions ever) through many a tide pool for nearly 15 years now. I always walk with my head down collecting beach glass, bright yellow and orange tiny periwinkle shells, the occasional dogfish egg case or mermaids purse, examining unusual rocks and larger shells. Wading through shallow tide pools and crouching down to watch hermit crabs racing across underwater deserts to retreat in the shade of clumps of seaweed. The most exciting things I've found in 15 years of beach combing were a large ocean centipede about 10 inches long and a washed up oarfish (a petite sea monster) about a metre long.

I'm always amazed to come across some tiny little body, completely intact, of one of our Atlantic shoreline species of crab. Dead for awhile and completely dried out and preserved - it's shell sometimes bleached by the sun and salt.

Things are a mess here at 29 Black Street. Messy house, messy office, messy desk. That's what happens when things are busy, everything else falls by the way side. Another two day project on the heels of this one, then working on my Etsy shop art prints and my submissions Sept 15th and Oct 13th of greeting card designs to Great Arrow (a goal that's been on my list of goals for seven years and one that surely will help me in my quest of building my own creative empire). These are the times when I wish I had a tiny little life. A tiny little house and a tiny little yard and garden. Something easy to take care of and easy to maintain, when my main job at hand is bringing home the bacon.

11:00 A mouse in the house, well actually a mouse in the left hand top drawer of the teak topped desk. Not sure how he/she got there but my job immediately became to rescue the little mouse from the drawer and take he/she outside. Turns out not at all an easy task and at the end of it all the little mouse, freaked out at my attempts to lure/push him into a clean aluminum can (or safe tunnel place), jumped out of the drawer onto my sleeve and up the arm of my hooded sweatshirt and down into the hood. Thinking quickly I removed the my sweatshirt, closed up the hood and took sweet little, heart a beating, mouse outside and into the grass and safely away from the big game, tag team, hunters and mouse killers extraordinaire - Gus & Oliver. Mouse messenger animal totem.

thank goodness

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

brand new gouache paint set and a new No. 4 brush

It's cool here this morning. I'm not sure if it's the remnants of Fay finally reaching our shores or if it's some weather system from Ontario or perhaps the meeting of the two but it's supposed to be very cold here today. Not cool but cold. Close the windows cold. Then by the weekend the temperature will shoot back up to 29 C which is hot and almost as high as it gets here. Sunny and summery weather from the beginning of the weekend on and if you are a summery sunny person (remember I'm a little dark rain cloud with some thunder thrown in) that will be a huge relief. Our August the weather has been tres shitty as summery and sunny goes. Rain and rain and more rain. Lots of overcast skies with dark stormy clouds and thunder storms - maybe that's why mood has been lifted lately. It's not the kind of weather they want to have, here at the seaside. And the bad weather is an ongoing hot topic of conversation. We Canadians we are famous for our love of the weather chat and complaining chat the best and always most favourite.

My Etsy store art card component bits and pieces (envelopes and cellophane sleeves etc.) continue to arrive. It's the first time curse. Once I have this initial shop update done, reordering all these bits and pieces and adding to my collection of photo and illustration, sweet, matted print cards, should be a cinch. It's all this first time care and detail and an awful lot of measuring (a personal handicap of mine) that's been bogging me down. But they are still coming and still being worked on.

And I've had tons of paying design work on the teak topped desk which has kept me very busy these last few weeks. I'm at my desk through the day and into the evenings. Stopping to do the dishes, feed the beasts, and to walk with Miss Dixon down into the park each early evening.

Thank goodness for live streaming of Olympic coverage on, for bubbles with lavender and orange, and orange pekoe tea with lots of milk & sweet perfect clementines.

And of course for my Sugar Beet - Miss Winnie Dixon.

8:50 am - Three Harrier Hawks swooping and flying low in the pastures where we walk this early morning. Spectacular large rusty brown birds with a distinctive white stripe on their tail. The hawk totem means messenger.

happy tired dogs

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sugar Beet & Baby Duke in the throngs of round 1

Well that Miss D, she's surprised us all. I had no doubts that Winnie would like Baby Duke 'cause Winnie is a dog's dog. She had an unfortunate beginning in life and was not socialized at all with people. One of those poor dogs, we're quite sure, that lived her life at the end of a short rope or chain, tied outside. She was surrendered to a shelter when she was just shy of a year old. My friend Jean, from this local shelter said she was one of the worst cases of fear that she's ever seen. Her previous name was Princess (Princess Winnie Poo Poo from some speck of an atoll in the South Pacific). Jean asked if I would foster Winnie because she was very concerned that Winnie was so frightened, so freaked out by being at the shelter that she was going down hill at a rapid rate. I picked her up one Saturday morning years ago, Em & Jake welcomed her with open paws and giant retriever hearts and Princess Winnie was flinging teddy bears around and grinning ear to ear that same afternoon. It was Em & Jake, I'm convinced, that made Winnie feel safe and at home here.

She loves the girls that we walk with and now seeks out and requests their love and pats and scratches several times each early morning. But she mistrusts and won't go near anyone else. If I have company (which is a very rare event here at 29 Black Street) she skulks from room to room, from dog bed to dog bed, avoiding even the slightest eye contact with whoever (evil demon) might be here. If those same girls that she loves in the morning arrived at my door she behaves like she doesn't recognize them and insists (by barking her scraggly face off) that they go away now. As far as she's concerned they can't come in her house.

But she loves other dogs. And she sure is sweet on that Baby Duke dog. They have at least three rounds of this flat out running and tumbling and chasing, gnashing and bumping and rolling until their tongues are hanging out and their eyes are sparkling with pure, happy, dog delight each morning.

It's so good for Winnie. It's the best kind of exercise a dog can get. That perfect combination of flat out physical aerobic exercise combined with the incredible mental stimulation of doing something that they love. In this case planning their fancy footwork or their next tricky move. And my Miss D. she's got the moves, she loves to spin and twirl. For my boy Jake, his thrill was endlessly retrieving 2 or 3 (sometimes even 4) sticks, at the same time, from deep water, never ever 1 stick - that was boring Jake loved the multi-stick challenge. Planning his strategy as he swam around collecting his sticks. Which one would he gather first? No question he was put on this earth to retrieve things from water- he loved it so. And our Miss Maggie Sue, well she prefers to retrieve large round rocks, the occasional stick does add a little spice to her morning routine, but her true love is scuba retrieving - plunging her head under water, holding her breath for awe inspiring and (we're sure) record breaking times while using her front paws to gather submerged items, rocks, perfect white clam shells, etc... and she swims lengths back and forth parallel to the shore in between scuba events.

When we arrive home, these recent mornings, Winnie's been skipping sleeping in her dog bed under the teak topped desk and preferring to immediately hop up on my bed or the guest bed where she can completely stretch out and snooze contentedly.

She's a happy tired dog. Smile.

Maggy Sue joins in the play fray, taking a very brief break from her scuba duties


Monday, August 18, 2008

Sweet sugar beet (or sweet beetroot if I were a Kiwi) and moi

Crickets, a full moon and the silent sound of no wind at all.
A hot mug of delicious coffee.
A steaming hot thick facecloth with almond soap.
A list of to-dos and must-dos for today that I'm looking forward to.
An optimistic front that's settled in for a few days.
Sleeping well wrapped up in a duvet that smells of outdoors.
And Oliver sleeping tucked in beside me (always) my calico comfort.
Sweet sugar beet and I sitting together each evening on a big flat rock
looking out to sea and smiling ... at each other.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

farmers market sugar beets

Sugar beet also my new name for Miss Dixon - she is my sweet, sweet sugar beet.

Squawking cries of blue herons, a soft chorus of crickets and the barely audible rumblings of thunder far off in the distance are the sounds coming in my open windows this early morning. No wind at all. Yesterday it rained and rained, coming down at times in sheets of grey wetness.

Around noon and before the rain had begun I thought I'd best whip La Beast Rouge around one half of my yard. I released her from her home in the newly immaculate and tidy garden shed, added more motor oil, topped up her gas receptacle with premium super plus gasoline, primed her, yanked on that damn cord and her engine starting with a flurry only to very quickly sputter dead. I repeatedly yanked on the rip cord (or whatever you call that cord) ... same results every time. Big, huge, %!!#$?? sigh. These are the situations that happen in the life of a single designer gal with a big huge old house and even bigger overgrown yard and garden that nearly push her over the edge. When things don't work, when little things go wrong - my initial reaction is to lie down in the grass and stare up at, what was yesterday an overcast and grey sky, and stay lying there until someone comes and finds me. Then it occurs to me that I could be there an awfully long time. So instead I take a deep breath, gently push her back into her home dans la shed and make a mental note to put her in the car, in the back of the wagon Sunday night so I can drop her off at the small engine repair on our way home from our beach walk early Monday morning. Erggghhh.

I filed yesterday. Purged paper, organized and filed all my files. Since moving into my new office and receiving from BFF Harry, a beautiful, practically brand new, four drawer legal size filing cabinet - the kind with built in rails for hanging file folders - be still my beating heart, I had yet to deal with all of my files. 7 years of self employed work files, reference material, home and personal stuff - one of those jobs that many of us will endlessly put off. And one of those jobs that when done and done well provides enormous & unexpectedly thrilling satisfaction.

There is nothing worse (to me) than thinking I wonder where ____ is ??? I could really use ____ in order to do a good job at the current project on the teak topped desk. Now I can ask ... Hmmmm Susan - I wonder where the Christmas themed photo ornament file would be ?? Easy !! Une moment Madam - that could be found in Drawer No 2 (that entire drawer being customer No Uno) and toward the back. Sigh.

Today it's draw draw, draw. Finished drawings of all those tiny frame thumbnails while listening and occasionally watching the Olympics.

The finches are up and having a breakfast meeting in the back garden - is there a happier sound than the sound of sweet little finches chattering away ?

act 2, scene 3

Saturday, August 16, 2008

an illustration for a fashion-ey logo/business card that I've been working on

This blog has been a lot about dogs and cats, about big skies and glittering water, about longing and sadness and big, huge, heartbreaking love and not much at all about a designer gal's life in a tiny seaside village. It's that heart on my sleeve thing again - my heart eclipses all else ...

So today a little update from the teak topped desk of designer gal. Wink.
Earlier in the week I called customer No Uno to see if I could drum up a project.

Me: Hi ! just wondering if you have any projects a brewing for me to work on
Customer No Uno: Hmmm, let me see ... how about some very traditional Christian, religious themed photo frames - a collection
Me: 10-4

Camera pans across a very messy teak topped desk complete with a gigantic & beautiful 24" imac. The designer sits madly drawing with a mechanical pencil on tracing paper, kneaded eraser and fine black drawing pens nearby. She's drawing tiny little miniature frames some with oval openings, lots of ornate crosses and doves and hearts with words like Faith and Love and Rejoice. Handwritten script spells out biblical quotes she's researched online. She then scans four little pages of tracing paper, each crammed with miniature drawn concepts, attaches them to an email and then she waits ... and waits with bated breath.

It's anybodies guess with this particular company how things will fly. Often I send out pages of drawings that make my heart swell with pride - I love them so and they barely look at them ... dismissing them with a swoop of hands. Other times I think to myself Oh no, No 7 on page 4 is tres ugly, don't like it, I hate to even leave it with all those other good ideas, it's ugliness surely spreading around the page. But I leave it (always) ... just in case. Sure enough they love No 7. It's their favourite. I've been working with customer No Uno and the same woman for nearly 7 years ... and it's feels like a crap shoot every single time.

End of day Friday the phone rings

Customer No Uno : Good job Susan, lets go over these thumbnails
Me: Sure ! heart beating a little faster and still with bated breath
Customer No Uno: OK Page 1 - this one, and this and this one and Page 2 - we love this and that and this one too. Page 3 - draw them all !! Page 4 - this one and that. Great job.
Me: Excellent !! Merci Madam !! and to myself 1, 2, 3, 4 ..... 18 frames total.

Designer gal hangs up the phone and immediately gets out her calculator - 18 x per frame final drawing rate - click, click, click ... click, click ... cha-ching, cha-ching !!!

Me: to myself Good Job !!

Don't get me wrong, it's not all about the money - I absolutely LOVE what I do, and it never seems like work. It's just that money = security (not to mention - vines trimmed, trees chopped, mortar pointed, chimneys swept, wood ordered, plumbers paid and kitty litter bought) ... and Mama's gonna sleep tight another night. Sigh.

pack of 3

Friday, August 15, 2008

retriever heaven - sweet Emma Jane Louise and my handsome red boy Jake

Hope is like a bird that senses dawn
and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.
author unknown

A fitting quote as I sit here most mornings anticipating dawn myself. This morning the air has a cool autumn feel, it's the feeling of bittersweet. My cozy chenille house coat is snugged in around me like I'm wrapped up in a teddy bear. It's been raining and the breeze blowing in my open windows is pushing the curtains up and into the room. It's dead quiet, the birds aren't even up yet, only the sounds of leaves and wind and Miss Dixon's soft snoring.

Last night I sat at my computer and watched and listened to little video clips on my mac's imovie program. My camera, like most digital cameras, lets you shoot short videos and thankfully I shot quite a few. Choppy, bumpy, very rough tiny movies with sound, most less than a minute long, of me and my pack of three dogs. Em, Jake & Winnie. My loves. Watching them run and swim and sniff and roll in the grass and running up to me with big smiles on their faces and tails wagging madly. Hearing their breath and listening to my voice speaking to them ... constantly. I'd forgotten about these little movies and watching them made my heart burst.

My favourite photo .... a repeat.

my pack of 3 ... my loves

la queen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lulu - the Queen of it all

Lulu had an episode (don't know what else to call it) with her back legs early this morning. She's my very old (close to 18) matriarch, extremely bossy & loud, and also really affectionate, fearless and loving long haired black and white cat. She came packed in an airplane kennel, along with her companion and nemesis cat Ernst (all other animals are nemisis' to Lulu for she rules all) some 15 years ago from Toronto, with me when I moved here to this little seaside village and to this old brick fixer-upper - 29 Black Street.

Toronto- tres flattering scratchy Polaroid of moi with young Ernst & Lulu

Her back legs just fetched up on her, she didn't seem at all in pain. Just pissed off a bit that her back legs were not co-operating as she attempted to come up on the bed with me and my 4am (that's another story) coffee. Her scrawny little back legs pointed out in front of her like a ballerina as she sat on the bed with me and I massaged them - she loves that. She seems OK now, but lately I have been thinking to myself, chances are I'm going to lose another of my pack this year. That would be 4 much loved pets in 4 years. First dear Ernst (rare dwarf Alberta cougar tabby cat), then sweet Emma Jane - my golden girl, and this January Jake , the love of my life and hero dog. All senior animals - I do take comfort in that, that they all lived to the far end of their life expectancy Ernst 14, Emma 15.5 and Jake just passed 13 and now that crazy Lulu, squawkamolé of mine - she's pushin' 18.

Summer is her favourite time. She goes out on the front porch each early morn as soon as I feel sure that the raccoons and foxes have gone home to bed (although I know she would give them a run for their money) and she stays out there, in her kingdom, all day. Snoozing in various spots around the front garden or in her wicker chair with the pillow. She has all her meals outside with lots of fresh water. She sits sometimes on the porch windowsill and screams at me through the screened window when I come downstairs from my office to get a bite to eat or to make a cup of tea. She yells in her grating, loud squawking voice and in her defense, what she really wants, is just to get my attention. For me stop what I'm doing, to come outside and sit in the wicker chair awhile and just hang with her - and I don't do that enough. She delights, still, in putting the run to any stray or neighbourhood cat that dares to venture into her domain. She is tough as nails and her days seem very full and rich with constant feline adventures.

I am prepared to lose another of my family. She's very old. The part that I cannot stand and I never will is the deciding to end their life part. The euthanasia part - no matter how I may know in my brain that a time will come when it's the kind and right thing to do. My heart breaks at the thought of it and my heart will be forever haunted by those moments.

I'll be sure to sit awhile today with Miss Lulu Belle today, out on our porch in the white wicker chair.

big fat Nessie (Bleet) and the Lulu Belle - hangin' on their porch

the queen and top dog (always) at 29 Black Street

Actually I just went downstairs at Winnie's insistence. She was enthusiastically letting me know (barking hysterically) that one of the neighbourhood stray cats had arrived on the porch for some breakfast. When I went down into the kitchen Lulu was sitting on the kitchen table. Now in order to get to this spot on the kitchen table she had to jump up on an arm chair and leap (a death defying feat she performs several times each day just for the hell of it) nearly three feet from another table ... I guess she's feeling better. Thank goodness.